USS Rock SS-274 (1943-1969)
The USS Rock was a submarine that was assigned a workup duty in the Great Lakes before moving down the Mississippi River by floating dry dock. She arrived in New Orleans in 1943 and set sail for Pearl Harbor. Upon her arrival here she required repairs before she was able to set sail for her first war patrol.
Action in World War II
During the first deployment she faced a destroyer and was forced underwater and sustained heavy damage to her periscope that forced her to return to port to be repaired. During her second war deployment she was sent to Honshu coast, but that ended without any action. During her third war deployment the Rock was sent back out with other U.S. submarines. While there she and other submarines faced off against several Japanese ships. The Rock fired ten torpedoes, six of which exploded, but she was unable to see the results of this since she was forced to dive immediately.
A fourth deployment allowed her to see some combat action, but it was not nearly as significant as what she saw in the earlier days of the war, though she was able to sink a Japanese tanker. Afterwards, she returned to Fremantle for a refit to ensure that she would be able to handle the stress of a fifth war deployment. The highlight of her fifth patrol was the rescue of a downed pilot.
Her sixth patrol did not include much in the way of combat action, but she was struck by a dud torpedo that was dropped from an airplane. Later, she bombed Batan Island, damaging a radio outpost. She then returned to the States after this patrol to be decommissioned in 1946.
After the War
The Rock was converted into a radio picket submarine in 1951 and served for several years in this capacity. However, she was removed from that service in 1959 and sent to the Western Pacific for several tours of duty. She was decommissioned in 1969 and struck from the roster the same day. Then in 1972 she would be sold for scrap.
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.