USS Redfin SS 272
The USS Redfin SS 272 was a Gato-class submarine that was launched on April 4th, 1943 from the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company out of Manitowoc, Wisconsin and was sponsored by a Mrs. B. B. Wygant. The submarine was commissioned on August 31st, 1943 under the command of Lieutenant Commander R. D. King. Following her initial shakedown trials while within Lake Michigan, she was finally ready for active service and was placed into a floating dry dock and towed south along the Mississippi River down to New Orleans, Louisiana where she was placed out into the open ocean for the first time. She departed the shores of New Orleans on October 15th, 1943 and transited the Panama Canal in order to sail out into the deep Pacific heading to her new home base at Fremantle, Australia.
The USS Redfin SS 272 embarked on her first war patrol on January 4th, 1944 when she drove to the South China Sea where she encountered her first enemy contact which was a Japanese convoy of four cargo ships on January 16th and she engaged and was able to heavily damage an escorting destroyer. From March 8th to the 14th she patrolled northern Australia in anticipation of an enemy attack from the Japanese Imperial Fleet. While on her second war patrol, the Redfin saw quite a bit of action when on April 11th she sighted and sunk a Japanese destroyer off of Mindanao and then on April 15th and 16th hunted and successfully sank two Japanese passenger cargo ships.
On April 23rd and 24th she landed her men on Dent Haven, Borneo to evacuate a British reconnaissance party. The operation was attacked and later recovered by assisting forces. Her third war patrol began on March 1st, 1944 and her sixth and final war patrol ended on September 5th, 1945. The Redfin participated with the Battle of the Philippine Sea and the invasion of the Marianas Islands as well. She laid minefields off of the coast of Hokkaido Island and off the shores of Honshu, Japan and assisted many missions carrying out invaluable lifeguard duty for the aircraft carrier fleet. The USS Redfin SS 272 was decommissioned on May 15th, 1967 and received six battle stars for service during World War II.
While crewmen aboard the USS Redfin SS 272 were confident in their submarine, they may have been endangered by a hazard onboard their own vessel that few could recognize at the time. Asbestos was used in most areas of submarine construction. The USS Redfin SS 272 was no different. Asbestos was everywhere, particularly in insulation components and pipes or ducts within the submarine. Those who worked in or around these areas, either in a submarine crew or submarine repair areas should be extremely careful of a possible exposure to asbestos material, which has been linked to a deadly cancer known as mesothelioma, as well as other respiratory ailments.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.