The Story Behind These Pages
and a
Listing of Contributors.

 
Back in May 1996 my son asked me what I did during my time in the Navy. During our talk I mentioned that my father was a torpedoeman on board a submarine during WW2. He started to ask questions but I didn't have any answers. My father died in 1964 when I was only 12 and we never had a chance to talk about his time in the Navy.

In June of 1996 I was looking for information on the Internet and for whatever reason decided to do a search on my father's boat. I got two hits, one of which was a guest book entry from someone who served on the Gunnel. It had an E-Mail address and I thought, what the heck, let me send this guy a note.

Within a day I had a message back from Art Schelling who made the last two patrols and sailed the boat back to the states. We started corresponding and before long Art sent me the sailing list from the boat's trip home. I went on-line and was able to track down 57 addresses. Some people had moved within the same town, others had moved away but a relative lived in town. Anyway, in the fall of 1996, I sent a mailing out to the 57 people hoping to get back one or two. When all was said and done I had heard from 16 people!

Since then these people have sent me photos, newspaper clippings, stories and names and addresses of other Gunnel crewmen. In January of 1997 I travelled to California and finally got to meet Art. He had two other crew members over, Frank Cunha and Sal Bomarito. I had brought my father's photo album and they were able to put names on many of the faces, told me where photos were taken and filled me in somewhat on life on a sub. Frank has a remarkable memory and could name just about everyone.

Soon after that R.Adm. Lloyd R. "Joe" Vasey USN Ret. got in touch with me. Joe was a Lt. on the Gunnel way back when. He was able to get copies of all the Patrol Reports for me. These are very valuable additions to my collection of Gunnel memorabilia, and invaluable to publishing the War Patrol Pages.

Capt. Guy O'Neil gave me a call next. As the skipper of the GUNNEL on several war patrols, he can offer insight into what goes through the Captain's head. His track charts take enable you to visualize the action in a way not possible using just words. He takes us "there".


CONTRIBUTORS

R.Adm Joe Vasey
Capt. Guy O'Neil
Art Schelling
Billy J Stamper
Frank Cunha
Stanley "Scotty" Scott
Harry Kaczur
Gene Glosson
Larry DeSouza
Lloyd Berkey
Charlie Haskin
Ed Brodeur
Sal Bommarito
Bob Lacey
Betty Schmertzler
Wife of Emory
Mel Dry
Ed Leidholdt
Winston von Brethorst
Charles E. Napier
Edwin L. Daum
Irene Adams
Wife of Gordon
Pete Paskiewich
Elmer Soehl

Keep in touch with Shipmates at HullNumber.com


The men who served on these boats suffered the highest casualty rate of any of the armed services. 52 boats are on eternal patrol and with them, more than 3,500 officers and men. Although submariners made up less than 2% of US Naval forces they accounted for over 55% of Japanese naval losses. They were, and still are, a 100% volunteer organization, and most people have no idea what they did. Hopefully these pages will remedy some of that. To view a list of subs lost in World War Two, please visit USS Pampanito Memorial

The folks at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland shattered every stereotype you ever heard about government workers. They were polite, extremely knowledgeable and helpful beyond words. Without their help while conducting my research I could have wasted countless hours and dollars looking in the wrong places. My thanks to them all!

In the years since I began this work, I have since made several more trips to the National Archives and cannot say enough about their professionalism. Click on their logo to visit their site, but be sure to come back.

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Copyright @ 1997 - 2007 James M. Lavelle