The USS Fox, commissioned in May of 1966, was a 5340-ton Belknap class guided missile frigate that was built in San Pedro, California. A year was spent outfitting, evaluating the advanced weapons system on the ship, and training the crew but in June of 1967, the USS Fox began its first overseas deployment.
Action in the Vietnam War
Utilized mainly during the Vietnam War, the Fox spent the majority of its time occupying water in the Western Pacific. Duties of the ship included air traffic control, which in turn included guiding United States fighter planes into combat successfully and partaking in the search and rescue efforts. The Fox also came to the rescue of the USS Forrestal when the aircraft was damaged in 1967.
Action in the Cold War
Throughout the rest of the Vietnam War, the USS Fox made more Western Pacific cruises, acting in similar fashion to its first trip. From 1970 to1971, the Fox made a tour into the Sea of Okhotsk, an area of increasing interest as the Soviet Union began to expand its naval power and the Cold War tension began to increase. By the end of June in 1975, the Fox was reclassified to a guided missile cruiser and with that its designation changed to CG-33.
In late 1975, the USS Fox moved west again, this time spending most of its time in the Indian Ocean. The Fox was in close relations with the Australian and the Iranian navies while keeping a close eye on the Soviet naval activities. For the rest of its active career the USS Fox spent much of its time in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. From September 1980 to April 1981, the Fox acted as a flagship in the Persian Gulf during a crisis with Iran.
After the War
Throughout much of its active time the Fox was modernized, receiving surface-to-surface guided missiles to replace its three-inch guns, while also receiving other upgrades to its combat capabilities. In 1982, the Fox was deployed, mainly on rescue missions for Vietnamese refugees.
At the close of 1993, the USS Fox finished its last overseas cruise and followed it with inactivation preparations. In mid April of 1944, the ship was decommissioned and sold for scraps latter in 1995. The ship was later repossessed and kept intact by the Navy.
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.