USS Quillback SS-424 (1944-1973)

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The USS Quillback was a submarine that launched in 1944 for the United States Navy. After she completed her first training session, she was sent to Key West to work on an experimental project, but that would be a short lived deployment as she was soon be sent off to Pearl Harbor.

Action in World War II

From Pearl Harbor she launched a single war patrol off the coast of Kyushu, which lasted from May 30 to July 24. During this first war patrol she rescued one downed pilot a half mile from the heavily armored shores. She also managed to destroy a Japanese suicide boat.  Afterwards, she returned to Guam for refitting, but the war was over before she could be called to a second patrol.  She received one battle star for her service

After the War

Upon returning to the States she began regular duties and was eventually assigned to Submarine Squadron 2. While there, she functioned as one of the main training submarines and was eventually used in the Naval Underwater Sound Labs experiments to try to help the Navy prepare for identifying submarines underwater.

In 1951 she had a tour in the Mediterranean with the Sixth Fleet. She only served in this capacity for six months before she was sent back to the States for a decommissioning. In 1953, she was converted into a Guppy (Greater Underwater Propulsive Power) submarine and stationed at Key West. There and in Guantanamo Bay, she helped train the anti-submarine forces of NATO and the United States, conducting large scale naval war games while serving in this capacity.

In 1960 she was improved yet again with an overhaul her offensive capabilities to the point that she would be a more potent weapon in the arsenal. She was sent to Guantanamo Bay at the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis, where she helped enforce the Cuban Quarantine for the next ten days. She was sent to the Mediterranean Sea for six months in 1964, then participated in experimental research.  After one final deployment to the Mediterranean, she remained in the Caribbean until being decommissioned in 1973 and sold for scrap the next year.

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.


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