The Pogy (SS-266) was a U.S. submarine commanded by Lt. Comdr. G. H. Wales, which saw action in the Pacific Theatre of World War II during the years of 1943 through 1945.
Action in World War II
The Pogy arrived in Pearl Harbor on April 5, 1943, in advance of her first war patrol, which began on April 15. Sent to the eastern coast of Honshu, she spotted her first target, a five ship convoy with escort. The Pogy proceeded to sink one of those ships, the ex-gunboat Keishin Maru, and damage another. She would sink three more ships before finishing up her first patrol.
The highlight of the Pogy’s second war patrol was the sinking of the Mongamigawa Maru, an aircraft ferry with valuable cargo on board, while patrolling the Empire-Truk communication and supply line. On her third patrol, she would sink another vessel, the Maebashi Maru, which was the largest vessel of a convoy that the Pogy stalked for two days.
For her fourth patrol, the Pogy was sent to the Palau Islands on November 25, 1943. On December 7, she sank a submarine tender and damaged two other ships, avoiding a depth charge attack in the process. Six days later, the Pogy sank a full troop transport. The ensuing depth charge attack by the enemy escort damaged her, and she returned to Midway for repairs. The Pogy’s fifth partol sent her to the Formosa area where she sunk three ships and damaged two others in two separate attacks. Her sixth patrol was even more successful as she sunk two freighters, a submarine, a trawler, and a sampan, taking five prisoners in the process.
After being overhauled in San Francisco, the Pogy returned to action but did not make any kills on either her seventh or eighth patrol. On her ninth patrol, the bad luck continued as she was accidentally the victim of friendly fire, strafed by an Allied plane. Regardless, the Pogy was able to rescue the survivors of a downed B-29 before returning to Pearl Harbor on May 15, 1945. Her last patrol in the Sea of Japan began on July 2, 1945. Hunting in the “Emperor’s private ocean,” she sank two freighters and damaged a tanker before V-J Day ended World War II.
After the War
With the war over, the Pogy was sent back to the east coast, arriving in New York on October 3, 1945. She would be decommissioned the following year. The Pogy received eight battle stars for her service during the war.
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.