February 4, 2010 Veterans History Project Spotlights the Service of Submariners

Contact: Jeffrey Lofton (202) 707-6432 | Tom Wiener (202) 707-0977

Like all United States Navy submariners, Robert Hunt and Arthur Rehme were required to learn every aspect of operating a submarine and be able to perform any duty, regardless of their individual assignments. Hunt was a World War II torpedoman who survived 12 consecutive war patrols on the U.S.S. Tambor in the Pacific Theater. His extraordinary experiences are the subject of the book, “We Were Pirates: A Torpedoman’s Pacific War,” by Robert Schultz and James Shell. Rehme was the chief medical officer on the ill-fated U.S.S. Thresher during the Cold War, but his life was spared thanks to a policy that required all nuclear submarine medical officers to be rotated after six months.

Hunt and Rehme’s remarkable stories are just two of 12 candid, first-person accounts the Veterans History Project (VHP) of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is spotlighting in a website feature titled, “Submarines: The Silent Service." These one-of-a-kind stories of those who volunteered to serve during conflicts from World War II to the Cold War may be found at www.loc.gov/vets/.

“Anyone who can live and work in a confined space beneath the ocean— for months at a time—must be special and incredibly brave,” said Veterans History Project Director Bob Patrick. “By highlighting the service of submariners, VHP seeks to show the diversity of stories in its ever-expanding archive that are accessible to researchers, educators and the general public.”

The Library of Congress, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution, is the world's preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled collections and integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s rich resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library’s website, www.loc.gov, and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at myLOC.gov.

Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 as a national documentation program of the American Folklife Center to record, preserve and make accessible the first-hand remembrances of American wartime veterans from World War I through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. More than 68,000 individual stories comprise the collection to date. The project relies on volunteers to record veterans’ remembrances using guidelines accessible at www.loc.gov/vets/. Volunteer interviewers may request information at vohp@loc.gov or the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to the VHP RSS to receive periodic updates of VHP news.


PR 10-030
ISSN 0731-3527