The USS Stump (DD-978) served in the U.S. Navy for over two and a half decades during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. She was named for Admiral Felix B. Stump who commanded the United States Pacific Fleet in the 1950s. Stump was commissioned as a Spruance-class vessel.
Stump was laid down at Pascagoula, Mississippi by the Litton Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation in August 1975, launched in March 1977, and commissioned in August 1978 with Commander Carl A. Anderson in command. At 563 feet in length, Stump carried a crew of 296 and 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.
Stump was deployed to the Mediterranean as flagship for Commander, Destroyer Squadron 14 in 1980. In 1981, she served as flagship of Commander, South Atlantic Force, United States Atlantic Fleet for UNITAS XXII, during which an Amazon Parrot from Brazil became the ship’s mascot. Stump conducted radar picket duties in the Persian Gulf from October 1982 to March 1983, was adopted as West Virginia’s state flagship in March 1984, and was present during the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans.
Stump served as a test ship for hull mounted sonar in 1985. A deployment to the Mediterranean lasted from April to August 1988, and Stump was then assigned to law enforcement duties in the Caribbean. Stump returned to the Mediterranean in 1989 and received a combat systems upgrade during an overhaul at New Orleans in 1990. This involved the installation of a vertical launcher for missiles as well as an underwater surveillance system.
From November 1992 to January 1993, Stump operated in the Arabian Gulf and the North Red Sea, and was deployed to South America in July 1994. Stump conducted anti-drug operations in the Caribbean in 1995 and then served in the Middle East with an interception force in 1996 and 1997. She then participated in warfare exercises with the 6th Fleet in 1998 and took part in technological evaluations off the east coast and in the Gulf of Mexico in 2000.
Stump was deployed with Harry S. Truman in the Mediterranean and Middle East from November 2000 to May 2001 and seized a fishing vessel carrying narcotics in the eastern Pacific in 2003. Decommissioned in October 2004, Stump was sunk during training exercises in June 2006.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Stump (DD-978)
Stump was built as the Navy was winding down its use of asbestos-containing materials. However, it is very likely that asbestos insulation was present in many parts of the ship. Engineering sections likely contained the greatest risk. Pumps, valves, gaskets, and steam pipes were also potential asbestos hazards.
Exposure to asbestos can have life-long consequences. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can lodge in the thin tissue that surrounds many vital organs, cause scarring and eventually, mesothelioma cancer. Asbestos diseases can take decades to present symptoms, so it is important that veterans of the USS Stump discuss their possible exposure to asbestos with their physicians. As with many cancers, earlier diagnosis of mesothelioma often results in better treatment options.Sources