We Did Not Forget You

by Mike Hemming
 
 

On this sacred hillside, the rows of stones seemingly march outward forever. The air here seems saturated with the solemn fading notes of Taps, it's played so often. Smoke from gun salutes seems to hang permanently in the air as a soft blue-gray haze. Submarine veterans are looking for one small stone, there near an old tree they find it. It has taken weeks to find this small old stone marking the resting place of 17 men, listed on the stone as 'UNKNOWN'. Seeing this, grown men cry because these men were not unknown. Their names were known and the 17 men deserved better than one small anonymous stone. They were our first loses of the over 3,800 men that have followed them in over 100 years. Seventeen of our brothers in arms needed to have their names inscribed on a stone for all that come to this sacred place to read and remember.

Submarine sailors pride themselves on remembering those that gave all in our history. When these men died, that tradition hadn't been created yet and so they were placed in a mass grave marked by a small stone and listed as 17 unknowns.

Now on this Memorial Day, the submarine veterans come back to this hallowed ground in greater numbers to dedicate a new stone in keeping with the sacrifice of the 17. Submarine sailors made sure they got their names back by listing them on this new stone. That this injustice has been corrected shows that our pride and traditions are intact. For this is how we pass those things on to those that follow us by proving, we did not and will not forget you.

CASUALTIES OF THE USS F-4

George T. Ashcroft, GM1; Clark G. Buck, GM2; Ernest C. Cauvin, MM2; Harley Colwell, EMC; Walter F. Covington, MM1; George L. Deeth, EM1; Alfred L. Ede, LT (CO); Frederick Gilman, GM1; Aliston H. Grindle, EMC; Frank N. Herzog, EM2; Edwin S. Hill, MM1; Francis M. Hughson, MM1; Albert F. Jennie, EM2; Archie H. Lunger, GM2; Ivan L. Mahan, MM1; Horace L. Moore, GM1; William S. Nelson, MMC; Timothy A. Parker, ENS (XO); Frank C. Pierard, GMC; Charles H. Wells, MM2; Henry A. Withers, GM1.

These are some the men that cared and did not let us forget: RIchard Mendelson, Tom Denton, Ron Williams, Paul Meinke, Jim Mandelblatt, Mike Thresher.

 

BACK