USS Gudgeon SS-567 (1952-1987)
The second USS Gudgeon, a Tang-class submarine constructed at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, was launched on June 11, 1952. On November 21, she received her commission under the command of Commander Robert M. Carroll.
Service in the Pacific
After sailing for Pearl Harbor, the Gudgeon joined Submarine Squadron 1, Submarine Division 1, on July 18, 1953. With this group, she performed antisubmarine warfare exercises off
the U.S. East Coast, before porting at Mare Island Naval Shipyard for an overhaul. Returning to Hawaii in March of 1955, she soon set out for her first of five tours of the West Pacific, with stops at Yokosuka, Formosa, Hong Kong, Manila, and Guam.
In 1957, the Gudgeon set out for a cruise that would make her the first U.S. submarine to travel completely around the globe. From Pearl Harbor, she first sailed to Yokosuka for exercises, then on to Asia, Africa, Europe, and finally returning to Hawaii on February 21, 1958, eight months after leaving. The trip was 25,000 miles long.
For the next few years, the Gudgeon alternated between West Pacific cruises and training along the U.S. West Coast. She received two conversions, one in 1959 and one in 1965. The second conversion gave her newer, larger engines and updated sonar technology. In her later years, she was reclassified as an Auxiliary Research Submarine (AGSS) and a Guided Missile Auxiliary Submarine (SSAG).
On September 30, 1983, the Gudgeon was decommissioned, though her name was not stricken from the Naval Register until 1987. In the intervening time, she served in the Turkish navy under the name TCG-Hizirreis. In 1987, Turkey purchased the sub, and she continued to serve in the navy until 2004, when she was converted into a museum ship.
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.