Pearl Harbor Submarine Memorial

This article appeared in The Scuttlebutt News, June 1988, (Author unknown)

Built and dedicated in 1960, the Submarine Base Memorial originally held 45 engraved bronze plaques listing the names of lost WWII submarines and the crewmembers who perished with the ship. Two additional plaques displayed the names of the WW II submarine personnel who gave their lives during the period December 7,1941 to August 15, 1945. Today's rededication updates the memorial by providing a separate plaque for every one of the 52 lost WW II undersea fighters. The need for a memorial that would visualize tribute to fallen submarine heroes was recognized by Chief Torpedoman's Mate Robert J. Cornelius, Chief Master-At-Arms for SUBASE in 1959.

Chief Cornelius brought his idea to Captain William B. Parham, Commanding Officer of the base, who endorsed the visionary concept after viewing some of the bronze plaques Cornelius had picked up in a Honolulu salvage yard. The idea was suggested to RADM William E. Ferrall, Commander Submarine Force Pacific, who provided momentum for construction of the memorial.

In an October 1959 letter, Admiral Ferrall granted permission to conduct a drive for voluntary contributions to construct a memorial. The same letter named Commanding Officer, Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor as Chairman of a committee charged with raising necessary funds, submitting a design for approval, and erecting a suitable monument on base.

The fund-raising goal was reached in January 1960. A design was selected and approved in mid-March, and construction began in July. The dedication took place at 1100 on Thursday, 27 October 1960 with Chief Cornelius (retired) as Guest of Honor.

Other dignitaries attending the 1960 ceremony were RADM Roy S. Benson who had relieved RADM Ferrall as Pacific Submarine Force Commander; RADM Leon J. Huffman, USN Ret), former Pacific Submarine Force Commander; VADM Ralph W. Christie, USN (Ret), Former Commander Submarines Southwest Pacific; RADM Donald F. Weiss, USN (Ret), former CO Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor; and Mr. H.C. Burgess, Honolulu Council Navy League president.

A quarter century of normal wear and years of vigorous polishing had obliterated many names on the engraved plaques Then, in 1985, CWO Roy Anderberg, USN (Ret) approached Captain Leo C. Wright, CO, SUBASE, suggesting that the plaques be replaced with a more durable product, including raised letters. Anderberg assured Captain Wright he could raise the necessary funds from the nation-wide network of U.S. Submarine Veterans WWII, an organization that wished to have all 52 lost submarines recognized. Anderberg proposed that he raise the money, manufacture the plaques and deliver the completed products at no cost to the government. Captain Wright gave approval.

An ad hoc committee headed by Anderberg was formed and embers of the federally chartered organization were made aware of the plan and asked to donate money for the project. The other members of the committee are CDR Roy L. Hoffmann, USN (Ret) and CDR Joseph L. McGrievy, USN (Ret). What you see today is the result of the voluntary work of the committee, and the generous response from contributors across the country.