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Shipmate: January/Feburary 2012 11 December 2011

Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
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by Mark Hubbard

As I write this column, the Army-Navy game is a week away and with that, the regular college football season will be over as well as Navy’s season (no bowl game this year…bummer). A disappointing season for Navy but with a victory over Army, the team can head into the off-season on a positive note. In spite of the losses on the gridiron, the Class tailgaters were always a winner! Many thanks to all those involved in making the tailgaters and the 35th reunion such a tremendous success. Beat Army!

As part of my work at NASA I am a member of the Goddard Veterans Advisory Committee (VAC), which was formed early in 2011. I was asked to find a keynote speaker for the Veterans Day event held on 7 November and was very fortunate to acquire the services of Frank Culbertson ’71. I’ve known Frank since I was in junior high school and he and my brother, John Hubbard ’71, were 15th/35th Company mates. Frank is a former astronaut who flew on three shuttle missions and had command of the International Space Station for 117 days in 2001. He is now the Senior Vice President and Deputy General Manager of Orbital’s Advanced Programs Group. Frank gave a tremendous speech and presentation for the Veterans Day event. His son, Frank, a student at Capitol College, joined him for the day with the hope of making inroads for possible future employment at NASA.

Mark Hubbard and Frank Culbertson at the Goddard Space Flight Center

There are plenty of USNA connections at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium this football season. Dave Fleischman serves as a member of the Chargers chain crew and met Mike Priefer ’89, special teams coach for the Minnesota Vikings, on Opening Day. Mike’s kickoff return team immediately silenced 68,000 assembled Chargers fanatics by running the opening kickoff back for a TD. Dave reports that Mike is a heck of a nice guy with an incredible coaching resume. Three weeks later, Miami visited the Chargers and Dave spoke with Dolphins rookie tight end Will Yeatman, a San Diego native and son of Dennis Yeatman ’83. Will looks bigger and stronger than ever, and hopefully will earn more playing time as he gains experience. Finally, over on the home team sideline, veteran Chargers offensive line coach Hal Hunter is the dad of current Navy linebacker Hal Hunter Jr. ’12.

Mike Priefer with Dave Fleischman on NFL's Opening Day in San Diego

Dave Fleischman with Dolphins tight end Will Yeatman

Ken Crain writes from Texas:

Mark, I have some news that I would like to share with the class. I am running for District Attorney here in Williamson County, Texas. This is a county with a population of around 430,000 people, which is located about 30 miles north of Austin in the middle of the state. The DA here prosecutes adult felonies. I am running against a ten-year incumbent who has been running a tough on crime but light on justice DA’s office.

I have to say the final straw that made me decide to run was when an innocent 57-year old man (Michael Morton) was released on October 4 after serving almost 25 years in prison after being falsely convicted of murdering his wife. The current DA stonewalled in the Texas courts and made him spend an additional six years in prison after he requested modern DNA testing on some evidence that was from the 1987 jury trial. When an appeals court finally allowed full modern DNA testing on all the requested evidence, it showed that DNA belonging to a convicted California felon appeared on a bandana that had the dead woman’s blood on it. There was no innocent explanation for why this felon’s DNA would be on this evidence. To top it off, the same felon’s DNA also appeared at a cold case murder crime scene that was 12 miles away from the first crime scene; the second murder happened 17 months later (after the first man was already in prison which makes for a great alibi). If the original prosecutors had properly done their jobs, the second murder would not have occurred.

My campaign website is kencrain.com. It is a work in progress. I welcome any financial contributions that any classmates are willing to send to me. The Texas primaries are on March 6 and the general election is in November 2012.

I also met with fellow 10th Co. Classmate Joe Sheppard on 9/11/11. We were roommates for a good bit while we were in the federal prison in Annapolis together. Joe and I met at a sandwich shop here in Georgetown on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 for an hour or so to solve all of the problems of the world. Joe is an attorney in Burleson, TX, just south of Fort Worth. He drives through here on a regular basis on trips to and from his hometown of Cuero, TX, to visit his mother and other family members there. They had a U.S. flag in the parking lot to commemorate 9/11 and we had to include it in the picture. Joe is the good-looking guy in the straw hat and I am the guy who looks like he just ate too many sandwiches. My wife, Micki, who has put up with me since we got married ten days after graduation, took the picture.

Ken Crain and Joe Sheppard in Georgetown, Texas

Steve Clark reports that he was reassigned by the Archbishop of New York as the Pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Mount Kisco, NY, for another 6-year term. After that he can be moved anywhere within the confines of the Archdiocese of New York, i.e. Staten Island, The Bronx, Manhattan, and seven counties north and west (3 to the north and 4 to the west of Westchester County where he is now assigned). Steve recently spoke to George Hicks, his old roommate, and reports that George is busy traveling to Asia and back on business. George lives in Cleveland. Please keep Steve in your prayers as he is going in for heart valve surgery on Dec. 8 and will be recuperating for 4 to 5 weeks afterward.

Here’s an update from Mike Seifert:

On 7 November, Chris Kidd, Tommy Gardner, my wife, Vanessa, and I attended the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) annual awards dinner during which ADM James Stavridis received the 2011 Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award. Past recipients include Secretaries of Defense Gates and Cheney, Chairmen of the Joints Chiefs Mullen, Pace, and Crowe as well as several noted Senators and Congressmen. Since Jim was unable to attend our 35th reunion (some lame excuse about a war in Afghanistan and Jim being Supreme Allied Commander Europe) I presented him with a reunion ball cap on behalf of the class.

Vanessa & Mike Seifert with Jim & Laura Stavridis at the JINSA awards

Mike Seifert, Jim Stavridis, Chris Kidd, and Tommy Garner

Milt Mays published another short story, “Thanksgiving with Riley”, which is now available for Kindle. All proceeds go to veterans. See the cover and story line on his website http://www.miltmays.com. Also, starting 1 Dec, for every Dan’s War book sold, $1 will go to veterans.

Hugh Neighbour (2nd Co.) reports that his big news is his only daughter got married in a storybook wedding out in Bluemont, VA, to her longtime sweetheart. He is a newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF undergoing training at NAS Pensacola. Hugh’s oldest son is quite enthusiastic about ROTC and is now committed. His youngest son has grown to 6’4″ and looks forward to basketball in McLean this winter. Meanwhile, Hugh worked over the summer for the U.S. government in seven countries of the Caribbean. Joined by his wife Inger, the photo shows them with their kids when they all rendezvoused in Barbados. Hugh is now working for a strategy and technology consulting company, Booz Allen Hamilton.

The Neighbour Family in Barbados

Rick DaPrato reports that his son, LTJG RJ DaPrato (Ohio State) was assigned to the Naval Academy as a Seamanship and Navigation Instructor this past April. The attached picture is proud Dad/Mom (Rick/Jena) with RJ’s niece, Miss Emory Claire, his older sister’s (Cate’s) daughter.

Rick & Jena DaPrato with granddaughter Emory Claire

On a sad note, I received news that Jeff Jenkins passed away on 16 November at his home in Foley, AL. On behalf of the Class of ’76, I extend our sincere condolences to Jeff’s family.

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