The USS John Paul Jones (DD-932), a Forrest Sherman-class destroyer, was built by Bath Iron Works Corporation, Bath, Maine and launched on May 7, 1955. Her commission date was April 5, 1956, and her commander was Comdr. R. W. Hayler, Jr. The John Paul Jones completed her initial training off Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She then sailed to the British Isles and Northern Europe, returning to Newport on October 8, 1956.
Service in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Caribbean
On March 25, 1957, she departed for operations with the Sixth Fleet supporting King Hussein of Jordan. Operations were successful, and the John Paul Jones returned to Newport on June 6. After refit, she participated in NATO exercises in North Atlantic waters and the Mediterranean, returning to Fall River on November 27. She spent January 1958 in the Caribbean performing operational exercises.
Training operations with Canadian ships in the Atlantic occupied the John Paul Jones during the spring. The next year, she was deployed to the Mediterranean on March 17, 1959, and assigned to the 6th Fleet for peace keeping operations. She returned to Boston July 24. In 1960 she was assigned to the 2nd Fleet off Newport for operational exercises, then in June for midshipmen training. Her next deployment was to South America and Operation Unitas, visiting American allies and participating in joint operational exercises. She completed her circuit and returned to Newport, arriving December 13.
In 1961 her routine primarily consisted of antisubmarine operations off Newport and the Caribbean. The following year she participated in a review of the fleet and demonstration of weapons for President Kennedy. Her midshipmen training duties resumed in July. The John Paul Jones was assigned to Atlantic Recovery Forces in October 1962, and then to duty off Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
During 1963, she followed her routine of training, and then on June 20, 1964, she was assigned to the 6th Fleet for ASW operations in the Mediterranean. In 1965 she assisted in Operation Spring board and prepared for the Gemini recovery mission, arriving back in Norfolk on March 27. Deployed to the Mediterranean on June 18, she participated in joint NATO operations with Greek, British and French forces. From December 1965 to March 1967, she underwent conversion at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard to a guided missile destroyer with the new designation DDG-32.
On December 15, 1982, John Paul Jones was decommissioned. The next month, she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register, and on January 31, 2001, she was sunk as a target.
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.