According to a letter sent out with the official attachment below to all previous Commanding Officers of the USS Bremerton (SSN-698), Captain Chris Lindberg reports that 12:45 today, the Bad Fish, a.k.a. The American Classic is officially decommissioned.
“It has been an extraordinary 40 year run for the best Submarine in the US Navy…” – CAPT. Chris Lindberg.
“TO EVERY OFFICER AND SAILOR WHO STOOD WATCH ON BREMERTON, YOUR LEGACY WILL LIVE ON FOREVER…”
At the Horse & Cow in Bremerton, WA, on the eve of the Decommissioning Ceremony, a restaurant full of USS Bremerton alumni and crew, with drinks in hand, gathered with deep respect for the man who was the Los Angeles Class fast attack submarine’s first Commanding Officer, plankowner CAPT. Tom Anderson.
As he stood at the center of the main floor he shared his thoughts about the new home for this ceremonial ship’s bell.
The BELL DEDICATION
“First of all, it’s GREAT to see everyone here, it’s fantastic… What I really want to do here is, this bell that was at the last reunion, it was something that I got and I was very lucky. But the luckiest I ever got was to serve as the CO of the USS Bremerton …”
“… here is my thought, I’m not going to spend too many more years on this planet, I don’t really want it to go where I go, but it needs to go to somebody or something. Since I’m probably the oldest crewmember, it might be appropriate to go to the oldest crewmember, but then you have to think about ‘when that person passes how do we find the next one?’
“It should remain in some place appropriate where [people] can see it and enjoy it, so… is this the place?”
[ a great chorus of approval]
“Who’s in charge of the Horse & Cow?”
[audience encourages the owner forward, front and center]
Capt Anderson continues, “If this remains here, or whichever way you put it, the tradition should be if some patron comes in and rings the bell, simply because they see it, what happens?
[crowd erupts “THEY GOTTA BUY ANOTHER ROUND]
“… so, if somebody doesn’t really know that, can get to it and see if it really works… then the rest is history.”
The SHIRT DEDICATION
“The last little thing, it may be offensive to a few people here… I notice the Parche has a T-Shirt up there, but at one time in my career, and this was after I left Bremerton, I was on my way to become the CO of the Blue Crew of Ohio. Somebody, I don’t remember who, gave me this fine piece of wearing apparel….and I’ll hold it up so everyone can see it”
[crowd erupts in laughter and approval]
I’d like to thank Plankowner Tom MacPhillips for the video I used to transcribe the CAPT’s speech and capture some images and Plankowner John Scanlan for the photos