United States Submarine Veterans Incorporated
POC: Mark J. Denger
Phone: (818)240-1775; Email: Permit1@Flash.net
'Tolling the Boats' Memorial
...to commemorate those on Eternal Patrol'
SEAL BEACH, CA. In remembering the history of the Submarine Force, we must not forget those submariners whose names are engraved on our World War II memorials. Their names join the 52 submarines who would have their epitaph written in the words "overdue and presumed lost". This Memorial Day - 2000, in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Submarine Service, the United States Submarine Veterans Incorporated and U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II invite you to join them as they pay honor and tribute to their shipmates still on patrol and to the submarines that are their eternal resting place.
Japan began the war with 6,000,000 tons of Japanese cargo ships. Of this total, the U.S. Submarine Service is credited with the sinking of 214 Japanese Naval Vessels nearly a third of all Japanese warship losses, and a staggering 1,178 Japanese merchant ships over half of its total merchant shipping fleet, for a total of 5,631,117 tons. This war against shipping was perhaps the most decisive single factor in the collapse of the Japanese economy and logistic support of the Japanese naval power. But this record reflects only a small part of the submarine's contribution to America's victory.
However, this success did not come without a high price. During that war, 52 American submarines 375 officers and 3,131 enlisted men were lost from the 16,000 men who actually made war patrols. These figures represent a casualty rate of almost 22 percent, the highest loss for any branch of the military. Submariners quietly paid the ultimate price in the defense of their country quickly earning them the nickname "The Silent Service".
The "Tolling the Boats" Memorial Day Service has been held every Memorial Day since 1977 by the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II. The tolling of the ship's bell reminds us of the reverence we owe to our departed shipmates and to those who guard the honor of our country while serving silently under the sea. In many ways the "Tolling the Boats" ceremony formally restates to our officers and enlisted personnel who presently serve aboard U.S. submarines that their "deeds and sacrifices" follow in the footsteps of their fellow shipmates who preceded them. Although the "Tolling the Boats" ceremony itself is not prescribed specifically be any U.S. Navy Regulation, it is a unique and time honored product of the rich heritage of the Submarine Service and is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Navy. Custom has established that this ceremony be formal, designated to strengthen the bonds of past with the present and honors the memory of those submariners who lost their lives during World War II, as the name of each of the 52 submarines lost during that war, along with the fate of its crew, are read aloud as a bell is tolled for each. A bell is then tolled for the men lost on the submarines Thresher and Scorpion which is followed by a final bell tolled for all our valiant Submariners of the U.S. Navy who lost their lives in the service of their country.
The "Tolling the Boats" Memorial Day Service will be held just inside the gates of the U.S. Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach, California, at the World War II National Submarine Memorial-West, on Monday, Memorial Day, 29 May 2000, at 11:00 a.m. A reception will follow the services.
Join the Los Angeles Area "Diesel Boaters" Chapter of the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II and the Los Angeles-Pasadena Base of the United States Submarine Veterans, Inc., as we pay tribute to the 4,000 men who have been lost in the Submarine Service during our annual Memorial Day Service on Monday, May 29, 2000 at 11:00 a.m. at the site of the National Submarine Memorial-West adjacent to the main entrance to the U.S. Naval Weapons Support Facility, Seal Beach, California.
The National Submarine Memorial - West is located near the main entrance to the U.S. NAVAL WEAPONS STATION (NAVWEPSTA), Seal Beach.
Travelers coming north from the San Diego area proceed north on I-5 to the I-405, continuing north on the I-405 until you pass the Garden Grove Freeway SR-22, exiting on Los Alamitos Avenue / Seal Beach Boulevard off ramp. Turn left (south) at the top of the ramp toward Seal Beach. Continue on Seal Beach Boulevard past Westminster Avenue and you will see the NAVWEPSTA on your left. The Main Gate Entrance is on the left side and is the only left turn on that whole stretch of Seal Beach Boulevard after crossing Westminster Avenue.
Travelers coming from Los Angeles should take I-405 south, just past the I-605; or I-605 to the I-405 south; exiting on the Los Alamitos Avenue / Seal Beach Boulevard off ramp. Turn left (south) at the top of the ramp toward Seal Beach. Continue on Seal Beach Boulevard past Westminster Avenue and you will see the NAVWEPSTA on your left. The Main Gate Entrance is on the left side and is the only left turn on that whole stretch of Seal Beach Boulevard after crossing Westminster Avenue.
Don't miss this very special opportunity to put some meaning back into Memorial Day.
Rev.: 15 March