MUSKEGON, Mich. -- A memorial that pays tribute to those who lost their lives on board submarines in World War ll will receive recognition on Wednesday night in Muskegon. The USS Silversides Submarine Museum's World War II Lost Submariners Memorial will have a formal dedication on September 2, 2015, to recognize the thousands lost in submarines.
FOX 17 spoke to a local veteran who lost friends aboard submarines. Don Morel served on board a submarine at war, where some of his closest friends lost their lives. Morell, a member on the board of the USS Silversides Submarine Museum, couldn't think of a better way to honor his friends than with the World War ll Lost Submariners Memorial.
"I knew a lot of those guys on those submarines and just felt they should be honored here in Muskegon," Morell says.
Morell joined the Navy when he was 17 and says "we were a very close family on board those submarines," the food was good, and the pay was even better.
Those submarines were responsible for sinking one third of the imperial Japanese Navy.
But that success came with a price, as 52 U.S submarines went down and over 3,500 men lost their lives.
Submarine service was less than two percent of Navy personnel in WWll but suffered a staggering casualty rate. "One out of five of those men never came back," Morell says.
That abiding wish becomes real with the USS Siversides Submarine Museum's New World War ll Lost Submariners Memorial. The names of 52 lost submarines are now engraved into a concrete wall along with where they were lost, the date, location, and fate of the crews.
"It has this complete relevance and connection to a very difficult and sad time in our country," said Frank Marchaz, the associate director of the USS Silversides Submarine Museum.
"There are times when patriotism weakens, and we think it's fine and dandy. We wouldn't be here today if these men and other men didn't do what they did," ," Marchaz said.
The wall is already affecting museum. "Some have been tearful," said Marchaz. "Some of them, upon reading all of this, didn't realize the impact of submarine service had, didn't realize how many men lost their lives in this type of situation."
The formal dedication for the memorial will take place outside the USS Silverside Submarine Museum in Muskegon on Wednesday, September 2 at 6 p.m., the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender in World War ll.