This is being written in July ’09 with a deadline of 3 August for what will be the Sept-Oct. ’09 issue, one of 8 for the fiscal year (5 issues for calendar year ’09). The last issue for the calendar year will be a Nov.-Dec. magazine for which my submission date is 28 Sept. ’09.
By now each of you should have received, filled out and returned the Association’s survey which is supposed to be a guide for the Association’s future plans for communications. In the meantime they, like every other organization with which we deal, is pushing us hard to go “on line”. This is supposed to provide a giant stride toward two way communications between the Alumni and the Association. Today every midshipman has a computer. Almost without exception, like our grandchildren, they have grown up with the computer so this idea of being on line constantly is the norm for them. Not so for us, all classes before ours and some number after. My records show that there are 395 of us still around. (Note: Last issue I reported survivors at 389. I can’t account for the difference but I’m glad it was wrong in the right direction). I have email addresses for 253 Classmates plus 46 widows who are still actively participating in Class activities. In other words about 1/3 of our living Classmates choose not to be electronically connected and receive Class news via Shipmate, if they subscribe. For those of you in that one third who are reading this, keep in mind that I immediately notify all those with email addresses of the passing, obituary and funeral arrangements of Classmates and wives plus other Class news of immediate importance. You might consider having one of your grandchildren set you up on line with a cheap computer.
For those of you still considering joining Chuck Gorder 12th Co.and Rhona for the reunion cruise in January, here is an update.
Reservations are coming in for the Class reunion cruise from San Diego, CA to the Mexican Riviera scheduled for Friday, January 22-Monday, February 1, 2010. We’ll be sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, which is a beautiful ship. The following classmates are on board and are planning to have some FUN:
Warren Ortland (5th Co.) and Barbara with friends Roland and Jean Berg
Walt Spangenberg (2nd Co.) and Sonia
John Wilkie (14th Co) and Joan
Bill Ikard (17th Co.) and Alda
Bill Pierson (10th Co.) and Muriel
Mike Rose (22nd Co.) and Marilyn
Tom Dawson (18th Co.) and Joelle Dawson and of course Chuck and Rhona Gorder . Chris Christoph (12th Co.)and Gerry also plan to go if he can get back on his feet in time (he says he absolutely will).
There’s room for more so please contact our travel agent, Pat Russell (760) 930-9377 to book, or call Chuck or Rhona Gorder (619) 287-3559 for more information. To assure you get the cabin of your choice, please try to finalize arrangements by November 12.
We recommend out-of-towners book hotel rooms at the
Holiday Inn San Diego, on the Bay
1355 North Harbor Drive, San Diego
Ask for the senior discount rate currently $144.00 per night, plus taxes. This rate is refundable.
This hotel is literally just across the street from the cruise terminal and the beautiful San Diego Bay, and has a free airport shuttle.
On Thursday, January 21 we will hold an informal bon voyage “happy hour” get together at Anthony’s Fish Restaurant which also in conveniently located right across the street from the Holiday Inn. Local classmates also will be invited.
Don’t miss out on the FUN…call Pat Russell and sign up today!
I recently asked for some inputs for the column and my request elicited the following items.
Guy Buck 18th Co. brought me up to date on his flying family. His grandson Jeff, Ens, USN (Ohio State ’07) got his Naval Flight Officer wings in Jax on 26 June. He is a tactical coordinator on the P-3 aircraft with an avionic system I (Guy) was the program initiator and manager of (Project A-NEW) from 1959-1963. This project was the first major effort to change naval avionics from analog to digital equipment. Jeff’s Dad, my son Sean, Capt, USN, ’83, is also a Naval Flight Officer having flown with this system in two P-3 squadrons (Dept. head, XO and CO of VP-26, ’02-’03) and as Commodore of P-3 Wing 11 in Jax. I also served in VP-26 1950-1952 (Pax River and Brunswick). Well done to the Bucks.
George Sullivan 12th Co. enjoyed the Seabee story and says his older brother was a medical officer with the 95th NCB which landed with the marines on Iwo Jima. They helped clear the beaches in the sands of Iwo Jima, constructed the hospital and developed the air strip. The tractors were unarmored and presented large slow targets to the mortars in the hills. They suffered many casualties.
Harry Belflower 2nd Co. says he and Betty announced the arrival of our second great grandchild, Teegan Loraine Belflower, born November 6, 2008, in Tyler, TX. Congratulations and it makes me wonder how many great grandchildren the Class now has? My Betty and I won’t get into that count since our oldest grandchild just turned 16.
Jim Mellencamp (14th Co.) and Ginny celebrated their 60th anniversary the week of 20 July (I don’t know the exact date) with their three daughters and spouses (10 grandchildren were not invited, 7 have graduated from college and are spread around the country and 3 will finish college soon). The only advantage I have found with advancing age is that I finally shot it last week, but from senior tees. My consulting company still has legs but they are getting shorter each year.
That leads me to this question, Betty and I celebrated our 62nd anniversary on 7 June ’09; have we been married longer than any other couple in the Class?
When you read this you will have already read Bob Ghormley ( 11th Co.) memoirs of his Supply Corps duty. The following is from Randy Patterson(13th Co.):
Sometimes I remember special things back when we were ensigns and the Gator Navy always stands out. I had been on two heavy cruisers before “rotating” as it were to the next type ship. The first was LOS ANGELES after graduation and TOLEDO after we inactivated the first. It was custom to wear the detachable collar on in port watch, stand at attention before meals in the wardroom until the XO entered and uttered “gentlemen be seated” then remain until he left. It was great duty and we had a wonderful 8 month deployment all the way to Japan and on to ports ending in Pakistan and home. I was in charge of turret 2-big shot job, it seemed!
Then came Gator Navy! Flew to Rhodes, Greece to meet AMEB (AKA-56). Climbed the long ladder to the quarterdeck and found no one there. Went into what was a big room that looked like the wardroom and found a guy there with his feet on the table and an undershirt on. He demanded to know who I was and upon my inquiry advised he was the *&%# captain and should court martial me for taking so much time getting there. BOY, what a welcome. He was a mean alcoholic and led us a merry chase in port. Iwas to be the gunnery officer. Later in Casablanca he suddenly made me navigator too, saying I learned all that stuff at the academy. HA! I sure learned in a hurry thanks to a good chief quartermaster. But, the night before arriving in Norfolk, we made a plotting mistake and when we were scheduled to see the pilot boat at first light the sea was empty. We were a degree East and 4 hours away. Bad morning!!! Some weeks later, in Norfolk, he told me we were to take 5000 tons of high explosives to England, get my rear end up to the base ordnance guy and get to work. We, of course, were not fitted to carry ammo of any kind except our own. Scared? You bet. But we loaded it with a forest of dunnage locking it all in and off we went to Plymouth, England where stevedores unloaded it.
One day the stevedores dropped a main hatch beam three decks down hold 3 and abandoned ship! There were broken hedge hogs and yellow stuff all over and this huge beam standing almost vertical in the mess. The chief gunners mate and I had the privilege of going down and sweeping it all up and helping send the beam up. Scared again—you bet! But later I had the pleasure of navigating the ship up to Thule, Greenland when we helped build the base there well above the Arctic Circle. Then destroyer duty and teaching at Duke in the NROTC program. But, Gator duty holds a special place in my memory. What a life we had early on!
Since I submitted the last column on 11 May I have been notified of the passing of the following:
Carrington,J.H.H. 13th Co. 8/20/24-5/3/09
Pester, B.H. 12th Co. 12/18/25-7/1/09
Strong, W.L. 22nd Co. 8/3/26-7/1/09
Wife Jortberg, Kathleen 6/14/09
We have all lost good friends. Our condolences to the families.
A while back I wondered, in writing, who might be the youngest member of the Class. Augie Albanese is the one and you read a great letter from him in the last column. My question stirred two “Class statisticians” with this result.
From Scorchy Smith- possible oldest member
Kovacs, Joe 24th Co. 9/2/22
Duncan, Ed 14th Co. 4/5/23
Smith, Scorchy 21st Co. 4/18/23
Taylor, Dean 16th Co. 4/12/23
Kelly, Charles 24th Co. 4/16/23
Niland, Ken 6th Co. 4/17/23
Benton, Joe 23rd Co. 4/19/23
Bill Borchert came through with possible youngest-
Albanese, Augie 3rd Co. 3/31/27
Weems, Al 12th Co. 3/14/27
Ostiller, Jim 19th Co. 2/23/27
Small, Bill 1st Co. 2/22/27
Christoph, Karl 12th Co. 2/20/27
Curl, R.S. 5th Co. 1/28/27
Mangold, John 14th Co. 1/24/27
Sullivan, G.H. 12th Co. 1/18/27
Borchert, Bill 8th Co. 1/13/27
Bloom, Charles 5th Co. 1/1/27
That subject also brought me a note from Chris Christoph which I think you will enjoy—
“I bow to Augie as the youngest in the Class. Although I was the last to make flag in the Class I don’t know if I was the oldest. I do remember having my mandatory retirement papers in my hands when the ALNAV came out. So I had to ask BUPERS which order should I obey. When they replied that it was my choice I went into the head as a Captain, frocked myself, and came out as a Rear Admiral. (I was in a flag billet at the time). “
Bob McClinton(11th Co.)\ sent me a note with some interesting info as follows-
The Reach for Hospice is raced on Sequim Bay each September. Its principal aim is to raise funds for Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County (VHOCC). Gunvor, my crew and I have been fortunate in raising over $31,000 for VHOCC in seven races from 2002 through ’08. the crew and I had the good fortune to race my Pearson 36 WEIGH TO GO to first place last Sept. – 14 boats. We were awarded the Fred Tidyman trophy. WAY TO GO’s crew list comprises 17 men and women ranging in age from 14 to 83 (me). Four or five of them join me for each race and we race year ‘round; right now it’s every second Saturday. One of my crew entered USNA with the Class of 2012 and was selected as a member of the varsity offshore sailing team in his plebe year. We are so proud of him.
Let’s close with some interesting numbers: the Class of ’48 entered USNA with 1078 white males. In contrast the Class of 2013 is comprised as follows;
1230 plebes, minorities 35% (10% black, 14% Hispanic, 11% Other) I do not have at hand the breakout of male/female. Things have indeed changed. The minority structure of the enlisted Navy is 21% black, 11% Hispanic and 7% Other.