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USS Elliot (DD-967)

The USS Elliot (DD-967) served in the U.S. Navy for two and a half decades at the end of the 20th century. She was named for Arthur James Elliot, II, a U.S. Navy officer killed during the Vietnam War. Elliot was built as a Spruance-class ship.

Construction

Elliot was laid down in Pascagoula, Mississippi by Litton Ingalls in October 1973. She was launched in December 1974 and commissioned in January 1977, with Commander Donald Gurke at the helm. Elliot carried a crew of 296 and had 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 equipment.

Naval History

Elliot began her tenure in the U.S. Navy in 1977 as a member of the Pacific fleet. Her first years at sea included participation in war-at-sea training scenarios. Soon, however, she was called back to port to upgrade her sensors and weaponry. By the spring of 1978, Elliot was back at sea. Her next deployment included tests of the NATO Sea Sparrow missile system, helicopter qualification exercises, and a number of training operations.

In 1979, Elliot participated in a WESTPAC deployment with a number of other ships, mainly engaged in keeping a US presence in the Gulf of Aden. She later traveled to Okinawa for additional training exercises, serving as a recovery ship during missile test launches. During this time period, Elliot also participated in a surveillance mission designed to gain greater understanding of Soviet Union naval tactics.

The 1980s brought a number of additional deployments. Elliot participated in a number of additional training and readiness exercises (including joint operations with the navies of a variety of friendly nations) and assisted in a rescue operation for a downed Korean Airlines flight. During the 1990s, Elliot was part of the force deployed to the Gulf region of the Middle East for a variety of peace-keeping efforts (though she arrived after the major actions of the Gulf War). In 2000, she participated in Exercise Arabian Gauntlet with eight other US vessels.

The years that followed included standard readiness training and operations. In 2003, after two and a half decades of service, Elliot was finally decommissioned. In 2005, she was sunk as a target in the Coral Sea.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Elliot (DD-967)

In the 1930s, asbestos was installed aboard seagoing vessels like the USS Elliot due to new laws regarding fire safety. As asbestos was a very efficient and inexpensive form of insulation, it was used to insulate the parts on a naval vessel that produced heat such as boilers and turbines. It was also used to wrap the ship's steam pipes and to protect the equipment in the power plant.

No matter what job sailors performed, service aboard Elliot carried potential asbestos exposure risk for them. Sailors working with engineering equipment were more likely to be heavily exposed, however, as were crew members working in fire suppression efforts. This is because equipment in these areas were highly insulated with asbestos containing insulation and constructed with other asbestos products.

Because asbestos is actually a mineral, when something damages it the individual fibers can shed off, come loose and enter the air, where they can easily be swallowed or breathed in. When this happens there is a high risk of developing mesothelioma, a serious form of asbestos cancer. Many U.S. veterans are still discovering that the asbestos exposure they experienced many years ago while serving in the navy has developed into mesothelioma cancer today.

Sources

Sources

NavSource Naval History, USS Elliot (DD-967).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/967.htm) Retrieved 5 March 2011.
Navy Site, USS Elliot (DD-967).
(http://www.navysite.de/dd/dd967history.htm) Retrieved 5 March 2011.

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