Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New and Unusual Submarine Related Ephemera

Ephemera are printed items that are designed to be used for a brief time (often only once) and then thrown away. Things like this chow pass. Because of their very nature, they are sometimes rare, but also provide a glimpse into the daily routine of the past, a routine that was poorly documented (because it was so mundane) and quickly forgotten.

Here are some other examples, one a beer pass to the Submarine Base Mess (probably in Groton, CT) the other for a Beer Hall at another Submarine Base, probably in Australia.

These items come from the estate of Wendell Mertz, who was a Motor Machinist Mate Third Class in the submarine service during World War II. These items were donated to AIMM by his grandson.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Today is a little remembered holiday about an often ignored part of America's heritage and, just as importantly, an important part of our national defense and economy.

National Maritime Day was established in 1933. It celebrates the 1819 Atlantic crossing of the steamship Savannah, the first steam-powered ship in the world to cross the Atlantic.

Like submarine history, maritime history has been a history of America and American technological innovation. Steam powered ships and cargo containers are but two examples of American innovation over the years.

In addition, the bravery of American mariners has been instrumental in America's defense. During World War II, 9,300 American merchant mariners lost their lives delivering the vital food, fuel, spare parts, ammunition and other supplies that our forces needed.

During the first Gulf War, American mariners delivered nearly 2 and a half MILLION tons of cargo to the war zone - four times the amount of cargo delivered to support the Normandy invasion.

In 2010 alone, the civilian ships of Military Sealift Command (MSC) delivered nearly 2.5 BILLION gallons of fuel, supporting both U.S. Navy combatant ships at sea and American forces ashore. In addition, nearly 12 million square feet of dry cargo was delivered worldwide.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Forgotten Book about USS Snook Crewmember

USS Snook (SS-279) was lost on or about April 8, 1945, likely near Hainan Island on the coast of SE China.

One member of Snook's crew when she was lost was Seaman First Class Thomas William Lamont II. Born into a wealthy family, he traveled Europe at 13, attended school in Switzerland before the start of World War II and was accepted into Harvard in 1942.

In 1943, Tommy was accepted into the Naval Aviation Cadet program and advanced as far as solo flight before washing out. Offered a chance to enter the V-12 program and become an officer, Tommy refused, opting instead for Boot Camp. After Boot Camp in San Diego he was again offered the chance to enter the V-12 program but chose Quartermaster School and then volunteered for submarine training. After training aboard USS S-34 (SS-139), which had been built in 1918, Tommy shipped out for Midway Island aboard the submarine tender USS Fulton (AS-11). While at Midway, the young quartermaster worked to overhaul submarines as they returned from patrol and served as a relief crewman.

Finally, in late August, 1944, Tommy was assigned to USS Snook. He joined the veteran sub just before she began her seventh war patrol. He was still aboard Snook when she was lost on her ninth war patrol.

After the war ended, Tommy's father gathered as many of Tommy's letters and other writings as he could and published them in a book titled, Things to be Remembered. It is unknown how many copies were printed or how they were distributed, but there probably weren't many.

AIMM is lucky to have acquired a copy, thanks to the efforts of Bonnie Zonner, who spotted the book for sale, purchased it, and donated it to the museum.

USS Snook photograph courtesy of the Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC.
Photograph of Tommy scanned from the book.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Submarine History Mystery

On May 5th, 1972, USS Silversides (SSN-679) was commissioned.

A submarine's commissioning booklet, given as a souvenir to participants and guests, usually includes some history of the vessel, some remarks about history of the commssioning ceremony and the photographs and biographies of the VIPs and the Captain, along with pictures of the other officers and crew, and sometimes pictures or drawings of the boat.

The commissioning booklet for Silversides includes most of these things, with one notable exception - the picture and biography of Silverside's Commanding Officer. The program of events shows CDR John E. Allen as the Commanding Officer, but nothing else.

While there is probably a simple explanation for the omission, like an error by the printer that was wasn't caught in time, until we find out, this will be a submarine history mystery...

Sunday, May 08, 2011

As you know, the Razorback Crewmember's Association donated a high-pressure air compressor to us, and during their recent work party, they were able to get it installed.

We're now able to blow Razorback's horn.

You might want to turn your volume down before you hit play...

Video recorded by Mike Hopper.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Ever Wanted Your Own USS Razorback Notepaper?

Notepads (the paper kind) are great things.

You can doodle on them, you can make paper airplanes with the pages, you can write love notes, you can even make grocery lists that you will leave behind at the house when you go buy groceries. (Don't get us wrong, notebook computers are pretty great things, too, but you can't make a very good airplane out of one...)

Every once in a while, you can take notes in class or at a meeting.

If you click on the image above, you should get a full-sized graphic. If you save that to your hard drive, you can import it into your favorite word processor and print your own, custom USS Razorback note paper.

If you have problems, just drop us an e-mail and we can send you the file. We have pages with lines and without lines (we can't link to a Word document through Blogger, or we would just put the files up for you to download...)

Sunday, May 01, 2011

From the Archives - Welcome Aboard Booklet - USS Puffer (SS-268)

USS Puffer (SS-268), a Gato-class submarine, was built at the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company shipyard in Manitowoc, WI. She was commissioned on this day in 1943. Puffer completed nine war patrols during World War II, winning nine battle stars for her service.

The end of the war sent Puffer to the West Coast, and on Navy Day, October 27th, 1945, she was opened to the public for tours in San Francisco. A small, four-page booklet, with general information about Puffer's war record and awards received was produced. That booklet is now available in a digital format in the AIMM archives.

Official U.S. Navy photograph