USS Burrfish SS-312 (1943-1956)
The USS Burrfish SS-312 was named after the sea creature of the same name, which is a swellfish that swims the Atlantic coast. This submarine was put to sea on the 18th of June, 1943. She was built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard and commissioned on the 14th of September, 1943. The man who captained the Burrfish was Commander W.B. Perkins.
Action in World War II
The Burrfish took part in six patrols during the war, from the 2nd of February, 1944, to the 13th of May, 1945. She sank a 5894-ton tanker from Japan during these patrols. The area that she patrolled stretched from the Western Caroline Island to Formosa and all the way to the south of Japan. She also, with the help of the USS Ronquil SS-396, sank a 200-ton Japanese patrol ship. She managed to do many important things during her third patrol, including reconnaissance missions on the Yap and Palau beaches to prepare for military landings.
After completing her last patrol, the Burrfish returned to Pearl Harbor on the 13th of May in 1945. She returned to the mainland for major repairs, and finally got to Portsmouth Navy Yard on the 19th of June 1945. She was then ordered to New London, Connecticut to be decommissioned and made inactive on the 12th of October, 1946. She was then placed in reserve.
After the War
The Burrfish was commissioned again on the 2nd of November, 1948. She made her way to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Here she was re-outfitted as a radar picket submarine. On January 27th of 1949 her hull number was changed to SSR-312. This overhaul was finished in November of 1949.
The USS Burrfish was deployed and on active duty on the 7th of February of 1950. She was sent to Norfolk, Virginia, to join Submarine Squadron 6. She participated in three tours, from February of 1950 to June of 1956 with them. These tours consisted of many major type and inter-type exercises. She was also used as a radar picket submarine on the eastern seaboard.
The USS Burrfish was made inactive on the 5th of June, 1956. She reported after sailing from Norfolk to New London. On December 17th, 1956, she was finally decommissioned and placed in reserve.
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.