The USS Moosbrugger (DD-980) served in the U.S. Navy for over two decades at the end of the 20th century. She was named for Vice Admiral Frederick Moosbrugger, who served as a squadron commander in World War II. Moosbrugger was a member of the Spruance class of naval destroyers.
Moosbrugger was laid down at Pascagoula, Mississippi by the Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation in November 1975, launched in July 1977, and commissioned in December 1978 with Commander Robert N. Giuffreda in command. Measuring 563 feet long, Moosbrugger carried a crew of 296 and had a range of 6,000 nautical miles at 20 knots. She was armed with two five-inch rapid fire guns, a surface-to-air missile system, an anti-submarine rocket launcher, six 12.75-inch anti-submarine torpedo tubes, and one helicopter.
Moosbrugger operated out of Charleston, South Carolina until she was relocated to Mayport, Florida in March 1995, before which the destroyer took part in operations off Grenada and Lebanon, as well as Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In 1996, Moosbrugger participated in tactical operations, port exercises, and amphibious operations with South American naval forces, as part of UNITAS 96, during which she sailed in Venezuelan waters. Moosbrugger conducted anti-submarine and electronic warfare, as well as gunnery exercises in the Caribbean during this time. She also operated off Brazil as part of these exercises.
From July to November 1998, Moosbrugger served as the flagship for Commander Task Force 138.0 during UNITAS 39-98. Moosbrugger then took part in exercises off Puerto Rico in April 1999, which was followed by operations with various navies in South America. A six-month tour with NATO forces occupied Moosbrugger for much of 2000, which included visits to various European ports. Moosbrugger was decommissioned in December 2000 and broken up for scrap by International Shipbreakers Ltd., LCC by July 2007.
During her service, Moosbrugger was awarded with the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation, and The Southwest Asia Service Medal. Moosbrugger also received the National Defense Service Medal, the Liberation of Kuwait Medal, and a Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Moosbrugger (DD-980)
Ships built in the mid to late 70’s were constructed with fewer asbestos materials than the vessels built just a few years earlier. The dangers of asbestos exposure were better understood by then, so the mineral was used only in situations where a better alternative was difficult to source. Aboard the Moosbrugger, most of the asbestos was installed in engineering spaces.
It is proven that any exposure to asbestos can cause health problems later in life, including mesothelioma cancer. Because asbestos diseases can take decades to develop, veterans of Moosbrugger may yet become ill. Out of an abundance of caution, sailors should disclose their service history and possible asbestos exposure to their physicians. Early detection of asbestos cancer can lead to more effective treatment.Sources