The USS Brinkley Bass was constructed by Consolidated Steel Corporation as a Gearing-class destroyer. She was laid down on December 20, 1944. She is named for Lieutenant Commander Harry Brinkley Bass, who served his country bravely but was killed in action when the plane he was flying in went down over southern France on August 20, 1944. The USS Brinkley Bass was launched by the Lt. Commander’s mother, Mrs. Percy Bass.
Action in the Vietnam and Korean War
The Brinkley Bass was part of the seventh fleet, acting as one of many destroyers that supported the United Nation in the Korean War. Later, she served in the Vietnam War as a Tonkin Golf plane guard for aircraft carriers at Yankee Station. She also performed search and rescue duties in Operation Sea Dragon and was a key player in naval gunfire support missions.
The US Navy decommissioned and struck the Brinkley Bass from the Naval Vessel Register on December 3, 1973. Although the Brinkley Bass was no longer needed in the U.S. Navy, the destroyer still had a long career ahead of her.
She was transferred to the Brazilian Naval Services, being renamed the Mariz e Barros D-26. From 1973 to September 1997, she actively served as a battleship for the Brazilian Navy. After September 1, 1997 she was used primarily as a training ship. It was in December of 2000 that she was used as a target ship and sunk.
The Brinkley Bass received seven battle stars for her service in the Korean War and nine more for her service during the Vietnam 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.