Shipmate Column
Stewardship Issue 2010

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 haven't seen a Shipmate titled "Stewardship Issue" before. It is sandwiched between the March-April issue and the May issue and is intended primarily to recognize donors to the Naval Academy Foundation while also including Shipmate columns and some other editorial content.

        We can continue to be very proud of our direct support of the Naval Academy through The Class of 1963 Center for Academic Excellence. Anecdotal evidence of the value of the 63CAE came recently in an e-mail that Larry Marsh received from the mother of a USNA '13 midshipman. Here is an excerpt:
     I am sure you do not remember us from the I-Day picnic, but my husband and I were so impressed and honored to meet you. You were so gracious to sit with us for a while recalling your days on the yard. Our daughter is a plebe in the class of 2013.

     Your class acted so generously in providing the Academic Excellence Center. We want to assure you those efforts were not in vain. Our daughter has made good use of the facility. Because of you and others, the links in the chain can remain strong and students can receive the help they need. (She did end the first semester with a 3.38).

        The Naval Academy Foundation's Stewardship Report for the Class of 1963 Center for Academic Excellence was recently posted in the Class of 1963 Foundation portion of our web site. I have extracted the excerpts below and encourage you to read the full report at
     The 2008-20009 academic year was an important milestone for the Class of 1963 Center for Academic Excellence (CAE). Created in 1989 as the Academic Center and renamed in 2003, the CAE is celebrating its 20th year in operation. The Center's creation symbolized a significant change in the Naval Academy's educational philosophy, a move from enumeration of student attrition to promotion of retention through support and guidance of midshipmen and their academic development . The Center was originally staffed by three full-time professionals. It now consists of eight full-time faculty members, a full-time Navy Lieutenant Commander, six part-time departmental academic advisers, nine hourly tutors, and one full-time secretary. CAE also trains and supervises a cadre of 114 upper-class midshipmen serving as peer tutors in the Midshipmen Group Study Program.

     This growth is due to the on-going and active support of the Superintendent, the Academic Dean & Provost, and generous charitable giving by alumni, parents and friends. Early grants from the J. W. and Alice Marriott Foundation and the Naval Academy Athletic Association enabled the Center to establish a solid foundation of programs to assist midshipmen in navigating their way through the Academy's rigorous educational environment. The Center has also received support from the Naval Academy Classes of 1956, 1963, 1968 and 1975, whose gifts have enabled the Center to provide a wider range of support services to benefit many more midshipmen. In 2003, the Class of 1963 chose the CAE as recipient of their on-going charitable legacy. The class' critical support has enabled the Center to add staff members and extend service offerings to the entire Brigade of Midshipmen.

     The late 2007 move to a renovated suite of offices in Nimitz Library has made the CAE significantly more accessible to midshipmen and is a likely cause for the 24 percent increase in the number of student contacts in 2008-2009 over the previous year. The number of individual midshipmen turning to the Center for academic assistance has also increased and Center outreach programming efforts have expanded. During the 2008-2009 academic year the CAE provided assistance to more than 1,800 individual midshipmen.

        Jim Metcalfe tells us about the Army-Navy wrestling match in Annapolis on 20 February.
     The Quality Class of 1963 was well represented at the match. Ron and Sharon Tebben, Steve and Natalie Duncan, Jeff Miles and Marla McIntyre, and Lisa and I were the '63 wrestlers in attendance. We were joined by Bob and Carol Harper. Navy pulled a surprise by beating Army 26-6. The match was, however, a lot closer than the score would indicate. At least four Navy wrestlers won matches they were expected to lose based on their prior performance this year and injuries sidelined a number of Navy wrestlers. Good coaching and gutsy Mids overcame the Black Knights. Fortunately, Navy did not have to call on any of us to wrestle. Steve Duncan always says he is ready to go if needed!

     Reg Wicks, the head coach 1988-2000, was specially honored, but for those of us who are becoming old timers the big honor was the attendance of 1960-87 head coach Ed Peery and his wife Gretchen. Ed has been fighting pancreatic cancer for over a year and he and Gretchen continue to be inspiring in their battle.

     After the match, certificates were handed out for a number of notable characteristics among the graduates, such as thickest neck, best cauliflower ear, etc. Ron Tebben was awarded the certificate for being closest to his wrestling weight -- he was right on at 191. Not many of us came anywhere close. Jeff Miles was recognized as the first on the mat for Ed Peery. We also learned that Ron Tebben recently won the world title for his masters level weight class in judo. He has had a black belt since 1965 when he was stationed in Japan. For many years he has also coached wrestling as a volunteer in West Virginia.

        Jim will be retiring from his post as Assistant U.S. Attorney in Norfolk, VA, on 1 May. When I asked him about his length of service he replied that he has been in continuous service to the U.S. Government in some combination of active duty, reserve service, and civil service since 7 July 1959. He has been a federal prosecutor for 30 years.
        Jim DeFrancia was appointed by the Secretary of Defense, with White House concurrence, to the Secretary of the Navy Advisory Panel, effective 24 February. According to Jim,
     This came after several months of "vetting" (no nanny problems) and preliminary security clearances. (Final security clearances are still in process, should the FBI call you!)

     The Panel is charged, as a component of the Office of Program Appraisal, with advising the Navy Secretariat on maritime strategy, industrial base, shipbuilding, and intelligence organization. Currently, the Panel is charged specifically with assessing maritime strategy in the Asia-Pacific area of operations, as well as development of energy policies and programs associated with Navy operations. An associated activity is advice on the $12 billion construction of the new Marine Corps facilities on Guam, as those forces relocate from Okinawa. It would seem that my prospective contributions are related to having development experience (Guam), on-the-ground business experience in China (Asia-Pacific strategy), and Urban Land Institute Trustee associations and connections (energy).

     I am humbled in joining such distinguished Panel members as James Woolsey, former CIA Director; Admiral Edmund Giambastiani, former Vice-Chair of the Joint Chiefs; Prof. William Alford, Director of East Asian Legal Studies at Harvard; John Devine, former Director of all CIA operations outside the United States; Dr. Jerrold Green, President of the Pacific Council on International Relations; Ambassador Robert Joseph, of the National Institute for Public Policy and former Under Secretary of State; Frank Miller, of the National Security Council (Arms Control); Maurice Sonnenberg, Senior International Advisor to JP Morgan; Steven Green, former Ambassador to Singapore (a strategic US Navy port); Dr. Dov Zakheim, former Under Secretary of Defense and now SVP at Booze Allen Hamilton; and a half dozen other very distinguished and accomplished individuals. We are supported by a full time Navy staff led by a Captain, three Commanders and several junior officers and civilians.

        Forrest Siburt sent this recommendation that we consider reading a well-regarded book about Navy football and national affairs in the early 1960's.
     I recently received a remarkably good book about Navy football from a friend in '62. It is so good that I wondered why I had not previously heard of it. Then I noted the 2009 copyright and thought some of you might also have missed it.

     You do not want to miss this book! It is about the special relationship between President Kennedy and the Navy football teams of our era. The research by the author Michael Connelly is excellent and his style is very readable. Many of the scenes and events will bring back personal memories not only of games we saw but also other memorable people and events such as Superintendents, coaches, politicians, pep rallies, and political influences. The book certainly provides an opportunity to relive the golden age of Navy football which featured the great athletes of our class and those of '61, '62, '64 and '65. The book is : The President's Team: The 1963 Army-NAVY game & the assassination of JFK by Michael Connelly.

        I will buy a copy for myself this week and, based on Si's recommendation and reviews I have read, expect that I will not be disappointed.
        Dave Riley alerted me about a YouTube video showing one of Paul Schleifer's recent forays into whale-infested waters off Hawaii's Kohala coast. Here's the link: The video shows Paul's kayak within ten feet of a group of very big cetaceans. What a hobby he has!

        I received a communication recently from Bob Denis, the Corresponding Secretary for the Class of 1961 concerning mesothelioma and the need for awareness by those of us who were exposed to asbestos, even several decades ago. Within the past year, several of his classmates have either passed away or are terminally ill from this condition. Bob passed along an information sheet prepared by CAPT Arnie Allen, USNR (Ret) '61. This appears below, so that you may be aware of the cause and symptoms of mesothelioma.
     If you spent significant time in a shipyard - you may have been exposed to lung cancer (Mesothelioma). Naval ships for years have used asbestos, particularly on steam plants. Those who were in shipyards for new construction or overhauls in particular, had more exposure to asbestos airborne fibers due to the installation or removal and reinstalling of asbestos. Also, nuclear personnel as a result of extended periods in the shipyards are more likely to have had extensive exposure.

     Although sometimes referred to as "asbestos lung cancer", Mesothelioma is not the same as lung cancer. Lung cancers occur inside the lung itself; Mesothelioma occurs in the lining of the lung. Mesothelioma is rare, striking fewer than 3000 Americans per year. Simply put, Mesothelioma which is commonly referred to as asbestos cancer, is an aggressive cancer caused primarily by the inhalation of dangerous asbestos fibers.

     How do you get malignant Mesothelioma? Most people with malignant Mesothelioma worked on jobs where they breathed asbestos. Others were exposed to asbestos in a household environment, often without knowing it.

     How much exposure does it take to get the disease? What is the latency period? Very little exposure can result in Mesothelioma. Sometimes people who worked with asbestos for as little as one or two months get Mesothelioma. The "latency period" refers to the time between asbestos exposure and diagnosis of the disease. For Mesothelioma, the latency period can be decades long, and people exposed in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s are now being diagnosed. Statistics show that, because of their work history, the disease most often affects men between the ages of 50 and 70 who were employed in an asbestos-laden environment before asbestos warnings and bans were in place in the 1970s.

     What are the symptoms of Mesothelioma? It is important to seek professional medical advice when trying to diagnose for Mesothelioma. The major symptoms include: (1) Shortness of breath caused by expanding pleural effusion (2) Persistent dry cough. Other symptoms may include: (1) Fatigue (2) Night sweats (3) Fever (4) Pain under the rib cage (5) Swelling or lumps in the abdomen (6) Unexpected weight loss.

     What should I do if I think I've been exposed to asbestos but don't think I have Mesothelioma? You probably will not get this rare disease, but you should remain vigilant and get regular check-ups. Let your doctor know about your asbestos exposure! Several nuclear submariners from the '50's, 60's, and 70's have already been diagnosed with this disease and/or passed away (most show no sign of it). If you fall into the exposure category, if you do nothing else inform your doctor that you have been exposed - the earlier detection the better.

        Finding that there were no pictures to accompany this month's news items, I scanned several photos from my collection of prints that had been published in previous Shipmate columns. Here they are, presented without captions as a challenge to your memory of faces and events.

        Keep in touch with me, gents. We need your contributions to keep this news exchange full and lively.

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