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USS Winslow (DD-359)

The USS Winslow (DD-359) served in the U.S. Navy for nearly two decades in the early to middle 20th century. She was named for Rear Admiral John A. Winslow and Admiral Cameron McRae Winslow. Winslow was built as a Porter-class vessel.

Construction

The third Winslow was laid down at Camden, New Jersey by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in December 1933, launched in September 1936, and commissioned in February 1937 with Commander Irving R. Chambers in command. Carrying a crew of 194, Winslow was armed with eight 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, eight 1.1 inch anti-aircraft guns, and eight 21-inch torpedo tubes.

Naval History

Winslow cruised to European ports in October 1937 and was then assigned to Battle Force, Destroyers in the Pacific, and joined Destroyer Squadron 9 at San Diego in 1938. Winslow served between Hawaii and the west coast until 1941, when she was assigned to training operations with submarines off New England. She participated in neutrality patrols in the French Antilles and escorted Augusta with President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Newfoundland in August. Winslow was also assigned to screen the first American convoy to the Orient in November, and received news of the Pearl Harbor attack while off South Africa.

Winslow sailed to the United States from Cape Town, South Africa and was assigned to the 4th Fleet, which had been developed based on neutrality patrols in the South Atlantic. During this deployment, Winslow patrolled between Brazil and Africa against German submarines until April 1944. She continued this duty continuously, except for repairs at Charleston, South Carolina in June 1942 and October 1943.

In April 1944, Winslow was assigned to escorting warships from Boston, Massachusetts to the West Indies, and then convoys from New York to Ireland. Winslow returned to Charleston for overhaul in March 1945 and prepared for Pacific duty. Following the end of World War II, Winslow conducted experimental testing on anti-aircraft ordinance and was re-designated AG-127 in September. Winslow was decommissioned in June 1950 and put in reserve with the Charleston Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was struck from the Navy list in December 1957 and sold for scrap in February 1959.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Winslow (DD-359)

Because asbestos is a very efficient insulator, it was used to shield components on a Navy ship that produced heat, like pumps and boilers. Winslow utilized asbestos insulation throughout the ship’s many compartments to assist in fireproofing and to wrap hot steam pipes. The myriad applications of asbestos mean that no area of Winslow was truly safe from asbestos contamination.

Most sailors that served on this ship were exposed to potentially harmful asbestos fibers. Inhaling air that contains asbestos dust can cause serious health consequences later in life. Many Navy veterans that served in the ‘40s and ‘50s developed mesothelioma cancer due in part to maritime asbestos exposure. Many asbestos companies have acknowledged the harm caused to sailors by their products and have established trusts to help compensate those suffering from asbestos disease.

Sources

Sources

Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-359.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd359txt.htm

NavSource Naval History, USS Winslow (DD-359).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/359.htm

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