A Forrest-Sherman-class destroyer, the USS Blandy was launched in 1956 and fully commissioned in 1957. Named after famed Admiral William H.P. Blandy, the ship was armed with three, five inch 54 caliber dual purpose Mk 42 guns and four 50 caliber Mark 33 anti-aircraft guns. It also boasted six Mark 32 torpedo tubes and two mark 10/11 Hedgehogs for use against enemy submarines.
The USS Blandy’s waterline measurement was pegged at 407 feet. It weighed 4,050 tons but was still able to hit a maximum speed of 32.5 knots, about 60.2 kilometers per hour. It had an impressive range at 4,500 nautical miles at 20 knots. The vessel was equipped with four 1,200 psi Foster-Wheeler Boilers and Westinghouse steam turbines.
Action in World War II
On-board the USS Blandy was about 15 officers and 218 enlisted men. With an able crew, the vessel bore the American Unknown Soldiers of World War II’s European theater from Naples, Italy to the Virginia Capes. Together with the USS Boston, the Blandy carried the unidentified from the Pacific Theater of Operations.
Action in the Korean War
During the Korean War, the USS Blandy was tasked with transporting caskets of the Korean Unknown to Washington D.C. These caskets were then laid in state in the Capitol Rotunda until they were put to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.
After the War
The USS Blandy was decommissioned in 1982 and removed from the official Navy list in 1990. The ship was then sold for scrap on December 11, 1992. It was scrapped in North Carolina in 1996.
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.