The USS Woodworth (DD-460) served with the U.S. Navy for a decade in the mid-20th century, and was then sold to Italy. She was named for Commander Selim E. Woodworth who participated in the Wilkes Exploring Expedition to Antarctica and served in the Civil War. Woodworth was a member of the Benson class of destroyers.
Woodworth was laid down at San Francisco, California by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation in January 1941, launched in November, and commissioned in April 1942 with Lieutenant Commander R.C. Webb, Jr., in command. Carrying a crew of 208, Woodworth was armed with four five-inch anti-aircraft guns, six one-half inch machine guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Woodworth was assigned to escort duty in the Southwest Pacific, between Australia and Guadalcanal, and then was assigned to Task Force 65 in January 1943 as a patrol vessel at Espiritu Santo. In February, Woodworth joined Task Force 18 for patrol and escort duty between the Solomon Islands and the New Hebrides, and later joined Task Force 15 with aircraft carrier Enterprise. Woodworth was attacked by aircraft off Rua Sura Island in April while escorting Tappahannock, and then spent the rest of April and May conducting tactical training exercises.
Woodworth avoided serious damage during an attack by 12 Japanese bombers in June, during an escort mission, bombarded Japanese positions on Wickham Island in July 1943, and then served with landing operations at Rice Anchorage. She also participated in the Battle of Kolombangara where she received minor damage, and then resumed patrol and escort duty between Espiritu Santo and Guadalcanal until October. Woodworth joined Saratoga and Princeton in attacks on the Shortland Islands in November.
In March 1944, Woodworth served in the Solomon Islands, and then followed a merchant convoy to Hawaii. Woodworth was then dry docked at Mare Island Navy Yard for overhaul from April to July, and later joined Task Group 12.1 with President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Pearl Harbor and the Aleutian Islands. In October, Woodworth joined Task Group 38.1 the carriers of which launched an air strike on Okinawa in October, and managed to shoot down several enemy aircraft. Woodworth spent the rest of her service in the war operating mainly in the Philippines and Japan, and then was transferred to the Italian Navy in January 1951 as Artigliere. The former Woodworth was struck from the Italian Naval Vessel Register in January 1971.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Woodworth (DD-460)
Sailors, dockyard and shipyard servicemen were all at risk of being exposed to asbestos-containing materials as a result of their work and/or service on the USS Woodworth. Damage from collisions or shellfire created a higher level of asbestos exposure risk because in those situations, asbestos-containing materials could become friable (meaning the fibers came loose) and the fibers could be easily breathed in.
Members of the crew assigned to engineering or mechanical duties, were also at risk. In parts of a ship in which a fire hazard exists, like the engineering room, asbestos insulation was used to fireproof pipes and equipment. Pipes that carried steam ran to every compartment in Woodworth and were covered in a material made of asbestos. This resulted in the substance being present in practically every area of the vessel. Pumps and valves, also found everywhere on the ship, were contaminated heavily with asbestos.
Those working daily with asbestos-containing material over a long time period have a much higher risk of developing malignant mesothelioma than workers with a lower level of exposure over a similar time frame, or a very high level of exposure over a brief time frame. A mesothelioma lawyer can help those servicemen and shipyard workers who have developed mesothelioma as a result of their work on or with U.S. naval ships. Please fill out the form on this page to learn more.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-460.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd460txt.htm) Retrieved 17 January 2011.
NavSource Naval History, USS Woodworth (DD-460).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/460.htm) Retrieved 17 January 2011.