Shipmate Column
July-August 2005

Pres:  CAPT W. Spencer Johnson IV, USN (Ret.)
Sec'y: Michael H. Shelley
25 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 severe restrictions on the length of class columns are hurting us. Although the copy in your hands is a two-month issue of Shipmate, no allowance is made for the added amount of news that has accumulated. Therefore, a lot of news and many pictures appear only on our web site. Visit to see contributions from Standy Stoddard, Ken Sanger, Jack McDonald, Dave Byrnes, Don Grant, Dave Durfee, and Ray Ross, plus news about many more of our classmates.

        I am saddened to report the death of Robert B. Moore III, '94, son of Virginia and Brev Moore, on 27 May. Robert had been battling cancer over the past year. An F/A-18 pilot, he had participated in a flyover of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium before a football game in 1999. I snapped this photo of father and son at our post-game tailgate.
Robert '94 and Brev Moore '63

        Robert's widow, Tara, can be contacted at 3619 Plumosa Dr., San Diego, CA 92106. Brev and Virginia's address is 4 Tolson Street, Annapolis, MD 21401-1342.
        Here's a photo of Ninth Company members and wives who held a mini-reunion at the Pentagon offices of companymate Tom Hall, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Reserve Affairs, on 12 April. The day included briefings by various staff members, lunch, and a Pentagon tour led by VADM Cotton, head of Navy Reserves. Attendees included Tom and Barbara Hall, George and Barbara Leever, Mal and Sarah Schantz, Dave and Judi Puckett, Glenn and Debbie Laury, Carol Minter, John Aucella, Paul O'Connor, Clint Alley, Bob Tanis, Sonny Glassner, Skip Lynch, Jim Killian, and Phillip Marsden.
Ninth Company at the Pentagon

        For several more excellent pictures of the 9th Company folks, visit their company page in the Classmates section of
        '63 was well represented on the ski slopes at Lake Tahoe in California this winter. In what has become a wonderful annual reunion each January, old friends waxed up their skis and met at Bob Tieslau's vacation home in South Lake Tahoe. Regulars (for the 4th straight year) were Bob, Ed Hutcheson, Dave Moore, Sandy Stoddard, and Gary Thomas. We missed our buddy Gary Hosey, who was laid up with a back injury, but our group was strengthened by the addition of Lew Blackwell and Ron Jarvis. Unfortunately, Ron couldn't strap on the boards because of hip replacements, but it was great to have him along for the camaraderie and reliving of old times together. Tales of the "not-so-terrible" 10th Company were rehashed by old companymates Blackwell, Hutcheson, Jarvis, Stoddard, and Tieslau. A great time was had by all. Legs and other body parts willing, the crew will reconvene in Colorado in 2006!
Apres ski at South Lake Tahoe

        Sandy submitted this photo of the group. Left to right are Messrs. Moore, Blackwell, Jarvis, Stoddard, Thomas, Tieslau, and Hutcheson.
        The Pride and Tradition section of the Class of 1963 web site now includes a page displaying photos of our classmates and their USNA and other sea services-related license plates. I encourage you to visit the page at Vanity Plates. To add to the growing gallery of images there, send me a photo of your vehicle, preferably one including yourself.
Ed Howard

Pete Carrothers' ride

        In April, I received a photo of Ed Howard and his USNA 63 plate. Ed is living in Mesa, AZ, and playing golf four days a week. It has been reported that Steve Hoy's California license plate reads USNAHOY, which can be interpreted to have two appropriate meanings. This note and two photos came from Pete Carrothers in Clear Lake Shores, TX:
     These aren't exactly USNA plates, but I thought you might want to post them anyway. I found that working as a Blue and Gold Officer, the high schoolers were much more interested in talking to you about the Naval Academy if you showed up at their school in a flashy Navy Blue Corvette convertible with "FLY NAVY" license plates. Retirement is great, though I probably ruined it by getting elected to the City Council for the next two years, and that will definitely cut down on our traveling. Can't believe it, but we are going back to the 40th reunion of our Vigilante squadron this spring. It just doesn't seem like it was that long ago that we were catapulting off the ENTERPRISE and thinking we were invincible.
        Pete also sent this nice snapshot of Nancy and himself "at a recent function" of some sort.
Nancy and Pete Carrothers

        This note from Ken Sanger poses a question that's both interesting and sobering.
     I may have some kind of first that could scare us all. My oldest son married a widow with two children. One of those children has recently had a son. Does this make me a step-great-grandfather? Doris says she refuses to say she is married to a great-grandfather.

        Don Grant supplied this social note about a gathering of 24th Company classmates in Oregon this spring.
     During Sandy and Ken Metviner's visit to Portland, OR, Ken organized a 1963 24th Company dinner on 17 May. Attending from the Seattle area were Marion and Pete Soverel, Jim Hall, and Jerry Carpenter (who had a medical discharge at the end of Plebe year - what bad timing!). From the Portland area were Judy and Ray Kutch and Pat and Don Grant. Besides catching up with the classmates who graduated, it was great to learn what happened to Jerry after he left USNA. His biography is detailed in the non-graduate section of the Class of 63 web site. Here is a photo of the group showing, left to right, Pete Soverel, Jerry Carpenter, Ken Metviner, Ray Kutch, Don Grant, Jim Hall.
24th Company dinner in Portland

        Jack McDonald and Dave Byrnes tell us about the assembly of 17th Company members and other classmates at the memorial service for Clay Morse in late April.
     Anne and I journeyed by car to Millbrook, NY, and checked in at the (name withheld) Motel, the place I had said any classmates could meet up with me. Now, you may hear some comments about this motel, particularly from Betty and Jerry Mulholland. It should be noted that the quality of this motel was somewhat lacking in certain areas. It did have some good points, however, but they seem to have slipped my mind right now. The phone system did have the looks and attributes of a system that you could find in a Hilton hotel. In fact, all the phones were from the Parsippany Hilton in New Jersey.

When we checked in we discovered Mike Obsitnik already there. Travis Beard and the Mulhollands checked in shortly. The six of us headed into Poughkeepsie for dinner. A number of toasts to Clay's memory were made and a lot of stories passed back and forth about him. Needless to say we had a good time. The next morning, when I looked out my motel bedroom I discovered Dave Byrnes (18th Co) waving hello to me.

The Service was held at St Peter's Episcopal Church in Millbrook. When we got to the Church we meet Bruce Webb and Peggy and Jon Scott already inside. The service was very nice, with several local people talking about their memories of Clay. Bill Anderson talked about the Navy days and introduced us all to the audience. He made the point that the locals, there in the church, knew Clay for maybe 10 years, while we 63'ers knew him for over 40 years. We had a different frame of reference than most of them.

The 17th Company was well represented, with six of us attending and three wives. Each of us was very happy to have made the trip.

        Dave Byrnes sent a lengthy reflection about Clay and the connections made between friends. Most of it appears below.
     I traveled up I-95 to Clay Morse's Memorial Service. I'd promised to check-in with a friend when I reached the New Jersey/New York state line. I called her from the last stop on the New Jersey Turnpike before entering New York. During the telephone conversation she asked me how I was connected to Clay. I said that is a long story I'll tell you some other time. When I hung up and continued to drive into the night I thought about "connecting." I was thinking about associations with Clay. I thought about things, places, and people. I thought about the links that brought them all together.

Some of the tangible things we had in common included: USNA Diploma, Gold Dolphins, a daughter and son (same ages), nice homes, a business partnership and some of the more subtle ties which included a Lutheran heritage, a compelling achievement focus and pride that is best described by colors of red, white, blue and gold.

Since I'd traversed I-95 so many times to meet with Clay, I considered connecting the dots of places we'd been. It seemed like thousands of random dots, so I narrowed the hookups to states...Oregon, Missouri, Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut, Virginia, Connecticut, Hawaii......Michigan, then those lines also blurred into a scribble all over the states west of the Mississippi with occasional jumps to Korea, the Caribbean and eastern Canadian provinces.

I had to ask directions several times before I found the small-town motel where Jack McDonald had arranged for classmates to meet. One place I stopped to ask for directions was a dilapidated antique barn. The motel wasn't much better. It was a hole in the wall establishment, but it was the only motel around. I knew though that I'd found the right place as several of the cars in the parking lot had vanity plates from various states that read like USNA63 and 6NAVY3.

In the church our companymate group teamed up with several more classmates, including Bill Anderson and Bruce Webb. During the service I thought more about connecting, connecting to people, classmates, family, and significant others. I liked all the tributes said about Clay. Several of Clay's Millbrook "connections" talked about Clay's recent years and his great relationship with his wife, Midge. When Bill Anderson took the lectern, we experienced more of the real C. K. Morse that most of us knew. Bill was able to relate all of Clay's achievements, even the "colorful" ones in an outstanding manner. Ben Morse, Clay's son, gave a long homily that related experiences with his dad. I remembered many incidents from Clay's perspective, as he and I often talked about our kids and problems we were having with them. Clay would have really liked to hear Ben's words.

In the Navy responsibility, places, things and people are always changing. It can build a persona that guards against making really close, passionate relationships but it doesn't mean that the quality isn't in our hearts. As I took the New Jersey Turnpike south I thought that connecting goes beyond things, places, people to actions of trusting, receiving, and giving. Clay, I appreciated all of your actions.

After the Clay Morse memorial service

        Here is a snapshot taken after the service. Pictured are Bruce Webb, Mike Obsitnik, Jack McDonald, Bill Anderson, Travis Beard, Dave Byrnes, Jerry Mulholland, and Jon Scott.

        Dave Durfee tells us about a lunchtime rendezvous this spring.
     In late April, Vivian and I enjoyed a nice luncheon at the "Boat Shed" restaurant overlooking Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, the USS TURNER JOY (DD937) and some yachts milling around in Sinclair Inlet here in Bremerton. We were joined by Ann and Tom O'Brien and their friends Rosemary and Jim Adkins '58. Tom and Ann were visiting their son, grandson, and family in Mill Creek north of Seattle and found a few hours to spend on our side of the Sound for lunch. We had a fine time recounting sea stories, comparing gardening activities, discussing cardiac surgeries, and watching the tide waters rushing in to fill up the Bay. Tom even grabbed the tab before I could do anything about it -- I think he had cornered the waitress beforehand. It was a most enjoyable visit.

        Frank Holmes retired from the Department of Energy in Idaho Falls in April. About his immediate plans, he said, "for now, I am staying here. The cost of living is more favorable than that at the Eastern shore and it's relatively easy to travel from here. I have a town house with included lawn care and snow removal so I need only to come up with a plan and I'm free to execute it! Besides, I have the Idaho plates for "USNA 63" and NAVY 63. " I couldn't replicate that anywhere else so I may be stuck here permanently! " George Nolan wrapped up his work with the Department of Energy in Las Vegas, sold his home there, and moved back to Albuquerque. He says he is looking forward to seeing some of his 14th companymates at the Balloon Festival in October, assuming Don Palen brings his hot air bag again. The Fourth Company will be having its reunion in Albuquerque during the balloon festival; perhaps the 4th and 14th can hoist a few drinks together.

        The 1 April edition of the Newport News Times contains a lengthy article about Dick Guffey and his international humanitarian work. Here are the opening paragraphs:
     When the December 26 tsunami hit the shores of Southeast Asia, Tidewater resident Dick Guffey was in Colorado celebrating Christmas with his family. Guffey served for 10 years in the U.S. Navy and has traveled "in and out of Thailand" since the Vietnam War era. His son, Greg, speaks Thai and has spent the past few years living in a village in Northern Thailand teaching English and computer skills. "I have always loved Thailand and the people there, and my son picked that up somehow in his travels. When we saw what was happening, we both just felt like we wanted to go back and help somehow.

Guffey is co-founder and president of Global Involvement through Education, a non-profit organization that assists developing nations through educational projects. When he saw what was happening on Dec. 26, the humanitarian aspect of his work "just led us into wanting to help," he said. Greg flew to Thailand on Jan. 16, followed by Guffey four days later. They had planned for Greg to get a sense of what had happened and what kind of relief was needed, then for Guffey to purchase required items in Bangkok before joining his son on the southern Thai coast.

        You can read the complete article at
        This spring saw the marriages of three Class of 1963 children within a one-month period, all in the San Diego area.

Von Sydow - Mincin wedding

        The first of our wedding pictures shows Vern Von Sydow and his Daughter Kirstin Von Sydow Mincin at her marriage which took place on 19 March at Bayview Park, Coronado, CA. Kirstin is a fourth grade teacher in San Diego and David is a bankruptcy attorney in Las Vegas. The couple will reside in Las Vegas.

Marsden - Uzzell wedding

        On 16 April, Martha and Phillip Marsden's son, David, wed Valerie Uzzell in an outdoor ceremony at the Old Ferry Landing in Coronado. David, an astrophysicist, is employed by SAIC. Valerie is finishing her doctorate in neuroscience at UCSD and will join a local research group on graduation.

Shelley - Walker wedding

        Also on 16 April, and at the same time, Lou and Mike Shelley's son, Aaron, was married to Shauna Walker at Mission San Diego de Alcala. Shauna is a fourth grade teacher in San Diego. Aaron (USNA '97) is the Marine Officer Instructor at the NROTC unit serving five universities in the San Diego area.

The next day, June and Chuck Stone welcomed several classmates to a dinner at their lovely mountaintop home. The guests of honor were Steve Duncan and Lou and Mike Shelley, all in town to celebrate Aaron's wedding. Other attendees were Dottie and Bill Hughes, Gail and Vern Von Sydow, and Phillip Marsden and his mother, Phyllis, who took this picture of the group.

Mid-April dinner guests

        Here are a picture and note from Ray Ross:
     This spring we did a bare-boat charter of a 42-ft Grand Banks trawler in Sarasota, and over a two week period went to Key West and back. One couple went with us part of the way, and as they had to go back to work, another couple finished up the trip with us. It was something Carol and I have wanted to do for years, and in large part because of the folks accompanying us, it was more fun than I expected." The picture is of me, the couple who went with us (He was my S-3A tacco in Pax River in '74), and Carol just before getting underway from Marco Island.
Bareboat charter in Florida

        Thanks go to Dave Moore for forwarding Steve Hoy's account of a well-attended 1963 golf event in Palm Springs, CA, this March.
     We had a great day at PGA West, followed by drinks and hors d'oeuvres at Linda and Chuck Spadafora's "winter" home, and then dinner at the Hog's Breath Inn. I think everyone had a great time despite our general lack of golf talent. Lew Blackwell did a great job putting together the pairings and making the necessary reservations. Lew and Chuck also arranged for a member of the course to play in each foursome to help guide us around the course. It was a close match between all foursomes but with the stellar play of Dick Anderson and Mike Krause, our group took first prize.
Golfers at PGA West

Here is a photo from our event thanks to Mike Krause's camera. In the back row are Dick Anderson, Lew Blackwell, Jim Thornton, Glenn Takabayashi, and myself. Seated in the second row are John McCabe, David Moore, Chuck Spadafora, and Mickey Mays. By himself is the one and only, Mike Krause. Not pictured were our better halves.

We will schedule another outing next fall - most likely the Friday before the Army-Navy game. We would like to get a lot more participation, so be sure to mark your calendars right now. If you know of any other classmates who would enjoy participating, please pass their names along to me at .

Golf event at PGA West, Palm Springs

Golf event at PGA West, Palm Springs

Golf event at PGA West, Palm Springs

Golf event at PGA West, Palm Springs

Golf event at PGA West, Palm Springs

Golf event at PGA West, Palm Springs

Golf event at PGA West, Palm Springs

        Again this year, an intrepid and impressively fit group of our classmates participated in the Northern Virginia MS 150 bike tour, staged to increase awareness of Multiple Sclerosis and to raise funds for research toward treatment and an eventual cure for this awful disease. The USNA '63 riders again comprised "Terry's Team," named to honor our late classmate Terry Abell, who succumbed to MS after a gallant struggle that lasted many years. This photo shows team members Bob Harper, Mike Cronin, John Aucella, John's finance Carroll Christy, and Peter Browne. Peter and Bob each submitted a colorful description of the event.
"Terry's Team" riders against MS

        This comes from Peter's account:
     Bob Harper came to our Falls Church home from Annapolis on Friday afternoon to spend the night and share the Saturday morning car ride to Purcellville where the MS bicycle ride started this year. Saturday was a perfect day to ride with a temperature in the sixties at the start. We joined classmates Mike Cronin and John Aucella and his fiance Carol -- both great riders who have booked over 800 miles this year. Our small team held the distinction of having the highest average age. We got underway about 8:30 AM and headed out into the country. The 60-mile ride took us through the back roads of Loudon County including the charming towns of Middleburg, Waterford, Lovettsville, and Hillsville. Toward the end of the first day we followed the wrong signs and wound up eight miles away from the campgrounds but mustered the energy to get on our bikes and ride over to the 4H campgrounds in Purcellville where we picked up our sleeping bags and enjoyed a hot shower.

A tasty barbeque dinner was provided and we ate to the rhythmic sounds of live music. Bob and I signed up for a drawing sponsored by the Washington, DC, classic rock station 94.7 FM. We were surprised to each win tickets to summer rock concerts. Bob gave me his tickets and I gave all four to a friend with teenage daughters!

This was my first year "camping" and those of us who did not bring tents had the choice of setting up our sleeping bags in a large room or the great outdoors. Bob and I chose the room; John and Carol took a shuttle bus to a motel. It was a good choice for all because it rained that night!

Sunday was another perfect day and the leisurely 40-mile ride through the countryside was a pleasure except of course for the uphills. That's when you are reminded of age and conditioning.

My thanks to our financial and moral supporters! Our team of five raised over $2,000 toward the goals of both helping the local MS Society and the long term eradication of MS.

        And here's what Bob had to say about the event.
     During my initial training ride in mid-March, I had the misfortune to meet a Cadillac. I got away with some dings, the car with a dented hood and cracked windshield, but the bike got a broken frame. All in all, not so bad, though it seriously impacted my training. Some business travel also intervened, but I finally found and ordered a new bike, accumulating the grand total of 60 miles training before the MS ride.

Consequently, conditioning was a factor this year, but with a significant sponsor donation from Terry's daughter in my name, there was no chance of not finishing. While the weather was nearly perfect, the #*^! hills were anything but. John Aucella and Carroll Christy set the pace again this year. High praise is due to the volunteers who staffed the rest stops and assistance all along the route. It was truly a pleasure to be associated with so many people who are all out there for others. It was a great environment and I have already reminded Charlie Minter to train and ride along with us next year. It will be on Armed Forces Weekend, for any who want to put us on your calendar.

We all enjoyed the camaraderie tremendously, and Terry's Team is renowned throughout the Northern Virginia MS community. We routinely exchange banter with some USMA '70 riders, one of whom regularly leads the pack in funds raised. This year they introduced us to another WooPoo. When I told him we were the Class of '63, he was taken aback: he is in the class of '85 and was born in '63. We met other riders, who sent their regards to our previous team members David Robinson, Brev Moore, and Joel Gardner as well.

A genuinely appreciated BZ to those of you who continue to contribute to find a cure for MS on behalf of the Class and Terry. Recognition of your willingness and caring makes tackling those hills a doable do.

        That's all for now. Let me hear from you, folks!

This page is 
   July-August 2005 
posted on:
 18 June 2005
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