USS Jack SS-259 (1942-1958)

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The submarine once known as USS Jack SS 59 left to serve as the HHMS Amfitriti (S-09) in April 1958 as part of the Royal Hellenic Navy. Before her departure, the Jack led an illustrious war career starting with her initial launch in October 1942 from New London, Connecticut, and ending at Midway in 1945. Overall, the Jack participated in nine patrols during her War World II service. She received seven battle stars for successful operations during this time.

Action in World War II

The Jack traveled down the New England coast to join the naval offensive against Japan in 1943. She earned her first star for sinking the 4,000 and 6,000-ton passenger-cargo ships Toyo Maru and Shozan Maru after engaging a five-ship convoy during her patrol off of Honshu. Before returning to Pearl Harbor for repairs, Jack also sent cargo ship Nikkyo Maru under.

Before arriving at her new base in Fremantle, Australia, the Jack managed to outmaneuver and overtake four more tankers while perusing the pivotal shipping lanes between Singapore and Japan. March and April of 1944 saw to the beginning of Jack’s life from Australia.  Heading into her fourth and fifth patrols in the South China Sea in 1944, often approaching large convoys; the Jack was highly successful taking out tankers Son Pedro Maru and Yoshido Maru, trawler Daisun, and cargo ships Matsukawa Maru and Tsukushima Maru. For her superior performances in battle, the Jack received the Presidential Unit Citation.

August 1944 led the submarine into the Celebes Sea where she faced off against a difficult opponent in cargo ship Mexico Maru. After first sinking a small minesweeper, the Jack would put away Mexico Maru on a return trip after deftly avoiding gunfire.  The Jack’s last patrol for Fremantle before returning to Pearl Harbor took place in October 1944, leading her one last time into the South China Sea. With dwindling Japanese runners, Jack managed to find small prey, but ended her run on this seventh patrol in December.

After a major overhaul in San Francisco, the Jack returned to patrol as a lifeguard for major missions in carrier strikes and bombing of the Japanese mainland in April 1945. Her eighth patrol was followed by a refit in Guam and then the Jack’s final war effort and ninth patrol in July 1945.

After the War

The Jack was retired to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet in June 1946 before being loaned to Greece in December 1957. Returned in 1967, she was soon sunk as a target in the Mediterranean Sea.

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.


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