The Narwhal Tusk

A Publication of the Narwhal Reunion Committee All Rights Reserved

Editor, Steve A. Stone Publisher, Mark L. Codding

Vol. 8.2 Web Site: http://www.ssn671.org March 22, 2005

 


MAY O5 REUNION EFFORT IS CANCELLED

 

Shipmates, please read the NVI Board of Directors reports that follow in this TUSK. They contain information about NVI discussions with NSSDC and the current uncertainties that exist to the rescheduling of NARWHAL's modifications in Puget Sound Navy Shipyard.

 

Those uncertainties have resulted in the cancellation of the reunion NVI had chartered for this Memorial Day weekend. The tentative plan is to try to do the same reunion at the same time next year. Stand by for announcements as planning firms up (again).

 

AND, WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT! If any Shipmate desires to assist in reunion efforts, please contact NRC representatives. We know we'll need at least 5 stalwart Shipmates to help us put together a good event. A couple of you raised your hand for this year, and we hope you'll consider re-raising it when we put out the next call. But, we are still short at least 3 people. We know its too early for most of your to commit, but - be thinking of it. Planning and executing a reunion is a very interesting and fun thing to do.

 

Join up. Do it for YOU. Once you do, we guarantee you'll be glad you did.

 


SEARCHING FOR A SHIPMATE?

 

Been looking for one of your old buds? Having a hard time? Have you requested assistance from your NRC staff? If not, why not?

 

At one time or another, we all find ourselves either telling an old sea story or daydreaming about those "good old days" aboard ship. Almost every time we'll recall the name of someone we served with whom we haven't seen since. The phrase "I wonder what ever happened to him . . ." will naturally be spoken or thought.

 

The NRC has been in the Shipmate biz for over 10 years. If we know of a NARVET out there, we contact him. If you're looking for someone in particular, let us help. In fact, contact us FIRST. If we know where the guy is, we'll tell you. We'll give you his address, phone number, and E-address if he has one.

 

If you want to help us help you, first look on our web site, on the SHIPMATES ABOARD pages to see the list of Shipmates who have given us good contact information. If the name you're looking for is there, helping you should be easy. However, if the guy's on our LOST SOULS pages, we may need you as much as you need us.

 


SS 167 IN ACTION!

 

For an interesting write-up of actions by USS PADDLE against the Japanese ship Shinyo Maru and NARHWAL's subsequent rescue of prisoners held aboard that ship, type the following URL into your search engine:

 

http://www.submarinesailor.com/history/pow/paddlesinksshinyomaru/

 

For those who don't have search engines, you can borrow one from a relative or go to your local library and log on. You're missing out if you aren't on-line.

 


A NOTE OF APPRECIATION

 

I would like to thank all of you for bringing my dad, Ed Morgan, home from the Northern Fleet. (You may have known him as Thomas, I don't know).

Mike Morgan (A comment logged onto the NVI Web Site)

 


ON LINE . . .

 

One of the most gratifying things about our NARVET group is the percentage of you who are on-line. You who ARE get to know all our news first. And, you get to participate more fully in all aspects of NARWHAL Veterans, Inc. You have access to everything but the NARWHAL Crew List Database, which is kept off-line due to protect our members' privacy. AND, you may not know this, but you save us money ($$$$$ - for those who are symbolically inclined).

 

To those of you who aren't on-line - please consider joining the rest of us. If all Shipmates had an E-mail account, the NVI could save over $500 a year in TUSK production and mailing costs. It may not seem like a lot of money, but you need to remember how much our membership dues are. If you also have Internet access, you can see ALL the TUSK issues ever published. You can see our extensive photo gallery. You can see our Shipmate lists, and much, much more. Getting on-line isn't just a popular thing to do anymore, its a way of doing business that makes a lot of sense.

 

If any of you considers getting plugged in for the very first time, we have plenty of computer experts in our midst who can answer any (and we do mean ANY) question you have, whether it regards your software, hardware, or procedures for using our web site.

 


NARWHAL VETERANS INC. BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTION UPDATE

 

There are two positions up for re-election on our Board; those currently held by Buck Crouch and Mike Legg. In January the NRC published a special TUSK to announce the election and to solicit candidates for the two positions. Candidate solicitations are now closed, and the election is imminent. So far as your editor can determine, no Shipmate nominated a candidate for this election. Luckily, the incumbents have agreed to stand for re-election again.

 

You should all consider that we have always tried to operate the NRC, and now the NVI, according to strict democratic principles. However, one of the fundamental flaws of democracy is that it requires PARTICIPATION. That doesn't happen by itself. Having been a member of this organization in various capacities since its inception, I can tell you that finding Shipmates to help is often a problem. We have always appreciated those who rose to the occasion and helped with reunions, mailing TUSK copies, and staffing our positions. Those are important chores that have helped us to succeed and continue to grow. But, in the main, most of those haven't been leadership positions. Being on the NVI Board of Directors IS about leadership. On behalf of the NRC and NVI, I encourage each of you to think about the next election. If you have either the desire or skills to help lead, throw your hat into the ring. Put yourself in the forefront of our group. We can always use new ideas and new energy.

 

Its about being a Shipmate. - Editor.

 


NARVET ORDERS NOTED

(Downloaded from the Sched)

 

CAPT JAMIE FOGGO JOINT STAFF COMSUBRON SIX

CAPT RON STEED CSL PCOI COMSUBRON TWO

 

AND, In case we forgot last year, a belated CONGRATS to another good Shipmate who was promoted: ET1(SS) Paul Weiss

Congratulations, and best of luck from all your NARVET Shipmates!

 


NARWHAL VETERANS INCORPORATED

 

Minutes

Board Meeting: January 18, 2005

The meeting of the board on January 18, 2005 was conducted by conference telephone call. It was called to order by President Buck Crouch at 8:00pm EDT. All board members were present by telephone except Mike Legg who was teaching a class. (Board members include: Buck Crouch, President; Tim Blevins, Exec. VP; John Davenport, VP; Mike Legg, Treas.; Mike OByrne, Sec.)

 

1.      The agenda was the reunion in May this year. Discussion followed.

Tim was asked to comment on the changes at the NSSDC and the plans for the Narwhal for the NSSDC. In summary:

 

Tom Schram is no longer with the NSSDC and we have a new contact, Dennis Crane. Dennis is a volunteer and Vice Chairman of the board and is in charge of fund raising for the NSSDC. He is a Naval Academy graduate and a submariner (Patrick Henry.) Tim will forward to all of us his contact information.

 

As of now, it looks like Narwhal will not be available for the NSSDC until at least 2008. The Navys shipyards, particularly Newport News and Bremerton are fully booked on carrier work and cant get to the preparation of Narwhal for some time. (If we think about how hard our carriers have been used in recent years, this should not be much of a surprise.)

 

For the board, then, it became obvious that our main reunion when Narwhal comes to the NSSDC will be postponed until the ship is ready and put on display.

 

3.      First question was: should we still have our mini-reunion in May this year? The vote of the board was unanimous that we continue to plan for and have the mini-reunion this year.

4.      The board then commended Tim Blevins on the work he has done in planning for the reunion and authorized him to continue as he has outlined. Tim will now finalize the schedule and announce it to our members. We will work with the local USSVI chapter and plan on attending a Reds ball game with them. A schedule change of ringing the bell on Sunday will move some of the events to Sunday with departure on Monday.

5.      The board authorized Tim to spend up to $1000 for advance fees for the reunion.

6.      We will ask the NRC for help in announcing the event through their email list or by mailing and for them to recover their expensed from us. Action: Buck.

7.      Speakers for the banquet are suggested to be:

a.       Adm. Colley (has accepted)

b.      Buck and new president

c.       NSSDC

d.      NRC-talk about 08

e.       Consider asking Senator Jim Bunning who apparently kicked NSSDC off: action: Tim

f.        Buck has computer projector for presentations. If anyone has Narwhal images, send them to Buck.

g.       Other ideas, send them to Tim.

h.       We plan to fund some of the expenses of the reunion, but have a donation bucket to help defray the costs.

i.         N. Kentucky convention bureau will have name tags and banner for us and we can expect a rebate from them depending on how many rooms we book.

j.        We will use the Radisson hotel that Tim has located at $85 per night with continental breakfast.

Decisions on t-shirts will be taken at our next meeting.

 

New subjects;

We will ask our Treasurer, Mike Legg, to follow up with Dennis Crane to find out how much donations have been made by Narwhal sailors. Tim reported that NSSDC is very impressed with us and our activities in their behalf.

 

Financial:

John reported that our account has $4005.96

We authorized Buck to be reimbursed for the cost of this call (not known at this time estimated at $100.) Buck reported that he negotiated with Qwest and got the two previous calls written off.

The board previously authorized payment to Tim for $61.25 for the Florida Annual Report fees.

 

Our next telephone meeting will be (tentative) on Monday, February 21 at 8:00pm EDT.

 

Respectfully submitted

Mike OByrne

Secretary

 


NARWHAL VETERANS INCORPORATED

 

Minutes

Board Meeting: February 23, 2005

 

The meeting of the board on February 23, 2005 was conducted by conference telephone call. It was called to order by President Buck Crouch at 8:00pm EDT. All board members were present by telephone. (Board members include: Buck Crouch, President; Tim Blevins, Exec. VP; John Davenport, VP; Mike Legg, Treas.; Mike OByrne, Sec.)

 

14.  The agenda was proposed and agreed to. It was:

a.       Treasury Report

b.      BOD Election

c.       Reunion reschedule

d.      Mike Legg gave the treasury report. We have $3945.19 in the bank. We are earning a small amount of interest on the account. The board has previously approved payment of $61.25 to Tim Blevins for the Florida Annual Report submittal.

e.       Board of Directors election. Two positions are open, Buck Crouchs and Mike Leggs. Both will stand for re-election although Buck will not stand again for President. (For information, officers are elected by the Board.) We agreed to open nominations through March 18 and to hold the election the week of March 26 to 31, primarily by email. Buck was requested to solicit the NRCs help in administering the vote as they have the master member files.

f.        Reunion re-schedule. The board had an extensive discussion regarding the NSSDC and Narwhal with the obvious difficulties they are having fund raising and with the delay that will occur in any case due to the Navys shipyard backlogs. In summary, at this time, we will adopt a wait and see position regarding the NSSDC. The board did request and suggest some of the following actions:

g.       Write an article for Navy Times: Buck

h.       Send the same article to the Submarine Museum newsletter

i.         Get the word out to shipmates and friends, piggy back on the SFO accident and the interest in submarines: all

j.        Request Mark Codding to visit NSSDC in Newport if he can as he lives the closest to Newport of all of us: Buck.

k.      Make sure Adm. Mike Colley is aboard on our position: Tim.

l.         We will hold for now on asking for more donations until we understand more about NSSDCs position. Our donations were to support Narwhal and, if she may not be coming, our donations do not make any sense.

Finally, our goal is to support the Narwhal Veterans. In the future, we plan to work closely with the NRC for any future reunions, be there at Newport or elsewhere.

 

18.  Our next call will be on Wed. April 13 at 8:00PM Eastern with both the old and the new boards.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Mike OByrne

Secretary

 


9/11 - OUR SHIPMATE WAS THERE

 

(From an E-mail sent to the editor on 9/14/01.In case anyone out there has forgotten.)

 

As you know, several years ago I retired from the NYC Fire Department. There in the rubble are scores of my friends and brothers along with thousands of our citizens. I have spent much of the time since Tuesday removing debris with great people like you, from all over the USA, and Canada. The many building fires and collapses that I have responded to, and the funerals of the brothers we have buried throughout my career could not have prepared me for what I came upon Tuesday morning, or what lies ahead.

 

My immediate family and I are all fine, my extended family is not. But all of us will get through this with much support from our country. Right now I'm tired and really angry and I haven't had much time to absorb all of this. I will be returning to the scene after some rest. Please remind me to tell you about all of the good I saw come out of people that I know and don't know.

 

Hope all is well with you.

Regards Shipmates,

Ron Rotter.

 


AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE NVI BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

Shipmates and Friends of NARWHAL,

 

Many of you have shown an interest in the future of the USS NARWHAL and NVI activities in bringing our boat to Newport, Kentucky. We hope you will find this open letter informative and inspirational toward the goal of bringing USS NARWHAL to a permanent berth on the Ohio River. Additionally, we hope you will be moved to action; your help is needed.

 

NSSDC, the non-profit organization that is spearheading the overall project, is tasked with the development and maintenance of an educational program that focuses on educating fifth grade students in the hard sciences, primarily math and earth science. To that end, NSSDC has made preparations for the USS NARWHAL to be modified and then transported to Newport, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, to serve as a showcase for the program. Originally scheduled to arrive in Newport early in 2007, the arrival of the USS NARWHAL has been delayed.

 

The modifications needed to the USS NARWHAL are extensive; removal of the reactor compartment and removal of the propulsion and auxiliary equipment. The only place to perform these modifications is in the confines of a U.S. Navy shipyard. World events and the passage of time have resulted in the need to lower the priority assigned to the modifications to USS NARWHAL to allow for more critical work to be performed on active ships. As it appears now, USS NARWHAL will not arrive in Newport before early May 2008.

 

NVI had developed a May 2005 reunion in Newport. The goals of the reunion, in addition to reuniting Shipmates, was to more closely associate NVI with the activities of NSSDC, to become familiar with the area where USS NARWHAL would rest, and to build relationships with the community. With the projected delay in the arrival of USS NARWHAL, NVI could not, in good conscious, commit your limited resources to this 2005 event. We have found it necessary to delay the planned 2005 reunion event and reschedule it for Memorial Day weekend in 2006. We will have a full year to gather information from you regarding the event, plan activities for the event, and make the event a festive and memorable activity.

 

NVI will look to experienced Shipmates for direction and input, most notably the NARWHAL Reunion Committee (NRC), but we look forward to individual suggestions from our friends. If the Cincinnati Reds have a home game scheduled for that weekend, perhaps we could reserve a block of seats for those who wish to attend. Kings Island, a theme and amusement park, is located just 25 miles north of Cincinnati, a possible days outing. The possibilities are limited only by the lack of suggestions.

 

How can you begin to help now? NVI is committed to assisting NSSDC in bringing the USS NARWHAL project to life. To do this will take a lot of work from a few people and a few dollars from a lot of Shipmates. Your contribution amount of $25, $50, or more will be combined with your Shipmates contributions in an effort to dedicate the Quarterdeck of the USS NARWHAL project. More information is available on our website (www.ssn671.org).

 

Please check the USS NARWHAL website often. Updates and details of the 2006 reunion will be posted there. Do you have a desire to become more personally involved in the planning? Contact Tim Blevins (t_blevins@yahoo.com ) and he will help fulfill your dreams.

 

Thank you.

2004-2005 NVI Board of Directors

Buck Crouch, President; John Davenport, V. President; Mike OByrne, Secretary; Mike Legg, Treasurer; Tim Blevins, Exec. V.P.

 


A SILENT WARRIOR'S FINAL DAY

By Chris Barron, Bremerton Sun, 21 Oct 04

 

On a dark and gloomy rain-filled day, a shroud of secrecy permeated the air on the Bremerton waterfront.

 

It was the perfect setting for the final day in the top-secret career of the Bangor-based USS PARCHE, one of the world's most prolific spy submarines.

 

By the time its life ended Tuesday in a decommissioning ceremony at the Bremerton naval base, the PARCHE was the most highly decorated ship in Navy history - even though most Americans have never heard of it.

 

Commissioned in 1974, the PARCHE spent 30 years and 19 deployments as America's top espionage sub, reportedly tapping the undersea military communication lines of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, plucking lost Soviet weaponry from the ocean floor and gathering intelligence on other enemies afterward.

 

The PARCHE was officially designated by the Navy as a "research and development" submarine. And it did plenty of that, testing new sonar and undersea warfare technologies. But its highly classified missions, none of which have ever been officially confirmed, are the most intriguing aspect of its history. Many of those missions were deemed to be of "vital importance to U.S. national security," earning the submarine an unprecedented nine Presidential Unit Citations. The vast majority of ships never receive even one.

 

For being the most decorated ship ever, shouldn't more people be made aware of what it accomplished? "Those that need to know, know," said a matter-of-fact Rear Adm. Ben Wachendorf, who commanded the PARCHE from 1988 to 1993. Wachendorf, now U.S. defense attach in Moscow, traveled from Russia to be at Tuesday's ceremony. "I wouldn't have missed it for anything," he said. "It means a lot to be able to say goodbye to an old friend."

 

In fact, all but one of the PARCHE's nine former commanders were present at the PARCHE's decommissioning. In addition, about 130 former crew members, most belonging to the USS PARCHE Association, were on hand to witness the sub's inactivation.

 

Those who returned to see their sub one last time said it was not only the camaraderie of submarine life that made PARCHE special, but also the exotic and extremely challenging missions it completed, which often involved excruciatingly long periods spent submerged with dwindling food and supplies. "It's the end of the life cycle," said Manchester resident Will Longman, chairman of the PARCHE Association. "It's very meaningful. The camaraderie does not go away. And the uniqueness of PARCHE imparts its own special camaraderie."

 

The PARCHE also was the last of the Navy's 37 Sturgeon-class fast attack subs to be deactivated - though it barely resembled any of the other ships of that class. That's because its hull was extended by 100 feet to accommodate extensive classified modifications in a four-year stay at Mare Island Naval Shipyard near San Francisco in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

 

In 1994, the PARCHE and its crew of 190 moved from Mare Island to Bangor. It had already earned six Presidential Unit Citations by that time and earned another three after its transfer to Bangor, including a ninth for its final deployment that ended in late September. The PARCHE's final resume also included 13 Navy Expeditionary Medals and 10 Navy Unit Commendations - all unprecedented numbers. "PARCHE has had a career unmatched in the annals of submarine history," said Rear Adm. Paul Sullivan, commander of the Pacific Fleet submarine force. "PARCHE has gathered enough citations that are just truly remarkable ... based on her superb performance in critical national tasking. "She now ranks among the most legendary vessels to ever have sailed under our flag." Sullivan compared the PARCHE's storied past to other historic Navy vessels, such USS Constitution, USS Monitor, USS Missouri and USS Nautilus. "And now there is PARCHE," he said.

 

The ship figured prominently in "Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage," a nonfiction book published in the 1990s, which described how it spent its Cold War days spying on the Soviet Union.

 

It's also been reported the sub, with a claw-like device, was able to pick up lost Soviet missiles or bombs from the sea floor. Later, it reportedly deployed unmanned drones to complete many of the espionage tactics.

 

Following the Cold War, the PARCHE continued its highly classified missions, with many observers citing an even higher sense of secrecy. It's said the PARCHE spent plenty of time in the Persian Gulf, gleaning intelligence on Iraq and Iran, and traveled through the Western Pacific keeping tabs on China and North Korea.

 

Capt. Richard Charles, the PARCHE's first commander, traveled from Mobile, Ala., for Tuesday's ceremony. He took command while the sub was being built and went on its first deployment, a five-month journey in the Mediterranean Sea. After that, the sub transferred to the West Coast and began its spy missions a few years later. "Those guys in the Pacific had all the fun," Charles joked. "I just built it. It's always sad to see a ship retire, but after a while, they are like you and me; they wear out."

 

Ironically, the name of the PARCHE's last at-sea commander, Capt. Charles Richard, was a mirror image of the sub's first. Richard was relieved in a change-of-command ceremony Tuesday after leading the PARCHE on two post-September 11th deployments, including one that lasted 122 days in 2002. "Being commander of this ship was an extraordinary experience and I was fortunate to be given the experience," he said. "I hope that each man who has served aboard this ship will look back and swell with pride knowing that he answered his country's call."

 

Following the ceremony, the PARCHE, probably one of the least known subs to the general public because of its highly classified missions, silently shifted over to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. There, it will be torn apart and recycled over the next few years. And it's probably the first time in the PARCHE's history that its whereabouts will be known. "That just proves our success that nobody knows what we do," said Bremerton resident Curt Mathews, who retired off the PARCHE last year. "It's kind of fun. People say, 'The PARCHE? I never heard of it?' Well, that's good. And we like it that way and that's why we were successful in all of our missions."

 


ADMIRAL HALSEY, RE: CPOs

(The following is a true story told to ATCS(AC) Jack Reese USN Retired by his uncle, John Reese, a journalist and novelist who wrote 34 books, mostly westerns. If you ever saw the movie Charlie Varrick, with Walter Mathau, this was from his book, The Looters. )

 

AT the end of World War II, all the towns and cities across the country were looking for a Home town boy makes good person to celebrate the victory with. Los Angeles chose Admiral Halsey, whom it was rumored had done quite well. The ceremony was held on the steps of the LA county courthouse, and at the end of it when Halsey was leaving, they had a line of sideboys. They were active duty and retired Chief Petty Officers that had been brought in from all over the country. As he walked through the ranks, my uncle walked apace on the outside. As Halsey approached one old CPO that my uncle described as being older than God, my uncle saw them wink at each other. Later, at a cocktail party, my uncle had the opportunity to have a chat with the great Admiral. He commented on the wink between Halsey and this old Chief, and asked Halsey if he would mind explaining it. Halsey looked at my uncle very seriously, and said this: "That man was my Chief when I was an Ensign, and no one before or after taught me as much about ships or men as he did. You civilians dont understand. You go down to Long Beach, and you see those battleships sitting there, and you think that they float on the water, dont you? My uncle replied, Yes sir, I guess they do. You are wrong, replied Halsey; they are carried to sea on the backs of those Chief Petty Officers!

 

ATCS(AC) Jack Reese USN Retired says "For all of my uncles fame and money, he thought I had the best job and position in the world. I think he was right!!"

 

Submitted by: Bill Weisensee

 


How to reach us: Steve A. Stone, P.O. Box 1175, Pascagoula, MS 39568-1175; Ph: 251-865-4402(H), 228-769-4906(W), 228-366-0277(C); E-Mail: StoneSA@supship.navy.mil. Mark L. Codding, 247 Pearl St., Medina, OH 44256-1955; Ph: 330-723-4145(H), 440-546-2735(W), E-Mail: narwhal@surfbest.net .