Category Archives: submarines

Where’d the Parche’s stripes go?

Where’d the Parche’s awards go?

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.

Parche moved to Naval Submarine Base Bangor in 1994 and operated its final years out of Hood Canal. A decommissioning ceremony was held Oct. 19, 2004, at the shipyard, not far from where the sail now rests. Most of the sub’s missions were secret and remain classified.

This guest post was written by Ed Friedrich. Ed was my guest star on this exciting video seen below.

Bremerton’s best kept — and most decorated — military secret

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 Espionage.”

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.


I’d encourage you to check out Mick Hersey’s master list here to check out all of the military memorials in Kitsap County.

Hope to see you Saturday at the parade. Oh, and don’t forget to take our quiz of Kitsap County military history.


*It’s the sail of the Parche submarine sits just outside Harborside Fountain Park. The rest of the vessel did not come with it.

The USS Bremerton is coming to Bremerton

The USS Bremerton. (Wikipedia photo)
The USS Bremerton. (Wikipedia photo)

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 mine warfare.

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 class.

The first USS Bremerton, a Baltimore class heavy cruiser, saw action in the Korean war.

One final factoid that probably only I will find intriguing is that the Bremerton was commissioned on March 28, 1981 — which happens to be the day this blogger was born.