h4Reprinted with permission, Charleston Post and Courier, December 14, 2003.
At the recent dedication of the Cold War Submarine Memo-rial at Patriot’s Point in Mount Pleasant, retired Vice Admiral Albert Baciocco, Jr. recalled: “We never advertised what we were doing. We were the Silent Service.”
What the silent service was doing, without advertising the fact, was helping to save the world by deterring nuclear war while, at the same time, winning the Cold War.
And, of course, the submariners were making history through their enduring courage. So it is fitting that their silent service is at last memorialized. And no place could be more appropriate than Patriot’s Point.
The memorial, incorporating the sail of an actual nuclear submarine, LEWIS AND CLARK, stands guard over Charleston Harbor, where the sleek black-hulled nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines were a familiar sight as they sailed to their long deep underwater patrols for more than three decades.
The imposing memorial is a reminder that another major chapter in the history of Charleston was written by the submariners and their families, and the people of the area, who were on the front line of the Cold War.
The memorial honoring the silent, unadvertised achievement of the submariners who played a major role in winning the Cold War was an achievement in itself. Admiral Baciocco, who chaired the foundation that planned the memorial, found the money, more than $1 million, and supervised its construction, told our reporter David Quick on December 6, the day of the dedication: “It’s been a long time coming. Once or twice in the last five years, I didn’t know if we were going to see this day.”
The dedication brought history to life. Among those present was retired Admiral James B. Osborn, who commanded the first ballistic missile submarine patrol when he and his crew sailed out of Charleston on the submarine GEORGE WASHINGTON on November 5, 1960.
Also taking part in the ceremony was Admiral Frank Skip Bowman, who has served in nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines for 36 years. Admiral Bowman declared the Charlest-on area Submarine Country because ofits role in submarine warfare and because so many submariners have made their homes here. He honored veteran submariners from near and far who attended the dedication, including 30 veterans who served aboard LEWIS AND CLARK. They posed for a photograph with their land-bound submarine, a silent but visible symbol of the dogged victory of submariners in the 40 year long Cold War.
Author Glenn A. Knoblock is working on a unique ! book about the history of the African American men who served in the Submarine Force during World War II and beyond (up to 1960) as Stewards, Steward’s Mates, Officer’s Cooks, and Mess Attendants. Mr. Knoblock states “that these men have never received their due for the fine service they gave, while the Submarine Force has never received the recognition due to it for the way in which such men were treated. The Submarine Force was years ahead of the surface Navy in regards to the way minorities were treated.”
He is asking THE SUBMARINE REVIEW readers who remember such men, even those who later changed their rating, to contact him with their remembrances. While crew lists have provided him with many names of such men, it would be helpful if fellow shipmates can provide further insight as to their personality, character, and service.
Please contact him at: Glenn A Knoblock, 31 Forest Street, Dover, NH 08320; (603) 749-0676; e-mail: email@example.com