Gertrude check


  Issue/Date 20130617



P O. Box 465, Silverdale, WA 98383-0465



Sunday, 21 July 2013 07:30:42 AM


Gertrude Check: Before political correctness, a  universal navy term for requesting an underwater telephone check with another boat or skimmer

Scholarship Mtg Tuesday...............Scholarship Recipients and Prize Donors, Here ............ Fire Works Watch Bill, Here

CSS3 Menu Div

Scholarship Night This Tuesday, 18 May at the FRA

(Posted 6-14-2013)

Bremerton Base will presents 6, $1000 scholarship checks this Tuesday evening (at 7PM) to deserving children or grandchildren of local submarine veterans (active,ex,ret).

Bremerton Base Members Disguised as Pirates Take Traveling Dolphins Home

(Posted 6-14-2013)

Last Evening, Thursday, June 13th, 5 members of Bremerton Base, led by VC Steve Corcoran, disguised themselves as pirates and captured their coveted traveling dolphins from the Olympic Peninsula Base weak force of 8 base members.


The Oly Base a put together a very nice custom carrying case for the dolphins.  Of course it had their patch sewed on to it.  They also had made a couple nice quotes under a pair of gold and silver dolphins on the back of the dolphins.  It was a fine job.


Welcome Aboard a New Member: 

(Posted 6-12-2013)

Martin Wattenbarger (Runner, Ethan Allen, Will Rogers, George Washington Carver, William H Bates)

Groton Base SitRep from National Commander T. Michael Bircumshaw
(Posted 6-09-2013)

Date: Saturday, June 8, 2013, 11:52 PM


Today I am disappointed that I must inform you that an ongoing situation at the Groton Base made it mandatory for me form a Disciplinary Committee to look into financial problems at the Groton Base.  The Disciplinary Committee work is still in progress.

By way of background, the Groton Base Commander sent a letter to all Base Members in January announcing a "grave and serious matter."  He stated that the Club operated by the Base had incurred a $16 thousand loss in 2012.  He also stated that an additional amount was owed to the IRS in the form of fines and penalties due to improper withholding for the Club?s employees.  To cover the losses, he asked for tax deductible donations.

As a Life Member of the Groton Base (as well as many others), I received a copy of that letter.  The letter content caused me certain concern with the potential implications for all of USSVI, not just Groton .  I asked our National Parliamentarian, and subsequently our National Treasurer, to look into the situation.  The Parliamentarian's initial correspondence offered to assist in any way to help remedy the situation.  The response to that inquiry was defensive and maintained that this was a "Groton" problem and "Groton" had taken care of it.   Rest assured that at any time that the IRS becomes involved in any USSVI Base it is a grave USSVI National concern.   In summary, here is what they have found thus far:

*        Although the Groton Base Commander has repeatedly stated that the Club was a corporation, separate from USSVI, and also that it was a "for-profit" corporation we found that the Club is not a "Separate Corporation."  Even if it were separate, however, it is not understood why he would think that donations to solve financial problems with a for-profit corporation could be tax deductible.

*        Comments about the Club being a ?separate corporation? had been forcefully stated in the past by the Base Commander.  For these many years we have presumed that he, as Base Commander and therefore CEO, knew exactly the nature of the business being conducted at Groton Base as he frequently stated, so his assertions were not questioned.  In view of the deepening questions on the situation, he was asked for copies of the Club?s corporate documents.  Within a week, the Base Commander acknowledged that the Club was not a separate corporation.

*     Discovery in the investigation has provided us with the information to be found on the Groton Base Liquor Permit which states that the ?Backer? of the Club is "United States Submarine Veterans, Inc."  Under Connecticut state liquor law, the "Backer" is totally responsible for the financial and legal liability of the business.  Why is that?  It is because the building has been and continues to be in the name of USSVI.  USSVI is the "legal entity" corporation that we all are a part of.  The Base is part of USSVI, not separate from us, and does not separately hold title.  In other words, USSVI is ultimately responsible for the Club, and problems with the Club?s finances could have implications to the whole of USSVI.


        We all knew by mid-April this year that there was no separate corporation, yet at that time the Chairman of the Club?s Board of Trustees signed a Connecticut form where he falsely identified himself as an authorized representative of USSVI.  Both he and the Base Commander knew that they were not authorized to sign documents legally binding on USSVI.  They should have asked National for such authority, but for whatever reason they did not.  They signed the document, in violation of our Constitution that prohibits a Base or un-authorized person from obligating USSVI.

*        We also looked into the IRS problems with the Club.  Back in 2009, the Club's employees began to be paid minimum wage plus tips, instead of tips only, and appropriate withholding for the employees had to be done.  Errors were made in the withholding calculations, however, and the IRS began sending Notices to the Base about the errors, demanding payments of the deficits, plus fines and penalties.  None of this was reported to National.

*        Copies of the IRS Notices were requested from Groton Base, but were delayed for reasons known only to Groton Base.  When some were provided, one IRS Notice, "Intent to Levy," threatened to seize USSVI property if the amount due was not paid or IRS contacted by a specific date, and that date had already passed 7-days earlier.

*         At one point our National Treasurer requested additional supporting documents as part of the Groton Base End of Year report, as it is now apparent that the income and expenditures of the Bar must  be included.  The Treasurer was told by the Base Treasurer to ?Talk to our Attorney.?  The Base Commander stated that he had directed the Base Treasurer?s actions.  These actions were contrary to our Bylaws that require submittal of appropriate EOY reports.
To add to the defensiveness of the Groton Base attitude, the Groton Base had hired an attorney.  Rather than to suggest possible options to USSVI being the Backer for the Groton Club, as had been requested, the attorney was apparently authorized by the Base/Base Leadership to get between the Groton Treasurer and our National Treasurer, essentially to defend Groton Base/Base Leadership against USSVI.

We all take this situation very seriously.  Problems with any base can have serious repercussions to our whole organization.  Since Groton Base was our first Base and is home to so much of our history, any corrective action must take extra care to preserve the best of USSVI, eliminate the source of problems, and establish a long term path that eliminates the possibility of a repeat of the problems.

The current status is that the Disciplinary Committee has met with and interviewed various persons associated with the Groton Base and has received some additional documentation regarding the financial situation with the Groton Base.  The Disciplinary Committee?s report to me and to the USSVI Board of Directors is expected soon.  I will let the Membership know of the results.



Base Preps for Annual Fireworks Sale Continue

(27 Jun - 4 Jul)
(Posted 6-02-2013) 


Fire Works Manager Mike Sullivan, with his relief, Mike Friend, continue to prepare for the annual Fireworks Sales to be held road side in front of QFC on Kitsap Way in Bremerton from 27 Jun to 4 Jul.


This is our major annual money maker for base operations which include charitable ventures.


Right now, we need to fill out the sales staff for the event.  Once you look over the watch bill, call Sam (360-275-3638) with your choices of times on the watch bill.

"Twice Forgotten", Story of USS R-12  (Posted 5-19-2013)

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 gave heir 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 time.

Your participation via Kickstarter will enable them to complete the documentary "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 Payments

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 tragic
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 thef amilies, 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 with the public. These entombed servicemen deserve to be acknowledged today (70years later) as any of our lost and missing military would deserve if their remains 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
National Commander

Monthly Meetings
3rd Tue, 1900

 at FRA 29
521 National Ave, Bremerton, WA

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Ervin Schmidt named Grand Marshal of Edmonds 4th of July parade


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 Edmonds.

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 planes.


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 Pacific.

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 ship.

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 feet.

After the enemy had left the area, the submarine was able to surface the next morning and return to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

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.



Nominations for Bremerton Base Elected Officers Are Open
Submitted by Nominations Committee Chairman Dutch Kaiser
(Posted 4-17-2013)

Members in good standing and state that they are willing to serve if elected can be nominated. See Bylaws

The election will be held at the November business meeting.


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