USS Blower SS-325 (1944-1950)
The USS Blower was built in New London, Connecticut by the Electric Boat Co. The submarine was launched under the command of Lt. Cmndr. James H Campbell. The Blower began training off the coast of New England. On September 17, 1944, it was sent to Key West, Florida for additional training. After training in Key West, the Blower left for the Panama Canal. On October 11, 1944 it collided with another boat and returned to Key West for repairs. After returning to New London for further repairs, it left again for Panama on November 13, 1944. From there, the submarine was sent to Pearl Harbor for more training.
Action in World War II
The Blower’s first war patrol began on January 29, 1945. It joined 15 other naval vessels in the South China Sea. The first action occurred on February 13, 1945. Six torpedoes were fired at a Japanese battleship and two Japanese cruisers.
The Blower arrived Fremantle, Australia to be refitted on March 19, 1945. After repairs were made and new equipment added, the Blower was sent to patrol between Borneo and Java. There were a few close calls but the sub was not damaged while there.
The submarine was sent to the Philippines on May 23 to be refitted. Lt. Cmndr. Nelson P. Watkins took command and the submarine moved on to the Gulf of Siam for patrol duty. On July 9, 1945, The Blower and the submarine, the Blue Fish, attacked two submarine chasers. The Blue Fish was able to destroy one of them. On July 11, 1945, The Blower fired three torpedoes at another Japanese ship but failed to make any contact. It returned to Fremantle, Australia on July 28, 1945 and was still there when the war ended.
After the War
The Blower returned to San Diego, California to be used for training and torpedo exercises from 1946 to 1949. It was decommissioned in New London, Connecticut on November 16, 1950. The submarine was then sold to the government of Turkey and renamed the Dumlupinar. On April 4, 1953, the Dumlupinar collided with a Swedish freighter and sank. Twenty two Turkish sailors died in the accident.
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.