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More on Dick Raymond's November Poem

Dick Raymond’s November poem, THE LAST JAP LUNGE AT LUNGA POINT, was especially significant for Jauncey Sweet’s widow, Linda. Linda’s father, Louis Marcel LeHardy, USNA 1926, was killed in the engagement while serving in the USS San Francisco.  He was awarded the Navy Cross.

The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Louis Marcel LeHardy, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Communications Officer on board the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), during an engagement with Japanese naval forces near Savo Island on the night of 12 - 13 November, 1942. On this occasion the force to which Lieutenant Commander LeHardy was attached engaged at close quarters and defeated a superior enemy force, inflicting heavy damage upon them and preventing the accomplishment of their intended mission. This daring and intrepid attack, brilliantly executed, led to a great victory for his country's forces. By his indomitable fighting spirit, expert seamanship, and gallant devotion to duty, Lieutenant Commander LeHardy contributed largely to the success of the battle and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Linda’s brother, BG Ward LeHardy, addressed the 2013 USS San Francisco Memorial Ceremony in San Francisco. His addressed was recorded and is posted below. He provides an interesting review of the events that occurred at Lunga Point 75 years ago. 

Click the link below to watch the video.

Dick Raymond's November Poem - THE LAST JAP LUNGE AT LUNGA POINT


                             Naval Battle off Guadalcanal, 13-14 November 1942
                          "It was a barroom brawl, with all the lights shot out."
                                                                -- Surviving officer on USS Monssen
            Marines were holding the beachhead, thin cordon round Henderson Field,
            Defense was desperate, deadly, that airfield must not be lost!
            The Navy's destroyers and cruisers set up a protective shield,
            Full-knowing the odds against them, accepting the fearful cost.

            Now Japanese battlewagons came lumbering down the Slot,
            Their mission: To blast the airstrip, destroy every plane that flew,
            With men well-trained for night action, but American crews were not—
            A recipe for disaster, if only the facts were true.

            Night fell, and the small gray squadron steamed straight into blazing hell
            Searchlights snapped on, and great shells followed their blinding  light,
            On all sides, ships were exploding, too many for men to tell,
            San Francisco was targeted, and Juneau was blown from sight.

            Destroyers swapped shots with cruisers, all part of a wild melĂ©e,
            The Admiral's last brave order was, "Pick out the biggest and fire!"
            When the black of night gave over to light of a dawning day,
            The sea was clotted with wreckage, but the foe was made to  retire.
            At dawn the surviving aircraft swarmed out for their own attack,
            One enemy battleship crept away, streaming a train of oil—
            Our scout and torpedo bombers, like hounds on a fugitive's track,
            Rained death on the fleeing warship, it went down in a foaming boil.

            They pounced on the helpless transports, as their escorts raced  away,
            Of eleven Marus in the squadron, bare four ran up on the shore--
            The rest of doomed division were sunk in sight of the bay,
            "The sea ran red" said the pilots, as they settled the gruesome  score.

            Our tenuous hold on the island was strengthened, to iron grip,
            The enemy reeled from the outcome, and fortune had surely turned--
            No more of the nightly shellings from a Japanese battleship,
            The Navy was now rebuilding, with many a lesson learned!




Death of a Classmate - Marshall R MESSINGER - 14th Co.

I received word from Dick Gaskill that Ray Messinger passed away last night. Additional information will be posted on the web site when available.


Death of a Class Widow - Gerry Rodriguez - 9th Co.

Geraldine Dawn "Gerry" Rodriguez, age 84, of Young Harris, Georgia passed away on August 29, 2017.  Gerry was born in The Bronx, New York on October 10, 1932 to the late Bernard Charles and Nellie (Huber) Holsten. She is a 1954 Graduate of Mary Washington College.  Immediately following graduation, she married Ensign William Primitivo "Bill" Rodriguez, USN (USNA Class of 1954) where she became a United States Navy Spouse, traveling with her husband around the world. She was also a wonderful mother to her children, Will and Gigi.  She is survived by her companion of 13 years, Clement McIntosh; son and daughter-in-law, Retired Rear Admiral (USN) William and Allet Rodriguez of Flat Rock, North Carolina; her granddaughter and her husband Lauren and Christoper Brill of San Diego, California; and her daughter and son-in-law, Gigi and Frank Oliveaux of Roanoke, Virginia.  Gerry will be interred with her husband Bill at the United States Naval Academy on March 28th, 2018. All are invited to attend her internment.


Death of a Class Mate - Frederick Arthur Mathews - 23rd Co.

Colonel Frederick A. Mathews USMC(Ret) died 24 July 2017 of Parkinson's disease.  Fred was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. He attended the University of Iowa and Tulane University, and received a USNA appointment from Iowa.  "Fearless Fred" (Academy nickname) was in the 23rd Company, 6th wing, Bancroft Hall.  At graduation he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, USMC. He received training as an infantry platoon commander at The Basic School, Quantico, followed by Infantry Platoon command, 1st MarDiv, Camp Pendleton, California. He then underwent flight training; NAS, Pensacola, then helicopter training.  Afterwards, Fred moved overseas to MCAF, Sukiran, Okinawa where he flew HOK helicopters and O-1E's.  On receiving  F9F jet pilot training he joined  MAG-14, Cherry Point, NC. Next was VMA-225 flying A-4's, which deployed to the Mediterranean aboard USS SHANGRI-LA.  In 1962 Fred became Marine Representative, USAF Academy and Cadet Squadron Commander.  He next moved to Okinawa, then Danang, Vietnam with H&MS-16.  In May 1966, Fred was piloting a HU-1E helicopter when he received a gunshot wound alongside his heart.  Prompt evacuation to Charlie Med and surgery saved his life. Convalescence was at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Afterward,  he attended Command and Staff College, MCS, Quantico.  Then Fred reported to MCAS, New River, Camp Lejeune as XO, HMM-264. A year later Fred was in Saigon on the MACV staff in J-3 operations.  Then Fred became CO of HMM-163, MCAS, Santa Anna.  Fred's next duty was Assistant G-3 (operations), 1st MAW, El Toro. He then attended the Naval War College, Newport, RI.  Following graduation, he remained as Strategy and Policy Instructor/Military Historian.  In 1973, Fred was back overseas as CO, MAG-36, Futenma, Okinawa.  His last assignment  was Head, Aviation Analysis Branch, HQMC, Washington.  "Fearless Fred" retired 1 August 1978. Personal Decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medals, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Combat Action Ribbon. Fred settled in New England and attained a MS/Accounting, University of Rhode Island and CMA certification. He worked in Boston while commuting from Rhode Island for Dataware Technologies, Inc.; a worldwide software development firm.  After retirement #2 Fred spent his "leisure" years as busy as ever.  Fred is survived  by his loving wife Pat of 62 years, two children Terri (Bill) Breach and Tim (Elaine), three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.   Fearless Fred was buried   with military honors on 4 August in the Georgia National Cemetery, Canton, Georgia. 


Death of a Classmate - Leonard M. Dickey --2nd Co.

Leonard M. Dickey 87 died on 12 September 2017 of coronary artery disease. Len was born in Aberdeen and raised in Hoquiam, Washington. After high school he was a Seaman Apprentice USNR for over a year. He also attended Bullis Preparatory School and gained his Washington appointment by successfully passing the Competitive Substantiating examination. Len was in the Second Company, and lived in the First Wing of Bancroft Hall. At graduation, he was commissioned an Ensign, US Navy Line. Eight days later he married his OAO (his high school sweetheart) Mary Lou Owens in Hoquiam, Washington.

Len's first assignment was USS EPPERSON, DDE-719 operating out of Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii. During this assignment she operated mostly in the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) and managed to play dodge-ball with many typhoons during the wet season. In May 1957 Len was assigned to the Fleet SONAR School, San Diego, California where he was an Anti-Submarine Warfare instructor. In June 1959 he was assigned to USS CASA GRANDE LSD-13 operating out of Norfolk, Virginia. That September Len submitted his resignation from active duty to pursue civilian work opportunities.

His first position was with Minneapolis Honeywell Corporation, West Covina, California, where he was a Field Service Representative for the ASROC system for nine years. He then transferred to Seattle, Washington where Len worked on special programs. In the early 1970's, Len worked on a special "Black" program in support of the Hughes Glomar Explorer Project to recover manganese nodules or "other items" off the Pacific ocean floor at a depth of 18,000 feet. The real reason for the Glomar Explorer project was a Navy - CIA attempt (Project Azorian) to retrieve a sunken nuclear-armed Soviet Submarine. In the retrieval attempt the submarine fell apart, sank, and most of it became unrecoverable. In January 1984 Len accepted a position with a division of RCA located in Camden, New Jersey (which ultimately became part of the Lockheed-Martin Corporation), where he was an Administrative Manager of "Black" programs. In February 1996 he retired from Lockheed-Martin and returned to the magnificent Pacific Northwest to settle in Shoreline, Washington where he and family enjoyed the great outdoors.

Len is survived by Mary Lou, his loving wife of 63 years, three children: Mark, Brien, and Annalise (Emil) Beck; and one grandchild. At Len's request there was no memorial service or newspaper obit. Len's cremains will be committed to the Pacific deep.


Death of a Classmate - Lawrence Dennis Ballou - 11th Co.

 Lawrence Dennis Ballou died October 20, 2017 in Macon, Georgia.

He was born in Tallulah Falls, Georgia, December 18, 1931 to Pauline Hughes and Lawrence Cooper Ballow. The family later moved to Macon where Dennis graduated from Lanier High School in 1949, and received a scholarship to Georgia Tech. After a year at Tech, he was awarded an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in 1954 near the top of his class. During his Navy career he attended Webb Institute, earning a master's degree in naval architecture and marine engineering. His career was primarily in designing and supervising the construction of nuclear submarines. He retired as a Commander, after 20 years of service.

Upon his retirement from the Navy he obtained a law degree from the University of Georgia and practiced law in Athens for several years before assuming a position supervising the engineering and construction of the MARTA rail program. At its conclusion, the Georgia Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing Dennis' contributions to the rail program, noting that in his five years at MARTA he had opened a complex of line and stations ahead of schedule and under budget. This accomplishment led to a job overseeing the construction of the heavy rail system in Singapore, a project which lasted four years. He returned to Singapore in subsequent summers to teach at the Nanyang Technological University, in the School of Civil and Structural Engineering.

On his return to the U. S. he worked for the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority on its renovations to Grady Hospital, and also taught over a dozen engineering courses at Georgia Tech over many years. He was awarded "Most Inspirational Teacher" by his students in the School of Mechanical Engineering. For several years he had the joy of teaching Georgia Tech students abroad in Australia, New Zealand, England and France. Of the many jobs of his career he often said that teaching was the most rewarding.

Dennis was predeceased by his first wife Jennie Frost Ballou, to whom he was married for almost 50 years. He is survived by their children, Elizabeth Ballou Gibbs and husband Jeff, Robert Ballou and wife Roberta, Richard Ballou and wife Saideh, David Ballou, and Kathryn Ann Ballou Breedlove and husband Jeff. He is also survived by his second wife Kathleen Peeples Ballou as well as two step-daughters, Katie McDonald and husband Robert and Polly Sattler, nine grandchildren two step-grandchildren and his brother Robert Ballow and wife Jean.

He loved the mountains where he was born. He loved hiking, was a whitewater canoe enthusiast, steadfastly attended to his own particular favorite trails, and gloried in the beauty of the gorge and its surrounding parks. A favorite memory is the sight of him climbing over railings into his 80s, to retrieve trash left behind by visitors hiking along the rim trails. He loved poetry and classical music. He loved to hear his grandchildren recite the poems he had tasked them with learning, not easy ones. He relished a good argument. He thought character was important and worked hard to build his. He was driven throughout his life by his strong sense of duty.

A memorial service will be held in Tallulah Falls at a later date. There will be a visitation at Idle Hour Country Club Tuesday, October 24 from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. The family asks anyone so moved, in lieu of flowers and in memory of a career devoted to engineering and education, to consider a gift to the Lawrence Dennis Ballou Scholarship Fund at Georgia Tech, Georgia Tech Foundation, Inc., 760 Spring Street, Atlanta, GA. 30308. The family wishes to express their appreciation to Pine Point Hospice, and its staff, especially Donna Battson, for her concern, graciousness and many kindnesses. Hart's Mortuary has charge of arrangements.



Colonel  Frederick A. MATHEWS USMC(Ret) (23)  24 July 2017. 
Leonard M. DICKEY (2) 12 September 2017.  
 Once obituaries are finalized they will be posted.


Death of a Classmate - Joe Keller Anderson - 14th Co.

Joe Keller Anderson, 86, of Virginia Beach, VA, passed away on Monday, October 2, 2017, from complications of acute leukemia.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00p.m. on Saturday, October 14, 2017, at Galilee Episcopal Church. Rev. Patrick Bush will be officiating. Visitation will be held on Friday, October 13, 2017, from 6:00p.m. until 8:00p.m., at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apartments, Inc., located at 2002 Laskin Road. Interment will follow the memorial service at the Galilee Memorial Columbarium. Funeral arrangements are being handled by H.D. Oliver.

Joe Anderson was born in Jacksonville, FL, on October 23, 1930. He graduated High School in 1949 from The Baylor School of Chattanooga, TN. He continued his education at Duke University for one year, and then he received his bachelor of science degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1954.

He met his wife, Alma Bell, on the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, and they were married on November 19, 1955. They were married 61 years.

Joe worked as a Sales Manager for Paxton Company for 16 years. Prior to his time at Paxton, Joe's first job after leaving the Navy was with Reynolds Metals in Richmond, VA. He then worked for 7 years with Aeroquip in Severna Park, MD, and Jackson, MI. He spent the next 3 years in the marine supply business which took him to Naperville, IL, Virginia Beach, VA, and Winston-Salem, NC.

Joe loved sports, playing golf, reading, an occasional cigar, and Naval Academy alumni gatherings. He was actively involved in his church as both a vestryman and lay minister.

Joe is survived by his wife, Alma Anderson, his daughter, Laura Jacobson (husband -Ron), his son, Alan Anderson (wife Denice), his grandson, Garrett Jacobson, and many beloved family and friends.

Joe was preceded in death by his father, Samuel M. Anderson, II, and mother, Hazel Evelyn Chapman.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to Families of Autistic Children of Tidewater (F.A.C.T.) at 120 S. Lynnhaven Road, Suite 202, Virginia Beach, VA, 23452. Donations can also be made online at by selecting "Donate" and designating "In Memory of Joe Anderson." Online condolences can be offered to the family at
Published in The Virginian Pilot on Oct. 8, 2017