USS Robert H McCard DD 822
The Navy named the Robert H. McCard after a United States Marine who was killed in action at Saipan and awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. The ship was commissioned on October 23, 1946 after World War II had ended. The Robert H. McCard joined the Atlantic Fleet, Destroyer Squadron 10 and sailed out of Newport, Rhode Island. The ship displaced 2,425 tons and had six five inch guns, sixteen 40mm anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 20 mm anti-aircraft guns. The McCard spent from 1946 until 1955 performing routine patrols with the Atlantic fleet. During this time, she spent eight tours with the Mediterranean Fleet and completed four overhauls. In December of 1955, the McCard moved her homeport to Norfolk, Virginia changing to Destroyer Squadron 4. While at Norfolk, the Robert H. McCard completed two more tours with the Mediterranean 6th Fleet. After the summer of 1958, the McCard changed homeports to Charleston, South Carolina. While in Charleston, the McCard continued to operate with the Atlantic Fleet supporting NATO exercises. Then from January 29, 1961 to February 3, 1961 the McCard was part of the Space program. She joined other ships in the recovery of the Mercury space craft. After a major overhaul in Boston, the McCard returned to Charleston on January 3, 1963. She then prepared for a deployment where she searched for a hijacked Venezuelan ship, the Anzoategui. The McCard did a few more tours in the Middle East and then transferred to the Pacific for the first and only time. Her first few months in the Pacific were spent at Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of Vietnam providing plane guard to various carriers like the USS Coral Sea and the Bon Homme Richard. In April of 1968, she supported South Vietnam in combat. The McCard then sailed for home. She finished her deployment to the Far East in May of 1968, returning home to Charleston and the East Coast. The McCard underwent a major overhaul in Charleston until December 1969. Her last ten years of operations were spent with the Atlantic Fleet in routine training exercises where she made at least two more trips to the Mediterranean. The Navy decommissioned the USS Robert H. McCard on June 5, 1980 and then sold her to Turkey.
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.