USS Golet SS-361 (1943-1944)
USS Golet was a Gato-class submarine, and was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for the golet, which is a California trout. Golet’s keel was laid down by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company out of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She was first launched on August 1, 1943, which was sponsored by Mrs. Wiley, the wife of United States Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin. She was commissioned on November 30, 1943 with Lieutenant Commander James M. Clement in command.
Maiden War Patrol
Departing Manitowoc in December of 1943, Golet headed for New Orleans, Louisiana by way of the Mississippi River. Following shakedown training in Panama and a final battle practice in waters off Hawaii, Golet was set to depart for her maiden war patrol. Golet left Pearl Harbor on March 18, 1944 traveling to a destination just off the Kurile Islands chain, as well as southern Hokkaido and Eastern Honshu, Japan. Through a combination of fog, rain, and ice the Golet was able to spot an enemy ship equipped with a torpedo, but they proved too fast and the Golet was unable to gain torpedo range.
Lost at Sea
Departing from Midway Island in May of 1944, this time with Lieutenant James S. Clark in command, Golet sailed off to patrol off northern Honshu, Japan. After this time Golet was never heard from again. The vessel was set to depart her patrol area on July 5th and was expected at Midway Island around the 13th. Upon failing to acknowledge a message sent to her July 9th she was presumed lost at sea on July 26, 1944.
Anti-submarine records made available by the Japanese after the war suggest that Golet was probably the victim of a Japanese anti-submarine attack made on June 14, 1944. The Japanese records note that the attack caused items such as corks, rafts, and other debris to come to the surface, as well as a heavy pool of oil, evidence which suggests the sinking of a submarine. USS Golet has been placed on a List of U.S, Navy Losses in World War II.
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.