Navy vs. Western Kentucky 2014 12 October 2014Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Photos.
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Shipmate: November/December 2014 11 October 2014Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
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by Mark Hubbard
As I write this column, Navy’s football team just suffered a loss to Air Force in Colorado Springs and with that loss, the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy is in jeopardy. We need to root for Army to beat the Falcons and then Navy beat Army in December to maintain possession. Although Navy has struggled through the first half of the season, there is still a chance that we can make it to the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego on December 23rd by winning at least 4 of the last 6 games. Speaking of the Air Force game, my wife, Barb, and I travelled to Colorado Springs to visit with friends and family as well as to attend the exciting but disappointing game at Falcon Stadium. We stayed at the beautiful home in Colorado Springs in the shadow of Pike’s Peak of my former NASA coworker, Dick Kubicko. Dick and his wife, Betty, hosted us and Susan and John Hubbard ’71. We celebrated Susan’s birthday on Saturday at the tailgater where John’s niece, Becky, and her husband, Kenny Due, who is an Army Infantry soldier stationed at Fort Carson, joined us. Also joining us for the game were Robin and Mark Jarosz, with whom I have worked with on several Hubble Servicing Missions at Goddard. Dick turned out to be a fantastic tour guide during our stay in Colorado taking us to the Garden of the Gods, the Glen Eyrie Castle, and to Pike’s Peak. We all had a wonderful time!
Kevin Stone writes:
Kevin & Barbara Stone report that they swung by Tenley and Larry Raithel’s “new” home in historic Yorktown, Virginia. It is a mid 19th century home with a view of the York River right in the historic area. As of early September they were still in the throes of a complete renovation; the home promises to be spectacular when done. Larry has “retired” from defense contracting but somehow or the other being offered a position to help run the construction contractor that is renovating his home. I guess if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! Meanwhile Tenley is busy with resuming her teaching career with teaching a kindergarten class in York County public schools.
Well, here I sit on an Indian summer day in late September pondering what to say for a chilly November/December class column. By the time you read this the football season will be wrapping up and Thanksgiving & Christmas will be around the corner. At this point I don’t know how the rest of the games will shake out but I do know that the tailgates will have been a huge success. We have the following persons to thank for the great times had at each and every home game: First and foremost, BZ to Lisa Alberg (Chris Alberg’s better half…) who plans the outstanding menus for each game with our caterer, Graul’s Market. We are shaded and dry because our tent-meister, Mike Herb, diligently sets the tent up and takes it down for every game with occasional assistance from Gary Hentz, John Wilckens and Dave Papak. Each week a classmate or two and clean up and breakdown the tailgate in the dark and show up early before the following game to make sure all is ready. This year’s helpers so far have been JD Engels & Mark Moore and Linda & Doug Schaus. Coming up on the watchbill are Laura & Pat Jacobs and Susan & Greg Vaughn. Ralph Scherini counts the proceeds and deposits the funds in our account at the Alumni House after each game. And last, but certainly not least, my wife Barbara is my wingman for all things tailgate. I could not do this without her. Thanks to all of you help. Your class is indebted to you.
WARNING ORDER: The 40th Reunion is scheduled for Labor Day weekend, 2016. That is one of only two weekends in 2016 with games currently scheduled. (The shift to playing conference games in 2015 has changed how far in advance we schedule games. Simply put, we don’t so the pickings are slim.) The Class of ‘66 has seniority and has taken the N★ room for Homecoming that year so we took the opening game in order to secure that room for the Tailgate. We learned at the 30th to never schedule a tailgate for 700 persons outside (we had a tropical storm destroy the tent the night before…) so we jumped on the remaining date. Our HQ hotel is the Westin where we have negotiated a good rate ($259 per room), which is about 20% below what other classes are now paying. It’s still not cheap but hey, how many times do you come to Annapolis for your 40th reunion? Watch for more info in the coming year.
The mini-reunion dinner and tailgater went extremely well during the weekend of the Rutgers game. There was a good showing of Classmates and wives at the Yellow Fin in Edgewater, MD, on Friday night. The tailgater on Saturday included live entertainment by “20 After” (Jim Doherty, Barbara & Mark Hubbard), a great spread courtesy of Graul’s Market, and several ALS Ice Bucket Challenges! Challenge participants were Kevin Stone, John McEwan, Scott Moore, Bruce Petit and Doug Guther. Bruce’s son was the water boy. We challenge the class to go to alsa.org and make a donation!
From Mark Metcalf:
Just a brief note to say that Terry & I are still enjoying life in Earlysville, VA; 20 minutes north of Charlottesville. While we had to sacrifice FiOS and infrequently encounter power outages, we definitely haven’t regretted the move from northern Virginia about 18 months ago. Fortunately, when we made the move I was asked to continue to provide the same sort of analytic support that I’ve been doing since 2008 from a nearby Government facility. So I set up Greybeard Analytics LLC to facilitate things. While that work is now winding down, since late August I’ve been teaching a couple of undergraduate Chinese literature courses at the University of Virginia: a survey of traditional Chinese literature and Sunzi’s Art of War. While course preparations have been unbelievably time-consuming, the students are top notch, and I’m having the time of my life teaching. Just like in real estate, getting hired as an adjunct was all about “location, location, location” (and a couple of graduate degrees in Chinese studies, of course). Not sure if it will continue beyond this semester or if I’ll *really* have to retire when the Navy retirement checks start arriving in mid-2015. Besides work, Terry enjoys the spectacular hiking that the region has to offer and we both enjoy singing in a great choir at an Episcopal church in Charlottesville. And I’ve actually been involved in local Alumni Association activities, playing in the past three Army-Navy golf tournaments. Thank goodness for “captain’s choice” play.
We’ve also been thankful that our kids take the opportunity to visit every now and then. Amy and John live in New York City where she works in stewardship at Columbia and he’s chemistry post-doc at Sloan-Kettering. We see them (and their Boston terrier, Rhett) several times a year. Ben is starting is 7th year in Taiwan where he is starting his fourth year as an assistant coach for a Taiwanese professional team and, during the off-season, the Chinese Taipei national team. The pro team just won their third consecutive SBL league championship in April 2014 and, while he usually spends a couple of weeks with us each summer, he has no plans to permanently return to the States anytime soon.
If you’re in the area, don’t hesitate to touch base: 434-964-0141 or email@example.com
Several Classmates recently visited John Lovasz at his house where he is fighting off a serious illness. Those who went to show their concern and support were Tim Hagen, Scott Jenkins, Mike Seifert, Kevin Stone, and Tim Farrell.
Mark Haas provided the following update:
Pictured are my son, Chris (age 16 & a HS Junior) and myself wearing our Loudoun County (Leesburg, VA) Church Softball League CHAMPIONSHIP jerseys! It is pretty fun when a father and son get to play together on the same ball team! Maybe someday we’ll play together on a men’s BASEBALL team (though I have not played men’s organized baseball since age 55!). We won both the regular season and post-season tournament crowns. Perhaps I could leave it at that and impress you and some of our classmates…but the truth of the matter is that there were only a total of 4 teams in our league/division! Still – lots of fun.
Chris will be playing Varsity Football for Loudoun County HS this year…hoping to get some playing time at cornerback…or even possibly some outside linebacker (in light of how big he has gotten). I look forward to again writing up articles for the school website for all of their games (regardless of how much playing time Chris gets!).
That’s all I have except don’t forget to BEAT ARMY!
Navy vs. Rutgers 2014 28 September 2014Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Photos.
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Min-Reunion September 2014 Yellowfin Restaurant 28 September 2014Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Photos.
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Shipmate: Sepember/October 2014 10 August 2014Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
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by Mark Hubbard
This summer has flown by and as I write this, we are getting geared up for another fun fall season of Navy tailgaters and football games. Navy has an aggressive schedule starting with the first game versus Ohio State University. What’s amazing is that I think this is the first time Navy will have eight football games in the Baltimore/Washington area (including the 5 home games in Annapolis). There are two away games at M&T Stadium (Ohio State and Army) and one away game at FedEX Field (Notre Dame). No excuses for not seeing a game in person this year! Okay – let’s get to the mailbag!
Dave Winters writes:
I thought I had gotten these in to you, but the memory is even less efficient now than it was in my youth. I promised these long ago and am sending one photo in each of two emails. The first is of Debbie on her Cinderella night at a royal reception in the Tower of London last March. The second is of myself that same night hiding a broken hand while chatting with Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne of the United Kingdom. Although we’ve had a number of opportunities to attend these functions, we had not felt moved to accept any until I had my little reminder of mortality a couple of years ago. So figuring it was now or never, we seized upon the next invitation. In explanation, these invites are due to services I performed ages ago of a sort not usually receiving public acknowledgement. They got me elected to membership in a small somewhat “hush-hush” organization originally formed up after WW-II. HRH Princess Anne is the patron. Hence, the occasional opportunities to hobnob about.
Greg Vaughn gives an accounting of a long bike ride:
Last week I participated in the Des Moines Register’s 42nd annual bicycle ride across Iowa, 20-26 July 2014. It’s seven days of riding and is along a different route each year on the back roads and through the small towns of Iowa. The distance varies significantly, depending on the route and has been as short as 430 miles (this year) and as long as 539 miles (my first year) – but it’s always Sunday to the last Saturday in July. You are joined by ten to twenty thousand of your ‘closest friends’ and is the biggest event in Iowa with the exception of the State Fair. This year was particularly crowded because it was shorter and flatter than most previous years’ routes. I belong to a team that has long been based in Alexandria, VA and I participated in my 11th consecutive event this year. They call the event RAGBRAI, which stands for the “Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.” RAGBRAI has been featured in such diverse media as NPR (full seven day running feature last year) and Bicycling Magazine (named one of the best rides in the country).
This seven-day event has some theme days and Thursday, 24 July, was College Jersey Day. Two of our Alexandria team members along with me who are associated with the Navy wore Navy/USNA jerseys that day. As usual, we met all sorts of Navy veterans, some USNA graduates and many, many well-wishers. Near the end of that day’s 70-mile ride, somewhere in the middle of northern Iowa, another rider in a newer Navy jersey asked as I passed him if I went to the Academy and what year I graduated. I told him and he said there was another 76 graduate he had met on the road. Just then, Scott Goodson, Class of 76 from 34th company, rode up wearing the same Navy jersey I had on, accompanying another small group of Navy oriented folks. First, we reminded each other who we were and then we talked while we waited for Iowa State Police to allow us to cross a major highway. Scott was quick enough with his camera phone to take a selfie of the two of us just before we took off riding again and rejoined our respective teams.
What a nice surprise! I can’t remember the last time I saw Scott, though I recognized him immediately as a 76er! He asked me to give my best to his class and company-mate, Kevin Stone. Hopefully he can connect with Kevin and Mark Hubbard, provide his selfie of us on the road and provide his side of the story! This was Scott’s first RAGBRAI and the first one is often the most memorable – as you realize the enormity of this annual event. He probably has a very good story to tell!
While seeing Scott was very unexpected, I did expect to see our classmate Craig McDonald this year, but unfortunately did not. I’ve only seen Craig once in all the years he’s been riding and that was last year at the finish town of Fort Madison, Iowa, as the ‘real’ Navy team that he’s been helping build crossed the finish line and lined up to dip their front wheels in the Mississippi River. I guess with thousands of riders disguised with helmets and goggles, who start their rides as early as 0530 or as late as 1000, it’s not surprising that you may not cross paths with everyone out there – all the more reason it’s special when you meet a classmate!
While some spend nights in RV’s (or in rare cases in motels), our team is principally a camping team with a trailer that hauls all of our gear from one overnight town to the next (as well as to and from Virginia). It’s always fun for a week, but it’s great to be back to the modern conveniences of home. After you’ve done a RAGBRAI once, though, it gets in your blood. By the time winter is over, you long for the annual July trip to Iowa and seven days of bicycling and camping (and pork sandwiches and sweet corn) in the friendly state of Iowa.
Scott Goodson contributes for the first time with his two cents:
I think this is the first time I’ve sent anything in to Shipmate in 38 years but had to add my 2 cents and some pictures to go along with Greg’s report. Participated in my first RAGBRAI and had the unexpected pleasure of crossing paths with two classmates on College Jersey Day. Early in the morning I met up with Steve Kelly (16th Company) and one or two other grads. Later in the day got linked up with Greg Vaughn (36th Company). The selfie of Greg and me reflects my lack of experience with selfies; sweaty hands and general anxiety over being run over by 10 thousand cyclists eager to get to a cold one at the end of the ride. Greg looks pretty good but I look like I’ve been riding a bike for 50+ miles on a hot summer’s day. RAGBRAI was a GREAT experience and I highly recommend it to any of you that can tolerate miles and miles of cornfields punctuated with pie, ice cream, pork chops, smoothies and some of the nicest people and towns in this great country!
Ralph Scherini writes of a backpacking adventure in New Mexico with his son:
I just returned from a glorious two week backpacking trek at Philmont with my son, Grant. Philmont, the Boy Scouts of America’s premier High Adventure base, is a large, rugged, mountainous ranch located near the town of Cimarron, New Mexico, covering approximately 137,500 acres of wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Rocky Mountains of northern New Mexico. We hiked over 90 miles carrying food and water as we traversed mountain trails, expansive meadows and steep rocky climbs up to peaks in excess of 11,000 feet. I probably lost somewhere between 10 to 13 pounds on the journey and was the “old man” of the trek which consisted of two 12-person crews from our Annapolis Troop 422. I’m proud to report that I upheld the highest standards of ’76 as I more than held my own; keeping right up with the 14-18 year boys (thanks to six months of preparation). This was our second trip to Philmont; Grant wanted to return as one of the older boys and I wanted to experience Philmont without pain. I had torn my right arch playing ultimate Frisbee at the first campsite last trip and had to continue the rest of the trek in pain (mind over mountain). For those classmates who haven’t had the honor of experiencing Philmont, you spend 11 days/10 nights hiking from campsite to campsite. Along the way, your crew stops at staffed camps where you participate in a myriad of programs. We did rock climbing/rappelling, horseback riding, .30-06 and shotgun shooting/reloading, 3-D archery and lumberjack spar pole climbing. You start from the Base Camp (elevation 6,700), which provides tent areas divided into trail bound crews and home bound crews. There’s a cafeteria with meal times separated this way as well. I assume the segregation is to keep the stinky people away from the clean folks and to keep home bound crews from convincing new arrivals to turn back before it’s too late. After a day of preparation such as food and crew gear issue, logistics planning and medical checks, we took off for our trek. We typically had reveille at 5:30 am to provide time for us adults to have our coffee and for the scouts to break camp. The day’s hike ranged from 6 to 11 miles, depending on elevation changes and planned staff camp activities along the way. The trails were not necessarily steep but a few were definitely challenging. Trails also consisted of several hundred-stream crossings with the constant dropping down to the stream and then back up on the other side taking its toll and making the hike seem much longer than planned. I awoke the second day to a beautiful mountain sunrise and more than two dozen mule deer grazing lake side just 50 yards away. On day 5, we summited Mount Phillips (11,736’) by traversing a very rocky and difficult hike but with a spectacular view as our reward. Two days later we were bombarded by marble sized hail just as we were putting up tents for the evening. We had gotten use to mid afternoon thunderstorms but this was different; enough hail to cover the ground and a temperature drop of 30 degrees within minutes. The next day we summited Trail Peak to see the wreckage of a B24 Liberator that had crashed in 1942. But the highlight of the trek was our sunrise summit up the “Tooth in Time”. This is the 9,000’ iconic peak of Philmont that rises prominently from the valley floor where Base Camp is located and was once used as a major marker for traders on the Santa Fe Trail who knew they had to make it to “the tooth” in time to avoid snow closures of the passes. Our wakeup call was 4:30 am and we scrambled hand over foot 400’+ to the top of the Tooth across a deep boulder field that kept the less fit at the half way mark. The reward for this half hour trek is one the most spectacular sunrises you could imagine. Grant and I shared it back in 2012 and this one was even more inspiring. There’s something about this moment that awakens maturity in the young scouts and is an experience they take with them for a lifetime. It is also the moment at which many of them commit to returning with their own son someday. As I sit here back at the office, all I can think about is that “I want to go back to Philmont”.
And now a final few words from Kevin Stone:
Well, as you read this, Navy football, and our tailgate season, are well underway. We’ll have about three games left so make sure you head out to Annapolis to see your classmates. As you recall we recently honored Mike LeFever as “the last man standing” at his retirement. Well, it turns out we sort of still have one last flag officer on active duty: Rear Admiral Martha Herb, spouse of Mike, recently relieved Jeff Lemmons ’79 as the Director of the Inter-American Defense College in DC. Congrats to Martha! I hope to see you around the yard.
Shipmate: Membership & Services 2014 12 July 2014Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
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by Mark Hubbard
The Mark Hubbard Family (this time including oldest son, Matt PSU ’98, wife Mary, and their 4-year-old daughter, Tula) made their annual summer trek to Cape Canaveral for a week of fun in the sun in July. This included a day trip to Universal Studios in Orlando. With temperatures in the 90’s and sweat pouring down my forehead, I suddenly had the revelation that I am through with theme parks, especially in the dead heat of summer with the throngs of people from around the world clogging up the lines to the attractions. After getting a ticket just to get into the new Harry Potter Diagon Alley, we come to find out that there is a 5-1/2 hour wait to ride Escape from Gringotts – forget about it! With afternoon thunder clouds forming overhead, we decided we’d had enough and headed over to Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee to enjoy a relaxing dinner at Sunset Sam’s aboard the SS Gaylord at the Key West Lagoon (which is a full size sailboat!).
Greg Vaughn has news to report about a retirement ceremony for Chris Earl:
Wanted to pass on some news from Northern Virginia. On Tuesday, 8 July, I was joined by several classmates and a large crowd of colleagues and well-wishers to attend an ‘informal’ ceremony for Chris Earl’s departure from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Counting his time in uniform, Chris had been at DARPA twelve years – since 2002 (which is almost unheard of for DARPA – far longer than most stay). He and his bride, Judy, are moving from Northern Virginia, after living here fifteen years, to Scottsdale, Arizona. Chris and Judy have been supervising the building of a new house in Scottsdale long distance and are anxious to finally move there and make it their home. Though sad to leave good friends and classmates in the area, they are anxious for a life in the West and away from the Beltway. Classmates who joined Chris at his ceremony were Mike Cregge, Tommy Gardner, Rick Hepburn, Brad Little, Kevin Stone, and myself. In addition to the presentation of a formal award by the DARPA Deputy Director, Kevin Stone presented Chris with some Class of ‘76 mementos and a written invitation to return to the area for football games, reunions and famous ’76 tailgates in Annapolis. Dr. Tony Tether, a previous DARPA Director that Chris worked for after first joining DARPA in 2002 made a special appearance to make some remarks. Spontaneous vignettes offered by a number of colleagues, including classmate Brad Little, made it both humorous and touching. Brad Little was not only in 36th company with Chris Earl and myself at USNA, he went to high school in Glendale CA with Chris. In the course of getting photos to project as backdrop for the ceremony, Chris found one of him and Brad as young men in Boy Scouts taken at Philmont. Needless to say, they go back a very long way and Brad’s remarks were greatly appreciated by Chris! Classmate Rick Hepburn brought his son, Scott, to the ceremony as well. It was a pleasure to meet Scott, who is in business with his dad at ‘Hepburn & Sons, LLC’ which is Rick’s consulting company based out of Manassas, VA. Three other classmates in the area – Fred Byus, Rick Neidlinger, and Chris Alberg – were also planning to join but ran into last minute hard conflicts which prevented their attendance. They all sent their congratulations and best wishes.
Two photographs are included, one of Chris receiving his ‘Office of Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service’ from the Deputy Director of DARPA and one of all the classmates under the seals of the services and combatant commanders in the DARPA conference area. Classmates left to right are: Tommy Gardner, Brad Little, Kevin Stone, Chris Earl, Greg Vaughn, Rick Hepburn, and Mike Cregge.
Jim Taplett provided an accounting of the 60th birthday celebration for Dick Feckler:
My wife, Katie, and I had the pleasure of celebrating Dick Feckler’s milestone birthday in Chesapeake, VA with Classmates Mark O’Hare, Gerri and Bob Jackson, Barb and Tom Kennedy, and Mary and Dick Feckler; plus many of Dick and Mary’s friends and family. Mary executed this wonderful event (surprise birthday party) in very memorable fashion and Bob and Gerri graciously hosted everyone at their beautiful home. Mark’s attendance from California was a great tribute to ’76 camaraderie (Mark’s wife, Rita, could not make it but was greatly missed). It goes with out saying that many old sea stories were retold “differently” and the poolside beverages were flowing like the 7 seas! Feckler’s, Jackson’s, and Kennedy’s all live in the same neighborhood/enclave; each with their own unique home, swimming pool, and bar (they compete to see who was able to land the most discounted liquor deals). No Feckler event could be complete without golf on the menu, so earlier in the day the boys all enjoyed displaying their finely honed golf skills at the Naval Amphibious Base golf course. A truly fantastic reunion event was enjoyed by all!
Bruce Hinkley caught up with a few Classmates last month on a couple business trips. After 30 plus years Bruce finally caught up to his old USNA room mate Steve Kundrat in FL and a little later in CA he ran into Mark Nesselrode who was a shipmate of Steve’s on MISSISSIPPI (CGN-40).
Pat Tracy continues to travel the world and this time writes from England:
It was good to catch up with former DOULOS shipmate, friend and author Duncan Pile. Since I hadn’t really spent any time in the Midlands region of the UK, Duncan graciously showed me around. (Oh, by the way: all that talk you hear about rain in the UK is just to keep tourists away. It’s beautiful, and so was the weather!!). The team retreat was a treat. Mr. Edwin Orton, founding pastor of Birmingham City Mission, opened Psalm 48 for us. As he encouraged us to “meditate on [God’s] unfailing love” (v.9), he also walked us through what it means to “Walk about Zion, …, count her towers…” (v.12) He encouraged us to see as towers those who have had a significant impact in our own lives. Just in the balance of that session, I was able to come up with 49. We certainly don’t walk God’s path for us alone! So many people who have spoken a particular word, encouraged, cajoled, kicked when necessary (and it often was & is). There are so many “layers” in our lives, so many intersecting lines… all overseen by our Father, who has our best interest at heart as He works out His purposes.
The fellowship was good, lots of love and laughter as we told stories and caught up with what God has been doing this past several months. It was tough to rush away for my flight to Portugal….which didn’t go. So I didn’t go either. The French Air Traffic Controllers had gone out on strike the day before, fouling up schedules, planes, and crews all over Europe. I had the pleasure of spending about 4 hours at Heathrow, going from one long line to the next, checking in, then going to baggage claim to retrieve my luggage, to learn there were no empty seats on any airline going to Portugal in the next 24+ hours. Thankfully I was able to stay at OM’s Manna House in SE London, and from there arrange flights home the following day. (It was interesting for a while, as my original returning flight was from Lisbon…but I couldn’t get there. United Airlines folks were right on top of things, and able to swiftly rebook me, which was no small thing under the circumstances. Tens of thousands of people were delayed, but I actually got home EARLY!)
So, for Portugal we took a “rain check” and will continue discussions and look for another opportunity to visit.
My license renewal is still in process. I nearly fainted while I was still in London – I checked the status, and it said “issued”. That was true, but only for the medical certificate. Soon, I’m sure I will have the opportunity to take a written exam in order to renew the License itself. But all this electronic wizardry seems to be working! And it IS much faster than the snail-mail way we did it before.
Lisa & I, and two of her sisters and their husbands, will take a “leisurely” bicycle ride around Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in a couple of weeks. The first day’s ride is 68 miles, and all the rest of the rides are at least 60. We will have one day in the middle of the week as a ‘rest’ day, to wash clothes and do a little local sightseeing around Sault Saint Marie. You may recall we did this ride a few years ago, when knee problems force me to drive the equipment truck instead of continuing on my bike. Please pray that DOESN’T happen this year!!
Today, our granddaughter, Kate, is one-year-old. Although we can’t go down for the celebration, I still say grand parenting is better than they told us it would be!!
On a final note, David Markham (28th Company) passed away in Greenville, TN, on 14 June. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Sandra and their children, Sarah and David, as well as the rest of the family.
Shipmate: July/August 2014 1 June 2014Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
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by Mark Hubbard
By the end of this year, most, if not all of us, will have passed the 60th birthday milestone. On some days I feel like I’m much younger but recently I’m feeling my age because I’ve been through my second total knee replacement surgery (this time on my left knee). Seems like the season for knee replacements. Bob Jackson had his knee replaced a couple of weeks before my surgery in April. Last year Dave Papak went through his second knee replacement. I guess you might say that our Class is becoming very “kneedy” (pardon the pun). With that, let’s get on with the news:
Speaking of 60th birthday celebrations, Kathy Byus sent me news about her husband, Fred Byus, who attained that milestone in late April with family and old friends participating. Kathy was so happy to have 3 of the 4 grown children in attendance, as well as grandchildren and neighborhood friends. Two of Fred’s academy roommates and their wives came to help celebrate: Janice and Russ Pope & Jane and Walt Neboshynsky.
After 38 years, Bryan Dolan finally sent some news to Shipmate!
Joyce and I are retired and living in sunny Florida, not far from Jackie and Mark Bircher. We enjoy visiting with them and Bill, their son. We also recently enjoyed a visit from Kent Bolin and Keith Champion while they were here during Mark’s campaign run for the vacant Congressional House seat. We are on the beach and enjoying the sunsets, so we welcome visitors. :-)
I now know what folks meant when they said they didn’t know how they found time for work all those years. I have taken a new turn in life, and it is starting with teaching locally. I lead a Bible series class every Wednesday evening, and I also lead a Sunday morning class. The Bible series is a book-by-book series, which flies at helicopter height to give folks a sense for each book. I start by going “in the text” (examining what the text says), then “behind the text” (exploring the context and culture of the day), and then finish with “in front of the text” (the implications and applications).
I can now also sympathize with all the first year teachers, as it takes me about 30-40 hours each week to prep for the classes. I am recording the audio for an outside audience that within two weeks has grown to about 70 folks, with new additions every day. Here is a link to the first few lessons: http://www.stdunstansanglican.org/journey-through-the-bible. The series is patterned after a program that we helped start at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and it is in the works to go global. I would be very interested in feedback from classmates on the audios (email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org)
The “Class of ’76 Last Man Standing” award goes to VADM Mike LeFever, whose retirement took place 2 MAY at the Liberty Crossing Bridge in McLean, VA. Kevin Stone reports:
… And then there were none. The last 76er on active duty, Mike LeFever, has retired. Fourteen classmates gathered at the National Counter Terrorism Center to represent the Class of ‘76 as we joined the nation’s intelligence community in wishing Mike fair winds and following seas. Admiral McRaven, Commander of SOCOM and General Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, essentially roasted Mike in keeping with the informal nature of the event. On behalf of the Class I presented Mike with a solar powered globe engraved with “Last Man Standing” and “Join the Navy, See the World.” Mike and his wife, Patty, who is also retiring from the CIA, are looking forward to enjoying themselves in the coming years. First up is a kayaking trip in Puget Sound…
Classmates in attendance were: Chris Alberg, John Allen, Phil Wilhelm, Mike Seifert, Steve Barilich, Kevin Stone, Greg Vaughn, Mike “Last Man Standing” LeFever, Jeff Neufeld, Calvin Langford, Chuck Dirienzo, Larry Raithel, Dave Venlet, Brad Little, and Peter Varsanyi.
In the Johnny Carson “I did not know that” category, many of you weren’t aware that Mike LeFever held another Navy title, that being “Old Salt”. The Old Salt Award is given by the Surface Navy Association to an active duty officer who is Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) qualified, but the recipient must be the officer who has held the SWO qualification for the longest amount of time. Mike received the award 17 DEC 2012 and relinquished the award on 7 MAY 2014 to ADM Sam Locklear ’77.
Amazingly (his word, not mine), Robert Deal has an update:
After 13 years in Hawaii, Carolyn and I relocated to Gulf Breeze, FL. It is great to be back in a Navy town. We’ll continue to spend part of our year in Breckenridge, CO where I teach alpine skiing in the winter and guide fly fishers in the summer. I’m still home brewing and am halfway through the coursework for an MSc in Brewing and Distilling by distance learning with Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. I’ve learned that what was once just ‘drinking beer’ is now ‘sensory evaluation’ or ‘product analysis.’ After her Navy career, Carolyn (Grand Diploma Le Cordon Bleu) continues her personal chef business, Dining In. We’re also teaching non-credit cooking classes at the Breckenridge campus of Colorado Mountain College with recipes incorporating local craft brews and distilled spirits and featuring local ingredients.
When asked if he had any news to report, Peter Varsanyi responded with, “negative!”
Tim Farrell reports the he attended a lecture on 5 MAY at Rutgers Camden given by one of his 27th Company Plebe year roommates, Dr. Rob Anda. He was one of the few of our Classmates selected to major in Bioscience at the Naval Academy and go on to medical school following graduation. Rob transferred from the Naval Academy to the University of Illinois after Youngster year. He is now at the National Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.
By now you should have received an email from Kevin Stone about the annual “Mini-reunion” being held the weekend of September 20th. Plans were still in flux when this went to print but Kevin reports that there will once again be a great event on Friday evening followed by the tailgate the next day. As always, the tailgate menu will be over the top. We have a block of tickets reserved for the class … if you haven’t purchased any yet, time is running out. We return the balance to the NAAA in mid-August. If you have any questions please contact Kevin.
Kevin Stone also sent out an email in March regarding Steve Topscher. Steve was diagnosed with ALS in November. Steve writes:
The symptoms started last April with speech slurring, and have been gradually progressing. I’m still able to get around on my own, and working hard to maintain that mobility, but the disease just seems to grab a little tighter each day. I knew absolutely nothing about this disease before I was diagnosed. It stays under most people’s radar, because it’s so rare. Even though I’m not Navy retired, the VA is covering all of my medical care. They do this for all servicemen with ALS. They are taking very good care of treating my symptoms. As far as support from the class, my biggest need right now is progress toward a cure. Research and clinical trials seem to be making inroads, but no breakthrough remedy is yet available. Does anyone else in our class have experience with ALS? Any advice, insights, or connections would be most welcome. Prayers are always appreciated.
Many of you stepped up to the plate per Steve’s request to support “Tops Trotters”, a team organized by Steve’s company mate, John Wilckens, who ran in the Fiesta 5K on 5 MAY, a run in Baltimore that supports The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins. The goal for Tops Trotters was $5,000. I’m pleased to report that as I write this column, that goal as been surpassed with the total amount achieved of $11,435! As Steve put it “I need a miracle but it won’t happen in my lifetime but maybe research can help in the future …”. Thanks to your generous support, that miracle just may become a reality in the near future! If you are interested in making a donation to the Robert Packard Center, information is provided at the following link: http://www.alscenter.org/contact.html
Please continue to keep Steve, Diane and their family in your prayers.
Shipmate: May/June 2014 18 April 2014Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
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by Mark Hubbard
Well, the snow season might be done by now but with the crazy weather we’ve experienced this winter, you never know what to expect!
Stu Funk offers another way to experience the Army-Navy game in his “Bahama Breezin’” accounting:
As I pin this quick note, I am looking outside at 6 inches of new fallen snow on St. Patrick’s Day (AARGH!). Think I need an extra Guinness! Although 3 months have passed since “The Game’ and we are approaching the halfway point to the next season (don’t forget to renew your seats!), it doesn’t appear that the weather between here and Philly has changed much since 14 December. Which brings me to the point of this update…if you want to see some different weather; you sometimes have to consider a different location.
While several hardy souls braved the elements and attended the game at ‘The Linc’, and countless others observed the latest series victory from the warmer confines of their home or favorite drinking establishment, a few of us traveled a different road to observe the game. Cheryl and I, along with Linda and John Strand, packed up our bags and Navy shirts and joined Susan and Marty Sloane at their home in the Bahamas to celebrate the game. Invaded may be a better verb than joined, because soon after Marty and Susan bought a ‘beach house’ there in the fall of 2012, I (for one) started immediately pestering about them hosting for A-N. Couldn’t get it done for 2012, but the call went out for 2013 and there was no looking back. Marty and Susan’s place is a little piece of paradise on Man of War Cay, one of the eastern most barrier islands in the chain. As you can see from the picture, they have a decent view off the front porch!
For those of you nautically inclined I have included coordinates and the nearest land (to the east).
The Funks and Strands arrived a few days before the game to begin soaking up the warmth of the geography and the camaraderie. Over the next few days, we explored the island (only several hundred inhabitants) from tip to tip and from sea and shore. It was sunny and around 80 each day and we spent at least some time on the water each of the days. On one of the days, we were even successful at catching our dinner…spearing may be more accurate as that is how we nailed enough lobsters to feed our adventurous crew. We gathered each evening for dinner and enjoyed good food, good wine and good friends. We relived some old school and Navy memories from a slide show that Marty’s daughter created. Some of those pictures may actually be classified ‘antiques’ at this point!
Then came the appointed game day. As we watched the advance of the purple and blue weather patterns advancing across the CONUS, we settled in for yet another 80-degree day in anticipation of the big game…
The rest of that day’s story, you all know well…another Navy victory! In proper USNA tradition we stood and sang Blue and Gold and hoisted out cheer to BEAT ARMY…again.
So as we closed out our visit and started to all head back to more mundane and cooler environment, we departed with some wonderful memories of a beautiful stay and an ‘awesome’ game with some terrific friends!
In March Debbie and Dave Winters attended a reception for the British Special Forces Club. It was held in the Tower of London and allowed an opportunity for them to meet and briefly chat with the Club patron, Her Royal Highness, Princess Ann and her husband, Admiral Sir Tim Lawrence. After these formalities were accomplished, Dave barge-poled over to a table to rest his gimpy legs. An unfamiliar gent wandered over to sit down and join them and introduced himself as “Freddy.” After some light-hearted banter and jokes, Dave’s mind slowly processed the information derived from the conversation. He then realized that “Freddy” was Frederick Forsyth, the brilliantly famous author (known for thrillers such as The Kill List, The Odessa File, The Day of the Jackal, etc.). Photo proof of this unlikely sea story is attached.
Speaking of authors, Barb and I had the opportunity to attend a book signing at the Bethesda (MD) Barnes & Noble on 12 April. Fox & Friends cohost, Brian Kilmeade, was there to promote his best selling book George Washington’s Secret Six.
My daughter, Meghan, drove down from Brooklyn, NY, recently to spend a few days visiting. Her husband, Jared Marinos USMA ’05, recently hung up his uniform and has embarked on a civilian career with the Bank Of America in NYC where he is undergoing a management-training program. In between snowstorms, Meghan and I got a chance to see the Cherry Blossoms in their entire splendor at the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.
David Markham (28th Co.) started a new job in November 2013. He now works for Intelsat General Corporation (IGC), which is headquartered in Bethesda, MD, as IGC’s Program Manager for the Navy’s Commercial Broadband Satellite Program (CBSP). In his new position, Dave is responsible for managing a $540M Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) contract and providing commercial satellite communications services to Navy customers worldwide. On a personal note, Dave and his wife, Sandy, have lived in East Tennessee for the past eight years and have a small farm in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Their two children, Sarah and David Jr., are on their own now; Sarah lives in the Fredericksburg, VA area and David Jr., along with his wife, Sara, live in Charlotte, NC. Dave and Sandy recently found out that they would become grandparents for the first time this fall. Needless to say, they are thrilled with the news!
Many Classmates, along with some spouses and offspring, were present at the Halfway Dinner at Joe Theismann’s Restaurant in Alexandria in early April. There was a table from 18th company; Sharron and Fred Johnson, Georgia and John Locks, Carol and Bruce Petit, and Lisa and Chuck Gorum. Fred mentioned that “Sharron and I have gotten together with Bruce and Carol several times over the years, but I hadn’t seen John Locks since graduation day, and it’s been something like fifteen years since I last saw Chuck. But nevertheless the camaraderie ran high and it was just like old times, very fun to catch up and reminisce.”
That’s it for the news. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I will be undergoing my second total knee joint replacement surgery on my left knee this time. Keep the news and pictures coming and always remember to BEAT ARMY!
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