USS Cobbler SS-344 (1945-1973)

The USS Cobbler is a Balao-class submarine named for the cobbler, a killifish of New South Whales. A Balao-class submarine is considered the largest class of submarines in the United States Navy. The USS Cobbler was launched in April of 1945 by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut, and was sponsored by Mrs. J.B. Rutter. The submarine was commissioned in August of 1945, commanded by Commander J.B. Grady. Cobbler began her tour with local operations off of the Florida Keys, as well as training and exercises in the Caribbean until November 1948. At that time the submarine traveled to Groton, arriving in December for GUPPY III modernization. Her conversion was completed in August of 1949, after which she departed for Norfolk, which was to be her new home port. Intermittently, Cobbler would return to Florida and Caribbean waters to conduct various operations, even visiting Quebec in September of 1953. In March of 1954 she took three weeks of operations under the control of the Operations Development Force, cruising alongside units belonging to the Canadian Navy and Air Force, traveling from Bermuda to Nova Scotia. Other tours of note include 1959 through 1960 when she was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet’s Antisubmarine Development Force.

After Service

Along with the USS Corporal (SS-346) the USS Cobbler was transferred to Turkey in 1973 under the terms of the Security Assistance Program. The two submarines were handed over in March of 1973 in New London. There the USS Cobbler was renamed the TCG Canakkale (S 341) and formally decommissioned. She was struck from the U.S. Naval Register and sold on November 28, 1973. In Turkey she was commissioned under their jurisdiction in 1974, and finally decommissioned in 1998.

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.