Successor to Pogy (SS-266), USS Pogy (SSN-647) was the second US Navy ship to be named for the trout fish native to the waters of Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada. Pogy, a member of the Sturgeon-class of submarines, was in commission serving her country for 28 years. Referred to as “No Ka Oi”—Hawaiian for “The Best”—Pogy was outfitted with the most advanced equipment for her time and was said to have employed the most elite of all submarine crews.
New York Shipbuilding Corporation, located in Camden, New Jersey, was awarded the contract to construct Pogy on March 23, 1963 and laid her keel down just over a year later on May 5, 1964. Mrs. George Wales, wife of the first officer in command of the original Pogy (SS-266), served as the submarine’s sponsor at the launching ceremony on June 3, 1967. Two days later, on June 5th, Pogy’s contract for construction was withdrawn. Rather than being completed and commissioned, Pogy was towed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she was entered into storage at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
On December 7, 1967, just over six months later, Pogy’s contract was renewed and she was towed to Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, located in Pascagoula, Mississippi, on January 8, 1968 for completion. She was later commissioned on May 15, 1971 with a complement of 14 officers and 95 enlisted men.
Powered by one S5W nuclear reactor, two steam turbines, and one propeller, the USS Pogy was capable of reaching speeds of up to 25 knots (submerged) and depths down to 1,300 feet. She measured 292 feet, 3 inches in length and possessed a submerged displacement of 4,640 tons. Equipped with state of the art equipment for her time, Pogy is considered to have made extensive contributions to research in the areas of thermal imaging, passive sonar technology, and submarine rescue via deep submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV) testing. Her armament included four 21-inch torpedo launch tubes that housed MK48 torpedoes in addition to SUBROC and Tomahawk missiles.
USS Pogy’s primary objectives as a unit of the Sturgeon-class were to track the movements of Soviet submarines, record their noise signatures, and gather intelligence. While Soviet vessels had an advantage over US vessels in terms of their abilities to achieve higher rates of speed, they were no match to US vessels, such as Pogy, with regard to advanced technology and quietness.
USS Pogy began her career operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii shortly after her commissioning. On April 27, 1975, Pogy carried out SINKEX 1-75 in which she fired a test (Mark 48) torpedo and sank the decommissioned hull of USS Carbonero (SS-337). By July of 1980, she was ready for her first major overhaul which lasted through December of 1981 at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California. Upon completion of this overhaul, Pogy joined Submarine Development Group One as a Special Projects boat based out of Mare Island. In July of 1984, she was transferred to San Diego where she became a member of Submarine Group Five.
Never having relinquished her service as a front-line warship, Pogy took on a series of arctic research missions beginning in 1996. These missions, considered to be her greatest achievements, consisted of data collection on the properties of the Arctic Ocean (e.g., currents, temperature, water salinity) from water samples obtained from numerous locations under the polar ice cap in conjunction with experiments focusing on pollution, geophysics, and ice mechanisms.
Decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Register concurrently on June 11, 1999, Pogy’s scrapping was completed by April 12, 2000 via the Ship and Submarine Recycling Program at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard located in Bremerton, Washington. The only elements that remain of Pogy today are her diving plane fins which can be found on display at Pelican Harbor Park in Miami, Florida.
Asbestos Risk on the USS Pogy (SSN-647)
Employment in a shipyard or service aboard a US Navy vessel, such as the USS Pogy, during the years ranging from the 1930s through the 1970s, are considered today to be key factors that contribute to an individual’s risk of developing one of several serious illnesses. Throughout this time period, a naturally-occurring mineral, known as asbestos, was widely used in all aspects of shipbuilding and maintenance to ships due to its high-degree of heat and fire resistance. This mineral, found in many areas of ships, was composed of highly friable fibers that were later discovered to have a significant negative impact on the health and well-being of those who were in the presence of these fibers when they became airborne. Once asbestos fibers are released into the air, particularly within a confined space such as a submarine, they are easily accessible for human inhalation at which point they attach to the inner linings and surrounding membranes of the lungs. Over time, continued exposure can result in scarring and inflammation of lung tissue.
Chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath—these are all symptoms that signal the onset of an asbestos-related illness such as asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma. The majority of these diseases are known to have an extended latency period ranging anywhere from 15 to 50 years. As a result, symptoms that preclude the diagnosis of a disease often do not present until well after the initial exposure has occurred.
If you believe that you are a victim of asbestos exposure and have developed mesothelioma please do not hesitate to contact us for an information packet by filling out the form on the right hand side of this page.Sources