USS Fechteler DD-870 (1946-1970)
The USS Fechteler was named for Rear Admiral Augustus Fechteler. The Fechteler was a Gearing-class destroyer. It was built by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation located at Staten Island, New York. The vessel was commissioned on March 2, 1946.
Action in the Korean War
The Fechteler supported the United Nations Forces and operated with the Seventh Fleet. Norfolk, Virginia was its home port. It originally sailed to various locations until its first tour of duty came about on May 26, 1947. It left San Diego and sailed to the Far East. Along the way it made port calls at a number of Chinese locations including Okinawa, Hong Kong, and Yokosuka. It then returned to San Diego the following January where it resumed west coast training operations.
It then completed a second tour of duty in 1949 in the Far East and again in June 1950 when the Korean War erupted. It then sailed for Pearl Harbor where it was on standby in case the conflict spread. The following month it returned to San Diego in preparation for Korean service. Following this it served on two war time deployments. The first started in November 1950 and ended in August 1951; the second began in February 1952 and ended in September of the same year. During both of these missions it screened Task Force 77 in assisting its air operations. It also gave bombardment and gunfire support to the troops who were onshore.
After the War
In April, 1953 the Fechteler was decommissioned while being converted to a radar picket destroyer. It was re-commissioned in December, 1953. In May, 1954 it sailed for duty in the Far East. In the summer of 1955 it joined in a midshipman cruise which took it to Plymouth, England, Malaga, Spain, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It was on duty with the 7th Fleet. The Fechteler served on the Taiwan Patrol as well as with carrier task forces as a radar warning ship.
During its years of service it received five battle stars for its service during the Korean War. On September 11, 1970 the USS Fechteler DD-870 was decommissioned. It was removed from the Naval Vessel Register on the same date. It was then sold for scrap on June 28, 1972.
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.