ALL49 1 SEP 2017
August was not a good month weather-wise, but spectacular with the solar eclipse August 21st crossing the country from Oregon to South Carolina. Over 200 million people viewed either the total eclipse from under its path or partial eclipse hundreds of miles to either side of its path. Being 300 miles north of its CPA (closest point of approach - to those of you who didn’t do well with maneuvering board problems), my attempts to photograph the event were futile. However, I’ve learned how to get usable photos in April 2024, if I last that long.
HARVEY was the worst hurricane/tropical storm to hit Texas since 1961. I haven’t heard from our Class of 1949 family members in that area yet. The Buckinghams (Tyler); Bill Coldwell, Mary Smith, Bill Norris, Nancy Machell, George Walmsey, and Belle Pantle (Houston and surrounds); Shizuko Young and Susie Smith (Georgetown); and Jim Scott (Corpus Christi) are in the hard-hit areas. Those living westward should still be communicating.
Bob Titus, living in Reno, has started to unpack boxes that were packed when he left Las Vegas many years ago. From one box, he pulled out a 16-inch movie reel he has hauled around since 1961 when he was the leader of a group of scientists that wintered over in Antarctica during Deep Freeze 1961 as part of the International Geophysical year. (I’ll give you a report of that in an input to Shipmate or the class website later.) The film was of the thrilling 1946 Army-Navy game with the one-win Navy team against an Army team unbeaten for 3 years with Navy 4 yards and 1-minute from scoring. Rather than toss it in the trash, he asked if we would accept it as a donation to ’49 House. I advised him to mail it to me, but recommended it go to the Football Hall of Fame in Ricketts Hall where more people would see it. Besides it being a historic football game it was historic for wintering over in Antarctica 56 years ago.
I contacted Chet Gladchuk and he gladly accepted the offer. Maybe he thinks it gives a view showing Pete Williams scoring on that last run. I presented the reel to him and asked Bob Titus to provide a little history of the film in Antarctica to accompany it on display.
For years I have been looking at names on our class listing of widows of ‘49ers who remarried. I had identified the ‘49ers they had been married to for all except one. This month I learned that Jean Lacouture had been the wife of Homer Leroy Smith. I attended her services in St. Andrews Chapel August 16th and had the pleasure of meeting members of her and Homer’s family. (Her obituary is on the class website.) I had known Homer at USNA and crossed paths with him during our early flying days. He was shot down in Vietnam in 1967 and was seen being captured, but it was never reported. During the Paris Peace Talks it was learned he died in the “Hanoi Hilton” the day after capture - - an ominous occurrence. His remains were returned and buried in the USNA cemetery in 1974. Jean later married John Lacouture ’40, who died in 2010. As she always wished, she was buried next to Homer August 16th.
House cleaning is also underway in Chesterfield, MO. Clyde Winkler, a company-mate at USNA before he resigned, called me with a batch of memorabilia of his USNA days. Never knowing which end of the rainbow has the “pot of gold,” I accepted his offer. Of course, there was lengthy time on the telephone reporting the status of all guys in Company 1, 13, and the breakup to 19 and 20 our first class year. The list of living was short, but the list of deceased generated a lot “how and when” questions. I mailed him a Class Directory 2015, which is sadly out of date, and a listing of surviving graduates which is now down to a single page.
I attended the memorial service for Mickey McDonald in Annapolis August 25th. It was more a Celebration of Life with son Brad manning the podium, followed by sisters Devon and Sheila, then their children and spouses, and climaxing with the introduction of Ewing Raiford III. Joining with the McDonald clan were more members of our Class of 1949 family than I’ve seen in two years. “Dobby” Dobson’s widow Jennifer, “Voss” Vosseller’s widow Ursula, “Pooley” Woods widow Peggy, and widowers Bill Bennett, Rick Claytor, and me. During the reception Bob Brady’s son Mike and Jim Watkins son Courtney reported in to me. A “standing room only” crowd of friends, neighbors, and former shipmates also were paying their respects. The last two years I normally see Peggy at services in Arlington and see Ursula at services in Annapolis. And my thanks go out to classmates who attend services of our class family in other parts of the country representing the class. It means a lot to relatives of the deceased that a member of our class is there representing those who can’t be there.
I’m still having trouble with my email services in my Wi-Fi house. My most reliable addresses to use are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com .
There are many things that have been postponed this year that need to be accomplished. I am using this as a call for an EC Meeting and invite your input of items to be addressed.
My report to the EC of the status of information relevant to choosing the date of our ‘70th Reunion. As of now, only the Jun 2- 5 period and Oct 24-27 a non-football weekend (Navy is playing at Notre Dame at 3pm) is known. Other weekends won’t be known until next year.
Rick Claytor, Exec VP, will report on status of Reunion Committee establishment. Your participation and/or inputs to events to be scheduled are invited.
Al Frost, EC MAL, tabulated results of your responses to our query on expected attendance last year. You are requested to keep him informed of any changes.
I will report the status of meeting my Contingency Fund goal, and balances of our AA Class Account, ’49 House Maintenance Account, and NFCU Accounts.
Paul Laric, Exec Secretary, will report on Shipmate column production and status of our Solace Giving initiative.
Jean Smith Lacouture in Alexandria, VA August 8, 2017.
CAPT Ewing Raiford McDonald, Jr. in Annapolis, MD August 16, 2017.
LCDR Harry Fredrick Sweitzer in Wayland, MA August 3, 2017.
We now stand at 193 living graduates including five of whom are “status unknown.”
Nothing could be finer . . . .
ALL49 12 Oct 17
My delay in getting this month’s ALL49 promulgated earlier is the 14-day cruise I informed people of on the class website in HOTLINE, a temptation I couldn’t resist. I enjoyed the cruise aboard Rotterdam meeting some interesting people from Australia, Canada, the US, England, Holland, and the Ukraine. Of course, I had to get rid of 5 pounds of luggage to make up for the 5 pounds I gained at different dining venues. My modus operandi is to always ask for open seating at large tables so I can tell the same jokes and stories over and over to different people.
With my USPO “held mail” not being delivered until after Columbus Day, I’m burning “midnight oil.”
EC Meeting 18 Sept
Agenda Item – I Scheduling ‘70th Reunion
One member voted for early June.
One member voted for fall weekend Navy plays Notre Dame at South Bend.
Four members voted to delay decision until the full schedule of Navy away games are known next year.
Agenda Item I was tabled.
Agenda Item – II Decision to Schedule Now or delay
Agenda Item – II was tabled.
Agenda Item - III Status of Reunion Event Scheduling
Rick Claytor reported that Ursula Vosseler has agreed to serve as Chairman of the Reunion Committee and Peggy Wood as a committee member. He recommended delaying committee actions until the decision on Agenda Item – I is completed.
One member recommended early decision on weekend to obtain hotel accommodations for all attendees rather than have them scattered in different hotels.
Five members agreed with Rick’s recommendation.
Agenda Item -III recommended actions are approved, with the provision that more members be identified for the committee and solicitation of events to be scheduled be sought class-wide.
Agenda Item – IV Report of Changes in Reunion Attendee Listing
Al Frost tabulated the names and numbers of accompanying family, attendants, and significant others based on our class-wide letter. There have been deaths which obviously change the attendee listing. Concomitantly, unreported address changes have occurred as well as intentions.
There were no comments or positions received on this agenda item.
As Chairman, I will initiate another class-wide solicitation next year to get a more reliable number of attendees to aid our contracting agreements with hotels and caterers.
Agenda Item – VStatus of Solace Giving Initiative
Paul Laric reported there were seven volunteers willing to share their experiences with medical problems, but there has been no one seeking help over the last year.
Comments and questions were received and answered. All were akin to those debated when the initiative was started.
A majority of EC member favored terminating Solace Giving.
The Solace Giving Initiative is hereby cancelled.
Agenda Item – VIStatus of Class Financial Accounts
This agenda item was an informational report in which I included background information for benefit of new EC members and reminders to other members. The key information is, while some accounts are only of interest to the class, our financial status is good. Our contingency fund objective was exceeded earlier this month, thanks to 26 generous classmates and 15 wives and widows.
In answering some questions, I want to remind everyone, we are a veteran’s Association incorporated in the state of Maryland and recognized by the IRS as a charitable organization. Gifts to the Association are tax deductible unless coming from an IRA or Keogh account held by a financial institution. Title to all assets and funds pass to the USNA Alumni Association when the Association is terminated.
Agenda Item – VII
This was a late addition to the Meeting Agenda to obtain approval from the EC to amend the constitution so associate members can serve in all positions of the Association except president and vice president.
A majority approved this action. One no vote.
I will draft the recommended amendment, distribute it to EC membership for concurrence and approval, then sign it attested by the Executive Secretary.
Agenda Item – VIIIAdjournment
With the majority of EC members concurring, a motion for adjournment by Mort Neely was accepted.
The meeting adjourned at 1730.
Anyone with concerns of actions by the EC may send them to me or any EC member.
1946 Army vs Navy Game Film
I have told you about Bob Titus rescuing the film during his preparation for wintering over in Antarctica in Deep Freeze 60-61. After about 55 years being in a box moving between homes, he sent it to me to join other class memorabilia in ’49 House. I thought it would receive more attention at The Football Hall of Fame in Ricketts Hall and contacted Chet Gladchuk, Athletic Director, with the idea, which he accepted. I promised I’d get Bob Titus to provide a one-page history of the film of a “historic” Army-Navy football game and its “historic” time in Antarctica.
I delivered the film and emailed Bob Titus’ short history of the film in Antarctica. Chet was delighted to receive both and promised to have a TV “feed” of whatever Navy football game is being played away from Annapolis during our 2019 Reunion to us.
A Deep Freeze 60-61article will be on the class website in the next week.
National Aviation Hall of Fame
The 55th Annual Enshrinement Dinner and Ceremony will be held Saturday, October 28, 2017 at the Fort Worth Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, TX. Classmate Robert J. Gilliland will be inducted along with Charles Bolden, M. Scott Carpenter, and Frank Whittle. Bob Finnigan reports that Bob Gilliland’s health has improved permitting him to be present at the ceremony. As you remember, Gilliland was one of our DGA candidates along with Harry Train. His work in the SR71, Blackbird, during the 60s is legendary. Visit www.nationalaviation.org for more information of the event.
Committal services for CAPT Ewing R. McDonald were held at the USNA Columbarium October 6, 2017 with son Brad giving the eulogy.
CDR Timothy Raymond Mahoney, USNR (Ret) died August 26, 2017 at his home in North Hollywood, CA after a long battle with dementia. His obituary is on the class website.
CAPT Thomas F. Watkins, USN (Ret) died September 26, 2017 in Tucson, AZ. His memorial service will be 2 pm, Friday, October 20, 2017 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4831 E. 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85711. Wife Rita can be reached by telephone at 520-748-1551 and email at firstname.lastname@example.org . His obituary is on the class website.
Nothing could be finer . . .
ALL49 1 NOV 17
Fall is “falling” with the first vistas of approaching Winter showing in high elevations in many areas of the country. My cruise in Canada last month passed snow-capped mountains visible on the north side of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. This past weekend that white stuff showed up in the Blue Ridge mountains and northward. To enjoy a milder transition, I am flying to Italy Wednesday to board Holland America liner Prinsendam for a cruise back to Fort Lauderdale via ports in Spain, Portugal, the Azores, and the Bahamas. I tell people that I’m conducting an oceanographic inspection of the Atlantic to see if the hurricanes this year have transported so much water and flooding into the U.S. that that dry spots are appearing south of the Azores. (Believe that and I have a bridge to sell you!)
Amendment to Association Constitution
The amendment to Constitution of The Association of the Class of 1949, U. S. Naval Academy, received only ‘yeas.’ The wives and widows of classmates can now serve on boards, committees, and the Executive Committee as prescribed in the constitution. With the decreasing number of classmates and increasing number of those with mobility and medical problems, obtaining people to conduct the business of the class has become difficult. This amendment will aid in overcoming this difficulty.
I provided the status of actions on items of the agenda of the Executive Committee meeting September 18, 2017, of which the ’70 Reunion was an item. I talked to (or communicated by email with) several people about ideas for events to include and issues of concern. Addressing the latter first, my guidance to our “assembling” reunion Committee is: stress having all attendees staying at the same hotel which has facilities to accommodate different events “in house;” plan tours of USNA Yard, North Severn Navy facilities, and historic Annapolis by suitable transport, remembering mobility problems of some attendees; consider more dining together events vice “lunch or dinner on your own;” and seek inputs from everyone early next year.
I’d like to remind all classmates, wives or widows, and family members that they are invited to attend the ’70 Reunion. This may be the last “hurrah” for many to be with friends of the ‘40s and since. I have stressed we are a veterans’ association of those who took the oath as a midshipman, becoming a member of the Class of 1949, in 1945 - - not just graduates.
I have resubmitted the nomination of Robert Jordon Gilliland for selection to receive a 2018 Distinguished Graduate Award. Bob was one of our 55 graduates commissioned in the USAF at graduation. Following a tour flying F-84 jets in Germany, he soon found himself flying it against MIGs during the Korean War. After that he was selected for USAF Research and Development Team (equivalent to Navy’s Test Pilot Training), where he flew everything in the USAF inventory. He resigned his commission to help the family business, but was hired by Lockheed as a F-104 test pilot. His skills soon got him to the “Skunk Works” as test pilot for the SR-71. His experiences with that aircraft are legendary. He was inducted in the National Aviation Hall of fame October 28, 2017. With my impending trip, I was unable to attend; however, I am pleased to report that his family was there. You can read and see about the event on the National Aviation Hall of Fame website.
CAPT Kurt Dorenkamp died Thursday, October 19, 2017 at The Glen at Willow Valley, Lancaster, PA after a long illness. His obituary with schedule of his memorial service is in the MEMORIAL section of the class website.
Rick Claytor has the Con
With my cruise travel starting today, I’m turning over the “con” to Rick until my return. I got the communications people at the Alumni Assoc. to give him access to the email account to send out messages such as this to everyone when needed. He attended the Council of Class Presidents for me Monday and will inform you of urgent matters from that or elsewhere, as needed.
Nothing could be finer . . . .