Memorial Day, Remembering my Dad

 

Some WWII submarine poetry on this Memorial Day week-end in honor of my dad, a WWII submarine combat veteran.

Lost Harbor
by Leslie Nelson Jennings

There is a port of no return, where ships
May ride at anchor for a little space
And then, some starless night, the cable slips,
Leaving an eddy at the mooring place . . .
Gulls, veer no longer. Sailor, rest your oar.
No tangled wreckage will be washed ashore.


Young Studs
by
Richard G. Voge, Lieutenant Commander, USN

Battleships are title B.
That’s Lesson One in strategy.
They are the backbone of the Fleet.
Their fighting power can’t be beat.
They dominate the raging Main
While swinging ’round the anchor chain,
And bravely guard your home and mine
While anchored out there all in line.
They fill the Japs with fear and hate
From well inside the Golden Gate.
Now Lesson Two in strategy–

Our subs and planes are title C.
Just send them out on any mission
And win your battles by attrition.
Where’er you send the subs or planes
They’re bound to chalk up lots of gains–
And losses, too, but what the hell.
Who cares about their personnel?
For planes are chauffeured by young studs;
Lieutenant Commanders run the subs.


Lifeguard duty, my dad served on subs that rescued airmen that had to ditch their aircraft. 86 American submarines spent a total of 3,272 days on Lifeguard stations during the war, and rescued 504 airmen.

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Published in History
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There are 4 comments.

  1. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt Post author

    My dad went back to the boats after using the GI Bill to earn a university degree. He left the Navy at about the time I was seven years-old. Both mom and dad have passed away.

    • #1
    • May 25, 2019, at 4:38 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Stad Thatcher

    Being a submariner as I was during the Cold War was nothing like the hot war of WW2. I suggest The Last Patrol by Harry Holmes. It’s about the 52 U.S. submarines lost during WW2. It goes well with the poem line “And losses too, but what the hell.”

    • #2
    • May 26, 2019, at 5:10 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  3. Doug Watt Member
    Doug Watt Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    Being a submariner as I was during the Cold War was nothing like the hot war of WW2. I suggest The Last Patrol by Harry Holmes. It’s about the 52 U.S. submarines lost during WW2. It goes well with the poem line “And losses too, but what the hell.”

    During World War II, submarines comprised less than two percent of the U.S. Navy, but sank more than 30 percent of Japan’s navy, including eight aircraft carriers. More important, American submarines contributed to the indirect decapitation of the Japanese economy by sinking almost five million tons of shipping — more than 60 percent of the Japanese merchant marine.

    That record came with a high price; During World War II, the U.S. Navy’s submarine service suffered the highest casualty percentage of all the American armed forces, losing one in five submariners. Some 16,000 submariners served during the war, of whom 375 officers and 3131 enlisted men were killed.

    FLEET ADMIRAL CHESTER W. NIMITZ, U.S. NAVY
    FEDERAL OFFICE BUILDING
    SAN FRANCISCO 2, CALIFORNIA

    We, who survived World War II and were privileged to rejoin our loved ones at home, salute those gallant officers and men of our submarines who lost their lives in that long struggle. We shall never forget that it was our submarines that held the lines against the enemy while our fleets replaced losses and repaired wounds.

    C.W. Nimitz, Fleet Admiral, USN

    All that being said the most important engagement in the history of combat for any individual in our Armed Forces, whether on land, sea, or in the air is the one they are engaged in when the shooting starts.

    • #3
    • May 26, 2019, at 7:23 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Stad Thatcher

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    During World War II, the U.S. Navy’s submarine service suffered the highest casualty percentage of all the American armed forces

    Learn something new every day. I thought it was our long range bomber crews . . .

    • #4
    • May 26, 2019, at 11:30 AM PDT
    • Like