USS Towers (DDG-9) – Facts and Asbestos Exposure

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The USS Towers (DDG-9), named in honor of Admiral John Henry Towers, was a Charles F. Adams class guided-missile destroyer. The ship's keel was laid down at Seattle, Washington, by the Todd Pacific Shipyards on 1 April 1958. She was launched on 23 April 1959, sponsored by Mrs. Nathaniel Rotoreau. The ship was commissioned at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington on 6 June 1961 with Comdr. L. D. Cummins in command. The USS Towers (DDG-9) received four battle stars for her service in Vietnam, one Navy Unit Commendation and one Merituous Unit Commendation.

Technical Features of the USS Towers (DDG-9)

Class and type: Charles F. Adams class destroyer
Launch date: 23 April 1959
Commissioning date: 6 June 1961
Decommissioning date: 1 October 1990
Length: 437 feet (133 meters)
Displacement: approx. 3,277 tons
Draft: 15 feet (4,6 meters)
Beam: 47 feet (14 meters)
Speed: 33 knots
Complement: 24 officers and 330 enlisted
Propulsion: 2 X Westinghouse steam turbines providing 70,000 shp (52 MW)
Armament: 1 Mk 11 missile launcher, Mk 13 single-arm missile launcher for Rim-24 Tartar SAM system, RIM-66 Standard and Harpoon anti-ship missile, 2 x 5"/54 calibers Mark 42 gun, 1 x RUR-5 ASROC Launcher, 6 x 12.8 in ASW Torpedo Tubes

The History of the USS Towers (DDG-9)

The USS Towers was homeported at San Diego, California, and carried out local operations and trials off the Southern California coast in September 1961. She conducted her shakedown cruise to Peru, Panama Canal Zone, Balboa, and Mexico. The ship was deployed to the Western Pacific in the Spring of 1962. The USS Towers continued her WestPac deployment with visits to different ports in Japan, Philippines, Thailand, and Taiwan then returned to the U.S. via Guam and Hawai. On 5 January 1965, she departed San Diego, bound for her third WestPac tour. During the Vietnam War, the ship participated in three main operations of the U.S. 7th Fleet in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin. The guided-missile destroyer performed screening and plane-guard duties and conducted search and rescue patrols. In 1966, the USS Towers participated in Operation Buttonhook off the west coast of Canada and the United States and in Operation Grey Ghost. The ship departed San Diego on 4 June 1966 and sailed to Vietnam where she participated in a number of rescues-picking up missions of Air Force pilots. In 1967 the ship underwent a major, five-month overhaul at Hunter's Point Naval Shipyard. In 1968 she had her next WestPac deployment participating in many rescue operations north and south of Da Nang. On 7 January 1971, the USS Towers proceeded to Vietnamese waters for more operations. In 1978, the ship spent nine months with numerous at-sea operations evaluating her radar detection and tracking system. The ship's homeport changed in January 1980 to Yokosuka, Japan where she participated in a series of local operations and exercises, then sailed to the Middle East where she participated in various rescue missions in the South China Sea. In 1984 the guided-missile destroyer underwent an extended overhaul at Yokosuka. On 29 May was celebrated the ship's 25th anniversary in her home port with the participation of the crew, their families, and local dignitaries. The USS Towers was decommissioned at Yokosuka on 1 October 1990 and sunk by guided-missile frigate Sides in a fleet training exercise (SinkEx) off the coast of California on 9 October 2002.

Asbestos Risks on the USS Towers (DDG-9)

A number of Navy veterans developed serious diseases as a result of asbestos exposure during their military service. The USS Towers (DDG-9) was built with asbestos-containing materials. The toxic fibrous mineral was used for its resistance to corrosion, fire, and water in all areas of the ship including engine rooms, boiler rooms, navigation rooms, mess halls, weapon and ammunition storage rooms. Crew members of the USS Towers were likely to breathe in large amounts of asbestos fibers during their military service on the ship. Shipyard workers who built or repaired the ship were also at serious risk for asbestos exposure, as they handled asbestos-containing materials. Asbestos exposure can lead to serious illnesses that often have a long latency period.

Have You Been Exposed to Asbestos on the USS Towers (DDG-9)

Anyone who served on the USS Towers (DDG-9) or participated in her repair was exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos, at risk of developing severe illnesses like asbestosis, mesothelioma, lung cancer, throat cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, or rectal cancer and should consult a doctor if they experience symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, dry cough. Our team can assist you in sorting out your interactions with this toxic mineral and help you reach out to former colleagues. Please call us at 760.621.6147 for more information about asbestos exposure on Navy ships.

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