SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law designating a stretch of a busy highway to American submarine forces.
Submarine veterans can often go overlooked, but a portion of Route 9 dedicated to them is aimed at raising their visibility and serving as a memorial for those lost at sea.
Pride is the driving force for these local vets, who can now call this stretch of the road the Submarine Veterans Memorial Highway.
“Submariners think we can do anything, that’s the strange part about us, we can do anything, so if someone wants a highway, named, we’ll go get it done,” Fred Miller, submarine veteran, said.
Fifteen months after Fred Miller wrote the bill, and enlisted the help of Senator Kathy Marchione and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, his can-do attitude paid off.
“Thank you all for being part of this very special event,” Sen. Marchione said.
Miller served on a submarine in World War II and says the submarine service is small and tight-knit.
“It’s different, it’s fun, you go out to sea for three months, the camaraderie is terrific,” Miller said.
With that came immense danger, especially during World War II when Jim Irwin says about a quarter of the submarine force was lost.
“We lost 52 American submarines and the crew went down with their shift,” Irwin said.
He says it takes a brave soul to be submerged at sea for weeks at a time.
“It’s kind of scary the first time, and you go underwater, and you can hear the walls creak and you can hear things like that. There’s no daylight, there’s no mail or email,” Irwin said.
The highway will remind drivers of the sacrifices made by the so-called the silent service.
“That’s because nobody was supposed to know where we are or what we are doing was heard about us,” Irwin said.
The highway’s new name is changing that, giving these vets recognition, and commemorating those who gave their lives.
“To honor those folks that went out to sea. They were young guys for the most part, and never came back, is really the right thing to do,” Miller said.
The signs are expected to go up in four to five months, giving these vets the recognition they so deserve.