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Shipmate: September/October 2016 31 July 2016

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

Another Navy football season and our 40th Reunion are just around the corner – time sure does fly as we get older! Looking forward to the big Class of ’76 celebration over Labor Day Weekend. This summer presented an opportunity for many of you to travel and provide me with your vacation stories.

Greg Vaughn submitted his Trip Advisor review of his trek to Ireland:

Susan and I just got back from a ten-day trip to Ireland. While there we had the opportunity to tour the landmarks and attractions in Dublin and Kilkenny with Debbie and Jim McKee. The timing for their trip (and ours) was to coincide with the marriage of Jim’s eldest son, Ryan, to a young Irish lady, Claire, who Ryan met while living in New Zealand. They are a lovely couple. Ryan has his own virtual reality software company and Claire is a Palliative Care Professional and they both plan to return to New Zealand after a whirlwind honeymoon in the U.S. – visiting Niagara Falls, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon on their westward journey home. Jim and Deb actually met us in Ireland after touring Scotland with Ryan and Claire and their youngest son, Kevin. I’ve included a photo of the McKee clan taken in Kilkenny and one of Jim and Debbie and my wife, Susan when we were in Dublin.

We had a great time and didn’t let the rain bother us a bit. Friendly people, beautiful countryside, impressive medieval castles and relics from another age were all part of an exciting journey. We stumbled onto a drum and bagpipe competition just north of Dublin and Jim & I both got our photography fix for the month. Add to that a good Irish wedding and it made for a very enjoyable and memorable trip!

As an aside, we all toured the Guinness Storehouse while we were in Dublin (advertised as the #1 attraction in the capital city). I think they tell you in their literature how great the Guinness is before you go through the tour, but I didn’t believe it – it’s always tasted like cigarette tar to me, whether in WESTPAC or in the Century Pub in Falmouth, MA. (Guinness Stout was what we drank first in my younger years to make sure all the beer that followed tasted great.) Well in Ireland, Guinness is fresh and it is fabulous! I was very pleasantly surprised when we did the tasting and found it to be very tasty and smooth. An unexpected pleasure!

The weather there was very pleasant and cool with intermittent showers. Very different than the heat and humidity that we experienced on our return to our Nation’s Capital after the Fourth of July.

All in all a great trip! Highly Recommended!

 

The McKee Clan in Kilkenny, Ireland

The McKee Clan in Kilkenny, Ireland

Susan Vaughn joins Jim & Debbie McKee to pose with an Irish Policeman

Susan Vaughn joins Jim & Debbie McKee to pose with an Irish Policeman

Susan Vaughn between Debbie & Jim with a beautiful Cathedral in the background

susan Vaughn between Debbie & Jim with a beautiful Cathedral in the background

The beautiful couple, newlyweds Ryan & Claire McKee

The McKee Clan in Kilkenny, Ireland

The Groom, Ryan McKee, receiving applause after his speech

The beautiful couple, newlyweds Ryan & Claire McKee

Greg & Susan Vaughn have a Guinness moment

Greg & Susan Vaughn have a Guinness moment

Bryan Dolan reports from Wimbledon:

Joyce and I just completed a fabulous 3-1/2 weeks across the pond – Israel, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Germany and the UK. The main event was a river cruise up the Danube from Budapest to Nuremberg. Finished with a day at Wimbledon, a bucket list item. Looking forward to seeing everyone over Labor Day weekend!

Joyce & Bryan Dolan enjoying the tennis matches at Wimbledon

TJoyce & Bryan Dolan enjoying the tennis matches at Wimbledon

Bryan Dolan also reports that five USNA grads got together after Friday (29JULY), day 6 of RAGBRAI XLIV. Left to right: Hugh Blackwood ’73, Team Captain Craig McDonald ’76, Steve Kelly ’76, Greg Vaughn ’76, and Bryan Dolan ’76. Once again, a firstie from ’73 trying to run anther plebe summer, but this time we have him outnumbered.

Navy Alumni at RAGBRAI XLIV

Navy Alumni at RAGBRAI XLIV

Chuck Litz writes:

This year marked the 74th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, one of the most pivotal events of WWII. VIPs, invited guests, active duty military, and veterans braved foul weather to attend the annual Battle of Midway Celebration Dinner at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA. This was the 4th Battle of Midway dinners that I have attended and Dave Jourdan’s presentation was the best. Plus, we finally got Chris Kidd out in the open with us. It was a wonderful, true Navy affair.

Matthew T. Eng writes of the event, “Marine explorer and author David Jourdan rounded off the evening’s festivities with his talk, ‘The Search for the Japanese Fleet.’ This year’s lecture built on the intelligence theme of last year’s event, which Jourdan admitted was a ‘significant part of the story.’ Using his knowledge as an underwater explorer and researcher, Jourdan based his informative talk on his 2015 book of the same name. Jourdan has become an expert on the battle and the heroic exploits of submarine USS Nautilus.” [NOTE: The actions of Lt. Cdr. William Brockman and his ninety-three-man crew during an eight-hour period rank among the most important submarine contributions to the most decisive engagement in U.S. Navy history. Read more @ http://www.navyhistory.org/2016/06/more-than-luck-submarine-nautilus-plays-critical-role-at-74th-midway-celebration-dinner/%5D

Dave Jourdan, Phil Renaud '79 (Dave Renaud's brother), Chuck Litz, and Chris Kidd at the Midway Dinner

Dave Jourdan, Phil Renaud ’79 (Dave Renaud’s brother), Chuck Litz, and Chris Kidd at the Midway Dinner

Chuck Litz had a mini-reunion with Classmates, Jack Suter and Dave Manners Emerald Isle, NC. Chuck mentions, “Jack and I wrestled together on Navy’s team. One of us wrestled 142 and the other 150 lbs. You might be surprised which is which.”

Chuck Litz, Jack Suter, and Dave Manners at Emerald Isle

Chuck Litz, Jack Suter, and Dave Manners at Emerald Isle

On a final note, Dave Bealer (1st Company) passed away in Yuma, Arizona on June 7, 2016. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dave’s loving wife, Kelly, his children Stephanie Bealer and Michael Bealer, and the rest of his family.

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