As part of our Found Items series, we’ve been posting information from a US Postal Service booklet of Submarine history and stamps.
Frequently, coin collectors are not just coin collectors. They collect other things as well such as stamps. Frequently it’s not that they’re true stamp collectors (philatelists), instead they collect what they like.
In this case, it was a stamp booklet on submarines.
Today’s post shows the remaining pages of the short but informative booklet.
Continuing in the booklet, the next page shared information about the “boomers.”
Inset picture caption: Ohio class: USS Maryland Length: 560′
The Ultimate Deterrent: Trident “Boomers”
Here’s a sea monster, nearly two football fields long, carrying 24 Trident ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. “Boomer” they call her. Yet, like an attack sub, she depends on silence to steal anywhere under the world’s oceans. Inside her dark, whalelike hull, lights glow as her crew move quietly about their tasks – holding depth and angle with airplane-like controls, monitoring sonar that sifts ocean murmurs for a man-made sound. For some two months the crew live and work in an undersea town, with space to study, pump iron, and jog on a treadmill in their spare time. They enjoy movies and the best food in the Navy. Always they’re ready with only a moment’s notice to launch missiles that can blast from the sea and destroy targets thousands of miles away. In one century the submarine has become a weapon that, to quote one sub captain, “has made future world wars unthinkable.”
The Dolphin Pin
The U.S. Navy Submarine Force insignia is a pin featuring a pair of dolphins flanking a sub with its bow planes rigged for diving.
The pin is gold plated for officers, silver plated for enlisted personnel. Training prepares submariners not only for day-to-day responsibilities such as navigation and depth control, but also for the most extreme situations, from floods and fires to fighting the enemy. Only after the ability to handle these difficult scenarios has been confirmed can a candidate finally wear the coveted “dolphins.”
To the right are the five submarine stamps. These stamps are repeated on the following page.
The Submarine Stamps
U.S. Navy Submarines
A Century of Service to America
USS Holland, the U.S. Navy’s first submarine, was purchased in 1900.
S-class submarines were designed during WWI.
Gato class submarines played a key role in the destruction of Japanese maritime power in the Pacific during WWII
Los Angeles class attack submarines, armed with “smart” torpedoes and cruise missiles, are nuclear powered
Ohio class submarines – also nuclear powered – carry more than half of America’s strategic weapons, making them a vital part of America’s nuclear deterrence.
The stamps are arranged with the USS Holland on the upper left, the S-class on the upper right, the Gato class in the middle, the Los Angeles class in the lower left and the Ohio class on the lower right.
Like the rest of the booklet, the last page includes a significant amount of information.
We are especially grateful to Capt. Edward L. Beach, USN (Ret.), and Professor Carl Boyd, Old Dominion University, for reviewing the stamp art and providing expert advice and guidance during preparation of the booklet, and to Ron Martini for reviewing the stamp art. We would also like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their generous assistance: Capt. David S. Cooper, USN (Ret.); Charles R. Hinman, John Anderson, and Daniel Del Monte, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park; Erve Easton, Neil Ruenzel, and Dave Tela, Electric Boat Corporation.
Photo and Illustration Credits
Front cover: Jim Brennan / Electric Boat Corporation
Page 1: Brown Brothers
Page 2: bottom left, Culver Pictures / PNI; top right, Painting by Conrad Wise Chapman/Courtesy Corbis
Page 3: © 1997 Ken Marschall, from Lost Liners, a Hyperion / Madison Press Book
Page 4: National Archives / Courtesy PhotoAssist, Inc.
Page 5: Painting by Jim Griffiths
Pages 6-7: bottom, Original Prismacolor rendering by Michael W. Wooten
Page 7: top left, Original Prismacolor rendering by Michael W. Wooten; top center, U.S. Naval Historical Center; top right, Original Prismacolor rendering by Michael W. Wooten
Page 8: center, U.S. Navy photo by Steven H. Vanderwerff
Page 9: U.S. Navy photo by Matthew Hostetler
Page 10: Walter P. Calahan
Pages 10-11: Jim Brennan / Electric Boat Corporation
Page 12: Walter P. Calahan
Stamp page 1: © 1993 Steve and Yogi Kaufman
Stamp Illustrator: Jim Griffiths
Art Director, Designer: Carl Herrman
Creative Director: Terry McCaffrey
Text: Edwards Park
Captions: Andy Park
Stamp Art Research; Picture Research; Rights & Permissions; Text Research & Editing: PhotoAssist, Inc.
Production & Typography: John Boyd
1 nautical mile = 1 minute of latitude or longitude at the Equator or 1.15078 statute miles
1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour
In addition to the $9.80 in stamps, this simple booklet provided a lot of valuable information in a small amount of space. Many of the historical details remain true today.
Of course, the current number and type of submarines in the U.S. Navy along with the armaments they carry have probably changed since the booklet’s release in 1999.
But the “silent” fleet and her officers and crews prefer to keep that information to themselves.
May they stay safe and well.