HANSVILLE, Wash. (NNS) -- Family, friends, Sailors and community members joined together to celebrate the life of retired Master Chief L.V. "Red" Denson during a funeral and celebration of life ceremony, Oct. 14.
Denson died Oct. 2 at the age of 95. He was laid to rest with military honors at the Hansville Cemetery amid a crowd of Sailors, family, and friends who came to honor the first Force Master Chief of Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SUBPAC).
"It is a humbling experience and truly an honor to be part of a memorial service for such a great American," said Command Master Chief Kevin Scarff, assigned to Commander, Submarine Group 9. "He was a pioneer for our submarine force as the first Force Master Chief for SUBPAC and is still someone for all of us to look up to."
Following the burial, guests joined together at the Hansville Community Center to share stories and celebrate the full life of Denson.
Denson enlisted in the Navy as a Ship's Servicemen in 1941. He served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, conducting deployments on five ships and two submarines, including serving as Chief of the Boat (COB) on USS Halibut (SSN 587). He retired from the Navy in 1975, concluding his Navy career as the first Force Master Chief of SUBPAC.
"He was an amazing man and he lived a rich and full life," said retired Command Master Chief Rusty Staub. "As the first SUBPAC Force Master Chief, he basically set a path for us and established, by his manner and by his design, the way for how we do many things today."
Following his 34 years of naval service, Denson continued serving the Kitsap community as the North Kitsap Fire Commissioner, board member on the Washington Board of Equalization and member of the Hansville Historical Society.
"Red was special not only to this community, but to our fire service on a state wide basis," said North Kitsap Fire and Rescue Chief, Capt. Dan Smith. "He joined as the Fire Commissioner in 1991 and retired officially in 2005 (unofficially he retired couple of weeks ago). We never needed to worry about whether this community needed something, because Red would always share it with us. He embraced the entire community that North Kitsap Fire and Rescue served, and that is a compliment to his ethics, his dedication, and his efforts to community at large; that is one of the things that we really appreciated about Red. On behalf of our board of commissioners and every member of the North Kitsap Fire Department, I want to thank the family and the community for sharing Red with us."
Denson is survived by son, David Denson; daughter, Linda Coburn and husband Dan; grandchildren, Christy Vartanian and husband Aris, Laura Belanger and husband Johny, Chad Denson, Danni Langston and husband Boone; and great-grandchildren, Jake, Amelia, Jordyn and Charlie.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Group 9, visit www.navy.mil/local/csg9/.