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The USS Bergall's Battle Flag

The location or existence of the Bergall's battle flag has been found after 57 years!

Robert Wiley Faselt had some memorabilia, including a couple of flags, that he had stored away from his time on the Bergall and in the war.   After his death, some of these items were handed down to his oldest son, Wiley, and only recently dug out and investigated.   It was thought (by Fran, his wife) that one of the items was a souvenir Japanese flag from one of the Spitkits (junk sailing ship) that they had boarded and sunk during the war.....what a wonder to find it was the Bergall's Battle Flag!   What a find!   What a treasure!   Bob's sister, Ellen, remembers his hiding these "war flags" from his mother because she was so elated that he had returned from the war alive and well!

Also in the "goodies" that Bob Faselt passed on to his son was a pennant.   At about 4" X 50", this just HAPPENS to be a commissioning pennant!   What are the odds of that?   The Commissioning Pennant would "normally" stay with the boat.   It was handed to the first skipper by the boat's sponsor and would then be handed from skipper to skipper as the boat went through a Change of Command ceremony.   I guess Johnny Hyde thought the two should stay together.

While many flags were designed by the Walt Disney Studios for the various submarines during the war, hers was made by her Quartermaster, 3rd class, Joseph Parenteau. 

Joe Parenteau, QM3c, designed and created the original and (apparently) updated it as the war progressed.   The last modification has 5 "meatballs" and 5 "rising sun" emblems to reflect what they believed was their war total.   Is it a coincidence that the center fish design on this final battle flag is a duplicate of the "fish" that QM2 Bob Faselt drew up for the commissioning menu?   They were best friends and even went to the same college after the war.   Both accepted their final orders at an early age... Joe in '64 and then Bob in '73.

Wiley and Fran, we want to send the thanks and appreciation of ALL Bergall crew and family for preserving this treasure of Bob's and helping us resurrect this beautiful piece of her memory and sharing it with us!


Here are earlier pictorial shots of the USS Bergall's Battle Flag

It appears that this "version", flying from the yardarm as shown above, was from after the fifth war patrol as the "sinking" pennants hanging down show 5 "meatballs" and 5 "rising sun" yet the flag has yet to be modified and reflects an "earlier" status.   Of interest is the figure in the direct center.   In the Joe Parenteau picture, there is a mild "wrinkle" through the center "hidding" the top of the center figure.   In the George Marquis picture, the only apparent fold is at the extreme right of the figure.   

This is from Joe Parenteau's pictures from 1945.
Same as above, just flipped horizontally.
This is from George Marquis' 1945 pictures.
Same as above but flipped.
This is the final "original flag" as snapped by Wiley Faselt in 2002.
This is the back of it.

Joe Parenteau's WWII picture is extremely indistinct for the center image.   George Marquis' picture is almost "too" clear in the center and does not resemble either Joe Parenteau's WWII picture or this final version.   Mighty curious.

If I had to throw a dart... looking at the pictures, these flags were not "modified" as time went on but "re-created" as updates were required and this might explain any difference/modification in the center figure!   It's certainly up for discussion... except for one salient point... the EXISTING flag is "corrected" for the "scores" of enemy ships at the end of the war and is truly made to tie to a lanyard for proper display on a yardarm and it's the only specimen in known existence.   This would also support the idea that this "new one" was "created" from the updated status.   

In my opinion, the bottom line supports a re-creation as time went by.   Modification (pulling stitches and emblems and relocating) would be tougher than just making a new one.   The lanyard support looks "substantial" as a flag would require to be flown (as different from a "display only" flag.)

Here is a picture of the USS Blenny flag that shows the true representation of the "rising sun" with the offset sun and the multiple array of (16) red "beams".   

Wiley Faselt took some initial pictures and loaned the flag to his mom (Fran) so that Joe Parenteau's son, Mike, could take some detailed pictures.   With these pictures and measurements in hand, John Parenteau set out to make recreations of the original.   His dad, Joe, did a stylized version of the Jap "Rising Sun", three have 8 "spokes" and 2 have 12 "spokes"... I thought that maybe some of these were "liberated" from an earlier version but John Parenteau discovered, through trial and error, that rather than cut out pieces... a whole white section was tacked (front and back) and then the stitching was introduced for each  "emblem" and finally the "excess" was trimmed from around the stitching.   This supports the unhemmed edges on the original and makes much more logical sense in the construction.    Through a true effort of love, he created some absolutely lovely copies.

Mike Parenteau attended the 2002 reunion in Duluth and presented copies "from Joe's boys" to the WWII vets in attendance: Chuck Kennedy, J. J. Ott, Don Small and Carl Weber.   John also gave a copy to this humble web master.   There are a few things in life that one treasures... this is at the top of the list.   Thanks "Joe's boys" !!!

For the "package of original flag detail pictures"... go HERE

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