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, April 30, 2008

Kiwi Honors American Submariners

A reader sent in an article from the New Zealand Herald for ANZAC Day that discussed the contribution made by U.S. submariners to defending Australia and New Zealand during WWII that's well worth a read. Excerpt:
On Anzac Day thoughts turn to those who gave their lives during various wars over the last century. But there is one group which has never been given recognition for what they achieved in World War II and that is the United States submariners, 3505 of whom lost their lives, including 374 officers.
When one analyses what they achieved there is no doubt they did more than any other group to defeat the Japanese and save Australia and New Zealand from being invaded.
The reason is simple - they sank more than 60 per cent of the Japanese merchant marine fleet. Without these ships, not only was the Japanese advance stifled, their occupying troops lost their supply lines and they virtually could not be evacuated like the British were at Dunkirk to fight in other battles.
The story goes on to accurately review aspects of submarine contributions to the war in the Southern Pacific. One thing the writer said at the end, though, surprised me:
Last year while in Los Angeles I spoke to a group of American submariners. Many did not know of their predecessors' achievements in the war and none knew there was a base in Fremantle.
If this is true, and if he was talking about active duty submariners, I think the Sub Force needs to re-emphasize the "heritage" aspects of GMT.

It's nice to see a Kiwi showing support for the U.S. Navy. While most PacFleet Sailors get the opportunity to meet Australians and benefit from the fact that they have been taught to appreciate American Sailors, most of us don't get a chance to interact with New Zealanders due to their annoying nuclear ship ban. That's too bad... most Kiwis I've met (mostly at CENTCOM when I was an IA there) are decent people and not at all as smug as their national nuclear ban might lead you to believe they would be.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sad that 374 submarine officers (10.7%) were killed in action in the Pacific during WWII. But why does the author make the point about officers when 89.3% (3,131), almost ten times as many enlisted, were also killed?

It comes off as if, in the author's mind, the lives of the 374 officers are somehow more important and the loss more tragic than the loss of the 3,131 enlisted.

These smug subtle little statements really piss me off.

4/30/2008 8:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

One sees what one looks for. I don't see, at all, that the officers lost were given any undue attention, and certainly not anything smug. To me, the author was merely pointing out the enlisted/officer ratio numerically, as would otherwise have been unknown to the uninformed reader.

Not denying what you see, or your right to be angry about it...but going through life with a chip on your shoulder is not much of a way to go through life.

4/30/2008 11:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't surprise me that the group of submariners the writer met knew next to nothing about submariners of WWII and other submarine history. I'm nuclear power trained so I don't know what they teach at subschool, but in the pipeline they only touched upon the Thresher accident as it related to nuclear power and never mentioned Scorpion. Once stationed in Pearl Harbor I only learned about the history of US submarine history from what I searched out. I got out in '88 after 6 years and didn't really know much more than a few tidbits until I found Rontini's BBS in 1996 and got to know a few WWII vets and diesel boaters.


4/30/2008 12:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When a passenger vessel or aircraft goes down, god forbid, the casualty count is always divided up between passengers and crew. I don't believe that this is an attempt to value their lives differently just as I don't believe the Kiwi authors intent was to imply a value difference.

4/30/2008 12:07 PM

Blogger reddog said...

I had never heard of an American sub base at Fremantle. Does anyone know if the subs there were involved in the Pacific or were they patrolling the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic?

The sub force lost a higher percentage of officers than most other combat organizations in WWII and had a higher mortality rate in general than most groups. I am sure the eighth Air Force and the Coast Guard landing craft operators in the South Pacific probably suffered as bad or worse.

It is not necessary to look for reasons to feel slighted by officers, it is only necessary to spend a little time around them for that.

4/30/2008 5:50 PM

Blogger Chap said...

My boats were Pac boats. We did a lot of emphasizing when we could. Part of the litany for getting fish was reading from Theodore Roscoe or Thunder Below or similar; there's a lot to be said about that.

Best re-enlistment? One of the sonarmen I worked for didn't know where to do it, so I made a suggestion and he decided to re-up at the ANZAC memorial on ANZAC Day in Brisbane, at the 60th anniversary of the battle in the Coral Sea.

One could do worse.

Are you on a boat? If so, who do you talk to at social events? Do you invite riders who were on boats back in the day? Do you have copies of some good books in the goat locker and the wardroom and the crew's mess? Who in SubVets knows you're alive?

4/30/2008 8:44 PM

Blogger kwicslvr said...

I would of loved to visit Australia when I was in the Pacific. Unfortunately for me, I was transferred from my boat while on west pac to go to the Connecticut. Then the next day the boat departed for Australia...

Though I did know of the submarine history of WW2. Visits to the Neimitz museum in Fredericksberg, Tx tought me a lot before I joined the Navy.

5/01/2008 11:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Too bad you missed it. Great palce to visit and the girls treat you right! Do a PI, Thailand, Austrailia run and it's like a Baskin Robbins of chicks - all 31 flavors.

I mean, if you are into that stuff!

Jim C.

5/01/2008 6:38 PM


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