The USS Scamp SS-277, a Gato class Naval submarine, was first laid down at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery, Maine, on March 6, 1942. On July 20, 1942, the ship was launched and then on September 18, 1942, she was commissioned. On March 1, 1943, the Scamp started out on its first war patrol.
Action in World War II
During its first patrol off the Honshu coast, the Scamp was involved in one attack on March 20, followed by another attack against the Manju Maru the following day. The Scamp went back to Pearl Harbor on April 7. On April 19, she headed out towards the Southwest Pacific. On May 28, she engaged in an attack against the Kamikawa Maru and destroyed it. The Scamp headed to Brisbane, Australia on June 4.
She went out again on June 22, this time heading toward the Solomon Islands and the Bismarck Sea. On July 27, the sub intercepted the enemy along the Shortland Islands. She let off six torpedoes, made a hit and had to retreat. The Scamp returned to Brisbane on August 8. A month later, she set out again, returning to the Solomon Islands and Bismarck Sea. On September 18, the sub intercepted a convoy of three ships. The Scamp damaged one of them. After a short retreat, the ship returned to successfully destroy the Kansai Maru.
The Scamp was order to return to Brisbane on September 24 and arrived on October 1. During the ship’s fifth patrol, the Scamp traveled around Kavieng and Truk. On November 4, she engaged in an attack against a passenger cargo ship. On November 10, she damaged the Tokyo Maru and two days later she damaged the Agano. On November 28, the Scamp headed back to Brisbane.
The Scamp began its sixth patrol on December 16. On January 14, 1944, she sank the Nippon Maru. The Scamp entered Milne Bay, New Guinea on February 6. During her seventh patrol, the sub probed the shipping lanes located in Palau, Mindanao, New Guinea and the Philippines.
Disappearance at Sea
On October 16, the sub headed for the Bonin Islands to begin her eighth patrol. November 9 marked the last known communication with the Scamp. An attempt was made to contact her on November 14, but there was no response. On April 28, 1945, the Scamp was removed from the Naval Vessel Register.
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.