CLASS of 1953 SHIPMATE June 2021

Coronavirus Pandemic

Our last Class activities was the Dark Ages Brunch at the Army-Navy Country Club February 9, 2020 Valentine Day. Since March a year ago we have been in a true Dark Ages coronavirus Pandemic and wonder when it will finish. Chuck Fellows (20) had to cancel the rescheduled Dark Ages Brunch of 25 April 2021. The good news is that most of us have been vaccinated and summer may open for some activities. Our 68th Reunion 28-31 July at Annapolis is on track according to Chris Zirps (5) with a total of 90 attendees, and possible a June picnic in Annapolis. Also, remember the Memorial Service for Carl Trost (22) 1100 September 20 at the USNA Chapel.    



Gordon Lee Aker (non-grad) died July 31, 2003 in Laredo, TX. Gordon left USNA in 1954 to work with his father in Ignacio, TX. He later served as a Senior Patrol Agent in the U.S. Border Patrol from 1961-1981, retiring as a Supervisory Patrol Agent. His wife Jeanne E Aker died in   April 20, 2012. Survivors include 6 children, 15 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren.

Roland R. Ketchum (non-grad) died December 26, 2020 in Kansas City, MO. “Randy” made his career at Corn Products/ National Starch in North Kansas City. His wife Martha Mae preceded him in death July 24, 2012. Survivors included 5 children, 11 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren.    

Arthur H. Gilmore, CAPT, USN (Ret) (10), died March 6, 2021 in Gainesville, VA. Art served in five submarines including Commanding Officer of the USS Cobbler (SS-344). He served key roles in two national underwater search and recovery operations. First was the operation in 1963 for the USS Thresher Search Team and made two dives in the Atlantic Ocean in the bathyscaphe Trieste. The second dive resulted recovering a large piece of the submarine. In 1966 Art was assigned to the task force to locate and recover an H-bomb that was lost in the Mediterranean Sea after an Air Force B-52 refueling accident over the coast of Spain. The weapon was recovered after a three-month search and recover effort. Art’s shore assignments included Submarine Development Group in New London working state of the art sonar systems and undersea warfare tactics. Art also did a pentagon tour in Deep Submergence Systems and at the Naval Sea Systems Command and the Office of Naval Research. After 30 years of Navy service he retired. Decorations included the Meritorious Service Medal (2), and Merit Unit Commendation. After retirement he consulted in the field of underwater acoustics and sonar design. Art was active in the Naval Submarine League and important part of Art and Nell’s life was their USNA classmates and their families. Survivors Include his wife Nell, three children, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren….*

Lillian C. Campbell, widow of William N. Campbell, CAPT, USN (Ret) (8), died March 11, 2021 in Virginia Beach, VA. She was born in New York in 1929 and raised in Oldenburg, Germany. At age 17 she was shipped to USA. In early 1953, while touring the USNA, she met midshipman William Campbell and they married later that year. As a Navy Wife she, Bill, and their children moved frequently in USA and Europe, including American Embassies in Finland, Germany, Belgium, and the family settled in Virginia Beach. Along the way she worked as a dental hygienist and as a tour guide in Washington, DC and Williamsburg, VA. Lillian also earned her college degree at the age of 75. Her husband Bill preceded her in death in 1999. Survivors include five children, one granddaughter, and one great-grandson….*

Donald A. Vogt, BGen, USAF (Ret) (19) died March 12, 2021 in Alexandria, VA. Don’s Air Force career spanned a wide range of assignments. He was a fighter pilot and later earned a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He worked in missile site activation, magneto-hydrodynamic wind tunnel design and construction in Tennessee, and served in Vietnam as a C-47 pilot. He then worked in the Space Defense field. Commanded a site in Clear, Alaska, and a Satellite operations site near Denver. He was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to OSD in the R&D of Strategic Systems. Don retired after 30 years in USAF he worked as Director of Manufacturing, building instrumentation radars used in design of stealth systems. Survivors include 3 children, 4 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by his wife Norma and grandson Brian Cochrane….*

*See 50th Year Legacy Book        


Holly Powers, a Research Fellowship at the USNA Museum has asked for personal experiences as midshipmen during important historical stories for this project. Many of you have already provided stories of this nature. Please send stories to           

In the May 2021 SHIPMATE, my Story 1 by Art Bivens - “Yawl Sailing Races – Holloway Trophy 1952.” The Holloway trophy is for the winner of a series of yawl sailing races in the Chesapeake Bay named after Vice Admiral Jim Holloway who was the Superintendent during our plebe year. He initiated this series of yawl races to promote seamanship and competitive sailing and to award the winning midshipman skipper.”

Here's another story for Holly Powers:

STORY 2 by Art Bivens – Yawl Sailing Races – Holloway Trophy 1953

It’ll be the same as last year 1952, with eight boats in the finals and three races. Trouble is, this year the guys who have been on my crew in the past have become proficient enough to win in the prelims too. Andy Anderson and Bill Gideon both won in the prelims. Together we have done very well. I’m wondering how we’ll split up and racing against each other.

I had to recruit a new crew for the finals. And with Andy and Bill both in the 22nd company, there weren’t enough experienced crewmen to share. So, I ended up with an “All Plebe” crew. I must have treated them well because they performed magnificently. We came in 3rd in the in the first two races and 1st in the final race. The final race is the one I will always remember. Several boats including the one skippered by Bob Schaller, who was leading with the series points, chose to sail across the bay on one long tack. I opted for a series of shorter tacks on the last leg of the race. A squall suddenly hit us on this leg and blew out our jib, but the plebes on the bow were up to the task; they replaced that sail like pros and we came in first across the finish line. Schaller’s boat came in fifth which gave us the series by half a point. That was a great thrill and one of my proudest moments at the Academy. Admiral Holloway was in Annapolis sometime later and personally congratulated me.

 It is a large bowl with the names inscribed on it. It is displayed in the Robert Crown Sailing Center for many years. I have a miniature of the trophy. The 22nd Company plebes who were on my crew deserve for their outstanding performance…..ACB