Mission Accomplished

 

PACIFIC FLEET SUBMARINE MUSEUM GROUP DONATION UPDATE  31 DEC 2019

We’ve Reached Our Goal!

Yes shipmates, we have reached our goal of $10,000 before the end of 2019

 

Every single contribution is sincerely appreciated in the effort of providing recognition for the Bremerton and support for the creation of The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum at Pearl Harbor.

We’ve secured something every USS BREMERTON SSN 698 alumni, their family, and friends can take pride and interest in.

We had a great range of support from alumni plus some corporate matching.

Based on the numbers that I have (and there may be more coming in by the end of the 31st) we are at $10,190 of completed donations and pledge commitments transacted through the museum.

A spot for USS BREMERTON on the Interior Campaign Donor Wall is secured honoring the campaign’s biggest supporters!

With one day left before the end of 2019, we’ve reached our amazing mutual goal. So let’s party!…

Wait – One

There is one piece of business that’s not yet resolved, at least not until the strike of midnight Hawaii time and that is, who will get the Angel’s Envy Award?

Currently, the Angel’s Envy Award will go to two shipmates (who have chosen to remain anonymous)  whose donation/pledge amounts are $3000 each. In order for someone take top spot for the prize, pledge a greater amount than $3050 by midnight or perhaps go for the gusto, another $15,000 more either individually or collaboratively and that will launch us to the next lofty donor level.

Hey, what can I to say, when there is still time left on the clock?!

 

CONGRATULATIONS SHIPMATES, WE MADE A CLEAN SWEEP OF THE $10K GOAL

RAISE AN ADULT BEVERAGE IN A TOAST TO:

 

OUR SHIPMATES

and

THOSE ON ETERNAL PATROL

 

 THE BREMERTON

and

THE SILENT SERVICE

 

THANK YOU AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE ADDITIONAL DONATIONS TO THE MUSEUM

For your convenience, your pledge may be paid in installments over a 5-year period.

All contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law and made directly to The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum via the Bowfin.org website.

TO DONATE GO TO THE WEBSITE BELOW:

https://www.bowfin.org/capital-campaign or click on the Bowfin 

 

Copyright © 2019 bremertonreunion.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

CMDCM(SS) PAUL HENRI GAGNON

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

  • by bremertonreunion.net

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 bremertonreunion.net

Who is the Silent Service?

“From December 7, 1941, until the end of the war, our undersea fleet operated in strictest secrecy, which resulted in the well-deserved sobriquet – the “Silent Service.”  Concealment of results of submarine operations was intended to keep from the enemy knowledge of what we were doing, how it was accomplished, and who was responsible. Consequently, it was not until the end of the war that the full extent of our submarine campaign became known to the people of the United States. Only recently has it been appreciated that although we never had as many submarines as the Germans, ship for ship and man for man the United States Submarine Force was the more effective.”

-From  “Submarine!” by then Commander Edward L. Beach, U.S.N. (first published June , 1952).

 

COMING FULL CIRCLE AS A MEMBER OF THE SILENT SERVICE

My shipmates and I served as submariners in the US Navy, and I presume, like virtually all other sailors who served as navy submariners carry on the some of these essential tenets as described by Captain Beach.

Things have changed since WWII in a public way, as unlike 1941, modern sub sailors wear and publicly present our twin dolphin insignia of being a qualified submariner with a sense of pride for our quiet contributions in the service of our country.

Especially with the advent of internet and social media, the post Cold War strategy of the Navy often appears to have become as much a battle for public opinion as anything else.

However, even though for myself and my contemporaries whose active duty time took place over 30 years ago, we still do not publicly disclose “what we did” in the Cold War.

 

Because of this silence, it is with particular gratitude and a sense of relief we can recognize the contributions of our World War II submariner brethren. Why? Their license for “unrestricted warfare” against a declared enemy and their exploits are, for the most part, no longer secret and have not been for a long time.  The U.S. Navy submarine sailors’ masterful pioneering of one of the most complex and technologically advanced machines ever built is a marvel of human spirit, endurance and intelligence in the crisis and tragedy of war. The ultimate sacrifices of the over 3500 submarine sailors and 52 U.S. Navy submarines on eternal patrol reaches the soul of every submariner.

 

In a full circled awareness extending from our own service, acknowledging our place in the progression of time among the pioneers and legends, imbues within us a meaning greater than ourselves, the commands we served under and the submarines we served in. This recognition is in synergy with the loyalty developed in serving together with our shipmates and a common bond that stretches through time due to the unique nature of the submarine service.

USS Bremerton SSN 698 on her final voyage as she approaches Bremerton , Washington. April 2018. (image source king5.com)

 

 

THE USS BREMERTON ANGLE 

 

As a benefit of our service as Bremertonsailors, we have an opportunity to help with the funding of the work involved with an important submarine landmark as well as to secure some recognition for our boat.

The museum is at Pearl Harbor, the long time homeport of theUSS Bremerton SSN698 (the BadFish, the “American Classic”). SSN-698 is a descendent of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet submarine community.

We have a special connection to the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum, as I am proud to help support the efforts of my shipmate who was my weapons officer on the Bremerton, Chuck Merkel.  Later in his career, Chuck served as the Commanding Officer of the USS Key West SSN 722 (2000-2003)Captain Merkel, now retired, serves as the Executive Director of the Bowfin Memorial and is overseeing the amazing changes taking place to transform the popular attraction to the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum.

While there are innumerable organizations to support, I have an affinity to support my shipmate and his cause, while at the same time contributing to our legacy in history in the name of the boat who many of us called our home away from home.

The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum’s mission is to educate the public of not only the World War II exploits of the Silent Service, but to further develop the Bowfin Memorial Park facilities to incorporate a more comprehensive look at what submarining in the United States Navy is all about.

HERE IS THE TARGET FOR THE “INSIDE-THE-MUSEUM” RECOGNITION OF SSN698:

I invite you to join our group of shipmate donors to make a push the last week of 2019 in effort to reach $10,000 as our current total is $3200. Nothing is impossible if everyone pitches together, small and large amounts welcome.

THIS IS BIG NEWS:

PLEDGES MADE NOW BEFORE JANUARY 1st 2020, CAN BE PAID IN INSTALLMENTS WITHIN A 5 YEAR PERIOD.

THESE PLEDGES WILL COUNT TOWARD OUR BREMERTON GROUP INSIDE THE MUSEUM RECOGNITION PLAQUE 

Just FYI, the museum increments donations and pledges counting towards the INSIDE at 10K, 25K, 50K, 100K, and 250K.

 

Support the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum

Don’t miss the opportunity to support the legacy of the Silent Service while providing recognition of SSN-698with a tax-deductible gift. It’s a twofer. Make your donation before January 1st 2020 in our effort to achieve special honors for USS BremertonSSN 698. Donations of any amount are welcome!

.

SPEC DEAL THRU CHRISTMAS 2019: Mention “DiverDaveDunn” along with “USS BREMERTON” and/or “SSN 698” in your donation to the museum by Christmas 2019 and Diver Dave Dunn will double your donation of $50 or less by contributing a matching amount toward the group fund.

SPEC DEAL THRU JANUARY 1st, 2020: Mention your affiliation with “USS Bremerton” and/or “SSN 698” and I will match up to $50 of your donation towards the 698 Group donation by January 1st, 2020.

BE THE LARGEST 698 DONOR BY JANUARY 1st, 2020: Receive a complimentary bottle of ANGEL’s ENVY – KENTUCKY STRAIGHT BOURBON.

The museum is involved in a substantial and exciting new revitalization of their facility to help better educate the public about the Silent Service. As alumni of the Bremertonwe have an opportunity to help make an impact as well as driving at achieving special sponsorship status and recognition with respect to USS Bremerton SSN-698. Please click on the link/image of the Bowfin below for more information.

All donations are made through the Bowfin.org websiteand go directly to their renovation and expansion efforts. Corporate sponsors welcome.

.

 

Captain Wes Bringham dub-honors 698

as the “American Classic”

Go to this link for the story and video. or click on the image

CDR Wes Bringham and the famous O’Kane cribbage board.

 

 

698 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 her date with destiny. Decom ceremony and reunion in Bremerton are tentatively scheduled for Spring of 2021, that puts BadFish on course for a 40 year run.

Cheers – from RMCS(SS) Don Jones, Plankowner, SSN698

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LEGEND OF THE SILENT SERVICE

Various classes of U.S. Navy SS-class and SSN submarines from pre-WWII with some serving into the 1970s.

As we look back over the growing distance of time, submarine veterans realize, our service in the Navy’s submarine force was an important pinnacle of life experiences. The shipmates we served with, we carry a special bond for life.

Life under the sea in a nuclear powered submarine is packed full of a myriad of systems to understand and operate in the performance of our missions while surviving for months under the ocean. These are amazing experiences to reminisce upon.

Most of us did not spend much time reading submarine history when we served, when we weren’t in school we were doing what most young sailors are up to doing, often getting into trouble or trying to stay out of it. Much of the history learned came from submarine school where gallantry and heroism of submariners of the past adorn the walls of the memorials throughout the base in Groton, Connecticut. We’ll never forget the immortal last order of WWII Commander Howard W. Gilmore shouting “TAKE HER DOWN!” as he lay mortally wounded on the bridge of the USS Growler SS-215, engaged in close combat with an Imperial Japanese warship.

When we trained to serve on submarines we needed to get heavy on the latest equipment, operations and strategies relevant to the day. We were too busy responding to the demands of understanding the working details and operations of the submarines we served on. We didn’t think too much about legacy as young men, most of us not far graduated from high school when we became QUALIFIED IN SUBMARINES and awarded the coveted Submarine Dolphins. Living the submariner’s life was more than enough.

Various classes of US. Navy SSN class submarines from 1960s through current times.

When devoting some time to reflect, not only of the bold actions of the generation of Cold War submariners, but beyond to theSilent Service as a whole, from today’s technology rich multi-mission environment to the total warfare of WWII, we can be faced with a heightened and broadened picture of the silent service’s reality and how we were and are an important part of it.

To understand the crisis and relation of the powerful nature of the submarine in unrestricted war is to developed a deep respect for the vision, the innovation and the heroic daring of the WWII submariners. America was caught on her heels by the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and the initial small fleet of submarines responded in the fight for survival. Those who fought in the fleet subs overcame many epic obstacles including archaic doctrine and tactics, long deployments far from any support and deep in enemy territory, short upkeep periods in-between, the horrific experience of depth charging, the close and closed often fetid and oxygen depleted nature of surviving submerged, and the supreme frustration of their own torpedoes that failed to perform in a variety of ways including some  that circled back home in that nightmare scenario.

Another unique problem encountered by U.S. submarines on patrol, often operating in radio silence secret deep in enemy held seas and needing to frequently run on the surface to recharge batteries, was being attacked by allied aircraft who were unable to identify U.S. submarines or were just too exuberant to exercise any care.

Nevertheless, despite being shot at by our own fighter planes when not involved in joint operations, the Silent Service provided the best safety nets for downed pilots. Many were rescued by the submarines going into harm’s way often within range of the enemy planes and shore batteries. Perhaps the most famous rescued pilot was President George H.W. Bush, then a young navy lieutenant.

Machine and man were destined to be drawn together to fight the unrelenting forces of the ocean and of the enemy.  The intelligent resourcefulness, tenacity, fortitude, collaboration, and lack of tolerance for bullshit embodied by the U.S. Navy submariners were instrumental in turning the tables on a powerful foe in dramatic fashion – leading to ultimate victory.

The impact of WWII leadership in submarine warfare and the establishment of a well maintained and leading edge U.S. Navy submarine force, ready for war but with a vision of peace, has shaped the world as we know it.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Unknown-2-1.jpeg
Two of the Silent Service’s legends of WWII, Dick O’Kane and Skipper Dudley “Mush” Morton return to Pearl Harbor from Wahoo’s3rd war patrol in 1943.

IMPACTING NAVAL WARFARE

In World War II, there were seven submarine captains who were awarded the Medal of Honor for their “Conspicuous Gallantry and Intrepidity at the risk of this life above and beyond the call of duty…” They are:

CAPT  John Philip Cromwell, USS Sculpin

CDR Samuel David Dealey, USS Harder

RADM Eugene Bennett Fluckey, USS Barb

CDR Howard Walter Gilmore, USS Growler

RADM Richard H. O’Kane, USS Tang

VADM Lawson P Ramage, USS Parche; and

CDR George Levick Street, III, USS Tirante.

To offer you a snapshot of the impact of the WWII Fleet submarines, I want to quote RADM Richard “Dick” O’Kane from his book “Wahoo”.

“Our submarines sank over 1,300 merchantmen, half again the number sunk by all other forces combined. Over 200 warships were sunk, which exceeded even the number sunk by U.S. Naval Air; and, in addition, there were 300 special missions. All of this was accomplished by a force manned by only 2% of the United States Navy’s personnel. After the war, Japanese admirals and generals alike place U.S. submarine operations first in the factors leading to the fall of the Empire.

“The results were not achieved without the most severe penalties…”

52 submarines were lost out of about 263 that made war patrols and 3,505 shipmates are still on patrol“our submarines had the highest casualty rate in the armed forces, six times that in surface ships, for boats engaged the enemy continuously throughout the war, except for about 3 weeks between 2-month patrols.”

Navy Medal of Honor – source quietwarriors.wordpress.com – (image may be subject to copyright).

 

 

Support the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum

Don’t miss the opportunity to support the legacy of the Silent Service while providing recognition of SSN-698with a tax-deductible gift. It’s a twofer. Make your donation before January 1st 2020 in our effort to achieve special honors for USS BremertonSSN 698. Donations of any amount are welcome!

The museum is involved in a substantial and exciting new revitalization of their facility to help better educate the public about the Silent Service. As alumni of the Bremertonwe have an opportunity to help make an impact as well as driving at achieving special sponsorship status and recognition with respect to USS Bremerton SSN-698. Please click on the link/image of the Bowfin below for more information.

All donations are made through the Bowfin.org websiteand go directly to their renovation and expansion efforts. Corporate sponsors welcome.

.

 

Captain Wes Bringham dub-honors 698

as the “American Classic”

Go to this link for the story and video. or click on the image

CDR Wes Bringham and the famous O’Kane cribbage board.

 

 

698 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 her date with destiny. Decom ceremony and reunion in Bremerton are tentatively scheduled for Spring of 2021, that puts BadFish on course for a 40 year run.

Cheers – from RMCS(SS) Don Jones, Plankowner, SSN698

 

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

 

 

THE “AMERICAN CLASSIC”

Editor’s notes:

The following article is a republication of an original work in 2016 by contributing writer and plankowner Russ Woods who offers his insights to life on the Bremerton during the early days as she began her ocean going journey out of the shipyards. Although we in the early generations of 698 crews did not refer to our boat as the BadFish, Russ offers this as a token of respect all the submariners who were ever part of the vital life blood and spirit of the Bremerton.

Not only does Russ Woods offer valuable crew member insights of the early years of the Bremerton, he also offers it with a certain retrospective sharpness, humility and self-disclosure that I appreciate as a fellow submariner and shipmate.

For the volunteers who fulfilled the mission of the United States Navy’s Silent Service, those precious years often become a legacy we never planned on.

“American Classic” is the age-defying honor publicly given to the BadFish by then Bremerton Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Wes Bringham, in the Kitsap Sun video published on February 28, 2016. To see the popular video featuring Captain Bringham, go to the link at the bottom of the page.

EastPacmanningbridge1
The new shining star of the US Navy’s submarine fleet, USSBremertonarriving in Bremerton, Washington, Fall 1982. Image courtesy of Donald Jones, Plankowner, USS Bremerton.

 

 

USS BREMERTON: AN “AMERICAN CLASSIC”

By Russ Woods

In my time I served in three different submarines: Bremerton, Henry M. Jackson and Michigan. I was fortunate enough to be a Plankowner in Bremertonand Henry M. Jackson.

I must confess in my youth I did not demonstrate the affection for my Submarine as I seem to these days. I was just as quick to make comments like “This boat sucks” or “I hate this boat” as many of my shipmates did at one time or another. Case in point “C.A.R.T.” – If you were there you know what this means.

How naïve I and we were. As many of you have experienced or at least heard, the ’98 boat was a problem child. She was impudent and cantankerous. She did not seem to want to come out of the gate. We, my Plankowner shipmates and I, collectively through hard work, inspiring dedication and endurance of significant hardships brought her out. We were also one of the last to hear the phrase “Rig for Rickover”. Those who were there know exactly what that means.

How were we to know then we were serving in a history-making Warship? The first clue should have been her maiden voyage around the southern tip of Africa and into the Indian Ocean, where she performed flawlessly while we troublemakers steered her into troubled waters and performed sneaky spy stuff on the unsuspecting Soviets and the hapless Libyans motoring around in shallow waters that they felt they were the masters of. Yea, not so, says Badfish 698.

Then a short few months later our girl goes out on a pleasure cruise to visit her namesake city and allow us steely eyed denizens a “fun run” to reward us for our great service to America. But in an instant the Badfish phone rang and Uncle Sugar needed us to re-think our priorities and turned our “fun run” into a Spec-Op. And of course our thoroughbred answered the call and hit full stride on our run to the Pacific North West to counter Ivan’s nefarious plans. She made history then by becoming the fastest submarine in the fleet and by extension the fastest in the world.

The Captain’s log from commissioning forward reads of one challenging exploit after another that our girl accepted and excelled at.

When I reflect back on my sometimes crappy attitude that at times I demonstrated I feel a strong pang of regret deep inside my soul. I am hopeful any of my shipmates who occasionally shared my bad behavior have been fortunate enough to feel remorse for their wicked tongue that blasphemed against what is now our pride.

She is now beyond a shadow of a doubt the finest of the 688 class. Testimony to the professionalism of her first august crew and every single crewman who has served in her since. We my shipmates own a part of history. No matter what those evil yard birds do to her after she is finally decommissioned, she will always belong to the Ages. Her name will be there at the top of the list of longest serving submarines in our country’s history. Our great grandchildren and beyond will see her name in Jane’s fighting Ships. They will be able to say with pride, “My great-grandfather served in her.”

Yes, any of us who besmirched her name even once should feel justly ashamed. Because USS BremertonSSN 698 was taking us all on a ride in history. Marking us as a very privileged group. A brotherhood of the Badfish, an “American Classic”.

russwoodsRuss Woods,Plankowner, back in the day.

 

 

****

698 News

Support the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum

Don’t miss the opportunity to support the legacy of the Silent Service while providing recognition of SSN-698 with a tax-deductible gift. It’s a twofer. Make your donation before January 1st 2020 in our effort to achieve special honors for USS Bremerton SSN 698. Donations of any amount are welcome!

The museum is involved in a substantial and exciting new revitalization of their facility to help better educate the public about the Silent Service. As alumni of the Bremerton we have an opportunity to help make an impact as well as driving at achieving special sponsorship status and recognition with respect to USS Bremerton SSN-698. Please click on the link/image of the Bowfin below for more information.

All donations are made through the Bowfin.org website and go directly to their renovation and expansion efforts. Corporate sponsors welcome.

Click on me! USS Bowfin.org

 

Captain Wes Bringham dub-honors 698 as the “American Classic”

Go to this link for the story and video. or click on the image

CDR Wes Bringham and the famous O’Kane cribbage board.

 

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 her date with destiny. Decom ceremony and reunion in Bremerton are tentatively scheduled for Spring of 2021, that puts BadFish on course for a 40 year run.

 

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