USS Kimberly DD-521 (1943-1967)
The USS Kimberly was commissioned in May of 1943 and was built by the Bethlehem Steel Company. She took her shakedown training in and around the Norfolk Navy Yard, but left for the Pacific Ocean in September of 1943.
Action in World War II
When she arrived, she was sent to the Makin area to help in the conquest of the Micronesia area. In the Gilbert Islands, she served in an anti-submarine warfare capacity for the battleships and cruisers. After this, she returned to the U.S. West coast for repairs. She then headed towards the Aleutian Islands to join the task force to take back the Kuriles and stop the Japanese planes coming off of Attu. The Kimberly spent seven months in the waters of Alaska before returning to prepare for the battle to take back the Philippines. She served as a supply ship escort in Leyte Gulf and faced multiple suicide bombers.
Arriving in the Lingayen Gulf for pre-invasion screening in January of 1945, the Kimberly fended off more kamikaze planes while she attempted to bomb the enemy railroad and supply centers. When February came around, she participated in the Okinawa campaign. She performed radar picket and took damage from a Japanese Val plane. The hit killed four of her crew, wounded another fifty seven men, and required her to return to Mare Island for repairs.
After the War
She returned to action just as the war was ending in the Pacific, but sailed to Tokyo Bay anyway and escorted the battleship the Missouri back to the shores of the United States and that meant returning to Philadelphia. In 1947 the Kimberly was placed into the Reserve Fleet in Charleston, South Carolina.
The USS Kimberley was recommissioned in 1951 and served war duty again in Korea, but that was short lived as she would be decommissioned again in 1954. In 1967, she was loaned to Republic of China, where she was renamed the ROCS An Yang and served until 1999. Four years later, 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.