SEC’Y: CAPT Dave Carruth, USN (Ret.)
CLASS OF 1948 SHIPMATE COLUMN
|This is being written the last week of Jan. for submission on 1 Feb.
Let’s start off with recognition of some of the good work done by my predecessor, Sumner Moore 20th Co. (deceased). I became aware of this when I received a letter from Midn Paul D. Summers Class of 2013, 24th Co. as follows:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for providing me with the chance to attend the United States Naval Academy. Through your scholarship assistance, you have allowed me to receive the preparatory education I needed in order to fulfill my lifelong dream of attending the Academy.
Western Reserve Academy did a fantastic job of preparing me for the Academy. I improved in the areas of chemistry, calculus, English composition and I enjoyed my leadership position as a student coach for the football team. Though it was a lot of hard work, I successfully completed plebe summer and did well in the fall of the academic year, achieving a 3.4 GPA for the first six weeks. I am planning to major in ocean engineering and become a Naval Aviator.
The Naval Academy means a great deal to me and I am absolutely thrilled to be here. I am also excited about the terrific opportunities that lie ahead. It is because of your support that I can look forward to a career as a Naval Aviator and serve my country with pride, so thanks again for giving me this chance.
Here is additional information-The Class of 1948 Honor Scholar, a scholarship created by the Class via Sumner, is Parker D. Summers, a graduate of Herbert Henry Dow High School in Midland, MI. Parker played football, baseball and track. In football he won the four year Iron Man Award, the Coaches Award for commitment and work ethic and made the Saginaw Valley All American team four years in a row. He was inducted into National Honor Society as a sophomore and was nominated for two leadership excellence conferences. Parker was very active in his church, participating in three mission trips and was a student leader of the youth group. Parker attended Western Reserve Academy in Hudson, OH, this year under Foundation sponsorship where he was a member of the wrestling and track teams and was a student coach for the football team.
I believe we will see more of Parker.
While we are considering education there are, I suspect, many of you who have been deeply into academia during and after your Navy career. Some were assigned to billets which required teaching, Sumner Moore with the French at their War College and Combined Staff College in Paris and at the French Naval Academy in Brest; Gordon Hogg 9th Co. (deceased) at the Italian Naval Academy at Livorno, Italy. Many of you pulled tours as instructors at USNA. Many of our wives taught school during our careers and some may still be doing so. One is Nancy Graham, Warren’s wife, who has been teaching at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale for 24 years. Her specialty is linguistics. She was teaching 5 classes but after the New Year cut it back to three so that she no longer has to get up at 0530 to make her first class. Her classes usually have 24 students trying to learn English when their base languages cover the whole spectrum. She says you can do best if you have at least a baseline knowledge of your student’s languages so I asked her how many languages she feels comfortable in. She replied English, Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese. After 24 years Warren says when they go out to eat almost always one of her past students comes over to say hello. Nancy enjoys what she does so much that she can’t foresee the day she will retire, but admits that preparing for class and marking papers is getting to be more and more of a chore.
Being a Naval Officer meant that all of us served as on the job instructors all the time and many of us had full time instructor billets, such as flight instructor, more than once in our careers. It was my experience that watching subordinates/students learn and develop provided some of the greatest satisfaction of my career. I can fully understand Nancy’s reluctance to quit. Phil Shutler 2nd Co. is another who has extended his teaching career but along a different path. Phil is a ski instructor at Ski Liberty not far from Washington and Margaret says the children love him.
WOW! What a satisfying “job” that must be.
Ty Dedman 13th Co. sent me an email just before Christmas, which touched a nerve when he said my email address has somehow disappeared from his address book. He also reported he had not been receiving anything from me. That prompted me to check my own address books and I found quite a few addresses were missing. I’m now in the process of reconstituting my books. Ty also told me of the trip he and Bettye made to Houston for the Navy-Rice game in October (better outcome than Navy’s bowl game in Houston) as guests of Evelyn and Paul Riley 13th Co. Colene Hansen (Don Crawford’s widow) and her husband Bob joined us for tailgating before the game. A great weekend.
Ty continued, for the second straight year we had to TIVO the Army Navy game and watch it later hoping that no one gave away the score. We are members of a local retired officer’s assn that always has their Christmas Party on Saturday afternoon on the same day as A-N game. I am the only USNA grad in the group, so they have little interest in the game. I told them all that next year, I’ll TIVO the party and watch the game live.
Zeb Alford 2nd Co. passed away last Aug. and since then I have received several letters recounting memories of him. This one from Terry Terrass 2nd Co. is one of the best.
Zeb was my roommate for our last two years at the Academy. In many respects our Navy career paths were similar up to the point of my retirement. We both went to destroyers upon graduation—Zeb’s in the Atlantic and mine in the Pacific. After that it was Submarine School in New London followed by several diesel submarines and, for Zeb, PG school. After those assignments we both went into nuclear submarines-the SEAWOLF in 1953 and Director of the Enlisted Course at Nuclear Power School for me and the Windsor Locks nuclear prototype and XO TULLIBEE, both boats being pioneers of new technologies, for Zeb. After that our paths diverged somewhat with Zeb going as CO SHARK while I had a year each as XO CROAKER and CO TRUTTA and 1.5 years as XO and 4.5 years as CO ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Zeb merged into that path by becoming CO SAM HOUSTON. After that Zeb went on to higher positions in Washington and the base at Guantanamo while I retired. After our retirements our paths crossed briefly as a result of our both having had duty tours in CAVALLA. Zeb became a founding member of the CAVALLA Historical Foundation and was its Chairman for six years during which time the ship was extensively restored and became a popular museum attraction in Galveston, TX. I managed to attend the 2006 reunion and am glad I saw the ship before Hurricane Ike even though she survived that reasonably well.
Career path similarities notwithstanding, when I think of him my memories are two-fold from our last year at Navy, each very different from the other. The first was the
time just prior to the Army Navy game of 1946 when Zeb, the ringleader I think, with several other of our classmates organized a weekend foray to West Point with the prime objective of capturing Pancho, the Army mule mascot. Although they thought that they had scouted the area very thoroughly and had located the barn where Pancho was stabled, they could not find him when they made their nighttime entry. Not being willing to accept complete failure, the conspirators proceeded to Thayer Monument and started to paint the globes around its base with blue and gold paint. Unfortunately, before they were finished they were spotted by people departing from a dance and were apprehended by the authorities. They were thrown into a psychiatric ward for the night and then released sometime the next morning. Most of the conspirators headed back to Annapolis but Zeb and another classmate stayed over for another attempt to get both Poncho and Army’s smaller mascot burro. Success eluded them again but at least they did not get caught this time and returned to USNA on late Monday. I think that they had a “visit” with the Commandant the next day but escaped, if I remember correctly, with no punishment
My second memory is one which may be recalled by many of our classmates-Zeb’s pivotal role in setting up the program which allowed many of us to purchase new automobiles as we neared graduation. This was at a time when new cars were still in short supply after the war and most prospective customers had to spend months on long waiting lists. On his exchange weekend at West Point Zeb had learned that the cadets were already participating in such a program and found out how to institute it at Navy. I think that he was also the one who found out how we could finance our purchases with loans from the Bank of Scranton. As a result of his efforts I got a 1947 Chevrolet, drove it cross country with two classmates and while still at home on our post-graduation leave, sold it before heading to San Francisco and flight across the Pacific to join my first ship in Tsingtao, China. I have no idea as to how many of our classmates benefited from this opportunity but suspect that most, if not all, appreciated it as much as did I.
Thanks Terry, I’m certain a good many of us remember and at least some did indeed purchase cars thanks to Zeb’s efforts.
Since the last column I have received word of the passing of the following Classmates and wives:
Douglas, Dean C. 4/2/09 non grad.
Hull, T.J. 12/29/09 non grad.
Patricia Dunn 1/13/10 wife of R.H.P. Dunn 24th Co. also deceased
Margaret Mencke 1/3/10 wife of J.B. Mencke 14th Co. also deceased
Our condolences are offered to the families.
Joe Jochum 4th Co. passed away on 7/31/84 and his wife Mary passed on 9/15/2000 but the family is a Navy family and his daughter, Ann, still manages to read Shipmate. She contacted me via email in Nov. to tell me several things about Joe and Mary’s family. Joe’s son, Jim, retired as a CAPT medical corps. He served for 28 years, the last 15 in the reserves. While in the reserves his duty was to come to Bethesda and teach the young doctors. He is an eye surgeon so he taught them about eye trauma in war. When the war started in Iraq the Capt. in charge of Ophthalmology at Pensacola was active so he was sent over. Jim was ordered to Pensacola as head of ophthalmology during his absence.
Our families continue the tradition. ENS Meradith Wydra Class of ’09, granddaughter of Charlie Heid 17th Co., was kept after graduation to help with the incoming plebes. She stayed with Charlie and Marguerite but left in Sept. for Pensacola and has been kept busy there waiting for her flight class to begin.
Let me close with a comment. This is your column. I enjoy putting it together but I need inputs from you. You have lots of channels, phone, snail mail and email. Please feel free.