We would be remiss if we failed to pay homage to all our submarine shipmates on Eternal
Patrol. They volunteered for submarine duty, they served with pride, they took an oath to
defend our country and they gave up their most precious possession. What courage, what
brave men and what sacrifice. We salute you all . . .
|~~Special mention for four Thornback shipmates who lost their lives while on active duty ~~~
Raymond Prys, RM3 (SS) lost his life while working aboard
the Thornback in the Charleston Navy Yard in 1959.
George Bracey, SM3 (SS) our shipmate who is on Eternal
Patrol with the crew of the USS Thresher SSN-593 since 1963.
Frank Mazzuchi, QMCS (SS), our shipmate who is on Eternal
Patrol with the crew of the USS Scorpion SSN-589 since 1968.
The following article was written by DR. JOYCE BROTHERS in 1963, shortly
after the loss of the submarine USS THRESHER.
SUB SERVICE, WHY THEY ARE THE WAY THEY ARE AND WHY THEY BEHAVE THAT WAY
RISK IS AN INSPIRATION IN THE SUBMARINE SERVICE
The tragic loss of the submarine THRESHER and 129 men had a special kind of impact on the nation . . . a
special kind of sadness, mixed with universal admiration for the men who choose this type of work.
One could not mention the THRESHER without observing, in the same breathhow utterly final and alone the
end is when a ship dies at the bottom of the sea . . . and what a remarkable specimen of a man it must be to
accept such a risk.
Most of us might be moved to conclude, too, that a tragedy of this kind would have a damaging effect on
the moral of the other men in the submarine service and tend to discourage future enlistments. Actually,
there is no evidence that this is so.
What is it, then that lures men to careers in which they spend so much of their time in cramped quarters,
under great psychological stress, with danger lurking all about them?
BOND AMONG THEM
Togetherness is an overworked term, but in no other branch of our military service is it given such full
meaning as in the so-called "SILENT SERVICE."
In an undersea craft, each man is totally dependent upon the skill of every other man in the crew, not only
for top performance but for actual survival. Each knows that his very life depends on the others and
because this is so, there is a bond among them that both challenges and comforts them.
All of this gives the submariner a special feeling of pride, because he is indeed a member of an elite corps.
The risks, then, are an inspiration, rather than a deterrent.
The challenge of masculinity is another factor which attract men to serve on submarines. It certainly is a test
of man's prowess and power to know he can qualify for this highly selective service. However, it should be
emphasized that this desire to prove masculinity is not pathological, as it might be in certain daredevil
pursuits, such as driving a motorcycle through a flaming hoop.
There is nothing dare devilish about the motivations of the man who decides to dedicate his life to the
SUBMARINE SERVICE. He does, indeed, take pride in demonstrating that he is quite a man, but he does
not do so to practice a form of foolhardy brinkmanship, to see how close he can get to failure and still
snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
On the contrary, the aim in the SUBMARINE SERVICE is to battle the danger, to minimize the risk, to take
every measure to make certain that safety rather than danger, is maintained at all times.
Are the men in SUBMARINES braver than those in other pursuits where the possibility of sudden tragedy is
not constant? The glib answer would be that they are. It is much more accurate, from a psychological point
of view, to say they are not necessarily braver. but that they are men who have a little more insight into
themselves and their capabilities.
They know themselves a little better than the next man. This has to be so with men who have a healthy
reason to volunteer for a risk. They are generally a cut healthier emotionally than others of similar age and
background because of their willingness to push themselves a little bit farther and not settle for an easier
kind of existence.
We all have tremendous capabilities but are rarely straining at the upper level of what we can do: these
The country can be proud and grateful that so many of its sound, young, eager men care enough about
their own status in life -- and the welfare of their country -- to pool their skills and match them collectively
against the power of the sea.
Charles Lamberth, Lt., our shipmate who is on Eternal Patrol
with the crew of the USS Scorpion SSN-589 since 1968.