USS Paddle SS-263 (1942-1957)

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The Electric Boat Company from Groton, Connecticut, laid down the keel of the USS Paddle on May 1, 1942. On December 30, 1942, the Paddle was launched and on March 29, 1943, she was commissioned in New London. On June 8, 1943, the Paddle departed New London and headed towards Pearl Harbor where she was to be based.

Action in World War II

The Paddle began its first war patrol on July 20, 1943, and headed toward Japan. On August 13, it engaged in its first attack with a huge freighter. On August 19, 1943, the ship was attacked and damaged by enemy airplanes but was quickly repaired and able to attack and sink the Ataka Maru, a passenger cargo ship.

The Paddle began its second patrol on October 17, 1943, near Nauru. It assisted the task force in the Marshalls and the Gilberts. It also assisted in the attacks on Tarawa.  On March 19, 1944, the Paddle left Pearl Harbor to begin its third patrol in the Philippines and Dutch East Indies. On April 16, 1944, it attacked and sank the Mito Maru and the Hino Maru. The ship also attacked a tanker. On May 12, 1944, the Paddle headed back to Fremantle, Australia.

The Paddle returned for a fourth patrol on June 5, 1944. While in the Celebes Sea, she was hit and damaged by bombs. After being repaired, she headed out again and on July 6 intercepted a convoy. This time the ship was able to sink the Hokaze, a destroyer. She completed her fourth patrol on July 29, 1944.

Between August 22 and September 25, 1944, the Paddle patrolled for a fifth time in the Sulu Sea. All was calm until September 7, 1944. The Paddle attacked and sunk the Shinyo Maru. During a sixth patrol between October third and the first of November, the Paddle attacked and sank a couple of sea trucks and a schooner. On November 25, the Paddle left Fremantle to begin a seventh patrol this time in the South China Sea. It finished its patrol on January 18, 1945 in Pearl Harbor. The Paddle’s last patrol was in the East China and Yellow Seas.

After the War

On September 30, 1945, the Paddle finally returned home. The ship was decommissioned on February 1, 1946. She received eight battle stars for her service in the war.  On January 18, 1957, the Paddle was given over to the Brazilian Navy and renamed the Riachuelo.

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.


Naval Historical Center

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