The USS Mullinnix (DD-944) served in the U.S. Navy for a decade and a half in the mid-to-late-20th century. She was named for Rear Admiral Henry Maston Mullinnix who served in World War I and World War II. Mullinnix was commissioned as a member of the Forrest Sherman class of destroyers.
Mullinnix was laid down at Quincy, Massachusetts by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in April 1956, launched in March 1957, and commissioned in March 1958 with Commander Clyde B. Anderson in command. Featuring a crew capacity of 324, Mullinnix was 418 feet, six inches long and armed with four three-inch rapid fire guns, two anti-submarine mortars, four 21-inch torpedo tubes, and six 12.75-inch anti-submarine torpedo tubes.
Mullinnix was assigned to shakedown training off Cuba and then sailed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on an escort mission for Ranger. The destroyer returned to Boston in September 1958 and, after sailing for the South Atlantic again, was deployed to the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet, in August 1959. Mullinnix then participated in NATO exercises in the Atlantic, as well as conducted patrols in the Caribbean, over the next two years. A deployment to the Mediterranean followed in early-1961.
During the Cuban Quarantine, Mullinnix was designated the flagship of Task Force 137, in October and November 1962. Operations in the Caribbean and Atlantic followed, and Mullinnix was part of the amphibious training operation Steel Pike I in October 1964 off Spain. Mullinnix then participated in anti-submarine warfare training off the east coast and, in March 1966, was involved in Gemini recovery operations.
Mullinnix operated out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during the April crisis in the Dominican Republic. She was then deployed with the 6th Fleet for three months. Following this deployment, Mullinnix sailed for the western Pacific and served during the Vietnam War, where the destroyer delivered gunfire support off South Vietnam. This service lasted from August to November 1966.
Mullinnix arrived at Norfolk, Virginia in December and in August 1967, took part in tests of a NASA Apollo space capsule. Based out of Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the destroyer resumed training exercises in the Caribbean and Atlantic. Mullinnix operated in the Mediterranean in 1975 and also in 1976, and was decommissioned in August 1983. Struck from the Navy list in July 1990, the destroyer was sunk as a training target in 1992.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Mullinnix (DD-944)
Ships built in the 1950’s and 60’s made extensive use of asbestos products. Materials containing asbestos were heat and fire resistant, durable, and inexpensive when compared to products with similar qualities. As a result, asbestos could be found in nearly every compartment and corridor aboard Mullinnix. The highest concentration of such products was in engineering spaces, but no area was completely free of contamination.
As a result of the frequent and heavy use of asbestos in Navy ships, veteran sailors are amongst those most likely to develop mesothelioma cancer. The proven link between asbestos exposure and the diseases it causes means that there are often legal options for sailors with asbestos ailments and their families. An experienced mesothelioma lawyer is best qualified to assess your exposure history and pursue compensation on your behalf.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-944.
NavSource Naval History. USS Mullinnix (DD-944).