Shipmate Column
September 2023

Pres:  CAPT W. Spencer Johnson IV, USN (Ret.)
Sec'y: Michael H. Shelley
27 Cambridge DR, Brevard, NC 28712
h: 828-506-2201  e:
Web site:

For any classmate you can go to the Classmates Page and enter his name to read his current biography if available.

        As I write this, Induction Day for the Class of 2027 is only three days away, on 29 June. We wish the new plebes well as they begin their Four Years Together by the Bay. Would you begin that journey again if you could?

        I'm sorry to report that Patrick W. Johnson passed away on 14 May. His widow, Ginny, can be contacted at 4404 Holter Court, Jefferson, MD 21755.

        Watt Miles sent news of the inurnment ceremony for Ron Klemick at the Naval Academy columbarium.
     On 16 May a gathering of family, friends, classmates, and teammates celebrated our memories of our companymate Ron Klemick . After the Catholic service and after Sandy had placed his cremains in the niche at the Naval Academy Columbarium, we returned to the seating area at the Columbarium where our Class of 1963 President Spence Johnson talked about Ron's character and his achievements at the Academy, in the Navy, in business, and in life. Tom Lynch '64, captain of the 1963 football team and former Superintendent of the Academy, spoke to Ron's achievements on the playing field. He commented especially about how Ron handled being replaced by that Youngster quarterback, how he continued to be a positive force on the team by working hard at his new role of back-up and continued to take joy in the team's success, supporting that Youngster as he thrived. He pointed out something we tend to miss -- Ron did all this without foreknowledge of Roger Staubach's Heisman Trophy or outstanding success in the NFL. He did it because that's the kind of guy Ron was. Finally, John-Rex Spivey, then and now president of the Class of 2013, our Link in the Chain partner class, offered some personal words about how much Ron had meant to him when Ron coordinated our Class of '63 activities for that relationship, and how deeply influenced he was by Ron's mentoring at the Academy and on into his career in the Navy. All three touched on Ron's optimism, his willingness to lend a helping hand, his infectious good humor, and his loyalty to friends and to the Academy itself. It was impressive. We knew Ron as a companymate and friend; he was the kind of presence one simply could not imagine not being there. As Dave Maples said it best last year, the idea of Fifth Company without Ron is surreal. His farewell was in keeping with who he was. Following the inurnment, Sandy Klemick hosted a reception at the Naval Academy Club, where all enjoyed the camaraderie we started building over 60 years ago. This picture, which does not include several classmates who had to leave early, shows members of the Class of '63 at the reception. Thanks to Ben Redd 's son, Ben III, for getting it.
After Ron Klemick's inurnment

     Pictured seated are Spence Johnson, Jeff Miles, Forrest Siburt, and Watt Miles . Standing are Kent Maxfield, Bob Forster, Bob Prangley (rear), Dick Williams, Al Sherman, Eli Dabich, Jim Ring, John-Rex Spivey '13, Pete Quinton, George Candelori, Denny Conley, Tom Selden, Ben Redd, Bob Harper (obscured behind Ben), Ian Sargent, Wilson Harris, Bill Earner, Bruce Webb, Fred Storz, Joe Bustamante, Jim Lloyd, and Jerry Potter.

        I was surprised to receive a note from one of our Plebes about one of our classmates. Charlie Johnson '66 sent this news about Fred Storz .
     This picture shows Fred Storz playing clarinet at the 40th anniversary commemorative concert of one of several bands in which he plays. The band is comprised of retired school music teachers and other very accomplished musicians. Fred often is playing the more difficult parts of a challenging piece of music.
Talented musician Fred Storz

     Classmates will recall Fred's expertise on the football field in Navy's very winning 1962 varsity team. Fred was instrumental in executing the infamous "sleeper play" against Pitt that year that resulted in a touchdown. Ironically, Lou Slaby, a later-life good friend of Fred's, was playing for Pitt on that play. After earning a Mechanical Engineering degree from Pitt, Slaby played professionally for the Giants and several other pro teams, then became a professional engineer with his own company. Lou took up his clarinet again in retirement, sometimes playing alongside Fred.
     Fred was a standout New Jersey high school footballer who was recruited to play for Navy. He also was a standout saxophonist who played sock hops and proms -- in a white sport coat and a pink carnation! He is still playing both instruments quite well. In addition to music, Fred hikes the Appalachian and other trails weekly. He embarks on high adventure trail and biking trips with his Navy roommates and New Jersey friends. He is often in Annapolis during football season and for other academy activities.
     Last week my wife, Nan, and I were talking with Fred after one of our concerts. I was telling her of Fred's musical expertise in high school playing in a sock hop combo. Fred added that he also had played in Navy's Concert Band and really enjoyed some of the trips outside the seven-mile limit.
        I was also in the USNA concert band. Getting away from the Academy for concerts was a thrilling break from Plebe year pressures and the routines of later years. I recall that we played, among other places, at several girls' colleges in Maryland and Virginia. The students there seemed to be as interested in fraternization as we surely were.
        Several of our classmates who were members of the concert band appear in this photo from the Class of 1960 Lucky Bag. I placed a number above each of those I recognize: (1) Al Palenscar (2) Fred Storz (3) Mike Shelley (4) Skip Wright (5) Pete Savage (6) Bill Howard (7) Bob Harrison . Did I omit anyone?
USNA Concert Band 1959-60

        Thanks go to Keith Reynolds for sending this note and photo from Annapolis.
     In late May, Steve Leisge and I attended the NAAA Lacrosse Quarterfinals between Army and Penn State hosted in Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. Unfortunately, Army lost a close game but to our surprise Steve sat in the stadium seat dedicated to Captain Pete Optekar , USMC, our classmate. Steve and I proudly wore our "USNA 63" ball caps!
Keith Reynolds and Steve Leisge

        Here's some good news from our classmate, the prolific author Pete Deutermann.
     I thought I'd let you know that that my last novel, The Last Paladin, won the national W.Y. Boyd award honoring the best military fiction set in a period when the United States was at war. It recognizes the service of American veterans and military personnel and encourages the writing and publishing of outstanding war-related fiction. This is the second time one of my books has been so recognized. The first was for Pacific Glory, back in 2012 . My 26th work is set on the island of Iwo Jima in early 1945 and will be out in November of this year.

        For a full list of Pete's novels, search "P.T. Deutermann" on and other web sites. It's an impressive accomplishment.
        I just came across this picture from our 1/C cruise in a photo album. It was taken in Monaco in June 1962 and shows Jim Newberry, Duffy Doherty , and me on motor-assisted bicycles we had just ridden along the coast from Cannes. It was a beautiful day for sightseeing, and I remember it well.
In Monaco, June 1962

        I hope you've been having a good summer. Make it even better by contacting a classmate you've not been in touch with for a while. Think of someone and make the call or send the email! Believe me, you'll be glad you did.

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