The USS Moray was a Balao-Class Submarine, a non-nuclear submarine class featuring diesel electric engines. She was named after the moray, which is a type of large oceanic eel. The USS Moray was constructed by the Cramp Shipbuilding Company in Philidelphia, Pennsylvania, beginning on April 21st, 1943. The next year, she was launched on May 14th under the sponsorship of Mrs. Styles Bridge, the wife of the New Hampshire Senator at the time. She was then commissioned on January 26, 1945 under the command of Commander Frank L. Barrows.
Action in World War II
On January 31st, 1945, she sailed for New London, Connecticut, in order to commence shakedown training. After completing training, the Moray was ordered to head to Pearl Harbor, in the company of two other ships, the Carp and Gillette. The ships stopped in Balboa, Panama, on April 25th, 1945, and arrived at Pearl Harbor on May 21st of the same year to participate in final training. After completion of the training program, she sailed for Saipan, an island in the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean, arriving on June 20, 1945.
The USS Moray left Saipan for her first active duty war patrol on June 27th, as the senior member of a six ship attack group, including the ships Sea Poacher, Angler, Cero, Lapon, and Carp. The patrol group was stationed in the waters off of Tokyo, and participated primarily in lifeguard operations.
The Moray during her lifetime primarily operated on lifeguard duty, but she did see some action in July of 1945. The Kingfish and the Moray attacked a convoy moving along the coast of Kinkazan, Honshu. During the engagement, the Moray fired six torpedoes, one of which hit a whaling ship in the convoy. After the engagement, the Moray returned to Midway after finishing her patrol on August 6th, 1945.
After the War
Later that year, the USS Moray sailed for San Francisco, arriving on September 11, 1945, to undergo deactivation overhaul at the Mare Island Navy Yard. She was then decommissioned the next year, in April 1946, and placed into the Pacific Reserve Fleet. Years later, she was used briefly as an Auxiliary Research Submarine under the designation AGSS-300 before being struck from the Navy List on April 1st, 1967 and sunk.
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.