The January Base
Meeting (FRA29), this
skipper of the
Norman, a Groton
USSVI in 2002.
Come early, eat
maybe. FRA opens
Bremerton Base Captures
taken by WRD John
Jim DeMott led 5
other base members to
Olympic Peninsula Base
evening, January 9th at
the Community Center at
Chimicum. Oly Base
provided guests with
John Mansfield was
also in attendance and
informed all of national
items and fielded
questions, along with
taking photos. All
enjoyed the camaraderie.
Navy vet compiles snippets of Navy’s first
Richard Bartlett Northwest Navy Life
(Posted January 8, 2014 at 4:09 p.m.)
Tommy Robinson knew at
a young age he would one day become a sailor in the U.S.
The idea began when he was a boy during World War II in
Linden, a central California farming community near
Stockton. There, he became enthralled by images of sailors
wearing their white hats and bell bottoms. He says, “I knew
right then I wanted to join.”
So, just after graduating high school in 1958, he granted
his own wish just before his 18th birthday and enlisted in
the Navy. Following recruit training he attended radioman
school in San Diego, hoping for an assignment on board a
submarine upon completion.
That wouldn’t happen, at least not then. He was told he was
too tall to meet the then height restrictions for
submariners. So his first duty station was at the Naval
Communication Station at Skaggs Island near Sonoma, Calif.
There he remained for 13 months, practicing the job he had
been trained for, which focused largely on Morse code
Before his next assignment, Robinson was again denied
submarine duty and sent instead to the heavy cruiser USS
Saint Paul (CA 73) with the 7th Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan.
When his tour aboard Saint Paul was complete, so was his
Robinson elected to leave the military and returned to his
home town to attend community college and find a job. But
the decision was short lived, lasting only 90 days.
“I realized rather quickly that I wasn’t having nearly as
much fun as when I was in the Navy or making as much money,”
he said. “So, I rejoined the Navy in 1961.”
This time he was promised submarine school, and finally in
1963 he was accepted to the school in New London, Conn. Upon
graduation he was assigned to USS Nautilus (SSN 571).
Nautilus, commissioned in 1954, became the world’s first
nuclear-powered submarine, and in 1958 was the first
submarine to transit under ice to the North Pole. The boat
would go on to serve its entire active service during the
Cold War years, regularly participating in war games with
the then Soviet Union. Nautilus was decommissioned in 1980.
Robinson served as a radioman on board Nautilus from
1963-67. Shortly after reporting on board Nautilus was sent
to the yards for repairs. Stemming from the ill fated
sinking of the submarine USS Thresher (SSN 593) during
deep-diving tests in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1963, the
Navy implemented a rigorous submarine safety program in
efforts to make subs much safer and easier to operate.
Nautilus would remain in the yards nearly two years until
all of the newly designed changes were made before it would
again perform diving operations at sea.
Robinson went on to serve on two other submarines, USS
Sterlet (SS 392) in 1967 performing surveillance operations
off the coast of Vietnam, and years later on USS Abraham
Lincoln (SSBN 602). While serving on Lincoln in 1979 as a
senior chief with 20 years in service, Robinson took the
exam for master chief and also applied for warrant officer.
He was successful at both, but ultimately decided on taking
the warrant officer route.
In 1982, Robinson reported to Trident Training Facility at
the then Submarine Base Bangor in Silverdale, working as an
instructor. It was at that time Bangor’s first homeported
submarine, USS Ohio, was reporting for duty.
In 1988, Chief Warrant Officer Robinson retired from the
Navy after 30 years of service. Following retirement,
Robinson joined Nautilus Alumni Association, Inc. where he
served as secretary of the organization before becoming
president in 2012.
During that time he became well acquainted with many of the
former crew members of Nautilus who religiously share
stories from their experiences aboard the sub at annual
Nautilus reunions, normally held in Groton, Conn., where
Nautilus is open to the public as a historical ship at the
Submarine Force Museum.
Two years ago, the group began kicking around the idea of
collecting many of the stories into a book and Robinson
agreed to take on the project and began canvassing former
crew members to submit their Nautilus stories.
After much editing and finding a publisher, Friesen Press
out of Victoria, British Columbia, the submissions found
their way to print in a book titled, “Steely Eyed Killers of
the Deep”, a collection of “sea stories, memories and
musings” from more than 45 submariners, including Robinson,
who served on board Nautilus from 1954 to its
decommissioning in 1980.
In the book, Robinson recalls an incident that occurred on
Nautilus in 1966 while he was serving as a radioman on
board. Nautilus was performing an anti-submarine exercise
with the aircraft carrier USS Essex off the coast of North
Essex was being refueled. Nautilus, submerged nearby at a
depth of about 200 feet, was ordered to move up to periscope
depth. As the boat ascended, Essex began pulling away from
the refueling site.
Robinson says he could tell Essex was close because of the
ever increasing noise of the beating of the carrier’s screws
as Nautilus ascended to periscope depth. The Nautilus diving
officer immediately ordered Nautilus to reverse to full dive
mode, but it was too late.
The bow of the Essex crashed into the forward starboard side
of the Nautilus sail filling the boat with “a deafening
shriek of grinding metal.”
“It just laid us right on our side,” recalled Robinson. “The
entire upward forward side of the sail was sliced off, and
periscopes were bent.”
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured. Nautilus made the
500-mile trip back to its New London, Conn homeport on its
own accord as Essex headed to Boston to repair a 30 by
60-foot hole in its bow below the waterline.
This story is just one of the many entries portraying nearly
every aspect of life aboard a submarine. Robinson is pleased
with the end product. “This is my contribution to the
history of Nautilus,” he said.
The cover art of the book was done by former Nautilus
shipmate and Bremerton resident, the late Frank Bonaquisti.
All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to
the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation, which are awarded to the
children of former submariners. Copies of the book are
available online and in some local book stores.
“It’s been a fun project. It could be an eye opener to
sailors today because a lot of the stuff we did they just
don’t do anymore. It’s altogether different nowadays.”
Bremerton Base's New Storage Locker
(Posted 01-06-2014) Photo by Dutch Kaiser
On Saturday morning, Jan 4th, VC Steve
Corcoran led shelf builder Dutch Kaiser, COB
Wayne Peterson and a couple other members in setting up
new shelving and storing miscellaneous base paraphernalia in
our new storage locker.
The storage locker is located at:
Bremerton Self Storage | Reliable Storage, Bremerton,
9324 Old Military Road NE,
COB Peterson is the prime access person for
this unit. Steve and Cdr Jim DeMott also
If you have Base items
(records, hardware, equipment etc) that need to be
stored, please call COB
Wayne Peterson at 360-265-0266.
Starting in October
3rd Sat, 1000
at FRA 29
521 National Ave,
2014 Calendar below,
Click Date to Show Event
2014 Golden Anniversary USSVI Convention in
2014 Golden Anniversary USSVI Convention will be in
San Francisco, Sept 1st to 7th, 2014.
The convention will be held the
San Francisco Airport Hyatt
Regency at 1333 Bayshore Hwy. Burlingame, CA 94010.
convention logo and you
will find all the information linked that you will need
Base Logo T-Shirts
Storekeeper Ralph Harris is going to order long and short sleeve T-shirts
(M-2X) that will have a large print of the Bremerton Base logo on the front of
Ralph (360-876-0830) if you
are interested. You are not obligated but he needs to know approximately
the number and what sizes to order. Cost to you will be no more than $12 a
Base Has Historian
Bremerton Base has an official historian.
His name is Bob Paul. Bob is a USSVI Life member and
has been active in helping SK Ralph Hariis in setting up a
web page(s) that should be on-line soon. Bob served in the
submarine service from 1964 to 1987.
If you are hording any base historical stuff,
consider tuning it over to
November - December Puget Soundings On-line
The E-Board voted to send each Bremerton Base
member (address on file with USSVI) a hard copy to ensure
that all members have access to the Puget Soundings.
Meanwhile you advanced internet operators can take a look at
the same thing which includes some well written comments by
Deterrent Park Brick Install Sponsors
RESCUED BY SUBMARINE
Submarines of World War 1
How a World War II Submarine
The Silent Service (in color) - U.S.
U Boat War : Documentary on the
Battle of World War 2
Largest Submarine in The U.S. Navy
Ohio Class Submarine | Combat
Trident Missile Launch From a
Submarine Service In The 1970s
The Cold War- Submarines: In Enemy
Cold War Spy Secrets Under the Sea
Watch out from below
Submarines - Sharks of Steel Episode 1
Submarine USS Virginia Documentary
NEW SUBMARINE! U.S. Navy Takes
of PCU Minnesota
Megastructures - Super Submarines
Submarine nucleare (DOCUMENTAR)
Russian submarine History
Secret Russian Sub - Mission Invisible
Megastructures - Soviet Doomsday
Seconds From Disaster - S03E03 -
Sinking Of Kursk
Raising the Kursk Part 1
Raising the Kursk Part 2
The Kursk Cover Up - Russia
Secret Submarine Rendezvous :
Documentary on the
World War 2 Secret African Mission
HMS Victorious Trident Class Nuclear
How to build a Nuclear Submarine
Submarine Patrol 3/3 -
Chasing the Enemy
Oberon Arrival in Halifax
RCN Submarines HD
Aloha Kitchen, Silverdale
Photos provided by Dennis Nardone