USS Croaker SS-246 (1944-1968)

Named for the croaker, a fish known to make throbbing or drumming noises, the USS Crokaer was a Gato- class submarine commissioned on April 21 1944. Sponsored by the wife of Admiral William H. P. Blandy, the Coraker was commanded by Commander John E. Lee.

World War II

She was put to sea sailing to the East China and Yellow Seas she sank the cruiser Nagara on August 7th and two freighters. These three attacks were considered successful and won her the Nay Unit Commendation.  Again with success she sank three freighters and damaged another in October.  With empty tubes, she returned to Midway to fuel and headed to Pearl Harbor for refit. In her third war patrol she did not make contact with any enemy ships however she did provide lifeguard service during strikes on Luzon in preparation to the invasion landings in Lingayen Gulf. After some repairs in Australia she sailed to the Java Sea and attacked a convoy of three small oilers with unconfirmed results. Her final war patrol was in August of 1945 where she was assigned to lifeguard duties in the South China Sea and off Hong Kong as final air attacks on Japan were carried out.

Post- War

Croaker served as a school ship out of New London until 1953 when she was converted and reclassified SSK-246 as a hunter-killer ship at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  Throughout the next few years she carried out local operations being reclassified a few more times and finally into a Miscellaneous Unclassified Submarine in 1971. Today she is a museum ship at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park in Buffalo, New York.

Asbestos and 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. Reference:
  • Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships