ALL49 1 SEP 18
We have reached the 3-day weekend we call Labor Day Weekend. We can thank the labor movement in the late 1800s for its establishment. The Central Labor Union and Knights of Labor organized a parade in New York City and proposed a day be set aside to celebrate. In 1887, Oregon was the first state to officially designate the first Monday in September as a public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday, 30 states had officially celebrated Labor Day. (It in always the federal government that is slow in passing laws.) It has become recognized unofficially as the End of Summer.
In more than 80 foreign countries May 1 is celebrated as International Workers Day – the ancient European holiday of May day – and several countries have chosen their own dates for Labour Day. (Note the change in spelling.) Several times my ashore visits in cruise ports I’ve run into blocked roads and closed stores and other facilities.
This Monday will be our Labor Day, but, if you like to preplan your activities, September 2 will be Labor Day in 2019 and September 7 in 2020.
My mother missed Labor Day 1926. She had her “labor day” Saturday, September 4, 1926.
Our attempt to update the EXCEL listing of our class is a slow a laborious process. We have passed the 10 percent level of people responding, but there are many widows whose husbands never listed their names in the database. They became “lost” in moves from the last address used by SHIPMATE.
If you received this ALL49 and have not updated your location and telephone/email information, please do so to me email@example.com or Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Loss at ’49 House
William Dawson, ‘82 CAPT USN (SC) (Ret) has served the Alumni Association as Executive Vice President and Head of Development from his office in ’49 House, 49 College Avenue, Annapolis. He lost his battle with cancer and passed away August 29.
Most you are aware of the origin of ‘49 House during Ace Boughton’s tenure as Class President. When classmates in Annapolis noted the address and its availability they came up with the concept of purchasing it, restoring it to its Victorian period splendor, and donating it to the Alumni Association as a class giving project. Concept became reality when it was officially opened May 10, 1997. It has served as office space and a home for Class of 1949 memorabilia since that time with Bill Dawson its principal occupant.
I have always considered ‘49 House the class’s “footprint” in Annapolis since 1997. “Skid” Heyworth preceded Bill in Engagement (at that time), but Bill has been the one that provided me the help I have needed to keep ’49 House what we wanted it to be, rather than changed with changes in AA and Foundation leadership. (“New brooms” always think they need to “sweep.”) However, our gift was given, with funds exceeding restoration used to establish a maintenance fund to meet future needs.
Over the years a report of the status the account for ‘49 House Maintenance has been reported to the class. My interest in its status became paramount when I learned the guys responsible for USNA.COM and access to the internet were in the basement of ’49 House. They helped me establish our class website in 2008.
Thanks to Bill, ’49 House will always be a Historic Property in the Historic Area of Annapolis.
I have written a letter to Bill’s wife, Vicki, expressing the Class of 1949’s condolences for their family’s loss, and stating I will be unable to attend his services in the Chapel at 10 am October 14th but our class will be represented. I’ve asked Bill Bennett, a Supply Corps friend of Bill Dawson, and Madelon McDonald and Ursula Vosseler to attend. Both had key roles in establishing ’49 House along with their deceased husbands.
Sea Duty Calls
My unavailability mentioned above is caused by my planned cruise of the West Coast of the Western Hemisphere. September 24th, I fly to Seattle, board Holland America Line ship ZAANDAM, do an overnight transit to Vancouver, BC to pick up Canadians, and then turn south. Stops at Santa Barbara, CA and San Diego, CA will complete our boarding of English-speaking passengers. I’m hoping a 2.51 “dago” student can survive after that with two stops in Mexico, one in Guatemala, one in Nicaragua, one in Panama, one in Ecuador, two in Peru, and two in Chile. San Antonio is the seaport for Santiago, Chile.
Accompanying me will be Brenda Cobham, my nurse and traveling companion and a “survivor.” We met on a cruise last year at a large table at lunch with passengers providing their names and home cities or states. A very English voice across the table from me gave her name and “Virginia.” After the meal I intercepted her departure to inform her I was from Lynchburg and ask her home city. Her Roanoke response is 60 miles southwest of me.
To make a long story short, she was a Royal Air Force “brat,” born in England, lived in Israel, Egypt, South Africa, Slovenia, Denmark, etc. Evacuated from Egypt with her mother as Rommel threatened Cairo; lived in South Africa until boarding a ship to England which was sunk by a German submarine; rescued by another ship; finally getting back to England and German bombings. She attended Oxford University, obtaining her Nurse’s Registration and a degree in Medieval History. She married an Oxford doctor who came to the US on a medical grant and became a US citizen. He later joined the Navy as a doctor. It took Brenda 30 years to get her citizenship because she had lived in Slovenia, a communist country. (Didn’t Trump’s in-laws just get into the US from there with no problem?)
Brenda became a Navy widow in 2004, her son is a retired USMC LCOL pilot, her daughter a retired USA LCOL, one grandson a USNR ENS in flight training, another in the USCG. Her daughter going to VMI got her and her husband to the mountains in southwest Virginia and, after her husband’s death, her grandson going to VMI kept her in Roanoke.
Brenda was making airline reservations when the agent, noting our ages, asked “You are accompanying a man over 90?” Brenda answered, “When you are at our ages holding hands can be pretty nice!”
Gilbert Norm Abrecq died in Bakersfield, CA July 21, 2018. His obituary in on the class website.
Philip Howard Thom, CDR (Ret), died in Salt Lake City, UT July 28, 2018. His obituary is on the class website.
Louis Albert Troughton passed away in Virginia Beach, VA July 29, 2018. His obituary is on the class website.
Halford Ernst Maninger passed away in Pacific Palisades, CA August 9, 2018. His obituary is on the class website.
Nothing could be finer . . .
ALL49 2 OCT 18
We have passed September’s Song but still hear the “refrains” of FLORENCE’s rains and fires in the West.
Regarding FLORENCE, it is interesting to have observed it’s beginning off the West Coast of Africa, development into a tropical storm, given its name, then tracking its journey and strength as it came westward. Hundreds of projected tracks of its eye converged between Savannah, GA and Norfolk, VA. Then a high pressure area off New England stalled FLORENCE’s westward trek off the Wilmington – Wrightsville Beach, NC area, reducing its winds below hurricane force coming ashore. As the eye became a low pressure area, it moved into South Carolina and passed within 30 miles of Florence, SC before curving northwestward toward West Virginia and Tennessee. What an oddity for FLORENCE to come thousands of miles across the Atlantic and die, more or less, in its “hometown.”
The fires in the West also had many “oddities.” Besides firefighters from all over the US traveling to the West Coast to aid in the hundreds of fires, teams from islands in the Pacific (with almost no experience fighting forest fires) joined the effort. Unfortunately, a large number of these fires were caused by arsonists and carelessness of people. Too bad rains in the East couldn’t be directed to fires in the West.
Add the international troubles of over 400 festival attendees being killed by a tsunami in Indonesia triggered by a 7.5 earthquake which devastated the city of Palu, causing over 500 additional casualties. Makes the British problem of too many red telephone booths during the smartphone age a minor problem.
In the area of trivia,
Robert Peal established the police in London September 29, 1808. They were soon referred to by the people as “bobbies” and “peelers.” The latter nickname soon disappeared, but “bobbies” has lasted to present day.
October 1, 1880, the Edison Lamp Works began operation in New Jersey to manufacture electric light bulbs. Early designs lasted for years (one passed its 125th year last year). To increase sales, other light bulb companies began producing bulbs with shorter life spans.
In 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Model T car at a price of $850. Within 18 years production techniques reduced that to $300. He is said to have told customers “You can have any color car on the line if it is black.”
Other than the above, I have had a rather quiet September.
Rick and my efforts to correct the 2015 Class Directory has reached a stalemate. I will “gun-deck” a listing of what we have and distribute it for correction. Anyone who doesn’t correct their information will have to live with it.
I have been asked about membership of The Association of the Class of 1949. I have repeated several times that the constitution of The Association was amended twice since my becoming class president. At our 2014 Reunion, attendees approved the amendment to identify wives and widows as associate members of The Association. This conforms with bylaws and requirements for veterans’ organizations as cited in IRS code for tax-exempt status. Following approval of that amendment, another amendment was made to permit associate members to serve in any position of The Association except President and Vice President. The exception does not apply, if the associate member has served in a military service.
In keeping with the foregoing, our “Navy Juniors” have family status in The Association in attending class reunions and other functions, posting items on the class website, having their obituaries posted on the class website (only obits for classmates can go into SHIPMATE, but their loss is mentioned in our class column).
Things have been quiet regarding Fitzgerald and McCain collisions with merchant ships in WestPac. There is another Council of Class Presidents meeting scheduled in November. Hopefully, I can learn more of the status of the two collisions. I have been highly vocal at the “Dinosaur” table regarding the “university” the Naval Academy has become. The Brigade is one big ROTC unit.
Another concern is congressional appointments to the military academies. My understanding was that, when first initiated, the purpose was to provide an opportunity for young men throughout the country to attend, be trained in naval warfare, and serve the nation. My checks of the register and other documents show members of congress are appointing entrants from states and districts other than their own. I wonder it congressmen are selecting entrants that are sons or daughters of contributors to their reelection campaigns? It can be quite a good deal to contribute $10,000 and have their son or daughter get a BA degree unrelated to naval service costing the government about $160,000 or more.
My Cruise to Chile
Boarding Zaandam in Seattle September 24th, we are now off Mexico. Hopefully, I can find Wi-Fi at ports we visit so I can receive messages sent to me. My home computer is sorely missed because I forgot to bring my class directory and password listing. My iPad is limited in information memory.
Leaving Lynchburg was a problem when the feeder airline for American Airlines, which departs at 0530, got to the runway then reported an engine problem. The AA flight from Charlotte, NC to Seattle was scheduled to depart 0730 am and we only had an hour between flights, with arrival and departure gates at opposite ends of the terminal. Twenty minutes goes by with the pilot promising to resolve the “issue” shortly. Now another “issue” had to be faced. The feeder aircraft cannot take carry-on bags in the cabin. They go into the baggage hold compartment with checked baggage and are personally retrieved at the arrival gate after landing in Charlotte.
Finally, the pilot reports the engine “issue” is resolved and he is awaiting a revised flight clearance.
Our “issue” is now defined and paramount. We arrive in Charlotte at departure time for the flight to Seattle, we wait in-line for passengers seated ahead of us to deplane and get their carry-on bags then we get ours, find the transport we pre-booked to get to the Seattle departure gate at the other end of the terminal, and be prepared to change to any other plane headed for Seattle or Vancouver, BC, the next port of call for Zaandam, if we miss our flight.
All’s well, that ends well!! As we deplaned in Charlotte our transport was there, two baggage handlers got our carry-on baggage receipts and promised to tag them for Seattle and deliver then directly for loading on our Seattle flight, which was being held for us. We had a fast ride to our AA flight, got a lot of stares from people wondering who we were to delay their departure. The only burble was the passengers who had seated themselves in our seats had to move back to their less desirable locations
Nothing could be finer . . . .
ALL49 NOV 2018
November is the eleventh and penultimate month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, the fourth and last of four months to have a length of 30 days, and the fifth and last of five months to have a length of less than 31 days. November was the ninth month of the ancient Roman calendar. November retained its name (from the Latin novem meaning "nine") when January and February were added to the Roman calendar.
With that minutia aside, November is a historic month. Not only is it the 243rd Birthday of the Marine Corps November 10th, November 11th is the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI. November 21st, Jack Huenerberg joins four other 49ers at 94. To Tom Parsons, Bob McElroy, and USMC widows, “Semper FI,” and Happy Birthday! To Jack Huenerberg, Keep on counting the candles.
On the bad side, November 9th is the 80th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass. It was a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany where Jewish businesses were torched and looted, Jews were killed, and Synagogues were desecrated. It was state sponsored terrorism against their own citizens. Does that sound anything like what happened in Pittsburgh? Can people in the United States make that comparison?
It is the middle of football season, the Halloween “treats” have been passed out, and the Great Pumpkin is at Charlie Brown’s door. Hurricane season is over, but the damage of FLORENCE, MICHAEL, and WILLA still exists. Low pressure areas off the coast of New England make Nor’easters likely. 2018 hurricanes have set new records in statistics maintained for both Atlantic and Pacific areas and worldwide. Records are maintained on calculated energy, wind velocities and endurance, rainfall, and many other factors. All become “tools” is calculating predictions for future storms
Whatever the conditions, November heralds the arrival of Thanksgiving, followed by the beginning of shopping for family and friends for Christmas. Navy is essentially out of the running for a football bowl game, but don’t forget the Army-Navy games of 1946 and 1948. Being an underdog doesn’t mean the Navy team doesn’t have teeth and can’t bite!
My October Activities
My message to everyone, updating my whereabouts and new pacemaker, added to information I provided in September that announced my intention to go cruising down the west coast of the Western Hemisphere. Now I’ll add information on that cruise you may find interesting.
Boarding Holland America Lines (HAL) ship Zaandam in Seattle for the overnight cruise to Vancouver, BC were several passengers with just carryon luggage. I asked a couple where they were going. One said Vancouver explaining he was paying $60 for the overnight, and would have three excellent meals, and evening entertainment. Going by train costs about the same. The second said to San Diego. He was a travel agent with a “special rate” for the 5 days and flight back to Seattle.
Boarding in Vancouver were hundreds of Canadians, about fifty Australians and New Zealanders, and fifty Germans. Two Asian families were traveling together, and I met a couple from the Netherlands. Surprisingly, most were booked all the way to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Two ladies from Australia with their adult daughters were returning home via Europe.
In Santa Barbara Zaandam anchored offshore, using tenders for passengers going ashore. I did, primarily to get Wi-Fi to resolve a couple of Class matters with Rick Claytor. I don’t know how long people have been there, but I had to ask four people where to find a Wi-Fi site or a Starbuck’s and three people to find the USPO (the place with the flag by it).
Enough people boarded in San Diego to replace the five-day cruisers from Seattle. Some arrived by bus from the San Diego Airport, some by taxi, and one couple by city bus down Broadway getting off between the USS Midway Museum and cruise ship terminal – a half block walk. If I remember back to 1951, that was where the “nickel snatcher” to Coronado was located. No, I didn’t check the Mexican Village in Coronado, but I trust Chuck Howe will give me a report.
To stops in Mexico were made before Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. The price of jade is many times higher than 40 years ago, but you can still haggle the price down, especially near closing time. Our stop in Corinto, Nicaragua was skipped because of weather. With a volcano there and the unrest in the population, it wasn’t a bad decision. I waved as we passed Costa Rico, but I don’t think Ed Pratt saw me – just a couple of guys fishing way off shore.
Reaching Fuerte Amador, Panama (Fort Amador before we gave up the canal) brought back memories of my time in the Army during Vietnam. My article about that is still on the class website in the MEMORIES section. Maybe that is what started my dizzy spells that led to the pacemaker at the next stop – Manta, Ecuador.
I’ll skip the details of the sea level surgery and report on getting ‘high’ in Quito. It is the second highest national capital in the world, 9,350 feet. Only La Paz, Bolivia is higher, 11,523 feet. Another oddity about Quito is that the hotel I had for “day rest” between flights straddled the equator. My room was north of the equator and the dining room was south of the equator. A roundabout on the highway outside of the hotel had statues of two men shaking hands across the equator in the middle of the roundabout. Also, visible from the hotel was Cotopaxi, a volcano over 19,347 feet high. It erupted in 2015 with considerable lava flow. When you open the book about services in the hotel the first thing you see is a warning, “IF YOU FEEL TREMORS - DON’T PANIC.” Following is information on altitude sickness occurring to people with breathing difficulties. I skipped going to Machu Picchu when we got to Callao, Peru as soon as I saw the “includes much walking” description of the excursion. Of course, I never got that far.
I plan to attend a Council of Class Presidents (COCP) meeting November 8 at the stadium. It is a half day meeting with a meeting to follow at Dahlgren Hall with the CNO kicking off a campaign to raise money for “objectives” to be given. With paid Alumni Association workers, headed by a President paid a half million dollars, I don’t intend to be an unpaid worker. Nevertheless, as Class President I will keep you informed, if I attend.
It is noted the website for USNA has been redone with the emphasis on getting money - - gifts, sales, attendance at events, etc. While on cruise, my contact with you disappeared. Rick Claytor managed to get out one of my messages but several of you reported parts being missing and no “enclosed message.” I will post what I’ve sent on the Class Website in FROM THE TOP soon.
Calvin Eugene Rakes died August 26, 2018 in Eugene, OR. His obituary is on the class website.
Myron Dane Gerber passed away in Bethesda, MD August 31, 2018. His obituary is on the class website.
John Taylor Rigsbee died September 8, 2018 in Hilton Head, SC. His obituary is on the class website.
Gerald F. Brummitt passed away in Coronado, CA November 20, 2014. His services were held in Arlington National Cemetery in October. His obituary was on the class website four years ago and taken down; however, I have a copy on my computer if requested.
Nothing could be finer . . . .