The USS Rasher was an attack submarine built in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She was commissioned June 8, 1943, with Comdr. E. S. Hutchinson at the command. The Rasher finished trial training in Lake Michigan. The SS Rasher was then sent to New Orleans. From New Orleans she sailed the Bay of Panama and departed Balboa on August 8, 1943. She arrived in Brisbane, Australia, on September 11.
Action in World War II
She went on eight war patrols in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. The Rasher’s first war patrol started on September 24, 1943. During this patrol, she sank the passenger-cargo ship Kogane Maru, the freighter Kenkoku Maru, and the tankers Koryo Maru and Tango Maru. The Rasher went to Fremantle for refitting on November 24, departing December 19 for a second patrol in which she attacked a three tanker convoy and was able to sink one of them, the Kiyo Maru.
The Rasher went on a third patrol from February 19 to April 4, 1944, during which she sank three cargo ships – the Tango Maru, the Ryusei Maru, and the Nattai Maru – and a freighter, the Nichinan Maru. On a fourth patrol from Aril 30 to June 23, the Rasher added the Choi Maru, the Anshu Maru, the Shioya Maru, and the Koan Maru to the list of ships she destroyed. While on a fifth patrol with the USS Bluefish from July 22 to September 3, the Rasher claimed the Shiroganesan Maru, Teiyo Maru, Eishin Maru, Teia Maru and Taiyo. At the end of her fifth patrol she arrived at San Francisco Naval Yard on September 11 for an overhaul.
The Rasher left San Francisco December 20, 1944 and went back to Midway where she made three more war patrols in World War II. Her sixth patrol, which was not considered very successful, started January 29 and ended on March 16, 1945 at Guam. On her seventh patrol, from April 17 to May 29, 1945, she fired upon some aircraft. The war ended on her eighth patrol and she sailed to New York, arriving on October 6th.
After the War
The Rasher was decommissioned June 22, 1946 and was placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at New London, Connecticut. She was recommissioned July 22, 1953, to participate in fleet exercises and eventually in the Vietnam War. During Vietnam she upheld her exemplary performance and was decommissioned May 27, 1967. In all the Rasher earned seven battle stars in World War II and another two in Vietnam.
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.