The USS Parche isn’t going dark again — not
for long, anyway.
The sail of the most decorated vessel in U.S. Navy history,
which sits in front of Puget Sound Navy Museum, lost its stripes
recently. All of its awards were stripped off during its annual
painting last week, by volunteers from Submarine Development
Squadron 5. That’s the outfit for fast attack submarines Seawolf,
Connecticut and Jimmy Carter.
The colorful citations represent nine Presidential
Unit Citations, 10 Navy Unit Commendations, 13 Navy Expeditionary
Medals and 15 Battle Efficiency Awards.
“The vinyl wasn’t in the greatest shape, so they were
actually removed and we’re going to reapply them,” said Danelle
Feddes, deputy director and senior curator at the museum. The
shipyard’s sign shop is doing that work.
The sail is owned by the city, but the museum helps
to maintain it.
Did you know that the most decorated vessel in U.S. Navy
history is perched right here* in Bremerton?
Next time you take a walk downtown — perhaps Saturday for the
Armed Forces Day parade — be sure to go to the entrance of the
Harborside Fountain Park. There, you’ll find the sail of the USS
Parche, a vessel highly decorated but largely unknown.
Why? As you’ll learn in the above video, the Parche did a lot of
spying in the Cold War years. While its missions are still
classified, some believe it was tapping telephone cables within
Soviet seas, unearthing a wealth of intelligence. Many details can
be found in the book “Blind
Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine
In any case, president after president praised the boat and its
crew just about every time it came home. As reporter Andy Binion
noted when the
sail was installed here:
The submarine earned 13 Expeditionary Medals, 10 Navy Unit
commendations and nine presidential unit citations, making it the
most decorated submarine in U.S. Navy history.
Bremerton will get a visit from the submarine that bears
the city’s name this week. On Wednesday, the Los
Angeles-class fast-attack submarine, currently home-ported in Pearl
Harbor, will dock at Naval Base Kitsap for a short visit.
She last visited Bremerton in May 2012, almost three years ago.
While here, the crew plans to meet with local dignitaries, host
recruits and even volunteer in a park cleanup.
Navy Submarine Group 9 Spokesman Brian Badura gives a good
description of what subs like the Bremerton do:
Fast-attack submarines like Bremerton are designed to
seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships, carry out
intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions, support
aircraft carrier and expeditionary strike groups, and engage in
The sub, which carries more than 130 sailors, is the oldest in
the U.S. fleet. It is the second vessel in Navy history to bear the
name Bremerton, and the 11th submarine of the Los Angeles