The USS Charles J. Badger (DD-657) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy for nearly a decade and a half in the mid-20th century. She was named for Rear Admiral Charles Johnston Badger who served in the Spanish-American War and World War I. Charles J. Badger was a member of the Fletcher-class of naval ships.
Charles J. Badger was laid down at Staten Island, New York by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in September 1942, launched in April 1943, and commissioned in July with Commander W.G. Cooper in command. Supporting a crew complement of 273, Charles J. Badger was armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, five 5-inch anti-aircraft guns, four 1.1 inch anti-aircraft guns, and four 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns.
Charles J. Badger began her duties at San Francisco in the Pacific by the end of November 1943, and then reported to Adak in December. She conducted patrol and escort duty in the Aleutian Islands until August 1944, and also participated in bombardments in the Kurile Islands during this deployment. Charles J. Badger arrived at Leyte in October to protect troop transports. She guarded empty transports on the way back to New Guinea during the Battle for Leyte Gulf. Charles J. Badger also operated during the assault at Lingayen Gulf in January 1945.
Charles J. Badger provided fire support and anti-aircraft fire during the Okinawa invasion in April, where she was damaged by a depth charge from a suicide boat. Under repair at Bremerton, Washington from August 1945 to May 1946, Charles J. Badger was then put on reserve at Long Beach, California until September 1961. Charles J. Badger then operated out of Newport, Rhode Island and served in the Atlantic, until she was deployed to patrol duty off Korea. She remained overseas from December 1953 until returning from a cruise around the world in July 1954.
Charles J. Badger returned to Newport later in July, and then served two tours of duty in the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet; first in early 1956 and then in late 1966 and early 1957. At Boston, Charles J. Badger was decommissioned and placed in reserve in December, and was struck from the Navy list in February 1974. She was sold to Chile in May 1974 and used for spare parts.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Charles J. Badger (DD-657)
Most sailors stationed or doing repairs on the USS Charles J. Badger were most likely exposed to asbestos-containing materials to some extent. Those who were exposed to asbestos on the Charles J. Badger are at risk for developing malignant mesothelioma. Asbestos-containing material that was damaged by enemy action became a danger to those on the ship when the individual fibers separated from the insulation and entered the air where they could breathe it in.
Some jobs carried a greater exposure risk; mechanics working in the engine rooms and performing equipment repairs and firemen in boiler rooms were just some of the higher risk occupations. A primary reason that asbestos was present in most parts of Charles J. Badger was because insulation made from asbestos was used to cover the steam ducts which went through all areas of the ship.
Crewmen who worked daily with frayed or damaged asbestos-containing material over a long period have a higher risk of developing mesothelioma. There is legal help available to naval personnel and civilian workers who have become ill after being exposed to asbestos. Learn more by filling out the form on this page to request helpful information.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-657.
NavSource Naval History. USS Charles J. Badger (DD-657).