USS Clamagore SS-343 (1945-1960)
The USS Clamagore was a Balao-class submarine that was built in 1945 and still in training when World War II ended. Balao-class submarines were a specific submarine design used during World War II, and are the largest class of submarines in the United States Navy. The submarine was built toward the end of the war by the Electric Boat Company out of Groton, Connecticut. She was first launched February 25, 1945 and commissioned in June of that same year with Commander S.C. Loomis, Jr., in command.
The USS Clamagore first reported to Key West in September of 1945, and from there she operated with various fleet units, as well as the Fleet Sonar School. In December of 1947 the submarine entered the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard for Guppy II modernization and the installation of a snorkel. After these additions the Clamagore returned to Key West, assuming local and Caribbean operations for the next eight years, as well as a tour of duty to the Mediterranean in 1953. The submarine also took part in various NATO exercises across the North Atlantic. In June of 1959 the sub arrived at Charleston, South Carolina which was to be her new home port.
The USS Clamagore was decommissioned and stricken in June of 1975. The vessel was donated as a museum ship in August of 1979, and is currently docked at Parrot’s Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Charleston, South Carolina, where she is available to touring visitors. The sub is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in June of 1989 she was designated as a National Historic Landmark.
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.