The USS Dale was built in New Jersey and commissioned in 1963. It was named after Commodore Richard Dale, a member of the Continental Navy in the Revolutionary War; he also served in the U.S. Navy through the 1790s and 1800s. The Dale weight 5,670 tons and was a guided-missile frigate of the Leahy class. The ship was sent to the Pacific where she was deployed five times from 1963 to 1970. She acted in 1965 to 1970 as a member of the Seventh Fleet in various operations in the Vietnam War. The Dale helped rescue aviators who had been left at sea in the Gulf of Tonkin incident.
Action in the Atlantic and Mediterranean
In November 1970, the Dale was modernized in Maine. She received the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS) and other upgrades that improved her abilities against aircraft and submarines. After being recommissioned in 1971, the Dale went to the Atlantic Fleet. She worked in the Mediterranean Sea during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, a time of heightened tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. In July 1975, the Dale was redesignated as a guided-missile cruiser and given the code CG-19. In July 1976, the ship was one of the vessels used to represent the Navy in the bicentennial celebration in New York. After being redeployed to the Mediterranean, the Dale visited Romania in 1980.
The Dale was an important ship in the U.S. Navy, so she consistently received upgrades, such as Harpoon missiles (surface to surface) and new Phalanx guns, along with other upgrades to improve her combat abilities against new threats throughout the 1980s. The Dale also traveled to other important places in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf though the 1980s, and she was involved in the confrontation with Libia and its hostile regime.
During her last years of service, the Dale worked counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean in addition to her continued work with the Sixth Fleet in the rest of the Atlantic. After Iraq was defeated in 1991 in the first Persian Gulf War, the USS Dale traveled to the Persian Gulf to enforce the sanctions placed against Iraq as a result of its defeat. The Dale did similar activities from 1993 to 1994 for the United Nations as part of the Bosnia – Yugoslavia conflict. In September 1994, the USS Dale was decommissioned, and it was sunk as a practice target in January 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 in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.