Shipmate Column
June 2009

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.

        Ron Klemick filed this announcement about the Class of 1963 events scheduled on Induction Day for the Class of 2013 just a few weeks from now.
     The plans for our initial class function in the ALITC, "Another Link in the Chain" program, are being finalized.

I-Day will be on 1 July 2009 with a Picnic for Class of 2013 family members and 1963 classmates and wives beginning at 1030 on Worden Field. A Memorial Hall service will be held at 1600 to honor our classmates who died while on active duty. We will also reaffirm our oath. Wives are also invited.

The class of 2013 will be inducted in Tecumseh Court at 1800. Due to the large number of expected attendees from our 1963 class, seating or bleacher locations are still undetermined. There may be a limited number of seats on the curved veranda at the invitation of the Superintendent/Commandant. After the Induction, our class will gather at the Mexican Monument to congratulate and converse with those 2013 Plebes who do not have family present. Cell phones will be available so new plebes can call their families.

To properly plan this all-important function, a head count will be required prior to 1 June 2009. Please advise Spencer Johnson or Ron Klemick of your attendance, particularly for the picnic and the actual I-Day ceremony.

As a point of interest, in the weeks leading up to I-Day our classmates will be making presentations to over 30 Alumni/Parents Club Chapters regarding the ALITC and our Class History, which will be a part of the Class of 2013 Reef Points. Our Class History and a summary of ALITC can be seen on our web site. CLICK HERE.

        If you don't already feel advancing age, this letter from Jack Hood will wake you up. Our children are now beginning to reach advanced career points that we were striving to attain only a few years ago. (Well, it seems like a brief time.)
     I have some news that will certainly tell that my age is advancing. I think I reported some time ago that my oldest son, John, followed me into the Navy via NROTC and the University of Florida. With some vision problems, he went NFO and did two cruises as I did. He then transferred to AED as I did. He us currently finishing up at the National Defense University and headed back to the NRO for his third tour. The big news is that the Captain list came out this April and he was on it, naturally. That really puts the time on us, but I did retire before he was even commissioned. We will be going back a year from this summer when he puts it on as frocking is no longer in vogue. He plans on wearing khakis for the event and will use one my eagles and one of his grandfather's, who was in the medical corps. I do not stop with him, though. The younger son, Tom, followed me into teaching. He is a social studies teacher in Anchorage and, like me, is now a department chair. Having had two careers and having two sons that have followed me in both of them has to be about as unique as it comes.

Ginger and I continue to enjoy Iowa, even with the winters. We have decided to make a move into a cooperative next year with a little downsizing and letting someone else do the lawn and snow removal. Having indoor heated parking will be a big plus. With both knees now replaced, the extended walking is becoming a bit of a chore.

        The home of Yvonne and Steve Coester has become a regular way station for classmates travelling along the east coast of Florida. Steve filed this report about their latest visitors.
     Jackie and Peter Browne stopped by on March 17 hoping to get a tour of the Viera Wetlands near our home. Peter and I were both in the 4th Batt but didn't have a lot of memories of each other, but of course we had a zillion common acquaintances and experiences so conversations flowed as easily as the wine. We all enjoyed a beautiful Florida evening on our deck and porch feasting on snow crabs. The next morning I picked up Jackie and Peter before sunrise for a glorious morning at the wetlands. Too soon, they had to head on south to their next stop on their trip to Key West.

It's always great to see classmates, so when traveling south on I-95 through Central Florida give us a shout.

Brownes and Coesters

        This additional news from Florida comes from Tom O'Brien:
     In mid-March, Linda and Rick Wakefield from Bluffton, SC, came to the Jacksonville area to visit with their son and his wife who had come from Pennsylvania to run in the National Championship 15K Gate River Run. After their post-race family lunch, Rick and Linda stopped in at our place in Orange Park for some serious catching-up. We eventually convinced them to spend the night here rather than hit the road for a three-hour drive home. We had a great time solving some of the world's more pressing problems over dinner and breakfast the next morning. It was a fun visit.
O'Brien and Wakefield

        Mike Blackledge sent this picture from his travels in the Southwest.
     Here is a photo taken by Bonnie Nolan of Dave Shute and me next to my Infiniti, with the USNA 63 plate showing. Bonnie and I drove from Albuquerque to Las Vegas for the Mountain West Conference Basketball Tournament in mid-March. Dave joined us for the 2nd game the University of New Mexico Lady Lobos played: a victory over Colorado State. Dave's wife Beth has a new and better job and couldn't join us, but we retired folks were able to get together and enjoy this prelude to March Madness.
Blackledge and Shute in Las Vegas

        Thanks to Dave Riley for telling me about a YouTube video posted by Paul Schleifer, who spends a lot of his time engaged in outrigger canoe paddling off the Big Island of Hawaii. The video is edited from a longer version made in February. Paul was in a 30-lb OC-1 canoe among 60-ton whales. His comments:
     I could see a lot more of the whales in person than is visible in the video. Also, the camera field of view is smaller than I can see ,so when the male whale came at me, I was still on the calf with the camera and trying to backpaddle with one hand while still shooting. So my mild expletives were made before I got the camera turned. In all cases, the whales came at me, not me paddling to them. You can't catch them if they want to move away, and you can't avoid them if they want to take a look.
        This picture of Paul appeared in our '63 Shipmate report in October 2007.
Paul Schleifer

        David Puckett and Jim Williamson tell us about their visit to New York City last autumn. First, this note from David:
     Jim Williamson, I, and our wives made a cruise from the St. Lawrence last September, going from Quebec City to New York City. As we were to end our trip there, we decided to take a couple of days and visit with Charlie Lynch, our companymate and Jim's roommate, in New York. We knew Charlie would know what to do and where to go. We took in a play, had some terrific dinners, rode the Staten Island Ferry, visited the Wall Street area, visited Charlie's place (where he has lived the last 30 plus years), and most importantly had a lot of great conversation.
Jim Williamson, Charlie Lynch, and David Puckett

        Jim added this info and an anecdote from the late 1960's.
     The cruise included about six port calls between Quebec City and New York City. The final one before New York was Newport, RI. We spent the morning with Dave and Judi down around the harbor area and then Audrey and I hired a taxi and went on a nostalgia ride to other places that were meaningful to us, because I spent a couple of years on the CALOOSAHATCHEE (AO-98) that was homeported there; Don Palen and Steve Ferencie were also on board.

The Pucketts were in Groton at the same time I was based in Newport. On one occasion, we headed over there to visit them, but I left the apartment without the road atlas. Upon realizing that, I didn't want to turn around to get it nor did I want to let Audrey know of my error! Having been well educated at the "Boat School" in the art of navigation, I figured that if I just kept going west near the coast, I'd surely run into New London/Groton. Alas, about two-thirds of the way over, we ended up at a lighthouse on the end of a point. By then, it was extremely difficult, actually impossible, to convince Audrey that I knew what I was doing. We ended up being about two hours late in arriving at the Pucketts' and a very long two hours they were!

        I was glad to receive this note from Joe Carroll in April.
     This is my first contact with Shipmate in 46 years. I thought I would send along a picture of myself with Frank Bennett on the first tee of Superstition Springs Golf Course in Mesa, AZ. We have been playing regularly for 12 years. Frank and I are both semi-retired from companies we started but which are now run by our kids -- in each case a son and a daughter. I still live in Cranford, NJ, the town my wife Janet and I grew up in, but we spend three or four months a year at our house in Arizona where we run into Frank and his wife Barb. Janet and I have three children. The two oldest manage our ship brokerage and the third lives in Arizona. We take a Med cruise on Oceania Lines every year which is not at all like the ones I took in the 60's. Best regards to all.
Joe Carroll and Frank Bennett in Arizona

        In January, Doug Tozour became president of the board of the National Liberty Museum, located near Independence Hall in downtown Philadelphia. The museum was founded in 2000 as an avenue to promote religious and ethnic tolerance and respect. Its intent is to combat all types of prejudice by highlighting individuals who exemplify America's founding dream. "It's not just a museum, it's a teaching institute," Doug says, "It doesn't teach history, it uses history to teach values. We are talking in terms of teaching character development and how you live your life." Visit http:// for more information. An excellent article about Doug, his career, and the museum can be seen on the web site of the Catholic Standard & Times;
Doug Tozour

        Peter Featherstone sent this brief, illustrated note about a celebration for his USNA roommate, Dan Hitzelberger
     Certain members of our band of brothers have reached the 70 years-old milestone. Saturday, 11 April, was Dan's turn. Charlotte and I were privileged to attend a brunch in his honor. Most of the other attendees were family, so I introduced myself as Hitz's ex-wife. It'll be 50 years this fall since he taught his two plebe year roommates (Craig Barton and me) how to shine shoes, and otherwise guided us toward youngster status. I'm including two photos. The only one that warrants editorial comment is cutting the cake: the precision exhibited was so astounding I thought he had used his USMC sword instead of a mere cake cutter!
Precision cake-cutting

Featherstone and Hitzelberger

        While spending a week with our son and his family in San Diego in late April, Lou and I managed to get away for visits with classmates. We enjoyed a fine country lunch at La Bastide in Scripps Ranch with Dottie and Bill Hughes and June and Chuck Stone. (Great choice, Bill!) A few days later, we visited Martha and Phillip Marsden in their beautiful home in Coronado, then dined at a waterfront restaurant on San Diego Bay. It was great to see all these good friends and to hear about their hard work in planning the Class of 1963 "Mid-Term" Reunion in San Diego in the spring of 2011.
Shelleys and Marsdens in Coronado

Phillip and Mike

        Thanks to you, classmates, for your news submissions and continuing support of our efforts to gather and share information about the Class of 1963 and our families. You make it all possible, so BZ and keep up the good work by sending your news and photos to me!

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