LCDR Pat Mehaffy Garner of Memphis Tennessee was Executive Officer aboard USS Thresher (SSN593) when she was lost on April 10, 1963.
Lieutenant Commander Pat Mehaffy Garner, US Navy
Pat Mehaffy Garner was born September 26, 1931, in Memphis, Tennesee. He majored in psychology at Vanderbilt University after attending various local schools in Memphis. While at Vanderbilt, he was active in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, and a member of the Phi Theta Fraternity. He was graduated and commissioned ensign on June 6, 1953.
Following amphibious training at Little Creek, Virginia, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Glynn (APA 239) in which he served for 2 years.
A volunteer for submarine duty, he completed basic training at the Submarine School, New London, Connecticut, in December 1955. Pat then received orders to the submarine Spikefish (SS 404) where he qualified and received his gold dolphins. He was then selected to participate in advance training in nuclear propulsion, and following a 1-year course at New London and Idaho Falls, Idaho, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Skate(SSN 578).
While a member of the crew of Skate, he participated in all three of that ship’s Arctic trips under the pack ice. For this service he was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation and a Bronze Star in lieu of a second such award. Pat served in Skate for nearly 4½ years. In December 1962, he was assigned as executive officer of Thresher. Pat was promoted to lieutenant commander in July 1962, a year in advance of his contemporaries. He was nominated by the New London Junior Chamber of Commerce as one of the 10 most outstanding men in the Nation.
He also earned the Navy Unit Commendation awarded Skate (SSN 578), with bronze star, and the National Defense Service Medal.
He is survived by his widow, Alice Stets Garner; two daughters, Kathryn Lucile, and Sarah Beth, who reside with their mother in Mystic, Connecticut. He also leaves his widowed mother, Mrs. Sam Garner of Marianna, Arkansas.
We remember our 129 Submariner brothers and shipyard personnel who were lost onboard USS Thresher (SSN593) during testing in the Atlantic Ocean in the morning hours of April 10, 1963 and their families.
There are numerous, excellent resources that discuss the Thresher, lead ship of a revolutionary class of nuclear powered attack submarines; about the disaster; and about the men who braved the depths of the oceans to serve aboard her. Many of them are provided below.
At the Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association (TSMA) we raise up the memories of two Tennesseans who served aboard Thresher on that fateful day. LCDR Pat Garner of Memphis, age 32, was Thresher’s Executive Officer. LTJG Frank Malinski, age 23, also from Memphis, was assigned to Thresher, his first submarine assignment three months before being lost.
We invite you to help us build a memorial for Pat, Frank and the other 85 Tennesseans who were lost in submarines and submarine-related duties in war and peace in the over 122 years of the United States Submarine Service.
We seek to commemorate the memories of those who went to sea in America’s submarine force and gave the final measure of devotion.
Please make a contribution today and become a regular donor.
The Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association is a 501c3 (IRS recognized) tax exempt organization (EIN 83-4096457) and is registered as a charitable organization in the State of Tennessee.
TSMA is working with the City of Nashville/Davidson County to erect a memorial at Shelby Park.
USS Thresher (SSN593) Roster [Link]
LCDR Pat Garner Bio [Link]
LTJG Frank John Malinski Bio [Link]
Lost Submariners From Tennessee [Link]
USS Thresher Memorial Site [Link]
HOW TO SUPPORT A TENNESSEE SUBMARINE MEMORIAL
Donate – one time or monthly support, via credit card online [Link]
Donate – check made to “TSMA” – mail to TSMA, c/o 309 Church St., #107, Nashville, TN 37201
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Contact the Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association
President Patrick Ryan
Address: 309 Church St., #107
Nashville, TN 37201