The USS John King (DD-953) served in the U.S. Navy for over three decades in the mid-to-late-20th century. She was named for Chief Water Tender John King who twice received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy. John King was commissioned as a Charles F. Adams class destroyer.
John King was laid down at Bath, Maine by the Bath Iron Works Corporation in August 1958, launched in January 1960, and commissioned in February 1961 with Commander Albert M. Sackett in command. Carrying a crew of 333 to 350, John King was 437 feet long and armed with two five-inch rapid fire guns, a surface-to-air missile system, an anti-submarine rocket launcher, and six 12.75-inch anti-submarine torpedo tubes.
John King conducted weapons tests along the east coast and commenced routine operations at Norfolk, Virginia in September 1961. She was deployed to England and northern Europe from November 1961 to January 1962 and then entered the Mediterranean. After returning to Norfolk in April, John King participated in missile tests in the Caribbean.
John King arrived at the Norfolk Navy Yard in October 1962 and was soon deployed to Cuba for the quarantine during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Following this duty, John King operated with Enterprise in the Caribbean until December. John King served in the Mediterranean again from February to July 1963 and participated in exercises with the 6th Fleet at various ports during this time.
John King spent the next year off Virginia and in the Caribbean conducting fleet training and readiness exercises, and operated at the Antisubmarine Warfare School at Key West, Florida in April. John King then served in the Mediterranean from August to the end of 1964, where she operated with the 6th Fleet near Cyprus, and arrived back at Norfolk in late-January 1965. East coast operations resumed until John King returned to the region from October 1965 to March 1966.
John King also operated during NATO exercises in the summer of 1966 and returned to the 6th Fleet in January 1967 for service in the western Mediterranean. After arriving in the United States in May, John King entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for overhaul in June. John King was decommissioned in March 1990, struck from the Navy list in 1993, and sold for scrap to International Shipbreakers in 1999.
Asbestos Risk on the USS John King (DD-953)
Asbestos-containing material has been installed on board civilian and military ships like the USS John King ever since the 1930s. Because of its ability to provide protection from heat and fire which was a critical need in these vessels, asbestos products were used in one capacity or another in virtually every compartment and corridor on the ship.
Some areas deployed asbestos fibers more widely than did others. Sections of the ship that produced a large quantity of heat like the boiler room and engineering sections used asbestos fiber as insulation. Sailors stationed or working on John King most likely were exposed to asbestos fibers to some extent, but sailors working in the engine room, working on heavy machinery, fighting fires, or repairing damage were more likely to come into contact with asbestos on a more regular and consistent basis.
When absorbed into the body, asbestos can becomes stuck in the lungs and may eventually result in the development of the asbestos cancer known as mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is not the only condition known to be caused by the inhalation of asbestos; lung cancer and asbestosis are other diseases that are also connected to asbestos. Sailors who have developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-induced conditions have legal rights. Please fill out the form on this page to learn more.Sources