USS Stansbury (DD-180) is one of 111 Wickes-class destroyers constructed for the US Navy during World War II. She was named in honor of Lieutenant John Stansbury, who was an officer in the US Navy killed during the War of 1812.
Stansbury was laid down by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in Union Iron Works on December 9, 1918. Sponsored by Miss Mary Eleanor Trevorrow, Stansbury was launched on May 16, 1919. Commander J.W. Lewis took command of Stansbury on January 8, 1920.
Following her commissioning, Stansbury served with the Pacific Fleet. During the two years she served with the fleet, she received the DD-180 designation. On May 27, 1922, Stansbury was decommissioned and berthed in San Diego, California. She remained inactive for the next 12 years, at which time she was reactivated to serve in World War II.
Stansbury was reactivated on August 29, 1940, with Lieutenant Commander R.N. McFarlane taking command. She then sailed to Mare Island Navy Yard, where she was converted to a high-speed minesweeper. The conversion was completed in Norfolk, Virginia, where she was redesignated as DMS-8 on November 19.
From October 1940 to December 1943, Stansbury was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. She spent her first year conducting maneuvers in the Caribbean Sea, providing coastwise escort duties and completing minesweeping exercises. On June 30, 1942, she attacked a German U-boat while she was escorting City of Birmingham. Although the attack was unsuccessful, Stansbury did manage to rescue 390 survivors after the merchantmen has been torpedoed.
Following the attack, Stansbury joined Task Force 34, the North Africa invasion force. She was then assigned to Mine Squadron 7 of the Center Attack Group, after which she made an exploratory sweep of Fedala. After one of her sister ships, Electra, was torpedoed, Stansbury and two other sweepers remained with her and kept her afloat until she was beached at Casablanca the following day. Stansbury then returned to Hampton Roads, Virginia in late December 1942, where she remained for the next year as she patrolled the eastern coastal waters of the United States and the North Atlantic.
Upon the completion of her duties out of Virginia, Stansbury joined the Pacific Fleet in the Panama Canal. Here, she conducted minesweeping exercises off of the California coast. She continued to serve as a minesweeper and a screen in various areas around the world, including New Britain and part of the Admiralty Islands, until she underwent an overhaul on January 17, 1945. After her overhaul was complete, Stansbury joined the San Diego Shakedown Group. For the remainder of the war, she served as a training ship, with her designation changed to AG-107 on June 5, 1945.
Stansbury was decommissioned on December 11, 1945 at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Her name was struck from the Navy list on January 3, 1946 and her hulk was sold to Luria Bros. Co. on October 26. Stansbury was scrapped on January 25, 1947. She was awarded three battle stars for her service during World War II.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Stansbury (DD-180)
Installing asbestos insulation in the construction of naval ships was required by law in the United States in the early 1930s, after a deadly fire aboard a luxury liner resulted in great loss of life. Vessels like Stansbury utilized asbestos insulation heavily, especially in ship's boilers and engineering rooms, and in fireproofing in all parts of the vessel.
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Stansbury. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center. (http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/s17/stansbury.htm) Retrieved 20 December 2010