Posts Tagged ‘USS Flier Memorial Ceremony’

Women on Submarines and Today’s Deck Log

And now for something completely different..., Memorial Ceremony, The Exhibit, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Oct 26 2010

One of the things that most submariners I’ve met have stressed is the fact that they are all one brotherhood.  Granted, the diesel vets enjoy yanking the chains of the nuc vets every so often  “You think it’s rough?  Back in my day…”

But it’s now official: the brotherhood is about to include some sisters whose names don’t begin with “USS”.  The four boats who will carry the teams of women have been chosen, and the women themselves are currently in training.  Their identities are being withheld for now, most likely to allow them to concentrate on their training which would be a lot harder with journalists constantly taking photos and yelling questions every time they dared walk outside.

During the Flier Memorial, I enjoyed talking to two high ranking submariners both of whom are enthusiastic about the prospect of women serving on submarines.  Integrating officers will be easier to accomplish than enlisted, and indeed, right now the Navy has not announced when or if they will integrate the enlisted ranks of the submarine corp (I’m all for all-women crews, an idea floated back in 2007, allows women to serve and eliminates the need for retro-fitting the submarines themselves to accommodate integrated crew–and save us taxpayers about $100 million per sub retrofit)

For more on the subject, see my previous posts about the history of women serving in the military, and women on submarines worldwide as well as this article, released just a few days ago.  (I do try to be fair to both sides, and I myself am on the fence:  I hate, as a woman, being told I cannot do something because I am a woman, but on the other hand, if it ain’t broke…)

USS Flier today is still somewhere off the coast of New England and has no administrative remarks today  (had to use a mimeographed page…)

Finally, I have an announcement and a request.

The announcement is I’m hearing from people who  missed the memorial ceremony and are disappointed that they couldn’t get there.  Well, I put the footage at the end of the Memorial Page on this site, so you don’t have to go looking for it in the backlogs of the blog any longer.

The request: As we’re getting ready to design the exhibit, we’re looking for items that will help bring these men to life for a new generation that’s four generations removed from WWII.  If your Flier family member sent home letters or photos from their time in the Pacific theater, would you consider allowing us to use them for the exhibit or research?  I cannot promise that everything donated will be used, but the more we have to use, the better we will be able to bring these men to life.

The beauty about what we do means that we don’t even need original letters or photos–the information and images of these items will be good enough for what we’re doing.  If you want to send originals for me to scan and I will send the originals back once they’ve been digitized(one family is already choosing this option) or scanning the items yourselves and sending me jpgs or tifs (another family is doing this).  If, of course, your family would be comfortable with donating the letters, we will keep them for future researchers.  These items will help bring these men out of the shadows and making them more than photos on a wall, but men who had girlfriends, wives, dreams, cars, jokes, senses of adventure and fear, and men who did what they felt were right.

If this is something you think you or your family would be interested in, please contact me at ussflierproject@gmail.com  Thank you.

Flier Memorial Film!

Memorial Ceremony | Posted by Rebekah
Sep 23 2010

For those who were not able to come to the Memorial Service and those who want to relive it or share it with friends or relations, I’m proud to anounce the whole Memorial Ceremony was posted on YouTube yesterday by the people who did the recordings.

Part 1 of 5  (The intro is rather long, the service starts around the 50 second mark)

Part 2 of 5

Part 3 of 5  (  The rest of the Keynote speach plus the Flier Roll Call begins here)

Part 4 of 5  (The rest of the Flier Roll Call)

Part 5 of 5  (The closing, the 21-gun salute, Taps, benediction, running of the Silversides’s engines)

USS Flier, reporting for duty

Memorial Ceremony, The Book, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Jul 25 2010

Well, two days ago, the Flier’s men reported for duty.  Flier had been worked over through the past two weeks under the command of a Relief Commanding Officer, whose name is not recorded (whoever he was, he had been reassigned out of Australia by the investigation  in September).  Following the refit, a Training and Fire Control Officer, Captain George Patterson, was assigned to Flier to run training runs and practice firing  drills.  These were customarily done for two reasons.  One, there were often new crewmemebers onboard a departing submarine.  As much as one-third of the crew could be new and these new men and the established crew needed a chance to work together and mesh in less-stressful circumstances.  This also gave the CO and XO an opportunity to observe the crew and get rid of men who showed signs of high nervousness and stress, indicators that they would not be able to thrive or be an asset the 50-80 day patrol.    Flier carried, according to the investigation following her loss, thirteen new crewmen. One was a new ensign, Philip Mayer, and the rest were enlisted.  I do not have an exhaustive list of the new men, but I know that Fireman Elton Brubaker and Fireman Donald See were assigned to Flier at Fremantle.

The second reason was to allow the homeported training officer a chance to watch the submarine’s CO, XO and crew in action, and report back to HQ.  If a CO in particular showed signs of being too passive, too abusive, or otherwise ineffectual, he would have to be removed from command, likely on the next time the submarine came into port.  (If a CO was so abusive it was unlivable, then the crew would more than likely have reported the CO long before now, and his removal would have been already been assessed and or completed before the crew reported back aboard.)

Today, Flier was in the waters west of Perth, running her engines at high speeds, low speed, diving, surfacing, testing her engines and props and hull.  This test was primarily to listen to the submarine, and see how she sounded.  A Diesel submarine, properly shaped and running, is almost undetectable underwater (this is still true, a modern diesel sub is quieter than a nuclear submarine), but slight variations in the propellers, a dent or bulge in the hull, worn bearings, misaligned struts, could cause bubbling or swishing noises that a surface ship could use to find a submerged sub.

And Flier proved why these tests were necessary.  Her starboard prop was very loud, so Flier turned to head back for Perth to see what the trouble was.

On the book front, the proof was mailed overnight air mail to me via UPS.  Alas, mailing something via overnight mail at noon on Friday means it turns into three-day mail, and will be delivered on Monday.  Using the tracking number, I discovered that the book is in fact, at the UPS depot here in my town, and a part of me is sorely tempted to break in, find my package, and leave a note.

I’m fairly certain that will get me arrested though, so I’m resisting!

On the Memorial front, we have some rather funny news.  Turns out, there is a change of command at the submarine base in San Diego on…yup, Friday August 13, 2010.  So a speaker hasn’t been secured just yet, as quite a few people were scheduled to be there.  But the Navy, who is the one who sends someone to these National Naval Memorial Services, assured us that they will be sending an excellent speaker.  In the meantime, even without a speaker, details of that weekend are coming together to help us honor these men and their memories.

Exhibit update and Dive Detectives

Memorial Ceremony, The Book | Posted by Rebekah
Jul 17 2010

Well, the book has been submitted to the publishers, and I’ll get a proof back in five days.

It’s called Surviving the Flier.  It’s 294 pages long, with lots of maps and photos. Most books these days do the whole, half the books, a bunch of glossy pages with photos, and the other half of the book.  Personally, that drives me nuts, since that interrupts the flow of the words and the photos cover the entire span of the story, without consideration of where you are in the story.  This publisher won’t do that, so the photos are placed where they are actually relevant, as well as the maps.   Thanks to the Official Navy Photos of Flier (of which there are far too few) and the Jacobson and Liddell families, there are more photos in this book than the average, some which haven’t been seen before.  I hope you all like it.  I’m rather proud of it, and as an artist, I’m usually the most critical of my own work.

The temporary exhibit is well on its way, and will be in the same general area as the future permanent exhibit.  The area used to be our library, but that was purged of all non-reference books, and moved into another area of the museum.  The walls were painted black and we’re working on lighting and displays.  We’ll have some authentic artifacts on display this time, though what we’ll have permanently on display will partially depend on sensitivity of the artifacts to light.  Give me a few days now that the book is done (and once I finish the memorial booklet) and I’ll see what I can post about the exhibits.

The “Submarine Graveyard” episode of Dive Detectives  has been delivered, and is on site in preparation for the memorial weekend.  It will be showing in our 72-seat theater which has really comfortable seats and a fantastic sound system.

Anyway, it’s late, and after chasing my kiddos around on four hours of sleep a night for most of the week, I need to head for bed.  The good news is, I should be more regular updating the blog from now on, especially updating some of the pages.

Good night all, I can’t wait to meet many of you!

Just a quick update…

Memorial Ceremony, The Exhibit | Posted by Rebekah
Jun 19 2010

Snatching a few moments just now to update all of you Flier watchers out there…

After a meeting yesterday, we have some details about the Flier ceremony and the temporary exhibit which we’ll put up in time for the ceremony, and the future permanent exhibit.

If you are planning on coming to the festivities that weekend and you need a place to stay, the museum has reserved 70 rooms at the Holiday Inn downtown for Flier families.  Just mention that you are part of the group.  Don’t wait to reserve your spot, since Muskegon is a tourist town, AND that weekend is the Unity Christian Music Festival, and the hotels are telling us they are expecting to be full that weekend shortly.  If you find that place is full, give me or the museum folks a ring and we can see if we can help you locate another museum or bed and breakfast nearby.

While the memorial ceremony at 11 am on Friday August 13 is open to the public, if you are attending the entire weekend, you will need to register.  All those Flier family members should have received their packets by now.  If you haven’t, let us know and we’ll get them to you.

Between time and financial constraints, the permanent Flier exhibit will not be ready in time, we’re so sorry.  Since it won’t be ready in time, we have opted to not start it during the summer, which is our busiest season.  We do, however, have a traveling exhibit area prepped and ready and will be putting together an exhibit there.  In a way, it’s better, since we’ll be posting more of the original work than we otherwise normally would.  Since these items will come down and go into storage later,  delicate objects that shouldn’t be out in the light for long CAN be put on display here for the temporary exhibit.

Weather permitting, the ceremony will take place on the deck of the Silversides, Flier’s sister, where we will read each man’s name and then ring the bell in their honor, while throwing a flower into the water.  When it’s done, Silversides is surrounded by a cloud of flowers, it’s really quite striking.  The Navy is sending someone to make the address, but who this person is has not been announced yet.  (According to an inside source, this person won’t be announced until about a month before the ceremony.)

For those who have been wanting to see the film about the finding of Flier’s wreck, a copy of it IS scheduled to come and debut during that day.   From what I’ve been told, the rights to the film in the USA are still in question because they are still working on signing with a distributer for the whole six-part series.  There WILL NOT be copies for sale (due to the above-mentioned reason), but it will be shown.  Since we’re expecting about 200 people for the ceremony and our theater only seats 72, we’ll be running it all day.

The future exhibit will be located on the second floor of museum and is currently planned to have a place to show the Dive Detectives documentary, as well as some interactive exhibits.  The location and size of the exhibit changed recently, which means I’m re-drawing what it will look like, so take the images on the “Exhibits” page with a grain of salt.

And finally, my book will also debut that weekend!  If you’ve been interested to read more of the Flier’s story, you’ll have the opportunity.

I’ll try to post later this afternoon about what Flier’s up to today, and some interesting information I discovered about the last time USS Crevalle crossed Balabac Straits.  Why does it matter?  Because the Navy gave the path Crevalle took through Balabac to the Flier to help them navigate safely through, but there were some interesting quirks about that path…