The second Kidd-class destroyer operated by the U.S. Navy, the USS Callaghan, was designed specifically for air defense in hot weather. The Callaghan was originally ordered by the shah of Iran. However, after the start of the Iranian Revolution, the U.S. Navy claimed her and had her taken to San Diego after commissioning in 1981. She was earmarked with several sister ships to serve in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea, due to her abilities to withstand the climate and water conditions.
Action in the Cold War
Starting in September 1983, the Callaghan began a trip to the western Pacific to dock in Sasebo, Japan. However, on her way across the ocean, a Korean passenger plane accidentally crossed into Soviet airspace and was consequently shot down by a fighter plane. As a result, she was asked to alter her course and instead look for survivors of the incident. This led to several close calls with the Soviet Navy, who was suspicious of her business so close to their territory. However, she managed to avoid any open conflict. Even though no surviving plane passengers were found, the Callaghan was awarded several honorable citations by both the United States and Korea for her attempts.
In 1984, Callaghan was awarded for saving several boatloads of people in the South China Sea. In addition, for the grading period between 1983 and 1984, the Callaghan won her first Battle Efficiency E. She followed those awards up in the grading period from 1985 to 1986 by again winning the Battle Efficiency E award, making a clean sweep of all the awards for the ships in competition. Upon winning all of the awards from the competing ships, her captain had the lanyards of all of her accomplishments display a broom, indicating the clean sweep, honoring the crew, and showcasing all the ship’s outstanding accomplishments.
The Callaghan was officially decommissioned in 1998 in San Diego. In 2004, she was sold to the Republic of China.
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 to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.