With 9 battle stars for World War II service, the USS Balao was built by Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in 1942, like the majority of Gato-class submarines. In 1963, after having completed 10 war patrols, the submarine was found to be unfit for further service and was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Vessel Register during the same day. The conning tower and periscope shears can be seen nowadays on the waterfront at the National Museum of the United States Navy of the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. However, the hulk was sunk off the coast of Northern Florida as a target.
Because it came to life at a time when asbestos was heavily used in shipbuilding, the health of the people who served on the USS Balao (SS-285) was greatly endangered. Therefore, we strongly advise veterans who were present on this submarine to take care of their health by undergoing yearly medical examinations in order to make sure asbestos has not affected their lungs.