USS Barney DDG-6 (1960-1990)
The USS Barney was a 4,500 ton Charles F. Adams class guided-missile destroyer. Built in Camden, New Jersey, it was commissioned on August 11, 1962. Home ported in Norfolk, Virginia, the Barney began normal operations with U.S. Navy 2nd Fleet in May of 1963. Later that year it got underway to the Mediterranean to join with the 6th Fleet.
It participated in NATO exercises in September, 1964. Its second deployment to the Mediterranean began on February 15, 1965 and lasted five months. The Barney then engaged in Fleet operations along the East Coast. It underwent its first overhaul at Norfolk from March to September 1966, spending the remainder of the year conducting training, including missile tests and gunnery exercises.
Action in the Vietnam War
The Barney departed from Norfolk in February 1967 for its only deployment to the Vietnam war zone. During the seven-month tour it performed many duties, including sea-air rescue and shore bombardment. Coming within range of Vietnamese shore batteries on several occasions, it never suffered a hit. However, one crewman was wounded by shrapnel from a near-miss. The destroyer returned to Norfolk on September 19.
After the War
Departing Norfolk in March 1968, the Barney began its third 6th Fleet deployment. It returned to Norfolk in July, spending the rest of year engaged in operations along the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean. April 1, 1969 saw the Barney depart for another deployment with 6th Fleet. En route, it put into Portsmouth, England as part of a naval review commemorating NATO’s 20th anniversary. Following its return to Norfolk in October, it went into the yards for regular overhaul.
During its next 6th Fleet deployment in late 1971, the Barney carried the Commander, Destroyer Squadron 2. It operated as part of the USS John F. Kennedy task group, participating in various exercises and conducting surveillance operations against Soviet ships. Returning to homeport in June 1972, it underwent an upgrade of its main propulsion plant, which lasted until early spring 1973. In June, the Barney got underway, joining NATO’s Standing Naval Force, Atlantic, in the Baltic and North Seas and the Arctic Circle. Back in the U.S. in December, it remained in Norfolk until April 1974 when it entered Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for overhaul. It made two more trips to the Mediterranean in the 70’s, once in 1976 and again in 1978.
The Barney deployed to 6th Fleet for the last time in late 1980. Decommissioned on December 17, 1990, the Barney was stricken from the Naval Register two years later.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially during World War II, naval destroyers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.