ALL49 7 FEB 18
I know that it is February because of press coverage given to Punxsutawney Phil. We need an early Spring to bring warmer weather to the North East and clear ice causing dams at bridges over the waterways. Unfortunately, Phil saw his shadow and we are in for 6 more weeks of Winter.
Class Losses and Status
December was a bad month with the number of losses we had of classmates, wives and widows. My January ALL49 and the MEMORIAL section of our class website carry obituaries I received.
January began with the following report of deaths:
Clair Burton Gamble died in Lakewood, CO December 30, 2017. His obituary is on the website.
CAPT William D. McFarlane, USNR (Ret) passed away January 4, 2018 in West Palm Beach, FL. His brother “Bud” (Robert C. McFarlane, ’59) reported his death and is planning memorial services in Washington April 14th. His obituary is on the website.
Elinor Ufer Thomson, wife of CAPT Alexander D. Thomson, died in Montross, VA January 6, 2018. Her obituary is on the website.
Robert Eugene Sivinski died in Northumberland County, VA January 7, 2018. His obituary is on the website.
John S. M. Benson died in Little Rock, AR January 12, 2018. His obituary is on the website.
Alexander Dalzell MacDonnell died in Lima, OH January 24, 2018. His obituary will be posted on the website shortly.
CAPT Donald Joseph Loudon, USNR (Ret) died in Sunnyvale, CA January 27, 2018. I have expressed the condolences of the class to his niece who reported his death to me.
Our status of surviving graduates is 179 with four listed as status unknown.
It is odd to me that a couple of weeks ago Court Martials were convened for officers charged under Article 32 of Naval Regulations that were involved in Fitzgerald and McCain collisions with merchant ships. I learned of it from the BBC (maybe I missed it on our national news). I found a site for USNI News on the internet, https//news.usni.org , which you can visit, if you are interested. The three following paragraphs are extracted from that site.
“The commanders of the two guided-missile destroyers that were involved in fatal collisions with merchant ships in 2017 will face military criminal charges that include dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide, USNI News has learned.
Cmdr. Bryce Benson, former commander of USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), along with three Fitzgerald junior officers, face a mix charges that include dereliction of duty, hazarding a vessel and negligent homicide related to the June 17 collision between the ship and ACX Crystal that resulted in the death of seven sailors, according to a statement from the U.S. Navy provided to USNI News.
To date, the Navy has removed the commanding officers and executive officers of both McCain and Fitzgerald; Capt. Jeffery Bennett, commodore of the Japan-based Destroyer Squadron 15 to which both ships belonged; the Japan-based task force commander, Rear Adm. Charles Williams; and the commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin.”
When I have time, I’ll do more research to determine the tactical situation that existed, the burdened vessel, maneuvering that occurred, and rules of the road violated.
Hopefully, the leadership at USNA and the leadership of the Navy are deeply concerned with the status of training and qualifications of persons involved in investigations taking place. I think USNA should review the reason for establishing a Naval Academy in 1865. That is, to provide the best trained officers possible for military service.
The recent Shipmate is a “confession” that this is not being done. The emphasis is on preparation of graduates for civilian careers, even to the extent of ‘job fairs.” I have listened to the Superintendent compare USNA graduate statistics to those of universities with pride. However, degrees awarded spam a spectrum of studies that have little application to warfare and military training.
Our choice of only one subject (language) resulted in maximum emphasis on studies in all areas of naval warfare. In 1945 we entered USNA not knowing whether Plan A or Plan B for defeating Japan was in our destiny. Graduates received a BS degree without stating the area of study. We were qualified for service in the USN, USMC, USAF, USN SC, and USN CEC. Today BA and other degrees awarded for studies in Egyptian History, Economics, Business Administration, and the like, prepare graduates for civilian careers at the cost of well-trained officers for the operating forces.
A problem is becoming critical in communications amongst our class family. I recently tried to send emails to four classmates informing them of the death of one of their company mates. Three of the email addresses were returned as “undeliverable.” My immediate thought was that they have not updated changes in email addresses. Other possible reasons are moves to new places.
Concomitantly, I downloaded a listing of our classmates, wives, and widows finding two widows with contact information missing also listed as “undeliverable.” Both widows have been on extended visits (three and four months) with family. This may be associated with their failure to have their mail held by USPS until return or to have someone pickup their mail. If the Alumni Assoc. has copies of SHIPMATE returned, they assume the recipient has moved leaving no forwarding address with the USPS.
I have raised an issue with the Alumni Assoc. to check with me on communication failures, which is occurring more frequently. If the individual is deceased, Timophy Elizabeth Woodbury, OBITS Editor, informs individuals at the Alumni Assoc.
Everyone in the class family (graduates, non-graduates, wives, and widows) should review their communication links to ensure changes made reach the Alumni Assoc. and class officers.
My January activities reduced my travels mainly to the local area. My only trip was to Montross, VA to represent the class at Elinor Thomson’s funeral. Wes Lindsey’s son, Bruce CAPT USN (Ret), ‘82 and his wife were there. We had a nice talk about his having an S-3 squadron and my telling his about getting the development approved and funded ($877M) while I was in the Pentagon in the late 60s.
I’ve had a misunderstanding with Chet Gladchuk regarding the Navy football schedule for 2019. He informed me that the 2018 schedule would be firmed up in January and the 2019 schedule will not be completed until January 2019. However, the home game against Notre Dame will be in DC not Annapolis. Landover has a large, money-making, capacity. That’s why Navy plays them at South Bend as an away game, and at Jacksonville, Landover, Baltimore, New York, etc. when it’s a home game year for Navy.
The EC will decide between the early June date and November date unless there is another early Navy away game booked before the American Athletic Conference schedule begins.
Nothing could be finer . . . .
ALL49 10 MAR 18
“March Madness” is ready to start with the “Ides of March” yet to come. I’m readying for the first by watching the ACC Tournament games and pulling for UVA, which has had a spectacular season after having been expected to sixth in the ACC and is presently number one in the nation. With the “and done one” teams like Duke, Louisville, NC State and often UNC sending their top guys to the pros, it’s nice to have teams like UVA, VA Tech and others have seniors on their teams. Both the Virginia team coaches are sticklers about discipline and honoring their flag and country. Buzz Williams had one player he benched for eight games with the choice of transferring to another school or shape up - - his way or the highway!
The Ides of March are not the prediction of Punxsutawney Phil, but he sure was right to return to his hole. Hopefully you in the northern tier of states will survive another blast of winter on it’s way north from Virginia and the Dakotas.
And – remember to set your alarm clock to 2:00 am tonight so you can get up and reset all your time pieces to 3:00 am. Daylight saving time is here again!!
Class Losses and Status
With the lengthy list of losses in my last ALL49, I’m pleased our number of surviving graduates has only decreased by one to 177.
Robert Raymond Reiss passed away February 14, 2018 in Saratoga Springs, NY. His obituary in on the class website and his services have been held.
Services for Bud Ince will be at 10:00 am Friday April 6 in St. Andrews Chapel in Annapolis. Cremation burial with honors will follow. A reception at the Naval Academy Club will follow burial.
I reported the Fitzgerald and McLain collisions last year with loss of life and the commencement of court martial proceedings for those involved. I promised to search for information regarding the tactical situation at the time of the incidents.
My search located the Memorandum for Distribution promulgated by the CNO in October 2017 that gave full report of the incidents. I sent out an email to everyone citing the URL of the site which, hopefully, you visited and read. Based on that document and other information I have received, I have written an item to appear in From the President portion of the class column for the April-May issue of Shipmate that questions whether the curricula now at the USNA is diluting mariner training of midshipmen - - the purpose of the USNA since October 1865.
Your comments are invited.
Issues to Consider Relating to Military Readiness
Since our service during WWII there have only been quasi conflicts; i.e. UN Korea “police action,” the Vietnam conflict under the “Tonkin Gulf Accords,” NATO military actions in Europe and the Mid-East, etc. Without the declaration of war, these conflicts, with the loss of lives, have been conducted on a budget authorized by the Congress. However, congressmen are not doing their job with priority on military needs of deployed forces. Our conflicts end in stalemates.
Concomitantly, it appears congressional battles between the two parties and two Houses of Congress are making it impossible for members to agree on budgeting the military. Their use of sequestration is causing many problems.
Another concern I have with congressmen is their method of selecting their appointees to the military academies. Competitive examinations of aspiring candidates are the fairest method. What do you think of appointees being sons or daughters of donors to political campaigns? With the “college” curricula at the academies and the government paying the 4-year $150,000 cost, what a deal!
My plea for everyone to update changes of addresses and communication links resulted in three inputs. Maybe I should have asked everyone to send me a letter of call me at 434-384-0877. My voice recorder works when I’m not here.
AND don’t forget your clocks!
Nothing could be finer . . .
ALL49 1 APR 18
HAPPY EASTER! March winds are, hopefully, over and we now face April showers.
It is an odd happenstance this year with the dates of different observance of religious events. Lent, Ash Wednesday, and Mardi Gras led the way and Maundy Thursday, Tenebrae and commencement of Passover on Good Friday evening have gotten us to Easter morning. This year is on April 1st, which unfortunately always is identified as April Fool’s Day. That won’t occur again for a few years.
I have been in communication with Bud Ince’s daughter Ann about his services in St Andrews Chapel at the Naval Academy 10 am Friday April 6th. Committal of his cremains will be at the USNA Columbarium with honors following his services. Ann has arranged parking for ‘49ers, wives, and widows in front of the chapel until 2:30 pm. To reserve a space, contact Ann at 1-202-270-1803. Later that afternoon will be the first Spring Brigade of Midshipmen Parade on Worden Field.
Bill McFarlane’s memorial service will be 10 am April 14th at St. Mark Presbyterian Church, 10701 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda, MD with internment with Military Honors after his service at 11:30 am at Parklawn Cemetery and Memorial Gardens, 1800 Veirs Mill Road Rockville, MD. The family will receive ‘49ers, wives and widow attendees at luncheon and dinner following internment. Please advise Catherine McFarlane if you plan to attend at email@example.com or call 973-223-9231.
Bill Sawtelle’s obituary is on the class website. His services were held March 24th, but disposition of his cremains has not been decided. Talking to his wife Karen, she said they had a beach home in North Carolina and was thinking of spreading his remain in the water offshore. I told her about two unsuccessful attempts for that by classmate’s families during onshore winds. I recommended she contact Commander Fifth Naval District (or 1-866-787-0081) and request a ship sailing offshore to perform the burial.
Funerial services for Elinor Thomson and Bill Dotson, whose obituaries are on the class website, in Arlington National Cemetery are not yet scheduled.
I plan to convene an Executive Committee meeting April 16th to discuss:
> 70th Reunion Scheduling
> Reunion Event Planning
> Class Financial Status
> Class President Nominating Committee
> Item on Ship Collisions
> Other Agenda Items Submitted
You are invited to submit agenda items. Please cite objectives of your submission and supporting rationale, if needed.
A Council of Class Presidents meeting is scheduled April 30th. I plan to attend and sit on the “dinosaur” table as usual. If you are concerned about anything within the Alumni Assoc., advise me and I will try to contact the responsible member.
The number one problem is the failure of the Alumni Assoc. to enter changes to communication links of our members. This includes home addresses and telephone numbers, smart phone numbers, and email addresses. In my case, everything in our class directory is correct except email addresses. I have three: firstname.lastname@example.org is my primary address. When travelling email@example.com is my Apple laptop. My backup to my primary is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Problems with others’ links are: moving without changing their address (even from one apartment in a CCRC to another apartment) or failing to have USPS hold their mail while on extended travel. When your SHIPMATE is returned, you are listed as “Address unknown” and are deleted from the SHIPMATE mailing list.
Nothing could be finer ….