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USS Floyd B. Parks (DD-884)

The USS Floyd B. Parks (DD-884) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy for nearly three decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Captain Floyd B. Parks, a Marine Corps officer who was killed in action during the Battle of Midway in the Second World War. Floyd B. Parks was a member of the U.S. Navy’s Gearing class of destroyers.

Construction

Floyd B. Parks was laid down at Orange, Texas by the Consolidated Steel Corporation in October 1944, launched in March 1945, and commissioned in July with Commander Morgan Slayton in command. Supporting a crew complement of 336, Floyd B. Parks was 390 feet, six inches in length, with a 3,460-ton displacement, and armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.

Naval History

Floyd B. Parks arrived at her home port of San Diego, California in November 1945 and began her first tour of duty in the Far East. During this deployment, Floyd B. Parks conducted patrols of the China coast and also operated in the Mariana Islands. The destroyer returned to San Diego in February 1947 and served on two more deployments to the Far East prior to the Korean War.

Floyd B. Parks departed San Diego in February 1951 and then screened the fast carrier task force off the east coast of Korea. She also conducted blockade and bombardment duty in Wonsan Harbor, and then returned to San Diego in October. Patrols in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait occupied Floyd B. Parks during her 1952 deployment to the Far East.

From December 1952 on, Floyd B. Parks operated along the west coast and was deployed to the western Pacific on an annual basis. Floyd B. Parks aided in the evacuation of the Tachen Islands in 1955 and in March 1956, suffered a collision with Columbus, causing two fatalities and major damage. She received temporary repairs at Subic Bay and permanent repairs, as well as a new bow from destroyer Lansdale, at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard in May.

Floyd B. Parks then resumed west coast and Far East rotations until 1962, and underwent an FRAM upgrade which was completed in 1963. Decommissioned in July 1973, Floyd B. Parks was sold for scrap in April 1984.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Floyd B. Parks (DD-884)

Essentially every area on board the USS Floyd B. Parks presented sailors with some level of asbestos exposure. The use of asbestos insulation, however, was deployed in larger amounts in certain areas of ships like the Floyd B. Parks. Because asbestos material acts as such an efficient insulation, it was wrapped around the steam pipes that ran throughout the ship and around equipment in the engine room. The risk of asbestos exposure even existed in compartments that didn’t contain heavy machinery as the substance was widely used in putty, glues, caulk, seals and valves.

Developing mesothelioma is known to be strongly associated with the overall level of asbestos exposure as well as the duration of exposure. Damaged asbestos insulation is extremely dangerous because when damaged (as when Floyd B. Parks was involved in a serious collision) loose fibers could enter the air. Working with damaged asbestos insulation or damaged machinery exposed Floyd B. Parks’ crew and dockyard personnel to higher levels of asbestos than what would have been encountered in the normal course of duty. Science has discovered a conclusive link between the inhalation of asbestos fibers and the development of pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma.

Sources

Sources

Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-884.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd884txt.htm) Retrieved 22 February 2011.

NavSource Naval History. Floyd B. Parks (DD-884).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/884.htm) Retrieved 22 February 2011.

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