The USS Kinkaid (DD-965) served in the U.S. Navy for three decades at the end of the 20th century. She was named for Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid, a U.S. Navy officer during middle of the 20th century. Kinkaid was built as a Spruance-class ship.
Kincaid was laid down in Pascagoula, Mississippi by Litton Ingalls in April 1973. She was launched in May 1974 and commissioned in July 1976. Kinkaid 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.
Kinkaid began her tenure with the U.S. Navy in the late 1970s, engaging in a number of peacetime voyages and operations over the following decade. Many of Kinkaid’s more interesting exploits, however, occurred during the 1990s.
In 1993, the vessel called at Acajutla, El Salvador, marking the first visit to that country by the U.S. Navy in more than a decade. In 1994, the ship was deployed to the Western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the Persian Gulf as part of a battle group that conducted a number of routine exercises designed to encourage strong relationships between the U.S. Navy and various friendly nations in the Middle East. In 1995, Kinkaid underwent a major overhaul, and she was soon re-assigned to a new destroyer squadron as part of a general re-organization of the Pacific fleet.
The final years of the 1990s included a number of naval exercises in the Western Pacific (often simulation war-time situations and circumstances) and a stint in the Arabian Gulf (during which the government of Iran suspected the vessel of spying). Kinkaid again found herself in the Persian Gulf region in 1999 in support of Operation Southern Watch, engaged in keeping an eye on Iraq.
After the turn of the 21st century, Kinkaid continued to be deployed in the Middle East. She participated in joint operations with a variety of friendly nations’ navies and was a key player in many U.S. Naval enterprises in the region. In 2003, after three decades of service, the ship was finally decommissioned. She was stricken from the Navy list in 2004 and was later sunk as a target.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Kinkaid (DD-965)
No matter what the job, service on a Navy ship meant probable asbestos exposure to some extent. Although nearly every crewman on the ship would have suffered some asbestos exposure, mechanics and engineers had the highest exposure potential. Nearly every section aboard the USS Kinkaid had presented some level of asbestos exposure risk. Though laid down in the waning years of widespread asbestos use, the Kinkaid probably contained significant quantities of this toxic material.
Drydock and shipyard personnel and their families were also at risk of being exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos. When working on asbestos laden equipment - for example, when removing asbestos-containing materials during a refit - fibers would become airborne and stick to the clothes of shipyard personnel who would then come home, exposing their families to the poisonous dust as well. The inhalation or ingestion of asbestos is strongly linked to the development of mesothelioma, a serious and often life-threatening form of asbestos cancer.Sources