SHENANGO VALLEY — Fifty five years after a Sharon man was lost at sea while serving on a submarine in the U.S. Navy, his shipmates gathered with family members to honor him in his hometown.
Lt. William M. Thompson was 28 years young when he lost his life in the North Atlantic on April 22, 1958. He served on the USS Cutlass, a Tench-class submarine that was patrolling those waters at the height of the Cold War.
Lt. Thompson was a Sharon native and graduated in 1948 from Sharon High, from which he went on to an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., where he was a standout on the golf team, which he captained.
During his time on the links, Lt. Thompson golfed against the Golden Bear, Arnold Palmer, who polished his skills early on at Latrobe High and then at Wake Forest University.
Thompson’s golfing pedigree was shaped by rounds played at Buhlland Golf Course, commonly called “Dum Dum” in Hermitage - which happens to be the only free course in the world.
ItÕs fitting that to honor Thompson, his shipmates decided to install a bench in his honor on the course.
Thompson’s nephew, Bill Dunsmore of Hermitage, a retired teacher and administrator from the Sharon City School District, is his nearest surviving relative and Dunsmore was on hand last week when the U.S.S. Cutlass alumni association dedicated the bench.
”I was just amazed at the depth of friendship of the people who served on the ship,” Dunsmore said.
They’re old, graying men now. Had he survived, Thompson would have been 83. But they retain memories of their time aboard the sub, although they still honor an oath of secrecy they took about their exact operations aboard it.
The exact circumstances under which Thompson was lost haven’t been revealed even after the Cold War ended with the fall of the Soviet Union three decades ago, Dunsmore noted.