Shipmate Column
Stewardship 2012

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.

June 1962

        Ron Klemick provided this announcement about the Class of 2013 Ring Dance.
     As part of the "Another Link in the Chain" program, the Class of 1963 has been invited to attend the Class of 2013 Ring Dance on Saturday, 19 May 2012. The dance will be in Dahlgren Hall from 7:00 p.m. to midnight. There will be no cost to our class. The dress code is black tie, white dinner jackets, with optional miniature medals. Mess Dress uniforms are also appropriate. Ladies are encouraged to wear formal or cocktail dress as desired.
     Full information about our participation in the Ring Dance is on the "Another Link in the Chain" page of our web site. Click HERE to see it.
     Please contact me by email ( or phone (910-270-9171) no later than 12 May if you wish to attend the dance. A special event for us earlier that day will be a tour of the Class of 1963 Center for Academic Excellence at 10:00 a.m.

        Have you already decided to attend the 50th Reunion of the Class of 1963? We want you to be with us for that grand weekend in Annapolis, October 24-27, 2013. Reserve the dates now!

        As you know, the Class of 1963 is working to raise $6.3 million as our 50th Reunion gift to support the Class of 1963 Center for Academic Excellence (63CAE). One of the objectives of this campaign is to achieve 100 percent classmate participation in meeting our goal. The inter-Company competition to accomplish this level of involvement is well underway and, coordinated by Phillip Marsden, has achieved encouraging results. Ken Metviner, fundraising chairman for our Class Foundation, provided this update:
     Regarding the Company Competition, the activity among the Companies has been noticeable and more than a few have been creative in order to cement their place on the rostrum as one of the Color Companies. We have been impressed with the number of spirited emails going out to Companymates encouraging them to contribute. One Company even has a "hit squad" that has targeted recalcitrant Companymates for a "visit" to encourage them to participate. Remember, there is no minimum required, so there should be no excuses. The same is true for the Simplified Irrevocable Bequest: no minimum, no immediate cash outlay. It counts toward the Company Competition, as well as for recognition on the Striper Plaque.
        The pledge form and information about Planned Giving bequests can be seen on the Class Foundation section of our web site by clicking HERE. Please make your donation, no matter how small, to this worthy goal.
        The class extends its sympathy to Max Kirkpatrick, whose wife Wanda passed away on 29 January after a 20-year fight with cancer. They had celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary a month earlier. Max can be contacted at 8532 Wisteria Way, Knoxville, TN 37931. (Thanks to Peter Browne for sending this sad news.)

        In November of 2011, our classmate J.J. Hogan suffered major leg injuries while zip lining in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, while on a fishing trip with his 23rd company mates. Subsequently he suffered a stroke, swelling of the brain and he has endured two neurosurgeries and a succession of physical challenges. He continues to experience paralysis and muscle atrophy on the left side of his body. J.J. does enjoy seeing, speaking with, and hearing from his classmates. He is receiving ongoing care at the University Care Center, 5602 University Ave, San Diego. Cards and letters can be sent to his home address at 3508 Rolling Hills Lane, Bonita, CA 91902. J.J.'s wife, Maureen, and their children ask for your prayers and extend thanks to the many people who have helped during this difficult time.
        Our Southern California classmates have provided constant support to the Hogans through visits with J.J. and many acts of service. A three-day project to perform maintenance and enhancement projects at the Hogans' ranch was conducted on 23-25 February. Follow up projects were on 1 and 2 March. Organized and energetically managed by Vern Von Sydow, the effort spruced-up the property and helped to enable Maureen to continue to teach horse riding lessons and board horses.
        Participants included a large number of members of the Class of 1963, some of their wives, and many of Vern's friends in the Bonita Kiwanis Club. The USNA contingent included Bill Hughes, Wayne Clark, Ron Wills, Phillip Marsden, Chuck Spadafora, Charles and Nancy Helsper, Max and Edith Ricketts, Clyde Van Arsdall, Dick Andrews, Don Jacobs, Jay Roberts, Rich Wilson, Grant Telfer, Janet Gushue, Joe Morra and his wife Teresa Bonafonte, Sue and Lee Cargill and Steve Longo. Also working were Bill Ullrich '64 and his son Scott and Pat Donnelly '65. Dede Hollowell, a USNA '70 spouse, brought lunch for all the workers on the second day. Vern issued daily SITREPs during the project. This summary was in the last one:
     The workers on J.J.'s Project exceeded our expectations! We planned on replacing about 400 linear feet of fencing and we replaced over 1,000 ft. of fence. The exterior fence was reinforced, painted and replaced. A new horse gate and fenced area around the pasture were completed. All outdoor lights were checked and replaced. Pruning of shrubs, trees and weeding of horse rings areas were completed. The new irrigation system will be almost three times the size of the initial plan. And what is amazing is that there were no casualties!
     For a group of workers with the average age of 70.9 years we are a pretty effective, productive and proud group! No slackers among us! To all who have participated with their contributions and/or work party involvement: a big thank you from Maureen and the Hogan Family!! Thank you to all USNA workers, Kiwanians, and friends who have helped make JJ's Project so successful! You were a wonderful, hard working, efficient, self motivated, productive and fun group! Well done to all! To say that I am proud of your effort is a big, big, big understatement!
Marsden, Andrews, Helsper, Van Arsdall, Roberts, Jacobs, Wills, Von Sydow, Wilson

Jay Roberts, varsity fencer

Fence painters

Dick Andrews

Telfer, Helsper, Hughes

Ricketts and Clark

Post hole diggers and spectators

Lunch break

Relaxing in the shade

        The photo below shows a bunch of the volunteers with Vern, who is holding a certificate presented to him by his Kiwanis Club to recognize his "service and leadership as CINCJJ." The citation reads, "He has organized the unorganizable, managed the unmanageable, led the leaderless, micromanaged the smallest detail, raised large amounts of cash from questionable sources, and, in general, has done a magnificent job in service to a USNA classmate, fellow Kiwanian, and a good friend."

        I enjoyed an exchange of emails with Bill Coulter in February, in the course of which he provided this personal information.
     Shan and I moved to Colorado in 1991 as I was leaving the Navy. My next to last assignment was as Naval Attaché, Australia, which was tough but I persevered. I finished up 28 years as the Professor of Naval Science at the University of Missouri and came to Colorado to take a job at Rocky Flats -- the Denver nuclear weapons production plant. We've been here 21 years and despite the two feet of snow on the ground right now, we couldn't be pried out of here. It's a great, and beautiful place to live. Plus ( and this is the real reason) 7 of our 11 grandchildren are within 20 miles!

        Jim Ring told me about a YouTube video from a football game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Here's what he had to say about it.
     The video shows a Marine F-18 flyover before the Navy - TCU game a few years ago. He did not come in straight and level but came around the stands on the east side, barely missed a light pole and then flew up the field. As I was in the upper level that day, I could swear he was at my level. It scared me. If he had hit the pole he would have wiped out the brigade. I heard he was grounded for a year.
        To see the video, click HERE .
        I've been to lots of games at USNA over the years but have never seen a flyover anywhere near that low, with one exception: the time an AV-8 Harrier was part of a USMC flyover at half time featuring several different types of aircraft. It was honoring the USMC birthday, as I recall, and was quite a display. For some reason the Harrier arrived very late, as the third quarter was beginning. He approached slowly, hovered maybe fifty feet over the scoreboard at the then-open end of the stadium, and did a 360-degree pirouette before exiting. The refs stopped play and the two teams just stood there and watched. It was mighty loud!

        An article in the 9 February Waterford (CT) Times profiled our classmate Bill Sheehan's extensive volunteer service. The article highlighted the impending Crowley Public Service Award to honor Bill's many public service activities. Among the organizations to which he volunteers are the American Red Cross, the Community Emergency Response Team, the Ledge Light Medical Reserve Corps, and the Ledge Light Health District which conferred the Crowley Award. Bill has also been very active in local government activities. He served for nine years on the Representative Town Meeting, including three years as Moderator, and now sits on the town's Board of Finance.
Bill Sheehan

        During his full active duty career Bill served in nine submarines and was XO of the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, CT, when he retired. He then worked for Ortronics, Inc., from 1988 to 2003.
        "Although I'm retired," the article quotes Bill, "I'm doing everything I want to do - I'm just not getting paid for it. I feel extremely fortunate."

        I recently viewed an engrossing video from the CBS Sunday Morning television show about the mining and fabrication of the marble used in headstones in our national cemeteries. I'm sure you'll find it informative. You can see it by clicking HERE .

        Dave Moore submitted a bunch of photos from La Quinta, CA, where several '63 classmates and wives assembled in late February for golfing and fellowship. Attendees who were at previous years' events included Dick and Helen Anderson, Lew and Lynn Blackwell, Dave and Lana Moore, Chuck and Linda Spadafora, and Denny and LuAnne Vaughan. New faces this year included Marsha and Bob Keen, Pattie and Dave Meyers, John McCabe and Chet White.
Anderson, Vaughan, White, Moore, Blackwell, Spadafora, and McCabe in La Quinta

Spadafora, Blackwell, and Keen

Pattie and Dave Meyers

Spadafora, McCabe, and Moore

        Now that you're thinking about the Ring Dance and our 50th Reunion, here are a couple of items that will also remind you of your Midshipman days. Zimm Zimmerman raised the subject of cruise boxes with me, wondering if anyone still had theirs. (His disappeared about five moves ago.) Do you still have your cruise box? If so, how has it held up over the years and what do you use it for now? Please share with me any sea stories about cruise boxes at USNA or afterward. Come to think of it, I think the issuance of cruise boxes ended many years ago. How do today's Mids store their uniforms and gear during the summer?
        The sense of smell is said to be especially effective in evoking vivid memories. Joe Kotowski testified to that:
     Yesterday I decided to sell two items on eBay, a brass hygrometer and a Japanese bronze vase. They were too tarnished to sell, so I bought a can of Brasso. Upon opening it, memories of shining my belt buckle on my desk in Bancroft Hall came flooding back to me. As I worked the Brasso the memories evolved and became more detailed. Fascinating. I get the same feelings with Shinola.

        We'll end on that nostalgic note. How about sharing some of your memories and recent exploits with us? We'll enjoy hearing from you - especially if you have not been in touch with us for a while.

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