P.O.D.
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Brotherhood Home Address Pirates Churchhill Religion T.S. Eliot Quote - Going too far

One of the most difficult responsibilities that burdens me in the management of the ssn-680.org website is the maintenance of the Eternal Patrol page.

I’m one of the first to be notified when one of you discovers the passing of a shipmate, so I’m tasked with updating the site and then notifying all of the ssn-680.org members that one of us has crossed the bar. Converting their user account to Eternal Patrol is emotionally difficult enough, and even more so if it was someone I knew and served with. But for me, the hard work really begins when I sit down to compose an Honors Page for our lost shipmate, and try to put into words a post that will make sense to each of you, and communicate the loss to our community. Reflection on their life and realizing that it’s only a matter of time for all of us is an emotionally draining experience that happens all too frequently.

So it was with a bit of apprehension that I proposed that we have a Tolling of the Bell Ceremony at REGROUPEX 17, a ceremony to remember those that passed before us in the own unique tradition of the U.S.S. William H. Bates. Everyone on the Tiger Team agreed, and so Sunday evening after dinner, we held a brief ceremony to honor those that served with us.

It was a sobering moment in the excitement and reconnecting of the weekend, and it was more moving than I expected it to be. Many reported how touched they were by the experience, and you could feel the emotion as names were read and the bell was tolled.

For those of you that could not attend, I have reproduced our ceremony here. These were the words, at least approximately, that were spoken during our Tolling of the Bell.

So find a quiet spot, maybe pour a touch of your favorite into the snifter for a toast, and remember with us.

This is the course that has been set before each of us…

 


TOLLING OF THE BELL - REGROUPEX 17 - 03 SEP 17

 

The tolling of the bell has been a time of remembrance and time of honor for nearly as long as man can remember, and tonight, again, we toll the bell.

The brotherhood of submariners committed their very lives to the defense of our country and our Constitution. None but us can truly understand what commitment meant to those who were called to give that “last full measure of sacrifice.”

As Henry the Fifth, recounted by Shakespeare, said on the battlefield, one St. Crispin’s Day many years ago…

That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us…

…this story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd -
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…

Tonight, we remember.

OPENING PRAYER - OFFERED BY STEVE PERRY

 

The U.S.S. William H. Bates sailed for almost thirty years. Fewer than fifteen hundred men can claim the privilege of serving aboard her, which makes us a small brotherhood indeed. In that thirty years, our success is measured in that not one of us was called to sacrifice his life in service to his country, though each of us stood ready to do so, and faced the daily risk of our most terrifying and relentless enemy, the sea herself.

So it is not war that has taken its toll, but time, age, and the hand of God that thins our ranks.

As night falls, and our eyes grow dim, we take this time to remember.

We remember those that sailed before us, and those that sailed beside us, that taught us our trade, whose hand on our shoulder said “steady as she goes”, and who, without question or hesitation, would have laid down their lives for our own.

The bell tolls…

 

CDR(SS) Glenn Neal Arthur, Jr. 2017

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

ET1(SS) Larry Lundborg 2016

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MSC(SS) Santiago Butay 2016

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MM1(SS) Donald Pfannenstiel 2015

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

ET2(SS) Robert Midgett 2015

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

ET2(SS) Daniel Berry 2014

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

SKSN(SS) Bryan Ballinger-Vollmer 2014

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

RM1(SS) Ed Vargas 2014

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MSC(SS) Michael Rodriquez 2013

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

IC3(SS) Joseph ‘Moki’ Trim, Jr. 2013

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

STS2(SS) Greg Ramsey 2013

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MM3(SS) Ted Witt 2012

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

HMC(SS) Henry ‘Gus’ Maier 2011

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MM2(SS) Terry Criswell 2011

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

IC2(SS) Mark A. Van-y 2010

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

ET3(SS) Moe Guillory 2010

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MMCM(SS) Jerry Oliver 2010

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

LCDR(SS) John Jack McDonald, Jr. 2008

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MM1(SS) Dean Winkelhaus 2007

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

RMC(SS) Milton Arrow 2007

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MMC(SS) David Brockway 2007

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

STSS(SS) Howard Knoepfler 2006

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

QMC(SS) Dale Wilson 2006

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

WO1(SS) Walter Pratt 2004

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

TMCS(SS) Warren Kenny 2004

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

ET1(SS) Michael Rabe 2003

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

ET2(SS) Rhett Barrington 2001

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

STSCS(SS) John Ravenkamp, Jr. 2001

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MM1(SS) Chuck Camerchioli 2000

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

QMCS(SS) COB Ed O'Brien 2000

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

STCM(SS) Hugh 'Jim-Pat' Patterson 2000

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

LTJG(SS) David Nix 1999

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

ETC(SS) Nelson Eggleston 1999

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MM3 Steve Sweeten 1999

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MMC(SS) Tom Postulka 1999

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

QM1(SS) Dennis Sulzer 1995

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

EM2 Brian Wesley Ross 1992

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

STS2(SS) Robert Graves 1992

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

FT1(SS) John Shive 1992

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MM3(SS) Jeffrey Schlenker 1979

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

TM3(SS) Steven Loveless 1976

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

MM2(SS) Jeff Hinkle Date Unknown

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

 

For those of us that married while serving our country, we truly know that what we did would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of our wives who stood behind us, who suffered alone the fear known only by those that have watched for their men to return from the sea.

This honor extends to our wives today, who in supporting our tradition must carry the burden of memories we cannot forget.

Some of these women have preceded us as well, and tonight we honor them.

The bell tolls…

 

ELIZABETH AHUMADA 2016

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

JULIE GAWNE 2017

(THE BELL TOLLS ONCE)

 

CLOSING PRAYER - OFFERED BY RON SQUIERS
 

A toast then, gentlemen and gentlewoman, to those that have gone before us, from those that stand here with us, as a guide star to those that follow in our wake.

These were ordinary men and women, made extraordinary by their honor and their courage.

It was an honor to serve beside them, an honor to know them, and an honor to call them friend.

Fair winds and following seas!

RAISE THE TOAST! 

 

Following my return home after REGROUPEX 17, I was notified or discovered the following shipmates, also departed, were not included in the ceremony.

RMCS (SS) John Dixon, Jr. 2017

SK2 (SS) Edwin L. Linard 2013

MMC (SS) Ralph Gilbert   Date Unknown

The oversight is mine alone. If any of you know of any shipmates or spouses that should be included on this list, please contact me as soon as possible.

 

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© 2017 Brad Williamson
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