DENVER, Co. (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Colorado honored the fallen crew of the World War II submarine USS Grayling at a memorial ceremony on Sep. 9.
The keynote speaker for the memorial ceremony was retired Rear Adm. Kerry Metz, former commander, Special Operations Command Central.
"The naval special warfare and submarine community have been associated for decades by being taken to covert locations and this ceremony continued this connection with our naval history as well as those who have sacrificed their lives to protect our nation," said Metz. "This ceremony stands as a commitment by United States Submarine Veterans to honor those who were lost at sea in the defense of our country, not just aboard the USS Grayling, but all submarines."
Grayling was commissioned March 31, 1942, in Portsmouth, N.H.. She disappeared with all hands somewhere near the approaches to Manila Bay on or about Sept. 1, 1943. She was the 17th submarine lost in WWII and in all, more than 3,500 submariners lost their lives during the war.
"There is a great need to not only sustain the strong culture of submariners through our shared history, but to remember that sacrifices made during war to build and protect our nation come at an eternal cost," said Bruce Marsden, the master of ceremonies.
The USS Grayling memorial was built in Denver through the efforts of the Mile Hi Diggers Chapter of the U.S. Submarine Veterans of WWII. The memorial includes a disarmed torpedo which sits atop the sand-colored concrete block that is adorned with remembrance plaques. Grayling was selected as Colorado's memorial submarine because there were several crew members originally from the state.
Bruce Marsden, Master of Ceremonies, conducted a "tolling the boats ceremony" which was originally established by the U. S. Submarine Veterans of WWII as a unique and time-honored memorial service in keeping with the traditions of the Navy.
"Submarine veterans have a national organization whose duty is not only to honor those who survived war service but to remember veterans that were lost," Marsden continued. "The tolling of the boats ceremony assists in remembering their shipmates in a very personal way."
Following the flag folding ceremony, Aaron Flanigan, the grandnephew of Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Anthony Parrino, who was lost at sea aboard Grayling, received a flag an in honor of the sacrifice experienced by their family. The flag was presented by Lt. Cmdr. Jason Becker, executive officer, NIOC Colorado.
"The occasion was taken very solemnly and I was happy to experience the memorial ceremony," said Flanigan. "We grew up hearing stories of Anthony Parrino being lost at sea and now being in the military, the stories take a much deeper meaning. I definitely felt that here at the ceremony."
Marsden, in his closing remarks, said, "We must never forget the sacrifices made by these brave souls who came to the aid of our country in time of need and gave their all."
For more information, visit http://www.navy.mil, http://www.facebook.com/usnavy, or http://www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/FCCC10F/.