USS H-8 SS-151 (1918-1931)
This H-class submarine served in the same period and came to the United States Navy in the same manner as her sister ships. Serving from 1918 to 1931, the USS H-8 was not ordered by the United States, but was contracted for the Imperial Russian Navy from the Electric Boat Company in 1915. After eleven of the ships were delivered as the American Holland class submarine, the final vessels in the order were held from shipment until the outcome of the Russian Revolution was known in 1917. With the ships being stored in knockdown condition in Vancouver, British Columbia awaiting the outcome of that turmoil, the United States purchased all the remaining vessels on May 20, 1918 and assembled at the Puget Sound Navy Yard.
Launched on November 14, 1918, just three days after the signing of the Armistice with Germany, the H-8 was commissioned on November 18, 1918, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Ralph W. Holt. After commissioning, the H-8 sailed to San Pedro, California to become a member of Submarine Divisions 6 and 7 (SubDivs 6 and 7). Along with her sister ships, the H-8 undertook battle and training exercises out of her port of San Pedro, making occasional patrols off Santa Catalina Island.
This service was interrupted in August 1919 as the H-8 was used to play the part of U-98 in the film Behind the Door. Her service off the California coast ended as she left San Pedro, California on July 25, 1922 with SubDivs 6 and 7 and a tender, Beaver. She arrived at Norfolk, Virginia on September 14, seeing her decommissioning occur on November 17. Her name was finally struck from the Navy Vessel Register on February 26, 1931. On November 28, 1933, the USS H-8 was sold for scrapping.
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.