USS Groton SSN-694 (1976-1997)
This Los Angeles-class submarine was the third vessel in the United States navy to be named for Groton, Connecticut, home of the Electric Boat Division of
General Dynamics Corporation. This company was awarded the contract on January 31, 1971. The submarine’s keel was laid down on August 3, 1973 and the nearly 362-foot vessel was launched on October 9, 1976. She was sponsored by Mrs. Elliot L. Richardson and commissioned on July 8, 1978, commanded by Commander R. William Vogel, III.
In March 1980, the Groton left for its first overseas deployment to the Indian Ocean. Making her way back to her homeport of Groton, Connecticut by traveling through the Panama Canal, the submarine completed her Around-the-World Cruise in October 1980. On November 7, 1997, the Groton was both decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register. She is currently scheduled to enter the Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program 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.