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History and Heritage

Pinning History

USS Maine Officer Receives Piece of Submarine History

When Lt. j.g. Laura Martindale, one of the first women to qualify in submarines, completed her submarine warfare qualifications earlier this year on USS Maine, she knew she had earned the right to wear the traditional "dolphins" of a submariner.

Navy Photo

What Martindale didn't realize, though, was that the set of dolphins she would receive had already served quite a prestigious career itself.

During a unique pinning ceremony July 26 in Maine's wardroom, Martindale - who is assigned to Maine's Gold Crew - received the dolphins of the late Rear Adm. John S. "Jack" Coye, one of the nation's most noteworthy submarine commanders of World War II.

Martindale was pinned by Coye's daughter, Beth Coye, who also served in the Navy, retiring as a commander after 21 years of service. Beth Coye said the idea to pass along her father's legacy dolphins to one of the first women to qualify in submarines came from a Coye family friend, also an active-duty submariner.

Jack Coye, a 1933 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, received his dolphins in 1937 after qualifying aboard USS Shark (SS 174). From 1943-1944, he commanded USS Silversides (SS 236), leading his submarine and crew through six successful war patrols, sinking a confirmed 14 of the 23 Japanese ships sank by Silversides during the war. During his Navy career, he received three Navy Crosses. Jack Coye retired in 1968 and died on Nov. 26, 2002.

"It's such a great honor to receive the dolphins of such an historic and heroic figure in World War II history," said Martindale, who graduated from the Naval Academy in 2010. "I feel a complete sense of pride of our history. The submarine force has worked extremely hard to live up the legacy of the great admirals and captains of the years gone by, and I'm very honored and proud to wear that legacy. It's just incredible that the Coyes wanted to include me in their family story. This means a lot to me."

While Martindale wore the shiny, well-kept dolphins, Beth and her brother, John, shared their family's story and their father's philosophies with the submarine officers in attendance. They also showed old photographs from their father's service.

"Wearing these feels like a heavy burden, but also a huge honor," Martindale said. "I believe every submarine officer feels compelled to honor those who have gone before, but I really want to live up their legacy and to strive to do them service."

"Knowing that a part of my dad, given his history as a submariner, his contributions to the submarine force, and how much he loved the oceans, is going to be out there on a ballistic missile submarine defending the country against all enemies foreign and domestic - it's a very special feeling, said Beth."
Navy Photo