United States Submarine Veterans, Inc.
Pocono Base – Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, 19 July 2006
Meeting called to order at 1903 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 July:
30 Jul 1942     USS Grunion                          SS 216                         70 Men
04 Jul 1944     USS S-28                                SS 133                         50 Men
26 Jul 1944     USS Robalo                            SS 273                         84 Men
A moment of silence followed and an invocation was given by Bob Vaughan. The Base Commander led the members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Roll Call: Members present were: Rich Holmes, Frank McDevitt, Mike Smith, Bob Vaughan, Gerald Zeman, Bill Hannon, Tom Crosby, Steve Vergalito, Jim Dickson, John Saeli, Oliver Nordmark, Jeff Owens and Bill Klose. The members present introduced themselves and their respective boats.
Guests: We had one guest. We welcomed Mr. Merv Werst to our meeting. Mr. Werst worked for Westinghouse and helped design the power plants for the USS Nautilus, USS Skate and USS Skipjack.
The secretary confirmed that a quorum was present.
The Minutes: the secretary read the minutes for the June meeting. The following corrections were made. The Swedish Sub is the ‘Gotland’ not the ‘Gottlieb’ class. John Saeli made the statement that the lost boat list is incorrect. I acknowledge the error and stated that the list is currently a work in progress from multiple sources including the USSVI website. Jeff Owens stated that the Legion was not listed as having attended the Flag Day ceremony.
A motion was made to accept the minutes as read and corrected by Rich Holmes.
1st motion made by Bob Vaughan, 2nd motion made by Gerald Zeman.
Treasurer’s Report:  The base treasurer reported and ending balance of $3470.48 on 5/31/06 and an ending balance of $3340.48 on 6/30/06.
A motion was made to accept the treasurers’ report by Rich Holmes.
1st motion made by Frank McDevitt, 2nd motion made by John Saeli
John Saeli read from Submarine Operations of WWII, an account of the loss of the USS Grunion (SS 216), which occurred on 30 Jul 1942.
Committee Reports:
            Membership:  John Saeli reported that we have 41 members, including our newest member, Tom Crosby. John wants to try and get Mr. Werst signed up as an associate member.
            Ways and Means: Rich is looking for someone to take aver the ways and means committee. Rich does not want to do this and be Base Commander at the same time. He stated that the current initiatives for the ways and means are for boosters and ads to be inserted into the newsletter. Ways and Means is a creative idea position in which the base can raise money.
            Parades: There is no information on parades as of this meeting.
            Speakers Bureau: Rich would like to get the speakers bureau up and running again. Ed Barr was on the committee but does not want anything to do with subvets at this time. This would fall in line with getting some publicity for our group. We should be getting some request from the school districts within a couple of months. Rich also spoke with the Veterans Liaison for Monroe County during the Pocono Parade and informed him of our address.
            Welfare: Bobs’ wife contacted Swede Schedin and says that he is feeling quite well and is enjoying his new home in Pine Grove. Swedes’ main problem is bad night vision. Swede wanted to come to the last meeting but couldn’t due to an emergency that came up.
                        Grover Kiick spent the last month in and out of the hospital and only came home a couple of days ago. Grover stated that he used up his nine lives a while ago but says that he is still here.
Fair:  No business.
Old Business:
                        The name in the hat was passed around during the reading of the minutes to those members present. Rich would like to continue this so we can get some feedback from those members who have not attended a meeting for a while. Rich basically wants this to be a ‘Hello, how are you doing’ type of thing. The idea is to let these members know that they are not forgotten. Bob Vaughan brought up the point the Grover is 93 and Swede just turned 90, so they are our senior members. Don Malkames lives in New York and has had health problems as well.
                        As of this meeting, Bob Vaughan will be stepping down as base chaplain. He and his wife need to work on getting ready for their move to New York at the end of August. Rich Holmes has stated that he would like to approach Joe O’Hara to see if he would become our new base chaplain. Rich is looking for someone to take over the chaplain duty before he talks to Joe.
Rich also hopes that if Joe does accept to be our chaplain, that he could come to our meetings, but Jeff brought up that Joe is a chaplain at a senior house in the Wilkes-Barre area and that it coincides with our meeting. Joe stated that he would like to do this, but we would need to change the day of our meeting.
                        Rich received the e-mail from John Saeli concerning the bugle. Rich stated that he would like the paperwork back because it has the contact info on it. Jeff stated that the bugle is $500 plus shipping. It would be an expense if we were to purchase one, or we could try to get one as a donation. There are no obligations in getting one, unlike the original ones given out by the VA.
                        For those members who didn’t know, Eugen Rees was killed in a one-car accident on Wed. 21 Jun 2006. From what we were able to ascertain, he was supposed to be on his way over to our meeting for June when this occurred. We do not know why he ended up in Shohola Lakes in Pike County where his vehicle was found. We held a memorial service for him on Tuesday, 27 June 2006 at 1900 hrs at the Wilson Fisher Post. Rich stated that it was an inspiring and beautifully done affair. Rich said that we could have used the bugle for this ceremony, instead, “Taps” was sung.
                        Rich brought up the discussion about getting together with the western bases for a trip to Scranton. Rich stated that we should leave this issue dead as we have lost the time window. John Saeli has not had the time to research room prices due to familial issues. There were no objections to this decision.
                        Frank said that he obtained the flag box placards and had the replaced on the Blakeslee box.
                        Rich was asking if anyone had any flag stands. The legion is allowing us to place our flags in the corner with the others if we have the stands. Jeff stated that all we needed was a bucket, a piece of PVC pipe and a bag of Sakrete.
                        The legion has changed their meeting time to 1900 on the first Thursday of the month according to Bob Vaughan. The only exception is the August meeting where the time of the meeting is 1800 due to the installation of Officers. There are a couple of positions still open at this time.
                        Rich wants to go ahead with the float. Rich is currently waiting for the plans from Tom.
New Business:
                        2006 elections are here, please get them turned into Rich Holmes by the 27th of August. Those who have e-mail received them that way. There are ballots in the new issue of the American Submariner. Rich want to get all of our members to return the ballot. For those contacting our other members, please impress upon them the importance of the election.
                        The floor was opened for the endorsement of prospective candidates. The positions open in this years’ election include: National Commander, Sr. Vice Commander, Jr. Vice Commander, Secretary and Natl. Treasurer.
                        There was an e-mail from the District 1 Commander regarding John Carciapolla. He is endorsing John as Sr. Vice Commander. John C. wrote back stating that he is ineligible for the position and any votes for him will not be counted for the Vice Commander slot. John Saeli recommended that we pencil him in for the position of Eastern Regional Director. Bob Vaughan read a response letter from John C. regarding his decision not to seek election to the Natl. Sr. Vice Commander position due to a change in the by-laws in the C&B stating that a member has to be on the Board of Directors for at least 2 years to be considered.
                        Jeff Owens offered his opinion that we not vote for any of the members on the ballot.
                        Please submit your ballots to Rich Holmes by 27 Aug.
Good of the Order:
                        Frank McDevitt will take over the liaison duties with the American Legion Wilson-Fisher Post.
                        Rich Holmes led the members in a three-cheer salute to Bob Vaughan and we wished he and his wife well in their move to New York. Bob was one of the founding members of the Pocono Base back in Feb 2000 and helped get the base off the ground. Rev. Vaughan and his wife will be missed.
                        I had the honor and the privilege to go to the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia earlier this month with my grandfather, Carl Linsenbach. We were interviewed together by students who were helping to generate the video “Students, Stories and the Silent Service”. What made our interview unique is that it offered the perspective from different generations. My grandfather said that he was proud of my decision to become a ‘submariner’, while I said that I was honored to have followed in his footsteps. We then took a tour of the Becuna, where I took a picture of him standing next to the station he worked on while serving onboard the USS Sea Devil (SS 400).
                        On the way home that night, I had an idea for thought. The museum is having another interview session in August and a wrap up session in October. I tendered the idea to the base members about trying to get with the PA bases about holding a ‘Tolling of the bell’ ceremony for the October session. The members present agreed and tasked me to work on this.
Next meeting will be held at 1900 on Wednesday 16 Aug 2006 at the American Legion Wilson-Fisher Post in Pocono Pines.
Rich Holmes entertained a motion to adjourn.
 All in favor to adjourn, motion carried.
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.
Rich Holmes declared the meeting of the Pocono Base adjourned.
The meeting was adjourned at 2023 hrs.
Food and drinks followed.
A 50/50 raffle was held. Tom Crosby won the raffle and donated the winnings back to the base.
Respectfully submitted
Michael D. Smith
USSVI – Pocono Base Secretary