USS Blueback SS-326 (1944-1948)
TheBluebackwas a submarine that operated in the South Pacific during World War II, receiving two battle stars for its service. It was first commissioned on August 28th under the command of Lieutenant Commander Merrill K. Clementson.
Action in World War II
After training in Key West, FL, and Pearl Harbor, the Blueback began its first war patrol on December 16th, 1944, as part of a coordinated attack group with the Puffer and the Sea Fox. Among its first actions was the rescue of four crew members from a downed American B-24 bomber north of Saipan.
Throughout 1945, the Blueback patrolled the South Pacific and engaged several Japanese boats, but was mostly unsuccessful in sinking them. The Blueback was involved in the preparations for the attack on Okinawa by transmitting weather reports from its position off Tori Shima. Afterward, the submarine patrolled Camranh Bay.
On March 4, 1945, the Blueback began its second war patrol as part of a coordinated attack group. Once again it was mostly unsuccessful in engaging the enemy, only sinking a few small Japanese craft while on patrol. It sustained minor damage during an attack on a destroyer escort, and spent its remaining patrol in the Java Sea, which passed uneventfully.
TheBlueback’s third patrol saw more attempts to attack enemy ships, most of them unsuccessful because of accuracy problems with the submarine’s torpedoes. On June 14th, 1945,the Blueback arrived in Fremantle, Australia, for a refit and an investigation into its accuracy issues. It resumed its patrol on June 20th and successfully halted an enemy ship in the Lombok Strait on June 27th, but other engagements during the remainder of the patrol were unsuccessful.
After the War
After the war, the Blueback sailed for Guam and was assigned to Submarine Squadron 36 to conduct daily training. Other than a training cruise to the Caroline and Admiralty Islands in early December, the Blueback stayed in Guam until 1946, when it sailed to San Diego, California, and conducted operations there until August 12th.
The submarine spent its remaining commission on local operations and training cruises between San Diego and Pearl Harbor. On May 11th, 1948, the Blueback arrived in Izmir, Turkey and was decommissioned and transferred to the government of Turkey on May 23rd. The submarine’s name was struck from the Navy list on May 28th and started its service in the Turkish Navy under the name Ikinoi Inönü.
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.