USS Briscoe DD-977 (1978-2003)

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The USS Briscoe DD-977, a Spruance-class destroyer, was laid down on July 21, 1975. The Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries built the USS Briscoe in Pascagoula, Mississippi. On December 28, 1976, the USS Briscoe was launched and on June 3, 1978 the destroyer was commissioned. The USS Briscoe got its name from Rear Admiral Robert Pearce Briscoe USN.

For being the US Atlantic Fleet’s finest ship, the USS Briscoe received the Battenberg Cup in 1980. Between the years of 1981 and 1982, the USS Briscoe carried out firing trials along the Puerto Rico coastline near Vieques to show support for the Semi-Active Laser Guided Projectile (SALGP).

During Operation Urgent Fury, the USS Briscoe played a part in the emancipation of Grenada. It was also involved with the Multi-National Peacekeeping Forces located along the Lebanon coastline, as well as the Baltic Operations. In addition, it went to the North Red Sea as an associate of the Middle East Forces to give support to the United Nations’ sanctions against Iraq by performing Maritime Interception Operations. Twice the Briscoe was called out to the North Red Sea. Setting a United States record, the Briscoe boarded two hundred and seventy five merchant vessels.

In March of 1994, the Briscoe was sent out to the North Red Sea again, this time for a rescue effort. The Al-Qamar Al-Saudi Al-Misri, a passenger ferry from Egypt carrying over five hundred people, had sent out a distress call and it was the on-scene commander overseeing the rescue effort. For six months in the year of 1996, the Briscoe was sent to the Black and Mediterranean Seas to engage in underwater warfare training exercises with other United States submarines.

In response to President Clinton’s orders, United States Navy warships took part in the search efforts of the plane crash involving John F. Kennedy Jr. in 1999, eventually holding a public memorial service for those killed in that plane crash on the Briscoe. The ashes of those killed in the crash were scattered off the Martha’s Vineyard coast from the Briscoe as well.

The USS Briscoe, as part of the USS Harry S Truman Battle Group, was sent out to the Mediterranean and Arabian Sea on December 5, 2003. The USS Briscoe shot twenty-five tomahawk cruise missiles at Iraqi targets during Operation Iraqi Freedom, which began on March 20, 2003. The USS Briscoe returned to Norfolk, Virginia in May of 2003.

On October 2, 2003 the USS Briscoe was decommissioned at Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia. She was sunk as a target on August 25, 2005.

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.

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