USS Wallace L. Lind DD-703 (1944-1973)
The namesake of the USS Wallace L. Lind was Commander Wallace Ludwig Lind. The ship was built by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Kearney, New Jersey. Sponsored by Mrs. Wallace L. Lind, the Sumner-class destroyer was commissioned on September 8, 1944, at the New York Navy Shipyard, with Commander G. DeMetropolis put in charge.
Action in World War II and Korea
She did her shakedown in New York and Bermuda and then joined Task Force 58. This Task Force was part of the raids on Tokyo and at the Iwo Jima landings. The Lind's primary duties at Iwo Jima were to screen carriers and to assist with mail deliveries and the transfer of personnel. The Wallace L. Lind was part of the destroyer group that acted as plane guards on the strikes against Okinawa and Minami Daito. She was also part of DesRon 62 and Task Group 38.3, and was in the Tokyo-Nagoya area when Japan surrendered in August of 1945.
The destroyer spent the next few years off the U.S. east coast and the Caribbean. On September 6, 1950, the Wallace L. Lind sailed for the Far East and Korea. She was part of the East Korean Blockade Group in January 1951. As a part of Task Force 74, she helped destroy railroad lines that fed the enemy’s supply lines. After returning to the east coast, she crossed the Atlantic several times before sailing to Guantanamo for training exercises. When hostilities arose between Egypt and Israel in 1956, the Wallace L. Lind arrived to evacuate American citizens.
The 1960s saw the destroyer operating with NATO forces and the Second Fleet. After modernizations in 1962, she sailed to the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis. She remained in the area for Operation Springboard in 1964 and stood by during the Gemini II launch in case emergency rescue was needed. On April 9, 1968, the Wallace L. Lind departed for the Western Pacific and the Gulf of Tonkin, where she protected American interests in the Vietnam War.
After the War
The Wallace L. Lind performed numerous operations with the NATO forces, the Spanish Navy and the French Navy. In 1970 she qualified as a naval gunship. She spent the last few years of service primarily in training, and was officially decommissioned and struck from the naval register on December 4, 1973. She was transferred to Korea, where she served as the Dae Gu until being scrapped in 1994. In her U.S. career, The USS Wallace L. Lind earned 11 battle stars.
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.