USS Cachalot (SS-170) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

As the only ship of the U.S. Navy to be named for the cachalot, this submarine was one of the V-boats, a series of 9 submarines laid down between World War I and World War II. It was built by Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in 1931, sponsored by Miss K. D. Kempff, and initially had Lieutenant Commander Merril Comstock in command. Following shakedown, further construction, tests, and overhaul, the USS Cachalot sailed for San Diego, California, where it joined the Submarine Force, U.S. Fleet in 1934. It operated along the West Coast until 1937 and, during this time, it engaged in fleet problems, torpedo practice, and antisubmarine, tactical, and sonar training exercises. However, aboard the USS Cachalot, there was asbestos in large amounts, which greatly endangered the health of the military personnel serving on it. By inhaling or ingesting the tiny fibers of this mineral, people who came in contact with asbestos are at high risk of developing a serious disease today, as diseases that occur as a consequence of asbestos exposure take between 20 and 50 years to develop. Consequently, veterans who were aboard the USS Cachalot need to pay close attention to their health. For the outstanding activity of the crew during World War II, the submarine earned several awards, including the American Defense Service Medal and the American Campaign Medal. In 1947, it was sold for breaking up.

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Shipmates on USS Cachalot (SS-170)

jeweldeen brown

merrill comstock

roy milton davenport

louis g. jones

irving c. nielsen

thomas benjamin oakley jr.

maximilian gmelich schmidt

harry clinton stevenson

frank thomas watkins