USS Virginia Base Wardroom - USS Virginia Base

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USS Virginia Base Wardroom
On a submarine, the Wardroom is a part of “Officer Country” - which is what the enlisted crew call the officers’ quarters. The Wardroom is the area within Officer Country where the officers eat, study, do paperwork, socialize, and have meetings.

So, it's fitting that this would be the area of our Base website where we list those Base members who have stepped forward to serve as officers in our organization. We'll describe their positions within the Base, whether thay are elected or appointed, and make space for each of them to post a brief bio, photo and comments of their choosing - along with their contact information.


GROTON, Conn. - Chinah Helmandollar, Miss Virginia USA (2010), enjoys the hospitality of the wardroom aboard USS Virginia (SSN 774), along with the officers, after completing a full tour of the boat, June 16, 2010. Standing from left to right: Lieutenant junior grade Brian Higgins, Supply Officer; Lieutenant Keith Turnbull, Quality Assurance Officer; Lieutenant Commander Thomas O’Donnell, Engineer; Chinah Helmandollar, Miss Virginia USA; Commander Tim Salter, Commanding Officer; Lt. Cmdr. Wes Bringham, Executive Officer; Lt. Scott Stewart, Combat Systems Officer; and Lt. Travis Burden, Damage Control Assistant.

Our Base wardroom doesn't include Miss Virginia (or even the Virginia officers pictured above), but we are nonetheless just as proud of our Base officers as Captain Salter was of his wardroom. (This photo, by the way, was taken aboard Virginia just FIVE WEEKS before our Base visit to the boat on July 23, 2010 - Click here if you haven't yet visited our web page that features that visit).
USS Virginia Base Officers
Click on the officer's name to go directly to his section of this web page
Officer Position TitleEncumbentElected or AppointedDate of Office
CommanderKenn McDermottElected2008
Vice CommanderPete FortierElected
SecretaryBill AndersonElected2013
TreasurerJim LencalisElected2006
StorekeeperBob KutzenbergerAppointed2011
Ways & Means Chair
50/50 Coordinator
John LamsensAppointed
Nominating ChairThurman RegisterAppointed
About Base Commander Kenn McDermott

Kenn McDermott standing in front of his "I Love Me" wall at home

Per ARTICLE VIII, Section 1 of our Base By-Laws, the USS Virginia Base COMMANDER is responsible to:
      a. Preside at all USS Virginia Base meetings.
      b. Preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors.
      c. Act as chairman "Ex-Officio" of all committees.
      d. Appoint all committees, committee chairmen and appointed officers subject to membership approval at the next regularly scheduled business meeting.
      e. Represent the USS Virginia Base at official functions.
      f. Oversee the performance of all committees and USS Virginia Base officers.
      g. Prepare a "turn over" package for his relief, containing all information and correspondence relative to the office.

Additionally, Kenn serves as the Base Webmaster and coordinates all Holland Club arrangements and inductions, and assists the Membership Chair by communicating with new and prospective members. Because our Base does not currently have a Chaplain, Kenn offers the opening invocation and the closing benediction.

You can contact Kenn by sending an e-mail to him at


Kenn joined USSVI and USS Virginia Base in 2003 and right away volunteered to acquire a domain name for a Base web site and build the site. He has continued to serve as Base Webmaster while also serving as Vice Commander for several years and Base Commander since 2008.

Kenn enlisted in the U. S. Navy immediately after graduating from High School in 1959 at age 17 - with the express purpose in mind of joining the submarine service. He put in for subs while in boot camp at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Illinois and then again while in Radioman "A" School in Norfolk, Virginia, and then again while on a special one-year tour of shore duty at NAVCOMMSTA Newport, Rhode Island. When he submitted his special request chit at Newport for subs he was sent out to Goat Island to undergo a pressure test in the decompression chamber they had there on the island. He had made RM3 while at Newport and must have passed the pressure test because when his one-year tour was up he received orders to report directly to the USS Entemedor (SS-340) at State Pier in New London, Connecticut. Although he was sent up to the Sub Base to go through the escape training tank, he never attended sub school. Kenn therefore considers his three months aboard Entemedor (a GUPPY IIA boat built at Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut) to be his 'sub school' because he was transferred to USS Bang (SS-385) after three months and had to start his qualifications all over again because the Bang, although it was also a GUPPY IIA boat, had been built at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, New Hampshire, and was considered to be significantly different enough to warrant a new qualification program. Kenn qualified in submarines aboard the Bang in March of 1962, making his final walk-through with the Engineer while the boat was visiting Rotterdam, Holland.

Kenn put the USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN-630) in commission and served on that boat for five years. Reporting aboard in December of 1963 as an RM1(SS) Kenn made the first sea trial (and that exciting first dive and first excursion to test depth), DASO for the missile test firing and seven deterrent patrols. After three patrols Kenn made Chief and completed four more patrols as the Leading Radioman. While aboard he also served as the ship's Qualification Chief Petty Officer for one year.

Kenn served for a year and a half as an instructor in the Instructor Training Branch of the U. S. Submarine School New London, Groton, Connecticut beginning in the fall of 1968 before making Warrant Officer (W-1) in June of 1970. He then transferred to COMSUBLANT staff in Norfolk, Virginia where he served as a Communications Watch Officer for three and a half years. While at COMSUBLANT Kenn made Chief Warrant Officer (CWO-2) and then Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) under the Limited Duty Officer (LDO) program.

After serving three years as the Assistant Communications Officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CVA-59), Kenn was transferred back to COMSUBLANT staff where he served as the Base Consolidated Telecommunications Officer until his retirement from the U. S. Navy as a Lieutenant (LT) on August 1, 1979.

Immediately after retiring from the USN Kenn, his wife Della, two daughters (Connie & Vicki), two cats and a dog piled into a 27' Itasca Class A Motorhome and began a three-year, 37 state, Maine to Key West to California travel odyssey throughout our great United States of America.

After traveling and working part time jobs while building their new home in Buckingham County, Virginia - Kenn began working in Facilities Management at the University of Virginia. Having served in various positions as a Medical Center Project Manager, Division Manager and Professional Services Contract Administrator - Kenn retired after 28 years as the Facilities Planning & Construction Admin & IT Manager on May 4, 2012.

Kenn & Della have attended a number of USSVI National, Regional and District conferences and events - including the Commissioning of the USS North Carolina (SSN-777), where this picture of Kenn was snapped:

Kenn at the Co-Pilot station aboard the USS North Carolina (SSN-777) on the occasion of her commissioning in Wilmington, North Carolina on May 3, 2008.
About Base Vice Commander Pete Fortier

Per Article VIII, Section 2 of our By-Laws, the USS Virginia Base VICE-COMMANDER is responsible to:

      a. Assist the USS Virginia Base Commander in the performance of his duties.
      b. Preside over meetings in the USS Virginia Base Commander's absence.
      c. Serve on the Board of Directors.
      d. Perform all the duties of the USS Virginia Base Commander should he become incapacitated.
      e. Serve as the Membership Chairman of the USS Virginia Base.
      f. Prepare a "turn over" package for his relief, containing all information and correspondence relative to the office.

You can contact Pete by sending an e-mail to him at
About Base Secretary Bill Anderson


Per ARTCILE VIII, Section 3 of our Base By-Laws, the USS Virginia Base SECRETARY is responsible to:
a. Keep the minutes of all USS Virginia Base regularly scheduled meetings and meetings of the Board of Directors.
b. Answer and keep a record of all USS Virginia Base correspondence.
c. Serve as Newsletter Chairman.
d. Maintain the Membership Roll of the USS Virginia Base.
e. Serve on the Board of Directors.
f. Conduct USS Virginia Base Elections.
g. Prepare a "turn over" package for the relief, containing all information and correspondence relative to the office.

Additionally, Bill - along with his son Curtis and wife Sandi - initiated and continue to coordinate the Base's annual submarine display at the three-day Field Day of the Past event in Rockville, Virginia. Not only have many people learned about the U.S. Navy Submarine Service and USS Virginia Base from this event - we've also recruited numerous members as a result.

You can contact Bill by sending an e-mail to him at


Bill joined USSVI and USS Virginia Base in 2009 and was elected Base Secretary in 2013.

Bill Anderson is the son of career Navy Engineman William and Lucy Anderson.  True to being a Navy brat he was born in the US Naval Hospital, Bremerton, Washington, when his father was being transferred from Great Lakes Training Center, Chicago, Ilinois to a fleet tug home ported at Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Spending most of his first nine years in Hawaii, his family was transferred to a small Naval Base on the coast of Washington State. There they bought a small farm and his father did his twilight tour aboard a minesweeper, checking sampans off the coast of Vietnam in 1967 & 1968. Upon retiring in November of 1968 he became a salmon charter boat skipper, with Bill as his deck hand. During this time Bill grew to love the sea and decided to follow his father's footsteps and join the Navy when he graduated from High School.

They worked the charter boats until William was diagnosed with cancer in 1972 and had to surrender his skippers license. Bill worked his last summer with a different skipper, while his father took correspondence courses in locksmithing.

Ten days after graduating from Hoquiam High School, Bill enlisted into the U. S. Navy and went to Recruit Training Command, San Diego, California - then on to Submarine School, New London, Connecticut, followed by A and C schools in Dam Neck, Virginia.

Bill's first boat was the USS Tecumseh (SSBN-628), home ported Charleston, South Carolina, on which he completed six patrols and took her through a shipyard period in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. At that time he met and married the love of his life, Sandi, who had two daughters, Rae-Lyn and Holli.  Later his "little" boy Curtis came along, who is now an Associate member of USS Virginia Base.

After the shipyard period "T-Cup" was transferred back to Charleston and Bill made two more patrols. At this point his enlistment was about to expire and it was decided that getting married and changing careers at about the same time was not a good idea. Bill therefore re-enlisted for four years, getting shore duty at the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific at the Submarine Base, Bangor, Washington (SWFPAC).

Just prior to arriving at SWFPAC, Bill's father's health took a turn for the worst and he became paralyzed from the waist down.  It was agreed that after Bill's enlistment he would return home and help his Dad with the locksmith business.  

Bill returned to sea duty aboard the USS Kamehameha (SSBN-642) out of New London, Connecticut and made two patrols prior to returning home in October 1984 where he began to learn the locksmith trade. However, his father's health deteriorated further with more cancer and he passed away the following March.

Going from NQP to CO in eight months was tough.  A few years later the economy of coastal Washington State took a hard downturn and Bill made the decision to leave, taking a locksmithing position with what is now Dominion Lock and Security in Mechanicsville, Virginia - a job he has held since 1992.
About Base Treasurer Jim Lencalis

Jim Lencalis standing in front of his "I Love Me" wall at home

Per ARTICLE VIII, Section 4 of our Base By-Laws, the TREASURER is responsible to:
a. Accept, and keep a record of, all monies and USS Virginia Base assets.
b. Disburse such monies as may be approved by a majority vote of the members.
c. Assure the Tax Exempt status of the USS Virginia Base.
d. Keep complete and accurate financial reports.
e. Submit the USS Virginia Base "Control Report" and membership monies to the National Office, copy of the National Membership Chairman, as required.
f. Prepare a "turn over" package for USS Virginia Base, containing all information and correspondence relative to the office.

Jim assumed the position of USS Virginia Base Treasurer following Treasurer Jack Winn’s call to Eternal Patrol in February of 2006 and has been reelected to the Base Treasurer Position each year since. Additionally he serves as Membership Chair and also provides audio visual/computer support for Base meeting opening ceremonies and special presentations. He has developed a power point presentation, by month, for Lost Boats which has been requested by, and gladly given, to several other USSVI affiliated bases for their own Lost Boat Ceremonies.

You can contact Jim by sending an e-mail to him at


Jim joined USSVI and USS Virginia Base in December 2004 becoming a Life USSVI Member at that time.
Jim enlisted in the US Navy with the designation of SA-NFE (Nuclear Field Electronics) in September of 1964, attending both boot camp and Electronics Technician Class A Schools at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Illinois. While at Great lakes he was a member of both the Recruit Training Command Band and the Service School Command Band.

Following ETA school he reported to Basic Nuclear Power School in Bainbridge, Maryland, and was then assigned to Prototype Training at D1G West Milton, New York. Following prototype training he reported to Submarine School, New London, Connecticut. Following Submarine School Jim reported to new construction on the USS Grayling (SSN-646) at the Portsmouth Naval shipyard, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

While assigned to Grayling new construction he was a member of the 3rd, 4th and 5th pre-commissioning  units. Construction and commissioning of Grayling was delayed due to SubSafe modifications following the loss of USS Thresher. Graying was finally commissioned in October 1969.

While on Grayling he qualified as a  Reactor Operator and Shutdown Maneuvering Area Watch with additional duties of RC Division LPO and division/department RPPO. He completed submarine qualifications and was presented his dolphins following the commissioning of USS Grayling. He remained on Grayling for one year after commissioning while the Grayling operated out of Port Canaveral, Florida as a Mark 48 torpedo test platform.

Following his tour on Grayling he was assigned to USS James Madison (SSBN-627) Blue for five patrols out of Holy Loch, Scotland. While on Madison he requalifed in submarines and requalified as a Reactor Operator and Shutdown Maneuvering Area Watch - with additional duties of RC Division LPO and Division/Department RPPO.
Following separation from the Navy in June of 1973 he went to work for VEPCO (now Dominion Energy) in Nuclear Operations as an Assistant Control Room Operator. While at Vepco he obtained his United States Atomic Energy Reactor Operator License for Surry Power Station and North Anna Power Station. He was involved in Construction, testing, initial startup and operation of North Anna Units 1 and 2.

During his operations career at North Anna he was promoted to Licensed Reactor Operator then Assistant Shift Supervisor, at which time he obtained his United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission Senior Reactor Operator License. He was then promoted to Operations Shift Supervisor at the North Anna Power Station.
Following fifteen years in the North Anna Operations Department he was transferred to the North Anna Nuclear Training Department where he held the positions of Senior Instructor Nuclear Operations and Lead Simulator Instructor - directly involved with maintaining the proficiency and qualifications of Licensed Reactor and Senior Reactor Operators. He retired from Dominion in 2004
Jim and his wife, Pat, reside in Orange, Virginia. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2017 with close family members including their two married Daughters and three grandchildren.
Jim and Pat enjoy traveling, especially by RV, having made three extended patrols across the U.S. and one to Alaska.
He likes working with people and will provide help to those in need with a smile and a thank you as the only expected or accepted payment. He is involved with the USSVI KapSS 4 KidSS program and is a volunteer coach with Therapeutic Adventures, which provides the opportunity for children and adults with various physical, mental and vision challenges the opportunity to enjoy the sport of snow skiing.
About Base Storekeeper Bob Kutzenberger

Bob Kutzenberger standing in front of just a few of the antique pistols in his collection

Per USSVI, USS Virginia Base and common fiduciary standards and practices, the BASE STOREKEEPER is responsible to:

     a. Maintain an accurate inventory of all Base Ship's Store items, their cost to the Base and their sale price to members and others purchasing Ship's Store items.
b.  Maintain sufficient cash on hand to handle Ship's Store sales and inventory restocking.
c. Coordinate routinely with the BASE TREASURER to ensure that all Ship's Store funds are properly accounted for in the Base Treasury.
d. Assist the USS Virginia Base Commander as may be requested.
     e. Preside over meetings in the USS Virginia Base Commander's and Vice Commander's absence if requested.
     c. Serve on the Board of Directors.      
f. Prepare a "turn over" package for his relief, containing all information and correspondence relative to the office.

You may contact Bob by sending an e-mail to him at


Bob joined USSVI and USS Virginia Base in 2010 and has been Base Storekeeper since 2011. He and his wife Meg reside in Maidens, VA (Goochland County). He has a son, Alan, from a previous marriage. Bob is an avid firearms collector, with emphasis on the historical period of 1800 through the late 1890's. He acquired his first muzzle loader at the age of 18 and can now be found puttering around with his collection of old handguns and long guns. He most recently constructed a fully functional one-third scale 1841 6-Pounder. cannon from scratch.

Bob was born and grew up in rural South Texas and attended Alan Military Academy in Bryan, TX where he graduated in 1961. After an additional year at AMA, he joined the Navy in October, 1962 and volunteered for the Navy Polaris Electronics Program. He attended boot camp at the Naval Training Center in San Diego, CA where he was the company Educational Petty Officer and was nominated as Company Honor Man. After boot camp, he attended ET A School at Treasure Island, San Francisco, and from there was ordered to Submarine School in New London, CT. Bob received orders out of Sub School to the USS Grouper, AGSS-214, the oldest submarine in the Navy at that time. Needless to say, the Grouper was a far cry from a Polaris Sub, and the tragic loss of the Thresher in 1963 had resulted in a lack of billets in the Polaris program until the nuke subs could be re-outfitted. Bob's disappointment was short lived however, as he discovered the Grouper had just completed a ship yard overhaul and outfitting and was in excellent shape. As an AGSS, the Grouper had been modified to carry engineers/scientists to study the effects of underwater sound propagation, and most of Bob's time on the Grouper was spent operating out of Bermuda and other locations throughout the Caribbean. It was very interesting work, and Bob qualified SS on the Grouper in June, 1964. She was a good old boat!

Bob received orders for further electronics training at Damn Neck, VA in the late Fall of 1964, and upon graduation was assigned the job code of SINS Tech. However, assignment to a Polaris boat was delayed yet again, and he was ordered to report to the USS Sennet SS-408 out of Charleston, SC. The Sennet had experienced a fire in their Loran set, and the boat did not have an ET and needed the Loran for an upcoming deployment. Bob was only on the Senate for several weeks, and upon repairing the burned-out Loran set (The cook had put
the fire out with an ansul fire extinguisher from the galley!... What a mess!), he received orders for the Henry Clay SSBN-625 Gold stationed in Charleston, SC and operating out of Rota, Spain. Going from one of the oldest boats in the Navy to one of the newest was quite an adjustment. Personnel shortages of certain rates were prevalent at that time and Bob found himself assigned to stand watches in the Sonar Shack while on patrol. He qualified as a Sonar Supervisor, and after two patrols in Sonar and qualifying SS on the Clay, he was finally released to work and stand watches in the Navigation Center. Home at last!

After four patrols out of Rota, Spain, the Clay was moved north to Holy Loch, Scotland and Bob made three patrols out of there on the Clay until the Fall of 1968 when the boat was ordered back to Charleston for overhaul. By that time, Bob was an E-6 short-timer, and was eager to get through separations and on into civilian life. But not until one last trip on the Henry Clay! Before going into the yards, the boat had to go out for a resin dump, and Bob ended up on the list to take the boat out. Should not have taken more than a day at most, but bad weather complicated things and the boat rolled around in heavy seas for two and a half days before everything could be done. It was a horrible experience, with no AC, only power from the diesel, and about 30 shipmates on board to handle everything. Thank goodness the coffee machine didn't crap out!

After separations, Bob went to work at General Dynamics Corporation in Rochester, NY as a Technical Writer on the F-111 fighter/bomber test program. GD closed down operations there in the late Fall of 1970, and Bob was transferred to Stromberg-Carlson Corporation, a sister division of GD. From there, Bob worked himself through various positions in Customer Support, Sales Engineering, and Marketing, before being transferred to Stromberg's Telephone Apparatus division in Charlottesville, VA in the Spring of 1974. Bob worked in the telecommunications industry for the next 25 years, his last nine years with Sprint Corporation as a National Account Manager for AT&T. He retired in the Fall of 1999, and has been enjoying retirement ever since!
About Ways & Means Chair & 50/50 Coordinator John Lamsens

About Nominating Committee Chair Thurman Register

Your Webmaster is Kenn McDermott, LT, USN (Ret) - Copyright 2003-2017
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