USS Stormes DD-780 (1945-1972)

The USS Stormes (DD-780) was built in Seattle, Washington, by Todd-Pacific Shipyards Inc., and commissioned on January 27, 1945.

Action in World War II and Korea

The Stormes departed for Hawaii on April 22 under the command of Commander William N. Wylie. She anchored at Pearl Harbor on April 30 and commenced duty. Shortly after 9:00 in the morning on May 24, a Japanese aircraft passed between two Navy planes directly ahead of the Stormes. The plane made a sudden turn and collided with the destroyer. A bomb from the enemy plane hit the Stormes’ aft mount. The ship lost 21 men and 15 more crew members were injured.

After post-war overhaul and retraining, the destroyer anchored at Norfolk on February 1, 1946, to prepare for Operation Frostbite.  The Stormes, the Midway (CVB-41), and two other destroyers moved into the area between Greenland, Labrador, and Hudson Strait for an operations trial in below-zero temperatures. With the onset of the Korean War, the Stormes steamed to the west coast and was directed onward to join the 7th Fleet off the coast of Korea. The destroyer operated with Task Force 77, bombarding enemy lines, rescuing downed pilots, and performing antisubmarine duties until she returned to Norfolk in January of 1952.

After the War

On January 4, 1955, the ship steamed to the Caribbean to take part in Operation “Springboard 55.” She operated with Valley Forge (CVS-45) in Antisubmarine Group 3 from January into August.  On September 3, 1957, the Stormes took part in an attack carrier strike force for Operation Seaspray. The convoy then crossed the North Atlantic to the River Clyde in Scotland and joined a NATO fleet and participated in Operation Strikeback.

In 1962, the Stormes was chosen to recover a spacecraft carrying a chimpanzee named Enos. The spacecraft touched down about 30 miles from the ship, and aided by an aircraft, the destroyer recovered the capsule with Enos intact and healthy.   Later, she joined with Task Group Alfa in 1964 and took part in Operation Steel-pike in October of that year. Her task group acted as the hunter-killer force that led the fleet across the Atlantic. The USS Stormes was decommissioned on December 5, 1970, and struck from the naval register two years later.  She was subsequently sold to Iran, where she served as the Palang DDG-9 until 1994.  While in U.S. service, the Stormes received one battle star for World War II, three for service in Korea, and one for service in Vietnam.

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.

References: