The Deck Logs and a Memorial Service for a Flier Man

Posted by Rebekah
Nov 09 2010

The National Memorial Service for the crew of USS Flier might have been back in August, but there are services still happening around the country every day to honor men lost during WWII, and one of the men from USS Flier, electrician’s Mate, Thomas “Sonny” Bohn, will be honored at 11 am on Thursday, November 11 (that’s Veteran’s Day for those paying attention) at the Memorial Shrine in Easton PA.

There were a LARGE number of Flier families originating in that area, so if you can make it, go, and then introduce yourself to Donna Musselman and Terry Bohn, niece and nephew of Thomas Bohn.  All her life, Donna grew up with the photo of her lost uncle displayed at her grandmother’s house, but little could she find out about his loss, until recently.

She, along with her cousin Terry, decided to give her uncle the burial and memorial service he couldn’t have in 1944.  As a veteran who died in military service, he was entitled to a military marker (there’s something I enjoy sending my tax money in to support!) but she still had to raise enough money to purchase the base and pay for the stone erection fees on an existing grave (his parent’s).

She contacted her local news channels and in a few days, not only had her community given enough to pay for the marker’s placement, but also an indetifying tag linking him to his brother (another military veteran buried in the same graveyard) and also found a scholarship in her uncle’s name at his alma mater.

It’s nice to know that even when the world seems to be going crazy (then and now) people still like to draw together as a community to honor those who gave their all so the rest of us could live in peace and freedom.

Thomas "Sonny" Bohn, and the memorial marker being dedicated at the memorial service on Thursday. Rest your Oar, Sailor. And Thank You.

So if you can make it, 11 am, Memorial Shrine, Easton PA.

And below, you’ll see the deck logs for today.  <YAWN>  Actually, I’m sorry to say, most of November is a yawn.  But there are little nuggets that peek through, and when they get REALLY boring, we’ll just talk about other things, like what does a submarine look like inside and out?  How could these men escape a damaged and sunken sub? How can divers and ROVs be used for shipwreck exploration?

The deck log reveals why the Navy is both brillant and annoying. On 7 Novmeber 1944, the only things that happened on Flier was the crew had roll call to make sure they were all there (they were), then they charged the batteries twice during the day and at the end of the day, told the OOD (Officer of the Deck) all about it. I'm sure he was enthralled. And that's what happened, but thanks to Naval paperwork requirements we KNOW that's all that happened (worth official note, that is.)

On 8 November even less happened. They took attendance and stayed moored at the dock all day.

Today, 9 November, they at least took on Battery water. THis is significant, because it indicates that Flier is getting ready to leave to transit to Pearl and real patrol. Battery water had to be purified. Any chemicals at all could cause a problem. At sea (where water trucks are not plentiful) Flier carried filters to make seawater into fresh water, but there was a catch: any salt that got past the filter, if it came into contact with the battery during the daily washings, could react explosively and destroy a submarine. There are a number of submarines whose fates are completely unknown, even from the Japanese records, and a battery explosion is one very likely scenario for their fate. A battery explosion DID happen on USS BONEFISH in 1988, killing 3 men and forcing the submarine into early decommissioning and scrapping.

A fascinating first person account of the USS Bonefish fire.

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