Named after the freshwater fish from the sturgeon family, the Hackleback is a Balao- class submarine launched by the Cramp Shipbuilding Co. in Philadelphia, Pa. She was sponsored by Mrs. W. L. Wright and commissioned November 7th 1944 with Commander Frederick E. Janney in Command.
After training at the Fleet Sonar School in Key West, Fl and additional training at Balboa, Canal Zone, the USS Hackleback set sail for Pearl Harbor January 25, 1945. Hackleback was set for her first war patrol on March 6th. Her mission became lackluster when she failed to encounter suitable targets however she was a key role in the sinking of the last of Japan’s super-battleships, the Yamato.
Following the attack on the Yamato, the Hackleback made two gun attacks on small ships but failed to continue once she realized the ships seems to be luring her close to shore. She returned to Midway and prepared for her second war patrol. This mission, beginning May 21, was to be on lifeguard duty off Saki Shima Gunto as the carriers pounded the Japanese home islands. She saved a downed carrier piloit, Lt. Comdr. C.P. Smith on June 22 and also took part in some shore bombardment.
On the same day she left for her third war patrol, August 14, she received a flash “Tokyo Accepts” and headed back to Midway on August 16.Hackleback was decommissioned in San Francisco on March 20 1946 and put in reserve at Mare Island. Her name was struck from the Navy List on March 1 1967 and was sold for scrapping in December of 1968.
Asbestos and 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.