JOLIET, Ill. – The City of Joliet is gearing up to unveil a remarkable new monument commemorating the valor and sacrifice of those who served on submarines during World War II. The monument, dedicated to the submarines lost during the war, will be unveiled in a special ceremony in June.
The USS Chicago Base, a group of U.S. Submarine Veterans from the Northeastern Chicago area, will be leading the initiative to honor the submariners. The dedication ceremony is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, June 14, at 11:00 a.m., at the Veterans Memorial located on the south side of Bicentennial Park, 30 North Bluff Street.
The monument holds particular significance as it pays homage to the 28 submarines that passed through Joliet on their way to the Pacific theater. These submarines were built by the Manitowoc Ship Building Company in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. After completing training and sea trials in Lake Michigan, these vessels embarked on a perilous journey through the Chicago River, the Sanitary & Ship Canal, and Lockport. They then continued their voyage through Joliet, the Mississippi River, and ultimately reached New Orleans, Louisiana. From there, they ventured across the Gulf of Mexico, transiting the Panama Canal, and entering the Pacific theater of World War II.
Among the 28 submarines, four tragically met their fate in combat. The USS Golet SS-361, USS Kete SS-369, USS Lagarto SS-371, and USS Robalo SS273 were lost, resulting in the loss of over 300 officers and men. The new monument will honor the memory of all submarines lost during the war, bringing the total count to 52 submarines and 3,000 officers and men on Eternal Patrol.
The dedication ceremony will be a momentous occasion, featuring speeches from notable figures such as Joliet Mayor Terry D’Arcy, State Representative Larry Walsh Jr., a representative from Congresswoman Underwood’s office, and the Commander of the USS Chicago Base.
Attendees can expect a moving presentation of colors, the national anthem, and a taps/gun salute. Free parking will be available in the lot south of the Veterans Memorial. In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be relocated to the Bicentennial Park Theater at 201 N. Bluff Street.
The City of Joliet invites the public to witness this historic event and show their respect for the brave submariners who served their country. It is an opportunity to honor their courage and remember their ultimate sacrifice. Join the city in paying tribute to these heroes as the impressive World War II monument is unveiled in June.