USS Bainbridge (DD-246)
The New York Shipbuilding Corporation of Camden, NJ constructed this Clemson-class Destroyer following the end of World War I. It measured just over 316 feet fore-to-aft, and carried 137 officers and men aboard. The ship was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in February of 1921, and was initially assigned to waters off the eastern seaboard and the Caribbean as part of the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. Over the next several decades, the ship patrolled waters outside nations such as Turkey, Nicaragua, Cuba, Newfoundland, and Iceland, conducting operations and escort missions. When World War II erupted, the Bainbridge served as a convoy escort in the Atlantic, primarily off the Gulf and Caribbean, and engaged in several missions to North Africa. The vessel received one battle star for its service in this war, and was decommissioned in July 1945.
The officers and enlisted men who served aboard the USS Bainbridge were likely exposed to asbestos during the course of their regular duty. Asbestos was often used on Navy ships between the 1930s and 1970s, and could be found in equipment such as pumps, valves, boilers, turbines, and electrical components. Materials such as gaskets and packing were also often made entirely from asbestos. These items were found in an especially high concentration in the boiler and engine spaces, leaving Machinist’s Mates, Boiler Tenders, Firemen, and others who worked in these areas exposed to remarkable levels of airborne asbestos on a regular basis. The companies who sold these asbestos products to the Navy were often aware of the risks they posed, but did nothing to warn the veterans of the USS Bainbridge. As a result of this negligence, many veterans fell victim to mesothelioma and other asbestos-related afflictions.
Navy veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma have the right to seek compensation for their condition. Settlements can offset or cover medical fees, and may be supplemented with additional sums for pain and suffering. The law places limits on the time a lawsuit can be filed however, so it is important to seek legal counsel soon after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis.