The USS Wallace L. Lind (DD-703) served in the U.S. Navy for nearly three decades before being transferred to South Korea. She was named for Captain Wallace Ludwig Lind who served in World War I. Wallace L. Lind was commissioned as an Allen M. Sumner class destroyer.
Wallace L. Lind was laid down at Kearny, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in February 1944, launched in June, and commissioned in September with Commander George DeMetropolis in command. Carrying a crew of 336, Wallace L. Lind had a displacement of 3,218 tons and was armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.
Wallace L. Lind sailed to Pearl Harbor in November 1944. She served as a protective vessel for aircraft carriers during important offensives in the Philippines, such as the Luzon air strikes in January 1945, as well as strikes on Formosa and Saigon. Wallace L. Lind operated with the carriers for air strikes on Tokyo in February and then during the troop landings at Iwo Jima and during the invasion of Okinawa in April.
Wallace L. Lind supported air patrols and searches during the occupation, as well as conducted training exercises in Tokyo Bay until October. Wallace L. Lind operated between Sasebo and Okinawa thereafter and returned to Norfolk, Virginia in February 1946. The destroyer was listed as in restricted availability at Charleston, South Carolina, and then was assigned to training duty at New Orleans.
Wallace L. Lind was deployed during the Korean War in 1950 for patrol and bombardment duties, until June 1951. Deployments to the Mediterranean and Middle East were alternated with exercises in the Caribbean during the next few years. Wallace L. Lind served with NATO forces in the North Atlantic in 1960, and carried out anti-submarine exercises off the Dominican Republic in 1961. During Project Mercury in 1961, Wallace L. Lind was stationed south of the Canary Islands, and then underwent FRAM II conversion in October. Wallace L. Lind served during several Mediterranean deployments in the 1960s.
Wallace L. Lind operated at the Gemini Recovery Station off Florida in September 1966, and embarked on an eight-month deployment to the western Pacific in April 1968. The destroyer participated in warfare training exercises and naval reserve training on both the east and west coasts before being decommissioned in December 1973 and transferred to South Korea, where she was broken up for scrap in 1994.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Wallace L. Lind (DD-703)
Nearly every sailor serving on Wallace L. Lind was regularly exposed to asbestos-containing materials, no matter what duties were. Some jobs suffered greater exposure: boilermen, machinists’ mates, engineers, and firemen were at particularly high risk. No job on the ship was completely safe, though, because asbestos products were found from stem to stern on Wallace L. Lind.
Asbestos material triggers mesothelioma by lodging in the mesothelium. The tiny fibers cause scarring in that tissue, and can eventually lead to mesothelioma cancer. Many Navy veterans have developed asbestos-related diseases in the years following their service. The companies that made the harmful asbestos products are often held liable for the injuries their products contributed to. This means almost everyone suffering from mesothelioma can seek compensation in a court of law.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-703.
NavSource Naval History. USS Wallace L. Lind (DD-703).