USS Richard P. Leary DD-664

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Construction began on the USS Richard P. Leary on Independence Day in 1943.  She was launched later that year, sponsored by Mrs. George Crozer III, and commissioned on February 23, 1944, with Commander Frederic S. Habecker in command.

Action in World War II

Right after a training mission off the coast of Bermuda, the Richard P. Leary sped off on her way to Pearl Harbor. Following guard responsibility in July, she reinforced the operations at Peleliu and at Leyte. Throughout the Battle of Surigao Strait, she released torpedoes, sunk one particular opposing forces vessel, and protected the damaged USS Grant. While cruising away from Leyte Gulf, she saved 70 survivors of another destroyer.

For the duration of the Lingayen Gulf campaign, she downed one particular enemy aircraft and delivered gun support relating to the landings on January 9, 1945. She once more supplied gunfire assistance during the February landing at Iwo Jima and the Okinawa landings in April. Later in April, she assisted the badly damaged USS Morris (DD-417) to safety.

After finishing of responsibilities at Okinawa in November, the Richard P. Leary ended up being instructed to sail to Alaska for clean-up procedures inside the Aleutians and North Pacific. She appeared on the IJN post inside Ominato for occupation responsibility on November8. She left Asia for San Diego around the 30th.

After the War

The Richard P. Leary was decommissioned on December 10, 1946, and put into the Atlantic Reserve Fleet until being transferred, along with sister ship the USS Heywood L. Edwards, to Japan in 1959.  There, she was rechristened the JDS Yugure and served in their navy until 1974, when she was returned to the U.S. and subsequently sold for scrap.  For World War II service, the Richard P. Leary earned six battle stars.

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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