The USS Ozbourn, a Gearing-class destroyer served in the United States Navy during the Korea and Vietnam war. She was commissioned in March of 1946. After her shakedown cruise from san Diego, California, she joined Destroyer Division 171 in the far east.
The Ozbourn’s next deployment was cut short because of a collision with another destroyer and the subsequent death of two crewmen. After repairs, she was sent out to sea and participated in experimental exercises, including the first guided missile test performed at sea.
Action in the Korean War
The USS Ozbourn joined Task Force 77 which was sent out to Korea during the conflict there. She assisted with the air operations that took place at the Inchon landings. In February of 1951, she sustained direct hits from shore batteries, but was still able to launch her motorized whale boat to rescue a pilot that was trapped inside of a mine field.
She returned to San Diego for repairs and rejoined the Task Force. In 1952, she rescued eighteen more men who had jumped overboard to escape the burning USS Boxer. In 1956, the Ozbourn was overhauled and then helped with the training of the fleet.
Action in the Vietnam War
In 1964, the Ozbourn sailed from Pearl Harbor to join Destroyer Division 223 and ASW group 1 for a six month deployment. She sailed from the South China Sea after North Vietnamese boats had engaged destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. She underwent another overhaul and repairs. The Ozbourn was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in June 1975 and sold as scrap.
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.