USS Snook Base Submarine Memorial Story
THE PROJECT IS BORN
In early 2014, The USS Snook Base Submarine Veterans decided to build a memorial dedicated to the 52 Submarines and men lost during WWII and the 4 Submarines and men lost Post WWII.
Members made several suggestions and it was decided that a piece of submarine memorabilia would be appropriate for the centerpiece of the Memorial. Base Member Mike Rainwater volunteered to be the Project Manager and stated that he might have a connection to obtain a torpedo for the project.
Mike tried several Naval facilities and came up empty. He contacted his sister-in-law who had mutual friends with an ex Chief of Naval Operations, Retired Admiral Vernon E. Clark. In March of 2015, Adm. Clark, through various connections, put Mike in touch with the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum Curator in Hawthorne, NV, Peter Papadakos. Peter confirmed he had a MK-37 Torpedo that had been deactivated with the warhead removed and would reserve it for the USS Snook Base. Now that the USS Snook Base had access to a torpedo, base members began the search for a fitting location to build the Memorial and find a way to get the torpedo to NW Arkansas.
Several locations were contacted for storage, but folks were a little concerned about storing a torpedo. Base Member Bob Andregg volunteered to help with the Memorial as the Project Engineer. Bob’s son, Matthew just happened to work for Bob Morey’s Auto Body Shop in Bentonville, AR. Bob met with Bob Morey who said he would be happy to not only store the torpedo but would re-paint it as well.
TRANSPORTING THE TORPEDO
Meanwhile, Mike worked on obtaining transportation of the torpedo. After numerous trucking firms rejected our plea, in June of 2016, Base Commander Pete Rathmell contacted his friend, Admiral Luke McCollum who at the time worked at the Walmart Home Office in NW Arkansas. Admiral McCollum said he would put us in contact with someone in Walmart Transportation who might be able to help.
Later that week, Mike received a phone call from the Walmart Transportation Office. Arrangements were made for a member of the Walmart Road Team that supports Veterans and Veterans organizations to pick up the torpedo in Hawthorne, NV and deliver it to Bob Morey’s Auto Body Shop in Bentonville, AR. Walmart Transportation picked up the torpedo on June 14, 2016 and delivered it on June 16,2016. When the truck doors were opened, Snook Base members were amazed to find the only item inside the 18 wheeler trailer, was the torpedo in it’s MK183 shipping container. The driver stated that his manifest stated to pick up the torpedo in Hawthorne, NV and deliver it directly to Bentonville, AR. A big thank you to Walmart Transportation.
FINDING A SUITABLE LOCATION
A few months later, while running errands in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, our Snook Base Commander Pete Rathmell ran across an acquaintance of his. During their conversation, Pete found out that the local VFW Post was in the process of building a Veterans Memorial on the school grounds of old downtown Pea Ridge. Pete got the contact information for the VFW and passed it on to Mike who met with VFW Post 8109 Commander Jerry Burton. Mike explained that the Snook Base was looking for a site to build a Submarine Memorial, utilizing the torpedo, and would the VFW Post consider their request. At the next VFW meeting, the Snook Base request was approved.
DISPLAYING THE TORPEDO
Working with the VFW, it was decided that the torpedo should be mounted on granite stanchions in order to blend in with the theme of the Veterans Memorial. Snook Base member Bob Andregg designed and built stainless steel brackets to attach the torpedo to the granite stanchions. A local granite stone company cut and etched the stanchions and memorial stone followed by a crane company placing them. Bob Morey’s Auto Body Shop re-painted the torpedo and the same crane company placed it on the granite stanchions. Finally, electricity was brought to the Memorial so that it could be lighted at night. We were now ready for the dedication ceremony.