The USS Harry F. Bauer (DD-738) was commissioned by the U.S. Navy for just over a decade in the mid-20th century. She was named for Lieutenant Commander Harry Frederick Bauer who served in the Second World War. Harry F. Bauer was laid down as an Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer.
Harry F. Bauer was laid down at Bath, Maine by the Bath Iron Works Corporation in March 1944, launched in July, and commissioned in September with Commander R. C. Williams, Jr., in command. Armed with ten 21-inch torpedo tubes, eleven 20-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, six five-inch anti-aircraft guns, and twelve 40-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, Harry F. Bauer supported a crew complement of 336 and was 376 feet, six inches long.
Harry F. Bauer arrived at San Diego, California in December 1944 and began her wartime service out of Pearl Harbor in January 1945. She was first deployed with transport Group Baker for the Iwo Jima invasion in February. Harry F. Bauer operated as a radar picket and conducted anti-submarine patrols during the campaign, and then proceeded to shore bombardment duties. The destroyer continued minesweeping duties prior to the invasion of Okinawa, and then resumed anti-submarine and picket services while fighting off enemy aircraft in April. A torpedo damaged her ballast tank and she was damaged during an aircraft attack in June, but the ship was still able to escort J. William Ditter to Kerama Retto.
Harry F. Bauer underwent repairs at Leyte, Philippines, and then returned to Okinawa the same day as the Japanese surrender. The destroyer participated in minesweeping operations in the East China Sea, in support of the occupation of Japan, and returned to the United States in December. Harry F. Bauer then sailed from San Diego to Norfolk and conducted anti-submarine operations in the Atlantic.
Harry F. Bauer was deployed to the Mediterranean in 1950, and then was based at Charleston, South Carolina beginning in February 1951. Tactical exercises were performed in the Caribbean and Northern Europe. Decommissioned in March 1956, Harry F. Bauer joined the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was struck from the Navy list in August 1971. She was then sold for scrap in June 1974.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Harry F. Bauer (DD-738)
Service on the USS Harry F. Bauer meant exposure to asbestos for those on board to at least some degree. Certain members of the crew were at risk for greater asbestos exposure, however, especially those who spent most of their time in the high heat equipment compartments where asbestos products were used in greater abundance for fireproofing. These included engine rooms, boiler rooms and pump rooms. Asbestos inhalation is correlated with a number of dangerous and potentially life-threatening illnesses including mesothelioma and asbestosis.Sources
Haze Gray & Underway. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. DD-738.
(http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd738txt.htm) Retrieved 11 February 2011.
NavSource Naval History. USS Harry F. Bauer (DD-738).
(http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/738.htm) Retrieved 11 February 2011.