Pervis Robison Remembered

At 40th Anniversary Memorial

Pervis Robison Jr. - courtesy US Navy

Pervis Robison Jr.

40th Anniversary Memorial Service

By Anthony Buccino

NUTLEY, N.J. -- A memorial service on the 40th anniversary of the loss of U.S.S. Thresher and Seaman Pervis Robison was held at the Robison/Thresher monument, in front of Town Hall, at 1 p.m. on April 10, 2003.

Mayor Peter C. Scarpelli, who knew and worked with ''our hometown son'' Pervis, conducted the memorial.

When asked later about nicknames, Robison family friend Adrian Malloy said that Pervis' father was known as 'big duck' and the sailor was called 'little duck' by his father's friends.

And 'duck' by his friends, added Mayor Scarpelli.

Commander Robert W. Archer, executive officer Naval Weapons Station, Earle, Colts Neck, represented the U.S. Navy, along with a Naval Honor Guard.

Archer, who joined the Navy several years after the Thresher accident has served on seven subs in his 35-year career. He said that many of the improvements on later subs were the result of the sacrifice made by the seamen aboard the Thresher.

''When I was a young seaman, I wore the same uniform and I did the very same things that Seaman Pervis Robison did. I entered the submarine service in 1968 -- five years after the tragic loss of the Thresher, I was a seaman, I was young, I was indestructible -- much like I imagine Seaman Pervis Robison was,'' Archer said.

''To this day, I remember the excitement and the adventure that the submarine force provided me, and the intense pride I felt knowing I was a member of an exclusive group of people that had passed many tests and were found fit for duty below the sea -- supporting and defending the liberties and freedoms that the people of our great nation enjoy.

''We were the ones walking softly and silently and carrying the big sticks that deterred those that might want to threaten our way of life and our very freedoms.

''Only a few men are ever selected to become submariners. It takes a rare breed to ride that steel tube out to sea and challenge Mother Nature herself by submerging below the ocean.

''I can assure you that for every time a submariner goes down, the elements resist you coming back up, it's like you become one with the ocean itself, that it wants to keep you there.

''In the case of Thresher, the ocean won its way, and those braves souls of Thresher are part of the ocean forever.

''I honor his memory. I honor his bravery and his spirit of adventure. And I thank him for his service because had it not been for the tragic loss of the Thresher, many of the improvements seen in the modern day submarines would not have come about...

''My fellow submariners and I have lived the benefit of the sacrifice of seaman Pervis' life. His life was ...  lived to mark lasting improvements for all time for all submariners.

''Seaman Robison, on behalf all submariners who followed behind you, I salute you. You are our shipmate, our brother, our friend.''

Reverend Robert C. Cole, pastor of First Baptist Church of Nutley, gave the invocation, and, later, the benediction. 

A wreath was placed at the Robison/Thresher monument by township commissioners Joanne Cocchiola-Oliver and Mauro Tucci.

Taps was played by Dennis McPartland, assistant band director at Nutley high school.

On hand for the memorial were about 100 Nutley residents and veterans. Also present was Mary Ann Fitton, spouse of Nutley son Lt. Frank Jannarone, who was killed in a bomber crash on June 12, 1958.

Pervis Robison plaque, Nutley, N.J.

Pervis Robison memorial, Nutley, N.J.

We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of Mayor Peter Scarpelli and the many township employees who worked to ensure the success of this anniversary memorial.

50th Anniversary Memorial

Nutley seaman remembered 50 years after submarine tragedy The Nutley Sun

Fallen Nutley War Hero lives again in solemn event The Jersey Tomato

Nutley Officials Honor Fallen Veteran Pervis Robison Belleville-Nutley Patch

Nutley Remembers Seaman's Death - by Rob Williams, Star Ledger (April 11, 2003)

Pervis Robison - Visit the U.S.S. Thresher memorial site

They Lost A Son - April 1963

Nutley Sons Honor Roll

Peacetime Casualties


Belleville and Nutley in the Civil War a Brief History

Nutley Sons Honor Roll

Belleville Sons Honor Roll

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