USS F-3, originally named Pickerel, was renamed in November 1911. The vessel was launched in January of 1912 by the Moran Brother Company out of Seattle, Washington. She was sponsored by Mrs. M.F. Backus and commissioned in August with Ensign K. Heron in command.
F-3 was to report for duty at San Francisco, California in October 1912 following service trials in the Puget Sound. Upon arriving at San Francisco, F-3 joined the First Submarine Group, Pacific Torpedo Flotilla. This Flotilla conducted various exercises and experiments in order to develop submarine warfare techniques from August 1914 to November 1915 all along the coast of California. She carried out similar operations in the Hawaiian Islands as well. F-3 was then placed in commission in ordinary at Mare Island in March 1916, being returned to full commission in June of the following year.
Upon completion of crew training, F-3 was assigned to the Coast Torpedo Force, Pacific Fleet which was based out of San Pedro, California. During this assignment she helped train students in submarine school, engaging in daily surfacing and submerging exercises. During these basic maneuvers the F-3 and the F-1 collided on December 17, 1917. Due to the collision the F-1 sank almost immediately; only 3 of the 19 men on board the F-1 were able to be saved. The F-3 sustained a cracked bow cap and was repaired at Mare Island, after which she was assigned to an operation in which she cooperated with a motion picture company for experiments with underwater photography. From then between 1919 and 1921 the F-3 worked as a training ship out of San Pedro, California. In March of 1922 F-3 was decommissioned and sold that August.
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.