The USS Mullinnix was first laid down April 5, 1956, in Quincy, Massachusetts, and first launched in early 1957. She was named for Rear Admiral Harry M. Mullinnix who served in the U.S. Navy from 1916 to 1943. He served in World War I, returning to the U.S. to obtain his aviation license. During his service in World War II, Mullinnix went down with his ship, the USS Liscome Bay.
The Forest Sherman class destroyer was sponsored by Mrs. Kathryn F. Mullinnix, widow of Rear Admiral Mullinnix. The destroyer was commissioned the following March under the command of Commander Clyde B. Anderson.
Action in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Caribbean
Her first tour of duty led her to Rio de Janeiro as an escort to the USS Ranger. After returning to Boston in September 1958, the Mullinnix patrolled the South Atlantic and then deployed to meet the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. She remained in the Mediterranean for the next two years, performing NATO exercises and left the Fleet in 1961 to patrol the Caribbean once again.
Between October 24 and November 19, 1962, the Mullinnix served as the flagship of TF-137, which created the blockade around Cuba during the missile crisis. For the next few years she operated in the Atlantic and Caribbean. The Mullinnix also participated in operation “Steel Pike I” off the coast of Spain.Â In March of 1965 she was a key participant in the recovery of the Gemini space capsule. She also led patrols in the Caribbean during the Dominican Republic crisis.
In 1966 the Mullinnix was deployed to the Pacific Fleet to provide assistance to Vietnam. During the period of August 2 to November 1, 1966, the Mullinnix patrolled areas off Vietnam. She departed Vietnam and arrived in Norfolk in 1969.
The USS Mullinnix served as part of the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until she was decommissioned on August 11, 1983. She was struck from the Naval Record on July 26, 1990. The Mullinnix was sunk as a target on August 22, 1992.
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, includingÂ 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.