Retained Silent Service
Mysteries abound in the life of this Eagle Scout, who gave much but took little more from the silent service than the lifelong habit of keeping his comings and goings a secret.
John Yoshikawa Kuapahi, perhaps the first Asian-American assigned a nuclear power billet aboard a submarine, had been awarded a U.S. Navy commendation for averting a “major disaster” when an oxygen fire erupted on USS Sargo June 14, 1960. As seen in his 2005 letter passage above, Kuapahi sought a very private life, wanting to reveal almost nothing about himself to his daily acquaintances.
He played a key role in saving that submarine, said the sub’s former commander, John H. “Nick” Nicholson, an 84-year-old retired vice admiral who lives in La Jolla, Calif.
Ironically, the intellectual recluse, who was fatally overcome by smoke last month in his book-and-cardboard-stuffed rental garage in Hillyard, was an American hero few knew. source
ET1 Kuapahi, had performed selflessly during the onboard submarine tragedy and later in his civilian life performing volunteer work. As a youth he even achieved Eagle Scout in Troop 56 of the Honolulu Council.
The seventy-six year-old died content with 71 cents in his pocket. He left the navy in 1961, the year after Sargo's tragic oxygen fire.
Vigilis wishes he had been among the fortunate who made John Yoshikawa Kuapahi's acquaintance.
By the way, visitors to Sargo's website will probably be as impressed as M.E. by the content and detail. Have never seen better! You should at least check the hairy method used to ultimately extinguish the sternroom fire. No wonder Yoshikawa and others earned their commendations.
Submarines are always silent and strange.
Labels: SSN-583 Sargo