The USS Bordelon (DD-881) served in the U.S. Navy for over two decades in the mid-20th century before being transferred to Iran. She was named for Sergeant William James Bordelon, who was killed in action at Tarawa during World War II. Bordelon was built as a Gearing-class destroyer.
Bordelon was laid down at Orange, Texas by the Consolidated Steel Corporation in September 1944, launched in March 1945, and commissioned in June with Commander Michael J. Luosey in command. Carrying a crew of 336, Bordelon was 390 feet, six inches in length and armed with six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, and ten 21-inch torpedo tubes. General Electric geared turbines supported a cruising speed of 36.8 knots, and, fully fueled, Bordelon could travel a distance of 4,500 nautical miles at 20 knots.
Bordelon was assigned to training in the Caribbean and along the east coast until November 1945. In November, the destroyer reported to Commander, Destroyers, Pacific Fleet and arrived at Pearl Harbor in late November. Bordelon then was deployed to Kure, Japan and served with occupation forces until March 1946. Service in the Mariana Islands followed, where Bordelon operated with Task Force 77 and cruised to Hong Kong, Manila, Shanghai, Tsingtao, as well as Japan and Okinawa.
Bordelon arrived back in the United States in December 1946. Assigned to Destroyer Squadron 14, Bordelon began a new assignment in September 1947 as part of the Northern European Task Force, out of Plymouth, England. Bordelon remained on this deployment until February 1948 when she returned to the United States.
Bordelon then began a regular Atlantic Fleet schedule. The destroyer served on regular tours of duty in the Mediterranean, as well as five training cruises off Europe. Bordelon also operated in the Caribbean on several occasions and engaged in training routines on the east coast. An FRAM upgrade was completed in December 1963 and Bordelon remained in operation until being decommissioned and struck from the Navy list in February 1977. Bordelon was then transferred to Iran in July 1977 and broken up for spare parts.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Bordelon (DD-881)
Asbestos has been used in industrial and construction settings ever since the late 19th century. Asbestos fireproofing has been used in the design of oceangoing ships such as Bordelon ever since the 1930s. Asbestos-containing material was used nearly everywhere aboard ships and in shore installations by the U.S. Navy until around 1979 when the substance was banned by the U.S. government because of its causal relationship with mesothelioma.
Asbestos posed a particular threat to sailors on board the ship, especially those assigned to work in the small, poorly ventilated engine rooms, boiler rooms, pump rooms and other areas of the ship where heat generating equipment could be found. Asbestos was used extensively in these areas because it possessed superior insulating capability and protection against heat and fire. Unfortunately, those performing repairs which required replacing worn asbestos material or installing new asbestos components caused asbestos fibers to enter the air during the cutting, grinding or sanding of these materials. Asbestos that enters the air can be breathed in by those in the area and eventually cause the asbestos cancer known as mesothelioma.
As asbestos exposure is currently the only known cause of malignant mesothelioma and asbestosis, there are often legal options available for naval personnel and civilian workers who have developed these diseases. Our team has put together a helpful mesothelioma information packet to help you in managing your options. All you need to do is complete the request form on this page and we will send you your information kit, at no cost or obligation.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-881.
NavSource Naval History. Bordelon (DD-881).