The USS Shelton (DD-790) served in the U.S. Navy for more than two and a half decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Ensign James A. Shelton who served at the Battle of Midway during the Second World War. Shelton was a member of the Gearing class of destroyers.
Shelton was laid down at Seattle, Washington by the Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation in May 1945, launched in March 1946, and commissioned in June with Commander C. L. Werts in command. Carrying a crew of 336, Shelton was armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.
Shelton began her first tour of duty in the western Pacific in November 1946. Assigned to the 7th Fleet, Shelton operated at China, Korea, and Japan and returned to San Diego in June 1947. The destroyer was overhauled at Bremerton Naval Shipyard from January to April 1948 and then operated along the California coast until September. Shelton sailed back and forth until the Korean War began in 1950, when she sailed in May to join Task Force 77 for duty on both coasts of Korea.
Shelton remained in the United States from February 1951 until August and then participated in bombardment missions with several task groups, and suffered 12 casualties from enemy fire in January 1952. In April, Shelton returned again to San Diego and operated locally, before her third deployment to Korea from December 1952 until June 1953, when she served on the Formosa Patrol.
Shelton spent the rest of the 1950s on both sides of the Pacific, and during one deployment, rescued 120 passengers from a merchant ship based in New Zealand. In 1961, Shelton reported to the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for FRAM conversion, and then was based at Yokosuka from 1962 until early March 1964. She then sailed the Indian Ocean for goodwill services and returned to San Diego in August 1964, from where the destroyer departed in January 1967 to serve as a plane guard and anti-submarine vessel off Vietnam.
Shelton returned to Vietnam repeatedly and departed there for the last time in December 1972. The destroyer was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list in 1973, sold to Taiwan, and renamed Lao Yang. The former Shelton was decommissioned by Taiwan in 1999 and designated to be turned into an artificial reef in 2002.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Shelton (DD-790)
Aboard civilian and naval craft such as Shelton, asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) were found in practically every compartment. Since asbestos-based insulation was found all over the ship, essentially all crewmen suffered exposure at one point or another. The Navy was an early adopter of asbestos and used asbestos into the 1970s. Sailors working in engineering sections and performing damage control often had the greatest exposure to asbestos, but any exposure can have lasting health effects.
Researchers have discovered a strong correlation between inhaling asbestos fibers and the development of pleural mesothelioma. Legal options exist for Navy veterans and civilian workers diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. The law limits the amount of time you have to seek compensation for your asbestos-related injury, so speak with a mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-790.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd790txt.htm) Retrieved 16 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. Shelton (DD-790).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/790.htm) Retrieved 16 February 2011.