USS T-3 SS-61/SF-3 (AA-3)

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USS T-3 SS-61 was an AA-1 class submarine that was first laid down as AA-3 on May 21, 1917 at the Fore River Shipbuilding Company yard located in Quincy, Massachusetts. The AA-1 class submarines consisted of three experimental subs that were built toward the end of World War I.  Her launch occurred on May 24, 1919 and was sponsored by Mrs. Lilian Terhune Jordan. Prior to her commissioning she was re-designated SF-3. After the Navy adopted their current alphanumeric system for hull designations she was renamed T-3. She was commissioned on December 7, 1920 at the Boston Navy Yard with Lieutenant Commander Charles Milford Elder in command.


T-3 was one of three total subs constructed during the development of fleet submarines. Fleet submarines were designed with the intention of producing a vessel that acted as an undersea boat, possessing both sea-keeping qualities and the endurance necessary to operate across long ranges. They were also projected to operate as scouts for the surface fleet.  T-3 was the second of its kind to be placed in commission, and operated as a part of Submarine Division 15, Atlantic Fleet until the fall of 1922. The flaws in the T-boat’s design were soon recognized, namely in the construction of their propulsion plants. Soon after, the decision to retire all three T-boats to the reserve fleet was made, with T-3 being the first to go.


T-3 was decommissioned on November 11, 1922 at Hampton Roads, Virginia. This was not, however, the end of her service. When funds became available in 1925, the Navy’s desire to test German-produced diesel engines in the T-boats was realized. The T-3 was the vessel selected for testing, and was re-commissioned on October 1, 1925 at Philadelphia. For 21 months T-3 tested newly installed 3,000 horsepower M.A.N. diesel engines under the Bureau of Engineering. It was also in Philadelphia when she was again decommissioned on July 14, 1927. Following three years of inactivity, T-3 was stricken from the Navy Vessel Register on September 19, 1930. In the same fashion as all of the T-boats the metals from her hulk were broken up and sold for scrap.

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.


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