USS Tullibee SS-284 (1942-1944)

This Gato-class diesel-electric submarine was constructed by the Mare Island Navy yard. Launched on November 11, 1942, she was sponsored by Mrs. Kenneth C. Hurd. She was commissioned on February 15, 1943 and commanded by Commander Charles F. Brindupke. After shakedown training, which lasted until April 30, she sailed for Hawaii, arriving at Pearl Harbor on may 15 for more training exercises. However, numerous air leaks forced the submarine to enter the navy yard for repairs until July 11.

Action in World War II

She began her first war patrol in July 1943, sailing to the Caroline Islands area. On August 5, she was rammed by a Japanese convoy, though she was able to remain on patrol. She later sank one enemy target and damaged another. Her next patrol took her to the East China Sea and lasted from September until November 1943. Attacking two convoys during this patrol, she sank a freighter and shelled an enemy-occupied island during this period.

Her third war patrol began in mid-December as a member of a three-submarine “wolf pack.” Near the Marianas, the group made an unsuccessful attack on a Japanese submarine and damaged an escort carrier. The Tullibee’s only sinking came at the end of January, and was of a net tender.

Her fourth patrol sent her to the Palaus area and began in early march. On March 26, she attacked a convoy but was sunk when one of her own torpedoes circled back around and struck her. Of the crew of eighty officers and men, only one sailor survived.

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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