States Submarine Veterans, Inc.
Pocono Base – Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, 19 April 2006
Meeting called to order at 1900 by Base Commander Rich Holmes at the
Marine Corps. League Museum in Scranton, PA. The Purpose of the
Organization was read. The Base Bell was tolled once for each of the
following Boats and their crewmembers that were lost during the Month
03 April 1943 USS Pickerel SS
177 74 Men
22 April 1943 USS Grenadier SS
210 4 Men
08 April 1945 USS
279 84 Men
10 April 1963 USS Thresher SSN
593 129 Men
A moment of silence followed and an invocation was given by Bob Vaughn.
The COB led the members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Roll Call: Members present were: Rich Holmes, Mike Smith, Robert
Vaughn, John Saeli, Steve Vergalito, Gerald Zeman, Bill Hannon, Bill
Klose and Oliver Nordmark.
It was confirmed that a quorum was present.
The Minutes: the secretary read the minutes for the March meeting with
the following correction. The Bell was tolled once for each of the 8
Boats and 436 crewmembers lost during the month of March not February.
Motion to accept the minutes as corrected made by: Bob Vaughn; 2nd by:
Steve Vergalito. All in favor to accept.
Treasurer’s Report: Bill Klose’s reported an ending balance $3480.83 on
31 March 2006 after $151.00 in deposits and $163.66 in expenses.
Motion to accept the treasurers report was made by: Bob Vaughn; 2nd by:
Bill Hannon All in favor to accept.
John Saeli read from Submarine Operations of WWII, an account of the
loss of the USS Pickerel (SS-177), which occurred on 03 APR 1943.
Membership: We welcome the addition of James Dickson
to our group. He qualified in submarines onboard the USS Ulysses S.
Grant (SSBN-631). The members present introduced themselves and their
respective qual boats.
John Saeli reported that we currently have 40
members in our base. John Cortese sent his money in to give us the
40-member total. Now with the addition of Jim Dickson, our total is now
41. We still have not heard anything from Howard Weinstein, whether by
phone call or e-mail. Other applications have been sent, but no
one has responded.
Parades: The Armed Forces Day Parade will be held on
Saturday 20 May 2006, there will be at least 6 members going to this
parade. There is also a parade in East Stroudsburg on that day, but we
are already committed to the Scranton parade.
Correspondence: Coolbaugh would like us back again
this year. Tom Shields will get back to us with more info.
Jack Ensminger sent a letter to John about possibly
resurrecting a get together between the Tri-State Base and the Requin
Base and would perhaps expand this and include all of the Pennsylvania
bases. He is entertaining the idea of a train museum tour and/or
coalmine tour in the Scranton area and would like to hear from the
Pocono Base about the various possibilities. Jack also wants to
get Mr. Mike White involved in this so we could give him “the
Business”. The members present think that this is a worthwhile
venture. We believe that this is a good way to actually get us involved
with the other bases. Some suggestions were even including the Pocono
Rich Holmes passed the newspaper article around to
those who wanted to see the obituary for Harold Franklin. Bob Vaughn
also received another letter from Judy talking about how well our
tribute to her father went at his viewing. She wanted to thank all of
us who participated in the tribute during the viewing.
Another e-mail was sent to Jack Ensminger and then
sent to the various members concerning a letter from a retired Army
General about rendering honors by saluting instead of placing our hand
over our heart. Rich Holmes said he will send this response:
“Resolved, in accordance with the initiative begun by Army Maj. General
Vern Lewis. The members of the Pocono Base now and in the future will
remain covered and salute when rendering honors to include: The
National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, etc. This is also applicable
when in formation. Uncovering will still be observed when honoring the
To clarify: We would still salute even if we are not wearing our
hat. A Motion made to follow the letter that was sent, to salute,
whether covered or uncovered, as long as we are representing ourselves
as veterans of the United States. Motion made by: John Saeli; 2nd
by: Bob Vaughn. All in favor to accept.
Rich Holmes was looking for a volunteer to see about
getting a ceremonial bugle for use in graveside services and maybe look
into providing graveside honors for any veteran in the future. The
first step is obtaining a bugle.
Various members have received an e-mail from a plate
collector who is trying to get a SubVet plate. Bill Klose answered this
gentleman and referred him to Mr. White, and also warned him that we
screen who is eligible to receive one.
We have not received any responses about the letter
we sent last month concerning the PA SubVet plate issue. We will need
to wait until next meeting to see if Jeff Owens received any responses.
There was no old business.
Rich Holmes is looking for critique on what are we
doing well, what are we not doing, and what could we do better as an
organization. Particularly from the standpoint of our membership and
our leadership. One item is that Rich want to have the business
meeting end at 2000. This way we have more time for socializing. Rich
is looking for feedback into meeting duration, content of the meeting
and the refreshments afterwards. Rich stated that one of his
objectives over the next two years is that we have some good clean fun.
He would also like to add a reading on technology and where we are
going, and strategy about what’s happening about boat movements and the
buildup of the Chinese Submarine Force.
Good of the Order:
Bob Vaughn brought up the point that we have not
held an annual memorial service for the boats that were lost since the
base was founded five years ago. Bob is also asking for
consideration as to who will be the new base chaplain after he and his
wife move later this year. Bob also has information that will need to
be passed on to the various members that will need them.
John Saeli also made the point that we should look
into getting a memorial of some type for the Submarine Service.
We could try and look into adding to the Memorial area at Tobyhanna
We could also look into having a joint meeting with either the Long
Island base or the Ling base.
Binnacle List: Grover Kiick is still on dialysis
three times a week. He is 91 years old and is doing as well as can be
expected. He also needs a wheelchair to get around and is also on
Swede Schedins’ new address is:
249 Laurel Court
Pine Grove, PA. 17963
Next meeting will be held at 1900 on Wednesday 17 May 2006 at the
Wilson-Fisher Post in Pocono Pines.
A motion was made to adjourn and was made by Bob Vaughn, 2nd not
recorded. All in favor.
Rich Holmes led the recitation of the Creed of USSVI.
“To perpetuate the memory of our shipmates who gave
their lives in the pursuit of their duties while serving their country.
That their dedication, deeds and supreme sacrifice be a constant source
of motivation toward greater accomplishments. Pledge loyalty and
patriotism to the United States Government.”
Bob Vaughn led us in a closing prayer.
The meeting was adjourned at 2003 hrs.
Food and drinks followed.
Michael D. Smith
P.S.: As you have noticed, I have come back due to personal
reasons and have resumed my duties as the secretary. I look forward to
seeing each of you again at our meetings and events. I also hope you
like the slightly different look of our monthly minutes.