SEC’Y: CAPT Dave Carruth, USN (Ret.)
                                                  7206 Danford Lane; Springfield, VA 22152
                                                   P: 703-569-1354        E: slipstk@aol.com
                                       WEBMASTER: John Tsiknas
                                                    15644 Caldas De Reyes, San Diego, CA 92128
                                                    E: johntsiknas@att.net 
                                        WEB SITE: 1948.usnaclasses.com

CLASS OF 1948 SHIPMATE COLUMN
JANUARY-FEBRUARY - 2016

As all of you with email addresses know the Wash./Annapolis group has had to face up to some changes.  This has been brought on predominantly by the slow decrease in our individual driving ranges usually by virtue of each of us deciding what our limits are.  For example, I will no longer drive at night and now drive only to places close to me where I know the route very well.  As a result our luncheons are being reduced to Annapolis, attended by folks living there, and Washington the same.  There is less and less interchange certainly influenced by the level of traffic in this area.  We also now have a luncheon committee, organized by Judy Flood, which has made the arrangements for the next gathering to be on Dec. 4th in Annapolis.

This has also ended my attendance at the Council of Class Presidents (COCP).  Since I will no longer drive to Annapolis I asked Bob Flood if he would attend the meeting on 19 Nov..  He did and called me yesterday to give me a quick rundown.  I will report to you when I receive the minutes; however, one thing he commented on was that the Class of ’19 is 27% female.  That reminded me that our Class Memorial Honor Scholar is Jessica Cozine whose thank you note I included in the Sept-Oct column.  Here is additional information about Jessica, which I believe you will find of interest.  She attended Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, AZ where she lettered in track and field.  She spent all four years at school as a member of the marching, symphonic and jazz bands and was the drum major during her senior year.  Jessica was a member of various clubs and student organizations, including being a Student Ambassador leader where she spoke to prospective students and parents at open houses and local junior high schools.  Outside of school, she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and was a catechism teacher at her church.  Under Foundation sponsorship, Jessica attended Northwestern Preparatory School in Crestline, CA, and University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ for second semester.

A letter from Jack LeDoux responding to my plea for column material.

One of the most interesting things I did while in the Navy might be of interest to the Class.  My last assignment before I retired was as the director of the Navy shore based nuclear program.  One of my projects was the Fairway Rock job.  Since it is written up on the Internet, everyone can access it by entering “Fairway Rock” and go to Radioisotope Generator.  The story as written is pretty good but it leaves out the way it was accomplished.

When I first took over the job at Navfac I realized that we had over 200 men operating one nuclear plant in the Antarctic, the PM3A.  We had a new admiral coming in to Navfac (ADM Corradi) and I knew he would want to know what those 200 men were doing.  I told my Navy and civilian crew we better find other things to do.  Within a few weeks Corradi asked me to present our program to him.  I realized the program would be cancelled if that were all we did.

We did come up with several ideas: running the health physics program for the whole Navy; a nuclear power plant for Guam; the use of radioisotope generators.  To inform the rest of the Navy what these RTGs could do we wrote up a small brochure about them, where they were, what they did, and who made them.  Sent this info to all Navy commands.  The best part of RTGs is they work anywhere without the need for oxygen.  Two weeks later I got a call from the electronics lab in San Diego that they urgently needed one for tracking submarines in the Bering seas.  They were using a propane generator that lasted half a year due to snow.

I told them that Martin Marietta had one that we might be able to get but it would cost $25,000 to $50,000.  They told me cost was not a factor.  I called Martin in Baltimore and they agreed to let the Navy use this one with cost in the future.  I went to the AEC to get a license to move this radioactive thing.  Got one in 4 days.  Checked with the Air Force to fly it from Boston to Alaska.  They said they had a plane that could move it (5000 lbs) in 10 days.  Had to get ADM Anderson, CNO, to request it and he did immediately.  Contacted the Army Chemical Corps to move it from Baltimore to Boston.  They agreed.  Had to move it from Alaska to the Rock and Navy air could not do it but they recommended a bush pilot in Alaska.  Called him and he agreed if fuel could be placed in two spots for his chopper.  The Army Corps of engineers did that for us.  Finally we had the Coast Guard monitor the flight to Fairway Rock.  The Rock is almost 600 ft high.  So 10 days after the phone call from the Lab we had the generator operating on the Rock.  All of this with no paper work or fund transfers and many organizations in the mix.  The only paper work that I can remember is the Navy message to the Air Force.  Finally 15 years after I retired, on a visit to D.C. I checked with my old outfit and was told the generator was still working.  I think they retired the RTGs in 1995 almost 30 years later.  I think it took 18 months for every body to be paid.  Amazing!

Scribe’s note: if you have a 50 year book read Jack’s bio therein.  Also, the Internet gives you additional geographical and historical info about the Rock.  

             Barbara Mitchell and Jack LeDoux

 I had an interesting discussion on the phone with Bill Borchert.  He and Lois bought a condominium before she died and one of his grandchildren and spouse are living with him.  I asked him if he played golf but he said he quit.  He used to play bridge but now plays poker.  He said,” those bridge players are mean, the poker players are nice to each other”.  He also said his radius of action is about one mile.

Since the last column I have received word that we have lost four Classmates and one wife:
          Classmates:
          14th Co.  Bramlett, L.C.            10/19/15
          4th Co.    Duncan, R.D.             10/18/15 * #
          11th Co.  Roulston, A.T.            10/15/15
          12th Co.  Weems, A.W., Jr.        11/2/15
          NG          Knudtson, A.B.           8/22/15
*Bio in 50 year book
# Bio in 30 year book

Wife:
Joyce Benson (wife of Bruce Benson deceased), she passed away on 10/18/15.  Joyce and Bruce were married on graduation day 1947 in the Chapel at 1830, the last wedding of the day.  Their son Jay was born in 1950 and one year later on his birthday Joyce came down with polio.  Bruce was transferred to the Navy Purchasing Office, NY and Joyce was treated at NY State Rehab. Hosp. where she made a remarkable, if not complete, recovery.  As Bruce says in his bio. in the 50 year book, life went on as he continued his career until retirement in 1969.  They had two granddaughters.

Let’s close with a story about another delivery to a rock.  In 1959 I was in VP-16 in Jacksonville flying P2V-5F.  We deployed to Argentia, NFLD where we flew ASW patrols.  We also, with a Coast Guard observer in the glass nose of the plane, flew ice patrols between Argentia and Thule Greenland.  On our route between Argentia and Thule we passed the very tall rock on which the Air Force had a radar station and we always spoke to the men stationed there.  On one trip they asked if we had any reading material so I asked the crew to see what we had aboard.  They soon had a package ready to drop and I made a low pass to drop it.  I asked my crew what we dropped and it was a fairly large package of Playboy and Penthouse.  While in Thule the crew shopped for more reading material and, as you might expect, the guys on the rock were waiting for us when we returned to Argentia.   When they called they said, “do you have any reading material for us-pant, pant”?  I made a low pass, called out drop, and my flight engineer said the package bounced off the ground onto the barracks porch.  The rest of the crews in the squadron picked up on this so we kept those folks well supplied.  Certainly not as productive as Jack’s work but it brought a lot of joy.