Tribute will be paid to American submariners at a ceremony Saturday, March 20, at 10 a.m. on the Maple Mall at Fresno State.
Two submarine veterans organizations will dedicate six tulip trees to honor six lost submarines and crew members. The six trees join the existing 59 trees already dedicated to submariners on the mall.
The Fresno State memorial is the first honoring lost submarines and crew members to be located on a university campus. The Fresno chapter of the United States Submarine Veterans of World War II and the Wahoo Base of the United States Submarine Veterans Inc. are sponsoring the event, along with Fresno State.
The ceremony includes “tolling of the boats,” in which the sub’s name, how it was lost and the number of men lost are announced and a bell is tolled. For each, a submarine veteran will salute an American flag posted at the tree and a submariner’s wife will place a flower at the base of the tree, next to a marker listing the name of the boat and date lost.
The six boats to be recognized this year are: SS 162, SS 109, SS 70, USS Cochino and USS Stickleback. A total of 64 men were lost.
State, regional and local dignitaries, plus President Welty and Associated Students Inc. President Neil Gibson will attend and participate in the ceremony.
The submarine monument at Fresno State was dedicated in 2002 with a handsome
granite marker and 54 tulip trees honoring 52 U.S. submarines and 3,505 men who were lost in World War II and two other submarines (USS Thresher in 1963, USS Scorpion in 1968) and 228 men lost since 1945.
In 2003, tribute was paid to the first five American submarines lost in the 20th century.
(Editors: Representatives of the Submarine Veterans are available for print or broadcast interviews before March 20, the morning of the event or after the ceremony. To schedule, contact Shirley Armbruster at 559-278-5292.)
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