“Tug Boat” Annie’s

Some of the Bremerton Boys at Norm’s and Annie’s Lounge in Groton, CT. (circa 1979)
Bottom Row: Ken “Colonel” Collins. Tom “Mac” McPhillips, Donald Jones, Ray Rich, Tim “Burt” Noble.
Top row: Jim Rowe, Peter Berns. Timmy Naylor, Jim “the Rev” Jones, and Russ Woods (photo courtesy of Russ Woods). More photos at the end of article.

 

 

 

How Norm’s Lounge and the Bremerton Boys came to be

Story by Russ Woods, Plankowner

 

It was late in 1979 the Bremerton Boys were in search of a place to hang out and let our hair down. Someone in our posse heard the soon to be legendary Tommy Cox, was gonna be playing at Rosa’s Cantina. Of course being newly minted sailors fresh out of Sub School we flocked to see this balladeer of the Submarine.

As it turned out Tommy Cox, was a good ole boy who welcomed us nubs as though we were salty veterans of the deep abyss. We danced and cheered as Tommy sang songs of daring do, done by bad ass boat sailors. After his show he willingly engaged us in conversation and informed us he and his band mates would be playing regular at “Tug Boat Annie’s” AKA Norm’s Lounge beginning the next week. Well of course we marked the date and time in our calendars. We eagerly arrived as early birds and staked out prime real estate in the corner near the fire place which was never used. This became our corner.

Tommy and his band arrived and played our songs mixed with some nice covers of the day’s standard country music fare. We all felt like this was a cool place to be. Moving forward every Friday and Saturday night from then until Bremerton left for Hawaii save for a handful of times we were at sea the Bremerton Boys were there in our corner.

We developed a strong bond with the owners Norm and Annie. Yes, Tug Boat Annie, was Norm’s wife. I have no clue how she got that moniker. We were such a fixture in our corner of the bar on those few occasions when we had to go to sea, the staff would close that section off lest some interlopers might attempt to stake it out as theirs.

There were nights at Norm’s when one or more of us would be nursing a single beer for an hour. The waitress would see this and magically that sailor’s beer would be refreshed on a regular basis. Gratis. I know this to be true because I was the beneficiary of this kindness on at least one occasion. I know from conversation others in this group were treated with equal generosity.

Many magical things occurred at Norm’s. My A#1 good buddy Peter Burns met the love of his life Lori there. Another charter member and very dear friend Timmy “Tithead” Naylor, got real good acquainted with his lifelong love Daphne while hanging at Norm’s.

Many of our Bremerton shipmates would stop in every so often some more often than others. We always had a party going on in our corner. We were as much a fixture in there as Tommy and his band. We would be dancing and singing along and on occasion there would be dancing on the tables. The harder we partied the more energetic Tommy and his boys played.

 

Norm and Annie were also very forgiving. In my youth I was not always patient with folks and on some occasions there were ner’ do wells who sought to interject themselves into our party in what might be considered a rude manner. Normally a discrete trip out to the parking lot would allow a solution for the problem. On one occasion the misunderstanding escalated quickly and someone got a bloody nose right there in our corner. Of course that behavior was frowned upon by most civilized folks and Norm. He came over after the offending group had left.

He had a look on his face and I was sure I was about to get banished forever. I was very sad and angry at myself for behaving as I had.

Norm sat in a chair and motioned for me to sit beside him. The Bremerton boys all moved away as far as they could in the corner giving us space. I think they sensed Woody was about to get the boot.

 

Norm looked at me like I was the Beaver, and he was Ward Cleaver.

In a very fatherly tone he asked me “What happened?”

I explained in the most contrite manner I could muster up the miscreant who had just been smited about the head and shoulders was talking trash about this place and those of us who were there.  “…I took offense and lost my temper and I am sorry.”

Norm smiles puts his arm around my shoulder and says,

“Well, we’re gonna do better to stay calm next time. Right?

“Yes Sir, I certainly will.”

He got up and never said another word.

 

On other times during Christmas and New Year’s Norm would close the bar – It would be invitation only. Steamship round and beer. The beef was free we paid for the beer. Tommy would be playing and of course the Bremerton Boys were VIP’s.

Norm bought the building next door. He asked if we would be able to show up on Saturday and help knock down the wall between the two buildings. We did not understand how God could grace us with such great luck. A really cool bar, with a really cool owner, Tommy Cox Band playing AND we get to come in and tear shit up without getting into trouble. Well understand we took great glee in knocking down that wall. Our only regret is we weren’t allowed to knock down the wall on the other side. Norm paid us off in cold Miller beers.

During the time we haunted Tug Boat Annie’s. A number of the Chiefs and Officers including Capt. Anderson made visits on a Saturday night. In our brief time together, in our little corner of a small bar in Groton, Connecticut, we were all royalty. It was a grand time to be alive and none of us will ever trade our time there for anything.

 

After Bremerton sailed us around to Pearl, Tommy Cox continued to play at Norm’s a few more years. We left there in 1981 and I returned in 1983 for my second trip through Elastic Boat. I of course made my way in there. Our waitress was still there, she hugged me and said Friday and Saturday nights were never the same after we left. I replied the same was true for us.

 

RW

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Candid shots of Norm and Annie’s Lounge with the Bremerton Boys

Photos courtesy of Larry and Marianne Tharp.
Larry and Marianne Tharp had their wedding reception at Norm and Annie’s Lounge with Tommy Cox and his band providing the entertainment.
The Tommy Cox Band, Larry Tharp and Marianne on the dance floor

 

Jeff Dietrich, Mary, and “Balladeer of the Submarine” Tommy Cox

 

Peter J. Berns and Ken Burnside with the epic smoke hanging off his lips.

 

Clemon “C.C.” Cager

 

Sharon and Ken Burnside with friends of the Tharps, Patty, howard, Shirley, and Ronnie.
Jeff Dietrich and Larry Tharp with their ladies.

 

 

Marianne Tharp with Tommy Cox’s father

This token is courtesy of Marianne Tharp and she shares this story to go along with it: “Tommy Cox gave it to me one night. We have his album and his CDs. Larry [Tharp] and I met at Norm’s Lounge in January of 1980 and he asked me to marry him in February 1980…. and got married on May 10th, 1980. Seems like after that someone got married every few weeks… so much fun we all had. Good memories for sure!”

 

Editor’s Note: If anyone is able and willing to contribute a few qualified photo’s of Norm’s Lounge with 698 Shipmates and/or especially photos of Norm and Annie or the store front. please contact me through this website. I will amend this article with the appropriate photos.

 

LISTEN TO TOMMY COX SING

“The Dives We’ve Known” and more on You-Tube including “Still on Patrol” which mentions the Bremerton

click on the image

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LOOKING BACK – Bremerton’s Sister-Ships at Electric Boat

 

Electric Boat yard, USS Ohio (SSBN-726) and the USS Jacksonville (SSN-699). Photo source U.S. Navy Institute.

 

 

LOOKING FORWARD

USS Bremerton, the most senior not yet de-commissioned submarine in the United States Navy, is currently at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard preparing for Decommissioning.

 

SAVE THE 698

Join the Movement. Are you passionate about preserving the USS Bremerton in any way shape or form after her decommissioning for the benefit of the public and of naval history? You are invited to a new closed group forum on Facebook “SaveThe698” to be involved in public discussion related to Saving 698. You can see the group site by clicking HERE.

Copyright © 2019 bremertonreunion.net

 

698 Legends: MM1(SS) McGann

Editor’s Note: I want to thank Russ Woods, ICC/SS USN (Ret) for keeping the memory alive with another great candid eye-witness reflection about one of the original USS Bremerton SSN 698 sailors.

This is a republication of an original posted in January 2017 in effort to consolidated some relevant 698 history and sea-stories in the bremertonreuion.net website.

If you would like to submit an “unclassified” 698 sea story for publication, please contact me, Challen Yee, for assistance.

 

MM1(SS) Michael Riley McGann

By Russ Woods

THE BOND WE SHARE

 

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By Russ Woods

Our grand lady, the ’98 boat recently arrived in the city of Bremerton. She arrived there to complete her service to our country. She takes with her depending on the individual sailor either a small or large piece of our heart. Testimony to that was the arrival to Bremerton of a fair number of her boys to bid farewell. I, unfortunately, had a family member to assist and had to make the choice to deny myself this pleasure. My heart was most assuredly in Bremerton with my shipmates.

Who are we? The boys of the Bremerton. Where do we come from? What motivated us to leave our homes and our families and by fate arrive onboard the Bremerton?

The answers to these questions are as varied and diverse as we are. Regardless of the answers to these questions, we all arrived at one time or another to do our duty assigned to this boat. When we arrived that was the family we came to know and dare I say, love.
I could fill pages on my gypsy life from birth to arrival in Bremerton. I will spare you that. The bottom line for me I am an Alabama boy with a good ole boy upbringing involving copious outdoor activities and sports involvement. I was a terrible student in school and learned rickey tick in sub school the submarine force was not for the academically challenged. To survive required extreme determination not to lose, the patience of my superiors and the assistance of a few very close shipmates.

And speaking of very close shipmates. In seeing the photos shared by those in attendance at the most recent Bremerton soirée it is obvious there is a camaraderie among all who served in her. But as we all know we developed and nurtured friendships with a few shipmates we seemed to gel with. At the time who they were, where they came from was not a deterrent, rather their differences in some cases enhanced our desire to know them and be connected.

My group if you will include a Brooklyn NY. fellow I should have had nothing in common with. He liked disco dancing and was quite good at it. He did not have a driver’s license and dressed pretty sharp. Another was a wannabe cowboy from Pennsylvania. He was not a drugstore cowboy that was all fake. He just loved the cowboy way and wanted to make it part of his lifestyle. Spending my high school years working a cattle ranch drew us together. That and the fact he was hilariously funny and could be counted on to say what he thunk. A skinny redhead from Indiana who humbly allowed his name to be reversed and ran with it. My crew included all of the junior cooks. A fisherman from Florida, A salty dog from Michigan, and an innocent waif from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. I will not try to include the full posse but you get my drift. Each and every one of us can describe a group like this.

I know from the photos described above that the boat sailors came together and many had not been together for decades. Despite this, you enjoined conversations as if it had been days since your last meet. Even ’98 sailors who had come from different times. Each thought of as a brother by the other. Regardless of background or personality. Immediately accepted as a brother.

This really hit home to me last week. In my work as a Facilities Director for a local school district, I attend a monthly meeting attended by the Directors from the other area school districts. After our meeting, we go to a local eatery and have lunch as a group. It is great fun and there are good conversations. I notice in almost every lunch we tend to gravitate when sitting down to those we share the most in common with. I can tell you a boatload (pun intended) about the couple I tend to sit with. How many guns they have, what calibers, where they shoot. You know important stuff like that. The fellows on the other end of the table. Not so much. I usually know their names but sometimes struggle with what district they represent. I can still tell you so much about my shipmates from the ’98 boat but these men I see regularly I know very little. It does not take a brain surgeon to understand with my peers today we have no sense of shared sacrifice. We go home daily to our families, our focus is there. Not on our fellow Directors.

To travel back in time, how many of us in our time together stopped for even a second to comprehend the searing impression our shipmates were making upon us? The eternal bond our journey was creating. The diversity of personalities and backgrounds we brought to the table and how regardless of our differences we were coalescing into a hardened group that could not be torn apart even by decades of separation and lack of communication.

The main ingredient in this formula was, of course, our lady USS Bremerton.

I have written before of my own shortcomings in my appreciation for her at the time I was serving in her. As I have observed from afar the recent festivities in Bremerton and the obvious love my shipmates have for her and each other it reinforces in me the absolute privilege that was afforded to me and us by making the simple choice to join the Navy and volunteer for submarine duty. USS Bremerton SSN 698 is the bond we share. I thank God and the hand of fate that took me there. Just sayin’ ROLL TIDE!

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Editors Note:

Russ Woods is a USS Bremerton SSN 698 Plankowner and I want to thank him for sharing his heartfelt insights.

Republished with the permission of Russ Woods.  CY

Marina Reception Planned for Bremerton’s Arrival

Image credit: seaforces.org
USS Bremerton SSN 698 in Bremerton May 2012

 

The imminent arrival of the USS Bremerton (SSN 698), the longest serving active duty submarine in the United States Navy, is attracting local interest in the vessel that is the city’s namesake. Bremerton and the Puget Sound region have a long and distinguished history in support of the Navy with its outstanding shipyard facilities, diverse network of military installations and community support groups.

According to Capt. Alan Beam, USN (ret.), the 3rd CO of the Bremerton and an active supporter of military events in the area, “Normally submarine operations are classified and arrivals are announced only 24-48 hours in advance. Since this is the last arrival and it is at the namesake city, the Navy has released the date 10 days in advance. The usual arrival reception is low key and held on base at the Sam Adams Club, but this is the Bremerton!”

On April 27, Bremerton is expected to arrive at Pier D at NBK Bremerton (Naval Base Kitsap) for an opportunity for family members, former crew members, and other supporters of the Bremerton (for those without base access refer to CONTACT INFO) to experience the living history. Pier D is the furthest west and is capable of handling two aircraft carriers, a special place to receive the Bremerton.

Come and appreciate the Pride of Bremerton, the longest serving active duty submarine in the US Navy while you can still see, feel and experience the mighty warship that has spanned two Cold Wars. She is SSN 698, a deadly lady of the deep, the American Classic, the BadFish, USS Bremerton – “Call on us when you need to sink a ship.” (ref: http://ussnautilus.org/blog/uss-bremerton-ssn-698-sinks-a-ship/).

CONTACT INFO: To inquire about access to greet the boat at Pier D, CLICK HERE:  (SUBJECT LINE: PIER D ACCESS 698)

FOR DETAILED INFO BEFORE YOU SEND YOUR EMAIL CLICK HERE

It is recommended that the prescreened and authorized welcome party arrive by about 16:00 (4:00 pm) on Friday, April 27th in preparation to welcome the boat when she arrives.

 

Captain Thomas Anderson (left) and Commander Travis Zettel.

 

SOMETHING EXTRA SPECIAL

“We have requested that Captain Anderson ride for the last underway,” Capt Beam reports, “and have asked for the Navy Band on the pier.”

Thomas Anderson, Capt. USN (ret.), was the 1st Commanding Officer of the Bremerton. It would be just awesome to be a post-it on the periscope stand, the wardroom, or perhaps, on the bridge while surfaced to hear Skipper Travis Zettel swap sea stories with the Plankowner Captain while the glistening waters caress the Bremerton as she rides over the ocean.

 

PUBLIC INVITATION TO USS BREMERTON (SSN 698) RECEPTION ON MONDAY, APRIL 30th 

“We want to open the Arrival Reception to the town,” Capt. Beam said, “and have scheduled it for the beautiful third floor Marina Vista Room at the Kitsap Convention Center at Bremerton Harborside, located at the ferry terminal. It will be at 18:00 (6:00 pm) on Monday 30 April.”

 

 

Image source: kitsapconferencecenter.com, a beautiful venue by the waterfront offering sweeping views and exceptional service.
Kitsap Convention Center stand near the ferry terminal

Kitsap Conference Center at
Bremerton Harborside

100 Washington Avenue
Bremerton, WA 98337
Phone 360.377.3785 | Fax 360.415.1054

 

The young lady’s first visit to Bremerton in 1982 (Photo courtesy of Don Jones).

 

CKY

 

 

 

SSN 698 Plankowner Search

 

USS BREMERTON SSN-698

Inactivation Ceremony Approaches

The Decommissioning Committee is seeking PLANKOWNERS and Plankowner surviving next-of-kin from USS Bremerton (SSN 698) to take special part in the upcoming Ceremonies, details TBA.

All 698 Alumni are welcome to take part in the Ceremony events.

Please contact 698 Alummi/Plankowner search coordinator with your mailing address (and other contact info if you are willing) ASAP:

Challen Yee, STS1/SS(DV) 1983-1986

EMAIL: challenge@sbcglobal.net  

(TYPE IN SUBJECT LINE: 698 PLANKOWNER)

 

INACTIVATION/DECOM REUNION DETAILS: TBA

Recent News:

Arrival of USS Bremerton (SSN698) for DECOM

Bremerton returns to Hawaii (For last time)

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SIGNIFICANT  & OFTEN UNREPORTED DATES:

08 MAY 1976: KEEL LAID
22 JUL 1978 LAUNCHED
28 MAR 1981 COMMISSIONED
11 JUL 1981 DEPARTS GROTON

28 OCT 1981 Reports to Homeport PEARL HARBOR

18 AUG 1998 Reports to Homeport SAN DIEGO
16 SEP 2003 Reports to Homeport PEARL HARBOR
27 APR 2018 Arriving in BREMERTON to begin inactivation/DECOM process

 

Photos/Images sources or courtesy of: Bremerton-Olympic Navy League Council of the US, Donald Jones, Google, US Navy, John Scanlan, Challen Yee, Ray Proud, GlobalSecurity.org, and USS Bremerton-SSN698, spec mention to Clint Ceralde, originator of the BadFish

 

PLEASE USE THE “MENU” TO NAVIGATE AROUND THIS WEBSITE

 

 

Looks like a periscope view: Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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