Wives of U.S. Submarine Veterans
The Purpose of:
Our National Prayer
Our Heavenly Father
Although the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II had been holding reunions for two years, it was not until their third reunion that the Wives of these men organized as an Auxiliary to them. They called themselves the "Wives of Submarine Veterans of World War II." Their first meeting was held in New London, Connecticut, 13 September 1957. Its purpose was, and is, to "...Assist and abet the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II in all their endeavors and projects, and aid them in carrying out the purpose in their constitution."
The 'organizing' meeting was conducted by Theda Bassett and Penelope Tillery with Elizabeth Montague recording the minutes. All three were elected to National offices at that time. Theda Bassett of Connecticut has the number one membership card, for she was the first President. The other 'first' officers were Mary Schaffner of Illinois (now of Missouri), 1st Vice President; Evelyn Cochrane of New Jersey, 2nd Vice President; Elizabeth Montague of Connecticut, Secretary-Treasurer: and Penelope Tillery, also of Connecticut, Corresponding Secretary. The permanent number system was not adopted until 1963, when Gloria Unrein, National Treasurer, of Colorado, revised and set it up. The first seven National Presidents carry the first seven membership numbers of our organization.
After several preliminary drafts the Constitution and By-Laws were formally accepted at our Fourth reunion held 22 August 1960, in San Diego, California. The paid-up members up to that time are classified as 'Charter Members', having membership numbers from one to three hundred fifty, and the word 'CHARTER' is stamped across their membership cards.
Our emblem is the Submarine Combat pin upon an enlarged, fouled anchor signifying our entanglement with the husbands who valiantly earned their combat pins aboard U.S. Submarines during World War II. This emblem is on our membership cards, stationery, flag, and various items for sale, such as jewelry, etc. The emblem is done in royal blue and gold with white on our flag. Even though the flag might vary somewhat in background color from one chapter to another, the emblem remains the same, and the chapter name is below the emblem. Above the emblem are the words "Wives of U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II".
The letters "U.S." were not officially part of our title until the 1960 reunion at San Diego. That year also marked the admission to our organization our first National Honorary Member, Mrs. Blanche Culp of Denver. She lost a son on the USS TANG. Another first was the emblem pins offered for sale to the membership, which was the start of our National jewelry program.
Each year of our existence brought changes aimed at better business proceedings and more constructive goals. Our membership has grown from thirty in 1957 to 460 in 1962, 559 in 1971, 1,159 in 1978, and 2,106 members in 1990.
Throughout the years, the Wives of U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II have made sizable cash donations to various projects of the men's group. Among our first donations was $150.00 for the Health and Welfare Fund of the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II. In 1963, we donated a total of $1,000.00 to the Memorial Fund and their Grave Marker Fund. In August of 1964, the Wives played another great part by assisting the National Scholarship Fund with a donation of $350.00, the amount of one full scholarship. We earnestly began working on, and for, the Scholarship Fund which is designed to help provide college educations for the children of Submarine Veterans of World War II by gathering coupons from General Mills products to be exchanged for cash. We also collected coupons from Raleigh and Belair in 1966. This Scholarship project is perhaps the most outstanding living Memorial to the Submariners on Eternal Patrol, and certainly makes for our greatest enthusiasm. In each year of 1967 through 1970, a Betty Crocker Coupon Scholarship was given, making a full four-year college course available to a qualified applicant. This project continued until General Mills withdrew their support in 1975. A number of other coupon and trading stamp projects have since become our means of raising cash for the Scholarship program. The Scholarship Award was increased from $400.00 a year to $1,000.00 a year as college fees increased. Currently, we vote on donating "one full scholarship" to the Scholarship Fund each year.
Just as the Scholarship Fund is our main project at the National level, so it is within the individual chapters. However, many other civic projects are also underway at the State and Chapter levels, notable Veterans' Hospitals, Children's Homes and Hospices. We like to think that the men's organization cannot host a Convention without the Wives!
While our membership is comparatively small, we are exclusive and dedicated to good citizenship and good works. The "Silent Partners", like the "Silent Service", render our services quietly but diligently, purposeful but unproclaimed. We are content to be thus ...an organizational partner to the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II, just as we are in our personal marital status: i.e. - loving, useful, and devoted wives. May we ever be Silent Partners to the Silent Service of World War II! We now invite the wives of all Submarine Veterans of World War II to become part of our organization as members.