698 Reunion Rap

As of February 2023, the there is no expected “major” 698 reunion scheduled for this year.
Having said that… here’s some thoughts off the top of my head…
The wide world of creating a reunion is open to any anyone who has the time, drive and the initiative. There have been some successful reunions organized in the past by a variety of shipmates and this could be a good opportunity for others to step up with ideas for a reunion.
Reunions by Connectability
There is no one way to organize and set the specs on an alumni gathering. A reunion can be anything from meeting with one shipmate, which requires little preparation, to a mass gathering of 100 that can be a passionate ordeal unless you are a professional event planner.
Groups and group ideas I’ve seen or have heard of  in the past  may be a small group that gets together just because they are a really tight circle and they gather every couple years in a place like Las Vegas, or a gathering for a camping and/or fishing trip, someone has access to a cool venue and invites their shipmates, maybe it’s a call to those who served during a particular year(s), someone mentioned an overnighter on a diesel boat, some have even called for participants on a particular WestPac, or under a certain COs.  The possibilities can be quite endless. 
Veteran Activity: Inside a U.S. Army Airborne Association chapter —
There was an army association group I was involved in, the 11th Airborne Division had a national organization and then there would be all kinds of chapters which tended to be regional. My dad was involved in starting a chapter along with some of his fellow troopers who lived in the San Francisco bay area. They named their chapter after their commanding general in WWII who happened to live nearby.
In the early 1980s, about 10 veteran soldiers got together, they ranged in rank from Lt. General to private, and became the first charter members. They were presented aide-de-camp pins from Lt. General Joseph M. Swing in a ceremony at his home in San Francisco.  Thus began their official Lt. General Joseph M. Swing Chapter of the 11th Airborne Division Association.
Once they went down that road, there’s a lot of meetings and record keeping for the non-profit status requirements. I do not think this format lends itself to individual submarine alumni groups but it was interesting to see how involved they were monument creation, community events, service events at the local VA hospital, parades, and giving talks at schools. Every year they would attend the Division reunion, a few I’ve been to, so it was quite organized and part of their lifestyle.
Their format would be most liken itself to the USSVI , where several 698 shipmates have taken leadership and membership roles within that organization.
There was also a renown Airborne sponsored event near Monterey, CA in Marina called Maggie’s Drop-In, named after “Colonel” Martha Raye, the patriotic entertainer who was awarded an honorary Green Beret for her support of soldiers during the Vietnam War. She would make her appearance at the annual and that was a popular gathering for all airborne soldiers and their families. It was highlighted by a massive BBQ and a parachute jump by by a special Army unit. You guys would have had a blast there, I’m sure. Being a submariner, the airborne guys I would meet would almost invariably say something to the effect of, “There’s no &%$#*@ way you’d get me on a submarine.”
Planning Basics – Leadership and Accountability
Planning an event or setting the criteria for who is going to show up will have a lot to do with whoever is willing to call the shots and take on the mantle of organizing a team to put an event together. It really becomes the head organizer’s call and just becomes his prerogative as the lead. (Remember, we are not a monolithic national organization and like the Silent Service, we are all volunteers and often applying our limited resources to the task).
The head organizer or reunion committee, should best understand his/their limitations in regards to time, energy and the venue limitations. It’s a real commitment and more so the larger it gets.
Planning a large event requires a few more hats and budgeting the necessary time to be responsible for broader planning, communication, decisions and execution.
Major events necessarily require a more exhaustive organizing and planning just because it is in effect an open to all who ever served on 698, with considerations for family involvement, and a wide age range of people participating, working hotel accommodations, facilities, catering or working with restaurants with private rooms  – sadly, it’s a bit more complex than getting together at a nice watering hole, most reminiscent of the days when all we could at the spur of the moment take off for the patio lounge of choice to watch an awesome sunset… and then six or more hours later, weave our back to the base and hit the rack and hope you didn’t have duty the next morning (Those were the days, my friends, we’d thought they never end…).
Shipmate Psychology 101
It’s understandable that shipmates gravitate towards those they shared their personal experiences on the boat with, that’s natural and more easily organized.
Some ideas for reunion spots ideas that have popped up so far that are not 698 specific (Pearl, Bremerton, Groton, San Diego) have been
Charleston SC, Little Rock, and Indianapolis.
I bet there’s a Texan out there that would have some wild idea.
I saw two enthusiastic shipmates call for Olangapo.
Obviously, there are ongoing private gatherings of shipmates throughout the country getting together as life permits.
In discussions with previous reunion organizers involved with the INACTIVATION and DECOM reunions (held in Bremerton in 2018 and 2021 which were host to over 100 people on each occasion) our eyes are set on the boat’s “50th Anniversaries” (that’s plural)  to be held in Groton, at least once, in either 2026, 2028 , and/or 2031 (those are special years for 698). Some information has been gathered already in regards organizing an event there by an industrious plankowner 698 TM/SS.
Groton, Connecticut offers attractions no matter who served on 698 or when. This includes SUB School, SUBASE, SHIPYARD, the local hangouts, all able to elicit your memories of your proud service, the camaraderie of your shipmates, and the pure essence of your introduction to the Silent Service.
In regard to USSVI, their annual is in Arizona August 28-Sep2 (about) you can check their website. In lieu of a 698 National Organization (of which there is nothing of the sort), the USSVI can be a surrogate and arrange with your circle to meet at these events.
The CA 130 Bremerton group, once a regularly gathering group of the cruiser’s officers and crew and whose roster included several 698 guys , is no longer meeting, as far as I know. Sadly, Time takes its toll. Let us know if you heard anything different.
Their hopes that the submariners would help takeover the organization did not work out, but to no ones fault. If we look more closely, there are probably many demographic differences between a cruiser (larger crews) of an older generation with less distractions and a submarine crew (with less sailors) growing into the age of technology with every possible distraction known to mankind. 
Nevertheless, the CA-130 sailors, hats off to them, they managed to have a viable group for a very long time.
Getting the Word Out
There are some generic reunion websites out there, you are free to use them. As for this website, I can help make announcements. A non-social media website like this one helps to connect with those who are not members of the various social media apps.
Do you have any event organizing experience and would like to be involved in future reunions?
Your Vision of a Reunion
What are your ideas for a reunion or a good venue? What does your vision of a gathering look like?

Please comment below or send email to:

EMAIL: bremertonreunion.alumni@gmail.com


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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)



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.”



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.



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