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USS Barbey (FF-1088)

The USS Barbey was named in honor of Daniel Edward Barbey (1889-1969)—a US naval officer who rose to the rank of Vice Admiral, served in both World War I and World War II, and who authored a publication for the Navy that earned recognition as the “bible” of amphibious operations throughout World War II. The 37th frigate in the series of 46 Knox-class vessels, the USS Barbey adopted the motto “Full Speed Ahead” as she proudly served her country for 19.4 years.

Construction

The keel of the 438-foot USS Barbey was laid down by Avondale Shipyard (Westwego, Louisiana) on February 5, 1971. Mrs. Daniel E. Barbey—widow of the ship’s namesake—christened the vessel during a launching ceremony held on December 4, 1971. The Long Beach Naval Shipyard served as the site of the USS Barbey’s official commissioning on November 11, 1972 at which time Commander Theodore B. Shultz took charge of the ship and her initial crew of 18 officers and 267 enlisted men and women. Originally designated as a destroyer escort (DE), the USS Barbey was reclassified as a frigate (FF) in June of 1975.

Armed with one MK-16 eight-cell missile launcher for antisubmarine rocket (ASROC) and Harpoon missiles, one MK-42 five-inch/54 caliber gun, MK-46 torpedoes from single tube launchers, and one Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) and equipped with state of the art sonar and radar systems, the USS Barbey possessed a dependable range of defense and navigational abilities. Two Combustion Engineering boilers and one Westinghouse geared turbine propelled the USS Barbey to speeds in excess of 27 knots. This vessel displaced approximately 4,200 tons (full load) and housed one aircraft on board—a SH-2 Seasprite Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) helicopter.

Naval History

The USS Barbey began her career as a unit of Destroyer Squadron (DesRon) 29 based out of Long Beach, California. The early years of this vessel’s time in service consisted of sea trials, acoustic trials, refresher training, inspections, and repairs. Barbey was fine tuned and ready for her first deployment to the Western Pacific in July of 1976.

January 1978 marked the beginning of an 11-month overhaul for Barbey at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. During this overhaul period, Barbey received upgrades to both her defense and engineering systems.

Post-overhaul sea trials, training, and drills prepared the USS Barbey for another overseas deployment where she carried out operations in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Persian Gulf from January through July of 1980. During this deployment, Barbey supported US efforts in the Iranian Hostage Crisis. Highlights of the USS Barbey’s career for the remainder of this decade included another deployment to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean (March-October 1983) and a cruise around the world (January-June 1987).

Barbey departed her homeport of San Diego, California in June of 1990 for an assignment in the Persian Gulf. What originated as a routine, peacetime deployment quickly evolved into a wartime deployment as Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait. As a result, the USS Barbey became embroiled in Operation Desert Shield for the remainder of the year.

The USS Barbey was officially decommissioned on March 20, 1992 and later leased to Taiwan in June of 1994 at which time Barbey assumed the new name of Hwai Yang (FF-937). Shortly thereafter in January of 1995, the USS Barbey was struck from the US Naval Vessel Register. The former Barbey was sold to Taiwan on September 29, 1999 and was last known to still be on active duty in that country.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Barbey (FF-1088)

Many navy veterans who dedicated their lives to serving their country now find themselves embroiled in a public health crisis as they are diagnosed with diseases that have been directly linked to prior exposure to the naturally-occurring mineral asbestos aboard US Navy ships.

Asbestos-related diseases—asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer—have risen to the forefront as healthcare issues mandating immediate attention. Combined, these diseases claim the lives of nearly 10,000 individuals in the US each year. One out of every 125 American males who die over the age of 50 and 30 deaths per day can be attributed to a disease directly caused by prior exposure to asbestos.

The extensive use of asbestos by the US Navy from the 1930s through the 1980s has led to alarming rates of veterans and shipyard workers acquiring asbestos-derived illnesses. As these diseases possess extended latency periods ranging from 15-50 years, asbestos-related deaths are not anticipated to peak until the year 2020. The problem at hand is that even with this knowledge, the use of asbestos has yet to be entirely banned in the US. This means that as long as this toxic mineral is permitted, the risk to human health and safety will be ever-present.

Navy veterans who receive a mesothelioma diagnosis can be overwhelmed by questions relative to their treatment options and legal rights. If you are victim of asbestos exposure, please take the first step in answering some of your most important questions by filling out the form on this page to obtain an informational packet specifically tailored to address your medical and legal concerns.

Sources
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog

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