C.O. Briefing – October 2017


Votes are in: lunch costs you $18 beginning this month! Don’t forget, if you say, “keep the change” from your $20 bill, you get on the “Great Guys” list and your name runs in the next OpPlan. In that regard, thanks to Dave Franzen for a very generous contribution at the last meeting. I think that I already acknowledged a generous contribution by former C.O. Denny Bowen, who sent a check in the previous month. And thanks to all the winners of the 50/50 who donate their winnings back to Gramps. We (and the SOQs) really appreciate your generosity.

Speaking of money, I don’t think that Hal has received one check for $10 from anyone regarding continued mailed via USPS. If you wish to continue receiving your OpPlan in the regular mail you must send Hal a check for $10, otherwise we will send it via email (electronically). Please make sure that we have a current email address. See also the “ballot” that is included with this OpPlan. Please send it in before 1 December.

I just learned that a well-known member of GPS passed away recently. Normally we do not publish a notice but I am making an exception in this case. CDR Willis E. Hardy, USN (Ret) passed away on 15 September. He was 97 years young and he was a regular at our meetings along with Fred Dungan, another Ace from WWII. He is going to be missed at the Speaker’s Table.

Also missing, has been Andy Benjock who has had a few health issues recently. You might have noticed that Ed Mason has been handling the 50/50 chores all by his lonesome for the last two meetings. Ben’s illness is the reason. If you want to help Ed, just contact him at his post. Thanks Ed for handling the two-man job by yourself without so much as a peep. And, Ben, get well and get back to your post – we miss you!

As I mentioned at the last meeting, Sel Ramsay, Dave Malmad and I went aboard the USS Pasadena (SSN-752) for a tour of the ship during Fleet Week. We were invited to attend by the NWSSB, but it was on short notice and we were limited to 3 slots. As you no doubt agree, those slots should be offered to our staff first and then the general membership. As it turned out, only 3 of us were able to go aboard on the appointed date. It was a very informative and interesting tour. I did not realize how small the hatches in a Los Angeles-class attack sub can be. I got more bruises than I ever expected…steel does not give. I also bumped my head a couple of times.

Thank you to the PAO at NWSSB, Mr. Gregg Smith. Remember, I will always offer tours and special items to staff members first, so if you want to guarantee early notice, volunteer as a staff member. I attended Tailhook 2017 in Reno. Ray LeCompte usually travels with me but was unable to make it this year. Hopefully he will be up and around next year and makes it to Hook ’18. I re-connected with a few old friends while there. Dave Thornhill who flew A-4’s in Vietnam was there. As a result I was able to get his son, MAJ Alan Thornhill, USMC, to “volunteer” to come up and speak to us in October, barring changes in his schedule as XO of VMM-164 flying the V-22 Osprey.

On another personal note, I was able to get together with an old friend whose father (Gordon Cady) was my dad’s CO at VF-11 “Sundowners” in WWII. Her father was killed in 1944, and her step father (Bill Gaiennie) was another Naval Aviator who, as it turned out, was a good friend of my parents. Lots more to that story but it was a wonderful set of meetings that benefitted Marcia and me immensely. I also had a chance to renew old friendships. I had not talked to Rear Admiral Don Shelton for a couple of years so it was gratifying to see him again. Don has some good stories, and some of them even appear to be true. On that note, I asked him whether he would like to come up and talk to us and he said “yes”. That is how Admiral Don Shelton, test pilot and former Cutlass pilot, got to be our speaker this month. I am hoping for a very large crowd. Did you know that Admiral Shelton served on battleships before WWII? Of course he soon got out of that line of work to attend the Naval Academy, graduating in 1944. Then it was back to surface ships, a CL this time, when he served aboard the USS St. Louis (CL-49), and was an eye witness to 4 Kamikaze direct hits on his ship! Finally he finally got orders to flight school. See his short bio for more on his duty stations and billets. Come on down to hear about a very interesting career path.

Please attend our luncheons when possible and volunteer to help run your organization.


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