The USS Agerholm was completed on September 10, 1945 and was officially commissioned on June 20, 1946. The ship was built by the Bath Iron Works Company in Bath, Maine. Commander Frank D Schwartz was the first officer in command of the destroyer.
The newly built Agerholm conducted a shakedown cruise at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and then began repairs at the Boston Harbor to ready the ship for service with the Pacific Fleet. The ship traveled through the Panama Canal en route to join the Pacific Fleet; it reached its new homeport, San Diego, on January 21, 1947.
The ship, assigned to the Destroyer Division 12, mainly participated in training missions off the coast of California. On March 10 of the year 1947, the Agerholm began an extensive tour of the western Pacific. The ship, assigned to the seventh fleet, visited various Chinese ports closed to American traffic. During this tour, the ship also visited several Japanese ports. The Agerholm returned to the United States via San Diego on November 26.
Action in the Korean War
In the year 1950, the ship underwent a major overhaul in order to make sure that it was able to perform in combat situations. The other ships in the Destroyer Division 12 were on their way to enter combat in the Korean conflict. The Agerholm set sail for Korean waters late in 1950; it entered the combat zone on February 19 of the year 1951. During this time, the ship assisted in the shore bombardment of Wonsan from April 28-May 4. The Agerholm returned to San Diego on September 20 of the year 1951 for major repairs and preventive maintenance procedures.
In May of 1952, the USS Agerholm sailed to Korea for its second tour in the combat zone. The ship, struck by an enemy shell, caught fire but only suffered minor damage. The ship finished its assigned duties until December of 1952 and returned to San Diego for an overhaul and repair work. During the years of 1953 to 1955, the Agerholm performed various missions to ensure the stability and peace of the region after the Korean War had ended.
After the War
In May of 1962, the Agerholm became the first surface vessel to fire an antisubmarine nuclear weapon. From 1965 until 1970, the ship, instrumental in the conflict with Vietnam, proved its heroism repeatedly during several missions. The Agerholm, officially decommissioned on December 1 of 1978, was destroyed as a target during a training mission on July 18 in the year 1982.
The USS Agerholm earned four battle stars for its service in Korea and eight for service in Vietnam.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially during World War II, naval destroyers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.