Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Who Is The Oldest Submarine Veteran?

The Sub Report linked to an article today on Floyd Matthews, a 103-year-old submariner in Florida; there's also a quick video clip of the interview with him located here. From the article:
Once he got his sea legs on a cruiser and battleship, Matthews had enough of the surface and volunteered for a different kind of duty in 1923.
His graduation from submarine school later that year would enter him into a brotherhood of fellow submariners. Today, he is thought to be the second-oldest submariner in the U.S., Rubin said.
His time as a submariner would also involve him in landmark submarine escape experiments under the direction of Lt. Cmdr. Charles "Swede" Momsen, inventor of the Momsen lung, an underwater breathing device used in rescue operations.
Another Momsen invention, the "diving bell," saved the crew of the USS Squalus in May 1939, when their sub sank in 240 feet of water off Portsmouth, N.H. Matthews supported the rescue effort using the watertight chamber to bring trapped sailors to the surface.
Here's an article from the USSVI archives on Floyd's 100th birthday. Unforunately, none of the articles I found listed the subs on which Floyd served. I did a quick Google search, but wasn't able to find out who is the oldest U.S. submariner still alive. (The USSVI website has an article about a submariner, Capt. Arthur "Speed" Graubart, who had been their oldest member when he passed on in 2003.) Does anyone know if there's really a submariner out there older than Floyd Matthews?


Blogger Dale Courtney said...

What a great video history.

Thanks for sharing that.

Wish I could have my kids sit and listen to him tell stories.


12/21/2006 5:06 AM

Blogger Julie Fanselow said...

Thanks for the post. Here's a bit more my Dad - a WWII vet who served under Captain Mathews on the fleet tug Chickasaw - passed along via email ...

"When on subs way before World War II, he was an
enlisted man, I believe a Quartermaster. During this
time he voluntered to go to Pearl as a diver to help
Capt. Monson test his experimental escape lung, which
became the famous 'Monsun Lung'

At Jacksonvil FL when we celebrated the Captain's
100th birthday, he told me that after I left the
Chickasaw in 1946, after the Bikini Bomb Tests, that
the Ship got to ( I cant remenber the Island Groups
name) but he got to meet Admiral Munson again, the
Admiral was in charge of the entire area, and they had
a great time reliving the 'good old days.

I'll keep in touch when I get an answer for you on the
Sub's names."

12/21/2006 3:34 PM

Blogger Julie Fanselow said...

Ooops, I guess my dad had the name a little wrong! He meant Momsen, I'm sure.

12/21/2006 3:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, I read one of Pig Henry's Obit Messenger's here and found the following:

- (San Francisco Chronicle)
CHANG, Sr., Peter A., 103, The 1st child born to Korean parents in the US, and one of the first Korean-American officers in the US Navy, passed away peacefully November 26, 2006. Born in Oakland in 1903, Chang was the son of a Korean diplomat stationed in Washington, DC. He joined the US Navy at 18, becoming one of the first Asian-Americans in the US military. He was appointed officer in charge of the Submarine and Torpedo School at Pearl Harbor, Hon. where he was stationed during the Japanese attack in 1941. In 1945, he and his wife Helen (1910-1998) bought a home in Palo Alto, where they raised their two children, Beulah and Peter, and remained active community residents for over 50 years. His son Peter Jr. (1937-2004), moved to Santa Cruz, where he became the first Asian-American district attorney in the continental US. His daughter Beulah lives in Marin, where she runs a successful interior design practice and has raised her two sons. Chang is survived by his daughter; five grandchildren and two great-grand-daughters. A Celebration of his life will be held Thurs, Dec. 28 at 1:00PM, Avenidas Senior Health Center, 270 Escuela Ave, Mt. View, reception to follow. Family may be contacted at

Don't know if he was a submariner but he was in charge of the Submarine and Torpedo School.

12/21/2006 3:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father was the 13th person to use the Momsen Lung. He mentioned it in his memoirs. The names of the submarines were Sub Division 19 and the subs the S42, S43, S44, S45, S46 and S47. He oftened mentioned "Swede" and took pictures of the subs on that trip. He was on the S-4 from 1923 to 1928. I am putting together his memoirs now.

9/10/2008 2:58 PM

Anonymous buy generic viagra said...

This is perfect because His graduation from submarine school later that year would enter him into a brotherhood of fellow submariners, that's so exciting for me.m10m

3/09/2011 11:59 AM


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