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USS Haddo (SSN-604)

Haddo—the pink salmon fish commonly found in Pacific waters off of the coast of the United States and Canada—was the namesake for the USS Haddo (SSN-604) and her predecessor SS-255. USS Haddo, the sixth submarine out of 14 constructed as part of the Thresher/Permit class, bore the motto “En Guarde”. The adoption of this motto was symbolic of her ever readiness for an attack in the name of defending the ideals of the United States.


The keel of the USS Haddo was laid down by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, located in Camden, New Jersey, on September 9, 1960. Mrs. Henry M. Jackson—wife of the US Senator from Washington state—served as the ship’s sponsor at her launch on August 18, 1962. Upon her commissioning on December 16, 1964, Haddo’s crew of 100 officers and enlisted men was led by Commander John G. Williams, Jr..

Measuring 278 feet, five inches in length, the Haddo was armed with four 21 inch torpedo tubes and powered by one S5W nuclear reactor in conjunction with two Westinghouse steam turbines and one propeller. Haddo was capable of reaching speeds in excess of 28 knots when submerged and she possessed the ability to operate at depths down to 400 feet below the ocean’s surface. Haddo’s displacement was 3,540 tons when surfaced and 4,200 tons when submerged.

Naval History

USS Haddo completed shakedown exercises out of New London, Connecticut in January of 1965—prior to her arrival at her homeport of Charleston, South Carolina where she became a member of Submarine Squadron 4 on February 8th. During the first few months of Haddo’s career she conducted operations off of the Atlantic coast and in the Caribbean Sea.

Joining ships of the Sixth Fleet and NATO countries, Haddo was the first ship of her class to be deployed to the Mediterranean Sea. Here she took part in various operations before returning to her homeport of Charleston on November 7, 1965. Over the course of the next two years, Haddo would continue to alternate her operations between the Atlantic coast and deployments with the Sixth Fleet. Operations she executed in 1967 earned her both the Navy Unit Commendation and the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

The years 1968 through 1969 brought Haddo several rounds of training exercises. Her exceptional display of teamwork during this period earned her the Battle Efficiency “E” for Excellence. An eighteen-month overhaul ensued in August of 1969 at the Charleston Naval Shipyard.

The completion of Haddo’s overhaul gave way to the assignment of a new homeport of New London, Connecticut where she would serve from 1971 through 1973. As part of Submarine Squadron Ten, she carried out the first six-month deployment to the Mediterranean by an SSN—a nuclear-powered fast attack submarine.

Haddo underwent an extensive refueling overhaul from August 1973 through December 1975 at Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Once again, completion of an overhaul brought Haddo to a new homeport—she arrived in San Diego, California in February of 1976. With this assignment she became a member of the Pacific Fleet as part of Submarine Squadron Three.

The spring of 1977 through October of 1981 was an eventful period of time for Haddo—she conducted several deployments to the Western Pacific in addition to one deployment to the Indian Ocean, she underwent two periods of Selected Restricted Availability (periods of maintenance in between overhauls), and she made visits to New Zealand, Australia, and Japan.

Haddo arrived at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California in April of 1982. She remained here awaiting an extensive overhaul which commenced in January of 1984. Upon completion of this overhaul, Haddo returned to San Diego for further deployments.

Haddo performed two additional deployments to the Western Pacific from February of 1985 through February of 1987, both times visiting Japan and Hong Kong. Upon her return, she conducted several months of local operations out of San Diego before enduring her final Selected Restricted Availability from January to March of 1988.

After completing two-months of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations in June and July of 1988, Haddo was deployed to the Western Pacific to carry out assignments supporting the national defense of the United States. Haddo’s career came to an end with her participation in PACEX-89—the largest naval exercise for the Pacific Fleet since 1945—in addition to a two-month northern Pacific ASW assignment.

After a nearly 27-year-long career of commendable service to her country, Haddo was both decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on June 12, 1991. Her dismantling was completed via the Nuclear Powered Ship and Submarine Recycling Program in Bremerton, Washington where her existence officially came to an end on June 20, 1992.

Asbestos Risk on the USS Haddo (SSN-604)

Submarines, such as the USS Haddo, were equipped with numerous operating systems requiring protection from heat. This protection came in the form of asbestos—a naturally occurring mineral whose heat and fire resistant properties were unrivaled at the time of its peak use beginning in the 1930s and continuing through the mid-1970s. Asbestos, mandated to be used aboard ships by the US Navy, was a component in more than 300 materials—ranging from valves, gaskets and cables to adhesives and insulation products—utilized in the construction and maintenance of ships. While asbestos was predominant in areas of the ship where there was a high concentration of heat—engine, fire and boiler rooms—it was also commonly found in other areas such as navigation rooms and living quarters where sailors ate and slept.

That was then. Now, as the dangers of asbestos have became a prominent issue in the public eye, it has earned a well-suited reputation which has entitled it to become identified as a known human carcinogen by several government agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Asbestos, once deemed invaluable for industrial use is now proven to be responsible for nearly 10,000 deaths per year in the United States alone.

When asbestos ages, or when it is disturbed during processes such as construction and maintenance, its highly friable fibers become airborne and these particles can be inhaled into human lung tissue. Once this occurs, individuals who are victims of this type of exposure are considered be at an increased risk for the development of several serious illnesses which have been directly correlated to inhalation of asbestos fibers. These illnesses, in particular asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, can be debilitating and are often life-threatening.

Asbestos-related diseases, especially mesothelioma, possess an extended latency period ranging anywhere from 15 to 50 years. Thus, this disease, a form of cancer which mainly affects the internal linings of the lungs, abdomen, and heart, often does not present with any symptoms until many years after the initial exposure has occurred.

Were you a sailor aboard a submarine such as the USS Haddo? Were you employed in a shipyard responsible for the construction or repair of US Navy ships during the time period ranging from the 1930s through the mid-1970s? Did you reside with any of the parties mentioned above? If your answer to any of the above questions was yes, it is likely that you are at risk for either first- or second-hand exposure to the detrimental effects of asbestos. While there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, an early diagnosis and the development of an effective treatment plan will offer you the best quality of life possible.

Please contact us for an information packet which will inform you of all the options available to you from both a medical and legal perspective as a victim of asbestos exposure.



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