”Dutch” Larch

The last newsletter contained an obituary for “Dutch” Larch, who was the IREX COB for 3 1/2 years during the middle 50s. Here are tributes sent in from a few of his former shipmates.

[ Dutch Larch ] VADM Lando Zech, USN (Ret) (IREX XO—'54–'55)…In the summer of 1954 I reported aboard IREX as the relieving Executive Officer. The Chief of the Boat was Dutch Larch. I quickly learned that I was serving with perhaps the finest Chief of the Boat in the entire Submarine Force. Dutch was demanding, tough but had a great sense of humor. I lost track of the number of young sailors Dutch “saved” but I am sure they know who they are. My wife, Jo, and I consider Dutch and Della Larch amongst our very closest friends. We are confident that Dutch is at peace in the greatest Home Port of all. We send Della and her family all our love. May God continue to bless all our IREX shipmates.

Coley Joyce (Irex '53-'57)…Peg and I got back from our Florida Shangri-La (where I'm not on line) on Saturday afternoon. When I checked my e-mail I found the unfortunate word on Dutch's passing. I have already written and sent a note to Dell expressing our sympathy at her (and our) loss.

I feel very fortunate to have served with him for almost three years of his long career, and I know he influenced me in many ways. Much of that influence carried over to my life in the dreaded private sector (civilian life) and is still with me. To say he was a “Man's man” is so trite but in his case it's more than a cliche. Compared to Dutch, John Wayne at his best comes off looking like Richard Simmons.

Mike Richards (IREX '52–'56)…I read the recent IREX news letter and was saddened to read the loss of four shipmates; the loss, however, of Dutch Larch was the demise of a dear friend and mentor.

Dutch took me, a brash, immature Seaman Apprentice, and after several figurative ass kickings transformed him into a man who was discharged TM2. The exact process of the transformation can't be recorded accurately. He made me Captain of the Head innumerable times; when I qualified and made Seaman First, Dutch promoted me to the exalted position of “Aide de Chief.” Dutch and his wife Dell often invited me for dinner and made me feel part of their family; I must suppose Dutch became a father figure. A figure that remained an invisible force behind me getting three university degrees.

Dutch and I were never able to give each other compliments, but please know I owe you so very much. Your remark to me and my wife Julie at the first IREX reunion, “I had nightmares for ten years that you were coming back into the Navy,” will remain a classical Dutch Larch comment.

I had and always will have a great affection for you. From John Masefield to Dutch:

And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

Clarence “Tess” Tesenair (IREX '53–'56)…Please convey my condolences to Della Larch. Dutch was a good man, a perfect COB and a great shipmate. I'll remember him always.

Wally Krupenevich, TMCM (SS), USN (Ret) (IREX '51–'56)…My second boat was IREX. On my first boat, I was just a “child” wandering around with my finger in my butt, asking “How do I get to Ships Service?”, but I learned a lot and finally got my Dolphins. I then went to IREX, a year or so before Dutch. I was probably TMZ (SS) when he came aboard, and that's when I started to mature as a Submariner, with a lot of help from Dutch. He could be “hard-ass” when necessary, friendly most of the time, and had a great sense of humor. later sailed with many other COBs, mostly OK, but never of the caliber of Dutch.

For his time aboard, Dutch was IREX, and IREX was Dutch. He was highly respected by the crew, and we were proud to have him as our COB, a shipmate in the finest sense of the word, and as a friend.

Some years later, I made Chief, and then became COB on two boats. I always reflected back to Dutch, and realized what a tremendous influence he had on me as a very positive role model. Thanks Dutch.

Documents index
History page