The USS Power (DD-839) was a Gearing-class destroyer in service with the U.S. Navy from 1945 until 1977 and the Taiwanese Navy until 2005. She was named in honor of a Marine officer killed in action during the Battle of Kwajalein in 1944.
Power was constructed at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. Her keel was laid in February 1945. She was launched in June of that year and commissioned in mid September, a month after the surrender of Japan.
The Gearing-class destroyer measured 309-1/2 feet in length and 41 feet in breadth amidships, displacing between 2400 and 3600 tons, depending on load and modifcations. With twin rudders, she was more maneuverable than her predecessor, the Fletcher-class, and was capable of greater range and speed. Her boilers were constructed by Babcock & Wilcox, and propulsion was provided by two General Electric geared steam turbines, giving her a top speed of thirty-five knots. Peacetime crew compliment was 11 officers and 325 seamen.
Power underwent her shakedown trials out of Guantanamo Bay during the fall of 1945. In January 1946, the vessel commenced the first of several tours of duty with the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean. When operating out of her home port, the vessel engaged in training functions and fleet exercises. This pattern continued throughout the decade of the 1950s.
In the early 1960s, Power underwent a Fleet Rehabilitation And Modification (FRAM I) overhaul, which was carried out at the Boston Naval Shipyard between February 1959 and April 1960. After the work was completed, Power returned to her Mediterranean and Middle East deployments. Toward the middle of the decade, the destroyer was noteworthy for her participation in the Polaris missile program and as a recovery vessel for the Gemini VI and VII space missions.
In August of 1968, Power was deployed to Vietnam with the 7th Fleet. She remained on active duty at Yankee Station until June of the following year.
During the 1970s, Power was stationed out of Fort Schuyler, New York, serving primarily as a training vessel for naval reservists. In 1974, Power returned to the Boston Navy Yard for an extensive overhaul during which engineering and electronics were upgraded and crew quarters remodeled. In September 1977, she was decommissioned and sold to the navy of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The vessel served in that navy for another twenty-eight years as the ROCS Sheng-Yang (DDG-923). She was finally retired in November of 2005.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Power (DD-839)
Most servicemen assigned to or doing repairs on Power were exposed to some asbestos containing materials. Pumps and pipes ship wide employed asbestos parts and insulation. Crewmembers repairing and refitting engines and boilers were more heavily exposed, as were crewmen working in fire suppression and damage control crews.
Dock and yard crew were also at risk of being exposed to large quantities of asbestos fibers. Such workers often carried the threat of asbestos exposure home to their families, as asbestos contaminated particles would settle onto their clothing and uniforms. First- and secondhand exposure to asbestos is conclusively linked to a number of serious health issues, including mesothelioma.Sources
Destroyer History Foundation. "Gearing Class"
Mooney, James. Dictionary of American Fighting Ships. (Washington DC; Department of the Navy, 1991).
NavSource.org. "Destroyer Special Features: FRAM Fleet Rehabilitation And Modernization"
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/helpers/fram.htm). Accessed 23 February 2011.