Named for US Navy Vice Admiral Frederick Moosbrugger, and better known to her crew as “Moose”, the USS Moosbrugger was commissioned in December, 1978. She was the first Spruance-class destroyer to be assigned Charleston, South Carolina as her home port. After some training and exercises, the USS Moosbrugger was sent back to the shipbuilders in Pascagoula, Mississippi for upgrades. A hurricane hit while she was in the area, and she had to supply power to the shipyard in the days following the storm in order for her upgrades to be completed.
In the summer of 1980, the USS Moosbrugger was sent to the Mediterranean Sea. She performed anti-submarine duties while there, and was sent back home at the end of 1980. In 1982, she was a test ship for a new radar system, the AN/SQR 19(V) Tactical Towed Array Sonar, or TACTAS.
After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the USS Moosbrugger was deployed as part of Operation Desert Shield. She carried Coast Guard and Navy SEALS who were trained to search other vessels for dangerous cargo. In 1991, Operation Desert Storm began. USS Moosbrugger was assigned to the Gulf of Aqaba where her crew was to board and search any ships with flags of countries which were known to be sympathetic to Iraq. This would prevent any dangerous weapons or materials from being imported to Iraq. For her service during the Persian Gulf War, the USS Moosbrugger received a Navy Unit Commendation.
In the spring of 1995, the USS Moosbrugger was relocated to a new home port in Mayport, Florida, as a result of several ports being condensed in an effort to save money. In conjunction with other US Navy vessels and South American forces, the USS Moosbrugger took part in UNITAS 96 in 1996. UNITAS 96 was a series of exercises taking place in Venezuela, the Caribbean Sea, and Brazil. In 1998, she also participated in UNITAS 39-98 with other South American and European nations.
The USS Moosbrugger was decommissioned in December, 2000, in Mayport, Florida. Directly after being decommissioned, she was brought to Philadelphia Naval Intermediate Ship Maintenance Facility. There she was maintained for use in case of emergency until 2006. In 2006, the Moosbrugger was towed to Texas and was dismantled.
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.