Ask the National Commander

Got a question about USSVI?  This is your opportunity to ask National Commander Michael Bircumshaw about whatever is on your mind. 

Ground rules, keep it clean and positive. 

We want to build a better and more satisfying organization for all our shipmates.  Our mission is to remember our fallen shipmates, encourage fraternalism between subvets and benefit our submarine family.  Your suggestions to help achieve these ends will be very much appreciated. 

If it is something personal that relates to your situation only, please email me directly at  Otherwise, post your message below so that other shipmates can benefit from the exchange.


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  2. Good Morning.

    I would like to request the Eagle Scout Certificate and patch but do not see an address on where to send the request. Can you help please?

    Thank you,
    Kimble Ouerbacker

  3. Excellent pieces. Keep writing such kind of information on your blog.
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  4. I know this website gives quality based content and
    extra stuff, iis there any other website which provides these data in quality?

  5. Need a site where I can download an application for Holland Club Membership.

    Ernie Connor

    • Ernie,
      There is no application for the Holland Club. It is an automatic process. The Cavalla Base will receive your certificate and patch sometime before June (normally) and it will be presented to you.
      If you have other questions please call the national office and they will give you a status report on your situation.
      Thank you for your service and thanks for living long enough to join the club.

      • Thanks Michael for the quick response.
        I will try to call National tomorrow.
        Cavalla Base says I missed a yearly dues payment in last 5 years and they say I can not make it up. Only way is to pay National for Life Membership. $200 as I am over 71 years in age.
        Thanks again for the quick response.
        Ernie Connor

  6. I am trying to find a web site that lists those who served on ssbn 598 and are on eternal patrol.

  7. For the 2012 elections John Peters was the election master. I asked him what the vote tally was and who the 3 members was he appointed as tellers and tabulators of the paper ballots. He cannot remember. Surely this must be recorded somewhere. Please advise who they were and the vote count.

    • Ian,
      Not sure if this went out.. In any case Pat Householder was the election master in 2012. Please send him a direct e-mail and I know he will get you the answers to any election questions. Thank you for being a Sub Vet.

  8. 2013 mid term meeting minutes state there was one nay vote to the proposal to establish a committee to look into the Groton base financial issues. Who cast the nay vote?

  9. Where do I find the convention report for 2010 (Cincinnati) and convention report ofr 2012 (Norfolk); I would like to read them.

    • found them,

  10. Where do I find the convention reports for convention 2010 (Cincinnati);
    and convention report ofr 2012 (Norfolk)? I would like to read them.

    • duplicate post, found them

  11. “USSVI’s Blog” ended up being extremely compelling and instructive! Within the present day society that is really difficult to do. Thank you, Henry

    • Shipmate, Thank you for your comment.. Thanks for being a member of USSVI. Best, Michael

      T Michael Bircumshaw USSVI National Commander 2010-2014 Holland Club Executive Director Path of Honor Scholarship Trust Executive Director American Scholarship Trust 951-308-6479

      I GoodSearch & GoodShop for USSVI (United States Submarine Veterans Inc). Won’t you help? Ask me how!

  12. Michael: Who is the author of the new expense reimbursements forms? I have a few questions to ask and I need some clarification ?


    Huey Dietrich – Commander
    Requin Base
    North East District

    • Huey,
      This question would have been easier served with a direct e-mail to me as the question does not appear to be of national scope or interest. However, since you have posted, I will refer you to the NSVC, Carl Schmidt, as he is responsible for the approval (and therefore the form) of all national expenses.
      Have a great new year and thank you for all that you do..

  13. Mike,
    Is there an “official” or even an “Unofficial” embelm or pin to award an Associate Member recognition in USSVI? I have an Associate member who is really gun ho about submariners. He’s never served in the Military, but he is one hell of a worker for the base. I won’t give him dolphins to wear, but was wondering if there’ was something more concrete than just an letter of appreciation. Just wondering.
    Mike Naughton
    Base Commander
    Capitol Base

  14. Mike,
    Remember awhile back talk about USSVI having insurance to cover members if they participate in a parade. Does USSVI have such coverage?

    • This is an on going process and I am awaiting a responce from a national carrier at the moment.
      The direct answer is “no”, we do not currently have such a policy and Bases need to handle that situation if requested by the organizing group.. Normally, a member’s auto insurance will handle a parade..

  15. Please inform who is running for NC on this upcoming election…

  16. Commander Bircumshaw,

    I am the Awards Committee Chairman for the Requin Base in Pittsburgh. This is the first time we are submitting Awards, as far as I know.

    Is there someone I could send our nominations to so they can be reviewed for completeness before we submit them formally?

    We are not asking for a review of the reasons for the nomination, just that they contain everything that is required.

    Would you comment on that?

    Pride Runs Deep,

    Frank Hood
    First Vice Commander
    USS Seahorse (SSN 669) 69-72

    • Shipmate,
      You could circulate it among your Board members and possibly consider sharing it with your District Commander to get his comments. There is no submission approval person or committee as such. The award nominations simply need to address the work, accomplishment, and atttitude of the person or group nominated, much like writing up a recommendation for “promotion”, but in this case it is for well deserved recognition.
      There is some description of the nature of the awards in the “Awards Manual”.
      You could even call the Awards Chairman, John Stanford and ask him for guidance.
      Thank you for your interest and thank you for supporting your shipmates and USSVI.

      • Michael, thanks for your feedback. Your advice is appreciated. Since this is our first time, none of us has any experience at this, so we thought an internal review might not cover all the bases.

        But thinking of these as a review for a promotion definitely helps.

        Hot, Straight, and Normal

        Frank Hood
        Requin Base

  17. Why having a convention in 2013? Thought after Norfolk, the conventions were to be every two yeares?

    • Shipmate,
      Under the previous C& B we had already commmitted to the 2013 convention
      The two year provision could not be implemented until 2014, which under the apprived PA will mandate the following convemtion to be held in 2016.

      • Thanks! Thought the two year provision was implemented after this 2012 convention.

  18. Commander:

    I know the National SVWWll group will be desolving at the National Convention. Our local SVWWll group is all but dead in the water and have turned over their records to the Requin Base. Do we have a formal ceremony procedure available to honor these proud sub vets, on closing their base and merging with us, or would we use the “Change of Command” format?

    • Hu,
      I think the change of command concept is perfectly viable.. See If you can get some input from the WWII shipmates on what they would like to see.
      Try to keep in mind that we are the “Relief Crew and that all we want to do is to offer them a venue where they can continue to gather, be recognized and honored for keeping “English” as our primary language, which is a narrow brush stroke, of all that they did for us.
      Re-assure them that we are not “taking over” as they cannot be replaced. We are not putting them “out to pasture” as they are welcome to enter any and every race and event that comes along. We are simply making ourselves available to assist in any way possible.
      Please thank any and all of them from me for their service and dedication to our freedom.. “Freedom is not Negotiable”.

  19. Awhile back, I left a comment on here suggesting the board look into moving the dates for the national convention to some date after the Labor Day weekend. Not really knowing how this board worked and arriving here serendipitously, I did not go back to check for a response. So, you have probably answered my query and I missed it, but I think it would increase the attendance if the national convention was moved to a date later in the year.

    • John,
      I have also wondered about the “Labor Day” schedule and I will take this to the BOD for discussion. I have also received suggestions that it be movd into other parts of the year, such as late Spring or Mid-Summer.
      Part of the rational has been to avoid the “higher” tourist season prices.
      I will get some more feedback on it, but initially agree that avoiding a “holiday” weekend is a good idea in any case..

  20. I hope all had a Merry Christmas, and will also have a Happy New Year.

    Huey – Commander
    Requin Base
    North East District Three

    • Thanks Huey.. and the very best to you and yours…

  21. Welcome aboard.. What sort of a job were you looking for? There are lots of the available..

  22. Glad to be aboard! I am finally reaching a point in my life where I can get a bit more active.

    Bob MacPherson

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