USS Pollack SS-180 (1937-1947)

The USS Pollack SS-180, a Perch submarine, had a ten year life beginning in 1937. She was built at the Portsmouth Navy Yard located in Kittery, Maine. The 1130 ton submarine was commissioned in January 1937, which was followed by her first mission out to the Pacific later in the year. In 1939 she was sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This is where she spent most of her year.

Action in World War II

The December 7, 1941, strike on Pearl Harbor was the start of the Pollack's first combat cruise. Her success was marked by the sinking of two Japanese freighters the following January. During her second war patrol two months later, she was successful in destroying another of the Japanese ships. The third mission was also successful when the Pollack sank a patrol boat and intercepted the Zuikaku. This enemy aircraft carrier was returning to Japan. The USS Pollack then headed in for an overhaul. This was followed by five war patrols which occurred between October 1942 and September 1943. During these missions the Pollack was successful in destroying four additional Japanese ships. The Pollack then returned for another refit. She returned to combat in March 1944, at which time she successfully sank two freighters along with a submarine. She successfully sank the Asanagi in May, which was another Japanese destroyer, during her tenth patrol. The Pollack then headed to Australia. Along the way she shelled a phosphate plant. She then went into Brisbane to receive some shipyard work. The following November she once again returned to Pearl Harbor where she was assigned to training duty. This initially took place in Hawaiian waters. Then, in February 1945, she headed to New London, Connecticut, to continue with this work. There the Pollack served as the training ship for the men at the Submarine School.

After the War

The USS Pollack SS-180 was decommissioned in September. This was about one month after the end of the fighting. The Pollack was removed from the Navy register. Then, in February 1947 the submarine was sold for scrapping. She was purchased by the Ship-Shape, Inc. of Philadelphia. During her years of service, the Pollack received ten battle stars for her service in World War II.

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. References:
Naval Historical Center