The USS Bagley was commissioned in June of 1937 as one of a class of eight 1,500-ton destroyers. The ship was built at the Norfolk, Virginia Navy Yard. She served in the Atlantic for her first year, and then served mainly in the Pacific. The destroyer received her name in honor of Ensign Worth Bagley (1874-1898), who lost his life while serving in the Spanish-American War.
Action in World War II
The USS Bagley was part of the naval fleet that was at Pearl Harbor when Japan attacked the advanced fleet on December 7, 1941, ushering the U.S. into World War II. She began her duties in the first few months of WWII as an escort for the U. S. carrier task forces in the early part of that war. She was also involved in the south Pacific raids of enemy targets during February and March of 1942.
The USS Bagley participated in the Battle of Savo Island and the invasion of Tulagi and Guadalcanal, then taking part in patrol and escort duties for the following 18 months in the south Pacific area. The Bagley also participated in operations intended to capture Woodlark Island in the middle of 1943 and also western New Britain during late 1943 and the early part of 1944.
After a west coast overhaul, USS Bagley served with the fleet that was stationed in the central and western Pacific, taking part in the Marianas operation from June through July 1944, which included the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Palaus operation that occurred in September, 1944, the Leyte operation and the Battle of Leyte Gulf, which took place in October of the same year. The USS Bagley was also involved in the Lingayen Gulf invasion in January of 1945, and campaigns to capture Iwo Jima and Okinawa during February through May of 1945.
After the war
She then accepted the surrender of Japanese forces on Marcus Island, and took part in the occupation of Japan for the following few months. After returning to the U. S. in November of 1945, the USS Bagley was prepared to become inactive. She was decommissioned in June of 1946 and was then sold for scrap in October of 1947.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially during World War II, naval destroyers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.