The USS Grayling (SS-646) had her keel laid down in 1964 at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. She was sponsored by Miss Lori Brinker, the daughter of Lieutenant Commander Robert Brinker. Lt. Commander Robert Brinker was the commanding officer of the previous USS Grayling (SS-209), a submarine that was lost with all hands during World War II. Grayling (SS-646) was commissioned on October 11, 1969 with Charles R. Baron in command.
Grayling is listed by the United States Navy as a key element in the under-water deterrent force, contributing to the vital, ongoing task of maintaining peace over the vast reaches of global waters. This particular submarine is designed to attack and destroy all types of enemy ships, and is capable of operating for extended periods of time at both great depths and high submerged speeds. These attributes make Grayling a potent and effective challenge to enemy submarines. This type of submarine operates under nuclear power, which allows her to conduct long-range reconnaissance patrols and surveillance missions without risking detection by surface ships. Moreover, she has been designed to carry out extensive ASW operations, which can be done either alone or with other fleet submarines and destroyer-type surface ships.
Grayling was deactivated on March 1, 1997 and placed in commission in reserve a week later while simultaneously being entered into the Ship and Submarine Recycling Program. She was officially decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on July 18, 1997. Her scrapping was completed on March 31, 1998 at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard located in Bremerton, Washington.
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.