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USS Hawkins (DD-873)

The USS Hawkins (DD-873) was a Gearing-class destroyer in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Hawkins was originally Beatty but was renamed in honor of William Deane Hawkins (1914-1943), a Medal of Honor recipient.

Construction

Built in Orange, TX, by the Consolidated Steel Corporation, she was launched in June 1944, and commissioned in February 1945, under the command of Comdr. C. Iverson.

Naval History

After a shakedown in the Caribbean, Hawkins was refitted as a radar picket ship at Norfolk, VA, and set sail for Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Three days after her departure for Eniwetok, the Japanese surrendered so Hawkins was assigned to occupation operations. Hawkins assisted in rescue efforts when SS Hong Kheng sank off Honk Kong with over 2,000 passengers on board in 1947. In 1948, Hawkins embarked on a circuitous voyage circling the globe, paying visits to Ceylon, Turkey, Gibraltar, New York, and Panama before arriving at San Diego, California. Reassigned to the Atlantic Fleet and her new home port at Newport, Rhode Island, Hawkins spent the following year in reserve training exercises in the Caribbean. Hawkins was reclassified DDR-873 in March 1949, and joined the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean during the following year.

In 1950, during the Korean War, Hawkins joined NATO forces and provided antisubmarine protection, escorted carriers and controlled jet aircraft in combat air patrols. She also served as plane guard to discourage Communist aggression in the Formosa Straits.

Following the Korean War, Hawkins patrolled the western Atlantic on training operations and picket duty with the 6th Fleet. Operating out of Mayport, Florida, she stood by during the Suez crisis, and later, joined DESRON-8 for maneuvers in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. In 1961, Hawkins joined a special task group which provided assistance for space experiments and missile tests off Cape Canaveral, now Cape Kennedy. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, in 1962, Hawkins joined the effort and patrolled the Caribbean from October until December.

In 1964, Hawkins completed Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) and was reclassified DD-873. Hawkins spent 3 months with carriers in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin where she provided gunfire support for the troops along the coast of South Vietnam.

Hawkins was struck from the Navy List in October 1979 and sold to Taiwan in 1983. She was scrapped in 1990. Hawkins received two battle stars for service in the Korean War.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Hawkins (DD-873)

Asbestos insulation, while prevalent in many areas of the USS Hawkins, could be found in higher concentration in several specific areas of the ship. Asbestos was installed as an insulating material in boilers, pumps, and engines. Those members of the ship's crew responsible for the repair and maintenance of this equipment were at great risk of breathing in airborne asbestos. This is because the equipment was built with many different types of asbestos products and the rooms that housed the equipment were small and not well ventilated.

If it is breathed in, asbestos dust damages the thin membrane known as the mesothelium and may cause mesothelioma. If you served on the USS Hawkins and have developed an asbestos-related disease you may be able to receive financial compensation for your injury. Simply fill in the form on this page to request more information.

Sources
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog

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