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USS Twining (DD-540)

The USS Twining (DD-540) served in the U.S. Navy for nearly three decades in the middle of the 20th century. She was named for Rear Admiral Nathan Cook Twining who served in the Spanish-American War and World War I. Twining was commissioned as a Fletcher-class destroyer.

Construction

Twining was laid down at San Francisco, California by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in November 1942, launched in July 1943, and commissioned in December with Commander Ellis Kerr Wakefield in command. Carrying a crew of 273, Twining was armed with five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes.

Naval History

Twining sailed from San Francisco to Pearl Harbor with passengers and cargo in February 1944. Following three months of routine fleet exercises, Twining was deployed to Kwajalein for anti-submarine patrols in June, and served during the battle at Saipan, firing on enemy gun installations onshore. Twining also screened other vessels during this deployment.

Twining conducted screening duties and fired on targets during D-day, and later in June endured combat with Japanese aircraft in the Marianas as well as off Saipan. During this service, Twining provided shore bombardment and screening duties while engaging enemy aircraft. She provided similar services in July and voyaged to Tinian for bombardment missions, where the destroyer screened Montpelier and New Orleans, and continued serving off Saipan until August.

Twining arrived at Luzon in September and was assigned to anti-submarine patrols off Saipan thereafter. At the end of the month, Twining sailed for the western Carolines, aided the task force during the strike on Formosa, where she downed several Japanese planes. Twining also participated in strikes on Leyte and Luzon in the Philippines, weathered a typhoon in December, and assisted Monterey, which became disabled during the storm.

Twining served picket duty off Iwo Jima in February 1945 and Okinawa in April, as well as during additional strikes in Japan until the country surrendered, and then headed back to the United States in October. The destroyer was out of commission from June 1946 until August 1951 when she was deployed for service during the Korean War. Twining served a second tour of duty off Korea in 1952, and then alternated between west coast operations and deployments to the Far East until May 1964, when she was assigned to training reserves. Twining was decommissioned in July 1971 and sold to Taiwan, where she was renamed Kwei Yang, and stricken in July 1999.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Twining (DD-540)

Asbestos insulation has been employed on board civilian and military vessels like Twining since the 1930s. Naval vessels contained numerous components that generated extreme levels of thermal energy, such as pumps and boilers, that required highly efficient forms of insulation, and asbestos filled that need. The mineral was used in Twining’s engineering sections, on many steam pipes running throughout the vessel, and as fireproofing in galleys and crew quarters.

Unfortunately, exposure to asbestos can lead to malignant mesothelioma later in life. Asbestos causes mesothelioma by injuring the mesothelium, a thin layer of tissue buffering many internal organs. The high concentration of asbestos parts used on U.S. Navy ships resulted in many veteran sailors becoming ill. There are usually legal options for those injured by asbestos.

Sources

Sources

Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-540.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd540txt.htm

NavSource Naval History, USS Twining (DD-540).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/540.htm

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January 11, 2017
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