National Submarine Memorial – West

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Saturday morning returning from Bolsa Chica (and another feeble attempt at surfing) I took a different route home and passed by the National World War II Submarine Memorial – West. Having served aboard a submarine when I was much younger, I have a special admiration for the men who served on them in World War II. While the U.S. submarine force accounted for only 1.6% of all U.S. Navy personnel in WWII, they suffered disproportionate losses (over 3,500 or a casualty rate of over 20%). They also accounted for 55% of all Japanese shipping lost.

Each of the 52 submarines lost in WWII is commemorated with a plaque listing the crew members. In addition, there are memorial plaques for the two U.S. submarines lost during the cold war – the USS Thresher and USS Scorpion. Considering that the men commemorated would now be in their eighties, I was surprised to find fresh flower arrangements in front of the plaques for the USS Seawolf (SS-197) and the USS Lagarto (SS-371). Who left the flowers? A wife, younger sibling, son or daughter? Someone still remembers.

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