Shipmate Column
November 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.

        Our class column in the July-August issue of Shipmate included Mike Cronin's remembrance of Dan Moran, who was lost over North Vietnam in 1967. (Mike was responding to Bob Polich's request for info that could be shared with Dan's family.) Soon after the issue was published, we received this letter from Dan's mother.
    What a thrill to pick up Shipmate and find an intimate conversation about Dan, a verbal picture, an inside view of his life during those long, eternal, never-ending months at sea.

My husband, children, and I have wondered for years how it was for him. What was his mood, his spirit? Was he resigned to where fate had placed him? Was he resentful? Our only consolation was his love for his wonderful wife, Charlotte, who, he knew, was with him every moment, in thought. I am stunned to learn he was smiling, but that is he, that is our Dan, self-disciplined, dedicated to his work. How could he smile? How could anyone smile? Let us be comforted in knowing the 59,000-plus heroes who are gracing the Vietnam Wall are in a place where a perpetual smile is the way of life.

Thank you, Bob Polich and Mike Cronin, for that warm breeze. You are right, Mike, Dan was a "great guy" always. Sincerely, Ruth Moran

        From Jim Metcalfe comes this account of a celebration at Jan and Phil Rooney's home.
    I was sure there must have been some error when Phil invited us to what he described as Jan's milestone xxth birthday party at their home in Fairfax, VA. No way could Jan be that age! Their daughters were also surprise attendees. Kate is starting her third year at San Diego Law School. Sarah is in Boulder. (I always forget whether that is Colorado or Colorado State -- apparently a very important distinction.) Lisa Rooney, who is Phil's daughter and my wife Lisa's goddaughter, also joined the party. She is a computer guru and hopes to get a degree in the field. Betty and Matt Small came up from their new home on the banks of the Rappahannock River west of Fredericksburg. Matt and Phil are great fly fishermen so the smallmouth bass on the Rappahannock better be wary. The Smalls have ten grandchildren! Matt will have plenty of young folks to teach the art of fly fishing. Matt is still active in aviation related consulting, frequently at his old stomping grounds at Patuxent River where he graduated from Test Pilot School years ago. Phil is supposedly wrapping up his work as the financial manager for a number of the Independent Counsels. He hopes to have more time for fishing too.

We returned in early August from two weeks visiting in England with our daughter Megan, son-in-law David Thornton, and grandson Matthew. We also had some nice visits with Royal Navy friends we had met when they were stationed at SACLANT here. One of the couples has a daughter who has acquired her law degree and is clerking with the Crown Prosecution Service in Bristol. She arranged for me to have a bit of a busman's holiday touring the Criminal Courts. Very interesting. My guide was a Crown Prosecution Service barrister, similar to my job as a federal prosecutor. I also got to the Farnborough air show. The highlight for us all, however, was Matthew's baptism. He was christened in a parish church which has written records back to 1181 and stone foundations reckoned a good deal older. The baptismal font was relatively new, dating from about 1400. That reminded me of the saying that in the US, 100 years is old; in the UK, 100 miles is far away.

        It was a pleasant surprise to receive this photo of smiling faces from Tony Taylor '63/'64. His e-mail conveying the image included this note:
    Bill Anderson '63 had a small dinner gathering one evening in June at his lovely Seattle home. In attendance were Mike Rubel '63, Dan Ballbach '64, and myself. (I was originally '63 until math set me back a year during Youngster Year.) This picture shows Bill and Mike, clearly having a good time.
Bill Anderson and Mike Rubel in Seattle

        Linda and Charlie Stubbs traveled coast to coast this summer and were very busy throughout their vacation. Here's his account of some of their activities:
    On our recent trip to the beautiful Northwest United States Linda and I had the special opportunity to visit with Lu Anne and Denny Vaughan in their I-can't-describe-it-it's-so- breathtaking home fronting on Puget Sound. Being in mid-August the air was a comfortable seventy something, the sky was clear, and the view from their deck where brunch was elegantly served was one for the pages of some glamour magazine.

Denny and Lu Anne's graciousness and hospitality were first cabin. They set an example to which the rest of us can only aspire. Lu Anne served an elegant meal in an idyllic setting. She then exceeded all expectations by having a lone bald eagle fly by, almost directly overhead and at an altitude of approximately thirty feet. It was a Star Spangled Banner Moment. I still haven't figured out how she did that.

While we were there, Denny took a telephone call from Pete Optekar. Pete was surprised to learn that we still remembered he was our class commander Plebe Summer. Remember that? Along about 7 July 1959 Pete could salute, march, and say "aye-aye, Sir" so much better than the rest of us he deserved to be out front.

Following brunch, Linda, Denny and I drove to Monroe, WA, to visit Bill Pawlyk. Getting in to visit Bill is not casual. Bill needs to know a few months in advance so that visitors can be cleared to visit him. In addition to all the clearances required, there is a mandatory dress code that must be followed in order to gain entrance to the big house. Ask Denny. They wouldn't let him in for dual violations: he was wearing no socks and his shorts didn't cover his knees. There was apparently no objection to his USNA polo shirt. If I'm not mistaken, the only visitors denied visitation privileges that day were flag rank.

In spite of the hardships that you can well imagine, our classmate Bill is working hard and making contributions where he can. He's working two jobs. One job is for an outside company that has a production operation inside the facility. The other job is teaching inmates working toward their GED. Somehow, Bill can have photographs taken with his visitors. That's him with Linda and me. Linda is the small pretty one. Bill and I are the big ugly ones.

Bill Pawlyk with Linda and Charlie Stubbs

All in all, Bill seems to be doing a pretty good job in travelling a very difficult road. A common complaint is that one has almost no control over anything in this situation. But Bill seems to be able to control at least his attitude. And that's a lot. If his ability to tell the tale of his two, count them two, interviews with ADM Rickover is any indication of his ability to endure difficult situations, things should turn out okay. Should you wish to contact Bill directly, write to Mr. William J. Pawlyk, 982921, C3-32, P.O. Box 777, Monroe, Washington 98272-0777.

        The Class of 1963 Foundation continues to extend its wonderful record of assisting the children of our deceased classmates as they pursue their education. In this connection, Polly King, widow of our classmate George King, contacted me recently to share news about their children. She had recently written a letter to Class of 1963 Foundation President Dave Puckett. Here are some extracts from that letter and her e-mail to me:
    I want to update the Foundation about how our children have progressed, thanks to your help. Laura, our eldest, gained her degree as a Medical Secretary and is now working here in Pensacola. John, our first son, has a degree in video and film production. He lives in California and has been music coordinator for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the spin-off, "Angel," since the shows started. Julie, our middle daughter, after graduating with a degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities, has worked in theater and retail and is now married. I am grandmother to an 18-month old grandson and will have another grandchild in September. Charles, our second son, finished at the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry with an emphasis on music in practical ministry. He has just been accepted at the Los Angeles Music Academy for further study. And last, but not least, is Kathleen, our youngest daughter, who just graduated with honors from Aletheia Christian Academy. She has been accepted at Flagler College in St, Augustine, where she plans to major in Business Administration with emphasis on fashion merchandising. Andy Curtin, who was such a good friend to George and continues to be with me all these years, suggested that I get in touch with you about Class of 1963 Foundation scholarship assistance for Charles and Kathleen.

We still live in Pensacola and I work for Youth Awareness, Inc. as assistant program manager. It is a non-profit organization that does youth delinquency prevention programs in the schools, at the sheriff's office, for youth groups, and anywhere else we are invited.

I do think all of you should know how much you are appreciated for honoring your fallen classmates by not forgetting all of us. Thank you! Polly King

        Ace Reporter Phil Marsden has been on the road again, visiting classmates, collecting news, and taking pictures. Here's his account of a visit to the central California coast:
    A short business trip to Monterey afforded me the opportunity to touch base with two local members of the Class of 1963 - the two "John P's." Jeannie and John Peterson welcomed Pam and John Pfeiffer and me to a sumptuous crab feast at their lovely home on 17-Mile Drive. The event was memorialized in two photos which unfortunately aren't available online.. The first shows the Petersons, me, and the Pfeiffers before dinner. The second presents the three fellows celebrating the victory dinner by hoisting the remnants of many Dungeness crabs the result of hours of happy labor and good fellowship.

        Friends, this month's news exchange is much shorter than usual. I don't like that, either, but I can't make up news. (Well, I could but I'm afraid I might like doing that.) Please take a few minutes sometime before Thanksgiving and send me an e- mail with news about yourself and your family. I accept digitized photos and can submit them for publication if they can be converted to meet Shipmate's specifications. Usually I can do the conversion but you can save me time and trouble if the image is 300 dpi and at least five inches wide. Feel free to use the Postal Service if you don't want to use e- mail or if you prefer to send me a photoprint rather than a digitized image.

Speaking of the Postal Service, please send me a copy of your annual holiday letter if you can. With that in hand, I can extract information to share with our classmates. Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving and BEAT ARMY !

  QUALITY - '63

This page is 
   November 2002 
posted on:
 14 September 2002
Shipmate columns:

< Last Month

Navigate to:   
Shipmate Index
Shipmate Index


Plan of the Day
Plan of the Day
Site Map

Site Map

USNA Class of 1963 Home Page