Thursday, April 24, 2014

Seattle Base Member Survey

We've created a short member survey to ask for your opinions on Seattle Base meetings, operations, and activities. We hope you will take a few minutes to give us some feedback and suggestions for improving things.

Thanks for your participation.

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 2014 Meeting Notes

We started off the April meeting with Tolling the Boats lost in April, followed by birthday wishes for our members and for the 114th birthday of the U.S. submarine force.
We all enjoyed a little birthday cake during the break

Old and New Business:
Cabelas Event – We had the base float and a number of members at Cabelas on April 5, but the planned return on Sunday was cancelled due to bad weather. Overall, it was a really good time and the base picked up over $200 in donations. We are looking at going there again for Armed Forces weekend (May 17 & 18) and a couple more times during the year. It is a great opportunity to get interact with the public.

South Sound Boating Season Opening Day - On Saturday, May 10 the Seattle Base float will be at the Des Moines Yacht Club’s South Sound Opening Day festivities and we are looking for some members to spend a few hours ‘showing the flag’ at the event. The gates will open at 11 AM and the ceremony starts at noon. There will be boat tours, food, music, and other displays. If you are interested in helping out or would like a little more information, please contact Base Commander Dick Gonzales. Thanks to Don Masero for organizing this event with the Des Moines Yacht Club.

Longevity Pins – Seattle Base handed out USSVI longevity pins at the meeting. The following members were given pins (the pins are being mailed to the members not in attendance):
Former Base Commander Ric Hedman gets his USSVI 15 Year Longevity Pin
  • 5 year pins: Paul Berger, Pierre Bruneau, Andrea Geisler, Doug Gilman, David Glassman, Dick Gonzales, Bill Lightfoot, Curt Maier, Lois Mezek, Stephen Miller, Art Thompson, Don Ulmer, and Keith Watson.
  • 10 year pins: Doug Abramson, John Bush, Eric Muller, Sam Ronnie, Charlie Ryan, Dave Schueler, Steve Shelton, and John Soth.
  • 15 year pins: Jim Harper, Ric Hedman, Pat Householder, Karl Krompholz, and Cliff Nutter.

Storekeeper Items – Storekeeper Ralph Sterley is now stocking some miniature dolphins. The mini-dolphins are 1.5 inches long and are a great way to show your submarine pride and strike up conversations with prospective members.
A close up view of the mini-dolphins

Seattle VA Volunteers – The Seattle VA hospital Volunteer Services is still looking for volunteers to help out our fellow veterans and their families during the major construction project at the hospital. They would like the volunteers to commit to helping out for 6 months or about 100 hours (that is around 4 hours per week). Here is a list of the priority volunteer needs.
  • Parking Lot Golf Cart Shuttle Drivers: To transport Veterans and visitors who ride Metro buses from an on-campus pick-up point to and from the facility main entrance. (Because of the construction project bus routes 50 and 60 are no longer able to drive on the campus.)
  • Puget Sound NaVAgators: Frontline customer services - meet and greet, provide assistance to appointments, find wheelchairs for Veterans to use during their appointments, help with check-in on the new self-service kiosks, answer questions, etc. This is considered a very mobile assignment.
  • Patient Information Representatives: This assignment requires access to VA computer systems, so there is a bit more training and processing required. Because of the construction a new information desk needing to be staffed by volunteers will be located in the basement of Building 1 – where the new temporary main entrance will be located. Volunteers are expected to continue staffing the current Information Desk near the Emergency Department.
  • Volunteer Transportation Network (VTN) Drivers: Use a7 or 12 passenger government vehicle to transport Veterans to and from their VA facility destinations. Must have a good driving record and pass an occupational health examination. Some of these vans are based out of Seattle; others are coming in from outlying communities. 
All of these assignments occur during weekdays, generally between the hours of 7am and 5-m. If you are interested in helping out, you can talk with Base Commander Dick Gonzales, John Roberts, or contact Jeff Honeycutt at VA Volunteer Services: 206-277-1005.

April Program:
Our speaker for April was author and historian Richard Blumenthal. He spoke about the early maritime history of Puget Sound, including expeditions by Spanish explorers, the Vancouver expedition, and explorations by Charles Wilkes. He also opened up the floor to questions about the names of places around Puget Sound. Richard deftly answered our questions and told some very interesting stories about how places got their names. You can find books by Richard at the Inland Water Publishing website.
Richard Blumenthal receives a certificate of appreciation from Base Commander Dick Gonzales

Good of the Order:
USSVI Western Region Director John Mansfield gave a quick report on his visits to various bases in the region. He encouraged us to put in nominations for USSVI National Awards. The deadline for nominations is April 30 and you can find out more by reading the Awards manual here. He also reminded us about the USSVI National Convention in San Francisco, September 1 – 7.

The memorial service for Chris Opple will be this Saturday, April 26 at St. Madeleine Sophie Parish (4400 130th Place SE, Bellevue WA 98006). The service will start at 1100 a.m.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 2014 Meeting Reminder

The next Seattle Base meeting is this coming Wednesday, April 16.

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.
Our guest speaker, Mr. Richard Blumenthal, will talk about the maritime history of Puget Sound. Richard is an accomplished speaker and historian whose lifelong passion is researching the early exploration and history of our inland waterways. His account of what Puget Sound looked like 150 to 200 years ago staring with early English explorers will fascinate you. Richard's first nautical experience at age five was with a homemade dingy on Lake Washington and later learned the secrets of numerous islands while cruising the regions waterways. Richards’s work includes the “Early Exploration of Inland Washington Waters” and “Maritime Place Names Inland Washington Waters."

Finally, we would like to remind you that the deadline for the 2014 USSVI National Awards Nomination process is April 30, 2014. The announcements of the Awardees and presentation of awards will happen at the Awards Banquet at the 2014 National Convention in Burlingame CA.

Almost 80% of the nominations submitted are from Base Commanders, Points of Contact, or other Base Officers, but we want to encourage all members to consider writing up a recommendations for a National Award. These awards recognize your shipmates for the voluntary work they do in support of our brotherhood, our organization and its purpose.

We all have shipmates that deserve the recognition for their hard work in support of our organization and its purpose, and it shines a favorable light on your base as well. Don’t forget your hard working associate members. They are eligible for some of these awards as well. Any USSVI member may nominate any other member (or for a Base for certain awards as stated in the Award description).

Here is a summary listing of the award categories.
  • Joe Negri ‘Shipmate of the Year’ Award 
  • Robert Link National Commander’s Commendation Award 
  • Meritorious Award 
  • Golden Anchor Award 
  • Silver Anchor Award 
  • Ben Bastura Historical Achievement Award 
  • Base Newsletter of the Year Award (Deadline for newsletter submissions is May 15, 2014) 

Each Award has specific criteria to meet and some of the criteria have changed since last year, so please read the manual for a careful review. You can find the manual here. Please take a look at the manual and start thinking about your Shipmates who should be nominated for the various Awards. If you have any questions about the program or the individual award criteria please contact National Awards Chairman John Stanford by phone (904-749-3197) or by email:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2014 Submarine Force Birthday and Wear Your Dolphins to Work Day

Friday, April 11, is the 114th birthday of the U.S submarine force. On April 11, 1900 the HOLLAND VI was acquired by the US Navy. Although not actually commissioned as a warship until October 12, 1900, April 11th is celebrated as the official "birthday" of the US Submarine Fleet. USS Holland was considered to be the world's first truly successful submarine.

Additionally, it is "Wear Your Dolphins to Work Day." A day on which we encourage every submarine qualified individual to proudly wear their dolphins on their civilian shirt while at work. The goal is to raise awareness on the service you provided.

This idea was suggested by Dennis, a retired COB who served on boomers. You can read his story and rationale on his original site of this same domain, head on over to the Wayback Machine and read his story. Here's a snippet from his old web site that explains the rationale behind the initiative...

If we can have a "take your daughter to work day", why not have a "Wear your Dolphins to work day"? Earning Dolphins must be at least as hard as having a baby, right? So why are we hiding our achievement?" We were in the "Silent Service", not the "Hide it like we are ashamed Service". I know some sea lawyer is thinking that we aren't supposed to wear uniform insignia with civvies, but we're SUBMARINERS! We wore beards when the rest of the Navy was clean shaven! We wore Nikes as uniform of the day at sea. We hit golf balls off the bow at the North Pole! We wore civilian clothes on watch for half-way day. We have friends with names like "Warhead"! If we can take pictures from inside Russian harbors, we can damn well wear our fish with civvies one day a year. Why not do it to celebrate the Submariner Force Birthday, April 11th? 
I hope you'll join me in wearing your Dolphins on Friday and HAPPY BIRTHDAY fellow bubbleheads!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cabela's and Chris Opple's Memorial

On Saturday, April 5th, Seattle Base spent the day at Cabela's Tulalip store.
Ric Hedman, Pat Householder, and Dick Gonzales with the float at Cabela's
We met a lot of people at the store, talked about USSVI and submarines.
Getting everything set up
Overall, it was a really good time. But the planned return on Sunday was cancelled due to bad weather. We do this again a couple times during the year and hope that you'll stop by.

Chris Opple Memorial
Bob Opple and family passed along the following information: We are celebrating Chris’ life at St. Madeleine Sophie Parish (4400 130th Place SE, Bellevue WA 98006) on Saturday, April 26 at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers we ask that donations be to the Western Washington Catholic Community Services at

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

In Memorium - Chris Opple

We are sorry to report that Bob Opple’s wife, Chris, passed away on Sunday, March 30, 2014.

Bob and Chris Opple at the 2013 Tolling the Boats Ceremony
Chris was a wonderful, vibrant woman who loved her family and life to the fullest. It was always wonderful to see her at various Seattle Base events.

Please keep Bob and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

A memorial is being planned for April 26th, we will let you know the time and location as the event gets closer.