Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ve seen several videos posted here courtesy of Rem K6BBQ regarding the USS Pampanito. Rem, who lives in California has operated from the Pampanito (whose radio room is now outfitted with Amateur Radio gear) and has related about his experiences.
I visited the Pampanito myself a couple of times, when I was fortunate enough to visit San Francisco and the Fishlerman’s Wharf area. I was never fortunate enough to operate from the submarine. Watching Rem’s videos and taking a tour of the boat myself is one thing, but in all truthfulness, neither of these gave a “real taste” of what life on the sub was like during WWII.
This past week, I caught an episode of “The Color of War” on the Military Channel. The program features color movie footage of WWII, taken by amateurs as well as professional combat cinematographers. The episode I watched this past week was titled, “The Silent Service” and towards the end of the program, the USS Pompanito was prominently featured.
If you get the chance to watch the show, please do. In a very small way, you will be honoring the memory of the brave men who fought for us under the surface of the briny deep during WWII. In the process, you will be amazed at the conditions these fighting men put up with; and in spite of those circumstances, succeeded in their mission.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!
I have the highest respect for my “former shipmates” in the WWII Silent Service because of what they went through made it much better for me during the 50’, 60’s and 70’s on the boats I served on.
The USS Requin SSR481 – 1955-57 as a radioman LCpl with the 3rd Recon3rd Marines … Shipped over into the Naval Submarine Service in 1958 as a Quartermaster … USS Sea Leopard SS481 1959 – 1963 -QM3(ss) –QM2nd …USS Nautilus SSN571 -1963 -1965 QM1 (ss) – QMC(ss) … USS Robert E. Lee SSBM 1970 – 1975 QMCS(ss) retired. Robert Kreiser edWL7GK
Larry, in addition to the Pampanito, there are 16 other WWII submarines open to the public as museum ships around the country. Several of them, including the Batfish, the Razorback, the Cod, and the Clamagore are often put on the air by area hams. It is truly amazing to visit and climb aboard these actual remnants of American history!
Two of WL7GK’s old boats are museum ships…the Requin and the Nautilus. I had the pleasure of putting the Nautilus on the air as N9N special event station in 2008 to commemorate her historic trip across the top of the world via the North Pole fifty years before in 1958 (details on my QRZ.com page). Robert, if you are going to make it to the reunion this year in Groton, please say, “Hello.” I’ve been asked to speak to the group at dinner on Saturday night.
And by the way, there is a sub vets’ net on the air every day Monday through Saturday at 1630 GMT on 14.343. They even have a few WWII submarine vets who check in regularly.
Don Keith N4KC
A big thanks to all US service men, active, retired, or veteran, for your service to this country. I especially respect the sub vets, I served in the Navy on a DE, sub service takes lots of guts. Thanks again, and 73!