As we descend into the last of summer I want to share a few items with you. Our Class Officers had a zoom meeting recently and we discussed several items of interest: 45th Reunion planning; Another-Link-in-the-Chain; Website status; USS Porter, DDG-78 update; and, 50th Reunion Class Gift…but, first, BREAKING NEWS…
On August 10, the White House announced that President Biden has nominated our classmate, Sean Coffey (13th CO), to be the Navy’s General Counsel. According to the Navy’s website, the General Counsel of the Navy is the third highest-ranking civilian office in the Department of the Navy, behind the Secretary and Under Secretary of the Navy (a 4-Star civilian equivalent). Congratulations, Sean!
Our 45th Reunion steering committee is being chaired by John Cooke (20th CO). For this reunion we have decided to hire a professional, Annapolis-based reunion planner, Annapolis Events, to help us interface with our vendors and to run the events for us. John and his team will guide our planner and provide them with overall guidance on what we want. So far, our reunion has been scheduled to center around the Navy/Air Force football game on Oct 21, 2023 with our tailgate planned for the stadium banquet room. We are also in the process of booking the Annapolis Westin as our headquarters. Many other events are being planned and considered, and we will provide you more information as things develop. Mark your calendars for Oct 2023. Hope to see everyone there!
Another-Link-in-the-Chain (ALITC) is a program that links the current graduating class with the class that graduated 50 years earlier. This link begins on I-Day and the Class of 1978 will link with the Class of 2028. The program is managed by the Alumni Association and our lead is Vince Balderrama (11th CO). Our first official engagement will be on I-Day in 2024 and officially ends when the final member of the Class of ‘28 graduates and is commissioned. However, many Alumni Chapters host events for the incoming class prior to I-Day and an ALITC Class Rep is usually sought to speak at these events. Some of us may get that opportunity in our local areas. In between these years will be several scheduled events for us to engage with the Class of ‘28. During these engagements, it will be our turn to demonstrate our commitment to service, to share our experiences in the Fleet and the Corps, to emphasize timeless principles and values which have guided us, and to emphasize the respect and concern we maintain for each other and our Alma Mater over time. Our ALITC mentorship will come with some expenses such as shared expenses for the I-Day “Welcome Aboard” Picnic for families, Honor Coins, and Ensign/2nd Lieutenant bars at graduation. As a Class we have long been planning for these expenses, and we believe our current treasury savings will cover all our costs. We will provide you more information on how to participate as we get closer to our 45th Reunion.
Website status: Wow, Matt Elias (11th CO) has done a great job on our website. We are now getting about 1000 visits per month, and Matt has actually sold a template of our website to another USNA class to use. If you have not visited it lately, please check it out, and while you are there, update your personal data so your Classmates can find you and maybe even upload some photos!
USS Porter, DDG-78: With our loss of Terry O’Brien, Joe Martin (10th CO) has volunteered to be our interface with the Porter. If you are not following the Porter on their Facebook page I recommend you do so to follow what is happening on board. BTW, with the blessings of Erin Griffin and Wendy O’Brien, we are working to rename our Class sponsored awards to be known now as the “Arch Griffin & Terry O’Brien Memorial Leadership Awards.”
50th Reunion Class Gift: Thank you to all who have already gifted and pledged support for the first installment of our 50th Reunion Class Gift. This gift is an opportunity now to support the building of a new USNA Alumni Association and Foundation Center (AAFC). Currently, our Alumni Association and Foundation occupies 5 different locations throughout Annapolis which increases overall operating costs and makes it difficult to coordinate staff efforts. Our Class has pledged to raise $750,000 to support the building of the AAFC and in just a short few months you have already gifted and pledged over $340,000! We have had 115 classmates make gifts and 22 have stepped up to be Alumni Center “plank owners.” If you are interested in supporting our Class gift and becoming a plank owner, please go to www.usna.com/give/plankowner and make your gift. This link takes you to a page where the “gift” is already selected as Alumni Association and Foundation Center. You will insert the amount of your gift, whether your gift is one-time, monthly or a pledge. If you want to be a “Plankowner” of the Center you must commit to a gift of $2500/year for 5 years or make a one time gift of $12,500. If you choose to give your gift over 5 years, on the form select “I would like to make my gift- a pledge”; “pay my pledge – annually”; and, “For a period of – 5 years”.
Finally, below are a few excerpts from an article the Supe has in this month’s Wavetops about what is happening this summer at the Academy. Wavetops is a monthly newsletter sent to all alumni. If you are not getting it, please go to usna.com and update your contact information and your contact preferences.
Summer Update from VADM Sean Buck ’83, USN
…we are using this summer to mitigate the impacts of lost training last summer. More than 1,600 of our midshipmen are on Navy ships and attached to Navy units around the country currently getting valuable exposure to the Fleet and its different service communities. We also resumed PROTRAMID training this summer; over 1,100 third-class midshipmen are participating in the four week long training program on the East and West coasts. And, 922 midshipmen have chosen to spend their summer learning more about the U.S. Marine Corps, participating in Marine specific training such as Leatherneck, MAGTF Cruises, and Marine Corps training schools.
We also have midshipmen participating in training on the Yard to include Yard Patrol cruises, Offshore Sailing Training Squadron, and Powered Flight Program. We have 220 midshipmen who are learning valuable leadership skills in the great outdoors through programs such as National Outdoor Leadership School and Northern Tier. Additionally, 427 midshipmen are interning at agencies and laboratories around the country. Despite travel restrictions, and thanks to the diligent work of our International Programs Office, 150 of our midshipmen are abroad in 12 different countries this summer learning foreign languages and experiencing new cultures.
Our admissions team worked through an incredibly challenging year, bringing in a talented class from all 50 states, our U.S. territories, and 13 different countries. The Class of 2025 is the most diverse class in USNA history and has the second highest percentage of women.
Our student athletes and coaches demonstrated incredible dedication and perseverance through very challenging and unpredictable athletic seasons; collectively, our Varsity teams brought home our eighth Army-Navy Star Series title in the past nine years and our seventh consecutive Patriot League Presidents’ Cup.
One last note. There has been discussion over the past 6 months regarding the rumor that USNA had added Critical Race Theory to the 2021 spring and fall curriculum.The Superintendent has recently asked the Alumni Association and Foundation to send the following to all Class Presidents regarding this misinformation to be shared with their respective classes:
“The Alumni Association and Foundation have received many questions in recent months regarding the Naval Academy’s alleged adoption of Critical Race Theory and similar subject matter into its coursework. Much of these questions stem from reliance on inaccurate reporting. The Naval Academy has expressed a commitment to diversity and to building a Brigade that better reflects today’s nation, Navy and Marine Corps. The Alumni Association and Foundation share that commitment. However, as the Superintendent has made clear at many of the Alumni Association and Foundation volunteer leadership meetings held virtually this spring, there is no aspect of the Naval Academy’s curriculum devoted to Critical Race Theory, white privilege, whiteness, or any philosophies that insist the U.S. is an inherently racist country.”
President, USNA Class of 1978