The Jouett was a Belknap class cruiser, originally classified as DLG 29. The Jouett was the fourth out of nine ships designated as Belknap class cruisers. It could travel at a speed of 30 knots and had a displacement of 7,900 tons. It spanned a length of 547′, with a 54’9″ beam and a 14’9″ draft.
The Jouett was ordered on September 20, 1961 and laid down on September 25, 1962 in Bremerton, Washington at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. It was first launched on the last day of June in 1964 and later commissioned on December 3, 1966 with Captain Robert S. Hayes as the commanding officer.
In February of 1967, the Jouett was completely fitted and officially assigned to the U.S. Pacific Fleet as part of its Cruiser Destroyer Force in San Diego, California. It was reclassified as CG 29, a guided missile cruiser, on June 30, 1975.
The Jouett carried the most modern antisubmarine detection and missile warfare gear of the time, including a 1- 5″/54 Gun Mount, 2- 3″50 Rapid Fire Gun Mounts, a Terrier SAM launcher, ASROC, and a LAMPS helicopter. The Jouett was given the motto, “Eternal Vigilance” to serve as a reminder to the crew of the ship’s mission in both war and peace.
While serving as Commanding Officer of the USS Jouett in July of 1971, Captain Samuel L. Gravely was promoted to Rear Admiral. He was the first African-American to achieve Flag Rank in the Navy.
On January 28, 1994, the USS Jouett CG 29 was decommissioned, stricken from the Navy Register, and transferred to the Maritime Administration, located in Suisun Bay, California. Thirteen years later, on August 10, 2007, the Jouett was towed into the Pacific Ocean to be sunk as a target ship during Operation Valiant Shield.
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.