As the only submarine named after the gar, a species of fish dating from the Late Jurassic, the USS Gar (SS-206) earned 11 battle stars for World War II service. However, because it was built in 1939, asbestos may have been present on the vessel in the form of insulation, which represented a great health risk to the people serving on this submarine. The USS Gar (SS-206) was struck from the Naval Vessel Register in 1959 and later sold for scrapping.
Asbestos is a naturally occurring silicate mineral mined for its useful characteristics such as thermal insulation, chemical and thermal stability, and high tensile strength. Although once seen as something of a miracle product, today we recognize the dangers associated with its use. Navy service members who worked in boiler rooms, engine rooms, and gun turrets may have inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers, putting them at risk for developing mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other health problems.