Return to Forever, the 40th Reunion

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Ours of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1974, the 23rd Company (of 36 companies), formed-up on 30 June 1970. Those were the days of avoiding the draft to avoid duty in Vietnam. It’s about the only time that I can remember that I ever joined anything and even my formal acceptance to Annapolis required having no plans for college and a chance meeting at my high school graduation prom with the Assistant Principal, John Rice, who was also a USNA recruiting officer in his spare time.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked. “I’m the local Blue and Gold Officer.” About 20 years later I learned what hoops that he and several members of the Jesuit High School faculty jumped through to expedite their recommendations for my acceptance. After high school graduation and 30 days of working as a carpenter’s helper for the venerable Pelican Ice of New Orleans, I received the telegram (that’s correct; and from Western Union; the days of cordless phones. Whoa!) from Senator Russell Long appointing me to the Naval Academy, class of 1974. Report in two weeks. There I went; here I am; over the past weekend, remnants of the 23rd Company met for our 40th.

3:c Yr Fall 1971

We moved to 5th Company for two years. This is a photo from Winter 1972.

USNA 23co 40th

Reynolds Tavern, Annapolis, Saturday 25 October 2014.

On day 1, there were 40 of us. On our graduation day of 5 June 1974, there were 22 of us remaining at the Academy including one who died within a month of graduation due to an intramural football induced injury. Along those four years, some resigned because ‘it wasn’t for them’; some got behind the academic 8 ball which is a tough recovery; the end of the Selective Service Draft sent others ashore (my number was 234); some had no problems and the rest of us meandered and bounced through to some conclusion. President Richard M. Nixon spoke at our graduation in the middle of his just-deserved Watergate woes.

We enjoyed a drink on a patio then dined in a private room for 34 at a charming downtown Annapolis restaurant. Our two Vice Admirals welcomed all (an impressive achievement for 2 of 22 graduates); we shared stories which reminded us that no one really changes with age; we just age-out. We laughed easily and generously and played a kind of Jeopardy game where we recalled stories from our days as midshipmen. In the end, a good time was had by all.