United 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 of April:

03 April 1943    USS Pickerel     SS 177        74 Men
22 April 1943    USS Grenadier  SS 210          4 Men
08 April 1945    USS Snook        SS 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.
Guests: None

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.

Committee Reports:

    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 Pines area.

    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 Supreme Commander.”
Rich Holmes
  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.

Old Business:

    There was no old business.

New 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 Army Depot.

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 oxygen.

    Swede Schedins’ new address is:
                        249 Laurel Court
                        Pine Grove, PA. 17963
                        (570) 345-4959
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.

Respectfully submitted.
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.