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 firstname.lastname@example.org . Email sent to that address is automatically readdressed to my existing email address email@example.com .
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.
ALL49 9 April 2017
The Japanese cherry trees on the mall in Washington suffered from the harsh weather of what should have been springtime. Reports are that half the blooms did not survive. The March winds included tornadoes that hit from coast to coast, with the brunt covering the swath from Texas across the Gulf states and turning northward through the Mid-Atlantic. The old saying of “going out like a lamb” has not occurred this year with the April showers being in the form of sleet and snow as “Blue Northers” and “Canadian Clippers” have earned their names. Nevertheless, the worst time is less than week ahead as the IRS has us scurrying to reach their deadline.
The nice thing I can add is how relieved most of us will be when our returns in the mail. The time is approaching to put the grill outside and hook up the garden hose.
If you visited the class website, as I suggested last month to see the item about the SECNAV nominee, your return will find it has been taken down. Philip Bilden has redrawn as the nominee. During his hearings for confirmation there were lots of questions of his work and contacts in Hong Kong and the Far East. I am unaware if Trump has selected someone else as yet.
March 31st, I attended the ceremony in Alumni Hall for the induction of selectees for Distinguished Graduate Awards. Most of you are aware of the announcement a couple of months ago of classmate ADM Harry Depue Train II being one of five selectees. A month ago all ‘49ers received an invitation to attend the ceremony. Several people contacted me for amplifying information which I provided. Unfortunately, the weather I discussed in the opening paragraph must have impacted attendance. When Ursula Vosseler (Warren’s widow and my assistant Shipmate editor and ceremony guest) arrived at Alumni Hall between downpours, there were five chairs on the main floor marked for Class of 1949 attendees. A podium was on the left a stage about 50 feet from us. About 50 chairs were on the main floor stage right for family members of inductees. Center of the main floor was for certain midshipmen. Tiered seats in the lower tier had classmates of other inductees and special guests of the superintendent, and Foundation/Alumni Assoc. The upper tier of seats were open to all midshipmen. I’d guess 4-5,000 attendees.
When only four selectees mounted the stage, I noted that former Virginia Senator (and writer) Jim Webb wasn’t among them. Checking the program, it didn’t mention him. Later I learned there had been protests about his selection because of his views on women in combat units. (Did I have something to say about Political Correctness last month?) He respectfully declined to accept the award.
Midshipman Raymond, President, Class of 2017 was narrator during a pictorial review of the selectees’ lives/careers. An invocation by CAPT Foley, CHC, followed. There was a presentation of colors and playing of the National Anthem. VADM Carter, Superintendent, gave the welcoming and opening remarks. ADM Matter, Chairman of the Alumni Association Board of Trustees, and MIDN Isabel Krause, ’17, Brigade Commander joined VADM Carter in presenting the DGAs to the inductees.
After each inductee received his DGA, he went to the podium giving a short, inspiring talk to the mostly midshipman audience. All received great applause. After singing of “Navy Blue and Gold” and ceremony closure, midshipman stormed the main floor where the new inductees met them and classmates who attended.
There was a champagne reception in the Rotunda before dinner in Smoke Hall for inductees, previous inductees, family, and special guests. Class of 2017 midshipmen were at some tables. One at our table was 20th company commander, Harry’s last company. He was awed by the differences that have occurred since our time.
After one more round of “Navy Blue and Gold” and “BEAT ARMY,” we braved the rains to buses returning us to Memorial Stadium where our cars were parked.
April 5th, was a day between storms going through the Mid-Atlantic so I drove down to Virginia Beach for their first Wednesday of the month luncheon at Lynnhaven Fish House. I had planned to pick up Bob and Janie Fellows and Joanne Roos along the way but both were unable to join me. Arriving at Virginia Beach, Jack and Fran Huenerberg were at there to greet me, but Carolyn Dennis has not returned from her Christmas plus visits with her daughters and families. Harry and Catherine Train entered soon after I did.
One of my goals was to give Jack a citation for his service to the Tidewater ’49ers and families over the years and award him a USNA emblem pin. Unfortunately, my computer with the citation locked up and I couldn’t make the printout. Nevertheless, he has the pin for his blue blazer, if he ever wears one, or his bathrobe.
From the President
My item in the latest Shipmate about stressing the Association of the Class of 1949 being a veterans group with their wives being associate members raised some questions. Unlike USNA classes in the last 40 years we had no female classmates. Class presidents are members of their class whether graduates or non-graduates. We are in a unique position of being able to have a wife as Association president, if she had previous military service, or serve in any executive position as an associate member except president or vice president. However, in the Alumni Association our class wives aren’t alumni of USNA. Things do get complicated at times. But – can any of you name who we still have that meet the criteria for Association president?
Raymond W. Hargrove died March 21, 2017 in Trinity Hospital in Augusta, GA.
Nothing could be finer . . . .