Now Hear This – July 2021




To take a short summer break, and since the first Wednesday in July closely follows the 4th of July holiday, we will not hold a monthly meeting in July.  HOWEVER –



Instead of that meeting, we will hold a family “Pin the Tail on the Mule” picnic on 18 July.  We want this one to be “just for us” – no big supply effort, no massive communications work.  We have reserved Shelter #605 at Picnic Island Park in south Tampa.  Beach, games, and food by Mission BBQ!  The email notice is out.  Kids 12 and under are free.  Register here  by Sunday 11 July –


RDML “T.R.” Buchanan ‘92, the immediate past USNA Commandant, is coming to Tampa and CENTCOM.  We have already reached out and are in touch.  Welcome aboard, Admiral!!

Colonel James “J.P.” McDonough III, USMC, ’94 has been selected to become the 89th Commandant of Midshipmen.  I believe he officially started his job on 1 July.  He is at least the third Marine to hold that position.

If you’re curious about Rear Admiral (lower half) and what happened to “Commodore” – RDML (as opposed to upper half/two star RADM) is equivalent to the rank of brigadier general in the other uniformed services, and equivalent to the rank of Commodore in most other navies.  In the United States uniformed services, Rear Admiral (lower half) replaced the rank of Commodore in 1983.  One reason, as I understand it – to the community, when they reached O-7, they wanted to be called Admiral, dammit!  I hear ya’ –


VADM James J. Malloy ’86 has reported aboard as Deputy Commander US Central Command.  He had read our SHIPMATE column and asked Marty Drake ’78 how to get active.  Glad to have you, Admiral –


Midshipman Michael Myles James, 22, of Hiram, Georgia, was found unresponsive the morning of June 23 while on leave from the Naval Academy. The cause of death is being investigated; foul play is not suspected.  Obviously, MIDN Myles was a rising firstie.  Very sad.


  1. LOSS OF A MOTHER (from Fox News)

More sad news – A mother who was in Annapolis to see her son off to USNA, died after she was hit by a stray bullet early Tuesday 6/29.  Michelle Jordan Cummings, 57, from Houston, was with her husband and another couple outside The Graduate Hotel at about 12:20 a.m   They had just said good-night and she stood to return to their room.  According to reports, an argument a block away led to gunfire, and a bullet carried through bushes and hit Ms. Cummings, killing her.  Her son, Leonard Cummings III, is a NAPS graduate entering the academy.  He decided to continue through I-Day and continue his USNA journey.  Blessings to him and his family –

  1. THE BOARD MET on 14 June to address several important items and plan events for the rest of this year. A couple of highlights –
    1. Events and dates confirmed – (mark your calendar!)
      1. Family Picnic – 18 July
      2. Football watch parties – 4 Sept, 11 Sept (and more)
  • Founders Day Dinner – 13 October/Feather Sound CC
  1. Tampa Bay Wine Society (Social) – 13 November
  2. Army-Navy Football – 11 December
  1. SIG Chapter Liaisons
    1. The Alumni Association has asked chapters to name liaisons to these Special Interest Groups (SIG). We had volunteers –
      1. Run to Honor – Steve Swift ‘87
      2. Women – Jane Lochner ‘84
      3. NAMA (Naval Academy Minority Assn.) – TBD
    2. The Chapter and Board strongly support efforts to strengthen these communities of our shipmates. If you would like to play an active role, please contact me.  Chris
  2. 2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Tampa Bay Chapter! (Hint:  The founder is still active with us!).  Watch for future news about how we plan to celebrate our Golden Anniversary –
  3. New LinkedIn Page – The Board agreed to establish (sanction) a new Chapter LinkedIn page. Its primary purpose will be to connect Alumni people and businesses in the Tampa Bay area.  We’re still ironing things out, but it is up and running.  Thanks to Dave Spoerl ’82, Mark Arnold ’80, and Steve Swift ‘87 for taking ownership of the site to keep it current and meaningful.  The link will be included in future communications. Here it is –



 Bruce Bachman ’73 of Winter Haven passed away.  Bruce was not an active member of the chapter, but we respectfully note his passing, and we contacted his family.  Here’s a link to his obituary –

  New face at the June meeting:

  • John Miles ’93 (St. Pete)

 Kevin Sinnett ’79 and wife Doreen wrote in to make contact.  They have recently moved to Dunedin.  Kevin said that he has been following our Facebook page.

 I also met this month John Delcamp ’85.  He, wife Debra, and family have landed in St. Pete Beach.  John is with Southwest Airlines.

 Welcome aboard, all!


  • 18 July – Family picnic – Picnic Island Park, Tampa (Reservations required)
  • 4 August – Chapter meeting– Tate’s Pizza at 1800
  • 4 September – First football watch party (Marshall at Navy)
  • 11 September Football watch party (Air Force at Navy)
  • 13 November – Tampa Bay Wine Society (social/potluck)
  • 11 December – Army-Navy football (Navy hosting)


Chapter website –

Chapter Facebook page –

Chapter LinkedIn page –

Next chapter meeting – 4 August at Tate’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, West Shore Blvd., Tampa, at 1800.  We hope to see you there. 

One more note – as you read above, we gained new members and activity because of our “distinguished” communications efforts on Facebook, email, our website, and now LinkedIn.  That doesn’t just happen – it is the result of hours of work each month by our talented and dedicated volunteers.  We should all appreciate the efforts of Steve Swift ’87 (Chapter Comms Director/email), Dave Spoerl ‘82 (Chapter Board Member/Facebook), Angela Orlando ’85 (Website), and Leon Jablow ’91 (Chapter Secretary/SHIPMATE).  Let them know when you get a chance.  They’re terrific!

Now – scroll back up and register for the picnic!

Carry on,

Chris Heath ‘72

Chapter President

All Hands on Deck for a Busy March!

All Area Alumni –
Sometimes we control the calendar and sometimes it controls us.  March is a mixture of both phenomena, but it adds up to a busy month for your USNA community.  We wanted to give you a heads up on all the exciting events ahead for your participation –
Wednesday, 4 March (1800-1930) – Monthly chapter meeting – Tate’s Pizza, West Shore Blvd, Tampa
Sunday, 8 March (1200-1500) – Candidate Information Picnic, Picnic Island Park in south Tampa.  See the chapter website to sign up (no cost).    We time this event to coincide with USNA spring  break, so  we get several current Midshipmen (hopefully including members of the USNA Parachute Team) to attend and “recruit”.  We need max alumni to do the same, plus grilling and event support.  Come on out – free food included!
Thursday, 12 March (1900-2100) – The USNA Glee Club will perform a concert at Hyde Park United Methodist Church, 500 W. Platt St., Tampa.  The Glee Club is spending their spring break in Florida, and is coming over from Orlando for this one-night special event.  No charge – come on out for an inspiring evening of music.  The public is invited – bring your family, friends, and neighbors!
12-15 March – The Players’ Championship Golf Tournament, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL – the tournament sponsors are offering free and discounted tickets to veterans for this prestigious golf tournament.  Steve Swift sent out sign-up information within the last few days.
Saturday, 28 March – All Service Academy Lightning Game – we will be leading the charge to attend the Lightning versus the New York Rangers with Army (and Air Force if they send anyone) alumni.  Looks like $104 for the ticket and all you can eat and drink for 2 hours before the start of the game.  Save the date and look for reservation info shortly.  If you know you are in now – please send your confirmation to Steve Swift at
And as long as you have your calendar out, please note 7 May – the date of the annual Army-Navy golf match.  We will return to the Vinoy Golf Club in St. Pete to retain the championship trophy.  Sign-u[ info will be available well  before the event.
So mark your calendar and join your shipmates for fun and service.  We look forward to seeing you.  BEAT ARMY!
Chris Heath ‘72
Chapter President

Don Coughlin ’62 and Navy Sports Blog

Email sent 15-Jan-2020
Active Alumni –
I am very sorry to be the messenger, however, long time and active member Don Coughlin passed away last week.  His family is having a private ceremony.  Details and bio here:

Also – as an interest, Karl Darden ’84, has been proving analysis of each football game on their class page. He is opening up a blog for everyone.

Thanks –

V/R – Steve

Coach/CAPT Steve Swift USNR (ret)
US Naval Academy Blue & Gold Officer
Triathlon & Run Coach (USAT/RRCA Certified)

Chapter News Dec 2019

Email sent 31 Dec 2019


1.      The chapter met INDOORS at Tate’s on 4 December with 14 members attending.
An electronic voting took place this month, with strong support for the new Board slate presented.  Leading the chapter in 2020 will be –
  • President – Chris Heath ‘72
  • Vice President – Keith Hruby ‘01
  • Secretary – Ron Seits ‘88
  • Treasurer – Tim Corcoran ‘67
  • Comms Director – Steve Swift ‘87
  • Board Members – Jane Lochner ’84, Dave Spoerl ’82, Nick Pinkston ’04, Chris Thompson ‘92
HrubyPinkston, and Thompson are new to the Board, and we look forward to their leadership.  Many thanks to departing members James Castano ’91Janel Brown ’97, and James Hamm ’84 for their excellent service to the chapter.
We also received a few comments in the open area of the election/survey form.  We are following up on those as appropriate.  Thanks to all who participated.
3.      ARMY-NAVY FOOTBALL – Navy begins a new winning streak!
This one wasn’t in doubt for long, as Navy and QB Malcom Perry rolled to a 31-7 victory over Army in Philadelphia.  Perry broke the series record with 304 yards rushing.   What a quick and electric runner!  Perry is a senior, so Navy will have to replace him, but the defense made great strides this year under new Defensive Coordinator Brian Newberry, so the future looks pretty bright.   And it was a great turn-around season for Coach Ken Niumatalolo.  Both Perry and Niumatalolo are up for national post-season awards.  But we have a bowl game to win first –
4.      NAVY FOOTBALL in the Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Eve
Navy faces Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl at 3:45 pm on New Year’s Eve (TV on ESPN).  As of this writing, Navy is favored by 2.5 points.  If you noticed on social media, the New England Patriots lent Navy their private airplane to make the trip to Memphis.  GO NAVY!
5.      CONGRATULATIONS Nick ’04 and Karen Pinkston on the birth of daughter Mary Margaret in early December.
New at the December chapter meeting –
Keith Hruby ‘01 – Formerly assigned in the area; recently returned.  Working as a Financial Advisor for Raymond James in Clearwater – just moved into a home in West Chase.  Was a chapter secretary in his previous location.  Welcome, Keith and Rose –
Welcome aboard!
31 December – Liberty Bowl game (TV) – Navy vs. Kansas State
8 January 2020 – Chapter meeting
8 March 2020 – Candidate Information Picnic
12 March 2020 – USNA Glee Club performs in Tampa
28 March 2020 – Tampa Bay Lightning game (Inter-academy)
Chapter website –
Next chapter meeting – Wednesday, 8 January at 1800 – Tate’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, West Shore Blvd., Tampa.  See you there.  

Also – alumnus’ Rich Gano’s ’69 moving description below of Ensign Joshua Caleb Watson’s ’19 funeral as a Link in the class attendee.
Carry On and Happy New Year,
Chris Heath ‘72
Chapter President
From: Rich Gano <>
Sent: Saturday, December 21, 2019, 02:29:16 PM PST
Subject: Dolorous duty as Callsign “Poot” passes
Ensign Joshua Caleb Watson USNA ’19, Caleb to many, Callsign “Poot” to the aviation community which in its own curious way posthumously assigned a childhood nickname to him for a callsign, had a funeral read for him today.  I somehow felt it incumbent upon me to attend the ceremony to represent our class of 1969 members of which were on stage at Caleb’s graduation just last May, even though it was a 170-mile round trip in the rain, and I’d be swallowed up in what I knew would be a huge crowd.  You see Alabama has a very strong military heritage and following – you can go no farther than 16 miles in any direction without running across an armory, and the state has the largest per capita reserve component allowance of any state in the Union.  If you lived in Enterprise today and had a uniform to put on, even an old gray-haired Hull Technician first class in his dress blue crackerjacks,  you donned it and went to the capacious performing arts center theater at Caleb’s high school (EHS) and hugged his mama and honored his memory as you sat through his funeral – I thought for a while the uniforms would outnumber the civilians.  Many butter bars in Marine and Navy dress blues (many I assume USNA ’19) were in attendance apparently preferring to drive themselves from Pensacola rather than be bussed – young people, what are ya gonna do!  Except for the Coast Guard, every uniformed military service was represented, mostly by active duty, officer and enlisted clear down to Marine Private.  The way into the place was “guarded” by the usual military affiliated motorcycle riders we see at military funerals throughout the South and likely the country as a whole, each standing with a US flag after which the EHS JROTC members in uniform lined the foyer area.  I signed the register “Commander R D Gano on behalf of USNA Class of 1969.” Our ’69 class crest was on my left lapel.  Numerous young lady ushers all in blue jackets and khaki skirt were at every turn and in the seating area to guide attendees along.  This was a well-organized event supported by many people.  All the flags around town were at half-staff.  Arriving at 1000 for the 1100 ceremony, I quickly found my way to the stage with the flag-draped casket front and center flanked by two modest flower arrangements and a festoon of small US flags on a stand.  Caleb’s family, mother, two older brothers, and father were at the far end of the casket receiving people.  In my turn I told his family who I was and expressed condolences on behalf of our class and our respect for his service and courage.   When I mentioned to Mr. Watson the Link in the Chain connection, he said, “Oh, yes, I remember your guys on the graduation stage that hot day last May.”  Mission accomplished, and the audience continued to swell into the hundreds.  Eventually, I made my way over to a bunch of ensigns and discovered they were USNA classmates of Caleb’s.  I introduced myself and my mission, for which they were grateful.  While I am only aware of the news reports of his actions on December 6, 2019, the Navy chaplain officiating noted Caleb’s warrior heart as his short 23 years were marked by a very strong desire to take the fight to the enemy, and thus he shifted from a preference to be a SEAL to strike air as a means of getting there faster.  There was no mention of his actions on December 6 nor comment on the insane cultural and religious hatred which precipitated this event; the accent was on the positive about this young man.  The chaplain told how he was called on his cell phone at the hospital that awful day by an Airman Apprentice who had just stood a night watch at a desk with Ensign Watson and had just learned of his death.  The watch had ended only forty five minutes before the shooting – the last eight hours of Caleb’s life.  The young Sailor needed to vent.  The chaplain told him to write it down, and 24 hours later a truly well written and beautifully expressed account arrived by email.  The letter told how this ensign who would shortly die expressed so many profound ideas about life and service and doing your best all the time, and it jibbed with everything else we learned of this fine officer during our short acquaintance with his life.  It was further disclosed that thanking him for his service made Caleb uncomfortable because he felt he had not yet done anything worthy of thanks.  A trio of ensigns (male and female) sang an introductory of “Let it be” by the Beatles, and they finished the ceremony with an acapella rendering of the usual two verses of the “Navy Hymn” asking help for those in peril on the sea and in the air.  If you can sit dry-eyed through a short selection of photos thrown up on a giant screen with John Michael Montgomery singing “Letters from Home,” you are a hearty spirit indeed and far tougher than I.  I will think of this day every Memorial Day and Veterans Day and any other time appreciation for military service is brought up.  Driving home in the rain on the first day of winter and just four days before Christmas, did little to lighten my mood as I thought of the loss to our country and his family, but I thanked Ensign Caleb Watson for his service all the way.  I hope he doesn’t mind now.
Non sibi sed patriae
Rich Gano