During the USS Razorback Reunion last month, Wayne Hilderbrand, told the staff of his design of the Thunderbolt Patch. Hilderbrand served aboard USS Razorback (SS 394) from May 1962 to July 1964 as the Communication and Sonar Officer.
In 1963, the Navy asked for each submarine to turn in submissions for new patch designs. Razorback had one design submitted. That design was what we call the Thunderbolt Patch. Hilderbrand said it took him one evening while on duty in the Ward Room to create the design.
|Wayne Hilderbrand with the Thunderbolt Patch by USS Razorback submarine.|
The day and the night in the background stood for the fact that submarines are on duty 24 hours a day. The star in the night’s sky is what guided the submarine’s crew toward their completed missions. The fist emerging from the sea represented the submarine, the human element in the sea. The lightning bolts represent two ideas: 1) the offensive power of the submarine and 2) the radar, sonar, and electronics of the world operated on board. The insignia among the top are “dolphins” that represents submarine service.
The rope around the edge of the patch was a continuation from the previous patch to bring unity that tied the crews together.
We are very appreciative for this and many more stories acquired during the crew’s reunion. Replicas of all 7 of USS Razorback’s patches can be purchased at the museum for $4-$5.