USNA Class of 1963
photos courtesy: USS WASP (LHD 1)
Tom and Anne sponsored this plebe. He did pretty well. See Click Here
Members of the Class of 1963 and all alumni who are not aware, should be made aware of the heroic act described in this narrative.
Jack and I are active in this honorable project. Hopefully members of the class and alumni association will consider contacting members of their Congressional delegations to endorse this worthy and honorable recognition.
I would like to bring to your attention efforts to share and recognize the heroism of Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds and the status for consideration of awarding him the Medal of Honor posthumously. I called and have been advised by Senator Marsha Blackburn's office that legislation, sponsored by Senator Corker and stalled in the 115th Congress' 1st Session's subcommittee, was reintroduced by Senator Alexander and Senator Blackburn earlier this month. I have also spoken with Congressman Lee Zeldin on this subject.
I am pleased to provide details of the upcoming New Jersey Jewish Film Festival screening of "Footsteps of My Father" produced by "The Jewish Foundation for the righteous" to be held at the College of Saint Elizabeth, Convent Station, New Jersey on Monday, April 1, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in the Annunciation Center Dolan Performance Hall. While there is no charge for admission, pre-registration is required.
The film recounts the heroic story of Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds, 106th Infantry Division, 422nd Regiment, U.S. Army, who was captured along with more than 20,000 GIs during the Battle of the Bulge. The men were divided into three groups. The NCOs were taken to Stalag IXA. There were 1,292 men in this group. The highest ranking NCO was Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds from Knoxville, Tennessee. Upon their arrival at Stalag IXA, the commandant ordered all Jewish POWs to present themselves the next morning. Master Sgt. Edmonds ordered all 1,292 American POWs to stand in formation outside of their barracks.
The next day, when Major Siegmann saw that all 1,292 GIs were standing in front of their barracks, he turned to Master Sgt. Edmonds and demanded: "They cannot all be Jews!" To this Master Sgt. Edmonds said, "We are all Jews here." With a pistol pressed to his forehead, he did not back down as he cited the Geneva Convention on their rights and war crimes. Major Siegmann turned and left. There were 200 Jewish GIs among the 1,292 American POWs. Master Sgt. Edmonds act of courage and leadership saved the lives of those 200 Jewish GIs.
Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds died in 1985. He was the fifth American to be recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations.
As a member of the Board of Trustees of the College of Saint Elizabeth, I am pleased to extend an invitation to you or interested parties to join us.
For your convenience the link to register for the event as part of the College of Saint Elizabeth Center for Holocaust and Genocide Education Program is https://www.cse.edu/about-cse/centers/hge/film-screening-footsteps-of-my-father
With my best regards,
Hello, Bill (Hughes).
My name is Brian Gushue, one of Jan and Bill Gushue's five children. It is my sad duty to inform you that Jan Gushue passed away Tuesday due to complications from a ruptured aneurysm and a stroke she suffered earlier this month.
My mom loved the U.S. Naval Academy every bit as much as my dad did and loved being able to reconnect with old friends and make new ones from my dad's graduating class, the USNA Class of 1963.
She especially enjoyed meeting up with alumni friends last October when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish played the Naval Academy Midshipmen in football in her adopted hometown of San Diego. I was fortunate enough to be with my mother for some of the festivities and can say with certainty that she had a wonderful time that night cheering on the Middies with so many people associated with my dad's graduating class.
I wish to offer my deepest thanks to you and the other members of the 1963 alumni group for providing my mom with so many treasured friendships and memories. Once I have details on her memorial Mass I'll be sure to relay them to you.
And this from Phillip Marsden.
As you will read below, we have recently lost one of our stalwart Class supporters. Janet tried to make it to all of Class events here in San Diego as well as playing an active role in our two Reunion Committees. She will be missed.
Sadly,our classmate, Julian M "Skip" Wright"passed away at 1:40 this morning at Walter Reed military hospital.after dealing with MS for over 40 years. There will be a Catholic mass for Skip at 1100 on Thursday, the 21st at Blessed Sacrament Church. Skip's widow Anne would like to have six pall bearers from the Class of 1963. Please let me know if you might be available for this task. firstname.lastname@example.org
An internment at the Naval Academy will take place at a later date
Virginia and I moved to the Huntsville AL area to be closer to our son, Jeff (an Auburn grad) after many years in the Atlanta area.
Current address is
2717 Deford Mill Rd. SE
Owens Crossroads AL 35763
If any classmate is in the area please call.
Viewing will be from 6:00 to 8:00 on Wednesday the 13th at Ted Dickey West Funeral Home, 7990 Geo Bush Turnpike, Dallas, TX 75252. The funeral will be at 11:00 on Thursday the 14th at Christ United Methodist Church, 3101 Coit Rd., Plano TX 75075.
Celebration of Life service @ Fleet Landing, Atlantic Beach, on 25 March @ 1PM, in Coleman Center temporary auditorium. Lots of construction in progress here. And seating somewhat limited, so suggest those planning to attend come early (otherwise may be standing @ parade rest, or so...). Tell Gate guard Tomlin Service.
Interment @ USNA Columbarium on June 5, with details to follow.
Save the Date. Next Class '63 Luncheon is 1130 Tuesday March 5 at the Army Navy Country Club
George died 12/3/16 but his services are scheduled for Friday, 3 May 2019 at the Naval Academy Chapel/Columbarium at 10am.
Date: 6 April 2019
Location: Del Mar Powerhouse Community Center, 1658 Coast Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014.
Time: 1400 - 1700
RSVP (No NEGS) to Betty Ray Wilson at email@example.com , please info Phil Marsden at firstname.lastname@example.org
Betty Ray urges anyone interested in attending to RSVP now. The room at the Powerhouse facility has a capacity of only 115 people and she has already received RSVPs for 80 attendees! Don't delay if you want to attend!
Dear Classmates and Members of the Class of the 1963 Family,
It is clear, crisp and cold here in Annapolis on this Christmas eve 2018. Exams were administered to the Brigade over the last ten days. With the order "pencils down" the Midshipmen were on their way home for Christmas leave. It is quiet in the yard, a hushed silence.
This holiday season there are many Class of 63 seats by the fire or places at the family dinner table that are unoccupied. Those who occupied them are absent but not forgotten. They are, as Dickens might say, " the spirits of Christmas past and the ghosts of Christmas present" They are responsible in no small measure for the many joys we celebrate this season. They are with us each and every day no matter the season They are in our thoughts and prayers. They are us.
From our house to yours, warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year.
Andrea and Spencer Johnson
Items of Ongoing Interest
A Great Opportunity for Classmates
Click Here for the letter to the Class from Mario regarding Bill's situation and the status of his clemency effort. MS Word required.
The basic colors are blue and gold for the colors of the Naval Academy. We also added red for the Marine Corps, pale blue (sock-bag blue) for the Air Force and a small black stripe between the red and pale blue for the Army. This was done to recognize members of the Class of 1963 who upon commissioning served in the sister branches of the armed services. The main blue and gold stripes are six units wide and each of the three smaller stripes is one unit wide. That way you get a combination of 6 and 3, for the Class of 1963. There is then a 12-unit drop in Navy blue and the pattern repeats itself.
Class ties, both four-in-hand and bow, are available as well as scarves and cummerbunds. The price of each item is $63 or if you order any three items the discounted price is $163 and if you order all four the price is $200.
Orders can be placed with Ms. Jessi Crawford, % Lowe Enterprises, PO Box 12393, Aspen, CO 81812.
Here are photos of Cynthia DeFrancia and June and Chuck
modeling the items.
I added a brief note concerning the death of classmate Dick Bryant who died in an accident prior to graduation. Click here.
If you look at Last Call you'll note that we have no obituary or other remembrance for over half of our deceased classmates.
If you have any formal information for any of these classmates or just want to express your memories of them drop me a line at Steve C. and I'll publish a page for them.
- Put on a catered meal on weekday or weekend.. They will provide a room and tables. The rest is provided by the party putting on the catered meal including silverware. They would invite family members. Could be for 30 wounded and family members.
- Provide funds
Semper Fi Fund. Provides every family with money to help them while here. Designated for Marines and NavyCorpsman. http://www.SemperFiFund.org
Yellow Ribbon Fund - Provides family members free taxis, rental cars. http://www.yellowribbonfund.com/yellowribbonfund/
- USO - USO hires caterers to provide catered meals. http://www.uso.org/
- Armed Forces Foundation - Meets the family members when they arrive in town. http://www.armedforcesfoundation.org/
- Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society - Pay bills of family members while here. http://www.nmcrs.org/index.html
I have had two types of cancer presumed to have been caused by Agent Orange from my in-country service in Vietnam. It would appear that the VA is now honoring claims for compensation from veterans who also served at sea in the areas near Vietnam. For example, the claim is successfully being made that water sprayed with the poison made its way into the ship's purification systems and into the drinking water.
Based on clinical research, the following diseases are on VA's Agent Orange list of presumptive disabilities: chloracne, Hodgkin's disease, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, porphyria cutanea tarda, respiratory cancers (lung, bronchus, larynx and trachea), soft-tissue sarcoma, acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy, and prostate cancer. A regulation is being developed to add diabetes mellitus.
In addition, monetary benefits, health care, and vocational rehabilitation services are provided to Vietnam veterans' offspring with spina bifida, a congenital birth defect of the spine. A new law authorizes health care and monetary benefits to children of female veterans who served in Vietnam for certain additional birth defects.
My advice, if you contract one of these diseases, is to work with an outside service organization, such as the American Legion. They will help with the paperwork and get you your compensation. Be patient - it takes forever. . The VA needs proof of service in Vietnam (DD214, etc) and proof that you have one of these diseases from your doctor or medical facility. My claim for the prostate cancer took six months. My claim for lung cancer was submitted in December and as of the end of March was just approved. I still have another hearing in June before it is considered permanent.
Be sure to also take advantage of the VA health care system. Although I have used my civilian doctors for the major procedures (more for convenience only), the VA doctors are real pro's and the benefit of zero co-pay for prescriptions is worth a lot. For example, after my latest surgery I was still losing weight. My doctor was concerned and told me to drink two cans of Ensure daily, costing about $2 per day. I called the VA and I now receive Ensure at no cost.
From Mike Cronin:
Until recently it was true that VA compensation was used as an offset to military retired pay. A retired vet who later received VA disability compensation had his military retired pay reduced by the amount of the VA compensation. Since VA compensation is not taxed, the veteran did receive a tax benefit, but the dollar amount of monthly income before taxes did not change.
That has now changed. Several years ago Congress agreed to phase out that offset provision over ten years. Bottom line: if you have any disability that might be service connected you should apply to the VA and let them decide if you are entitled to compensation. If they decide you are at least partially disabled you will come out dollars ahead even before taxes are considered. Apply now. Compensation is dated from the day you apply even though the VA decision process can take years.
One final note. Military retirees can use VA medical facilities without risking their military retired health care (Tricare) benefits.
From Ken Sanger:
Some who receive disability compensation can double dip.
The following is from the VA website at http://www.dod.mil/prhome/mppcrsc.html
"The Department of Defense has two programs designed to reduce the reduction in retired pay due to receipt of Veteran Administration compensation, for certain disabled retirees.
Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments (CRDP) provides a 10-year phase-out of the offset to military retired pay due to receipt of VA disability compensation for members whose combined disability rating is 50% or greater . Members retired under disability provisions must have 20 years of service.
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) pays added benefits to retirees who receive VA disability compensation for combat-related disabilities and have 20 years of service ."
And this from a 2006 document found on the above site:
"The Department of Defense is currently receiving and processing applications for the Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) program. The CRSC program became effective May 31, 2003, for qualified retirees with combat-related disabilities. Payments are retroactive to June 1, 2003, for otherwise qualified members. The criteria of eligibility to receive CRSC payments have been expanded effective January 1, 2004, to include members with any percentage combat-related disability compensated by the VA.C"
Irish Pennants are loose threads that invite attention, or may need to be tied up or cut off. For the purpose of this web site, they represent miscellaneous thoughts, threads of discussion and points of view by classmates and colleagues. To submit [or respond] to Irish Pennants, just send an e-mail to email@example.com without objection from the Class Secretary, they will be published on this site, invite rebuttal or response, and eventually [perhaps] fade away.
Class of 1963 facts and lore, Cannonball recipe, satire, humor
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