Monday, July 25, 2005

Sub School Honors San Francisco Sailor

Cross-posted by Bubblehead in Idaho from The Stupid Shall Be Punished:

Submarine School in Groton has unveiled a memorial to MM2(SS) Joseph Ashley, who gave his life during the San Francisco grounding in January. From this excellent article in The New London Day (registration required) we see again the bonds that connect submariners and their families:

"(MMCS(SS) Hedman, Sub School Auxiliaryman Instructor) contacted the Ashleys through the Web site to ask if they could provide some items for a shadow box at Sub School.
“It was difficult to part with Joey's personal stuff, but when he told me what they wanted it for, I decided to go ahead and send it,” said Daniel Ashley. “People have been so gracious since this happened. So many people have felt that they had to do something in his memory. That's where we get the strength we needed to get through this.”
"The ribbons and submariners' dolphins in the shadow box are copies of what the young sailor wore, because the family kept the originals, but they provided a flag, one of more than 200 that were planted on their front lawn by family friends in the days after the accident, as well as pictures, and the uniform their son wore as a 3rdClass petty officer.
“Everything they sent us, we used,” Hedman said. He brought everything in a cardboard box down to Roland Morgan in the school's carpentry shop, who put in his own time to craft a beautiful wood and glass case that could be displayed in the space that was available.
"What better way to remember him, Hedman asked, than a shadow box in the entryway of the Naval Submarine School building where all auxiliarymen train, to keep him ever in the memory of the community he represented?
"Daniel Ashley said he hopes the shadow box serves another purpose, as well.
“What better place to put something like that to remind them that things can happen, that they have to be on their toes — that everyone has to be very serious about how dangerous submarine duty can be,” he said."

Nothing more needs be said...


At 2:04 AM, Blogger Rob said...

Good...great...I'm glad. What happened to Ashley, well, it was terrible. Every time I think about San Fran, I think of where I'd be at some random moment during a submerged transit, and just how close any of us with fish have been to something like what happened to Ashley.

By all accounts he was a top rate Sailor. I read the letters, especially a very moving one from his Chief, and the pain of his loss was wrenchingly evident.

I can only imagine what life on San Fran must be like, even now. In nuke school, while between classes waiting to class up, I worked for an SK1(SS) who was a survivor of the Bonefish fire, and it seems like San Fran's crew might just be going through what he went through. When he talked about Bonefish, you could see how haunted he was, and how deeply it affected him...and how he would never, ever forget what he'd lived through.

BTW, San Fran just completed surfaced sea trials, and will soon be heading to the yards for a full front end fix. I hear a front end off a decom may be in her future; we'll see. Surface transit over half the Pacific...YUK.


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