USS Greenfish SS-351 (1945-1973)
Greenfish was a Balao-class submarine, sailing for the United States Navy. She was named after the greenfish, a type of labroid fish. She was built in Groton, Connecticut by the Electric Boat Company, and launched December 21st, 1945. She was sponsored by Mrs. Thomas J. Dolye, and commanded by Commander R. M. Metcalf June 7th, 1946. Her shakedown took her to Barranquilla, Colombia; the Canal Zone; Callao, Peru; and St.Thomas in the Virgin Islands. She was one of the first subs to partake in personnel transfer from an aircraft carrier to submarine via helicopter. She converted twice, to GUPPY II and GUPPY III, respectively. Both of these updates allowed for more batteries so she could reach higher speeds under water.
Greenfish spent a majority of her time at Pearl Harbor, mainly participating in local exercises. She traveled many times to Yokosuka, Japan and Okinawa. In most of these operations she was part of the 7th fleet, and served during the Korean War and Cuban Missile Crisis. She was also part of a 2-month tour, taking her to Manila, Singapore, Rangoon, and Hong Kong. She was the first submarine to visit Rangoon, and the first to be examined by Burmese Prime Minister U Nu. She did most of her training in West Pacific waters, and was heavily involved with Anti-submarine Warfare.
SS-351 was decommissioned and struck from the US Naval Register on October 29th, 1973. She was sold to Brazil less than 2 months later on December 19th under the terms of the Security Assistance Program. The Brazilian Navy renamed her Amazonas (S-16), after the Amazon River. She was struck on October 15th, 1992 and then scrapped in 2001. She was originally going to be a museum ship at the Centro Histórico da Marinha in Rio de Janeiro, but was rejected for her poor condition.
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.