Submarine Group 9 Memorial Day ‘Tolling the Boats’ Ceremony

Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles Gaddis IV, Navy Public Affairs Support Element, Det. NW

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SILVERDALE, Wash. – Submarine Group 9 Sailors, veterans, and visitors gathered in remembrance of the Sailors and submarines that were lost during war during a “Tolling the Boats” ceremony held at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor’s Deterrent Park, May 25.

The ceremony is held as part of a Memorial Day observance in remembrance of the Sailors and submarines lost at sea during World War II. During the ceremony, a short description of what happened to each submarine is read, followed by the number of Sailors lost on the boat.

A ceremonial bell then is rung in memory of each submarine as part of the Tolling the Boats ceremony. Presently, the ceremony is held to honor and never forget those who gave their lives to protect our freedoms.

“We can’t ignore our past,” said Capt. Ted Schroeder, chief of staff, Submarine Group 9. “It’s important to remember where we came from and to honor the men and women whose legacy we’ve inherited.”

Sailors and veterans came together to salute the fallen and remember what they believed in.

“This is the best part of the Navy,” said Paul Christoffeson, WWII veteran. “I joined when I was 17 and my first sub was SS-270 [the USS Raton]. The USS Lapon fired two torpedoes and struck us, but we ended up continuing on with the patrol during the Fourth War patrol.”

“We wouldn’t have the freedoms today without the sacrifices of the families and the heroes that we are remembering today,” said Chief Machinist’s Mate Jonathan Corcoran.

In 100 years of submarine service, 60 submarines were lost, 48 of them all hands were lost, according to goatlocker.org.

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