The USS Mustin was created by the Newport News Shipbuilding Company out of Newport News, Virginia. She was launched on December 8th, 1939, and then commissioned under the command of Lieutenant Commander James S. Freeman on September 15th, 1939. The Mustin was a Sims-class destroyer, with 2,200 tons of displacement.
Following a brief period of training and upon completing shakedown, the Mustin was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet. During the period of time until the United States joined World War II, the Mustin primarily conducted neutrality patrols on the east coast. On December 7th, 1941, she was overhauled at the Boston Navy Yard, MA. However, due to the U.S. entering the war, she was ordered out again the next day, on a mission to escort the USS Idaho and Mississippi. Later the next year, on January 3rd, 1942, she completed her overhaul at the Charleston Navy Yard in South Carolina. She was then stationed at Pearl Harbor, where she was assigned to convoy duty between San Franscisco and Hawaii.
Action in World War II
The Mustin was later assigned to Task Force 17, and joined the battle group at the Battle of Midway. She also participated in search and rescue operations after the conclusion of the battle, and then joined the Guadalcanal operation in the southwest Pacific. During this time, she participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz on October 26th, 1942, during which the USS Hornet, an aircraft carrier, was sunk.
February of 1943 saw the Mustin back on patrol duties near Pearl Harbor. She was soon reassigned to Adak, Alaska, however. Throughout the summer of 1943, she patrolled the waters off of the Aleutian Islands and bombarding Kiska multiple times. On July 25th, the Mustin and her battle group fought the “battle of the pips”, an interesting scenario where strange weather conditions caused an imaginary Japanese force to appear on the radar. After this assignment was complete, she steamed back to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard for an overhaul.
On April 1st, 1945, the Mustin and her battle group arrived at Okinawa, near Hagushi Beach. There, the battle group provided cover and support fire for the landing groups as they assaulted the island. Following the invasion, the Mustin once again resumed patrol duties.
The USS Mustin was decommissioned on August 29th, 1946, and later used as a target on April 18th, 1948.
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.