The USS Twining DD-540 was a decorated US navy ship that toured in Japan during World War II and Korea during the Korean War. This ship was laid down by the Bethlehem Steel Company in 1942 and commissioned in 1943. After a shakedown cruise in December of 1943, she headed to Pearl Harbor in February of 1944.
Action in World War II and Korea
The crew of the Twining spent three months in Pearl Harbor running a wide variety of maneuvers, drills and training exercises. This included learning support tactics and how to perform an amphibious landing. After this training, she set out for Kwajalein and arrived the first week of June. Here the ship performed antisubmarine patrols around the harbor. On June 14, she arrived in Saipan and took part in a gun battle with several other US ships. On June 15, D-Day, the Twining continued to patrol the coast and fired on enemy targets on the shore. Over the following few days, the ship and crew joined other naval forces to fire on enemy ships, planes and stores located on land. As part of the Battle of the Philippine Sea, which lasted only twenty-six minutes, this ship brought down several Japanese aircraft.
Following this battle, the Twining spent time in the open waters acting as a spotlight for lost planes and rescued survivors whose planes had been shot down over the ocean. Throughout July, she patrolled the area, firing on enemy planes when they entered her airspace. She also took part in several support missions for other larger ships attacking the Japanese.
Following many other operations in World War II, this ship was decommissioned in 1946. In 1950, she was recommissioned and had additional training exercises in ports off of California. She then served two tours during the Korean War. During these tours, the main duties of the Twining were to provide nighttime illumination for minesweepers, patrol on antisubmarine screenings and provide fire support as needed.
After the War
After the Twining was decommissioned in 1971, with a total of thirteen battle stars, she was sold to the Chinese Nationalist Navy and her name was changed to Kwei Yang. She served in China until 1999.
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.