USS Alexander Hamilton


Interesting Hamilton Stuff

"Newest Stuff"


On a fairly regular basis I get asked if there is a place to purchase Alexander Hamilton cups, caps, lighters, patches, etc.  I don't think there is any "official" location to get such things but I have found a couple sources of "stuff" that I wanted.  Electric Boat in Groton runs a store that handles, among other things, boat patches for all the boats that they built from the Nautilus on.  I purchased two A.H. patches and they aren't exactly the same as my original one (it being rather old and beat up) but they look pretty good.  Other places to check out are Lou's Ships Store and Ron Martini's Ship's Store.  Lou does some really nice cups and can do caps to order. 

If anyone has found sources for Alexander Hamilton "stuff" please let me know.  If anyone wants to be a storekeeper, we can work something out on the page here.  Just let me know. 


This was in the November-December 1999 issue of 
AMERICAN SUBMARINER.  We all should find it most interesting. 


Why did you choose to ride submarines?  Was it because of a recruiting poster or perhaps a movie you once saw?  Was it because you sought the adventure; were you a daredevil?  What would cause you to turn in your dolphins and walk away?  Could anything cause you to quit?  These questions and many more like them were of great concern to the Navy following the loss of Thresher.  Submarines were a major player in the country's defense strategy.  Would the loss of Thresher produce an exodus from this vitally important branch of the service?  To find out, the Navy commissioned Dr. Joyce Brothers to study the bubblehead.  The following is her report:

The tragic loss of the submarine Thresher and 129 men had a special kind of an impact on our nation…a special kind of sadness, mixed with universal admiration for the men who choose this type of work.  One could not mention the Thresher without observing, in the same breath how utterly final and alone the end is when a ship dies at the bottom of the sea…and what a remarkable specimen of man it must be who accepts such a risk.  Most of us might be moved to conclude, too, that a tragedy of this kind would have a damaging effect on the morale of the other men in the submarine service and tend to discourage future enlistment.  Actually, there is no evidence that this is so.  What is it then, that lures men to careers in which they spend so much of their time in cramped quarters, under great psychological stress, with danger lurking all about them? 

Togetherness is an overworked term, but in no other branch of our military service is it given such full meaning as in the "silent service".  In an undersea craft, each man is totally dependent upon the skill of every other man in the crew, not only for top performance, but for actual survival.  Each knows that his very life depends on the others and because this is so, there is a bond among them that both challenges and comforts them.  All of this gives the submariner a special feeling of pride, because he is indeed a member of an elite corps.  The risks, then, are an inspiration rather than a deterrent.  The challenge of masculinity is another factor  which attracts men to serve on submarines.  It certainly is a test of a man's prowess and power to know he can qualify for this highly selective service.  However, it should be emphasized that this desire to prove masculinity is not pathological, as it may be in certain daredevil pursuits, such as driving a motorcycle through a flaming hoop.   There is nothing dare devilish about motivations of the man who decides to dedicate his life to the submarine service.  He does, indeed, take pride in demonstrating that he is quite a man, but he does not do so to practice a form of foolhardy brinkmanship, to see how close he can get to failure and still snatch victory form the jaws of defeat.  On the contrary, the aim of the submarine service is to battle danger, to minimize the risk, to take every measure to make certain that safety, rather than danger, is maintained at all times.  Are the men in the submarine service braver than those in other pursuits where the possibility of a sudden tragedy is constant?  The glib answer would be to say they are.  It is more accurate, from a psychological point of view, to say they are not necessarily braver, but that they are men who have a little more insight into themselves and their capabilities.  They know themselves a little better than the next man.  This has to be so with men who have a healthy reason to volunteer for a risk.  They are generally a cut healthier emotionally than others of the similar age and background because of their willingness to push themselves a little bit farther and not settle for an easier kind of existence.  We all have tremendous capabilities but are rarely straining at the upper level of what we can do, these men are.  This country can be proud and grateful that so many of its sound, young, eager men care enough about their own stature in life and the welfare of their country to pool their skills and match them collectively against the power of the sea. 

Naked Lady ?
Subj:  New stuff


For the the first several patrols, while it was still PC, we had a painting of a very tastfully undressed lady hanging in the crews mess.  I have a B&W pic I took of the painting somewhere in my stuff.  She was given to us by one of the sponsors at commissioning as I remember.  I heard years later that she had dissappeared.  Might be worth a mention and if I can find her, I'll send her along.

You're doing a great job.  If I can help in any way, I am at your service.

Bud Keller, LT,USN happily retired


NEW Patch found!!
Sent to me by ??

Just located some ship's patches and would like to learn the history of two of them.
Courtesy of Lou Maruzo, operator of Submarine Ship's Store.
Please see examples of patches below.

Original Official Patch
Skull  patch.
Official Ship's Patch 
Skull and Cross Bones Patch  1991
T Buster Patch
"T" Busters Patch 1992
Decommissioning Patch 1993

I was a crewmember of the 617 between Feb 1991 and Sept 1992. It was my first Junior Officer sea assignment. During that period, I was the MPA and also the Recreation Services Officer.

As the RSO, I was intimately familiar with the circumstances around the creation of the last two patches you have displayed on your website. In early 91 we sailed from Groton to Bangor, WA, for a change of homeport in preparation of the ship's final decommissioning. We made numerous port visits, some of them in the Caribbean. On the island of St. Croix (the actual birthplace of Mr. Alexander Hamilton), some A-gang shipmates, during their liberty, had "obtained" some street signs and other commemorative symbols of Alexander Hamilton's birthplace. At about the same time, the ship was organizing and planning all of its recreational sports teams for future competition at Bangor Sub Base. Due to the adventures of St. Croix, the word "Pirates" quickly caught on and all of Hamilton's sports teams were nicknamed the Pirates. The Skull and Cross Bones patch was actually a miniaturization of the picture on the back of the soccer team's jersey. The actual art work was performed by MT1 Neatherlin (spelling?) and myself. The logo was appropriate not only for the name "Pirates", but also due to the fact that several members of the ship's successful soccer team were A-gangers with a deserved reputation of being extremely nasty and rough on the field.

During our final year of operations out of the Bangor home port (home of the Trident Squadron 17), we primarily played "rabbit" in support of the TRE's (Tactical Readiness Exams) of several of the tridents. According to real-time tactical analysis performed by the fire-control tracking party and from statements made by the CO (CDR Ross Harding) who attended the debriefs of all the exercises, we typically outperformed the newer Trident boats, even with their more-advanced sonar systems and sound silencing. Although there was no formal recognition of our crew's excellent performance in "winning the battles" against those Trident boats, the crew recognized and took pride in it's own success. Thus evolved the "Trident-Buster" logo as a ship's patch.

I hope this information helps!

Chris Zito


The above "Pub Sign" was acquired by the crew members of the
Alexander Hamilton from somewhere in St. Croix. 
It is currently hanging on the wall of the submarine museum in Groton, Connecticut.
Anyone that has "particulars" about this, please send me the details.
Then ALL will know!

Response from Mike Klunk

I was also onboard Hamilton during that period of time (the visit 
to St. Croix).  As a matter of fact during the "procurement" of the 
wooden sign I was having dinner at one of the local restaurants 
with Commander Harding, his wife and the "bull Nuke", MMCM(SS) 
Chuck Wiley.  Chuck and I had seen the sign in an alley way and 
informed the "A-Gangers" of where it was at.  When we returned to 
the boat out "pirates" were in the process of trying to figure out 
how to get inside (didn't fit in the hatch).

If I remember correctly, the sign was either lowered through a 
missile tube or cut in half and brought down.  Either way, it was 
displayed proudly the entire time the boat was in possession of it.

I can also vouch for Mr. Zito's words about our "A-Gang".  They 
truly were a rough bunch.  But also the best in the business of the ship.

More of the story from 'Pablo' (October 2010)

This is the story I have about the Pub Sign,

A couple of Shipmates are casing the sign in an alley on the Fredricksted side of the island, (where the Hambone is moored to a buoy). Acouple of local Rhastapharians come up and offer to steal the sign for the money in their pockets. My shipmates hand it over and if I remember correctly it is less than $20.00. I guess a couple of minutes later the two gentlemen who were hired come around the corner with the sign and hand it to my shipmates, while being chased by the pub owner. My two shipmates haul the sign with great hast and as luck would have it the mike boat (how we got back and forth to the Hambone) was on the beach waiting. He noticed the chase and got into position and as the two shipmates threw the sign in he took off to the Hambone.

After all that they get to the Hambone and the Chief of the Watch comes topside. He was not happy about what had taken place and was threatening to write my two shipmates up. HOWEVER!!!! After the Senior got done chewing some booty. The Skipper came topside to go ashore. I believe this is an exact quote ”Hey Cool Sign I think it is to big to fit down the hatch so flop the hatch”. I believe that was CMDR Harding, AWSOME SKIPPER!!!!

When We pulled into Bangor Wa. The skipper paid to have the sign re-furbished and It was a proud symbol of the SSBN 617.

By Pablo (Although he did not say so, I assume he is one of the aforementioned A-Gangers)


The "Family Gram"

I don't know if it is the same today but in 1970 the only communication we got from home was the Familygram. Forms were sent to loved ones who filled them out and they were radioed to the crews. Families were given a small number of forms and space for twenty words to let their "sailors" know everything that was going on back home. Not even close. Some of these things were very creative, some..."just the facts ma'am".

At some point, the USS Alexander Hamilton became the "USS A. Frog" (at least to the Gold Crew) I'm sure there is another fine story behind all that.

(Please see response below.) The following form was created and I have to believe that the radio gang had way too much time on their hands.

Family Gram

The Hamilton "Sky Pilot"

I'm retired Chaplain Steve Jensen. I got underway on boats from the diesels Bang & Clamagor to Subron 2's Sculpin & all of the Devron 12 boats. However, when I was being assigned as Group Two chaplain in Groton, I asked to make a patrol on a boomer to understand the challenges of qualifying. Admiral Scott arranged with Hamilton Gold crew CO Capt Badgett to develop a qual package modified from the SupO one for me. I met the ship Jan '80 in Port Canaveral & made the patrol to Holy Loch. While the captain & qualifying testing team were more than generous, I managed to qualify as DOOW during that patrol. To my knowledge, I am the only chaplain who has qualified as a chaplain in subs. The crew fashioned a one-of-a-kind set of dolphins for me with one dolphin modified into an angel wing & the conning tower modified into a cross...

Regards, SJ (September 21, 2010)

Angel Wing Dolphins

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Last Updated on October 2010