The USS Caron (DD-970) served in the US Navy for approximately two and a half decades at the end of the 20th century. She was named for Wayne M. Caron, a US Navy officer killed in the 1960s who was honored after his death by President Richard Nixon. Caron was built as a Spruance-class ship.
Caron was laid down in Pascagoula, Mississippi by Litton Ingalls in July of 1974. She was launched in June of 1975 and commissioned in October of 1977. Caron carried a crew of 296 and offered a cruising speed of 30 knots. She was armed with two five-inch 54 RFs, one Sea Sparrow missile, and six 12.75-inch MK 32s. She also featured a helicopter and attendant machinery and supplies.
Caron began her tenure in the US Navy by participating in a variety of training operations and good-will missions throughout the 1980s, very much in line with the main activities of the US fleet during this time period. In 1990, she received a standard overhaul in a US port and, shortly thereafter, deployed to the Middle East to support troops in the Second Gulf War.
In 1993, Caron was sent to Haiti to enforce United Nation sanctions on that country. Two years later, she participated in NATO mine countermeasure exercises in the waters off the coast of Denmark. 1996 was an eventful year for the vessel, as she launched her helicopter to rescue a lone sailor stranded off the coast of Oman after the sinking of a cargo vessel and later patrolled the Middle East as part of Operation Southern Watch. In 1998, Caron again returned to the waters near the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf. While there, she participated in Exercise Shark Hut, an undersea warfare training operation off the coast of Spain.
The turn of the 21st century found Caron still at sea. In 2000, she underwent combat training in Puerto Rico, then participated in an extended combat readiness operations. In 2001, after approximately two and a half decades in the service of the United States Navy, Caron was decommissioned at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia. She was stricken from the Navy list the following year and was eventually sunk during explosive tests late in 2002.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Caron (DD-970)
The Caron was constructed just as the full dangers of asbestos exposure were becoming known. She was likely built with fewer asbestos parts than ships laid down even a few years earlier. Still, sailors aboard Caron, particularly those that worked in her power plant, have some risk. This is because laws regulating asbestos products weren't passed until 1976, two years after construction of the USS Caron began.
Asbestos diseases like mesothelioma can take many years to develop. Veterans of the Caron should be sure to explain their possible asbestos exposure to their physicians, as that information can help in getting an accurate diagnosis and the best treatment. Early detection of asbestos cancer can lead to more favorable outcomes during treatment.Sources