Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Binnacle List: Colby Pretz

Editor's Note: Our base Point of Contact (POC) Karl "Dutch" Krompholz sent out this message about his grandson last night. Also, keep in Dutch in your thoughts as he is recovering from knee surgery.


While we are in a prayer and speedy recovery mode, please add my grandson, Colby to the list.
Dutch and Colby
Colby has Spinal Muscular Atrophy and has been in a wheelchair for 9 years. He is only 11. Every muscle in his body is constantly under attack by this disease, which is the reason for this next step in his treatment. His spine has become severely curved, which is causing a multitude of other problems. This Thursday he is scheduled for a 5-hour spinal fusion surgery. Two titanium rods will be permanently installed (one on either side of his spine). He will be at Children's Hospital for 5 to 7 days with his mom Jodi (our daughter) by his side.

Please keep Colby and his family in your prayers.

March 30 Update: Colby's surgery was delayed by over three hours because of sterilization issues with the titanium rods. He finally made it to the ICU after 8:00 PM. Surgery went well but he was still groggy and on a ventilator when we were finally allowed a very short visit. Jodi will stay with him overnight and through the rest of his stay of five to seven days. We will be allowed more visit time in the days to come.

Thank you all for your prayers and concern.
Karl & Barb

Sunday, March 25, 2012

March Meeting Notes

We started the March meeting with the reading the USSVI creed, the Tolling of the Boats for March, followed by birthday wishes for our members.
Doug Abramson present Fred Ensslin with his plaque
After that Seattle Base Commander Doug Abramson presented World War II veteran and Holland Club member Fred Ensslin with the cutaway submarine plaque that he won at the 2011 Holiday Luncheon. Fred chose his first Gato class boat, USS Greenling (SS-213), for the plaque. Fred also let us know that his wife Josie only bought one raffle ticket at the luncheon and that Jim Harper assured her it was the winning ticket.
Holland Club patch rocker patches (click on the photo to enlarge it)
During the Officer Reports, Storekeeper Bill Giese let us know that he still has a couple submarine calendars and that he now has the rocker patches that can be added to your Holland Club patch (and I got a picture of them so you can see what we are talking about).
A photo of the new trailer
Base Float Work: Jim Harper gave us an in-depth report on the new trailer for the Base float. The old trailer was sold and the money went to offset the cost of a new trailer. The new trailer comes from an RV trailer that was damaged (only the RV part was damaged, the trailer is in good shape). Jim shared some photos of the trailer and said that he will be looking for help to add a plywood deck and mount the submarine float, once the weather gets better. If you are interested in helping out with the float work, you can contact Jim by email ( or phone (425) 357-6485.

Holiday Luncheon Survey: We are trying to get some feedback from our members on the Holiday Luncheon. We came up with a few questions and have planned several ways for you to the questions. You should have already received an e-mail with survey questions and can respond that way. Alternately, you can respond to the survey online, just click here to go to the survey website. The survey questions were also published in the last issue of the Dolphin Brotherhood. Your opinions are important in determining what we should do for this year's luncheon. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Calendar Recycling: Karl 'Dutch' Krompholz is still asking members to bring any old submarine calendars to him at future meetings, so that the pictures can be 'recycled' for use with other base interactions.

Upcoming Events
Bremerton Armed Forces Day Parade - The 64th annual Bremerton Armed Forces Day parade will be held on Saturday, May 19. Seattle Base is planning on participating in the parade with our float. Be sure to mark the date on your calendar.

Smokey Point Rest Stop Event - This year the Base drew July 9 and 11, a mid-week timeslot, for manning the coffee booth at the Smokey Point rest stop. We will be manning the coffee booth starting around 1:00 pm on the 9th and go until mid-day on the 11th. Once again, Steve Shelton will be heading up the effort to man the booth. He will have more information and a sign-up sheet at future meetings.

Navy Birthday at VFW Post - VFW Post 2995 is planning on having a dinner to celebrate the Navy's Birthday on October 13 and they have invited us to join them. We will have more information about event as it gets closer.

Binnacle List

Chris Opple, Bob Opple's wife, has been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and is now undergoing chemotherapy.

Don Ulmer had a shoulder replacement last Wednesday and, after arriving home on Thursday, he had a bad fall down a flight of stairs and is back in the emergency room.

Karl 'Dutch' Krompholz had knee replacement surgery and is still recovering (he had hoped to make it to the meeting, but had under-estimated his recovery time).

Tom Rice is improving and has been moved to an assisted living facility. We'll have contact information for him available for the asking.

Doug Abramson's wife Connie has been diagnosed with lung scarring and carries oxygen for when she has trouble breathing.

Bruce Fisher is dealing with diabetic neuropathy of his foot.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Binnacle List: Don Ulmer

Don and Carol Ulmer at the 2011 Holiday Luncheon
Don Ulmer had a total shoulder replacement last Wednesday at Swedish and then, after arriving home on Thursday, he had a bad fall down a flight of stairs and was back to the ER.

Don Ulmer is currently in ICU at Overlake. He had a lot of complications but is making good, slow progress and the plan is to take him off the ventilator later this afternoon.

March 26 Update: Don was taken off the ventilator, but there are still a few issues that will keep him in the ICU until they get figured out. 

Please keep Don and his wife Carol in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Binnacle List: Chris Opple

We are sorry to report that Bob Opple's wife, Chris, has been diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and is now undergoing chemotherapy.
Bob and Chris Opple at the 2011 Tolling of the Boats ceremony

Please keep Chris and Bob in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, March 19, 2012

March Meeting Reminder


We will be having the next Seattle Base meeting this coming Wednesday, March 21st, at VFW Post #2995 (4330 148th Ave N.E., Redmond WA 98052). Social hour starts at 6PM 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.
USS Redfish (SS-395), Base Commander Doug Abramson's qual boat

On the agenda: Introductions + What have you done since. A short bio of your life after the Boats.

Also, we are still looking for feedback on out Holiday Luncheon. If you haven't had a chance to provide your ideas, you can click here to take the survey online or you can come to the meeting and pass your thoughts along there. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

See You There,

Doug Abramson
Commander, Seattle Base USSVI

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Yakima Base in the News

Editor's Note: I always like to pass along news about other Washington state bases. Here is an article about Yakima Base's work on their new float. Gary Brown,Yakima Base member who works on community outreach, said the article has helped them identify two potential members in Ellensburg. Be sure to click on the float photo to get a larger view of the float model.

Submarine vets' group works on model sub
From The Daily Record
The U.S. Navy submarine service veterans working on a submarine model/display for parades and other civic activities are, from left, Bill Richards, Selah; Bill Millard, Desert Aire; Mark DeLagasse, Naches; Rob Jacobson and Doug Dahlke, both of Yakima; and Don Rairdan and Gary Brown, both of Ellensburg.

The Central Washington chapter of U.S. Submarine Veterans, a national nonprofit military vets group, is working hard to complete a 16-foot-long model of a U.S. Navy fast-attack submarine to be used in community parades and other civic displays and exhibits, according to a news release.

Work is ongoing in a group members’ airplane hangar at Desert Aire.

Members plan to take it to parades from Ellensburg to Tri-Cities, with other communities likely to be included. Members of the group hail from Ellensburg, Selah, Desert Aire, Yakima, Naches, Kennewick, Prosser, Quincy, Roslyn, Tieton and Wenatchee. The membership of the Central Washington based-group ranges from men in their 80s who served on World War II diesel-powered submarines, to younger men who qualified on new, modern boats.

When completed it will be painted black and will have a bronze screw. Added will be lookouts and an Officer of the Deck on the bridge, electric running lights (red for portside, green for starboard, a stern light atop the rudder), and an electric screw that will actually turn. And, of course, a klaxon diving alarm — the familiar A-OOO-GAAAH horn you hear in submarine movies — will be part of the model.

The model is 22 inches in diameter, 16 feet long and the sail is 18 inches high. Modern submarines of the same design (called fast attack boats since they’re not missile subs) are about 360 feet long and 30 feet wide.

Ongoing purpose
The stated purpose of the sub vets’ group is to perpetuate the memory of their fellow shipmates who gave their lives in the pursuit of their duties while serving their country so that their dedication, deeds and supreme sacrifice will be a constant source of motivation toward greater accomplishments, and to pledge loyalty and patriotism to the United States of America and its Constitution, according to the news release.

“We also provide a way for all submariners to gather for mutual benefit and enjoyment,” said Gary Brown of Ellensburg, a group member who served on the USS Nautilus, the U.S. Navy’s first nuclear powered submarine. “Our common heritage as submariners is strengthened by camaraderie and we support a strong U.S. submarine force.”

The organization also engages in various projects and activities that bring about the perpetual remembrance of those shipmates who have given the supreme sacrifice. The organization endeavors to educate all third parties they come in contact with about the services the submarine service performed and how the sacrifices made possible the freedom and lifestyle that’s enjoyed today in the United States.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reunion Report from Don

Editor's Note: Seattle Base member Don Sass recently returned from a reunion with his old crew and he wanted to pass along a short account of his trip.

I have just returned from the 8th reunion of the USS Bashaw, (SS-241, SSK-241 & AGSS-241) held February 20-23 in Hawaii. The event has been in the planning stages for a couple of years, and this time the people responsible for setting it up outdid themselves. There were 48 people including spouses attending, including 4 officers, one a previous captain of the Bashaw, four chiefs and the rest of us crew members.
Here is Don enjoying a nice drink

The function started with a cocktail get-together at the Hale Koa Barefoot Bar on the beach hosted by the association. (I think the bar tab was quite high!) There were crew members from the mid-50’s up to her decommissioning in 1969. Kind of funny seeing old crewmates and 70-somethings acting like they were still in the Navy. Everyone had a great time telling old war stories on into the evening. A young sailor off the USS Ohio came by and thanked us for our service and we chatted for about thirty minutes. Found out that the Ohio was the first to have female crew members.
View of the Bowfin from shore

Tuesday, we were bussed out to the Arizona memorial first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds. While there, an admiral from the Stennis (Editor's note: Don is referring to the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis CVN-74) was there before his ship got underway. Should have recognized the admiral’s barge alongside. Then over to the Bowfin and the museum there. One of the ladies with us crocheted red, white and blue leis for us and it made it real easy for us to get into the museum etc. as they worked as ID for the ticket takers.
Bashaw crew with their red, white and blue leis
The rest of the afternoon and all day Wednesday were free time and most of us took tours or walked on the beach at Waikiki. BTW: Hotel street and Chinatown are still there. For those of you who have not been to Oahu lately, you won’t recognize it. I was there for three years 1960-1963, on the Bashaw and there weren’t any freeways or many tall buildings. Now lots of freeways, and Waikiki is definitely where they store all of the tourists. No more clear views of the beach from most places and it’s like skyscraper canyons.
Bashaw crew on Columbia's mess deck

Thursday was the highlight of the trip with a tour of the USS Columbia (SSN-771) and a few people who were not able to get below decks, were taken on a tour of the sub base. There were about 8-9 boats in Pearl Harbor that day that I could see, and one was the newer Virginia class USS Hawaii (SSN-776) nose to nose with the Columbia. All of the boats were under maintenance with scaffolds on their sails. The Columbia was no exception, with workers all over and some of the crew off for training. While below decks they even fired a water slug and the Tomahawk missile doors were open topside. As we boarded, we found out that the ships store was closed because the storekeepers were off to school. When we came through officer’s country, there was a young looking officer working on a computer and we exchanged hellos and he asked how I was doing. I replied I was bummed with the ships store being closed, and he asked “was there something you were looking for?”. Yes, I said, a hat. He said he would see what he could do. A while later and a deck down, he came through and passed me a new hat for nothing. I later found out that it was the captain I was dealing with. Those captains and chiefs on there are a lot younger looking than I remember them.
Don reminds us of another good reason to visit the islands

That night was the best luau that I have ever been to at the Hale Koa. If you can get into the Hale Koa, I highly recommend attending it. There’s even a “geedunk” of sorts at the Hale Koa with cheaper food than you get elsewhere. We parted ways after that and voted to hold the next reunion in San Diego, no date set yet.

If you haven’t been to a reunion of your boat yet, I suggest you do at least one. This was my second and will make the next one, good lord willing.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Submarine Sunday Videos

Here are a couple videos for your viewing enjoyment.

The first is a tribute to the members of the United States Submarine Force - The Silent Service.

This presentation was created for the gallery opening for Lizbeth Maxson-McGee at the Gallery at Firehouse Square in New London, CT for her paintings of submarines in watercolor. Her paintings can be seen at

The second video is a presentation on US submarine history during the Cold War by Captain James Patton. This video was originally taped in August 2011 and is about 1 hour 44 minutes long.

Captain Patton was a technical adviser for movie "The Hunt for Red October" and he provides an overview of US submarine history, information on submarine missions, and his views on cold war history. It also includes a 15 minute video narrated by Walter Cronkite for the Subs and Boomers display at the Smithsonian Institute. There is a lot of interesting information in the presentation. So, make head call, grab some popcorn and drinks, get comfortable, and enjoy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March - April Dolphin Brotherhood Posted

The March - April issue of the Dolphin Brotherhood has been posted to the Seattle Base website.

This issue has the results of the Seattle Base elections, the announcement for the Ted Taylor Memorial Scholarship Fund, updates about our base float, and a survey about our Holiday Luncheon; along with the usual base news, upcoming events, and other submarine related articles.

Hardcopies of the newsletter should be in mail by this weekend. I hope you all enjoy it.

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