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USS Boyd (DD-544)

The USS Boyd (DD-544) served in the U.S. Navy for two and a half decades, was sold to Turkey, and operated for nearly four decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Joseph Boyd who participated in an expedition to Tripoli during the First Barbary War. Boyd was a member of the Fletcher class of destroyers.

Construction

Boyd was laid down at San Pedro, California by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in April 1942, launched in October, and commissioned in May 1943 with Lieutenant Commander U.S.G. Sharp in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Boyd was armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.

Naval History

Boyd, assigned to the Pacific Fleet, participated in the occupation of Baker Island in September 1943, and protected aircraft carriers during the raid on Wake Island in October. She also served during the troop landings at the Gilbert Islands in November and December. While conducting the bombardment of Nauru Island in December, Boyd was damaged by enemy fire during a rescue mission, and was repaired at Espiritu Santo before returning to Pearl Harbor in March 1944.

Following repairs, Boyd participated in operations at Hollandia in April, and then the raid on Truk and troop landings at Saipan in June, followed by the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The destroyer also operated during the August invasion of Guam, and the troop landings at Morotai in September, followed in October by strikes on Okinawa and Luzon. Boyd also participated in the Battle for Leyte Gulf.

Boyd was assigned to escort duty from December 1944 to January 1945, served during the bombardment of Iwo Jima, and then conducted screening operations off Okinawa in March. In July and August, Boyd was part of the 3rd Fleet during the offensive against the Japanese home islands, and was one of the first vessels to return home after the Japanese surrendered.

In overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard from late September to November 1945, Boyd was decommissioned in January 1947, and reactivated in November 1950 for service during the Korean War. Boyd served two tours in Korean waters and commenced routine operations off the west coast in February 1953. The destroyer was decommissioned and transferred to Turkey in October 1969, renamed Iskenderun, and stricken in 1981.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Boyd (DD-544)

Because of their versatility and wide application, asbestos-containing materials were found in virtually every compartment and corridor on Boyd. Asbestos insulation was employed in higher amounts in the engine room, boiler compartments, and power rooms. Asbestos also contaminated other sections of the ship, especially food prep areas, sleeping quarters, fuel storage areas, armories, and any compartment containing heavy equipment.

Because asbestos was widely spread through the ship, nearly every sailor risked exposure during the course of his career. Crewmen that spent more time in the engineering sections were exposed to a disproportionate quantity of asbestos, as would those in jobs such as firemen, boilermen, and machinists’ mates. As asbestos exposure can result in mesothelioma and other ailments, legal approaches are often available to Navy veterans diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses.

Sources

Sources

Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-544.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd544txt.htm

NavSource Naval History, USS Boyd (DD-544).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/544.htm

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