The USS Healy (DD-672) was a destroyer and one of the Navy vessels present at the signing of the documents that ended World War II. During her service in the war, the Healy received 8 battle stars. The ship was launched on July 4, 1943, and commissioned on September 3.
Action in World War II
The Healy left port on January 16, 1944, to assist in the major island campaigns going on in the Pacific. She screened the Yorktown and Enterprise during the attack on the Marshall Islands and then escorted the Washington and Indiana to the port of Majuro. She was present at the battle of Truk on February 17-18, helping to win this major Japanese naval base. She escorted the USS Enterprise during March and April, assisting in attacks on the Palau Islands, Woleai, and New Guinea.
On June 6, the Healy left Marjuro to assist in the attack on the Mariana Islands, 1000 miles away from the nearest support base. She provided direct bombardment on the island during the landing of the Marines on Saipan that began on June 15. On June 19, the Healy participated in the Battle of the Philippines Sea, the largest carrier battle of World War II. The US wound up sinking two Japanese carriers and downed much of the Japanese aircraft brought to battle. During July and August, the Healy continued to assist in the attacks on the Pacific Islands including Guam, Carolines, Bonin and Volcano Islands and the Pelium invasion.
On September 21, the Healy joined the Fleet Task Forces that were preparing to attack more Japanese Islands. On October 10, the Fleet attacked Okinawa and then quickly attacked Formosa, their real objective. The Healy downed one bomber and assisted in destroying many more during the three day attack. Despite some losses, the Fleet was able to prevent the port of Formosa from supporting the Japanese Fleet again during the war. After escorting damaged ships to port, the Healy then proceeded to the Philippines once more.
On October 19, 1944, the Healy supported the landing of U.S. troops at Leyte and also bombarded targets on Luzon. Joining with Task Force 38.3, the Healy screened carriers and shot down several Japanese attack planes during the Battle for Leyte Gulf. With help by Admiral Halsey, the U.S. won this battle decisively. During November and December, the Healy supported the Fleet with attacks against the Japanese at Luzon and Manila Bay.
In January and February 1945, the Healy assisted with the Fleet’s attacks from the China Sea. The Fleet attacked Formosa, Camranh Bay, Saigon, Hong Kong, Hainan and downed over 130,000 tons of shipping. The Healy then provided support for the invasion of Iwo Jima on February 19 and patrolled the island providing needed bombardment throughout March. Healy then returned to San Francisco to be refitted.
Leaving San Francisco on June 20, the Healy returned to the Pacific theater once more. After attacking Guam on August 11 and on route to Iwo Jima, the crew of the Healy learned the war was over. She proceeded to Tokyo Bay and acted as a control ship for entrance to the Bay during the signing of the documents of surrender. On September 3, 1945, Healy sailed for San Diego arriving on December 21, 1945. She then sailed back to the east coast, ending up in New York, and was decommissioned in Charleston on July 11, 1946.
After the War
On August 3, 1951, she was recommissioned to supported American shipping in the Caribbean area and near Cuba until June 1953. On June 29, she put to sea on a world cruise. Upon reaching the Korea area, the destroyer spent six months assisting the fleet during the Korean War. The Healy then completed her world tour and returned to Norfolk on February 6, 1954. Healy then spent 1954 on midshipman training cruises and patrolling the east coast.
In 1955, Healy joined the 6th Fleet, sailing for the Mediterranean area and patrolling the European area. On February 26, 1956 she returned to Norfolk. During the next year, the Healy was used for midshipman training and training at the Navy Mine Warfare School in Norfolk. On March 11, 1958, the Healy was decommissioned again in Philadelphia. She was removed from the Naval Vessel Register on December 1, 1974, and sold for scrap on April 12, 1976.
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.