To report a passing of a Shipmate please Contact Us .
The Two Bell Ceremony. When executed properly, the Fleet Reserve Association’s “Two-Bell Ceremony” is dramatic testimony to humility, dignity, reverence and honor. It fulfills the promise of our preamble – “our reverence for the memory of our departed shipmates.”
Unfortunately, there is no written documentation or knowledge that clearly identifies the origin of this beloved ritual except that it is unique and ours alone. In researching naval history back to the time of Britain’s Lord Nelson we can find no record of a memorial ceremony using the ship’s bell. Our current elder statesmen credit several deceased shipmates as being largely responsible for the originating and refinement of the ritual. But it is clear the sounding of two bells is the “time,” or the “moment,” to pause and reflect on our shipmates who are now serving on the staff of the Supreme Commander.
In days past, “two bells” marked the end of the routine day aboard ship. It was time for “Tattoo” and soon “Taps” would sound throughout the ship. Certainly, this is a most appropriate time to honor our departed shipmates.
Those familiar with one of the greatest stories of the sea, “The Ancient Mariner,” will remember that he/she found safe passage in narrow waters by listening to the bell on the marking buoy. That bobbing marking buoy sounds much like the tolling of a bell for a funeral dirge, solemn, reverent and mournful.
Since the beginning of recorded time, men of the sea have been guided and impressed by the sounding of the ship’s bell. In our “Two Bell Ceremony,” the tolling of the bell and the spoken word can and should be combined to execute a ritual that contributes to and strengthens the bond that exists amongst all shipmates of the Fleet Reserve Association.
Two Bell Ceremony in remembrance of those
Shipmates that have received orders to serve
on the Staff of the Supreme Commander.
Shipmate William J. Harmon
Please remember our troops overseas in
Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chief Petty Officer
William J. Harmon USN (Ret)
February 14, 1927 - January 9, 2019
S/M Harmon was a FRA Life Member of 65 years. Bill was a veteran of World War II, the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War. He joined the Navy in 1944. He served on several ships including the USS Southerland (DDR 743), ATR 66 Rescue Ocean Tug, the USS Dunn County (LST 762), and the USS Palau (CVE 122). He later qualified for submarines and became a radio operator on the USS Pomphret (SS 391). He would eventually go on to serve on the USS Bream (SSK 243), USS Carp (SSK 338), USS Bugara (SS 331), USS Tira (SS 416), USS Remora (SS 487), USS Tang (SS 562), USS Nautilus (SSN 571) and the USS Skate (SS 578). He was also part of the Naval Intelligence Group as a cryptologist or a "Spook". His duty stations took him from the mountains of Western Pennsylvania to the South China Sea, with one tour in China and two tours in Japan. He tracked foreign naval activity in the straits of Japan, skirting sonar nets to monitor ship movement. He also had duty stations in Adak, Alaska, Iceland, Germany, San Juan, PR, Norfolk, VA, and his beloved Scotland. He retired from the US Navy in 1968.
For his full obituary please see the link below: