The USS Ozbourn (DD-846) was a Gearing-class destroyer in service with the U.S. Navy from the post-World War II period through the end of the Vietnam War. She was named in honor of a Marine who was killed saving other members of his squad during the Battle of Tinian in 1944.
Ozbourn was built at the Bath Iron Works Shipyard in Bath, Maine. The vessel's keel was laid in June 1945 and the completed hull launched in December. She was commissioned in June of 1946.
Based on the earlier Fletcher class that was the mainstay of the USN destroyer fleet for half a century, Gearing-type destroyers incorporated many improvements, including greater size, speed and range as well as heavier armaments. With twin rudders for greater maneuverability, Ozbourn measured over 390 feet in length with a beam of just over 41 feet and displaced 2,425 tons. Her engine rooms contained two Babcock & Wilcox boilers powering twin General Electric geared turbines, giving her a top speed of thirty-five knots. During peacetime, the typical Gearing-class destroyer carried a crew of 10-11 officers and 325 seamen.
Following her shakedown trials, Ozbourn was stationed at San Diego. She made deployments to Asia between January and October. The latter deployment was cut short due to a serious collision with a second vessel in the fall of 1947 in which two crewmen were killed. The vessel returned to San Diego for repairs, then sailed again for Asia in October 1948.
From 1949-1950, Ozbourn functioned primarily as a training vessel for midshipmen and was noted for carrying out the first guided missile tests while at sea.
Ozbourn was sent to Korea twice during that conflict. The first deployment was with Task Force 77 from September 1950 – during which the crew participated in the invasion of Inchon – until February 1952, when Ozbourn suffered two direct hits during combat action off Korea, necessitating her return to port. The second deployment began in July of 1952. She would return to the Far East twice more over the next several years.
During the entirety of 1962, Ozbourn underwent her Fleet Rehabilitation And Modernization (FRAM I) overhaul, a procedure carried out on most World War II-era naval vessels still in service at that time. The work was done at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, and included major weapons upgrades as well as the construction of a new superstructure and crew accommodations.
From July 1964 until 1970, Ozbourn continued her deployments to the Far East with the 7th Fleet, making several combat tours of Vietnam during that period and periodically returning to the West Coast for maintenance and upkeep.
USS Ozbourn remained in service through the mid-1970s. She was struck from the Naval Registry in June 1975 and subsequently sold for scrap to General Metals of Tacoma, Washington six months later.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Ozbourn (DD-846)
Ozbourn employed asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in almost all compartments, both in equipment and wrapped around steam pipes. The greatest quantity of asbestos was in and around the boilers and power plant, but no area of the ship was completely safe from the mineral.
Because the USS Ozbourn sustained some combat damage, her crew may have been exposed to an even greater asbestos hazard. Damaged asbestos insulation becomes friable, easily releasing individual fibers into the surrounding air. Airborne asbestos is invisible and very dangerous to an unprotected crew. Sailors and workers that participated in Ozbourn’s FRAM overhaul were also likely to handle friable asbestos.
Asbestos is the only known cause of mesothelioma, an aggressive and often deadly cancer. If you or a loved one suffered this disease after serving aboard the Ozbourn, you may have a legal right to compensation. Find out more about the disease and your legal options by completing the form on this page. We’ll send you a free information packet by mail.Sources
Destroyer History Foundation. "Gearing Class"
Mooney, James. Dictionary of American Fighting Ships. (Washington DC; Department of the Navy, 1991).
N/A. "History." USS Ozbourn Association
http://www.ozbourn.org/history.htm). Accessed 24 February 2011.