USS Shark SS-8 (1901-1919)
The third of her name, the USS Shark was an early Plunger- class submarine in the Service of the United States Navy. She was later renamed A-7. Laid down on January 11, 1901 she was launched 19th of October and Commissioned on September 19, 1903 with Lieutenant Charles P. Nelson in command.
For the first three and a half years, she operated locally conducting firing tests with torpedoes and participating in early research and development in regards to undersea warfare. For several years she operated out of Cavite with periodic upkeep and repair work. On November 17, 1911, she was renamed A-7.
World War I
During the war, she and her sister ships carried out patrols of the entrance to Manilla Bay. With a new Lieutenant, junior grade Arnold Marcus, in command in the spring of 1917, her engines became overhauled and gasoline fumes ignited and caused an explosion and fire. Marcus and the crew battled the blaze and then were ordered into the boats that were alongside the ship. Marcus, being the last man to leave the ship, had sent up distress signals in hopes that the nearby monitor Monadnock would see. He then attempted to beach the ship. A real hero, he refused medical attention until everyone in his crew was attended to. Marcus and six members of his crew died the following day, July 25 1917 of wounds from the explosion and fire that had destroyed A-7. The last survivor of the crew died August 1 from the same injuries as his fellow men.
In honor of his heroism, the Navy named the destroyer Marcus in his honor.
A-7 was decommissioned on December 12, 1919 and was used as a target in 1921. She was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on January 16, 1922.
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.