The USS Hyman (DD-732) remained on the Navy list for two and a half decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Lieutenant Commander Willford Milton Hyman who lost his life during the Battle of the Coral Sea in World War II. Hyman was commissioned as an Allen M. Sumner-class naval vessel.
Hyman was laid down at Bath, Maine by the Bath Iron Works Corporation in November 1943, launched in April 1944, and commissioned in June with Commander Rollo N. Norgaard in command. Carrying a crew of 336, Hyman was armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.
Hyman joined the war efforts at Pearl Harbor in October 1944 and conducted training and battle practice exercises, as well as escort duty to Eniwetok. Following rehearsals for the Iwo Jima assault, Hyman screened troop transports and fired on enemy targets to support the troops during the invasion in February 1945. Hyman provided similar duties leading up to the Okinawa attack in April, where a kamikaze hit killed ten crew members.
Hyman arrived at San Francisco in May for repairs, and returned to Pearl Harbor on the same day Japan surrendered. The destroyer operated in Hawaiian waters and then served during the occupation. Hyman returned to California and then Casco Bay, Maine in April 1946, before embarking on two Mediterranean deployments, and then was assigned to reservist training out of Louisiana throughout 1949 and 1950.
Training in the Caribbean and service in the Mediterranean preceded deployment for the Korean War in October 1951. Hyman arrived at Newport, Rhode Island in April 1952 after sailing around the world, operated in the Mediterranean in 1953, and was assigned to anti-submarine exercises in the Caribbean and Atlantic in 1954 and 1955. Another Mediterranean deployment followed in 1957 and Hyman operated off the Azores during Project Mercury in April 1961.
Hyman participated in the Cuban quarantine during the missile crisis in 1962 and served off Cape Canaveral as a recovery vessel in 1963. After surveillance duty in Cuban Waters in 1964, Hyman trained naval reservists beginning in March 1965. The same year, Hyman was damaged during Hurricane Betsy. She resumed training services and then was struck from the Navy list in November 1969.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Hyman (DD-732)
The Hyman utilized asbestos materials in nearly every compartment. It insulated boilers, pipes, and engines. It was found in gaskets, ropes, and pipefittings. It was even used to fireproof the ship’s mess. Every sailor that served aboard this ship was likely to be exposed to asbestos during his service. Navy veterans have been shown to develop diseases like mesothelioma as a result of this exposure. No branch of service has more cases of asbestos-related injury than the Navy.
The risk on Hyman was increased by the damage she sustained during the battle at Okinawa and later, by Hurricane Betsy. Asbestos products that are damaged or torn release clouds of tiny fibers into the surrounding air. Such fibers presented an extremely hazardous environment to the crew of Hyman, as few if any wore any sort of protective gear.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-732.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd732txt.htm) Retrieved 11 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Hyman (DD-732).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/732.htm) Retrieved 11 February 2011.