The Silent Service Memorial at the Bay Shore Marina commemorates submarine veterans of the U.S. Navy and features plaques of submarines lost during World War II and the Cold War, primarily. The memorial overlooks both the marina and the Great South Bay, on either side.
Searching for a Life Project for Boy Scouts last year, John Cochrane V, of Troop 153 in Bay Shore, decided to make this memorial the central theme of not only this project, but his Eagle Scout Project, too.
For his Life Project, Cochrane planted new flowers surrounding the memorial as well as laying down grass seed. For his Eagle Scout Project, he organized the installation of additions to the memorial itself.
“I saw there was a spot missing where a plaque could be,” said Cochrane, who has served as a patrol leader and assistant patrol leader for the troop. “The side of the memorial is marked with plaques, and there was a big empty spot in the middle, so I decided it would be a great a idea if we designed a plaque for the memorial.”
Upon researching, Cochrane discovered that two submarines lost during the Cold War — USS Thresher and USS Scorpion — were not represented on the memorial. To Cochrane’s credit, a plaque is now featured on the memorial in commemoration of those two submarines.
In addition to the plaque, two backless benches were also installed around the memorial. One of the benches is dedicated to Daniel J. Kane, a longtime Bay Shore resident and the owner of Bay Shore Beer and Soda. The other was donated by the Bay Shore Lions Club.
In addition to working with the Lions Club, Cochrane also collaborated with Town of Islip Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department as well as the town Department of Public Works, since approving and choosing a bench is ultimately the town’s decision. Cochrane said he and representatives from both departments assessed on-site during the planning stage of the project.
“They came down with me to the marina and took a look at the place and decided that the two backless benches would be the best option,” Cochrane said. “The town was really helpful in that aspect because they gave me a specific bench to build, and I just had to raise the funds to buy the parts and build it.
“Mostly, the Town of Islip was a very big help in the actual planning of the project, or at least deciding what would be done and making sure that it was within the terms or boundaries of the town,” added Cochrane.
In addition to the town and the Lions Club, Cochrane also mentioned the Bay Shore Fire Department and the troop itself as contributors of the project.
“[The Lions Club and BSFD] came together and helped me with both days where we built my project — install the plaque, provide some tools for all the work, [and] teach all the kids how to do all the hands-on work and let them do it themselves. They were just a very big help,” Cochrane said, continuing on to say that he received guidance from both chief Bob Hulse of the fire department and Greg Hancock of the Lions Club.
Cochrane said that Hulse’s consult on the project ultimately translated into significant involvement from the fire department.
“I gave [Cochrane] some ideas,” said Hulse, who is a Navy veteran himself, serving from 1958 through 1964. “[But] he was also telling me what to do. He took command and did his thing.”
Cochrane’s father, Islip Town councilman John Cochrane, was also involved in his son’s Eagle Scout Project and pointed out the outstanding support from the community.
“John thought about contacting local business people for support,” councilman Cochrane said of his son. “That is where the Kane family came through and the Lions Club. A lot of the businesses around Bay Shore and Brightwaters donated [money] so he could afford the benches and the plaque.”
Cochrane expressed pride in his son’s completed project.
“One of the things of going through to be an Eagle Scout is to make sure you have a lasting project that people can use — see and use and beautifying the surrounding areas. I think John hit home with his project, both with honoring the veterans and just having a place where people can [spend time],” he said. “When I look at it, as a councilman, and seeing the projects that the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts do for the community is really impressive.”
Councilman Cochrane himself is also a Navy veteran. Hulse, a longtime friend of Cochrane, pointed out that the Eagle Scout’s father and grandfather both served as captains in the Navy.
“He comes from a Navy family,” Hulse said. “John can be very proud of having him as a son.”
Cochrane was recognized for his completed Eagle Scout Project by the Town of Islip as well as Suffolk County at St. Patrick’s Church last week.
Growing up in Bay Shore and attending Bay Shore schools through middle school, Cochrane transferred to Chaminade High School. Currently a freshman at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., Cochrane is on the business track, though is browsing other majors as well.