The USS Lynde McCormick (DDG-8) was the first vessel in the United States Navy to be named after the respected NATO commander Lynde D. McCormick. A Charles F. Adams-class destroyer, the ship was launched on July 28, 1959 and was fully commissioned on June 3, 1961. Built by the Defoe Shipbuilding Company which operated out of Bay City, Michigan, the massive destroyer was 437 feet long and weighed 3,277 tons. Two General Electric steam turbines and four Babcock and Wilcox 1,275 psi boilers formed her propulsion system. Her effective range was listed at 4,500 nautical miles at a constant 20 knots but she could go as fast as 33 knots.
She was one of the more advanced vessels of her time. She had an impressive array of sensors and processing systems. She was equipped with AN/SPS-39 3D air search radars, AN/SPG-53 gunfire control radar, AN/SPG-51 missile fire control radar and other sophisticated components. The Lynde McCormick was also loaded with a deadly arsenal. There were, for example, two dependable dual purpose 5”/54 caliber guns as her primary weapons. An ARSOC launcher was on standby against enemy submarines. Tartar missiles were also available for airborne threats.
Action in Vietnam
A battery of tests and exercises designed to gauge her missiles and anti-submarine capabilities prepared the ship and her crew for her first assignment in the Pacific. She joined the 7th Fleet and frequently trained with the other ships. She saw significant action during the Vietnam War, screening for aircraft carriers and conducting coastal exercises. She took some enemy fire but no significant damage was recorded. She would target enemy positions and supply lines during American operations. The ship then returned stateside in 1968.
After the War
In 1983, the ship was ordered to sail towards Central America for some missions along the coast. Together with the contingent present in the area, they conducted flight and training operations in the waters off the coast Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador.
Five years later, the Lynde McCormick worked with ships of the 5th Fleet against Iranian Navy vessels. They went on several anti-mine sweeps and repulsed numbers of small boat attacks perpetrated by the Iranians. They left the and returned home without incurring any losses or damages. The ship itself was decommissioned on October 1, 1991. She served as a target ship and sank on February 14, 2001.
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.