The USS Stockton (DD-646) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy during the Second World War, and remained on the Navy list until July1971. She was named for Commodore Robert Field Stockton who served during the War of 1812 and as President of the Delaware & Raritan Canal Company. Stockton was laid down as a Gleaves-class ship.
Stockton was laid down at Kearny, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in July 1942, launched in November, and commissioned in January 1943 with Lieutenant Commander R.E. Braddy in command. Carrying a crew of 208, Stockton was armed with four 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, six one-half inch machine guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes. She was 348 feet, four inches long with a displacement of 2,395 tons.
Stockton beganescorting convoys between New York and North Africa as part of the Atlantic Fleet in March 1943. In January 1944, Stockton was deployed to the South Pacific and served with the 7th Fleet during the invasion of Los Negros Island, where she conducted bombardments prior to the troop landings in February. Following the invasion, Stockton conducted patrol and fire support duties offshore, and served similar duties at the Seeadler Harbor invasion in March. Stockton was assigned to anti-aircraft and anti-submarine duties during various operations along the coast of New Guinea in April and May.
In July, Stockton served screening and fire support duties during the Noemfoor, New Guinea invasion, and remained off the northern coast of New Guinea on patrol duty until late August. The destroyer then joined the 3rd Fleet for the invasion of the Palau Islands. During this deployment, Stockton escorted troop transports on the way to Peleliu, and protected troop units onshore during the invasion in September.
Stockton was overhauled at Seattle, Washington and returned to duty as an aircraft carrier escort during the Iwo Jima operations in February. From March until World War II ended, Stockton served as an escort for the Logistics Support Group during the strikes on Okinawa as well as the Ryukyus Islands and Japan. As part of these operations, Stockton helped sink Japanese submarine I-8 and provided direction in the salvage of Thornton. Stockton was decommissioned in May 1946 and sold for scrap to the Southern Scrap Metal Corporation in May 1973.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Stockton (DD-646)
Most of the crew assigned to or performing repair work on Stockton was exposed to asbestos. Asbestos was used as insulation for boilers, pumps, and engines. Asbestos-bearing material found its way into almost every area of the ship because it was used to wrap steam pipes. Crewmen working on engines and boilers were exposed more frequently and to a greater degree, as were crew members serving in fire suppression crews. Shipyard workers had a similar or even greater risk for exposure.
Inhaling asbestos fibers can eventually lead to a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma and other serious diseases. Navy service is a significant risk factor for asbestos-related illnesses. The known correlation between maritime asbestos exposure and the incidence of mesothelioma offers a variety of legal solutions for injured Navy veterans. A mesothelioma law firm can examine your exposure history and explain your legal rights.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-646.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd646txt.htm) Retrieved 31 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Stockton (DD-646).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/646.htm) Retrieved 31 January 2011.