Death of a Classmate - Captain Donald M. Ulmer, USN (Ret) - 8th Co.

 Captain Donald M. Ulmer, USN (Ret) passed away November 3, 2019 at Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue, Washington with family by his side.  

Son of the late Daniel and Bessie Ulmer, born March 16, 1929 at home, Don is a native of Beverly, New Jersey. He attended Beverly Public Schools and graduated from Burlington, NJ's Wilbur Watts High School in 1947.  Don enlisted in the US Navy serving aboard the USS Clamagore, an Atlantic Fleet Submarine.  Appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy followed.  Commissioned Ensign upon graduation in 1954, he returned to submarines, ultimately Commanding the USS Clamagore (July 1967-March 1969), only Navy man to serve both enlisted in and Commanding Officer of the same US warship.

 His 32 year Navy career included the following tours on USS Fremont (APA44); US Navy Officer's Submarine School; USS Halfbeak (SS352); USS Barracuda (SSK1); Aide to Commandant 8th Naval District; Polaris Weapons School; USS Patrick Henry (SSBN599); Staff, Commander Submarine Squadron 14; Executive Officer USS Corporal (SS346); Commanding Officer, USS Clamagore (SS343); Office of Chief of Naval Operations; Naval Sea Systems Command; and Trident Project Manager Staff.  Among his personal awards: Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal w/Star and Navy Expeditionary Medal.  

Don was a passionate Navy Submariner who loved his work, his country and the many friends with whom he served.  Don retired from active duty April 1, 1979 and the family moved to Seattle, Wa where he took employment with the Boeing Company, Defense and Space, retiring in 1996.  

After retirement, Don volunteered at Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Bellevue, Wa (20 years), Seattle's Museum of Flight as a Docent and indulged with modest success in his writing passion publishing a series of submarine adventure novels.  Don is a member of US Submarine Vets Inc Seattle Base.  

Don is survived by his wife of 42 years, Carol Grafton Ulmer, children Karen, Jennifer, Monica and Matthew; grandchildren Nicholas, Kimberly; great-grandchildren Iris, Beatrice.  A loving husband, father and friend, he will be missed by many.

A Funeral Mass, followed by military honors, will be held Friday, November 22, 2019 11:00 AM at St. Louise Catholic Church, 141 156th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98007.  Reception following in the hall.


Death of a Classmate and Wife - Ralph E. Chidley and Margaret W. Chidley - 6th Co.

Ralph E. Chidley, of Stonington, died Tuesday, October 22, 2019, of complications from pneumonia. Ralph was born in 1931, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Joseph and Florence (Fairfield) Chidley. In 1949 he graduated from Euclid Shore High School where he was a standout athlete in football, wrestling, and track. After one year of NROTC at Ohio State University, he was accepted at the U.S. Naval Academy. Ralph graduated from Annapolis in 1954 and became one of the early personal selections of Adm Rickover to be part of the "Nuclear Navy."  While stationed at the Groton/New London Submarine base, Ralph went on to command two nuclear submarines, the Ethan Allen and the Henry L. Stimpson. He was promoted to Captain in 1975 and stationed outside of Washington DC to take part in the development of the Ohio class "Trident" submarines.  As one of the leaders of that project, Ralph was the principal designer of that ship's control room and he led the development of the initial training programs for its crews. After retirement from the Navy, Ralph cofounded the Interlock Group, which specialized in developing training programs for complex industrial control systems and machinery. Ralph is survived by his son, Brian and his wife, Pam; and his three grandchildren, Nell, Simon, and Ben, all of Mystic. Ralph was predeceased by his wife, Margaret in 2018, his brother Joseph, in 2014, and a son, Derek, in 1988. A memorial service followed by military honors will be held for Ralph at the Gales Ferry United Methodist Church at 10:00 am on Saturday, November 30th. There are no calling hours.



Margaret W. (Denniston) Chidley, 83, a resident of Stoneridge in Mystic, wife of CAPT. Ralph E. Chidley (USN retired), died July 19, 2018, at Avalon Health Care. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, she was the daughter of the late William and Marion (Wilson) Denniston, and sister to the late Bill Denniston of Glasgow. The Chidleys lived in Ledyard from 1961 to 1973, when they moved to northern Virginia. Margaret and Ralph moved back to Connecticut in 2006 to be closer to family. Margaret had a successful career in real estate, first as a realtor and later as an investor. Margaret was known for her extensive artistic talents and produced many high-quality paintings in her lifetime. For a decade she was the set dresser at the Aldersgate Community Theater in Alexandria, Va. She served on the board of directors at the Arts Club of Washington, D.C. for over 15 years. Margaret was a devout supporter of her church filling many roles, most recently at the First United Methodist Church in Mystic, and previously at Gales Ferry UMC in Ledyard and Aldersgate UMC in Alexandria. In addition to her husband, she leaves a son, Brian Chidley and his wife, Pam Dolan, of Mystic; and three grandchildren, Nell, Simon and Ben. Her first son, Derek, died of lymphoma in 1988.A memorial service celebrating Margaret's life will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at the First United Methodist Church, Willow Street, Mystic. Her burial will be held privately. There are no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church.



FOR THE FADING GENERATION - Richard Raymond's November Poem




                                FOR THE FADING GENERATION 

                                    The Veterans of World War II


            The days are departing, in shadows, as night cometh softly behind,

            The soldiers themselves become shadows, so many are none  but in mind--.

            Sixteen million they were, at beginning, the trumpet rang out, loud and clear,

            It summoned the brave to the battle, they mustered, so many to hear.


            The youth of our nation responded, they faced deadly peril with faith,

            Our enemies quailed at their banners, vile tyrants are now but a  wraith.

            But years, dim and gray, overtake them, and even the bravest must fall,

            So many are gone to the hillside, three volleys, a sweet bugle-call.


            A thousand a day are departing, soon none will be living, not one,

            Their daylight is dimming, yet brightly still shines their magnificent sun.

            O Nation, remember, remember, though ages be ever so long,

            The names of this valiant vanguard, and join in one glorious song!






Death of a Classmate - Jerry Dean Dancer - 24th Co.

Jerry Dean Dancer, loving husband of Elizabeth Joan (Freisberg) Dancer, passed peacefully at home, surrounded by family on October 15, 2019. A native son of Caney, Kansas, Jerry lived a long and wonderful life filled with love, family, faith, and patriotism. Jerry's life began on May 31, 1931, on a small farm outside Caney. Born to James Sylvane Dancer and Marjorie Alice (Tasker) Dancer, Jerry grew up as one of the four "Dancer Boys" - Jim, Charlie, Jerry, and Jack. In high school, he led the Caney Bullpups to victory as quarterback, teaming with Howard Henderson, a life-long friend, and retired Sergeant Major of the United States Army. In the summer of 1950, Jerry left Caney for a year at Kansas State University, followed by appointment to the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. On graduating from the Naval Academy and accepting a naval officer commission in 1954, Jerry married his high school sweetheart, Joan Freisberg, and began a loving partnership that thrived for decades. Jerry and Joan celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on September 11, 2019. At the Navy Flight School in Pensacola, Florida, Jerry began his military service as a naval aviator, initially flying the single-seat AD Skyraider attack aircraft. Jerry was the first aviator to catapult from a newly installed angled flight deck of the USS Midway (CV-41). Jerry flew with valor in many squadrons and commands, including VA-125, NAS Miramar, VA-126, NAS San Diego; VA-115, NAS Miramar; VT-25, NAAS Chase Field; and VAH-123, NAW Whidbey Island. Jerry earned an advanced engineering degree at the Naval Post Graduate School at Monterey, California. At the start of the Vietnam war, Jerry transitioned his naval service from aviation to surface warfare and served with honor as the Navigator on the USS Oklahoma City (CG-5), then flagship to the Seventh Fleet. His duties included piloting the 14,000-ton warship through coastal waters to provide close-in fire support and shore bombardment for our troops and allies. Life Magazine featured the Oklahoma City on the cover of the August 6, 1965 edition. Jerry's naval career continued with distinguished service as Executive Officer aboard the USS Procyon (AF-61), providing at-sea replenishment of fuel and stores for warships engaged in the Vietnam conflict, a tour teaching navigation at the United States Naval Academy, and coordinating cold war naval operations and coastal defense on staff at the Navy's Eastern Sea Frontier Command in New York City. At the same time, Jerry earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Pace University and graduated with top honors. Jerry's commendations include the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation with Gallantry Cross, Vietnam Service Medal with Silver and Bronze Stars, and Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces and Campaign Medals. Jerry's service and qualifications place him in uncommon company as his military dress included the insignia of a naval aviator's wings and surface warrior's waves. Jerry retired after twenty years of Navy service in 1974 and started a second career in engineering construction for Fluor Corporation and Norlight Telecommunications, working on high profile projects including petrochemical refineries, high-speed rail transit, and conversion of telecommunications infrastructure to fiber optic technologies. Jerry retired from his civilian career in 1994 and returned to Caney, Kansas, first making a home on the Caney Golf Club and then on 3rd Avenue. In the service of his hometown, Jerry was an active member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Lions Club, and Historical Society. Jerry is remembered for his gregarious personality, contagious sense of humor, and love of scotch. He was a devoted husband, loving father, fearless brother, and faithful friend. Jerry golfed, gardened, drew cartoons, read avidly, and created stain glass works of art. Jerry and Joan made life-long friends everywhere they lived, from Caney to Florida, Texas, Washington, Japan, California, Maryland, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Elizabeth Joan Dancer; three children, Elizabeth Kim Dancer, Mark Fredrick Dancer, and Cecily Ann Dancer; eight grandchildren, Michael Russo with wife, Heather, Jake Dancer, Clair Rogers, Thomas Rogers, Steven Dancer, Patrick Dancer, Alyse Matteson with husband, Alex, and Kirby Fracas with fiancĂ© Bob Hamilton; and great-granddaughter, Nona Rey Russo. May Jerry be eternally blessed with fair winds and following seas. Reciting of the Rosary will be held Sunday, November 3, 2019 at 5:00 PM at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with the family greeting friends and family from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM. Funeral Mass will take place at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Monday, November 4th at 11:00 AM, with inurnment immediately following at Sunnyside Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that a memorial contribution be made in Jerry's name to Sacred Heart Altar Society or Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice. Memorial may be left with Potts Chapel. To leave the family a special message of condolence, please visit www.pottsfuneralhome.com.


Death of a Classmate - Colonel Charles G. McLean, USAF (Ret) 7th Co.

Colonel Charles G. McLean, USAF (Ret) passed peacefully at the age of 87 on October 8, 2019. Charlie was a decorated veteran and a loving husband and father.

The son of Charles and Rose McLean, Charlie was born on October 2, 1932 and raised in Baltimore, MD. A top student and athlete at Loyola Blakefield High School, he was appointed to the United States Naval Academy.  A member of 7th Company, he lettered four years in baseball, adding a star after helping beat Army. Upon graduation in 1954, he was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force and became a highly skilled navigator, pilot, test engineer, and program manager. He logged over 7,400 flight hours in numerous aircraft including the C-54 Skymaster, C-97 Stratofreighter, WB-50 Superfortress, EC-47 Skytrain, and the SR-71 Blackbird. Charlie was a Hurricane Hunter; earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with over 900 combat hours in Vietnam; and flew Mach 3.2 at the edge of the atmosphere. Later in his career, he was a leading test engineer on the SR-71 and the Minuteman III program, where he was recognized in General Electric's Hall of Fame for his advanced knowledge of metallurgy in weapons designs. He concluded his military career as the Deputy Director of the Joint Cruise Missile Program, receiving the Defense Superior Service Medal for his substantial contributions in developing the groundbreaking weapon and his 26 years of distinguished service to our nation. Charlie enjoyed a second career as a senior engineer with Vitro Corporation, where he was instrumental in the further development of the cruise missile and the Vertical Launch System.   

Charlie was known for his humor and quick wit, his infectious smile, and his love of life and the people around him. He was a big supporter of his USNA '54 Class, holding large annual crab feasts at his home in Deale, MD. In retirement, he was a long-time resident of Ocean City, MD and loved to travel, fish, crab, golf, and enjoy the beach with his family.

He is survived by his devoted and loving wife of 24 years, the former Susan Gumpper Harper of Silver Spring, MD. He is preceded in death by his father Charles, mother Rose, brother Michael, and son Cevon. He is also survived by former spouse Claire McLean; children Chari McLean, CDR Christie Applequist USN (Ret), Col Charles A. McLean II USMC; stepchildren William Harper, Andrew Harper, Laurie Pool; and fifteen grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at the USNA Chapel on November 4th at 2pm with a reception immediately following in the Leyte Gulf Room of the Naval Academy Club. He will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date. Condolences may be made at www.burbagefuneralhome.com. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Disabled American Veterans or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.


Dick Raymond's Poem for October



                             COLD SKIES


"For the days dwindle down

To a precious few …

November … December …"

-- Weill, "September Song"

October days are drawing in, October skies are cold,

September's gone, the leaves are brown which fell as red and gold,

The cornshocks stand, dry sentinels on fields soon clad in white,

The stars are glittering diamonds on the black nap of night.

So many seasons come and gone, the years have fledaway,

The dreams as well—faint forms remain, they vanish with the day.

Dear names and faces growing dim, dear voices vanished too,

Our days of bold adventuring now off beyond the blue.

Yet warming us with memories, unbidden thoughts arise,

Like wines of well-aged vintages, despite these somber skies.

Then let the winds of winter come! We'll brave them,as before,

Full many a mile upon this tack, to reach that Farther Shore.


2019 Football Highlights - Air Force at Navy


Death of a Classmate - Captain James Arthur McKenzie II, USN (Retired) - 9th Co.

 Captain James Arthur McKenzie II, USN (Retired) passed away on September 26, 2019 at age 89.

Born on July 9, 1930, in Lynchburg, Virginia, Jim was the adopted only child of James and Lucille (Adams) McKenzie. He was raised in New Bern, North Carolina and attended Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina on a music scholarship prior to his appointment to the Naval Academy.

It was Jim's 30-year Navy career for which he is best known and widely admired. Jim was a passionate Navy pilot who loved his work, his country and the many friends with whom he served. Jim was often thanked for his service, to which his reply was always a sincere "my pleasure".

Captain McKenzie was commissioned from the Naval Academy in 1954 and was designated a Naval Aviator October 1955. His first operational tour was with VA-196 at Naval Air Station, Alameda, flying the A-1H Skyraider. Subsequently, he served as a Nuclear Weapons Delivery Instructor at Naval Air Station, Oceana, returning to sea duty with VA-85 in January 1963. This squadron transitioned to the A-6 Intruder in February 1964 and participated in the second combat deployment of this aircraft aboard USS KITTY HAWK in 1965. At the completion of this deployment, Captain McKenzie received orders to VAH-123 at Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, Washington to serve as A-6 Training Officer in the newly formed A-6 replacement squadron. In September 1967, VAH-123 split forces and a new squadron, VA-128 was formed with Captain McKenzie serving as Operation Officer.

Captain McKenzie was transferred to VA-52 as Executive Officer in November 1968 and assumed command in January 1969. From January 1970 until October 1971 he served as Strike Warfare Officer on the staff of Commander Carrier Division THREE. Captain McKenzie assumed command of Carrier Air Wing ELEVEN on USS KITTY HAWK in May 1972, serving as the Air Wing Commander until May 1973. Following a tour as Force Training Officer on the staff of Commander Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, he served as Commanding Officer, USS WICHITA, (AOR-1) from September 1976 to March 1978. He then served as Head, Aviation Plans and Programs Branch (OP-508), Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, from March 1978 to August 1980.

Captain McKenzie reported to COMMATVAQWINGPAC in September 1980 and assumed the duties of Chief of Staff on 1 November. He retired from active duty on July 1, 1984.

Captain McKenzie wears the Legion of Merit with "V", the Distinguished Flying Cross (seven awards), the Air Medal (twenty-eight strike/flight and three individual awards), and the Navy Commendation Medal with "V" (three awards). In 1983 he was the recipient of the Senator Henry M. Jackson Intruder Award for Leadership.

Jim met Betty Lee Hawkins in his childhood through family connections. In November of 1950, Jim and Betty had their first official date at a Naval Academy football game. That first date resulted in nearly 65 years of loving marriage to Betty and subsequently, devoted fatherhood to his two daughters, Susan and Sally. Throughout Jim's career, the McKenzie home was the "hub" of squadron and air wing social activity.

Jim was an inspiring and respected leader, mentor and friend to scores of colleagues over the years. His celebrated courage as a military officer was balanced with an abundance of warmth and kindness not expected of one in such a battle-tested occupation. His ability to lead and discipline effectively with a well-chosen word, a sense of humor and a gentle hand were the true source of his military heroics. During a particularly dangerous deployment, a junior officer in his air wing remembered "he displayed an uncanny ability to both provide strong, sensible, courageous leadership and keep a subtle, constant sense of humor. Sitting through one of his air strike briefings was always memorable – you might come in shaking in your boots, but you invariably would leave with a smile on your face."

Jim had an impressively sharp mind, a rapier wit and a true talent for writing and public speaking. Over the course of his career and through most of his retirement, he was the featured speaker at countless change of command ceremonies, community events, celebrations, and funerals. His inspiring speeches were history lessons as well as instructions on English grammar and the power of the spoken word. To all who had the privilege of being present when he spoke, Jim was and remained until the end the consummate orator.

In May 1991, as NAS Whidbey was placed on the government's list for closure, Jim joined with Oak Harbor community leaders in a victorious effort to "Save the Base". Jim's persuasive spoken remarks to the Defense Base Closure Commission were instrumental in keeping NAS Whidbey open.

Though the Navy took Jim all over the world, Whidbey Island was the only place that he ever truly thought of as "home". The McKenzie waterfront house on Whidbey was Jim's sanctuary for deep contemplation, reading and writing over a 3-olive martini enjoyed from his favorite chair.

An avid reader, Jim was an enthusiastic scholar of US history, the Civil War, British history and of course naval history. He had a penchant for great literature and was known to have a relevant quote at the ready for most any occasion. Jim loved classical music (especially Mozart), theatre (especially Shakespeare) and tolerated going to the ballet with Betty even though it "did not speak" to him.

Jim loved baseball and enjoyed trips to Safeco field and Arizona Spring training to cheer (usually unsuccessfully) for the Mariners. He loved golf but ultimately resigned from it out of frustration and a few too many lost wagers.

Jim's wife Betty predeceased him in May of this year. He is survived by his two daughters: Susan Ferguson (Robert Ferguson) of Garfield, WA and Sally McKenzie (Charles Stempler) of Seattle, WA.

Jim's daughters would like to extend their sincere thanks to the teams at Regency on Whidbey and Whidbey Health Hospice Care for the kindness and exceptional care provided to their father during his final months.

An informal gathering of family and friends will be held to remember Jim on Tuesday, October 8th from 3-5pm (happy hour) at Wallin Funeral Home.

The family requests that memorials in Jim's name be made out to Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society at https://action.nmcrs.org/page/contribute/donate2015