USS Dyess DD-880 (1945-1981)
The USS Dyess was launched on January 26, 1945 and commissioned in 1945. It was named after Aquilla James Dyess, a Lieutenant Colonel who won the prestigious Medal of Honor. A Gearing-class destroyer, the Dyess was a 390 foot ship that could reach a top speed of 36.8 knots. Armed with six dual purpose guns, twelve 40 mm anti-aircraft guns, eleven 20 mm anti-aircraft guns and 21 inch torpedo tubes, the USS Dyess was powered by efficient 2 shaft, General Electric stream turbines. It also had an effective range of about 4,500 nautical miles.
Service Around the World
The ship was initially tasked with occupation duties in Asia, working with the 5th Fleet at Tokyo Bay. After the assignment, the Dyess then returned stateside for a number of training exercises. It then sailed for Brazil to escort then-president Harry Truman who was on-board the USS Missouri.
The Dyess had a brief tour of duty, sailing with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. The tour ended in 1948 and the ship sailed home once again. Upon its return, it was reclassified as DDR-880 on March 18, 1949. The ship had nine more tours with the 6th Fleet operating in the Mediterranean. They patrolled the sea in an effort to preserve peace. They also engaged in frequent military exercises alongside NATO forces.
Its last years of service included a variety of assignments. It performed plane guard duties, amphibious training, and large-scale fleet exercises. The vessel also helped in the evacuation of American citizens from the Suez during the infamous Suez Crisis in 1956. Its last major mission was undertaken during 1958 when it participated in some of the largest NATO operations in Northern Europe. It then returned to Charleston, South Carolina where it entered the Charleston Naval Shipyard. It stayed there until the end of its service.
With the Navy’s modernization in full swing, the Dyess was decommissioned on January 27, 1981. It was removed from the Naval Vessel Register on February 27, 1981. It was then sold to Greece for spare parts.
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.