U. S. Naval Academy

Class of 1979

35th Reunion
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Latest Letter from Sean

Greetings Class of 1979,

Those of us in the mid-Atlantic/DC region have dug out of last weekend’s big snowstorm and things are returning to normal which means we are into the Dark Ages once again. To help distract you from that, there are several topics for your consideration in this update.

Too many of my messages to the class begin with the sad news of the passing of one of our own. In this message I want to highlight one success story of a classmate who is winning his fight against prostate cancer. This foe is stubborn, so let’s keep up our thoughts and prayers.

Mike Feidt, 24th Co, sent me a note that said “Since my diagnosis with stage 4 prostate cancer in Sept '14 we have seen prayers working.”

His company-mate, Rick Marrs, told me “Mike has been battling cancer for over a year. He is presently responding well to a second round of chemo with a new drug that has shown promise. He is in remarkably good spirits and enjoying the support of his wife, Teri and wonderful adult kids and grandkids. We watched the Army-Navy game with him, his son and several other 24th company classmates.

Mike is on Facebook and still working for NAVSEA. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers. It has been an inspiration to watch Mike and Teri face this challenge with courage, grace, and strength, taking it one day at a time.”

Mike lives in Northern Virginia. You may contact him at michael.feidt@navy.mil

Paul Gehring, 35th Co, is setting up a Rhine River Cruise for September 2017 through Dan Morio, Class of 1991, and his wife who own a Cruise Planners Franchise.

Dan sent me the following information to pass along should anyone else be interested –

We have owned a travel agency since 2006 and have provided travel related services to many classes over these almost ten years. One of our most recent events came about when working with a classmate of yours, Paul Gehring. With the help of Paul and Sean, we have created an outstanding opportunity to bring together classmates on a wonderful Rhine Getaway River Cruise aboard the Viking Longship Kvasir, that sails from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, The Netherlands from 06-13 September 2017.

I have set up a group block of cabins with pricing that starts at $3055.50 per person (a rate that is discounted off the Viking rate by $300 per person that I am offering because of our shared affiliation with the Naval Academy). This is in addition to the current Viking River Cruise Early Bird Discount of $150 per person (dropping the starting per person rate at $2905.50) through 31 January 2016. You can also save up to an additional $1395 per person if you take advantage of the Early Bird Discount Viking Air Promotion. This promotion offers low airfare (i.e. $200 per person including ground transfers to and from the ship in Europe) from gateway cities like Boston, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or Washington D.C., other cities are also available at a slightly higher rate.

If you are interested in the cruise, please call me (540-479-8317), email me (dan@ GoNavyTravel.com) or visit our web page for this cruise (www.GoNavyTravel.com/group/VRG2017).

The Early Bird Discount ($150 and the Air Promotion) offer is only good through 31 January 2016. However, in order to make the booking with this group, I need to have your cabin reserved and deposit made no later than 1200, 30 January 2016. Once the Early Bird Discount is expired, whatever Viking Promotion is running will be available in addition to the discounted fares I am offering.

As a veteran, Naval Academy alumni owned, small business, I would greatly appreciate your business as well as the opportunity to assist you and your classmates in experiencing all the highlights of the legendary Rhine River on this 8-day cruise. If you have other travel or vacation ideas for group or individual travel, please let me know. Go Navy! Beat Army! 

The Alumni Association website news feed is now showing this obituary for Art Howell.

Arthur Thornton Howell III, 58, passed away January 16, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.

Arthur was born on an Air Force Base in Japan to Olivia and Arthur Howell Sr. He spent most of his life working for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a manager.

Arthur is survived by his wife Linda Howell or Arlington, Texas.

Mansfield Funeral Home 1556 W Heritage Pkwy Mansfield, TX  76063 (817) 453-3009

Finally, Congratulations to Bill Toti, 9th Co, President of Global Defense at Cubic, Corporation, who was selected to the Washington 100 list for 2016. The Wash100 is the premier group of private and public sector leaders selected by Executive Mosaic's organizational and editorial leadership as the most influential figures in the GovCon sector and recognized for their push to drive vision, innovation and achievement for American citizens.


Omnes Viri 1979,


Letter from Sean dated 10/27/2015

Greetings Class of 1979,

Last Friday, I joined seven other classmates and hundreds of local citizens in Sandwich, MA for the Dedication Ceremony of the Captain Gerald F. DeConto, USN, Veterans Memorial Stadium. A beautiful Autumn day gave way to a brisk early evening as the ceremony commenced at dusk, one hour prior to the Sandwich High School Football game.

I am attaching several links that convey the images and emotions of the day. The DeConto Family was very appreciative of all our class for their support since their loss on 9-11. Jerry’s mom, Pat, and older brother, Dave, were among the speakers at the ceremony and spoke eloquently of their vision to turn the loss of their son/brother into a positive tribute to Jerry’s service and sacrifice.

Our classmate, the Honorable Sean J. Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition was the featured speaker of the evening and paid great tribute to Jerry and the family’s vision for the Stadium. Sean also spoke of the beauty and dignity of the 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon. He brought with him a letter bearing greetings from the Secretary of the Navy along with a huge American Flag that was flown over the Pentagon in honor of Jerry and a piece of limestone from the Pentagon’s wall sculpted and mounted for display. As you will note in the links, the community was thrilled to have the Assistant Secretary attend and speak at the ceremony.

But with all due respect to Sean, Pat, Dave, and the others, Jerry’s roommate, Carl Rehling, gave the audience a real sense of his best friend and how this Stadium should inspire generations to come. Carl provided a sense of Fish’s Navy journey begun July 7th 1975 on I-day through a career where his sailors always came first and got any credit for the successes on his watch. Always focused on the mission, even on his final day, it was reported Jerry ordered numerous persons out of the Pentagon Navy Command Center so his team could do its job without distraction. When that became the point of impact his focus saved each of those lives.

Carl told us that Jerry was “Deeply proud of four things” – being a member of the USNA Class of 1979, being a member of the Naval Service, being a citizen of Sandwich, Mass., and most proud of his family. Carl’s final remarks were aimed squarely at those who would follow in Jerry’s footsteps and compete at this tremendous Stadium –

“Lastly, for all the kids tonight and in the future who will carry a little bit of Jerry with them every time they compete here, I’d like to pass on a few things I expect Captain Jerry DeConto would want me to leave you with. First, don’t get on this field unless you expect to win. Be willing to put in the hard word that it takes to win. Don’t ever let anyone outwork you. Second, respect every opponent but never fear any of them. Lastly, and from the real core of what jerry DeConto was all about, do your job, trust your teammates to do theirs, and always, always put the team first above yourself. As a team you will be able to achieve anything, as long as no one is worried about who gets the credit.”

Along with Carl, Sean Stackley, and myself, the other 79ers in attendance were David Jackson, Chuck Dixon, Tim Ebbinghouse, Jon Jaques, and Fred Gerheiser. Pat O’Kane, Class of 1981, rounded out the USNA participants.

Fred, Chuck, Dave, and I made a memorable and epic Road Trip for the Ceremony, leaving Fred’s home in Crofton, MD at 0700 Friday morning, arriving in Sandwich at 1445, attending the Ceremony at 1800, then departing back for Crofton at 1900 and arriving back at 0245 Saturday, in time to get a few hours of rack time before the Homecoming Tailgater at 0900 and kickoff against Tulane at 1300. (Navy won 31-14 and Navy QB Keenan Reynolds rushed for two more TDs leaving him needing two more rushing TDs to tie, and three to surpass the NCAA record of 77 Rushing TDs.)

Here are some links to the DeConto Stadium Dedication in Sandwich, MA: 

New Subject – Mick Fernbaugh. Mac Silvester, Mick’s roommate has reached out to his 29th Company classmates to report that Mick suffers very poor health as a result of a stroke several years ago and his wife, Sylvia, also has medical issues leaving their care in the hands of their adult children.

Last August, in the midst of some heavy rain, their basement wall collapsed and the damage, for whatever reason, is not covered by insurance. The repair bill is ~ $50K. Jim Messenger pointed me toward the below website to make a donation to Mick and his family.

GO Fund Me - Mick Fernbaugh

Any amount would help and be a blessing to the Fernbaugh’s. Please check it out. If desiring to send a check to the Fernbaugh’s directly, their address: 4423 Eastwick Blvd Stow, OH 44224.

I am also aware of a classmate fighting cancer – keep all of your classmates in your prayers if you are so inclined.

Last Call for Class Store this Year. We have arranged for the merchandise vendor from our last reunion, Anchor Enterprises, to reopen the Class of 1979 “Class Store.” This will enable all of us to buy Class gear in an “Off Reunion” year. The ’79 Class Store is the only source of Class of ‘79 gear. The Class Store is offering all new merchandise with a new variety of the Class Logo – Class of 1979 superimposed over a Block N.

You can order directly from the ’79 Class Store web site – http://www.usnaclasstore.com/79store.html - and your order will be shipped directly to you. The Class Store will close after this Saturday. Visit the website for details.

Beat USF!


Omnes Viri 1979,


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