Shipmate Column
June 2002

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.

        Let's have a little fun to begin this month's news exchange. In the March issue of Shipmate, I included a challenge from Perry Miles, who claimed to have the longest in-service item of original issue USNA gear ­ a shoe horn. The appearance of his challenge quickly brought several other claims from the pack rats among us. From Lu Schumacher:
    I DO have my lock box, it has been in continuous use, and it does have the original clasp! As the second biggest pack- rat in the class (Tom Selden has me beat) I probably have some other gear, too. I just shredded checks going back to '62! There are still several boxes I haven't sorted, so I know I'll find more.

        From Wilson Harris:

    I say Phooey on Perry Miles' claim of still having a shoehorn. I have a pair of plebe issue shoe trees that I still use and have used since 1959. I even have provenance on them. My initials and Midshipman serial number (8053) are still legible.

        Surviving shoe trees apparently are not rare. Witness this from Jay Gowens:

    In response to Perry Miles' challenge, I submit two items. First my shoe trees. We were issued two pairs of shoe trees, red in color, made of wood with a metal frame, and size adjustable; NOT spring loaded like those johnny-come-latelys in stores today. These were issued Plebe summer and I have had both pairs in continuous use ever since. The metal mechanisms are showing some rust, but otherwise they are in perfect condition.

A second item is our Reefer, also original issue. I cannot wear it (My 200-lb frame won't fit into uniforms designed for my previous 150-lb frame.) but I handed it down to my middle son. He has it and occasionally wears it. The lining is a little worn, but it still has my laundry number and the outside looks good as new, except for a missing button. The heavy wool these were made out of wears like iron and, of course, is certainly unobtainable at any price today. I also have a few uniform pieces: a service dress blue jacket with first class stripes, a khaki blouse and a complete khaki uniform, blouse, and pants. Needless to say these are not in use, but are still hanging in a closet. Maybe when I am ninety and shrink again to the right size I will be able to get into them.

        Another in-service reefer belongs to Dennis Meredith:

    I still have some wooden coat hangers in daily use in my closet and rotate my USNA cuff links with some other sets. My reefer is still being worn. I had tabs put on so I could wear it with shoulder boards and used it on the bridge and as boat officer. I used it while on active duty for six years and in winter after active duty. One of my children wears it now as a winter coat.

        And from Ben Redd:

    I can think of three legitimate items in continuous service since Plebe Summer!! I have my combination lock on an outdoor shed, my cruise box inside the shed masquerading as a toy box, and Joanne has used the lock box to keep medications away from kids (and now grandkids) since we got married three days after graduation.

        Perhaps the last words on this topic, these are John Morgan's observations to help you determine whether or not you're a packrat like so many of your classmates.

    While cleaning out the house, I was looking at the vestiges of my Naval Academy life and my reluctance to part with them. So I hereby declare: You are a USNA packrat if you:
1. Still have an article of clothing with USNA laundry number on it.
2. Are using your USNA laundry number as password for computer or ATM.
3. Still have your cruise box.
4. Have the original pin-on nametag with "63" after your name.
5. Have slide rule and/or steam kit.
6. Can still fit into any USNA issued piece of clothing. (Hats, footwear, and gloves excluded)
7. Still have Reef Points on your bookshelf.
8. Have 1959-1963 Trident Calendars with watch dates and class schedules.
9. Still have Academy texts, class notes, steam tables, etc.
10. Are still proud enough to wear USNA labeled clothing and caps.
11. Have a USERNAME with "63" appended to it.
12. Still have your old academy stereo and LP records of Kingston Trio, etc..

       From Yardley, PA, John Newsom sent news of a gathering to celebrate the Army-Navy game, plus a photo of an honored classmate.
    These pictures were taken when several of us convened for festivities relating to the 2001 Army-Navy game. On hand were Dave Honhart, John Conroy, Fred Storz, John Castro, and myself. Also attending was the duty West Point ringer, Jeff Tucker. He and I suited up in our uniforms for a fraternal handshake. Army may have won the game but Navy won the party!
Newsom, Storz, Conroy, and Castro
Honhart, Newsom, Conroy, and Storz
Good will handshake ­ and the uniforms still fit!
Hall of Famer Vern Von Sydow

Also last fall, Vern VonSydow came from his home in San Diego to Bucks County, PA, to attend Pennsbury High School's Athletes Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The star athletes were introduced at halftime of the football game. That was followed by a dinner reception where Vern regaled the crowd with his after-dinner speaking skills.

       Just in case you're beginning to feel the summer heat, here is something to cool you down a bit. It's from Phil Marsden, who provided photos and text from a ski weekend in Colorado last winter.
    Several of us had an idyllic week of skiing in Aspen this January. A highlight of the week was being guests at Cynthia and Jim DeFrancia's home there. Jim cooked a wonderful meal and then entertained us with all sorts of tall tales. We felt it was only fair to humor him ­ a fair price to pay for wining and dining us. This photo from that evening shows me, Jim, Cynthia, and Rich Pace. My spirit photo from the week pictures Ruth and Dave Hull, May and Rich Pace, and me showing our colors with a Navy banner.
Soiree at the DeFrancia home in Aspen
Navy spirit breaks out apres-ski

        Long-time Tidewater Virginia resident Jim Metcalfe sent this full account of his attendance at winter events in the Washington-Annapolis area:

    In February, Lisa and I attended the service academies' classes of '63 annual Valentine's Day dinner-dance at the Army-Navy Country Club in Arlington, VA. We went up to Fairfax and stayed with Jan and Phil Rooney. Carla and Jeff Miles joined us from Annapolis. Phil is working less time for the Independent Counsels, for whom he has been a financial manager for years, and more time doing major renovations to their home. Jeff and I had fun meeting Fred Frostic from USAFA. He wrestled 123 but in those days Navy and Air Force never met on the mats. Fred went on to fly F-4 Phantoms and his son went to USAFA and wrestled. They were the first father-son team of wrestlers at USAFA. I invited Fred to join us at the Army-Navy wrestling match at Annapolis on February 23rd. The Army-Navy match was a great success for Navy. We won 22-9. Every other year, when the contest is at Annapolis, the team holds a reunion of all the old grads. We really had some famous wrestlers from the past, going back to the '30's. We even had a surprise visit from a special wrestler, SECDEF Donald Rumsfeld. He was a very good wrestler at Princeton before becoming a Naval Aviator in the early '50's. Four of us from '63 showed up -- Eric Turner, Ron Tebben, Steve Duncan, and me. Jeff Miles had to miss it due to obligations with his job with Rolls Royce (aircraft engines, not the cars). Steve looked very fit but I am glad he did not have to go out and "show 'em how to rassle" as he often threatens to do. I was not able to arrive in time for the dinner so missed the opportunity to catch up with Ron Tebben and Eric Turner. Ron used to be quite active in high school wrestling and probably could still "show 'em how". The last time I saw him he looked to be in top shape. He must be about retired from American Airlines. I think Eric also maintained an active role in wrestling after graduation. Our coach, Ed Peery, was there and looked good. He had had some health problems a few years ago but appears to have bounced back nicely. Saw many other friends from the days on the mat (Too many of mine were spent literally on the mat, reading that sign on the overhead). USAFA's Fred Frostic came as invited and I got this picture of Steve, Fred, and me together.
USNA and USAFA at the Army-Navy wrestling match

        Jim wrote again just a few days later to say that the above-mentioned Perry Miles and his wife Anne had become grandparents when Caroline Hart Miles, daughter of their son Perry and his wife, was born. A lawyer in a big firm in Richmond, VA, the younger Perry also teaches a course at the University of Richmond Law School. Jim also added this account of a recent visit to Annapolis:

    While visiting Carla and Jeff Miles, Lisa and I had a tour of Andrea and Spence Johnson's new home near Whitehall Creek. It is a beautiful place and they have decorated and furnished it tastefully. Spence said he told Andrea she could do anything she wished upstairs, but the basement (bilge) was his. And indeed it is! It is lined with book shelves which are filled with a varied and extensive library befitting the world traveler, old salt, and international relations expert that Spence is. He is trying to shanghai Lynn Tobin, the national Federal Librarian of the Year, to organize and catalog his collection. The bulkheads (no mere walls) display all kinds of nautical pictures and memorabilia reflecting Spence's career. The ladies will definitely be more impressed with the galley and the mess hall. Spence is sailing with the midshipmen (He was on the ocean sailing team at USNA.) and hoping to buy a large hole in the water in which to pour his own money. Paul Tobin tried to talk him into powerboats instead of sails. I am available to crew on Spence's future sailboat or Paul's powerboat.

        Gary Smith joins our group of contributors this month, checking in from California to tell us about his blues music and international travels.

    The account of Tom Miller's archaeological expedition finally prompted me to write. I know it's been a few years since my last note. I don't know how it is in the rest of the world but in Silicon Valley this recession has brought about two conditions. You are either laid off or you're working 70-hour weeks. Now, I do claim that being a technical analyst is way too much fun to be a job but, still, 70-hour weeks can get to you. Fortunately I've had an interesting travel schedule this year, starting out with a trip to India in January, a week in Paris in March, and in a few days I'll be headed out to give some talks on Electronic Design Methodology in Shanghai and Beijing. The travel year will end with our big convention, the Design Automation Conference, which will be held in New Orleans this year. Being that the industry is basically all engineers most of the community is complaining about a conference in New Orleans, but there are a few musicians in the industry and we've formed a Blues Band. The group includes me on bass and singing, the Chairman of the second largest EDA Company on lead guitar, with his head of R&D on harmonica, the founder and President of one of our more promising start-ups on guitar and singing, and the chief architect of another start-up, that just went public, on drums. We played in Las Vegas, at last years DAC, and came off pretty good. Let's see if we can stand up to the competition in New Orleans (I love New Orleans !!!). When I went to India I was accompanied by our Embedded Software Design analyst Daya Nadamuni, whose father is writing a book on the Temples of South India. I took a few days off and spent two of them with Raghu visiting temples. One day was in Kanchepuram, the city of temples. They claim to have 1,009 of them, one of which dates from the 7th century. The next day we drove south of Chennai, old Madras, to the 7th century seaside temples at Mamallapuram. Just seeing the temples is an experience. Seeing them with someone who is writing a book about them is remarkable. The fact that Raghu was at one time in his career the head of all Indian military procurement made it all that more interesting. His stories of his dealings with Russia and China kept the travel time almost as interesting as the temples themselves. My son-in-law Michael gave me a digital camera just before I left for India, though I'm not a camera guy. One happy result was a picture of Raghu and me in front of the cliff carvings at Mamallapurm.
Raghu and me in front of the cliff carvings at Mamallapurm

        That's all for now, folks. Enjoy your summer activities and don't forget to tell me about them. And if the weather forces you to stay indoors make it a point to spend some time exploring the Class of 1963 web site ( and the Alumni Association's site also ( Both are there for your benefit and enjoyment.

  QUALITY ­ '63

This page is 
   June 2002 
posted on:
 17 April 2002
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