I have returned and relieved Rick Claytor of the “Conn.” Thanks, Rick.
Everyone should have finished their turkey leftovers and are now preparing for Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations. Not being a shopper, I don’t attempt to buy presents, which are often the wrong size or desired item, and get out my checkbook - - a universal present that all happy to receive. My mailbox is loaded daily with charities asking for a present from my checkbook. I am amazed at the same charity seeks donations from different addresses around the country.
My trip to Rome to board Prinsendam for a 16-day cruise back to Fort Lauderdale was great. Several aboard were people I had cruised with before aboard the same ship and I gained a lot of new friends. At a veterans’ meeting in the Crow’s Nest each person introduced themselves and their service. An USAF LCOL (Ret) named David was nearby. At dinner that evening he asked, “Shall we say grace” looking at me. I immediately said grace. The next day I learned David was really Father David! I apologized for stealing his “gig” and we had a good laugh.
A pianist and violinist provided before dinner entertainment which I attended nightly. Their selections were semi-classical with what I termed “flying fingers” renditions by both musicians. Following one performance, I expressed my enjoyment of and asked where they were from. The violinist said the Ukraine. I then asked if they knew what a “gig” was. She answered “yes” and her husband had a “gig” on another ship headed for Fort Lauderdale. (And all this time I thought a “gig” was the captain’s personal longboat.)
Audit and Appointment of Executive Treasurer
The Audit Committee, Bill Bennett (Chair), Dave Larish, and Ursula Vosseler completed the audit of Class of 1949 accounts. The delay in the audit, which was initially started with the resignation of Bob Smith because of medical problems and delayed by hospital stays by committee members, was completed after the approval of amendment of the Constitution of the Association of the Class of 1949, Inc. to add wives and widows of members to be Associate Members and serve in any position of the Executive Committee, except President or Vice President, and all other appointed positions. Ursula Vosseler fulfilled that need by accepting appointment to the Audit Committee.
Bill Bennett, who has been serving as temporary Executive Treasurer, is hereby appointed to the position of Executive Treasurer and is a voting member of the Executive Committee.
Have any of you wondered about the two collisions of merchant ships with the loss of lives on both Navy ships? Does anyone wonder about who was OOD and why weren’t general prudential rules followed? Is the USNA too much of a university than an academy to provide well-trained junior officers to the fleet?
I listen to presentations about educational achievements in numbers of graduates of the military academies compared to those of universities. The academies are relatively high. However, when I reflect on our one subject choice, language, in four years, is it time to reevaluate what has happened. We studied English, History and Government with the rest being naval, warfare, and engineering courses. Ten Navy department heads signed my Bachelor of Science degree. Today there are about 23 majors that are pursued that have little relation to naval warfare.
I don’t blame this situation on “political correctness.” That battle was fought back in the ‘70s, Gender and race of a naval officer makes no difference as long as they do their job, and die doing it, if that is the nations will.
What is the difference between an academy with civilian curricula and a university with a ROTC? What is the main objective of the USNA?
Thomas Woods Lappley died September 13, 2017 in Harrisburg, PA. His obituary is on the website. Tom gave up his LTJG commission to enter USNA with Class of 1949.
Barbara Louise (McLean) Higgins, widow of CAPT Everett Chipman Higgins, USN (Ret) died October 1, 2017 in Honolulu, HI. Her obituary is on the website.
CAPT Thomas Fletcher Lechner, USN (Ret) died October 24, 2017 in Potomac, MD. His obituary is on the class website.
LCDR John Alfred Tinkham, USN (Ret) died November 12, 2017 in Virginia Beach, VA. His obituary is on the class website.
There are 190 surviving graduates with the status of 5 unknown.
Nothing could be finer . . . .
Posted: 5 December 2017
All49 4 JAN 18
Ah! Another year in which to excel! It was many years ago that we ‘49ers were responded to upper classmen with that respondence. Time passes and now we should be thankful we are on the green side of the turf and not beneath it.
Our number of living graduates is now 186, with four of those in the “status unknown” category. That gets me to a problem that is hampering our attempts to keep communications flowing among classmates, wives, and widows. The problem is that members of class family are moving into retirement homes, nursing homes, smaller places, and just to be nearer their “Navy Juniors” without notifying class leadership or the Alumni Association. (You’ll see this repeated in your March Shipmate, if you receive one.)
I have downloaded a Class Listing from the Alumni Assoc. database finding many people listed “address unknown.” That means your Shipmate has been returned by the USPS, which only forwards mail to a new address for a limited time.
I am considering ways to update the 2015 Class Directory. Unfortunately, many of you seem to have misplaced them.
The Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations initiate the exchanging of seasons greeting via cards and other communication links. John Camp reported to Paul Laric that his card to Al Levine in Scottsdale, AZ had been returned indicating Al had died in October. Paul informed me and tried to contact some official in McDowell Village (Al’s retirement home) for information, only determining the date of death as October 14, 2017. My web search didn’t find Al’s name in newspaper obituaries and I asked Timothy Elizabeth Woodbury, Editor for Last Call in Shipmate for assistance. The Alumni Assoc. has a search service for obituaries of USNA alumni. It was after Christmas before information in a Supply Corps monthly bulletin was found reporting Al’s death. Using that and class information I have, I wrote an obituary for Al, which I posted on the class website. That brought the number of surviving graduates to 189.
December 13, I received information that Bud Ince died in Charlottesville, VA, leaving 188 surviving. I attended his Memorial Service held December 23 in his former church in Madison, VA, near his and his deceased wife’s, Jean, home “St Clair.” During the service his son, John, told of his and his siblings growing up and humorous family humorous events. John was followed by sisters, and grandchildren - - one with a babe in arms representing the latest in the “great” generation. I asked to say a few words on behalf of the class, and opened with the statement that I represented a group that shared more than 72 ½ years with Bud, citing his naval duties and postings. I closed with “when a sailor’s life is over in this world and he heads for the great place beyond, may he have fair winds and following seas.” I asked attendees to stand, simulating side boys, as Bud was piped over- the-side for the last time. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have a Bosun piping) I served as Officer of the Deck for saluting.
Attendees were mostly friends in the Madison area and family. Molly Barrow, her daughter, and care-giver were up from Somerset, VA and Pete Swanson’s son, Pete Jr. (“Little Pete” 50 years ago) down from Northern Virginia, were there. There may have been others, but I departed the reception early to greet Christmas guests arriving in Lynchburg.
Final services for Bud will be at the USNA Columbarium in April, where he will rejoin Jean.
Word received yesterday that William McKinney Fulton died in San Diego, CA December 22, 2017 has caused amendment of the number surviving graduates.
Jack R. Leisure of Wormleysburg, PA died December 26, 2017 at Messiah Lifeways. A Memorial service will be at Pine Street Presbyterian Church Harrisburg, PA 11;00am Friday January 12, 2018. His obituary is on the class website.
I hope my year-end total of 186 surviving graduates won’t suffer additional changes; however, there has been the loss of a classmate of international renown who resigned from USNA right after VJ Day. John Calvin Portman died December 29, 2017 in Atlanta, GA. He enlisted in the Navy and was selected to attend NAPS to compete for a SECNAV appointment to USNA. He was one of the 200 standing highest on the exam. His ambition was to be an architect. He got his BAR degree from Georgia Tech, joined a local firm, then resigned to start his own. Peachtree Center in Atlanta was an immediate success and was followed by others throughout the world. I’ll have his obituary on the website soon. Knowing John, I hope to reach his wife of 75 years, Jan, to express my regrets.
Communications received include:
Dee Rene Peard, Roger’s widow, is ready to brave the fires in Santa Barbara County in California, to leave Vancouver, WA to get to Santa Maria, CA nearer her roots.
Carmen Donaldson, daughter of Sara (widow of my second of seven “wives”, Jack (D)) contacted me about some man named “Clyde” who had offered to send her mother something of her Dad’s from the Naval Academy. I immediately answered because “Clyde” was Clyde Winkler, who was in Company 1 Plebe and Youngster years before he resigned, had called me to get Sara’s address. Clyde Winkler contacted me last year asking about all the Company 1 guys he remembered. I mailed him a leftover 2015 Directory and got him to rejoin the Alumni Assoc., which he did. We’ve talked several times since. The latest was the above call. His address is 605 Claymont Estates Drive, Chesterfield, MO 63017- 7061.
A post-Christmas surprise was a card readdressed to me, which was the card John Camp had sent Al Levine that initiated the search for information on Al’s death. John is an avid cursive writing advocate shaming me with his beautiful script and command of the English language. (I won’t contest that of my illegible scrawl has forced me into printing and using a bevy of computer styles.) His three-page Christmas letter to Al Levine is a prattle of age and health he may have spread others of his “Bancroft brethren.” He establishes “two dimensions to aging, chronological and attitude.” He sees “old people in their 40s …gnarled as a tree trunk … and someone at 96 who is out with a new young chick every weekend.” To you who were not blest by receiving one of John’s epistles, let me know and I’ll mail you a copy of this one.
With the Twelve Days of Christmas the ornaments are stored for the year, the tree has been hauled away, and it’s time to get back to the agenda. I plan to have an EC meeting to address items which have been tabled since our last meeting.
Setting the time of the reunion depends upon when Navy will schedule its “away” football games in 2019. The most acceptable fall date will then be considered versus the 2-5 June date.
Ursula Vosseler is Chairing the ’70 Reunion Planning Committee and is seeking more members. Peggy Wood is already aboard and has the “keys” to many of the nearby DC sites; e.g. Arlington National Cemetery. Molly Barrow’s daughter is a willing member and I plan to provide event recommendations and help with facility reservations. Even if you feel unable to serve on the committee you can suggest events, menus, tours, etc. to be considered for the schedule.
May each of you have an active, healthy, and happy 2018!!
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 . . . .