The USS Bausell was a Gearing-class destroyer in active service during the post-World War II years through Vietnam. She was named in honor of a U.S. Marine who threw himself on a grenade to protect his comrades during the invasion of Palau in September 1944.
Bausell was built at the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine between May and November of 1945. She was commissioned in Boston the following February, with Cmdr. J.V. Bewick serving as the vessel's first skipper.
The Gearing-class ships were more than 390 feet long with a beam just of just over 41 feet. These destroyers displaced a total of 2,225 tons and carried a crew of 336 officers and seamen. Bausell was powered by two General Electric steam turbines, which enabled her to cruise at speeds of nearly 37 knots (equivalent to about 42 miles per hour
The design was based on the successful Fletcher class, which was the mainstay of the U.S. Navy for almost fifty years. Gearing-type destroyers were larger and better-armed; most of these underwent substantial modifications and upgrades over the years.
Following a two-month shakedown cruise in the Caribbean, Bausell was assigned to NS San Diego in July 1946. Due to a post-war shortage of personnel she was laid up for almost six months before commencing active duty.
Between February 1948 and the outbreak of the Korean Way, Bausell was deployed to the Far East and South Pacific a number of times as the political situation in China deteriorated. She was sent to Korean waters in February 1951 and was later assigned to patrol in the Taiwan Strait in order to help prevent a wider conflict between Formosa (Taiwan
After the cease-fire that halted the shooting war in Korea, Bausell was deployed to the Far East regularly over the next seven years.
Bausell first underwent modernizations between October 1947 and February 1948 at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington. She underwent a second overhaul following a Korean deployment at the Mare Island shipyard near San Francisco between January and July of 1953.
Bausell underwent a Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM
Asbestos Risk on the USS Bausell (DD-845)
Beginning in the late 19th century, a heat and fireproof mineral known as asbestos was used extensively in the industrial and construction industries. Oceangoing ships built for the U.S. Navy, such as the USS Bausell, also used asbestos as an insulating material. It was used heavily in the engineering sections of the ships as the equipment located in those areas including pumps and turbines create a great deal of heat from which protection was needed. It could also be found in electrical generators and engines.
Most sailors sailing or performing repair work on Bausell may have been exposed to asbestos fibers during their time of service. Sailors working on engines and boilers were likely to be more heavily exposed, as were crewmen working in damage control parties. If material containing asbestos is damaged or frayed, individual fibers will enter the air and those around it risk breathing it in. This type of asbestos exposure has been linked to mesothelioma. As a result, many navy veterans have been diagnosed with this aggressive cancer as a result of the asbestos exposure they sustained while serving their country.Sources
Destroyer History Foundation. "Gearing Class"
Mooney, James. Dictionary of American Fighting Ships. (Washington DC; Department of the Navy, 1991