On April 15, 1944, the Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, of Kearny, NJ, launched the USS Haynsworth (DD-700). The ship was commissioned on June 22, 1944, and after shakedown left New York on September 20, escorting the Queen Mary which had Prime Minister Winston Churchill on board. After completing this mission, the ship sailed by way of the Panama Canal to Pearl Harbor, arriving October 20.
Action in World War II and Korea
The Haynsworth joined Vice Admiral John S. McCain’s Fast Carrier Task Force 38 for assaults on Japan, and for three months operated with the Third and Fifth fleets as a screening force for the task force. She returned to Pearl Harbor to join Admiral Marc Mitscher’s Fast Carrier Force 58 for the attacks on Tokyo. She operated off the Japanese home islands until hit by a Kamikaze plane and had to return to Mare Island for repairs.
Repairs completed, the Haynsworth sailed to Treasure Island, California, to serve as a training ship from July 17 to September 5. She sailed to Boston as part of the reserve fleet from April 1946 to March 1947. In March 1957, she returned to active service and based out of Algiers, Louisiana, conducting reserve training cruises in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean until the summer of 1949. In September 1949, she was assigned to the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean, where she served until May 1950, when she was again decommissioned and joined the reserve fleet.
When the Korean War erupted, the Haynsworth was recommissioned and assigned to Sixth Fleet for Mediterranean in September 1950. In November 1953, the ship embarked on a round the world cruise, and in June 1954 returned to Norfolk, Virginia for duty in support of Sixth Fleet.
After the War
The Haynsworth delivered emergency food to Africa in 1961-62 and was part of the standby rescue fleet off Cape Canaveral in 1962, and also was part of the Cuban naval quarantine. She went on further deployments to the Mediterranean, Red Sea, and Gulf of Aden before returning to Norfolk. After an overhaul, she served as a Naval Reserve training ship out of Galveston, Texas, beginning in 1964
The USS Haynsworth received three battle stars for her World War II service. Her time in the U.S. Navy came to an end in 1970, when she was struck from the register and transferred to Taiwan. There, she served under the name ROCS Yuen Yang until being decommissioned for a final time in 1999 and sunk as a target two years later.
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.