The USS Bainbridge (DD-246) served in the US Navy for more than twenty years in the early 20th century. She was named for Commodore William Bainbridge who served in the War of 1812. Bainbridge was constructed as a Clemson-class ship.
Bainbridge was laid down in Camden, New Jersey by the New York Shipbuilding Company in May 1919, launched in June 1920, and commissioned in February 1921 with Lieutenant Commander E.I. Thebaud in command. Carrying a crew of 114, Bainbridge was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, one three-inch anti-aircraft gun, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Bainbridge began her service with tactical exercises along the east coast of the United States and in the Caribbean. In October 1922, Bainbridge joined the Naval Detachment, Turkish Waters in Constantinople and rescued 500 survivors of the French military transport Vinh-Long off the coast in December. For this service, commanding officer at the time Lieutenant Commander W.A. Edwards was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Bainbridge was assigned to routine fleet operations from 1923 to 1928, but during this time also operated with the Special Services Squadron in 1927 to patrol off Nicaragua. She was out of commission with the reserve fleet in Philadelphia from December 1930 to March 1932, when placed in reduced commission status with Rotating Reserve Division 19. Bainbridge participated in Naval Reserve training during this period, and was fully commissioned again in September 1933 and assigned to Destroyer Division 8, Scouting Force.
Bainbridge served briefly with the Special Service Squadron in the Florida Keys and Cuba, until being deployed for duty in the Pacific out of San Diego, California, in November 1934. After trips to British Columbia, Alaska, and Hawaii, Bainbridge was placed in reserve at San Diego from November 1937 to September 1939. She was then assigned to Division 62 and served with the Neutrality Patrol in the Panama Canal Zone until assigned to patrol duty at Key West in the summer of 1940.
Bainbridge continued escort duty off the east coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean from December 1941 to July 1945 and also conducted five trans-Atlantic escorts to North Africa. She then returned to Philadelphia for decommissioning, and was sold for scrap in November 1945.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Bainbridge (DD-246)
Installing asbestos-containing materials in the construction of all vessels was ordered by Congress in the 1930s, after a deadly fire on the SS Morro Castle killed more than 100 people. Ships like Bainbridge deployed asbestos-containing materials in great quantities around ship's boilers and engine rooms, and in fireproofing in all parts of the vessel. When asbestos insulation is damaged it can become friable, which means that individual asbestos fibers can break off and escape into the atmosphere, and then can be breathed in by crewmen or dockworkers, increasing the odds of developing mesothelioma.
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Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-246.
http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd246txt.htm Retrieved 31 December 2010.
NavSource Naval History, USS Goff (DD-246).
http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/246.htm Retrieved 31 December 2010.