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USS Hull (DD-945)

The USS Hull (DD-945) served in the U.S. Navy for two and a half decades in the mid-to-late-20th century. She was named for Captain Isaac Hull who served in the Tripolitan War and the War of 1812. Hull was a member of the Forrest Sherman class of destroyers.

Construction

Hull was laid down at Bath, Maine by the Bath Iron Works Corporation in September 1956, launched in August 1957, and commissioned in July 1958 with Commander Herbert H. Ries in command. Featuring a crew capacity of 324, Hull was 418 feet, six inches in length and armed with four three-inch rapid fire guns, two anti-submarine mortars, four 21-inch torpedo tubes, and six 12.75-inch anti-submarine torpedo tubes. The destroyer had a cruising speed of 33 knots and a range of 4,500 nautical miles at 20 knots.

Naval History

Hull departed Newport, Rhode Island in September 1958, conducted training exercises at San Diego, and then sailed for the Far East in April 1959. During this deployment, Hull served on the Formosa Patrol, and then returned to San Diego in September. Another Far East deployment began in July 1960, during which she participated in anti-submarine tactical training on the Formosa Patrol. Hull arrived back at San Diego in November.

Hull participated in fleet exercises from January to August 1961, and then operated off Southeast Asia from August 1961 to February 1962. The destroyer escorted forces to the Panama Canal Zone during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and then served in the Far East from October 1963 to April 1964. In 1965, Hull was assigned to patrol duty off Vietnam.

From January to April 1966, Hull remained at Long Beach Naval Shipyard for overhaul, and then took part in fleet operations off San Diego in July. Hull returned to the western Pacific in August and served as flagship of Commander Task Unit 70.8.9 during a 30-day patrol run off South Vietnam. The destroyer conducted three war patrols during this deployment and returned to San Diego in February 1967. Hull continued to operate off California throughout the 1970s, was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list in 1983, and was moved to Port Hueneme, California in April 1998. She was sunk during a training exercise in April 1998.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Hull (DD-945)

Essentially all sections of Hull were contaminated by asbestos. The ship was built in the late 50’s, a time when inexpensive and highly effective asbestos parts were widely used in the construction and maintenance of U.S. Navy ships. While the engineering and mechanical compartments of Hull used the most asbestos, even the bunks often contained pipes that featured asbestos pipe covering. Nearly every sailor that served on this ship would have suffered at least some degree of asbestos exposure.

Working in an environment contaminated by asbestos is very dangerous, and requires protective gear. Because sailors on the Hull were unaware of the danger posed by the mineral, few if any were adequately protected. Those assigned to the engine room or boilers had the greatest total exposure, and thus the greatest risk to their health. Many Navy veterans that served during this time have suffered asbestos-related illnesses, including mesothelioma cancer. The legal system offers recourse for former sailors injured by asbestos.

Sources

Sources

Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-945.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd945txt.htm) Retrieved 26 February 2011.

NavSource Naval History. USS Hull (DD-945).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/945.htm) Retrieved 26 February 2011.

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