World War II National Submarine Memorial - East
A Brief History
U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II was first formed in 1955 by surviving members of the U.S. Navy's elite Submarine Service. U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II was issued a Federal Charter in 1981 by the Congress of the United States. In 1957, Bob Link, National President, U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II, established a Submarine Memorial Committeee. It was their decision that the World War II submarine USS FLASHER (SS-249), moored in the Reserve Fleet at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Connecticut, could be made available by the U.S. Congress for a memorial to be established at Groton. $2 million dallars would be needed for the restoration of the FLASHER and the Submarine Memorial Fund Raising Drive was officially started with a kick-off dinner on November 16, 1960. The National Memorial Committee was appointed and fund raising efforts were initiated. On September 1, 1961, LCDR H. R. McPherson, USN (Ret.) was hired as manager for the Submarine Memorial to coordinate and oversee fund raising efforts. By mid-1962 it was realized and conceeded that the cost to renovate FLASHER would be too costly to pursue and the goal established could not be realized. FLASHER was returned to the U.S. Navy in November 1962. However, in June 1963, FLASHER's conning tower, fairwater, and periscopes were given to the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II for the project.
In July 1964 the Submarine Memorial became a reality with the conning tower, fairwater and periscopes from FLASHER being placed on a concrete foundation at a site on Route 12 in Groton. During the subsequent years the Submarine Memorial was subjected to vandalism and inadequate maintenance. A dicision was made to relocate the Memorial to a tract of land, donated by the City of Groton, which also acepted responsibility for maintenance. The Submarine Memorial was relocated and rededicated as the National World War II Submarine Memorial - East on September 28, 1974.
In the years following the dedication of the National World War II Submarine Memorial - East, granite stones, paying tribute to each one of the fifty-two (52) submarines lost in World War II have been installed around the cement walkways of the memorial site. These granite stones are engraved with the submarine name and number, date lost, location, patrol number, how sunk, and how many valiant Submariners of the U.S. Navy gave their lives onboard. In 1992 another addition to the Submarine Memorial was conceived and on September 2, 1994, a Wall of Honor, containing the 3,617 names of the submariners lost during World War II, was offically dedicated.
Conning Tower of USS Flasher (SS-249) which stands as the center piece of the National World War II Submarine Memorial - East.
National World War II Submarine Memorial - East
Wall of Honor at the National World War II Submarine Memorial - East
52 Granite Stones of the National World War II Submarine Memorial - East