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                                           July-August - 2012                                                

You won’t read this until probably the end of July.  Unlike the email notes I send which are “real time” the Shipmate column is more to tell you about what Classmates and their families have shared with me.  Therefore let’s start with Graduation Week, what we used to call June Week.  The Class of 15 has managed to climb a thoroughly greased and water soused Herndon monument and did it in just over 2 hours.  The Washington Post had one picture of the climb and I found it interesting to note that there were no women in the picture so I presume they are not participating in that particular evolution.  I believe that is appropriate and only comment because last year when the Class of 14 climbed I think there was one woman in the picture of the crunch.  Oh well, the lids have been changed, “no ‘mo. Plebes”. 

         You are all probably aware that our Class has sponsored the 24th Co. wardroom for many years now.  Wardroom, you say?  We didn’t have any wardrooms in Mother Bancroft.  Well, not all companies have them now either but the 24th Co. does and we fund it to the tune of refrigerators, TVs, bar-b-q grills, couches, a USNA rug from Warren Graham 2nd Co. and other furniture.  We also welcome the mid’n to our tailgate tent at the football home games.  As mentioned before, not all companies have wardrooms now, generally predicated upon whether they have a sponsoring Alumni Class.  The Commandant is currently studying this and I suspect he will soon publish what he and the Superintendant want the wardroom program to be, and I would anticipate an all or nothing approach, i.e. all 30 companies have wardrooms or none do.  Anyway, back to the 24th Co., I’m very pleased to tell you that our company was the Color Company this year.  The Color Parade was on the 23rd and the night before, here in Springfield, it POURED so I was convinced that Worden Field would be a quagmire; however it didn’t rain at all in Annapolis and Charlie Heid 17th Co. says the whole parade went perfectly.  Charlie has always been our contact with the 24th and participated in the ceremonies.  The company slipped on one account, they called Charlie about 7AM on the 23rd and told him they had 25 tickets available which our Class could use, but of course the lead time was way too short.

         While Charlie was engaged seven of our Classmates were gathered at the 49 House to work on the planning of our 65th reunion.  Those in attendance were Roger Carlquist 19th Co. as Chair, Don Buhrer 5th Co., Bob Flood 18th Co., John Fry 21st Co., Bill Bass 20th Co., Phil Rogers 9th Co. and Dave Carruth 9th Co..

                                   Roger Carlquist, Chair 65th Reunion

Not present were Warren Graham (he and Nancy were celebrating his birthday), Hank Clay 12th Co. and Dave Cammack 17th Co..  We were joined by Holly Powers of the Alumni Assoc.  She is the Class Reunion Manager and will assist us in any way she can.  For example she will give John Fry the names of the caterers who are authorized to serve at the stadium where we will have our picnic.  Charlie Heid arranged the picnics for the previous three reunions and says he will help John if requested.  Our meeting ran 2 hours.  Assignments were agreed to and much was discussed.  It was agreed that another meeting is needed soon to review what has been accomplished and subsequent to that meeting the committee will put together a letter to the Class with an agenda and information regarding costs etc.

         On the 24th John Fry gave the Class of ’48 Information Technology Award to Midshipman first Class Kevin Philip Richardson.  The citation reads: “A check for $1,000 will be presented to that Midshipman majoring in Information Technology, who has achieved the highest average in his/her major courses, including the second discipline courses.  The award is given from the Class of ’48 Information Technology Fund.”  John says,

During a reception following the ceremony, I elaborated the official citation with these words: “In an old Hollywood movie, when asked about his view for the future, Dustin Hoffman replied with on word: PLASTIC. Years later, at a Class of 1948 luncheon, my classmate Jim Beggs 10th Co. was asked the same question.  He replied with one word: IT.  He proposed the class raise two million dollars for an information technology initiative benefiting midshipmen, and we did.  Our intent was to provide a margin of excellence at the Academy, for advancing our Navy’s understanding and capabilities in this burgeoning and crucial field.  You are one of the first beneficiaries of our team effort. This morning, on behalf of the Class of 1948, I take great pleasure in presenting you with this check of $1000, in recognition of your distinguished achievement in information technology warfare.  It will change your life.  It singles you out for future leadership in the Navy, and the nation, in this new area we only begin to understand for its offensive and defensive potential, and its impact on society.  Congratulations to you, and our best wishes for your future.”

         Now, let’s go beyond Annapolis/Washington area.  I received a letter earlier this month from Charlie Butler 8th Co., discussing an event which a goodly number of us will celebrate this year, a 65th anniversary.  Charlie writes:

         Like you and Betty, Rosemary and I will be celebrating our 65th anniversary on June 7th this year.  We will mark the occasion by hosting a gathering of friends for lunch in the courtyard of the historic 1926 Biltmore Hotel, which is just two blocks from our house in Coral Gables, Florida.

         The Biltmore’s 300 foot high tower was inspired by the Giralda tower of the cathedral in Seville, Spain.  The hotel’s open courtyard is enclosed by loggias on all four sides, and has a big fountain in the center.  The courtyard reminds us of the Alhambra in Granada and it is a spectacular setting for lunch or dinner.

         Rosemary and I both have mobility problems, so we don’t plan to attend the 65th class reunion next year.  However, if any classmates are coming to Miami to take the cruise next January, and have the time to spare, we’d be delighted to treat you to lunch or dinner in the courtyard of the Biltmore Hotel.  Give us a call at (305) 445-3844 to set a time and date.

         We are both feeling great.  I had a pacemaker installed early last year, and that has boosted my energy level.  Although our circle of friends is smaller than in past years, we are maintaining an active social schedule and are enjoying life as much as ever.  We are fortunate to live in a beautiful city and enjoy great weather throughout the year. 

         Scribe’s note to Rhona and Chuck.  Hang on, with this invitation you may have several new cruisers.

         A note from Tom Hayward tells me that Peggy is having health problems and they will probably not make the 65th.

         A snail mail input from Ernie Castle 3rd Co. :

                  Jean, my bride of six months, and I joined the local Navy League in a bus trip to the Academy this week (scribe-that would be around the 20th of Apr.) Some has changed, much is the same.  The harassment  of plebe year seems to have disappeared.  We had lunch in a snack bar in Dahlgren Hall.  Our tour guide was from ’65.  Jean and I have joined a “travel-adventure club.”  I’ll be reporting the results.  Scribe note: Jean and Ernie were married on 10 Sept. ’11 and spent part of their honeymoon in Charleston, SC.  I’ll be looking forward to club news.

         Just to prove that I’m not the only frustrated statistician Bob Slater 12th Co., has done some interesting research and reports the results.

         I don’t have any big news, but I read in your write-up in the Spring Shipmate that you think we have 356  ’48 graduates still alive. (Scribe note: as of 5/27/12 my data shows 350) That was a surprisingly high number, I thought.  I didn’t know exactly how many graduates there were, but my Register of Alumni (old but serves my purposes) says there were 910 (although, in the course of doing the minimal research described below I found that they actually list 908, not 910).  In any event, using either number, the conclusion is that something more than 39% have survived.

         That caused me to wonder what the average age of our class is; or, a more useful statistic (since the average age increases constantly): what is the median birth date of ’48 graduates?  I doubt that anyone knows: my guess was sometime in the spring of 1925.  If so, the average (not exactly, but close) would be 87.

         It seemed to me that 39% of any diverse group surviving to 87 was a remarkable figure; far outside the range I would expect for the general population.

         I decided to see if my median birth date guess was in the ballpark at all.  I didn’t want to tally 910 (or 908) birth dates and count to find the middle.  Instead, I went to the Register and looked up the birth date of every 45th graduate.  That would give me 20 data points, which seemed like a reasonable number.  It appears that the ’48 graduate median birth date is in August 1925.  Not quite 87 yet, but close

         I still think that 39% survival is remarkable!

My response to Bob was, in my scrounging around in the classes older than ours as well as ours I believe you are correct that we are surviving longer than our civilian peers, particularly when you consider what many of us did for 30 plus years.  The graduate number which I use, and the Alumni Assoc. uses is 909.  Betty and I both will be 88 this year.

         Since the May-June column we have bid farewell to two classmates and three wives:


         12th Co.     Holder, H. S.            4/17/12

         24th Co.     Krasnow, A.L.          5/13/12


         Ayers, Fran                            2/1/12  Wife of W.R. Ayers (deceased) 20th Co.

         Sturtevant, Ellen Fane  4/15/12  Wife of  H.B. Sturtevant 6th Co.

         Wilson, Shirley          4/25/12  Wife of K.E. Wilson 9th Co.

Our condolences to each family.

         The following was prompted, I believe, by the posting of Art Krasnow’s obit in which he mentions making wine out of grapes purloined from the mess hall.

         John Ferris 6th Co. writes:  Let the record show that we non-conformists of the sixth company also, if not first, collected grapes from the Mess Hall, with the aid of several unwitting Plebes, and did manufacture our own vintage wines and drink same.

         Mids with names like Hemmes, Whelan, Vasquez and Ferris are those I remember.  Hemmes found an old pickle barrel which certainly added to the flavor and helped mature the wine.   Yes, one of us, barefoot, also tenderly trod upon the grapes.  Hemmes cleverly made the key to open the panel to get access to the utilities area, in between rooms on the second floor, 2nd wing, where we stored the wine for fermentation.  If anyone is going to be fried, Hemmes is your man.

         A tip of the hat and a wine toast goes to classmate Art Krasnow.  I never knew of the “competition”.

         Today is Memorial Day so I hope all of you had your flag out