The USS Sennet was a Balao-class submarine, constructed on March 8, 1944, in the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery Maine. She is named after the sennet, a species of barracuda. On June 6, 1944, she was launched, followed shortly by her commission on August 22, 1944, under the command of George E. Porter.
Action in World War II
The Sennet was outfitted by September 18th, 1944, and then underwent training exercises off the coast of Connecticut until the 22nd of October. Later that year, the Sennet tested torpedoes and mines for the Mine Warfare Test Station, after which she proceeded to her first operation area off of Balboa for more training exercises. After finishing training, the submarine left for Pearl Harbor on the 29th of November, arriving at port on December 16th.
The Sennet conducted four war patrols spanning from January 1945 through August 1945. On the first patrol, the Sennet sailed off the northern shore of the Bonin Islands. During this patrol, she made two attacks on a large tanker with escorts, but scored no hits. Later that week, she attacked and sunk one 500 ton picket boat and damaged another. After refitting at Saipan from January 31 to February 7, the Sennet began her second patrol off of the coast of Honshu, Japan. Later in February, the Sennet, along with two other ships, the Haddock and the Lagarto, sank two 300–ton picket boats. Three days later, the submarine found and attacked an enemy minelayer, also sinking the ship.
After her second patrol, the Sennet was refitted in Apra Harbor, Guam. She then started her third patrol on April 3rd, 1945. On the 16th of April, she was nearly hit by torpedoes from patrol boats when she surfaced off the coast of Miki Saki. Later in her patrol, on April 19th, she targeted and sank a cargo ship, the Hagane Maru. Near the end of this third patrol, the Sennet fired five torpedoes at an Asashio-class enemy destroyer, but missed. The Sennet’s fourth patrol was her most successful, from July 1st to August 9th, 1945, during which she sank two cargo ships, one tanker, and one passenger-cargo ship.
After the War
After the war, the Sennet was reassigned to the Atlantic Fleet and stationed at New London, Connecticut. Over the next decades, she participated in an Antarctic expedition and service with the Sixth Fleet. Eventually, she was decommissioned and sunk on December 2nd, 1968. She received for battle stars for her service during the war.
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.