CLASS of 1953 SHIPMATE Jan-Feb 2019

Great Expectations

Our 65th Reunion went so well that our Class Executive Committee decided that we should have a 68th Reunion, thinking that there wouldn’t be enough of us for a 70th Reunion. The proposed dates are 21-24 April 2021 in Annapolis. The headquarters would be the Doubletree Hotel. The planned events would be a welcome reception, a brunch at the ’53 Pavilion, and a banquet. Therefore, stay well and think positive. 


Wreaths Across America

 The Executive Committee approved a donation of $500 to Wreaths Across America at the Naval Academy Cemetery. On December 7 the wreaths were placed at each grave in the Cemetery and at the Columbarium.



Norma O. Schaffrath, widow of MAJ Henry G. Schaffrarh Jr. USAF (Ret) (Co.4), died June 25, 2017 in Colleyville, TX. She was an Air Force wife for 52 years, moving to many places, settling in Texas where she began a career as a bank teller ultimately to Assistant Vice-President. Survivors include two children and two grandchildren.

Carolyn Britton, widow of CAPT William L. Britton USN (Ret) (Co.15), died August 22, 2018 in Mission Viejo, CA. No obituary available. From the 50th Year Legacy Book she was a Navy wife. Survivors include two children and three gtandchildren….*

Burney LeRoy Fishback Jr.(Co.6) died September 12, 2018 in Darien, GA. “Roy” served in the Supply Corp and resigned in 1960 as a LT and returned to Perry, GA. He became the publisher of The Perry Enterprise, The Center Herald, and the Ralls County Herald-Record. Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Shirley, two children, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Robert B. (Scotty) McComb, CDR USN (Ret) (Co.13), died September 12, 2018 in Port Ludlow, WA. After Scotty served his required surface ship duty he became a submariner, most famously as the Commanding Officer of the USS Archerfish (SS-311), an all-bachelor volunteer ship. It was repurposed as a “Sea Scan” research vessel in the Pacific spending many months at sea. After retiring from the Navy he became Master of the Columbia University’s oceanographic research ship Vema. Among other adventures he was an avid sailor and served as Commodore of the Port Ludlow Yacht Club. Survivors include his wife, Carol, of 50 years, and a nephew and a niece….*

Allen H. Somers, LCOL USMC (Ret) (Co.11), died September 20, 2018 in Germantown, TN. Allen served 22 years on active duty; including assignments in Okinawa and Vietnam. Awards include President Unit Citation, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal. After retiring from the Marine Corps and a civilian job as a Purchasing Manager of C. P. Hall Co. he was appointed as a Committee Member of the U.S. Golf Association. Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Katherine, two daughters, two step children, and five grandchildren….*

Edgar Kindrell (Kinney). Wood Jr., LCDR USN (Ret) (Co.23), died September 22, 2018 in Warner Robins, GA. Navy assignments included a destroyer, a cruiser, USN Post Graduate School Monterey (Meteorology), Amphibious Training, a new LPD, various staffs including Fleet Weather Central, Norfolk. Upon retirement from the Navy he raised cattle, taught high school, and was the Chief Tax Appraiser for the Wilkinson County for 12 years. His wife, Betty, preceded him in death. Survivors include two daughters and six grandchildren….*

Joseph Duane Gilliam died October 9, 2018 in Fayetteville, NC. Duane left the Naval Academy and graduated from North Carolina University. He then served in the Army during the Korean War. He earned a license as a CPA and later a law degree and practiced law for 50 years in Fayetteville where he was President of the Cumberland County Bar. His wife, Patricia, preceded him in death. Survivors include his first wife, Betty, and their five children and eight grandchildren.

William J. Richardson, COL USAF (Ret) (Co.4) died October 19, 2018 in Charlottesville, VA. Will was a Navigator of a B-57 in 244 missions in Vietnam. His Air Force career included assignments as a strategic planner and educator, with tours at the Pentagon and on the faculty of the Air War College. He also earned Master’s Degrees from U. of Chicago and George Washington U. Awards included the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Legion of Merit. After retiring from the USAF he taught Management at the U. of Texas. His wife of 62 years, Jean,   preceded him in death in 2016. Survivors include two children and five gtandchildren….*

Joan I. Kucyk, widow of Peter M. Kucyk (Co.2), died October 26, 2018 in Gibsonia, PA. She worked at the New York Telephone Co. as phone operator from 1949 until she married Pete in 1954. The family settled in Maryland in 1960, where they raised their five children during 55 years of marriage. Their oldest daughter, Nancy, preceded Joan in death. Survivors include four children, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild….*

Donald L. Mang, LCOL USAF (Ret) (Co.16) died November 12, 2018 in Mount Dora, FL. Don enlisted in the Navy and entered USNA via NAPS. Don chose to serve in the USAF as a Civil Engineer. Assignments included a tour in Goose Bay, Labrador; NATO-Joint staff in Keflavik; Iceland; Command of Civil Engineering Squadron in Vietnam.                                                    He attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and earned a MBA degree from the U. of Chicago. His awards included the Bronze Star with “V”, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and foreign decorations. After retiring from USAF he worked for Western Union Corp. In final retirement he began to paint watercolors and exhibited art shows winning numerous awards. His wife of 57 years, Nancy, preceded him in death. Survivors include two children and four grandchildren….*

*See our 50th Year Legacy Book


Mail Bag

Frank Martin (Co.1) sent a nice legible hand written letter 10 September regarding a piece I wrote in the Shipmate Jan-Feb 2018 about how today’s First Class Midshipmen pick their assignments after graduating. Frank wrote, “If my memory serves me we were subjected to a lottery type drawing. It seems to me our predecessors (50-51-52) used class standing…I am so sure of this and have no idea why this method was used.” [I don’t remember how we did it, but I also think it was by lottery. Anyway, I picked what I wanted, a destroyer]

Winchell Craig (Co.7) sent an e-mail and wrote, “The cover of Shipmate Sept 2018 brought home to me an ugly truth: when did the clinched fist replace ‘fin out’ when at attention? In our day, you may recall, instructions called for the fingers to be extended and joined on the outboard trouser seam when at attention, and fingers joined and extended while marching. But, the Shipmate cover shows mids with clenched fists! Disgusting! Chalk this rant up to an old Marine with not enough to do!” [Gee, I don’t remember fin or fist, just neutral]

Paul Dudley (Co.12) sent an e-mail; “Reading your note about Needles [Shipmate Oct 2018] sounds just about like my experience. I stayed at USNA after graduation, detaching in September and driving to San Francisco for transfer to WESTPAC and USS Yorktown. We went through Needles in mid-September at about one in the afternoon. I recall seeing a temperature gage saying 117 degrees. We started up the hill, the car overheated as did my new bride and we coasted down the hill and found a motel with air conditioning. Needles became a four letter word with us! I seriously doubt that Hell can be hotter than Needles.” [Amen]

Joan Lyon, widow of Pete Lyon (Co.6), sent a letter to me and wrote, “I still receive Shipmate and it’s nice to find out what is happening in Class of ’53. Sorry to read that Bill Ramsey is gone – He was Peter’s Best Man at his wedding.” Joanie asked for the address of “Scotty” Ramsey and also wrote that she has moved from Surprise, AZ to Florida - 2751 Regency Oaks Blvd Apt 104,                                                               Clearwater, FL 33759. Pete and I were shipmates in the USS Patrick Henry (SSBN-599) and in San Diego where Pete was the squadron staff engineer - Good friends!



Navy Football

I missed watching most of the games on TV this season because Greenspring retirement community uses DirectTV and doesn’t subscribe to CBS Sports, the channel that carried most of the Navy games, including the Navy-Air Force game. We do get all the games on the major broadcasting stations. One was Notre Dame I think and it came on the same time as a Penn State game. Marcy is a Penn State alum and loves to root for her team too, so I had to switch back on forth to the stations. Also we get ESPN, and the game with Tulane was on ESPNU, one that I did watch. Unfortunately, we lost by one point when Tulane took a risk on a two point PAT in the last few seconds of the game. I believe our team loss to SMU the same way. We still have Army to contend with. They are a good team and have already won the Commander in Chief Trophy. But I believe our team has shown that they have the right stuff to win. Remember our 12-2 win over Army in 1950 when Army was a powerhouse and we had won only a few games. Showing our Navy Spirit is a photo of Bob and Anne Hoffman’s great-granddaughter Elizabeth Steininger.


By the time you get this issue it will be early February and football will not be on our minds, but some of you who check our Class website regularly,, this will be news….ACB