Former USS Sargo Sailors visit Naval Submarine Base New London
GROTON, Conn. – GROTON, Conn. – More than 80 Sailors assigned to USS Sargo (SSN 583) and their spouses, and families visited the New England area and toured the Naval Submarine Base New London and USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), Sept. 8.
Three of the boat’s former Commanding Officers, including retired Capt. Bob Douglass, Capt. Michael McBride, and Vice Adm. John H. Nicholson, the Sargo’s second commanding officer who commanded the boat during her visit to the North Pole in 1960 also attended the reunion.
While visiting the Submarine Force Library and Museum the USS Sargo (SSN 583) Association reunion members presented the museum with a piece of original teak decking from the ship, preserved by this year’s reunion host retired Capt. Rich Talipsky, to add to their collection. The decking was removed from the ship during her 1973 refueling overhaul at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.
“We are the only submarine museum operated by the U.S. Navy and in doing so we have become the primary collector for artifacts, documents and photographs relating to U.S. Submarine Force history,” said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Sawyer, Officer in Charge, Submarine Force Library and Museum. “Receiving historical items from reunion groups like the Sargo Reunion adds a rich element of history and heritage for not only our museum but the thousands of guests who will visit our museum annually.”
The museum's other collections include more than 33,000 artifacts, 20,000 significant documents and 30,000 photographs.
Over the past two decades the Sargo Reunion committee has organized 12 formal events at various locations on both coasts of the United States. The reunion scheduled this year marks the first time the group has formally visited New England.
“Our reunions have spanned the country and have brought together the Sargo family from far and wide to rekindle and strengthen those bonds,” said Mike Hacking, Sargo Reunion Coordinator.
One of the reunion group attendees, William Wolfe enlisted in the Navy in August of 1938. Two years later he was transferred to USS Sargo (SS 188) where he performed nine war patrols. Wolfe published a book in 1943 “The Pig Boat Almanac, USS Sargo” about his time aboard the submarine.
“He retired from the Navy in 1958 as a chief petty officer, but never lost his love for submarines. In 1987 he became editor of the Polaris magazine until 2010 at the age of 90,” said Hacking.
Hacking added that the group’s drive to meet every two years was forged on the bond the Sailors created years ago while at sea.
“We are very fortunate to have been shipmates on a submarine that provided many rewards and challenges,” said Hacking. “During those times on board, we developed lasting relationships. Sargo sailors and friends enjoy an even greater bond that has been made stronger over the last two decades at twelve formal reunions.”
Other scheduled events while in New England include visiting the U.S. Navy Submarine Force Library and Museum; touring USS New Hampshire (SSN 778), visiting Battleship Cove to tour the Battleship Massachusetts, the submarine Lionfish, and the destroyer Joseph P. Kennedy, as well as a host of other events.