I have been a member of USSVI for a long time now and recently joined the Naval Submarine League.
The problem with both has been proximity. Since I live in a rural location away from submarine homeports, I am reliant on a USSVI base that is neither convenient for travel or receptive to new ideas. Don’t get me wrong. They have a core group of people who keep the doors open and that is great. But like most older veterans groups, change is hard and often not desired.
I ran into a guy at a gas station near my home today who saw my dolphins on the front of my car. Turns out we both served on the USS Ohio (about ten years apart). I asked him if he was a Sub Vet and he replied that he had been at one time but the meetings are always held over an hour away from his home. With life and other obligations, he just didn’t have the motivation to continue on.
I asked him the same question I have asked a number of guys. What if it were closer?
What if we just had a place where we could gather locally and share war stories, maybe do some networking, and help to do something to educate the next generation. His response was that he would sign up for that tomorrow.
Here’s the problem. In order to get a new Chapter of USSVI in a geographical area, you have to have the blessings from the current USSVI leadership. The way the rules are written, that will probably not happen anytime soon. Plus, the idea is not to create a competing entity. Just one that would be more local.
Here’s the solution. Over the next six months, I am going to reach out to folks in my geographic area who are looking for something different. If there is enough interest, we will see how to move forward. I have already talked with some folks at the Naval Submarine League and we may get a little help in doing an event that could be used to spread the word.
If you live in Westmoreland County in Pennsylvania or any of the surrounding counties and you would like to explore a new way of Submariners getting together to celebrate our former life, let me know. I will put together a list of interested folks and start the process of creating a core group that would be the alternative to what currently exists in other places.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
The only requirement to be included is to have worn dolphins in the United States Navy