Shipmate Column
July/August 2003

Pres:  Stephen M. Duncan
Sec'y: Michael H. Shelley
25 Sweetwater Lane, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768
h: 828-862-4245  e:
Web site:

Remember that you can click on any underlined Classmate's name to view his Current Biography.

        We're getting down to the wire, but there is still time for you to make arrangements to attend our Really Big Deal 40th Reunion in Annapolis from 18 through 21 September. If you have not already registered, visit our web site (address above) for instructions and the latest information about schedules, memorabilia, and other features of that weekend. Be sure to attend the class business meeting on Friday morning to observe the presentation of 1963's anniversary gift to the Naval Academy and participate in discussions of various topics of interest to us all.

        As I wrap up this report in early June, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has escalated (or descended, if you prefer) to a terrible level of unrelenting violence and retaliations. In the midst of this came the anniversary of the repeated attacks on USS LIBERTY by Israeli aircraft and patrol boats on 8 June 1967. Our classmate Steve Toth was among the 34 Americans killed that day. In April, Harold Bahr provided this account of what might have been.
    I was the last classmate to see Steve Toth before the last voyage of the LIBERTY. I was stationed at Awali, Bahrain, (1965-1967) and at that time there was very little military presence in the Middle East. Our command, MIDEASTPETCOM, consisted of a half dozen officers and a Yeoman Clerk. As such, we did not have a Supply Officer to handle payrolls. We were notified by the British at Jufair whenever a U.S. Navy ship came in so that our payrolls could be processed. Don Freese was the only other '63er to wander through that area during those years.

When LIBERTY arrived, I took our four-month-old payrolls down to the ship, where I ran into Steve. He agreed to come ashore and join me at the only bar in Bahrain. We went back to Awali, the oil camp compound, where I treated him to our camp restaurant and as many ten-cent drinks at the bar as he could stand. I asked him to spend the night as I had a spare bedroom. I would then run him out to the ship in the morning, but Steve wanted to get back that evening. Early the next morning, I went back to Jufair to check on the payrolls and to see if Steve wanted to come up and bowl at our eight-lane alley. You can imagine my surprise when I learned that LIBERTY had sailed after midnight with our payrolls still on board. .

LIBERTY sailed around the Arabian Peninsula, through the Suez Canal, and then was attacked and nearly sunk by the Israelis. I always regretted not convincing Steve to spend the night at Awali as he would have missed the LIBERTY sailing and have been alive today.

        Take a few minutes to visit the excellent USS LIBERTY web site at I also recommend that you read "Assault on the Liberty" by crewman James M. Ennes. It is again in print and should be available at your local library or bookstore.

        Terry Abell was at the 1953 Boy Scout Jamboree at Irvine Ranch in California. He wants to know if any other members of the Class of 1963 were there. One official report about the Jambo says that notable attendees included Vice President Nixon, Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Debbie Reynolds, and Roy Rogers and his horse, Trigger. If you were there among them, please contact Terry by e-mail at

        Frequent contributor Dave Moore reports on a gathering of distinguished gentlemen on the central California coast in May.
    The Monterey area contingent of '63ers squeezed in their second luncheon before Jeannie and John Peterson took off for their annual European adventures. Other attendees included Frank Pinney, Chuck Calvano, John Pfeiffer, Reed Farrington and Dave Moore. Two snapshots taken when we were together appear in the published Shipmate.

I can bring things up to date with some information about Frank Pinney, who came to Annapolis as a third generation boat schooler. He dropped out of USNA mid-youngster year because he was considering a career in the ministry. In the spring of '61 he signed up with the Marine Corps PLC program and went on to the University of the South at Sewanee, TN, from which he graduated with a BA in political science and his 2LT's bars in June of '63. Summer Basic School at Quantico found Frank back in step (sort of) with his USNA classmates. He selected an infantry MOS and was completing the program when he seriously injured his back running the obstacle course. A medical discharge followed in January '65. He then joined IBM, eventually joining IBM's Marine Corps Account Team. As account rep to Headquarters Marine Corps, he established a solid sales record in mainframe sales, and in 1968 he joined a startup company, Advanced Systems, Inc., out of Chicago, as National Sales Manager. In 1972 he visited Big Sur, CA, and decided that lifestyle was more agreeable and offered a chance to pursue his boyhood dreams of being a lumberjack, carpenter, and fireman. He not only completed those employments but he and his wife, Kathy, started an upscale leather arts and crafts company. They now operate Pinney Construction, Inc., specializing in the unique home designs of the Big Sur area. In his spare time, Frank has served as a trustee of the Carmel Unified School District and is also Chief of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade. Members of the original 16th company can reach him at .

As a point of interest, Alice Deal Junior High School in northwest Washington, DC, produced at least five members of the Class of 63: Pete Deutermann, Josh Fields., Dave Moore, Frank Pinney., and Don Saidman. Can any other high school surpass that?

        Our continuing dialogue about the Mig kill by A-1 Skyraiders ("Spads") over North Vietnam brought several more contributions this month. You will recall that our classmate Jimmy Lynne was one of the pilots involved in the encounter. Thanks to Lanny Cox for locating an account of the incident in Douglas Skyraider by B.R. Johnson, published by Aero Publishers, and to Jimmy's companymate Scotty Wilson for his recollections. Here's a first-person account of the shootdown which I received from Clint Johnson '60 (10th Co.). We always appreciate a little help from our distinguished Firsties!
    I would like to make an addition to Mike Cronin's narrative on the A-1/Mig-17 air combat of 20 June 1965. There was a 63er involved. The flight makeup was Ed Greathouse, lead; Jim Lynne '63 #2; Clint Johnson '60 #3 and Charlie Hartman #4. The NV flight leader attacked Charlie and me while the wingman attacked Ed and Jim. After the NV lead fired to empty at Charlie and me he broke off. We then attacked the Mig attacking Ed and Jim and downed him in a head-on firing pass. Jim was awarded the DFC for this engagement. There were three 63ers in VA-25 in 1965: Jim Lynne, Nick Daramus, and Carl Doughtie. I was in the flight on which Carl was downed. It was not a good experience---very bad weather, lots of flak. Jim died in a crash of a missionary aircraft in 1979 in Indonesia and his wife, Donna, in a car crash in Cleveland, I think in 1987. Their son, Kevin '89 was in VA-25 and now flies for the missionaries. Nick Daramus died of cancer in 1984 in Lemoore. All three were fine officers and gentlemen and pilots. The last time I saw Mike Cronin was in the cheeseburger mess shortly before his shootdown. He had just received a letter notifying him that his beloved Luscombe had been chopped up by an errant Cessna. Mike, Jim Lynne, and I all owned Luscombes while we were at Lemoore. Those were the days.

        Perry Miles sent this recollection from his time in Vietnam:
    Walt Breede's story about Jim Lynne's exploits in Spads in '65 reminds me of a similar one involving a classmate. (First, do you know the difference between fairy tales, war stories, and sea stories? Fairy tales begin "Once upon a time"; war stories begin, "And there I was"; sea stories begin, "Now this is no s...." )

At graduation, as company-mate Dave Maples and I headed our separate ways to Pensacola and Quantico, respectively, I cautioned him about the dangers of aviation and exhorted him to be careful. He assured me that I had no need to worry, that when the time came he would "count the engines and divide by four; if I get a number less than one I'm going to choose another aircraft." It was a good line, well-delivered in Dave's best Tennessee good ol' boy manner, and I remembered it.

A couple of years later, there I was on one hill or another in SVN, reading a Stars and Stripes article about these crazy carrier pilots who fly Spads at low level over Haiphong harbor to suppress AA fire for the attack aircraft. The story identifies several of these daredevils, among them Dave Maples. So I write to Dave, remind him of the assurances he had given me, and review the math with him. His reply was along the lines of, "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, and besides, it's not boring." And that's how we won the Cold War. And I'm not kidding.

        Over the course of many years, we gave of ourselves through our service in Vietnam and elsewhere. Now, our children are serving our country and the cause of freedom in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. As parents of these fine young men and women, we can now begin - but only begin -- to understand the burdens borne and sacrifices made by our parents during the course of a much longer conflict. Among our numerous classmates with family members now serving is Bill Hollenack, whose son Paul (a West Point graduate) is a Captain with the 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq. Don Freese's son Marc was with U.S. Central Command in the Joint Operations Center in Qatar during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Don and Sherry's son-in-law Jason Star is H&S Company CO with 2/7 based in 29 Palms but deployed to Okinawa since last August. Both Marc and Jason are Marine Corps Captains. Jack McDonald's son is also in Iraq (more below).

        More and more of our classmates are submitting their current biographies for inclusion on our web site. A recent contributor was Dave Bingemann. I have copied part of his career and personal history below. You can see the complete info for Dave and many others on the web site. With his text, Dave supplied a photo of his growing family, taken about a year ago.
The Bingemann Family

    From 1973 to 1985 I worked for local companies developing, managing, and marketing residential real estate in northeast Florida and Atlanta. Since 1985, I have been in business for myself with various partners operating locally as DMB Realty. Over the last twenty years, I have been directly involved with developing nearly 1,300 building lots and community amenities in numerous subdivisions, over 230 condos and town house units, a mid-size office building, and now residential homes here in Ponte Vedra Beach, where we reside. I am a licensed Florida Real Estate Broker and a certified Florida Building Contractor.

On a personal note, I am married since 1980 to Mary Young, a teacher and part time corporate travel consultant. Mary`s ancestors were among the early settlers of St. Augustine, FL, considered to be the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the continental United States. Our son Jarrett graduates this year from the University of Notre Dame, and will work for Target Corporation in Minneapolis, MN. Our daughter Maria is a sophomore enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Program at our local high school, and is quite active in sports and clubs. Chris, my son from a previous marriage, is also involved in real estate having just opened his own real estate brokerage company here in Ponte Vedra Beach. Chris and Julie have Jack, age 4, and Gray, age 2 -- two very active grandchildren for us to have fun with. As a family, we continue to enjoy tennis, golf, snow skiing, the ocean, and travel.

        From Bob Harper and Brev Moore come two views of an adventure involving six of our hardier classmates. We begin with Bob's account.
    For the third straight year, the Class of 1963 "Terry's Team" faced a dark and stormy morning at the start of the annual Northern Virginia MS 150 Bike Tour. Initially, the rain was only a steady mist and drizzle, but the temperature climbed only to the mid-50s, requiring us to pedal vigorously simply to maintain our core temperatures. This year's riders were Peter Browne, Mike Cronin, Hank Dalton, Bob Harper, Brev Moore, and Dave Robinson. Riders and funds were solicited and preparatory rides taken to develop the necessary calluses.

As a concession to our seniority, this year I imposed on Peter for a Friday night stay in Virginia, both to enjoy good company and to avoid the super early reveille required of an Annapolis departure. As will be seen, it was a relatively sane choice. Jackie got up to send Peter and me off into the rain and out Route 66 to the starting point at The Plains. We pulled into a pretty sloppy field and found that everyone (almost!) was already registered and waiting for us. Dave made some unkind comments about some of us not bothering to shave; similarly unkind comments were returned. This year (as in 2002) Brev was nowhere to be seen. After delaying for about a half an hour we finally pushed off at 0930 and started cranking off the miles.

Hank Dalton showed his conditioning from those Colorado hills and seemed the most at ease. The scenery was super: a really nice village and countryside environment despite the weather. Absolutely the best element was the camaraderie, however, with the recognition that so many classmates had taken an active part in supporting research into finding a cure for MS. Genuine thanks are due to the bikers, and to the many other classmates and friends who sent prayers or contributions. As we pedaled along, we calculated that we had actually hit the average age of 63 this year.

As the temperature slowly rose, we found no difficulty staying hydrated, since we were breathing in enough rain to minimize water bottle use. Although three of us had plans to remain overnight and finish biking Sunday, the temperature caused us to reconsider and conclude after approximately 63 miles. Dave was already hardy enough to suggest participating in the Sea Gull Century ride on 11 October, and we also are considering giving Charlie "Goose" Gosnell some camaraderie during the Delaware MS Bike to the Bay that month. I stopped by Terry's room on the way back to Crabtown and assured him that USNA '63 had indeed ridden again. He had enjoyed attending his daughter's wedding here in Virginia just the week before.

        Frank Gregory displayed his commitment to the good cause by rising early and being at the starting line as the official team photographer. Here is one of his images of Terry's Team (minus one). Left to right in the image are Messrs Cronin, Robinson, Dalton, Browne, and Harper. The sign says, "USNA '63"

Most of the awesome 1963 "Terry's Team"

        His teammates may give him grief for missing muster before the race but Brev more than redeemed himself by being the only member of the team to go the entire distance. Here is the story from his perspective.

    My report for the 2003 bike ride for Terry's Team may vary somewhat from that of the other riders since, for the second year in a row, I didn't ride with the team! They left me high and dry or, perhaps better put, low and wet.

Because the starting point is about 90 miles from Annapolis, Peter Browne had invited me to stay at his place the night before to make the commute a little easier. I declined because being in charge of the Capitol District's Boy Scout Camporee in Annapolis had put me behind in my preparation for the ride.

True to form, the weather was rainy, but I figured I could make it to the starting point in an hour. However, they changed the starting point this year, so it really was an hour and a half ride. The fact that I left a half an hour late didn't help matters either - just too many dogs to walk and last minute preparations - but, hey, the team would wait for me, right? Once I was on my way I was delayed again by a problem with the bike carrier on my car.

By then I was very late but I pressed on. I arrived somewhere around 0940, and by the time I picked up my registration number and had the bike tuned, I was about the last person to leave around 1000. Of course, by now the '63 team was long gone. I gradually passed a cyclist or two. The weather remained overcast and rainy, but quite chilly. The good news about the downhill portions was that they were downhill; the bad news was that the wind chill tripled. I managed to fight back hypothermia, but my knees were beginning to feel the effects of the peddling. I am a runner, and "they" say that biking is better on the knees, but you can't convince me! So, my knees were hurting, my thighs were burning, my rear end was screaming, and I was soaking wet and freezing. Are we having fun yet?

Photo of Brev Moore at the mid-point of the MS bike tour in published Shipmate.

At about 1730 I reached the overnight destination in Leesburg, where I parked my totally drenched bike, picked up my camping gear, pitched my tent, and set about to find the 1963 team. I could find no one. The staff said that a certain Bob Harper had arrived, but he was nowhere to be found, nor was anyone else on the team. (I found out the next day that Dave Robinson and Hank Dalton turned around at 30 miles and Bob and Pete were picked up by Jackie Browne and decided to call it an event. Mike Cronin? Well, I'm not certain what he did.)

I slept pretty well in my tent that night, but every now and then I would awake to the sounds of an increasing torrent of rainfall. Boy, is tomorrow going to be fun, I thought, as I drifted back to sleep dreaming of sunnier days!

Fortified and encouraged by a good breakfast, I broke camp Sunday morning and started off at 0820. It continued to rain all day and there were more hills on the second day than the first. I talked to myself a lot, but I did manage to finish the ride at about 1330 to the wild cheers of a few cheerleaders at the finish line. I'm not positive, but I think I was the next-to-last finisher. I was very tired, but satisfied that I had completed the ride.

I am happy to report to our classmates that we raised at least $2,700. It was a dog miserable weekend of riding, but it was worth it. Thank you to the classmates who donated to the cause and, to all of our classmates: please consider a donation next year of at least $63! Some encouraging support for the team and, of course, for Terry arrived with the contributions that were sent via me. I think Vern VonSydow's comment would be of interest to all: "My check included for MS Ride. Give my regards to 'Terry's Team' - What a great class we have. Each year I get more impressed with the quality of our classmates. Give 'em hell!"

        Last month we printed a photo of Dave Puckett and one of his nine grandchildren. So far, no one has challenged his standing as 1963's patriarchic front-runner. Scotty Wilson did stake his claim to being our one-gender leader by being grandfather to seven boys (and no girls). Jack McDonald's seventh grandchild was expected in July. He is the son of Jack's son, Sean, who is serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq. Jack noted, " Since we have one child who hasn't started having children yet, I have no doubt that we will reach double digits in terms of grandchildren. We might even catch up to Dave Puckett."

Maybe we should avoid applying the patriarch label to the grandfathers among us. One of Webster's definitions of the word is "a venerable old man." Whatever, I'm excited about seeing so many of you venerable youngsters in Annapolis next month!

I was going to end the grandfather thing at this point but coincidentally received this account from Paige Johnson, daughter of doting granddad Steve Duncan:

    Today I heard Charlie and Anna talking in the back seat of the car and Anna referred to someone at the mall, who, by the way, was only about 35, as "old, like Granddad." And Charlie, very impatiently, said, "Granddad's not old, he's MIDDLE. Like Momma. Old people don't dance jigs."

        You're right, Charlie: they don't. We do.

  QUALITY - '63

This page is 
   July/August 2003 
posted on:
 2 May 2003
Shipmate columns:

< Last Month

Navigate to:   
Shipmate Index
Shipmate Index


Site Map

Site Map

USNA Class of 1963 Home Page