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Memorial Day Post Day Four May 22, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in honor.

Dad enlisted in the Navy after graduating from Albany High School, on June 27, 1950.  Two baseball friends, twin brothers, Walt and Wynn Strickland, enlisted with him. 

Dad’s service number was 3282474 (he can recite it still, but you have to give him a moment).

Wynn’s was 3282475.

Wynn passed away in 2004.

Dad went to San Diego, and was enrolled in sonar school.  He looked like this.


Big eared goober on the left.

While in SD, an officer heard about his high school baseball ability.  He asked dad if he’d like to go to Hawaii to play football (go along with this boy, I’ll get you on a ball team).

My dad, exhibiting what generations of men in my family have demonstrated as judgement, said “oh hell yeah”.

And off he went.  Two stripes on his sleeve.

The previous post, the 331 boat, was the 3rd sub he shipped out on.  This was the first, the 524 boat, the USS Pickerel.  Made famous by this picture.


An emergency surface test.  Surfacing is important to a submarine, dad said with a straight face.  Dad said this photo was a publicity shot, they were surrounded by ships and photographers who were not barfing or holding onto something.


Boats that served in Korea have kind of hidden service records.  Kind of meaning a lot.

The USS Perch has an interesting story, early war.  Pickerel’s is not known, but they received the same Submarine Combat Insignia as the Perch SSP 313.

The other boat dad shipped on was the 415 boat, the Stickleback.


But the last one he served on, the Bugara, was the one he was wounded on.

Dad joined the Navy because he didn’t want to be drafted into the Army.  He was given a chance to do something he loved doing, playing baseball.  In Hawaii.  How cool is that?

As it turned out, not as cool as you’d think.



1. BrewFan - May 22, 2007

I’ve always admired Navy people. It takes extra courage to put yourself into a position that when the shit hits the fan there’s no where to go. You stand and fight.

2. Bosk - May 23, 2007

How awsome is that?
That’s a whole different breed of men that served on the early subs. Brave men.

3. Nice Deb - May 23, 2007

Love the pix, Dave.

Something tells me post five is going to be verrrry interesting.

4. Michael - May 23, 2007

Dad joined the Navy because he didn’t want to be drafted into the Army. He was given a chance to do something he loved doing, playing baseball.

That’s sort of how life happens. In many respects, it’s just a series of accidents. And then, men and women with grit and honor show their character.

My Mom was an Lieutenant in the Army during WWII, serving as a nurse. That was sort of an accident too. I remember her talking about the sound of the German buzz bombs flying overhead, on their way to English targets.

America was honored by the service of your Dad. Please tell him Michael says thanks, Dave.

5. daveintexas - May 23, 2007

I will Michael.

I’ll see him on Sunday.


As one guy to another, who misses his mom, thanks.

6. Myron - May 28, 2007

dave, tell your ad thanks from another old boat sailor. I was in Pearl when the STICKLEBACK was sunk. We got a few of her crew temporarily. There were some stories out of that, I’ll tell you.

7. Myron - May 28, 2007

Damn, don’t tell your ad anything. Tell you dad.

8. daveintexas - May 28, 2007

Thanks Myron. I will.

9. Chap - December 14, 2007

I linked to Schratz’s book over at Ace’s–he was the CO what made that photo. Amazing stuff.

10. daveintexas - December 15, 2007

Had no idea that was his photo.

11. Faith - December 31, 2007

My Grandfather, Lt. Cmdr. Paul R. Schratz, was the commander on the USS Pickerel. If I remember correctly, he kind of came up with the idea of the resurfacing (also setting the record for largest angle surfacing in a diesel sub). It’s great to see that someone else knows and appreciates what they did!

12. daveintexas - December 31, 2007

Faith, do you happen to know when your granddad was in command? If dad was part of their crew at the same time I’d be happy to ask him questions and see if he knew anything about him. Being a sonar guy dad hung around the skippers and the execs quite a bit.

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