The USS Charles P. Cecil was a Gearing-class destroyer in service with the U.S. Navy from the late 1940s through the Vietnam Era and later with the Greek Navy. She was named in honor of Rear Admiral Charles Cecil.
The keel of the Cecil was laid at the Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine in December 1944. She was launched the following April and commissioned in Boston at the end of June 1945 under command of Commander W. Outerson.
Gearing-class destroyers such as Cecil were the culmination of the Fletcher-class design, a highly successful destroyer class that served in active duty into the 21st century. While based on the Fletcher design, the Gearing was longer, heavier and faster, with a substantially longer range.
Measuring over 390 feet from bow to stern with a beam of just under 41 feet, Bausell displaced in excess of 3500 tons. Her twin General Electric steam turbines could propel her at a top speed of approximately 35 knots (about 40 miles per hour).
After reporting to her new home port of San Diego in November 1945, Cecil proceeded to the South Pacific and Asia for the first of two post-war tours of duty with the 7th Fleet. In March 1949, she was reclassified as DDR-835 and transferred to Newport, Rhode Island. Over the ensuing decade, she made several deployments to the Mediterranean and took part in a number of NATO exercises.
In 1962, Cecil was among the first vessels to take up a blockade off the coast of Cuba as tensions rose over Soviet missile deployments on the island rose during October of that year. In 1964, Cecil underwent her FRAM I overhaul; during this procedure, which was carried out at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard near San Francisco, Charles P. Cecil was converted for anti-submarine work.
Over the next decade, she was sent to Vietnam twice. She ended her career with the U.S. Navy as part of an Atlantic reserve squadron out of New London, Connecticut from 1973 until October 1979.
In 1980, Cecil was sold to Greece. She continued to serve in that country's navy as the HRN Apostolis until retired thirteen years later. The vessel was scrapped in 2003.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Charles P. Cecil (DD-835)
On board the USS Charles P. Cecil asbestos insulation was used in most compartments, both in machinery and wrapped around steam pipes. Asbestos-containing material was installed more frequently in specific areas of Charles P. Cecil: for example the engine and power plant sections on Charles P. Cecil deployed asbestos-containing materials lavishly as insulation for steam pipes, to protect steam boilers, and to protect parts of the ship's engines and steam turbines. The remaining compartments of Charles P. Cecil also contained asbestos, particularly mess halls and galleys, sleeping quarters, fuel storage compartments, ammo lockers, and any area containing workshops or equipment.
Asbestos-containing material that becomes damaged can result in tiny asbestos fibers entering the air, where they can be inhaled by those working nearby. Anyone working regularly with damaged asbestos fibers over many months or years has a much greater risk of developing mesothelioma, a form of asbestos cancer, than those with lower levels of exposure. Sadly, many veterans who spent substantial time on navy ships working in poorly ventilated compartments around asbestos may be at risk for this serious disease. Legal help is available however. Simply fill out the form on this page and we will send you more information about the disease and available legal options.Sources
Mooney, James. Dictionary of American Fighting Ships. (Washington DC; Department of the Navy, 1991).
NavSource. "Ship's History: USS Charles P. Cecil DD 835" (Decommissioning pamphlet)