Oakland Council Helps Sailors, Flyers Raise Money for Pilots' Children
The combined efforts of crew members from the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, former Blue Wolves Squadron members and the Oakland Council have helped raise more than $60,000 for a scholarship fund for the children of four Sea Control Squadron 35 aviators killed in a plane crash near Iwo Jima last summer.
Oakland Council President Robert Castle, who set the scholarship fund up under the council's domain after it was established in San Diego, said he hopes the fund eventually will reach $100,000. He was on hand in San Diego Dec. 10 to meet with the surviving spouses of the aviators and their children and distribute the contributions made to the scholarship fund. Sea Control Squadron 35, also known as the Blue Wolves, is based at Naval Air Station North Island.
Lt. Patrick S. Myrick, Lt. James J. Pupplo, Lt. Cmdr. Scott A. Zellem and Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Joshua B. Showalter were killed Aug. 10 when their S-3B Viking crashed on Kita Iwo Jima, an uninhabited island 39 nautical miles north of Iwo Jima, during a training mission as part of the Joint Air-Sea Exercise '04 with the Stennis and USS Kitty Hawk.
The scholarship fund was initiated in their memory by former Blue Wolves Squadron member Lt. Cmdr. Duke Deitz, according to Castle, to provide for the surviving children. Castle, a certified public accountant, set up the account under the auspices of the Oakland Council to ensure contributions were tax deductible and disbursements non-taxable. Allison Myrick, widow of one of the pilots, is friends with members of the Oakland Council, which donated $2,000 to the fund.
The bulk of the scholarship donations have come from the Stennis. One crewmember organized a fun run aboard ship that raised $40,000, Castle said. Toys, ornaments and other items also were donated, and presented to the children Dec. 10.
Contributions are still being accepted, and Castle said the Oakland Council will keep its support lines open to the families and serve as a point of contact for them going forward.
Tax-deductible donations can be made to:
Oakland Navy League
Blue Wolf Memonal Fund
610 Oakland Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611-4533
Councils Cruise On Destroyer, Sub
Navy Leaguers from Pennsylvania and Florida got the opportunity to cruise above and below the waters of the Atlantic in November during tours of their adopted ships.
On Nov. 17, a contingent from St. Augustine, Fla., that included St. Augustine Council members, city government staff, golfers from the North Florida Pro Golfers Association, a dozen local high school students and a reporter from the St. Augustine Record, were treated to the final Tiger Cruise aboard the Spruance-class destroyer USS O'Bannon. The 25-year-old O'Bannon now is on its last deployment, supporting operations in Iraq, and will be decommissioned in May.
The 90-person group traveled to the destroyer's homeport at Mayport Naval Station and then was taken out to sea off Jacksonville where they were given tours and demonstrations of the ship's decks, compartments and weapon systems, and had the opportunity to talk to crewmembers. Some sailors, in turn, were given impromptu golf lessons from the pro golfers' group, said George Grech, the council's O'Bannon liaison.
Grech and Capt. Troy A. Stoner, commanding officer of the O'Bannon, later presented the Sailor of the Quarter award to Interior Communications Electrician 2nd Class Angela Scardino and Junior Sailor of the Quarter award to Fire Control Technician 3rd Class Nate Hillenkamp. "Everybody has taken the ship and its crew to heart," said Grech. "It's sad to see it go."
On Nov. 29, a group of Pittsburgh Council members, USS Pittsburgh Relief Crew members and four Sea Cadets traveled to Port Canaveral, FIa., for a day-long cruise aboard the fast attack submarine USS Pittsburgh. The cruise was Jim Bendel's last as council president, as a new slate of officers was installed in mid-January.
The group was given briefings by Commanding Officer Cmdr. David Hahn and his staff; tours of the control room, sonar room, torpedo room and other areas of the sub; experience diving and resurfacing; and each member was allowed to look through the periscope while the Pittsburgh was in transit, according to a report in the council's newsletter by Relief Crew Commanding Officer Paula Bozdech-Veater.
The sub will be undergoing an extended yard period later this year to extend its service life for 15-20 years. To honor the Pittsburgh's 20th year of service, the Pittsburgh Council has a number of events planned in 2005, included a Derby Party in May, golf tournament in June, regatta in July, and a capstone event centered around the Navy Ball and a Pittsburgh Steelers home game in October. Hahn was also the scheduled speaker at the council's annual dinner meeting Jan. 29.
Bay Area Navy Leaguers Whip Up Emerald Bowl Support for Middies, Iowa
The "Bring the Iowa to San Francisco" banners Bay Area Navy Leaguers waved as they cheered on the Naval Academy at the Dec. 30 Emerald Bowl game ended up serving an entirely different purpose - protection against the driving rain that settled over the stadium around half time.
"It was a challenge just keeping dry," said Marin County Council President Merilyn Wong. "The banners did come in handy as shelter against the rain."
The nationally televised Emerald Bowl, played at SBC Park in San Francisco, offered the perfect forum for Navy Leaguers to promote local efforts to bring the battleship Iowa to San Francisco as a naval memorial and museum, as well as the region's annual Fleet Week. The Marin County Council invited area politicians and sea service officials to the game.
While the bad weather kept some people away, invited officials from the San Francisco mayor's office, city veterans affairs commission and the Korean Consulate did attend, according to Bill Stephens, Northern California Area president.
Coast Guard Vice Adm. Harvey Johnson, Pacific Area Commander, also was on hand, as were about 400 other Coast Guardsmen and women, who were given tickets by the San Francisco, Contra Costa, Alameda, Lake Merritt and Oakland Councils. A Coast Guard cutter provided security for the game from the adjacent San Francisco Bay.
A boisterous contingent of some 2,000 Naval Academy Midshipmen ringed the stands, and their rousing, synchronized cheering may well have made a difference in the game, Wong said.
"I think they intimidated New Mexico. They were that loud. I think the fans had a lot to do with the outcome," she said.
After a goal line stand stymied a University of New Mexico rally late in the third quarter, Navy sealed its 34-19 win by slogging 94 yards in 26 plays during a 14-minute, 26-second drive that left the Lobos with too little time to mount a comeback.
With the victory, Navy (10-2) finished the season with double-digit wins for the second time in school history - and the first time in 99 years.
South Florida Councils Treat Iwo Jima Sailors To Christmas Fanfare
A group of sailors from the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima were given some Christmas cheer - quite literally - during a stopover in Port Everglades, Fla., to help honor veterans of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
More than a dozen Iwo Jima crew members were treated to a performance of the renowned Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant by the Everglades and Broward County Councils, Broward Navy Days Inc. (which hosts the area's annual Fleet Week) and a new veterans group at First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, according to Broward Past President Fran Shaw. The sailors were joined by members of Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale, Homestead Air Reserve Base and Florida Marine Corps Recruiting officials. Everglades Council President Al Hubbard and Broward Council President Don Bannister were also on hand.
The evening included a buffet dinner during which members of the pageant cast visited, free pictures were taken by a professional photographer in front of the Christmas tree or with members of the cast, gifts were delivered from the First Baptist veterans group, front-center seating was provided for the pageant as were free refreshments at intermission.
When the group was introduced before the show, the 3,000 people in attendance gave them a standing ovation, Shaw said.
The elaborate pageant, which is presented by the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, draws 50,000 people annually to its 19 performances. Broadcasts of the pageant on Public Television have received two local Emmy Awards. The Iwo Jima contingent was given DVDs of the pageant, and another 500 DVDs and videocassettes have been sent to bases in Iraq, Shaw said.
This is the first time servicemen and women have been invited as guests at the pageant, but Shaw said it will now be an annual event for the ship that comes to Fort Lauderdale for Pearl Harbor Day.
* A group of 67 Navy Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) Cadets gave up part of their Christmas break to take part in the Winter Petty Officer Leadership Academy (POLA), hosted by Naval Station Norfolk, Va., and the NSCCs Top Hatters Squadron. Cadets from 17 states attended the POLA, which was held the week of Dec. 25 -Jan. 2, according to Lt. Crndr. William Gallagher, NSCC, commanding officer of the Top Hatters Squadron and executive officer for the event.
Cadet training during the week included goal-setting, stress management, military etiquette and other leadership attributes, as well as about 20 hours of marching. On Dec. 30, the cadets were welcomed onboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington where the unit had the opportunity to visit the flight deck and each cadet had his or her own individual photo taken.
Seaman Venus Olds also was honored at the Winter POLA for her more than four years of service in the Sea Cadets. Lt. Ronald Sanders, NSCC, presented Olds with a Scroll of Honor, signed by the Executive Director of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps Program, Michael Ford. Olds had just returned from Navy Boot Camp at Great Lakes, Ill. Because of the prior indoctrination supplied by the Sea Cadets, Olds was promoted to seaman upon her completion of Basic Training.
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Source: Sea Power