Sunday, January 31, 2016

February 2016 Commander's Corner and Meeting Update

Editor's Note: Outgoing Base Commander Dick Gonzalez was nice enough to write up one more Commander's Corner to let us know the current leadership situation.

The January 20th Seattle Base meeting was primarily focused on identifying and electing members to fill the Base Commander and Sr. Vice Commander positions. We trusted we would be able to fill these positions, enabling us to make a seamless transition to the new leadership. Regrettably, we fell short in this task.

As a result, the current and out-going base officers intend to hold a special meeting to discuss and review viable options.

Unfortunately, because of the current leadership situation the February 17th Seattle Base meeting has been cancelled and the next Seattle Base USSVI meeting will be March 16th.

Please help us in letting other base members know about the meeting change.

Dick Gonzalez
(outgoing) Base Commander

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 2016 Meeting Notes

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

Storekeeper Ralph Sterley reminded everyone that the 2016 USSVI calendars are available for $10.95. Be sure to get your copy soon so that you can enjoy it for all twelve months! He also had copies of Don Ulmer’s new book “Beyond Silent Battleground”, but quickly sold out of the copies. We should have more books soon.

We also want to remind everyone that annual memberships ran out at the end of 2015 and Seattle Base and USSVI National dues for 2016 are due.

Old and New Business 
Base Elections – Outgoing Base Commander Dick Gonzalez thanked all of us for the support he has received over his tenure. He let us know how important member participation is in the running of the base and reminded us of the recent closing of South Sound Base due to that lack of participation. He also spoke about the need for members to step forward to fill leadership roles for Seattle Base.

Our current Treasurer, Jim Harper, and Secretary, Bill Giese, have agreed to stay on in their positions. However, no one has stepped forward to take on the positions of Base Commander and Sr. Vice Commander. Both are positions that are vital to the normal operations of Seattle Base.

Because there is no one to fill the Base Commander and Sr. Vice Commander positions, there might not be a meeting in February. There was some discussion about having past-Base Commanders rotate through running meetings until a new commander can be found, but that is not a long-term option. There will be a special meeting of the current and out-going officers to discuss the options moving forward.

The precarious a position this puts Seattle Base in cannot be emphasized enough. Members are welcome, and encouraged, to help resolve this situation.

Base Emails – We did a quick check to make sure everyone that wants email notifications about USSVI and Seattle Base news and announcements are getting the emails. If you are not getting base emails, but would like to, please contact Karl ‘Dutch’ Krompholz. You can find his contact information in the POC section of the Seattle Base Information page

2016 Seattle Base Calendar – We are pulling together all the important dates for the 2016 Seattle Base Calendar. If you have any events, or even suggestions for event, you would like to have added to the calendar, please contact Pat Householder. You can find contact information for Pat on the Seattle Base Information page.

January Program 
Our program for the evening was a presentation by Harvey Hawks, an education docent at the Seattle Museum of Flight and former Boeing engineer, on the Tuskegee Airmen.
Harvey Hawks answering some questions
Harvey started out discussing the Civilian Pilot Training program and the origins of the Tuskegee Experiment. He talked about the challenges faced by African-Americans in the military in the early 1940s. He covered the organization of the 99th Fighter Squadron, the slow addition of pilots and crews as the programs got up to speed and their deployment to the North Africa in 1943.

The squadron proved its value in combat in North Africa and the Italian campaign. As more pilots became available, the unit was expanded to form the 332nd Fighter Group with four squadrons. The squadrons conducted both ground support and bomber escort missions. They had a good reputation for protecting bombers. During the 179 escort mission flown, only 27 bombers were lost to the enemy (compared to an average of 46 bomber lost for other 15th Air Force fighter groups). However, no Tuskegee Airmen pilot was ever recognized as a fighter ace. Harvey spoke about the wartime exploits of the group and told about Seattle native Sam Bruce, the namesake of the local Seattle Tuskegee Airmen chapter.

After World War 2 the returning pilots and crew were not treated well, but their efforts helped lead to an integrated military in 1948. They also went on to pave the way for younger African-Americans, not just in the military, but also in businesses such as the airlines and Boeing.
We presented Harvey with a certificate of appreciation with a photo of the submarine on which Harvey's son qualified
It was a great program covering the history of an important and, until recently, forgotten group of men.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

January 2016 Meeting Reminder

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

Our speaker will be Harvey Hawks, an education docent at the Seattle Museum of Flight, who will discuss the social condition of segregation/integration in the 1930's and the growing awareness of the military action leading to war and the need for the Civilian Pilot Training program. The Tuskegee Airmen Experiment was conducted to see if African-Americans could actually perform the complex task of piloting in combat.
In the presentation, Harvey will follow the success of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, later the 332nd Fighter Group, as they operated in the Mediterranean Theater under the leadership of Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. We’ll also learn about local hero, Sam Bruce, namesake of the local Tuskegee Airmen chapter. After victory in Europe, these gentlemen became leaders in the Civil Rights victory at home.

Tuskegee Airmen is the name given to members of the U.S. Army Air Force units in World War II that were comprised primarily of African American flyers and maintenance crews, though a few white officers and trainers were also involved. The group compiled an impressive record, primarily in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, despite facing frequent resistance to their presence in the formerly all-white Army Air Corps. Although the best-known Tuskegee Airmen were the fighter pilots of the 332nd Pursuit Group (99th, 100th, 301st, and 302nd fighter squadrons), the 477th Bombard Group (the first black bomber group) was also part of the Tuskegee Airmen. Pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, and instructors all played a role.

We hope to see you at the meeting.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

January - February 2016 Dolphin Brotherhood Posted

The January – February issue of the Dolphin Brotherhood has been posted to the Seattle Base website.
This issue has photos from the Auburn Veterans Day Parade, the Seattle Base Holiday Luncheon, a note about the last meeting of the South Sound Base, along with the usual base news and other submarine related articles.

Hardcopies of the newsletter will go out in the mail this week. 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