August 8, 1945 – December 25, 2019

from Eternal Patrol by USSVI

Cold War Submariner Paul Henri Gagnon of Fernandina Beach, Florida, departed 12/25/2019

 He qualified in submarines aboard JOHN ADAMS in 1965

Paul served on USS John Adams SSBN 620 (G) & (B) 1963-1971

NRD Boston 1971 thorugh 1975

USS Bergal SSN 667 1974 to 1978

USS Bremerton SSN 698 1978 to 1981

Submarine Squadron Seven 1981 to 1986

He served in the USN from 1962 to 1986

He was a Life and Holland Club member of USSVI Bowfin Base.

Sailor, Rest your oar.



USS Bremerton SSN 698 Plankowner and Chief of the Boat

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The Chief of the Boat (COB) carries an immense responsibility in the Silent Service as the the senior enlisted  advisor to the commanding officer and executive officer.

It cannot be overstated, how the leadership of one man, in conjunction with the commanding officer, directly effects the cohesion necessary for an effective fighting unit, especially in the closed, intimate, and demanding environment of a submarine preparing for its life and execution of its duty at sea.

The COB’s support for the discipline, morale, meaningful navy tradition, and personal mentorship manifests in the collective soul of the crew and through their work, the submarine herself.

Command Master Chief Paul Henri Gagnon performed his duty with invaluable leadership, authenticity, and heart, eliciting great respect from officers and enlisted men whose loyalty and admiration for the man continues undiminished to this day.

We bid him peace on his journey onward with the greatest gratitude for his dedicated service to his shipmates and to his country.

Paul’s wishes are to be interred along side his wife at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.


Image of MMCM/SS Paul Gagnon from the USS Bremerton’s Commissioning program, courtesy of John Scanlan, plank owner.

Copyright © 2019


  1. To this day Master Chief Gagnon, is in the top two of Naval leaders “Chiefs” I go to when faced with a challenging leadership question. Undoubtedly his demonstrated understanding of how to get the best from everyone not just below them but to skillfully guide those in higher pay grades to see the correct way was influential in assisting me in being as good a Chief as I could be. In Bremerton, there was an ideal promulgated from the XO, Lt.Cdr Bowman, that was embraced first by COB Bob Pomella, and then by Cob Paul Gagnon. “The crew first, the ship second, take care of the crew, they will take care of the ship.” We, the boys of Bremerton, all to the man gained invaluable life lessons from men like Master Chief Gagnon. It has been said by us now several times “rest your oars, we have the watch.” This is true, but know Master Chief without a doubt this generation of young sailors will live our lives and you will never be forgotten. Russ Woods ICC(SS) USN Retired.

  2. Master Chief Gagnon was the first COB I ever came across. I was 17 years old just about to turn 18 when I joined the crew of the Bremerton. He was a great leader to look up to and almost acted as a Father figure to some us young sailors. He was stern when he needed to be and he was funny when times called for it. The most important thing I remember about The COB was his fairness and that he always made you feel apart of the crew. He never demoralized when he spoke to you and he was also a very compassionate individual. He knew his crew. When I got in trouble early on in my time on the Boat he never degraded me he could have easily had me booted from the boat, but he didn’t he took into consideration why I did what I did and after my discipline was over it was never mentioned again. He was an encouraging individual who wanted all under his command to succeed. I can see why the Shipmates I had were amazing to work with and thats because of the leadership of men like MMCM(ss) Gagnon. I pray for his family so that God may comfort them during this time of loss. Rest in Peace COB thank you for all you did for me and for those that served with you!

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