USS Power DD-839 (1945-1977)

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The USS Power was a Gearing-class destroyer of the United States Navy named for First Lieutenant John V. Power, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in the Battle of Kwajalein.

Service in the Mediterranean

On 9 January 1946, the USS Power sailed to the Mediterranean Sea on her first deployment. Six months later she returned and remained in the western Atlantic and Caribbean for two years. In late 1948, she returned to the Mediterranean to help patrol the coast of Palestine (now Israel).

During early 1950, the Power patrolled with the British Royal Navy in Northern Europe after which she joined the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. In 1952, the Power completed a South American cruise, then returned for training cruises for reservist and Midshipman, and was again deployed to the Mediterranean.  In July 1958, she joined the 6th Fleet to respond to the Lebanon crisis.  After returning to the east coast, she assisted NASA in the recovery of Project Mercury space capsules after splashdown.

From late 1960 to 1962, the Power received a FRAM I overhaul, giving her both the ASROC system and DASH, greatly improving both offensive and defensive capabilities against submarine threats. From late 1962 until 1963, she was back in the Mediterranean, after which, in 1964, she assisted with the Polaris program off the coast of Florida. This was followed by yet another Mediterranean cruise and further Atlantic training exercises.  In 1965, she again assisted NASA by joining the space capsule recovery teams for Gemini 6 and 7.

During 1966 and 1967, she returned to the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. In August 1968, she passed through the Panama Canal to join the 7th Fleet. She served in the Yankee Station Surveillance Area in the South China Sea and provided gunfire support and Search and Rescue off the Vietnam coast.  On 9 July 1969 the Power arrived in Mayport Florida and remained there with the Atlantic Fleet until she was decommissioned in 1970.

After Service

In September 1977 the Power was sold to the Republic of China (Taiwan) Navy, was renamed the ROCS Sheng-yang (DDG-923) and served until she was decommissioned in 2005. Currently, she is docked in Keelung Harbor where she may be turned into a museum ship.

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.

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