3 brothers followed their dad into the Navy and all become commanders of submarines

Bacon Brothers had remarkable Naval careers after their Bremerton High days

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO  Navy commanders Roger, Bart and Dan Bacon. Roger and Bart played on the 1955 Bremerton basketball team, and brother Dan was the manager.

Navy commanders Roger, Bart and Dan Bacon. Roger and Bart played on the 1955 Bremerton basketball team, and brother Dan was the manager.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO  Bart Bacon was the commander of the submarine USS Trout at one point during his career.
Bart Bacon was the commander of the submarine USS Trout at one point during his career.

But the Bacons — twins Roger and Barton and younger brother Dan, who was the team manager — did exceptionally well in their careers. And their careers were similar if not identical. That makes their story even more remarkable.

Roger and Bart started on that 1955 team. Once they got their graduation diploma, the two quickly got on with their lives. Roger accepted an appointment to the Naval Academy, where his basketball career fizzled out after a couple years because of foot injuries. He wound up coaching the Plebes (freshman) basketball team his senior year, and he also rowed with the Navy crew. He graduated 50th in a Navy class of 800 and got a masters from the Navy Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.

Bart played one year of football at Washington State and then followed his high school sweetheart and future wife, Marilyn Miller (now deceased), to the University of Washington where he got a split degree in industrial engineering and business. He would have played football at Washington except he didn’t know about a new rule that forced transfers to sit out a year. When he was a junior he figured he was too far behind the others to try it.

Dan, whom his older brothers considered the smartest, went to Stanford to get his math and physics degrees and got a masters of science degree from the Navy Postgraduate School in Monterey.

To keep the story short, Dan and Roger eventually got into the Navy Submarine School at New London, Conn., following in the footsteps of their dad, Barton Sr., who was in ROTC at Stanford and eventually became a submarine commander.

Bart had decided to go a different rout. He went to Navy Flight School in Pensacola, Fla., with the intent to become a pilot. His brothers were worried about him, so they talked him into applying for sub school.

“They thought I was eventually going to kill myself (by being a pilot),” said Bart, who was tops in his class at Pensacola in academics and second in flight school. He was on a tour with the carrier USS Yorktown when he was accepted into sub school, thus continuing an amazing streak of Bacons in submarine service for our country.

All three Bacons once commanded different subs in the Pacific at the same time.

Roger, who lives in retirement on Hood Canal near Poulsbo, had a 33-year Navy career that ended with him being Vice Admiral in charge of all the submarines in the United States arsenal — 100 fast attack and 30 strategic submarines. He commanded the fast attack submarine USS Flasher, the strategic nuclear submarine USS Patrick Henry and the submarine tender USS Hunley. He also served as commander of a submarine squadron in Pearl Harbor and as commander of Submarines Mediterranean, Naples, Italy.

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As a civilian he worked for Westinghouse as vice president at Hanford overseeing nuclear waster disposal, and at Rocky Flats as president of Safe Sites of Colorado. He closed down Rocky Flats. He also was chair of the undersea Warfare Department at the Navy Postgraduate School for four years.

Bart was commanding officer of the USS Trout submarine and the USS Cleveland LPD 7 (light class cruiser), and was commanding office of the Submarine Training Facility, and Navy Personnel Research Department, both in San Diego. He also is a graduate of the National War College, Armed Forces Staff College, and Defense Intelligence College. Retired from the Navy after 31 years, Bart lives in San Diego.

Dan was commanding officer of the fast attack nuclear submarine USS Haddock and retired as a Commander after 20 years of service. As a civilian he was president and founder of West Coast Division of Sonalist, and was awarded the Department of Defense Certificate of Excellence in 2000. He died suddenly in 2008 at the age of 67 at his home in San Diego. His oldest son, Dan, who lives on Bainbridge Island, graduated from the Navy Academy and served in the Navy 20 years, spending half that time with the nuclear sub force.

Every submarine the Bacon’s commanded was awarded the Battle Efficiency E for overall excellence in competition with all other submarines in the squadron over a course of a year. Bart’s USS Trout command was adjudged the most outstanding diesel submarine in the entire submarine force in 1976.

“Roger figured out that the Bacon Navy family had 16 commands during the 99 years of cumulative naval service,” Bart said.

Bart Bacon Sr. and his boys, Roger, Dan and Bart, just before World War II. All three of the Bacon brothers later commanded different subs in the Pacific at the same time.

All three brothers earned numerous Navy honor way too long to list here. Roger was awarded the French Legion of Honor and three Distinguished Service medals. Dan and Bart’s awards include Legion of Merit and Presidential Meritorious Service Medal.

This, of course, is not the entire story of the Bacons. It’s a glimpse, a snapshot if you will, of three brothers who served our country well, as they once did for Bremerton High School as young high school students that were part of a remarkable collection of guys who played for a remarkable basketball coach — Ken Wills — on a remarkable basketball team.

Source – Kitsap Sun

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