Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 2014 Meeting Reminder

Shipmates,
The next Seattle Base meeting is this coming Wednesday, April 16.

We will meet at VFW Post #2995 (4330 148th Ave N.E., Redmond WA 98052). Social hour starts at 6 PM with business meeting at 7PM.
Our guest speaker, Mr. Richard Blumenthal, will talk about the maritime history of Puget Sound. Richard is an accomplished speaker and historian whose lifelong passion is researching the early exploration and history of our inland waterways. His account of what Puget Sound looked like 150 to 200 years ago staring with early English explorers will fascinate you. Richard's first nautical experience at age five was with a homemade dingy on Lake Washington and later learned the secrets of numerous islands while cruising the regions waterways. Richards’s work includes the “Early Exploration of Inland Washington Waters” and “Maritime Place Names Inland Washington Waters."

Finally, we would like to remind you that the deadline for the 2014 USSVI National Awards Nomination process is April 30, 2014. The announcements of the Awardees and presentation of awards will happen at the Awards Banquet at the 2014 National Convention in Burlingame CA.

Almost 80% of the nominations submitted are from Base Commanders, Points of Contact, or other Base Officers, but we want to encourage all members to consider writing up a recommendations for a National Award. These awards recognize your shipmates for the voluntary work they do in support of our brotherhood, our organization and its purpose.

We all have shipmates that deserve the recognition for their hard work in support of our organization and its purpose, and it shines a favorable light on your base as well. Don’t forget your hard working associate members. They are eligible for some of these awards as well. Any USSVI member may nominate any other member (or for a Base for certain awards as stated in the Award description).

Here is a summary listing of the award categories.
  • Joe Negri ‘Shipmate of the Year’ Award 
  • Robert Link National Commander’s Commendation Award 
  • Meritorious Award 
  • Golden Anchor Award 
  • Silver Anchor Award 
  • Ben Bastura Historical Achievement Award 
  • Base Newsletter of the Year Award (Deadline for newsletter submissions is May 15, 2014) 

Each Award has specific criteria to meet and some of the criteria have changed since last year, so please read the manual for a careful review. You can find the manual here. Please take a look at the manual and start thinking about your Shipmates who should be nominated for the various Awards. If you have any questions about the program or the individual award criteria please contact National Awards Chairman John Stanford by phone (904-749-3197) or by email: jstan131@comcast.net.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2014 Submarine Force Birthday and Wear Your Dolphins to Work Day

Friday, April 11, is the 114th birthday of the U.S submarine force. On April 11, 1900 the HOLLAND VI was acquired by the US Navy. Although not actually commissioned as a warship until October 12, 1900, April 11th is celebrated as the official "birthday" of the US Submarine Fleet. USS Holland was considered to be the world's first truly successful submarine.

Additionally, it is "Wear Your Dolphins to Work Day." A day on which we encourage every submarine qualified individual to proudly wear their dolphins on their civilian shirt while at work. The goal is to raise awareness on the service you provided.

This idea was suggested by Dennis, a retired COB who served on boomers. You can read his story and rationale on his original site of this same domain, head on over to the Wayback Machine and read his story. Here's a snippet from his old web site that explains the rationale behind the initiative...

If we can have a "take your daughter to work day", why not have a "Wear your Dolphins to work day"? Earning Dolphins must be at least as hard as having a baby, right? So why are we hiding our achievement?" We were in the "Silent Service", not the "Hide it like we are ashamed Service". I know some sea lawyer is thinking that we aren't supposed to wear uniform insignia with civvies, but we're SUBMARINERS! We wore beards when the rest of the Navy was clean shaven! We wore Nikes as uniform of the day at sea. We hit golf balls off the bow at the North Pole! We wore civilian clothes on watch for half-way day. We have friends with names like "Warhead"! If we can take pictures from inside Russian harbors, we can damn well wear our fish with civvies one day a year. Why not do it to celebrate the Submariner Force Birthday, April 11th? 
I hope you'll join me in wearing your Dolphins on Friday and HAPPY BIRTHDAY fellow bubbleheads!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cabela's and Chris Opple's Memorial

On Saturday, April 5th, Seattle Base spent the day at Cabela's Tulalip store.
Ric Hedman, Pat Householder, and Dick Gonzales with the float at Cabela's
We met a lot of people at the store, talked about USSVI and submarines.
Getting everything set up
Overall, it was a really good time. But the planned return on Sunday was cancelled due to bad weather. We do this again a couple times during the year and hope that you'll stop by.

Chris Opple Memorial
Bob Opple and family passed along the following information: We are celebrating Chris’ life at St. Madeleine Sophie Parish (4400 130th Place SE, Bellevue WA 98006) on Saturday, April 26 at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers we ask that donations be to the Western Washington Catholic Community Services at http://www.ccsww.org/

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

In Memorium - Chris Opple

We are sorry to report that Bob Opple’s wife, Chris, passed away on Sunday, March 30, 2014.

Bob and Chris Opple at the 2013 Tolling the Boats Ceremony
Chris was a wonderful, vibrant woman who loved her family and life to the fullest. It was always wonderful to see her at various Seattle Base events.

Please keep Bob and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

A memorial is being planned for April 26th, we will let you know the time and location as the event gets closer.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Commander's Corner for April 2014

Shipmates,

To say we don’t have a full agenda this year would be an understatement. Public venues like Cabala’s (make sure you contact Doug Abramson by email or phone (360-652-9709) if you want to help out with the April 5 & 6 event), Auburn Veterans Day Parade, and Tahoma take a good deal of planning and commitment. To those mates that help to make this happen we thank you.

That said, we are exploring new ways to serve our communities while at the same time growing our Base and expanding public awareness.

As you know we are in the process of organizing our first Base picnic. A good number of members have signed up in what promises to be a memorable event and one we can repeat every year. The picnic will be held at a local Sate Park yet to be determined. If you haven’t had a chance to sign up yet you have plenty of time although early planning gives us an opportunity to make sure we have reservations for the number of attendees at the Park of our choice.

I want to acknowledge and welcome new members to our Base. They are: Earl Greening (re-joining), Christopher LeBlanc, Vincent Ethier, and last month Patrick J McGrady, sponsored by our own Fred Ensslin. We hope you will find this to be an active and progressive Base, one you can relate to, support, and take pride of our unique “Brotherhood”

The tragic Oso landslide event this month brings focus not only on the victims, but the vast array of first responders, volunteers, donors, and supporters from our area and the entire country for that matter; It’s our country at it’s best. In that context, we are most fortunate to have amongst our ranks several people who volunteer their time and energies on behalf of the community in which they live. These are modest individuals who seek no accolades or recognition. They quietly go about their business sometimes humanitarian in nature in service to others. What better testimony of generosity and commitment do we have than by the example set by these members?

They know who they are and as Commander of this base I believe I speak for all when I say: “Job Well Done” we are proud to have you as shipmates and thank you for your service.

Finally, I want to a preview of the program for our April meeting. The program will be on the Maritime History of Puget Sound, but Richard Blumenthal. Mr. Richard Blumenthal an accomplished speaker and historian and has accepted our invitation to speak at our next meeting. Richard’s lifelong passion is researching the early exploration and history of our inland waterways. His account of what Puget Sound looked like 150 to 200 years ago staring with early English explorers will fascinate you.

Richard's first nautical experience at age five was with a homemade dingy on Lake Washington and later learned the secrets of numerous islands while cruising the regions waterways. Richards’s work includes the “Early Exploration of Inland Washington Waters” and “Maritime Place Names Inland Washington Waters."

I recently had the privilege of being Jay Davis’ guest at Meydenbauer Yacht Club were I met Richard. He is a delightful and well-informed individual, I know you will enjoy his presentation.

I hope to see you at the meeting on April 16.

Fraternally,
Dick Gonzales
Base Commander, Seattle Base USSVI

March 2014 Meeting Notes

We started off the March meeting with Tolling the Boats lost in March, followed by birthday wishes for our members, introductions, and officer reports.

Old and New Business:
Cabelas Event – We are planning an event at the Cabelas Tulalip store (9810 Quil Ceda Blvd Tulalip WA 98271) on April 5 and 6, between 8:30 and 9:00. We will have the base float in the parking lot both days and will need volunteers to help out. You don't have to be there all day, but every little but helps out. If you would like to help, please contact Doug Abramson by email or phone (360-652-9709) if you are interested in participating. It will be “Ladies’ Day Out" weekend, so bring the ladies out too. 

Seattle VA Volunteers – The Seattle VA hospital having construction work done in and around the hospital and VA Volunteer Services is still looking for volunteers to help out our fellow veterans and their families during the major construction project at the hospital. They would like the volunteers to commit to helping out for 6 months or about 100 hours (that is around 4 hours per week). Here is a list of the priority volunteer needs.
  • Parking Lot Golf Cart Shuttle Drivers: To transport Veterans and visitors who ride Metro buses from an on-campus pick-up point to and from the facility main entrance. (Because of the construction project bus routes 50 and 60 are no longer able to drive on the campus.) 
  • Puget Sound NaVAgators: Frontline customer services - meet and greet, provide assistance to appointments, find wheelchairs for Veterans to use during their appointments, help with check-in on the new self-service kiosks, answer questions, etc. This is considered a very mobile assignment. 
  • Patient Information Representatives: This assignment requires access to VA computer systems, so there is a bit more training and processing required. Because of the construction a new information desk needing to be staffed by volunteers will be located in the basement of Building 1 – where the new temporary main entrance will be located. Volunteers are expected to continue staffing the current Information Desk near the Emergency Department. 
  • Volunteer Transportation Network (VTN) Drivers: Use a7 or 12 passenger government vehicle to transport Veterans to and from their VA facility destinations. Must have a good driving record and pass an occupational health examination. Some of these vans are based out of Seattle; others are coming in from outlying communities. 
All of these assignments occur during weekdays, generally between the hours of 7am and 5-m. If you are interested in helping out, you can talk with Base Commander Dick Gonzales, John Roberts, or contact Jeff Honeycutt at VA Volunteer Services: 206-277-1005.

Base Picnic – At the meeting we passed out surveys about having a base picnic sometime in July. This would be in addition to the picnic we have before the Tolling the Boats ceremony. Plans are for Seattle Base to supply the basic entrĂ©e and each of us would bring a ‘pot luck’ dish to share. Four different areas are being proposed for the picnic (click on the More Information link to learn more about the area).
We would love to hear your feedback on the idea. Please email your comments to Base Commander Dick Gonzales (rvgon1938@gmail.com) or talk with him at the next meeting. Tolling the Boats Ceremony – The tolling ceremony and picnic is set for Saturday, August 16 at the Kirkland Marina Pavilion. Be sure to mark this date on your calendar.

Boat Sponsorship Program – Seattle Base currently provides funds to have copies of The American Submariner magazine sent to USS Henry M Jackson and USS Seawolf. Each year we have to vote to renew this expenditure. At the March meeting it was moved and passed to make this a standing budget item, so that we do not have to keep renewing it each year.

Kap(ss) 4 Kids Donations – Seattle Base Kaps 4 Kids chairman John Roberts is looking for a way to raise a little money to purchase the hats that are handed out to the kids. He has a number of Navy shipboard coffee cups that he is willing to part with for a donation to the Kaps 4 Kids fund. If you would like to buy a cup or donate some funds to the program, please contact John at the next meeting (or speak to one of the Base Officers). 
Remember this cup? It could be yours, just contact John Roberts

March Program: 
Doug Bristol talking about the Nike missile system
The March program was a presentation on the Nike missile system and bases around the Puget Sound area by Army veteran Doug Bristol (Doug was assisted by his son Jason, who is in the Navy and recently was serving on the carrier USS George Washington). Doug talked to us about the early days of the Cold War and the development of rockets technology and guided missiles. Nike missile installations were placed all around the United States. The missile was developed to stop Soviet nuclear armed bombers, but because of its short range (only 25 miles) and limited explosive power, it was considered more of ‘political’ defensive measure than something that would really stop the Soviets. Doug covered the good and bad aspects of the Nike system. He also talked in-depth about the building and organization of the missile site and facilities around the Cougar Mountain area. It was an interesting presentation on some Cold War and local history.

Good of the Order:
Terri Robertson sent a Thank You note to the Base, thanking us for our support.

Ervin Schmidt’s family let us know that there will be a memorial for Ervin in the summer. They will let us know the exact date as we get closer to the service.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March Meeting Reminder

Shipmates,

The next Seattle Base meeting is this coming Wednesday, March19.

We will meet at VFW Post #2995 (4330 148th Ave N.E., Redmond WA 98052). Social hour starts at 6 PM with business meeting at 7PM. Don't forget to review the previous meeting minutes, you can find them here on the blog or on the Seattle Base website, just click the Minutes button on the left.

The guest speaker will be Doug Bristol, representing Redmond Historical Society. Doug will provide an overview and sometimes humorous account of Puget Sound Nike surface to air missile sites during the Cold War. Specifically he will focus on the Issaquah - Cougar Mountain Nike site. You may learn that this early anti-bomber missile system was not without some serious issues.
Nike missiles near Redmond in 1955

Additionally, we want to remind you that VA Volunteer Services is still looking for volunteers to help out our fellow veterans and their families during the major construction project at the hospital.

They would like the volunteers to commit to helping out for 6 months or about 100 hours (that is around 4 hours per week). Here is a list of the priority volunteer needs.

Parking Lot Golf Cart Shuttle Drivers: To transport Veterans and visitors who ride Metro buses from an on-campus pick-up point to and from the facility main entrance. (Because of the construction project bus routes 50 and 60 are no longer able to drive on the campus.)

Puget Sound NaVAgators: Frontline customer services - meet and greet, provide assistance to appointments, find wheelchairs for Veterans to use during their appointments, help with check-in on the new self-service kiosks, answer questions, etc. This is considered a very mobile assignment.

Patient Information Representatives: This assignment requires access to VA computer systems, so there is a bit more training and processing required. Because of the construction a new information desk needing to be staffed by volunteers will be located in the basement of Building 1 – where the new temporary main entrance will be located. Volunteers are expected to continue staffing the current Information Desk near the Emergency Department.

Volunteer Transportation Network (VTN) Drivers: Use a7 or 12 passenger government vehicle to transport Veterans to and from their VA facility destinations. Must have a good driving record and pass an occupational health examination. Some of these vans are based out of Seattle; others are coming in from outlying communities.

All of these assignments occur during weekdays, generally between the hours of 7am and 5-m. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Jeff Honeycutt at VA Volunteer Services: 206-277-1005.