First undersea memorial to 65 lost submarines and more than 4,000 officers and crew to make a significant contribution to the marine environment
SARASOTA, Fla. – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recognized 27 May 2018 as the dedication of the “On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef.” This first ever undersea memorial will be a collection of 65 Eternal Reef balls with plaques identifying each of the submarines still On Eternal Patrol, including the USS Trigger (SS-237), assigned to Pennsylvania to commemorate and honor by the U.S. Submariners Veterans, Inc. (USSVI) in the 1960s.
One additional Eternal Reef ball representing those crews and boats lost in non-sinking incidents will be dedicated for a total of 66 Eternal Reefs which will be deployed in the coming weeks off the coast of Sarasota, Fla., making a significant contribution to the marine environment in which these submariners served and made the ultimate sacrifice.
The lost boats and service members were honored over Memorial Day weekend with full military honors at the dedication of the On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef at 10 a.m. on Sunday, 27 May in Sarasota.
“We can think of no more fitting memorial to these heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country beneath the waves,” said George Frankel, Eternal Reefs CEO. “These submariners will continue to serve and protect our marine environment for the benefit of future generations in the On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef.”
A reef ball is a designed artificial reef, specifically engineered to mimic Mother Nature and quickly assimilate into the ocean environment; new marine growth begins in as little as three months. The reef balls in the On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef each weigh about 1,300 pounds and stand three feet tall.
Full military honors were presented on 27 May, including rifle salutes, buglers playing taps and an honor guard bestowing folded flags to representatives for each lost submarine. For many, this was the first time they’ve been recognized collectively for their contribution and sacrifice.
A Sarasota-based 501c3 memorial organization, Eternal Reefs, Inc., planned the ambitious project, in partnership with Reef Innovations and The Reef Ball Foundation. The On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef has garnered recognition from numerous states, in coordination with the USSVI. Submarine enthusiasts, veterans and other military representatives attended from around Florida and across the United States, as well as the public.
View a video of the On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef project, including a full listing of all submarines with their date of loss, on YouTube. Find a complete list of the 65 boats On Eternal Patrol and the boats lost in non-sinking events at www.OnEternalPatrol.com. Eternal Reefs is accepting outside funding to support the On Eternal Patrol Memorial Reef. Interested parties should call 888-423-7333 or email [email protected].
View the State of Pennsylvania Proclamation.