The 32nd Knox-class frigate to be constructed, the USS Cook was the second US Navy ship to bear this name honoring the memory of Lieutenant Commander Wilmer Paul Cook (1932-1967). The target of enemy fire, Lieutenant Cook was a Naval Aviator who lost his life in the line of duty while he led an airstrike over North Vietnam on December 22, 1967. The body of Lieutenant Cook was listed as missing for 22 years. Upon the discovery and return of Cook’s remains to the United States in 1989, his ashes were scattered from the deck of the ship bearing his name at the request of his family. Guided by her motto of “Duty Above All,” the USS Cook and her crew served the United States in commission for over 20 years.
Avondale Shipyard (Bridge City, Louisiana) laid the keel of the USS Cook on March 20, 1970. Launched in a ceremony held on January 23, 1971, the USS Cook was officially commissioned later that same year as a destroyer escort (DE) on December 18th at the Boston Naval Shipyard (Boston, Massachusetts). The ship was reclassified as a frigate (FF) on June 30, 1975. A complement of 18 officers and 267 enlisted men and women was initially led by Commander James R. Talbot.
The USS Cook displaced approximately 4,200 tons (full load) and was capable of achieving speeds in excess of 27 knots to the credit of her propulsion system that was comprised of two Combustion Engineering boilers and one Westinghouse geared turbine. Measuring 438 feet in length, the USS Cook housed one SH-2 Seasprite Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) helicopter on board to aid in tactical missions requiring additional support from the air. This vessel was equipped with a wide range of weaponry, including 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 MK-25 basic point defense missile system (BPDMS) launcher for Sea Sparrow missiles (which was later replaced with the Phalanx Close-In Weapons System [CIWS]).
Newly commissioned, the USS Cook was deployed overseas for the first time from January through November of 1973 where she served in support of the Vietnam War in the waters of the Western Pacific. A second deployment to this region later followed from January through September of 1975.
A regular overhaul period that lasted for one year (September 1977-September 1978) gave way to a routine schedule of deployments for the USS Cook in which she carried out assignments in the waters of the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, and Mediterranean.
Prior to the USS Cook’s official decommissioning on April 30, 1992, she resided at San Diego, California where she was assigned to the Naval Reserve Force, Pacific on October 1, 1989. During her tenure of service, she was the recipient of several awards and honors, among them the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, two Navy Battle "E" Ribbons, the Navy Expeditionary Medal (with one star), the National Defense Service Medal (with one star), the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (with two stars), the Humanitarian Service Ribbon (with two stars), and the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.
Struck from the US Naval Vessel Register on January 11, 1995, the USS Cook was transferred to Taiwan on September 29, 1999 where she served that country under the new name of Hae Yang (FF-936).
Asbestos Risk on the USS Cook (FF-1083)
The naturally-occurring mineral asbestos was frequently used aboard US Navy vessels such as the USS Cook. Possessing superior resistance to heat, fire, and most chemicals, asbestos rose to the forefront as the material of choice for use in areas such as boiler and engine rooms where protection from these elements was a paramount concern. The abundant use of asbestos within the tight confines of a ship created an environment conducive to excessive inhalation and/or ingestion of dangerous asbestos fibers.
Once asbestos fibers enter the human body they easily attach to the membranes (inner linings) of the heart, lungs, and/or abdomen where they eventually result in cell inflammation, cell infection, and in the most serious cases, cell mutation into cancer. Although a diagnosis of mesothelioma is still considered to be rare, it is the most serious of all asbestos-related illnesses and accounts for over 2,500 deaths in the US each year.
There are medical and legal resources that are available to mesothelioma victims and their families. Please complete the form on this page to obtain a free informational packet designed to help you find the best treatment centers in your area as well as connect you with attorneys who specialize in working with victims of asbestos exposure.Sources