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

Let’s meet in 33 years

698 Humor

Inspired by a quip by shipmate Rich Crombie at the USS Bremerton Last Tour Reunion Dinner.

 

Photo Left: 1985 – Petty Officer Yee agrees to work with Cmdr. A.R. Beam, Commanding Officer of the USS Bremerton, 33 years in the future to organize a reunion and tour.        Photo Right:2018 – Challen Yee and Captain Alan Beam standing by the Navy Museum at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (USS Parche Sail Monument) the tour pickup location of the Final Tour of the USS Bremerton (28 May 2018).

 

Pierside – Pearl Harbor 1985

A clairvoyant interlude during an all hands muster:

Cmdr. A.R. Beam: “Petty Officer Yee, you and I are going to have to organize a tour of the boat during a reunion in Bremerton when the boat Decommissions.”

Petty Officer C.K. Yee, “Is this happening any time soon, sir?”

Cmdr. Beam, “33 years from now in 2018. Oh, and by the way, Captain Anderson will win the Grand Raffle Prize at the dinner.”

Petty Officer Yee, “Yes, sir.” Then after a moment pause, “Sir, uh… how do you know this?”

Cmdr. Beam, “That we need to organize a reunion or that the boat will Decommission in 2018?”

Petty Officer Yee, “Sir, how do you know that Captain Anderson wins the Grand Raffle Prize.”

Cmdr. Beam, “There’s nothing we need to worry about there, that’ll just happen, but I assure you, the rest will _not_ be so easy.”

 

CK

 

 

.

P.S.  There’s a difference between something (i.e. this raffle drawing) happening by fate and happening by the hand of man. This was not by the hand of man and that’s what makes it very cool.

 

698: Last Chance Tour

USS BREMERTON (SSN 698)

The BadFish  – The American Classic  –  Our Gal

The Longest Serving Active Duty Submarine in the United States Navy

REGISTRATION CLOSED

“LAST CHANCE TOUR”

698 REUNION

Bremerton, Washington

25-28th May 2018

Organized by USS Bremerton SSN 698 Alumni

 

 

LAST CHANCE TOUR/REUNION  is a PRE-DECOM EVENT sponsored by 698 Alumni

The official U.S. NAVY INACTIVATION and DECOMMISSIONING CEREMONIES (DATES TBD) will occur AFTER the USS BREMERTON is in NAVAL SHIPYARD when ACCESSIBILITY IS HIGHLY RESTRICTED

REGISTRATION CLOSED

REUNION – “FINAL TOUR”  

Saturday May 26 @ 1300 

Sunday  May 27 @ 1000 and 1300 

Monday May 28th @ 1000 

Due to the limited space of this event it only open to 698 Alumni, immediate family or one guest

Surviving family members welcome

All participants in the tour of the USS BREMERTON SSN 698 must have prior approval and placed on BASE-SUB ACCESS LIST

CARD CARRYING MIL-ID Participants must be on the Access List and also carry proof of US Citizenship

ALL NON-MIL ID Participants, including minors (age 11 or older only allowed), must submit a SEC NAV 5512 for background check

PLEASE REVIEW: TOUR SECURITY GUIDELINES

 

REUNION ACCOMODATIONS

Due to the necessarily short-term preparation for this reunion, we are asking all participants to purchase their own accommodations, we recommend the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott (we have a block of rooms there of your convenience that you can reserve by MAY 15th) to be in the area of the Bremerton Boardwalk, the USS Turner Joy, the Horse and Cow, the Puget Sound Naval Museum and other local attractions. Area is close to Ferry terminal. I repeat, We have a block of rooms reserved for USS BREMERTON SSN 698 REUNION at $109 per room per night at the FAIRFIELD INN, check it out and compare.

Other hotels are available within short driving distances at lesser cost, you do the research. BNBs are another option for the adventurous.

 

LOCAL BREMERTON MEMORIAL WEEKEND – EVENTS PAGE – POPUAR WATERING HOLES

 

USS BREMERTON returns to Pearl Harbor for the last time after WestPac deployment 2018 (photo: US Navy).

 

REUNION WEEKEND PROGRAM

PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGES/ALTERATIONS

PLEASE REVIEW: TOUR SECURITY GUIDELINES

 

 

FRIDAY, MAY 27

ARRIVAL AT WILL – EARLY ARRIVERS / FREE TIME / NO-HOST

FREE TIME (Suggestions: Tour USS TURNER JOY, LOCAL NAVY MUSEUMS or Rendezvous with shipmates at the H & C or watering hole of your pick, Enjoy Bremerton and Local Memorial Day Weekend Events0

 

SATURDAY, MAY 26

AM: Coffee Mug gathering (To be located) / ARRIVAL DAY

1200-1230 PICKUP FOR SHUTTLE SERVICE TO NBK PIER-D

DAY: 1300 FIRST GROUP TOUR

 

EVE:  17:00 “ALL HANDS” RECEPTION and DINNER GATHERING  – $53 ALL INCLUDED, RSVP BY WEDNESDAY, MAY 16  (children @ discount)

 

SUNDAY, MAY 27

AM:

0900-0930 PICKUP FOR SHUTTLE SERVICE TO NBK PIER-D

1000 SECOND GROUP TOUR

FREE TIME/ MEMORIAL WEEKEND CHURCH SERVICE (location TBD)

DAY

1200-1230 PICKUP FOR SHUTTLE SERVICE TO NBK PIER-D

1300 THIRD GROUP TOUR

POST TOUR:  No Host HORSE and COW GATHERING where you can drink with happy memories of the boat with your shipmates

EVE: HORSE and COW Continued  / UNPROGRAMMED DINNER  – (698 SUBMARINER’s PICK) Restaurant Adventure.

EVE UNTIL 02:00 = HORSE and COW until the COWS COME HOME.

MONDAY, MAY 28

AM:

0900-0930 PICKUP FOR SHUTTLE SERVICE TO NBK PIER-D

1000 FOURTH GROUP TOUR

FREE TIME/HANGOVER SUSTAINING OR RECOVERY MODE

DEPARTURE AT WILL

 

FINAL TOURS: Brought to you by COMSUBGRU9, NBK-BRMERTON and the OFFICERS and CREW of the BADFISH. CMDR. Travis Zettel Commanding Officer, and the collaboration of 698 Alumni

CONTACT AND REGISTRATION

REGISTRATION CLOSED

CLICK ON LINK BELOW TO CHECK FOR:

REUNION ATTENDEES

TOUR GROUP ASIGNMENTS

 

CONTACT AND REGISTRATION

 

Photo source: Capt. Alan Beam

“Last Muster” Poster artist: Rich Crombie

 

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)

dolphinsgold.jpg

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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