SEC’Y: CAPT Dave Carruth, USN (Ret.)
CLASS OF 1948 SHIPMATE COLUMN
MARCH - APRIL - 2011
I’m beginning the assembly of this column on Jan 17th and as I write 28 of our Classmates and wives are boarding the Enchantment of the Seas for a 12-day cruise around the Caribbean. When you read this they will all be home and we will have the pictures which were taken and the Classmate’s collective memories available to us in our IT Wardroom. I feel certain they will indicate that a good time was had by all. For Rhona and Chuck Gorder 12th Co. who put the cruise together a hearty Bravo Zulu.
Now what are all the rest of us doing to keep busy besides too frequent visits to medical facilities? Let’s see what is in my correspondence file. Those of you with email will be somewhat familiar with some of these items.
A while back I received an email from Bruce A. Lea, son of classmate Hugh O. Lea 23rd Co. who passed away in1992. Bruce wrote as follows:
“A number of years ago, much of my father’s USNA memorabilia was kept in a storage facility; unfortunately, the facility was sold with all contents included. Among the contents was his sword from the academy. I have acquired a replacement Lucky Bag from 1948B, but I would also like to replace the sword. However, the results of my research are lacking. If possible I would like to know:
If there was a particular sword manufacturer for 1948B? If there are any particular identifying marks on the swords that you received? In other words, is there something that makes it a 1948B sword? If you have an idea where I can locate such a sword?”
I sent an email to Classmates expressing these questions and Mac Matthew 7th Co. stepped in. He had given his sword to the American Military Museum in Charleston, S.C. and with some help retrieved it and sent it to Bruce. Bruce was overwhelmed and asked why Mac would give him the sword? Mac responded, “The sword is not important to me personally and I am very pleased to offer it to you as a replacement for your father’s sword. I thought the reason for your request was very sound. I was not a midshipman officer at the Naval Academy and never carried the sword. I have no male children or relatives who would have an interest in it.” Bruce then sent me an email two paragraphs of which follow:
Quite frankly, I am overwhelmed. What bond exists that would cause a man to part with a piece of his life history in an effort to help the family of a classmate from a time long since past: The only conclusion that I can draw is that it comes from the brotherhood formed as a result of your time spent together on the Severn.
No words can adequately describe my admiration. I began this journey in hopes of finding information that would guide me on the search for a sword. However, it resulted in so much more.
Gentlemen, I salute you all. Warmest Regards, Bruce A. Lea.”
Another Classmate heard from; J.B. Ferris 6th Co. writes,
“The business about the swords reminded me that they can be a glut on the market. My father did a tour in the Phillipines as a shavetail in 1906-09. He brought back some really neat bolos and kris which he had taken from some bad guys (Moros). Their weapons were all hand-wrought and had magnificent heft and edges, plus beautifully carved scabbards and handles. A few years ago, I offered a couple of the weapons to the Museum at West Point. They wrote back to thank me but assured me that they, too had an oversupply. The Army must really have “disarmed” the Moros, but they never gave up.”
Jack LeDoux 11th Co.wrote,
“Regarding old Navy stuff, I am giving my sword to my youngest son (a former submariner), my medals and stuff to my oldest son (Vietnam vet) and uniforms stuff to any other of the kids that want them. About a month ago, I was invited to a local school to talk about the Antarctic and the South Pole to 44 2nd graders. I made a movie down there and had converted it to a DVD. Managed to find enough khaki uniform to go in uniform. The kids loved it. At the end, one of the girls, impressed with an old man that can still get around very well, asked me “How old are you?” It was fun and we all should do something like that.”
I wrote back, it really sounds like fun. I have given away all of my uniforms keeping only my cap which my grandson wants. Was the little girl able to make any connection to your answer as to your age?
I told the kids I was old enough to by their great grandfather. I doubt they have any idea about age. I think it came from the fact that I was down there over 50 years ago. I got 44 notes from these kids with sketches at the top. I gave each of them a little card for Christmas even four who where not there or were new. They went crazy over these notes. One little guy said, “They must be important, they are in an envelope” BTW I still have my evening dress blues that I was able to wear at 2 of my daughter’s weddings. My dear wife was not pleased that I could still wear a uniform. LOL “
The Classmates with email also played musical games. Jim Oliver 16th Co. came in with this question; “Maybe some classmates can help me out on remembering the words to a song that we sang in the bars in Japan in the old days. My memory is not so good as it used to be but it went something like this—When the ice is on the rice in Nagasaki (or maybe Kamikura?) and the saki in the cellar starts to freeze…?” That kicked off a two-week exchange of emails concerning the words and the tune. Bill Small 1st Co. popped up with-
When the ice is on the rice in Kamakura
And the Sake in the cellar starts to freeze
And you whisper “Sweet Ojosan I adore you”
Then you’re getting just a sukoshi Nippponese
When you’re dancing to the strains of “Tanko Bushi”
When you start spending yen like it was money,
We have lost two Classmates and one wife since the last column. We shall miss each of them and send our thoughts and prayers to the families.
I have commented before that the Council of Class Presidents meets at the Academy twice a year, in the spring and the fall. Phil Rogers 9th Co. and I represent the Class at these meetings and it is a good arrangement for if, for whatever reason, I can’t make the 50+ mile drive Phil lives there and will be present. The meetings start at 0730 and last all day. We always receive a report from Byron Marchant ’78, President & CEO USNA AA & NAF in which he covers the financial health of both organizations, changes in the organizations and future outlook. At the last meeting, in November, we were also briefed by VADM Mike Miller, the Superintendant, telling us how he sees the future at the Academy. Since then I have heard the new Commandant CAPT Bob Clark speak on the same subject and the two of them come across as being absolutely on the same page. Good omen.
|Betty & David Carruth|