USS Cusk SS-348 (1946-1969)
USS Cusk, was a Balao- class submarine named after a big food fish of the cod family. Commissioned in Febraury of 1946, the Cusk was cosponsored by Mrs. C.S. Gillette and Mrs. W. G. Reed. Cusk was commanded by Commander Paul E. Summers.
Fitted with a missile hangar and launching ramp she became the first submarine to launch a guided missile from her own deck. In 1954 she entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard to be converted into a “Fleet Snorkel” modernization however she remained in the Regulus missile program due to her special guidance equipment.
In the fall of 1961 she had her Regulus missile guidance removed and she reverted to attack submarine profile. After the conversion, she successfully shot a MK 14 Mod 3 torpedo at her target , the cliffs on Kahoolawe Island.
In June of 1969 the Secretary of defense ordered to 100 oldest Navy ships to be decommissioned. Since that included the Cusk, she set sail for the last time in September of 1969 for Hunter Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco. There she was decommissioned and concurrently struck from the Naval register on September 24th. In June of 1972 she was sold for scrap.
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.