On December 12, 1942 the USS Bradford, a Fletcher-class destroyer, was launched by the Bethlehem Steel Company from Terminal Island, California. The ship was named for Captain Gamaliel Bradford, a privateer during the U.S. Quasi-War with France. Captain Bradford was the great-great-grandfather of Mrs. Sarah Bradford Rose, who sponsored the construction of the ship. On June 12, 1943 the Bradford was commissioned and placed in the command of Commander R.L. Morris.
Action in World War II
On August 18, 1943 the Bradford set way for Pearl Harbor and on August 25, 1943, less than 24 hours after arriving at Pearl Harbor, the Bradford left for Baker Island in order to join in its capture and occupation, which took place on September 1, 1943. After the capture of Baker Island the Bradford then joined carrier forces in order to participate in the Tarawa raid, which took place on the September 18, 1943, as well as the Wake Island raid on October 5-6, 1943.
Aside from its participation in several raids, the Bradford also operated as a screening unit in Task Group 52.3, which covered the occupation of the Gilbert Islands on November 13 to December 8, 1943. The Bradford participated in many other military operations, but the most notable would be that of the assault on Iwo Jima on February 19 through 27, 1945. After participating in several more operations, the Bradford was placed out of commission in reserve on July 11, 1946.
Action in the Korean War
On October 27, 1950 the Bradford was once again commissioned and joined the Pacific fleet to participate in the Korean War. After having completed a total of six Far East cruises in various capacities, the Bradford was once more decommissioned on September 28, 1961 from the United States Naval Services before being transferred on September 17, 1962 to Greece.
After the war
While serving as a Greek Naval vessel the Bradford was renamed the HNS Thyella D-22, “Storm.” The Bradford met its fate in 1981 when it was stricken and scrapped. During its career, the Bradford received the Navy Unit Commendation as well as 12 battle stars for participation in World War II as a radar picket ship. The Bradford also received six battle stars awarded for participation in the Korean War.
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.