USS Black DD-666 (1943-1969)

The 2,050-ton Fletcher-class destroyer was built in Kearny, New Jersey. The USS Black received its commission in May 1943. The USS Black was named after Lieutenant Commander Hugh D. Black, who lost his life in February 1942 during the sinking of the USS Jacob Jones DD-130.

Action in World War II

With a shakedown tour in the Caribbean and western Atlantic behind her, the Black joined the war against Japan in November 1943, traveling through the Panama Canal on her way to the Pacific campaign. Serving patrol for air and sea rescue in the Gilbert Islands, the USS Black completed her first of many combat operations there. In 1944, the USS Black took part in several campaigns working to secure positions in the Admiralties, Marianas and Marshalls, as well as northern New Guinea. The Black next took part in the Leyte invasion and escorted convoys of military reinforcements to the Philippines. It was also common for the USS Black to bombard enemy positions on shore. After returning to the United States for an overhaul, the USS Black returned in March of 1945 to the western Pacific where she participated in air raids on Japan. The USS Black served as the carrier escort and radar picket ship during the months of April through June of 1945. Although she was the target of several air attacks, the Black received little damage. During July 1945, the USS Black screened for cruisers and battleships during Japanese Island bombardments. The Black was also witness to one of the final Kamikaze attacks as the Japanese surrendered on August 15, 1945. The USS Black steamed its way back to the western coast of the United States after serving support for occupational operations off the coast of Korea and China and was decommissioned August 1946.

Action in the Cold War

The begin of the Cold War was the primary reason the USS Black returned to commission in July 1951. 1953 saw the Black in the Atlantic fleet service, interrupted for deployment in the Korean War. In 1955, the USS Black was deployed to the Pacific where she stayed permanently. The Black made many crossings to join the Seventh Fleet as an escort to aircraft carriers. Black also joined many anti-submarine exercises and patrolled the Taiwan Strait. The Black’s service also included service in Vietnam in 1965, participating in “Market Time” patrol of the coast and conducting operations designed to destroy or disrupt supplies or forces that were en route to the battlefront.

After the war

The Black took its last cruise in July 1969 and was decommissioned in September of that year. The USS Black was sold as scrap in February of 1971.

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. Reference:
Naval Historical Center