Named after a fish that can be found from California to Alaska, the USS Steelhead (SS-280) was built in 1942 as a Gato-class submarine by Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine. The submarine was launched on 11 September 1942; sponsored by Mrs. Marguerite Brown; and commissioned on 7 December 1942, Lt. Comdr. David L. Whelchel in command. It completed 6 successful war patrols, for which it received 6 battle stars. In 1960, the submarine was struck from the Naval Vessel Register and subsequently sold for scrap.
Because asbestos was heavily employed in shipbuilding at the time, the USS Steelhead (SS-280) contained the dangerous mineral in various places, such as the walls as insulation and the boiler room. Therefore, people who served on the vessel were at high risk of exposure and many of them have only recently come to struggle with diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. We strongly advise everyone who was present on the USS Steelhead (SS-280) to undergo annual medical examinations to make sure their lungs are in good condition.