USS Segundo SS-398 (1944-1970)

The USS Segundo SS 398 was a United States Navy submarine which was manned from 1944 to 1970. This submarine began training at New London, Connecticut. After training she headed for the Pacific war zone via the Panama Canal Zone.

Action in World War II

The submarine arrived at Pearl Harbor on July 25 to undergo training exercises and weapons firing. On August 20, the submarine sailed on to her first war patrol near the Surigao Strait in the Philippines. This  patrol ended in October without the Segundo ever firing a shot. The Segundo started her second patrol in November 1944 to January 1945. Segundo and two sister ships, the Trepang and the Razorback, were patrolling near the South China Sea when they made night attacks that sank merchantmen. Her third patrol reteamed her with the other two subs, and she managed to sink the cargo ship Shori Maru. The Segundo was assigned to a lifeguard station in May 1945 and departed to an assigned area in the East China Sea. This submarine sank four schooners that weighed 100 tons each, as well as two patrol ships. For her fifth and final patrol of the war, she sailed from the Sea of Okhotsk to Tokyo Bay, where she encountered a large Japanese sub.  Since hostilities had recently ceased, the Segundo escorted the enemy boat back to Tokyo.

After the War

The Segundo supported United Nations Forces in Korea. In 1951 the submarine was equipped with a snorkel. For 16 years, the Segundo operated on the west coast. She was deployed to the western Pacific every year except 1961 and 1963. In December of 1966, the submarine was overhauled and repaired. In July 1970, the Segundo was found unfit for naval service. This submarine was removed from the Navy list in August 1970. She was sunk as a target by the USS Salmon. The Segundo won numerous medals and awards for her service. Some of the awards were the Submarine Combat Insignia with four stars, American Campaign Medal, Victory Medal-WWII, Navy Occupation Service Medal, China Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Battle Efficiency Award, and many more.

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.