MALONE — A memorial dedicated to veterans of the “silent service” is making a lot of noise in the Albany area.
The New York State Submariners Memorial in Ballston Spa lists the names of the 447 New Yorkers who died in submarine service for the U.S. Navy. It is engraved with the phrase “shipmates on eternal patrol” on one side and “sailor rest your oar” on the other.
WALK OF HONOR
The park also features the Veterans Walk of Honor, where bricks can be purchased for $75 each and etched in dedication to not only a submariner but to New York vets from any branch of the service who wore a uniform for their country.
The memorial, situated near Low Street and Route 50 in the Village of Ballston Spa, was commissioned by the foundation arm of the Albany/Saratoga base of the U.S. Submarine Veterans Inc.
Frank Dorchak, a group member and submariner from Malone who served aboard the USS Sailfish, USS Threadfin, USS Irex and USS Triton between 1955 and 1965, attended the ceremony last month, where the final phase of the memorial was unveiled.
A 25-foot scale model of the USS Albany was dedicated and erected across from the memorial stone, which is surrounded by the 9-by-7-inch etched bricks and pavers that name the 65 lost boats.
Dorchak purchased five bricks: one for each of his sons, Chris and Frank III; one for an uncle who served in 1917; another for a brother-in-law who served in World War II; and one to commemorate his own submarine service.
He hopes North Country veterans and their families will visit and support the memorial.
“You’d be surprised how many submarine vets there are up here,” he said, adding that when he formed a local chapter of a submarine veterans group several years ago, he had about 25 members.
Those who served aboard subs aren’t honored and remembered as readily as more visible members of the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy, but they have a valuable role in the nation’s history, he said.
Military personnel in Dorchak’s era faced the dangers of the Korean War, Vietnam and the Cuban Missile Crisis, where weapons were pointed at the United States just 75 miles off her shore.
“People don’t realize how close we came to World War III,” he said.
Submariners “were serving at a very strategic post.”
Some sub veterans saw a lot of action, while others did not come under the same duress but still served an important role in defense of the country.
“You don’t get to pick and choose when you serve and know what’s going to go on,” Dorchak said. “No matter what era, we’re all called veterans.”
And he hopes many New Yorkers from all branches of armed service are remembered along the brick walkway.
“I’d like people to have the opportunity to see and remember those who served,” he said.
He noted that area Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and other veterans groups can purchase bricks to honor their memberships.
Email Denise A. Raymo: