The USS Richard E. Kraus served for 30 years with the United States Naval fleet from 1946-1976 and served several tours during the Vietnam War providing gun support to thousands of American troops. She was given to the South Korean navy where the ship served for 23 years from 1977-2000. The USS Richard E. Kraus awarded two battle stars for her heroic service during the Vietnam War.
Immediately after maintenance in Boston, the Richard E. Kraus was assigned to the Evaluation Force located in Norfolk. Involved in weaponry enhancement for the duration of her first half a dozen years, the Richard E. Kraus gained a reputation as one of the most aggressive naval ships. In the late 1940s, the subsequent 40-mm. weapon support had been done away with and the shipboard 3″50-caliber weapon support was ready for testing.
The Richard E. Kraus aided the Mississippi (AG-128, ex-BB-41) during the enhancement qualifications using the Terrier Surface to Air Rocket. The Richard E. Kraus was consequently involved with the assessment of electronic equipment, including radar and transmission equipment. At the same time she performed examinations on anchor bolts, tow line wires, and marine explosives. Reclassified AG-151, the Richard E. Kraus was designated DD-849 for a second time.
The Richard E. Kraus was trained in Guantanamo Bay, worked along with Project Team Bravo, and depicted the United States in events at St. Eustatius, Netherlands Antilles, celebrating the very first salute towards the U.S. flag by way of a foreign country.
The Richard E. Kraus worked while using the U.S. quarantine forces, preventing the introduction of offensive rockets directly into Cuba. She was a member of the Destroyer Squadron 2 and the 6th Fleet of the Mediterranean. She was then upgraded in Boston.
The Richard E. Kraus participated in the Vietnam conflict with TG 77.7 in the Tonkin Gulf. She was also a member of TG 77and provided gunfire support off of South Vietnam. She made way to Chesapeake Bay, the Caribbean, then to the Mediterranean. During the 6-day Arab-Israeli Conflict, she worked out of Souda Bay, Crete. Returning to Newport, she helped in extinguishing a fire inside the power plant room of the Stickell (DD-888).
The Richard E. Kraus was decommissioned on November 10, 1977 and was struck from the register on December 15. She was sold for scrap on December 5, 1979.
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.