The USS Thompson (DD-627) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy for over a decade in the mid-20th century. She was named for Robert Means Thompson who served as President and trustee of the Naval Academy Alumni Association and President of the Navy League. Thompson was built as a Gleaves-class destroyer.
Thompson was laid down at Seattle, Washington by the Seattle-Tacoma Shipbuilding Corporation in September 1941, launched in July 1942, and commissioned in July 1943 with Lieutenant Commander Lee A. Ellis in command. Carrying a crew of 208, Thompson was armed with six one-half inch machine guns, four five-inch anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Thompson participated in fleet exercises off the Massachusetts and Maine coasts until assigned to an escort mission to North Africa with Texas and Convoy UGS-21 in October 1943. The destroyer continued escort duties until she sailed for England in April 1944. Thompson participated in the invasion of Normandy in June with Task Group 124.7, Convoy 0-1, providing fire support at Point de la Percee, and remained on duty in the area for the rest of June.
Thompson conducted screening and patrol operations during the invasion of southern France. In October, Thompson returned to the United States via Bermuda, and operated off the east coast for the rest of 1944. Thompson was assigned to trans-Atlantic convoy duty in January 1945, and then was converted into minesweeper DMS-38. The destroyer practiced minesweeping operations on the east coast, and arrived on the west coast in August, as news of the Japanese surrender was received.
Thompson performed minesweeping duties at Okinawa, the Yellow Sea, and throughout Japanese waters, as well as at Bikini Atoll before atomic tests were conducted there. Following this duty, Thompson spent the rest of 1946 either in overhaul or in port at San Francisco. She was then deployed to Korean waters from January until June 1951, when enemy fire resulted in three casualties onboard. During a second tour off Korea in 1952, four crew members were lost to enemy fire in August, and she was struck once again in November.
Thompson returned to San Diego Naval Shipyard in March 1953 and was used by Columbia Movie Studios until September. Placed in reserve in December, Thompson was reclassified as DD-627 in July 1955, struck from the Navy list in July 1971, and sold for scrap to American Ship Dismantlers in August 1972.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Thompson (DD-627)
Most servicemen sailing or doing repairs on Thompson were exposed to asbestos. Sections of the ship damaged by an enemy attack could cause asbestos to become airborne, which is exceptionally hazardous. Areas that suffered routine wear and tear also posed an asbestos dust threat. When breathed in, tiny asbestos particles can become stuck in the respiratory tract and may eventually result in malignant mesothelioma. There is no known “safe” level of asbestos exposure.
Consulting an experienced mesothelioma lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options. By examining your work and service history, your attorney can identify many of the asbestos companies that manufactured the products that may have caused your illness. Those companies are often held liable for the injuries their products contributed to.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-627.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd627txt.htm) Retrieved 28 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Thompson (DD-627).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/627.htm) Retrieved 28 January 2011.