Senior Enlisted Plankowner at Commissioning to attend the Decommissioning Ceremony
On May 18th, 2021 for the USS Bremerton’s (SSN-698) Decommissioning Ceremony at Keyport, Washington, a senior enlisted plankowner was selected to take one of the rare seats available. This year was not possible to have more than 50 participants/attendees due to the strict COVID safety regulations observed by the Navy.
With respect to the late Bremerton plankowner and Chief-of-the-Boat, CMDCM(SS) Paul H. Gagnon, one seat was offered to the most senior enlisted man present at the Commissioning who also is expected to attend the Decommissioning Reunion in Bremerton.
When retired Senior Chief Gregory Carroll signed up to join the reunion in Bremerton, little did he know what was in store for him. He expected to be reunited with several of his fellow shipmates and plankowners including STSCS(SS) Gordon “Gordy” Jennings USN (ret.) (a “Son of Bremerton”) and ETCS(SS) Donald Jones USN (ret.), but Senior Chief Carroll was then STS1(SS) Greg Carroll on the day of Commissioning (and with respect to other requirements set forth by the current Command) was selected to represent all enlisted plankowners and alumni who are unable to attend the ceremony in person.
Other Plankowners expected to attend the reunion are retired Navy submariners, CAPT. Tom Anderson, USN (ret), the first Commanding Officer of USS Bremerton (who is expected to speak at the ceremony), Conrad Bilgrien, John Brunkalla, ICC(SS) Clemon Cager USN (ret.) , Frank Hamilton, Sean Hankin, CDR. Karl Jensen USN (ret) , Jeff Johnson, Thomas McPhillips, EMC(SS) Timothy Payne USN (ret.), John Scanlan, CAPT. David Withers USAF (ret), and ICC(SS) Russ Woods USN (ret.).
Here’s a brief bio on our guy…
Gregory V. Carroll STSCS(SS) USN Ret.
Gregory was born in 1954 and raised in Cape May Court House, New Jersey. He enlisted in the Navy in March 1975.
After completion of Submarine Sonar “A” School at Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center Pacific he reported to the USS Thomas Jefferson SSBN-618 Blue where he served from Dec 1975 until Jan 1978. He then returned to FLEASWTRACENPAC to attend Sonar “A-2” and “C” Schools and AN/BQQ-5 Advanced Maintenance Practices from Mar 78 until Mar 79.
In Dec 78 he married Jolyn Carter who was from Eagle, CO.
He reported to the PCU Bremerton SSN-698 in Apr 79 and served on her until May 1982 as a Sonar Supervisor.
Gregory then received orders to COMSUBPAC Staff and was assigned to the Tactical Weapons Training and Certification Team until July 1984.
In Aug. of 1984 he reported to COMNAVSEASYSCOM where he was the Sonar representative on the SUBACS Operability Review Team (SORT) and worked on the Seawolf SSN-21 design and arrangements.
Gregory then reported to PCU San Juan SSN-751 serving as Sonar Leading Chief Petty Officer and the Combat System Departmental LCPO.
Dec 1988 he again reported to COMNAVSEASYSCOM where he served as Chief Engineer for RADM Doug Volgenau PEO-Submarine Combat and Weapons Systems until 1993 where he was transferred to PMS-450 the Virginia Class Submarine Program Office.
Gregory retired from the Navy in July 1995.
After retiring from the Navy Gregory continued to support the Virginia Class Program Office working as a contractor at several different companies.
Gregory and Jolyn have 1 daughter (Alissa) who was born in Hawaii in 1982.
Gregory retired totally in October 2015. He and his wife Jolyn currently live in Dumfries, VA and spend their winters in Boynton Beach, FL.
All photos of Greg Carroll are courtesy of Gregory and Jolyn Carroll
Note: Please direct any corrections or typos to: firstname.lastname@example.org SUBJ: TYPOS
The DECOM organizing committee is requesting a head-count of those who plan to be present at the Ceremony at Keyport.
During this unprecedented time, with restrictions still in effect, the number of alumni desiring to attend is an important factor. The State of Washington and the Navy requirements are monitored on a daily basis for signs of further relaxing of the restrictions. Nevertheless, “early” intel is useful to accommodate the many alumni, supporters and active-duty crewmembers of USS Bremerton who want to be a live part of the boat’s history.
In addition to the DECOM to be held at Keyport’s Naval Undersea Museum, plans for celebration and reunion events on May 18th are currently in progress in Bremerton and Poulsbo (more news to come). The number of alumni planning to take part is of paramount importance.
Please send an email to BremertonReunion.email@example.com to signal your plans to attend along with a brief description of your service history aboard SSN-698.
Note: If you are a Plankowner who has not already registered with this website, please state you are a Plankowner in your E-mail response.
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
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.
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.
Candid shots of Norm and Annie’s Lounge with the Bremerton Boys
Photos courtesy of Larry and Marianne Tharp.
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
LOOKING BACK – Bremerton’s Sister-Ships at Electric Boat
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.