The USS Richard E. Byrd (DDG-23) was a Charles F. Adams-class guided-missile destroyer laid down on April 12, 1961, and launched on February 6, the following year. It was commissioned on March 7, 1964 under Comdr. Walter G. Lessman’s command with the hull number DDG-23 and served in the US Navy for 26 years until it was decommissioned on April 27, 1990. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 354 people on board and had its main missions in Norfolk, Corfu, and Lisbon.
After the decommissioning, the USS Richard E. Byrd (DDG-23) was struck from the Navy List on October 1, 1992, and sold to Greece. As a consequence of asbestos being used in virtually everything related to shipbuilding in the U.S. Navy, a large number of people were routinely exposed to the cancer-causing mineral. When asbestos materials are disturbed, damaged, removed improperly or repaired, they release tiny fibers which, if breathed in, can cause serious and often fatal diseases.