The USS Douglas H. Fox was named for Lieutenant Colonel Fox, a Navy Cross award winner for defeating a superior enemy and for valorous service while rescuing other servicemen. It was launched on September 30, 1944 in Seattle, Washington. Mrs. J.T. Boone sponsored its commissioning on December 26, 1944. Commander R. M. Pitts was at the helm.
Action in World War II
The Fox first saw action in Okinawa in May of 1945. It began in Hawaii prior to its trip east and was responsible for several downed enemy fighters before it sustained significant damage and returned to San Francisco, California for repairs in June of 1945.
It spent a few months for repairs on the west coast, leaving there in September of 1945 for New York City and Navy Day celebrations. It was stationed at Norfolk, Virginia and did some short runs to the Caribbean. It also escorted the carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt in March of 1946.
While on the way to the Mediterranean in 1947, the Fox struck a leftover mine from World War II and sustained severe damages to its hull. It was towed, first to Venice for immediate repairs, and then back to Boston for permanent repair. It was back in action in July 1948, steaming back to the Mediterranean through various ports. It joined the USS Huntington for a good will cruise toward ports all around the African continent, returned to Charleston, SC and was decommissioned in April, 1950.
Action in the Korean War
It was re-commissioned in November of 1950 in response to the Korean War. It saw duty in Wonsan and harassed troops off the east coast of that country. It also shelled targets, helped with minesweeping operations, and captured several fishing vessels working for the Korean War effort. In August of 1952, it completed a round-the-world cruise.
The Fox made several cruises to the Mediterranean beginning in 1956 and 1957. It returned to Norfolk in late 1957. It cruised to the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and into Nova Scotia and the Arctic Circle in support of NATO maneuvers. It also saw some time in the Caribbean during various periods of political unrest.
The USS Douglas H. Fox was awarded a battle star for service in World War II and for its service during the Korean War.
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.