The USS Bainbridge was a 1,190-ton Clemson class destroyer built in Camden, New Jersey. This ship was commissioned in February of 1921 and was used in the Caribbean and Atlantic. The destroyer was received its name in honor of Commodore William Bainbridge(1774-1833), who was an early U.S. Navy leader.
Then in the fall, it was moved to work in areas around Turkey, where there were problems in the country. In the winter of 1922, the Bainbridge saved almost five hundred people from the burning French ship, Vinh-Long, which was sinking in the sea near Constantinople. The crew and its commander, Walter Edwards, were officially commended for saving the people aboard that ship. Lieutenant Commander Edwards was even awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism.
In 1923, the ship briefly returned to the United States, but was then sent to scout the waters of the Atlantic, also making regular visits back to the waters of the Caribbean. On occasion, the ship also passed through the Panama Canal to do exercises with another fleet. In 1927, the destroyer joined the patrol of the Special Service Squadron near Nicaragua.
After this, the Bainbridge was put out of commission from winter of 1930 all the way through spring of 1932, spending an additional year after that in reduced commission serving in the Rotating Reserve. The ship then returned to the Special Service Squadron and was active there until 1937, being sent to the Pacific.
Action in World War II
Bainbridge was then recommissioned for work in World War II. Around this time, the ship began patrols, operating out of Key West, Florida. Then during 1941, the ship spent most of its time in North Atlantic waters escorting convoys to countries in Europe during the war. The ship was caught by an enemy mine off of the Chesapeake Bay in 1942, causing slight damage to the vessel.
The next year the ship was in the waters working between the United States and North Africa, escorting convoys. She then joined a special task group which sank several U-boats. The task group was built around the aircraft carrier, Santee CVE-29.
After the war
After the surrender of Germany in 1945, the Bainbridge was no longer necessary. The ship was decommissioned in the summer of 1945 and sold for scrap metal in November of that year.
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.