When Rodney and I signed our papers the LAST thing we would have thought about was where and how we would be buried. We both knew that the submarine forces usually have the highest loss rates in active war and accepted that possibility. But through the weeks in school together I know none of us EVER spoke about our final resting place.
He died in an exercise that we both participated in on our boats and while any submarine is a dangerous workplace because death is always at hand it is rarely realized except in war.
Our Fathers who fought in Korea and/or Vietnam knew they were at risk and were forced to make real decisions on these matters but the dangers in modern submarines are often shielded behind access panels to lessen the psychological effects upon the crew.
While Rodney's boat was 10 years older in service, it was refitted (found by the Court to be flawed in its design and construction in this case) simultaneously with the commissioning of my Boat the Bergall.
I still remember those first months on board and he would have had too much to learn for qualifying submarines (done on your little off time) and too much section work to do to worry about his resting place in Chattanooga or anywhere else. We were filled with becoming men and experiencing life to worry about the risks.
The hardest thing for me has been that as an auxiliaryman I performed from inboard some of the same lock-ins and lock-outs and I cannot help but think that if I had been there I would have noticed the lack of venting noise before draining the chamber and been able to affect their fate. I was sleepless last night with nightmares running through this scenario through my mind with no good answer.
How is the Public harmed by his or any similarly situated Mother's request? Not at all so just turn your sick vitriol somewhere else or better yet bring it my face rather than hide behind your keyboard.
I knew Rodney Fitz in Submarine School and he was a WONDERFUL kid and this reflects well on his parents. We were friends and he even borrowed my car for a date. I cannot imagine that his Mother being with him for eternity would harm his memory in any way. He was still very much his mother's boy when he got orders for the Grayback and we last saw each other. I was very shaken when a transferee from the Grayback brought news to me of his death. We are all the poorer for his loss.