Thursday, June 28, 2012

July - August Newsletter Posted and More

The July - August issue of the Dolphin Brotherhood has been posted to the Seattle Base website.

This issue has photos from the Bremerton Armed Forces Day parade and Memorial Day, reminders for the July 4th parade and Smokey Point event, information about voting in the USSVI National election, along with the usual base news, upcoming events, and other submarine related articles.

Hardcopies of the newsletter should be going out today. 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.

We also received word that WWII SubVet John Baker's wife Barbara passed away on June 21. She had endured a long and difficult fight over too many years and is now finally at rest. Services will be held at the John Knox Presbyterian Church, Normandy Park, WA on Friday July 6th at 11:00 AM. to be followed by a light luncheon, there will not be a graveside service.

If you need the address of the church or contact information for John, please contact me and I will give you that information.

Finally, base member John Bush passed along the link to this tribute to the military by Gene Simmons and asked me to share it with all of you.

Dave Schueler
Seattle Base Newsletter Editor

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June Meeting Notes

We started the June meeting with the reading the Tolling of the Boats for June, followed by birthday wishes for our members, introductions, and officer reports.

Old and New Business 
Bremerton Armed Forces Day Parade – Keith Watson shared some stories and photos from the Bremerton parade. You can see the photos from the parade and Memorial Day at Tahoma National Cemetery at this blog post.

Cruzin to Colby Car Show - Jim Harper gave a short report on the Seattle Base booth at the Cruzin to Colby Car Show on Memorial Day weekend. Jim, Bill Giese, and Larry Abbott manned the booth, with our wooden Bonefish model covered with 52 US flags, and spoke with the crowd at the show. Larry also made up a display binder outlining the history of USS Bonefish (Washington state's WWII Lost Boat) and including information on the crewmen lost during Bonefish's last patrol. The binder really helped with explaining the purpose of our organization and Larry deserves a BZ for his effort. Jim also let us know that we received around $200 in donations from the crowd.
Bill with the Seattle Base booth

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. Steve Shelton reported that we still need some volunteers for Tuesday afternoon and can use donations of cookies (or to buy cookies). If you want to help out, contact Steve at 206-526-1130.

Silent Service Motorcycle Club – Bob Opple gave us an update on the SSMC, letting us know that they are now the second largest USSVI Base and their membership includes around 90 active duty submariners.

2013 Calendar News - Robbie Robertson let us know that the Submarine Veterans of WWII are planning to do a 2013 calendar. Pat Householder let us know the 2013 USSVI calendar will be called "The Victors" to salute WWII submariners, showing them returning home at the end of WWII.

Recruiting new members - Art Thompson wants to talk about ideas for recruiting new members for the base. He would like everyone to think about ways to recruit new members (and keep them) and bring their ideas to the next meeting.

Upcoming Events
Kirkland Independence Day Parade - The Seattle Base and Silent Service Motorcycle Club will be participating in the Kirkland Independence Day Parade on July 4th. Kirkland goes all out for veterans and always has treats, a pizza lunch, and boutonnieres for all military members and veterans in the parade. Approximately 30,000 people line the parade route and always make veterans feel welcome. We are meeting at the corner of Central Way and Market Street, be there by 10:30. If you run into problems at any street barricades, just tell the police that you are marching in the parade. The parade starts at noon.

Lockwood Chapter Picnic - The Submarine Veterans of World War II Lockwood Chapter is having a picnic at VFW Post 2995 on Wednesday August 8 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Everyone is invited to attend.

Tolling of the Boats – The Tolling of the Boats ceremony is set for Saturday, August 18. We have requested the Navy Band for the event and we will have more information at the next meeting.

Navy Birthday Celebration - VFW Post 2995 is planning to have 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.

June Presentation 
A Soviet Echo class submarine

June's presentation was on the first generation of Soviet nuclear submarines. Dave Schueler talked about the design and development of the November, Hotel, and Echo submarine classes. He covered the strengths and weaknesses of the submarines and how they influenced U.S. Navy strategy. He also had charts that compared these classes with their American counterparts. It was an interesting presentation with a lot of information.

Binnacle List 

Chris Opple, Bob Opple's wife, is still undergoing treatment for cancer. She recently completed a round of treatments and is waiting for test results.

Fred Ensslin, was admitted to the hospital for some tests. We will update his condition as soon as we hear something.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June Meeting Reminder and National Voting

We will be having the next Seattle Base meeting this coming Wednesday, June 20, 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.

During the meeting we'll review photos from the Armed Forces Day parade and Memorial Day events and talk about plans for the 4th of July parade and other summer events. 

This month's presentation will be on first generation Soviet nuclear submarines by Dave Schueler.

USSVI National Election Voting 
Voting for USSVI National Officers and Constitution/By-Law changes is open. All Regular (US Submarine Qualified) members have several ways to vote:

  1. Go to, then click the VOTE NATIONAL ELECTION button. Follow the instructions to log in as a member, then register your vote. (Be sure to have your copy of AMERICAN SUBMARINER Magazine at hand so you can review the full text of the Proposed Amendments and the Candidate Bios.) 
  2. In AMERICAN SUBMARINER Magazine, you will find a paper ballot you can complete and mail in. If you do so, BE SURE to enter your name and Base on the ballot so that I can verify your eligibility to vote before entering it into the vote tracking system. 
  3. At, under the DOCUMENTS button, then the ELECTIONS button, there are downloadable documents covering the Proposed Amendments, Candidate Bios and A Ballot, all of which can be printed out for use. 

It is important to remember that Proxy Voting is not allowed. This means, each member must do his own voting, regardless of method chosen. Bases cannot vote as a bloc, and any votes received as such will not be accepted. Proxy voting can lead to a loss of membership for the person attempting to do so.

Your vote is your voice in the future direction and operation of our organization, so please carefully consider your alternatives and vote your choices.

I hope to see you all at the meeting.

Doug Abramson
Seattle Base Commander

Monday, June 11, 2012

Chopper Reunion Report from Pat

Editor's Note: Pat Householder passed along information and photos from the USS Chopper (SS-342) 2012 reunion in Groton in April. I’ve been a bit tardy in posting the recap (sorry about that), but I hope you enjoy Pat’s account of the gathering.
USS Chopper Crew at the Submarine Veterans of WWII Memorial East

Day 1
The combined crews of USS Chopper assembled in Groton, Connecticut at our hotel on Thursday and the camaraderie and sea stories flowed like fine wine. Approximately 50 Shipmates and their wives and significant others travelled down to the SubVets Chapter in Groton for delicious growlies, adult libations, and a great number of memories shared by shipmates.
Day 1 Dinner
An interesting side note, JJ Lynch, John Pearce, and I were visiting USS Missouri (a Virginia class SSN) to make pre-arrangements for the group's tours, when a chief walked up to us and said, "You guys served on Chopper (we were wearing our hats)?” "My dad served on Chopper!" This was Radioman Chuck Harris' son, (63-65) and he wears his father's dolphins!

Day 2
The next morning, the combined crews of USS Chopper mustered for breakfast and then adjourned to the hospitality room for a short but important Association meeting.

Following the meeting, we headed down to the Sub Force Museum, located at Goss Cove just outside the main gate. What a magnificent museum it is, with a 20' long cutaway model of a Gato class fleet boat hanging from the ceiling, and another very large cutaway of a Los Angeles class "688" fast attack nuclear submarine.
Judy and Jerry Padrta outside the Submarine Force Museum
The museum has many submarine related exhibits, of course, including a replica of the Turtle. Some of our shipmates accused me of having qualified aboard the Turtle, but I assure you it wasn't me. Might have been Sweetpea (John Pearce), however... Dunno... Just saying...
Greg Rowell and his daughter Monica ready to tour the Nautilus
We then toured the USS Nautilus, all spic and span from a spring housecleaning, then back to the hospitality room to drag out and buff up some more sea stories.
Ready to tour USS Missouri
JJ Lynch, stewburner extraordinaire and first cousin to the energizer bunny arranged for fifteen of us to mosey on down to the USS Missouri, the incredible and awesome Virginia class undersea spaceship that has about the same things in common with USS Chopper as our boat had with the USS Holland (SS-1).

JJ did some serious smoozing with the sonar girls when he met them at the USSVI Groton clubhouse, and they gave us a magnificent tour and explanation of the high tech gadgets and gizmos crammed into that 377' hull.

They took us to a room on the second deck that they 'said' was the control room, but they're not fooling me... This place was a video game arcade, with screens, trackballs and joysticks everywhere. Periscopes? Fugeddaboutit! They have 'photonics masts' Think of a digital camera/camcorder on top a mast (along with lots of other arcane sensors) with video feeds to the 'Video Game Arcade.'

Following this visit to inner space, we went back to our dinosaur-powered reality when we returned to the hotel to continue our discussions of the finer points of Chopper's career. One of the high points for me has been watching shipmates who have not seen each other for years and years light up with delight when they reconnect with a shipmate of their youth! The years fall away and we and they are young hot runners again for awhile....

Day 3 
This morning we formed up in carpools and headed off to the Sub Force museum for transfer to Navy vans, then off to BESS (Basic Enlisted Submarine School).
Submarine Base New London welcomes the Chopper crew
The instructors and students of the USS CHOPPER class were very welcoming, even eager to meet with us and hear stories of the days of dinosaur-powered submarines.
Chopper crew at BESS
Most of the kids came here from boot camp and after BESS graduation will go on to "A" school training in a particular specialty. All the students we met with are non-nukes; the nukes have their own sub school in conjunction with nuclear power training in the Charleston SC area. A few of the students came in from the fleet, transitioning from Surface Warfare to subs.
Getting a tour of the Diving Trainer
Following a burger cookout with the class, we presented them with USS Chopper hats (without dolphins) and challenge coins, then formed into groups for visits to the various trainers, including the torpedo trainer, submarine escape trainer, navigation trainer and damage control (flooding) trainer. All were very impressive, but the DC trainer, for me, was the most dramatic.

We then broke into several groups, and those who had not yet gone to the USS Missouri headed down to the boat, while the rest of us returned to the hotel for lunch, a short nap and then back to swapping stories. It was Danny Hensley's birthday, so we treated him to a not very melodious rendition of Happy Birthday, energetically sung, and George Hubbard put on a seminar presentation on his theory of the loss of USS Scorpion.

As the night grew darker, the stories became more interesting and, dare I say, raunchier. Many memories were shared by the early 60's crew, of which quite a few were in attendance, and roars of laughter and tears of joy were in abundance. The last dog was hung about 12:30 AM.

Day 4
This day was brisk and clear as we formed up and headed over to the Submarine Veterans of WWII Memorial East, site of the USS Flasher (SS-249) sail and black granite slabs with the names of those lost on the boats in WWII.

We held a brief memorial service to remember the three hundred seventy men and five submarines lost in the month of April, then followed by a final salute to our 27 Chopper shipmates who have shipped out on their final patrol since our last reunion in 2010.

A special presentation of honorary dolphins was made to shipmate Al Clausen of our 66-67 crew and in true tradition, he ‘drank his dolphins’ on the spot.
Honorary Dolphin Presentation
Then it was back to the barn (also known as the hospitality room), and early afternoon the ladies headed off for their tour of the USS Missouri. Chief Corey Harris saw to it that they all had a very memorable experience, and I know his dad, our shipmate Chuck must be very proud of his son.

We then all climbed into our dress canvas and mustered over at the Groton USSVI Clubhouse for drinks and a very good prime rib dinner with all the fixings. Groton Base commander John Carcioppolo narrated the POW/MIA Table ceremony, and then we tucked into dinner.
Dinner at the Groton USSVI Clubhouse
Following the feast, the Sojourners, dressed in Continental Army uniform (and all men qualified in submarines as well) presented a drama explaining the history of the United States Flag, building a flag in the process. This performance was very well done and received a standing ovation from the Chopper crew in attendance.
Sojourners group presentation
After the performance, John Pearce recognized first our WWII shipmates in attendance, then Vic Hari and JJ Lynch for their hard work and everyone showed their appreciation with applause. Come the drawing time, Pat Householder, your humble correspondent, won the museum quality USS Chopper cutaway. Because I already had one, I donated it back and Dennis Pacurari won it next. Because Dennis had to leave early, he had left instructions to donate any prizes won back to the Association (is this beautiful cutaway 'Typhoid Mary' or what?). Finally, it was won by shipmate Bruce “Zipzap” Aquizap, EN2(SS) of the 53-57 crew.

Farewell remarks were made before the folks headed back to the Hotel.

Well, not everyone. Some of us manned the rail in the bar and slugged down some more firewater while agreeing this was the most memorable reunion we've ever had, and that is saying something.
Groton Clubhouse Bar
Back at the hotel, more stories flowed until after midnight, as the Chopper crew slowly disbursed, happy and satisfied, and already looking towards the next reunion in 2014 in Chattanooga TN.

On Sunday morning, we scattered like quail back to our normal lives, but with warm memories of this and other gatherings in our past. Kudos and BZ go out to John Pearce, Vic Hari and JJ Lynch, who have done the heavy lifting for this magnificent reunion.

Thus closes the 2012 USS Chopper reunion ... one for the record books!

USS Chopper at speed

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Armed Forces Day Parade and Memorial Day Photos

Here are a few pictures from the Bremerton Armed Forces Day Parade and, below those, some from the Memorial Day Ceremony at Tahoma National Cemetery. Thanks to Keith Watson for providing the pictures.

The Bremerton Parade was on May 19 and was the first chance for everyone to see the newly refurbished base float.
Refurbished float on its new trailer

 Silent Service Motorcycle Club (SSMC)
Bob Opple and the Snorkel Schnauzer
Robbie Robertson and Ralph Sterley
Pat Householder and Sam Ronnie with the banner
SSMC looking at some of the other parade groups
Bob Opple and Pat Householder exchanging some stories
Jennifer Lybbert (Ron Silver's wife from Farragut Base in ID)
and Ric Hedman
A view of the parade route from inside the parade

Here are the photos from the Memorial Day Ceremony at Tahoma National Cemetery.
USSVI Flag Bearers - Keith Watson, Pat Householder, Karl 'Dutch' Krompholz, and Ralph Sterley
A view of the crowd during the ceremony
USSVI attendees - Robbie Robertson (seated), Dick Gonzales, Keith Watson, Pat Householder, Bill Lightfoot, Ralph Sterley, and Karl Krompholz
Thanks again to Keith Watson for sending the pictures. If you have any photos you would like to share, be sure to contact me using my information in the newsletter.

Dave Schueler
USSVI Seattle Base Newsletter Editor

Friday, June 1, 2012

Binnacle List: Milford "Terry" Terrass

Terry's photo from the Navy

Seattle Base, Inland Empire Base, and Holland Club member Milford “Terry” Terrass recently had neck surgery and is currently going through rehabilitation in Richland. He is progressing well, though is still limited in what he can do independently.

Terry's daughter, Leigh, let us also know that he has moved into Riverton Assisted Living, where he has a very nice apartment and many friends.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers during his recovery. If you would like to send him a card, his new address has been added to the USSVI website; his email address did not change.