USS Biddle CG-34 (1967-1993)
The USS Biddle (CG-34 or DLG-34) was a Belknap-class guided missile cruiser of the U.S. Navy from 1967 to 1993. She was 547 feet long and had a flank speed of 32 knots. The name of the warship comes from 18th-century Captain Nicholas Biddle of the Continental Navy. The keel of USS Biddle was laid in 1963. She was launched in 1965 and commissioned in 1967. Biddle’s home port was in Norfolk, Virginia.
Action in Vietnam
In January 1968, the Biddle was sent to the combat zone off the coast of Vietnam. She traveled in Vietnamese waters from March to July, performing PIRAZ duty (Positive Identification Radar Advisory Zone), serving as a sea-air rescue vessel or working as an anti-air warfare ship.
The warship returned home to Norfolk in September. She briefly went to the West Indies for missile exercises in November 1968 and April 1969. The Biddle went back to Vietnam in July 1969 and remained there for 2 months as a strike-support and search-and-rescue ship.
The ship spent most of 1970 undergoing modification and evaluations, spending some time in the West Indies for training. In May 1972 Biddle went again to Vietnam. The warship was attacked in July but suffered no damage. Biddle came back to the United States in September.
After the War
The Biddle experienced more training and evaluations in 1973. She went to the Mediterranean Sea from June to December 1974. Then the Biddle underwent overhaul in 1975 and 1976. She performed exercises in the Baltic Sea in September and October 1976. In 1977, she completed more exercises alongside warships of other NATO nations in Norfolk, the West Indies, and the Mediterranean Sea.
The ship underwent a series of inspections in 1978 before returning to the Mediterranean in October. She arrived back home in April 1979. The Biddle went in for repairs in September 1979 and spent all of 1980 being overhauled. In early 1981, she completed refresher training. The Biddle went to the Mediterranean in August 1981. While there, the warship carried out freedom-of-navigation operations off of Libya. She returned to Norfolk in November.
In June 1982, the frigate served as a contingency force off the coast of Lebanon until December. Then the ship went on selected restricted availability in 1983. The Biddle joined Operation Desert Shield in the Middle East in September 1990. She provided anti-aircraft support and boarded over 30 freighters. The Biddle was decommissioned in 1993 and sold for scrap in 2000.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, even today, naval cruisers 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 to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.