When we were developing the new Eureka commercial area, which included the grocery store and U.S. Post Office, we needed a name for the new street. We gave the community the opportunity to suggest names for consideration. Among the many who gave ideas was a Mrs. Kendall, whose family owned the land on Highway 109, which later became Elk Trails.
She suggested the name be in honor of men of the USS Thresher, which sunk 4-10-1963 with the loss of all 129 men of the crew. I use this as the topic for this memory, not only of the Thresher, but the hundreds of submariners who used to come into port with brooms waving to indicate a clean sweep.
In this I will recall the USS Squalus, which sank off New Hampshire in May 1939 in 243 feet of water and the Navy, using a new rescue bell was able to rescue 33 crew members that were alive. Later the ship was raised and rebuilt, and named the Sailfish.
While serving in Oahu late in World War II, I would at times visit the famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel, which was used for R & R (Rest and Rehabilitation) for submariners in the Pacific. I enjoyed being with those guys, and they really needed the R and R enjoyed there.
Then in 1963, the big news was the sinking of the USS Thresher as she tried to test dive to 1,400 feet, and something happened at that level that caused her to now rest at 8,400 feet wih her crew of 129 men.
So these were some of the discussions carried on during the naming of the new Eureka Street.
I guess the reason for my writing today is the Second Vice-Commander of O'Brien Post 177, Joseph Olsen, who served as a submariner and he is one of the best liked legion members as he provides the entertainment and goodies after the Post meetings. At the April meeting, he suggested that a new Vice Commander be nominated this year to take his place, as he has had some mobility problems.
So this is my attempt to salute all the great submariners of the past, especially Joe Olsen!