U.S.S. Glover FF 1098 (Frigate)
U.S.S. Glover was a unique design, built on a modified Garcia class destroyer hull, for the purpose of providing an at sea platform for research and testing of sonar and other anti-submarine warfare equipment. It was named after John Glover, a Marblehead fisherman and commander of the regiment in the Continental Army which rescued Washington’s defeated army by evacuating it from New York via water, and later transported the same army across the Delaware, as depicted in the famous painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware.
Glover was built by Bath Iron Works in Maine, and spent most of its operational life in service with the Atlantic fleet, in the Mediterranean and in the Caribbean. Commissioned in 1965, Glover would serve until the early 1990s.
Glover worked extensively with US surface ships and submarines, testing new and evolving sonar equipment and developing tactics for the cooperation of surface and submerged anti-submarine warfare tactics.
Glover also maintained active weapons systems, allowing the ship to perform as a potent ASW platform on its own and enhance the capability of surface groups to which it was assigned, a role it performed in the Mediterranean while assigned to the Sixth Fleet. Glover also worked with NATO allies, providing data which assisted them in evaluating their own ASW capabilities and improving the survivability of their own submarine forces.
Glover deployed to the Pacific during the UNITAS exercise in 1972, an operation in which US Navy and ships of several South American navies conducted joint operations. In 1979, Glover deployed to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, using its unique abilities to support American ships monitoring the unraveling situation in Iran.
In 1979, Glover lost its designation as a research ship and was designated a frigate. A major overhaul was conducted in Boston in 1988, in which the aging ship received a new boiler and new sonars, upgrading its ASW capability yet again. Two years later the ship was decommissioned and transferred to the Maritime Services Command. No longer an active ship in the US Navy, Glover remained in that status until designated for scrapping in 1994.
Asbestos Exposure on U.S.S. Glover
Built in the 1960s, U.S.S. Glover contained asbestos in virtually all areas of the ship. The ship’s boilers were lined with asbestos insulation, and other materials exposed to high heat used the substance. Brake linings, clutch linings, fire dampers, electrical panels and switches, electrical wirings, fire retardants, valve packing, cements and epoxies, and other items were routinely manufactured with asbestos and installed on Glover.
One of the most widespread uses on the frigate was in the insulation of valves and pipes. Insulation jackets for valves and the insulating cloth for pipes were manufactured from asbestos cloth. Called lagging, this insulation was present in virtually every compartment and space on the ship. Deteriorating insulation or that damaged by maintenance to nearby equipment, or to the pipes themselves, would release asbestos fibers into the atmosphere, where they were easily spread throughout the ship by contact with clothing or by the ships ventilators.
Glover spent long periods alongside, having new sonar equipment installed and modified. During such periods, particularly before 1975, exposure to asbestos from shipyard activities would have increased.