Class of ’78 State of the Class


Happy New Year!

As we begin 2024, your Board of Class Officers presents the “State of Our Class” to share with you the many things on which we are working.

The most important item on our list right now is kicking off our class participation in the Another Link in the Chain (ALITC) program with the Class of 2028. Our class scribe, Vince Balderrama , is leading our ALITC program assisted by Bob Novak as his co-chair.

As Vince said, “Who would have thought we would become so senior so soon?” Well, here we are and our activities for ALITC begin this summer as the Class of 2028 enters the Naval Academy. This twenty-year tradition establishes a bond between a new midshipman class with one 50 years its senior. There will be many activities and opportunities through which we will interact with, guide, and mentor ’28. The major ALITC activities in which we will participate are:

  • Plebe Year: Pre-I Day Chapter Welcome Aboard Events, I-Day, Plebe Parents Weekend, Reaffirmation, Herndon
  • Youngster Year: Bonds of Gold, Luau
  • 2/C Year: 2 for 7 events, Ring Dance
  • First Class Year: Service Selection Dinner, Battalion Dinners, Commission Week Events and Gold Bars (Graduation and Delayed Grads)
  • Post-graduation Mentoring

Over the next four years we will be forging a bond with ’28 and are committed to giving them the wisdom of our experiences, our perspectives and life examples of resiliency, honor, courage, and commitment.Vince already has the names of some who have volunteered to assist in ALITC events. He will be putting out a blast email in a couple of weeks soliciting further support and participation in all the activities over the next four years. The most immediate need will be for “’78 ALITC Ambassadors” to support local Alumni and Parents Club chapters’ welcome aboard dinners/picnics/briefings of those who have accepted appointments. If you are interested in participating in any ALTIC event, please contact Vince ( or ) or Bob ( .

We have also formed a committee with Chris Dougherty (14th CO), Larry Galvin (15th CO) and Matthew Elias (11th CO) to review our Class Bylaws with the goal of having any recommended changes available for a vote by the Class Officers at our Q2 Class Officers meeting June 2nd.  The Committee is open to suggestions and thoughts about specific sections or shortcomings you might perceive in the bylaws.  The Committee intends to post any recommended draft changes for comment on our class website from March 27 through April 24 before providing them to the Class Officers for their review. The Board plans to vote on any recommended changes no later than May 12. If you have comments for the committee please contact Matt at

Our 50th Class Gift Planning Committee has been hard at work putting together a framework for the second part of our Class Gift. Under the leadership of John Semcken (2nd CO)  the committee is actively reviewing options and intends to send to you a class survey seeking your inputs and comments in the next month or so. We will keep you updated as the committee progresses. 

Our liaison with the USS Porter (DDG 78), Joe Peterson (6th CO), participated on the selection board for the most recent Arch Griffin and Terry O’Brien Memorial Leadership Awards on 5 December 2023.  Five Sailors were selected, one each from the Junior Officer, CPO, and each Petty Officer level; however, no one was nominated from the E-3 and below level.  All were nominated by their peers and each nominee was required to submit a one-page essay entitled “What Makes a Leader”.  

The awardees are:

HM2 (recently frocked) Leland Broome ($400)

FC2 Steven Sori ($400)

EM1 Racquel Gunnell ($300)

LSC Carlos Perales ($300)

LT Alexander Chung ($200)

We have also kicked off a Decedent Affairs review to draft procedures to assist our Class Officers, our Company Reps and the Class on how to best respond when we loose a classmate, and how we can best assist their loved ones. We are early in the research and planning phase, but we intend to develop our procedures sometime this year.

Finally, we have created a new 50th Reunion Planning Committee with Ray Bracy (25th CO) as our Chair. Ray, along with the Class Board, will review the results of our recent 45th Reunion survey and then begin gathering information on possible venues and events for our 50th. We will keep you informed of our plans and seek further input from you as we stitch together things over the next few years.

Congratulations again to John Young (4th CO), a 2024 USNA Distinguished Graduate! John is our second USNA Distinguished Graduate joining Cecil Haney (29th CO) from last year. We hope many of you will join us in Annapolis on March 22 to celebrate with John as he receives this distinguished award. Later this Spring we will again stand up our DGA Committee to help put together our nomination packages for the 2025 DGA submissions.

Best wishes for a great 2024!

Fair winds…


Glen Woods

President, USNA Class of 1978