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
MEMBERSHIP & SERVICES - 2016

In previous coIumns I have been commenting on where our Information Technology (IT) money is going and where the IT course will end up.  I believe it will, or has been, folded into the Cyber Security Studies.  The latest information I have on the new home, the Cyber Security Studies Building, shows ground breaking  on Oct. 21, 2016; design complete in Spring 2017; substantial completion in spring 2019, and building occupation in summer of 2019.  In the meantime the Class of ’16 graduated 27 with Bachelor of Science Degrees in cyber operations.  (Read the article on page 34 of the May-June Shipmate.)  As I have said before the Class can be proud of getting in on the ground floor with our IT gift.

That got me thinking about other Class gifts, which took me into my photo albums and Sept 27, 1982 with pictures of our Gate 1 dedication. Now, after two more iterations, we seem to have settled down to this picture taken by Phil Rogers on June 18th, 2016.  I believe you will remember that Gate 1 was, overall, deemed to be insufficiently secure so public works took the whole entrance apart redesigned and rebuilt it, in the process  moving all our benches and our plaque.  The end result of that move left much to be desired so Phil Rogers got back into the act and eventually managed to get it all appropriately reassembled.  Public Works has taken over the landscaping so that the benches now have some shade.  I think you will agree that the entrance is very presentable and a credit to the Class.

                                                                  USNA Gate 1    

Bettye and Ty Dedman  13th Co. have recently taken a nostalgic trip down the Fla. Keys, stayed at Key West and Ty has given us a report on Navy rentals available there.  It is posted on our home page and lives up to what you expect from Ty.

Scribe’s note:  The address of our home page is at the head of the column.  There is a lot of information on our home page (website) including a complete index of email addresses, which John and I try to keep up to date.  If you haven’t visited I suggest you check it out.

Betty and I had lunch last week with Rosemary Hogg and Sally Deeley.  Sally is still deep in the task of adjusting to her loss of Hal.  Some of the things she has been going through are albums of stuff Hal saved and among those she found the menu for Christmas Dinner , Friday, December 20, 1946 signed by Aubrey Fitch.  The menu was what you would expect, Turkey and Ham with all the trimmings but what amused Sally was at the end, Ice Cream, Fruit Cake, Christmas Candy, Assorted Nuts, Black Coffee and CIGARETTES.  Sally and Rosemary are both doing well.

When I was aboard ESSEX at Quonset Pt. one of our neighbors was CDR Chuck Zilch.  We have stayed in contact and Chuck has just shared with me an item he wrote.  I believe, even you non-aviators, will enjoy it.

Where were we? Aboard the USS YORKTOWN (CVA-10), the Fighting Lady of World War II and the Korean War somewhere in the South China Sea just after the Suez crisis of 1956.

Our mission?  Night air operation during a pitch-black night and a steady deck.  Our briefing in Ready Room Five was almost routine.  Our Carrier Air Group 19 Senior Landing Signal Officer (LT Carl Austin, later killed over North Viet Nam) gave the final instruction concerning air operations coming back aboard.

There is no horseplay during night operations.  All the pilots and aircrew wore red goggles to become night-adapted.

The teletype began to rattle, “Pilots, man your planes!”

Time to go.  Life jackets, pistols, ammo and helmets rechecked for the umpteenth time.  On the flight deck the choreography was underway: a final check by the plane captains, the pilots were strapped in and “Start Engines” was sounded loud and clear by the Air Boss.  Then taxi the huge AD Skyraider forward to the catapults, final turn-up check and time to go.

The exterior light was on steady indicating to the catapult officer we were ready to launch Ka-boom! And down the puny 150-foot runway and we were off the bow into total darkness.

At that point the exterior lights failed and, what’s this?, so did our radio transmitter.

Now what?  The nearest land was Red China.  What could we do, being completely dark and not able to talk with anyone concerning our dilemma?

Then a miracle happened.

We saw the lights of another Douglas Skyraider just ahead of us.  Also, we could clearly see his exhaust from that huge Wright Cyclone engine.  Without hesitation, we joined on his starboard wing.  There was no way he was going to shake us loose.

About an hour went by and we heard him transmit to Big Dipper (call sign of the USS YORKTOWN), “I think I have that missing AD on my wing.  I can see his exhaust.”

Another hour went by and it was time to recover aircraft.  Affectionately known as “Charlie Time,” you were not expected to arrive late over the fantail for the cut and landing.

Lt. Austin, our LSO, was also a Naval Aviator and a very experienced LSO.  He waved Lt. Blackwood aboard ahead of me and Lt. Austin told the world, “I have the dark AD in sight and, if you can hear me Charlie Zilch, keep driving.”

Final check on the tail hook and wheels down and locked!

Two “cut signals” came at me: the light on the mirror and radio transmission by the LSO.

The hook caught the Number 3 wire and we were down in one piece.

Later, our lunar astronauts during a Pensacola seminar told the world, “There is nothing, including going to the moon, that compares with the stress and thrill of a night carrier landing.

Amen, from an old, but not bold, Naval Aviator.

Another short period between columns so we have learned of only two Classmates and two wives passing.

Classmates:
         20th Co.  Ferguson, Richard      6/01/16  *
         14th Co.  Rasmussen, J.E.         5/20/16  * #

  • 50 year book, # 30 year book

Wives:
Chew, Evelyn  3/18/16  wife of R.S.Chew (deceased) 5th Co.  Bob was Evelyn’s second husband.  She married Pat Houstoun in 1946 and they raised two boys and a girl.  Pat passed away in 1976.  Twenty years later she married Bob and they had ten years of life and travel until his death in 2005.

Ferguson, Betty  9/20/12, wife of Richard Ferguson (deceased).  They raised a girl and two boys.  Betty taught piano for many years and was the church pianist for over 30 years.
Scribe’s note:  Our numbers continue to thin and we shall miss all those gone before.  I’m glad that, thanks to Timothy Woodbury, we usually know of a Classmate’ passing fairly quickly.  While she often picks up on wives also I really depend upon the family to let me know when a wife/mother crosses the bar.

Nan Baughman is frustrated by the New Bern weather, hot, humid and very wet.  I’m pleased to hear from her even if she is complaining for it tells me that despite still recovering from melanoma surgery she is out there working in the yard.  Good on ya’ Nan.

Our son and his wife were in their WV home last week when that humongous rainstorm hit causing flooding which killed, according to this mornings NPR, 25 people.  Steve says they are still digging through the remains of several small towns so that number may climb.  Steve and Ricki’s home is well up on Valley Mountain (about 6 miles from Snowshoe) so they weren’t flooded but he says they have never seen rain like that.  He worked through the storm keeping culverts and overflow drains open or they would have lost their “pond” and their road.  The road to the upper end of their property is blocked buy several downed trees.  That will have to wait for they had to return to Charleston, SC.  As they left the area they stopped by the trout farm near them.  It was underwater and all the fish were gone downriver.  The owner estimated it would take him a minimum eighteen months to get back in business.

I am not aware, yet, of any losses to Classmates caused by the California fires.