U.S.S. Antelope (PG-86)
Antelope was an Asheville-class patrol gunboat. She served in the Vietnam War.
She was laid down by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Co. on June 1, 1965. She commissioned November 4, 1967.
Antelope sailed for San Diego for shakedown and refitting. This work lasted until November 2, 1969, when she sailed for her new homeport at Apra Harbor, Guam. After further repairs there, she headed to Vietnam.
The gunboat reached Cam Ranh Bay on January 28, 1970 and immediately began operations on the Cua Lon River. On the 31st, she gave aid to a group of three patrol boats that had been ambushed on the river. On April 2, six shore-based rocket teams ambushed her. Returning fire immediately, Antelope drove her attackers off with no serious damage. She worked with Coast Guard and Air Force units to sink a 175-foot trawler southwest of Saigon on April 11. She then returned to the Cua Lon.
At 0100 on May 4, she was attacked again. A satchel charge thrown from the shore blew a 5-inch hole in her starboard side. Just five days later, more rocket teams attacked her. Her crew’s quick reactions saved her once again, and she escaped without damage. Viet Cong forces seemed determined to end Antelope’s career, however. Two days later, on May 11, she fought off another bombing attempt. In the process, the gunboat sent several men ashore. Her party confiscated several rocket launchers and bombs in this action.
Antelope continued to serve with distinction in Vietnam until April 24, 1972, when she returned to Guam. From there, she sailed to Long Beach, where she was overhauled. She was fitted with a RIM 66B Standard surface-to-surface missile system and her diesel engines were replaced. On July 12, she got underway for the Atlantic Fleet.
She made a quick stop at Little Creek, VA on August 7, and then got underway for her new homeport in Naples, Italy. During exercises of Crete on October 1, 1973, Antelope fired one of her missiles at a target boat. The shot was a direct hit, the first hit scored with a live RIM-66B Standard. On July 31, 1977, the gunboat was ordered back to Little Creek for deactivation.
Antelope decommissioned on October 1, 1977. The next year, she was transferred to the Environmental Protection Agency and sent to Lake Michigan. Renamed Peter W. Anderson, she served as a survey ship, monitoring the effects of pollutants and waste disposal on the lake. She was replaced by Bold in 2009. Her current whereabouts are unknown.
Risk of Asbestos Exposure
Antelope was powered by a combined diesel or gas turbine (CODOG) plant, so she was not insulated with asbestos as steam vessels of her day were. Therefore, the risk of exposure from the ship herself is low. In her long and eventful career, however, she had close interactions with many steam-propelled ships, and her crew may have been exposed as a result.
Asbestos-based products break down into tiny fibers when damaged or worn. These fibers spread quickly and easily through the air, especially in a ship’s ventilation system. Inhalation of asbestos is a proven cause of mesothelioma, a malignant lung cancer. There is no cure for mesothelioma, but treatments such as chemotherapy can be employed to fight the disease.
If you or someone you know served aboard Antelope or worked on her in a shipyard and has contracted mesothelioma, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page to receive free information regarding your rights to compensation.
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