Thursday, May 5, 2016

Eternal Patrol: Horton Smith

Rear Admiral Horton Smith, 90, departed on Eternal Patrol on April 29, 2016. He was born in Seattle on June 1, 1925 to Della & Mabel Smith and was a lifetime resident of the Seattle area working in many roles including Attorney, King County Superior Court Judge, and most notably as a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy.

Horton Smith was commissioned in 1945 from the University of Washington Naval ROTC. He graduated from the University in 1947. His first command was patrol craft PC-555. By the time he was 21 he was the commanding officer of the landing craft LSM-288. As an active member in the Naval Reserve, he made the switch to the submarine service. As a LT(JG), Smith was the first Naval Reserve officer in the 13th District to earn his submarine warfare pin.

RADM Smith was recalled to active duty during the Korean Conflict. He was first assigned to the USS Corsair (SS-435) and later transferred to the USS Grouper (SSK-214). The USS Grouper was retrofitted as the Navy's first "hunter-killer" submarine and during his time aboard, he qualified for command and served as the boat's Executive Officer.

After the Korean Conflict, RADM Smith returned to the Navy Reserve where he served as a commander on both a destroyer and a costal minesweeper home ported in Tacoma, Washington. As a Captain, he was assigned as the Navy Liaison to the State of Washington Adjutant General staff, where he served under Major General Howard S. McGee. RADM Smith also spent time in Washington, D.C. on the policy board for determinations of Navy and Navy Reserve. He also served as a quasi-instructor at the National Defense University, and was a Blue and Gold Officer for the Naval Academy. He achieved the rank of Rear Admiral in 1975 and in 1976, RADM Smith commanded Region 22 of the Naval Reserve Readiness Command.

During his civilian career, Horton Smith graduated from University of Washington Law School and served in the King County Juvenile Court during the Vietnam War years. He was also elected as a King County Superior Court Justice, a position he held for almost 20 years. He would later return to the active duty life as an enlisted Coast Guard Able Seaman in 1980 and after 9/11, he became the oldest active member serving in the Persian Gulf. He served as Third Deck Officer on both the USNS John Lenthall (T-AO-189) and the USNS Leroy Grunman (T-AO-195) whose primary mission was to provide jet fuel and accompany aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.

RADM Smith remained an active member and ardent supporter within the submarine, Seattle civic, and University of Washington communities.

RADM Smith is survived by his wife Lei-llah Smith, his son Vern, and his daughters Caroline and Corenne. He will forever be loved and missed by those he leaves behind, and known far and wide for the incredible career and legacy he created.

Please remember RADM Smith's family in your thoughts and prayers.

Sailor, Rest Your Oar

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May - June 2016 Dolphin Brotherhood Posted

The May – June issue of the Dolphin Brotherhood has been posted to the Seattle Base website.

This issue has updates about our new Base Commander, the 2016 Activity Calendar, and the plans for the Bangor Submarine Base tour; along with the usual submarine related articles (like the christening of the submarine Washington shown below).
USS Washington Sponsor, Elisabeth Mabus, breaks a ceremonial bottle of sparkling American wine across the bow of the USS Washington (SSN 787)
Hardcopies of the newsletter will go out later this week with copies of the Base Activity Calendar. I hope you all enjoy it.

Remember Seattle USSVI Base is planning a visit to the Bangor Submarine Base on Thursday, June 16, 2016 for a tour of the Trident Training Facility (TTF), followed by a submarine tour. While the tour is planned for June 16, 2016, screening information must be provided by May 18 and there is a $12.00 fee for lunch.

For those of you that are interested in going on the tour, but haven’t filled out the paperwork, go to the link below to find the documents for the tour:

While looking at the documents take special care to the following information.
  1. Carefully read the "USSVI Seattle Base Tour" document, paying particular attention to the Requirements section on page 2. 
  2. Print, fill out, and retain the "Privacy Act Statement" & "Request to Tour Wavier" documents. Bring these documents along with you to give to the Public Affairs Officer at Keyport on the morning of June 16th. Do not mail them to Dick! 
  3. Print, fill out the “CSG-9 Submarine Tour Roster" and send that with your check for $12.00 per person to Dick Gonzalez (make checks out to Dick). Please print carefully and legibly. Dick will consolidate the information into a single document for the Navy in order to run background checks. If Dick gets the last four numbers your Social Security Number incorrect, you will be denied access to the base! Needless to say he doesn't want to be focus of an angry shipmate! 
  4. On June 16 remember to bring your ID. A passport, birth certificate, photo ID such as an enhanced driver’s license are all acceptable. A bank card or club membership card will not work. If you’re bring along an underage guest, remember they also need and ID. A photocopy of birth a certificate and additional student ID card from school will facilitate faster check in time. 
  5. Finally, remember the deadline for accepting your applications is May 18. 

If you have other questions, please contact Dick Gonzalez by phone: 425-228-6327 or email:

As always, don't forget to check back here for base updates and other articles of interest. You can find old issues of the newsletter at: Dolphin Brotherhood Archives, which is also a link on the right side of the blog.

Dave Schueler
Seattle Base Newsletter Editor

Sunday, April 24, 2016

April 2016 Meeting Notes

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

Old and New Business Base 
Activities Calendar – The 2016 USSVI Seattle Base Activities Calendar has been printed up and will be mailed out with the next newsletter. It is also posted on the blog with a link at the top of the page, right under the photo of the Bonefish.

Bangor Tour – Dick Gonzalez has organized a tour of Bangor submarine base, Trident Training Facility, and a submarine (based on submarine availability). The tour is planned for Thursday June 16, 2016, but screening information must be provided by May 18. The tour will be limited to around 30 people and there is a $12.00 for lunch. You can read more about the tour, requirements, and find a link to all the paperwork at this previous blog post.

April Program
The April program was a presentation on the submarine USS F-4 by Seattle Base Member Ric Hedman. F-4 was lost on March 25, 1915 off Honolulu Harbor. The boat was built at the Moran Shipyard in Seattle and launched in 1910. Ric showed some great photos of the construction and testing in Elliot Bay and off Port Townsend. He went on to talk about how F-4 had a reputation as a “hard luck” boat due to groundings and mechanical difficulties. He went on to talk about it service with the Navy in San Francisco and the transfer to Hawaii after World War I started. He went on to talk about the conditions in Hawaii at the time and the eventual loss, salvage, and disposal of F-4. But that wasn’t the whole story. In keeping with the USSVI creed to perpetuate the memory of our shipmates that gave their lives in the submarine service; Ric went on to give background stories about some of the men on F-4. He concentrated on the men with northwest connections, talking about where they came from and passing along details from their lives. We often hear about the boats and know those names, but it good to remember and get some background on the men on one of the lost boats.
Ric Hedman (on the right) answering some questions from his presentation.

Good of the Order
Salmon for Soldiers – The Salmon for Soldiers program is having a Beer tasting fundraiser on April 30 in Snohomish. They also planned their 2nd Annual Golf tournament for August 13 and their annual fishing event for September 17. This is a great organization that supports Veterans. Please check their website for more information about the organization and their events.

Binnacle List
  • Base member Roy Burt is recovering from hip surgery. 
  • Fran Gonzalez, wife of past Base Commander Dick Gonzalez, is recovering from hip surgery. 
  • Lois Mezek is having shoulder surgery on May 5.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

April 2016 Meeting Reminder


The next Seattle Base meeting is this coming Wednesday, April 20, 2016. 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 7 PM.

For our program, Seattle Base member Ric Hedman will be presenting information on USS F-4; covering her northwest roots, the crew, and side effects of her sinking.
USS F-4 (ex-Skate)
We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Service for Gene Posel

Gene Posel’s service will be held this Friday, April 8, at St Pius X Catholic Church in Mountlake Terrace (22209 58th Ave W, Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043). The Rosary will be prayed at 10:30 with the Funeral Mass immediately following at 11:00 AM. There will be a reception gathering at the church hall after the Mass.

You can also read and share memories of Gene at this memorial page

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Bangor Submarine Base Tour


Seattle USSVI Base is planning a visit to the Bangor Submarine Base for a tour of the Trident Training Facility (TTF) followed by a submarine tour for Thursday June 16, 2016. This is a really great opportunity to see how today's submarine sailors train and get a chance to see an operational boat.

The excursion can accommodate up to 35 people on a first come, first served basis. Preference will be extended to submariners or those who have never visited Bangor. Participants must be over the age of 11 and prove their US citizen status.

While the tour is planned for June 16, 2016, screening information must be provided by May 18 and there is a small fee for the tour and lunch.

If you are interested in the tour, you can learn more about the tour and requirements by reading this document. Each person going on the trip must provide personal information (name, date of birth, SSN last four numbers), fill out a Request to Tour waiver, and fill out Privacy Act Statement. You can download all the forms you will need here. Note that the requirement to provide a witness can be signed by the Navy tour guide in the event you do not have a witness.

If you have other questions, please contact Dick Gonzalez by phone: 425-228-6327 or email:

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Eternal Patrol: Gene Posel

Seattle Base Member Gene Posel departed on Eternal Patrol on March 27, 2016.
Gene was a long-time member of Seattle Base, but had been unable to attend meetings due to a back injury. Gene entered the Navy in 1953, going through boot camp in Great Lakes IL and sub school at Hunter's Point. Gene qualified in submarines on the USS Redfish (SS-395) in 1955 and was a END3(SS) when he left the Navy in 1957.

The date for funeral service has not been set yet. Gene’s family will let us know when the date, time, and location is set. Please remember Gene’s family in your thoughts and prayers.

Sailor, Rest Your Oar.