USS Dace, whose motto was “The Living Legend”, was the second ship in the US Navy’s history to bear this name. Dace refers to any of a variety of small, freshwater fish native to North America or Europe. USS Dace was the ninth of 14 ships constructed in the class known as Thresher/Permit.
Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, was the recipient of the contract to build USS Dace on March 3, 1959. Her keel was laid down at this same site on June 6, 1960. Betty Ford—wife of the future President of the United States Gerald Ford—served as the ship’s sponsor at the launching ceremony on August 18, 1962. Upon the commissioning of USS Dace on April 4, 1964, Commander John A. Walsh took charge of the submarine’s crew which was comprised of 14 officers and 105 enlisted men.
Equipped with four 21 inch torpedo tubes, MK 48 torpedoes, UUM-44A SUBROC, UGM-84A/C Harpoon, MK57 deep water mines, and MK60 CAPTOR mines, Dace measured 278 feet, 5 inches in length and when submerged, displaced 4,200 tons and reached speeds in excess of 28 knots.
USS Dace, in commission for over 24 years, spent the majority of her career patrolling the waters of the Atlantic Ocean as a member of the US Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. Throughout the duration of her career, she was known to have made visits to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico and Antigua, West Indies. Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California served as a site for one of Dace’s overhauls in December of 1981.
Dace was a two-time recipient of the Navy Unit Commendation and a three-time recipient of the Battle Efficiency Pennant for her operations during the time spanning from 1966 through 1969.
An incident was documented on March 24, 1975 when USS Dace collided with a fishing boat off of the coast of Rhode Island in Narragansett Bay. No significant damage to the submarine was reported.
Simultaneously decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on December 2, 1988, USS Dace entered the Nuclear-Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program located at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. Her dismantling was completed at this location on January 1, 1997.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Dace (SSN-607)
Scientific testing conducted in the early portion of the 20th century identified the naturally occurring mineral asbestos as the most superior and cost-effective insulation material on the market. As a result, asbestos was used to a great extent across a wide array of industries, in particular the shipbuilding industry. Historical estimates show that as much as 25 million tons of asbestos was utilized in shipyards in the United States from the time spanning between 1920 and 1980. These estimates, in conjunction with estimates identifying that as many as 4.5 million workers were employed by this industry during this same period of time, have proven to be a catastrophic combination for the present day.
Exposure to asbestos in the past has given way to the present day statistic which shows that nearly 10,000 individuals die each year in the United States from an asbestos-related illness. An analysis of epidemiological studies and government mortality records indicate that the top-four diseases caused by asbestos—lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer—will continue to claim the lives of over 100,000 Americans over the next decade.
How does asbestos exposure impact an individual’s health? Several factors come into play with regard to the development of an illness attributed to this toxic substance: the source and duration of the exposure, the quantity of asbestos one was exposed to, and the composition of the asbestos fibers. In addition, individual risk factors, such as a preexisting lung conditions or smoking, have been proven to significantly increase an individual’s risk.
If you served aboard a ship such as the USS Dace, or were employed by a naval shipyard at any time from 1920-1980, it is likely that you are a victim of asbestos exposure. During that time period, asbestos was found in insulation materials, gaskets, valves, cables, packing tape, adhesives, to name just a few of the more than 300 materials mandated for use by the US Navy in which asbestos was a key component. Decomposition or disruption of these materials, which were utilized from one end of a warship to the other, allowed particles of asbestos to be released into an enclosed environment readily accessible for human inhalation.
If you have developed mesothelioma please contact us for an information packet to learn more about your medical and legal options.Sources