SEC’Y: CAPT Dave Carruth, USN (Ret.)
CLASS OF 1948 SHIPMATE COLUMN
MAY- JUNE 2010
This will be the May-June issue. It is due on the first of April.
The February “blizzard” here in Washington claimed me as a casualty when on Feb. 22 nd I was tripped up by a small curb under the snow and found myself on the concrete on my right side. Today is Mar. 23 rd and only now has the right side of my body returned to it’s normal color and I am still sore. It takes longer now for us to recover; however, we must give thanks that, at least from mishaps like, this we can and do recover. This sometimes even surprises our doctors. The orthopedist who took care of Betty when she broke her pelvis practically did a dance when the final x-ray showed that Betty was growing new bone at the fracture line. John Tsiknas , 7 th Co. is experiencing this right now also as he recovers from a detached retina. He says the treatment is to inject a bubble into the eyeball, then some oil. The oil holds the bubble against the retina to allow it to reattach. As you might guess this means that when you go to bed you only sleep on one side. The doctor will remove the oil in two or three months, but in the meantime John’s vision is blurred and he is having a problem working on the computer. He too gives thanks that it is still possible to recover.
I mentioned in the last issue that I was running into a severe shortage of Class information. I went back through “stuff” I have here in my office and among other things read some of Sumner’s notes. He talks therein of the pockets of Class people naming only Washington/Annapolis, Monterey and San Diego. Until recently I have been fortunate in having some fairly regular inputs, from the North West by Tom Hayward 21 st Co. and Bob McClinton 11 th Co.; from San Diego by Rhona and Chuck Gorder 12 th Co., Dick Hoffman 10 th Co., and Chris Christoph 12 th Co. I used to have a source from Monterey in Scorchy Smith 21 st Co. He moved to Texas but happily supplies news from there while having to put up with chemotherapy for lung cancer. So far none of the people in the Monterey area has stepped forward to replace Scorchy. My sources in Annapolis include Phil Rogers 9 th Co., Charlie Heid 17 th Co., Jean Lochner, Nancy Reams and Carol Manganaro. In Florida Ty Dedman 13 th Co., gives me an input occasionally. There is a good-sized group in Norfolk but they also need a spokesman. Here in Washington our luncheons provide Class news and Warren Graham 2 nd Co. is an excellent source. Speaking of luncheons I feel certain that there are locations where members of the Class gather for lunch occasionally, perhaps not like we do here with a set schedule but I would like to identify the locations where Class members do gather and generate some Class news. If any of you out there, Classmate, wife or children, feel motivated to give me a hand here it would certainly be appreciated.
Not too long ago I requested the Alumni provide me with a copy of their mailing list for the Class. Working with that list and my own material tells me that our data are very close. Their list is of the living, mine is of the deceased but we both achieve about 400 graduates still on deck, give or take a few. Since I’m certain I don’t get the word on all who cross the bar I’m pleased that we are that close. I have email addresses for 250 Classmates so the rest are receiving their Class news via Shipmate presuming they all subscribe which I know they don’t. Regardless, the only ones staying abreast of current Class news are the email folks. Taking that into account I hope some more of you readers will decide to either sign in now or go get a simple/cheap computer and then sign in.
Let’s come back to the Washington/Annapolis Class of 1948 Association. I have written about this before so you know that George Ball 21 st Co., has legally incorporated the Association. Our officers are, and have been for a long time, Warren Graham, president; George Ball, vice president and legal counsel; Bob Ghormley 11 th Co. treasurer; and I serve as secretary. At our last luncheon we had the annual election and all current officers were once again unanimously re-elected. One reason is that Warren does such an outstanding job of providing the glue for the group. Not only does he plan the luncheons, he also keeps up with all locals and many outside this area. That is where he helps me so much for he keeps me up to speed, supplementing what I manage to glean from personal contact, incoming snail and email. When local area folks are unfortunate enough to go to the hospital some member of the family or a friend usually notifies Warren. He makes the effort to see if they can receive visitors and frequently he and Nancy will visit. His job has lightened a bit now for over the years we have slowed down so the things we used to do beyond luncheons have slowly dropped away. Warren recently attempted to put together a river cruise, Potomac River that is, but the response was too poor to proceed. We did one of those many years ago and it was quite good with a great turnout. Probably had something to do with our being younger.
We frequently have a speaker at our luncheons and he/she is generally from the Academy or the Alumni/Foundation. Charlie Heid, in addition to being our liaison to the 24 th Co. also makes the arrangements to find and invite our speaker. In that respect he is Warren’s right hand man. His efforts keep us up to speed on the “inner workings and hidden mechanisms” of the Naval Academy.
In addition to normal duties of a Treasurer Bob Ghormley also makes certain that flowers from the Class are sent to memorial services for deceased Classmates and wives. This sometimes necessitates some sleuthing to get the bouquets to the right place at the proper time. As you will see later from Fay Barnes note, Bob does an excellent job.
You have all heard the stories about someone in Nigeria having a great deal of money, which they want to get into the US. They contact someone here, usually by email, and offer to share the money if they can put it into that person’s account. A play on that popped up last month when I received an email purportedly from Don Giles 4 th Co., which I quote, “I hope you receive this message on time? Sorry I didn’t inform you about my traveling to the UK England for a program, I am presently in England UK and I am having some difficulties. I misplaced my bag on my way to the hotel where my other valuable things were kept. I feel so ashamed, now my passport and other belongings are been retained by the hotel management pending the time I paid my hotel bills. I need you to help me with a loan of (1,840 pounds=$3,250) to pay my hotel bills and go home. I will appreciate whatever you can afford to assist me with, I will refund the money to you as soon as I get back, I want to know if you can be of any assistance? Email me A.SA.P” Absolutely no credibility so all I did was call Don. He picked up the phone and said, “No, I’m not in England”. We both laughed about it but he was, as you can imagine, pretty put out. No clue as to origination or perpetrator.
This has been a particularly hard time since the last issue. We have received word of the demise of the following friends, Classmates and wives:
Axtel, E.M. 14 th Co. 5/15/25-3/11/’10
Barnes, W.H. 24 th Co. 1/25/’24-/8/’10
Clifford, W.F. 18 th Co. 6/27/’25-3/10/’10
Herbert, G.A. 10 th Co. 5/10/’26-2/20/’10
Martin, H.U. non-graduate 5/13/’23-3/18/’10
Porter, J.W. 9 th Co. 3/29/25-3/15/’10
Patricia Dunn, wife of R.H.P. Dunn 24 th Co. also deceased.
Ernestine (Teen) Stringfellow, wife of Hart Stringfellow 1 st Co.
We send our heartfelt sympathy to the families.
I have received a thank you note from Fay Barnes as follows:
To thank you for your kindness and sympathy at a time when it was deeply appreciated. USNA Class of 1948, I want to thank you for the lovely flower arrangement that you sent for Bill’s memorial. The beautiful blue and gold colors with the Class of 1948 banner were a source of pride and much appreciated. The Class of 1948 was most important to Bill. Sincerely, Fay Barnes.
Some of you may remember that back in Dec. ’08 I gave you an excerpt from a small book written by John Perkins 23 rd Co., which addressed some of his experiences as a Diplomatic Courier. Here are the last two entries from that book, which take you to his next change of career—
“PARIS-BELGRADE I was booked on another trip; on the Simplon Orient Express to Belgrade. This was similar to the first one, except that there was no King’s Messenger on board. I remember running into a group of American college
students with Communistic ideals, who had been lured by the Yugoslav government to dig a canal somewhere. They had been left high and dry by their sponsors and needed help in getting back to the US, and hoped that I could assist them in getting in touch with our Legation. Unfortunately, I had to return to Paris before I could be of any service to them.
On the way back, I had a layover in Milan. Eager to see the sights, I visited the Duomo and the famous opera house, La Scala. Here I was accosted by a young boy who offered to guide me to the fortress where Nazi sympathizers were killed. Every Westerner had to see something like that, right? On our tour, we miraculously came across a Three Card Monte card game. Watching for several minutes, it was obvious that a fortune was to be made by the players. The outcome was preordained- Quel Dommage-and the boy was a fast runner.
Just before Christmas, I made a last trip to London and returned to Paris. Sometime previously, I had decided to make a career in the Foreign Service Officer Corps. I then resigned from the Couriers. The State Department was very helpful and gave me a job at the Embassy in Paris. This allowed me to attend classes at the Alliance Francaise, located at the Sorbonne. After spending most of the winter skiing in St. Anton, I went back to Paris for classes and my new job. With a new apartment on Rue d’Arene on the Left Bank, and a new sports car, I really could enjoy living in Paris, and traveling at a more leisurely pace throughout western Europe. Subsequently, I returned to the US, entered the George Washington University School of Government and later joined the CIA.
However, all of that is another story. A tout a l’heure.”
Sounds a lot like James Bond doesn’t it, but I feel certain there is a great deal left out both because John did not want to write about it but couldn’t write about it for security purposes. Oh well, we all have over active imaginations so we can supple what’s missing.
The “children” of the Class are still making us proud. Guy Buck 18 th Co. son Sean has been selected for Rear Admiral, lower half, and will be taking over a command handling all Maritime Reconnaissance P-3 aircraft activities in the Pacific Ocean area and Middle East on or about June 6, 2010. He will be based, with his family, at the Atsugi Naval Air Station.
Fred Baughman 9 th Co. son Bob is on his way home from a one year stint in Iraq and Afghanistan leading the EOD effort. He has been awarded the Bronze Star.
As Warren Graham would say “BZ” to individuals and their families.