U.S.S. Bexar (APA-237)

Bexar was a Haskell-class attack transport. She served in Korea and Viet Nam.

Construction

Oregon Shipbuilding laid Bexar down June 2, 1945. She commissioned on October 9.

Service

She sailed for the former war zones of the Pacific as part of Operation Magic Carpet, transporting veteran servicemen and women back to the west coast. Bexar sailed for Bikini Atoll in June to serve as a supply ship for nuclear tests there. After being tested for radioactivity, she transferred to the Atlantic, arriving at Norfolk, VA in January 1947.

In August 1950, she embarked Marines at the Mediterranean Island of Crete for transport to Japan. This was in response to the invasion of South Korea by its northern neighbor. She participated in the famous Inchon landings in September and conducted evacuations in the area. For the rest of the conflict, Bexar ferried troops between Japan and Korea. Three years after her arrival in the area, the transport sailed to Koji Do to exchange North Korean POWs. She had served in Korea from the start of the conflict, participating in every major action of the conflict.

From Korea, she headed to China where, in February 1955, she transported 3,000 refugees to Taiwan. In August 1960, Bexar took part in relief efforts in the Philippines. Immediately afterward, she headed for the Congo to land peacekeeping forces. During this trip, she embarked president Sukarno of Indonesia. She returned to the west coast on December 4, becoming the first amphibious assault transport to circumnavigate the globe in one continuous at sea period.

On October 27, 1962, Bexar embarked Marines and deployed for Cuba. U.S. surveillance aircraft had found Soviet missiles there, sparking a crisis. While the transport was en route, the crisis ended, and Bexar was instead sent to the Mediterranean. She returned to San Diego in December. In 1963, she was overhauled at San Diego in preparation for service in Viet Nam.

The ship arrived in Vietnamese waters in November 1964. Her first mission was providing relief to Da Nang following floods there. From 1965 to 1968, she conducted regular deployments to Viet Nam, transporting ground troops to the warzone. In the spring of 1968, she anchored in Vung Tau, near the Mekong River Delta, and became a mobile base for River Assault Squadrons 13 and 15. She departed Viet Nam for the last time in August 1969.

Bexar trained briefly with South Korean naval forces before returning to San Diego in October. Once there, she disembarked 1,400 Marines and their equipment and prepared for deactivation.

Fate

The transport was decommissioned on December 15, 1969. After more than a decade in reserve, she was sold for scrap on June 16, 1982.

Risk of Asbestos Exposure

Bexar was a steam-powered vessel built during WWII. Navy regulations at the time required all such vessels be insulated with asbestos. She would have contained large amounts of asbestos on her engines, boilers, and steam pipes.

When damaged or worn, asbestos products break up into tiny fibers. These fibers become airborne and can easily be inhaled. Asbestos inhalation is a proven cause of mesothelioma, a malignant lung cancer. While there is no cure for mesothelioma, treatments such as chemotherapy can be employed to fight the disease.

If you or someone you know served aboard Bexar or worked on her in a shipyard and has contracted mesothelioma, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page to receive free information regarding your rights to compensation.

Resources/Further Reading

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