The USS Eugene A. Greene (DD-711) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy for nearly two and a half decades in the mid-20th century, before being transferred to Spain. She was named for Eugene A. Greene, an enlisted naval officer who was killed in action during the Battle of Midway. Eugene A. Greene was laid down as a Gearing-class naval destroyer.
Eugene A. Greene was laid down at Newark, New Jersey by the Federal Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in August 1944, launched in March 1945, and commissioned in June with Commander William V. Pratt II in command. Carrying a crew of 336, Eugene A. Greene was armed with six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes. She was 390 feet, six inches long and had a displacement of 3,460 tons.
Eugene A. Greene underwent shakedown training along the east coast as well as in the Caribbean, and then was assigned to plane guard duty during the qualification process for aircraft carrier pilots. Early in her service, Eugene A. Greene also trained crew members of new destroyers. In 1947, Eugene A. Greene operated at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Uruguay for the presidential inauguration there in February.
Following her return to the United States, Eugene A. Greene departed Norfolk, Virginia for the Mediterranean for the first time in November. Eugene A. Greene was assigned to the 6th Fleet to conduct peace-keeping operations, and made a total of nine Mediterranean voyages, which she alternated with trips to the Arctic as well as northern Europe. The destroyer was decommissioned from April to December 1962 while undergoing conversion to a radar picket vessel.
Eugene A. Greene served along the east coast and Caribbean. During these deployments, she trained reservists, guarded aircraft carriers and their planes, and conducted task group exercises. In October 1963, Eugene A. Greene underwent a Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization upgrade, and resumed naval service until being decommissioned in August 1972. Loaned to Spain and renamed Churruca, the former Eugene A. Greene was struck from the Navy list in June 1975, struck from Spain’s naval registry in 1989, and sunk during target practice in December 1991.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Eugene A. Greene (DD-711)
Builders and manufacturers began using asbestos materials in the late 1800s because it was an excellent fire-proofing material for construction and manufacturing applications. Asbestos was also used in the engine rooms of maritime vessels such as the USS Eugene A. Greene as a result of new safety regulations in the early 1900s. When absorbed into the body, asbestos dust can become lodged in the respiratory tract and can eventually lead to the development of pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma.
If a member of the ship's crew was primarily employed in the engine room, the level of his exposure would most likely have been greater than for those working in other areas of the ship. Higher levels of exposure to asbestos, particularly broken or brittle asbestos that has been disturbed, raises the risk of being diagnosed with mesothelioma later in life.
As damaged sections of the USS Eugene A. Greene were generally contaminated with airborne asbestos, personnel and civilian workers carrying out repairs had a significantly higher rate of exposure to asbestos—much higher than crew not doing that work. There may be legal options available to Navy veterans who have contracted mesothelioma. Please fill out the form on this page to learn more.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-711.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd711txt.htm) Retrieved 9 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Eugene A. Greene (DD-711).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/711.htm) Retrieved 9 February 2011.