The USS Bergall SS 320 was constructed by the Electric Boat Company on May the 13 of the year 1943. In February of 1944, the Bergall was sponsored by Isabel M. Elkins and thereafter was commissioned on June the 12th of the same year by Lieutenant Commander John M. Hyde.
Action in World War II
In 1944, the Bergall and its crew operated in waters close to New London and then went on to train at a torpedo range nearby Newport until July the 3rd. Afterward, while completing various training along the way, the USS Bergall’s journey continued across the Panama Canal, continued on to Balboa and arrived at Pearl Harbor safely on August the 13th. Various training exercises continued at Pearl Harbor.
On September the 22nd, the Bergall was subject to one of the many attacks made by the Japanese military. Submerging quickly after this first encounter with the Japanese, the Bergall set course to the Naval patrol station off of the French Indochinese peninsula making its arrival on September the 29th. Nine days later, the Bergall destroyed the Japanese Shinshu Maru tanker. Another Japanese vessel, the Nippon Maru, was destroyed by the USS Bergall around that time.
The USS Bergall continued on to missions throughout the Lombok Straits, Hannai Point, Cape Batagan, Cape Varella, Java Sea, South China Sea, Malay Coast, Gulf of Thailand, Subic Bay, Kra Ithamus, the Philippines, Pearl Harbor, and Panama Canal. After the USS Bergall received repairs for damages to the submarine which occurred near Kra Ithamus, the vessel returned to New Hampshire in August for a four month long period. After necessary repairs were made to the Bergall, the vessel set course for the Pacific Ocean.
After the War
In March of 1947, United States President Truman addressed that any countries which required the assistance of the U.S. military in combating communist threats would be readily assisted. Since this statement was issued, the U.S. Navy prepared for possible confrontation with the Soviet Union. The USS Bergall continued preoperational training and continued course to various sites throughout the Pacific.
The Bergall SS 320 earned a four battle star commendation for service in World War II. On October the 17th 1958, the USS Bergall was decommissioned at Izmir, Turkey and went on to be commissioned for nearly 15 years in the Turkish Navy under Turgut Reis S342. In February of 1973, the Turgut Reis S342 was decommissioned and sold to the Turkish government. It was scrapped for metal in the year of 1977.
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.