The Perry was a Gearing-class destroyer, laid down by the Bath Iron Works Corp in Bath, Maine. She was launched on October 25, 1945 and commissioned on January 17, 1946.
After her first cruise to the Mediterranean, the Perry returned to her homeport in Newport, Rhode Island. She then had duties from Canada to Puerto Rico. The Perry also assisted the Atlantic Fleet by being their Engineering School Ship for Destroyer Forces. She acted as a fire-fighting ship in October, helping to quell flames in Maine, at the Mount Desert Island resort.
The Perry was again called to the Mediterranean in January of 1951. Once there, she joined the 6th Fleet and took part in duties with the British Home Fleet. She was called again ordered to Newport, where she took part in training duties, plane guarding, and local operations.
The Perry had another Mediterranean tour in 1952 as an Engineering School Ship. While there, she assisted NATO and was involved in type and fleet operations as well. She returned to the Mediterranean in 1954 from January until June of 1954. Called home after this, she was asked to serve as a Gunnery School Ship.
The USS Perry spent the next four years doing various duties and patrolling near the Mediterranean. On the Suez Canal, in early 1956, she participated in the United States operation to bring a peaceful end to the conflict that was building between Arab League and Israeli nations.
At the Boston Naval Shipyard, she was the first to undergo Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization Conversion (FRAM). This occurred from April 29th, 1959 until May 10th, 1960. The upgrades she received included better quarters and new anti-submarine weapons, plus the latest sonar equipment. She was sent back to the Caribbean, and stayed there until August. Her home was changed to Mayport, Florida.
The Perry’s joined Task Force Alpha. While with this task force, she participated in training and local operations, and helped with Polaris tests in the Atlantic Missile Range. She was sent overseas again on August 2nd, 1962. She spent the next seven years there with the Middle East Force and the 6th Fleet, and was also sent to the western Atlantic for more missile testing. The Perry was also a school ship at the Key West Sonar School and patrolled with TF-124 in June of 1966 near the Dominican Republic.
The USS Perry was called to emergency duty in the western Pacific on January 11th, 1969. On the 29th of February she arrived at Vietnam with the 7th Fleet. She returned home to the Atlantic Fleet on September 3rd. Put out of commission on July 1st, 1973, she was sold for scrap on June 24th, 1974.
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.