USS John Hood DD-655 (1944-1974)
The Fletcher-class destroyer USS John Hood, named for Rear Admiral John Hood, received her commission on June 7, 1944, under Commander Thomas J. Thronhill. The John Hood was first deployed to the Pacific on August 21. She joined the North Pacific Forces in Adak, attached to Rear Admiral J. L. McCrea’s Task Force 92. After joining this task force, she was the only ship that ran on every sortie.
Action in World War II
The John Hood saw plenty of action throughout her service in the North Pacific. She was on hand for the sinking of a cargo ship in the Sea of Okhotsk on June 25, 1945. She also participated in one of the last offensive naval missions of the war on August 11, an action that wiped out a Japanese convoy.
The destroyer joined occupation forces in northern Japan after the enemy’s surrender. She remained in that service until sailing back to the U.S on November 18. She reached Charleston, South Carolina, three days before Christmas. She joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet upon receiving her decommission on July 3, 1946.
After the War
Commander S.P. Gantz saw the recommission of the John Hood on August 3, 1951. The ship underwent a significant overhaul to meet current fleet standards. The reborn John Hood of 1952 undertook missions primarily of a peace-keeping nature, from Korea to the Mediterranean. By the fall of 1956, she stood in readiness during the Tripartite Aggression in the Suez Canal. She returned to Chesapeake Bay before year’s end.
Atlantic Seaboard training exercises came next for the John Hood, followed by a stint with the 6th Fleet. In early 1958 she undertook training runs, took part in warfare drills, and then attached herself to the Reserve Destroyer Squadron at New York on October 1, 1959. President Kennedy interrupted her training of reservists on August 1, 1961, when the Berlin crisis necessitated increased military numbers.
The destroyer resumed her training duties one year later, in August of 1962, and so remained until decommissioned in June of 1964. She remained in reserve until December 1, 1974, when she was removed from the Navy List. The John Hood was sold for scrap on April 12, 1976. The Navy awarded her one battle star for her service during World War II.
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.