jump to navigation

Bonus Pics for Shipmate: September/October 2014 – Visit to Philmont 11 August 2014

Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Photos, Shipmate.
add a comment

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Shipmate: Sepember/October 2014 10 August 2014

Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
add a comment

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.

Debbie Winters with Her Royal Highness Princess Anne of the UK

Debbie Winters with Her Royal Highness Princess Anne of the UK

Dave Winters has a photo op with Princess Anne

Dave Winters has a photo op with Princess Anne

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.

The RAGBRAI Navy Contingent from Alexandria pose for a picture

The RAGBRAI Navy Contingent from Alexandria pose for a picture

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!

Steve Kelly and Scott Goodson at RAGBRAI

Steve Kelly and Scott Goodson at RAGBRAI

Scott Goodson’s selfie with Greg Vaughn during RAGBRAI

Scott Goodson’s selfie with Greg Vaughn during RAGBRAI

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”.

Ralph Scherini shares in the Philmont adventure with son, Grant

Ralph Scherini shares in the Philmont adventure with son, Grant

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 2014

Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
add a comment

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!).

Hubbard Family at Grill’s Restaurant in Cape Canaveral, Florida

Hubbard Family at Grill’s Restaurant in Cape Canaveral, Florida

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.

Chris Earl receives medal for Exceptional Public Service

Chris Earl receives medal for Exceptional Public Service

Classmates pose with Chris Earl at his retirement from DARPA

Classmates pose with Chris Earl at his retirement from DARPA

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!

Dick Feckler celebrates his birthday with Classmates

Dick Feckler celebrates his birthday with Classmates

The Feckler Family (Dick, Mary, Michael, and Kathryn)

The Feckler Family (Dick, Mary, Michael, and Kathryn)

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).

Bruce Hinkley toasts the moment with Mark Nesselrode

Bruce Hinkley toasts the moment with Mark Nesselrode

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 2014

Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
add a comment

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.

Happy 60th, Fred Byus!

Happy 60th, Fred Byus!

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 @ bjd1717@yahoo.com)

Blessings,

Bryan

Kent Bolin, Keith Champion, and Bryan Dolan gather in Florida

Kent Bolin, Keith Champion, and Bryan Dolan gather in Florida

 

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.

Classmates surround the ‘76 Last Man Standing, Mike LeFever

Classmates surround the ‘76 Last Man Standing, Mike LeFever

Kevin Stone presents Mike LeFever a globe

Kevin Stone presents Mike LeFever a globe

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.

VADM Michael LeFever and ADM Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, pose in front of the Surface Naval Association 'Old Salt' statue at the National Museum of the United States Navy at the Washington Navy Yard. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood/Released)

VADM Michael LeFever and ADM Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, pose in front of the Surface Naval Association ‘Old Salt’ statue at the National Museum of the United States Navy at the Washington Navy Yard. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood/Released)

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 2014

Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
add a comment

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!

A view of the ocean from the Sloane’s beach house on Man-O-War Cay

A view of the ocean from the Sloane’s beach house on Man-O-War Cay

For those of you nautically inclined I have included coordinates and the nearest land (to the east).

Lat/Long

Lat/Long

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.

“Now colleges from sea to sea, May sing of colors true!”

“Now colleges from sea to sea, May sing of colors true!”

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.

Debbie and Dave Winters with English author Frederick Forsyth

Debbie and Dave Winters with English author Frederick Forsyth

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.

Brian Kilmeade posing with Barb and Mark Hubbard in Bethesda

Brian Kilmeade posing with Barb and Mark Hubbard in Bethesda

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.

Mark Hubbard and his daughter, Meghan Marinos, at the Tidal Basin

Mark Hubbard and his daughter, Meghan Marinos, at the Tidal Basin

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.”

18th Company mates pose with their spouses at the Halfway Dinner

18th Company mates pose with their spouses at the Halfway Dinner

Linda and Doug Schaus at Theismann’s

Linda and Doug Schaus at Theismann’s

Halfway Dinner

Halfway Dinner

Kevin and Barb Stone in Alexandria, VA

Kevin and Barb Stone in Alexandria, VA

 

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!

Halfway Dinner April 5, 2014 Joe Theismann’s Restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, VA 12 April 2014

Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Photos.
add a comment

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Shipmate: Stewardship 2014 1 March 2014

Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
add a comment

by Mark Hubbard

This is the annual “stewardship” edition of Shipmate.   Just a reminder that we all can be good stewards by financially supporting the Naval Academy, the Class of ’76 fund, the Alumni Association and Navy Athletics, if willing and able!  Contact Kevin Stone for questions or additional information.

Fellow 26th Company Classmate, Craig Weber, has been reaching out to some of our “missing” company mates and I got a response from Roger Wendt, whom I haven’t heard from in ages.

What a pleasant surprise hearing from you.  The data you have is current.  I retired from the Navy in 1994 and stayed in the great Pacific Northwest. Oh, by the way, “GO SEAHAWKS!”  Anyway, I am currently teaching at Fort Lewis (now called Joint Base Lewis McChord) after having a moment of insanity at age 53 and going back to school for a year to get my Masters in Teaching.  I am still married to Bev.  You may remember her from 1975-76 when she was living near the academy our senior year.  We have five good kids.  Michael is married and a software engineer for Boeing working on the Navy’s P-8 program to replace the P-3.  Kathleen is married to a small plane pilot and living in the Congo.  Joey (her husband) flies into grass and dirt runways taking anything and everything that is needed.  They work for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). They also have given us two great little granddaughters.  Rochelle, my next daughter lives in Chicago and works at Moody Church.  Deanna and Janet, my last two daughters are both living here in Tacoma.  God has blessed me greatly through my family.  I frequently think of you all. I remember all the good times at the academy. I was back with my family in 2006 and it still looks great.  I wish I had more time to spend there, but our schedule was tight.  A while back I remember hearing something about you and Doc playing with a band at some reunion.  I smiled picturing you two still together after all these years. 

Craig and Eric Kimura are trying to illicit interest in climbing Mount Fuji this coming summer.   Eric currently lives in Japan and works as a government employee for the Navy at the Yokosuka Naval Base (near Tokyo).  The actual climb and descent takes two days.  The two are looking at a two-day period of time between July 14th and July 31st of this year.  The summit is at an altitude of 12,388 feet and it is not a technical climb (that is, no fancy technical equipment is needed to climb to the summit).  Getting to Japan to climb Mt. Fuji is done by flying into one of the Tokyo airports.  Mark Metcalf pointed out that he and his wife, Terry, climbed Fuji while homeported in Yoko in 1977 and as the saying goes:  “He who climbs Mt. Fuji is a wise man, he who climbs it twice is a fool”.  So…any takers?!   (By the way, has anyone heard from Ken Dombart and Vic Neves?)

Tom Kennedy has been beaming with pride as he reports on the recent wedding of his daughter, Katie:

It has been almost six years since Thomas Samuel Kennedy (“Sam”) married Mary Pavco from Burke, VA on 6-7-8 [i.e., June 7, 2008].  Fifteen months later, TSK III (“Sammy”) was born.   That makes Sammy the right age now to be his Aunt Katie’s ring bearer this past weekend in St Pete Beach at the Don Cesar Hotel.  Katie couldn’t wait for 12-13-14 so 16 February had to do for a lovely afternoon beach wedding.  I hope the attached pictures are suitable for Shipmate printing.  After graduating from Cordon Bleu in London, Katie earned a pastry chef position at  “The Don”.  Her new husband, Austin Clanton from Tampa is a management trainee at Whole Foods and is truly a wonderful young man.  Barb and I couldn’t be happier for them.   Although a few family members from New Jersey were snowed out, Classmates Bob Jackson, Dick FecklerJim Taplett along with their brides (Gerri, Mary and Katie) were able to make it to the event.  In the midst of the celebration, we neglected to get a classmate photo [inexcusable, TK!].

    Katie and Austin will make the St Pete area their home, which gives Barb and me a new retirement destination to consider.  Those of us who have married off a daughter realize how special and happy occasion this is.   Best wishes to the new couple. 

First kiss for the new bride & groom

First kiss for the new bride & groom

TSKIII brings forth the most important ring!

TSKIII brings forth the most important ring!

Father of the bride and his beautiful daughter, Katie

Father of the bride and his beautiful daughter, Katie

Pat Tracy continues his mission activities with Operation Mobilisation (OM):

Greetings from sunny Bangkok!  It’s hard to believe, but the major part of Basic Safety Training has completed, with no casualties… plenty of fun, lots of learning (“too much in such a short time” according to course evaluations), and new team and personal friendships forged. It was fun for me to see two ladies from Western Washington in the group, to meet a lady from Northern Ireland who first heard of the ships’ ministry 10 years ago when we were in their city, and a Deck-hand visited their home… 

Most importantly, we trainers were able to share not only the nuts-n-bolts of ship safety to the new crewmembers, but back it up with story after story of God’s faithful intervention over the years to allow the ships to get to out-of-the-way ports in order to carry out His work. 

There were three classes of 21 people each.  Mine started each day with a look at Psalm 107, working our way from verse 23 to verse 32.  Some can already “give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind,” as He led them through the safety exams.  (As I’ve said many times, even those whose first language is English, don’t “speak ship” – and we threw a lot of technical information at them this week that they absorbed and will need to keep themselves and our visitors safe over the next couple of years on board.)   

As for me, I get a day or so to catch my breath, then teach another Security course before catching my dawn flight to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, for OM’s International Leaders’ Meetings.  I look forward to spending time with friends and co-workers (many of whom are former shipmates now leading other parts of the OM world) to listen for God’s direction for us as a movement.  I’m sure it will come to an end all too quickly. 

Thanks for praying.

Kevin Stone has ’76 business to discuss:

It is time to celebrate making it “Halfway through our deployment” away from your tailgating friends and classmates.  We’ll be holding the 8th Annual Class of ’76 Halfway Dinner on April 5th at our ‘usual’ place, Joe Thiesmann’s in Old Town Alexandria at the King Street Metro. The drill is the same as in the past … drinks start at 6:30 cash bar; dinner is at 7:30. Dinner is $35/person and includes tip. Please bring CASH only for the dinner.  Send RSVP’s to Mike Seifert at vmlseifert@verizon.net NLT March 28th.

Another reminder that it’s time to buy or renew your season tickets for football next fall.  If you are changing the number of your existing tickets, more or less, or are buying tickets for the first time and want to be in the “class section” please contact Kevin Stone ASAP and let him know.  He’ll then add your name to the list to “negotiate” with NAAA and get you close to the action.

GO NAVY!

Shipmate: March/April 2014 1 February 2014

Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
add a comment

by Mark Hubbard

As I finish writing the column I it is January 28th. I’m reminded that this is the 28th Anniversary of the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger and the loss of the crew. I will always remember where I was when I got the news, just as I remember the day JFK was shot, and where I was on 9/11. On that day in 1986, I was at a quarterly review at Boeing (BMAC) in Seattle, Washington. I was working for Westinghouse in Baltimore at the time on the B1B radar and the Program Manager interrupted our meeting to inform us that Challenger had just blown up after launch. I asked someone in the room, “isn’t that the shuttle with the schoolteacher?” At lunch, I went back to my room at the Double Tree Plaza hotel and turned on the news and watched in horror the replays of the launch. It was such a tragic event that I was depressed for quite some time. I also remember that week because my brother, John Hubbard ‘71, and his wife, Susan, were in Seattle for a Tiger Cruise and came by the previous Sunday to watch Mike Ditka’s Bears win the Super Bowl in my hotel room. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the Challenger crew.

Our thoughts and prayers also go out to Jim McKee and his family whose father, ADM Kinnaird McKee ’51, passed away on 30 December 2013 at the age of 84. A memorial service was held at the USNA Chapel on 28 January. Several of our Classmates were there to support Jim at the service.

Fellow Classmates surround Jim McKee

Fellow Classmates surround Jim McKee

Mark Nesselrode and Jim McKee flank Jim’s son, Ryan

Mark Nesselrode and Jim McKee flank Jim’s son, Ryan

Mark & Martha Nesselrode (Ryan McKee’s Godparents) and Kevin Stone

Mark & Martha Nesselrode (Ryan McKee’s Godparents) and Kevin Stone

Hugh Neighbour (2nd Company) reports from Northern Virginia that he’s aboard ships these days for cruise line companies as a SME (subject matter expert). He’s at sea for 3-4 months per year to deliver PowerPoint lectures and answer questions on the history, culture, economics, etc. of the region where a cruise ship is sailing. He usually takes spouse, Inger, with him, and sometimes one of his college-age sons. Hugh enjoys South Asia and has had four “deployments” there in the past year. The photo with Inger is in Mumbai. In the coming year, Hugh expects to shift to the South Pacific and Mediterranean. Hugh is wondering what the Next Big Thing (NBT) professionally will arise.

Hugh & Inger Neighbour in Mumbai (formerly Bombay)

Hugh & Inger Neighbour in Mumbai (formerly Bombay)

Dave Winters had an interested encounter:

Colonel Oliver North ’68 swung by Fort Campbell, KY, in November on a whirlwind book signing tour (American Heroes: On the Homefront). Navy being a rare species in this Army town, I barged in to flash my homely countenance. We ended up comparing rings to see whose was the most worn down smooth. Initial decision went to me, but Col. North protested due to unfair advantage because his was made of harder gold than mine. We shook on a draw. If we had compared worn faces instead, I think we’d have reached the same decision for the same reason. I should look younger, but I don’t (sigh).

Two Navy alums in an Army onion patch (Ollie North & Dave Winters)

Two Navy alums in an Army onion patch (Ollie North & Dave Winters)

Now we know why Tom “TK” Kennedy has not been making the trek up to Navy
Tailgaters this past fall. In between playing serious golf he has been quite the social schmooze. Here he is with Former SECDEF and VP Dick Cheney at the Gerald Ford Foundation commemorating the christening of CVN-78 who seems humbled in TK’s presence!

Tom Kennedy with Dick Cheney

Tom Kennedy with Dick Cheney

Milt May recently published two books for anyone that likes reading thrillers and humorous poems. Both books are related to fly-fishing:

The Guide, a novel. http://www.amazon.com/The-Guide-Milt-Mays-ebook/dp/B00HBH6B4Y
Take the F…ing Fly, an irreverent poem on the frustrations and wisdoms of a bad day fly-fishing. Illustrated in color. http://www.amazon.com/Take-ing-Fly-Milt-Mays/dp/0991329791/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1390507708&sr=1-1&keywords=take+the+f-ing+fly

Greg Vaughn participated in the “Honor Our Fallen Heroes” weekend in November at USNA. He, along with other members of the Class (and 36th Co. in particular) hosted the surviving family members of Doug Deem who was killed along with his crew on 17 November 1981 in an S-3 crash while operating off NIMITZ (CVN-68) in the Med. The Deem family members in attendance were Doug’s Mom, Patricia Deem; sisters Karen Tutwiler and Sharon DiFilippo; Doug’s niece, Francesca Deem (daughter of his brother, Bill, who was unable to attend) and close family friend, Michelle Bizzak.

The Deem family, friends and Classmates honor the memory of Doug

The Deem family, friends and Classmates honor the memory of Doug

Gary Greenfield continues to explore the world, this time in Antarctica:

As I write this I am at sea returning from a trip to Antarctica. I had visited the area a few years ago, but had not had a chance for a variety of reasons to actually set foot on my seventh continent. This year we did where we visited King George Island, which is part of the Shetlands, after traveling to Palmer Station (the U.S. station) as our most southern point. Donna and Brittany were, of course, part of the visit to this magnificent part of the world. It is, of course, hard to beat Mother Nature. While summer temperatures are still quite harsh (though I must admit warmer than Boston this past few days). For those who followed, we were in visiting Antarctica while the research vessel was trapped in the region.

While just off of the coast, we still had to fly in – which we did from Punta Arenas – about a two-hour flight to the Chilean Air Force base, which is shared by all eight stations on King George Island. We were hosted by Bellingshausen Station, which is the Russian Antarctic station at Collins Harbor. The Russian station is adjacent to the Frei Montalva Station, which is Chile’s station there (separate from the air strip). A highlight was to visit Ardley Island a protected island, which however, is accessible by Zodiac for small groups. This is one of only 5 islands where multiple species of Penguins co-habitat. Among others you have the Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins here. The penguins were protective of their young, but still allowed us to wander quite close to them.

I do have one side story. We departed Bellingshausen Station for Ardley Island driven by two members of the local station via Zodiac. We were on the island for perhaps an hour during which the tide went out. When we came back to the Zodiac to return it was aground! I can’t make this up – and the result from where they had pulled in was they could only take only a small portion of group back even walking the boat out. Though terrific hosts, I was surprised they did not anticipate tides. I used our time on the island to scout deeper water for when they returned. That USNA training certainly has not gone to waste!

We learned a day before the trip that Brittany would be joining the Class of 2016 at the Sloan School of Business at MIT this coming fall. Having attended another Cambridge-based business school; that is akin to her saying she is going to attend West Point!

Donna, Brittany, and Gary Greenfield at Bellingshausen Station with directions to other Russian locations

Donna, Brittany, and Gary Greenfield at Bellingshausen Station with directions to other Russian locations

It’s time to buy or renew your season tickets for football next fall. If you are changing the number of your existing tickets, more or less, or are buying tickets for the first time and want to be in the “class section” please contact Kevin Stone and let him know. He’ll then add your name to the list to “negotiate” with NAAA and get you close to the action.

GO NAVY!

Army Navy 2013 16 December 2013

Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Photos.
add a comment

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Shipmate: January/February 2014 30 November 2013

Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
add a comment

by Mark Hubbard

‘Tis the season to be jolly!  This is the time of year where there is much food and drink and we wish we would exhibit more willpower, but HEY!  It’s the holidays and we’re enjoying the time with family and friends!  So, loosen those trouser belts and let’s get to the news (TK, is that spinach in your teeth?):

Jim Stavridis has the following update:

I am very happily settled in my new gig as Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in the Boston area.  We are the oldest graduate school of international relations in the US, with about 600 students and over a hundred faculty and administrators.  We award Masters and PhD degrees with a focus on international law, business, finance, security studies, development assistance, and diplomacy.  Half of our students are non-US, and this year we have nearly 70 nations represented.  I am doing a great deal of traveling and speaking both in the US and internationally, with trips to Europe, the Gulf, Latin America, and Asia scheduled over the next six months.  Laura is here with me of course as we round 32 years of marriage with both daughters launched: Christina, our UVA grad, at Google and getting married to a medical student in March; and Julia just commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy out of Georgetown.  She is a Navy nurse working at Bethesda at the National Medical Center.  Hope to see classmates much more frequently after moving back to the USA after four years as NATO Commander

Laura Stavridis at the keel laying of USS JOHN FINN (DDG-113) in Pascagoula -- she is the ship's sponsor!

Laura Stavridis at the keel laying of USS JOHN FINN (DDG-113) in Pascagoula — she is the ship’s sponsor!

Peter Varsanyi is proud of his daughter, Veronica:

The winning design for the USNAAA 2ND Annual Army/Navy spirit button design contest was: Veronica Varsanyi-Burnside.  Oldest daughter of the “Gouge master” 

On a whim I nudged her to enter.  She now gets two tickets for a bus ride to/from the game, party at the USNAAA tailgater, and participates in College Football’s #1 rivalry. 

Veronica Varsanyi-Burnside’s contest winning design for this year’s Army/Navy spirit button

Veronica Varsanyi-Burnside’s contest winning design for this year’s Army/Navy spirit button

Dave Markham has just changed jobs.  Until Friday, 22 NOV, he had worked for a small business called Computational Physics, Inc., which is headquartered in Springfield, VA.  Dave started his new job, Senior Program Manager at Intelsat General Corporation, which is headquartered in Bethesda, MD, on Monday, 25 NOV.

Since I didn’t receive much in the way of news, it gives me an opportunity to share the annual letter from Dave Winters.  Many of you probably don’t know this, but Dave had major heart surgery this year and thankfully survived the procedure.  I’ll let him tell you the story and more in his own words.  I now present, “A Winters Tale 2013”:

Greetings, with the Winters Family update!  Getting promptly to family status, everybody is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed except Dave.  He continues to recover from having an experimental piece of high tech garden hose permanently threaded into his aorta.  Given the “experimental” status, nobody can predict the ultimate outcome thereof.  It does make him grumpy.  Sometimes, VERY grumpy.  But compared to July of last year when his life expectancy was a generous 72 hours, most find grumpy an acceptable alternative.  Not everyone agrees on this point, though.  Deb and Dave live in Clarksville (Monkees fans; “The Last Train to Clarksville” already left the station.).  Charity lives in Clarksville.  Patience lives in San Diego.  Ian lives in Houston.  No matter where any of us live, Deb and Dave are the only members who regularly pass within shouting distance of each other.  So, to even things up, they do more than their share of shouting.  Well, Dave does anyway.  (It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.  See reference to “grumpy” above.) 

Belated news:  Patience graduated from the University of Memphis in 2006.  We already knew that.  But only now (seven years later) has she finally confessed that she finished with honors.  She was simply miffed that the university demanded additional hard cash for the appropriate accoutrements to adorn her gown.  So she didn’t wear them.  (Is that a classic “Winters” behavior or what?  Now do we owe her a long delayed recognition party?)Completing this news we transition straight to our story.  The star is Debbie, and she likes the tale not one bit.  However, we executed the over-ride clause in her contract, so the narrative appears below in spite of misgivings.  Our meaningful title is: 

DEBBIE’S CULINARY WASP ADVENTURE

or

“WELTS IN YOUR MOUTH, NOT IN YOUR HAND”

(After-Action Report) 

INITIATING EVENT: October 2010 our weather suddenly became unseasonably cool.  In response, an infestation of wasps sought shelter and refuge in the Winters Law Office roof. 

TACTICAL SITUATION: The office comprises a main hall, about 2 ½ stories high, with a spiral staircase, loft, and a vaulted ceiling.  A window is located at each end of the roof peak.  Near that peak a ceiling fan hangs from a brass mount.  Little wasp critters gained entrance by slipping under the outside eaves, travelling up the rafters toward the rising warmth, and emerging inside, around the brass ceiling fan mount.  From there, they aviated their way to ledges of the aforesaid peak end-windows, to bask in the warm sunlight.  Way up there, the wee winged nasties were no problem.  But, providing a lesson of which government social engineers should take note, the number of freeloaders quickly swelled, and over-crowding pushed many off the ledge to buzz about the room in search of substitute perches, hazarding all rightful occupants in the process. 

TACTICAL RESPONSE:  Dave, the natural born killer, fetched a long-range spray-can of insecticide and winding his way up to the loft, employed it in enfilade fire dousing the peak-windows and fan-mount. 

EFFECT: The first impacts were remarkable.  We experienced a virtual rain of irate wasps.  “Dropping like flies,” you might say, but not quite dead, and still dangerous, though flight-challenged. 

UNANTICIPATED COLLATERAL DAMAGE:  Enter Debbie with a cup of shelled nuts.  Our ubiquitous heroine took a seat at her desk, plopped the nut-cup down by her computer monitor, and commenced to casually snack away, her attention focused laser-like on her computer screen as she unraveled our most recent accounting conundrums.  Thus were insanely disastrous potentialities created as disabled wasps unceasingly showered downward.  Debbie continued to absent-mindedly munch, until…one of the disoriented but well-armed creatures tumbled unobserved into her nut-cup.  From there the little monster was promptly scooped up in the center of the next handful.  This created a new gastronomical concept we express in terms similar to those originated by the popular M&M candy brand of our childhood.  Welts in your mouth, not in your hand!  Debbie tossed back the entire wad in a manner reminiscent of whiskey shots in old cowboy movies.  And, as is stereotypical in such movies, the shot bit back.  Our wasp, even in his disoriented state, proved fast on the draw.  Further, he was equipped with a repeater, which he immediately employed in a most disagreeable fashion.  So far as we can determine, the miserable beast stung Debbie six times, all inside her oral cavity. 

DAMAGE CONTROL:  Debbie gurgled something unintelligible, and dashed from the room, her distress un-noticed by the rest of us.  Removing to the adjacent wing kitchen, she attempted to mitigate the damage with a mouth-full of ice (after spitting out and stomping the offender).  This effort was unsuccessful, and, more distressingly, her throat began to swell shut.  Diverting to Emergency Plan B, she ran upstairs and grabbed an “Epi-pen” from her purse.  Availability of this tool was serendipitous.  An “Epi-pen” is an Epinephrine injection device.  Epinephrine is a powerful antihistamine that counter-acts a wide range of poisons.  Debbie keeps a couple of these handy ever since the unpleasant discovery that she has a mean shellfish allergy.  Not content with half-measures, Debbie gave herself two full doses, jabbed directly into her thigh for maximum effect.  It didn’t work.  More specifically, it did not work well enough to entirely overcome the toxin, although it probably did mitigate the effects.  Time for Plan “C.”  Debbie (while she could still breathe) staggered downstairs and choked out an order for us to call an ambulance. 

This was the first indication to anyone else in the office that something was amiss.  The staff promptly swung into action.  Our “right-hand man” Asa Stone dialed 911.* (See footnote.)  From there, the story became one of standardized procedures.  The ambulance arrived.  The rescue team started an I-V.  Debbie, strapped to a gurney, was trundled away as she incorrigibly dictated instructions to the medical team.  (Note to self: Nurses make insufferable patients.) 

Her subsequent visit to the emergency room was routine.  They gave her another injection.  We waited a few hours to ensure that the situation stabilized.  Debbie returned home with an allergy evaluation appointment scheduled.  Ensuing tests indicated that Debbie is indeed wildly allergic to wasp venom.  (Note to self: Who is not?  Avoid venom.  They call it that for a reason.) 

OUTCOME (AND EPILOG): Debbie’s facial swelling required months to fully abate.  But, she now has her lovely countenance restored, and is undergoing periodic injections of therapeutic venom (not above her shoulders) in a process intended to create increased tolerance to wasp and bee stings.  At home, all creepy-crawly-flitties sporting even the vaguest resemblance to a stinger, now get summarily wiped out (“shot on sight”). 

END OF AFTER ACTION REPORT 

*Footnote: Asa asserts we should mention that he is, “6 feet, 4 inches tall, with finely chiseled features, his forearm muscles rippling as he masterfully punched in the numbers.” 

            With that, any other comments would be anti-climactic, so brooking no delay let us wrap up this annual tome, adding only our customary blessing; “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just… pure…lovely… If there be any virtue and if there be any praiseworthiness, think on these things.” 

These things remind us of you, and that makes us smile. 

                                                            David and Debbie,

Charity, Patience, Ian

Charity, Patience, Ian

Deb & Dave Winters

Deb & Dave Winters

 

Finally heard from Howard Aschwald (31st Co.):

May you live in interesting times and 2013 is definitely shaping up to be interesting. On the home front, Michelle and I just joined the ranks of grandparents – a day before my 60th b’day no less. Of course, for my middle daughter Camille and her husband, James, it wasn’t just making us one time grandparents, but three at once …triplets – 1 boy and 2 girls. We have been recruited to pitch in and Michelle will live part time in Phoenix to help out, while I commute back and forth from work in San Francisco. Yes, I am still working and have even found a way to work with fellow company classmate and plebe summer roommate, George Hicks, to collaborate together for business in China. George and I have found that our Chinese connections get a real kick out of the idea that we are retired US naval officers. My son, Eric, left active duty last year (still in the IRR as a LT) and is finishing his MBA at Duke. He really wants to get back to San Francisco, but New York and his girlfriend there, have a strong pull as well. Our oldest daughter, Olivia, is engaged and will married over Labor Day weekend 2014. On a final note, I was out at the driving range 10 days ago and ran into classmate Craig Thomas (28th Company) and his wife.  They are enjoying life in San Rafael and Michelle and I are getting together with them for dinner once the dust settles down a bit with our (enjoyable) extra grandparent duty.

As I close this column, I will leave you with this sentiment:  Wishing you Peace, Happiness, and Health in 2014!!!

 

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 119 other followers