USS George E. Badger (DD-196) was a Clemson-class destroyer constructed for the US Navy during World War II. She was one of two naval vessels to be named in honor of George E Badger, who was the Secretary of the Navy while President William Henry Harrison was in office. Badger also served as a US Senator from North Carolina.
George E. Badger was laid down by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company on September 24, 1918. She was sponsored by Miss Mary B. Wilson, who was the granddaughter of Badger, and was launched on March 6, 1920. Lieutenant Commander Albert Gleaves Berry, Jr. took command of George E. Badger on July 28, 1920.
Following her shakedown, George E. Badger was based out of Charleston, South Carolina, with her operations primarily taking place in Caribbean waters as well as along the eastern seaboard. She returned to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 6, 1922 and was later decommissioned on August 11 of that year. She remained here until October 1, 1930, at which time she was used by the US Coast Guard. On May 21, 1934, George E. Badger was reacquired by the Navy and was redesignated as AVP-16 on October 1, 1939.
Lieutenant Commander Frank Akers took command of George E. Badger on January 8, 1940. Over the next year, she was involved in training operations in the Caribbean. On August 2, 1940, she was once again redesignated, with her designation changed to AVD-3. George E. Badger was then returned to Norfolk, Virginia, where she tended planes while based in Newfoundland and Iceland.
In 1942 and 1943, George E. Badger spent most of her time escorting convoys in various parts of the world. On July 23, 1943, while steaming with Bogue and Clemson, she sank U-613 in an area southwest of Sao Miguel, Azores. All 48 crewmembers aboard the German submarine were killed.
On May 19, 1944, George E. Badger was converted to a high speed transport. At this time, she was redesignated APD-33. She then began screening warships and serving in reconnaissance missions. In January of 1945, she assisted with the Lingayen Landings, where she managed to shoot down a Japanese torpedo plane. She also served as a screen to her frogmen as they landed on the beaches two days after the torpedo plane attack.
On July 20, 1945, George E. Badger was reconverted to DD-196. She was then decommissioned on October 3, 1945 until she was scrapped on June 3, 1946. George E. Badger was awarded with a Presidential Unit Citation as well as eight battle stars for her service during World War II.
Asbestos Risk on the USS George E. Badger (DD-196)
Installing asbestos in the design of all ships was ordered by Congress in the early 1930s, after a fire at sea on a cruise ship killed 137 people. George E. Badger, like most Navy ships at the time, installed asbestos-containing materials in large amounts, especially in ship's boilers and engineering compartments, and for fireproofing in all parts of the vessel.
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Badger. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Department of the Navy – Naval Historical Center. (http://history.navy.mil/danfs/g4/george_e_badger.htm) Retrieved 24 December