USS Kinkaid DD-965 (1976-2004)

The USS Kinkaid (DD-965) was a Spruance-class destroyer built by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Division of Litton Industries in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The Kinkaid was commissioned on July 10, 1976, and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet.  Shewas named for Admiral Thomas Cassin Kinkaid (1888-1872) who built a reputation as a ‘fighting admiral’ in the carrier battles of World War II, and was commander of allied forces in the Aleutian Islands Campaign.

Service in the Pacific and the Persian Gulf

In November 1989, the Kinkaid collided with the freighter M/V Kola Petani in the Straits of Malacca, and after undergoing temporary repairs in Singapore, sailed to San Diego for permanent repairs. She was assigned to Destroyer 13 in San Diego, and on July 4, 1993, while conducting routine operations with Joint Task Force Four out of Key West Florida, became the first U.S. warship to visit El Salvador in over 12 years. In November 1994, the Kinkaid deployed as part of the Constellation carrier battle group for six months to the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean, and Persian Gulf. She operated mostly in the Western Pacific, but was in the Persian Gulf from January 11 to March 23, 1995. After undergoing overhaul in June 1995, the Kinkaid was reassigned to the Pacific Fleet’s Destroyer Squadron 21, and in 1997, as part of the Nimitz carrier battle group, took part in JTFEX 97-2, a major Pacific Joint Task Force Exercise off the coast of southern California, involving units of the US Air Force, US Army, and the Japanese navy. Plans for the Kinkaid to visit Singapore after JTFEX 97-2 were cancelled when Iraq violated the UN-imposed ‘no fly’ zone, and she was sent to the region to reinforce Operation Southern Watch operations, arriving in the Persian Gulf on October 12, 1997. The Kinkaid again served in the Gulf in September 1999 as part of the Constellation carrier battle group, which relieved the supercarrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. During the ten-week deployment, the Kinkaid conducted maritime boarding operations and rescued the M/V Sima Star, a container ship, after it had taken on over 40 tons of water some 70 miles off the coast of Bahrain.  In the summer of 2002, the Kinkaid was assigned to participate in a US Navy Surface Force initiative involving two other Spruance-class destroyers and three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, which involved crews arriving and swapping with ships on station.

After Service

Kinkaid was decommissioned on January 7, 2003, and sunk as a naval target on July 14, 2004.

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.