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As this will be my last communication to you as the NSL President, I thought I might reminisce these past eight years a bit, and review some NSL occurrences which will never make the history book. Built into the By-Laws is a provision that a NSL Director can only serve a maximum of 8 years at a time and to be President, one must have been elected as a Director.

Early on I approached Shannon Cramer, Chuck Griffiths and Jack Williams (then OP-02) with the latent idea to emulate the Association of Naval Aviation and start a similar Submarine Supporters Association. All agreed and off we went. I was employed by Woody Ramsey of American Systems Corporation at the time and he gave considerable resources and support for the endeavor. As a submariner, Woody believed as firmly as I that a Submarine Association was long overdue and could play an invaluable role in the future. An initial Submarine Supporters meeting was held on 26 May 1981 with 37 retired submarine officers in attendance in a conference room provided by Jack Fagan. Throughout the next 18 months, with the gracious help of Prudy and my daughter Beth, we learned how to make flyers, hand address envelopes and lick stamps! There was a lot of midnight oil consumed just to get a mailing ready. The first funds received was $50.00 from Gordon McGarry of Gould, Inc. The next Submarine Supporters meeting was held on 4 May 1982, at the Washington Navy Yard with 111 people in attendance. A draft Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws was approved and the name “Naval Submarine League” proposed by Phil Beshany, was accepted.

The Naval Submarine League was incorporated on 30 June 1982 AI Whittle was elected as Chairman. The other Directors were Shannon Cramer (President), Chuck Griffiths, Jim Keane, Sandy Levey, Woody Ramsey, Red Ramage and myself. Lou Urbanczyk was the Charter Incorporating Officer. The Directors authorized the NSL professional magazine, The SUBMARINE REVIEW, on 14 September 1982, with Bill Rube as Editor and Jim Murray as Publisher.

Pat Lewis was the first NSL employee. She was retained as NSL Office Manager on 8 November 1982. The NSL office was established in Pat’s basement and remained there for over 7 years. With Pat’s pleasing voice and determination as a hallmark, the NSL has grown and flourished. We all owe Pat our gratitude for the untold hours of work she has devoted to the NSL.

Jason Law, a certified CPA, set up the superb NSL accounting system. Jim Keane, acting Treasurer, had been using a battered notebook and a shoe box. The first annual NSL Symposium was held on 3 May 1983 with 205 members in attendance. The NSL was underway and growing. Admiral Bob Long was elected Chairman of the NSL Directors on 21 May 1984, a position which he currently retains. Some of the NSL Accomplishments are:

  • Attained over 4200 members and 103 Corporate Benefactors
  •  SUBMARINE REVIEW distributed to Submarine Force Ships and Stations
  • Five NSL Chapters organized
  • 186 NSL Complimentary memberships given to Congressional members
  • NSL Cruise Program for Corporate Benefactors
  • Sponsored PBS Submarine Documentary Submarine: Steel Boats
  • Iron Men
  • Sponsoring an annual classified Submarine Technology Symposium with APUJHU
  • Sponsoring NSL NROTC Accession Awards Program
  • Sponsoring NSL Complimentary membership for SOAC graduates, and Medical, Supply, and Engineering newly qualified Submarine Officers
  • Established Bill Purdum Memorial Award at Enlisted Submarine School
  • Sponsoring a USNA and NROTC Literary Awards Program
  • Sponsoring an active duty Submarine Literary Awards Program
  •  Co-sponsored a NSUASNE Submarine Maintenance and Applied Technology Symposium
  • Established NSL Speakers Bureau
  • Sponsoring Submarine Service Selection night at USNA
  • Sponsoring Submarine Heroes reception at USNA
  • Raised over $95,000.00 for Dolphin Scholarship and Iowa Memorial Fund at Hunt for Red October Premiere
  • Purchased NSL Office Building for National Headquarters
  • Established Submarine Reference Library

The NSL’s Charter is clear. Our mission is to educate people about and support the Submarine Service. I believe the NSL has held true to its Charter and its value increases every day.

There are many more people, not mentioned above, who have devoted time and energy to the NSL and to them I also give my appreciation.

Now it is time for a new watch to be posted, for a new hand on the helm. Through this process the League will reach even greater acclaim and be even more effective.

Finally, I wish to thank our 4200 members and 103 Corporate Benefactors who believe in the Submarine Service and its deterrent value to this great country. Through you the NSL has made a difference. It has been a real privilege for me to have been granted the opportunity to continue to contribute to the Submarine Service. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have participated in this moment of history. God Bless.

AI Kelln


 I t has been sometime since I have used this column to communicate with the NSL membership, but in view of several major developments I feel justified in doing so.

First off, let me state how pleased I was with the overall results of our 8th NSL annual Membership Symposium. The speakers were top drawer and the entire affair was again, an unbridled success. The participation of Secretary of the Navy Larry Garrett and the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Carl Trost was, of course, the high point of the Banquet. I continue to be most pleased that the NSL staff can organize and execute this splendid affair year after year.

On 10 July 1990, the NSL Board of Directors will meet to welcome three new Directors, Jon Boyes, Bill Crowe and Skip Orem, and bid adieu to Chuck Griffiths, AI Kelln and Russ Bryan. AI Kelln’s departure from the NSL Directors will be a significant change and loss of senior leadership. Chuck and AI have labored hard and long to make the NSL dream a reality and their product (the League) will be a strong factor in support of the Submarine Service for years to come. I hope to keep both of these founders involved in the NSL in some capacity.

Finally, after six years as your NSL Chairman, I pass along the baton of leadership to that person elected by the Directors to succeed me. I believe so very strongly in the mission of the NSL and I also believe as strongly that this organization and its membership have made and continue to make a real difference. The NSL continues to expand on its education mission and each year a more discernible impact is made. I am very proud and pleased to have been part of the NSL team and to have represented you, the membership. The road ahead for the Submarine Service will be extremely difficult A new watch has been posted and they have been entrusted with the NSL. Please join me in supporting this team just as you have supported me in the past.

Bob Long

Naval Submarine League

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