USS Permit SS-178 (1937-1958)

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The USS Permit was a 1330 ton Perch class submarine. The class of the submarine refers to the size, armament, and power of the submarine. The Permit was built in Connecticut and commissioned in March of 1937. Her original assignment, which lasted for nearly two years, was on the in Pacific waters, operating from Alaska to Hawaii. In October of 1939 she was sent to the Philippines.

Action in World War II

After war began with Japan, around December of 1941, she was sent to make two war patrols off of western Luzon. Her second mission was to disrupt enemy landings in Lingayen Gulf, but she was unsuccessful. Afterwards, she was sent to patrol from the Philippines to the Dutch West Indies. During this cruise she attacked a formation of Japanese warships. Unfortunately, her torpedoes missed their target. She was then sent to evacuate critical personnel from the Corregidor and transport them to Australia. In 1942 she made two more patrols in the Dutch West Indies before going back to Hawaii.

After being overhauled she returned to the Japanese waters and was much more successful in her efforts. She was able to torpedo one fighter on her seventh patrol, and followed this with two more during her ninth cruise. Her tenth patrol was probably her most crucial to the war effort. She went to the Marshall Islands to photograph possible invasion targets and was able to attack several ships while there. After yet another overhaul she was sent to the Carolines. During her time here she was involved in several confrontations with enemy ships, but was unsuccessful in her attempts to sink them.

Her fourteenth war patrol began in Brisbane in September of 1944 and took her to Truk. This mission was to provide lifeguard services for Allied aircraft that were raiding a nearby enemy base. Upon completion of this mission she headed, once again, for her home base in Hawaii.

After the War

She arrived at Pearl Harbor in November of that year and was immediately retired from combat duty. After being refitted on the East Coast she was assigned to training duty in Connecticut. This duty ended not long after Japan’s surrender. She was decommissioned in November of 1945 and was stricken from the Naval Registry in July of 1956. The Navy sold her for scraping in 1958.

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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