It has been a tough month for your staff and other long-time members of GPS. Hal McDonnel’s loss is a tough one for all of us. He was a mainstay in the organization and will be sorely missed as a mentor and adviser. He, and Bob Olds, are the guys with the “corporate memory” and are accessible. Unfortunately, many of the former Commanding Officers and staff members are not available, usually because they have moved out of the area. Hal was active as the OP-Plan Editor up to a couple of years ago but stayed in touch regularly. As current C.O. I tried to keep him involved from afar and sought his advice when a particularly thorny issue would arise. As you who knew him will agree, he was never without an opinion on most subjects. A great human being and wonderful friend, he will be missed.
Since this is the last OP-Plan of the year I’ll give a short summary of the activities of GPS. Our staff has remained intact and mostly healthy. Just great folks who give of their time and, in a few instances, their pockets to keep GPS healthy and active. We continue to support the SOQ Program at the Weapons Station and Naval Munitions Center. Local restaurants continue to contribute gift coupons/certificates that we distribute to the Sailors. Also, USAA has been a great supporter too, supplying plaques and commemorative coins that we give to the “winners”. When I came aboard, we were working with the USS Kitty Hawk but when she was de-commissioned, we switched over to NWSSB and the program has flourished and grown. Thanks to a welcome gift from the local Fleet Reserves Association chapter we will be able to continue the program for years to come.
We had a better than normal turn out for the presentation by COL Woody Spring, USA (Ret.) He told the gathering all about walking in space after a very exciting ride up to the International Space Station. He gave us a walk-through of the selection process, the training and the flight. We had the Sailors of the Quarter present too. Nobody fell asleep, that’s how good it was. This month, on 9 January, we will host CAPT Jason J. ‘Sherm’ Sherman, USN, the Commanding Officer of NWSSB as our speaker. We will also be honoring the Sailors of the Year from NWSSB and NMC so I hope that we will have a large turnout. Bring your friends and relatives. The more the merrier. Happy New Year!