The USS R-15 (SS-92) was an R-class coastal and harbor defense submarine of the United States Navy, built at Union Iron Works in San Francisco. While it was laid down in 1917, when asbestos was not widely employed in shipbuilding, the submarine was put on hold for 9 years, a period during which asbestos insulation might have been added to it. The submarine was forever decommissioned in 1945 and subsequently sold for scrap.
For much of the 20th century, young sailors helped to protect America while serving on board U.S. aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, escorts, frigates, amphibious warships, minesweepers, submarines, and merchant marine ships. Today, many of them are fighting for their lives because of a silent enemy that was present on those vessels: asbestos.