USS G-4 SS-26 (1914-1921)

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Built by William Cramp and Sons of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the USS G-4 was originally named the USS Thrasher, but was re-named before she could be launched.  She received her commission on January 22, 1914, at the Philadelphia Naval Yard and was put under the command of Lieutenant L.D. McWhorter.

Service on the East Coast


Though in a class with three other G subs, the G-4 had the unique design of an even keel, which was designed to make her more stable in the water.  Because of this, she underwent extensive testing, much of which was marred by engine failure.  However, the trials eventually ended and she was accepted by the Navy in September.  From there, the sub sailed to Connecticut and Rhode Island, and then back to New York and Philadelphia for more repairs.

In May of 1915, the G-4 was present during a Naval Review overseen by President Woodrow Wilson and then joined a submarine flotilla near Newport.  She received an overhaul in early 1916, but problems with the rudder control system kept her in port at New York until the next year.  She was tested at sea in February 1917, but her gyro stabilizer and rudders failed, and she returned for further repairs.

Later that year, she joined up with Division Three of the Submarine Flotilla for experimental and training maneuvers.  Among other technology, she was instrumental in testing sound detecting equipment.  Moved to Newport in 1918, she continued hosting various experiments and tests, along with performing instructional duties for submarine students.

After Service

The G-4’s duties ended on March 1, 1919, but she was not decommissioned until September.  She was sold to the Connecticut Iron and Metal Company for scrap in 1920 and her name finally stricken from the Naval Register on August 13, 1921.

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.


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