Dedicated to my father
James M. Lavelle TM2c
1921 - 1964

As well as all the officers and men who served aboard the



Christmas on the USS GUNNEL

1942 - In Port After War Patrol # 1 (Operation Torch / The invasion of North Africa the crew spend Christmas in Roseneath, Scotland.
1943- At Sea War Patrol 3. The crew was at sea on patrol off Toyko Bay on the south coast of Honshu Island. Loe Choles conducted services in the forward torpedo room. Captain & crew sang Christmas carols.
1944 - At Sea War Patrol # 7. At sea enroute to Pearl Harbor. The crew crossed the international date line on this date and so the crew was treated to Christmas TWICE.
1945 - In Port With the war over, the crew got to spend Christmas in New London, CT, many of them got leave and were able to enjoy Christmas at home.

My most memorable Christmas Eve

I spent Christmas Eve 1971 as a 19 year old BTFN on board the newly commissioned USS COOK (DE-1083). I had the cold iron watch in the engineering spaces room from 8:00 PM until midnight. After watch I went to the mess deck for a cup of coffee before turning in for the night. There was a tiny Christmas tree decorated with items sent to members of the crew from their families. I sat in front of that tree and just let my mind wander as I drank my coffee. The ship was incredibly quite as many of the crew were on leave and I'm sure that in my entire life I never felt so lonely.

Today there is a new generation of young American men and women serving on ships, on shore bases and flying missions over every point on the compass. They are soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen. They are on duty here in America as well as in war torn areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. Wherever they are serving they are standing watch for us so we can celebrate the holidays as we choose. Not a Christmas Eve goes by that I don't remember that night so long ago and say a silent prayer for those that are serving today that God will keep them safe and they might not have that same feeling of loneliness.

Keep them in mind as you celebrate. They are out there for us.

You can support the tens of thousands of American service men and women who are out there on the front lines so we can enjoy the holidays safe and sound back here in the states. Please consider making a donation to the USO. Click on the USO banner on the right and you will be taken to their site where you can make a donation. Thanks. Donate to the USO

Welcome to Give 'em Hell - The Story of the USS GUNNEL. The purpose of this on-line book is to detail the history of one World War 2 US submarine, the USS GUNNEL (SS-253), from keel laying to scrapping. Each of the GUNNEL's War Patrols, there were 8 in all, has it's own chapter. There are also chapters on the boat's statistics, the attacks she made, the trip back to New London after the war, as well as many photos of the crew and boat.

This work is a cooperative effort between RAdm Lloyd "Joe" Vasey, Capt. Guy O'Neil and myself, Jim Lavelle. Many of the crew have contributed stories and photos to this effort as well.

Joe served aboard the GUNNEL as the First Lieutenant, Torpedo and Gunnery officer for the first 2 patrols and as Executive Officer and Navigator on patrols 3, 4 and 5.

Guy served as the Commanding Officer for Patrols 6, 7 and 8 as well as the trip home after the war. He was awarded the Navy Cross for War Patrol # 7.

I am the son of TM2 James M. "Jimmy" Lavelle who served in the After Torpedo Room on patrols 2 through 8. I was a BT3 (Boiler Tech) on board the USS COOK (DE-1083) during the war in Vietnam. It has been a distinct privilege and an honor for me to work with men of such character. Telling their story has given me great insight into their quiet heroism.

Jim Lavelle, Guy O'Neil and Joe Vasey

The authors in Branson, MO. on October 13, 1999
Jim Lavelle, Capt. Guy O'Neil and RAdm Joe Vasey

We hope you enjoy reading this book and find the information contained in it interesting and informative.

James M. Lavelle
December 2014


Commissioning Day cover from Erin
Commissioning Day Cover
August 20, 1942




John F Dugan rubbing from the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington

chapman_grave_sml.jpg - 35541 Bytes
Sgt. Frederick G. Chapman
Normandy American Cemetery
Colleville-sur-Mer, France

Frederick G. Chapman
memorial page

Fred Chapman was killed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day,
June 6, 1944.

He served with the "A" Company, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.

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