USS Yellowstone (AD-41) – Facts and Asbestos Exposure

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The USS Yellowstone (AD-41) was a Yellowstone-class ship that served the United States Navy between 1979 and 1996. The USS Yellowstone (AD-27) was one of the several ships built in the '60s. It was the lead vessel of its class and it belonged to the auxiliary group called destroyer tenders.

Three other ships belonged to the same destroyer tender group: Shenandoah (AD-26), Cape Cod (AD-43), and Acadia (AD-42). Alternatively, according to a different classification, these vessels can also be described as flight III ships belonging to the Samuel Gompers tenders class. The four vessels constitute an individual class of ships.

Technical Features of the USS Yellowstone (AD-41)

Class and type: Destroyer Tender belonging to the Yellowstone-class
Keel laid: 1977, on the 27th of June
Launch date: 27 January, 1979
Commissioning date: 28 June, 1980
Decommissioning date: 31 January, 1996
Displacement: 20263 tons
Length: 642 feet (196 m)
Draft: 27 feet (8.2 m)
Beam: 85 feet (26 m)
Speed: 20 knots
Complement: 1508 enlisted, 87 officers
Propulsion: the ship was provided with two boilers, a shaft with 20,000 shaft horsepower and steam turbines
Propellers: this ship had one propeller
Aircraft: the USS Yellowstone had a platform for helicopters
Armament: this vessel was provided with 10 0.5 in machine guns and with 2 cannons of 20 mm

History of the USS Yellowstone (AD-41)

The USS Yellowstone (AD-41) was one of the three Navy ships to have the name Yellowstone. She was built by the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego, California. The works began on the 2nd of June 1977 when the vessel was laid down in San Diego. The sponsor of this ship was the wife of the US Pacific Fleet Commander in Chief, Admiral Donald C. Davis. Her name was Mrs. Donald C. Davis.

The Yellowstone was commissioned in 1980, on the 28th of June. Afterward, the ship had to undergo several post-commissioning works before she could set sail to Virginia, in Norfolk, which would represent her homeport.

The Yellowstone first reported to duty by taking part in NATO's Ocean Venture "81" exercise. The ship was anchored for three days in Scapa Flow, Scotland. As part of the exercise, she had to function in conditions that simulated a war scenario. 100 tasks were carried out during this exercise.

In 1984, a second NATO exercise followed. This was called the United Effort-Teamwork "84" and it meant 300 jobs for the USS Yellowstone which involved logistic tasks and fuel and water provisioning. On this occasion, the vessel also crossed the Arctic circle and thereby was granted the Bluenose' status.

The following year marked the vessel's first trip to the Mediterranean. In 1994, in the month of May, she turned back home to Virginia. Due to the numerous accomplishments she had in the Mediterranean, which were carried out during 3400 jobs, the USS Yellowstone rightfully earned her nickname "Old Faithful".

The USS Yellowstone (AD-41) also took part in the operations carried out during the Gulf War. Her job here was to ensure the necessary logistic support for the US fleet. Thus, she helped provide repairs and rearming for the Navy from its Red Sea Jeddah port in Saudi Arabia. During these operations, the Yellowstone was deployed for seven months and within this period, she took part in more than 10,000 repair works and worked for 30 ships of the US Navy and their allies. The USS Yellowstone (AD-41) offered a large array of different services during this time, to multiple ships, at the same time. Due to this hard work, the Yellowstone was given a Naval Unit Commendation. Moreover, she was also praised by the former president George H. W. Bush for the fact that this was the first naval command ship in a war zone to have women working aboard.

During this ship's service years, there were two significant accidents aboard. The first one took place in March 1981 when the USS Yellowstone collided with the USS Robert A. Owens (DD-827). The accident took place off the coast of Florida and it resulted in significant damage for both vessels. Fortunately, there were no victims involved.

A second accident took place 5 years later in September 1986. This was also a collision that involved the USNS Truckee (T-AO 147) which didn't incur significant damage. However, the Yellowstone's hull was left with a two-foot gash due to this incident.

The USS Yellowstone (AD-41) served the fleet for an overall time of 16 years.

This surface vessel was decommissioned in 1996, on the last day of January. The decommissioning took place at Norfolk and it was followed by a ceremony. Afterward, she was transferred to the Naval Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility in Philadelphia where she was put in stand-by. However, the destroyer tenders such as the USS Yellowstone (AD-41) should always be ready to report to duty in the event of conflicts or other situations that might require their service. For this purpose, although decommissioned, these vessels were given the "reduced operating status".

After decommissioning, the maintenance and berthing responsibility related to this ship was handed over to the Military Sealift Command. This was a period in which the Yellowstone was used by reservists. Almost 2000 reservists came aboard the ship in its various departments. They took part in mobilization training at Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activities. This was the last busy period for the Yellowstone. Afterward, it was taken to the James River Reserve fleet. On the 7th of April 1999, the Yellowstone was struck from the register of Navy vessels.

In 2001, the Maritime Administration took over this ship in order to organize its final disposal. In December 2014, the vessel was sold in order to be dismantled and she was also canceled from the MARAD inventory. Finally, in 2018, the USS Yellowstone (AD-41) was towed and scrapped in Brownsville, Texas, by the SteelCoast.

Asbestos Risks on the USS Yellowstone (AD-41)

The US Navy was the military branch that was subject to the highest level of asbestos exposure. This was first of all due to the fact that the ships aboard which these people worked were built using asbestos as an insulation material. Multiple other applications and sectors in the Navy required the use of good fireproof and insulation materials. This need was covered back in the 70s, 60s and earlier by asbestos, a now known toxic substance which has a proven connection to the development of different types of cancer. Tons of materials containing asbestos were used aboard the Navy ships in all the different areas of the vessels.

"I served onboard the Yellowstone from 1986-1989. Right now I have breathing issues and was told my oxygen level is low and it should be monitored. I am wheezing. I have had problems with my breathing since I left the military but I thought it was just allergies", said Vera W., a Navy veteran who served on the USS Yellowstone.

Any task performed aboard of a Navy ship such as repairs, maintenance or simply being present aboard posed health risks as asbestos particles were omnipresent and inhalation occurred involuntarily. Not only the veterans who served on the ships were at risk, but also the shipyard employees who handled the stripping of the vessel or the dismantlement.

Multiple life-threatening conditions such as mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer can be developed due to prolonged exposure to asbestos. Therefore, numerous Navy veterans were diagnosed with these conditions. Consequently, serving on the USS Yellowstone (AD-41) might have posed significant health risks. If you are one of the veterans who worked aboard this ship or if you were involved in the maintenance, repair or dismantlement of this ship, it's recommended that you see a specialist in case you start developing any breathing difficulties.

Have You Been Exposed to Asbestos on the USS Yellowstone (AD-41)?

If you had any connection to the USS Yellowstone (AD-41), you were probably exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos. Our aim is to help veterans and other people whose work was related to the Navy's ships see if they were exposed to any asbestos health risks. Don't hesitate to contact us at 760.621.6147.

Questions about asbestos exposure? We can help!

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