Captain Christopher Lindberg, Commanding Officer of the USS Bremerton SSN-698, in his personal effort to connect with USS Bremerton alumni residing around the world, wants to hear from you and your desire to attend the DECOM Ceremony on May 18th – VIRTUALLY.
Being the skipper of the longest serving fast attack submarine in the United States Navy, he more than understands the difficulties that the COVID restrictions have had on both public/alumni access to the ceremony and travel. He is ready to hear from you.
Send your messages up until May 16th
Please send an email letter stating
Your name, rank/rate and brief history of your service onboard Bremerton, and which City/State/Country you plan to be watching from.
Similar details of other shipmates who will be joining with you to help celebrate.
An unclassified anecdote from your experience on the boat that you are willing to share with the CAPT is welcome
Send your introduction to:
please address your letter to CAPT. Chris Lindberg
NOTE: The DECOM Ceremony is scheduled to be held at Keyport, WA, on May 18th, 2021 at 13:00 (PST). Estimated duration of the ceremony is approximately 1 hour.
NOTE: Due to the Navy’s continuation of its strict COVID regulations, the DECOM ceremony is not open to public or general alumni access.
Bremerton along with DECOM/Reunion event organizers will be addressing live attendance and other issues during a meeting on Monday evening, 19 APR 21.
The decisions will be factoring the latest State and Navy requirements as well as crew and alumni need for planning and desire to attend.
Given the tight COVID restrictions for active military, there has, until recently, been plenty of concern that any significant alumni participation would be allowed; nevertheless, it is now expected a certain number of alumni participation is possible for both the DECOM ceremony and a follow-on 698 celebration to be held at the Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo on the evening of May 18th.
If you have submitted contact information via this website during this recent and urgent push, the information received has been submitted to the Command for their consideration. Information will continue to be submitted as it is received.
Official invitations are pending next week’s decisions.
On Sunday, May 16, two days before DECOM, the 2021 Bremerton SSN698 Reunion Officially begins
A core group of USS Bremerton SSN698 alumni spearheaded by shipmate Joel Walton have made plans for a multi-day rendezvous at the Horse & Cow in Bremerton, WA with the intention of Celebrating the life of the boat with those who knew and know the boat the best.
Joel is no stranger to reunion planning and organizing as he has made critical contributions in both 2016 and 2018. He and his wife Kimberly provided superb support, especially for the awesome dinner event in 2018.
With DECOM being on Tuesday May 18th, the core Reunion dates are May16 (check in) through May 19 (check out).
However, I’ve arranged a hotel block for May 16 though May 21st check out allowing some flexibility depending on the independently organized DECOM celebration events that are TBD and TBA.
Horse & Cow: The Submariners Watering Hole
To further the prospects of a memorable reunion with a comfortable submariners’ atmosphere, the social distancing rules are slackening which will allow the Horse & Cow to open their private room. Joel has confirmed H&C’s support for the BadFish’s reunion members from May16 through May 18th.
As Joel puts it, “[we have] for May 16th, 17th and 18th … the upstairs from 5:00pm to closing… they have their own bar up there and it’s … a place we can order drinks and food as a no host on your own sort of thing and just hang out… we could put on some program [as] they do have some options available, but [we are set] to have an informal mixer… “
Many of us think Joel is right on with the informal mixer as a basis. This addresses the core function of a reunion and that is to have an opportunity to get together with old shipmates. With some good food and drink it makes it merrier, but as a matter of fate, the bonus is the reunion is going to occur during an important evolution in the life of the Bremerton.
Fairfield Inn & Suites, Bremerton, Room Block Available
To accommodate the Badfish gathering, a block of 30 rooms at the FAIRFIELD INN has been established within a short distance (approximately 750 feet) from the Horse & Cow. We will work on acquiring more rooms based on the projections over the next few weeks. The nearby Hampton Inn is also an overflow or alternative for accommodations and additional gathering area by the waterfront depending on how the situation develops.
As of April 3, 2021 when this post is being written, not knowing the Navy approved pre-and-post DECOM events, the Fairfield block is for any Bremerton Reunion attendee who wants to reserve any set of days within the May 16th (check in) through May 21st (check out) time frame.
Room rates are $109 (includes Breakfast and Wifi, parking is extra) for a King or two Queen Guest Room.
Book on or before MAY 1st to secure a room and the special room rate.
Individuals may cancel their reservations but must be 48 hours prior to your arrival to avoid late cancellation charges.
1) Transit to Patrol Zone in proximity of DECOM activities.
2) Arrive on station two days prior to primary scheduled DECOM activity
3) Take part in celebration with shipmates in DECOM area at point H&C beginning on May 16th
4) Establish self-directed patrol pattern between point H&C and point FI (approximately 750 feet distance).
5) While conducting Reunion Operations be prepared for DECOM activities.
6) Be part of a full group photo this time
In Summary As of 03 APR 21
It is highly anticipated that the DECOM organizers will broadcast their specifics in due time. The Badfish alumni have launched an independent and flexible celebration, beginning May 16th, with respect to the established DECOM date (May 18th) and in parallel with the anticipated Naval and Civic time line for additional celebrations.
Besides making reservations, what can you do now?
Besides hanging on for DECOM updates as plans are likely to go to the wire due to the COVID restriction watch, go and submit your contact information through this website. This information will be forwarded to the Bremerton DECOM planning group in preparation for any scenario where U.S. Navy invitations will be sent out.
HIT “698 ALUMNI SIGNUP” and follow the instructions if you have not already or need to update your info.
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.
What we have, though specific details of the event have not been updated for several months is:
THE DECOM CEREMONY
DECOM will be held at KEYPORT NAVAL UNDERSEA MUSEUM on APRIL 16, 2021.
This is the latest official information and it has not yet been changed.
This is open to the public and will adhere to all of the social distancing rules that will be in effect at that time.
We do not know details yet of how the ceremony may be broadcasted via internet or other method.
However, as of January 2021, the MUSEUM IS CLOSED, but one would presume the DECOM ceremony would still be performed. The situation requires continued monitoring.
As for a DECOM ceremony being held near the boat… that time has long been gone. Basically, for those of you who are late to the game, that’s why Decom ceremonies for boats in Deep Shipyard are conducted at Keyport.
COVID RULE AFFECTED ACCOMODATIONS AND VENUES
Using the Fairfield Inn as a benchmark due to it’s proximity to the Horse and Cow and the waterfront district, we have a condition report as of January 5, 2021.
-BLOCK RESERVATIONS can be made for alumni at a rate of $104 per night for a room with a king size or two queens.
This from the Fairfield Inn group coordinator on Jan 5, 2021: ” For a your group in April, I can quote a rate of $104 per night for the rooms. For the room block we need a cut off date of about 30 days prior to your event, and any cancellations of the group due to Covid restrictions have no penalty. We do ask for 30 days notice of cancellation if possible. We are not requiring deposits for room blocks at this time. ”
Proposed block dates are Wednesday, April 14 through Monday, April 19. How long would you like to hang out?
There are recommended quarantine rules post inbound travel in place but they are not mandatory.
Group meeting areas are limited to 25% capacity. This is the general rule for all meeting spaces. For example the 120 group capacity meeting room at the Fairfield will be limited to 15 people with social distancing. I know that sounds like less than 25% but that’s what it comes to, a ball room could suffice for a welcome area, but not for a major gathering.
Across the board, establishments are subject to quarantine rules.
HORSE & COW and other local restaurants are limited to take out and outdoor social distanced dining when available.
Museums and even the USS Turner Joy (the Destroyer on the waterfront) are closed.
The Fairfield and the Hampton are under the same management, so details will be similar to both hotels.
Even the awesome breakfast buffet has been modified for social distancing some how.
Catering for a group event can be provided by the hotel from the tavern across the street called the AX & ARROW, which is a veteran owned establishment.
At the moment, I don’t see a whole lot of organizing for this event based on the current limitations.
The are no tours on submarines or on anything this time, no getting on base for fun, no late nights trying to get your base security credentials straightened out. No confrontations with Squadron, NBK Security, or any other control point.
Centralized accommodations would make it easy to gather.
A group photo is still important. Don’t forget. And don’t use a mission impossible camera.
A transportation plan is needed for the day of the DECOM ceremony.
-The number of people renting cars and the amount of parking at Keyport would be helpful info.
-Limo bus rental is a possibility since many will not have rental cars. A quick sampling of hired 10-30 passenger options range from $500-1500 or higher depending on the number and style of vehicle.
-LYFT – UBER
Don’t know about your State, but Washington and California, where I live, have similar COVID restrictions.
Personal considerations regarding health, living with any high-risk family members or roommates, your work’s quarantine policies may affect your decisions.
THIS IS THE SITUATION AS OF JANUARY 2021 Things can change, so this is what makes this a bit harder to manage or organize anything too ambitious. It’s possible to see the essentials of a reunion to meet with shipmates, albeit affected by rules of engagement in the public spaces.
Your ideas are welcomed.
THAT IS IT FOR THE SANE SIDE
P.S. WELCOME TO THE UNDERWORLD – THE UNDER THOUGHTS OF A REUNION PLANNER
Trying to develop a picture from a murky situation, when you just want to hear anything.
“SONAR-CONN -TALK TO ME, SONAR…”
Putting into words the current situation in regards to the upcoming DECOM of the USS Bremerton (SSN 698) is not something I’m gung-ho about but given I am a blogger with a light finger on the pulse of the 4-month period leading up to the April 2021 DECOM date, the dilemmas deserves some effort to unpack during this time of unparalleled and real complications.
So this is what you want the sonar supervisor of a writer to do sometimes, make subjective calls and reports to the CONN:
What I am going to write is not based on anything official, oh not at all, but just observing the international and national state of affairs, insight from shipmates who have either a better view of things than I do, and the blank responses from people which can mean more than saying nothing in particular.
For many of you who will look at this as sort of no holds barred go for broke attitude towards planning that parallels your pent up desire to party, un-shelter, or just plain explode, what I am going to write may sound like a restraining order. Yet, in either case, it can spur dialogue and ideas in these unconventional days we live.
“SONAR-CONN: COMMENCE REUNION PLANNING”
Planning an event like a reunion attached to a DECOM ceremony requires some known factors, things we usually take for granted in an open and law-abiding peacetime society, like:
Unrestricted group and individual travel
Access to military units and facilities
Direct and indirect support from the military
Unrestricted accommodations and meeting facilities
“SONAR-CONN: SECURE REUNION PLANNING”
“CONN-SONAR, AYE. GOING ACTIVE.”
Now, let’s be blunt. You don’t hear much about it with all the noise but in so many ways our military, our US Navy in particular with their long term deployments, is at a high state of alert and between internal and external threats and the restrictions based on health issues and/or political overreach, we have one difficult situation to plan anything, at least anything that you would expect to stick that rises to the level of an EPIC BASH.
It’s a sobering thought and one that puts DECOM ceremonies and reunions attached to them in a priority somewhere far below national security and operational readiness of all active duty personnel.
As another shipmate pointed out, submarine tours have long become a thing of the past in today’s ever tightening security environment, not to mention COVID, yea, the CCP virus, the possible operation altering virus is an unwanted enemy collaborator.
Moreover, the Badfish, is in DEEP SHIPYARD getting ready to have her atomic guts removed and the only people who can see her are hard-hatted googley-eyed aliens who are hovering with sinister intentions to our ol’ gal’s feminine figure. Hazardous work zone, no public access. Dig it? Those yellow and black cross striped signs keeping the creeps out.
If you as a retired 698 bubblehead weren’t caught stealing aboard the Navy Bus to tour the 698 when she was last seen tied up at NBK BREMERTON Pier D in 2018 during that slimmest of opportunities to see the American Classic in one piece, well, sorry, you missed it.
If you blinked too long when she arrived from Pearl then left for Puget-Sound Naval DEEP SHIPYARD, you missed the boat. Literally.
As one associated with reunion organization, I must believe, the reunion space will avail itself, if at all, close to the scheduled date on April 25th, it’s highly likely that any action taken will occur much like in 2018 – close into to the target, where the target solution is known, it cannot evade, the options are clearly defined and the immediate environmental conditions are unlikely to change. High probability mean less wasted effort although it’s likely to be like an emergency drill just like in 2018 or maybe worse, unless there’s not much to organize.
While we have little control of the national requirement for operational readiness in our volatile world, we can continue to assess the changes and effects of COVID restrictions and be prepared to move if there is any certainty closer to the planned date for DECOM.
Until the situation gets more clear, it will take more personal assessment (especially for any quarantine requirements affecting your work and travel plans), patience, flexibility, imagination, possible local organization on part of reunion participants, maybe a private date with your own bottle of your favorite brown liquid, and a crucifix pointed at the commie-controlled ZOOM software, as we take part in commemorating the formal ending of the Commissioned life of the Bremerton, a veteran of the COLD WAR.
If there’s anything to contradict what I’ve written, I’m sure I’ll get word. I’m sure you’ll tell me.