Sunday, March 24, 2013

March Meeting Notes

We began the March meeting with the Tolling of the Boats, birthday wishes for our members, introductions, and officer reports. Then we moved right into the meeting business.

Old and New Business
Upcoming Memorials - We received news from Thresher Base about some of the challenges they face for the memorial service, due the sequestration, and the base members at the meeting voted to help out by sending $100 to help out and a number of base members chipped in their own money too. You can read more about this in a previous blog post.
Additionally, this year will be the 45th anniversary of the loss of USS Scorpion (SSN 589). The Scorpion Memorial Committee is raising funds for their ceremony. One way they are raising money is by selling memorial t-shirts (see the picture below) for $25. If you would like to purchase a t-shirt, please contact Mary Etta at for more information. Mary Etta is the daughter of Scorpion’s Chief Of the Boat (COB) TMC (SS) Walt Bishop. We will also get more information about how to donate directly to the memorial fund.
Scorpion Memorial T-Shirt

2013 Holiday Luncheon Plans - Andrea Geisler gave an update on the luncheon plans. She has contacted Anthony's HomePort restaurant in Kirkland to start the process of arranging the date and menu for the event. Right now December 14 looks like it will be a good date for the event. Andrea has gotten some menu suggestions from the restaurant, but would like to hear what you would like for the meal. You can talk with her at the next meeting or contact her by phone (Andrea's contact information can be found on the base website in the Officers section under Chaplain).

Veteran's Memorial Dedication and Armed Forces Day - We had a slight mix up in the plans for a Veteran's Memorial dedication in Mount Vernon and the plans for taking the float to Cabelas. Originally we thought these events we happening on the same day, but after researching things more we have some better information.
A Veteran's Memorial will be dedicated in Mount Vernon at 10 am on April 12 as part of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. The memorial will be set up at 15002 Bradshaw Rd; Mount Vernon, WA 98273 and the dedication ceremony will have speakers from VFW and entertainment. All Veterans and Active Duty Military will be admitted free on April 12 from 9 am to noon (ID will be required). You can find out more about this and other event for the tulip festival on the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival website.
On Saturday May 18, Armed Forces Day, the Cabelas store in Tulalip is allowing Veterans groups to set up displays in their parking lot and Seattle Base has decided to take our float to the event (Note: this means that we will not be participating in the Bremerton Armed Forces Day parade). We are hoping to raise some funds for the base through donations from shoppers. If you would like to help out with this event, please contact Base Commander Doug Abramson or any of the other base officers. You can find more information about, and directions to, the Cabelas store at this link.

Chairman Needed for Tolling Ceremony - Bob Opple has let us know that will not be able to continue as the Chairman for the Tolling of the Boats ceremony. The Tolling ceremony is important for our creed and we need someone to step-up to take over the position. Bob has done a great job with this and has set things up so it will be easy to run. Most of the work for the 2013 ceremony is already done and Bob, along with all the Base officers, will be available to help out. If you are interested in the position or have more questions, please contact Doug or any of the other Base officers. You will have lots of help and support from the rest of the base.

Smokey Point Rest Stop Event - We want to remind you that the Smokey Point event is back for 2013. This year we drew the southbound rest stop on June 28 - July 1. Be sure to mark the dates on your calendar. Steve Shelton will be looking for volunteers to man the coffee booth soon.

March Program
The March presentation was a talk by Admiral Horton Smith. Base Commander Doug Abramson told the Admiral could talk about anything, so he decided to tell us about his career in and out of the Navy. Admiral Smith grew up in the Seattle - Tacoma area and was active in the Boy Scouts (becoming an Eagle Scout), Sea Scouts and the NROTC program at the University of Washington. He was commissioned into the Navy before the end of World War II, and before he had graduated from college, and served on several different patrol and amphibious craft until the end of the war. After the war he remained in the reserves, joining the submarine force, and returned to college to get his law degree. Admiral Smith also earned his Masters license in the merchant marine. He was recalled to active duty service many times during his career. Admiral Smith also talked about the different people he met through his law career. It was a fascinating talk by an remarkable man.

Binnacle List
We want to express our condolences to Seattle Base and Holland Club member Ervin Schmidt on the passing of his wife June on March 6.

Gene Posel is still recovering from a torn back muscle.

Steve Shelton is recovering from oral surgery.

Pat Householder was unable to attend the meeting due to kidney stones.

We hope to see you at the next meeting.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

USSVI Thresher Base needs help for Thresher 50th Memorial Service

Editor's Note: Thresher Base sent out the following message about the new challenges they face for the memorial service, due the the sequestration. At last night's meeting, Seattle Base voted to send $100 to help out and a number of base members chipped in their own money too. If you have the extra funds, this would be a worthwhile donation.
USSVI Thresher Base needs your help with funding the 50th Annual USS Thresher Memorial Service that will be held on April 6th.

After the 49th memorial service, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS) informed us that they would host this once in a lifetime memorial ceremony, just as they have done so for each of the 10 year anniversaries of the loss of USS Thresher.

PNS regretfully informed us seven weeks ago that they will not be able to host the service due to recent DOD sequestration motivated discretionary spending budget cuts at NAVSEA, coupled with an unprecedented number of attendees that exceeds the capacity of the PNS Auditorium.

In response, we have reserved the only facility large enough to hold this memorial service, the Portsmouth High School at a cost of over $1,800.

One week ago we learned that due to additional spending cuts, CHINFO “may” not be able to pick up the cost of the $2,400 webcast, and PNS “may” not be able to cover the $2,600 program printing cost.

Our normal yearly service costs are $1,300. For the 50th, we had budgeted $3,000. As of today, our cost for the best case scenario with partial Navy support is approximately $7,000, and a worst case scenario of around $12,000.

Given the reasonable potential that these cuts will be made, we need your help to fund this once in a lifetime memorial service.

Please send your donations in the form of a check made out to USSVI Thresher Base, with the check note stating “USS Thresher Memorial Service Fund”, and mail to our Treasurer to the address:

USSVI Thresher Base Treasurer
Dennis O’Keeffe
1 Eureka Ave.
York, ME 03909

All donations received will be noted on the Donor’s section of the memorial service program.

For questions related to the donation check, please contact Dennis via email at or by phone at 207-351-1240.

For all other questions, please contact me directly at, 603-785-6464.

Thank you,
Kevin Galeaz
Thresher Base Commander

Sunday, March 17, 2013

March Meeting Reminder

The next Seattle Base meeting is this coming Wednesday, March 20.

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.

We will be discussing several upcoming events, such as the Cabela’s Veterans Appreciation Day and the Smokey Point Test Stop event. Be sure to show up and let us know what you think about these events! Also, we are still looking for someone to take over as chairman of the Tolling the Boats ceremony.

Admiral Horton Smith will be the program speaker for the meeting. He has an good perspective on naval topics and is always interesting to listen to.
There is also some news about the live internet feed for the loss of USS Thresher 50th Anniversary Memorial Service. The videographers from U.S. Navy Chief of Information (CHINFO) with support from the US Department of Defense, Defense Media Activity (DMA) will film the auditorium portion of the service live and stream it over the Defense Video & Information Distribution System website on Saturday 6 April 2013 at 1300. The website also has lots of other interesting stories and features about the U.S. military, the address for the website is:

Hope to see you at the meeting.

Dave Schueler
Seattle Base Newsletter Editor