HISTORY OF
THE U.S. SUBMARINE VETERANS OF WWII
LOS ANGELES AREA CHAPTER
AND
NATIONAL MEMORIAL WEST
AT
SEAL BEACH NAVAL WEAPONS STATION,
SEAL BEACH, CALIFORNIA

DATA (ORIGINALLY) COMPILED AND COMPOSED
BY: M. GEORGE KUHN
LOS ANGELES AREA CHAPTER


NOTE: The original article has been edited and converted for use on the Web Site by Paul Wittmer.
No copies, of any sort, are permitted without express permission of M. George Kuhn and Paul Wittmer.

 

PREFACE

Much of the data in this history has been compiled with the help of Los Angeles Area Chapter members, Torpedo News issues, and personal records of the writer.

Many members contributed time, money, materials, and labor to make the Memorial what it is today. By no means was this ever an individual effort, but rather a joint chapter project of both men and ladies groups.

It would be difficult to include all names of members involved in the planning, building, and maintenance of this unique and outstanding memorial. Should you be one of the many contributors, and your name is not included, the everlasting thanks of your fellow submariners go to you. Whatever your role, it definitely was needed to complete this memorial project.

To be certain there were numerous obstacles to overcome to even begin this ambitious project. Many compromises had to be met, some not to graciously, but by leaps and bounds we moved ahead. As the camaraderie of a submarine crew prevailed, so-to did the camaraderie of the Los Angeles Area Chapter members.

Often we needed to remind each other of the purpose of our illustrious organization. There had never been a doubt from the beginning to this day that our purpose, was "To perpetuate the memory of those shipmates who gave their lives in submarine warfare".

It is our desire that not only this memorial, but all of our efforts in this organization is to be directed to this end.

Should there be inaccuracy in this history, it is unintentional. For the large part, dates and events will be as stated in this narrative.

It has been with profound pride and gratitude I have served this illustrious organization in many capacities these many years. My purpose has been our organization's purpose. May God grant us the strength and ability to continue in this endeavor.

May each reader be instilled with the understanding that it takes a tremendous amount of work and effort by scores of people, both in our organization and in other sectors, to accomplish erecting a memorial of this magnitude.

Let us continue our efforts and preserve this memorial for as long as our chapter and our organization is in existence.

 

IN THE BEGINNING

Like many of the early chartered chapters of U. S. Submarine Veterans WWII, Los Angeles Area Chapter, was a spin off from a previously chartered chapter, San Diego. Many of the San Diego members were on active duty and some of these members lived in the Los Angeles area. Members Forest Sterling, Darrel Nelson, Harold Ballenger and others broke from San Diego to form our present Los Angeles Area Chapter in 1960.

Early meetings were at member's homes until the Hollywood American Legion was procured for meetings. Darrel Nelson was the spokesman until Jack Morrison was officially elected as the first chapter president.

From the American Legion site, meetings were held for a short time at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. This proved too expensive, so meetings were held again at members homes. This scenario is still in existence in many smaller chapters.

Los Angeles Area Chapter finally obtained space to conduct meetings at Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, our present home. Since then, the Command of the Weapons Station has worked closely with the chapter to provide rooms and amenities to conduct meetings and our numerous activities. They have given us tremendous support during the years.

With the "New" meeting facilities, membership, confidence, and ambition rapidly grew. So much so, that the chapter hosted the first Southwest Regional Caucus. This at the Fire station Motel in Garden Grove, Ca. Although attendance was sparse, it was a rowdy group. However, this motel is still standing so the activities were not all that bad.

Not many years after this first caucus the chapter hosted their second in 1970 at the Newporter Inn in Newport Beach, Ca. This caucus was a great financial success. One of the highlights was an unscheduled pool party. It included members of President Nixons' nieces wedding party, who were also staying at the Newporter Inn. This drove Nixon FBI Agents wild as many pool participants swam that night in unorthodox swimming "apparel".

From this time forth the Los Angeles Area Chapter established itself as "The Hostest With The Mostest" for great regionals. Many regionals were to follow, including the 1975 Southwest Regional at Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. This one really launched our quest for a memorial and a memorial site. We had fantastic attendance and great publicity. We brought in 8 new members at the event and 6 more new members shortly thereafter. We used the candle ceremony for the first time at our banquet. The unique poolside memorial services had hotel guests out on their balconies to view this colorful tribute. We also got great press coverage.

This 1975 caucus established a chapter camaraderie that has carried forth to this day. It was never more apparent until the Los Angeles Area Chapter hosted their first National Convention, the 39th, at Disneyland Hotel in 1993. The only unfortunate part is that these tremendous efforts and talents were not put to use earlier on a National Convention.

Many of our over 3,000 members who attended the 39th National Convention, were able to view the U.S. Submarine Veterans National Memoria1 West for the first time. It was indeed a viewing visit that left many awe-struck. This was a memorial that fulfilled the purpose of our illustrious organization, most commented. Part of our purpose had thus been met.

Let us move on then to relate how this magnificent memorial was accomplished.

 

THE TORPEDO

When discussions were conducted on setting up a memorial, it was determined that one prime need would be a torpedo. Since several chapters had already erected memorials with a torpedo as the focal point, we concluded that our memorial would have one also.

Several attempts were made to obtain a torpedo. For one reason or another the attempts failed. Harold Ballenger zeroed in on an available Mark 14 Torpedo at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, San Francisco, CA. Since Harold was a determined individual and a two time past National President, he used his clout and wile to seal this appropriation.

On 12 March, 1973, Louis & Austin Day pulled their truck into Hunters Point, loaded the torpedo aboard, left Hunters Point in their wake, and headed south to Los Angeles with their prize firmly bolted on their truck. This prize caused plenty of attention as they journeyed on southbound freeways to L.A. It was not an easy trip.

Finally they arrived in L.A., and promptly steered a course to Al Rupp's home in Carson, Ca. With all hands turning to, our prize torpedo was finally wrestled to a backyard-resting place at Rupp's. The Rupp backyard was overwhelmed with the torpedo. A decision was made sometime later, to move the torpedo. This time to Mickey Foster's residence at nearby Manhattan Beach, CA. This maneuver nearly saw the demise of the prize torpedo as the undersized loading crane came close to collapsing with it's load. Finally It was loaded on Mickey's boat trailer, transported to Manhattan beach, and put to rest on a dolly for further work. It was deemed necessary to remove the protective finish to put the torpedo in first class condition for a memorial. Weekend work parties gathered at Foster's home to sand and polish the torpedo. In spite of numerous beer and lunch breaks, the task was completed in due course.

Our next urgent need for our memorial was a bronze "Lost Boat Plaque". Here again was a task that required some connections and clout. Harold Ballenger, Ed Kay and others located one through Past President Paul Stolpman at Texas. This approximately 15" x 23" raised letter, bronze plaque was perfect for our memorial needs. Most important, chapter funds were able to pay the tab.

Now with the torpedo and "Lost Boat Plaque", the chapter was, ready to put all engines on the line and proceed at flank speed to set up our memorial.

The torpedo was to see more glory before retiring to it's final resting place a as part of the U.S. Submarine Veterans WWII National Memorial West.

Before this goal could be reached, much work lie ahead. A number of projects were setup to gain needed publicity and funds for the memorial and chapter.

The Huntington Beach 70th annual 4th of July Parade was selected as a vehicle to get us public exposure and wow, did it ever. Mickey Foster loaded the torpedo aboard his boat trailer, towed it to Fountain Valley, and it was dressed up for the parade. What attention along the busy California Freeways en-route. Mickey even attracted a police helicopter as an escort. Finally they discovered what the "Lethal Weapon" was. Rubber necked drivers nearly caused collisions gaping at the spectacle.

At Fountain Valley, under directions of float builder Al Rupp, the torpedo was dressed up in all it's splendor to join the parade. It became a broaching "missile", with a "mermaid" aboard to guide it through the waves. It's bright shining, warhead glistened in the sun. With over 65 men and ladies marching, and a Gold Star Mothers cortege behind, it was no wonder it was awarded a first place trophy.

The torpedo did its planned duty. Thousands along the parade route cheered and applauded. What a proud group, the marchers became. From it all much publicity was gained and best of all, seven more new members were brought into the chapter. At parades end, Officials extended an invite to participate in the 71st parade in 1975.

Although the torpedo was not used for our participation in 1975 and the centennial 1976 parade, nonetheless, with the ingenuity of float designer Al Rupp and Green Float Co., we received trophies for each year,

It was a tremendous camaraderie that was established by the chapter in these activities. So many pitched in to not only help construct the floats but participate in the parades. What a rewarding experience. New members were uncovered through both the 1975 and the 1976 parades. Most important was that thousands now knew there was a U.S. Submarine Veterans of WWII organization in their area.

Several years before parades, the chapter established dress uniforms. This being red jackets, white shirts, black ties, black trousers and the "Digger" hat. This proved to be a bright attractive look for our parade appearances. During parades, memorial services, and other public appearances, we were recognized as a unique group with our "uniforms". It set us apart from other veteran's organizations.

The 1976 Centennial Parade, the 72nd, was one of the greatest attended of any in the history of the event. Not only was it televised on local KCOE, but, national newscasts used portions. Our float got a five-second spot on CBS. What a break. This float took. boku man hours to construct but with great planning it was a piece of cake.

Thousands lined the parade route and thousands offered their vocal approval to our float and chapter. The granddaughter of Al Rupp was our Betsy Ross and she played it to the hilt in smiling and waving to the spectators. This would be our last parade appearance. The Seal Beach memorial construction and fund raising took precedence. It was sure great fun while it lasted.

We would be remiss should we fail to relate some of the many fund raising activities involved. Here again, great camaraderie was established in this chapter.

 

FUND RAISING

During a meeting at the home of Chapter President Bill Holland, it was determined we not only needed some type of plans for our memorial, but we would need to establish some fund raising activities.

Some memorial site plans were submitted for consideration. Several were considered to elaborate and consequently to costly. Several others had some merit and were within our scope of costs. These discussions continued for many months. Since we did not have a memorial site as yet, it was determined to concentrate on fund raising. In addition to chapter members, individual contributions, the chapter would conduct a number of fund raising projects.

One of the first fund raisers, and another activity to publicize the chapter, was the "Nite At The Races" at Los Alamitos Race Track. The chapter could realize some revenue from this and have a great time also. This event proved so popular, the chapter conducted the activity for a number of years. There were many more fund raising events.

The ladies gave tremendous support to the fund raising by conducting rummage and yard sales. Many hours were spent in conducting the sales and even more in preparation. These were very lucrative projects.

Much success, and great fun was realized from the "Silver Fizz Brunches". The events were conducted at member's homes. For a "reasonable" tab, brunch, drinks, etc. were available. This was attended by members as well as by guests. A great time was had by all. In addition to the brunch, there was plenty of conversations and often some type of game participation. Brunches usually were conducted monthly, but on occasion several times a month. People looked forward to the Sunday Brunch. It proved both relaxing and a fun time for all.

Members Cecil and Agnes Quarles operated the Del Mar's Coffee Shop in Garden Grove, CA. Occasionally they opened the closed Coffee Shop on Sunday to have a breakfast fund raiser there. During all these fund raising events, the food, drink, etc., was donated by hosts like the Quarles. Most of the preparation was done by the hosts, however usually some chapter members were there to assist.

On one momentous occasion, we hit upon the idea of a steak fry. A steak-fry, where we could sell scores of tickets and entice participants with special entertainment as well. Ed and Dottie Kay volunteered the use of their backyard, complete with a huge grill and a pool. What a brilliant endeavor this proved to be. Tables were obtained through the schools as well as chairs, plates, table covers and eating utensils. What a spread.

The scheduled activity had scores there before even the scheduled starting time. Tables, chairs, etc. were all set up the previous day with chapter members all pitching in. Since Ed had a recreation room with bar, everyone was able to meander without congestion. The theme being, a Gay Nineties event, attendees were decked out in appropriate attire. They even had a Gay Nineties Quartet to entertain. The entertainment highlight was the talented Stice Family Singers. They thrilled us all with a great show. And what a setting by poolside.

Previously related fund raising events was just the tip of the iceberg. There were oodles more. Regular raffles were held at the chapter meetings of donated items. Member Bill Hagendorn constructed a coin flip gimmick at our bar to entice contributions with great success.

Christmas Cheer Basket project was a huge contributor. Lots of hard working people involved with mailings, ticket selling, and gift-wrapping, etc.

It must be noted that with all the concentration for memorial fund raising, the chapter still raised funds to provide several annual scholarships to our National Scholarship Drive.

There was no doubt, this was a truly dedicated chapter.

During all the Memorial fund raising projects, efforts were moving forward to find a suitable site on which we could erect our torpedo and "Lost Boat Plaque".

 

QUEST FOR A MEMORIAL SITE

Since the chapter had been settled with facilities to conduct meetings and other activities at Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station, this seemed like a logical place to start for our memorial site space.

Base officials were approached to obtain a site at the Seal Beach Base. After several negative responses were received, it was decided we best try other possibilities. Somehow all our appeals were being shot down at the base.

First of possible sites we contacted was Los Alamitos Naval Air Station. The station was in close proximity to the Weapons Station and was an active and accessible base. From the first meeting with Air Station officials, they were very receptive to our request. Subsequent meetings were also very positive.

Then everything fell apart when the command advised us that the Air Station was to be "Deactivated" within the next year. Personnel and all equipment was to be removed and the Air Station probably would close. Well this put us back to square one.

Next possible site location on the agenda was Long Beach Naval Base. With chapter member, Captain Statsny, Past Base Commander, our hopes for success here were high. Several meetings with base officials proved highly positive. Sometime thereafter we were summoned to a meeting. We were informed that a memorial site at the pier area would not be possible. This is the site where we indicated we would prefer. We had conducted several Memorial Day services where U.S. Roncador had been tied up. It seemed like an ideal site.

Instead we were taken to a location far from the active area of the base, near the hanger for "The Spruce Goose". In relation to the bases this was in the boondocks. We reserved a decision, thanked them for their courtesy, and related we would advise them of our decision later.

In the meantime, information was that a possible site "might" be available at Kings Harbor, Redondo Beach CA. The U.S.S. Roncador was tied up alongside the wharf and was to be refurbished to allow visitors aboard to view her.

Some non de-script "organization" had gotten Roncador towed from Long Beach Naval Base after saving her from a salvage fate at San Diego. This group sought our Chapter's assistance to refurbish Roncador. Another request presented was for our chapter to underwrite (finance) their undertaking. Not only were we financially unable to do this, and we deemed the "organization" and it's proposal a "Mickey Mouse" (pardon me Walt) deal.

The City of Redondo Beach did not have space at the Wharf for our memorial site but referred us to the son of Actor Joel McCrea who owned the adjacent pier. McCrea put us on hold and several subsequent attempts proved futile. So again it was back to square one.

More leg work and research for a site at the Costa Mesa Cemetery was another exercise in futility. In spite of this we were not slacking up. We were more determined than ever to obtain a suitable memorial site.

Good luck came our way when a friend heard of our unsuccessful attempts. He made arrangements to confer with Knotts Berry Farm officials for a site adjacent to their newly erected Independence Hall.

Our first meeting was strongly positive, even to going to the proposed site and getting their "tentative" OK. The rub was that final approval rested with the Board of Directors.

Some weeks passed before they summoned us to a meeting. With profound apologies we were advised their board had turned down our site proposal. Their grounds were that "if we were to allow one veterans organization to erect a memorial on our property all of them would seek a site". So where to from here?

 

MEMORIAL SITE QUEST REALIZED

Annually U.S.S. DRUM crewmen hold their reunion at Mobile, Alabama. This is the berthing location of DRUM at Battleship Park. The retired battleship U.S.S. ALABAMA is also berthed here. This huge park also contains aircraft, tanks, guns, and other WWII Memorabilia and memorials. Yearly, hundreds of thousands visit this historical park. DRUM crewmen not only visit their boat during their annual reunion, but, hold memorial services aboard her as the high point of the reunion. You may wonder at this point... What does this have to do with the Los Angeles Area Chapter Memorial Site? More than most realize.

The L.A. Chapter has many members who attend the DRUM reunion. Among them, are Pepper, Alamia, Galas, White, Lamfers, Morgon, Pridonoff, Hanks, Kuhn, and others. Few people who made war patrols ever get an opportunity to board their boat in post war years such as DRUM crewmen. It is indeed an experience with mixed emotions. During the 1975 reunion, when R. Admiral B.F. McMahon (a DRUM Skipper) attended, our quest was realized.

The camaraderie of DRUM crewmen under McMahons command in WWII and the post war years is the type that every crew could only hope to have. He was truly a man for all seasons. During a viewing of the HERRING memorial with the Admiral and Tony Alamia, we related our unsuccessful attempts to obtain a site to erect a Los Angeles Area Chapter Memorial. He was presented with all the sad details. He listened. It need be noted here that R. Admiral McMahon of Virginia Beach, VA., had spent many of his post WWII career years at Washington, D.C. and also after his Navy retirement, His "Navy World" knowledge was thorough. The Admiral related his belief that the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station came under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management. Since the Weapons Station officials were unable to provide us with a memorial site "Did we ever consider contacting Bureau Officials"? This scenario was a completely new revelation for us. Upon his return to Virginia Beach the Admiral would contact the Bureau and see what he could do to help us. We were confident something good would come from this.

In due time a call was received from a Deputy in the Bureau of Land Management who had jurisdiction of Naval Properties. After relating what the Admiral had told him, he needed to know the specifics of our required memorial site area. Since we had no specific plan established, a call later would provide him all the details. Chapter members involved in the memorial site planning, were contacted and a decision developed that the site should be 100' x 100'.

It was sometime before we could again contact our bureau source. The secretary later called to advise that we were to arrange a meeting with Naval Weapons Station officials and present our plan. This we did at a somewhat later date. Many chapter and regional events were in the making, so, urgency was secondary.

A meeting with Weapons Station officials was conducted with a delegation of chapter members attending. They presented a strong, positive attitude. "There should be no problem to provide us with the size area for our site that we first requested".

First, we were shown a possible site near Pacific Coast Highway underpass. This was undesirable. Next was a site adjacent to the railroad and Westminster Blvd entrance. This did not fulfill our desires. Finally upon returning to the main gate, we again stressed our desire for a site near the entrance. They shot down our request for the area on the right side of the entrance, advising us they were going to build a station identification wall there. They did suggest the area at the end of the parking lot on the left of the entrance. In further discussion they pointed out that this area could be fenced so we would not need enter the base to the memorial site. This was the clincher. For all intents and purposes we had a done deal. This through the courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management and R. Admiral B.F. McMahon. Upon closing our meeting they advised us they could not only move the fence for us, but, they would get water and electrical lines to the site. Christmas had come early in 1976. All we needed to do now was develop the site and build our memorial. A real piece of cake.

 

BUILDING OF THE MEMORIAL

With the memorial site finally attained, whatever had transpired to reach this point was quickly forgotten when we came to the realization we had a tremendous task ahead.

Through the great work of Weapons Station XO, Harry Madera, the fence was moved back, water and electrical lines put in, and even some of the shrubbery removed. We were advised that whatever our site plans, they would need include the large, unsightly tree, almost in the center of our plot. Early on, this seemed a real obstacle, but with some ingenious planning, it worked out great.

We determined the site would have 52 Italian Cypress trees, in a half circle, to represent the 52 lost boats. In front of each tree would be a raised concrete slab with a brass plate with boat name affixed upon slab. The torpedo, flagpole, "Lost Boat Plaque", and two other plaques would front the memorial. A small reflection Pool would stand directly behind.

The Cypress Trees began from 59 cents a gallon plants, then transferred to two-gallon cans. They had grown larger before planting, at the site. By this time they had grown to nearly four feet.

A revision in initial plans made It necessary to request the Weapons Station to move the fence back. This they graciously did to give the present dimensions of 341'x 101' to our memorial. Approximately 1/3 acre. This being done, we were ready to begin with the construction.

In January 1977, a groundbreaking ceremony was conducted to officially get the project underway. With Al Rupp directing the project and chapter members providing some of the necessary labor, the site soon took on the planned look. A completion date was planned prior to Memorial Day 1977 so the memorial could be dedicated at that time.

To single out each contributing member would be difficult. Whatever the contribution of labor, materials, money, it was for a great cause.

Finally, just prior to the scheduled completion date, for all practical purposes, the memorial in all its splendor was completed.

A tremendous effort was directed toward getting publicity and planning a program for the memorial dedication day. Here again many contributors were involved. National, regional, and state officials were notified of the dedication as well as chapter members. All were urged to attend and be a part of this historical event. It was unfortunate however, that most of the top organizations officials were unaccounted for at the event. For whatever reason. Nonetheless the local papers gave good coverage and brought many to the event.

In spite of efforts made to set up for a large number of viewers, with the unexpected large turnout, scores were to view the ceremony standing. It was a spectacular day the weatherman provided. A real colorful sight with members wearing their uniforms and the plume in the "Digger Hat" gently moving in the light ocean breeze that prevailed.

One stirring moment in the dedication program was the flag raising. Few things provide a greater thrill than to see our country's Red, White, and Blue emblem raised atop a flagpole. When the slowly raised banner did reach the top, and flag lines firmly in place, a sudden light gust of wind gave the beautiful flag, an extra flip and snap.

During the services it was indeed a gratifying sight to have the Gold Star Mothers present. They saw and participated in a service totally dedicated to their lost sons. This most certainly would assure them our primary purpose was to perpetuate the memory of those lost sons.

One interesting phase of the service was putting the time capsule into its place at the base of our torpedo. Many historical artifacts were sealed in the capsule.

The dedication service over, the crowd slowly dispersed, leaving only some debris and chairs. All that remained on this glorious site now was the spectacular memorial waiting for another day when tribute and honor would again be paid to our lost shipmates and boats. The Memorial would be improved upon. Many who were part of this dedication would themselves make their final and eternal patrol before the next services were conducted.

It was not just Los Angeles Area Chapter members who contributed to the but members from throughout this great land. Many sent money to sponsor a tree and boat. Others sent money to further improve and expand the Memorial. Still, others contributed materials to enhance the memorial.

During the period of 1983/84 our Memorial Committee begin plans to upgrade our Memorial by erecting a cast bronze tablets 14" x 24" with raised letters designed to be embedded in concrete with a 35 percent angle. This to easily view the lost boat plaque with lost shipmates listed. This would be designated as a "Living Memorial". With committee members of Polis, Hansen, Hagendorn, Kay and others, this project moved forward. This indeed would be a costly project. Committee members developed a brochure to present and mail to prospective business and individual contributors. Untold hours were spent in personal contacts, mailing preparations, phone contacts, on appeals for funds. The efforts were successful.

In early 1985 concrete bases were poured. Buena Park Plaque and Trophy Co., begin casting the bronze tablets. By Memoria1 Day 1985 we were moving rapidly ahead. A completion and dedication date was set for Memorial Day 1986. A glorious day it was.

Anchor cloth covers had been made by Rosa Hagendorn to place over the completed, tablets. The entire site was elegant. Even the water fountain had been dressed up with a colorful mosaic red, white, and blue trim.

Admiral Benny Bass an L.A. Chapter member, was the featured speaker. The ceremony was complete with band, color guard., and a huge crowd.

With its look of splendor and glory, the memorial site, the "Living Memorial", was adopted and designated by our National Organization by what it is now known, "U.S. Submarine Veterans of WWII National Memorial West". Every member of our illustrious organization can share the pride and honor that Los Angeles Area Chapter members carry. For this Memorial that truly does "Perpetuate the Memory of Our Lost Shipmates".

This "Living Memorial" means much to many people. One such person is Andrea Roussels whose father, CMoMM, M. F. Wickham was lost aboard U.S. SCAMP. Andrea had never seen her father. He was lost several months after she was born. She had little information on where or how SCAMP and her father, were lost. It was certainly a day filled with mixed emotions when Andrea attended Memorial Day services at the "Living Memorial". We were honored with her presence.

This "Living Memorial" not only is used for Memorial Day Services for the Los Angeles Area Chapter, it has other uses. On a number of occasions Pearl Harbor Survivors Association has conducted their Memorial Services on December 7th. Some of the boats, who have west coast reunions make use of the "Living Memorial" to conduct their services.

The Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce has designated the "Living Memorial" on their points of interest brochure. Efforts are being made (year 2000) for freeway signs to indicate the memorial and its location for freeway travelers.

At the 39th National, Convention at Anaheim CA., attendees were bused daily to the "Living Memorial". Most first time viewers were awed by the spectacular edifice. To be sure, there is no other Memorial dedicated for our lost shipmates that has such great beauty. The desire of Los Angeles Chapter members; is to continue maintaining, improving, and beautifying this "Living Memorial". They will continue to protect the beauty and tranquility of this "Living Memorial" as long as there is a chapter.

The "Living Memorial" had a look of splendor for the 39th National Convention. We must keep foremost in our minds and hearts that this "Living Memorial" is not for the Los Angeles Area Chapter, nor the National Organization, but it is for the lost 52 boats and the lost shipmates in WWII. To view 52 tablets of lost boats, read the names of the 3505 plus men, this in itself is awesome.

Lest we forget.

These words were so eloquently delivered as part of the

memorial services at the 39th National Convention -

"Walk softly stranger ... walk, softly, for you tred on hallowed ground".

Yes, the U.S. Submarine Veterans WWII National Memorial West is most certainly hallowed ground. Let our L.A. Chapter and National Organization work to keep it so.

 

A PLACE OF HONOR

SOMETIME ALONG ABOUT LATE IN '41,
AN ATTACK ON PEARL AND OUR WAR BEGUN.

THEIR BOMBS AND TORPEDOES MADE THE HARBOR A SIGHT.
YOU SAY OUR LOSSES WERE HEAVY? YA GOT THAT RIGHT.

BATTLEWAGONS, TINCANS AND SCORES OF PLANES
LOST ALONG WITH A GIANT NAVYYARD CRANE.

BUT THE TOUGHEST LOSSES WERE THOUSANDS OF MEN-
WE'LL AVENGE THEIR LOSSES BUT WE KNOW NOT WHEN.

REGROUP ALL OUR FORCES, GET READY THE SUBS-
THEY'LL SAIL FRCM DOWN UNDER, THE LAND OF THE PUBS.

HEAD FOR THE HUNTIN' GROUND, THE SEAS 'ROUND JAPAN-
SINK THE TANKERS, THE CARRIERS, AND GET A TINCAN.

IT MAY TAKE SOMETIME TO RECOVER OUR BASES,
FOR THEY'LL FIGHT TO THE DEATH TO TRY AND SAVE FACES.

WE CAN'T QUIT THOUGH THEIR BONZAIS' ARE CHILLIN',
TO WIN IS A MUST, WE KEEP ON WITH THE KILLIN'.

OUR SUBS SUFFER LOSSES, SOME NEVER ARE FOUND-
THEY'RE ON ETERNAL PATROL WHILE WE'RE HOMEWARD BOUND.

JAPAN WILL SURRENDER, IT IS GOING TO BE OVER-
SEPTEMBER IT'S ENDED, MAYBE HOME IN OCTOBER.

GIVE THANKS AND A PRAYER WE GOT BACK SAFE AND SOUND-
BUT HEARTS ARE HEAVY FOR OUR MATES THAT WENT DOWN.

WE'LL REMEMBER THEIR DEEDS AND TELL ALL OF OUR LOSSES,
WITH MEMORIALS AND SERVICES MARKED WITH THEIR CROSSES.

THEIR LOVED ONES CAN SEE NOW WE'LL NEVER FORGET
WITH THIS PIACE HERE OF HONOR WHERE THEIR MEMORIAL IS SET.

WE'LL PAY TRIBUTE AND HONOR TO THEIR LAST GREAT DEED-
THEIR SACRIFICE GOT CAPTIVES THE WORLD OVER FREED.

DON'T EVER TAKE LIGHTLY THIS SETVICE WE HOLD,
FOR BOAT AND MEN LOSSES AND THE BELLS THAT WE'VE TOLLLED.

ONE DAY WE'LL JOIN THEM ON OUR ETERNAL PATROL,
THEN YOU PLAY OUR TAPS AND ONE LAST BELL TOLL.

M. GEORGE KUHN

LOS ANGELES AREA CHAPTER

 

 

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DEDICATED TO OUR SHIPMATES WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN U.S.

SUBMARINES DURING WORLD WAR 11