Invitation to the Decommissioning Ceremony of the USS Menhaden (SS-377)
Commanding Officer -- CDR S.L. Guille
Executive Officer -- LCDR W.A. Arata, III
Operations Officer -- LCDR D.S. Harper, Jr.
Engineering Officer -- LT D.L. Atchison
Communications Officer -- LTJG W.R. Babington
Assistant Engineering Officer -- LTJG C.L. Parsons
Supply Officer -- LTJG K.W. Hanson
Weapons Officer -- CWO-2 D.F. Shaw
L.D. Rodgers, EMC(SS), Chief Of The Boat
R.L. Fort, ENC(SS)
J.M. Hicks, RMC(SS)
J.G. Hoffman, EMC(SS)
R.A. McGuire, STCS(SS)
F.R. Mizell, ENC(SS)
J.A. Rhodes, TMC(SS)
L.A. Westervelt, HMC(SS)
Anderson, J.L., SN(SS)                              Anderson, R.P., YN1(SS)                           Aniban, C.D., CS1(SS)
Aquipel, R.V., SD3(SS)                              Ayers, J.B., Jr., ENFN(SU)                       Bates, R.R., IC2(SS)
Bright, R.C., ENFA(SU)                            Bufford, J.D., MM2(SS)                            Bulda, R.P., SK2(SS)
Caro, W.H., EM1(SS)                                Chaffee, S.N., FTG3(SS)                           Clove, J.S., TM2(SS)
Corson, G.L., EM3(SS)                              Davis, C.F., IC3(SS)                                  Davis, O.C., MM1(SS)
Denton, M.A., QM1(SS)                            Deputy, M.E., TM2(SS)                            Desroches, P.L., SN(SS)
Deweese, D.M., ET1(SS)                           Dreyer, J.R., EN3(SS)                               Ealson, B.E., QM3(SS)
Erlenmeyer, R.A., FN(SS)                          Fitzgerald, G.W., IC2(SS)                          Frahm, D.G., RM2(SS)
Frazier, J.R., TM2(SS)                               German, A.M., SD3(SS)                            Gilbreath, G.R., EN3(SS)
Gutkin, M.L., ET2(SS)                               Harkins, S.F., EN1(SS)                              Herr, M.J., FN(SS)
Johnson, A.A., ETN2(SS)                           Knuth, R.H., EM3(SS)                               Lankford, S.E., EN2(SS)
Leonhardt, R.L., EM2(SS)                         McCormack, J., TM2(SS)                         McMullen, G.P., IC1(SS)
McQueen, D.W., TM2(SS)                        Nelson, W.B., MM3(SS)                            O'Connor, P.J., SN(SU)
Pearce, M.E., CS3(SS)                               Peltcher, R.J., EN1(SS)                              Quesada, A.A., Jr., EM1(SS)
Raleigh, W.T., SA(SU)                               Rauckhorst, W.J., II, FTG2(SS)                 Riley, S.J., STS3(SS)
Robillard, J.J., FTG3(SU)                          Salcedo, W.T., SD2(SS)                              Sexton, R.R., EN2(SS)
Smith, J.A., EN1(SS)                                  Stoll, D.L., ST1(SS)                                     Tostevin, D.C., EN2(SS)
Vincent, C., MM2(SS)                               Washeck, D.K., EM1(SS)
Squadron Commodore, Captain H. L. Matthews, Jr., Commander, Submarine Squadron THREE, at the podium, speaking. Seated, left to right, Captain F. W. Zigler, Commanding Officer, Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility; Commander S. L. Guille, Menhaden's Commanding Officer; Lieutenant J. R. Fletcher, LDS Chaplain, Naval Training Center; and Lieutenant Commander D. S. Harper, Jr., Menhaden's Operations Officer and Acting Executive Officer. Lieutenant Commander William A. Arata, III, Menhaden's Executive Officer, had been detached prior to the decommissioning to become the Commanding Officer of the USS Baya (SS-318).
AUGUST 13th, 1971
(Note: "Captain Zigler" refers to the Commanding Officer, Inactive Ships Maintainance Facility, San Diego, CA, who received MENHADEN after decommissioning. "Commodore Matthews" refers to Captain "Matty" Matthews, Commander, Submarine Squadron THREE.)
"Captain Zigler, Commodore Matthews, Officers and Crew of the MENHADEN, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I would like to extend greetings to some special guests in the audience this morning: Commander Dale Johnson, Commander Jim Crowder, and Commander Brad Mooney, former Commanding Officers of MENHADEN; Captain Bob Vaughn, former Executive Officer; and Chief Torpedoman Frank "Loopy" Lehr, former Chief of the Boat. To you and other ex-MENHADEN sailors in the audience, I would like to express my appreciation for your coming to the ceremony.
"To those of you familiar with us in our fighting trim, MENHADEN is not much to look at this morning: All antennas and torpedoes removed, tanks defueled, and riding high out of the water. But I'm not about to apologize for her appearance because it has taken a tremendous amount of effort on the part of MENHADEN's crew to put her in this condition. The 4,000-plus man-hours mentioned by Commodore Matthews have been spent in cleaning and preserving this ship and its systems. The detailed procedures that must be carried out before a ship can be decommissioned have been very demanding and have required many hours of night and weekend work in order to meet our self-imposed milestone dates.
"I am happy to report that we have satisfied the meticulous requirements of Captain Zigler's inspectors earlier than the initial planning date for decommissioning.
"But the past 2 ½ months of inactivation work, however much it has claimed our complete attention and efforts, is just a small piece of MENHADEN's total experience. MENHADEN has had a long and useful life. As Commodore Matthews has described, MENHADEN has always enjoyed a reputation as an outstanding ship, and justifiably so, for she has successfully answered every commitment placed on her, which is a hallmark of a good ship run by good men.
"I can personally speak only for the past 20 months of MENHADEN's life, but during that time, she and the people who man her have performed like the champions they are. She truly merits the "E" for excellence that she wears on her sail. In this respect, the record speaks for itself: since December 1969, MENHADEN made two deployments, steamed over 38,000 miles, and earned considerable recognition. The Officers and Enlisted Men have earned, in addition to the awards mentioned by Commodore Matthews:
        5 Navy Commendation Medals
        8 Navy Achievement Medals
        5 Letters of Commendation from Commander SEVENTH Fleet
        3 Letters of Commendation from Commander U.S. Pacific Fleet
        2 Letters of Commendation from Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
      12 Letters of Commendation from the Commanding Officer, USS MENHADEN
"People make a navy ship: she is only as good as the people who man her -- and I think that MENHADEN has more than her fair share. However good we think we have been. We could not have a good job without support from many sources. At this point, I would like to acknowledge our debt of gratitude to Personnel on the staffs of Commander Submarine Flotilla ONE, Commander Submarine Squadron THREE, Commander Submarine Division THIRTY-TWO, the Submarine Support Facility, the USS SPERRY, and the Inactive Ships Maintenance Facility, San Diego. The debt we owe our wives for shouldering the responsibilities of raising our children and running the household while we have been gone is immeasurable. For this, Ladies, we can only say, 'Thank you, and Well Done!'
"MENHADEN is retiring today, but her people will go on to more modern submarines and weapon systems, because our Navy must continue to advance, and needs dedicated, well-qualified personnel to do so.
"As General George S. Patton so aptly put it in his own inimitable style at the unveiling of a new series of Army tanks in 1940:
                                     'History is replete with countless other instances of military
                                      implements, each in its day heralded as the last word-the
                                      key to victory-yet each in its turn subsiding to its useful,
                                      but inconspicious niche. New weapons are useful in that
                                      they add to the repertoire of killing, but, be they tank or
                                      tomahawk, weapons are only weapons after all. Wars
                                      may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.'
"In closing, I would like to make use of another quotation to express the feeling that we of MENHADEN have as we decommission her today. This is from a note left on my desk last week by a young Petty Officer after he was detached for training that will qualify him for duty on Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines:
                                     'Dear Captain Guille:
                                      It is with mixed feelings that I depart MENHADEN and the Diesel Boats.
                                     There is sadness in seeing a breed die and become extinct, Fossil-fueled
                                     submarines are no exception. Close friendships, dedication, high morale,
                                     and a relaxed atmosphere -- all a trademark of the Diesel Boats -- more than
                                     offset the deployments and crowded conditions.
                                     However, one cannot live in the past, for a new breed is here to stay, and
                                     one must change with the times. I hope that I prove to be worthy of and
                                     equal to the tasks ahead of me.
"I will now read the Decommissioning Orders:

     'Date-time-group: 270122Z July 1971
      From: Naval Ship Systems Command Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
      To: Inactive Ships Maintainance Facility, San Diego, CA
"Unless otherwise directed, place USS MENHADEN (SS-377) out of commission, in reserve on 13 August 1971.' "

The Menhaden Crew Members on deck during the Decommissioning Ceremony. Standing in front of the Crew is Leo D. Rodgers, EMC(SS), Chief Of The Boat.
The Crew Members leaving Menhaden after the Decommissioning Ceremony. In the foreground, left to right, are Warrant Officer-2 Don Shaw and Lieutenant(jg) Ken Hanson.
The Commanding Officer, Commander S. L. "Les" Guille, was the last Crew Member to depart the Menhaden.
(Images and Information Courtesy of Les Guille, Menhaden's Last Commanding Officer, 1970-71)
Menhaden's Crew Members in formation on the pier after the Decommissioning Ceremony.
The San Diego Naval Training Center Band playing for the Menhaden's Decommissioning Ceremony.
(Photos Courtesy of James G. Hoffman, EMC(SS), Menhaden, 1968-71; Images Courtesy of Les Guille, Menhaden's Last Commanding Officer, 1970-71)
After the Decommissioning Ceremony, Commander Les Guille (with the black folder) is talking with some of the guests. The Officer in the middle (with his left hand on his hip) is Commander James P. Crowder, Jr., Menhaden's Commanding Officer from August, 1962, until April, 1964. The two young ladies on the right (standing near the chairs) are Katherine and Sarah Guille, Les' daughters, and to their right (wearing the black, white and green checked dress) is Les' wife, Nancy Guille.
Commander James P. Crowder, Jr., with his eldest son, Midshipman James Michael Crowder, Naval Academy Class of 1974. "Michael" followed in his father's footsteps and served aboard the nuclear fast attack submarine, USS Puffer (SSN-652).
(Images Courtesy of Ava and Bruce Crowder, daughter-in-law and son of Commander James P. Crowder, Jr., Menhaden's Commanding Officer, 1962-64)