USS Carp SS-338 (1944-1971)
Constructed by the Electric Boat Company of Groton, Connecticut, the USS Carp was launched on November 12, 1944. The Balao class diesel-electric submarine was sponsored by Mrs. W. E. Hess and commanded by Lieutenant Commander J. L. Hunnicutt, USNR. The 311-foot vessel was commissioned on February 28, 1945. On April 14, 1945, the Carp sailed to Balboa for training, arriving at Pearl Harbor on May 21 of that year.
Action in World War II
The USS Carp only saw one war deployment. It took place from June 8 to august 7 of 1945 and required the vessel to sail off the coast of Honshu to destroy small enemy craft patrolling for the U.S. 3rd Fleet carriers engaged in air strikes on the Japanese mainland. The Carp underwent a refitting at Midway Island when hostilities between the U.S. ended and returned to Seattle on September 22, 1945. The Carp’s only war patrol was considered a success.
After the War
Following World War II, the Carp was based out of San Diego as a flagship for submarine Division 71. From here the USS Carp sailed along the west coast, occasionally taking training cruises to Pearl Harbor. From February 13 to June 15, the Carp made a simulated war patrol of Asia. 1948 and 1949 saw the submarine twice make exploratory trips to extreme northern seas to add to U.S. knowledge of strategic submarine operation areas, which was becoming increasingly important as the Cold War tensions began.
In February 1952, the USS Carp was converted to a guppy-type submarine, adding to her submerged speed and endurance capabilities. During her cruise lasting from September 22, 1952 to April 1953, the newly-converted submarine supported United Nation forces in the Korean War. On March 15, 1954, the Carp returned to Pearl Harbor, which became her new home port, remaining on active duty with that port’s fleet until the end of July 1959. That active duty saw the Carp continue to make Far East cruises, including a good-will visit to Australia and participation in a Southeast Asia Treaty Organization exercise. The submarine also visited Alaskan waters during that time.
The Carp left Pearl Harbor on August 1, 1959 for her new assignment with the Atlantic Fleet. She reached Norfolk, Virginia on August 28, 1959 and conducted training exercises off the east coast of the Caribbean through 1967. The vessel was redesignated an Auxiliary Submarine in 1968, changing names to the AGSS-338. She was then reclassified again in 1971 as the IXSS-338. She was then used for training until being struck from the Naval Vessel Registry on December 20, 1971 and being sold for scrap in 1973. The USS Carp received one battle star for her service in World War II.
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.