Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

October 3, 2012

New sub named after Hoosier State

Pat Smith
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — “We celebrate this news on behalf of all those Hoosiers who have served in the uniforms of the Navy and Marine Corps…”

If you watched the Fall Festival Parade Saturday you may have seen John Tumilty and the members of the Hoosier Base of the United States Submarine Veterans as they marched in the parade with their van.

You have undoubtedly heard him play the bagpipes at various functions and at funerals for our veterans. Tumilty and his submarine buddies gathered at the ship naming ceremony in June in honor of the USS Indiana at the Indianapolis War Memorial in Indianapolis. And wait until I tell you the name of the person he picked up and took with him to the ceremony.

This naming of a submarine, or any boat, the USS Indiana is a big deal. It’s the first time in 50 years that a boat will be named the USS Indiana. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced in April that one of the next Virginia-class attack submarines will be so named. It’s the third ship to be named for Indiana. The first ship to be so named served from Nov. 1895 until Dec. 1903 and served during the Spanish American War.

The second one served from April 1942 until Sept. 1947. It earned nine battle stars for service during World War II. I did learn that in 1924 there was a battleship named the USS Indiana under construction, but it was canceled by the Washington Naval Treaty.

Tumilty was pleased to meet Secretary of the Navy Mabus and to shake hands with him. He said Mabus gave a short talk about the new nuclear submarine and named it USS Indiana SSN789. It is to be one of the next five boats (submarines) to be built. The cost is in the billions but worth every dime, said Tumilty. “People don’t realize that the most prevalent deterrent to nuclear warfare is our submarines. They have so much potential and destructive power that if someone would attack the USA, the retaliation would destroy that enemy and these subs are very hard to locate. They might find one of these submarines or even two but they wouldn’t be able to find them all.”

Tumilty said that several of the members of the Hoosier Base of the Submarine Veterans were there for the ceremony. Their group was recognized with introductions and pictures. In addition, each of the members of Tumilty’s group received a new ball cap with the new USS Indiana SSN789 logo on it.

The ceremony was held at the Indianapolis War Memorial in the downtown area of the Hoosier capitol.

He said that there were several military people in attendance there as color guards.

Although the weather was quite beautiful, it was still one of those hot days. As in keeping with the care shown by veterans to veterans everywhere from any era, Tumilty said they kept a watch on some of the veterans there because two of them served during World War II.

This USS Indiana will give the Navy the ability to maintain our undersea superiority for years. This type of sub has updated stealth and special surveillance abilities along with special warfare improvements that meet the Navy’s multi-mission requirements. It “displaces 7,800 tons and is 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged.”

The crew will be 134 officers and enlisted.

Tumilty said he watched “Last Resort” on television, which involves a nuke sub which was supposed to destroy Pakistan but refused to do it. “It was interesting that the names of the boats mentioned in the show were Colorado, Indiana and Illinois. These are the names of the next new boats to be built. I thought that was something because none of these boats exist at this time.”

On his way to the ceremony, Tumilty picked up WWII vet Wilbur Meyer (also a Hoosier Base Submarine Veteran) in Wanamaker.

He was basketball coach at Jackson Township School in Decatur County. He has told Tumilty some fine stories about those years including tales of Jackson’s sectional win.

Wilbur Meyer was already a World War II veteran and was 26-years-old when he came to Jackson School (called “the Tigers”), taking Wm. (Pick) Howe’s position as coach.

Meyer was a graduate of Indiana State and native of Clay City. Meyer’s record in two years of coaching the Tigers was 32-9, including a sectional Championship in 1951.

He resigned as coach to accept the coaching job at Sunman. He was replaced by Jim Purkhiser.