Shipmate Column
January-February 2017

Pres:  CAPT W. Spencer Johnson IV, USN (Ret.)
Sec'y: Michael H. Shelley
164 Sweetwater Lane, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
h: 828-862-4245  e:
Web site:

For any classmate you can go to the Classmates Page and enter his name to read his current biography if available.

        The passing years continue to thin our ranks, and I am sorry to report the loss of three of our classmates in October. Be sure to visit the Last Call section of our web site to see obituaries and other information about those who have gone ahead.
        Michael A. Pero passed away on 4 October. Mike's widow, Leslie, can be contacted at 66 Franklin Street #310, Annapolis, MD 21401.

        Lars ("Jack") Runquist, Sr. died on 20 October. His widow, Carolyn, can be contacted at 674 Crowells Bog Road, Brewster, MA 02531.

        John F. Stone passed away on 23 October. His widow, Mardi, can be contacted at 563 Fordyce, Ashland, OR 97520.

        Albuquerque resident Mike Blackledge filed this report about a luncheon rendezvous of two 4th Company couples.
     On Wednesday, 21 September, Bonnie and I were driving from Las Vegas (no, not that Vegas, the one in New Mexico) to Bonnie's Family Reunion in Nebraska, so of course along the way we wanted to see if Jo Ann and Lou Simpleman were available for lunch in their hometown of Trinidad, CO.
     They were, and we lunched at the Primero Cafe at the Mount Carmel Health, Wellness, and Community Center, an effort that has been dear to the hearts of the Simpleman family for many years. Lou is a member of the center's Board of Directors. This picture shows Lou, Bonnie, me, and Jo Ann. The photos on the wall are vintage from the historic past of Trinidad, and include views of two of the coal mines in which Lou's father was employed for 47 years.
Lunchtime in Trinidad, Colorado

        It was good to hear from Mike Moore, who filed this news of a reunion in September.
     Connie and I were honored to be visited at our home in Morgan Hill, CA, by Chris Munger and his friend Muffy who were traveling to San Diego from a wedding in Seattle. Chris was planning to stop and see my USNA roommate, Bill Stewart, who is in failing health and to offer moral support to Bill's daughter and caregiver, Suzy Stewart. It was the first time I have seen Chris since spring of 1962 when I left the 15th Company.
     Although Chris and Muffy stayed but one night, Chris got me caught up on a lot of classmates. I am proud to be associated with every one of them. I am especially proud of our classmate Chris Munger for his lifetime of noble service to our country in one form or another. He is still participating in numerous law enforcement roles, having served a long career with the FBI after his Marine Corps service. He is a living example of "Non sibi, sed patriae." I can't describe the joy, and pride, of seeing a classmate after 54 years. It was as I can only imagine seeing a lost brother. As a non-grad Life Member, I have been reluctant to attend reunions thinking it could be awkward, but after this visit, Connie and I will definitely be in San Diego and looking forward to renewing classmates' acquaintances.
Chris Munger and Mike Moore

        In September, Felix deGolian (Atlanta, GA) and Steve Duncan (Alexandria, VA) travelled to San Diego, picked up Chuck Stone from his home in Escondido, and set off for a three-day escape based aboard the former Cunard liner RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach. In addition to relaxation and extended conversations, a highlight of their varied activities was a tour of USS IOWA (BB-61) in nearby San Pedro.
deGolian, Stone, and Duncan on the bridge of the Queen Mary

        I received this brief email from Phil Gubbins, sent from his home in Bellingham, WA.
     We are doing well. Just weathered our first Northwest storm and are awaiting the arrival of the next one. We had some visitors this year -- Bud Johnson last February, Bruce Webb in August, and Anna Riley in September. It was great to see and spend some time with them; they are all doing really well. I also had occasion to travel to the PAX River in May to participate in the retirement of one of my former "Baby Ensigns" now a Captain -- somebody must be getting old.

        Dave Byrnes sent a note to say that he had visited two of his 18th Companymates. He went to see Don Hidy in Charlotte in July, then continued into South Carolina to visit Shelley and Cole Lindell for a week at their home in Aiken.

        Here is another outdoor report from Phillip Marsden and his frequent expedition buddy Dave Moore. They continue to set an example for the less active among us.
     Dave, our mutual shipmate Steve Clarey, and I car-camped in Rock Creek Canyon for five nights this August. The canyon, west of Hwy 395 between Bishop and Mammoth Lakes, opens into the beautiful Little Lakes Valley that is a popular hiking and fishing area in the eastern Sierras. We hiked three local trails to Morgan Pass, Mono Pass, and Tamarack Lakes. One day was spent at nearby Mammoth Lakes on a forest trail from Gregory Lake to Emerald Lake. After a chilly thunderstorm on arrival, we were blessed with sunny, blue-bird days and clear, cold nights. One highlight: Dave showed his mettle late one night by protecting the camp site from a hungry bear! Here is a photo of Dave and me at the Morgan Pass trail head.
Sierra Nevada campers

        Surely, others among us spend time in healthy activities such as cycling, racquet sports, golf, swimming, and pumping iron. Tell me about your activity so I can share the inspiration with our readers.
        Three of our USNA companies -- the 2nd, 6th, and 24th -- held reunions this fall. The reports I received make it clear that these were very memorable occasions.
        Reporting on the 2nd Company gathering, Derek Simmons sent these details.
     Blessed by friendship, health, and weather a fine crowd of 2nd Company folks gathered at the Grand Hotel Marriott on the shores of Mobile Bay in Point Clear, AL, during the weekend of October 13-16 to celebrate with each other the more than 57 years since we first met on the shores of Chesapeake Bay. The assembly included Al and Craig Key, Bob and Zoe Lagassa, Bob and Anne Little, Shelby and Bonnie Alcott, Paul and Lynne Tobin, Paul Saacke, Rich and Mary Ann Nutt, Jim and Carol Ann Shull, Mike and Maureen Schery, and Derek and Dana Simmons.
     Al and Craig Key live in Point Clear and last year hosted Bob and Zoe Lagassa at their home. Bob believed Point Clear would be a perfect spot for a 2nd Company get-together and Al and Craig agreed to host. They created a flexible itinerary that took full advantage of all there is to do in their vicinity. We drank and ate and swapped sea stories on their dock and boathouse on Mobile Bay the first night. We spent day two on a boat tour of the delta learning its ecology and some of its history. Later, some went on a history tour and others visited the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. Lynne and Paul Tobin were our savvy guides and hosts there.
At the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola

2nd Company underway in Mobile Bay

     We took a sunset sail on Joshua -- a tall ship built in the manner of historic sailing vessels plying the waters of Mobile Bay. We ate and drank, and danced and drank, and ate and danced. And talked. And talked. And remembered things that never happened and mis-remembered things that did. And talked. And drank. And ate. And thanks to our hosts Al and Craig Key -- had a "Navy ball." (Though more fun and less formal than the one being held at NAS Pensacola.)

        Bill Hughes sent this account of the 6th company's reunion.
     In mid October the Sixth company held a three-day reunion at the Washington Duke Inn on the beautiful Duke University campus in Durham, NC. Grace and Mike Lents were our wonderful hosts who put together a great schedule of eating, sightseeing in the Raleigh/Durham area, and relaxing together.
     The highlight was an afternoon at the Lents' beautiful home learning all about quilt making and awing and ooing at the numerous colorful quilts covering the walls. Grace, who has won many awards at county fairs, etc., does all the planning, cutting and meticulous sewing, while Mike runs the huge computerized long armed quilt sewing machine that ties it all together. Amazing talent!
     This picture was taken in front of the impressive Duke University Chapel, which could rival many European gothic cathedrals. Shown (l-r) are Sue and Ted Delgaizo, Ramona and Don Lachata, Mike and Grace Lents, Janet Gushue, Chuck and Marion Maclin, Peter and Jackie Brown, Bob and Sharon Borlet, Dottie and Bill Hughes, Lorna and Chuck Frazer, and Dick and Julie Arvedlund.
Sixth Company reunion in North Carolina

        Serving as reunion correspondent for the 24th Company, Roger Mehle provided this description of their time together in Maine.
     From September 30 through October 2, Pat and George Emery hosted eleven members of the 24th Company and their spouses/Significant Others at a "mid-term," i.e., 52.5-year, reunion, at the Emerys' beautiful home and the historic Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport, ME. The couples attending were Andrews, Emery, Jacoby, Mehle, Metviner, Morgan, Nerangis, Parks/Drefin, Shackelton, Thompson, and Wilson.
     These group photos show everyone. In the picture of the ladies are (back row L-R) Kathy Nerangis, Gaye Jacoby, Judy Morgan, Pat Emery, Desi Dreffin, Patty Thompson, and Colette Mehle and (front row L-R) Susan Andrews, Sandy Metviner, Betty Ray Wilson, and Judy Shackelton.
24th Company ladies

24th Company gents

     The men standing for this picture are (L-R) Nick Nerangis, George Emery, Dick Andrews, Tom Morgan, Roger Mehle, Tommy Thompson, Ken Metviner, Steve Jacoby, John Parks, Norm Shackelton, and Rich Wilson.
     The reunion began with a Friday evening cocktail reception at the Emerys -- featuring an in-depth tour, for the guys, of George's unparalleled "submarine man-cave." On Saturday, we gathered in the man-cave to watch the disappointing Air Force game (Beat Army!), but were solaced that evening with a splendid all-you-can-eat New England lobster bake at the Colony Hotel.
Betty Ray Wilson, Kathy Nerangis, Gaye Jacoby, Sandy Metviner, and Susan Andrews

Roger Mehle and Nick Nerangis

Tom Morgan and Ken Metviner

     On Sunday, George escorted several of us to visit his and Pat's classic summer cottage on Mousam Lake, right on the water and with views to die for. That day also, a few hardy souls played "pickle ball" for the first time, under the patient tutelage of pickle ball semi-professional Tom Morgan (who brought his pickle ball net with him!). That evening, the gang had a delightful dinner at the Hurricane Restaurant in Kennebunkport -- where George and Pat knew all the servers and several of the patrons!
George and Pat Emery

Kathy and Nick Nerangis

Rich and Betty Ray Wilson

Susan and Dick Andrews

Gaye and Steve Jacoby

Desi Dreffin (Parks) with Judy and Tom Morgan

Roger and Colette Mehle

     We said our good-byes on Monday morning over breakfast at the Colony Hotel, with many of us going on to visit relatives or to sightsee in the New England area, but all of us pledging to assemble again in San Diego in 2018!

        It has been a long time since we mentioned Navy tennis or squash in our column. Some memories of Army-Navy competitions were stirred by this email from Phillip Marsden to Steve Coester:
     During a recent trip to DC, I had dinner with an old West Point nemesis of both you (tennis) and me (squash), Ernie Oehrlein '64. He was in my OR section at the NPGS in Monterey and we have remained friends all these years. This photo shows Ernie and Ginger, his wife, with Martha and me plus Bob and Sharon Forster. Bob was also in our OR section. Did Navy ever beat West Point in tennis while we were there?

        Steve responded to the question, noting that
     Oehrlein was a great tennis and squash player like our Lee Pekary. A 2013 Navy media guide for tennis shows the all-time Army-Navy tennis results to that date as Navy 59 Army 33. Navy had a winning streak from 1950 through 1961. Navy lost to Army in '62 and '63. In '63, Army won 5-4 and we lost when Norm Radke sprained his ankle in his #3 singles match and couldn't continue. Lee and I were the only ones from '63 on the '63 squad. I won both my singles and doubles (with Lee) against Army in '63. Lee was 67-20 over three years and was the '63 Captain. My record was 29-12. Other '63ers with records were Karabasz 14-16, Cox (injured) 3-3, Reed 3-2 and Anderson 2-0. The tennis team records during our varsity years were 1961 10-8-1, 1962 13-5-1 and 1963 11-6.
        Pat Pekary added this nice story which shows the inspiration provided by having a sweetheart present at a competition.
     I'm fortunate to have dated Lee for three years and watched most of his singles and doubles matches. Nice memories. Oehrlein had a brother. Lee lost to the younger brother in tennis but beat both brothers in squash. I remember the 1962 squash match. Coach Potter took the team to West Point. I had final exams and took my suitcase to class for a Friday afternoon final, then ran across a field to catch the streetcar downtown to the Baltimore Trailways bus depot. It started snowing. I had to transfer in New York City, and the snow was coming down hard. I caught the last bus to West Point that night. Coach Potter met me and took me to the Army squash courts. Lee was already playing, and losing 2-0. There were five games in a match. Lee saw me and started winning points. He won the match. I've never forgotten it because he played the older Oehrlein brother, who was shocked by the turnaround.

        Lou and I attended the wonderful Navy-Houston upset game in Annapolis on 8 October. At the '63 tailgate before kickoff we marveled at this necklace worn by Dee Dorman. The '63 crest at the top center is Merrill's, the '89 crest at the top left represents their son-in-law CAPT Tim Trampenau, the '01 crest at the top right represents their son-in-law Kevin Barnard, and the crest at the bottom represents their grandson Carl Trampenau '17. Quite a family!

        Tom O'Brien filed this news just after attending Navy's thrilling win over Notre Dame in Jacksonville, FL, on 5 November.
     We had a scrumptious tailgate brunch set up by the family outside EverBank Field. Below is a photo showing my son, John '89, and me enjoying the festivities. It was a perfect fall day in Jax for football. We arrived at our 45-yd line upper deck seats to watch the impressive 1,200 Midshipmen march-on. The 50,300 fans enjoyed a great game and a Navy victory! We saw several of our classmates there. In the group picture are (l-r) Eli and Eileen Dabich, Ann and Tom O'Brien, Ollie and Sandy Donelan, and Jackie and Mike Cronin.
Tom and John O'Brien '89 at the Notre Dame Game

At the USF game tailgate in Tampa

        Mike Corgan checked in with me this month, providing news of his teaching and speaking activities.
     I've been teaching at Boston University since just after my retirement in'88 (with a brief two-year stint back at the Naval War College -- third time there). I've been with the Pardee School of Global Studies and its predecessor since 1994. I've taught three times at the University of Iceland, first time in 2001 on a Fulbright, then in 2006 when they asked me back, and then again 2014. That got me involved in Arctic studies. This October I presented a paper entitled, "The Arctic Climate in the US Political Climate" as part of a panel on security and big powers at the 4th Annual Arctic Circle Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland. The paper focused on climate change in the Arctic and how it has been virtually unmentioned in political debates, Congress, or the campaign for president of the United States, even though the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff have said climate change stands to be the biggest security issue facing the U.S. over the next five to 10 years.
Mike Corgan

        I found this photo and text on the Boston University web site. "Affiliated with Boston University since 1985, Mike has also served as Chairman of the Department of Naval Science. He has participated in extensive government service in political and military planning (especially NATO). He also is a regularly appearing media analyst on security and political affairs for many Icelandic and Boston media outlets." To see more information about Mike, click HERE.
        I hope you enjoyed this very full report. Please be a contributor to our next edition. We need your input.

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