How a 15¢ Paint Scraper Ended the Service of a Navy Submarine

The USS Swordfish was a nuclear-powered submarine that was built in 1955. She was assigned a home port at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in 1959, and in 1960 was deployed to the Western Pacific where she became the first nuclear sub in that area. Swordfish continued operating from Pearl Harbor, on local operations and on deployments to the Western Pacific. However, in 1978, a paint scraper worth 15¢ was accidentally dropped into a torpedo launcher and jammed the loading piston in its cylinder. For a week, divers tried to free the piston while Swordfish was waterborne, but all attempts failed. The ship had to be dry-docked for repair. The 15¢ paint scraper would end up costing the government $171,000 in repairs. More problems followed, and by 1989 the USS Swordfish was decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Registry.......all because of an inexpensive paint scraper.