USS Asheville (PG-84)

USS Asheville

One of seventeen Asheville-class gunboat in the United States Navy

USS Asheville Patch

(Asheville-class gunboats were a class of small military ships built for the United States Navy in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Originally designated PGM motor gunboats, but were reclassified in 1967 as PG patrol combatant ships. The class is named for a city in western North Carolina and the seat of Buncombe County.

Asheville class gunboats employed a Combined diesel or gas turbine (CODOG) propulsion system; twin Cummins Diesels for endurance, and a GE LM1500 gas turbine for high-speed dash. Engine controls were operated by pneumatics. The controllable reversible pitch propeller allowed them to stop in less than two ship lengths from full speed. They were the first gas turbine ships in the US Navy, as well as the first with aluminum hulls and fiberglass superstructures.

Most Asheville-class gunboats have since been donated to museums, scheduled for scrapping, or transferred to the Greek, Turkish, Colombian and South Korean Navies. The exceptions are the USS Chehalis (PGM-94) and USS Grand Rapids (PGM-98), which are operated by the Naval Surface Warfare Center - Panama City, FL)

Design and Construction

Laid down 15 April 1964 by Tacoma Boatbuilding Co., Tacoma, WA
Launched 1 May 1965
Commissioned USS Asheville (PGM-84), 6 August 1966
Reclassified as a Patrol Gunboat, PG-84, 1 April 1967
Decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register 31 January 1977
Fate: Transferred to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy 11 April 1977 as a training vessel
According to Mr. Ed McLean of the Environmental Protection Agency, ASHVILLE, along with the READY, MARATHON, and CROCKETT have been scrapped. (24 July, 2006 date of source)

General characteristics

Displacement 240 t. (lt), 285 t. (fl)
Length 164' 6"
Beam 24'
Draft 5' 2" (lt), 9' 6" (fl)
Speed 40 kts.
Complement 37
Armament: One single 3"/50 dual purpose gun mount, one single 40mm gun mount, two twin .50 cal. machine guns
Propulsion: CODOG (Combination Diesel/Gas Turbine), Two 725hp 12 cylinder Cummins diesels engines, one General Electric model 7 LM 1500 gas turbine engine, two controllable pitch propellers, 13,300shp. The CODOG system allows for diesel propulsion up to about 12 - 14 knots and marine gas turbine propulsion for speeds in excess of 35 knots.

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

In her service - The Asheville earned 14 battle stars for service in the Vietnam War.


The third ship to be named Asheville by the Navy, PGM-84 was laid down on 15 April 1964 at Tacoma, Washington, by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Co

Launched on 1 May 1965; sponsored by Mrs. R. E. Harris; and commissioned on 6 August 1966

She was reclassified a patrol gunboat on 1 April 1967, LT Henry Dale, USN in Command(6 August 1966 - 17 August 1967).

She completed fitting out at Tacoma on 17 September and got underway for her home port, San Diego, California. She arrived there on the 22d and began shakedown training along the California coast

Shakedown and operational tests lasted until 18 January 1967 at which time she entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for post-shakedown availability. Those repairs continued until 14 March at which time she returned to San Diego. She remained in port there for two weeks. On 28 March, she departed San Diego en route to the western Pacific. On 1 April, the gunboat was redesignated PG-84. After stops at Pearl Harbor and Guam and a return visit to the latter island necessitated by a breakdown in her main propulsion plant, Asheville finally arrived at Camranh Bay in South Vietnam on 7 May.

Vietnam Operations

Upon her arrival, she began an extended deployment to the western Pacific Ocean lasting just over eight years, a tour of duty marred by chronic material casualties and frequent repair periods. During the first six years of the deployment, the gunboat served with the Coastal Surveillance Force in Vietnam when not undergoing repairs at such places as Subic Bay, Guam, Camranh Bay, or Vung Tau. During her line periods, she conducted blockade missions—codenamed Operation Market Time—along the South Vietnamese coast in an attempt to interdict the waterborne flow of arms and supplies from North Vietnam to the communist forces operating in South Vietnam.

She was commanded by:
LT Robert A. Flournoy, USN (17 August 1967 - 16 August 1968)
LT Franklin Donald Julian, USN 16 August 1968 - 5 September 1969
LT Neil L. Kozlowski, USN 5 September 1969 - 17 September 1970

As a secondary mission, the warship provided gunfire support for American and South Vietnamese forces operating ashore.

Late in 1970, Asheville broke her routine of "Market Time" operations punctuated by frequent repair periods when, after completing an overhaul and restricted availability at Guam, she operated for two months—from late November 1970 to late January 1971—in the Mariana Islands. On 20 January 1971, whle still under the Command of LT Joseph O. Desrochers, USN (17 September 1970 - 14 June 1972) the gunboat departed Guam to resume duty in Vietnamese waters. Once again, she conducted coastal surveillance and gunfire support missions—though still plagued by chronic material casualties which frequently took her off the line for repairs. On 18 May, the warship returned to Guam for almost two months of repairs.

When she completed that work on 9 July, Asheville embarked upon seven weeks of patrols and port visits in the Trust Territories of the Pacific. She concluded that assignment at Guam on 1 September and then conducted refresher training out of Apra Harbor for the next two months.

The gunboat departed Guam on 5 November and, after a 16-day stop at Subic Bay, returned to Vietnam at Vung Tau. Her duty in that war-torn country lasted until late March 1972 when she headed via Subic Bay back to Guam. The warship arrived at Apra Harbor on 31 May 1972 and remained in the Marianas until 13 November 1972. Several changes in Command, under LT James T. Kennedy, USN (14 June 1972 - 10 July 1972), LCDR Joseph O. Desrochers, USN (10 July 1972 - 15 August 1972), LT Timothy A. French, USN (15 August 1972 - 6 September 1973).

After a stop at Subic Bay on 21 November, she briefly returned to Vietnamese waters before heading for Bangkok, Thailand, with LT French at the helm, where she remained well into the second week in December. On 12 December, she departed Bangkok, with Lt French still in command and, after the usual call at Subic Bay, reentered Apra Harbor on the 27th of Decemember, 1972 - Merry Christmas to all.

While she was there, the end of American involvement in the Vietnamese civil war halted her combat activities. For the next 17 months, Asheville continued to operate in the central and western Pacific. A change in command, Lt French's tour is over, replaced by LT Charles Richard Burchell, USN (6 September 1973 - 17 October 1975). In November and December 1973, she interrupted her schedule of operations for a cruise to the southern Pacific during which she visited Surabaya, Indonesia, and the Australian ports Cairns, Darwin, and Gove as well as Rabaul on New Britain and Manus in the Admiralty Islands. She returned to Guam on 17 December 1973 and resumed operations from that port.

On 21 June 1974, the gunboat stood out of Apra Harbor bound ultimately for the United States. She stopped at Oahu from 4 to 6 July and arrived at San Diego, California, on the 16th. On 1 August, she began the long voyage to duty with the U.S. Naval Reserve in Chicago, Illinois. She took almost three months to reach her destination and stopped at a long list of ports along the way. Finally, however, Asheville arrived in Chicago on 28 October 1974. The gunboat spent the remainder of her active career operating on the Great Lakes out of Chicago as a training platform for Naval Reserve personnel of the Chicago area.

17 October 1975 LT William D. Busching, USN, now in Command. He will be the last to command her till she is decommissioned.


She continued that duty until placed out of commission on 31 January 1977, and her name was simultaneously stricken from the Navy list.

On 11 April 1977, the ship was transferred to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy - for training duty.

Asheville-class gunboats

· Asheville · Antelope · Beacon · Benicia · Canon · Chehalis · Crockett · Defiance · Douglas ·

· Gallup · Grand Rapids · Green Bay · Marathon · Ready · Surprise · Tacoma · Welch ·

VA Benefits

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs now recognizes mesothelioma and other asbestos-related and those associated with "Agent Orange" diseases as service-related medical conditions.  This means that veterans with mesothelioma and other such diseases are able to apply for Veteran Affairs (VA) benefits to pay for their treatment. 

The application process for VA benefits is arduous, and some veterans who have mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease you may have a claim.  A veterans' Service Officer can help you with the VA benefits claims process and can guide you through the process of compensation for your military occupational exposure to asbestos, and "Agent Orange."

Contact a Veterans' Service Officer

Because of the long latency period of mesothelioma, and "Agent Orange" many veterans whose tours of duty ended decades ago may just now be facing a mesothelioma or other cancer diagnosis.  We at the DAV have a deep respect and gratitude for the men and women who have served our country in times of war and in times of peace.  It is our honor, as veterans, to help veterans pursue justice after such exposure.  If you have been affected by such military exposure, you may be eligible for compensation.  Please contact a Veterans' Service Officer to schedule a FREE consultation.

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