The USS Arnold J. Isbell was a Gearing-class destroyer and was the only ship in the fleet to be named after an aircraft carrier in World War II. Its keel was laid down in March of 1945 at Staten Island and was launched on August 6th of 1945. However, it was not commissioned until January of 1946 and missed action in World War II. It was moved to the Pacific Fleet and its home port was changed to San Diego in January of 1947.
The Isbell had its shakedown cruise in Cuba and for the first year it operated off the East Coast as part of the Atlantic Fleet. On its first cruise in the Pacific, it made a wide variety of ports of calls, and had hunter killer training in 1948. It returned to Bremerton, Washington for some routine upkeep. It arrived in San Diego in December of 1949 and helped to evacuate the American consul and his family from China when it fell to the Communist forces.
Action in the Korean War
When the Korean war broke out the Arnold J. Isbell was sent to active duty. It played an active role in this conflict as part of the Destroyer Division. It acted as a screen for Task Force 77 and part of the Seventh Fleet. It had a combat duty role in 1951 once it was reassigned to Task Force 95, lasting until August when it was sent back to the States. It served a few more war tours in this region and served as a rescue and communications ship in the Pusan major fire.
After the War
The USS Arnold J. Isbell also had an active combat role during the Vietnam War. However, the destroyer required several overhauls and in 1974, the Isbell was decommissioned removed from the Register; it was traded to Greece for service there.
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.