Though the Los Angeles-class submarine the USS Dallas SSN-700 did not receive a commission until 1981, construction began on her keel in 1976 at the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics in Groton, Connecticut. She was the first of her class to contain an all-digital fire control and sonar system. The sub was launched on April 28, 1979, and commissioned two years later under Captain Donald R. Ferrier.
Service Around the World
During the first years of her service, the Dallas joined Submarine Development Squadron Twelve out of New London, CT, participating in research and development. In 1988, she was transferred to Submarine Squadron Two, in which she underwent a Depot Modernization Period and traveled on several international deployments, including trips to the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the North Atlantic.
In recent years, the Dallas completed an Engineered Refueling Overhaul, which fitter her with a Dry Deck Shelter which houses the systems that allow the sub to use a Swimmer Delivery Vehicle. These miniature submersibles can transport combat swimmers long distances, allowing the Special Forces riders to infiltrate enemy ports, plant mines, land on enemy shores, and safely return to the main ship.
Awards and Fictional Portrayals
The USS Dallas has been awarded two Navy Unit Commendations and two Meritorious Unit Commendations. She also received the Battle Efficiency E six times between 1986 and 2000. The sub has been featured in several of Tom Clancy’s novels, most notably The Hunt for Red October. However, filming for the movie made use of other submarines, including the USS Houston and USS Louisville. The Dallas also appears in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
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.