Submariners Honor their Fallen Comrades
by Julie Scrafford
On April 4, the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation held its annual wreath laying ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington D.C. Ceremonial Guard engaged those in the audience and those passing by to pay tribute to the honor and valor with which submariners carry out their duties, contributing to 105 years of undersea dominance. Amidst the fanfare, “The Lone Sailor” statue stood as a reminder of those currently serving in the silent service and of those on eternal patrol.
This year’s keynote speaker was Rear Adm. Mike Klein, Deputy Director, Submarine Warfare. Klein spoke of how integral the Submarine Force is in the successes of today. He went on to say that it is the heroism of the submariner that empowers the force. Heroism, he said, is not based on superficialities, but rather on the great sacrifices one makes for an idea greater than the individual. For this reason, a hero is one whose “legacy will transcend generations”.
Klein mentioned such heroes. He honored the Submarine Force of World War II for their triumphs and tragedies, the loss of 129 men aboard USS Thresher (SSN-593) on April 10, 1963, the loss of 99 men aboard USS Scorpion (SSN-589) on May 22, 1968, and the death of a sailor aboard USS San Francisco (SSN-711) on Jan. 8, 2005, amongst others. He called these men, as well as veterans and those serving, the “shield and sword” and the “fighting spirit and nationalism” of the military, prepared to defend their allies and attack their enemies for the greater good.
In the audience was Rear Adm. Winford G. “Jerry” Ellis, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (Ret.) remembering his shipmates throughout the 36 years he spent as a submariner. His view of the USS Arizona memorial while he worked at SUBPAC was a constant reminder of the sacrifices Sailors made in World War II. Of the ceremony, he said, “It is important to take a brief amount of time of our busy schedules to honor the submariners. It is even better when it is a beautiful day like today.”
Also in the crowd was Jeanine Allen, daughter of “Lloyd Charles McKenzie” a chief petty officer aboard the USS Triton (SS-201) when the submarine was lost on March 15, 1943 during her sixth war patrol in World War II. Wearing a dolphin pin and a gold star pin in commemoration, Allen spoke proudly of her father’s service aboard Triton. She aspires, through research and writing, to keep the memory of her father and other men who have served the nation well-honored and their stories remembered.
Klein and Rear Adm. Edward K. Walker Jr., (Ret.), Acting President and CEO of the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation laid the wreath at foot of “The Lone Sailor” statue in memory of those on eternal patrol.
Ms. Scrafford is a Contributing Editor of UNDERSEA WARFARE Magazine and a Technical Editor with Anteon Corporation in Washington, DC
Command at IUSS
Capt. David Kern relieved Capt. Steven Gabriele as Commander, Undersea Surveillance in a ceremony May 12, at Chapel by the Sea, Dam Neck, VA. The ceremony featured Vice Adm. Charles Munns, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, as the guest speaker.
Capt. Gabriele’s follow on orders take him to the Naval War College in Newport, RI. where he will assume duties as a Military Professor of Strategy and Policy.
PCU Texas Gets Wet
Photo by Chris Oxley, U.S. Navy
The floating dry dock at Northrop Grumman Corporation in Newport News, VA, slowly fills up with water in order to launch the Virginia-class attack submarine PCU Texas (SSN-775) on Apr. 9, 2005. Tugboats later moved the submarine to the shipyard’s submarine pier for fitting out. Texas will have improved stealth capabilities, sophisticated surveillance capabilities, and Special Warfare enhancements that will enable it to meet the Navy’s multi-mission requirements.