The USS Pintado SS-387 was named after a mackerel-like fish. She was commissioned the first day of January in 1943 and built in Kittery, Maine, at the Portsmouth Navy Yard. Her first commander was Lieutenant Commander Bernard Clarey. Initially she conducted training out of New London, followed by experimentation with torpedo developments from Key West. In April she arrived at Pearl Harbor.
Action in World War II
The Pintado went on her first patrol where she served as flagship of a wolfpack. The group of submarines arrived at Midway in late May. On the last day of May they created a line in order to search for a convoy. Before the dawn broke the following day the Pintado had fired six torpedoes. Her efforts ended by destroying the Taho Maru, a 4,716 ton cargo ship. On D-Day the Pintado sent torpedoes at several targets, resulting in the explosion of one ship and the sinking of a second. The submarine then left for the Marshall Islands. On July 1 she arrived there and went in for a refit.
The east China Sea was the location for her second patrol. She successfully sunk the Shonan Maru, a 5,401 ton cargo ship, and caused damage to a second target before escaping enemy fire. This was followed by setting a former whale factory ship ablaze while two other tankers were sunk. The Pintado left for her third patrol by heading to Luzon Strait. It was her goal to meet the Northern Japanese Force and then offer an attack. In November her crew spotted an extremely large Japanese oil tanker. The Pintado fired and hit the target after landing a number of torpedoes. She then moved south of Takao. In the middle of December she sank two enemy landing craft.
The Pintado’s fourth to sixth patrols saw her guarding the Singapore and Saigon shipping lanes. She later sailed to Pearl Harbor. These missions were less intense than her previous missions had been. She finally returned to San Francisco in September.
After the War
She remained there until March, 1946. On that date she was decommissioned. She was then removed from the Naval Vessel Register in March of 1967. Zidell Explorations, Inc., purchased the Pintado in January 1969 in order to use her for scrapping. The submarine had an amazing history, sinking 13 ships and damaging two others.
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, includingÂ 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.