PASADENA’s Frumpy

On 11 February 1989, USS PASADENA (SSN-752) was commissioned. Little did her builders know that the boat’s crew would consist of more than just human beings. What follows is a newspaper article, written by JO2 Peter Hyde, that appeared in the New London Day on 9 June 1989. It is entitled “Meet Frumpy, Pasadena’s Mascot.”

“The control room aboard USS Pasadena (SSN-752) was characteristically busy. Crewmembers hustling to accomplish last minute projects paused briefly to take the measure of a well-known but little seen member of their crew, an eight-pound North American Snapping Turtle by the name of ‘Frumpy.’

“Frumpy, Pasadena’s mascot, was found by a crewmember in his backyard in Preston, Connecticut and was originally intended to go to sea with the crew, but as Pasadena’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Will Fritchman explains, ‘The turtle just got too big. We originally wanted him to live in a fish tank in the crew’s mess and stay with us forever, but we misjudged his ability to grow.’

“In fact, Frumpy, like other North American Snapping Turtles, has quadrupled in size since he rode down the ways with his Chief of the Boat, MMCM (SS) Fritz Poppe on top of the sail during Pasadena’s launching in September 1987.

“The selection of the turtle as the ship’s mascot is part of the history of the Pasadena’s immediate predecessor, the cruiser Pasadena. ‘One of my sailors stopped at the National Archives in Washington,’ explained Cmdr. Fritchman. ‘He looked up information about the cruiser Pasadena and in there, amidst all the other information about its adventures in the Second World War, was a caricature of this turtle created by Walt Disney.’

“Taking the caricature of the turtle, Cmdr. Fritchman decided to work it into the ship’s patch design. ‘I took my three patch experts, had them meld their talents together, and asked them to throw in the turtle figure as a way to tie our ship to the cruiser.

“ET1(SS) Del Laughery and ET1(SS) Don Hilliker, both licensed pilots, are raising money to fly Frumpy to a new home at California Polytechnical Institute at Pomona, California, very near Pasadena, where he will join two other snapping turtles.”

 

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