The USS William M. Wood (DD-715) served in the U.S. Navy for over three decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for William Maxwell Wood, the first Surgeon-General of the U.S. Navy and who also served as Chief of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. William M. Wood was commissioned as a Gearing-class destroyer.
William M. Wood laid down at Newark, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in November 1944, launched in July 1945, and commissioned in November with Commander George R. Wilson in command. Carrying a crew of 336, William M. Wood was armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.
William M. Wood was deployed to the Caribbean from April to June 1946 and then was assigned to the Pacific Fleet. Operating out of Pearl Harbor from July through September, the destroyer was ordered to duty off the coast of China in October. William M. Wood conducted patrols off China and Korea against postwar smuggling during this deployment, and then returned to San Diego, California in March 1947. She underwent overhaul and in October, served as a protective screen for Valley Forge to the western Pacific.
Following overhaul at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, William M. Wood joined the Atlantic Fleet in April 1949, and sailed for Newport, Rhode Island in October where she operated as a training ship for junior officers. William M. Wood was deployed to the Mediterranean twice before being converted to radar picket destroyer DDR-715 at Boston in September 1952. She was re-commissioned in June 1953, and served in the Mediterranean once again for a cruise in 1954 and to aid victims of an earthquake in Greece in 1955.
William M. Wood was overhauled once again at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in the summer of 1955, reported to Lebanon in 1957, and took part in the quarantine of Cuba in 1962. William M. Wood regained her original status after receiving an FRAM overhaul at Philadelphia in 1964. She served coastal patrol and surveillance duties during the revolution in the Dominican Republic in April 1965, made several routine voyages to the Mediterranean, and then was based out of Athens, Greece from August 1972 until June 1975. William M. Wood was decommissioned at Norfolk in December 1976 and sunk as a training target in March 1983.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Wiliam M. Wood (DD-715)
William M. Wood was insulated and fireproofed with asbestos materials. Engine and boiler rooms contained the most asbestos, but no area of the ship was completely free of the mineral. Since no level of asbestos exposure was safe, any sailor that served aboard William M. Wood was at risk for mesothelioma. And because asbestos disease can take decades to develop, those that served near the end of her deployment may still be undiagnosed.
The law offers compensation to most Navy veterans harmed by asbestos and their families. If you or someone you love was diagnosed with mesothelioma after serving aboard this ship, you have legal rights. Find out more by requesting our free mesothelioma kit. Just complete the form on this page, and we’ll send you this valuable guide on asbestos cancer and your legal and treatment options.
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-715.
NavSource Naval History. USS William M. Wood (DD-715).