The Birth of the BAD FISH

Article by Clint Ceralde & Challen Yee

Originally titled and published in April 2017 as: SSN-698: The Origins of the BAD FISH.  It is being republished as part of an effort to consolidate popular 698 stories under


The history of the U.S. Navy’s Los Angeles Class fast attack submarine USS BREMERTON (SSN 698) would have been changed foreverhad it not been for an unresponsive and unmanned Air Force recruiting office, delinquent in their duties to respond to the calls of a young man named Clinton Ceralde.

Back in 1992, Clint found himself captivated by a billboard sign advertising the good life in the Wild Blue Yonder.

He made the trip to his local military recruiting office to discover the flyboys not doing their duty, the office was closed. Soon he found himself a magnet for the nearby ARMY and MARINE recruiters, sort of like being a prospective buyer in a used car lot. Clint found himself clearing datum when he crossed the bow of a couple of sailors lounging in their recruiting office telling sea stories.

Not wasting a trip to the recruiters, Clint entertained the Navy opportunity and steeled himself up to ask the two Navy men, “What does the Navy have to offer me?”

To that, one of the Navy recruiters asked him, “What do you have to offer the Navy?”

It turns out Clint was up for a challenge.

The Air Force will never know who they missed out on.



The Plan of the Day (POD) announcing the winning design (Image courtesy of Clint Ceralde). Yes, the USS Bremertonis the longest serving active duty submarine in the US Navy, going back to year “1”. 😉




The origins of the BADFISH logocome from the artistic talent of Clint Ceralde while stationed aboard USS Bremerton SSN 698, where he served as a Quartermaster from 1992-1996. There he achieved the rank of QM2/SS.

Inspiration can bring out your talent, as Clint puts it, “I did not have any prior graphics experience, except that I liked to draw.” He entered his idea in a command drawing contest for the boat’s softball team in 1993.

His passion, imagination, and willingness to work on his idea helped provide the winning design for the team’s logo along with the name Bad Fish.

Thanks to shipmate Keith Cyr, we have proof of the first generation “Bad Fish” design, a T-shirt still in excellent condition, complete with a Bremerton Travel Mug. The Bad Fish design was created by Clinton Ceralde. This was the pre-1995 version (photo courtesy of Keith Cyr).

Clint recalls some thoughts in the process of the naming of his character, “The drawing was originally “One Bad Fish”, later shortened to just “Bad Fish”. He also credits shipmate QM2 Michael Rhodes for contributing the idea of including the mine in the right hand in the 1995 design (see below).


A second generation of Bad Fish  (Image source courtesy of Clint Ceralde).

The “Westpac 95-USS Bremerton” drawing is a major evolution of Clint’s original design. “If you look under the stern, you can see my signature “Salty”, which was my nickname onboard. Next to Salty, is the letter Z, to give credit to the officer who did the lettering [a rider from the USS Alabama (SSBN 731)].”

In the late 1990’s, Clint’s mighty submarine character was again reunited with the name “Bad Fish” as QM2/SS Michael Rhodes entered them into another command contest. Ultimately the winning design was shopped to a professional graphics artist to compose what most of the public knows today as the Bremerton’smuscular six-pack-ab equipped “BadFish” character with the fists full of torpedoes. The image has since been reproduced on a number of collectible items ranging from paperweights to cigarette lighters and coins to stationary, just to mention a few.

The boat’s official logo is copyrighted by the professional artist, but now you all know how our own Clinton Ceralde brought the popular Bad Fish character to life.


Where is he now?Mr. Clint Ceralde has since made a big career move by earning his Commission in 2006. At the time this article was written in 2017, he was serving at Commander Naval Surfaces Pacificin sunny Coronado, California.  Here is a photo (below) of Clint and some of this shipmates back in the day…

BACK IN THE DAY:USS Bremerton SSN 698 Submariners, enjoying the Hawaiian sunshine and amine-free air after returning from Westpac in 1996. Top Row: Thomas Arnold, Kelly McKinnon, Clint Ceralde, Nat Cowell, and Jason Williams. Kneeling: Dante Craig and Darryl Wright (image courtesy of Clint Ceralde).



The Bremerton’s Official professionally designed Bad Fish logo inspired by Clint Ceralde’s  artwork which was submitted in a command contest in the late 1990’s.  Image source images.


The Proliferation of the Bad Fish (just a few samples)


“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”

– Charles Caleb Colton

Two shirt designs from the collection of Clint Ceralde, spinoffs produced by professional graphic artists inspired by the original Bad Fish

The best we can tell, the artists name is “Steve Goupil” (photo by Clint Ceralde).
We are unable to detect the graphic artist’s signature. We are seeking the name of the professional artist  (Image courtesy of Clint Ceralde).


Editor:The Bad Fish Challenge Coin at top of article, image source is shipmate Mike Meehan EM1/SS.




USS Bremerton SSN 698 News

Emergency Surface – USS Bremerton SSN698 (image source



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.



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.

Copyright © 2019


Yokosuka Approach

Editor’s Note: This sea story was originally posted in July, 2017 and titled “SEA STATE 698”.  It is being republished as part of an effort to consolidate popular 698 stories under

Yokosuka Approach



God rest those seven souls lost very near to where this story took place so many years before.

As news of the tragedy of the collision between USS Fitzgerald and the merchant ship broke last week, I relived a number of close calls that had occurred in my 30-years as an officer in our Navy’s Submarine Force. I served on four fast attack nuclear powered submarines that were all based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. As such, I visited Yokosuka, Japan many times. Ask any submarine officer who with significant experience in the western Pacific and most will tell you that their experience of going into Yokosuka was one of the most challenging of their careers.

My thoughts focused on an event over 31 years ago, when my first boat (submarine) USS Bremerton (SSN-698) surfaced off Tokyo Wan on a dark and stormy night for what was planned to be a quick one-day stop in Yokosuka. I very clearly remember our Captain, Alan Beam remarking (rather prophetically) to me that he did not think that this (the port stop) was going to be worth the trouble.

As we reached periscope depth and prepared to surface, I relieved as Officer of the Deck (OOD) in the ship’s Control Room so that the officer I relieved could man the Bridge when we surfaced. The weather was bad. Our boat was rolling before we ascended to periscope depth – never a good sign. Even as we broached to surface we continued to take water over the fully raised periscope. When we attempted to man the bridge, there was a torrent of water through the bridge hatches. We were lucky that none of the men who were sent to the Bridge were lost. That effort was soon abandoned when the Captain sent the Executive Officer (XO) to the Bridge to retrieve them. Hatches were shut and the men who had been sent up, came down shivering and soaking wet.

Many men became ill, and there were calls for reliefs throughout the boat. Even today I clearly recall my shipmates who were on watch with me in the Control Room during this event. Several others that responded to my Facebook post with their recollections as well. I soon found myself the only officer able to look out the periscope. The radar was operating, but we would soon learn that the mast was bent by the waves that continued to crash over us.

We had our running lights on, and I could see contacts around us and we dodged and weaved through them. When I sighted them, there was only time to make a quick assessment of the relative location (what bearing?) and aspect (which way is he drawing?) before determining if a maneuver was necessary or not. Contacts on the left side drawing left, and contacts on the right drawing right were OK – the others required more attention and a possible course change.

There was no time for formal observations, to make reports and recommendations to the Captain and then give orders. It was up to me – a 25-year-old Lieutenant. I was two years in to my initial sea tour, and had been qualified in submarines less than a year. Here I was looking out the periscope with one eye responsible for the safety of our ship and the lives of my shipmates. At some point, the XO was able to return to the Control Room. All he could do was lay on one of the benches in the Control Room and watch what I was doing. I remember a couple of brief conversations as I rotated the periscope to follow a contact that was passing close to us.

XO: “Are you on a contact?”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

XO: “He must be close.”

Me: “Yes, sir, but we’re not going to hit him.”

After a period of time that grows every time I talk about this event some of my fellow officers recovered sufficiently to assist and eventually relieve me.

We had been operating on Zulu or Greenwich Mean Time, so although it was in middle of the night by local time, we were serving the evening meal when we surfaced that night. Leaving the darkness of the control room, I was unsteady on my feet after looking out into the darkness for several hours. Although the evening meal had been served several hours before, the Crew’s Mess and Galley had not been cleaned up – no one was able to clean. To this day, I remember the meal that was served – breaded (dreaded) pork chops.

I was not ill, but I was not hungry. I went to my bunk and was able to sleep until I was awoken for my next watch.

While I slept, we had obtained permission to submerge until the storm cleared, but had been unable to do so because the radar mast would not lower. When it became light enough and the seas calmed down a little, several men were sent to the Bridge in an unsuccessful attempt to lower the radar mast.

We rode the storm out and arrived safely in Yokosuka. A couple of days late, but exhausted and safe. The radar mast was not repaired, but forced (pounded) down and welded in place by the Ship Repair Facility at Yokosuka, so that we could get underway.  It was the height of the Cold War, and we were needed elsewhere in a hurry, but that is a story perhaps for another day.



Blog Editor’s note: It is a privilege to be able to reprint with permission the recollections of shipmates to bring to life the history of the USS Bremerton. Captain Chuck Merkel, USN (Ret), served as the Combat Systems Officer (Weaps) onboard Bremerton between 1984-1987. Chuck later became the skipper of USS Key West (SSN722) from 2000 -2003. You can read more about Captain Merkel and his experience aboard Key West at the outbreak of war after 9/11 by clicking here

Seascapes used in this article were provided by the blog editor are  inspired and enhanced from details of various Google images. 


USS Bremerton SSN 698 News

Emergency Surface – USS Bremerton SSN698 (image source


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.



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.

Copyright © 2019

698 Legends: MM1(SS) McGann

Editor’s Note: I want to thank Russ Woods, ICC/SS USN (Ret) for keeping the memory alive with another great candid eye-witness reflection about one of the original USS Bremerton SSN 698 sailors.

This is a republication of an original posted in January 2017 in effort to consolidated some relevant 698 history and sea-stories in the website.

If you would like to submit an “unclassified” 698 sea story for publication, please contact me, Challen Yee, for assistance.


MM1(SS) Michael Riley McGann

By Russ Woods

Bremerton – Keyport 2021

photo source:

For those of you unfamiliar with the Bremerton, WA area, the Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport is along Port Orchard Bay, 11 miles due north of the City of Bremerton.

Since most of the submarines being decommissioned, including USS Bremerton, are situated in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in a security zone known and the Controlled Industrialized Area (CIA), access to the public is off limits.  Therefore, it is virtually certain, ceremonies will be held apart from the submarine. In regards to the actual ceremony’s location, it is highly probable that it will be held at Keyport where other boat’s have held their DECOM events.

The Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport (image source:

The latest word regarding the Bremerton is that the Navy will sponsor a Decommissioning ceremony. In the lives of some boats,  there are two separate events, an Inactivation and a Decommissioning (DECOM).

DECOM will be the one and last official ceremonial event in Bremerton’s service to the United States. The timing is based on shipyard schedules and key elements of the work involved. In a recent article, it is estimated by CDR Chris Lindberg, 698’s Commanding Officer, that Spring of 2021 is the period that SSN 698 will Decommission.

Commissioned in March 1981, the good ol’ BadFish is looking to make an amazing 40 year run. 40 years! The first U.S. Navy submarine destined to achieve that milestone. Get ready to hoist your glasses with your shipmates, family and friends, that deserves a grande celebration – as bittersweet as it may be.

The BadFish Beat

A fresh buzz surrounds the USS Bremerton community with the mention CDR Lindberg’s target date. Many of the navy alumni, submariners who have called Bremerton their home, have often expressed that one of the best boats if not the best boat they have ever served on was the Bremerton, a fine testament to their shipmates and to the commanding officers they served under.

Last year, meeting up with the boat before she went into the CIA, affectionately known as “Deep Shipyard”, caught many 698 alumni off guard. The sudden  change in operational orders of the boat, coming straight off a West-Pac to go into the yards for DECOM, was game only for the maniac efforts of the most nimble reunioners ready for rapid deployment.

Many who attended were connected through Facebook which made communication in the fast moving situation feasible. Even so, for this event that was almost conjured out of thin air, we final-mustered a group of over 100 BadFish supporters who were willing to divide into four groups over a 3-day period to take one last reminiscent walk across the well-traveled decks and ladders of the fast-attack submarine.


Get your non-Facebook using Shipmates to Act Now

Over the next year we need to get interested alumni who are not members of Facebook onto our contact list.  If you know any alumni who wants to get a periodic update for reunion news, please email Master Chief Steve Everett at his email: (Subject Line: 698 Email List).

Please also provide your:

  • rate/rank/dept 
  • which years served on 698
  • mailing address (email and postal) and
  • phone number 
  • Surviving family members are also welcomed to send their contact info

Please Note: EMAIL outside of Facebook, is preferred to keep costs down, but if you do not even have email, text messaging is low cost alternate. If you are actually still living in the stone age and has neither e-mail or text message ability, we’ll still do our duty to keep you informed the best we can using the postal service.

Now, we’ve got the Navy time-honored event on the horizon – DECOM. We expect to have room to maneuver our personal schedules to get into position; in the meantime, we hope the Navy will avoid doing any Crazy Ivans with their scheduling. The exact date for DECOM is TBA.

Some people were concerned that the ceremony itself will be a restricted affair in regards to security, location and audience size. At this time, it appears none of these factors will be an issue.

This website was developed particularly for those who are not on social media but have access to the internet. So tell your Facebook-hating shipmates to get their email to Master Chief or at least tell them to subscribe to this website to get important updates.

Stock illustration from Wikipedia, note the VLS Second-Flight mods which are not installed on First-Flight 688s like the American Classic.


08 MAY 1976: KEEL LAID

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


For more information about the museum at Keyport, please click on this link NAVALUNDERSEAMUSEUM


Source photos for Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport:

Copyright © 2019