HONOLULU (NNS) -- Submariners past and present, and distinguished guests gathered at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu April 11, to commemorate 112 years of submarine service.
The event was sponsored by the United States Submarine Veterans Inc. (USSVI) Bowfin Base Subvets. USSVI was founded in 1965 by a group of U.S. World War II submarine veterans.
The submarine force was born April 11, 1900, when the U.S. Navy bought the submersible Holland VI from John Holland. Today's submarine force consists of 53 attack, 14 ballistic-missile and four guided-missile submarines that enable the Navy and the nation to win wars, deter wars, defeat terrorists and ease disasters. Throughout the years many submariners made history, became heroes and paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
"Today we are going to remember our shipmates and gather strength in knowing all they sacrificed and all they accomplished," said Rear Adm. Frank Caldwell, commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. "As we gather here at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, we remember those who have been honored at memorial ceremonies here, and we remember those who lay here in their final resting place.
"Among the souls here are those who served in all branches of our Armed Forces. Among the souls here are those who served in all facets of our Navy. Among the souls here are those who went down to the sea in submarines. And on our 112th birthday, it is fitting to remember all who have gone before and to remember those who rest here," said Caldwell.
Following his remarks a rededication of the submarine memorial plaque took place. The plaque honors the contribution of the many men and women who served with and supported the submarine force during the last 112 years as well as the 52 submarines that are on eternal patrol. The plaque rededication has been an April 11 annual event sponsored by USSVI Bowfin Base Subvets since the dedication in April 2000.
"It is a great honor to be here today as it is every April 11th, to remember and pay tribute to the greatest submarine force in the world," said retired Master Chief Electrician's Mate Chris Cunha, USSVI Bowfin Base Subvets. "The submarine memorial plaque means so much to submariners, active duty and retired, that this ceremony is very necessary and will continue for many years to come."
A special bell tolling ceremony commenced to perpetuate the memory of the submariners and the 52 submarines lost in World War II and since. Each submarine name was acknowledged followed by a bell toll in remembrance of their sacrifices for our nation. A 21-gun salute followed by the playing of Taps and retiring of the colors closed out the ceremony.
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For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/subpac/.