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Dennis Sulzer was was born October 26, 1952. He was a QM1(SS) aboard the USS William H. Bates in the mid-1970's. After his tour on BATES, he served aboard USS Richard B. Russell (SSN-687) and was Chief of the Boat aboard USS Boston (SSN-703). He retired as a QMCM(SS) after a long and illustrious Naval career.

Dennis passed away on September 7, 1995, in Suffolk County Long Island, New York, after a long illlness.

Submarine Group 2 in Groton annually invokes his memory in honoring deserving sailors with the QMCM(SS) Dennis M. Sulzer Memorial Leadership Award.

 

 

Dennis was a QM on the Bates, part of an enthusiastic, professional group of navigators who were young and learned a lot in tough operational challenges during classified ops and in equally challenging piloting situations, sometimes close to homeport.

Dennis was a family man and a great shipmate to all. His enthusiasm was infectious and his sense of humor never left him. Later on he joined me when I was the Group Commander in Groton.

In a routine blood test during an annual physical, an alert doctor noted one irregularity that wasn't even out of spec, but it turned out to be fatal after a long and tough fight.

Dennis was a physical fitness buff and he always was a great example for kids with respect to taking good care of his body and his appearance, especially in uniform.

He died a very slow death and gave up every inch of his breath grudgingly. He was incredibly brave and again a wonderful example to all who knew him.

His retirement was a double loss for he saw his loss of life ahead of him, as certainly as the end of his naval career. It never affected his moral and mental strength and I loved him for both.

 

William Houley

Commanding Officer
USS William H. Bates 1975-1978

 

 

Not much more I can say about Dennis Sulzer beyond what Bill Houley stated so well. Dennis was by far the finest QM I ever knew. He always had some special saying; one in particular that that I remember went something like, "Life is but a chowl of bollies." He was a terrific leader who had a great sense of humor. Without a doubt, Dennis was one of the key members that made it so fun and rewarding to be on the Bates.

 

Don Wilson

Former Shipmate
USS William H. Bates 1975-1979

 

 

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U.S. Naval Institute News

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