|From the barnacle covered hulls of 52 lost submarines and from the unmarked graves in enemy soil, comes a voice that has been gone for over 50 years. Listen..."I have been having a hard time hearing you these days, have you forgotten me?
I died suddenly inside a 300 foot steel fighting ship, along with 75 other submarine men. I am the voice of the starboard controllerman - we used to stand watches together. The boat was ripped apart by a terrific explosion of a depth-charge, bomb or torpedo from an enemy ship or airplane.
Just forward of my watery grave is your shipmate, Buss. He was throttleman in the After Engine Room, and in each compartment forward, there are the bodies of your shipmates: Seaman Jones, Ship's Cook Swanson, Lieutenant Byers, and a roll call of names that in the final tally adds up to over 3,600 submariners.
You know, we had a tough and dangerous job to do, since we were taking the big war to the back door of our enemy, the Imperial Japanese Navy and all the merchant ships they were guarding. My boat was out there doing what was expected of it, but unfortunately, we were in the right place at the wrong time.
I was one of those 3,600 men who did not make it home. I missed out on all of those nice things that I wanted to do, such as finish my education, get a good job, get married, raise a family, and care for my aging parents. I gave my life along with my shipmates to make sure that you would have an opportunity to do those things.
As the eyes and spokesman for my shipmates and myself, who were 'casualties of war, overdue and presumed lost', I note that as the years have been slipping by, the number of 'Tolling of the Boats' ceremonies has decreased and there are fewer shipmates attending those events. The fervor of patriotism does not appear to continue to burn as brightly as before. Am I right ???"
This first appearred in American Submariner