The USS Chandler (DD-996) , originally built for the Iranian Navy, served in the US Navy for over a decade-and-a-half in the late-20th century. She was named for Admiral Theodore Edson Chandler who commanded various Atlantic and Pacific Fleet battleship and cruiser divisions during World War II. Chandler was laid down as a Kidd-class naval ship.
Chandler was laid down at Pascagoula, Mississippi by the Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation in May 1979, launched in May 1980, and commissioned in March 1982 with Commander Henry W. Strickland in command. Supporting a crew complement of 296, Chandler was 563 feet in length and had a range of 6,000 nautical miles at 20 knots. She was armed with two five-inch rapid fire guns, two surface-to-air missile launchers, a Harpoon anti-ship missile battery, a Phalanx CIWS anti-ship missile defense system, six 12.75-inch anti-submarine torpedo tubes, and one helicopter.
Chandler became the third ship in the US Navy to be named so, and was one of four ships to be ordered to serve the Iranian government in the mid-1970s. Reclassified as guided missile destroyer DDG-996 in August 1979, Chandler operated in the Atlantic until she was deployed to the western Pacific in 1984. Chandler returned to San Diego, California in August and then served with Destroyer Squadron 21 in the western Pacific from March to September 1986. During this deployment, Chandler operated in the Arabian Gulf for two months.
Chandler aided in the rescue of 41 crew members of supertanker Pivot, following an attack by Iran, in 1987. She was awarded the Navy Humanitarian Service Medal for these actions. The destroyer then served with the Middle East Force during the Iran-Iraq War, while deployed to the western Pacific in 1988. Chandler then received a New Threat Upgrade at Seattle, Washington, and was deployed to the Arabian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm in October 1991.
In 1993, Chandler served as picket ship for the Abraham Lincoln battle group in the Middle East. The guided missile destroyer provided air defense duties as well as helped enforce the no-fly zone over southern Iraq during Operation Southern Watch. Chandler then operated off Somalia before returning to the Arabian Gulf, and also intercepted and boarded vessels off the Iraqi coast. Decommissioned in September 1999, Chandler was transferred to Taiwan in 2003 and delivered to Su-Ao Naval Base in 2006 as RCS Ma-Kong.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Chandler (DD-996)
Ships built after 1976 generally pose less risk of asbestos exposure to the sailors aboard, as the Toxic Substances Control Act of that year provided rules and regulations about how asbestos products could be used and handled. Alternatives to asbestos insulations were readily available by this time. There is still some risk to sailors on the Chandler, though, particularly those dealing with legacy parts and products that were designed and built before the TSCA was passed.
Exposure to asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma. This aggressive and often fatal cancer can take many years to develop, meaning that those that served aboard the Chandler may still be at risk. It is important that your doctor know about your service in the Navy. Having all the information about your potential exposure to asbestos can assist your doctor in making the best and most accurate diagnosis.Sources