Death of a Classmate Captain William (Bill) Hargrave, Jr. USN

William Walter Hargrave, Jr. (November 16, 1931 - January 26, 2023) On January 26, 2023, Captain William (Bill) W. Hargrave Jr. USN (retired), beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed peacefully in the night in Virginia Beach, VA at the age of 91 years. He was born on Nov. 16, 1931 and raised by the late Dr. William W. Hargrave, Commodore (USN Medial Corp 1913-1949), and Harriett Whaley Hargrave. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Cheron B. Hargrave, daughter of the late Rear Admiral Joseph Dean Black (USN 1931-1965) and Jane Morris Black. Bill was raised on numerous Navy hospital compounds his father had duty at or commanded including, Aiea Heights Naval Hospital in Hawaii during World War II, and Portsmouth Naval Hospital, VA., the last before his dad’s retirement in 1949 where Bill then attended Severn for high school. He learned from an early age the travels of a Navy family. He began his childhood in the Philippines. His father, Dr. William W. Hargrave, Commodore (USN Medial Corp 1913-1949) had been deployed in 1942 during WWII to Hawaii to oversee the construction and command what would become the largest hospital in the war in the Pacific Theatre. FDR and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz are seen in this PICTURE, with his father seated in front of FDR, visiting for the hospital opening in 1944. Bill attended the United States Naval Academy (USNA). At the Academy, he was an outstanding Lacrosse player and named an All-American selection in 1954 and is included in USNA’s Hall of Fame for Athletics. After graduation from USNA in 1954 and completing flight training at Pensacola, Fla., he was designated a naval aviator in 1955 and flew fighter jets while on active duty. Please read the poem posted, “High Flight” at the end of this obituary. The author puts you in Bill’s cockpit and describes things as he has probably seen them, flying high above the earth and felt he could “Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.” Bill’s been where few others have been and seen, “a hundred things you have not dreamt of.” In 1956, he married Cheron, who was from Coronado, California and also a Navy junior. Both began their marriage together knowing some of the challenges of raising a military family, especially in the Navy. She, earlier, had seen Bill when he was 16 and she was 12. His father was the Commanding Officer (CO) for the Naval Academy Hospital and her dad was serving as Battalion Officer at the Academy. Bill was a lifeguard at the Academy pool. He was 16 and didn’t know her then and for her it was a fleeting crush from afar and forgotten for a few years but as fate had it they met later. As a senior midshipman, he saw Cheron at church with another Academy student who turned out be her brother, Greg Black who was a sophomore attending the Academy. He asked for her phone number…and the rest is history. For the time in-between cruises and during onshore deployments, Bill enjoyed taking the family camping. His deployments were on both coasts so the outdoor experience included the mountains outside of Monterey, California, Northeast of Los Angles in the southern part of Sierra Nevada Mountains, national parks round Albuquerque, New Mexico, National Seashore Park, Cape Hatteras, N.C., and some back lakes in north Maine near border with Quebec where you could hear the loggers speaking French. Lots of sites, fun, and learning experiences. His first assignment out of fight school was as an instructor pilot at NAS Whiting Field, Fla. where he taught basic students to fly the SNF, T-34, and T-28 aircraft. He was then assigned in 1957 to Fighter Squadron VF-103 flying the F-8 Crusader, a single seat jet fighter and made cruises to the Mediterranean Sea in 1958 and 1960. After attending postgraduate school, he made two cruises to the Mediterranean aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal as the ordnance handing officer in 1965 and as assistant navigator in 1966. He then had two combat tours in 1967 and 1968 to Vietnam. He flew F-8 Crusader fighters, first aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hancock (CVA-19). For his second tour, he reported to fighter squadron VF-191 as Executive Officer (XO) (second command) and deployed aboard the USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14). In 1969 he transitioned to the F-4 Phantom fighter which had been replacing the F-8 Crusader as Navy’s primary jet fighter. He served as XO and then Commanding Officer (CO) of VF-102 fighter squadron on the USS Independence (CVA-62). His shore duty included attending Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island and served 18 months as Battalion Officer in Annapolis, Md. at the U.S. Naval Academy. His additional sea tours were as Assistant Navigator on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CVA-59), Executive Officer (XO) of the aircraft carrier USS Independence (CVA-62), and as the Chief of Staff for Operations of a battle group. His decorations include 3 individual Air Medals, 12 Strike Flight Air Medals, and 4 Navy Commendation Medals with Combat “V”. For his final deployment in 1978, Bill assumed command of Training Air Wing One in Meridian, Mississippi, which included three training wings and a naval base. Bill was awarded the Legion of Merit for implementing a computer management information system which provides the Chief of Naval Air Training and his wing commanders with an ongoing analysis of flight instruction effort, identifying eleven cause factors of mission abort, measuring squadron performance, monitoring assets, and forecasting requirements necessary for production of qualified aviators. Upon his retirement in 1980, after 28 years of active duty, Bill and Cheron “retired” to Giles County, Va. to a farm he purchased named Sinking Creek Farm. I was a working farm with 50 cows and 200 sheep. While maintaining work on the farm with his 2 sons and Cheron’s help, Bill held multiple full-time positions of employment, including County Administrator of Giles County, Resource Manager with Virginia Tech’s research park, and later majority owner of a small electrical transformer manufacturer. During this time, he and Cheron had become more involved with their Episcopal Church. They attended a retreat together that reinforced their Christian values, principles, and scriptural understanding. The movement within the church was called Cursillo and purposed to reconnect, usually in prayer, with God. The Cursillo motto of “Make a friend, be a friend, and be a friend to Christ”, This became and has been their shared purpose in which they gave to the community, their friend, relatives and mostly felt by their commitment to their children and grandchildren. After a few years of farming and running the small manufacturing business, he and Cheron retired again to a familiar setting, Annapolis, Md. There they stayed involved with their church, classmates, friends and relatives. Living in Annapolis allowed them access to Navy sports especially lacrosse and their numerous USNA class of 54 reunions. Six years ago, they moved to Atlantic Shores Retirement Community in Virginia Beach to be closer to family. They had time to reflect on their life’s journey and the many experiences and blessings the Lord has provided them and their children. In addition to his precious wife, Cheron, his best friend for life, Bill is survived by; Son, William Walter, III, “Rusty” (Lisa); Son, Daniel Wesley (Kim); Daughter, Leslie Marie Cullinan; Daughter, H. Jane Brianas; eight grandchildren – Rachel, Kelly, Laura, Meredith, Christian, Shelby, Alex, and Ryan. Deceased relatives: Parents; Brother, Louis Hargrave (Sandy); Sisters Grace Cox (Dr. Harry Cox) and Betty Gannon (William Gannon). High Flight By John Gillespie Magee Oh! I have slipped the surly bounds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth Of sun-split clouds, and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of, whirled and soared High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air. Up, up the long, delirious burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace Where never lark, or ever eagle flew, And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God. Friends and relatives are encouraged to leave short stories/memories at this website. A memorial service honoring Bill will be held on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at 1:00 P.M. at Galilee Episcopal Church, 3928 Pacific Ave., Virginia Beach, VA. Information for the military funeral at Arlington National Cemetery TBD. Estimated 6 to 8 months. H D Oliver Funeral Apartments 2002 Laskin Rd Virginia Beach, VA 23454 757-428-7880

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