The story of asbestos exposure on the USS Bagley is not what you hear in the news about this ship, but it’s a continuing threat today. Shipbuilders of the 20th century regularly included the material in many parts of the ship, so asbestos on Navy ships was common. Those who served or worked on the Bagley should learn more about how they could be at risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.
What You Need to Know About Asbestos Exposure on the USS Bagley
The USS Bagley (DD-386) served our country throughout World War II. She was an integral part of many operations and helped lead our country to victory. Although the ship’s battle days are long past, the personnel who worked or served on the ship continue to be at risk.
The enemy we meet today has come from within: asbestos on the USS Bagley. This toxic material can cause serious illness even decades later. Those worried about asbestos exposure on the USS Bagley should read further to learn more about the ship’s history and how asbestos and USS Bagley service may affect them and their families today.
Asbestos Exposure on the USS Bagley is Only a Part of the Story
While the USS Bagley and asbestos share a history, that story is far from the only one this ship has to tell. The USS Bagley (DD-386) was ordered for the U.S. Navy between World War I and World War II. Her keel was laid down at Norfolk Navy Yard on July 31, 1935. She was launched on September 3, 1936, and commissioned on June 12, 1937, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Earl W. Morris.
During her early career, the USS Bagley operated in the Atlantic before she was transferred to Pearl Harbor in 1940. She conducted exercises with Destroyer Division 7 and participated in carrier task force operations with the USS Enterprise and the USS Lexington. The destroyer was moored at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941. Her gunners helped splash enemy aircraft before she put out to sea.
On December 29, the USS Bagley provided cover over Pearl Harbor for Task Force 14’s arrival. She sailed for the USS Saratoga the following day to patrol the Hawaiian waters. The carrier was damaged by a torpedo from the Japanese submarine I-16 on January 11, 1942, and the destroyer escorted her back to base for repairs.
The Ongoing Operations of the Bagley in the Pacific
The USS Bagley joined Task Force 11 on January 31, assisting in the transport of units to Christmas Island, Canton Island, and New Caledonia. She then moved toward the Solomon Islands. On February 20, the destroyer fired upon a wave of enemy bombers. A kamikaze nearly made contact, but the plane was splashed by the USS Aylwin. After this engagement, the ship headed back to Pearl Harbor for repairs and overhaul.
The USS Bagley rendezvoused with the USS Hunter Liggett near Bora Bora on May 9 to escort her to Fiji. The destroyer remained in the area to patrol for enemy submarines until she moved on to arrive at Brisbane on May 30.
From there, the USS Bagley joined Task Force 44, protecting Allied shipping into Australia. She moved on to New Zealand on July 20 to join Task Force 62 for the invasion of Guadalcanal. During the Battle of Savo Island on August 8, the destroyer helped rescue 400 survivors from the burning USS Astoria (CA-34) and accompanied a salvage team to attempt recovery of the cruiser; recovery efforts failed.
The USS Bagley was reassigned to Task Force 74 on March 15, 1943. She helped escort six LSTs from Townsville to Woodlark Island at the end of June, making three more such trips in July and August. After that, she escorted the USS Henry T. Allen to her destination port, arriving at Brisbane on August 15. The destroyer continued to operate in New Guinea through December.
Two days before Christmas, the Bagley escorted engineers, artillery, and stores of the 1st Marine Division to Cape Gloucester. On December 26, she helped screen the troop and equipment landings. In early 1944, the destroyer acted as a standby for supply groups. She then headed to Mare Island Navy Yard for overhaul.
Training on the USS Bagley Before Joining the Fray in the Western Pacific
After her yard work was complete, the USS Bagley got underway for Pearl Harbor on May 5, training en route for the invasion of the Mariana Islands. Her crew conducted drills once they reached Hawaii before she sailed for the Marshall Islands on May 29. She joined Task Group 58.2 on June 8 on their way to Saipan.
At Saipan, the USS Bagley screened the initial troop landings on June 15. She rejoined the bombardment fleet two days later and took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, firing upon three enemy aircraft. After screening the battleships in pursuit of the Japanese forces, the destroyer returned to the Marianas.
The USS Bagley helped screen the USS Enterprise as its aircraft struck Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands in September before moving on to raid Aparri and Formosa. She joined a cruiser and destroyer group to pursue retreating Japanese carriers following the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October. The destroyer then supported ground and troop operations on Leyte.
On November 2, the USS Bagley put in at Ulithi for overhaul. On November 10, she departed with Task Unit 77.4.1 as they supported ground operations at Leyte. At the end of the month, she began training and repair work, preparing for the upcoming troop landings at Luzon. The destroyer headed toward the Palaus at the end of December.
On New Year’s Day 1945, the USS Bagley and the other 18 destroyers screening Task Groups 77.2 and 77.4 moved out from Kossol Roads. The task force was raided by kamikazes, sinking the carrier USS Ommaney Bay and badly damaging the destroyer USS Stafford.
In February, the USS Bagley assisted in the invasion of Iwo Jima. After a rest of only six days for repairs and replenishment, she was then sent out to screen the carriers of Task Group 52.1 for the invasion of Okinawa. Her duties were completed without incident.
The Final Years of the USS Bagley
The USS Bagley lost her main generator on May 24, requiring her to put in for repairs at Leyte. On June 15, she sailed for her final combat operation, supporting the carriers of Task Group 32.1 as they launched air strikes at Okinawa. When her main battery director went down a week later, she returned for repairs on Leyte.
Once her repair work was complete, the Bagley escorted a merchant convoy to Okinawa. She was protecting a return convoy when her crew learned of the Japanese surrender on August 15. The USS Bagley transported Rear Admiral Francis E.M. Whiting to Marcus Island, which was then surrendered to Rear Admiral Whiting by Japanese Rear Admiral M. Matsubara on August 31 aboard the Bagley.
After World War II, the USS Bagley was assigned to extended duty with the Fifth Fleet. She marked minefields, aided in minesweeping, and acted as a courier ship.
The USS Bagley was decommissioned on June 13, 1946. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on February 25, 1947 and sold for scrap on September 8, 1947. The ship received 12 battle stars for her service in World War II.
The Legacy of Asbestos Exposure on the USS Bagley
Like other ships of her time, the USS Bagley was constructed out of many asbestos-containing components. Asbestos was prized for its resistance to heat, water, fire, and corrosion, so it could be used in virtually all parts of the destroyer, including wall insulation, floor and ceiling tiles, plumbing, and more.
Anyone who served onboard the USS Bagley or participated in her repair and overhaul was put at risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses like asbestosis, lung cancer, throat cancer, stomach cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, or mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that targets the protective lining surrounding the lungs and other organs. Family members of those who suffered asbestos exposure on the USS Bagley may also be at risk of disease due to secondhand exposure to this toxic substance.
Asbestos Exposure on the USS Bagley: What You Can Do Now
Those who have been diagnosed with a disease caused by asbestos exposure on the USS Bagley should take steps to protect their legal rights. Workers should monitor their health carefully, and consult a doctor if they experience any symptoms associated with mesothelioma. Anyone who worked in or around the USS Bagley, and is diagnosed with mesothelioma, should also consider contacting a lawyer to discuss his or her legal rights.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma that you believe was caused by asbestos exposure on the USS Bagley, contact the nationwide mesothelioma lawyers at Nemeroff Law Firm. Complete our free case evaluation form or call us at 866-342-1929 today to take the first step in protecting your legal rights.
Other Bagley class destroyers include:
USS Blue (DD-387)
USS Helm (DD-388)
USS Henley (DD-391)
USS Jarvis (DD-393)
USS Mugford (DD-389)
USS Patterson (DD-392)
USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390)