The USS Shad was the second vessel of the US Navy to be named after the shad, a herring fish common along the US Coasts. A Gato-class submarine, she was launched on April 15 1942 and sponsored by Miss Priscilla Alden Dudley. She was commissioned on June 12 1942 with Lieutenant Commander Edgar J. MacGregor III in command.
Patrols of Note
For her first war patrol she had a special mission to conduct reconnaissance in preparation for Operation Torch. She headed to the coast of Mehdiya, French Morocco for this operation and upon completion she sailed to Roseneath, Scotland for repairs and further training.
On her sixth war patrol, she entered into her first attack against the Japanese. This patrol was considered the first American wolf pack, comprising of Shad, Cero (SS-225) and Grayback (SS-208. On October 22 1943 she attacked a convoy of two cruisers and three escorts, and fired ten torpedoes. There is no evidence to prove of sinking’s, however a 2 sq mile oil slick confirmed that damage was done by the submarine. Five days later she sighted an enemy and moved in to attack. While she did not sink any of the ships, she did damage three transports and a freighter.
Her tenth war patrol was another coordinated attack group with Balao, Dragonet, and Spikefish. This patrol was in the Yellow and East China Seas. Shad fired three torpedoes at a large freighter and two escorts before quickly getting out of range. One of the torpedoes hit forward on the freighter Chosan Maru and blew her bow off as the target quickly settled to the bottom. On June 7 Shad attacked and sank the 1,370 ton cargo ship, Azusa Maru. Her torpedo store was finally empty, so she returned to Midway.
Following the war, Shad was decommissioned and placed “in service, in reserve” and assigned to the 1st Naval District to train reservists. She was struck from the Navy List on April 1, 1960 and sold from scrap to Luria Brothers, Inc. Shad earned six battle starts for her service in World War II.
Asbestos and 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.