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7/19/2013 6:01:00 AM
WWII submarine memorial emerging in Golden Valley
JC AMBERLYN/MinerThis MK-37 torpedo was donated by a museum in Hawthorne, Nev., to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2555 in Golden Valley. A submarine museum is under construction there.
JC AMBERLYN/Miner
This MK-37 torpedo was donated by a museum in Hawthorne, Nev., to Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2555 in Golden Valley. A submarine museum is under construction there.
Don Johnson stands by the Memorial Wall of his Submarine Memorial Museum Tuesday.
Don Johnson stands by the Memorial Wall of his Submarine Memorial Museum Tuesday.

JC Amberlyn
Staff Photographer


Don Johnson and his son Dale, with the help of VFW Post 2555 in Golden Valley, are working on creating a Submarine Memorial Museum.

The father and son started building the memorial with the VFW's support about a year ago, working as time and supplies allow.

Don was a submarine engineman and traveled on a World War II-era diesel submarine all over the Pacific from 1955-61.

He was at sea six months out of the year. The crew spent most of that time underwater, surfacing every three days to charge batteries and breathe fresh air.

"I liked it. We had a pretty good tour," he said. "Submarine duty was the best. It takes a special person to volunteer. And we had the best chow in the Navy."

He recalls one dark day among many good ones, when an explosion in the battery room killed one man and injured another.

On Tuesday, Don brought an MK-37 torpedo donated by a museum in Hawthorne, Nev., to the VFW. The inert torpedo and shells will be showcased in the front of the museum.

Don hopes to finish the museum by the end of the year, but donations are needed to complete the project. He estimates that he still needs about $5,000. He runs fundraisers for the project and several local organizations have donated money and supplies.

The museum, when completed, will feature various submarine memorabilia, including battle flags, old original photographs, a guestbook, benches and artificial grass inside a small structure.

It currently contains a Memorial Wall commemorating the 52 submarines and their 3,500 men lost

in WWII. The museum will ultimately have about 1,400 plaques when completed.

It will be a tourist stop, open to anyone who wants to learn.

Don said, "Veterans are a very important part of the country and I think people are getting more (aware of that) than they used to be," Don said. "The most important thing I wanted to do here is keep the memory of submarines alive. Most people don't know what they did. I'm going to try and educate them."

For more information, call Don at (520) 440-6191.

ICT - Kingman Honda
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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013
Article comment by: ole guy

Would like to get ahold of Mr. Johnson, but what is the correct phone number for him>
This one is very confusing! The correct number is (520) 440-6191.


Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: Allan Gleason

I was a boy scout during WWII and marched in many war bond parades. The real show stopper was a parade with a real captured Japanese two-man sub on a flat-bed truck! I don't know how many were captured during the war, but that would be a great museum piece!!!!


Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: Gregg Arnold

What a fun and interesting tourist attraction! I wish you all the best and can't wait to see this. Also thank you for your service to this country!

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013
Article comment by: Robert Day

AWESOME I NOW CANT WAIT TO SEE ITS COMPLETION AND VISIT IT AND DO SOME LEARNING



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