ALL49 23 Jan 17
This is a short message to all classmates and widows of regrets in one case and sweet success in another.
We submitted resume packets on Robert Jordon Gilliland and Harry Depue Train as Distinguished Graduate Award candidates the last two years.
Bob was one of our 55 graduates opting for service in the USAF. He had a short service career, which included being a fighter pilot during Korea, before resigning and becoming a test pilot for Lockheed in California. There his abilities in aviation took to him new heights and speeds when he became the SR-71 Blackbird test pilot. After a first flight at Mach 1.65 and altitude of 65,000 feet and correction of problems mostly involving environmental change from sea level to high altitude, the aircraft was capable of Mach 3 plus and 80,000 feet plus. Bob did acceptance testing of each new Blackbird coming off the production line and checked out USAF and CIA pilots to fly them.
Unfortunately, Bob was not selected as a recipient of a DGA, but you know from an earlier ALL49 that he enters the National Aviation Hall of Fame this year. Not a bad honor to join that group of pioneers from the Wright brothers to modern day astronauts.
Harry has been selected as a recipient of a DGA. The information will be posted on www.usna.com tomorrow. Being at the top of the list relates to our “dinosaur” status as a class, not his age or seniority. The award ceremony is to be held March 31st.
CONGRATULATIONS TO HARRY!!
ALL49 11 JAN 17
The old guy with the beard and the babe in diapers arrived on schedule. I received many messages for peace, happiness, and good health in 2017. Mickey Gussow provided the following:
HAPPY NEW YEAR FLIGHT 2017
Your luggage should only contain the best souvenirs from 2016,
the bad and sad moments should be left in the past.
The duration of the flight will be 12 months.
The next stop-over’s will be:
Health, Love, Joy, Harmony, Well-being and Peace.
The Captain offers you the following menu, which will be served during the flight:
A Cocktail of Friendship
A Supreme of Health
A Gratin of Prosperity
A Board of Excellent News
A Salad of Success
A Cake of Happiness
All accompanied by burst of laughter wishing you and the family an enjoyable trip.
Welcome aboard of FLIGHT 2017!
To all reading this ALL49, I extend my approval of your flight plans and wish you a safe journey aboard Flight 2017. You are cleared for takeoff!
Holiday IN Basket
My mailbox and email inbox had many interesting items and information I think you would like to have shared with you.
Top of the stack was a letter from John Camp hand-written in perfect script. To keep me from being alarmed, he explained he was pondering all the writing instruments he had before him, while writing a check, and pondered why people and schools no longer practice cursive writing and penmanship. With that introduction, there followed a five-page letter rivaling that of a calligrapher. John follows my advice to contemporaries of “don’t get old – get busy!” He reported there are six annual reunion groups with which he is actively engaged. That doesn’t include USNA, which is a five- or ten-year addition to the groups. John’s “actively engaged” is serving as an officer in these groups. He keynoted his time aboard APD 127 during Korea and their underwater demolition team operations. John cites the kinship of shipmates and Bancroft brethren developed over time together as the glue that keeps them together. I was pleased that he mentioned his use of the class directory to call surviving company members periodically, and likes the monthly ALL49s.
I’m sorry that I was unable to hold an Executive Committee meeting before Christmas as planned. A couple of priority actions to be completed before the EC meeting could not be completed because of medical problems and rectifying an issue with the IRS.
As a reminder, the survey favored location of the reunion being in Annapolis, but the time was supported evenly between early June, to include our graduation anniversary, and a non-football weekend in the fall.
In my last ALL49 I reported that the December luncheon was only attended by Fran and Jack Huenerberg and me. Joanne Roos, who I had planned to pick-up, had to cancel and Carolyn Dennis had an appointment before departing for lengthy visits with her children.
My plea for help for our NFCU checking account has not been responded to as hoped. The few donations that were received postmarked 2016 have been acknowledged by letter and are deeply appreciated. Costs of operations are going up, and the number of supporting members of Class of 1949 is going down. I don’t expect anyone to donate what I have, although one already has, but I expect a donation that shows you like what class leadership is doing.
I initiated this effort because this is the appropriate time to consider the future of The Association of the Class of 1949, Inc. My estimate is about five years of operations of the Association is left before the Association is dissolved with remaining assets going to the USNA Alumni Assoc. If expenditures average $4,000/year, that is $20,000 total. With over 500 classmates (graduates and non-graduates), wives, and widows remaining, establishing funding for the future should be easily achieved. This ALL49 should reach 174 people. A plea via SHIPMATE will reach about 310 people; however, most are the 174 receiving this message. A contribution of $100 or more by each should reach the $20,000 goal.
Where does the money go? I’m a big spender, and have been since starting the class website. Homestead Technology hosts the website and just charged my American Express card $263.99 for the “improved service.” My three desk top computers, one of which is Class of 1949 information and for backup, share several software programs, the cost of which I split three ways. I attend Counsel of Class Presidents, Board of Trustees meetings, and all classmate’s funerals I can get to. In my absence, I get an EC member to attend the Annapolis meetings. I ask a classmate near funerals to attend, representing the class. The latter I offer to cover their travel or other expenses, and give them the option of counting it as a donation to the class. To date, all have chosen to have their representing the class a donation. I have purchased awards for officers serving the class, had them suitably dedicated, and presented them at luncheons, dinners, or otherwise appropriately. I attend Tidewater luncheons often, using attendees as “sounding boards” for some of my proposals. The Annapolis meetings with direct impact to the class I charge to the class. Luncheons in Tidewater and similar expenses I follow IRS Pub 526 instructions allowing me to deduct 50% of my costs from my income taxes.
Back in mid 90s, Ace Boughton, Gene Shine, and other ‘49ers in the Annapolis area obtained class support to fund renovation of a house at 49 College Ave., Annapolis. Many contributed to the renovation and future maintenance of the property. It was established as a Historic Property officially named ’49 HOUSE. It is one of five properties owned by the Alumni Assoc. and is used for staff working spaces. It adjoins 247 King George St in the backyard. I pledged my support to the efforts in 1995, viewing it as Class of !949’s footprint in Annapolis, and have designated part of my yearly contribution to the Alumni Assoc. to the ’49 HOUSE maintenance account. It has become the home of a lot of class memorabilia. I have paid for mailings of such items with class funds and have an offer on the table to Bill Dawson ’82, Executive VP of the Alumni Assoc., whose office is in ’49 HOUSE, to pay for installation or purchase of display facilities for memorabilia. I’ve bought Bill Read’s oral history from the Institute to join those of Harry Train and Bob Coontz’ family in ’49 HOUSE.
My confession is on the table. The ball is on your side of the net. Please give me a good return so the Association of the Class of 1949 has a long life.
CDR Russell Goodacre, 3 Feb 16 in Springfield, VA, wife Joann predeceased him; Martha Wynn, wife of CAPT James L. Wynn, 30 Oct 16 in Black Mountain, NC; Elizabeth (Betty) Sprague, wife of David Sprague, 16 Dec 16 in Maplewood, NJ; Jacqueline (Jackie) Bartholomew, wife of Byron S. Bartholomew (D), 16 Dec 16 in Springfield, VA; George L. Siri, 31 Dec 16 in Reno, NV; and Virginia M. Wilson, wife of CAPT Ralph E. Wilson, in Dana Point, CA.
Nothing could be finer . . .
ALL49 14 DEC 16
I hope that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgivings and haven’t been too shocked by recent events in December. When I attended the Council of Class Presidents meeting November 14th Chet Gladchuk gave a glowing report of Navy sports against other schools in intercollegiate competition. Success on the football field couldn’t have been better after beating Houston and being ranked 19th in the nation. All that was needed to be selected to play in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day was a win in the AAC title game at Annapolis December 3rd and the 16th consecutive win over Army in Baltimore December 10th. However, the leftover turkey must have spoiled after the weekend victory over SMU 75 – 31 November 26th. Temple beat Navy 34 – 10 to win the AAC title game and Army won 21 – 17, ending their losing streak to Navy at 15 games. Navy is now slated to play Louisiana Tech in the Armed Forces Bowl December 23rd at 4:30 pm in Fort Worth, TX.
Tickets are available on NAVYSPORTS.COM .
Your choices of when and where to have our ‘70th Reunion have been tabulated. However, only the “where” has been determined. An equal number of votes were for a June date, including our June 3rd graduation date, and for a non-football fall weekend in Annapolis. June 3, 2019 is a Monday, so arrivals would be on Sunday and departures would be on Wednesday or later, if desired. Fall dates can’t be confirmed yet because the 2019 football schedule is not completed. September 7th Navy plays Holy Cross and October 5th they play Air Force in Annapolis. On October 19th, they play Notre Dame in South Bend. I will have members of the Executive Committee select the date when the football schedule including away games is complete.
Many responses included family and others that would also attend with them. The total was 80. That’s great! Unfortunately, there were many responders that reported medical and traveling problems. Let us hope all changes are for better futures.
Those of you that visit the class website and check the MEMORIAL section find the obituary of William Henry Hamilton. He is “Bill” to many, “Bone” to more, and “Hambone” to football teammates and close friends of the past. He was in 2nd, 14th, and 20th companies at USNA, while I was one number lower along the way. We shared many classes over the 4 years. Bill became a naval aviator flying jets during Korea, but switched specialties to the evolving group of watermen from Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) Frogmen during WWII and into the 50s, to Beach Jumpers in 60s, to Special Warfare Groups in the 70s, with SEALS trained for special missions, then to Seal Team 6 highly trained for Unconventional Warfare (UW). Bill resigned his regular commission as a LCDR in 1962 becoming a member of the reserves and use his waterman talents and UW knowledge working for CIA. He returned to active duty in the Navy, finally retiring as a CAPT in May 1986.
Bill completed a book, Night Fighter, with co-author Charles Sasser shortly before his death. Paul Laric bought a copy right off the presses, which is now destined for ’49 House in Annapolis. It is a good review of national crises since the 50s, although chronology and certain participants cited are not identified correctly.
“December 7 was a date that will live in infamy” as the quote is recorded. The Lynnhaven Fish House was full of luncheon groups having pre-Christmas parties except the Class of 1949. With the Thiele’s now in Birmingham, Joanne Roos ailing, and Carolyn Dennis getting last minute appointments accomplished before flying west to spent a few months with her daughters, Fran and Jack Huenerberg and I were the only attendees. With the failure of other Tidewater classmates and family to attend, we discussed whether the monthly meeting should be changed to less frequent scheduling.
Back when I started the website the costs were my personal gift to the class, which Pete Swanson, then treasurer, would acknowledge as a donation of services. Under IRS Pub 526 costing guidelines, I deducted those costs on my Schedule A tax form. Since becoming president, official travel, purchasing and giving awards, printing and distribution of class directories, running the website and other items have been charged to the class and paid from our NFCU checking account. It is running low. I sent a sizable check from my IRA to “The Association of the Class of 1949, USNA” for deposit in NFCU to cover what I normally claimed on Schedule A.
The Association is a tax exempt veterans’ organization under IRS Code Section 501(c)(19). Your contribution to the Association to Bill Bennett, Treasurer, 3 Ashcroft Court, Arnold, MD 21012 or me will be acknowledged as a tax deductible charitable contribution.
The ‘70th Reunion letter brought responses from family members of classmates and widows reporting they died years ago although they were still in the class database. My number of living graduates is now 212 with a half dozen in unknown status.
John K. Twilla died February 7, 2012 in Smithville, TN; Thomas M. Gill died June 18, 2013 in Pinehurst, NC; Oscar Shealy died July 24, 2016 in Coronado, CA; Marie Sebenius died July 19, 2016 in McLean, VA; Howard B. Parker died October 21, 2016 in Baton Rouge, LA; Sylvy D. Titus died October 23, 2016 in Reno, NV; John H. Murphy died November 19, 2016 in Springfield, VA; William H. Hamilton died November 23, 2016 in Virginia Beach, VA; Andrew J. Owens died November 23, 2016 in Jacksonville Beach, FL.
Nothing could be finer . . . .
Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to all!
ALL49 17 Feb 17
February arrived and with it ground-hog day. Punxsutawney Phil did his thing which indicated 6 more weeks of winter. However, his northern cousin, Staten Island Chuck, differed by proclaiming an early Spring. Since that time the people in the northeastern states have been inundated with snows up to 18 inches. The West recovered from last year’s drought piling over 15 feet of snow on Jerry Brown’s bare spot last year in the Sierras. People there don’t have to be worried about being fined for washing their cars and watering their plants and lawns. Now they are concerned with mud slides in the foothills and dams overflowing. I don’t know whether the ground-hogs caused all this and the winter tornadoes, but I’m preparing for the March hare in Virginia.
I might mention that following the above predictions of Phil and Chuck, the local newspaper reprinted an item from their February 3, 1952 in the Yesteryear section that reported a female ground-hog came out on the State House lawn in Richmond on ground-hog day and died! The governor and legislature had a field day debating what that meant for Virginia.
But do not worry. My calendar says Daylight Saving Time begins March 12th, the Vernal Equinox occurs March 20th and the Summer Solstice June 21st. They all indicate old Sol is coming to our latitudes.
I have had several inquiries about when the reunion will be scheduled. My report of results of the questionnaire distributed was that there was a tie between the early June 2 – 5 selection, that would include our graduation anniversary (and maybe some wedding anniversaries), and a non-football weekend in the early fall. That was reported that in last month’s ALL49, along with the statement that the EC would select between the two Annapolis alternatives. Unfortunately, a few things that I wanted done before the EC meets have not been completed. They involve compliance with the Constitution of the Association of the Class of 1949, which is my aim.
My initial investigation of the pros and cons of the two times went awry when I learned the 2019 football schedule was not yet finalized. The Notre Dame game October 12th is the only away game presently on the schedule, which may not be completed until next year. I have been hoping for a September weekend with milder weather. The Alumni Assoc. Class Reunion Manager, Holly Powers, is ready, willing, and able to assist us. She is most helpful in events requiring use of spaces and facilities in the Yard and Memorial Stadium. Her assistance includes coordination with other homecoming/reunion classes in scheduling joint briefings. “Mick” and Madelon McDonald’s daughter learned about organizing reunions from them and has started a business with a friend in Annapolis setting up reunions for USNA classes. I’m sure they will be happy to do the Annapolis leg work for us.
I have conserved the funds in our AA checking account to handle early commitments, which arise as spaces and activities are scheduled. I’d like to have a husband and wife twosome that live in the DC/Annapolis vicinity to chair the reunion committee.
My contact with the Alumni Assoc. regarding programs presented during the Board of Trustees meeting back in June indicates that many things are in a “hold status” until the new Secretary of the Navy is on board and the new administration supports current planning. The plans for a new Alumni House outside the Yard - - security area - - is of principal interest. Currently, Luce Hall on King George Street and ’49 House on College Avenue provide working space for many Alumni Assoc. personnel, with very limit parking available for them or visitors. The backyards of the two houses join one another. I am questioning whether they will continue to be used as office spaces when and if the new Alumni House is built. As I have mentioned before, ’49 House is our footprint in Annapolis and contains a lot of memorabilia donated by class members. We should be prepared to cope with what might ensue.
VADM William L. Read Oral History
I purchased the oral history of classmate Bill Read before Christmas and completed the 555 pages of interviews and 158 pages of appendices last week. Paul Stillwell, now retired from the U. S. Naval Institute, conducted the interviews and had enough personal knowledge of Navy ships and weapon systems to inquire into interesting areas and events. It will be placed in ‘49 House with The Coontz Family and ADM Harry D. Train oral histories that are already there.
In my discussions with Bill’s wife, Marty, I commented that Bill thought all the people he worked for were great. She said you don’t want to have any, shall I say, “unkind words” about anyone that will forever be in print. That interchange occurred before I finished the book. In the last few pages Paul Stillwell posed the same observation to Bill who gave the same answer Marty gave me. Of course, she had read the book also and lived the “life.”
Class Mail Account
Garrett Keating of the Alumni Assoc. has informed me that I have a new class mail account that runs through Google. My address is email@example.com . Email sent to that address is automatically readdressed to my existing email address firstname.lastname@example.org .
The access with Google permits use of google services, such as Google Docs and Google Sheets.
Wilber W. Martin, 22 Sep 2016 in Raleigh, NC; Robert J. Kelly, 31 Dec 2016 in Chicago, IL; William D. Collins, 1 Feb 2017 in St. Helena, CA; William Wynne, 12 Feb 2017 in Short Hills, NJ.
Nothing could be finer . . . .
ALL49 14 MAR 2017
Beware the Ides of March
Last month I opened with the predictions of Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck, groundhogs of some fame in forecasting the weather. Whereas Phil went back in his hole, signaling 6 more weeks of Winter, Phil’s prediction was an early Spring. Those of you in the Northeastern states have worn out several snow-shovels by now. Do you have Chuck’s picture on a wanted poster in the post office?
Those of us south of the Mason-Dixon line haven’t been without snow, but the 12-inch levels have been in the mountains and 4-inch and less elsewhere. We in the piedmont area of Virginia have had the Appalachians deflect fronts through the Carolinas or to northward toward DC and Maryland. Sorry about that. How cold is it in Maryland, mister?
We have gone to daylight saving time with the Vernal Equinox soon to come, but beware the Ides of March. March is named for Mars, the Roman god of war. Although few of us are ready for the battlefield, most of us are in our annual battle with the IRS. (If you join the last two words of that sentence, you have “theirs.”)
Bob McElroy asked me a question two weeks ago, about “PC at the academies.” This was posed in a readdressed email he was forwarding to me. My first comment was that PC was not spelled out in his or forwarded messages. Political correctness has been with us since the ‘40s. It has grown from political positions on racial relations, female equality, gay rights, ethnic freedoms, etc. The military leadership, including that at the academies, must support the Constitution, the laws of the nation, and rulings of the courts, or they are replaced.
The USNA commandant spoke at the last COCP meetings about military discipline at USNA, with certain questions coming up. He reported his main problem is use of alcohol while away from Annapolis. The alcohol leads to more serious matters.
Last year there was an article in the newspaper about two openly gay midshipmen who were Commissioning Week dates. (“Drags” we used to call our young ladies.) I also can report the Chapel is still there with voluntary attendance, John Paul Jones and St. Andrews Chapel are below it. Tom Donoher Catholic Chapel is in Bancroft Hall, with Levy Jewish Chapel and a Muslim place of prayer in Mitscher Hall. Is that political correctness?
The above have evolved over the years; however, my big concern is what is happening to the academies themselves. The curricula are becoming less like that of a military academy. Being a WWII class, we spent 4 years studying to be a regular naval officer. Our only choice of subject was language. Our BS diploma was signed by 10 department heads, plus the commandant and superintendent. Now there are 22 (as I recall) department heads, plus the commandant, superintendent, and academic dean. Attendees can study in various majors. The next thing that will occur will be a name change to University of the Severn, with Naval ROTC unit. (Note my underline of BS. I get obituaries citing Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, etc. Our diploma is BS – Bachelor of Science, without other definition.)
Secretary of the Navy
I urge you to read an article about the new SECNAV in HOTLINE on the class website, www.usna-class49.org . From a bad beginning (Army) he seems to be well acquainted with the USNA with number one son a graduate and number two son a midshipman. He has served on the Foundation board and should be up to date on USNA issues.
I am now putting two or three of my latest ALL 49s on the website. I don’t know how many of you avail yourself of the website, but if I get submission of your memories of Navy days and other inputs I publish quite rapidly. Please have your submissions attached to an email in file form, with .jpg pictures if desired.
I recently put a long article of My Army Time in MEMBER INPUT, which you might find interesting. There are several episodes I’ve had for years for a book I hope to write, Near Fame, of my contact with famous people. You have seen a few in MEMORIES.
Note from Bob Smith
I’ve been “Sick in Quarters” for the past 2 years, having In-home Dialysis for advance kidney disease. As in many worlds, there are a lot of moving parts in the body – that leads to my granddaughter’s poster, “Progress isn’t always Linear”. So, we move a day at a time. I am fortunate to have a great medical team, primary care doctor and a range of specialists. With all our family members living in the area, they participate in support of the therapy. The family support team is anchored by Canda 24/7, as a combination angel and ever ready bunny. Daughter, Alexandra, manages my doctor appointments and personal accounts. This has provided regular time with family members and we have been able to celebrate anniversary, my 90th birthday, and holidays together. Bob
Dr. Robert L. Smith, CDR, U. S. Navy (Ret) March 13, 2017 in Alexandria, VA.