Another Link In The Chain

Our activities for the Class of 2010’s Youngster Year has not been nearly as extensive as last year, but has certainly had significant meaning. The first event was the “Ring Donor Program”. Our class, including widows, were invited by the Alumni Association to donate class rings and/or miniatures to the Alumni Association to be melded in with the gold which will be used for the rings for the Class of 2010.  This means a continuing link between our class and the Class of 2010 for ages to come. Historically, previous classes have donated 7-9 rings for this purpose.

On April 23, 2008, 15 rings were donated to the Class of 2010 by classmates and widows of classmates during a very moving and inspiring ceremony in Memorial Hall.  Approximately 100 mids and 50 classmates and their families were present for this very special evening.

The Ring Donor program is only a few years old and is a new tradition at the Academy.  Rings donated from the Class of 1960 are to be melded into the gold batch that makes up the rings for the Class of 2010. Each donor had the opportunity to say a few words about the ring being donated and then present the ring to the designated mid who then placed the ring in a special jeweler’s tray to be photographed for posterity.

Bob Osmon(17) acted as emcee for this event.  He started the evening by telling the mids they would hear stories far ranging in scope regarding the history of these rings.  Some would be humorous: some would be solemn and heart moving. Some would tell of classmates with distinguished military careers; some would tell of classmates who never got the chance to serve. Some will tell of wives who were noble helpmates to their husbands; some would tell of rings given to very proud Mothers. And one ring would tell of a father/son link which epitomizes the whole idea of the long blue chain and the Another Link in the Chain.

Bob concluded by telling the mids that one theme would ring loud and clear throughout the representations; pride of the Class of 1960, pride of the Naval Academy, pride of military service, and pride in the USA. And he asked that the Class of 2010 continue the tradition with the Class of 2060.

The first presenter of the evening was Mike Treacy(20). Mike has been safeguarding the mold for the Class of 1960 crest for 50 years.  He built a beautiful shadow box to house this crest and presented it to the Class of 2010 president for future safekeeping. He explained how the crest comes to represent the camaraderie that exists between all the members of a given class.

Bill Lewis(5) presented the first of the class rings. He told how his ring had been lost and then found three different times. He hoped the Class of 2010 rings would be as resilient.

Bob Gamba(11) presented the class ring of Jim McKinney(11). He narrated the long and distinguished career that Jim had in the service of our country.

One of our former Marines who was injured in basic training and never had the chance to serve preferred to remain anonymous.  His ring was presented to the Class of 2010 by Tom Solak who told of our classmate’s hope that a part of his ring would finally see combat.

Bob Osmon then presented the ring of Spencer Leech(8) who was in Europe and could not attend.  Spence in particular wanted the mids to know that his ring had sailed more than 15,000 miles in one voyage and had shaken the hand of the Queen of England.

Hank Phillips(17) presented the ring of Dallas Boggs(1). He explained that Dallas’ ring had crossed both oceans seven or eight times and had circled the South Pole. It also had served on every continent of the world.

Mary Lou Kesler presented the ring of her deceased husband Gene Kesler(24). She told the mids that the Naval Academy was a big part in the very kind of person Gene turned out to be. She knows Gene is happy being buried in the Columbarium to be near the school he loved.

Donna Counsil presented the ring of her deceased husband Bill Counsil(21). She related how Bill had a very successful career in the nuclear power industry after leaving the Navy and that he too is buried in the Columbarium.

Carole Marti presented the ring of her deceased husband Tom Marti(1). She really touched the emotions of the mids when she told them Tom’s eyes would tear when he heard the National Anthem played at Wrigley Field and the Navy Hymn. Some of his last words before he died were “Beat Army!”

Herb Mossman(12) and his wife Susan came to the podium together and each presented their own rings. Herb stated the ring represented the most significant achievement of his life; graduation from the US Naval Academy.

Susan told the mids that she received her miniature at the Ring Dance in 1959 and has worn it ever since. Baptizing it in the waters of the seven seas must have worked because they have three daughters, two sons, and 11 grandchildren.

Hank Chiles(21) donated the miniature of his deceased wife Katy. He told the mids how she died just months after he gave them a speech at the end of Plebe Summer. He praised her for all the activities she headed and how much support she gave him over his long career.

Wick Parcells(12) presented the miniature of Ruth Calvert.  Ruthie had wanted to donate the ring of her deceased husband Bill Calvert(12), but the family wanted to keep it.  So she gave up her own ring. She told of Bill coming from Texas where he grew up under a canopy of stars and out at seas he thrived under that same canopy. She asked that God protect them all whenever they are in harm’s way.

Curt Goldtrap(10) donated the miniature he had given to his Mother upon graduation.  She had worn it all her life, but had hoped he would marry Diane and give it to her.  13 years ago Diane got her own ring from Curt. His Mom was always so proud to wear his class ring miniature and he hoped other mothers would as well.

Bob Correll(16) donated his Mother’s miniature which he noted she had worn since graduation living to the age of 89. Not knowing which child to give the ring to, Bob chose to donate to the Class of 2010 thereby the family could share in the knowledge that the bridge between the Naval Academy and their family would go on forever.

Joe Jaap(13) made the final presentation and a first for this program.  He presented his Father’s (RADM Joe Jaap) ring from the Class of 1932. He told the mids how his Father had won the Distinguished Flying Cross for a heroic rescue of British sailors during WWII.  He knew his Dad would be proud to have his ring as part of the Class of 2010’s.

Bob’s closing remarks were to tell the Class of 2010 to think of us when they enter the fleet. On behalf of the entire class he then wished them all fair winds and following seas.

Everyone from the Class of 1960 then rose to give the Class of 2010 a standing ovation and they in turn did the same for us.  A very emotional moment to say the least. Upon dismissal many of the mids came forward to speak with our classmates and take a close look at the precious rings that had just been donated.

In addition to the presenters, Class of 60 classmates present were Bob Antonio(14), Jim Britell(13), Rob Burdge(9), Pete Chabot(14), Jim McConnel (23), John Michalski(6), Jerry Nelson(8), Howard Sipple(8), Dave Williams(8), and Tom Wishart(22).

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