Ervin Schmidt named Grand Marshal of Edmonds 4th of July
Pearl Harbor survivor witnessed the beginning and end of
World War II
The Edmonds Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce
Veteran Ervin Schmidt as the 2013 Grand Marshal of “An
Edmonds Kind of Fourth” Parade.
Erv, as his friends call him, is a highly decorated Naval
veteran, and has been a member of the Veterans of Foreign
Wars for 65 years.
He lives in Edmonds and is a member of VFW Post # 8870 in
Schmidt was a 25-year-old barber from Marshfield, Wisconsin
when he enlisted in the United State Navy in August of 1940.
After completing basic training, Schmidt was assigned to the
battleship USS California. In December of 1941, the USS
California was docked in what has become known as
“battleship row” at Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii.
When the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor occurred at a few
minutes before 8 a.m., on Dec. 7, 1941, Schmidt was asleep
in his bunk several levels below the main deck when the
first of two torpedoes struck the California.
One of Schmidt’s bunkmates was killed instantly by the
blast. Dazed by the attack, Schmidt and several shipmates
tried to make their way to their battle stations.
They were overcome by smoke and fumes on the second deck,
and survived only because shipmates carried them to the main
deck where the fresh air revived them.
After a second torpedo struck, the ship began to list and
the Captain issued the order to abandon ship.
Schmidt was on the main deck and chose to remain on the ship
with three of his shipmates, who could not swim. They were
the only remaining personnel on the ship, and they manned a
50 cal. anti-aircraft gun to fire at the attacking Japanese
Late in the afternoon, Schmidt and his three friends were
evacuated and shortly thereafter, the USS California sunk.
Of the 1500 men assigned to the USS California, over 200 of
them were killed in the attack.
In the confusion that resulted in the aftermath of the
attack on Pearl Harbor, Schmidt was listed as Killed in
Action, and his family was so notified. Six weeks after his
family held a funeral service for him, they learned that he
had, indeed, survived the attack.
Three days after the attack, Schmidt was reassigned to a
heavy cruiser, the USS Chicago. On May 7 and 8, 1942, the
USS Chicago participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea,
which proved to be a turning point in the War in the
After several months of patrolling off the Australian coast,
the Chicago was assigned to transport portions of the 1st
Marine Division to Guadalcanal.
These Marines participated in the landing on the beach on
August 7-8, 1942.
During the battle, the Chicago was struck by two enemy
torpedoes. Fortunately for Schmidt, the torpedo that struck
his ship directly below his bunk, did not explode, but the
second torpedo caused significant damage to the ship.
When repairs were completed, the USS Chicago returned to the
Coral Sea in late January 1943.
On January 29, 1943, the Chicago sustained severe battle
damage and once again, Schmidt heard the command to abandon
This was the second ship on which he served that was sunk.
Following his second sinking, Schmidt returned to San Diego
where he volunteered for duty on a submarine.
He was assigned to the USS Saury as a radio and sonar
operator. During his five patrols on the Saury, a total of 9
Japanese ships were sunk, and Schmidt and his crewmates
survived numerous depth charge attacks and a ramming by a
Japanese light cruiser.
In a scene right out of a Hollywood movie, the Saury was
forced to lie on the bottom of the ocean at a depth of 200
After the enemy had left the area, the submarine was able to
surface the next morning and return to Pearl Harbor for
He was now assigned to another submarine, the USS Torsk,
which conducted patrols against enemy shipping, first in
Tokyo Bay and then the Sea of Japan.
On August 11 and then on August 13, 1945, the Torsk sank two
Japanese Naval ships, which were the last two ships sunk by
the US Navy in World War II. On August 14, 1945, hostilities
in the South Pacific ended.
Schmidt’s submarine returned to New London, Connecticut in
October 1945 where he was reunited with his wife and members
of his family.
He served in the Navy for one more year before he was
discharged in December, 1946.
He served three years in combat in the South Pacific and has
the distinction of serving in combat at the outset of WW II
and during the last naval action of WW II.
He is a highly decorated Naval veteran, and has been a
member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for 65 years.
Schmidt lives in Edmonds and is a member of VFW Post # 8870.
The members of Post # 8870 are proud to honor and recognize
Schmidt’s service to our grateful nation.
Erv, 98, is a USSVI Bremerton Base Life member
2013 Lt William "Willie" Spoon Memorial Scholarships
University of Washington
Klahowya Secondary School
Grand Canyon University
Your new edition (2013-1) electronic American Submariner is
posted on line at
Press "USSVI Magazine" and read or download after you log
The delays we have
recently suffered would appear to have greatly improved the
AS in photo quality.
We should be back on
track with future editions. I wish you all a great read.
Story of USS R-12
Thanks to Ric Hedman of Seattle Base, A project
to produce a documentary film about the loss and location of
the hulk of the USS R-12 recently came to the attention of
your USSVI Board of Directors. As you know, it is the
primary purpose of USSVI to "Perpetuate the memory of our
shipmates who gavetheir lives in the pursuit of their duties
while serving their country."
This project seems a natural fit for our interests and
purposes, so your Board voted to pledge $ 1,000 towards the
completion of this mission.
The board endorses and encourages ALL bases and members to
join with us in also pledging financial support towards
completion of this project. A unique factor in this request
is that we are asking you to 'PLEDGE' your support now. They
need to raise $ 89,000.00 by June 30, and your pledgewill
convert into a donation ONLY if this goal is reached by that
Your participation via Kickstarter will enable them to
complete thedocumentary "Twice Forgotten". Our collective
participation will help empower them to finally tell the
story of the USS R-12 Submarine's tragic sinking, the
families left without any information and the quest to solve
the mysteries that have been unanswered after all this time.
The history books are wrong, it is time to do things right!
How does it work:
1. Go to
2. Click the Green BACK THIS PROJECT button
3. Choose your support level and click the CONTINUE button
4. Complete the Log-in information and enter info for AMAZON
When complete you will get a email notification thanking you
for the pledge. At the end of the pledge drive on June 30,
the donor list will be reviewed by us so that USSVI gets
recognition for all our collective donations. This
project will only be funded and your pledge converted to a
donation ONLY if at least $89,000 is pledged by Sunday Jun
30. $20,400 has been
pledged as of the date of this message.
Overview: The WW-II submarine USS R-12 sank off the coast of
Key West, Florida at midday on June 12, 1943. She took 40
American sailors and 2 Brazilian officers to their grave at
600 ft on the ocean floor. They have been missing for nearly
70 years until found in 2010 by a team of explorers working
with state of the art technology and fascinated by R-12's
story and the mystery.
Since USS R-12 was discovered in late 2010 the team has put
forth a herculean effort to locate the family members of the
entombed, research government and historical files and
launch a major expedition to film and document the sub in
its final resting place at 100 fathoms in the Straights of
Florida. The documenting of the data and family information
amission to resolve the mystery of the sinking while
bringing closure to thefamilies, recognition to the entombed
men of R-12 and raise awareness of alost and forgotten crew
to a young generation of people.
The team continues to work under Navy permits and needs to
return to site for filming underwater in the summer of 2013.
They have been assembling a documentary of our findings,
interviews, underwater robotic technology, exclusive
underwater footage of the submarine in her final resting
place and have been on a quest to solve the mystery of her
sinking. This is an
important and significant discovery and we are dedicated to
sharing it withthe public. These entombed servicemen deserve
to be acknowledged today (70years later) as any of our lost
and missing military would deserve if theirremains were
found seventy years from now.
USS R-12 is the sixth WWII US submarine to be found of the
fifty-two missingand the only US Sub to sink within the
continental United States.
Pride Runs Deep,
T. Michael Bircumshaw
Bremerton Base Life
Member Takes the Helm of USSVI Western Region District 4.
It is my esteemed pleasure to inform you that Al Durkee
(CDR USN Ret) and a 20 year member of USSVI and Bremerton
Base, has been appointed Western Region 4 District
Commander, relieving John Mansfield.
He was given the oath of office today, May 16, 2013 by
Western Region Director, John Mansfield, and has agreed to
have his name placed on the upcoming District Commander
election ballot in June.
Al's brief bio:
He entered the US Navy as a FN in 1951 and retired as a full
Commander in 1978.
His ships were
USS Esperance CVE88
USS Neches AO47
Qualified on USS Grenadier SS525 in 1957
USS Seawolf SS575
USS Becuna SS319
USS Hunley AS31
Submarine School Staff
Fleet Submarine Training Facility Norfolk
Submarine Repair Officer, Bremerton
Operations/Security Officer Submarine Base Bangor.
Al lives in White Salmon, Washington six months and in Yuma
Arizona six months.
His primary Base is Bremerton and is Past Base Commander of
Barbel Base (where all the snowbirds migrate)
Al's contact info:
Phone: 360 908 3050
WRD4 POC's, please distribute to all Base members.
WRDC's, please welcome Al into our region.
Thank you for stepping up, Shipmate.
For all you young whippersnappers out there, Al is 83 years
young and looks forward to meeting you along the way and at
Western Region Director
360 569 0507
New Base Meeting
Banner May be installed at FRA by Next Meeting, May 21
It will be 8'x3' and look like
Museum's Annual Tolling the Boats Ceremony
The Naval Undersea
Museum's annual Tolling the Boats ceremony will be held on
Thursday, May 23rd at 10:00am. This ceremony is held
every yearto honor the submarines and crews lost during
World War II. The principal speaker for the event will be
CDR Jeffrey S. Smith, Commanding Officer, USS Kentucky (SSBN
The Navy Band
Northwest will also perform. The ceremony will take place
outside the museum in front of the USS Sturgeon sail. In
case of foul weather, the ceremony will be held in
the museum's auditorium.
Prepares for Memorial Day at Ivy Green
Submitted by VC
Corcoran and Dutch Kaiser
For those who cannot stand too long, bring a lawn chair.