The USS John Young (DD-973) served in the U.S. Navy for two and a half decades in the late-20th century and early-21st century. She was named for Captain John Young who served in the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War. John Young was commissioned as a Spruance-class naval vessel.
John Young was laid down at Pascagoula, Mississippi by the Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation in February 1975, launched in February 1976, and commissioned in May 1978 with Commander Douglas K. Menikheim in command. Carrying a crew of 296, John Young was 563 feet in length and armed with two five-inch rapid fire guns, a surface-to-air missile system, an anti-submarine rocket launcher, six 12.75-inch anti-submarine torpedo tubes, and one helicopter.
John Young joined the Pacific Fleet in June 1978 and after returning from training exercises, began a year of weapon system and engineering tests at San Diego in November 1979. John Young was deployed to the Far East in October 1980 and operated in the Philippines during exercises with the 7th Fleet, as well as off Okinawa, in the South China Sea, and in the Sea of Japan.
Following a rescue of Vietnamese refugees, John Young brought them to Thailand and returned to San Diego in May 1981. John Young then underwent inspections and was deployed again to the Far East in May 1982 for routine exercises, which included surveillance duties of the Soviet port Petropavlovsk in June. The destroyer then went into overhaul at San Diego from November 1982 to October 1983. Another Pacific deployment followed from October 1984 to May 1985 for Fleet Exercise 85-1, and John Young also served in the Middle East beginning in July 1987.
John Young operated in the Persian Gulf, participated in an attack on Iranian oil platforms in October, and returned home at the end of December. The destroyer returned to the Persian Gulf in December 1988 until June and then underwent overhaul in 1990. Other deployments to the Persian Gulf followed from January to July 1992, October 1993 to late-1994, as well as in 1996, 1997, and 1999 to 2000. John Young operated off Mexico in early-2001, and visited the Arabian Gulf once more before being decommissioned in September 2002. John Young was sunk during target exercises in April 2004.
Asbestos Risk on the USS John Young (DD-973)
Industrial sites began utilizing asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) in the late 19th century because it was a useful fire retardant substance for construction and industrial applications. In the 1930s, asbestos material was also put into place in the engine rooms of seagoing vessels as a result of new fire safety regulations. As the years went by, Navy crewmen began to suffer with mesothelioma as well as other asbestos-related illnesses, and in the 1970s, most uses of asbestos were banned. When breathed in, asbestos dust can become lodged in the lungs and eventually can cause mesothelioma. Although John Young was built towards the end of the era where asbestos was heavily used, the ship was certain to have some amount of asbestos products on board putting her crew at risk for developing this cancer.Sources