USS Young DD-580 (1943-1968)
The USS Young (DD-580) was named after Rear Admiral Lucien Young. She was a 2,050 ton Fletcher class destroyer, built at Orange, Texas, and commissioned July 31, 1943.
Service in World War II
After shakedown off the southern coast and Caribbean, the Young’s first assignment was at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. From there she joined the USS Iowa as that ship carried President Roosevelt to the Mediterranean on his way to the “Big Three” conference at Teheran. She was then ordered to the North Pacific as part of 9th Fleet and she arrived in the Aleutians in January 1944. Her main duties were escort and patrol sorties, however she did take part in the initial bombardments of the Kuril Islands in February, the first such attack on Japanese home soil.
Following overhaul at San Francisco in September, she reported to Manus, Admiralty Islands, arriving in October. As part of a convoy escort to the Philippines she helped down three enemy aircraft. In December, as part of another escort force, this time to Mindoro, she shot down five attacking planes. The Young screened for landing craft at the amphibious landings at Lingayen in January. Later that month she reconnoitered the landing zone at Zambales.
On February 14, with the USS Nicholas, she sank two enemy suicide boats launched from Corregidor. The ship continued to operate in the Philippines, taking part in the assault on Corregidor in February. In the weeks that followed she conducted patrols, based at Subic Bay. Before heading back to the U.S. for repairs, she assisted in the landings at Mindanao. Overhaul began at Mare Island, California, in June, lasting 47 days.
With overhaul trials completed in early August, the Young sailed to Pearl Harbor. By then the fighting had ceased. The destroyer conducted operations as an escort for the USS Saratoga, and on September 25 steamed with other 3rd Fleet units to New York and the Navy Day celebration. There, on October 27, she took part in President Truman’s review of ships. She won five Battle Stars for her service in World War II.
After the War
Placed in reserve on January 31, 1946, the Young was decommissioned a year later. Her name was stricken from the Naval Register in 1968. She was then used a target ship and sunk on March 6, 1970
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.