The USS Bulmer was constructed by William Cramp and Sons, having a displacement of 1,215 tons. A Clemson-class destroyer that measured 314 feet 4 inches long, the ship also had a beam of 31 feet 9 inches and a draft of 9 feet 10 inches.
The USS Bulmer’s namesake was Captain Roscoe Carlyle Bulmer. Her initial launch was sponsored by Captain Bulmer’s daughter, Miss Anita Paor Bulmer. The launch was on January 22, 1920. Her commander was Lieutenant Commander J.C. Jennings.
The commission of the USS Bulmer lasted from August 16, 1920 to August 16, 1946. She was the last warship of the Asiatic Fleet in commission. Her armament included four 4-inch, one 3-inch, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes. She also had a complement of 122 officers and enlisted men. She could attain speeds up to 35 knots.
Before the Bulmer joined the Asiatic Fleet in 1925, she was part of the Pacific Fleet based at San Diego, California in 1920. During 1923, she was part of the U.S. Naval Forces in Europe, and then in Turkish waters as part of the U.S. Naval Detachment.
While in the Asiatic Fleet, she was part of the Destroyer Squadron (DesRon 5) in Destroyer Division 14 (DesDiv 14). In 1939, the Bulmer became part of the South China Patrol, and was later moved to DesRon29, DesDiv58. This later assignment was under the Commandant of the 16th Naval District.
Action in World War II
When WWII began, the Bulmer was in the Philippines. She performed many patrol, escort, and anti-submarine duties in the Pacific. The Bulmer also served in the Battle of Bali Sea as part of Task Force 5 (TF5), DesRon 29 on February 4, 1942. She also participated in an unsuccessful attempt to stop Japanese invasion convoys near Palembang, Sumatra.
Bulmer’s career also included patrol duties at many Australian ports. From June 1942 until May 1943 she was an escort vessel between Pearl Harbor and San Francisco. May 1943 saw her transfer to the Atlantic Fleet. After making a trans-Atlantic voyage to Wales, the USS Bulmer commenced convoy escort duty between northeastern Atlantic ports and North Africa.
On December 1, 1944, her designation was changed to AG-86. Soon thereafter she reported to the Panama Canal Zone. She was assigned to commence training duties with newly commissioned submarines while there. When she returned to the States, her assignment was to take operational control of Commander, Air Force and Atlantic Fleet, operating out of Port Everglades, Florida.
After the war
The USS Bulmer DD-222 was decommissioned on August 16, 1946 and sold on February 19, 1947. For her World War II service, she received two battle stars.
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.