The USS Everett F. Larson (DD-830), a Gearing-class destroyer, was named for Private First Class Everett Frederick Larson of Stamford, Connecticut. Larson died during his service in Guadalcanal while swimming under heavy fire to rescue a comrade. He was awarded the Silver Star for his selflessness. The name “USS Everett F. Larson” was originally assigned to DE-554 in November of 1943. However, that action was canceled on June 10, 1944, and a ship with that designation was never built. The name was reassigned to DD-830 and in March of 1949 the destroyer was reclassified as DDR-830.
After World War II
Bath Iron Works of Maine launched the destroyer in January of 1945. The Everett F. Larson sailed from the west coast for the Pacific in August of 1945 and arrived in Tokyo Bay on September 29. There the destroyer began a lengthy occupation helping Marines land at Taku, China and taking part in Operation Road’s End, which sank 24 Japanese submarines in April of 1946. The ship returned to the west coast of the U.S. in December and arrived at its eastern home port, Newport, Rhode Island, in March of 1947.
The destroyer joined the Atlantic Fleet and completed seven tours of duty in the Mediterranean. These included patrols during the partitioning of Palestine and participation in NATO training cruises. The ship also worked against submarine attacks in the eastern U.S. and served in the Caribbean during that time. The Larson rejoined the Pacific Fleet in Long Beach, California in June of 1956. After training along the coast, the destroyer was prepared for tours in 1957, 1958, 1959, and 1960. The ship patrolled off of Taiwan and escorted aircraft carriers.
The USS Larson was overhauled in 1962: the ship was converted from a radar picket destroyer to a modern anti-submarine vessel. It then continued to serve with the 7th Fleet throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. It was one of the first ships to conduct shore bombardments against Vietnam.
The Larson was decommissioned in August of 1972 and became part of the Korean Navy, where it was known as ROKS Jeong Buk (DD-916). Korea decommissioned the destroyer in December of 1999. It now serves as a museum in Gangneung Unification Park in Gangneung, South Korea.
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.