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Bergall Pride

Memories of Brad Nelson

There are only two kinds of sailors in the Navy; Submariners and those that weren't good enough. There are only two kinds of ships; Submarines and targets. As for aviation types; there are more airplanes in the ocean than there are submarines in the air.   I retired in 96 as an MMCM(SS) after 28 years. My first submarine was USS Trumpetfish (SS-425). I was Chief of the Boat on Bergall from 88 - 91. When I retired, I was the last person on active duty who had qualified initially on Guppy III diesels. (W.W.II boats.)

Brad Nelson


This was taken at the May 2000 reunion at Nags Head...

1 Feb 2001

Hi, my name is Trish Kelly and I am Brad's fiancée. Brad asked me to write you a short note to tell you that he has been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. He is in the end stage of the cancer. I brought him home from the hospital 2 weeks ago and we are involved with Hospice. Brad sends his warmest regards and he hopes all is well with you and yours. Brad doesn't spend anytime on the computer anymore, but if you wish to e-mail him I will be happy to read him your response.

Please send your e-mail to to me in care of his home addy


5 Feb 2001

Brad passed away today at 4:40 in the afternoon. He went very peacefully with no pain. If you could please pass this along for me I would appreciate it.

Trish Kelly


There was a Memorial Service for Shipmate Brad Nelson at Subvets, 40 School Street on Sunday, Feb. 25.  The memorial service was open to all and a fitting tribute to a fine sailor and friend.


Although notice of his illness was late in the progress of the disease, here are a few responses that were forwarded to our site:


My warmest wishes are with you.

MM2(ss) Richard "Rick" Blackman, USS Bergall, 1989-1993


Hi. I served on the Bergall for a time while you were COB. You may or may not remember me. I was a nuke machinist mate, and was on the boat from '89 to '94.

Of course I am incredibly sorry to hear about your cancer. What a horrible disease. I actually heard about you a few days ago from a shipmate whose name you might remember, Dave Verch. You didn't know him for long (a few months-he's a Jewish guy-pretty rare in the military). Hearing about your cancer struck a chord with me since my mother died last July at 60 after a 6 month battle with lung and liver cancer. Watching someone you love suffer like that is no fun at all.

I hope Hospice is helping to keep you as comfortable as can be expected. I don't have any words of wisdom, other than try to keep your spirits up. My wife and I will be praying for you, Trish, and other loved ones as you go through this ordeal. How about this, 20+ years on subs and now this. You are definitely going to the good place.  Stay tough, both of you.

Dan Carey (MM2(SS))


Trish....My name is Mike Hanlon, ETCS(SS) , commonly known as the fucking Nuc to Brad. I was stationed with Brad, on the USS Bergall. I am speechless at the moment. Would you please Tell Brad....the fucking Nuc, says Hi...and wants the best for him. If you ever need to talk, please call me. Do you guys live in Newport News . I haven't seen Brad in years. I live in Virginia Beach, if it is at all possible, would love to come by for a visit. You advise me on what is best. If you ever need to talk, call....757-495-4817. My thoughts and prayers are with you....both....

Warmest wishes to the old COB . We use to call him GOB, GEEK OF THE BOAT, and I was Senior was very funny, to watch the boss man answer the phone Geek of the Boat....

When I left Bergall Brad gave me a three whole punch, with a brass plaque on it, see if the old guy remembers.....tell him little Goob sends greetings...

Mike Hanlon


I served under both Hedgecock 86-88 and Nelson 88-90 on board the USS Bergall (SSN -667), Nelson was well respected and he was at times a real hard A$$, but under his tough skin, he was and always will be a great friend and will be missed when he finally accepts his highest orders to report aboard for his final duty station.
Ken Freshley
STS2/ss USS Bergall (SSN 667)


Brad had a great influence on my career and life, He was a great person a great friend and of course the best Chief of the Boat I have ever served with in 21 years. I have a sea chest of memories as many of us do and this will help me to remember the good times for the rest of my life.
ETCS(SS) Michael G. Feuerlein


COB meant the world to all those who served with him on Bergall. He made a tremendous difference in my life (Even if he made me Crank the full 120 and ordered two truth cookies during our Bluenose Ceremony), and taught me lessons I would need even after leaving the Navy. He will be missed and I can only hope you had the pleasure of meeting him.
See you later COB
Chad Rooks


I've sadly just learned that my friend and shipmate Brad Nelson passed away at 4:40 this afternoon. I was supposed to go see him yesterday, but didn't get there.
Damn it.

Brad was a hell of a guy. A good A-ganger, Good Chief and Master Chief, a good COB, and a true blue Submariner. He was one a a kind. Above all he was a very good shipmate and friend. Any thing you needed, Brad would give it too you. He worked hard, and played hard. He will be missed.

I knew Brad when he was at NSSF as a Ship's Sup.   I dealt with him while on DALLAS, and as SUBASE CMC, and through SUBVETS.   He often DJ'd for us at the CPO CLUB and at SUBVETS.

One thing about Submariners, when you loose a friend, you never have to mourn alone. There's always others by your side. It means a lot.   I know that even though Brad probably didn't know you he'd stick out his big A-Ganger paw and call you all by the same first name and say "Thanks Shipmate".

There is a port of no return when ship's will ride at anchor for a little space. And then some starless night the cable slips leaving only an eddy at the mooring place. Gulls veer no longer, Sailor rest your oars. No tangled wreckage will be washed ashore.
Bradford T. Nelson MMCM(SS) USN Ret. Rest your oars Shipmate, rest in peace.
John Carcioppolo


Master Chief Nelson and Trish, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

I served with the COB and I owe him many thanks. When I first got to the Bergall, I was totally screwing things up. Heck, I couldn't wash dishes without breaking things. I started getting a reputation as a total screw up and it was much deserved. COB must have saw something in me and stayed (stayed is a very lenient word!) on me. He helped me qualify and I went on and had a pretty darn good 4 years. Right before he left the Bergall, he came down to the torpedo room and talked to me about reenlistment. When I told him that I wanted to go to college, I waited for the "You're better off with reenlistment" speech that I heard from many others. All he said, however, was just do my best and he wished me luck. That meant a lot to me and a lot more than I think he realized at the time. I remember taking a Differential Equations final exam at NC State and I started getting a panic attack. I heard a "Donnie, don't make me tear off your head and shit down your windpipe!" After a good laugh, I passed it with a B. You know "Donnie" was a nickname that COB started. Man, he knew it irritated me at the time but that nickname stuck. It's funny how something hated like that is revered now. COB, I've got a degree in Statistics and Computer Engineering now. I have a beautiful wife named Leigh, a son named Michael (He has his mother's wit and brains), and a daughter on the way named Audry. Not bad for a knuckle-dragging torpedoeman. I appreciate all you've done COB. I'll quit getting mushy and hurry up and get well!

TM3/SS (1987-1991)
Don (Donnie) Ulrich

Sailor, rest your oars, your friends will stand your watch.