The USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) proudly served the U.S. Navy between 1943 and 1973. The 2,200-ton craft participated in campaigns in World War II, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the Jordanian Crisis, and other conflicts and operations.
Sadly, we now know that for the crew who served and those who worked on the USS Allen M. Sumner, asbestos exposure is likely.
The USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692): Thirty Years of Service
The USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) was the namesake of a group of 58 Allen M. Sumner-class destroyers built during World War II to protect fleets that included other warships, battleships, and aircraft carriers. The Sumner-class crafts improved upon their predecessors, the Fletcher-class destroyers, with increased firepower and improved maneuverability.
Construction and Training of USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692)
Ordered for the U.S. Navy on August 7, 1942, construction of USS Allen M. Sumner began on July 7, 1943, at the Federal Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in Kearney, New Jersey. An initial launch on December 15, 1943, was followed by commissioning on January 26, 1944, under the command of Captain Norman J. Sampson.
After shakedown testing and training, the USS Allen M. Sumner spent two months training destroyer crews out of Norfolk, Virginia. On August 12, 1944, the ship departed to join American forces in the Pacific, arriving at Pearl Harbor on September 14. The destroyer conducted exercises in Hawaii until heading for the World War II fighting zone on October 23.
World War II Aboard USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692)
The USS Allen M. Sumner sailed from Ulithi to accompany aircraft carriers to their position off Yap Island for air strikes on November 22, 1944. The ship returned to Ulithi that day, remaining there for five days before heading to patrol Leyte Gulf.
On December 2, the Sumner headed to Ormoc Bay along with the USS Moale and the USS Cooper. An air attack that night resulted in a near miss from an enemy aircraft and a fire on board the ship. Twelve men and an officer were injured in the incident. The USS Allen M. Sumner and the other destroyers in her group helped sink the Japanese destroyer Kuwa, but the Japanese destroyer Take sank the USS Cooper, killing more than half of that vessel’s crew.
After nine days of repair and upkeep, the Sumner joined an operation with the Mindoro Attack Group. The destroyer provided close cover and took part in pre-invasion bombardment on December 15, clearing the way for troop landings with minimal opposition. She and the USS Moale shot down an enemy bomber before returning to Leyte and escorting a resupply convoy to Mindoro and then San Pedro from December 26 to 29, 1944.
The USS Allen M. Sumner remained in San Pedro Bay to celebrate the New Year before departing to screen the Bombardment and Fire Support Group sailing for the Lingayen Gulf to support efforts at the Battle of Luzon. On January 6, 1945, the task group was attacked by kamikazes. One kamikaze struck the ship, killing 14 men and injuring 19 others. The resulting damage required the USS Sumner to leave Lingayen Gulf, but the ship remained in action until January 14, when the Sumner headed for Hunters Point Naval Shipyard via Manus, Majuro, and Pearl Harbor.
USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) returned to the United States mainland for repairs and training duty before returning to Pearl Harbor. On August 12, she sailed from Pearl Harbor to rejoin the battle, but hostilities ended during her voyage. The destroyer continued to the war zone and was an escort to the USS Missouri for the formal surrender ceremony of the Japanese.
Post-World War II Service and Accolades
After World War II, the USS Allen M. Sumner performed training duties along the West Coast of the United States from October 1945 to May 1946. The destroyer then supported Operation Crossroads, nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, before a lengthy journey through the Far East.
In 1949, the USS Allen M. Sumner was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, where the crew trained in anti-submarine warfare and participated in peacetime training and operations. In 1952, the ship underwent a significant overhaul, including the installation of new gun mounts.
During the Korean War, the USS Allen M. Sumner was involved in only one war zone deployment. The destroyer served the majority of its time in Korea as a screen ship and plane guard before arriving home to Norfolk on October 27, 1953.
After the Korean War, the USS Allen M. Sumner operated primarily on the East Coast of the United States and in the West Indies. In 1962, the ship was stationed off the coast of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The next few years for the USS Allen M. Sumner involved local operations, Mediterranean cruises, and supporting operations in the Dominican Republic during political struggles there in early 1965. In July 1966, the ship served as a support ship for the Gemini 10 space mission.
The USS Allen M. Sumner departed for Vietnam War deployment on February 7, 1967. While there, the vessel served as a screen, protecting other ships in the fleet. On April 11, the Sumner joined the USS Hancock, sailing for Japan and the Gulf of Tonkin. At the Battle of the Ben Hai River, the USS Allen M. Sumner set a new record for number of rounds fired from the ship, discharging 1,100 rounds of five-inch ordnance.
After the Vietnam War, the USS Allen M. Sumner resumed local operations and European tours. The ship was reassigned as a Naval Reserve training ship on July 1, 1971, out of Baltimore, Maryland. The destroyer was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on August 15, 1973, and sold for scrap on October 16, 1974.
The USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) earned two battle stars for service in World War II, one battle star in the Korean War, and two battle stars in the Vietnam War as well as Meritorious Unit Commendations for service in the Vietnam War and the Jordanian Crisis.
Asbestos on the USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692)
Like other ships from the World War II era, the USS Allen M. Sumner was built using asbestos-containing materials. At the time, asbestos was prized for its resistance to fire, heat, water, and corrosion, so it could be found in virtually all areas of the destroyer.
Asbestos is now known to be toxic when inhaled. Anyone who was exposed to asbestos on the ship runs the risk of developing serious asbestos-related illnesses like asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Those at risk include anyone who served on board the USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) or was involved in the ship’s repair and overhaul. The families of the Sumner’s crew and those who worked on the ship may also be at risk due to secondhand asbestos exposure.
USS Allen M. Sumner workers and their families should monitor their health carefully and consult a doctor if they experience any symptoms associated with mesothelioma. Anyone who worked in or around the USS Allen M. Sumner or another U.S. destroyer with asbestos and is diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related illness should also consider contacting a lawyer to discuss whether compensation may be available.
Other Allen M. Sumner-class destroyers include:
USS Alfred A. Cunningham (DD-752)
USS Ault (DD-698)
USS Barton (DD-722)
USS Beatty (DD-756)
USS Blue (DD-744)
USS Borie (DD-704)
USS Bristol (DD-857)
USS Brush (DD-745)
USS Buck (DD-761)
USS Charles S. Sperry (DD-697)
USS Collett (DD-730)
USS Compton (DD-705)
USS Cooper (DD-695)
USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754)
USS De Haven (DD-727)
USS Douglas H. Fox (DD-779)
USS Drexler (DD-741)
USS English (DD-696)
USS Gainard (DD-706)
USS Hank (DD-702)
USS Harlan R. Dickson (DD-708)
USS Harry E. Hubbard (DD-748)
USS Haynsworth (DD-700)
USS Henley (DD-762)
USS Hugh Purvis (DD-709)
USS Hugh W. Hadley (DD-774)
USS Hyman (DD-732)
USS Ingraham (DD-694)
USS James C. Owens (DD-776)
USS John A. Bole (DD-755)
USS John R. Pierce (DD-753)
USS John W. Thomason (DD-760)
USS John W. Weeks (DD-701)
USS Laffey (DD-724)
If you or a loved one served or worked on the USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) and suffers from an asbestos-related illness, contact the mesothelioma attorneys at the Nemeroff Law Firm. The Nemeroff Law Firm is a nationwide practice with over 150 years of combined experience handling mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease cases. For a free and confidential evaluation of your case, call us at 866-342-1929 or complete our online case evaluation form now.