USS H-6 SS-149 (1918-1931)
This 150-foot H-class submarine served in the United States Navy from 1918 until 1931. However, the United States did not originally order the vessel. The
Imperial Russian Navy contracted the Electric Boat Company to build 18 H-class submarines in 1915, of which 11 were delivered. These served as the American Holland class submarines. The shipment of the final submarines, though, was held up until the outcome of the Russian Revolution of 1917 was known. These unfinished boats were stored at Vancouver, British Columbia, until the United States purchased them all on May 20, 1918, assembling them at the Puget Sound Navy Yard. The H-6 was launched on August 26, 1918 and commissioned on September 9 with Lieutenant Robert P. Lucker in command.
Based out of San Pedro, California, she was first part of Submarine Division 6 (SubDiv 6) before transferring to SubDiv 7. During her service, she operated along the West Coast, taking part in various battle and training exercises with other submarines. She also took occasional patrol duties off Santa Catalina Island, as well as overhauls at Mare Island. She left her home port of San Diego on July 25, 1922 with SubDivs 6 and 7, reaching Norfolk, Virginia on September 14. She was decommissioned on October 23 and struck from the Naval Vessel Register the following year on February 26, 1931. She was later sold for scrapping on November 28, 1933.
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. Reference: