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Excellent timing by Charlie Butler 8th Co. with a snail mail I received yesterday.  This is what he sent:

As Rosemary and I recently celebrated the 67th anniversary of our wedding at the Naval Academy Chapel on June 7, 1947 (the day after graduation), we were reminded of the unique circumstances surrounding our wedding and my commissioning.    About three weeks before our graduation, eight classmates and I were ordered to report to the Supe’s office.  The nine of us were to have been commissioned in the Supply Corps, and now we were told that we would be commissioned in the Civil Engineer Corps, the first time ever that USNA graduates were commissioned directly into the CEC at graduation.  The nine of us accepted this change with great enthusiasm, since it held the promise of post-graduate education in civil engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, considered by many to be the best civil engineering school in the country.

Our enthusiasm was dealt a major blow when the nine of us were ordered to report to the Supe’s office once again.  Our new commissions had not received the necessary congressional approval because the Senate was engaged in a bitter filibuster over the Taft-Hartley labor law.  We were told that we could continue to reside in Bancroft hall (as midshipmen) until we received our commissions.  But what about those of us who had scheduled our weddings on, or just after, graduation day?  Midshipmen cannot be married, so the answer was obvious: No weddings!  With only a few days remaining before graduation, only a major miracle could save our carefully made wedding plans!

Jim Gibson (deceased) 6th Co. was one of our nine, and he was from Nevada.  His father was a good friend of Sen. Pat McCarran, the powerful Nevada Senator for whom the Las Vegas airport is named.  Sen. McCarran had a close working relationship with Lowell Thomas, the most popular presenter of the evening news on national network radio in those days.  Lowell Thomas always ended his evening news broadcast with a human interest story, so when Sen. McCarran told him about the tearful brides at Annapolis whose wedding plans had been upended by the Senate filibuster, he embellished the story in his prizewinning manner and told the story that evening, just two days before our graduation!  It seems that a sufficient number of senators had heard, and been moved by, the Lowell Thomas broadcast; so that the Senate had somehow managed to stop the filibuster long enough to approve our nine commissions!

On the morning of graduation day, the nine of us were once again in the Supe’s office.  As the Brigade marched over to Dahlgren Hall we sat there waiting.  At last, a motorcade pulled into the courtyard in front of Bancroft Hall, and a young officer jumper out with our commissions in his hand.  He soon burst into the Supe’s office, where our commissions were carefully checked.  We were told that everything was in good order, and that we should “double-time” it to Dahlgren Hall to join our respective companies.  We arrived just in time for the distribution of commissions and for throwing our hats in the air!

I had not told Rosemary about these events that had so nearly played havoc with our wedding plans.  A young bride-to-be has more than enough to worry about without the possibility that her wedding might be delayed by days or even weeks!  My parents were the only ones in our wedding party who had heard the Lowell Thomas broadcast but they didn’t realize, when they heard it, that their son was one of the players in the story.  Rosemary and I were married at chapel on the date and time we had announced, and we have lived happily ever after!

Scribe’s note: Charlie and Rosemary were married in St. Andrew’s Chapel (the lower chapel) at 1100.  Since Betty and I were married the same day in the upper chapel I wondered which came first so I checked our wedding announcement and we were married at 1500.  Unless someone steps up and tells me his marriage was before 1100 on 7 June 1947 Charlie and Rosemary have the longest ongoing marriage in the Class.  Betty and I send our congratulations to Charlie and Rosemary.  Let’s see how much longer we can keep it going.

Charlie also told me that Rosemary has written another book, MY MERRY MENAGERIE-verses and whimsical drawings about animals, bugs, and crawly things intended for preadolescents and some adults.  The publisher is Sun on Earth Books.  Perhaps you need a birthday gift for a great grandchild.

We have sponsored another mid’n and I have received a letter from him to the Class:

Words cannot convey my gratitude for giving me another opportunity to gain admittance to the Academy.  Because of your help I was able to attend Kiski Prep, and in turn I worked hard so that I could fulfill my dreams of attending The United States Naval Academy.

Kiski Prep gave me the tools I needed to succeed academically and their athletic program helped better myself as an athlete.  There I learned time management skills, which I was lacking prior my attendance there, and for that I am truly grateful.  I feel that taking the science and math courses at Kiski has put me in a great position going into my plebe year, I feel confident in my ability to excel at the Academy.

I’ve been wanting to attend the Naval Academy since seventh grade, and with your support I can finally say I’m going to attend my dream school.  Thank you very much, I am grateful and honored to be attending the Academy and serving my country.
                                      Miguel Angel Perez

Beth Bowers, wife of Jack  Bowers 8th Co., sent along a picture taken near his 89th birthday.  She says, “As his wife and scribe, I’ll pass along a brief description of his years since graduation; ‘I was on active duty in the Navy for five years, worked for an oil company for many years afterward, and retired early to Florida.”  Beth also commented, “you may use my e-mail address as a contact, if you wish.  Jack does not have one.”

Scribe’s note: I have added the Bowers to our Class email list so they now receive Class e-news.

                                           Beth and Jack Bowers

Since the last column I have learned of the passing of two Classmates and one wife.
                   16th Co. Tiernan, F.S.                6/25/14
                   18th Co. Harris, W.H.                6/20/14
          Dawson, Joelle wife of Tom 18th Co.  Joelle had been given a clear bill on lymphoma and shortly thereafter was diagnosed with leukemia.  Tom and Joelle had been married for sixteen years.  Tom’s current address is 13813  West Woodside Drive #235, Sun City West, AZ 85375.  Phone 623-242-6823.  He does not have access to his computer.

We shall miss each of those we have lost and send our condolences.

I have been telling you about how different people made it to the Academy.  Here is a story about how one of our Classmates served his time and made his own career path.

Every designator in the Navy has a published (or unpublished) ideal career track.  A pathway that moves you along and, if you work hard and get good reports, rewards you with promotion and career success.  The  implication is that straying from the track is risky.

The career of Dave Whelan 6th Co. began as many did—firmly aimed on the track.  Upon commissioning and completion of Navy Supply Corps School in Bayonne, Dave did what every young Naval officer should do, he went to sea on board the USS SAIPAN (CVL-48) as Disbursing officer and the USS FITCH (DMS-25) as Supply Officer.  Shore duty took him to Boston and the Navy Accounts Disbursing Office.  This was followed by assignment to Navy Supply Center Pearl Harbor as Aide and Plans Officer.

Staying on track Dave was sent to Harvard for post-graduate school, receiving his Masters in Business Administration in June of 1956.  The civilian entrepreneurial environment, the case study process and an internship at United Fruit Company provided a fresh perspective for a junior officer.

His next assignment was to the Ordnance Supply Office (OSO) in Mechanicsburg.  Oddly enough, it was through reading an article in Barron’s that Dave learned the extent of contractor support envisioned in the Polaris Project and the effort to expedite deployment of sea-based ballistic missiles.  Dave recognized the importance of having the Supply System take the lead in the support of this program and worked to escalate involvement in the program.  Dave’s boss (CAPT Ed Moring USNA 31) was a classmate of Levering Smith and they had a meeting regarding Navy Supply support to the program.  A product of years in contractor support in the technology world, Levering Smith’s chief Engineer told the Ordnance Supply Office to ‘submit a proposal’.  Dave developed the proposal, which was designed to not only ‘sell’ the idea to Levering Smith, but also to the Supply system, and the Ordnance Supply Office began doing provisioning for the new Polaris program.

That proposal resulted in a deviation from the normal career track that lasted almost 7 years.  From OSO Dave was assigned to open the doors at the newly formed Polaris Materiel Office in Charleston, SC.  Shortly thereafter, he was assigned to the USS PROTEUS (AS-19) as assistant Supply Officer, just as she was completing modification as the first FBM Submarine tender.  In this capacity, he was part of the advance party to open Site One in Holy Loch, Scotland.

After completing his assignment aboard PROTEUS and the initial deployments of the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, Dave remained with the program for an extended tour at the Special Projects Office in Washington, DC.  At SP Dave’s tasking included shepherding the commissioning of the Hunley Class FBM tenders as well as completing the equipping of the forward refit sites at Holy Loch, Scotland and Rota, Spain.

Informed by the Deputy Chief of the Supply corps, that it was time to ‘get back to the regular Navy’, Dave was ordered to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as Executive Officer of the Supply Center.  That re-introduction to the ‘track’ was truncated by deep selection to Captain in 1967 and a return to Washington for a course at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.  His next assignment as Director of Supply Corps Personnel could not have been more firmly back on track.  This tour was followed by command tours at Naval Supply Center, Long Beach and Naval Supply Center, San Diego.  Dave wrapped up his career with a tour on faculty at the Naval War College.

Dave went on to another career at the University of Rhode Island and a variety of volunteer projects.

Scribe’s note:  A very interesting career.  By my reading Dave kept his finger on his number to keep himself in a program he was really interested in.  Very good show.

My next deadline is for the Sept-Oct column and is due on July 29th.  I could use some inputs to flesh out what I’m already planning.