USS Towers DD 959 (DDG-9)

The USS Towers was a guided missile destroyer of the Charles F. Adams class and was built in Seattle, Washington on April 1, 1958 by the Todd Pacific Shipyards.  She was launched on April 23, 1959 and commissioned on June 6, 1961 in Bremerton, Washington.

Action in the Vietnam War

The Towers carried out escorting and aircraft support missions for aircraft carriers in the Vietnam region as well as hunt and recovery missions.  The destroyer fired over three thousand rounds of ammo with which she destroyed 17 Vietcong shacks and caused massive structural damage to more than 100, she also sunk three enemy warships and killed 10 North Vietnamese soldiers, as well as destroying a very important bridge used for supply replenishment.

The ship’s most exciting mission occurred when a United States aircraft was struck by enemy fire causing the pilot to eject from the flaming aircraft and land in the harbor where the USS Tower awaited to rescue him. When providing gun support for the USS New Jersey, New Jersey, the Towers destroyed five enemy gun positions over 100 miles of enemy infested tunnels, three enemy warships, and detonated explosions which destroyed over twenty Vietcong buildings on shore and also killed several dozen enemy troops. The warship went on to save two pilots who had been shot down during the battle. The Towers provided artillery bombing and escort for numerous carriers in the enemy waters. She sailed for port and underwent an overhaul to rebuild her guns. After her overhaul, she proceeded to destroy dozens of Vietcong buildings and shacsk all along the North Vietnamese coastline; she killed hundreds of enemy soldiers during this time and was one of the most feared ships in the waters by the Vietcong. After the war, the USS Tower proudly served in the United States Naval fleet from 1961-1992 and because of her heroic service during the Vietnam War was awarded four battle stars.

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.