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Asbestos Exposure on the USS Bache

USS Bache

Hull Number: DD-470
Type: Destroyer
Class: Fletcher
Built: Staten Island, NY

Built by the Bethlehem Steel Company at its Staten Island, NY shipyard, the USS Bache was commissioned by the U.S. Navy in the midst of World War II, in November of 1942, and joined the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet soon after.

Following a brief training period, the Bache was transferred to Pacific waters, where it participated in the bombardments of various targets, including areas on the Leyte Islands, New Britain Islands, and Admiralty Islands. It also was a participant in the Battle of Surigao Strait, a one-sided battle resulting in a remarkable victory for Allied forces.

By the end of the war, the ship had earned eight battle stars for its service in the Pacific. After the war, the ship was converted to an Escort Destroyer, and briefly assigned to the Atlantic Fleet once more. However, in 1968, the vessel was shipwrecked on the Greek island of Rhodes and decommissioned in February of that year.

Those who served aboard the USS Bache are at risk of having been exposed to asbestos over the course of their regular duty. Navy ships built between the 1930’s and 1970’s used asbestos in a great deal of the onboard equipment, including boilers, turbines, valves, pumps, and electrical components.

Certain materials were also often made entirely from asbestos, such as gaskets and packing. These asbestos products were found in a high concentration in the engine and boiler spaces, putting Machinist’s Mates, Boiler Tenders, Firemen, and others who worked in these areas in direct contact with asbestos on a daily basis.

The companies who provided the Navy with these asbestos products generally had knowledge of the health threat posed by asbestos, but did nothing to warn those serving aboard the USS Bache and other ships. This led to many veterans falling ill with mesothelioma and other cancers and respiratory diseases as they aged.

Navy veterans who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma have a right to seek compensation from the companies responsible for their conditions. Settlements can potentially help cover the often overwhelming costs of medical care, and may provide additional sums for pain and suffering.

The law limits the time in which a lawsuit may be filed however, making it important to seek legal counsel soon after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis.

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