USS Tingey DD-539 (1946-1963)

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The namesake of the USS Tingey was Thomas Tingey. He served in the Continental Navy during the War for Independence. He was commissioned as a Captain and served as commander of two different naval vessels. He was the first Commandant of the Washington, DC Navy Shipyard on 23 November 1804.

The USS Tingey was the third such naval vessel to hold that name. She was fabricated on 24 October 1942 by Bethlehem Steel Company of San Francisco, California. Her launch was on 28 May 1943, and her sponsor was Mrs. Garry Owen. Her official commission was on 25 November 1943. Her commander was Commander John Ogden Miner.

The displacement of the Tingey was 2,050 tons with a length of 376’1″. Her beam was 39’7″ and her draft was 17’9″. Her top speed was 37 knots, and her complement was 273 officers and enlisted men. The shakedown for the Tingey was performed on the West Coast.

Service in World War II

After her shakedown, the USS Tingey headed for the Pacific theater on 2 February 1944. She was assigned to perform exercises at Pearl Harbor in February and March of 1944. There was an encounter with Japanese aircraft, and the Tingey suffered some damage.

The USS Tingey was a member of the destroyer screen for the Battleship Division 7. On 1 May 1944, the Tingey participated as part of a bombardment of Tumu Point. In June 1944, she joined Task Force 58. While with the Task Force she went to the Phillipine Sea. There she was part of the Battle of the Philippine Sea. After this duty, she rejoined the 5th Fleet and supported the Marine invasion off of Saipan.

When these duties were completed, the Tingey went for upkeep and inspection at Eiwetok in August. Inspections and repairs completed, she deployed for antisubmarine patrol in Ulithi. There she joined a task group of destroyers and was instrumental in the sinking of the Japanese destroyer Nowaki. On 18 December as she was heading back to the states, the Tingey and three other vessels were caught in a typhoon. The USS Tingey was able to weather the storm, but the other destroyers were lost. They searched for survivors, but could find none.

The Tingey was first decommissioned in March of 1946. Although with the eruption of the Korean War, she was recommisisioned on 27 January 1951. Her final decommission was on 30 November 1963.

Asbestos in Navy Ships

Although an essential component of the naval fleet, some auxiliary vessels also posed 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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