The USS Manta is considered a Balao-Class Submarine, which is a design of submarine built and used primarily in World War II. She is named after the manta, which is a very large ray also known as the devilfish. She was the second ship in the United States Navy to ever have been named after a manta. The USS Manta was constructed in Philidelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 15, 1943 by the Crane Shipbuilding Company. She was launched on the 7th of November, 1943, and then commissioned into service on December 18, 1944, under the command of Lt. Commander Edward P. Madley.
Action in World War II
The Manta left New London, Connecticut, on March 27th, 1945, after completing shakedown. She sailed for Hawaii via the Panama Canal route, eventually docking at Pearl Harbor. She commenced her first war patrol, circling the Kurile Islands, on May 28, 1945. After returning from patrol on July 16th of the same year, she started her second patrol a month later.
After returning to Pearl Harbor on September 10th, 1945, the USS Manta participated in training throughout December. Early the next year, on January 2nd, 1946, she began sailing for San Francisco, where she would undergo preinactivation overhaul. She was then decommissioned on June 10th, 1946 and placed into the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
After the War
The Manta was recommissioned On August 2nd 1949, this time under the command of Lt. E. H. Edwards, Jr., as the ESS-299. Later that year, on September 1st, she was redesignated as the AGSS-299 and moved to Key West, Florida. While in Florida, she served for four years as a target ship used in experiments for antisubmarine warfare projects sponsored by the Operational Development Force.
After serving in Key West, the Manta was shipped to Portsmouth, New Hampshire – once again to prepare for inactivation. She was decommissioned on the 6th of December, 1955, after being towed to New London. After that, she was placed into the Inactive Reserve Fleet. Eventually, in April 1960, she was assigned to training duties with the 3rd Naval District by the Navy Reserve. After serving for seven years there, she was struck from the Navy Lists in June 1967 and sunk off of the coast of Norfolk, Virginia on July 16th, 1969.
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.