MC1 Steven Khor, Submarine Force Pacific Public Affairs, Jan 16
PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII – A special bell tolling ceremony was held at the Submarine Base Chapel on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Jan. 14, in memory of both submariners and submarines lost in the month of January during World War II.
Submariners past and present gathered to honor and remember those sacrifices for the nation, sponsored by the Submarine Veterans Bowfin Base, and the chaplain's office at Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC).
Lieutenant Bill Gritton, chaplain from Naval Submarine Support Command, said the importance of the ceremony is the remembrance of what the submarine force has done in the past, and what they are still doing today.
"The idea is to remind people of the interconnectedness of the submarine force," said Gritton. "It is to remind people that the submarine legacy has extended back to 1900, and to remember the sacrifices that individuals have made during that time period."
The bell tolling ceremony is held every month to honor and pay respects to the 52 submarines and crews lost during the war.
The month of January honored five submarines and their crews that were lost, as well as 10 Sailors that were lost while the submarines themselves made it home.
Pictures of the submarines and their crews were displayed on a large screen as Sailors spoke of accomplishments and sacrifices.
One submarine in particular honored at the event was USS Argonaut (SS 166).
A V-class submarine, Argonaut was the largest submarine built until the nuclear era. A mine layer and troop transport, she was launched on Oct. 10, 1927. While engaging a Japanese convoy, she was sunk by direct fire and depth charges from Japanese destroyers. The sinking of Argonaut and her crew of 102 personnel was reported as the worst loss of life for a wartime submarine.
The bell that hangs in the steeple of the Submarine Base Chapel, and tolled in remembrance for the fallen each month, was donated from the crew of USS Argonaut right before her last patrol, from which she never returned.