USS Elliot DD-967 (1973-2003)

The Elliot was constructed by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division based out of Pascagoula, Mississippi. It was a Spruance-class destroyer, with 8,040 tons of displacement. After completing its maiden journey from its home port in Mississippi to San Diego, it was ordered to join the Pacific Fleet and assigned to the 9th Destroyer Squadron. After finishing initial training, it received some upgrades, including a Harpoon missile system. Its armaments also featured the Sea Sparrow Mark 29 Missile Launcher and a MK 41 cell VLS launcher for Tomahawk missiles. In August of 1978 the Elliot was transferred to the 31st Destroyer Squadron, and deployed on its first mission on operations in the Indian Ocean. The Elliot was nearby on patrol when the aircraft carrier the USS Ranger collided with an oil tanker. After the incident, the ship was transferred to a different battle group operating near Midway and participated in occupation missions in the Gulf of Aden. On April 13th, 1983, the Elliot began its third tour, this time as a member of the 21st Destroyer Squadron. During this deployment, it visited various ports, including Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Guam, Midway, Hawaii, and the Philippines. On July 31st, 1983, the Elliot spotted a small ship which contained more than three score Vietnamese refugees. For participating in the rescue and survival mission, the Elliot was given a Humanitarian Service Medal. A few years later, on July 10th, 1985, the USS Elliot was ordered on its fourth deployment. While on tour, the Elliot participated in battle exercises with ships from the Republic of Korea’s navy. Following the exercises, the Elliot returned to its home port of San Diego on December 21st, stopping at Pearl Harbor along the way. After a major retrofit in 1988, which added multiple systems such as a MK 23 radar and Phalanx CIWS (close in weapons system), the Elliot participated in PACEX-89, a large scale navy training exercise. In 1990, the Elliot also joined Team Spirit training, once again with the Republic of Korea’s navy. In the late 90’s, the Elliot operated primarily off the coast of Iran, and also supported the U.N. Security Council with various boardings of merchant vessels. It was eventually decommissioned on December 2nd, 2003 and sunken as part of a training exercise on June 25th, 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.