FROM THE BRIDGE
During World War II, a message put out by the US Navy concerning the possible loss of a submarine was “Overdue and Presumed Lost.” While not every instance of an overdue sub resulted in a loss, unfortunately 52 boats are still on “Eternal Patrol.”
The occult art of submarining, whether in model form or in real life, has certain risks that generally go beyond what surface craft encounter. During WW II, 52 of our boats were lost for all sorts of reasons, with some by accident and some through enemy action. The determination of some losses is still unknown, but more boats have been found in recent years and determinations (or theories) made. If you want to do some reading on the subject, take a look at Disasters of the Deep by Edwyn Gray. After having read this book, I began to appreciate the dangers associated being on a submarine, whether in peace or during war.
Notwithstanding this information, I have continued to pursue my interest in underwater craft, and especially through my adventures with my model of the USS Silversides, a WW II boat still surviving up in Muskegon, MI at a lakefront museum. I spent a fair amount of time on the real boat taking photos so that I could appropriately detail my 1:48 model which I have had running on numerous Club outings.
I therefore had no idea that I would experience an “Overdue” situation when I headed for the Florissant pond at St. Ferdinand park in early June. The boat had been running great and I have been having a lot of fun watching it glide beneath the waves upon command. However, for every “Dive” command there is supposed to be a “Surface” command. So late in the afternoon I was much perplexed when the boat failed to surface when I blew the tanks. It is a very strange (and sickening) feeling looking out at an empty pond!!!
After I accepted that the boat was down, I started on a rescue process. First I got an OK from the Director of Parks in Florissant to look for it. Then I started to line up a diver. All of this took some time, phone calls, emails, etc. I was amazed when I got an early morning call from Jeff Jones, a past Club member and a fellow sub modeler, asking if I had lost my boat. Here’s the story as I know it.
Two fishermen at the park snagged an underwater line while fishing. They pulled hard on their line and came up with another line, tangled onto my model sub. They dragged it onto the concrete pond apron, at which point a father, George Vrabel, and his two sons were told by the fishermen that they could have the boat, and they took it home. The inside was bone dry and the main batteries were still functioning.
The next morning,. Mr.Vrabel told a coworker at Boeing who told another coworker who mentioned it to Jeff, who also works at Boeing. Upon getting a description of the boat, Jeff said, “I think I know the guy who owns the boat,” and gave me a call. Now how many coincidences have to happen to complete all of the links that resulted in the return of my boat to me!!!!!!!!!! I can attest to the power of prayer, especially to St. Anthony, patron saint of things lost…..
So the boat is back home in the basement, undergoing minor repairs. It will soon again be sailing , but NOT diving at St Ferdinand park pond! I also gained an understanding of what it feels like to lose a boat. I highly recommend St. Anthony………
one things for sure, they won't be expecting us......... S/C#258