USS Runner SS-476 (1944-1971)
The second USS Runner was a diesel-powered attack sub first laid down in July of 1944 before being launched in October of 1944. She was finally commissioned in February of 1945 and started with a shakedown and preliminary training off the Atlantic coast. She left the coast bound for Pearl Harbor and ended up arriving at this location in May of 1945.
Action in World War II
She engaged in intensive training in Key West and Balboa. The Runner’s first war patrol took place off the coast of one of the islands of Honshu. Her primary mission at this time was to scout out any minefields that were present to defend the home islands. While patrolling on the Sea of Japan, she intercepted a minesweeper and tanker. The tanker escaped any damage, but the Runner sent the minesweeper to watery grave. Before she returned to her station, she took on board 16 aviators from two other submarines to bring them back to Guam.
The Runner began a second patrol, but after only a week, Japan finally surrendered. The Runner entered Tokyo Bay and witnessed the formal Japanese surrender for the submarine service. She and her sister submarines left Japan in September of that year and she continued steaming east until she reached New London, Connecticut.
After the War
In 1949 she was sent to Norfolk and in 1957 she participated in the NATO exercises and visited ports in France and England. She operated as a Regulus missile guidance submarine from July 1958 to July of 1959, then went back to Norfolk in 1959 to sail the Atlantic coast for the next three years and help with ASW exercises. She even assisted in training Naval Reservists in the Great Lakes in 1964. She was given an overhaul in 1965 and was back at sea helping with ASW training in 1966. She functioned as a training base for future submariners in 1967.
In 1968 she was used as a training platform for UDT schools. Eventually she was decommissioned in 1969 in the Boston Naval Shipyard and towed to the Great Lakes as a training station until she was removed from the Navy list in 1971.
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.