The USS Hunt (DD-674) served in the U.S. Navy for two decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for William Henry Hunt who served in the Civil War and as Secretary of the Navy under President Garfield. Hunt was designed as a Fletcher-class naval vessel.
Hunt was laid down by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company at Kearny, New Jersey in March 1943, launched in August, and commissioned in September with Commander Frank P. Mitchell in command. With a length of 376 feet, five inches and a crew of 273, Hunt was armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1 inch anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Hunt was deployed to the Pacific in December 1943 and designated an anti-submarine screen for Task Force 58. She supported the invasion of the Marshall Islands in January 1944, which included assaults on Kwajalein Atoll as well as Roi and Namur Islands. In September, Hunt protected the Bunker Hill group for strikes on the Palau Islands with anti-aircraft fire, and served with the same group for the invasion of Hollandia in April. The invasion of the Marianas took place in June, and Hunt operated with the aircraft carriers at the Battle of the Philippine Sea. She screened New Jersey during operations south of the Palau Islands in September, and was also deployed during the Battle for Leyte Gulf.
Hunt supported various operations in the Philippines until the end of 1944, as well as the invasion of Iwo Jima and the strike on Okinawa in March. The destroyer joined aircraft carrier Franklin for strikes on Japan, and rescued 429 survivors when the carrier was attacked. Hunt returned to the United State in June and was decommissioned in December at San Diego.
Hunt was reactivated in October 1951 and served anti-submarine and plane guard duty out of Newport until serving in the Philippines in 1954. The return trip took Hunt around the world back to Newport in December. Hunt alternated between operations at Newport and Annapolis and deployments to Europe and the Mediterranean until the destroyer was decommissioned in December 1963. She was struck from the Navy list in December 1974 and sold for scrap to the Consolidated Steel Corporation in August 1975.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Hunt (DD-674)
Whether a sailor worked in the boiler rooms and engineering sections, or the crew mess and food preparation areas, asbestos exposure was nearly guaranteed aboard Hunt. The ship used asbestos insulation in nearly every compartment, and the mineral was also mixed into paints and cements used on board. Those that helped build her at Federal Shipbuilding were also exposed. Crewmen that have regularly worked in and around asbestos products have a much greater chance to develop mesothelioma and other serious illnesses.
There are usually legal options available to those injured by exposure to asbestos. If you or someone you love was diagnosed with mesothelioma after serving aboard or building the Hunt, an asbestos lawyer can evaluate your case and explain your rights.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-674.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd674txt.htm) Retrieved 3 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Hunt (DD-674)
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/674.htm) Retrieved 3 February 2011.