The USS Bainbridge was a missile frigate, and later a cruiser, named after a prominent commodore of the early 19th century Navy, William Bainbridge. She was built in Quincy, Massachusetts, and commissioned in October of 1962. She was nuclear-powered and weighed 7800-tons.
The Bainbridge in Action
She patrolled off the United States East Coast and the Caribbean until February 1963. She sailed to the Mediterranean to begin her first deployment, which included displays of her long-range and fast dash abilities as well as operations with the USS Enterprise. The USS Bainbridge went back to the Mediterranean in May 1964 to team up with the Enterprise and the USS Long Beach to form a trio of a nuclear-powered team named Task Force 1. In July the trio circumnavigated the globe in two months without refueling.
The Bainbridge sailed to the Pacific Ocean again, going around Africa to join the Seventh Fleet in what was to be the first of eleven cruises. During most of her deployment she stayed around Vietnam covering aircraft carriers, serving as a radar-picket ship and doing search and rescue missions. In June 1966 the Bainbridge traveled to Long Beach, California, which was her new home port. In her next five tours in the Far East, she was involved in battles of the Vietnam War. She also did tours to Australia and the Indian Ocean in 1970, and was overhauled in 1967-68 with her first nuclear refueling. On her seventh tour of the Far East she spent a significant amount of time in the Arabian Sea, which she would frequent in the future.
The USS Bainbridge underwent extensive updating and refueling from June 1974 to September 1976 with the final refits taking until April of 1977. While she was being updated she was reclassified to a cruiser from being a frigate. Her next deployment was from January to August 1978, when she traveled to Singapore, Japan, Korea and Thailand. She then sailed home, stopping in Australia and passing through the South Pacific. The Bainbridge did three more lengthy tours in the Western Pacific in 1979-80, 1981 and 1982-83.
The USS Bainbridge underwent a final nuclear refuel and overhaul in 1983-85, then rejoined the fleet in the Atlantic. Her operations then included combating drug smuggling in the Caribbean, numerous tours of Northern Europe, and four tours of the Mediterranean. She was decommissioned in September 1996.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, even today, naval cruisers 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.