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The World War II photographs Bob Schartmann bought for $5 at a Utah County garage sale were an important addition to a collection he has been amassing for the past 30 years.
The photos of Japanese submarines, snapped by a sailor, are among the 2,500 letters, books, dispatches, models and historic artifacts highlighting the history of submarines of Imperial Japan, Britain, Nazi Germany and the United States.
"I woke up one day and realized I had a massive collection," said Schartmann, of Draper, who joined the Air Force during the Vietnam War and is one of the few non-submariners admitted to sub associations. "My hope is that what I've acquired can be placed on permanent display in a museum or library, to remember the men who served on submarines and to honor them."
Imperial Japan had built the world's most diverse submarine fleet, he said. The boats ranged from midget submarines deployed during the attack on Pearl Harbor to manned torpedoes, supply subs, medium- and long-range submarines and the giant I-boats that could carry as many as three floatplane bombers tucked away in watertight hangars.
One of the colossal subs sneaked into U.S. coastal waters in 1943 and launched a bomber that dropped incendiary bombs onto an Oregon forest. Another Japanese submarine sailed to the port at Los Angeles to shell oil refineries situated close to the beaches.
"The attacks didn't do much damage," said Schartmann. "They were designed solely to spread terror, to force the Americans to sue for peace."
Schartmann's interest was first piqued in the 1950s when his parents took him to see the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered sub- marine.
He eventually acquired one of the Nautilus' famous patches, depicting a whale with a submarine body, designed by Walt Disney. The colorful logo, photographs and a film badge worn by crew members to monitor radiation exposure came from Art Gogan, of Murray, who had served on the Nautilus and Seawolf, the nation's second nuclear sub.
"I wanted him to have the items because they will probably survive beyond me if they ended up in the collecting fraternity," said Gogan, a retired master chief.
Like all submariners, Gogan wore the coveted dolphin patch above his left-breast pocket, signifying he was cross-trained in every essential task required to put to sea.
"There's no room for error," he said. "You always want a redundancy in anything you do at sea but there can only be a redundancy in capabilities, not personnel on a sub."
Schartmann, a worldwide manager for Federal Express, added to his collection during his lunch hour by writing letters to retired submariners, asking for information about their service. Over the years, he mailed about 1,000 letters.
Responses were generous and astounding, he said.
Joe Fern, who served on the submarine USS Menhaden, recalled that when Adm. Chester Nimitz relinquished command of the U.S. Pacific fleet at the end of World War II, he singled out the USS Menhaden to lower his flag.
"This was quite an honor," wrote Fern, "considering that he could have chosen aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers" or other larger ships.
Schartmann said submarines were "the first to take the war to the Japanese" after the devastating attack at Pearl Harbor that had crippled the American fleet. U.S. submarines kept up their offensive throughout the war, sinking the highest percentage of enemy ships.
Another reply came from Eli Riech, captain of the USS Sealion, which sank the Japanese battle cruiser Konga, heavily armored and considered impregnable. Riech wrote that it could have been a fluke or a lucky shot, but the U.S. sub was able to get close enough to fire off a torpedo that hit the ship's midsection - setting off stored munitions.
Another document Schartmann has acquired is a dispatch from Adm. Raymond Spruance describing horrific naval battles during the U.S. invasion of Okinawa.
"The fighting by ships of the fleet has been marked by great courage and determination and have caused us the highest naval casualties of any operation up to this time," he said in his report that ended: "I am proud to have been associated with so fine a body of men."
The Nautilus and Seawolf also were the world's first truly submersible submarines, said Schartmann. The boats generated their own fuel, oxygen and drinking water, needing to surface only to take on more food.
Today, when the USS Salt Lake City attack submarine surfaces at its home port in San Diego, crew members take on as much food as they can. Food is stuffed into every available space aboard the namesake of Utah's capital - including passageways.
The crew must step atop the foodstuffs until they can "eat their way out," said the sub's commander, Stephen Marr. He has likened the tight living conditions to 100 people sharing the same small home. Space is so cramped that women are banned from serving.
"Submarines have always been extremely complex machines where every crew member is critical to the success of the mission," said Schartmann. "All it takes is for something to pierce the side and everyone goes down."
If you go
* Bob Schartmann gives tours of his collection of submarine memorabilia and artifacts to civic groups and schoolchildren.
* For more information, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.