Shipmate: May/June 2013 12 May 2013Posted by USNA Class of 1976 in Shipmate.
by Mark Hubbard
In spite of the rain outside, a beautiful retirement ceremony for John Allen was held inside of Alumni Hall at the U. S. Naval Academy on Monday, 28APR13. More than 100 fellow Classmates and their family members were present to support John as his stellar career and service to his country comes to an end. It is this writer’s opinion that he will continue to be a shining example of what a leader is in the true sense of the word, launched from the Naval Academy experience. His wife, Kathy, is an exemplary spouse of an exemplary leader; those who find themselves in her position would do well to follow her example!
There were many notable guests present including MajGen Charlie Bolden ’68, Holly and GEN David Petraeus USMA ’74. The hosting official was GEN James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, with ceremonial participants Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, and GEN Martin Dempsey USMA ’74. The ceremony opened with a tremendous concert performed by “The Commandant’s Own”, The Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps followed by the formation of the troops and presentation of the colors. John was presented the Defense Distinguished Service Medal by GEN Dempsey for “Exceptionally distinguished performance of duty contributing to National security or defense of the United States”. John Allen was the last to speak and his words were inspiring as well as sobering as he reflected on the memories of those soldiers serving under him that had perished on the battlefield. He talked about Kathy’s Marine Corps family history (family members having served with distinction in WWI and WWII, as well as Korea, with one member of the family making the ultimate sacrifice in WWII). Flowers were presented to John Allen and family courtesy of the Class of ’76. Congratulations on a tremendous career and I wish “fair winds and following seas” to John Allen as he opens a new chapter in his life!
One of our Classmates in attendance was John Allen’s Company mate (34th Co.), Steve Holibonich, whom I haven’t seen since our days working together at Westinghouse in Baltimore back in the 1980’s. His wife, Diane, was with him.
Much fun was had at the Annual Halfway Dinner held at Joe Theismann’s Restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, VA, on Saturday 20APR13. Kudos to Vanessa and Mike Seifert for organizing the event! We had a surprise appearance from Kathy & John Allen for the dinner affair. Hopefully, we’ll see them on a more regular basis at the tailgaters in the fall.
8th Company’s Steve Wiley checked in with the following update:
I recently visited my old roommate, Mike Abbott, and his wife, Carol. They live in Fort Collins, CO, where their daughter Katie is a senior at Colorado State University. My visit happened to coincide with Saint Patrick’s Day, as well as the weekly gathering of the Arapahoe Hunt, where Katie rides to hounds in full formal English hunting attire. It was quite a sight to behold, nearly 100 men and women on horseback and a pack of about 40 baying English foxhounds. But this being Colorado, they pursue coyotes instead of foxes. The hounds don’t seem to care.
After enjoying the St. Paddy’s Day hospitality of the hunt club, Mike and I departed the next morning for four days of basking in the sun, inhaling the desert air and listening to the crack of wood against horsehide. Yes, I’m talking spring training. Phoenix in mid-March is the perfect getaway and an ideal spot to watch a lot of baseball — 15 teams scattered across the city and surrounding suburbs. We had a great time, catching four games in four days, and may have to make this an annual event. The only downside, if I had to find something to complain about, is that my Washington Nationals conduct their spring training in Florida. Maybe we’ll have to alternate trips between the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League. Go Nats!
Brad Little has little nugget of family news to pass on:
A lot you of have met my son, Sean, and know he is a pretty good Water Polo player. Well, national team tryouts were in December and low and behold he made the Team. He is now officially a member of what will ultimately become the US Olympic Team. Kathy and I couldn’t be more proud. Of course, I asked him to send me a picture of him in his new team duds and you can see what I got. He gets his nuanced demeanor from the old man obviously!
The U.S. Naval Institute announces with distinct pleasure that Admiral James G. Stavridis, U.S. Navy, accepted the appointment as the U.S. Naval Institute’s Chair of the Board of Directors. Admiral Stavridis’ appointment will take effect following his anticipated retirement from active duty in mid- summer 2013. BZ STAV!!!
Tim Traaen asked me to share this with the Class concerning the end of a very sad chapter in his life. He so eloquently writes:
Thank you for your thoughts. Mara and I appreciate all the support we have received from classmates – silent prayers and thoughts were felt. We knew we were not alone during these past almost 6 years and we received strength from every thought, encouragement from every sentiment expressed, and will to represent Timothy every day in court from every prayer uttered – no matter how silently. It has been a long haul 14 July 2007 – 6 April 2013. Our lives were ‘on-hold’ for near 2,100 days.
In November 2012, when the judge read the jury’s findings, I know I aged 20 years in the 20 seconds it took the judge to say “guilty” to the first of 19 of 20 counts against Timothy’s murderer for crimes he had committed from 2005 to 2007. My stress immediately shed and turned to indescribable relief – Timothy had the best representation in that courtroom with the stellar Prosecution team. Later, when the sentencing hearing was held 4 April, to hear the judge uphold the recommended sentences, trebled from Mason’s being a three-strike loser, my faith in our justice system, in this case, was renewed. We estimate that Mason has been awarded close to 900 years or so. The defense attorney had the audacity to argue against the tripling of the sentence awards and claimed they were overboard in that “how many terms” can one individual serve? I admire the judge’s rebuke. “We must not look at punishment without taking into regard the dignity of each of his victims – those whose lives he took”. I enjoyed the sardonic nature of the article’s title… as I stated in my sentencing recommendation, I referred to the jury’s choice of LWOP over the death penalty (which I respected), as a death sentence. He will never see the light of day, breathe a breath of air, walk a mile again as a free man- he will die in prison- a shriveled, convicted felon.
There will never be closure for us – Timothy is on an eternal journey, never to cross our home’s threshold again. We will survive. I owe it to Timothy that this experience will not consume me. I choose, in Timothy’s memory, to remain strong for my family, in defiance of the evil that lurks in the darkness. This murderer will claim no more from my house.
I will never have my Timothy back, but I will always choose to believe, as is often used to describe those who have gone before us… Timothy is on station, on eternal patrol…
On the right day in my life, I look forward to the possibility that we can go fishing and sailing once again together and then, relieve him at the helm.
On a final note, Kevin Stone reports:
It is with deep regret that I inform you that Andy LeBoeuf, 13th Company, died Thursday morning (25APR13) of a heart attack at home in Virginia Beach. He is survived by his wife Kathy, three daughters and several grandchildren.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Kathy and family as they deal with the loss of Andy.