The USS Trout was a Tambor-class submarine laid down on August 8, 1939, and launched on May 21, the following year. It was commissioned on November 15, 1940, under Lt. Frank Wesley Fenno’s command with the hull number SS-202 and it served in the US Navy for 4 years before it was sunk on February 29, 1944. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 60 people on board and had the main missions in San Diego, Pearl Harbor, the Bonin Islands, the Philippines, Shimo Misaki, Truk, the Solomon Islands, Fremantle, and Singapore. The USS Trout received 11 battle stars for World War II service and three Presidential Unit Citations, for her second, third, and fifth war patrols.
Before the dangers of asbestos became largely known, more than 300 asbestos products were used on U.S. Navy ships. The toxic mineral was used because of its affordability, tensile strength, and resistance to heat and chemical damage, all properties which made asbestos good insulation, fireproofing, and building material. It was used in nearly every part of each ship, from bow to stern. This placed the shipmates at risk for mesothelioma and other serious respiratory illnesses.