Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tahoma Cemetery Vandalized

Karl "Dutch" Krompholz passed along the following information to me earlier today:

"For those who missed the Monday evening news, the Tahoma Cemetery was vandalized presumably, over this past weekend.

Eleven of the plaques from the Memorial Walk, behind the berm at the main flag pole, were removed, or damaged during removal. The USSVI memorial was untouched, but the WWII plaque is MIA.

While I was there, checking out the damage, I stopped to talk to the cemetery director. Jim reports that police have dusted for prints, but do not expect to find the perpetrators using that approach. The cemetery will contact each organization affected, for details, and replace the plaques as soon as possible. No donations are being requested at this time.

I will update you all as information becomes available."
Granite stones for the missing plaques (from KOMO website)

Link to story on KOMO website.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Following up on a few things

It has been a busy month for the blog and I wanted to post some follow ups on some previous posts.

First off, I want to remind everyone to make sure they get there registration form in for the Holiday Luncheon on December 18. You can find a copy of the luncheon registration form in the latest issue of the newsletter or at this site. We look forward to seeing you there.

Here is a picture from the October tour at Bangor Submarine Base, where the SubVets enjoyed a tour of the Trident Training Facility (TTF) and USS Alabama (SSBN 731). It sounded like everyone had a great time. We hope to be able to arrange another tour for Seattle Base members in the future.
Seattle Base members attending included: Cliff Nutter, Bob Opple, Jim Marr, Darin Detweiler, Richard Gonzales, Patrick Householder.

The Veterans Day Parade in Auburn went pretty well. There was some rain in the morning, but it stopped once the parade started. Here are some pictures from Parade:
Barry Morgan & Katzu, Steve Shelton, Ric Hedman, Pat Householder, and Ralph Sterly
This time it is Barry, Katzu, Steve, Base Commander Keith Watson, Tim Floersch, and Ralph
Robbie and Terri Robertson
WD 4 Commander John Mansfield, Keith Watson, a couple South Sound Base members (I didn't catch the names) and Pat Householder

Monday, November 15, 2010

November Meeting Announcement


Our monthly meeting is this coming Wednesday, November 17th, and we will have special guest speakers. The sons of the USS Bonefish's (SS-223) first skipper will be here to show and tell us what it was like to be on the deck of the Bonefish when she was launched.
Launching of USS Bonefish, March 7, 1943 at Electric Boat

They will also go into detail about their father, Commander Thomas Wesley Hogan, and his war patrols on Bonefish. The Commander's two sons, Wes & Bill Hogan, will present their glimpse of those times. There might even be some more of the family in attendance. This is a must see presentation.

We will conduct the Tolling the Boats for November and December, since the normal December business meeting will be replaced by our annual Christmas Luncheon at the Seattle Yacht Club. There will be more information about the luncheon at the meeting. Don't forget you can find a copy of the Luncheon registration form in the latest issue of the newsletter or at this site.

There will also be Base Officer elections at the meeting. If you would like to run for an office please contact one of our base officers and toss your hat into the ring!

We welcome guests from other bases as well as family members to the meeting and presentation.

It all starts on Wednesday with social hour at 6 PM with the meeting starting at 7 PM. Also available is an opportunity to eat dinner at the tables upstairs in the VFW eatery.

We meet at the Lake Washington VFW post 2995 Hall, located at 4330 148th Ave. Redmond, WA. 98052.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Fraternally, Keith Watson
Commander Seattle USSVI Base

The First Polaris Patrol

On November 15, 1960 USS George Washington (SSBN-598), the US Navy's first ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), departed Charleston, South Carolina, on first fleet ballistic missile patrol with sixteen Polaris submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).
USS George Washington (SSBN-598)

The Polaris missile program started development in 1956 as the US Navy’s contribution to the United State’s nuclear arsenal and as a replacement for the Regulus missile. While the missile program was in development, the keel for George Washington was laid down in November 1957. George Washington was originally laid down as the attack submarine Scorpion, but she was renamed George Washington during construction and the hull lengthened by the addition of the 130-foot-long ballistic missile section. As a reminder of her origin a plaque was placed inside George Washington's forward escape hatch bearing her original name. (Note: another submarine under construction at the time received the name Scorpion).

George Washington was followed by forty more SSBN’s, built between 1960 and 1966, that formed the backbone of the United Stats' nuclear deterrent.
Emblem Patch from USS George Washington

In 1982, George Washington returned to Pearl Harbor from her last missile patrol. In 1983, her missiles were unloaded at Bangor, Washington to comply with the SALT I treaty. During her 25-year career, the "Georgefish" made 55 deterrent patrols in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

George Washington was decommissioned in 1985 and, prior to disposal, her sail was removed and now resides at the Submarine Force Library and Museum at New London, Connecticut.

Seattle Base Members that served on USS George Washington: William Baker

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Naval Undersea Museum Mountains to Sea Book Festival

On Saturday November 13, the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport is hosting the Mountains to Sea Book Festival. The festival will include over 20 authors who will give presentations and sign books.

Seattle Base member and author Don Ulmer will be giving a presentation on the rescue of a B-29 bomber crew by the submarine USS Springer (SS-414). He will be showing a DVD of the rescue filmed with a 7mm color camera by one of Springer's crewmen.
At one point in the film, a submariner dives from Springer and swims to a downed airman and rescues him in a nick of time. This downed airman later wrote in part, "After what seemed hours in the water, I could feel my energy had almost been used up. The situation for me began to look hopeless. So this is the way people die, I thought. Well maybe it's better than getting shot while floating down in your parachute or starving to death in a Japanese prison." This airman got separated from the other seven and waited alone in the water with nothing more than a half inflated life jacket.

The role of the Submarine Lifeguard League is a little known part of American submarine history and this film will show some of the challenges associated with that duty. 

The book festival runs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and is a good chance to see the museum and maybe do a little early Christmas shopping.

You can find out more about the festival by checking the museum’s website and Facebook pages.

Friday Update: John Clear, Commander USSVI Olympic Peninsula Base and proprietor of Submarine Memorabilia, let me know that any submarine veteran that makes a purchase at the festival gets 10% off, although he says to remind him about the discount since he may get a little busy at times.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Veterans Day ceremony at Tahoma National Cemetery

You and your family are invited, and encouraged, to attend the Veterans Day ceremony at Tahoma National Cemetery on Thursday, November 11. The ceremony will start at 11:00 am.
The Keynote Speaker this year is Steve L. Muro , USDVA Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs
Tahoma National Cemetery is located at:
18600 Southeast 240th Street Kent, WA 98042‐ 4868
Phone: (425) 413‐9614

Tahoma National Cemetery was established Nov. 11, 1993, and opened for interments on Oct. 1, 1997. Tahoma has a Memorial Walkway containing 28 memorials that commemorate soldiers of various 20th century wars, donated by Veterans groups, including memorials to lost submariners by SVWWII and USSVI.
Seattle USSVI Members at the Submarine Veterans WWII memorial on Tahoma's Memorial Walkway

If you need more information, please contact one of the base officers.
Commander: Keith Watson 360-886-0778
Sr. Vice Commander: Doug Abramson 360-652-9709
Secretary: Bill Giese 425-335-5990
Treasurer: Jim Harper 425-357-6485

USSVI Creed and Purpose: "To perpetuate the memory of our shipmates who gave their lives in the pursuit of duties while serving their country. That their dedication, deeds and supreme sacrifice be a constant source of motivation toward greater accomplishments. Pledge loyalty and patriotism to the United States of America and it’s Constitution.”

Monday, November 8, 2010

Binnacle List: Bruce Fisher

Bruce Fisher sent a note to let us know why he has not been able to make it to the Base meetings and other functions.

“I have been unable to be on my right foot since the beginning of the year due to the Diabetic Neuropathy causing a blister on the ball of my right foot not to heal. On Monday, Nov. 8th I am going to have surgery to cut out the part of my foot that won't heal and sew it up. Our hope is that it will finally heal and I can get my life back to normal. My wife is still terminal and is slowly getting more horrible chest pains every day and night. Say Hi to everyone for me; I'll keep you posted.”

Please keep Bruce in your thoughts and prayers while he goes through his operation and recovery.

Eternal Patrol: Robert ‘Lem’ Riddell

Robert L. "Lem" Riddell, 87, departed on his final patrol on November 1, 2010, following a brief illness. He was born April 10, 1923, in Crookston, MN, where he was raised and became an Eagle Scout. Lem graduated from Central High School, Devils Lake, ND, in 1941. He joined the U.S. Navy and fought in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, serving as a radio operator on USS Finback (SS-230), a Gato-class diesel submarine.

Lem married his high school sweetheart, Mary Noel Tharalson. They settled in Seattle, where they raised three daughters. Lem graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in business administration. He worked in telecommunications throughout his career, most of it with Pacific Northwest Bell. He also served in the Signal Corps, U.S. Army Reserves, retiring as a Colonel.

Lem lived for many years on Hollywood Hill in Woodinville and then moved to Greenbank on Whidbey Island ten years ago, where he lived with his wife, Marianne Dorman, and his three dogs. In his later years, Lem was active in U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II and its Washington state chapter.

Lem was one of the early members of REI and the Mountaineers. He explored the Pacific Northwest, camping, climbing, hiking, fishing, boating, and horse riding. He traveled North America with his Airstream trailer and often by rail. His father worked for the Great Northern Railway and instilled a love of the rails in Lem. He also traveled the world, visiting Europe and Australia, and working in the Middle East. Lem is survived by his wife, Marianne, his daughters Susan (Shoreline), Carol (Edmonds), and Mary Kay (Andrew Renggli) (Seattle), four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren, two of whom are serving in the military.

He is loved and missed by his family and his many good friends from the phone company and the military. Lem will be buried at the Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, SD.

Sailor Rest Your Oar.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Veterans Day Parade and Other Events

Hi Shipmates,

The Auburn 42nd Annual Veterans Parade is this Sat. Nov. 6th. We will meet in front of the Auburn Transit Parking Garage at 110 2nd Street S.W. 98001, where there is free parking for this event, and then proceed up to the staging area before the parade starts at 11 AM. The parade floats will arrive at 9:30 on "A" Street SW, which is on the east side of the Parking Garage, along with the cars that will be in the parade.

Here is a map of the parade route with the parking garage shown near the Transit Center. Click on the map to see a larger version. 

Auburn Parade Route

We expect that all of the Puget Sound bases will be marching with us. Those who need to ride in the parade will be accommodated. Look forward to seeing you there. Sunshine has been ordered!

The next Veterans event occurs on Thursday Nov. 11th at the Tahoma National Cemetery which is located at 18600 SE 240th St. Kent, WA 98042. We would love to see as many members as possible attend and show the flag. It would be prudent to arrive early to find parking. The event will start at 11 AM with much ceremony. We could also have lunch afterwards at Gloria's Restaurant and Lounge located at 23220 Maple Valley Black Diamond Road, 98038 (Highway 169). Sunshine has also been ordered!

Also, don't forget to fill out your registration form for the Joint Holiday Lunch at the Seattle Yacht Club on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 10:30 to 3:00. Don't miss this one! You can get a copy of the form in the latest issue of the newsletter (click the link in the upper right) or by clicking here.

Keith Watson
Commander, Seattle Base USSVI