USS Halsey DLG-23 (1962-1994)

The USS Halsey was named after William Frederick Halsey, Jr. who lived from 1882 to 1959 and served in the United States Navy from 1904 to 1947. This naval vessel was a guided missile cruiser of the Leahy class. The ship was originally designated as a destroyer leader (DLG) but was reclassified as a guided missile cruiser (CG) in 1975 along with other vessels of the Leahy class.

Action in Vietnam

The ship was built at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard where it was also launched in January 1962. After being commissioned in July 1963, the vessel conducted surveys and testing of anti-submarine warfare equipment until returning to San Francisco in December 1963. She was then assigned to various destroyer squadrons of the Pacific Fleet and performed air and sea rescues and anti-submarine warfare. In 1967 the destroyer returned to San Francisco Bay for overhauling before continuing training exercises and rescue missions in Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin beginning in September.

Deployment with the USS Hancock to the Far East occurred from October 1970 to April 1971 where she mainly saw active duty in the Philippines. Upon her return, the ship was overhauled in Bath, Maine, until December 1972 and then conducted steady missions until returning to San Diego in February 1973. The vessel traveled with the USS Constellation carrier group in 1974.

After the War

After the reclassification to guided missile cruiser in 1975, the ship had her weapons upgraded in 1977. Other deployments included seven months with the USS Kitty Hawk carrier group starting in April 1981. The cruiser was overhauled again at Long Beach Naval Shipyard for 15 months starting in April 1982. She and her crew returned to the Far East in 1984 then spent two years in port. The vessel was sent to the Persian Gulf until October 1988 before returning to San Diego for 18 months for weapon upgrades. From 1990 to 1993 she and her crew returned to the Persian Gulf.

The USS Halsey was decommissioned and struck from the register in January 1994 and transferred to Suisun Bay, California in March to await her fate. The naval vessel was eventually dismantled and sold for scrap metal in November 2003.

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.