The USS Barney (DD-956) served in the US Navy for over three decades in the mid-to-late-20th century. She was named for Captain Joshua Barney who served in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Barney was a member of the Charles F. Adams class of naval destroyers.
Barney was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation in August 1959, launched in December 1960, and commissioned in August 1962 with Commander Joseph J. Doak, Jr., in command. Carrying a crew of 333 to 350, Barney was 437 feet long and was armed with two five-inch rapid fire guns, a surface-to-air missile system, an anti-submarine rocket launcher, and six 12.75-inch anti-submarine torpedo tubes.
Reclassified as guided missile destroyer DDG-6 in April 1957, Barney reported to Norfolk, Virginia after shakedown testing in December 1962. Barney was overhauled at Philadelphia, joined routine operations with the 2nd Fleet at the end of May, and then operated in the Mediterranean for five months beginning in the fall. She was back in Norfolk by March 1964 and then participated in NATO exercises from September to November. Another Mediterranean tour, with the 6th Fleet, followed in 1965, during which Barney participated in anti-submarine warfare exercises. Barney then spent January and February 1966 operating as a school ship for the Fleet Sonar School in Key West.
Barney was overhauled at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard from March to September and, after operations in the Caribbean and on the east coast, was deployed to the Far East during the Vietnam War. This deployment lasted from mid-February to mid-September 1967, and Barney then returned to the east coast of the United States. Exercises out of Norfolk were interspersed with 6th Fleet deployments, primarily for anti-submarine warfare exercises with various fleets in 1969, and service during the Jordanian crisis in 1970.
Barney was converted to use Navy distillate fuel by the spring of 1973, and while based in England for five months, operated north of the Arctic Circle and in the North Sea. From January to April 1977, the destroyer remained in dry dock at Norfolk for sonar dome repairs, and operated in the Middle East in 1978. Barney received another overhaul at her home port which lasted until November 1979, while another 6th Fleet deployment lasted from December 1979 to February 1981. Decommissioned in 1990, Barney was struck from the Navy list in 1992 and broken up by the Metro Machine Corporation in 2006.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Barney (DD-956)
The Barney was built during a time when asbestos use in Navy ships was at its heaviest. The dangers of using the mineral for insulation and fireproofing were not yet fully realized, and products containing asbestos were particularly effective for those tasks. As a result, many sailors aboard the USS Barney were likely exposed to hazardous levels of airborne asbestos fibers.
In the late 1970's, the link between asbestos exposure and diseases like mesothelioma was firmly established. It is likely that asbestos abatement began on the Barney during this time, and that sailors at the greatest risk for exposure were afforded the necessary protective gear. Still, Navy veterans face a much higher chance of asbestos-related illness than members of the other armed forces. Make sure your physician knows about your time at sea and potential asbestos exposure. That information can help your doctor make the most accurate diagnosis of your condition.Sources