March 2018

Dear Shipmate,

On April 7th, the Thresher Base of the United States Submarine Veterans, Inc. (USSVI) will conduct the 55th Memorial Service in recognition of the 10 April 1963 loss of the submarine USS Thresher (SSN 593) and the 129 men on board. The ceremony will begin at 1300 at the R.W. Traip Academy, 12 Williams Avenue, Kittery, ME. For additional information, contact Base Commander Kevin Galeaz at or home phone (603) 268-0420 or cell (603) 785-6464.

Sales of the USS ALBACORE AN ORAL HISTORY for 2017 did not threaten to break into the top ten on the New York Times Best Seller list, but we did sell a respectable 69 paper copies and 17 Kindle versions. If you haven’t purchased a copy yet, you may do so by going to either or The book has memories that cover Albacore’s life from commissioning to decommissioning, and in that span of time are incidents that will tickle your memory cells.

In January, 2018 Reunion Coordinator John Gandiello sent out a reunion flyer to all hands giving particulars about the August reunion. If you failed to receive a copy or have any questions, please contact John either via email at, or telephone (317) 441-8843 or snail mail at 5018 Lilium Drive, Plainfield, IN 46168. John is also looking for a few volunteers to help during the reunion – setting up/taking down tables and chairs, selling raffle tickets, helping to get coffee, donuts, ice, etc. Please contact John if you would like to help.

The Sarah Mildred Long (middle) bridge was originally scheduled to open to vehicular  traffic on 1 September of last year but has not yet done so. The Maine and New Hampshire Departments of Transportation are aware of the rumors circulating about why the new bridge hasn’t opened, and the speculation that there is something wrong regarding safety or mechanical issues. The fact is the bridge is operational and safe.

The bridge was formally “commissioned” in late January. This means the bridge was successfully lifted and operated under a variety of simulated scenarios which would allow the Maine and New Hampshire Departments of Transportation to assume “ownership” and operational responsibilities. Training of the New Hampshire DOT employees responsible for operating the bridge has been successfully completed. They are currently waiting to take over those operational duties.

Most of the outstanding work items are routine, and much of the remaining work is either esthetic or weather-dependent, including weatherproofing, paint touch-up, and pointing or patching of concrete. Maine and New Hampshire are now evaluating all options for opening the bridge sooner than the contractor’s date in early May. Let’s hope they get their act together and have the bridge fully operational in time for our August reunion!

For many years, the Board of Directors (BOD) of the Portsmouth Submarine Memorial Association (PSMA) has been a hands-on board, out of necessity, as they struggled to pay off debts incurred in getting Albacore to her current resting site. Tight money had dictated that the Board watch every expense almost on a day-to-day, dollar-by-dollar basis. To conserve funds, Board members often would donate their time, expertise, labor, material and money in maintaining the boat and the Park’s facilities. Paid staff was kept to a minimum.

With the pending construction of the replacement middle bridge, the Park’s financial situation changed for the better. The State of New Hampshire needed a piece of the Park’s property to better align the new bridge ramp with the Route 1 By-Pass highway. Negotiations with the State resulted in the sale of the desired land and the State awarding additional funds to cover several projects PSMA wanted to accomplish around the Park. The most observable applications of the State’s money are the totally reconstructed basin, the removal of dents along the portside of the boat, the elimination of the flooded area forward of the bow and the construction of a large storage building at the southern end of the Park property.

Recent rising visitation numbers, coupled with an increase in admission prices, has seen the Park’s financial situation improve to where the Board is considering how best to back away from being intimately involved in hands-on Park operations and maintenance. In other words, they are looking to become a more traditional Board of Directors.

With an eye toward assisting the Board in achieving that objective, the Albacore Advisory Committee (AAC) was formed late last year to advise the Board on a number of long-range planning issues. Consisting of members from diverse parts of the local community and chaired by the PSMA Vice President, the group’s charter is to look at the following:

a.    Develop and implement an effective plan for membership on the PSMA BOD

b.    Develop and implement a plan for long-term financial stability

c.     Develop a plan for long-term Albacore ship maintenance management

d.    Expand the space for displaying artifacts and to better accommodate increasing numbers of visitors

e.    Develop a plan for the long-term configuration of Albacore Park, and

f.      Improve overall visitor appeal of Albacore Park to attract more visitors and to improve the satisfaction level of their visit.

 At its initial meeting, the committee deemed that its first priority was to focus on the long-term financial stability, as this was considered to be the key element upon which all the others depend. To achieve that stability, the committee provided several preliminary recommendations to the BOD for their consideration:           

a.    Raise admission rates now and establish a policy for future raises. (Rates were again increased effective 1 January.)

b.    Increase the use of social media to attract more visitors and increase sales. (The BOD has engaged a group of University of New Hampshire {UNH} Senior Marketing students to develop a marketing plan for the Park. UNH students previously have done similar studies for the Park, e.g., Civil Engineering students came up with suggestions for renovation of the basin and a plan for expanding the museum building.)

c.     Improve the web site to make it more appealing to users, especially younger people. (A prototype of a revised web site, geared toward cell phone users, is under development.)

d.    Provide ability for customers to shop online using credit or debit cards.

e.    Increase visibility of Albacore to passing traffic with site improvements (e.g., removal of trees to improve sightlines from Market Street; add lighting to the two large existing Albacore Park signs located on Market Street and the new Submarine Way.)

f.      Investigate if the existing Point of Sales (POS) system can be used to note where visitors are from (e.g., zip codes) and use this data to target marketing efforts.

The Advisory Committee also indicated that the BOD functions needed to evolve into more emphasis on policy making and less on actual day-to-day management, and that the role of the Executive Director (ED) needed to be expanded to take on more of these management functions.  The BOD is attempting to start that process with the development of a new Position Description (PD) for the future ED and the establishment of a new full-time position of Operations Manager. The BOD is still in the process of sorting out functions and developing these new PDs. 

In other Park developments, Jim Craig, Albacore Park’s ED, has tendered his resignation to the BOD. The Board has appointed John Maier as interim ED while the process of a search for a permanent ED begins. (John was the ED before Jim Craig.) Bernie McAfee has been appointed to the newly created position of Operations Director. Three new members have been added to the BOD. Director Ken Linscott, a graduate of Maine Maritime Academy, was a commercial sailor, worked at PNS and has been an active member of Kittery’s town government and the Kittery fire department. Associate Director (AD – a non-voting Board position) Joe Freda served in the Navy, retired after a career at PNS and now works as a NAVSEA contractor. AD Steven Graves, Shakey’s son, was a nuclear engineer at PNS and is currently president of a NH based company focused on ventilation optimization in commercial buildings.

Shipmate Bill Allen has an email address of and Clifford Phippen’s new address is 30 Lantern Lane, Pembroke, MA 01259-3460.

I regret to report that shipmate Robert F. Lawrence departed on Eternal Patrol on 20 October of 2017. Bob was an EM3 when on Albacore.

Interim ED John Maier has been in contact with the United Way of the Greater Seacoast and has posted a request for help in cleaning up the Park’s Memorial Garden. John has several major functions at the Park in late May and has asked the U/W for volunteers on Friday, 11 May as part of U/W’s "Day of Caring" program. If you can lend a hand, I know John would appreciate the help. Oh - and John will give you a sub sandwich for lunch as a thank you for helping out.

Until next time, shipmate.

Jack Hunter
11 Admiralty Drive, Apt 3
Middletown, RI 02842-6254
(401) 849-7282