USS Mingo SS-261 (1943-1966)
The USS Mingo, a 311′ 9″ Gato-class submarine, was laid down on March 21, 1942 in Groton, Connecticut, by the Electric Boat Company; November 30 was her launch date, February 12, 1943 her commission date, and Lt. Cmdr. Ralph C. Lynch, Jr. her commander. The Mingo departed for Newport, Rhode Island after testing off Long Island, April 1, 1943. She left New London May 16, headed for the Pacific.
Action in World War II
The Mingo embarked on her first war patrol June 25. She engaged three Japanese merchant ships, inflicting heavy damage and bombing Sorol Island, then returned to Pearl Harbor. September 29 began the Mingo’s second war patrol along the Marshalls, Marianas and Carolines. She fired on and damaged a Japanese Kasuga class carrier during her patrol, which ended November 20. She returned to Hawaii, then headed to Mare Island Navy Yard for overhaul. She once again departed for duty in the Pacific on February 3, 1944.
In the South China Sea, the Mingo joined the 7th Fleet on her third war patrol. Next, sailing for Brisbane, Australia, she reached port on May 9. From there, she sailed to Manus in the Admiralty Islands, arriving June 10. On her fourth war patrol, the Mingo sailed for the Philippines on June 18. Off the coast of Luzon on July 7, she engaged and sank the 2,100 ton Japanese destroyer Tamanawi, part of a high speed convoy.
During the Mingo’s fifth war patrol, she was assigned lifeguard duty, beginning August 27. She supported the 13th Air Force during strikes on Borneo and the Philippines, although she managed to sink four coastal freighters. Mingo saved 16 Liberator fliers off Balikpapan, Borneo, where they were shot down.
During Mingo’s sixth war patrol west of Borneo, she attacked a Japanese convoy in the night, inflicting damage to a gunboat and sinking the 9,486 ton tanker Manila Maru. On February 6, 1945, her seventh war patrol began in the South China Sea, off the Gulf of Siam, then to the Marianas on April 10. OnAugust 14, hostilities ended and the Mingo headed to the west coast of the United States.
After the War
The Mingo was assigned to the Pacific Fleet after being decommissioned in January 1947 at Mare Island, but was recommissioned May 20, 1955. She was renamed Kuroshio (SS-501) when loaned to Japan under the Military Assistance Program until decommissioning on March 31, 1966. The Mingo was awarded five battle stars for successful patrols in World War II.
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.