Thursday, December 24, 2015

Holiday Messages

The CNO and MCPON have recorded their 2015 Holiday message, included below, but I thought this year I would also break out an old Holiday message from the submarine force.

I hope you enjoy it and Happy Holidays, whichever ones you are celebrating, to all my shipmates and fellow veterans (if the embedded file doesn't work, you can find the video on YouTube at:

The CNO and MCPON Holiday Message (if the embedded file doesn't work, you can find the video on YouTube at:

Monday, December 21, 2015

South Sound Base Decommissioning

After 14 years, South Sound Base closed with their Christmas party on Saturday, December 12 at the Poodle Dog Restaurant in Fife, WA.
South Sound Base members at the last meeting
Base Commander John Mansfield urged members to continue their memberships in the other northwest bases; Bremerton, Seattle, and Yakima.

You can read the final issue of South Sound Base's newsletter, the Klaxon, here. It has a great recap of all the events, charitable accomplishments, and other activities the base carried out during its existence.

 Fair Winds and Following Seas to all the South Sound members and we hope to see some of you at the Seattle Base meetings.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

2015 Seattle Base Holiday Luncheon

On Saturday, December 5th submarine veterans, family, and guests gathered at the Meydenbauer Bay Yacht Club in Bellevue for the annual USSVI Seattle Base holiday luncheon. While the weather was dark and rainy, the club was warm and inviting.

The day started with the social hour, which gave us a chance to talk with shipmates we have not seen for a while, share our exploits from the past year, and to look at some of the submarine memorabilia on display. We then moved to the dining room for opening remarks, the annual toast (provided by Don Ulmer), and lunch.

After lunch it was time for awards. First up, Senior Vice Commander John Roberts presented the Shipmate of the Year Awards to Diane Giese and Lynda Shelton. We want to thank Diane and Lynda for all the hard work they’ve done for Seattle Base and congratulate them on the well-deserved awards.

Next was the presentation of a special award for Pat Householder. The award, which included patches from all of Pat’s boats, a special certificate, and written thanks from Seattle Base members, was for all the work Pat has done for USSVI and Seattle Base.

With the awards presented, the floor was then opened for sea stories and holiday remembrances. The microphone was passed around and we heard some old favorite stories, along with a few new tales.

We all had a good time at the event and a special thanks goes out to everyone who helped out with the luncheon. It is always good to see all of our shipmates and enjoy the holiday season with them. We didn't get photos of everyone at the event (some of you ducked out early or just avoided the camera), but I hope you enjoy the photos we did get.
Looking over the memorabilia table
Don Ulmer provides the kick-off toast
Here are a few photos around the dining room during lunch.
Chef Bob stops off to talk with club members Jay and Miri Davis
After lunch, it was time for the awards
John Roberts presenting the Shipmate of the Year awards
Shipmate of the Year winners Diane Giese and Lynda Shelton
Unveiling the award for Pat Householder
Pat Householder and Dick Gonzales with Pat's special recognition award
Finally, photos of the attendees (we are sorry if we missed getting your photo).
Miri and Jay Davis
Fran and Dick Gonzales
Larry Abbott and Lynn Schueler
Sue and Jerry Gerten
Bill and Diane Giese
Andrea Giesler
Av and Schell Harmon
Jim and Marilyn Harper
Bob and Dani Haslan
Doug Gilman
Ric Hedman
Pat Householder and Carolyn Davis
Barbara and Karl 'Dutch' Krompholz
Ron and Carol Muecke
Thea Benjamin and Bob Opple
Kingsly Parker
Karl and Linda Peterson
Kerry Ryan and Nancy Mitchell
Lynn and Dave Schueler
Ralph Sterley and Lois Twelves
Steve and Lynda Shelton
Bill and Judy Thompson
Carol and Don Ulmer
Keith and Judy Watson

Monday, November 30, 2015

December 2015 Commander's Corner

I know you will agree that we are most fortunate to have a good number of committed board members and dedicated volunteers insuring we succeed as a Base. We appreciate them and often make it a point to recognize their work. By their example we hope others will be inspired to participate during this current election cycle.

Another major asset we may sometimes fail to recognize are the woman in our midst. They play a large roll often working behind the scenes directly or indirectly. They inspire us, participate, and provide supporting rolls in so many of our events. They are our wives, partners, and associate members. We owe them a debt of gratitude and are better off because of them.

Looking back, we had a terrific year and as I step aside to make room for a new leader. During this period, I gained a greater appreciation for the meaning of our “Brotherhood.” I met and enjoyed collaborating with other bases including the national USSVI leadership. They are inspirational and strive to insure we perpetuate our special union.

I wish to thank my shipmates for encouraging and motivating me throughout the last two years. I am honored.

I hope each and every one of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Santa arriving on USS Providence (SSN-719)

Dick Gonzalez
Seattle Base Commander

Saturday, November 21, 2015

November 2015 Meeting Notes

We started the November meeting by Tolling the Boats lost in November and December followed by birthday wishes for our members, officer reports, and introductions.

Storekeeper Ralph Sterley let us know that 2016 calendars are available for $10.95. Be sure to get your copy soon.

Old and New Business:

Auburn Veterans Day Parade – We recapped the parade (you can see pictures here) and we were told that the USSVI Bases and SubVets of WW II that participated in the Auburn parade won the "Memorial Award to Harold Page - Best Veteran Service Organization Entry" award.
Award from the Auburn parade
This is the third highest award given by the city to parade entries. Congratulations on the award and thanks to Ric Hedman for organizing things for the parade.

Holiday Luncheon Update – The Holiday Luncheon is set for Saturday, December 5 at the Meydenbauer Bay Yacht Club. You can find registration forms in the form in the latest newsletter and at this link. Don’t forget to get your registration form in as soon as possible and help get the word out to others.

Arizona Silent Service Memorial – USSVI Perch Base is working to establish a Silent Service Memorial on the grounds of the capital in Phoenix. To help raise money they are selling brick pavers for engraved messages. You can find out more about the project and how to buy a brick at the Arizona Silent Service Memorial web page. Seattle Base is donating $100 to the project.

Base Elections – Seattle Base elections will be this coming January. Our base needs members to stand for the positions necessary to keep the base running. Especially the Base Commander, Sr. Vice Commander, and Jr. Vice Commander positions. Even if you aren’t ready to be a Base Officer, you can still help out as one of the committee chairs or appointed officers for the base. Committee chairs and appointed officers are really needed to handle the necessary base functions that make our base valuable to us all. If you are interested in running for an officer position or chairing a committee, please contact one of the Base Officers for more information.

Reminder of National Dues Increase – If you are a year-to-year member, you should note that the USSVI National dues are increasing to $25 per year on January 1, 2016. However, if you renew before the end of the year the dues are still only $20. Note that Seattle Base dues are not increasing.

November Program:
For November’s program, base members Keith Watson and Bill Lightfoot put on a presentation on Bill’s book “Beneath the Surface: Submarines built in Seattle and Vancouver 1909 – 18” along with information from Ric Hedman’s website.
They started with some brief information about each of the submarines built in Puget Sound area. They also talked about the Moran Brothers shipyard, which built most of the submarines. They showed photos of the construction process and initial testing. They also talked about how some of the boats were disassembled and crated off for shipment to Imperial Russia. Including a number that were later purchased by the U.S. Navy, and reassembled in Bremerton, after the fall of the Tsarist government. Keith provided more information about the boats purchased by the U.S., including the sad fate of USS F-4, which was rammed and sunk by it ‘s sister sub. They also talked about the submarines purchased by the government of British Columbia and later Canada in 1914, which established the Canadian submarine force.

Bill Lighfoot and Keith Watson during the program
The program was an interesting look at the little known early history of submarines in Puget Sound. If you are interested in reading Bill’s book, you can borrow the copy in the base library (just contact Newsletter Editor Dave Schueler) or you can still get copies on

Good of the Order: 
Ric Hedman brought a copy of the new book “Seventeen Fathoms Deep” about the loss of USS S-4. It was a great looking book and is highly recommended.

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 2015 Meeting Reminder

The next Seattle Base meeting is this coming Wednesday, November 18. We will meet at VFW Post #2995 (4330 148th Ave N.E., Redmond WA 98052). Social hour starts at 6PM with business meeting at 7PM.

This is the final business meeting of 2015. We recap the Veterans Day activities, cover the plans for the upcoming Holiday Luncheon, and talk about 2016.
Meydenbauer Bay Yacht Club main building

Speaking of the Holiday Luncheon, we will be at the Meydenbauer Bay Yacht Club in Bellevue again this year and you can find a copy of the registration form in the latest newsletter and at this link. Don’t forget to get your registration form in before the end of November.

We hope to see you at the meeting!

Monday, November 9, 2015

2015 Auburn Veterans Day Parade Photos

It was a cool, rainy Saturday for the 50th annual Auburn Veterans Day Parade. The rain showers came and went, but finally went once the parade started. However, the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd, who were as enthusiastic as ever, and everyone seemed to have a good time. Our turnout was a little lighter than normal, with members from Seattle, Bremerton, South Sound Bases, and Silent Service Motorcycle Club showing up. But it was still a good time and great to see all the veterans out for the parade.
Here are some photos from the event.
SubVets Group photo
Before the parade we had a little time to swap a few sea stories in rain.
Getting the Bonefish float ready
Swapping a few stories
Yep, it is still raining
Talking over future plans
Bonefish float is ready to go
Seattle Base float is ready to go
A B-25 flyover kicks off the parade
Bremerton Base leads off for our group
Followed by the Bonefish float
Then the marchers
And the Seattle float
Waving to the crowd