USS Loggerhead SS-374 (1944-1967)
On April 1, 1944 the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin laid down the Loggerhead SS-374. August 13, 1944 saw the launch of the ship which was sponsored by Mrs. Barbara Fox. The Loggerhead was commissioned on February 9, 1944, commanded by Comdr. Ralph N. Metcalf. The next month, she was towed down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, where she departed for the Panama Canal for her destination, Pearl Harbor.
Action in World War II
On May 15 she departed Hawaii and was on the way via Saipan to the Luzon Straits and the South China Sea for her first war patrol. On June 11, while the Loggerhead was along the east coast of Hainan Island, the crew noticed the enemy had a hospital ship and allowed it to go on its way without harm. Later, the Loggerhead attacked Gap Rock, south of Hong Kong, which was thought to be a Japanese radar installation. The tower was severely damaged.
The Loggerhead used a lot of its time on patrol acting as a lifeguard. On July 1 the ship went to refuel at Subic Bay and was reassigned to a new patrol area. She moved along to south of Hong Kong which held an assigned lifeguard station. By stopping boats of the natives and questioning their sailors, the crew of the Loggerhead learned that the Japanese were commandeering these local ships.
The Loggerhead sent off five torpedoes aimed at the enemy ships located in Semarang Roadstead on July 13. She headed to Australia the very next day. She moved along the Lombok Straits located between Bali and Lombok Island during the day. As the ship traveled between these islands, she was surprised by enemy fire, but she managed to evade the enemy by using skilled maneuvers which left the ship unharmed. She made it on July 19 to Fremantle.
After the War
Before she could leave for her next patrol, the war ended, and the Loggerhead was sent back to San Francisco. The next year, she was decommissioned and placed in the Pacific Reserve Fleet, where she remained until 1967 when she was struck from the register. Two years later, she was sold for scrap.
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.