The Allen M. Sumner class destroyer USS Taussig DD-746 was laid down on August 30, 1943. She was built by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., located at Staten Island, New York. She was launched on January 25, 1944. The 2,200 ton Taussig had a length of 376 feet six inches and could sail at 34 knots per hour. She had a complement for 336 officers and enlisted men. She was commissioned on May 20. After fitting out at the New York Navy Yard followed by a five week shakedown she sailed for Casco Bay, Maine, on July 13 with Commander Joseph A. Robbins in command.
Action in World War II
The Taussig arrived in Pearl Harbor in September of 1944. The following month she joined the 3rd Fleet. Her duty was to search for pilots who had been downed. In January she sailed to Ulithi where she had a brief rest and was replenished. She soon headed north where she participated in the first carrier based aerial attack on the Japanese. She left Ulithi on March 14, when she accompanied a number of fast carriers attempting another raid against Japan. On March 18 the Taussig assisted in downing two enemy planes.
The Taussig returned to Ulithi where she remained for less than a month. She then sailed to Okinawa where she screened carriers and guarded against the enemy submarines. On May 25 she assisted in destroying three additional Japanese aircraft. The Taussig headed south to Leyte Gulf base. There she prepared for the anticipated invasion of the home islands of Japan. She remained in the Far East until the formal surrender on September 2.
After the War
She then sailed for Seattle where she underwent repairs. She remained there until February 1946, when she sailed for duty off the Chinese coast for the following year. She returned to the U.S. where she became a school ship at Monterey, California. She spent the next few years conducting cruises along the west coast to familiarize the officers at the school with the operations at sea. She also frequently offered training cruises for the naval reservists.
In June 1950, when the war erupted in the Far East, she resumed her duties in the Sea of Japan. During the following months she operated off both coasts of Korea. In the first months of 1951 she returned to the west coast where she underwent a three month overhaul at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard. The Taussig once again saw action during the Vietnam War.
On December 1, 1970 the USS Taussig was decommissioned in San Diego. On September 1, 1973, she was removed from the Navy List. She was then sold to Taiwan, where she served as the ROCS Yo Lang until 2000, when she was transformed into a museum. During her U.S. service, the Taussig received six battle stars for World War II, eight for Korea, and six for 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.