We are still sponsoring midshipman candidates and I have previously apprised you of their thank you notes. Let’s start this column with the note from our latest mid’n.
Dear Class of 1948,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the assistance and the scholarship you provided me with allowing me the to follow my dream of attending the United States Naval Academy. Your scholarship provided me with the preparatory school education which has bettered me for my academic year ahead at the Academy.
Greystone preparatory school was an excellent place for me to learn and thrive academically, socially, and physically. There I learned how hard work pays off in the end. While attending Greystone preparatory school I took the most challenging classes to prepare me for the Academy.
Once again, thank you very much for the support and believing in me. It really helps students go through the extra year knowing that someone is beside you and supporting you. I am grateful for this opportunity you have given me and it was truly a blessing that has prepared me for the Academy.
Sincerely, Calla Hilliard
One mighty leap forward—here is my current information and my comments on a possible ‘70th reunion. The following Classmates have said they will attend providing they are still vertical and mobile—
23rd Co. Mike and Marjorie Ames (Town & Country, MD)
3rd. Co. Augie Albanese and Patricia Conklin (Port St Lucie, FL)
8th Co. Frank and Betty Boushee (Jacksonville, FL)
19th Co. Roger and Amante Carlquist (Annapolis, MD)
9th Co. Dave and Betty Carruth (Springfield, VA)
13th Co. Tyler and Bettye Dedman (Lake Mary, FL)
21st Co. Tom and Mary Ann Galbraith (Vero Beach, FL)
2nd Co. Warren and Nancy Graham (Ashburn, VA)
12th Co Chuck and Rhona Gorder (Escondido, CA)
1st Co. Grace Harkins and son Bill (McLean, VA)
9th Co. Rosemary Hogg (McLean, VA)
9th Co. Jack Lastova (Silver Spring, MD)
13th Co Charlie and Jean Mertz (McLean, VA)
19th Co. Tom and Alice O’Connor (Alexandria, VA)
13th Co.Paul and Evelyn Riley (Houston, TX)
2nd Co. Phil and Muggs Shutler (Annandale, VA)
1st Co. Hart Stringfellow and Betty (Gainesville, FL)
7th Co. John Tsiknas and companion (San Diego, CA)
That is a total of less than 40 even with the children I know will be providing transportation. For perspective we had 101 attendees at our 65th including children. I’m providing this list in hopes that more of you will decide to come and if you do please let me or Roger Carlquist know. If we decide to go at this level then I think Ty Dedman has it right, a fairly early dinner on day of arrival followed by a meeting to plan what we want to do the following day, i.e.plan your own gathering with close friends etc and then have a farewell breakfast the following morning. Several people have indicated that two days is sufficient and have requested avoidance of the weekend to make hotel costs a bit lower but I recognize a two-day reunion may make the FL, CA, TX contingent think again about making the trip. At any rate by the time you read this we will still have time to discuss options because we won’t be arranging YP cruises, lectures by the SUPE etc.
When I recently mentioned our wedding anniversary it brought in some interesting responses. Some member of Bruce and Joyce Benson’s family told me that they were married on 6/6/47 in the Chapel at 1830, the last wedding of the day. Bruce and Joyce are both deceased. Cab and Libby Davis will celebrate their 70th on 2/3/18. That still leaves me with the question, “are there any others, still married, who were married on 6/7 June 1947 who observed or will observe their 70th anniversary before Jan 1st ’18.
Some other comments were also of interest:
Walter “Bud” Kraus wrote, “congratulations and God bless. Can’t claim 70 years – 56- my wife Pat passed away in 2003. I did re-marry several years later to a lovely lady with whom I went to kindergarten through 6th grade. That should be worth several brownie points.” Scribe’s note: I certainly agree and congrats.
Hart Stringfellow wrote:
“I lost my Teeen after 62 good years, but found a “Betty” to fill the lonely years. She had lost her husband on the same day Teen died, in the same hospital, same hour. In church six months later, something whispered in my ear to look left. I saw a lady, sitting alone, looking lonely and dejected, and voice whispered, “go ask her to lunch”. I hardly knew her, but we quickly became friends, went to lunch, and never looked back. When I get to Heaven I am sure I will learn that Teen and Betty’s husband had something to do with our meeting! God works in mysterious ways. I look forward to meeting your Betty at our coming reunion. Hart”
Sometimes I write in the column or on email a trigger for a reader so I receive very much appreciated information from a class member. Such is the case with the following from Frank Boushee—
“I have information for you about Ralph C. Roger’s (23rd Co deceased 12/7/50) death. He was one phase behind Bill Lewis, John Herlihy and me going through flight training. He was in the formation flying phase at NAAS Saufley Field, Pensacola, FL. As I recall his flight was practicing rendezvous evolutions with a four plane group. During a rendezvous, he threw up a wing and collided with another plane and cold not bail out. I don’t remember what happened to the other plane and student; but believe Ralph was the only fatality. It happened just before we all got a break for Christmas leave. He was one of the married students as I recall.
I believe Gordon Farmer 18th Co (deceased 3/6/54) was one of the first classmates to be killed after getting his wings. I think he was flying a McDonald F-2H-3 off the Essex (CVA-9) in the Pacific on 6 March, 1954. He was killed on the upwind turn of the landing pattern. There is little room for error and less time to react to an emergency at that low altitude and air speed. The Naval History Center in the Washington Navy Yard probably can point Michelle in the right direction to get copies of the ship’s log, AAR, etc. The Navy League could probably furnish info on how to contact the Naval Historian. I know he has interesting articles in the NLUS magazine. Tailhook Association also has a good Historian. I don’t remember how I knew Gordon, probably from Plebe Summer. We were in the same battalion plebe year. Floyd Young and Norm Green lived right across the hall from me and the plebes from NAPS were a close-knit group. Misery loves company!”
Since the last column I have learned of the passing of five Classmates and six wives:
5th Co. Ortland, W.H. 6/4/17 # *
6th Co. Claitor, R.G., Sr. 5/30/17
17th Co. Clegg, W.H. 6/7/17 #
NG Gaskin, J.J. 5/16/17
NG Harlin, W.W., Jr. 6/14/17
# bio. in 50 year book
* bio. in 30 year book
Claitor, Nancy 10/22/14 wife of R.G. Claitor (deceased ) 6th Co. Nancy was killed in an auto accident. She and Bob raised 4 sons. She was an RN with an MS in Psychiatric Nursing. Her career in nursing included the practice of geriatric nursing. At her death she was Harbor Master and co-owner of Marina del Ray in Madisonville, Louisiana and co-owner and former manager of Claitor’s Law Books and Publishing Co. in Baton Rouge. She and Bob travelled extensively in France and she was a member of L’Assemblee Francaise.
Harlin, Barbara 11/22/10 wife of Bill Harlin (deceased) NG. She and Bill raised two sons and a daughter. She was an accomplished artist, an avid gardener, and an active member of her church.
Fisher, Elizabeth 5/1/17 wife of Bob Fisher (deceased) 24th Co.
Gaskin, Louise 4/24/14 wife of John Gaskin (deceased) NG
Tsiknas, Anna 6/21/17 wife of John Tsiknas 7th Co.
Lee, Mary Ann 7/21/17 wife of Bob Lee, Jr. (deceased) 14th Co. She and Bob raised two sons.
We send our condolences to each family. We too shall miss them.
Clair Frahler, wife of Andy (deceased) 13th Co. sent me a couple of sea stories from Andy’s life. One of them I had put in a column quite- a- few years ago but the other I believe you will find of interest. Perhaps some of you were also involved. Andy was aboard Iowa at Pearl Harbor and it became the lead ship in sinking all the radioactive vessels, with their dead animals, that had participated in the Eniwetok atomic bombing experiment several months earlier. There were 200 or more ships placed in concentric circles to judge the effects of the radiation at various distances since the bomb was dropped in the middle of the formation. The IOWA headed up the task force to sink all these ships. The small ships began firing at 8 AM. The Iowa held off until 10 AM since they had the 16-inch guns. The sips that remained afloat sank to the bottom.
The Iowa stayed in Pearl another month and then left for San Francisco where it was decommissioned at the Naval Shipyard. It was at this time in Oct. of 1948 that Andy received orders to return to Annapolis. Andy taught seamanship and navigation to midshipmen and coached plebe baseball.
I, Claire, came on a blind date. It was love at first sight and we married in June of 1949. We had four children (Don graduated in the class of 1972). The four children gave us ten grandchildren who have had fifteen great grand children. We were married 64 years when Andy died in 2013.
Finally each time I think we have all slowed down and won’t travel much anymore I get a response to a question like this from Helen Lansden, I am doing fine. Spent a week in Florida with both my girls and two grandchildren. Had a great time. Then Crista and Sam who had come down from Springfield, Missouri stayed with me another week. They just left this morning. The house is very quiet. I usually see them only once a year for two weeks. This year I took a trip to Italy with them. Sam was playing his cello with other orchestra members and their teacher. They played four concerts while there. It was a fun trip. We were in Milan, Florence, Venice and Rome. Glad I had a chance to see him perform and be in his element with friends. A very tiring but happy trip.
By the time you read this we will be nose to nose with Christmas! What happens to the time!!!!?