USS Warrington DD-843 (1945-1972)
Created by the Bath Iron Works Corp. in Bath, Maine, the USS Warrington was launched in the fall of 1945. With Commander Don W. Wulzer in command, the destroyer was commissioned on December 20 out of Boston Naval Shipyard.
Service in the Atlantic
The Warrington helped to conduct training exercises as well as shakedown training in the winter and spring in the West Indies. After that the ship returned to Boston to take up a position in the Destroyer Division. The next year, the ship went along the eastern seaboard as a destroyer to guard planes for several aircraft carriers which include the USS Ranger. The Warrington had her first tour of duty in England, Scotland, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal and the then entered the Mediterranean as part of the sixth fleet, where she served until February of 1947.
By the spring of 1949, the destroyer served as a flagship and then sailed off to the shores of New England to for a training trip that lasted several months and ended in the West Indies. By late fall the Warrington began training for the cold weather up near the Arctic Circle before returning to the United States in November.
In January of the next year the Warrington left with a squadron to go to Bermuda to train in hunting and killing exercises, after which the ship became involved in antisubmarine exercises with the U.S. submarine Dogfish before returning again to the United States. Then the ship went north to do some division testing in Newfoundland and Iceland; the work there lasted until the summer of that year.
Early Winter of the next year the Warrington was again used as a flagship. Eight years the destroyer alternated between the sixth fleet and Newport. May of 1959 brought her to the Great Lakes for a unique training cruise, as the St. Lawrence Seaway had only recently been opened. After a modernization overhaul, she underwent refresher training at Guantanamo and then joined up with the Atlantic Fleet for more antisubmarine duties.
Action in Vietnam
The Warrington was first deployed to the Far East in 1966, where she aided in the Vietnam Operation Traffic Cop (renamed Operation Sea Dragon). After this, she served plane guard duty in the Gulf of Tonkin, then provided gunfire support for ground troops in Operation Thayer II. After more plane guard and support duties, she headed back to the U.S. east coast in March of 1967. She spent several years there before returning to South Vietnam for a final tour of duty in which she was struck by an underwater explosion.
After the War
Thanks to U.S. support ships the Robinson, the Reclaimer, and the Tawakoni, the Warrington made it back to the base at Subic Bay in one piece. However, she was determined to be unfit for further duty and decommissioned in 1972. The next year, the ship was sold to Taiwan to become scrap metal. She was awarded two battle stars for her 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.