The USS Cassin Young (DD-793) served in the US Navy for over three decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Captain Cassin Young who lost his life at the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal during the Second World War. Cassin Young was commissioned as a Fletcher-class vessel.
Cassin Young was laid down at San Pedro, California by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in March 1943, launched in September, and commissioned in December with Commander Earl T. Schrieber in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Cassin Young was armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1-inch anti-aircraft guns, and four 20 mm anti-aircraft guns.
Cassin Young completed training at Pearl Harbor in March and April 1944, and then served with Task Force 58 during the air assaults at Japanese-held Truk, Satawan, Wolesi, and Ponape. During this deployment, Cassin Young served picket duty, and then protected aircraft carriers during the Saipan invasion, where she also served as a radar picket and fire support ship. The invasion of Guam followed, and Cassin Young also guarded the carriers for the strikes on Luzon and Formosa, and participated in the action at Leyte Gulf in October.
Through January 1945, Cassin Young continued screening carriers, while based at Ulithi, during major aerial assaults in the Philippines and Japan, and then supported the invasion of Iwo Jima in February. Cassin Young protected the force during pre-invasion bombardments of Okinawa, and conducted fire support and radar picket operations during the assault. In mid-April, Cassin Young was damaged when a kamikaze exploded over the ship, underwent repairs, and returned to the battle zone as a radar picket.
Cassin Young was struck by a suicide plane during an escort mission to the Mariana Islands in July, causing 22 casualties. Placed in reserve at San Pedro, California in May 1946, and reactivated in September 1951. Cassin Young was then assigned to Newport, Rhode Island and operated off the east coast and with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. In 1954, the destroyer conducted a round-the-world cruise, which included patrols off Korea. Cassin Young alternated between Caribbean and east coast exercises and Mediterranean tours until 1960. Decommissioned in April 1960, Cassin Young was struck from the Navy list in 1974 and then preserved as a memorial at the Boston Navy Yard.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Cassin Young (DD-793)
When the Cassin Young was built, the Navy favored asbestos insulation and fireproofing. Such products were both inexpensive and highly effective. The dangers posed by asbestos were not yet fully understood. Sailors that served during this time face a significantly higher-than-average chance of developing asbestos related conditions like mesothelioma.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-793.
NavSource Naval History. Cassin Young (DD-793).