ALL49 4 July 2019
With dozens of glaciers and fjords behind, we are heading southward with Vancouver, BC our next port of call. The most memorial thing about the cruise was wearing sweaters and jackets while reading temperatures in the 90s and one in the south of France at 115 degrees.
After Vancouver there ate stops at Port Alberni, BC and Astoria, OR before reaching San Francisco and a flight home July 10th.
75th Observance of D-Day
Being 23 miles from Bedford, VA and the D-Day there, I was contacted by Roger Henderson, ’69, and invited to attend the unveiling of a plaque about USNA graduates aboard the 33 destroyers supporting the invasions of UTAH and OMAHA beaches during D-Day June 6, 1944. Roger is a docent at the memorial and had to look at plaques of the Virginia Military Institute and U. S. Military Academy for years with envy. He proposed the Class of 1969 establish a class project to produce and mount a plaque dedicated to USNA graduates aboard ships supporting Operation OVERLORD, the re-invasion of Europe. The Navy plaque was to be mounted beside those of VMI and USMA on a wall near the statue of GEN Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander of OVERLORD.
Class of 1969 approved Roger’s proposal and scheduled a mini reunion at Peaks of Otter Lodge on the Blueridge Parkway near Bedford, inviting classmates and USNA graduates in Southwest Virginia to attend the unveiling and dedication of the plaques June 5th. I accepted the invitation and arrived at the dedication site to learn I was the senior USNA class graduate present and asked to serve with ENS Gil Wright, ’19, to unveil the plaque. Gil had graduated 8 days earlier and was destined to report to Pensacola for flight training. Several Class of 1969, the D-Day Foundation, and Memorial Staff members spoke. Gil and I did the unveiling, followed by posing for pictures.
At the reception at the Peaks of Otter Lodge, I met Gil’s proud parents and ’69 members. Seeing my wings, Gil sat with me at least an hour asking about my flying years and was awed by the changes at USNA since our days.
Battle of Midway
Many people have forgotten another WWII day I which naval forces won a critical battle. June 14th was the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Midway and marked the turning of the tide of battle against Japan’s naval forces. Strawberry 15, a PBY, was reaching its maximum search range when it sighted the main body of the Japanese task force. The story of confusion of how their strike aircraft should be armed is renown and contributed to our winning the battle. Another significant fact was it was the beginning of operational intelligence.
CDR Eddie Layton had told ADM Nimitz that he expected the Japanese fleet would be at 315 degrees at 175 miles. Strawberry 15 sighted it at 320 degrees at 180 miles. It is reported that Nimitz chastised Layton for his 5 degree and 5-mile error, but still recommended him for a legion of merit.
CAPT Joe Rocheford has been quoted as saying, “An intelligence officer has one job. The is to tell his superior what the enemy is going to do tomorrow.”
We are finalizing an event schedule for our reunion with the Crowne Plaza as headquarters. Hopefully, everyone has plans for family, caretakers, and significant others to attend with you. I will have all information on the class website and in an ALL49 the first part of August.
I plan to attend Walt Schriefer’s services at Arlington Tuesday July 16th.
Bob Gilliland died July 4, 2019 in Rancho Mirage, CA. His obituary is on the website.
Services for at O’Keefe are presently unknown.
Bill Bartlett died June 3, 2015 in Middleton, WI. His obituary is on the website. Bill was one of our football players in 1945 but resigned to become a doctor.
Nothing could be finer . . . .
ALL49 2 Aug 19
Last year I informed you of the origins of the names of the months and different calendars. I cited August is the month recognizing Caesar Augustus, the nephew of Caesar Julius who is recognized by the month July. Julius was appointed Caesar for Life (dictator) of the Republic by the Senate and intended for Augustus to become Caesar upon his death; however, something happened on the way to the Theatre in Pompey. Brutus, Cassius, Marc Antony, et alia, in the senate feared Julius intended to establish a Monarchy, ending the Roman Republic. Historical records indicate this was not true. Julius did not want to be a “dictator,” he wanted the Senate to remove the title. The plotters did not go through a parliamentary procedure. They “voted” by 23 stab wounds instead.
Sirius has risen! We are in the “dog days of summer.” The Summer Solstice occurred June 21st while I was aboard MAASDAM in Alaska. More about that follows.
With the changes in schedules and delays in accomplishment of planning goals, we finally mailed a letter to everyone on the class list which you should have by now. The Crowne Plaza Hotel will be our headquarters with rooms negotiated for the nights of Thursday September 26th, Friday 27th, and Saturday 28th, with checkout Sunday September 29th. It is important to book reservations for yourself, family members, and caretakers as soon as possible by calling The Crowne Plaza at 410-266-3131. Identify yourself as reserving with the USNA 1949 Reunion Room Block. The Group Code is RRU. Family members, caretakers, etc. may secure their own reservations by the same process.
A copy of the Reunion letter and enclosures will be on the class website in the EVENTS section with event information and scheduling updated when occurring.
The Group Code will not be shown because the website can be accessed by anyone with a computer.
North to Alaska
Seems there was a movie of that name.
Beginning with a drive to Chantilly, VA June 9th for dinner with the younger Tolberts there, I learned that putting an extra digit in a street address in your GPS can get you in the “boondocks” in an area I used to know well. Why do they keep adding to shopping centers and hiding it behind growing trees? Nevertheless, I wasn’t put on report for being late for “muster” and they picked up the check. Son Rob even drove us in my car to our hotel and took my car to his home, my “long term” parking facility when flying out of Dulles, promising to have it serviced before our return. The hotel had an early AM shuttle to Dulles for our non-stop to San Francisco. There Brenda and I started our “honeymoon” 3-week cruise aboard MAASDAM to Alaska.
Alaska is a nice place to be during “dog days.” Highs in the 60s and 70s and lows in the high 40s and 50s, while the lower US states were in the 80s and 90s. In France, there was a city in the south reporting 115 degrees.
It was an interesting trip with several ports I had never visited before. An oddity was seeing more whales between San Francisco and Ketchikan than in the fjords noted as their presence. I’ve sent a couple of pictures to SHIPMATE related to the Class of 1949. One shows me on 49 Pier in Juneau and the other with a mermaid in Homer larger than the one on the replica of our ring at the Ring Dance in 1948. Ace Boughton told the story of the repercussions of that during our 65th Reunion.
Arlington Services for Walt Schriefer
CDR Walter Albert Schriefer died April 27, 2018 in Virginia Beach, VA. A suitable date for family to gather at Arlington National Cemetery was July 16th. Brenda and I joined Ruth and family members for a final goodbye to Walt.
I have already booked a room at The Crowne Plaza for the reunion following the instructions provided above. Reservations were recorded quickly and professionally, and I received a confirmation email within 30 minutes.
As attendees make their hotel bookings and submit reservation forms for themselves, family members, and caretakers, we will be able to fill in the TBDs in our event schedule.
The obituary for CAPT Patrick Gordon O’Keefe, who died June 6, 2019 in Annapolis, MD is on the website.
Terrance Michael Flynn died in Larkspur, CA July 8, 2019.
Nothing could be finer . . . .
ALL49 1 Oct 19
The eighth month of the old Roman calendar has arrived, now as the tenth month following insertion of January (in Latin “Ianunarius”) and February in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. We entered autumn when we passed the Diurnal Solstice September 23rd. The sun is now below the equator drawing the color of autumn down from the north into the tops of the Blue Ridge. Locals advise me the color’s decent will be 100-feet a day. Let us hope that in the “autumn” of our lives that we will enjoy many more years of color displayed.
Our 70th Reunion is now a memorable event in our past. Fifteen classmates were accompanied by wives, widows, children, and grandchildren in a “class family” reunion. Wheelchairs and walkers needed by a few did not handicap the opportunity and pleasure it was to meet with one another again. I will summarize the reunion in the following paragraphs and will have “evidence” of behavior of many on the class website in the form of pictures and a video of the fabulous “Forty-Niner Fifteen” in action.
I have been asked for information concerning donating to the Alumni Assoc./Foundation and The Association of the Class of 1949. Many years ago, I discussed this with my account executive and have followed his guidance, modifying it 22 years ago to include making RMD (Required Minimum Distributions) from my IRA.
Most advantageous is to donate appreciated stock. IRS allows you to deduct the current value of the equity as a charitable gift on your taxes. Thirty days later, you can rebuy the equity, established at the new original cost level, if you desire. If the repurchased shares go up, great. If they go down, you can offset capital gains in other appreciated stock sold.
Having your IRA custodian make donations directly to recipients you choose eliminates having the RMD being added to your gross income and possibly putting you in a higher tax bracket.
Talk to your account executive and tax man as to what is best for you. Talk to members of the Alumni Assoc. Development section listed in SHIPMATE to determine programs you want to support.
70th REUNION SUMMARY
Thursday September 26 – This was arrival and check-in day at The Crowne Plaza. Cal Roberts was already established in our Class of 1949 meeting room with Devon Clouse (Mick and Madelon McDonald’s daughter) greeting attendees. It was a ‘dinner on your own’ night followed by watching the Navy vs Memphis football game in the hotel cocktail room.
Navy made a good start against a Memphis team of heavyweight linemen. Brien Wood served as a Plebe doing pushups during game. Unfortunately, 13 for Memphis was a very bad number for Navy. He made two long runs for touchdowns, topping his night with a catching a touchdown pass. Walt Marquardt commented “Oh well, we did come in second.” (Seems I remember him saying that during our 65th Reunion.
Friday September 27 – Buses took us to the Chapel for a short service. The chaplain made fitting remarks in his Reflections. I asked for a copy, but haven’t received it yet.
The highlight of the day was the luncheon at the Officers and Faculty Club, during which the new Superintendent, VADM Sean S. Buck, ’83, who relieved VADM Ted Carter, July 26, 2019, spoke. I had visited Larson Hall (the Administration building in 1945) to get information for introducing him before his talk. I got a copy of his biography which with a “Preferred introduction: The 63rd Superintendent, VADM Sean Buck.” In meeting him before he spoke, I informed him his audience included nonagenarian Class of 1949 members, Navy Juniors, and a couple of grandchildren - - our class “family.” I felt he used this information in his remarks about his interview by SECNAV before being appointed Superintendent. He is the son of CAPT Edward Guy Buck, ‘48A, and he told SECNAV he would feel he was coming home if appointed as superintendent. He fielded questions by Al Thomson about the collisions at sea last year and others quite well.
After his talk I told him my regrets that Ed Waller, our ’49 superintendent wasn’t there. In his younger years Buck was a TACCO officer in P-3s, the result of Ed’s Program Manager days of the ANEW program. He knows Ed and family well and appreciated my warning of the audience.
Following the luncheon, a bus tour of the Yard began. Unfortunately, its first stop was at the Visitor Center where the docent guide had riders watch a “12 minute” film that took an hour. The tour didn’t get to many of the sites planned.
Friday evening was another “dinner on your own.” My family chose O’Leary’s in Eastport.
Saturday, September 28 – A class meeting was held at 0930. Ursula Vosseler, Assistant Class Secretary, reported Class of 1949 membership. There were 790 graduates and 320 non-graduates totaling 1131. (some entrants left Plebe summer.) Loses before our 2014 reunion were 535. Lost since the last reunion were 143. Surviving Graduates are 136 (the status of 6 is unknown)). The Alumni Assoc. database lists a total of 160 graduates and non-graduates surviving. Surviving non-graduates is known to be 25.
Rick Claytor, as Acting Class Treasurer reported there is a Class of 1949 Checking Account at the Alumni Assoc. with a balance of $20494.31. There is an account of interest at the Alumni Assoc., the 1949 House Maintenance account, which has a balance of $207,242 based on a gift of $259, and investment interest of $556, as of Sep 20, 2019. (Note: 89 members of the class donated over $1,000 and hundreds of members donated more than $500 to fund ‘49 House restoration during Ace Boughton’s presidency. Left-over funds went into the Maintenance account to perpetuate its existence after we are gone. It is our footprint in Annapolis.)
Rick reported the status of our two NFCU accounts. The checking account had about $8,000 in it, but it amount became fluid as both he and I were paying bills that day. The savings account has a balance $33,403.67. (Over $22,000 of this was donated by 39 classmates in answer to my plea December 2017 to establish a 4-5 years cost of operations of the class.)
My report of the presently considered plan to sell Ogle Hall and ’49 House to fund the new Alumni Assoc./Foundation office and event building on College Creek raised a proposal by John Bacon to establish a chair or something at USNA, so the Class of 1949 would be remembered. A vote was called with 16 voting members agreeing with John’s motion. I voted against it. A committee of two, John Bacon and Madelon McDonald are a committee of two to evaluate possible alternatives and costs to the class.
Buses left the hotel hourly to the Visitor Center, Museum, and Midshipman Store between 10:30 am and 2:30 pm
I took my family on tour of the Yard and North Severn Facility and Sports Venues. They saw new buildings and old, the cemetery and columbarium, and many memorials to the dead in battle. Also, the burial marker of Senator McCain.
That evening was the banquet was preceded by cocktails and greeting attendees. Willetta Brown gave a talk about her father and our classmate Wesley A. Brown. Unfortunately, there was not a 16th Company-mate attending; however, I knew Wes Plebe summer, shared a table with him and Crystal (his second wife), and was in Subic Bay where he rebuilt the waterfront. I said our class was a class of young men that aspired to other careers rather than being in the Navy, citing several classmates that achieved fame and fortune. Then I said Wes was a leader in setting the path at USNA for blacks. Then I gave her a USNA plaque engraved “Wesley A. Brown – A LEADER – Class of 1949”.
After the presentation I asked Pete Williams, our first president - - 2/C and 1/C years at USNA and two 4-year terms after graduation - - to say a few words. He did a fine job. In thanking him, I reported only John F. Barrow served as president 10 years - - two 5-year terms.
Someone got ‘49ers attending to gather for pictures. Being 15 of us 6 seated and 9 standing one of the guys started singing. We did about three songs. I anointed us as the fabulous “Forty-Niner Fifteen”. My daughter Carol got it on video that I hope will get on the class website.
There is nothing finer . . . ./
ALL49 9 Sep 2019
There is an old saying that “everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Of course, DORIAN has been talked about for the last month flooding news and other media for the last month. Last year FLORENCE had the headlines. Oddly, FLORENCE headed for landfall in North Carolina, just above the South Carolina state line, and spent its fury coming ashore and tracking 60 north of Florence, SC. The remnants off FLORENCE spread its rain into the Ohio Valley area. Looking back to damage by hurricanes to places in the Atlantic, Puerto Rico topped the 2017 list. Their people are still complaining to Washington about the lack of support the government had provided in their time of need.
Flipping the calendar to August 23rd this year, there was a tropical depression brewing in the Northern Windward Islands - - Martinique, St. Lucia, and Barbados. Given the name of DORIAN, it began tracking NNW stirring Puerto Rico’s people and leaders into a frenzy as its winds reached, 75 mph becoming a category 1 hurricane. Category 2 winds soon followed as it moved parallel to Caribbean islands. Puerto Rico was no longer threatened as DORAIN passed offshore of the Virgin Islands before becoming a category 3 hurricane.
Passing the eastern end of Cuba September 3rd as a category 4 hurricane initiated what I term as the “spaghetti” day forecast. Every weather analyst, tropical storm expert, and official Weather Service (National Hurricane Center, most prominent) provided their estimate of the projected track of DORIAN. The extremes were one passing through the Straits of Florida reaching the Corpus Christi area and the other recurving off the East Coast without endangering land. Others crossed Florida hitting Houston, Louisiana, and Alabama. Most had tracks focused on Florida coastal areas and recurving off into the Atlantic. Drop about 20 such tracks on a plate and you have “spaghetti” day.
September 4th DORIAN reached category 5 and stalled over the Bahamas with disastrous results. However, leaving the Bahamas category 2 existed as it tracked off the East Coast of Florida. Winds returned to category 3 off Charleston returning to category 2 off Myrtle Beach and category 1 at Cape Hatteras. Rainfalls from 5 to 10-inchs were recorded up through New England.
With all this occurring on the Atlantic side of the US, where is that “some one that talks about the weather and does something about it?” If he had two days of the amount of water dropped by DORIAN to use on the fires in California, they would all be put out!!
(That’s a lot of minutia to put between the first sentence and the last paragraph. Sorry.)
My trouble with DORIAN was my memory of the movie in the ‘40s “The Picture of Dorian Grey” based on a book by Oscar Wilde. Dorian a rich, handsome young man who wished he could remain young and the picture painted by a fiend would grow old instead. An older friend urged him to enjoy life leading him into a life of sin and debauchery. After “after a non the town” he noticed a flaw in the picture. After several flaws, Dorian stored the picture in a locked attic. The ending scene had him in the attic with the picture portraying him as it originally had. He was lying on the floor dead, a gory sight of what the picture was over the years.
Mailing of a letter detailing how to reserve rooms at The Crowne Plaza hotel, with a Schedule of Events, and Registration Form was mailed by the Alumni Association. Concomitantly, a copy of the letter was placed on the class website www.usna-class49.org in the EVENTS section. Since the website is open to the public, I did not include the Group Code you should use when making room reservations at The Crowne Plaza for yourself, family members, caretakers, and significant others.
There have been several letters returned by the USPS as “undeliverable.” Two of these letters were to a classmate and a widow that I know who died in 2018. Two others were to people living in retirement apartments that changed assisted living apartments in the same building. Other classmates and widows have moved homes to be nearer family members without providing the Alumni Assoc. their new address. That means they don’t get SHIPMATE and probably didn’t get the letter about the 70th reunion.
I have downloaded a listing of the AA database and am trying to update what I can. My major objective has been to get everyone communicating with friends, shipmates, and fellow graduation company members. In my efforts to update the Class Directory I printed in 2015, please confirm the location of those you know by emailing their contact information.
I am awaiting a head count of people with reservations at the hotel, attending the Friday luncheon, Saturday banquet, and taking the bus tours. Deadlines are approaching.
PLANNED SEPTEMBER ACTIVITY
Resolve issues regarding the 70th Reunion and enjoy welcoming attendees to a memorable occasion. I’ll be accompanied by new wife Brenda, son Rob and wife Trisha, daughter Carol, granddaughter Lauren one night, and maybe grandson Cristopher at the banquet. Can anyone beat that family number?
John and Betsy Oesterreicher died in 2018. An obituary has not been found.
James A. Carmack died in Orono, ME May 25, 2019. An obituary is on the class website.
Milton Nicholas Allen died in Essex, CT May 29, 2019. His obituary is on the class website.
Robert Jordon Gilliland died July 4, 2019 in Rancho Mirage, CA. His obituary is on the class website.
Morris Arnold Galter died in Austin, TX July 10, 2019. His obituary has been received and be on the class website soon.
CAPT Guy Morton Neely died in Potomac, MD August 23, 2019. An obituary has not been received.
Nothing could be finer . . . .