USS Trigger SS-564 (1951-1973)
A Tang-class submarine, this was the second to be named the Trigger. Laid down by the Electric Boat Company and launched on June 14, 1951, she was sponsored by Mrs. Roy S. Benson. She was commissioned on March 31, 1952 with Commander Edward L. Beach in command.
After shakedown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she returned to her home port in New London, Connecticut to participate in local operations. She then returned to the Caribbean in February, returned to New London and then continued East Coast operations until August 16, 1957. She then joined another submarine for a cruise to the Arctic Ocean in the north Greenland Sea. She participated in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Operation “Strikeback” from September 16 to October 1, and then returned to New London for normal activities.
She underwent major alterations on January 14, 1958, receiving three reliable medium-speed engines. The vessel was also lengthened by nine feet. After refresher training, she sailed for extended operations in the North Atlantic on February 2, 1959, before returning to her home port in late April. On August 1, she joined Submarine Squadron 4 (SubRon 4) at Charleston, South Carolina, which became her new home port. In late September and early October, she participated in NATO Exercise “Fishplay.” For the next decade she conducted operations out of Charleston, undergoing more modifications in 1964 and 1968.
She saw assignment with the Pacific Fleet in August, 1970, arriving at San Diego to join SubRon 3. She tested the Mark 48 torpedo that November and in the spring of 1971, returned to Bangor, Washington to participate in Mk 48 Torpedo Selection Test Plan operations. After yard work, she voyaged to the Nanoose Bay Acoustic Test Range, returning to San Diego on May 25.
On October 17, 1972, she made her first WestPac deployment, arriving at Auckland, New Zealand on November 10. She then participated in Exercise “Longex 7,” a combined fleet problem utilizing ships from the navies of the United States, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. From December 29, 1972 to January 25, 1973, she conducted special submarine operations. After leaving the Philippines on February 3 and visiting Hong Kong, she participated in a joint United States-Canadian exercise off Taiwan.
Sailing to Yokosuka on February 20, she remained in Japan for repairs until March 16. The Trigger arrived at San Diego, California on April 5, and on June 25 she began training a crew of the Marina Militare to operate the vessel. She was decommissioned on July 2, 1973 and transferred to Italy on the 10th. She served with the Italian navy until she was decommissioned on February 28, 1986.
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.