Basil C. Pearce Chapter

The Basil C. Pearce Chapter of the Submarine Veterans of World War II was organized in 1957 by veterans in Northeast Florida. This was the first chapter in the United States named for a lost submariner. Learn more about Basil Pearce, who was lost on the USS Tang (SS 306).

This group did the fundraising and supervised the building of the Tang memorial on the banks of the St. Johns River in Palatka, Florida. The memorial is across the river from the home where Basil Pearce grew up with his parents, Senator and Mrs. B. C. Pearce, Sr., and his sister Nancy.

Basil was a popular young man in the area and his close friend, Gerald A. Merwin, Sr., was the primary veteran behind the formation of the chapter and also the design and building of the memorial.

The Putnam County, Florida, area was represented by a large number of submariners in World War II given that it is a rural community without a large population. Many of the "boys" who left home to join the Navy had probably never been far from home, much less traveled around the world as they would in the years from 1941 to 1945.  

We use the term "boys" because many of the volunteers were barely old enough to meet the minimum age requirement for enlistment. Gerald Merwin was only seven days past his seventeenth birthday when he enlisted. He needed his mother's signature to meet the enlistment requirement. The photo of Elton Brubaker (to left) illustrates the typical youth who went to sea in World War II.

We are working on a list of the Putnam County area guys who served in the silent service. As soon as the list is available we will post it on this site.
Updated 09/30/2008
Primary Photographer: Keith Merwin; Web Designer: Jerry Merwin