Shipmate Column
November-December 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.

        I have a full, mixed bag of news for you this month. As you read it, appreciate those who contributed and resolve to submit something soon to be enjoyed by our classmates and other readers.

        Sadly, we begin this report with news of the loss of two members of the Class of 1963 family.

        Our classmate Chester Benny Cole passed away on 27 August. His widow, Sue, can be contacted at 25 Windcrest Drive, Greenville, SC 29615.

        Several of our classmates and their wives came to Pickens, SC, for Ben's funeral on 9 September. His 23rd Companymates were Zimm Zimmerman, Harry Hirsch, Cindy and Bob Maier, and Lois Grabowski (Bernie's widow). Matt Krause '96 represented his father, Mike. Others were Joe and Wendy Kotowski, Judy and Hoot Gibson, and Mike and Lou Shelley.

Zimmermann, Gibson, Maier, Shelley, Hirsch, Krause


        Dick Elsworth shared the sad news that his wife, Laura, passed away on 19 August. We extend our sympathies to Dick, who can be contacted at 1462 Cobblegate Lane, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068.
        Thanks to Mario Fiori for sending this news from Annapolis. .
     Our Annapolis chapter of 63ers had its monthly luncheon on 12 August at the Union Jack restaurant in Annapolis. We have luncheons the second Saturday of every month except when it conflicts with home games; we cancel for that month. Our leader/organizer is Jeff Miles. We would love to have more classmates to attend and if passing through town, they would be most welcome. Just contact Jeff (410-224-3407; Here is a photo taken at this lunch. In the 1st row left to right (although only the men are shown): Eli and Eileen Dabich, David and Lynn Ebert, Frank and Pam Hilton, Bob and Sharon Forster, Brev Moore, Jeff and Marla Miles. In the second row are Ian and Fern Sargent, Mike and Stephanie Nadolski, Bill and Jennifer Earner, Pete and Jan Quinton, Jim and Katherine Lloyd, Mario and Susan Fiori. Also attending was Leslie Pero.
Annapolis luncheon classmates

        Mario also sent this news about his recent visit to Washington state.
     I visited Bill Pawlyk on Saturday and Sunday, 19 and 20 August. On Sunday, Denny Vaughan and two of Bill's friends, Liz and Dave Randle, joined me. In this photo are Dave, me, Liz, Bill, and Denny.
Visiting Bill Pawlyk

     Bill is in reasonably good health. He still teaches courses, sponsors University Behind Bars, volunteers for the Alternatives to Violence Project, and has time to work out for an hour on most days. I was very impressed on the respect Bill gets from the Guard Force and also fellow prisoners. Clearly, he is well liked. His lawyer and I are still working on our clemency appeal for him. There is a new program in place that allows him to receive emails. Take a look at; it will explain how to sign up and how the system works. You will need to know Bill's ID number -- 982921.

        Jim Metcalfe submitted a trip report from his visit to the Guadalcanal area this August. As you will see, Jim has several family connections to the 1942 campaign in that area.
     We had a splendid time touring the battlefields on Guadalcanal, cruising across Iron Bottom Sound (named for the dozens of ships sunk there), and visiting Tulagi and several smaller islands where there was fierce fighting in 1942.
     I traveled on a Valor Tour - this one was even better than their 2012 tour. We again met the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and even had a Marine Raider with us who had fought at Guadalcanal. With me was Bill Brod, my first cousin, who served in the Navy as an OCS grad during the Vietnam era. He and his younger brother Jim -- also a Navy officer and a Vietnam combat vet - had been with me on my 2012 trip to Guadalcanal for the 70th anniversary of the fighting. This year, Bill was joined by his son and I was accompanied by my Godson Richard Miller. Richard is grandson of Gilbert C. Hoover, USNA'16, who was awarded his second and third Navy Crosses for his heroic conduct as CO of USS HELENA (CL-50), during battles around Guadalcanal.
On the landing beach at Guadalcanal

     This photo shows me, Bill, and Greg on the beach where the Marines landed on 7 August, 1942. In the left background is Savo Island, near which heavy cruiser USS QUINCY ( CA-39) and three other ships sank just after midnight on 9 August. My father, Conrad Metcalfe, USNA '22, and 384 shipmates went down with the ship.
     I hope to return at least once more. While we were on the island the remains of a long missing Army soldier KIA there in 1942 were found and repatriated to Hawaii for DNA confirmation. A niece and nephew had come to the island to receive his remains and turn them over to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency recovery team.
Links in the Chain: McKenna '13 and Metcalfe '63

     I also met a "classmate " of ours while visiting the USS BARRY (DDG-52), in port in Honiara, Guadalcanal. LT Erin McKenna, USNA '13, is serving aboard. BARRY was representing PACFLT at the remembrances for the 75th anniversary of the landing of the Marines on Guadalcanal and the Battle of Savo Island. In the latter, we suffered the loss of heavy cruisers ASTORIA, QUINCY, and VINCENNES. The Australians lost HMAS CANBERRA, also a cruiser, along with terrible damage to several other cruisers and destroyers.

        Len Eaton tells us about his travels in the Adriatic Region this summer.
     This is a photo of four Naval Academy graduates taken on a private yacht in the "Old Port" of Dubrovnik, Croatia, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. From left to right are Pierce Johnson '66, Bob Tolg '54, Anne Tolg Maliwauki '84, and me.
USNA alumni in Croatia

     Pierce Johnson and I met at Lake Bled in Slovenia with five others for an extensive tour of this EU member alpine country known for its ski jumping. Later in Zagreb, Croatia, we met up with Bob Tolg and his daughter, Anne Maliwauki, and fifteen other travelers. Following visits to Opatija on the coast, the group went to Zadar to board the yacht "La Perla" for a seven-day voyage on the Adriatic with port visits to Sibenik, Split, Hvar, Korcula, Slano to visit Mostar in Bosnia Herzegovina, and finally Dubrovnik in Croatia where the cruise ended. Visiting these Balkan countries on the coast of the Adriatic Sea was a wonderful experience; it was great to share it with other Naval Academy graduates. Tourism drives the economies of these two countries, and English is taught in the schools starting at a very young age. Croatia is also a member of the EU but has its own currency, the Kuna.
        Len remains active in alumni activities in southern Arizona. He told me that he and six of our classmates are members of the Tucson Chapter of the USNA Alumni Association: Art Weidner, John Truesdell, Bill Brinkley, Dick Augur, Thom Rossa, and Walter Sickel. Len served on the Chapter Board of Directors for five years followed by John Truesdell and Art Weidner, who became Chapter President.
        Alan McAnally filed this report about the convergence of 21st Company folks for another New England assembly.
     In what has become an annual event, a group of the 21st Company folks gathered on Cape Cod in August. Whether it is for great beaches, good food, tall tales, or visiting kids and grandchildren, Cape Cod never loses its special flavor and attraction. Again this year, Suzanne and Joe Collins hosted the group in Pocasset, as did Betty and Bud Small at their home in Barnstable. Here is a picture of our happy group. In the front row, left to right, are Betty Small, Yvonne Saux, John Middleton, Suzanne Collins, and Bud Small. In the back row are Jace Singler, Betty Middleton, Dolly Batzel, Tom Batzel, Terry McAnally, Alan McAnally, and Joe Collins.
21st Company on Cape Cod

        From Delaware came this 16th Company news from Jim Ring:
     In late July, Kate and I hosted our Company Commander, Jack Fischer, and our Company Sub-Commander, Dave deHoll, their wives, Maria and Donna, plus Frank's lovely wife, Elaine Davey, for dinner. Even though they had important jobs, they assured me that I had the most important job in the Company as the Right Guide to the First Platoon. After all, how would the 16th Company have found its proper place on the parade field -- especially without GPS. Jack told us something that I did not know. He had been called John his whole life before coming to the Academy, and one night at a meal Pete Rollosson called him Jack and that stuck. It was great seeing and catching up with these aging warriors! We are coming up on 58 years since we first met.
Dave DeHoll, Jim Ring, Jack Fischer

Maria Fischer, Kate Ring, Elaine Davey, Donna deHoll

        Each year, Phillip Marsden reports on an event that has become a tradition for our San Diego '63ers.
     Classmates, wives, parents of 2013 graduates, and some hungry midshipmen from the Class of 2019 enjoyed a Coronado concert in the park. On a beautiful August Sunday afternoon, the Navy Band Southwest provided the background music for our annual get together. In attendance were Vern and Gail VonSydow, Lew and Lynn Blackwell, Alan and Terry McAnally, Ron and Dee Wills, Donna Kaup, Jay Roberts, and Lee and Sue Cargill. Class of 2013 parents included John and Gail Pedrotty, John and Luz Austin, and Roy and Nilda Hansen. Unfortunately, I was unable to capture all the attendees in the photo. Trust me, a good time was had by all -- especially the members of the Class of 2019.
Coronado concertgoers

        I saw this vivid photo on the internet and thought there might be a good story behind it, so I asked Pete Carrothers for some background. Here's his response.
     This was almost five years ago when Nancy and I celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary. We're coming up on our 54th this December. Fon is our daughter. She got this sign put out on the highway in nearby Denton, TX, to announce the big event. I've gone back to work helping Fon in her law practice doing real estate closings. She will be President of the Denton Bar Association this coming year and needed some help around the office. It keeps me plenty busy. By the way, Nancy is my companymate Clay Dugas' cousin. I met her during our graduation June Week.

        As we close this month's column, remember the seven men lost aboard FITZGERALD this June, and think of their families as well. I found several related images to share with you. Pictured below is the graveside service for FITZGERALD Petty Officer 1st Class Xavier A. Martin at Arlington National Cemetery on 9 August.

        The photos below are from other services held at Arlington for FITZGERALD crew members.

        These images and many more can be seen on the Arlington National Cemetery's Facebook page. Other ceremonies and observances, as well as facility maintenance and operations are also featured there. I'm sure you will find a visit to the site to be worth your time.

        That's all for now, folks. Keep in mind that our grand 55th Reunion will be in San Diego 25-27 October 2018. See you there!

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