The USS Abbot was a Fletcher Class destroyer built in 1942 by Bath Iron Works shipyards in Bath, Maine. Although construction began in 1942, the Abbot was not launched until February of 1943. The vessel was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in April of that year and went on to serve important roles in key World War II campaigns. By September of 1943, the Abbot was en route to the Hawaiian Islands for further crew training, but a collision with the aircraft carrier, USS COWPENS resigned the Abbot to the Pearl Harbor Navy Repair Yard for nearly 3 months.
Abbot returned to sea in early December of 1943 and was assigned to a task force whose mission was to neutralize existing Japanese garrisons on several Pacific Islands. Between January 29th and mid February of 1944, Abbot joined several other mid-class destroyers in shore bombings of Japanese positions, keeping their planes grounded and troops occupied while larger vessels focused on seizures of other important Japanese positions in the South Pacific.
The Abbot performed several other important capacities that year, including participation in similar neutralization task forces in the Southwestern Pacific, where American forces were making significant progress. A return to Pearl Harbor was necessary in early August for repairs and replenishment, but the Abbot was out on the open seas again by September and would serve a number of important capacities for the rest of 1944. In 1945 the Abbot's, formation fell under constant bombardment of Japanese kamikaze forces, who managed to sink a ship close by the Abbot, the USS Ommaney Bay.
The USS Abbot is an important warship in the maritime history of our country. While the Abbot was often in peril on the open seas, many don't realize the potential danger those who worked on the Abbot faced while she was at dock. Warships, such as the Abbot, were laden with toxic materials. Many workers knew of these materials and how to safely guard themselves from dangerous exposures. Unfortunately, very few, if anyone, knew the danger that asbestos posed when it was being used in many facets of ship construction and repair. Asbestos was used in many capacities in shipbuilding, but most often in an insulation capacity around piping and electrical fixtures. Those who worked on the Abbot in the proximity of these materials are potentially at danger of exposure to asbestos, which has been linked to several respiratory complications, including the cancer mesothelioma.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.