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USS Brewton (FF-1086)

“Dedicated—Determined—Prepared” was the motto of the USS Brewton—the 35th Knox-class frigate to be constructed. The USS Brewton was the first US Navy vessel to bear this name honoring John C. Brewton, a naval officer (posthumously promoted to Lieutenant) who lost his life while serving in the Vietnam War. Lieutenant Brewton was the recipient of numerous awards and honors for his valiant service to his country—the Bronze Star, the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Vietnam Service Medal, among others. The USS Brewton served the US for 20 years.

Construction

Avondale Shipyard (Westwego, Louisiana) laid down the keel of the USS Brewton on October 2, 1970. Mrs. Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr.—wife of the youngest man to hold the post of Chief of Naval Operations—served as the ship’s sponsor during a launching ceremony held on July 24, 1970. Officially commissioned on July 8, 1972, the USS Brewton served as a destroyer escort (DE) prior to being reclassified as a frigate (FF) in June of 1975.

The USS Brewton’s defense mechanisms consisted of 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). She was propelled by two Combustion Engineering boilers and one Westinghouse geared turbine that allowed her to achieve speeds of over 27 knots. Brewton was equipped with advanced radar and sonar equipment—AN/SPS-40 air search radar, AN/SPS-67 surface search radar, AN/SQS-26 sonar, and an AN/SQR-18 towed array sonar system—that supported her navigational efforts in ocean waters. Measuring 438 feet in length, the USS Brewton displaced approximately 4,200 tons (full load) and housed one SH-2 Seasprite Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) helicopter on board for use in special operations.

Naval History

The USS Brewton began her career as a unit of Destroyer Squadron 33 stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Commander John W. Kinnier led the ship’s initial crew of 18 officers and 267 enlisted men and women.

October 1973 marked the USS Brewton’s departure on her first overseas deployment where she served in the waters of the Pacific and Indian Ocean through May of 1974. As Brewton’s career progressed, she carried out a regular schedule of deployments to these regions.

Over the course of her term of service, the USS Brewton was the recipient of several awards and honors, among them the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Navy Unit Commendation, the Navy Battle "E" Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal (with one star), the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal (with one star), and the Humanitarian Service Medal.

The USS Brewton was decommissioned on July 2, 1992 and shortly thereafter (July 23rd) leased to Taiwan under the new name of Fong Yang (FF-933). Brewton was officially struck from the US Naval Vessel Register on January 11, 1995 and subsequently sold to Taiwan in September of 1999.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Brewton (FF-1086)

The use of asbestos, a naturally-occurring mineral, was mandated by the US Navy as early as the 1930s. Asbestos was praised for industrial use as it possessed a resistance to fire and high temperatures that was superior to all other products on the market at the time. As the years progressed, however, a link was discovered between this substance and the occurrence of serious diseases. Careful examination and extensive medical research has led us to the current classification of asbestos as a known human carcinogen or cancer-causing agent.

Asbestos has been directly linked to diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer. In combination, these diseases are responsible for nearly 10,000 deaths per year in the United States.

Mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer, has a high occurrence rate amongst navy veterans and shipyard workers. The extensive exposure endured by these populations has allowed them to be identified as one of the most prevalent groups to be afflicted with this disease.

A mesothelioma diagnosis can be overwhelming for a victim and his/her family. Please contact us for a free informational packet specifically designed to answer many of the questions facing asbestos victims with regard to their medical care and legal options.

Sources
Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog

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