The USS Charles P. Cecil was commissioned in June 29, 1945, and was the only ship of the US Navy to be named after the World War II’s Admiral Charles P. Cecil, who served in many battles before he died in a plane crash over the Pacific.
One of the first duties of the Charles P. Cecil was assisting the Joint Task Force One with the atomic bomb tests in the Bikini Islands in 1945. It took part in exercises until August 26, 1947, when it was cleared for deployment in the Far East. After touching ports in the countries of China, Okinawa, and Japan, it returned on May 5, 1948.
It was reclassified as DDR-835 in March 18, 1949, and was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet where it took part in midshipmen training courses and periodic deployments, as well as overhauls to maintain its readiness for combat. It participated in many North Atlantic Treaty Organization operations, from North Arctic Circle waters all the way to the Mediterranean. One of the tours in the Mediterranean occurred during the Suez Crisis of 1956, where it participated as watchful patrol in the eastern Mediterranean.
In January 1959, it was fitted with complex electronic equipment to contribute to developing advanced air defense techniques. However, it still continued training in areas such as antisubmarine warfare and other operations required of such destroyers. The Charles P. Cecil participated in many cruises including two Vietnam cruises, as well as others in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, it was one of the first ships on the Cuban Quarantine Line, where it was the primary unit that exhausted a Russian submarine and forced it to surface. In July of 1973, it was reassigned to the naval reserve and was ported to New London, Connecticut. On October 1, 1979, the Charles P. Cecil was removed from the Navy’s line of combat ships and was sold to Greece on August 8, 1980. It was renamed the Apostolis and served in the Greek Navy until 1993, when it was decommissioned. It was sold for scrap in March, 2003.
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.