This year the local WWII Submarine Veterans, RI Base of USSVI and about 40 of the Officers and Crew of the USS Providence participated in the parade.
(Click on the Photos for a larger view)
Our three vehicles and the submarine model one of the Subvets brings to the parade every year. The Sub model isn't in any way historically accurate with a 3 bladed screw, missile tubes and the hull number 571 but the crowds and kids love it.
A small but dedicated group of WWII and Cold War Submarine Veterans. The WWII Vets have been doing the Bristol parade for many years. The group of RI Base USSVI Subvets have been helping our senior Brothers of the Phin since founding of our base in 2005.
The gentleman in the upper left in the above photo is WWII Submarine Veteran James T. Butterworth. Jim served on the 'Submarine Killer' USS Batfish (SS-310) on war patrols 4, 5, 6 and 7. That 6th war patrol entered the Batfish into submarine history sinking three enemy submarines and earning it the following Presidential Unit Citation:
"For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese combatant forces during the sixth War Patrol in the South China Sea from December 30, 1944 to March 3, 1945. Persistent and aggressive in her search for vital targets, the USS Batfish relentlessly tracked down the enemy and in three separate, brilliantly executed attacks, launched her torpedoes with devastating speed and skill and demolished three Japanese submarines. By the destruction of these formidable and threatening hostile Fleet units in a single War Patrol, the Batfish contributed significantly to the successful completion of the war. The courage, superb seamanship and gallant fighting spirit of her officers and men reflect the highest credit upon herself and the United States Naval Services."
Now that is how to conduct ASW operations! The submarine's worst enemy another submarine.
Thanks for your service Jim.
About 40 of The USS Providence (SSN-719) Crew and Officers marched with us this year.
It was an honor to have the USS Providence join us in this celebration.
The banner reads: "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast for I intend to go in harm's way" John Paul Jones - Commander Sloop Providence, 1776
Some Providence ship name history:
The renamed merchant sloop Katy was the first Navy ship named Providence when it commissioned into the Continental Navy. In 1775, under Captain Abraham Whipple, the sloop fought the first at-sea action of the revolution, engaging a Royal Navy Schooner off Conainicut Point in Narragansett Bay. In 1776, John Paul Jones was given the sloop as his first command. This original PROVIDENCE fought against the enemy aggressively and successfully. She captured or sank forty ships.
The second PROVIDENCE, a frigate built in Rhode Island in 1776, ran the British Blockade of the Providence River on her maiden voyage. She was able to procure guns and supplies from France for Continental naval vessels still under construction. From 1779 to 1780 she served with honor as flagship to Commodore Whipple.
The third PROVIDENCE, an Army gondola, was attached to Brigadier General Benedict Arnold's command on Lake Champlain in 1776. She was heavily damaged at the Battle of Valcour Island.
The fourth PROVIDENCE, a Cleveland-class cruiser, was commissioned in 1945 and recommissioned in 1959 as a guided missile cruiser. She served as the flagship for the Seventh Fleet off the coast of Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict. This PROVIDENCE compiled a proud record of service, winning the Navy Unit Commendation from November 1966 to May 1968. She was decommissioned in 1978 and is mothballed in Washington.
The current USS Providence (SSN-719) was built by General Dynamic Electric Boat division and commissioned on July 27, 1985. She is the first 688 class submarine to be built with the Tomahawk Missile Vertical Launch System (VLS). The Sub is home ported in Groton, CT and has received many awards including Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals, Navy Expeditionary Medals, Meritorious Unit Commendations, Navy Unit Commendations, and five Battle E (Navy "E" Ribbon) awards, three of which were consecutive, and most recently the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Many thanks to the COB and XO for helping organize the Boat's appearance for the parade.
Our contingent was organized with WWII Submarine Veterans taking point sounding a klaxon diving alarm with their submarine model in tow, followed by the USSVI subvets in two decorated trucks with kids and grandkids waving flags.
The USS Providence crew followed us and received appreciative applause and thanks from many of the people gathered to watch the parade. They deserved the admiration from the crowd having just returned a couple of months ago from a very long deployment around the world. (hat tip: Bubblehead)
One last bit of fun with this post....
I couldn't help but do a periscope shot through the rear view mirror while underway. Had to do a little digital editing to get the right effect of my close contact in the baffles.
Thanks to to Crew for your service and help this year at the 222 Bristol 4th of July Parade. -LL
Update 7/6/07 - 23:00: Navy NewsStand Eye on the Fleet has an image of the Providence as well.