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Base Meetings are on the 3rd Tue of the month (except Aug & Dec), starting sharply at 1900, at the FRA Branch #29 Facility, 521 National Ave, Bremerton WA (MAP)

USSVI Bremerton Base, P.O. Box 465, Silverdale, WA 98383-0465

Issue date: 01-02-2012


Friday, January 06, 2012 04:27 PM

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1-6-2012 Shipmate Goes on Eternal Patrol  Base member Robert C. Welsh (MMCM(SS) ret) went on eternal patrol on January 3, 2012. Bob qualified on Sculpin (1969) and went on to serve in Seahorse, Gurnard and Thomas A. Edison.

Bob's funeral is at 2:30 PM on Friday, 1/13/12 at Rill Chapel in Port Orchard.
 Obituary will be posted when available.

1-3-2012 "Voices of the Great War" with USSVI member & Author / Museum of Flight Docent Don Ulmer

Time: Saturday, January 14, 2012 - 2:00pm
Event Type:Public Program
Location: William M. Allen Theater
Museum of Flight docent-author Don Ulmer will present "Voices of the Great War," a true story behind his recent novella of World War I, "Where or When." Ulmer, captivated by this story since first hearing it seventy-one years ago, delved into surviving journals, letters and photos passed down by 1st Lieutenant Malcom Gunn, Word War I aviator, and his childhood sweetheart Marge Van Sciver. Provided by Marge’s nephew and Ulmer’s lifelong friend, these artifacts unravel an intriguing, bittersweet yarn. Ulmer presents ‘then and now’ photos and spices his talk with film clips from a musical play based on his story, "Canadiyanks," presented at the Museum in May 2009. The Alpha Singers’ choral group of greater Seattle skillfully renders a blend of stirring, toe-tapping songs of World War I.

Join us at the Museum of Flight William Allen Auditorium at 2:00 p.m. Saturday 14 January 2012. Listen to Voices of the Great War, its timeless music, and the poignant saga of Marge and Malcom.

This program is included with Museum admission and is Free for members of the Museum of Flight.


12-31-2011 WII Vet, HC & Life Member Succumbs Theodore Kenneth Russell, 85 of Bremerton, WA, passed away 28 Dec 2011 at Harrison Medical Center after struggling with pneumonia and other pulmonary disorders. ENCM(SS) (ret) Ted qualified on Pampanito in 1944 and participated in her 4th, 5th and 6th war patrols. He completed a 30 year Navy career serving in Carp, Caiman, Alexander Hamilton, Stonewall Jackson and Ethan Allen. Sailor, rest your oar!


Per Ted's request, no service is planned. Ted also requested he be buried at sea. Cards and letters may be sent C/O Annetta Varner, 1511 Carr Blvd, Bremerton WA, 98312. Read more


12-23-2011 USSVI OFFICIAL BUSINESS: SubVet News - #2011-118
NEWS-01: Update on NS Tom Conlon
Submitted by: Alfred H Singleman Jr on 12/22/2011
Tom Conlon, our National Secretary (and a Past National Commander/GCed), has been in the hospital for the past two weeks with a severe infection in his foot and leg. He has had 2 surgeries to clean out puss pockets in his foot and leg, and this has helped to bring the infection under control. He still has a high white blood cell count and his blood sugar readings are high. He is on the mend, but has a long way to go. More than likely he will not be home for Christmas, but his spirits are good and he is improving. If you would like to cheer him up call him on his cell 973-493-7075 or send him a get well card to his home address 8 Davis Ave, Harrison, NJ 07029-1502. If you have any National Secretary items or requests please send them to NJVC Al Singleman, Jr. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tom and Gina during this Holiday Season.
Pride Runs deep,
Al Singleman, Jr. NJVC


12-22-2011 'Twas the Night Before Christmas - Submarine Style! Holiday Greetings from the U.S. Submarine Force. (Fred Green sends)


12-22-2011 Underway in District 4 Newsletter  Shipmates and Friends, Another year is behind us as we enter the Christmas Season. I’m very proud of all of You. Each Base in its own way has shown what our organization is a about; patriotism, comradeship, community service, spirit of achievement and fun. I visited all Bases in District 4 and it’s been fun to watch the Traveling Dolphins make their way from Base to Base. They are at South Sound Base waiting to be captured. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Happy & Prosperous New Year in 2012. Read on!


12-21-2011  Bremerton Base Presents Gifts to Residents of WA State Veterans Home, Retsil Yesterday, Tuesday, Dec 20th, four base members, L-R, Ralph Harris, Tommy Robinson, Don Bassler led by Chaplain Fred Borgmann, presented a variety gifts donated by individuals, businesses and the base to Retsil Superintendent Don Veverka (center of image).   Don was accompanied by his assistants, Dax Dowling and  Tami Reuter. The gifts given from the base were cards and stickers, 56 books of postage stamps, phone cards (15) & cards.  Other gifts donated by individuals and businesses were 7 models (ships and planes) and a lot of glue (Dennis Wendt) and a case of playing cards courtesy of Jim DeMott and Chips Casino.


12/21/2011 SubVet News
To: Distribution List

NEWS-01: Happy holidays and a very merry Christmas..
Submitted by: T. Michael Bircumshaw on 12/21/2011
As 2011 winds down and 2012 becomes the new date we will tend to forget to put on our checks until sometime in February, I want to take this moment to wish you and your families the very best of holidays and a very merry Christmas along with the hope for a better new year. ( I also wish for all of your 2012 Resolutions to endure).

This is one more of those times that family and friends become our focus as we look (or trust that the shopper in our family will) for what they can find to fill those stockings and to wrap for placement under the colorful tree standing in the front room. In view of the belt tightening times that we live in I am hoping that whatever does not get delivered by Santa, and those pesky reindeer, can be found in everyone’s hearts and minds to make it a positive and caring season.

I try to make every day one of “Thanksiving” and “Christmas”, always wanting to give more than I receive to those I love and care for, which includes all of my family and friends. My shipmates all fall in there somewhere as I have brothers who sailed with me or have served with me in Sub Vets that are truly “family” and a multitude of friends, most of whom wear dolphins.

A special thanks to those of you who have contributed your thoughts, ideas and efforts to help make Sub Vets as good as it can be this past year.

Please drive safe, take care, take your meds, and temper the salt and sugar in your lives. I would like to see you, both healthy and happy, in Norfolk or where ever our paths may meet.


12-21-2011 Puget Sound Naval Museum Here are some pictures of the special warfare section of the Puget Sound Naval Museum that features submarines. There are interactive exhibits for sonar and ships course. Also there is an excellent movie about the training and mission of the Navy Seals. I don't know if our membership is aware of these exhibits but in any case I will send them to you for inclusion in the Gertrude Check if you desire.

The Museum hours are:
1000 to 1600 Monday, Wednesday through Saturday and 1300 to 1600 Sunday.
The Museum is closed on Tuesdays until April.  Reporter Dutch Kaiser sends.












12-14-2011 SubVet News - #2011-115
NEWS-01: Thresher Memorial Dinner
Submitted by: T. Michael Bircumshaw on 12/9/2011

Victoria Sallade, Granddaughter of Charles Wiggins FTGI(SS), is organizing a dinner for the former crew and families of those who served aboard the USS Thresher SSN-593 to be held on the 14th of April 2012 at 4:00pm in Portsmouth, NH. She is looking for contact information on surviving family members of the Crew and Officers of Thresher. If you have any information or would care to know more about the program and current status please contact Victoria at 609-519-1707 or

12-11-2011 Congratulations to Members Renewed for USSVI and Bremerton Base Life Memberships: They are Mike Sullivan (Woodrow Wilson, Seawolf, ?)  Bobby Whitlow (Spikefish, Tench, Tang, Abraham Lincoln, Amberjack) and Eugene Moore (Tautog, Grayback, Aspro) .


updated 12-17-2011 Annual Holiday Party Shows the Spirit of Christmas  At the MWR facility, NBK, Bangor, the Base holiday party was well attended by those from 2 to 89 years old. About 80 in all.   The 2 year old was Naomi Swanson, daughter of Ltjg Tim Swanson (Maine) and his wife Jessica Swanson, reporter for Kitsap Navy News. And the 89 year old was Don Loughridge, WWII Subvet and BrClick for Big Pictureemerton Base HC member.


Life Base member Dennis Nardone took portrait pictures of members and their guests upon entry to the party.  He will  "develop" them and we will send them out via e-mail in about a week.


Opening ceremonies featured  recognition of honored guests, including Past National Cdr Pat Householder and base founding members present, Tudor Davis (also a past National Cdr) and Dick Litscher (also a past National Treasurer).  Base commander Dave Niemy introduced guest speaker, Capt Brian Humm of the USS Ohio (SSGN 726B).  Capt Humm gave an inspirational address about today's submarines and sailors comparing them to the basics of submariners' character of the earlier times.


After a delicious buffet and chocolate cake dessert, Holland Club chair Dick Litscher inducted Rodrigo "Rudy" Rimando into the Holland Club.  Rudy gave a sincere, positive testimony of his regard for his life in the USA.  This was followed by 10, 20 and 30 year base members recognition for their base longevity.


The base outgoing 2011 officers and incoming 2012 officers were introduced. (2012-2013 officers will be sworn in at Jan 17, 2012 general meeting.) Outgoing commander Dave Niemy was presented a meritorious award for his leadership in improving base operations. 


Generous party goers donated nearly $400 to annual charity gift that will be added to another $200 from the base general fund (total, near $600) to purchase items for veterans at the Retsil Veterans Home.  Chaplain Fred Borgmann reports.


Storekeeper Ralph Harris reported $260 gross sales at the party and reminded us he has Holland Club ties with gold or silver dolphins for$22.


Hank Hollis can take credit for his organization of the party, as he has done for several years.


All Pictures are here.


11-25-2011 Deterrent Park Up Date Since the October 2011 brick installation, three sponsors have donated 4 engraved bricks to Deterrent Park.  They will be installed, with other donated bricks, in May 2012.  These sponsors are Barton, Davison and Aiello(2), Kolbeck(2) and Briggs.


An engraved brick for a loved one that served his/her country could be an everlasting memory.  You may want to consider one or more for Christmas presents or a gift for other occasions.  All the Park information you may want to know about the Park and an order form are online. (And the donation is IRS deductable.)


11-2-2011 2012 Annual National & Base Dues are Due by Dec 31, 2011 Dues schedule below.


Annual Dues are: National $20 + Base $20 = $40

Make a single check for $40 made out to USSVI Bremerton Base and give it to the Treasurer or mail it to PO Box 465, Silverdale, WA 98383


Life Membership Dues are in the table below.  Holland Club members are not except from national dues, but are except from base dues. (FYI: Generally, about age 70, a majority of members become eligible for Holland Club membership.)  As an example, at the current annual rate of $40 National & Base dues, it would take a member  <45 years old about 19 years to = $750 National Life & base dues.  About 61 Bremerton Base members should take a look.


Age Nat $ Base $ Total $ 
<45 500 250 750
46-55 400 150 550
56-65 300 100 400
66-75 200 50 250
76> 100 50 150


Over time, dues increase, so if you  have good intentions of sticking it out, please consider a life membership, no matter what your current age. (pay now or pay more later/GC ed)





The following Members are recognized for their generous donations to the Base General Fund.
Rig for Dive Periscope Depth

Battle Stations

Deep Submergence Unit Citation
$1 - $19.99 $20.00 - $29.99

$30.00 - $49.99

$50.00 - $99.00 $100.00 +





George Schaefer

Tudor Davis

Anonymous-WWII Vet

Updated: Jan 4, 2012. Thanks Shipmates


Soup Down: Fri, Jan 6,  1130
*All Star Lanes, 10710 Silverdale Way Northwest,


Join the Fun, click for Images

Complete Schedule linked here

Ltr of 2011 appreciation/request for 2012 gift certificate


Gertrude Check
Founder & Editor



Other News of Interest to Submariners


Military to be pared, but not necessarily in Kitsap

By Ed Friedrich, Kitsap sun

—President Obama and top military brass published their guidelines Thursday to strategically cut billions of dollars from the defense budget over the next decade. It looks like the Northwest Navy could avoid most of the lopping......


"I think we're going to be fine," U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks said of Puget Sound Navy bases. "The emphasis is on the Pacific. With the problems in North Korea and China's growing military capability and our major trade commitments in that area, it's going to be a positive for our area."

Guy Stitt, longtime Puget Sound Naval Bases Association board member, thought the same thing when he read the document. It's good for the Navy overall and even better for the Pacific Navy....

Read more:


Submarines Connecticut, Nebraska, Michigan win battle efficiency awards


Pearl Harbor, Hawaii —Three Bangor-based submarines received 2011 Battle Efficiency Awards, given to one boat per squadron for technical performance and combat readiness. The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet submarine force announced the winners Jan. 1.

USS Connecticut won for Development Squadron 5 (comprising three Seawolf-class attack subs), USS Nebraska Blue and Gold crews for Squadron 17 (six ballistic missile subs), and USS Michigan Blue Crew for Squadron 19 (two ballistic missile subs and two guided missile subs

Read more:


Submarine Force 2011 Year In Review
COMSUBFOR Public Affairs, Dec. 31

Link to video:


China’s Noisy Subs Get Busier — And Easier To Track
Wired, December 27

The military’s latest secret assessment of China’s rapidly modernizing submarines has good news and bad news for the U.S. Navy. On one hand, the roughly 60 submarines in the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) fleet are spending more and more time on combat-ready patrols — signaling China’s increasing naval competence and growing seriousness about influencing the western Pacific Ocean.

On the other hand, the flurry of undersea activity gives American forces more opportunities to tail and examine Chinese subs. And U.S. analysts discovered a silver lining in the gathering strategic storm clouds. Chinese submarines are a hell of a lot noisier than anyone expected. The sound you hear is the Pacific balance of power tipping in Washington’s favor.

As recently as 2007, China’s diesel-powered subs and a handful of nuclear-propelled models managed just a few patrols per year, combined. Two years before that, none of Beijing’s undersea boats went on patrol. For years, the majority of PLAN submarines remained tied up at naval bases, sidelined by mechanical problems and a shortage of adequately trained crews.

As long as the PLAN’s submarines were idle, the U.S. Navy’s spy planes, surveillance ships and snooping subs had few opportunities to assess China’s undersea capabilities — and, most importantly, how much noise the Chinese generate while submerged and moving. Navies can use passive sonars to track submarines by the sounds they make. The louder a vessel, the easier it is to detect. And destroy.

With little information to go on, American intelligence officials had to guess. In cases like that, “you guess conservatively,” a respected U.S.-based naval analyst tells Danger Room on the condition of anonymity. The conservative estimates placed the latest PLAN subs roughly a decade behind the state-of-art for Russian submarines — and potentially 20 years behind U.S.

 undersea technology.

Now Chinese subs are patrolling more frequently. “Within the last year or two the Chinese have begun to deploy diesel boats more frequently into places like the Philippines Sea,” the analyst reveals. More and better data is flowing in from U.S. forces. With that data, the Navy conducted a fresh assessment of PLAN submarines. The unnamed analyst attended a classified briefing based on the assessment.

The assessment’s biggest surprise: Leaving aside the PLAN’s dozen imported Russian subs, new Chinese submarines can be detected at what’s known as the “first convergence zone,” a ring approximately 25 miles from an undersea vessel where outward-traveling sound waves pack close together.

During the Cold War, the U.S. Navy would arrange its own submarines in lines where each boat was 25 miles from the next, forming a sort of net to catch Soviet subs. With the introduction of the latest generation of quiet Russian diesel subs in the 1990s, the Americans thought that convergence-zone detection was no longer possible. But the Navy’s just discovered that China’s homemade subs are even louder than 20-year-old Russian boats. “Apparently they [U.S. subs] are making first convergence zone detections and holding them,” the analyst reports.

Assuming the Chinese stay with their current sub designs, American submarines should be capable of swiftly defeating Chinese boats in any potential future shooting war — helping clear the way for U.S. aircraft carriers to strike Chinese land targets. Combined with a slowdown in Chinese sub production, and the recent doubling of America’s submarine build-rate, the noise revelation could lead to a radical recalculation of the Pacific balance of power.

The U.S. Navy had a comfortable technological lead over the PLAN even before the increased Chinese sub activity fueled the recent intelligence coup. Now that lead has gotten even wider. And noisier.


Take A Ride On The USS Chicago
NBC Chicago, December 22

Chicago's namesake nuclear submarine has close ties to the city. Ride along with a group of dedicated civilian supporters as they find out what life's like beneath the waves.
Link to video:!/on-air/as-seen-on/Take-a-Ride-on-the-USS-Chicago/136115133

Navy To Launch Kamikaze Drone From Submarine
Tucson Citizen, December 26

Unmanned aerial warfare is heading underwater. The Navy is preparing to test-launch a small, kamikaze drone from a submarine next year, Defense Tech reports.

The Switchblade drone, essentially a self-propelled, remotely guided missile, will be enclosed in a special launch canister and fired from one the sub’s trash chutes at periscope depth, Def Tech explains, citing Aviation Week. The canister floats to the surface, where the electric-motor, folded-wing drone launches itself.

Here’s an illustration.

The launch is planned during the biennial RIMPAC, billed as “the world’s largest multi-national maritime exercise,” next year in Hawaii.

The Army has used the Switchblade against Taliban targets and will resume such attacks next year, Bloomberg reported in October. The aircraft can be carried in a soldier’s backpack.

The Army paid AeroVironment $4.9 million this summer for a small initial squadron of Switchblades. More on that from Wired.

Here’s how the manufacturer describes its little killer:

The Switchblade is designed to provide the warfighter with a “magic bullet”. It can rapidly provide a powerful, but expendable miniature flying Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) package on a Beyond Line-of-Sight (BLOS) target within minutes. This miniature, remotely-piloted or autonomous platform can either glide or propel itself via quiet electric propulsion, providing real-time GPS coordinates and video for information gathering, targeting, or feature/object recognition. The vehicle’s small size and quiet motor make it difficult to detect, recognize, and track even at very close range. The Switchblade is fully scalable and can be launched from a variety of air and ground platforms.

Def Tech wonders “how the Navy controls the tiny UAVs without signals from its subs being detected.”

Defense Review, which declares itself “a big fan” of armed drones, offers its assessment of the Switchblade.

Human Error Causes Submarine Grounding
Lookout Navy News Online (Canada), December 19

A Board of Inquiry (BOI) has found that human error was a key contributing factor in the grounding of HMCS Corner Brook in Nootka Sound June 4, prompting Commander Royal Canadian Navy to relieve LCdr Paul Sutherland of his command.

The submarine struck the south eastern wall of Zuciarte Channel, more than 500 yards from its intended position while the boat was conducting Submarine Officer Continuation Training. A military BOI formed to look into the matter, spoke to 15 witnesses prior to reaching its findings.

"The BOI concentrated on the events that happened on board, on that day, so most [who were interviewed] were members of the crew or riders at the time," says Capt(N) Luc Cassivi, Deputy Commander of Canadian Fleet Pacific.

BOI Findings
The BOI determined the submarine's technical systems did not contribute to the incident. Submarine commanders usually give the boat a buffer zone to allow for any errors in equipment or ocean currents when submerged. The established practice of recognizing what is referred to as a "pool of errors" was not properly followed in this case.

Female Submariner Move To Cost £3m
Defense Management, December 20

The Ministry of Defence is to spend £3m modifying nuclear submarines to allow female submariners, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has confirmed.

Earlier this month Hammond announced that female officers would be allowed to serve on the Vanguard class nuclear submarines from late 2013, with female ratings allowed to join from 2015.

Astute class hunter-killer submarines would be converted to allow female officers and ratings from 2016 after a long-standing ban was lifted.

Answering questions in Parliament this week, Hammond said that it would cost an estimated £3m to convert submarines to cater for female personnel.

The Defence Secretary said the money would "provide appropriate accommodation and emergency air supplies, so that should any female submariner be found to be pregnant while on board, she will be able to breathe from a discrete air supply until she can be medically evacuated".

The conversion would help "enlarge the talent pool from which the submarine service will recruit", he added

Hammond also ruled out any need to trial the change because "the United States navy has made the change already, and has found the arrangements to be perfectly satisfactory".

Also, previous concerns about women's health had been resolved, he said.

"The only reason why women were not eligible for the submarine service was that until recently the best medical evidence suggested that there could be a risk to foetal health," said Hammond. "It is now clear that that risk does not exist."

80 New Warships To Invigorate The Navy In Couple Of Years
MSN News (India), December 20

Mumbai, Dec 20 (PTI) The Navy is all set to get younger with over 80 new warships, including two aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines each, scheduled to join its fleet.

Due to the scheduled inductions in next couple of years, the average age of the fleet would come down making it a comparatively younger force, Navy Spokesperson Commander PVS Satish said on the sidelines of President''s Fleet Review (PFR) here.

"The present average age of the naval fleet is around 12 to 15 years. But by the time the next PFR takes place, the force would be younger by three to four years," Satish said.

Meanwhile, addressing the officers and sailors of Indian Navy, President Pratibha Patil said, "The Navy, today, is poised to achieve new milestones with the imminent induction of the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, the Kolkata Class stealth destroyers, the follow-on frigates of the Talwar Class, the indigenous ASW Corvettes and an impressive number of submarines and aircraft."

On induction of indigenous submarines and frigates, she said, "The launch of the nuclear submarine Arihant, and induction of the indigenously built Shivalik Class frigates are an reflection of the capability of our shipyards and technological competence of our personnel."

The President today reviewed the naval might of the country and took salute from a flotilla of 81 ships, including four submarines and 44 aircraft of Navy and Indian Coast Guard.

WILLOW RUN (Bill Hipp Sends)

 Henry Ford was determined that he could mass produce bombers just as he had done with cars.

He built the Willow Run assembly plant and proved it. It was the world's largest building under one roof.


This film will absolutely blow you away - one B-24 every 55 minutes.


There is no way he could have even guessed.

For those who live outside of Michigan , Willow Run is near Bellville, Canton and Ypsilanti , MI

It's amazing that one B-24 (built with over 1.225 million parts) came off the assembly line every 55 minutes

Take a few minutes to watch this snapshot of history:





GC issues of the past 12 months, go to Previous Gertrude Checks

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