USS Conger SS-477
The USS Conger was the only ship in the US Navy to be named for the conger, an eel native to warm seas at moderate depths. The eel is common to both coasts of the Atlantic Ocean. The USS Conger was a trench – class submarine whose keel was laid down on July 11th 1944 by the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Sponsored by Mrs. W. C. Ploeser , she was launched on October 17th of the same year and commissioned the following Valentine’s Day with Lieutenant Commander H.D. Sipple in command.
The Conger tested new submarine equipment at New London, Connecticut, until she was cleared on July 21st 1945 for Pacific service. She said between Balboa, Panama and Pearl Harbor toward the end of the hostilities in the area. She was then ordered back to the Panama Canal Zone and arrived at Key West, Florida to provide services to the Fleet Sonar School until December 6.
The Conger operated in the Caribbean Sea until August 23rd when she set said for a complete circuit of the South American continent on special hydrographic work, passing through the straights of Magellan. In 1949 she spent some time operating along the East Coast and the Caribbean assisting in the training of surface ships, taking part in fleet exercises and perfecting her own readiness for action. From that time through 1960, she continued her East Coast operations headquartered back in New London Connecticut. There, she was frequently put to sea with student submariners on board.
Conger was reclassified an auxiliary submarine in 1961 and given the hull classification symbol AGSS-477 in 1962. She was decommissioned on July 29th 1963, struck from the Naval Vessel Register on August 1 1963 and sold for scrapping in May of 1964.
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.