These deadlines seem to come around more quickly than I am prepared to meet them; however, let’s see what we can put together of interest.
Let’s start with a letter from Claire Frahler:
Andy and I met after he’d graduated and gone to sea and was back at Annapolis. So recently I asked him where his first duty was. He told me this story.
My first duty was when I reported to the U.S.S. IOWA which was based in Hawaii. ADM Ingersoll, who was a big baseball fan from Academy days when I played for Navy was Chief of Staff of the Pacific fleet and lived at Pearl Harbor. I knew his daughter, Mary Jo, and ran into her on the base. She invited me to a party at the O’Club. I went to their quarters to pick her up Admiral offered the use of his car with the two star plates on it. After the party May Jo offered to drive me back to my ship. It was about 1 AM when we stopped on the pier near the ship. The Officer of the Deck spotted the Admiral’s car and not knowing who was in it alerted the Command Duty Officer and the Executive Officer. All must have raced up to the quarterdeck where the accommodation ladder was located. Mary Jo and I talked a few more minutes and said goodbye. As I walked up the ladder the hastily called group was shocked to see, instead of an Admiral, the most junior officer aboard! “Ensign, make yourself known the next time you are riding in a flag officer’s car”, bellowed the command duty officer. The IOWA left a few days later headed for Eniwetok where there were 200 ships place in concentric circles. They were filled with different animals. Earlier an atomic bomb had been dropped on these ships to check the effect of radioactivity on the animals and the vessels.
The IOWA headed up the task force to sink these radioactive ships. Cruisers began firing at 8 A.M. The IOWA was held off until 10 A.M. With their 16-inch guns they quickly sank the remaining ships. Shortly thereafter the IOWA left for San Francisco where it was decommissioned. Andy returned to the Academy to teach and assist with Varsity baseball. We met on a blind date and married in 1949.
I’m sure others have even better stories to tell. Urge them to do so.
Claire Frahler (for Andy who has macular degeneration.)
Scribes note: Sorry about the MD Andy. Several others of our Class are reporting the same problem.
The first part of Claire’s letter reminded me of a similar incident. On graduation Sam Smith, Tyler Dedman and I were ordered to the OAKLAND (CL-95). As we stopped in Pearl on the way to China, Sam and I decided to walk over to the MULIPHEN (AKA-61) to see Hal Deeley. The captain’s driver was going to get gas in the car and offered to drop us off at the MULIPHEN so we climbed in. When we returned to the ship the OD told us to report to the XO immediately. The XO said to us, “Why did you steal the Captain’s car?” The driver hadn’t returned but when he did he was in hot water of course but confirmed our story and got us off the hook.
Back to Claire’s comment, I’ve previously asked you wives to contribute but let me encourage you again to do so.
When Phil Rogers was trying to get the Classes’ feel for what to do with the Gate funds Nancy Reams sent an email saying even though she did not have a vote she was content with whatever the Class decided. I responded that at this point in time the widows do have a vote. She said she could understand why the original trees died since they were Crape Myrtles and can’t take the cold. She recounted lost Crapes in her yard. Of course the ball is in Public Works court now. We’ll just have to wait and see.
To close this off I believe those of you who have not seen Phil’s letter to the Class, dated 7 March 2011, will find it of interest.
My letter to the class dated 20 January 2011 described my experience attempting to utilize our residual Gate One fund to improve the landscaping of our three gardens. Several weeks ago, I met with Gerrie Farmer, the comptroller of the Alumni Association and discussed the problem. It was explained to me that it is impossible to move class funds from a “restricted” fund to an “unrestricted” fund because the monies donated for the benefit of the Academy are a tax deductible contribution by the donor and that the IRS takes a dim view of such a transfer.
It was explained to me that we could legally transfer the funds consisting of $6,186.63 to our IT Endowment Fund. I submitted a request for the transfer and it was made on 23 February, 2011 with the concurrence of both Charlie Heid and Warren Graham, co-chairmen of the IT project. These funds can now be used in any manner within the fund such as providing for the annual graduating class award of $1000 to the midshipman standing number one in the IT curriculum.
One of the things SecNav Forrestal, our graduation speaker, told us was that we were joining the biggest fraternity in the world. I believe our experiences have proven that to be true. As a current example, in February I received an email from Alex Morris ’56 who is the Treasurer of the USNAAA Suncoast Chapter, Sarasota, FL saying, “I have learned that 48’s Eugene Noblet was recently hospitalized. Our mutual dentist is concerned for his health. His affairs are apparently being looked after by an attorney. Perhaps you can spread the word or notify friends and relatives. I don’t know him but will try to visit him soon. “ BTW, you may recall my Dad, LCDR Alex Morris, the bandleader in 1948. He started as a deckhand with the Great White Fleet’s Battleship NEW HAMPSHIRE in 1907 and was stationed in Annapolis from 1938-1955. He and Bos’un Shorty Metzger were buddies in NYC’s St Vincent’s Orphanage.
On March 27th another email from Morris “I have just learned that your classmate, Eugene Noblet, has passed away. A memorial service has been scheduled for Sarasota’s Veteran’s Cemetery on Friday, April 15 at 10:00 am. I did visit him while he was in Sarasota Memorial Hospital suffering from lung congestion. He told me he had no relatives or friends locally.”
I then received an email from Don Harvey 5th Co. saying, “Debbie and I plan to go to the memorial service if possible. Since my stroke left me blind on one side, Debbie has to do all the driving; the “if possible” refers to the fact that she has an operation scheduled on one eye on the 14th. We think she will be able to drive the next day but are not certain. Thank you Alex for passing the work on Eugene. Amazingly in this relatively small city, we had never encountered him.”
The fraternity is working.
All of you are familiar with the ENTERPRISE, CAPT Honor item. It caused Harry Belflower to send me a note: “When I completed my tour at Pax River in June, 1961, I was assigned to the pre-com crew of ENTERPRISE as the OPS Admin Officer. The ship was a t Newport News until November when we went out for test and acceptance trials. I was the senior LCDR in the ships company and that made me the CDO and many other things. One of my duties was taking the 8 o’clock reports every evening on the hangar deck and then proceeding to the XO’s cabin and making those reports to him. I always thought the he was supposed to take the reports himself but it wouldn’t have made much difference in my routine. He made my life miserable. The most difficult two years of my life were spent aboard that ship. What I am really saying is that the Honors’ “thing” brought back a lot of memories. ENTERPRISE was a hard ship and not a particularly happy one at that time. Being the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier most of the senior officers were Rickover people. I had to pass his criteria to be ordered there and stand watch as OOD because it put me in charge of nuclear power. I do not support CAPT Honors but can see where he might have been coming from. As an aside, Harry says whenever the ship was in port Rickover might “visit” unannounced at any hour of the day or night.
All things considered, including our ages, we are doing pretty well at maintaining our own; however, we still must say goodbye to Classmates and wives each time I write a column. This period I must report the loss of three Classmates and five wives though two of the wives passed on a while back and we are only learning about it.
23rd Co. Hebden, E.B. 3/4/11
15th Co. Noblet, E.J. 3/10/11
3rd Co. Remsen, H. 3/27/11
Conway, Jane 3/3/11 wife of Bill Conway 12th Co.
Gracey, Betty 3/16/11 wife of Jack Gracey 16th Co. (Deceased)
Neely, Jane 2011 wife of Bob Neely 18th Co. (Deceased)
Noblet, Francis 2/24/2000 wife of Gene Noblet (Deceased)
Ortland, Barbara 3/25/11 wife of Warren Ortland 5th Co.
Our deepest sympathy and our prayers for the families.
Wil Klemm reports, “Doing fine out here. No major complaints or illnesses. Moved into an apartment at Tallgrass Creek, an Erickson retirement community. Wanted to move to Ashby Ponds there in the DC area but couldn’t afford it after the real estate crash. Hope to report soon that one of my great granddaughters will have an appointment to the Academy. Wil K.”
We have a new author in the Class. Paul Riley’s 100 page, illustrated book comes to us along with the 2011 Centennial of Naval Aviation. It’s title is “Near Misses: A Naval Aviator’s Story.” I checked on Amazon and it is available there, along with a good review. The book is available in hard, soft and ebook and may be the first book I read on my iPad, presuming I can get it away from Betty. Paul says, “Most of you will recognize names, places, ships, and aircraft. You can have fun second guessing decisions on how the author survived various challenges, with one exception. That would be how against long odds, he won the heart of fair Evelyn, and was married 50 years ago this June. That, incidentally, stakes a claim to be the last classmate and bride to celebrate a golden anniversary.”
Now, let’s go back for just a few comments on the matter of how to get a bull gear out of the ship. The general conclusion from our previous exchanges was that it was an evolution never intended to happen. Once the gear was in place it was there for the life of the ship. Well, Ed Grunwald ‘50 called me to tell me when he was aboard SARATOGA in 1958 or 59, he couldn’t be certain, the ship pulled into NY shipyard and in two weeks flat the yard cut a 12 foot square hole in every deck from flight deck to engine room, pulled out and replaced the bull gear, replaced all the wiring, ducting etc ad nauseam, repaired the hole (including the armored deck) and the ship deployed on schedule.
Finally, from a video of the Blues- they had on display an F8F Bearcat and one of the original Blues was sitting in the cockpit. He said, “I’m 90 years old. There is no way I’m going to fly this airplane, but in my mind I can still fly it.” Well said my friend.