The USS Sterett was commissioned on April 8, 1967. The Sterett was 547 feet long and weighed in at 7,930 tons. Classified as a class destroyer leader/cruiser, it was the third ship to be named after Master Commander Andrew Sterett.
Action in the Vietnam War
In the year of 1967, the Sterett was stationed off the west coast near the Puget Sound where it underwent many tests and training preparations for its acceptance trials. On June 19, the Sterett set off for Pearl Harbor and arrived at Yokosuka, Japan on the 5th of July where it remained until August 5th. After leaving Vietnam, the Sterett was called to duty as a sea air rescue ship and a strike support ship. During these duties, it successfully rescued two pilots. It continued in that role until 1969 around mid-March.
Its next time at sea brought it to the Sea of Japan where it remained for ten days. During this time, six Soviet Badger aircraft were intercepted along with a Soviet seaplane. Relieved of its duties on March 10, the Sterett, on its way to the Gulf of Tonkin, came upon a stranded ship in desperate need of help. With its help, the crew of seven was kept fed and eventually rescued. Between the years of 1970 and 1982, the Sterett was stationed in Yokosuka and the Tonkin Gulf as well as the coast of Vietnam. In 1972, it moved to the coast of San Diego were it remained and was reclassified as a guided missile cruiser.
After the War
When Korean Airlines Flight 007 wrecked in 1983, the Sterett arrived along with the US Coast Guard to begin a rescue and salvage mission. This mission took place until the beginning of November. In 1985, the Sterett was sent out to keep watch on an aircraft carrier departing from Vladivostok, Russia. In the year 1986 when the People Power Revolution was taking place in the Philippines, the Sterett was sent to the Manila Harbor for potential emergency evacuation of the Philippine presidential family.
The Sterett was decommissioned on March 24, 1994 and taken apart and recycled on July 29, 2005 after 27 years of dedicated service.
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.