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November 2004

28 - Boat Reunion, Manitowoc, Wisconson

Five members of the SVARA met at Manitowoc for the 28 - boat reunion. Jerry, K6III;  . .Don, KOMES; . .Tom, K0EFV; Fred, W6BSF; and I, Jim, W0OOG.

SVARA Breakfast in Manitowoc, WI October 8th 2004

Left to Right:  Fred w6bsf, Don k0mes SK, Jerry k6iii, Tom k0efv SK, Jim  w0oog.

28 - Boat Reunion pays tribute to submarine heritage.

Manitowoc - (mucho input from the Manitowoc Newspaper.)

The rich tradition of shipbuilding in Manitowoc, from schooners to yachts (targets),reached its zenith when 28 submarines were built here for the war in the Pacific during WWII.

      During the first week in October, 2004, the Manitowoc Maritime Museum, along with local chapters of the submarine veterans organizations, hosted a reunion to pay tribute to former crewmembers of the submarines built in Manitowoc during WWII, and the shipyard workers who built them. It marked the first time the two groups were together for a reunion, and drew about 200 attendees.

In the early 1940s, the property abutting the Manitowoc River, commonly called the peninsula, became a city within a city as up to 7,000 workers on three shifts scurried to provide subs that would help the U.S. prevail during the war.

Meanwhile, Navy sailors were traing on the submarines during the bustle of the 1940s, marking Manitowoc as a legendary maritime community.  The historical impact Manitowoc shipbuilding played in the war effort is one no other community of its size can equal.  The entire city revolved around the war effort.

Bob Theisen suspects this is the final event of its kind, as Americas greatest generation is aging and its numbers are shrinking.  According to the states statistics, more than 7,000 Wisconson WWII veterans, many now in there 80s and 90s, died the year. Note: Bob Theisen, the interim Museum manager, and curator, when querried by me did not realize how long after WWII, and how many remained in commision.  Therefore, post WWII submariners are in there 50's or later and will be arround for a few more decades. Tom Mcnulty and I got the ball rolling for another event maybe in two years.  This time with better communications among the submarine reunion groups.  i.e. the Redfin, ss272 held its reunion at the same time, but in Norfolk, VA.

The event fetured avities and venues reflective of the 1940's.  Other planned events included music by BobKuether's Big Band, a tour of Burger Boat Company WOW!, and a tour of the former shipbuilding yard (a bummer) on the Manitowoc River, where the submarines were built.

Among the participating veterans organizations are the U.S. Submarine Veterans of WWII, the United States Submarine Veterans Inc. and the SVARA.


SVARA Contingent very active during event

Tom, K0EFV set up at a table in the main entry of the Museum.  He showed his wares of documents that wowed nearly everyone. The ol' Marine displayed items sold in the museum, and it was obvious to the Museum store manager that he was increasing sales for them.

Jerry, K6III found many subvets from his boat, the Rock.  I believe the Rock had the most subvets in attendance.  I asked one Rock member why that may be.  His reply was that there was one exceptional leader of Rock subvets that has kept many linked together.

Don, K0MES came down Thursday, spent all day Friday taking in the activities.  He sat with the rest of us at a table at the banquet. (even tho "one of us" tried to give our seats away!) Don left for home QTH saturday looking forward to a 11-hour drive.

Fred, W6BSF was the usual exceptional host.  He joined us for most breakfast. Allowed me to run the net one day from W9DK club station. Made many significant suggestions of where to eat, what to see, etc.

Jim, W0OOG (that's me) kept busy also.  I ran, or helped run the SVARA 20 meter net each day, plus the 40 meter net Saturday evening.  Not able to be there for the 40 meter net Fridy evening because of the banquet. it was more pleasant running the net from W9DK, although I discovered that if I got very close to the lake with the mobile, I could get out just as well to the East through South compared to W9DK.  The club station needs an amp. Tom from Texas was also there the whole time.  I like to think I helped him a little bit.  Especially working on the Christmas tree.  I'll take one idea back to the Batfish from the Cobia with that christmas tree experience.  The Cobia's christmas tree has some micro switches hidden down under the levers.  The wires go up into the panel and when a vent lever is thrown, the light goes from green to red.  Very good for a tour guide to give a demonstration on the reason for the hull opening monitoring panel.

I also took 100's of pictures of the museum artifacts, a quicktime movie of the deisel engines running, and a few night shots of the city, museum, and Cobia.