May 2024 | Tennessee Submarine Memorial Assoc. News

May 2024 | Tennessee Submarine Memorial Assoc. News

May  2024

Greetings from the Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association.

May is a special month among military veterans, their families and many Americans. During the month we observe Memorial Day. It is, of course, a solemn day, our opportunity to commemorate the fallen sailors, soldiers, airmen and marines who paid the ultimate price in defense of the Nation. Formal commemoration of our war dead was probably first observed in 1865 in Charleston by former slaves, about a month after the Confederacy surrendered in America’s most bloody conflict.

This month we also remember the conclusion of war in the European Theater during World War II, Victory in Europe (V-E) Day. It is the anniversary of the surrender by Nazi Germany after almost six years of conquest, subjugation, war crimes and ultimately, defeat by American-led allies.

Armed forces day, marked on May 18th, is anniversary of the unification of American military branches under the Department of Defense in 1949. It is celebrated every year to acknowledge the service of our current service men and women. As acknowledged in a White House proclamation, “U.S. service members continue to selflessly stand watch for those who would do us harm.” It went on to note:

“No matter how high the cost, how great the risk, or how heavy the burden — through long deployments and dangers, frequent moves and challenging trainings, and the many other unique burdens of serving our country — our Nation’s Armed Forces have always met the moment.  They exemplify the very best of our Nation.  Today — and every day — let us honor their service, sacrifice, courage, and commitment.  Let us continue to meet our sacred obligation to them and their families, caregivers, and survivors.”

Join the Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association and the members of the Volunteer Base of USSVI, the flagship chapter for the Tennessee Submarine Memorial, in marking these American commemorations and observances supporting the service and sacrifices of our countrymen who have chosen to serve. Please help us commemorate the loss of American Submariners with your support to build a Tennessee Submarine Memorial. [Donate Link]

Please share this newsletter with family, friends and everyone in your network and encourage them to become monthly donors to build a memorial. Your and their gifts will make a Submarine Memorial possible.

Thank you.

Patrick Ryan
President, TN Submarine Memorial Assoc.

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To make a gift by check: make it to Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association and mail to: 309 Church Street, #107, Nashville, TN 37201.

Thank you.


Join us in remembering the boats and crews that were lost in the anniversary month of May.

4 Lost Boats & 211 Lost Sailors including 3 Tennesseans

USS Lagarto (SS-371)

Lost on May 3, 1945 with the loss of her entire crew of 86 men near the Gulf of Siam on her 2nd war patrol.  She is believed to have been lost to a radar equipped minelayer. This minelayer was sunk by the USS Hawkbill (SS-366) two weeks later.

USS Scorpion (SSN-589)

1 Lost Tennessean

Lost on May 22,1968, the USS Scorpion (SSN-589) was returning to Norfolk, VA. from a Mediterranean deployment. She last reported her position to be about 50 miles south of the Azores. Scorpion was never heard from again. The exact cause of her loss has never been determined.  All Scorpion’s 99 officers and men were lost.

Interior Communications Electrician First Class (IC1) Virgil Alexander Wright III was from Wartrace, Tennessee

Virgil Alexander Wright III
Virgil Alexander Wright III

USS Squalus (SS-192)

2 Lost Tennesseans

Lost on May 23, 1939, the USS Squalus suffered a catastrophic valve failure during a test dive off the Isle of Shoals. Partially flooded, the submarine sank to the bottom and came to rest keel down in 240 feet of water. 26 men drowned in the after compartments but Commander Charles Momsen and Navy divers on the USS Falcon (ASR-2) rescued 33 survivors using the diving bell he invented.

Later Squalus was raised and recommissioned as the USS Sailfish. In an ironic turn of fate, Sailfish sank the Japanese aircraft carrier carrying surviving crew members from Sculpin, which had located Squalus in 1939. Only one of survived after spending the rest of the war as slave laborers in Japan.

Machinist’s Mate Second Class (MM2) Elvin Leon Deal was from Copper Hill, Tennessee.

Ships Cook Third Class (SC3) Robert Preston Thompson was from Nashville, Tennessee.

Robert Preston Thompson

USS Stickleback (SS-415)

Lost on May 28, 1958 when it sank off Hawaii while under tow after collision with USS Silverstein (DE-534). The entire crew was taken off prior to sinking.




TSMA has begun conversations with the City Manager and Director of Parks from the City of Smyrna to build the Tennessee Submarine Memorial at the Lee Victory Park. The site hosts a world-class memorial to Blue Angel pilot, Captain Jeff Kuss, who was lost in a tragic training accident as the Blue Angels prepared for an air show in Smyrna in 2016. We’ll have more details about the TSMA project developments at the site, but for today let us share with you these photos and LINK to the Captain Kuss memorial.



Please contact Patrick Ryan (


The TSMA is registered with Kroger Rewards and earns revenue based on your shopping totals — with no charge to you. Your Cheerios and ice cream will help us build a Submarine Memorial in Tennessee. Check out the Kroger Community Rewards program HERE.

Help Build A Memorial to Tennesseans Lost in Submarine Duty in Defense of the Nation

To make a gift by check: make it to Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association and mail to: 309 Church Street, #107, Nashville, TN 37201.

Thank you.

The Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association is a tax exempt charitable organization and donations are subject to treatment in accordance with IRS 501c3 considerations.

The Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association is approved by the Tennessee Secretary of State to solicit charitable contributions for the purposes of our mission.

Tennessee Submarine Memorial Association
309 Church Street, #107
Nashville, TN 37201

Chairman: Mike Anderson
President: Patrick Ryan
Treasurer: Larry Smith
Secretary: Mike Gorham
Board Member: Vinny McCrum
Board Member: Mike Patzius
Board Member: Bob Woolf

Advisory Board:
Jon Jacques


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