The USS Kidd was the first of the Kidd-class destroyers, designed specifically for anti-aircraft activities in hot weather. Originally named the Kouroush, she was ordered by the Shah of Iran, but the country’s revolution began before she could be delivered, so she was commissioned into U.S. service in the Middle East in 1981.
Action in the Middle East
Her first deployment in 1982 under the command of William J. Flanagan took her to the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. Over the next year, she visited many ports of call and was awarded the first of her six Battle Efficiency “E”s when she returned to Norfolk, Virginia.
Her service in the Sixth Fleet brought her to the Black Sea in June of 1985. Her visit to the port city of Haifa, Israel, was cut short due to the hijacking of TWA Flight 847. However, she was able to return to the port of Haifa that year as well as visiting Alexandria and Constanta. She continued her Sixth Fleet duties in the Black Sea, escorting the USS Nimitz and passing through the Strait of Gibraltar before returning to Norfolk in October of 1985.
In 1987 the Kidd was deployed to the Persian Gulf and escorted some of the Kuwaiti tankers that had been reflagged with the stars and stripes in response to threats from Iran to close the shipping lanes of the Persian Gulf. After another stop at Norfolk, the destroyer returned to the Persian Gulf region in 1991 as part of Operation Desert Storm. Here, among other duties, she helped locate and destroy naval mines. The next year, she was sent to South America to patrol for narcotics. In October of 1994, she was assigned to Task Force 60 and enforced the no fly zone in Yugoslavia.
She was decommissioned in March of 1998 at Norfolk Naval Yard and placed in the reserve fleet. In 2003, she was sold to Taiwan and renamed the ROCS Tso Ying.
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.