The USS Bernadou (DD-153) served in the US Navy for over two-and-a-half decades during the early part of the 20th century, and earned one Presidential Unit Citation and five battle stars for her service in World War II. She was named for John Baptiste Bernadou who served in the Spanish-American War. Bernadou was built as a Wickes-class destroyer.
Bernadou was laid down in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by the William Cramp & Sons Ship and Engine Building Company in June 1918, launched in November, and commissioned in May 1919 with Lieutenant Commander L.G. Farley in command. Carrying a crew of 103, Bernadou was 314 feet, five inches long and was armed with four 4-inch rapid-fire guns, two anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 21-inch torpedo tubes.
Bernadou began her service with a cruise to Europe in 1919, before joining Division 19, Atlantic Fleet on the east coast. In July 1922, Bernadou was decommissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard, and reactivated in May 1930 when she joined Squadron 7, Scouting Force. Following a period of inactivity from September 1936 to October 1939, Bernadou served with the Neutrality Patrol with Destroyer Division 6, Atlantic Squadron.
In July 1941, Bernadou aided a convoy sailing from Newfoundland to Iceland and continued this duty until the fall of 1942. Bernadou participated in the invasion of North Africa in November, and landed troops in French Morocco. For this duty, Bernadou was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation.
Bernadou was assigned as a convoy escort on the east coast from November 1942 until February 1943, when she was deployed on a convoy to Gibraltar in March and April. In May, Bernadou operated out of Oran, Algeria until December 1943, and then participated in the occupation of Sicily in July and the Salerno landings in September. She also escorted several Mediterranean convoys during this deployment.
In December 1943, Bernadou arrived in the United States, and served as an escort for two convoys to North Africa in 1944. Bernadou was then assigned to operations along the east coast and in the Caribbean. She operated as a plane guard and escort vessel on the east coast in 1945, and was decommissioned at Philadelphia Navy Yard in July, stricken in August, and then sold for scrap in November 1945.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Bernadou (DD-153)
Using asbestos-containing materials in the construction of naval ships was mandated by law in the United States in the 1930s, after a fire at sea aboard a cruise ship killed more than 100 people. Navy ships like Bernadou utilized asbestos in large quantities, particularly in boilers and engine compartments, and for fireproofing in all sections of the ship. If an asbestos-based product is worn or damaged it can become friable, meaning that individual fibers can be broken off and escape into the air, and then can be breathed in by naval personnel and shipfitters, increasing the odds of developing mesothelioma. After asbestos is inhaled or ingested, tiny fibers get stuck in the mesothelium, a narrow body of cells that surrounds and protects the heart, lungs, and stomach, and over time this foreign material may lead to mesothelioma cancer.
Unfortunately, a mesothelioma prognosis is rarely positive; generally mesothelioma sufferers have a life expectancy of less than two years after a diagnosis is made. Because mesothelioma is not a common condition only a select few clinics and doctors are equipped to provide the highest level mesothelioma treatment available.
We've compiled a mesothelioma information kit with up-to-date information about who these specialists are, where the best treatment can be obtained, legal resources and a list of mesothelioma clinical trials nationwide. Simply fill in the form on this page and we'll send you your kit, at no charge.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-153. (http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd153txt.htm) Retrieved 24 December 2010.
NavSource Naval History, USS Bernadou (DD-153). (http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/153.htm) Retrieved 24 December 2010.