Memorial Day Service, visit to USS Requin

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By Ed Skirtich

Former military and civilian families watched a Memorial Service on the shore outside USS Requin at Carnegie Science Center for a Memorial Day tribute on May 28 for the fallen U.S. Navy submarine sailors.

Many submarines were lost in different wars, and a bell tolled during the service followed by a moment of silence after the name of the submarines were read.

A 21-gun salute by Marine Color Guard from Three Leatherneck Detachment 310 and VFW Post 9199 Honor Guard happened before a bugler performed “Taps.”

Lee M. “Booky” Bookwalter, coordinator of the United States Submarine Veterans, spoke about the relationships that occurred on the submarine after the ceremony.

“It’s a special fraternity to remember,” Bookwalter said. “It was a band of brothers who lived together.”

USS Requin

The Requin was the Navy’s first radar picket submarine that protected the East Coast during the Cold War and was a radar picket, which is a radar-equipped station, ship, submarine, aircraft, or vehicle used to increase the radar detection range around a force.

Gina Del Grecco, program presenter of Requin, said it did surveillance during the Cold War against the Soviets.  She added that 81 sailors aboard the submarine kept it running from 1945-1968.

Vince Metz, a former U.S. Navy sailor on the USS Sunfish, spoke on how the Requin sailors accomplished every mission. He added they helped the U.S. Marines and Coast Guard, too.

“Everyone knows emergency things and how to drive the boat,” Metz said.

In the Control Room, Metz explained to visitors how every sailor had a duty that they had to accomplish for Requin to be successful.

Little beeps sounded in the submarine. Vince explained to visitors what the sound signaled.

“It’s a sonar ping,” Metz said. “It would listen to see what was out there.”

Many visitors at the Requin experience how U.S. Navy sailors did their duty and lived on the submarine. Each day, 1,000 visitors climb through nine compartments that have interior hatch doorways in each room.

For more information on the Requin, click here.

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