The USS Blenny SS 324, named for a type of small scaleless fish that live along rocky shores, was commissioned on July 27, 1944 under the command of Lt. Commander William Hazzard.
Action in World War II
The submarine left Pearl Harbor in November 1944 for its first war patrol in Luzon, Philippines. On the way there it launched one torpedo at a Japanese escort vessel. Unfortunately it missed and the Japanese launched an attack of depth charges. The sub escaped. On December 14, the sub sank two Japanese vessels: a 300 ton sea tank and an 800 ton Coast Defense Vessel.
After being refitted in Australia, the Blenny embarked on its second war patrol off the coast of Indochina. Its most successful day of war came on March 20, 1945. On this day the Blenny sank three enemy ships in one twenty four hour period. Its next patrol was again in Indochina in the Java Sea. During this time it had two confirmed kills and one that was never confirmed. After refitting in Fremantle, Australia, it set sail on its fourth and final patrol on July 5, 1945.
Its final patrol took it to Malaya. While there, it was able to acquire several small kills, and rescue a boarding party from a sampan which the Cod (SS-224) had been forced to abandon after enemy planes were seen approaching. At this point the Blenny set for port. One day after arriving in Subic Bay the hostilities ceased.
After the War
The Blenny did not return to those waters for any type of war patrol until April 30, 1952, when it patrolled the Korean coast. It remained active for over a decade more. Its primary mission during that time was to aide in development of attack submarine tactics, antisubmarine warfare tactics, and the occasional testing of new torpedoes.
In 1969, the Blenny was re-designated an auxiliary submarine. Its name was finally stricken from the Navy list on August 15, 1973. During its World War II service, the Blenny won four battle stars and is now serving as an artificial reef in Maryland.
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.