The USS Elmer Montgomery was the first US Navy ship to be named in honor Elmer Foster Montgomery (1913-1945)—a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps Reserve who was killed in action during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Sergeant Montgomery was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic conduct against Japanese forces. The USS Elmer Montgomery was the 31st frigate to be constructed out of the 46 ships that comprised the Knox class. Guided by her motto of “To the Front,” the USS Elmer Montgomery served the United States in commission for nearly 22 years.
The US Navy awarded the contract to construct the USS Elmer Montgomery to Avondale Shipyard (Westwego, Louisiana) on August 25, 1966. The keel of this vessel was laid down on January 23, 1970. Mrs. Daniel Webster served as the USS Elmer Montgomery’s sponsor at a ceremony held on November 21, 1970 to commemorate the ship’s christening and launch. Officially commissioned into service on October 30, 1971, the USS Elmer Montgomery employed a complement of 18 officers and 267 enlisted men and women initially led by Commander Leslie N. Palmer.
The 438-foot Elmer Montgomery was sufficiently 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 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]). This vessel housed one aircraft on board—a SH-2 Seasprite Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) helicopter—to assist with operational assignments calling for air support. Elmer Montgomery displaced approximately 4,200 tons (full load) and was propelled by two Combustion Engineering boilers and one Westinghouse geared turbine that allowed her to achieve speeds in excess of 27 knots.
January 1973 marked the USS Elmer Montgomery’s first deployment as she journeyed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where she remained on active duty through January of the following year. Shellback initiation in the Atlantic Ocean in October of 1974 gave way to a steady schedule of deployments for the remainder of her career that were concentrated in the regions of the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, and Caribbean. The USS Elmer Montgomery was reclassified as a frigate (FF-1082) on June 30, 1975.
Throughout the course of her time in service, the USS Elmer Montgomery was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, among them the Combat Action Ribbon, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Navy Unit Commendation, the CG Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Navy Battle "E" Ribbon, the Navy Expeditionary Medal, the National Defense Service Medal (with one star), the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the CG Special Operations Service Ribbon, the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia), and the Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait).
The USS Elmer Montgomery was simultaneously decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on June 30, 1993. She was later transferred to Turkey on December 13th of that same year.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Elmer Montgomery (FF-1082)
US Navy veterans and shipyard workers are considered to be among the highest risk groups for occupational exposure to the naturally-occurring mineral asbestos. Asbestos has been scientifically linked to the development of one or more diseases, including asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer.
Asbestos was deemed a wonder product by the US Navy for its ability to serve as a protective barrier against the forces of heat and fire. As a result, this mineral was employed by the Navy in the construction and maintenance of her ships to a great extent. Those who were involved in building Navy vessels or those who resided within the confines of these ships endured significant levels of asbestos exposure by means of ingestion and/or inhalation. Once inside the human body, these asbestos particles laid the groundwork for the onset of illness years down the road.
Extended latency periods (15 to 50 years) are characteristic of asbestos-related illnesses. Thus, asbestos-derived diseases can cause considerable harm within the human body well before symptoms are evident.
If you or a loved one served aboard a vessel such as the USS Elmer Montgomery and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, please fill out the form on this page to receive an informative packet, free of charge that can help guide you through the medical and legal challenges of a mesothelioma diagnosis.Sources
Wikipedia–USS Elmer Montgomery (FF-1082)
NavSource Online: Submarine Photo Archive