Submariners Honor Veterans Throughout the Region
GROTON, Conn. – Submariners assigned to Submarine Group 2 paid tribute to service men and women during Veterans Day observance ceremonies throughout the region last week.
Nine crew members from Virginia-class attack submarine Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Mississippi (SSN 782) participated in the Memorial Service conducted by the U.S. Submarine Veterans Inc. (SUBVETS) Groton Base.
Further south, Capt. Frank Lowery, Submarine Group 2 Chief of Staff, participated in a Veterans Day event honoring and remembering Korean War Veterans in Stamford.
Cmdr. Tim Salter, Commanding Officer of USS Virginia (SSN 774), and members of his crew marched in the Veteran's Day Parade Portsmouth, N.H. At the end of the parade, which was sponsored by the local American Legion and VFW, Salter spoke to veterans. Meanwhile, Cmdr. Paul Dinius, USS Helena's Commanding Officer, spoke to South Berwick community members and VFW Post 5744 at South Berwick, Maine's Town Hall. Both Virginia and Helena are undergoing routine maintenance at Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard in Kittery, Maine.
Other Officers and Sailors honored Veterans during events on Nov. 10, including:
Capt. Bruce Derenski, Submarine Group 2 Representative at Electric Boat (EB), who spoke at commemorations at the ship builder; and, Cmdr. John McGrath, Mississippi’s Commanding Officer, who spoke to students at John B. Stanton Elementary School in Norwich.
Three crewmembers of USS Dallas (SSN 700) traveled to their namesake city to participate in Veterans Day events, including marching in a parade and visiting schools.
Meanwhile, 12 crewmembers from Helena joined students and faculty of South Berwick, Maine's Marshwood Middle School to honor veterans and active duty members during their 9th annual Veterans Day Celebration on Nov. 5. Crewmembers arrived at the middle school sharing sea stories and taking pictures with students and faculty before lining the hallways and receiving handshakes and heartfelt comments from everyone. Once the students had filtered into the gymnasium, the veterans and active duty entered to a chorus of cheers and a standing ovation from the packed house.
“That gave me goosebumps!” commented Electronics Technician Seaman Charlie Haider.
The Sailors watched and listened as speakers discussed the importance of this day and the appreciation they have for those defending their country. Several students wrote and performed original songs and poems echoing similar sentiments.
“It was a great presentation. You could tell the students really take this program seriously with the level of effort and personal touch they put into it,” Electronics Technician 1st Class James Gaines commented. “It really makes you feel good about the job you do. It makes me proud that this is the future of America that I’m serving to protect.”
Learning about the experiences and sacrifices of area veterans and active duty personnel is an integral reason why the school holds the celebration every year, according to school officials.
This year marked the second time Helena Sailors took part in the school’s tribute since being stationed at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard while undergoing an engineered overhaul. The boat is projected to return to sea in the spring of 2011.
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- USN -