The second submarine to be named for the type of Atlantic fish, the Snook SSN-592 was laid down by the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation of Pascagoula, Mississippi on April 7, 1958. Sponsored by Mrs. George L. Walling, mother of Comdr. J. F. Walling who was commanding officer of the first Snook lost in action during World War II, this vessel was commissioned on October 24, 1961. Comdr. Howard Bucknell III commanded the vessel.
After a shakedown period in the Puget Sound area, the Snook left San Diego in June 1962 for the western Pacific as a member of the 7th Fleet. She returned in February 1963 for extensive hall repairs, then operating in the San Diego area before again deploying to the western Pacific to join the 7th Fleet. She then reentered the Mare Island Naval Shipyard for over three months of repairs and the installation of new electronic equipment.
Following more local operations, on March 19, 1965, she left got a western Pacific six-month deployment, which included stops at Sasebo, Japan, and Chinhae, Korea. Following that cruise, the Snook spent the next six months undergoing sound trials and drydocking. She again deployed to the western Pacific on April 16, 1966, visiting Okinawa, Yokosuka and Sasebo, Japan; Chinhae, Korea; and Subic Bay, Philippines before returning to San Diego.
A 14-month overhaul and refueling at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard of Bremerton, Washington followed. The submarine returned to San Diego on June 30, 1968 to participate in local operations, including the sinking of Archerfish as a target. After spending the early part of 1969 in various antisubmarine warfare exercises and preparing for overseas deployment , she left for the western Pacific in May, staying for seven months and returning home on December 22. After participating in the exercise “Uptide” with units of the 1st Fleet, she was drydocked at Mare Island Naval Shipyard for the summer. After another 7th Fleet deployment, she returned to San Diego on July 12, 1971, to operate off the California coast and remain in port.
After spending the first four months of 1972 operating locally, on May 12, the Snook got underway for a two-month tour supporting United States forces in Vietnam and visiting Kaohsiung, Taiwan. After drydocking at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Snook got underway on January 10, 1973 for her eighth deployment with the 7th Fleet, which took her to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Guam. Returning on June 16, she began a month-long, post-deployment leave and upkeep period, followed by another four weeks in sonar evaluation tests. On November 26, 1973, she again entered Mare Island for refueling and overhaul.
The USS Snook was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Registry on November 14, 1986, entering the Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in Bremerton, Washington on October 1, 1996. By June 30, 1997, the Snook’s recycling was completed.
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.