Pride & Tradition

USNA Class of 1963

photo courtesy:   USS WASP (LHD 1)


Line of Duty Classmate Deaths

  • Click Here for video on YouTube


    The Class in Vietnam

  • Classmates on The Wall:  Vietnam Memorial

  • Classmates Vietnam Articles
  • Click Here for three items about our classmate Ralph Kimberlin. You'll need Adobe Reader to view these. Provided by Dave Riley:

    The first attachment is from the July 2002 issue of the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine regarding his involvement in developing the C-47 Spooky/Puff the Magic Dragon concept that became well known during the Vietnam Conflict.

    The second item is the front cover of the June 2002 Experimenter showing Ralph flying a P-51 replica in celebration of Loehle Aircraft's 25th anniversary.

    The third is from the University of Tennessee alumni publication providing an abbreviated version of what's in the Smithsonian magazine. Some of you may not be aware that Professor Kimberlin headed up the Space Institute at UT until his recent retirement.

  • "Shootout in the Gulf", Wings of Gold Rescue feature about Vern Von Sydow's rescue of a VA-153 A-4E pilot.
  • Click Here for the first page
  • Click Here for the second page

    Vern sent this: We had 63ers: Bob Wildman, Jerry Smith and Ollie Donelan in our HS-6 Squadron with much more difficult and daring rescues than mine.
    Proud to have served with above group- they were a class act!


  • From Gazette.net June 6, 2012--Darnestown Vietnam veteran honored by DAR.
    by Peggy MceWAN, Staff Writer

    Although he spent six years in the "Hanoi Hilton," an infamous North Vietnam prison after his plane was shot down during the Vietnam War, retired U.S. Navy Capt. Michael Paul Cronin of Darnestown does not consider himself a hero.

    Members of the Hungerford's Tavern Chapter, Potomac, thought otherwise and nominated him for the Daughters of the American Revolution Medal of Honor, an award given to a U.S. citizen showing extraordinary leadership, trustworthiness, service and patriotism.

    Cronin received the award at the DAR Maryland State Conference in Baltimore on March 24.

    "I was honored, but all these honors are in a way embarrassing," Cronin said. "Fifty-eight thousand guys are dead, many others are missing [limbs]. I'm grateful and am an obvious target [for awards] but I wonder, 'Why me?'"

    There are plenty of reasons why the group nominated Cronin, according to a letter from Kathryn George of the Hungerford's Tavern chapter.

    The 1963 U.S. Naval Academy graduate earned two Silver Stars, The Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, four Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts during his years in the Navy, George wrote.

    "Captain Cronin made a lasting contribution to American heritage through his service as Navy pilot during the Vietnam War, his courageous and valiant record as a U.S. POW, and for having conceived the idea and working to pass the War Crimes Act of 1996, which states that any war crimes committed to or by a U.S. Armed Services member or U.S. national are federal crimes as required by the Geneva Conventions," George wrote.


  • "Vietnam War: Operation Dewey Canyon", Historynet.com article about classmate Dan Hitzelberger .
  • Click Here for the online article

  • USS Intrepid's 70 Anniversary celebration

    This picture of Robert Black and Charlie Minter standing before the actual F-8 Crusader flown by Tony Nargi in Vietnam. The photo was taken incident to the 16 Aug. 2013 ceremony recognizing the 70th anniversary of the Intrepid's commissioning and a reunion of former crew members, including a number of plank owners. Since Charlie's Dad, our Commandant Admiral Minter, commanded the ship in the early '60s, Charlie was invited to participate in part of the ceremony (wreath laying) and Rob is a member of the Intrepid Association.


  • December 25, 2013--Christmas 2013 Jim Ring Visits The Wall
    Made it to the Wall to visit Jim Patterson and our other 12 classmates on the Wall. Left the flag by Jim's panel. Picture taken on Christmas morning. Wreaths are from the same company that does the wreaths for Arlington Cemetery. Not sure who sent the tree. I have the exact location on the Wall for each classmate. Great place to spend time with those who long ago could no longer celebrate Christmas. If you want the info on their location, contact me at jep.ring@gmail.

    Webmaster note: Wall locations of each of our fallen classmates can be found on this page at VietNam.html


  • March 31, 2014--Mike Cronin POW Bracelet Returned
    Jackie Cronin posted this photo of a letter and a Mike Cronin POW bracelet on Facebook. Amazing after all these years. I share it here.



    Class Valor
    Classmates' valor - to honor our recipients of combat decorations, available citations for Silver Star and higher precedence decorations are displayed.


    Class of 1963 Chapel Pew
    Displays the plaque which our class has placed on pew 63 in the USNA chapel

    USS Fitzgerald
    A link to the official web site of the USS FITZGERALD, which includes an excellent biography on Lt. William Fitzgerald '63; We've added a few photos from commissioning provided by John Guzik, a former crewmember.  Also there are some photos taken by classmates at the commissioning ceremony. The painting of the FITZGERALD by our classmate Dick Whalen was given to the USNA Museum in October 1998 [during our 35th Reunion] by the Fitzgerald family.  
  • August 1, 2013 Two Group Photos at USS Fitzgerald Commissioning (Adobe Reader required)
  • Celebration of Bill Fitzgerald's 50th Anniversary of USNA graduation (Adobe Reader required)
  • USS Fitzgerald September 2007 Newsletter (Adobe Reader required)
  • USS Fitzgerald Family Readiness Group( FRG)
    This provided by Jim Ring on August 21, 2008
    Because it is homeported in Japan, our Class has had little contact with the ship, other than copies of Ship's newsletters that are emailed to us. As a means of maintaining a link to perhaps the only ship ever named after our Classmate, a tremendous honor, I propose that classmates offer some financial support to USS Fitzgerald Family Readiness Group( FRG).

    Its purpose is to promote and create a friendly and social relationship among its members, to raise funds for group oriented activities and to serve the family members and the crew of the USS Fitzgerald. Membership consists of any USS Fitzgerald family member who wish to become a part of this organization. The Family Readiness Group plans and organizes various activities for children such as bowling parties, movie night, holiday parties etc. They hold fundraising events for these activities. The group would be ever so grateful for any donations from members of the USNA Class of 1963. They do monthly social activities for children and spouses. They try to get out in town because Japan can be very scary for some of our members. The group also organizes the children's holiday parties and had a wonderful turn out last year for both. Fundraisers are held in the form of bake sales and they are currently putting together a cook book to sell.

    I think donations of $25 to $100 would help them a lot. I intend on sending $100.
    Jim Ring

    The address to send donations is:
    USS Fitzgerald Family Readiness Group
    PSC 473 Box 1941
    FPO-AP 96349-1941
    Click for some photos from a recent Family Day Cruise


    USS Midway Museum
    The Class of 1963 supported the dedication by VA-23 of a restored A-4 bearing the name of classmate Stan Smiley

       
      A Seaman's Eye
      by Dick Whalen 

      In addition to the painting of the FITZGERALD, Dick Whalen has produced several other paintings of US Navy ships in action. 

      Click here for the collection.

      Snaphots of his work, along with a biography of the artist, are a unique feature of USNA63.org.

      Here's Dick's Ad/Brochure. Click Here

      October 2008: A Great Opportunity for Classmates

      Obtain high quality near original archival replica "giclee" of the USS Fitzgerald. These are printed on canvas and Dick is offering a maximum edition size of 100, signed and numbered by Dick for $600 plus shipping, for approximately 24x36 size. Can produce larger canvases on request by separate quotation.... probably up to a maximum of around 42" x 52". They are of a much higher fidelity and quality than a lithograph and are state of the art for high quality replica paintings. Giclees are superior to traditional lithography in several ways. The colors are brighter, last longer, and are so high-resolution that they are virtually continuous tone, rather than tiny dots. The range, or "gamut" of color for giclees is far beyond that of lithography, and details are crisper.

      What an opportunity to honor our classmate Bill Fitzgerald and to own an heirloom print of our Class's only ship.

      Contact Dick Whalen at seamanseye@cox.net or
      757-496-0274

    The Herndon Monument Climb
    A history of the "tain't no more plebes" ceremony which features '63s John Truesdell

    Here's an article from the May 19, 2014 Capital Gazette which also features John.Click Here



    Class Genealogy
    Generational connections (Family Military Traditions:  to include '63 descendants and ancestors who attended USNA, USMA, USAFA, USCGA)


    Bibliography
    Two full rooms of books.  Publications by '63 authors, publications by other USNA grads, items about USNA, other recommended titles.    Includes references in print and other media.



    Sea Stories
    True lies but no videotape.  Sea Stories submitted by classmates.



    Cubi Cat
    Tales of the legendary NAS Cubi Point Officers' Club. A must for aviators!


    Pride & Tradition:  Class Reunion Thoughts
      Keeping Remembrance Alive  - (30th Reunion)   by Tom Taylor
      Reflections - (35th Reunion)   by Steve Duncan
      Class President Spencer Johnson's talking points for the Superintendent:(50th Reunion)-- a fine compilation of our class accomplishments, milestones and unique occurrences during our four years. -    by Spencer Johnson

    Dedication of Ted Willandt's Class Ring to the Alumni Association
      Spencer Johnson's report of the dedication ceremony
      Attendees and Photos from the dedication

    Pride & Tradition:  Memories
      7 July 1959 - (The Beginning) and other Plebe Summer Memories 
      Terry's Team -Mike Cronin relates his experiences riding in the MS150 bike ride on Terry's Team 
      Army-Navy Photos '59-'62 -A few old Army-Navy Game photos 
      Dirck Praeger's Car-St.Christopher -This is a great story about a great car. 
      18th Co. Christmas Party -A Tale of Misspent Youth. 
      Reflections of a Blackshoe -By VADM Harold Koenig, USN (Ret)
      Dirck Praeger's Hitchhiking Tale -Tales of hitchhiking home for summer leaves 
      Dirck Praeger's "Over-the-Wall" Tale -This tale will hit home for lots from '63 
      Dirck Praeger's "War Against the Language Prof" Tale  
      Dirck Praeger's "Adventures in Getting to Army-Navy '62"  
      Dirck Praeger's "Boots and Whiskey"  
      Dirck Praeger's "Camping on the Shenandoah"  
      Mal Wright's "Mal Wright and Larry Marsh Exchange Adm. Rickover's Picture for 38th Time"  
      Bill Pawlyk's Nuke Memories  
      Sam Garde's Old Midshipman Photos from Brooklyn Newspapers  
      Army-Navy Past: Joe Bellino (from Baltimore Sun)  
      Army-Navy Past: QBs recall historic '63 matchup 1963 from Navy Times  
      Coin that JFK would have tossed in 1963 Army-Navy game will finally be used 50 years later from Capital Gazette 12/10/13. Click Here for image of the coin on its plaque  
      Coin that JFK did toss in 1962 Army-Navy game--from 1962 Navy Football Captain, classmate Steve Hoy  
      Click Here for a video from Vietnam of Randy Orlowski and Bill Beck surfing with explanation from Randy.
          Jim Ring added this footnote:
    In early 66, I was Sea and Anchor detail Officer of the Deck on PAUL REVERE as we entered Danang Harbor. She was over 600 ft long and was not easy to maneuver, but we really had to watch out for the water skiers who were cruising around the harbor behind the welfare and rec speedboats. It was close to China Beach. What was really strange was you could hear artillery booming off in the distance. Often wondered if any of those skiers are on the Vietnam Wall from injuries suffered while water skiing. Very strange indeed!

      Click Here for Dave Moore's memory of a memorable evening on Diego Garcia  
     February 28, 2014-- Click Here for a photo of a poster recently found in the basement of Johnson's on the Avenue with many '63 signatures  
            Click Here for blown up sections of the poster to see your name  

     July2, 2014-- Click Here for Tom Kelley's remembrance of rendering honors to JFK on the USS Kitty Hawk  
     July 2, 2014-- Click Here for Tom Kelley's experience of witnessing a nuclear explosion from the USS Kitty Hawk.  
     July 5, 2014-- Click Here for A January-February 1996 Shipmate featured article about Ensign Jim Oakes meeting Admiral Nimitz.  

     July 21, 2014-- Click Here for Steve Coester's memories of helping launch Apollo 11 to the moon and preventing a launch scrub on July 16, 1969    

    Midshipman Memories 
      Pat Waugh Tells an Amazing Story   by Pat Waugh
      Memories of Marching and Formations    by Dave Moore, Mike Shelley, and Mike Moore
      AWOL in Morroco    by John Morgan
      Bricking    by John Morgan
      Painting the Smokestack    by Zimm Zimmerman
      My Best Christmas    by Spencer Johnson
      Mess Hall Antics    by Dirck Praeger
      Tales from the Natatorium    by Steve Coester
      My Unlikely Journey to a Varsity letter    by Steve Coester



    Pride & Tradition:

    Lest We Forget
      USS Scorpion Sinking Analysis - Provided by Jim Ring April 2010
      USS Scorpion Sinking Analysis - Provided by Bob LaGassa 10/20/2013
      Lasswell, USMC, Cryptographer - Classmate Jim Lasswell's father who identified Midway Island as Japanese invasion target
      Account of Pentagon Attack - Betty Maxfield (Wife of Kent)
      Address to the Troops (5 June 1944) - Gen. George Patton, USA
      Eulogy for a Fighter Pilot -  Pat Conroy
      What So Proudly We Hail - Capt. John McCain, '58
      Farewell to the Corps - Gen. Charles Krulak, '64
      Speech to Senior NCO Academy Graduation - General John P. Jumper
      The Boat School Boys - By Captain Richard A. Stratton, U.S. Navy (Retired)
      Flag Raising on Iwo Jima - From www.goodolddogs.com
      Home is the Sailor-John Paul Jones - From www.smithsonianmagazine.com
      Search for the Bonhomme Richard

    In 2010 our Class provided $4500 to aid in the search for the Bonhomme Richard. Click on the title link for an article; Searching for the Bonhomme Richard: A Tale of Two Navies. The article was authored by Melissa Ryan, the architect of the Naval Academy's BHR on-line course and the project manager for the ongoing search for the BHR. I think you will find it a very interesting read.

    Another item is Melissa Ryan's ongoing blog, which can be found at: http://searchforbhr.blogspot.com/.

    A Smithsonian Channel special on the search for the Bonhomme Richard: "Mighty Ships: USNS Grasp", was aired on Sunday, Feb. 10 at 8:00 pm EST on the Smithsonian Channel. The USNS GRASP was the search vessel designated for the 2011 search for the BHR, which was led by Melissa Ryan and included 2/c Joe Walters. His participation was funded by '63 generosity.

    While the 2012 search did not include midshipman participation, funding from the Class of 1963 helped ensure midshipman participation in 2010 and 2011, and re-energized the commitment of both the US and French navies to find John Paul Jones' elusive flagship. So in many ways, today's ongoing search is the result of our philanthropy.


      Fathers Day 1943 During WWII
    Bob Abate sent in this post based on an interview he conducted with a WWII veteran. Click Here

      "In answer to 'Annapolis Teaching Young Sea Dogs Old Tricks"
    Jim DeFrancia wrote this article in the April 1963 issue of Shipmate in rebuttal to an article by David Boroff in Harper's Click Here

      22 November 1963: Where Were You

    Our Class had a unique relationship with President John F. Kennedy. He became president when we became upper class. He was a Navy Man, war hero, skipper of PT-109. He loved football and the Army-Navy game. We lost our 'rubbers' when we marched in his Inaugural Parade, and we lost our innocence on 22 November 1963. Our experiences that day were unique, and for the first time since throwing our hats in Halsey Field House, we were all unified via a single event.

    What is your story? Where were you when you first heard that the President had been assassinated? Click Here

    To add to the list contact Mike Blackledge at Mike@Blackledge.com.


      D-Day June 6, 1944
    Bob Abate sent in this post on June 5, 2014 based on an interview he conducted with a WWII veteran. Click Here

    Ethics
      Military Leadership in a Changing Society - James H. Webb, '68
      Remarks at JSCOPE 2000 - Gen Charles Krulak, '64
      If It's Not Fun, Then Why Do We Do It?  -  Col. Wayne Shaw, USMC

    Media Literacy
    Men of Annapolis - The Television Series  -  Capt. Sherman 'Bud' Alexander, '56
    Graduation Speech to Class of 1993  -  Sen. John McCain, '58
    NATO and the Future Use of Military Force  -  Stephen M. Duncan, '63



    Vanity License Plates
    Photographs of our classmates USNA/Navy inspired license plates



    Old Midshipman Photos
    Photographs taken by our classmates in the good old days. Arranged by company.



    Army-Navy Football '59-'62 Photos
    Photographs from OUR Army-Navy games.



    Navy Defeats Notre Dame after Forty-Three Years
    Photograph and "Miracle on Turf" by John Feinstein



    Thirtieth VietNam Wall Remembrance Ceremony June 10, 1995
    History and photos at the ceremony.



    Nick Nerangis '63--Hogette
    A Wall Street Journal tribute to our Hogette.


    George Tracy '63 Named to Lacrosse Hall of Fame
    Click for the article copied from navysports.cstv.com


    Distinguished Graduate-Roger Tetrault
    Click the above title for the complete Distinguished Graduate Nomination packet.

    We are pleased to announce that four U.S. Naval Academy alumni were chosen by the Naval Academy Alumni Association as the 2013 recipients of the Distinguished Graduate Award. Congratulations to:

    Mr. Roger E. Tetrault, Class of 1963, served as a naval aviator upon graduating from the Naval Academy. He established the USNA Ethics Leadership Chair; was vice president and general manager of the naval nuclear fuel division of Babcock & Wilcox when the company became sole naval reactor supplier, saving the Navy hundreds of millions of dollars; and served with NASA on the Advisory Council Committee, International Space Station Task Force, Columbia Accident Investigation Board and National Research Council Committee and was awarded their Distinguished Public Service Medal.

    The Honorable John S. Redd, Class of 1966, served in the surface warfare community following graduation from the Academy. He retired as a vice admiral, having commanded eight organizations at sea, including founding the first new fleet in half a century, U. S. Fifth Fleet in the Middle East; served as Deputy Administrator and Chief Operating Officer of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq; and was selected by President George W. Bush to serve as the first Senate-confirmed director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).

    Ambassador Richard L. Armitage, Class of 1967, selected service as a surface warfare officer when he graduated from the Academy. He organized and led the evacuation of 30,000 South Vietnamese naval personnel and assets at the close of the Vietnam War; served as ambassador to the newly independent states following the dissolution of the Soviet Union; and was the 13th Deputy Secretary of State.

    Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, USN (Ret.), Class of 1970, selected service in the nuclear power submarine community upon graduating from the Naval Academy. He served as Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet; served as Commander, U.S. Pacific Command; and was awarded the Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale award for Inspirational Leadership.

    Each year, we honor distinguished graduates because of their demonstrated and unselfish commitment to a lifetime of service, their personal character, and the significant contributions they have made to the Navy and Marine Corps or as leaders in industry or government. The 2013 Distinguished Graduate Award Ceremony will be held on Friday, 22 March 2013.

    Congratulations to the 2013 Distinguished Graduates!

    Byron Marchant '78
    President, U. S. Naval Academy Alumni Association






  • 1963 USNA Graduation Speech by President Lyndon Johnson June 5, 1963
    Click the above title for Graduation speech.




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