The USS Warrington was a Gearing-class destroyer in service with the U.S. Navy from December 1945 until September 1972. She was named in honor of Lewis Warrington, who served as a Naval officer during the War of 1812 and the Barbary Wars.
Warrington's keel was laid at the Bath Iron Works Shipyard in Bath, Maine in mid-May 1945. The vessel was launched in September of that year and commissioned five days before Christmas.
Based on the previous Fletcher and Sumner designs, destroyers such as Warrington were built for greater speed, maneuverability and range. She measured 390 feet in length with a beam of 41 feet and displaced over 3500 tons under a full load. Propulsion was furnished by two Westinghouse steam turbines and four Babcock & Wilcox boilers, giving the vessel a top speed of 35 knots over calm seas. Her peacetime crew compliment was 336 officers and seamen.
Warrington's first several months were spent cruising the waters around post-war Europe. Over the next decade, the destroyer was primarily a training vessel in various capacities. During this period, she sailed the Atlantic, Caribbean and Mediterranean in addition to embarking Annapolis graduates for a summer midshipmen's cruise around the Great Lakes in 1959.
Following her FRAM upgrades in 1961-62, Warrington remained based on the East Coast, playing roles in the Sigma 7 Mercury mission and the quarantine of Cuba in the fall of 1962. Warrington then sailed for Pakistan and participated in Operation Mindlink VI with naval forces of CENTO nations. Like most of the World War II era destroyers still in service at the time, Warrington underwent major refits and and overhaul, known as the Fleet Rehabilitation And Modernization, or FRAM I. In May of 1961, Warrington entered the New York Naval Shipyard for this overhaul, which continued for just under a year. During this time, the vessel's entire superstructure was largely replaced. In addition, anti-submarine weaponry was installed as well as hangar and landing pad facilities for a helicopter.
In July of 1964, Warrington collided with the USS Barrywhen the former vessel lost her steering control during maneuvers at sea. The damage required a week at the Boston Naval Shipyard. Scheduled repairs and maintenance were carried out at the U.S. Naval Base in Subic Bay, Philippines during the early weeks of 1967 following a tour of duty off Vietnam. In October of 1968, she returned to the Boston Naval Shipyard for a major overhaul lasting five months.
During a Vietnam deployment in July of 1972, Warrington struck two mines while off Danang. The explosions caused major damage in her aft engine and fire rooms, breaking open fuel tanks and fresh water storage facilities. She was towed back to Subic Bay, where an inspection team declared her unfit for further duty. The vessel's hulk was eventually sold to the Taiwanese Navy, where she was stripped of usable parts, then scrapped.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Warrington (DD-843)
Most sailors that served on Warrington were exposed to asbestos-containing materials. Workers refitting and repairing the ship had a similar exposure risk. Asbestos products are most dangerous when they are friable, meaning that individual fibers have separated and may become airborne. Warrington’s overhauls, collision with Barry, and mine damage would have increased the amount of friable asbestos on board, and with it, the exposure risk.
Asbestos material causes mesothelioma by damaging a membrane called the mesothelium. Greater exposure increases the likelihood of becoming ill. Most asbestos diseases take many years to develop, meaning that many Navy veterans have only recently been diagnosed. There are legal options for most servicemen with mesothelioma.Sources
Destroyer History Foundation. "Gearing Class"
http://destroyerhistory.org/sumnergearingclass.asp?class=GearingClass). Retrieved 22 February 2011.
Mooney, James. Dictionary of American Fighting Ships. (Washington DC; Department of the Navy, 1991).