The USS Henley (DD-762) served in the U.S. Navy for three decades during the middle of the 20th century. She was named for Robert Henley, a U.S. Navy officer around the turn of the 19th century. Henley was built as an Allen M. Sumner-class ship.
Henley was laid down in San Francisco, California by Bethlehem Steel in February 1944. She was launched in March 1945 and commissioned in October 1946, with Commander Dwight L. Moody at the helm. Henley carried a crew of 336 and had a cruising speed of 36.5 knots. She was armed with six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Henley began her service in the Atlantic with a five-month tour of duty out of Key West. She then departed on her first Mediterranean voyage in July 1947. Her second tour of the Mediterranean came in 1948, specifically to react to the Israeli–Arab dispute that threatened to throw the region into war. Following this mission, Henley returned to the US and was decommissioned in March 1950.
It wasn’t long, however, before the ship was again called into duty: tensions mounted quickly on the Korean peninsula and Henley was recommissioned in September 1950. In July 1951, she departed for another tour of the Mediterranean and cruises to various European ports.
Henley returned to the U.S. in February 1952. She next left U.S. waters in September 1953 as part of a world cruise that included passing the Suez Canal, filming In the Bridges of Toko-Ri in Japanese waters, and operating with a large fleet in Asian waters. In the years that followed, Henley participated in a variety of Mediterranean cruises and tactical exercises along the east coast of the US. In 1959, she was part of the group of ships that participated in the Inland Seas Cruise to the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway, and in 1962, she was part of the quarantine of Cuba during the missile crisis.
The 1960s brought an overhaul, training as an anti-submarine ship, and duty as a training vessel. She was eventually decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list in July 1973. Henley was later broken up and sold for scrap.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Henley (DD-762)
There are certain sections of navy ships where asbestos use was far more prevalent, such as high heat prone areas like the boiler rooms and engine rooms. Asbestos insulation was also used to cover pipes that ran throughout the ship and over time, as the insulation aged, asbestos dust was created and entered the air. Those on the ship were highly likely to breathe in this dust not knowing about the potential dangers of doing so. Today, navy veterans that served on ships like the USS Henley may be at serious risk for developing the asbestos cancer known as mesothelioma.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-762.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd762txt.htm) Retrieved 12 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History, USS Henley (DD-762).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/762.htm) Retrieved 12 February 2011.