USS H-3 SS-30 (1914-1922)
USS H-3 SS-30 was an H-class submarine that was originally named Garfish. Garfish was laid down by the Moran Company of Seattle, Washington, but was renamed H-3 on November 17, 1911. She was commissioned at Puget Sound on January 16, 1914 with Lietenant, junior grade William R. Monroe in command.
Upon completing shakedown, H-3 joined with the Pacific Fleet and started operating along the West Coast from California to Washington, frequently serving alongside sister ships H-1 and H-2. On the morning of December 16, 1916 H-3 ran aground while attempting to enter Humboldt Bay amid heavy fog. The crew was rescued by a Coast Guard breeches buoy, however, the storm surf managed to push the H-3 high up on the beach, surrounded by quicksand. At times the water was almost 250 feet beyond her, and the crew was forced to set up camp on the Samoa, California beach. The tug Iroquois steamed out from Mare Island Nay Yard in an attempt to salvage the sub. Unfortunately, the combined efforts of Iroquois and Cheyenne did not result in H-3 being dislodged. The tugs returned to their ports and the Navy began to request bids from commercial salvage firms. Only two bids were received and Navy officials regarded those as both infeasible and excessive. In an attempt to tow her off the beach, the protected cruiser Milwaukee sailed from Mare Island. This attempt was also unsuccessful as Milwaukee also grounded attempting to salvage H-3, breaking up in the pounding sea.
H-3 was temporarily decommissioned in February while a lumber company salvage bid was being considered. H-3 was eventually placed on giant log rollers and transported over land in order to be re-launched out of Humboldt Bay in April. H-3 eventually returned to San Pedro, California where she served as flagship of the Submarine Division 7. Until 1922 she participated in operations and exercises, when the entire division left, sailing to Hampton Roads. The division arrived in September and on October 23, 1922 H-3 was decommissioned. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on December 18, 1930 and scrapped in 1931.
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.