The USS Stickell (DD-888) served in the U.S. Navy for over two and a half decades in the mid-20th century. She was named for Lieutenant John Harlan Stickell who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force and then with the United States Naval Reserve in World War II. Stickell was built as a Gearing-class destroyer.
Stickell was laid down at Orange, Texas by the Consolidated Steel Corporation in January 1945, launched in June, and commissioned in October with Commander Francis E. Fleck in command. Carrying a crew of 336, Stickell had a cruising speed of 36.8 knots and was armed with 21-inch torpedo tubes, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.
Stickell trained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and then supported carrier qualifications at Norfolk, Virginia in April and May 1946 in the company of Kearsarge. The destroyer screened the same vessel to Cuba and to the Panama Canal. After returning to Norfolk, Stickell sailed to the west coast and joined Destroyer Division 11 at San Diego Naval Shipyard in late June. From then until 1950, Stickell was deployed to the Far East three times.
Following overhaul at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Stickell was deployed to the Korean War Zone in November 1950. Stickell conducted shore bombardments and patrols off Korea and also participated in anti-submarine warfare exercises off Japan, and then arrived at San Diego in August. From January to August 1952, Stickell served off Korea for bombardment, blockade, escort, and patrol duties, and returned to the Far East in June 1954 after being converted to a radar picket destroyer at Long Beach, California. During this deployment, Stickell served on the Taiwan Strait patrol, and ended the journey with a voyage around the world.
Stickell joined the Atlantic Fleet in August 1954, and received experimental data processing and weapons analysis systems during a 1958 overhaul. An FRAM overhaul was completed in early 1964 and Stickell then was based out of Newport, Rhode Island as the flagship of Destroyer Division 122. Stickell operated in the Atlantic and Mediterranean until she was deployed to Vietnam in early 1966. The destroyer then circumnavigated the world, stopping at many Mediterranean ports, and returned to Newport in August.
Deployments to the Mediterranean and Middle East continued until Stickell was struck from the Navy list in July 1972. Stickell was then transferred to Greece, renamed Kanaris, and operated there until 1994. The former Stickell was sold for scrap in 2002.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Stickell (DD-888)
The U.S. Navy deployed asbestos extensively up until the late 1970s as a heat and electrical insulator and to fireproof compartments on board all its vessels. Stickell’s boilers, turbines, generators, and pumps all utilized asbestos-containing materials. Many other compartments and corridors were contaminated by asbestos-wrapped pipes and asbestos-based cement. The Navy’s reliance on asbestos products placed sailors at an increased risk for mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases.
A sailor’s chance of developing asbestos-related illness increased considerably if he frequently worked with damaged or worn asbestos-containing materials. Performing refits, repairs, and even routine maintenance could release clouds of tiny, easily inhaled fibers from friable asbestos sources. While repair work was amongst the most dangerous jobs a sailor might do, any assignment aboard Stickell could have lead to asbestos disease. The legal system offers options for most sailors injured by asbestos.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-888.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd888txt.htm) Retrieved 23 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. Stickell (DD-888).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/888.htm) Retrieved 23 February 2011.