“You owe me one”

Editor’s Note: I’d like to introduce John Brunkalla, he is a USS Bremerton Plankowner who served in M-Divison from 1981-1983. We’re grateful to be able to share in one of John’s recollections especially in light of the fact that he suffered a near fatal motorcycle accident not more than a few months after he transferred off the boat in 1983. In his story he captures a glimpse of the magic and legend found in the Silent Service. 

This is a reposting of an original article published on February 11, 2017.

.

“You owe me one”

By John Brunkalla

I was in engineroom Upper Level in an ocean somewhere, a LONG LONG time ago…….. I was standing the 2300-0700 watch when around 0100 my trusty Bremerton Zippo ran out of fuel. Damn, 6 hours to go with no lighter. Check maneuvering…no one has a light…same with COTW, ERS, ERF ERLL and the ELT. Double damn!

Picture me climbing onto the turbine generators, main engines and any other available steam pipe I could find to light my smoke, hoping it was hot enough to fire me up…close but no cigar. In the words of Wiz (shipmate David Withers): spin, Spin, SPIN!

I’m guessing around 0300 Captain Wright scared the living shit out of me as he came up the ladder and turned the corner to where I was catching up on 0000 entry logs. A Marlboro hanging from my lip. I hopped to attention and he told me, “At ease.”

He asked how things were going. I gave him a rundown and he then asked if I had any problems. “As a matter of fact sir, my lighter ran out of fuel earlier in the watch, nobody back here has a light and I can’t run to my rack to fill it up. I need a smoke BAD” (I know, Waah, waah, waah, right?).

The Captain reached into his pocket, pulled out his lighter and fired up my smoke. Then he looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t forget now…you owe me one.”

Captain Douglas S. Wright with the harbor pilot standing on the bridge as USS Bremerton is preparing to enter Bremerton, Washington, in 1982. Also in photo are Lt. Erik Nelson, EM/SS Ron Martin  on the headset, and Seaman Mike Hansen on the fairwater plane (Photo courtesy of Plankowner John Scanlan, THANKS JOHN! and Tom McPhillips for the eye-witness ID work).

.

Maybe a month or so down the road I was just hitting the rack, it was after having stood watch, followed by drills, followed by field day, then some poker, working on quals and another watch. Finally, eight glorious hours to sleep!

I had pretty much just gotten into the beginning of my equalizer when the runner slid my curtain open and said “Bronk, get up, the Captain wants to see you on the bridge ASAP.

WHAT? WTF had I done to piss him off so bad that it bypassed everyone up the chain? And on the bridge no less!

I dressed as quickly as I could, hoping I looked at least half way presentable and ran up to Control where the OOD was pointing topside and said, “He’s waiting for you.”

HOLY SHIT! My mind reeled as I climbed the ladder to the bridge, running through the past 24 hours trying to figure out what it was I had done wrong.

I climbed out into the fresh air…AHHH that smells GOOD…then I noticed the Captain’s  back was turned to me. I announced my presence, “Petty Officer Brunkalla reporting as ordered, sir.”

He held up his hand and said, “Give me a minute” and proceeded giving orders to the lookouts and instructions below. When finished he turned to face me…unlit cigarette hanging from his lip…and said, “I believe you owe me one.”

After lighting his smoke he let me stay topside a few minutes and check out the glorious view of being surfaced in the middle of nowhere where there is nothing but ocean and sky, standing on the bridge of the baddest boat ever to sail the seven seas!

What a magnificent few minutes those were.

Thank you for that memory Captain Wright. I would sail through the gates of hell with you sir!

 

 

Author John Brunkalla with a young lady friend during a 1982 port visit in Bremerton, Washington. John reflects, “If I had only met her 10 years later when I was ready to settle down…” (Photo  courtesy of John Scanlan).

JB

Moments in Submarine History

A collection of articles from the 698 group PFSM capital-campaign

 

Here are the links to the “Moments in Submarine History” type posts published on this website’s pages through the campaign. It was a fairly short campaign so there were only a few stories, having barely scratched the surface in regards to the treasure of legendary U.S. Navy submarine accounts. Selections were from the beginning of World War II and correspondingly those in the month of December which happened to coincide with our 698-PFSM campaign. The other aspect of the articles were helpful to illustrate how every U.S. Navy submariner is connected to the whole of the Silent Service.

 

24 NOV 2019 

THE LEGEND OF THE SILENT SERVICE

 

17 DEC 2019 

FREDERICK WARDER AND THE SEAWOLF

 

22 DEC 2019 

WHO IS THE SILENT SERVICE?

 

25 DEC 2019

FIRST WARTIME CHRISTMAS STORY

 

31 DEC 2019 

MORTON TAKES COMMAND

 

 

 

698 LOOKING FORWARD

USS Bremerton, the most senior not yet de-commissioned submarine in the United States Navy, is currently at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard preparing for her date with destiny. Decom ceremony and reunion in Bremerton are tentatively scheduled for Spring of 2021, that puts BadFish on course for a 40 year run.

Cheers – from RMCS(SS) Don Jones, Plankowner, SSN698

 

SAVE THE 698

Join the Movement. Are you passionate about preserving the USS Bremerton in any way shape or form? Do you wish to be involved before, during and after her decommissioning in whatever works are needed to establish the memory of 698 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 © 2020 bremertonreunion.net

 

 

 

 

698 for PFSM – The Final

USS BREMERTON – SSN 698

GROUP CAMPAIGN

 

All numbers have been tallied and here are the final results from the Bremerton alumi efforts to support The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum at Pearl Harbor.  The total of all donations and pledges is equal to $11,845.00!

This amount qualifies us to be on the Interior Campaign Donor Wall, a place reserved to recognize the museum’s biggest donors.

Our efforts to secure a permanent plaque in recognition of the USS Bremerton in “the most visited submarine museum in the world” will be a source of pride and personal connection for every alumni, his family and friends.

It will make your return trip to the islands a little more special.

As we get more details on the plaque, we will let you know, though you may read about the general details at the museum’s Capital Campaign page.

Sincere thanks to every donor and for the moral support from all. Your contributions went beyond the call of duty to help with this effort!

 

PFSM Looking Forward

The Bowfin Memorial in conjunction with the new and exciting developments offered by the PFSM will be a worthy tribute to the Silent Service and something to look forward to in the future on your next trip to Pearl Harbor. Here’s are few words from the Museum about what’s been happening and where they are headed…

 

NOW PRESENTING…

An interview with Captain Merkel

Captain Chuck Merkel is interviewed by Island Focus about the PFSM and submarines (courtesy of Bob Miller).Click on photo or link to see.

 

If you haven’t seen the great and powerfully introduced Capital Campaign video yet  it is narrated by former USS Bremerton skipper RON COX who now serves as Chairman of the Board of the Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum. One more time, here’s the link https://www.bowfin.org/capital-campaign
*

When you, your family and friends come out to the Islands, put the Bowfin and the PFSM on your list of PLACES TO SEE!

 

 

 

 

698 LOOKING FORWARD

USS Bremerton, the most senior not yet de-commissioned submarine in the United States Navy, is currently at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard preparing for her date with destiny. Decom ceremony and reunion in Bremerton are tentatively scheduled for Spring of 2021, that puts BadFish on course for a 40 year run.

Cheers – from RMCS(SS) Don Jones, Plankowner, SSN698

 

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.

Copyright © 2020 bremertonreunion.net

 

Mission Accomplished

 

PACIFIC FLEET SUBMARINE MUSEUM GROUP DONATION UPDATE  31 DEC 2019

We’ve Reached Our Goal!

Yes shipmates, we have reached our goal of $10,000 before the end of 2019

 

Every single contribution is sincerely appreciated in the effort of providing recognition for the Bremerton and support for the creation of The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum at Pearl Harbor.

We’ve secured something every USS BREMERTON SSN 698 alumni, their family, and friends can take pride and interest in.

We had a great range of support from alumni plus some corporate matching.

Based on the numbers that I have (and there may be more coming in by the end of the 31st) we are at $10,190 of completed donations and pledge commitments transacted through the museum.

A spot for USS BREMERTON on the Interior Campaign Donor Wall is secured honoring the campaign’s biggest supporters!

With one day left before the end of 2019, we’ve reached our amazing mutual goal. So let’s party!…

Wait – One

There is one piece of business that’s not yet resolved, at least not until the strike of midnight Hawaii time and that is, who will get the Angel’s Envy Award?

Currently, the Angel’s Envy Award will go to two shipmates (who have chosen to remain anonymous)  whose donation/pledge amounts are $3000 each. In order for someone take top spot for the prize, pledge a greater amount than $3050 by midnight or perhaps go for the gusto, another $15,000 more either individually or collaboratively and that will launch us to the next lofty donor level.

Hey, what can I to say, when there is still time left on the clock?!

 

CONGRATULATIONS SHIPMATES, WE MADE A CLEAN SWEEP OF THE $10K GOAL

RAISE AN ADULT BEVERAGE IN A TOAST TO:

 

OUR SHIPMATES

and

THOSE ON ETERNAL PATROL

 

 THE BREMERTON

and

THE SILENT SERVICE

 

THANK YOU AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE ADDITIONAL DONATIONS TO THE MUSEUM

For your convenience, your pledge may be paid in installments over a 5-year period.

All contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law and made directly to The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum via the Bowfin.org website.

TO DONATE GO TO THE WEBSITE BELOW:

https://www.bowfin.org/capital-campaign or click on the Bowfin 

 

Copyright © 2019 bremertonreunion.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

CMDCM(SS) PAUL HENRI GAGNON

August 8, 1945 – December 25, 2019

from Eternal Patrol by USSVI

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

  • by bremertonreunion.net

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.

Copyright © 2019 bremertonreunion.net