Like her sister ships, the H-9 served in the United States Navy from 1918 until 1922. Originally ordered by the Imperial Russian Navy from the Electric Boat Company in 1915, the H-9 was never delivered. While eleven of these vessels were delivered to this navy, serving as the American Holland class submarines, the remaining ones were held until the outcome of the Russian Revolution of 1917 was known.
Stored in knockdown condition in Vancouver, British Columbia, the remaining H-class submarines were all purchase by the United States Navy on May 20, 1918. They were assembled at the Puget Sound Navy Yard. After assembly, the H-9 was launched on November 23, 1918 and commissioned on November 25, commanded by Lieutenant Clarke Withers.
Arriving at her home port of San Pedro, California, the H-9 joined Submarine Division 6 (SubDiv 6) before being transferred to SubDiv 7. While stationed on the West Coast, the H-9 took part in a variety of battle and training exercises, in addition to patrolling of Santa Catalina Island. She also visited Mare Island for periodic overhauls during her service.
On July 25, 1922, the USS H-9 left San Pedro for Norfolk, Virginia, arriving on September 14 with SubDivs 6 and 7. She was decommissioned on November 3 at Norfolk. Her name was eventually struck from the Naval Vessel Registry on February 26, 1931 and 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.