As part of the Submarine Centennial celebration, the Thresher-Scorpion Memorial incorporated the "Submarine Centennial Brick Memorial Walkway" which has approximately seventy-five "Memorial Bricks" listing all 45 submarines lost with all hands, the 14 submarines lost with some of the crew as survivors, the 6 submarines lost with all of its crew as survivors, and the 4 submarines lost under special circumstances. Each of these "Memorial Bricks" list the submarine's name, hull number, the date of loss, and the number of men lost. A final "Memorial Brick" has also been dedicated to the memory of those lost to other causes. Like the World War II National Submarine Memorial, the addition of the this memorial within a memorial project --the Thresher-Scorpion Memorial --proposed to incorporate two bronze plaques listing each member of the crew lost on board the submarines THRESHER and SCORPION which were lost during the Cold War. Three trees (matchifng the existing 52 trees which frame this site) were placed behind the two new bronze plaques. These trees represent not only the submarines THRESHER and SCORPION but also all those lost in submarine warfare.
Submarine Centennial Brick Memorial Walkway
Six "Memorial Bricks" have been incorporated to recognize the accomplishments of David Bushnell and America's first combat submarine TURTLE of the Revolutionary War, 1776; John P. Holland, "Father of the Modern Submarine," and his submarine USS HOLLAND (SS-1); VADM Charles B. "Sweed" Momsen, "Submarine Pioneer-Inventor"; VADM Charles Lockwood, "World War II Submariner" and Commander of the Submarine Force Pacific Fleet during that war; Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, "Submariner"; ADM Hyman G. Rickover, "Father of the Nuclear Submarine," and the first nuclear-powered submarine USS NAUTILUS (SSN-751); VADM William F. "Red" Rayborn and the first Polaris submarine USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (SSBN-598). A final "Memorial Brick" has been dedicated to the Submarine Centennial, 1900-2000.
Off-set to the left side of the Thresher-Scorpion Memorial are eight additional "Memorial Bricks" which honor the Submarine Force's Medal of Honor receipients: TM2(SS) Henry Berault, USN, USS O-5 (SS-66), 1923; CAPT John P. Cromwell, USN, USS SCULPIN (SS-191), 1943; CDR Samuel D. Dealey, USN, USS HARDER (SS--257), 1944; CDR Eugene B. Fluckey, USN, USS BARB (SS-220), 1944; CDR Howard W. Gilmore, USN, USS GROWLER (SS-215), 1944; CDR Richard H. "Dick" O'Kane, USN, USS TANG (SS-306), 1944; CDR Lawson P. Ramage, USN, USS PARCHE (SS-384), 1944; and George L. Street, USN, USS TIRANTE (SS-420), 1945. A sitting area, offset by a small pine tree, frames this beautifully designed memorial. This small pine tree, located directly across from an existing large pine in the middle of the memorial site, symbolically represents both the past and future of the Submarine Service.
In an attempt to bridge the gap between the generations the members of the Los Angeles-Pasadena Base of United States Submarine Veterans Incorporated teamed up with their senior brethren from the Los Angeles Area Chapter of U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II and conceived a plan to recognize the deeds of all submariners by errecting a special memorial within a memorial at the site of the World War II National Submarine Memorial - West as part of the Submarine Centennial celebration.
The National Submarine Memorial - West is located outside the main gate of the Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach, California, and was first established in 1977 by the members of the Los Angeles Area Chapter of U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II. Today, it is one of two World War II National Submarine Memorials which honor the 52 submarines lost during World War II.
Thresher-Scorpion Memorial and Submarine Centennial Brick Memorial Walkway
Speaking before a crowd of over 500 people, CAPT Gonzales spoke to the importance of this official dedicated on Armed Forces Day - 2000. "Today, by the erection of this memorial within a memorial at the site of the World War II National Submarine Memorial - West," said CAPT Henry Gonzales, "not only have both organizations grown together by a shared commitment to preserve the past --but Californian's have a unique opportunity to learn the dedication, deeds, and sacrifices that have been made by the Silent Service".
CAPT Henry Gonzales, Navy Recruiting Command Area Eight, speaks to the living spirit, courage, valor and honor of those submariners lost on the submarines Thresher and Scorpion.
Designed by CW2 (CA) Mark J. Denger, the dedication of the Thresher-Scorpion Memorial and Submarine Centennial Brick Memorial Walkway was followed by the unveiling of the Submarine Centennial Stamps and World War II Submarine Memorial Pictorial Stamp Cancellation. The California Center for Military History asks that you please remember the World War II National Submarine Memorial-West as part of your planned giving. Contributions are being accepted from individuals, organizations and corporations for the maintance and care of this important California memorial. Please make your tax deductible donation check payable to the "U.S. Submarine Veterans Memorial Fund" and send it to: Memorial Director, U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II, National Memorial West, P.O. Box 2352, Seal Beach, California 90740-2352.
HISTORICAL NOTE: The Thresher-Scorpion Memorial and Submarine Centennial Memorial Walkway was designed by CW2 (CA) Mark J. Denger, who was then serving as President of the Los Angeles-Pasadena Base, United States Submarine Veterans Incorporated. Mr. Denger served on board the USS PERMIT (SSN-594), sister ship to the USS THRESHER (SSN-593) and was the Master of Ceremonies for the event.