USS E-1 SS-24 (1911-1921)
USS E-1 SS-24 is also known as the skipjack and was launched in 1911 by Fore River Shipbuilding Company in Quincy, Massachusetts. The submarine was sponsored by Mrs. D. R. Battles and renamed E-1. It was commissioned in February 1912 with Lieutenant Chester W. Nimitz in command.
Shortly after commissioning, E-1 sailed from Boston to Norfolk and underwent various testing through April. After having her engines overhauled she began operations off southern New England. In September she arrived at the New York Navy Yard to be outfitted with alterations, repairs, and a Sperry gyrocompass in order to become a pioneer underwater test ship. E-1 also helped in experimentation concerning submerged radio transmission.
The vessel’s Commander, Submarine Flotilla, Atlantic Fleet, Lieutenant Chester W. Nimitz, played an important role in the incorporation of various scientific and technological developments in the Navy. E-1 continued significant experimental development and training exercises with the Atlantic Fleet until December of 1917 when she changed duties and left Newport for the Azores. From that time until January 1918, she patrolled between Ponta Delgada and Horta, protecting the islands from German attack, acting as a haven from U-boats. After another overhaul in New London, E-1 was instrumental in training new submariners and the testing of experimental auditory gear.
In March of 1920, E-1 was placed in commission in reserve, arriving at Norfolk in April. Once there she was placed in commission in ordinary, eventually being decommissioned October 1921 and sold in April of 1922.
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.