Shipmate Column
May 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.

        We have lost our classmate Robert G. Newton, who passed away on 27 January 2017. Condolences may be sent to his daughter, Jennifer Newton, at 1015 S. Cove Way, Denver, CO 80209; also his son, Rob Newton, at 10957 Stillwater Ct., Fishers, IN 46037.

        A second loss to our '63 family was Pam McCrory, who died on 10 February. Her husband, our classmate Donn McCrory, can be contacted at 1217 Masters Row, Chesapeake, VA 23320.

        Demonstrating the continuing company-level energies of our classmates, Watt Miles filed this report about a convergence of 5th Company folks last fall.
     At the end of September a bunch of 5th Company fellows and OAO's gathered in Virginia Beach to get together, swap lies, scarf down seafood, consume adult beverages, and watch the Navy - Air Force game. For a while now we have been holding mini-reunions between the class reunions. We started after the 35th when we all stayed at the same motel in Annapolis. That changed the dynamics of our reunions because our OAOs became an integral part of the company. We have really enjoyed both the class reunions and our company mini-reunions much more ever since. This time we again had a blast (except for the game, of course). Our hotel was on the bay and our hospitality room had a balcony overlooking it. More to the point, it was big enough and had a refrigerator. Jean Smith, Homer's widow, also joined us. Jean and Bill Kaman's wife, Bev, were roommates at University of Michigan.
Fifth Company mini-reunion in Virginia Beach

     This picture shows almost everyone who attended. Present for the weekend were Gloria and Fred Beckham, Tom Selden, JoAnn and George Candelori, Betts and Jerry Potter, Kathleen and Bob Prangley, Joanne and Ben Redd, Bev and Bill Kaman, Sharon and Bob Lyons, Wilson Harris, Kate Malone and Dave Maples, Sandy and Ron Klemick, Jean Smith, Linda and Miles Schmidt, Peg and Craig Thrasher, Anne and Watt Miles.
     A good time was had by all. The only group activities, aside from the gatherings in the hospitality room, were the two dinners at local seafood restaurants Thursday night and Friday night, and the Air Force game Saturday afternoon at a local sports bar. About the latter, probably the less said the better given the "entertainment." It was a good event only in terms of the food and beer and the reserved seating provided, courtesy of the Hampton Roads Chapter of the Naval Academy Alumni Association. John-Rex Spivey and two others from our Linked class of 2013 joined us.
     Our next event is the 55th class reunion in San Diego. Our Classmates in that fair city showed us at the Mid-Term Reunion in 2011 that they can organize one heck of an event. The San Diego area is a great place with lots to do. We hope to have a big crowd there from the Fifth Company.

        Jack Hood checked in to tell us about the conclusion of a second Navy career in his family.
     Twenty-eight years ago, I wrote for our Shipmate column about swearing in my oldest son, John, as an Ensign. Six years ago, I wrote again about swearing him in again as a Captain in the Navy. On January 27th, I attended his change of command and retirement ceremony at the National Reconnaissance Office, where he set some sort of record for homesteading. He was relieved as director of the Space Systems Group, short for "We design and build spy satellites."
     Now for the first time since July 7th, 1959, neither of us is on active duty in the Navy (almost 58 continuous years). Actually, he is on terminal leave and will officially retire on May 1st. That is ironic, as it will also mark the 30th anniversary of my retirement. He starts his retired life, albeit with a second career, and I get a raise having paid-up survivor benefits.
     I will admit that the ceremony made me feel really old. The presiding two-star was commissioned a month after I retired. I prefer to think that makes him a very young admiral. The same with John's relief, a senior Captain from the class of '92. He enjoyed a picture of Ginger and me at the 1962 ring dance but wondered what the fountain was behind us. Alas, the reflection pool is not even a memory. However, Naval tradition remains. John was piped aboard, acknowledged that he stood relieved of command, requested permission to go ashore, and he and his wife were duly piped over the side.
Being piped aboard

Receiving the Defense Superior Service Medal

Ginger, John, and Jack Hood

     Ginger and I are lucky to be living so close to John and are enjoying our life at Ashby Ponds in Ashburn, VA, to the fullest. If you want to live on continuous vacation, come here.

        Steve Coester sent this photo and a brief note to say that he had seen Jackie and Peter Browne, who are spending the winter in Florida at Ponce Inlet. On February 12, the Brownes drove the forty miles south to Titusville and Steve and Yvonne drove the thirty miles north from their home in Rockledge. They met at the Dixie Crossroads restaurant on a beautiful Florida day for an afternoon of good food and lots of catching up. Several persons who have seen this photo commented on the unintentional, but deserved, halo around Yvonne's head formed by the USNA wording on Steve's shirt.
Brownes and Coester meet in Florida

        Here's one more lunchtime picture to close out this column. When Lou and I were visiting our son in San Jose, CA, this February we enjoyed a delightful Valentine's Day lunch with Maureen and Pat Wright. He surprised me by bringing a thermodynamics text and a Mollier diagram. Note in the photo that he and I reached two different solutions to the problem - just like the old days.
Shelley and Wright do a hands-on thermodynamics review

        That's a wrap for this month. Take a few minutes soon to send me an email about your recent activities; a photo or two will be most welcome. We need your participation to keep this news exchange full and lively. Thanks!

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