In Memory of USS Anchorage LSD-36

Editor’s Note: This post is inspired by fellow Navy man, Michael P. McGrath, who served on the USS Anchorage LSD-36. He brought to our attention the demise of his ship at the hands of the USS Bremerton. As he puts it,

“No, I do not like it one bit …. but, if anyone was to sink my ship, I’m glad it was SSN-698. GO NAVY!” (See website at lsd36.com).

 

 

An ODE to the SHIPS we served

An excerpt from “The United States Navy” (422) by CAPT Edward L. Beach

“There always has been a mystique involving the self-contained little world of a large, well-founded ship, combating the far greater elements of wind and sky and the huge, trackless, sometimes malevolent sea. It was not lessened when the lovely square-riggers with their clouds of grey-brown canvas gave way, unwillingly, unavoidably, to steel behemoths powered by steam engines. There has always been something mysterious, and beautiful, about a ship on the bosom of the sea, something which makes men fall in love with her, even invest in her a living personality. But not only did a big ship become a living, sentient being to those who served her, she was also a community of kindred souls, of men who thought alike and worshipped at the same shrine. Never, even to the youngest sailor, has a ship been only a mechanism. To men who have devoted their lives to ships, any ship – but principally their own ship – becomes their reason for life itself…”

 

Image source: pinterest.com

 

 

 

USS Anchorage LSD-36 (image source clker.com)

 

USS ANCHORAGE LSD-36

Commissioned: 15 March 1969

Received by the Deep/Target Ship: 17 July 2010 Sunk by a torpedo from USS Bremerton (SSN-698)

 

The following was excerpted from http://lsd36.com/Archives/SHIP-INFORMATION.html

“SHIP’S MISSION: To embark, deploy and land elements of a Marine Landing Force in an assault by helicopter, landing craft, amphibious vehicles or by a combination of these methods…

…USS Anchorage was equipped with machine shops and repair facilities, and along with two 50-ton Boat & Aircraft Cranes; one port, one starboard, could provide drydock services for vessels up to harbor tug in size. This is when the flight deck could be removed.

This ship could embark 302 troops and had extensive storage facilities, including 1,400 cubic feet for cargo and ammunition stowage and 8,400 square feet for vehicle storage. Her flight deck had one helicopter spot and could carry two LCAC (Landing Craft, Air Cushion) in their well decks. More landing craft could be carried if the Mezzanine Deck were removed…

USS Anchorage was the first ship to be named after Alaska’s largest city. The ship is lead ship of her class and is the fourth class of LSD to be built. Her motto is ‘Sui Generis’, meaning ‘unique; of its own kind’…

USS Anchorage saw 34 years of honorable service after being commissioned in 1969. Before decommissioning in 2003, USS Anchorage patrolled in three of the world’s oceans and countless trouble spots, deploying 19 times from her home ports of San Diego and Long Beach. USS Anchorage earned the distinction of being the most decorated dock landing ship on the West Coast with 16 awards.”

 

SINK-EX

During the 2010 SINK-EX, after being pounded by all sorts of weapons from the air and the surface, the noble Anchorage stayed afloat. Waiting patiently for her turn, the USS Bremerton was ordered to fire a single MK-48 ADCAP torpedo, and with a perfect shot sent the ex-USS Anchorage LSD-36 to her final resting place.

All images below are sources from the QuickTime video in the link below:

http://lsd36.com/Archives/(QuickTime video of MK48 sinking of the ex-USS Anchorage LSD-36)

 

 

USS Bremerton (SSN-698) approaches at periscope depth
Making the shot a good one

A strong ship, it takes almost 22 minutes for the Anchorage to succumb to the death blow from Bremerton’s MK48, yet fate waits, and the ocean receives her.

The MK-48’s signature fatal buckling of the ship’s structure

The ocean is the Anchorage’s final resting place.
Image Source: Michael Gendron

 

Editor’s Note: Thanks to several Badfish shipmates who chimed in to confirm this SINKEX activity in 2010, including Shane Madak, Gene Gard, Marlo DelPueblo, Matt Eliason, Jeffrey Tottingham, Randall Moore, Jared Simpson, Steven Ralph, Michael Gendron, John Scanlan, Ron Shirey and John Stolhand.

 

 

Copyright © 2019-2022 bremertonreunion.net

DECOM: May 18th is Approaching

HERE’S AN UPDATE, with 2 months left and counting on what is happening with the DECOM of the USS Bremerton SSN 698 and what it means for you if you are interested in attending.

The date is still May 18th, 2021 and, until further notice, will be at the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport, Washington.

In the COVID environment, where nothing is planned without having to take the social restrictions into account,  staunch allies are preparing for various scenarios, namely the Navy League of The United States Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Council (Capt. Alan Beam – CO#3)  in coordination with community leader and super supporter Patty Lent, former Mayor of the city of Bremerton, and the liaison from the USS Bremerton, LT. William Trettin. Because of the limitations imposed by the Museum at Keyport, the organizers are considering other venues; therefore, the next month has the potential for surprises.

FIRST, they are looking into the possibilities of holding the DECOM ceremony at a venue that can accommodate more people.  Keyport’s auditorium is currently limited to 50 people. IF a viable outdoor option is determined, this will allow numbers of Bremerton’s veterans and supporters to be on site to witness the ceremony.  Ultimately, the number of invitations to be sent out to alumni will be affected by where the ceremony will take place. A factor in the decision process, because of the involvement of active duty personnel, is the review and approval of ComSubGrp9.

SECOND, there are several considerations for a celebration party on various dates about the time of the DECOM. The fact that the Navy has cancelled many of their normal social collaborations during the month of May makes one of the popular party venues a possibility on May 20th. This date has been held in reservation by the Navy League for an event that the Navy backed out of. The 20th date for a party is close enough to the actual DECOM to be considered as an official part of the Bremerton’s celebration with alumni present.

Despite restrictions being in place, time is on our side. The State of Washington is loosening its social distancing rules, and, thanks to the decision of Captain Christopher Lindberg, May is further away than April. Further is better.  March already has loosening measures in place though we need to continue our approach to get a better picture.

What can you do now?

Besides hanging on for updates, go and submit your contact information through this website. This information will be forwarded to the Bremerton in care of LT Trettin in preparation for any scenario where invitations will be sent out.

HIT “698 ALUMNI SIGNUP” and follow the instructions if you have not already or need to update your info.

 

 

698 PLAQUE AT THE PACIFIC FLEET SUBMARINE MUSEUM

USS Bremerton Alumni participated in a campaign in support of the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum that was completed in early 2020.

 

An update from CAPT. Chuck Merkel, Executive Director at the museum:

This is a quick note to update you on our renovation.  When we broke ground in January 2019, we knew there would be challenges, but no one envisioned a world-wide pandemic.  I am happy to report that we are on track to complete our project early next year.  For the latest progress photos, I am regularly updating the drop box at this link:
.
.

The SSN Plaque is here!

The final grand-spanking total qualified our group for the $25,000 24 inch SSN and it was created in silver to stand out from the crowd. Yes, some killer donations came through on behalf of the Bremerton to bring us up to the highest level. The result is something every BADFISH sailor can take pride in.

The inscription is a composition of several shipmates’ ideas and crafted to fit in the allowable space.

Photo courtesy of Chuck Merkel of the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum and Bowfin Memorial.

“Dedicated to the USS BREMERTON (SSN 698) Her Officers and Men

Submariners Standing Ready to Defend Our Country”

 

The WALL

 



 


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? Do you wish to be involved before, during and after her decommissioning in whatever works are needed to establish the memory of 698 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 © 2019-2020 bremertonreunion.net

 

First Wartime Christmas Story

-from “Christmas Retreat” from the Book “Dive!” by Deborah Hopkinson

The story is from Mel Eckberg who served as a radio and soundman in Seawolf (SS-197) as the United States entered World War II

image source: wikipedia

 

“There wasn’t much we could do about celebrating Christmas,” said Mel Eckberg. The Seawolf had been on patrol since December 8 with no end in sight; the men would spend their first wartime holiday at sea.

Eck felt depressed about being so far away from Marjorie and baby Spike. He would miss his son’s first Christmas. Yet thanks to some of his inventive crewmates, there turned out to be some surprises. “The first inkling I had was when I strolled into the mess hall after my afternoon watch on December 24.”

As Eck and a few others were leafing through magazines, John Edward Sullivan burst in, beaming and red-faced. “Sully” was the chief yeoman, serving as the clerk for the Seawolf, handling files and supply orders, and maintaining official records.

“’ ‘Well boys, she’s finished. Want to take a look at her?’ ” Sully asked.

“ ‘What’s finished?’ ” Eck and the others wanted to know.

“ ‘Why, my Christmas Tree.’ “

Sully led the way into the yeoman’s office. There, Eck laid eyes on a Christmas tree – or at least what passed as a Christmas tree on a submarine at sea. A broom handle served as the tree trunk, with tongue depressors as branches.

“He’d made tinsel by gluing tinfoil from cigarette packages to strips of paper, and decorated the branches with that. He’d painted half a dozen flashlight bulbs green and red and silver and strung them about on a dry-battery circuit, and so his Christmas tree gleamed green, red, and silver  a work of art two feet high….

“We liked that little Christmas tree,” Eck recalled, “ The men would look at it, and someone would say, ‘Jeez, isn’t that a pretty little thing,’ and then you’d hear someone else’s voice ‘Sure wish I was home tonight.’ “

That wasn’t the only surprise. A while later, someone hung up some stockings bulging with with what Eck considered “the wildest collection of junk I’d ever seen in my life. A bunch of garlic; a twelve-inch Stilsen wrench; a can of oil.”

Eck lingered in the small messroom, unable to sleep. Just before midnight, crewmates wandered in to wish one another a merry Christmas.

“There was a lump in my throat,” he said. “I had to swallow a few times, sitting there, thinking.  Here it is Christmas, and Marjorie and Spike alone at home, not knowing if I’m dead or alive, and we’re off Corregidor, and men are dying in Bataan, and we don’t know if we’re going to be dead or alive ourselves twenty-four hours from now.”

On Christmas Day, the Seawolf’s crew got one more unexpected gift – courtesy of the cook. “Gus Wright came into the mess hall [or mess room, the area where enlisted men eat and relax] and announced what we’d have for dinner that night – mince pies. He’d been up all night baking them, twenty of them. Gus was the hero of the boat that day.

“He was a thin fellow, about twenty-eight, with buck teeth and a pleasant way about him; and the fuss the crew made over his surprise made him so happy that his eyes got watery, and he went back into the galley and banged his pans around until he got it out of him.

“A Christmas tree, mince pies – well, it was a better Christmas than the boys had on Bataan and Corregidor, we thought.”

(End excerpt)

We’re grateful for Mel and his personal story and honor the sacrifices made by the submariners of the Silent Service.

Image Source: pigboats.com

 

Copyright © 2019-2020 bremertonreunion.net

698 Alumni Search

Based on the membership of SSN 698 related social media groups, there are roughly 300 shipmates on-line out of the estimated 1400 to 1500 or more sailors who served on the USS Bremerton SSN 698.

You may know some shipmates who are not using social media and can only be contacted by email, telephone, US Mail or by website. Please forward this information to them.

Capt. Alan R. Beam (698 CO #3), one of the key organizers of events related to USS Bremerton, requested that alumni information be gathered. In effort to consolidate contact information specifically for USS Bremerton SSN 698 alumni, a user driven database on this website has been established where contact and some service information can be entered and collected.

In the header menu you will see 698 Alumni Sign Up. There, you may volunteer your information by clicking on it and entering your contact and other requested information.

By providing some specific service info, we want to weed out imposters as well as help document a part of the history of the 698.  In order to add yourself to the database, some of the service information is not required, though all the information is requested.

This information will only be used by USS Bremerton SSN 698 event organizers and it is understood that your contact information will be used for announcements and other event business. The use of email will help reduce cost of mailing when formal invitations are not required and circumvent difficulties encountered with any given social media platform.

Please, if you are not a 698 Alumni, if you have not served aboard USS Bremerton SSN 698, do not try signing up through the 698 Alumni Sign Up.

In special cases where a shipmate has passed away and you are the primary contact for our lost shipmate, please send a message to bremertonreunion.alumni@gmail.com to request being place on the contact list. We honor the survivors who desire to maintain contact and attend events with those who shared an important part of their loved ones life in the Navy.

If there is significant interest in event info from non-698 personnel, other than survivors, another database may be created. If you are not a 698 alumni and are interested in following events, you can follow this website and/or strongly recommend the Navy League of the Bremerton – Olympic Area website at https://bremolympicnlus.wordpress.com   You may also contact bremertonreunion.alumni@gmail.com with your request to be added to a contact list, use subject: 698 SUPPORTER with a brief description of your connection with the Bremerton and your contact information.

Keep on reading, important note below…

SIGN UP NOTE/CHECK SPAM SETTING:

The sign up tool is designed to provide you a private  link where you can manage your information, however, be on the alert, you may get this email in your spam folder. Please un-spam that email. If you have any issues with receiving the confirmation and link, you may contact this website’s administrator with any problems. Your information can be entered manually by an administrator and, if needed, your lost private link email can be resent.

If you have any suggestions for modifications to the information requested or other bright idea, feel free to contact me at bremertonreunion.alumni@gmail.com

THANK YOU

Photo Courtesy of Bob Miller

 

Copyright © 2019-2020 bremertonreunion.net