USS H-7 SS-150 (1918-1931)
This H-class submarine served in the United States Navy from 1918 until it was struck in 1931. However, the United States did not originally order this, or any of the other vessels from this class. The Imperial Russian Navy originally contracted the Electric Boat Company to build 18 H-class submarines in 1915. 11 of those vessels were delivered, which served as the American Holland class submarines.
However, shipment of the final submarines was held up until the outcome of the Russian Revolution of 1917 was known. These unfinished boats were then stored at Vancouver, British Columbia, until the United States purchased all of them on May 20, 1918 and assembled them at the Puget Sound Navy Yard. The H-7 was launched on October 17, 1918 and commissioned on October 24 with Lieutenant Edmund A. Crenshaw in command.
As a member of Submarine Division 6 (SubDiv 6) and later SubDiv 7, the H-7 operated out of San Pedro, California, performing various training and battle exercises with her sister ships. These operations were broken for overhaul at Mare Island. After sailing from San Pedro on July 25, the H-7 reached Norfolk, Virginia on September 14, 1922. She was decommissioned on October 23 and her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Registry on February 26, 1931. She was 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.