Thursday, January 9, 2014


From: "Frank Voznak"
Subject: Chicago Submarine Memorial
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2014 21:33:54 -0600

  patch merge2 copy.jpgCrash Dive Base, USS Chicago Base, United States Submarine Veterans, Inc._________________



Commander Curtis Grant,


Crash Dive Base, and USS Chicago Base, have undertaken a submarine memorial project for the City of Chicago.  The proposed site is located on the south bank of the Chicago River, just east of the Columbus Drive Bridge, near the downtown area.   Our intention is to keep December 7, 1941 in public view, discuss and show that there were submarines built in Manitowoc Wisconsin during World War II, and to honor all United States Navy submariners, past, present and future.


Our memorial project is in the form or representation of a “submarine bulkhead.”  The “bulkhead” will be made of steel, and coated with marine grade epoxy paint.   On it there are several points of interest.  On the west side of the bulkhead, at the top center, the Submariners Dolphin Insignia will be engraved.  Below that and on the left, an inscription will read “Dedicated to all U. S. Navy Submariners, past, present and future, who defend our nation in peace and in war.”  “28 Submarines built in Manitowoc Wisconsin passed this spot on their way to war, after Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941”  is also included.  Also on this side, is an artist’s rendition of a WWII submarine that was built in Manitowoc Wisconsin, passing through the Lake Shore Drive Drawbridge and entering the Chicago River on its way to Lockport Illinois, the next to last stop on their Stateside journey before going off to war.


To the right of the picture and inscription, we have obtained and will have installed, a watertight door salvaged from the USS Trout (SS- 566) that will be rendered non-functional, but the public will still be able to traverse or step through the “bulkhead” using the door.  Also on this side there will be seating facing the memorial so the public can sit and view the whole side of the memorial.  At a special spot, people can view the artist’s rendition previously mentioned, then look through the water tight door opening, and get that “Ah-Ha” moment connecting the past with the present by viewing the Lake Shore Drive Bridge through the door opening.  The seating material will be made of teak to represent the teak decking of those “boats,” but the outer seating will be steel, also coated with the marine grade epoxy paint,  made to represent the shape of the superstructure, including several “limber holes.”   On the back of the seating, we will have engraved the famous quote from Adm. Chester Nimitz, "We shall never forget that it was our submarines that held the lines against the enemy while our fleets replaced losses and repaired wounds."


On the east side of the bulkhead, at the north end, there will be the list of the twenty-eight submarines that were built at Manitowoc.   Four of the 28 submarines were lost in combat.  Each of the four will have an asterisk by their name denoting “Lost in Combat.”


The “Bulkhead” will all be placed on a wide circular base made of concrete and brick pavers.  The concrete and paver base represents the approximate outer hull diameter of the Gato & Balao class submarines built at Manitowoc, and other shipyards, during the war. 


Visitors can view the route these boats took going towards the Mississippi River en route to their destination at New Orleans, Louisiana on the map that will be part of the memorial, they can continue their journey by exploring the website we will have included with the map.  The website will enable them to continue their journey by going to various links to the related submarine


Museums and other information that we will provide.  Our hope is that it will spike their interest to the point that they then visit the various museums and libraries mentioned in the website.  Being placed next to the existing bike path / walkway, and next to where the “tall” ships tie up is a perfect spot and should draw a lot of attention.  We also plan to have our memorial included as a point of interest for the various Chicago River tour boats.  The design of our project meets the approval of the City of Chicago.


Our fundraising efforts have been mostly in approaching companies, organizations, and individuals that have a connection with the military, and/or submarines.  Because the USSVI creed is to perpetuate the memory of our shipmates who gave their lives in the pursuit of their duties while serving their country, and also to educate all third parties we come in contact with about the services United States submariners performed and how the sacrifices of lost shipmates made possible the freedom and lifestyle Americans enjoy today, we hope your base and /or membership can assist us in moving this memorial forward.  Any financial assistance from either the Base itself or from individual base members would be greatly appreciated and acknowledged by Crash Dive Base and USS Chicago Base, at some point on the Memorial, or on our website, when the project is completed.


Thank you for your time and consideration.  Please feel free to contact me or CDR Ken Tupman of USS Chicago Base with any questions that you might have.


Fraternally yours,


Frank J. Voznak Jr.

Frank J. Voznak Jr.

Vice Commander/ Project Manager

Crash Dive Base, USSVI


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