USS Amberjack SS-219 (1942-1943)
The USS Amberjack was commissioned in June of 1942. She was built in Groton, Connecticut as a Gato class submarine. This class of submarine was the main class of sub that was responsible for destroying the Japanese merchant marine and a majority of the Imperial Japanese Navy.
Action in World War II
A month after being commissioned, she was deployed to the Pacific for her first patrol. This was in September of 1942. Her first stop was near New Ireland. She saw action here because of the battle for Guadalcanal that was taking place slightly south of New Ireland. Here she took part in some logistics shipping, and she also attacked several of Japan’s warships. While there, she ended up sinking two cargo ships and also the Tonan Maru II, which happened to be a converted whale factory ship. At the end of October of 1942, in Brisbane, Australia, she helped bring badly-needed weapons and military personnel to Guadalcanal. She also helped with reconnaissance work in the same area. After this, her patrol ended.
For the USS Amberjack’s second patrol, she was sent to Bougainville in November of 1942. During this patrol she managed to fire charges on two of Japan’s destroyers. She made no hits during these attacks, but one ended up creating a grave depth-charge counterattack, a convoy and an enemy sub. After this patrol, she was sent back to Brisbane, Australia and received an interrupted refitting. The reason this refitting was cut off abruptly was the Solomons area combat operations needed every submarine possible. She was forced to sea early, so in late January she made her way back to Bougainville and the New Ireland areas.
Disappearance at Sea
In early February she managed to sink a freighter. She reported this by radio and was not heard from again until February 14th. After this there was no contact from her again. A little later the USS Amberjack was officially presumed to have sunk because she never made her way back to port. She was carrying seventy-four men at this time. All were presumed lost.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, especially throughout conflicts of the last century, submarines also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. However, these risks extend beyond the inherent dangers that existed while operating the vessels during military conflicts. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were also common aboard submarines because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Furthermore, the enclosed environment of submarines put servicemen at an even higher risk of exposure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with or served on submarines should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.