USS Pargo SS-264 (1942-1960)
The naval vessel USS Pargo managed to get eight battle stars during her service in World War II. The Pargo is credited with having managed to successfully sink 27, 983 tons of enemy ships in her eight patrols during the war.
Action in World War II
Her initiation to the battle front began in December of 1943 when she sailed through the Panama Canal on her way to Pearl Harbor. She arrived in Pearl Harbor on July 23, 1943. The next month she went on her first war patrol to the East China Sea. No estimate was made of the damage she inflicted on enemy ships when she attacked them in two separate occasions.
Her next war patrol was as part of a team called a wolf pack. Her pack included the Snook and the Harder, patrolling the northwest area of the Mariana. The Pargo attacked and sank two enemy freighters, the Manju Maru and the Shoko Maru, between November 29 and 30, 1943.
She was then taken to be refitted at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. After her refitting, she returned to Pearl Harbor on March 5, 1944. On March 25, she went on her third war patrol to clear the Philippine and the Celebes Seas of enemy ships. After refitting and returning to the Celebes Sea, the Pargo recorded damage to fewer enemy ships than before. She recorded sinking a 5, 236 ton cargo ship called the Yamagibu Maru. She was refitted again in Fremantle and went on next war patrol to the South China Sea on October 7. She successfully sank two Japanese ships, one of which was a minelayer.
On October 28, the Pargo left the Australian seas with the USS Haddo for the South China Sea. Bombing activity by Allied forces had reduced the traffic in the shipping lanes. She engaged the enemy in battle and managed to sink the Yuho Maru on November 26. She returned to Australia on December 21 where she stayed until January 15, 1945. On February 10, she torpedoed the destroyer Nokaze. She was then returned to Pearl Harbor to be overhauled and stayed there until June 17.
The Pargo went on her eighth war patrol from July 14 to September 9 in the Sea of Japan. She attacked six enemy ships and sank the Rashin Maru on August 8. The Pargo sank a total of nine enemy ships during the war.
After the War
The Japanese surrendered but the Pargo stayed in the Sea of Japan until the end of fighting and the signing of peace negotiations. The Pargo was used later as a training vessel for naval reserverists from June 12, 1946 until June 1, 1960. The Pargo was taken off the official navy list of ships and sold on April 17, 1961.
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.