It’s a very exclusive group of servicemen designated as qualified submariners 50 years ago.
The Holland Club is named after John Philip Holland, who developed the first submarine to be formally commissioned by the United States Navy.
“United States submariners are a select group. They qualified above and beyond the regular schooling before they could go on to submarine training,” said Richard Noble, secretary of the Cleveland USS Haddo Base.
Nearly 4,000 submariners and 52 subs have been lost serving the United States, and members of the local Haddo Base gather to honor those fallen and those still alive.
“We had some the highest loss rates for any military group, but during the conflicts we were the ones who put the enemy on its knees,” said Noble.
Attending the event were almost half a dozen veterans from World War II, members of other bases nationwide and the family members of submariners who had already died. In total almost 100 individuals turned out from all across the nation to witness the induction.
Also in attendance were the USSVI National Commander T. Michael Bircumshaw; National Senior Vice Commander Jon D. Jaques; regional and district commanders and a few retired Navy admirals.
Formed in 2006 with six members, the USS Haddo Base now has 93 members, 37 of whom are members of the Holland Club.
Nationally there are 13,257 members of the USSVI.
Before members were inducted into the Holland Club there was a moment of silence and a tolling of a bell to remember those submariners who had already passed and gone onto “eternal patrol.”