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Shipmate: September/October 2017 31 July 2017

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by Mark Hubbard

Dave Winters sent me his annual “Winter’s Tale” early this year and I found this story of his good friend, Bronze Star recipient Robert Wayne von Hawker USA (Retired), particularly intriguing and of wide interest.

My old pal Wayne died February last.

Wayne was, and remains, an especially memorable guy. He had suffered “health issues” for decades, not that any of them kept him down, for right up to the end you could regularly find him at the YMCA lifting enormous bar-bells, wearing out the treadmills, and sweating out the saunas. Yet these health issues played a large part in making him who he was. Wayne was a retired Army man, mid-seventies, acute intellect, skilled operating room technician, world-class weight lifter, and inexcusably good looking in his prime (see photos). Further, a bit incongruously, he was known as a capable sniper should occasion demand. I guess that skill was closely related to his extra clear vision. Wayne was always sharp of eye and mind, with an uncanny knack for seeing directly to the heart of any matter, physical or conceptual. It was as if he had an X-ray vista vision whereby he could bore right through all the obfuscation and BS in which much of our day to day lives are immersed. However, around twenty years ago, Wayne experienced some sort of a brain stroke thingy. Even after that event, our boy remained unquestionably sharp with the same clear truth or nonsense discriminator he had always possessed. But, the little filter that people generally have in the backs of their minds, the one that monitors the conduit from brain to action, the one that warns us against speaking too much truth; for Wayne that filter was gone. After the “brain stroke thingy,” Wayne quickly became known for off-the-cuff comments that could one-up and embarrass even Donald Trump. Whatever was factual, that was what Wayne blurted out. Whatever was honest, that was what Wayne did. Whatever Wayne thought, he said or acted upon, leaving little room for confusion as to where he stood on any matter. His response was always immediate, brooking no delay to edit for eloquence. That was Wayne’s world. I sincerely believe he was incapable of telling, or living, any sort of lie. Where others laid smoke screens, Wayne cleared the air. Where most might fume but silently tolerate, Wayne shined a spotlight. To Wayne, it was always “better to light one small flame thrower than curse the darkness” (quote stolen from Terry Pratchett GNU). Some term it lack of impulse control. I call it obsessive honesty. In this he resembled the old Biblical prophets. Wayne recognized the truth and assumed the obligation to speak it, no matter whom or what tried to get in the way. Now that I consider this, perhaps a “prophet” is what Wayne was, simply an old style warrior prophet. (“When all this proves true, and it surely will, they will know that a prophet has been among them.” Ezekiel 33). A couple of days before Wayne’s funeral (a sad though simultaneously laughter filled ceremony, liberally seasoned with hilarious “Wayne stories”) I was missing my late pal and pondering his virtues while attending an “oldie moldy music” review in a local theater. Admission was free and some hip flasks were flowing nearly as freely. All were in a jovial mood and most were enjoying themselves unimpeded but for the obnoxious antics of one inebriated woman in my general vicinity. She was about two rows forward and to the left. As soon as the theater lights were dimmed, this frowsy drunk, apparently mesmerized by what was to her, amazing new-fangled smart phone technology, switched on her digital super bright screen pocket processor and began holding it over her head to shoot and broadcast videos to other potential observers not in attendance, thereby ruining the view for several layers of folks around her. We anticipated that she would eventually settle in to actually watch the show as were the rest of us. But this human broadcast studio was no quitter. On the contrary, she even stepped up her game, glaring the high powered phone photo-flash in surrounding eyes. By continued overtly rude conduct she gradually made it clear that her mission was not to see the performance, but to demonstrate the many ways that she could validate her freedom and self-worth by interfering with the experience for everyone else. A real crowd pleaser, this gal. Several spectators directly behind our aspiring member of the Cinematic Guild got up and stalked out in disgust. Another departed to fetch alleviation assistance from theater staff. But their efforts proved ineffectual as our human light-house feigned inability to understand the usher’s gestures to deactivate her cellphone. Observing all this while I finished chomping my theater popcorn, I mentally recounted things I had admired in my old pal, Wayne. As I folded the popcorn bag into a tight and compact package, heftily augmented by the un-popped seeds that remained inside, I deliberated as to how Wayne would have responded to this fool’s folly. As I gauged the range and bearing to the offensive miscreant’s ear, I pondered how to best honor the memory of my recently absented friend. The answer was obvious. My projectile trajectory was hot, flat, and unobstructed. Never in all the history of wickedly ballasted, super-sonic, hand-launched paper bag wads has there been a better executed ordinance delivery. And in the blackness, blinded by the glare of her cell phone, our well deserving recipient had absolutely no chance of identifying the source of this sharp, precision, covert, surgical strike. “One shot, one kill.” That is the sniper’s motto. Target neutralized; Squawking mad as a bantam hen in a bucket of ice water, but neutralized.

Wayne old buddy, that one was for you.

Wayne von Hawker then, and then more recently

Wayne von Hawker then, and then more recently

I finally connected with Fred Johnson who had been trying to send me an update for months and got lost somewhere in the ether:

Update from Virginia Beach: On March 31st I completed my second career at AIRLANT and joined the ranks of the fully retired. On the immediate agenda is to clean out and fix up the house, and in the first closet I attacked I came across two shoe boxes of old pictures. Attached is one of me, on the left, and Brad Barth ’77 manning the cannon at a football game on 27 September 1975 (thank goodness for the intel scrawled on the back of the picture!). Easily the luckiest, best thing that ever happened to me at Navy was being picked by Craig Dawson ’73 and Dennis Gillespie ’73 to be a Cannoneer. My companymate Mark Trenor was the other ’76 Cannoneer. Cannoneer good deals were abundant: We got to wear cool retro uniforms that didn’t include a hat; we didn’t march on; we drove the cannon to games in a big Navy truck (who doesn’t like independent steaming??); we got to fire a big gleaming brass howitzer which made an impressive BOOM (not like the popgun used these days) that attracted the attention of various and diverse personnel attending the game, most importantly girls. Giggidy. The last time I saw the cannon, years after it was retired from use, was on display in the Visitors Center fronting the field house, I think. All the best to you and yours…Fred.

Cannoneers Fred Johnson and Brad Barth in September 1975

Cannoneers Fred Johnson and Brad Barth in September 1975

And now an update from Craig Thomas:

Not sure if you know this, but I am the President of the Bay Area Tailhook Ready Room. We hold events about once a quarter on the USS Hornet Museum ship located at the old NAS Alameda. Yesterday, we were blessed to have our classmate, Rob Weiss, who is the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Advanced Development Programs, better known as Skunk Works for Lockheed Martin as our guest speaker for a luncheon event. Another classmate, Chuck Rader, also was in attendance. Attached are a couple of pics that we took—I’m on the left, Rob is in the middle and Chuck is on the right. Rob did a great job of giving us a little background and history of the Skunk Works, what they are currently working on and some cool stuff that is on the drawing board so to speak. Believe he may have the best job in the Defense contracting business!

Craig Thomas, Rob Weiss, and Chuck Rader (Inset Picture: Rob speaking on Skunk Works)

Craig Thomas, Rob Weiss, and Chuck Rader (Inset Picture: Rob speaking on Skunk Works)

Proud Papa, Kevin McNamara, has a son who is now a Plebe!

My son Brian was sworn in as a Midshipman with the class of 2021 on 29 June just about a week short of 45 years after we all took the plunge. Are we feeling old yet? This may be ‘76’s last direct legacy link between our class and current Brigade. Peter Varsanyi joined us for the big event. I also bumped into Chet Moeller who addressed the families of the new Mids at a picnic on Hospital Point. As it turns out he also has a great nephew, Duncan Morris, who is a member of the class of ’21 as well. We also saw Dave Papak in T-Court in passing, just long enough to shake hands and say hello.
Once we turned Brian over to the “Detailers” (that is what they call the 1st and 2nd class in charge of Plebes during the summer) at 0615 we next saw him at the Swearing in Ceremony at 1800 dressed in white works and minus a lot of hair. Had the privilege of swearing him in a second time in Smoke Hall before saying goodbye for the next 6-½ weeks. They get to make calls home during 3 windows throughout the summer but that is it aside from letters. They even take their watches away. The next morning, I was on Farragut Field for PEP, watching not participating. It is actually much more fun that way. I could have sworn I heard someone yelling “Bounce ’76!” in the background.
It was a great few days mixed with a little sadness and a lot of pride. While all of the new Mids look so young, it was very clear to me how extremely well qualified and motivated this newest generation of leaders is. Glad I didn’t have to complete with them for an appointment, wouldn’t have been pretty. The future of the Naval Academy and our Navy is in very capable hands. Looking forward to Parents Weekend in mid-August along with a few home football games in the fall.

Collage of Kevin McNamara’s son’s (Brian) Plebe Induction Day 2017

Collage of Kevin McNamara’s son’s (Brian) Plebe Induction Day 2017

I attended the service and burial at Arlington National Cemetery of Dave Marra ‘74 (aka “Bear”) on 25JUL17. Bear was a firstie in my company (26th Co.) youngster year. He was a great guy and will be missed by all who knew him.

On a final note, I received news of another Classmate who has passed: Charles “Chick” Tower (15th Co.), 62, of Lansing, Michigan passed away, surrounded by his family on June 11, 2017, at Sparrow Hospital Hospice from metastatic adenocarcinoma. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Chase Prasnicki 6 July 2017

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In this last few days, Chase Prasnicki’s valor has been making the rounds of the internet on the 5th anniversary of his death.  He was killed by an IED in Afghanistan June 27, 2012.   Scott Strasemeier, the Athletic Director for Sports Information, circulated this link which shares Chase’s story:   Chris Prasnicki – Bleacher Report .

Mark Hubbard added this commentary, which reminds us how linked our Military Academies and our Services are:

Scott Strasemeier, Navy Sports Information Director, sent out an email today with a link from 2012 about former Army football player, Chase Prasnicki, who was killed when his vehicle was hit by an IED in Afghanistan on June 27, 2012. My son-in-law, Jared Marinos USMA ’05, was the Casualty Assistance Officer for Chase’s wife, Emily. He was assigned to Emily for 6 months, providing her comfort and assistance in planning the funeral; assist with claim and benefits forms, etc. Jared and my daughter, Meghan, accompanied Emily to Italy to meet with Chase’s platoon as they were returning from Afghanistan. His Army coach, Rich Ellerson, was our former classmate and a 26th Company mate of mine (he left after Plebe Year). Emily and her new husband (Chase’s best friend, Michael Gann) are very close friends with Jared & Meghan (Emily came down to visit my daughter in Leesburg, VA, over this 4th of July weekend).

Besides Chase being a member of the Army football team, so was Michael Gann. He was a starting Defensive Tackle while Chase was moved from backup QB (to Trent Steelman) to Defensive Back his senior year and got a lot of playing time. Michael Gann’s father is Mike Gann Sr., who played for the Atlanta Falcons!

Chase Prasnicki - Army #17

Chase Prasnicki – Army #17

Emily & Chase Prasnicki on their wedding day Nov 26, 2011

Emily & Chase Prasnicki on their wedding day Nov 26, 2011

 

Michael & Emily Gann join Meghan & Jared Marinos at Central Park for the annual SHAPE Women's Half Marathon April 30, 2017

Michael & Emily Gann join Meghan & Jared Marinos at Central Park for the annual SHAPE Women’s Half Marathon April 30, 2017

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Shipmate: August 2017 Spotlight on Jack Kelley ’76 11 June 2017

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John F. Kelley Award for Bioscience
Spotlight on Jack Kelley ‘76
By Mark Hubbard ’76

Not only is he my USNA ‘76 Classmate, Dr. John “Jack” Kelley also shares another common thread with me: He is a fellow NASA civil servant. However, Jack’s day job is as the Program Executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., overseeing the Exploration Ground Systems at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), with some additional infrastructure development work at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) located on Wallops Island, Virginia. Jack states, “This month we marked the final installation of the new platforms for the Exploration Mission-1 in High Bay 3 of the Vehicle Assembly Building, or VAB. It’s a big deal! The installation of the final topmost level completes the 10 levels of work platforms, 20 platforms halves altogether, that will surround NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft and allow access during processing for missions, including the first un-crewed flight test of Orion atop the SLS rocket.”

New platforms for the Exploration Mission-1 ready for use in the VAB

New platforms for the Exploration Mission-1 ready for use in the VAB

Jack Kelley in the VAB High Bay 1 at Kennedy Space Center

Jack Kelley in the VAB High Bay 1 at Kennedy Space Center

 

Recently, Jack participated in Commissioning Week at the Naval Academy and presented the John F. Kelley Award for Bioscience, which is awarded each year to the top medical program selectee in the graduating class. The recipient this year was Midn. Jessilyn Laney ’17. If the name of the award sounds familiar, it is because it is in honor of Jack’s father who was a faculty member of USNA since 1947 and rose to be the Associate Dean in 1970. Among his notable accomplishments, Dean Kelley (a veteran of WWII as an engineering officer in the Navy) was a significant contributor to the establishment of an academic Majors Program and the Premedical program at the Academy. In the words of a past Superintendent, “Above all, (Dean Kelley) was the rock of integrity upon which much of the Naval Academy’s reputation as an academic institution stands.” For his leadership at the Academy he was awarded the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award in 1983 and in 1991, and in 1992, the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the sea service’s highest civilian award.

Jack Kelly presents Midn. Laney the Bioscience award while Prof. Joe Urban looks on approvingly

Jack Kelly presents Midn. Laney the Bioscience award while Prof. Joe Urban looks on approvingly

Background on John F. Kelley Award for Bioscience

The John F. Kelley Award for Bioscience is awarded each year to the top medical program selectee in the graduating class.  This award has been sustained throughout the years by the generosity of the navy medical doctors, classmates, alumni and matching corporate donors.   The Class of 2017 awardee is Midn. Jessilyn Laney.  She will attend the University of Texas McGovern school of Medicine.

Information pertinent to the John F Kelley award

He continued to serve after his retirement as Dean Emeritus, focusing on the Academy Premedical Program for midshipmen seeking admission to medical schools and careers as Navy physicians. At the time of his death, over 300 graduates had served as career officers in the Navy Medical Corps. His working life was dedicated to the Brigade of Midshipmen, serving them and acting as their mentor and counselor. Many midshipmen and alumni have paid tribute to him as the person most responsible for mentoring their early years and success as officers in the Navy.

Some background on Professor Kelley:

In civilian life, he was a faculty member of the U.S. Naval Academy and rose to the position of Associate Dean. Among his notable accomplishments was his significant contribution to the establishment of an academic Majors Program and the Premedical program at the Academy.

Dr. Kelley was the oldest of six brothers. He graduated from Cathedral High School in 1938. He was awarded a full scholarship to Boston College and graduated with a B.S. in 1941. After the war, he returned to Boston College in 1946 to achieve a Masters in Chemistry and in 1950, completed his doctoral work at Georgetown University with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry. During World War II, Dr. Kelley entered the U.S. Navy as an engineering officer aboard the USS New Mexico. He served in the North Atlantic campaign. He entered the Pacific with New Mexico to help reinforce the fleet then crippled at Pearl Harbor. He continued to serve on USS New Mexico for the duration of the Pacific campaign participating in the several Pacific Island invasions.

During early 1945, he participated in the capture of Mindoro and Luzon in the Philippines. He distinguished himself during the Okinawa campaign through his efforts to counter the damage sustained by his ship after a kamikaze attack. He returned to Boston Navy Yard in October of 1945 where he transitioned to the Naval Reserve and civilian life. He retired from the Naval Reserve as in 1968.

Professor Kelley began his teaching career at the United States Naval Academy in 1947 when he became an instructor of Chemistry. Soon after, he took a major role in counseling midshipmen. In the 1960s, he was called upon to develop a detailed academic policy and planning for the establishment of the academic majors program. In 1970, he was selected as the first Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs. As Dean, he was responsible for instituting many important academic procedures. In the words of a past Superintendent of the Naval Academy, “”Above all, (Dean Kelley) was the rock of integrity upon which much of the Naval Academy’s reputation as an academic institution stands.”” For his leadership at the Academy he was awarded the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award in 1983 and in 1991, and in 1992, the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the sea service’s highest civilian award.

Shipmate: August 2017 5 June 2017

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by Mark Hubbard

On Memorial Day, I had name tags on the small flags around the front of my townhouse that are the fallen heroes I honored at the Goddard Memorial Day Commemoration Ceremony on Thursday, May 25th. They included my Uncle Robert Hubbard USMA ‘37; our 11 USNA ’76 Classmates who are honored in Memorial Hall; Tony Bilotti ’77 and teammate on the Bishop O’Dowd High School (Oakland, CA) Varsity football team as well as Navy Varsity 150’s football team; Otis V. Tolbert Jr., son of my 26th Company Officer who was a victim at the Pentagon on 9/11; Ron Vauk ’87, a fellow resident of Mount Airy and parishioner at St. Michael’s Catholic Church who was USNR on his two week active duty tour at the Pentagon on 9/11; fellow 26th Co. mate Steve Thorne ’75, an Astronaut candidate who died in an airplane accident that we was a passenger in; and finally, James Gaiser USMA ’68 who was killed in Vietnam by enemy mortar fire in Nov. 1969. He was the brother of my wife Barb’s coworker, Carol St. George. We remain a grateful nation for all of our blessings, and especially grateful to those who did what was required, some even sacrificing their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms we possess as citizens of this great country.

I received an update from Greg Vaughn (36th Co.):

Starting with Easter, April was a pretty busy month for interactions with our classmates, so I thought I’d share a few of them before input for the next Shipmate is due.

Susan and I attended Easter services at the USNA Chapel. The Chapel was impressive as usual and packed with folks. We met Debbie and Jim McKee (11th Co.) there as well as Lisa and Chris Alberg (33rd Co.) and their grown children, Alexandra and Nathan. Chris and Lisa were kind enough to host all of us at their lovely home in Millersville, MD, for an Easter feast following the services. We had great food and a fabulous time and we got a chance to talk about what we all seem to ask each other about these days – how long are we going to continue to work and where are we going to ‘really’ settle down?

The next week I was on a business trip to San Diego (my favorite city as a JO!) and ran into a number of classmates. Had a chance to have dinner with Randy Large (fellow 36th company mate) and his wife Kris who live in Scripps Ranch, near Miramar. They both had successful military and civil service careers and have now retired, retired, but are still very active. They live in a beautiful home in a beautiful part of the country, but they are constantly planning and taking trips in a huge motor yacht that they use to travel the rest of the country. Randy served as a SEAL on active duty and still stays extremely active with swimming, water sports and cycling. Life is good for the Larges and it was great to see them. (Randy and Kris no longer have any questions about when to stop working or where to settle down!)

Also, while in San Diego, I worked with Wayne Jakubowski (7th Co.) chairing a National Defense Industrial Association Undersea Warfare Technology Conference. Wayne had brought me into the NDIA organization many years ago to assist with the conference which is held in San Diego every spring. This was our last year in running the conference and NDIA was kind enough to recognize Wayne and me with awards for our service (receiving their awards from Paul Normand ’74). I’ve attached a couple photos of the award presentations. Wayne and his wife Joelle live in Norfolk, although Wayne commutes back and forth to Manassas, where he is president of a small defense firm called Assett – a spinoff from Lockheed Martin with roots in the old IBM Federal Systems organization. Wayne and Joelle have two lovely daughters, both married, and are now proud grandparents as well.

On the last day of the San Diego conference I also got a chance to briefly catch up with Brad Speer, my 36th Company roommate at USNA. Brad and his wife, Janet, also live in San Diego. After working for a couple other firms in the high-tech laser area, Brad now works for General Atomics, of Predator fame, on a number of advanced technology projects. Brad and Janet also have two (grown) children and are (also) proud grandparents.

Hopefully Susan and I will be able to start traveling more frequently and get a chance to see the rest of our good friends and classmates all over the country. As Judy and Chris Earl’s (36th Co.) financial advisors have said, we’re in our go-go years and we need to make the most of it while we are able. (I get a chance to see Chris when he leaves Scottsdale and visits DARPA headquarters in Arlington every few weeks.) Best wishes to everyone for a happy, fun and safe summer! Go Navy!

The Alberg Family at the Naval Academy Chapel for Easter Service

The Alberg Family at the Naval Academy Chapel for Easter Service

Jim and Debbie McKee outside the USNA Chapel

Jim and Debbie McKee outside the USNA Chapel

Susan and Greg Vaughn smiling brightly on Easter Sunday

Susan and Greg Vaughn smiling brightly on Easter Sunday

The Alberg Family at home - Lisa, Chris, Alexandra, Nathan

The Alberg Family at home – Lisa, Chris, Alexandra, Nathan

Flanked by Paul Normand and Frank Michael, Wayne Jakubowski and Greg Vaughn proudly display their NDIA awards in San Diego

Flanked by Paul Normand and Frank Michael, Wayne Jakubowski and Greg Vaughn proudly display their NDIA awards in San Diego

San Diego Waterfront photo by Greg Vaughn (suitable for framing!)

San Diego Waterfront photo by Greg Vaughn (suitable for framing!)

Pat Tracy continues sailing around the world as Captain in MV LOGOS HOPE. From June through August 1st he will be sailing from Montego Bay, Jamaica to Nassau and Freeport, the Bahamas.

Logos Hope is currently on her second tour of the Caribbean since her launch in 2009, affording many opportunities for crewmembers to make a difference in the lives of local people, most of whom live in stark contrast to the luxurious resorts normally associated with the Caribbean! With plans to visit 19 ports in the region this year, opportunities to once again share knowledge, help and hope abound. Her ports of call over the summer saw Logos Hope in Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica, followed by stops in Nassau and Freeport, the Bahamas. Kingston has always been a place of significant interest for the vessel known as “the book ship” locally. Crewmembers enjoyed a busy and fruitful visit there, including over 120 events aboard and ashore; volunteers welcomed school visits totaling over 20,000 students. With over 5,000 titles of quality literature available on board at a fraction of the retail value, thousands more came aboard each day, often waiting for two or three hours in the heat for the opportunity to get some great books. At the same time, many outreach events take place on board and on shore for all sectors of society, to encourage and provide practical help.

Captain Pat Tracy on board MV Logos Hope

Captain Pat Tracy on board MV Logos Hope

That’s all for now. I hope you all enjoy your summer and see you at the ’76 Tent for the Navy Tailgaters!

Mark Hubbard’s Observations at Goddard – Memorial Day 2017 31 May 2017

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Mark shared some thoughts at the Goddard Memorial Day Commemoration at Goddard Space Flight Center on May 25, 2017. The flags surrounding his front yard are have the names of those he honored including our 11 Classmates whose names appear in Memorial Hall at the Naval Academy.

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This year’s Memorial Day Commemorative Event has given me the opportunity to reflect on and remember family, friends, Classmates, and others who I have known or have learned about over the years who died while serving in our nation’s military. Growing up as a child, my Dad informed us early on that he lost a brother in a tragic plane crash while he was training to be a military pilot. Dad never really went into any details other than that my Uncle Robert had died during Holy Week in April 1938 on Holy Thursday. My siblings and I were reminded of this every year at Easter time. Fast forward to present day, I had the opportunity to spend time researching the details behind my Uncle Robert’s life and death. I was amazed about what I learned. Robert Bronson Hubbard was a bright young man who showed leadership and a desire to excel as a teenager growing up in High Point, North Carolina. He was intensely interested in the Boy Scouts and was one of the first Eagle Scouts in the local council. An excellent student and athlete, he entered the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at age 17 in 1933 and spent four years matriculating at that fine University and competing as a Varsity cross country and track runner for the Tarheels. As a senior at Carolina, he applied to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and received his appointment just before he graduated from UNC. At West Point, he continued his athletic success, especially outrunning his Navy opponents as he had as a Tarheel. Not only in athletics was he admired at West Point. A Classmate wrote of my Uncle Robert, “Hub was a man in the highest sense of the word. Because he took good fortune and bad alike in the same easy manner, many of us did and still do receive inspiration to go on to do our work and our service. I believe I never saw him once ruffle that clean-cut facial expression in anything but a smile. Hub was a true gentleman, a great officer. Though his career was suddenly ended, he packed into his five years of service to the country a condensed effort and enduring worth which few will equal in their whole thirty years. Above all, I know that with those who knew him his memory will live on to inspire and set standards of high example”. My paternal grandmother wrote of Robert in his obituary, “The September following graduation, he reported for duty at Randolph Field, Texas, entering the Air Corps. His interest in flying, and the progress he was making in his work were marked. His career was all too short as, on the morning of Maundy Thursday, April 14th, 1938, while practicing landings in one of the outlying fields, he crashed and was instantly killed.” My Uncle Robert is buried at the Post Cemetery at West Point.
I often think about another hero, Tony Bilotti. Tony was my center on the Bishop O’Dowd High School Varsity football team in Oakland, California, when I was the quarterback. He was a year behind me at O’Dowd and followed a year behind me at the Naval Academy. Coincidently, Tony and I were teammates on the Navy Varsity 150 lb. football team where again, he was my center and I was the quarterback. Years later, while I was jogging at lunch time at the Destroyer & Submarine piers in Norfolk, Virginia, Tony pulled his car over to say hello to me. I got caught up on what he was doing and found out that he was a bombardier/navigator (BN) on an A-6 Intruder getting ready to deploy to the Mediterranean aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN 68). The following spring I was attending Tactical Action Officer school in Point Loma, California, and was jogging at lunch time with a fellow alum who was a Classmate of Tony’s. I mentioned to him the names of my Classmates who had died since graduation. He then proceeded to rattle off a few names from his Class and then mentioned Tony Bilotti. I was shocked. I learned that Tony and his pilot (my Classmate), Mark Gontkovic, were both killed when their A-6 was destroyed during descent by impact into rocks on a mountain/hillside on the Island of Crete after running out of fuel.

Another 150’s teammate and Naval Academy Classmate, Marine Captain Vince Smith, was killed in the 1983 Beirut bombing of the Marine Barracks. Classmate and 26th Company Mate, LCDR Dave Carlson, perished in the crash of his Navy Seasprite helicopter he was piloting while alongside the USS Reid (FFG-30). LCDR Ron Vauk USNR, USNA Class of 1987, was on his two-week active duty tour at the Pentagon when the plane crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. Ron lived in Mount Airy with his wife and son and attended the same church I did, St. Michael’s in Poplar Springs, MD. My wife’s coworker, Carol St. George, lost her brother, 1LT Jim Gaiser USA, a distinguished graduate of West Point, in Vietnam when he was hit by enemy mortar fire in 1969. Like my Uncle Robert, Jim Gaiser is also buried at the West Point Post Cemetery. All of these heroes left behind anguished mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives and children. We honor their sacrifice and offer our thoughts and prayers to their surviving family and friends. Abraham Lincoln, at his second inaugural address over a century and a half ago, succinctly captured the obligation every American has in the responsibility to support the care of the loved ones killed in action – one of our oldest and noble traditions. He stated:
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

Shipmate: June/July 2017 7 May 2017

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by Mark Hubbard

As I write this, we’ve just passed the halfway point before the start of another exciting Navy football season with all of the anticipation & high hopes, as we look forward to another successful bowl-bound team and the great times to be experienced at the ’76 Tent for the home games. Speaking of which, our 13th Annual Halfway Dinner was held for the 11th time at Theismann’s Restaurant in Alexandria, VA. Derwood Curtis brought his daughter, Ensign Peri Curtis ‘16, to the dinner. While no one told her to brace up (she probably wouldn’t know what that meant anyway), she was asked what she did in the Navy. When she said that she was a SWO, someone asked how long she had been onboard her ship and how she qualified so quickly. When she said that she just got to her ship and wasn’t qualified, one of our old SWO classmates said, so you’re just a SWO want-a-be! You aren’t a SWO yet. Proves that there is no such thing as a free dinner! Hopefully she went on to have a great evening and we all wish her well on her SWO quals.

Happy times at the Halfway Dinner (Clockwise from top left: Mike & Nancy Willy, Mark & Barb Hubbard, Mike & Vanessa Seifert, Kevin Stone, Mary Lou McEwan and Linda & Doug Schaus, Towanda & Derwood Curtis with youngest daughter, Peri

Happy times at the Halfway Dinner (Clockwise from top left: Mike & Nancy Willy, Mark & Barb Hubbard, Mike & Vanessa Seifert, Kevin Stone, Mary Lou McEwan and Linda & Doug Schaus, Towanda & Derwood Curtis with youngest daughter, Peri

Let’s get started with an update from our Class President, Kevin Stone:

John Allen recently spoke at a Forrestal Lecture that coincided with the annual Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference (NAVFAC). After introducing himself as a “former inmate” he offered a sobering appraisal of the global outlook he went on to deliver an inspirational exhortation to the Brigade about their upcoming roles in leading our naval forces and the nation. After beating up on the folks who run the lectures, which are restricted to midshipmen and staff, we were able to get a last minute invitation extended to our Class to attend and a handful were able to make it: Leroy Sparr, Barbara & Kevin Stone, John McEwan, Pat Tracy, David Desilva, Calvin Langford, Kathy Allen, Jeff Neufeld, Chris & Bill Ostendorff, and Ted Achorn. An interesting footnote to John’s lecture is that Jim Stavridis was a Forrestal Lecturer last year; it’s not often that a class can claim Forrestal Lecturers amongst their members, let alone two years in a row.

76’ers join John Allen for the Forrestal Lecture (L to R: Leroy Sparr, Kevin Stone, John Allen, John McEwan, Pat Tracy, David Desilva, Calvin Langford)

76’ers join John Allen for the Forrestal Lecture (L to R: Leroy Sparr, Kevin Stone, John Allen, John McEwan, Pat Tracy, David Desilva, Calvin Langford)

Kevin also attended the semi-annual Council of Class Presidents (COCP) meeting in Annapolis on May 1st. He is pleased to report that our class got a BZ from the Foundation: we blew past our $800K goal for our recently completed class project campaign to support the Naval Academy and hit $952K! Thank you to each and every one of you who gave so generously to the campaign. Your funds are going to support the Academy’s nascent Cyber program, Athletic Excellence and the Superintendent’s initiatives. The Supe reported that the Cyber program is alive and well: once again the midshipmen Cyber students have excelled in national and international competitions. Our funding was used to beef up the technology needed for their “hacking defense team” that came in second in a national NSA sponsored competition against professionals and other academic institutions.

Hockey fans, breaking news: Chet Gladchuk announced at the COCP meeting that the NHL’s annual “Winter Classic” outdoor hockey game in 2018 will be played at the Navy & Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis on March 3rd, 2018 between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

My twin brother from a different mother, Mark Haas, provided a tribute to Jim Conti (Jim passed away in Hawaii from the complications of sarcoma cancer on 11/11/2016):

Hey Mark Tigner,

I thought I would drop a few lines as a tribute of sorts to another one of our fallen classmates: Jim Conti (whose passing was noted in the April Shipmate but with no further information). [Scribe note: Jim’s obituary can be found at http://obits.staradvertiser.com/2017/01/15/james-matthew-conti-aka-big-jim-conti/]. Back at the reunion in Sept one of our classmates mentioned he was in “bad shape”, but I don’t recall any further details. Jim was a member of “Frat 28”, having arrived on July 6, 1972, as a tall, young (age 17) fellow from Bermuda. He did not even have a driver’s license at the time (had to be 18 in Bermuda). Although he did not choose to stick around until June 2, 1976, he was fun to have around for a couple of years (pretty sure he left after Youngster Year). Jim was a very smart guy who was also a barrel of laughs. He roomed mainly with John Chin and was always having battles (water, mattresses, you-name-it) with the Class of ’75 Youngsters in our never-to-be-forgotten Plebe Year. On one such occasion I recall his mattress being thrown out of a window on 6-4 one night all the way to the ground———and watching Jim slowly drag it up the stairwell. I would see him pass by the window as he made the slow trek, level by level. My funniest recollection, though, had to be the day when one of Dan “Stump” Burns’ Class of ’74 mates described Dan’s marching (while coming back from a P-rade) as “walking like he had a pole up his ___”. Jim, marching behind “Stump”, cracked up upon hearing that description. When asked “What was so funny?” by the upper classmen, Jim noted that “it was a very appropriate description”. Needless to say, Jim was “coming around” to the “Stump” for some time after that. I can also still recall in Spring of ’74 walking to our Navigation Final Exam and Jim telling me that “the gouge was out” on the exam. I commented to him that “there is always gouge out and about”. He said “No, I mean it is REALLY OUT!”. Voila, shortly thereafter the world heard about the Class of ’76 Navigation Final Exam scandal! Other than that, I am still playing church softball and Phyllis and I will soon be heading down to pick up our son, Chris, following his 1st year at Christopher Newport University. Thank goodness—–our aging softball team needs his youth and power to stay competitive!

Thank You to Mark Hubbard for being our great Class Secretary. In closing, I will note that my wife and I are only 7 grandchildren behind Mark & Barb! Looks like a great race, however, between the Hubbards and Hepburns (Rick & Debbie) as to the grandchildren count!
[Scribe comment: Thanks for the kind words, Mark Haas – from the other MH]

Big Jim Conti with his wife, Noelle, and son, Samuel

Big Jim Conti with his wife, Noelle, and son, Samuel

The supreme world traveler for our Class, Gary Greenfield, reports from the high seas on another journey to faraway places:

While I am writing this Donna and I are on a cruise from Tokyo to Honolulu. It is about nine days altogether and we got in an extra Wednesday as we crossed the date line. Been the smoothest sailing we have ever experienced in a crossing. Though a little rock ‘n roll right now, the last several days have been as if we were on a lake. Each time we come on board the technology has made unbelievable strides. Mobile phone access all the way across (although I tell people I can’t be reached) and higher and higher speed of internet access. Not quite like being on land, but vastly improved.

We chose this trip because we both love the quieter days at sea, but also because we both enjoy Tokyo. We kept it easy this time around while visiting a few days in advance of the cruise, just enjoying the good spring weather, the sights and, of course, the varied cuisine. We stayed just across from the grounds of the Imperial Palace where the moat still surrounds it. Though the Cherry Blossoms were gone, we did have a chance to experience them in Washington, DC.

A postscript: I finished up in Honolulu where I am got off of the ship since I have a long-term commitment, though Donna is continuing on to Los Angeles. We have known much of the crew for almost twenty years, so she is comfortable traveling alone. Before I left we grabbed lunch at the Hau Tree Lanai restaurant and sat under the hau tree where Robert Louis Stevenson in 1893 sat writing what he described as some of his best literary works. In the picture, you see a part of the tree – it is actually interconnected with another tree providing a natural awning or what is called a lanai hau. The tree dates back about 150 years at least!

The Greenfields high above east gardens of the Imperial Palace

The Greenfields high above east gardens of the Imperial Palace

Donna & Gary Greenfield on the Crystal Symphony overlooking the site for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics

Donna & Gary Greenfield on the Crystal Symphony overlooking the site for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics

Donna and Gary having lunch with Roland Schett, a senior member of the ship’s crew, under the Hau Tree

Donna and Gary having lunch with Roland Schett, a senior member of the ship’s crew, under the Hau Tree

That’s all for now. Enjoy the warmer weather and see you at the tailgaters in September!

Shipmate: May 2017 4 March 2017

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by Mark Hubbard

Well, time continues to fly by and here I am writing another Class Column. Is there any way we can slow this pace down just a little?! I guess not…anyway, here’s the news!

Update from Gary Greenfield:

Earlier this week I had a chance to catch up with Allie Mysliwy and his wife Debbie in Dallas where I was visiting on business. Allie retired as a senior executive at Safeco several years and spends his time between Dallas and Hawaii – though weighted to Dallas. They are enjoying life and it was great to catch-up. Over the holidays they had joined a close friend and his 9 children and grandchildren on a visit to Orlando and Allie described it as tougher than any military duty he had ever confronted. Though they could not make the reunion, they will be joining in Philadelphia for Army/Navy.

From Dallas, I head to Aspen where I wanted to try out my new knee which I received last summer that originated from an injury at USNA. Snow conditions were great, albeit a bit cold. The replacement held up well, with the biggest challenge being a bit of over use. I had put it to a test on golf earlier in the month in Naples, Florida. It upheld well and think I can declare it a success.

Allie and Debbie Mysliwy and Gary Greenfield catching up in Dallas

Allie and Debbie Mysliwy and Gary Greenfield catching up in Dallas

Here’s some news from Mark Hubbard (yes, me). Barb and I were recently watching the two youngest grandchildren, Madeline (2) and John (4 months old) because the parents, Sara & John McCain (again, not to be confused with our famous alum), were on a trip to Portland, Oregon. I decided to take them all with me down to Annapolis on a rainy Saturday in late February to drop off a painting to the Naval Academy Museum in Preble Hall. Late last year the curator for the museum, Jim Cheevers, accepted my offer to accept the donation of a painting I commissioned space artist and retired astronaut suit technician for NASA, Ron Woods, to paint for me last year. Ron was the suit tech who worked with Buzz Aldrin USMA ‘51 getting him suited up before the famous Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. The painting depicts a picture taken from the flight deck of the space shuttle, Discovery, of Mission Specialist Astronauts John Grunsfeld and Steve Smith during an Extravehicular activity (EVA) for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Servicing Mission 3A in December 1999 (they were replacing the gyros). The canvas used in the painting is a portion of payload bay liner flown on Columbia in February 2002 aboard Columbia for HST SM3B. Assistant Curator, Grant Walker USMA ’73, was there to take delivery of the painting (Of course, I had to mention to Grant, GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY!). If anyone would like to buy a giclée print copy of the painting, please contact me for details. By the way, I got to meet Ron Woods for the first time through my association with Apollo 10 Commander, General Tom Stafford ’52, and helping Tom with Hubble flown hardware story boards at the Thomas P. Stafford Air & Space Museum in Weatherford, OK.

Grandparents Mark (holding a sad Madeline) & Barb Hubbard (holding John) deliver Hubble painting to Grant Walker at the USNA Museum 25FEB17

Grandparents Mark (holding a sad Madeline) & Barb Hubbard (holding John) deliver Hubble painting to Grant Walker at the USNA Museum 25FEB17

Space artist and suit tech, Ron Woods, getting Buzz Aldrin ready to fly to the moon 16JUL69 (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Space artist and suit tech, Ron Woods, getting Buzz Aldrin ready to fly to the moon 16JUL69 (Photo courtesy of NASA)

Tom Stafford poses with Ron Woods in front of Ron’s oil painting of an Apollo suit

Tom Stafford poses with Ron Woods in front of Ron’s oil painting of an Apollo suit

I, along with several alumni from USNA ’74, attended the Memorial Service at the Fairfax (VA) Memorial Funeral Home on Tuesday, 28FEB17, for Dave Marra ’74 who was affectionately known as Bear Marra to those of us who knew him at the Academy. He passed away suddenly on 20FEB. Bear was in my company (26th Co.) our Youngster year. I actually met Bear and some of his Classmates at the end of their Plebe year when I was a junior in high school and had flown east from Oakland, CA, with my family to attend my older brother’s (John Hubbard ’71) graduation from USNA. Home base for 15th Co. during June Week that year was Roy & Fran Gregory’s house at Turkey Point. The Gregory’s were sponsors for my brother and several of his Classmates (the Gregory’s adopted many of John’s Plebes as well). So, there I was as a 16-year-old hanging out with all these Midshipmen and their girlfriends. That’s where I first met Bear, Fred Stuvek ‘74, and others as well. A year later, having survived Plebe Summer at USNA and with the return of the Brigade for the fall semester, I chopped down the middle of the passageway from 6th wing to 8th wing to visit these upperclassmen I knew in when they were in 15th Co., now moved to 35th Co. I recall that Bear and Fred Stuvek were the first upperclassmen that I shook hands with (“spooned” as it was known back then – no comments from the peanut gallery, please). I remember strolling back from 8-1 back to 6-1 with a grin on my face having succeeded in getting on a first-name basis with Bear & Fred and given “carry-on” privileges on my trip back to my company area, when suddenly a random upper classman appears from one of the rooms and yells, “Hippity hop, PLEBE STOP!” He asked me why I wasn’t chopping down the passageway and I said that Fred and Bear gave me carry-on. He asked, incredulously, “Fred and Bear who?!”. I told him their last names and that I knew them before I was a Midshipman. He then shook his head ruefully and sent me on my way (whew!). Anyway, these guys were moved to 26th Co. their First Class year and it was great having familiar faces in the same company. John Brown ’74 first informed me of Bear’s passing and we were all shocked by the news. He was larger than life and was such a wonderful person. I learned from his two children, Kelly and David, Jr., just how much he was loved by his family, friends, coworkers, and what a great husband he was to his wife, Pam. Bear always put his family first. Their touching and sometimes humorous stories related in their eulogies elicited a mixture of tears and laughter from those in attendance. He will be missed but we will always remember Bear fondly, especially that big smile with his pearly whites in full display.

Mark Hubbard, Mike Holton, John Brown, Morgan Ames, Ray Donahue, Bob Hogan, and Don Loren after Bear Marra’s Memorial Service

Mark Hubbard, Mike Holton, John Brown, Morgan Ames, Ray Donahue, Bob Hogan, and Don Loren after Bear Marra’s Memorial Service

Dave “Bear” Marra and his grandson, Dave Marra III – the spittin’ image (or a clone)! There’s that heartwarming smile Bear was known for!

Dave “Bear” Marra and his grandson, Dave Marra III – the spittin’ image (or a clone)! There’s that heartwarming smile Bear was known for!

I got a brief but newsworthy update from fellow 26th Co. Classmate, Mark Metcalf:

Well, it took a while to get things published, but 2017 was the year:
– A chapter that I wrote on PRC warship technical standardization was published in a USNI book in January: http://www.usni.org/store/books/spring-2017-catalog/chinese-naval-shipbuilding
– An article about contemporary PRC perspectives on applying deception to modern warfare (as described in the Sunzi) was published in the February 2017 Proceedings.
Currently teaching a weekly undergraduate seminar (the third time) on Sunzi’s Art of War at the University of Virginia. Also, had the privilege of giving a talk to the UVA NROTC Battalion on how the PRC PLA applies Sunzi’s Art of War to modern warfare and got a coin for me effort.

Did I mention that I enjoy being semi-retired?

Rumor has it that Chris Ames live in Carlsbad, CA, but he really is a world traveler selling unmanned air systems for a world-class manufacturer. Don’t understand why a former P-3 pilot would be selling unmanned aircraft, but that’s just me (and someone else who knows him like a brother…). He has two children currently in prestigious colleges. Hey, Chris, how about dropping by when you are in the Annapolis area and come to one of our reunions/football tailgaters?! Just sayin’!

We are led to believe that this is what Chris Ames looks like now (can someone confirm?)

We are led to believe that this is what Chris Ames looks like now (can someone confirm?)

Here’s a last minute bulletin from Jim Doherty! (I hope Maria O’Shea at Shipmate doesn’t get upset with me pushing the word limit…)

I was down in Florida last week, in the Tarpon Springs area, for the 3rd annual get-together with some old Navy buds, Jerry Willett being one of them. Here we are: From the left is Dave Rogers ‘79, one of our Plebes, (every other picture in the past we made him stand in the back…), Chris Staszak, good friend commissioned out of Boston University and served with Jerry on the USS Glover–at one point in the 80’s, when Jerry, Chris and I were roaming free on the streets of Boston, Chris was the XO of the USS Constitution. The Boston Globe anointed him one of “Boston’s Most Eligible Bachelors”! That’s me and then Jerry. Yes, that’s “TK” (Tom Kennedy) on the left, his wife, Barb, me, Jerry, Ed Harper and his wife Kathy. So many laughs that night…

The Tarpon Springs area USNA ’76 minireunion with Doc & Company

The Tarpon Springs area USNA ’76 minireunion with Doc & Company

That’s all, folks! Now, carry on…

Shipmate: April 2017 11 February 2017

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by Mark Hubbard

This is the Super Bowl LI edition of the Class of ’76 class news. As I write this column, President George H. W. Bush (with Mrs. Bush at the side of his wheelchair) has just tossed the game coin with the Falcons winning the toss, choosing to kickoff to the Patriots to start the game in order to receive the 2nd half kickoff. I don’t have a lot of news from the Class to report (I feel the urge to add a Hubbard Family update…).

As announced to the Class last year, Steve Topscher (14th Company) succumbed to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in March. The interment of his ashes didn’t occur until January of this year at Arlington National Cemetery due to the tremendous backlog in burials. Ray Eckenrode reports:

A large gathering of family, friends, and USNA classmates convened on January 5, 2017 to honor Steve Topscher upon his interment at Arlington National Cemetery. Steve passed away in March 2016 and was placed on the schedule for a resting place in Arlington. The cemetery can only manage six ceremonies per day, so there’s a several-month delay for veterans who are eligible. Steve’s wife, Diane, coordinated with the cemetery to arrive at the January date.

Steve was slated for full military honors. The ceremony began in the cemetery’s administration building. The attending group immediately outgrew the room assigned to us. Among the family attending were Diane, Steve & Diane’s son Bryan and wife Jennifer Topscher with Kids -Tessa and Zachary Topscher; their daughter Melissa Topscher with husband Rohit Eustace and parents Jeff and Tsuneko Eustace. Also, there were Steve’s sister Cathy with husband James Stephens and daughter Shannon, as well as Steve’s brother, Tom Topscher, with wife Stephanie and daughter Aly. Also present were Chris and Dennis Cohen, parents of Jennifer Topscher.

On the Navy side, Steve’s place in the hearts of his classmates was readily apparent from the large USNA turnout. From 14th Company: Ray Eckenrode, Barb & Dave Fischer, Dick Gallagher, Gary Hentz, RADM Martha & Mike Herb, Nick Karangelen, Cindy & Bill Kneller, Peggy Wilckens, Lisa & Eric Youngborg, Mal Brubaker, and former classmate Ted Mundorff. Keith Champion (6th Company) also attended.

Leaving the admin building, we all gathered at a rendezvous point inside the cemetery. At this point, Diane surrendered Steve’s remains to the Navy Honor Guard, and he was transferred to the horse-drawn caisson with great care and respect. We then followed the caisson further into the cemetery to the designated location for the memorial, all to the accompaniment of the Navy honor band.

Our own VADM Dick Gallagher (retired) represented the Navy during the memorial service, which was conducted by Arlington’s Navy Chaplain. Following the Chaplain’s remarks, Steve was honored with a three-gun volley, which was all the more impressive with the Pentagon looming directly behind the gun squad. At this point, the color guard folded Steve’s US flag with military precision and handed it to Dick, who then presented it to Diane with his condolences.

We then walked together to a columbarium about a hundred yards away, where Steve was permanently interred. Although there’s nothing sadder than burying a classmate, there is considerable consolation in seeing him honored in such a spectacular fashion. The Navy provided Steve with a wonderful ceremony, as all of us who attended can attest.

Following the interment, Nick Karangelen and family hosted all of us for dinner and drinks at his house for a final commemoration of Steve. Throughout Steve’s illness, one positive outcome was how close Steve’s USNA family grew to Diane, Tom, Cathy and Steve’s extended family. This gathering was proof of that bond, and it’s very likely that we’ll see Diane and some of the family at our future reunions.

Back row, l to r: RADM Martha Herb, Mike Herb, Dave Fischer, Bill Kneller, Keith Champion, Eric Youngborg, Nick Karangelen, Gary Hentz, Ted Mundorff, Mal Brubaker, Ray Eckenrode Front row, l to r: Cindy Kneller, Peggy Wilckens, Diane Topscher, Barb Fischer, Lisa Youngborg

Back row, l to r: RADM Martha Herb, Mike Herb, Dave Fischer, Bill Kneller, Keith Champion, Eric Youngborg, Nick Karangelen, Gary Hentz, Ted Mundorff, Mal Brubaker, Ray Eckenrode Front row, l to r: Cindy Kneller, Peggy Wilckens, Diane Topscher, Barb Fischer, Lisa Youngborg

 

The caisson carries Steve Topscher’s remains to the Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium

The caisson carries Steve Topscher’s remains to the Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium

 

L to R: Ray Eckenrode, Gary Hentz, Nick Karangelen, Mike Herb, Bill Kneller, Ted Mundorff, Dave Fischer, Dick Gallagher

L to R: Ray Eckenrode, Gary Hentz, Nick Karangelen, Mike Herb, Bill Kneller, Ted Mundorff, Dave Fischer, Dick Gallagher

Hugh Willis, Chris Scoppa, and Tim Farrell were at the West Point Society of Philadelphia lunch on 01FEB making USNA ’76 the most represented class there. The Society is dedicated to “furthering the mission of the United States Military Academy, Our Military and Our Country. We are an inclusive Society; we welcome graduates from all of the Service Academies as well as others in our community who support West Point’s Values of Duty, Honor, and Country, for membership and participation in all activities of the Society”.

Hugh Willis, Chris Scoppa, and Tim Farrell meet for the West Point Society lunch in Philadelphia

Hugh Willis, Chris Scoppa, and Tim Farrell meet for the West Point Society lunch in Philadelphia

Kevin Stone has a couple of announcements:

Well, it’s hard to believe as I write this in February but it is time to order season tickets for the 2018 football season. If you are ordering new tickets, dropping your existing ones or want to move to “better” seats, please contact me ASAP. I’ll be contacting the NAAA in mid-April to move the chess pieces around; if you wait until May you’re going to get the luck of the draw.

Halfway Dinner: Our annual “Halfway Dinner” will be held on April 22nd at Joe Theismann’s in Old Town Alexandria. It will be the same drill as previous years: $35/head + cash bar, starting at 6:30. If you haven’t signed up yet, there may still be time so give me a shout.

Since there is some room left, I will mention this tidbit of Hubbard Family news: Mark Hubbard and his wife, Barb, are proud to announce the arrival of their 7th grandchild, John Allen McCain, who came into this world on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, at 9:45 AM at the Frederick Memorial Hospital in Frederick, Maryland. He weighed in at 8.3 lbs. and was 21 inches long. Proud parents, Sara & John McCain, are thrilled with the arrival of their second child! [Just to clarify, it is purely coincidental that our grandchild’s name might be confused with two famous USNA graduates: The Honorable John McCain ’58 and our own 4-Star Marine Corps General, John Allen.]

John & Sara McCain and children, Madeline & John

John & Sara McCain and children, Madeline & John

John Allen McCain brings luck to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI

John Allen McCain brings luck to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI

That’s it for this special Super Bowl LI edition of the Class News. By the way…the Patriots overcame a 25-point deficit scoring 31 unanswered points to defeat the Falcons in OT, 34-28! Greatest comeback in Super Bowl history – what a game! I guess you can say that was a game to go Gaga over (Lady Gaga performed an elaborate halftime show).

Shipmate: March 2017 7 January 2017

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by Mark Hubbard

I know that this is the March edition of Shipmate but it is 04JAN17 as I finish this column. With that in mind, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful time over the holidays with family and friends and that the new year brings joy to you as we have another year to excel and continue on this journey called life, along with its ups and downs, triumphs and tribulations. To keep it positive, I’ll leave you with a quote by Helen Keller: “Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”

Bryan Dolan and several Classmates were in attendance at the Navy-USF game in Tampa earlier last fall and shared some photographs. First is a shot of ’76’rs Mary Ann & Steve Kelly, Kent Bolin, Craig Harvey, Joyce and Bryan Dolan on the Dolan balcony in Indian Shores, FL. Kent and the Kelly’s drove down from P’cola to join the Dolans for two days. Craig joined them for lunch on Friday but could not stay for the game.

Mary Ann & Steve Kelly, Kent Bolin, Craig Harvey, Joyce & Bryan Dolan on the Dolan balcony in Indian Shores, FL

Mary Ann & Steve Kelly, Kent Bolin, Craig Harvey, Joyce & Bryan Dolan on the Dolan balcony in Indian Shores, FL

Eric Gardner, Bryan, Kent Bolin, Steve Kelly, and John Sarao hanging out with the Navy Goat

Eric Gardner, Bryan, Kent Bolin, Steve Kelly, and John Sarao hanging out with the Navy Goat

76’ers cheer Navy onto to almost a victory!

76’ers cheer Navy onto to almost a victory!

Steve Clark and Bruce Petit joined Mike Seifert to celebrate the Marine Corps 240th birthday at the Commandant’s Ball. The event was held on November 12th in National Harbor, MD.

76er’s at the Commandant’s Ball celebrating the USMC 240th Birthday

76er’s at the Commandant’s Ball celebrating the USMC 240th Birthday

Chet Moeller received the 2016 Bronko Nagurski Legends Award presented by Florida East Coast Railway at the awards banquet held in Charlotte, NC, on 5DEC16 at the Charlotte Convention Center. Chet, you still look like you could play – BZ!

Chet Moeller stands proudly next to his award trophy

Chet Moeller stands proudly next to his award trophy

Clayton Hill (aka “The Marathon Meister”) informed me that he completed his 31st Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) on 30OCT. Yes, you heard me correctly – he has completed thirty-one Marine Corps Marathons (plus 5 other marathons)! As far as the MCM goes, there are only 23 other finishers ahead of Clayton and five others with 31 completions Clayton retired on 31OCT, after completing 45+ years of combined Military and DoD service (Navy Enlisted, USNA, Marine Corps Officer, DoD Civilian for the Department of Army, Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate). His job now is taking care of his wife, Cathy, who is recovering from Guillain Barre Syndrome, which struck her this time last year. She requires 24/7 care, and is now recuperating nicely. Clayton expects she’ll be walking soon. His tee shirt for the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon read: “RUNNING … for my wife CATHY … Who is recovering from Guillain Barre Syndrome … and will soon be WALKING”.

Clayton Hill smiles broadly after completing his 31st Marine Corps Marathon

Clayton Hill smiles broadly after completing his 31st Marine Corps Marathon

Greg Vaughn travelled to Arizona to reconnect with a fellow 36th Company Classmate:

Although a little after the fact, wanted to let you know that Susan and I had a chance to travel from Alexandria, VA, to visit 36th Company classmate Chris Earl and his wife Judy in Scottsdale, AZ, for Thanksgiving. Chris turns out to be a great cook and cooked the best turkey dinner this year that I think I’ve ever had. (He’s been on a quest for the perfect Thanksgiving turkey for at least 18 years – and he keeps making improvements!) After moving to Scottsdale at the end of summer, 2014, Chris and Judy have settled in, customized their beautiful home and started to sink roots in the community. While there we also took in some of the local flavor at two nearby ‘Indian Markets’ and some unique restaurants. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves throughout our stay. Although the weather was a little cool by local standards, it was absolutely perfect for us. Chris is working long distance for DARPA as an LLC and gets back to the DC area once or twice a month to check in with the mother ship in Arlington, VA. After retiring from federal service prior to their move, Judy is now managing the books for Chris and has become a born again athlete with a very aggressive walking schedule. Since Thanksgiving, we’ve had a few exciting football games in which Navy, unfortunately, was not the victor. However, still a great season, especially considering the loss of two of our quarterbacks and some other key players, particularly during the Temple game. The raw talent and determination Navy displayed with the replacement players also gives me great hope for another great season next year. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and yours and the rest of the Class of 1976!

Chris & Judy Earl pose in front of their beautiful Scottsdale, AZ, home

Chris & Judy Earl pose in front of their beautiful Scottsdale, AZ, home

Susan & Greg Vaughn make friends with a giant Gila Monster

Susan & Greg Vaughn make friends with a giant Gila Monster

Fellow 26th Company Classmate, Eric Kimura, is quoted in a recent USA TODAY article “Explore 8 hidden Pearl Harbor memorials at this ‘sacred place’”. See the following link: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/12/06/hidden-memorials-pearl-harbor-oahu/94039116/

That is all for now – carry on!

Army Navy 2016 26 December 2016

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