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USS Bigelow (DD 942)

- decommissioned -
- sunk as a target -

USS BIGELOW was one of the FORREST SHERMAN - class destroyers and the first ship in the Navy named after Water Tender Second Class Elmer Charles Bigelow. Decommissioned on November 5, 1982, and stricken from the Navy list on June 1, 1990, the USS BIGELOW was sold for scrapping in 1993, but was repossessed in October 1996. USS BIGELOW was finally disposed of in a Sinkex on April 2, 2003.

General Characteristics:Awarded: July 30, 1954
Keel laid: July 6, 1955
Launched: February 2, 1957
Commissioned: November 8, 1957
Decommissioned: November 5, 1982
Builder: Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine
Propulsion system: four-1200 lb. boilers; two steam turbines; two shafts
Propellers: two
Length: 418.3 feet (127.5 meters)
Beam: 45,3 feet (13.8 meters)
Draft: 22 feet (6.7 meters)
Displacement: approx. 4,000 tons full load
Speed: 32+ knots
Aircraft: none
Armament: three Mk-42 5-inch/54 caliber guns, Mk-32 ASW torpedo tubes (two triple mounts)
Crew: 17 officers, 275 enlisted

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Crew List:

This section contains the names of sailors who served aboard USS BIGELOW. It is no official listing but contains the names of sailors who submitted their information.

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USS BIGELOW Cruise Books:

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Accidents aboard USS BIGELOW:

April 20, 1967off Vietnam
An explosion occures in a gun mount aboard the USS BIGELOW, injuring six. At the time of the accident the ship is operating off Vietnam.
May 6, 1971off Aarhus, Denmark
USS BIGELOW suffers a possible momentary grounding while en route to an anchorage in Aarhus Bay, Denmark, causing minor damage.

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About the Ship's Name:

Elmer Charles Bigelow was born in Hebron, Illinois, on 12 July 1920. He enlisted in the Naval Reserve at Chicago in September 1942 and received training at Great Lakes, Illinois, and Lawrence, Kansas, before being assigned as a Fireman Third Class on board the destroyer FLETCHER (DD 445) in June 1943. While serving in that ship, he advanced in rate to Water Tender Second Class. On 14 February 1945, while assisting minesweeping operations prior to landings on Manila Bay's Corregidor Island, FLETCHER was hit by an enemy shell and set afire. Bigelow heroically fought the blaze, contributing greatly to saving his ship, but was badly injured and died the next day . Water Tender Second Class Bigelow was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity".


"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving on board the USS FLETCHER during action against enemy Japanese forces off Corregidor Island in the Philippines, 14 February 1945. Standing topside when an enemy shell struck the FLETCHER, Bigelow, acting instantly as the deadly projectile exploded into fragments which penetrated the No. 1 gun magazine and set fire to several powder cases, picked up a pair of fire extinguishers and rushed below in a resolute attempt to quell the raging flames. Refusing to waste the precious time required to don rescue-breathing apparatus, he plunged through the blinding smoke billowing out of the magazine hatch and dropped into the blazing compartment. Despite the acrid, burning powder smoke which seared his lungs with every agonizing breath, he worked rapidly and with instinctive sureness and succeeded in quickly extinguishing the fires and in cooling the cases and bulkheads, thereby preventing further damage to the stricken ship. Although he succumbed to his injuries on the following day, Bigelow, by his dauntless valor, unfaltering skill and prompt action in the critical emergency, had averted a magazine explosion which undoubtedly would have left his ship wallowing at the mercy of the furiously pounding Japanese guns on Corregidor, and his heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death enhanced and sustained the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country."

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