USS Trutta SS-421 (1944-1972)
This Tench-class submarine, constructed by the Portsmouth Navy Yard, was the only vessel to be named for this variety of trout. She was launched on August 18, 1944 and sponsored by Mrs. Edward C. Magdeburger. Commissioned on November 16, 1944, Commander Arthur C. Smith sat at the helm of this ship.
Action in World War II
After shakedown and training, she sailed to Pearl Harbor in February 1945. While leaving for her first war patrol out of Saipan, she struck a cable and had to return to the port for repairs, which prevented her departure until April 3.
After unsuccessfully attempting to intercept a Japanese naval force, she managed to make her way, unscathed, the western coast of Korea on April 18, sinking one small freighter and damaging another with gunfire. She managed to escape several near misses while off the China coast the remainder of her time there before heading for Guam on the 26th. She was held underwater by enemy planes on the evening of the 27th until the next day, forcing the submarine to call for allied backup or fight planes alone as she recharged her batteries and replenished her air flasks. 10 American fighters sent the enemy planes away, allowing her to return to Guam unharmed.
After a refit and exercises, on June 2 she sailed with the Queenfish to arrive on lifeguard duty on the 7th. That day she rescued a downed Army aviator floating on a small rubber boat. Trutta continued lifeguard duties south of Kyushu as air raids on the Japanese home island continued. On June 21, she left to patrol the Yellow and East China Seas. On July 1, along Korea’s southwest coast, she sank seven schooners.
While patrolling the southern approaches to Daito Wan on the 6th, she sank a tug and two of the schooners it towed with 5-inch fire, leaving the third burning in the water. She left the area on July 12, arriving at Guam on the 18th. There she underwent refitting before sailing for her third patrol. Hearing of peace negotiations, she returned to Midway before reaching her assigned patrol area. She then returned to New London, arriving in January 1946 after several port calls along the way.
There she reported for inactivation with the 16th Fleet, remaining in the Reserve Fleet until 1951. Recommissioned in March 1951, she worked from her New London port until May 1952, when she was again decommissioned. She was again recommissioned in January 1953 after her conversion to a Guppy II A submarine. She then joined the Submarine Squadron 4 at Key West.
Trutta spent the next 19 years operating out of Key West, sailing throughout the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, Atlantic, and making deployments to the Mediterranean as well. She helped test new equipment and carried out training exercises during this time. She also rescued five Cuban refugees in August 1959. These duties from her Key West homeport continued throughout the 1960s, during which time she also made goodwill visits and earned a number of Battle Efficiency “E’s.” She also celebrated the 25th anniversary of her first commissioning in November 1969.
In 1972, her career drew to a close. In June, a Turkish Navy crew was trained on her. She was then decommissioned, struck and transferred to the Navy of the Republic of Turkey on July 1. For her World War II service, the Trutta received two battle stars.
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.