Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Midshipman Prayer

  Apparently at the BOT meeting, just prior to the vote on the Strawman Restructure Proposal, Chairman Carl Trost led the assembled Trustees in the Midshipman Prayer.
  It seemed appropriate for my own edification to go back and refresh my memory.
  Here it is from the USNA site.
    Live for Life, John Howland

The Midshipman Prayer (Traditional version)

Almighty Father, whose way is in the sea, whose paths are in the great waters, whose command is over all and whose love never faileth; let me be aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will. Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and in deed, and helping me so to live that I can stand unashamed and unafraid before my shipmates, my loved ones, and thee. Protect those in whose love I live. Give me the will to do my best and to accept my share of responsibilities with a strong heart and a cheerful mind. Make me considerate of those entrusted to my leadership and faithful to the duties my country has entrusted in me. Let my uniform remind me daily of the traditions of the service of which I am a part. If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again. Guide me with the light of truth and keep before me the life of Him by whose example and help I trust to obtain the answer to my prayer, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Click here for Interfaith version.



Saturday, December 17, 2005

Gate One Reconfiguration Project Unveiled

USNA-At-Large, sounds like a good thing, Go Navy! John Howland,0,3498986.story

A makeover at the gate

A $3.8 million reconfiguration of the Naval Academy front entrance will include visitor security measures

By Bradley Olson
sun reporter

December 16, 2005

The Naval Academy will begin a major reconfiguration of its front entrance next month that will lead to stepped-up security measures for visitors.

While increased security was the impetus for the $3.8 million project, Navy and Annapolis officials said the improved entrance would free up traffic at Randall and King George streets, where vehicles often back up on weekends when midshipmen are coming and going from the academy.

Under the plan, which was unveiled Monday, a pedestrian entrance will be built just west of the existing one on Randall Street and a walk-in entrance will be added at Craig and Prince George streets. Both are close to City Dock. Vehicles will continue to enter from King George Street, where a turning area for buses and a small parking lot will be added.

Annapolis preservationists have endorsed the plan because it will provide for an entryway more fitting for the academy, a historical landmark that is Maryland's most visited tourist destination with more than 2.2 million visitors a year.

The added security measures - which are similar to procedures added at military bases nationwide in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and will include metal detectors - were planned for late 2002 but were derailed when funding was diverted to major renovations after Tropical Storm Isabel caused heavy flooding at the campus.

The addition of the second walk-in entrance near City Dock will make the academy easier to find, said Cmdr. Tom McKavitt, who manages operations at the 160-year-old institution.

"This is going to be a really positive change," McKavitt said. "This will funnel people right to us from congregating points downtown."

Tuckman-Barbee Construction Co. of Upper Marlboro will begin construction Jan. 3 and is to finish in mid-May just before commencement ceremonies. During construction, Gate 1 may be closed to vehicles.

The renovations will knock out a section of the 8-foot-high wall along Randall Street and create a pedestrian entrance. A new wall will replace an existing fence along Prince George Street next to Halsey Field House, where the new pedestrian entrance will be. McKavitt said the new wall near the water's edge, designed in consultation with the Army Corps of Engineers, would protect the academy from flooding in the future.

The construction also will create a small parking lot and rotunda where buses and vehicles can park temporarily to unload or pick up passengers, or where visitors can stop to obtain entrance passes.

Upon entering, visitors will come into a landscaped parklike area with walkways that will lead to a visitor access center, where they will go through a security process not unlike that at an airport, McKavitt said.

They will most likely have to show identification and go through a metal detector, a big change from existing procedures that merely require visitors to display identification and walk onto the Yard.

At Gate 3, at Maryland Avenue and Club Road, visitors will not be screened and will only have to show identification as they do now, he said, unless a security threat causes the academy to shut the entrance to the public.

In a separate project, the academy will extend an internal fence on the Yard that may restrict access to Bancroft Hall - the midshipmen's enormous dormitory - and other academic buildings not open to the public, although the location of the fence has yet to be decided, McKavitt said.

The inner fence, as well as the Gate 1 changes, will allow the academy to continue operating and allowing visitors even if the threat level is raised, he said.

Mike Miron, the economic development coordinator for the city of Annapolis, said he didn't believe the added security measures would be a deterrent to visitors, and he hasn't heard any rumblings in the business community about the plans.

"The Naval Academy is such an attraction, people will visit there anyway," Miron said. "It's such a draw."

Historic preservationists in the city said they were enthusiastic about the plans.

William Schmickle, chairman of the Annapolis Historic Preservation Commission, said he looked forward to seeing a beautified entrance and hoped the academy would preserve the large oak trees that shade the Randall Street walkway.

McKavitt said the large oaks would remain.

Gregory A. Stiverson, president of the Historical Annapolis Foundation, said the plan was a "terrific idea" because it would provide more pedestrian access, reduce traffic and replace an unsightly fence along Prince George Street with a brick wall.

"For such a small amount of geography that they had to work with, I thought they came up with a really brilliant solution," said Stiverson, who was briefed on the plan last week. "It will be a dramatic improvement to the overarching aesthetic appeal of the primary entrance at Gate 1. ... Right now, it's not a welcoming entrance to the Naval Academy. You don't have the sense that you've entered some place of national importance.",0,4526743.htmlstory?

Copyright © 2005, The Baltimore Sun |

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Admiral Rempt Reports

  Trustee Wass continues to do the superlative job he performs for his constituency in the Central Region.
  Here he passes on detail re the Superintendent's report to the Board of Trustees.
  This will be posted on our blog at
  Sure, we have things that we need to work on, but never forget that the Naval Academy continues to do the superb work that it was created to perform -- generating core combat leaders for the United States Naval Sea Services.
    For The American Experiment, John Howland

U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association
Central Region Trustee
Leonard R. Wass, CAPT (Ret.)
USNA Class of 1964


Subj: December 2005 Superintendent’s Report     

Refer to: Central Region Letter 22-05; December 13, 2005
Chapter Officers - Please give this e-mail the widest possible distribution among your members and other alumni in your area.


 VADM Rod Rempt ’66, the Supe, gave a comprehensive report on USNA during the BOT meeting on December 1.  I’ll highlight his address in the points that follow in this newsletter.



·       Pleased with the superb faculty—Asst. SECNAV (Dev & Acquisition) was an EE professor at USNA until recently

·       Fine staff from the fleet and USMC—he wants only the “best picks” for USNA

·       Believes our Mids are the finest young men and women in the country

·       President Bush spoke to the Mids the day before on the Iraq War; national TV

·       The margin of excellence at USNA is made possible by alumni help and contributions—praised and thanked alumni

·       Strategic plan for USNA:

o       Mission:  Maintain the mission as stated

o       VisionPrepare combat leaders & leaders in peace; Mids to have highest degree of personal integrity & ethical behavior

o       Guiding Principles:  Executing mission (“Mid’n are our mission”); It’s about how we live and work together

o       Goals & Objectives:  12 goals are revisited each month; Operating USNA is part of the plan (facilities, security, business processes, etc)—in the implementation phase of all this

·       Academic program review (curriculum, schedule/process, faculty/staff, & facilities)

o       Might need to reinstate some Saturday AM classes

o       Linking requirements of Navy & USMC to USNA academic requirements (ADM Blair’s report on this topic is due 2/06)

o       Will preserve general core education, but accelerate academic focus of Mids

·       2006 College Rankings

o       7 Rhodes scholars in 2 years (4 this year alone; selected from 900 applicants from 32 universities)

o       Best undergraduate engineering program

·       10 internal reviews looking into physical education mission (an outside review by ADM Bob Natter as well)

o       Club and varsity sports under review (Right mix? Right sports?)

·       Ice rink and tennis facility being built across the river (lighted Rugby field planned there too)

·       Wants to build a parking garage at USNA—high priority

·       Leadership review produced recommendations to improve

o       Created Officer Development System plus 10 other projects

o       First year of implementation

·       Facilities:

o       Chauvenet, Michelson, Sampson, Luce, & Maury are all rehabbed

o       Plan to rehab museum next year

o       Looking at library for future, e.g., impact of computer automation on library of future

o       Levy Center complete (Jewish chapel & assembly center)—excellent facility—all from donated funds

o       HVAC plant on line (unobtrusive building in the yard across from Ricketts and Lejune Halls)

o       Wesley Brown Field House groundbreaking in March 2006—140K sq. ft. –next to 7th wing

·       Military smartness & discipline being re-stressed

·       Honor system is back in Mids hands (encouraged by progress—emphasizing development & growth)

·       Renaissance in sailing near complete—all Mids participate

o       30 new 26 footers (knockabout replacements)

o       5-49 foot ocean racers

o       Wants to get 6-65 foot sailing boats

·       Emphasizing YP training

·       Concerns remain sexual harassment, drugs, and alcohol

o       Got 44 recommendations from a DOD sexual harassment review

o       Drugs are not a problem

o       Teaching Mids to drink alcohol responsibly and eliminate binge drinking (Hubbard Hall has been converted to 1/C beer drinking facility—avoids driving back from DC or B-more after drinking)

·       Religious tolerance

o       Right of Mids to worship as they choose (freedom of religion)

o       We have a responsibility to train Mids to support sailors & Marines in their religious needs (hence noon meal prayer will continue)

·       NAPS—redefining guidelines for NAPS—need less “Plebe Year” and more emphasis on academics

·       Major initiatives:

o       Center for ethical leadership

o       Hockey & tennis center

o       International program

o       Chapel centennial

o       Athletic excellence

o       Museum displays

o       Baseball stadium

o       Endowed chairs

o       Hubbard Hall

·       Solicited alumni input/feedback to him—cannot answer all emails but will read and absorb them--




Very Respectfully,
Leonard R. Wass '64
Captain, USNR (Ret.)
Central Region Trustee, USNAAA
(W) 630-947-0145 x223
Fax: 630-947-0144


Chapter Officers - Please give this e-mail the widest possible distribution among your members and other alumni in your area.
All Central Region Letter's are archived at

Central Region:

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Commandant's Impressive Background

USNA-At-Large, this makes for good Sunday morning reading to get the batteries recharged, Go Navy! John Howland,1,5359277.story?coll=bal-pe-maryland

Commandant's leadership could take him to the top

By Bradley Olson
Sun reporter

December 10, 2005

Bruce Grooms' first love was basketball.

"I kind of hoped that maybe I would be a great basketball player," he said. "I think a lot of youths feel that way, but my mom certainly made it clear to me that I could be as good a basketball player as I wanted to be, but I had to be something else on top of that. The light bulb flashed when the pro scouts weren't looking for me."

But the Naval Academy was looking for him, and they recruited him to the Annapolis military college, where he became a captain of Navy's basketball team. That began a naval career that has taken Grooms to the No. 2 position at the academy, making him the highest-ranking black leader in its 160-year history.

He is also one of the so-called Centennial Seven, a group of seven African-American officers who have commanded a submarine during the first 100 years of U.S. submarine forces.

Still, Grooms, 47, was reluctant to focus on his race during recent interviews on his Navy career.

"Sometimes there was a sense that 'I don't know this person' or that 'He's different,'" Grooms said. "And for me, the challenge was just showing that I was no different and that I was just trying to do the best I could."

Friends say Grooms, who stands just over 6 feet, is a gifted leader who cares deeply about sailors, winning praise as a listener and mentor. His role as commandant is similar to that of a dean of students, responsible for the leadership and ethics training of 4,200 midshipmen, as well as indoctrinating them into the rigorous life of a Navy or Marine Corps officer. Grooms, who has been married for 18 years and has two sons, is widely viewed as a rising star who could someday become a four-star admiral, the Navy's highest rank in peacetime.

Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt, the academy superintendent who picked Grooms after interviewing a half-dozen naval officers, called him the "very best officer based on leadership and the right fit for the academy and the brigade of midshipmen."

Since arriving in June, Grooms has come in and imposed new restrictions on Mids after increased scrutiny about how U.S. service academies deal with sexual assaults and alcohol use. The restrictions have been unpopular with some Mids, but Grooms says they're a necessary part of creating future officers.

Experts say Grooms' appointment is a major step at the Naval Academy, which was not always hospitable to African-Americans. The first cadre of blacks to enter the academy, in the Reconstruction era, were all ostracized despite the tepid support of the school's administration.

The same happened at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., but several cadets nonetheless managed to graduate in that period, the first being Henry O. Flipper in 1877. The Naval Academy did not have its first black graduate until Wesley Brown in 1949. West Point appointed a black commandant in 1987, though two African-American deputy commandants preceded Grooms in Annapolis. This year, blacks make up about 6 percent of each school's student totals.

"Capt. Bruce Grooms becoming commandant is a good thing," said Robert Schneller, a Navy historian who has written extensively on African-Americans at the Naval Academy. "By now it's not quite routine but a symbol that the academy's equal opportunity policy is working."

Grooms grew up in suburban Cleveland, the son of an Air Force veteran and postal worker. His home was on a country road and his was the only black family in the neighborhood, said his father, Gilbert Grooms. The young Grooms was a standout basketball player in high school but also did well in math and school projects, his father said.

Gilbert Grooms said his wife "always was a driving force in his life."

"She was proud of him because he was such a good kid," he said.

The elder Grooms also played down the significance of race and said, "Race doesn't matter if everyone has the right chance."

After graduating from the academy, Bruce Grooms completed nuclear power training and served in a variety of roles in the submarine forces. While away from subs, he returned to the academy as a company officer, attended Stanford University and the Naval War College, and served as a top aide to former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith.

But Grooms' rise has largely come as a submarine commander, first at the helm of the USS Asheville in 1997 and then leading a squadron of attack submarines based in Norfolk, Va., immediately before reporting to the Naval Academy.

The world of submarines is largely unknown outside the military. They perform missions that include intelligence gathering on solo deployments, mine-hunting, guarding a carrier group at sea and launching land-attack Tomahawk missiles. Because of the myriad missions and the technical expertise required to operate a nuclear reactor underwater, submarine crews are heavily trained and are expected to be able to perform just about any function on the ship. Grooms served on nuclear-powered attack submarines, often dubbed the "sports cars of the sea" by sailors.

During that time, he earned a reputation for great technical ability, according to several admirals and junior officers who worked with him.

Rear Adm. Mark Kenny, commander of Submarine Group 2 and Grooms' commanding officer until last year, recalled how Grooms quickly found a way to put a submarine back in action after a yearlong overhaul, rather than have the crew endure an additional year waiting for deployment.

"He took a risk. ... He was always trying to find ways to improve our operational availability, crew morale and readiness," he said.

But Grooms also became known for honesty and for regularly interacting with his sailors, occasionally sitting down with an enlisted sailor during a 3 a.m. walkabout or playing pickup basketball games.

Retired Vice Adm. Albert Konetzni, a former submariner who retired as deputy commander of the Atlantic Fleet, recalled encountering Grooms while he was skipper of the Asheville, an attack submarine.

Konetzni was struggling with attrition in the submarine forces, losing as many as one of every four sailors in the late 1990s. To "stop the bleeding," he said, he encouraged individual submarine commanders to change the culture and provide sailors with good working hours and allow them to better meet their family needs. Grooms drove that home, he said.

"I always say that if you want to lead for the future, your legacy will always be the people you train," Konetzni said. "Bruce really got that -- that leadership is not only about the technical acumen needed to succeed in deployment, but providing a Navy of tomorrow."

The Asheville eventually was recognized for having the lowest attrition rate of any sub in the Navy.

Grooms said he learned during his training to always listen to his sailors. Once, on the Asheville, the crew was conducting a "once-in-a-lifetime" intelligence operation and had a small window of opportunity to gather information in a dangerous mission. Grooms would not say what the intelligence was, but recalled that after a great deal of preparation, a senior analyst advised him to end the mission. He did.

As he was going to bed, he got a knock on the door from a young fireman who had been in the Navy for a year. The enlisted sailor told Grooms he had been preparing in the control room and felt disappointed that the mission was scrapped.

"I couldn't believe the courage he had, as an 18-year-old that was new to the Navy," Grooms said. He had the sub turned around and put back into position, and the mission "worked out better than I had hoped."

"Despite the fact that I was an officer of 20-something years and had a senior analyst, sometimes listening to the young kids can lead to incredible opportunities," he said.

Said Kenny: "He's just that type of officer that comes around every once in a while."

As for being one of the first black submarine commanders, Grooms said he is proud of his role. He said his group meets annually in Baltimore and helps recruit minorities to the Navy and sub forces.

"In 100 years of submarines, we had a whopping seven officers as submarine commanders," he said. "It's a great opportunity to get together, mentor young submariners and tell them stories about what we experienced.",0,4526743.htmlstory?

Copyright © 2005, The Baltimore Sun |

Friday, December 09, 2005

We Will Not Drop the Torch

USNA-At-Large, LCDR Davidson represents us well in the Pittsburgh area on Pearl Harbor Day, for The American Experiment, John Howland

KEEPING the spirit alive

Thursday, December 8, 2005



CANFIELD — "You want to touch a piece of history?" asked Robert Bishop, as he pulled a two-inch piece of black metal from his pocket.

"This a fragment of one of the two Japanese bombs that hit my ship in Pearl Harbor and killed several shipmates," said Bishop, who was aboard the battleship USS Tennessee when the Japanese attacked Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941.

Bishop, of West Austintown, and his wife, Doris, were among the veterans and their friends and families who attended the Pearl Harbor Commemoration ceremony Wednesday morning at the Mahoning Veterans Memorial on the Canfield Fairgrounds.

After the ceremony, Bishop and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brad B. Davidson, commander of the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna, placed a wreath at the base of the monument to veterans of all wars.

Inscribed on the monument are these words: "The hero dead cannot expire: The dead still play their part."

Then Bishop, Davidson and John P. Brown of Youngstown, 2nd national vice commander of the AMVETS, lowered the flag to half-staff in memory of those who died in the Pearl Harbor attack.

Included in ceremony

The ceremony, hosted by AMVETS Post 44, included a display of World War II photographs collected by the late Maurice Murphy Damelio of Girard, who served in the Navy during the war. The pictures were provided by his son, James Damelio of Girard.

Bishop, whose battle station was deep in the heart of the Tennessee, said he could feel the ship shake when it was hit or when bombs hit nearby. He had radio contact with those topside during the attack, so had some idea about what was happening.

But when he went topside himself, he said what he saw was "unbelievable." His own ship was hit twice but was still afloat. But alongside the Tennessee, the USS West Virginia was burning, the USS California had sunk and the USS Oklahoma was bottom-up in the harbor.

"It is almost impossible to express my feelings at that moment," said Bishop, who is a member and past commander of Pearl Harbor Association's Mahoning Valley Chapter 5.

Importance of programs

Bishop, 84, said commemorative programs like the one Wednesday are important.

"I think we need to remember the people who sacrificed their lives for their country," he said.

"I and my generation have the luxury of knowing the history that was written in the blood of and by our greatest generation. It is those individuals that survived or sacrificed their lives that day that we are here to honor today," said Lt. Cmdr. Davidson, main speaker for the program.

"It is because of that effort that we are able to stand here today ... protected under the umbrella of freedoms that were paid for in full by the selfless sacrifice of those before us," said Davidson, a Naval aviator and 1993 graduate of the Naval Academy.

"Many of you here today remember Pearl Harbor. It is not just a fact of history in a book ... but real and a part of your life forever. You remember the lessons we learned from Pearl Harbor, that we must always be vigilant and prepared. We want those who follow us to remember, and to understand that the freedoms they enjoy today have carried a high price. We need to pass on to our children, as you have done, the same liberties that were preserved for us. We need to keep faith in God and country and, if necessary, to shed blood to keep it so.

"It is that American resolve and that American spirit that the survivors of Pearl Harbor have taught us. We are all humbled by their sacrifice, and rest assured, we have accepted the responsibilities that freedom involves. We will not drop the torch," Davidson said.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Able Danger Update

  This is a story that the folks in DC, Democrats and Republicans alike, would like to see go away.
  Our Scott Phillpot played and continues to play an important role on this front.
    Bravo Zulu, John Howland

This story is taken from Politics at

Former top military leader confirms data-mining search for al-Qaida leaders

By James Rosen -- Bee Washington Bureau
Published 6:48 pm PST Tuesday, December 6, 2005

WASHINGTON - Gen. Hugh Shelton, who was the military's top commander during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, confirmed that four years before the tragedy he authorized a secret computer data-mining initiative to track down Osama bin Laden and operatives in the fugitive terrorist's al-Qaida network.

In his first public comments on the initiative, which some former intelligence officers now say was code-named Able Danger, Shelton also confirmed that he received two briefings on the clandestine mission - both well before the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Right after I left SOCOM (Special Operations Command), I asked my successor to put together a small team, if he could, to try to use the Internet and start trying to see if there was any way that we could track down Osama bin Laden or where he was getting his money from or anything of that nature," Shelton said Tuesday in an interview.

"It was just kind of an experiment," Shelton said. "What can we do? So, he pulled together a bunch of really bright, computer-literate guys from across the services."

Shelton's assertions are significant because they raise new questions about the government's knowledge of the al-Qaida network before the Sept. 11 attacks, and about the subsequent findings of the 9/11 commission, set up by Congress to

probe the attacks.

Shelton was responding to claims by former Pentagon intelligence officers, who say they used a data-mining program code-named Able Danger to identify 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and three other hijackers in early 2000, but that Pentagon lawyers blocked them from relaying their findings to the FBI.

Before the Defense Department issued a gag order that prevented them from testifying to Congress in September, the former intelligence officers said they were assigned to use sophisticated software to perform complex computer searches of "open-source" data in a bid to locate links among al-Qaida operatives.

Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott said he led the program that identified Atta in January or February 2000. Army Lt. Col. Scott Shaffer said Shelton had issued a directive establishing Able Danger, and that he and other intelligence officers on the top-secret program briefed Shelton on its findings in early 2001.

The Senate confirmed Air Force Gen. Richard Myers to replace Shelton as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff three days after the Sept. 11 attacks.

While Shelton said he never heard the program referred to as "Able Danger" until news reports on it first emerged in the summer, the retired general said he authorized a computer data-mining effort to target bin Laden and his associates.

"I dealt with a million damn acronyms and different kinds of code names for operations," Shelton said. "Able Danger was not one that jumped out at me when it first surfaced" in news reports.

But under his direction, Shelton said, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, now Army chief of staff, set up a team of five to seven intelligence officers after Shelton was promoted to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1997 and Schoomaker succeeded him as Special Operations commander.

The program began at Special Operations headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida, Shelton said, but it was expanded later and moved to Fort Belvoir, Va., outside Washington. Schoomaker briefed Shelton on the program's progress in late 1997 when Shelton made a return visit to his old command post in Florida.

In Washington, sometime between 1999 and 2001, Shelton received a more extensive briefing from Defense Intelligence Agency officers involved in the program.

Shelton said he doesn't recall hearing or seeing Atta's name in those briefings or at any time before the Sept. 11 attacks.

"To be candid, there were not many specifics in it," Shelton said of the later briefing. "There were no names that surfaced that had not surfaced before through normal intelligence channels. There was no identification of any new players, or anything of that type."

Shelton, though, said that a CIA representative and an FBI representative were present at the second briefing. And he said, "I know for a fact that I was told that they had been a part of the effort" to track al-Qaida through computer data-mining.

That assertion is important because some of the former intelligence officers who say they were involved with Able Danger have also said the Pentagon prevented them from relaying their data to the FBI for possible pursuit or prosecution.

Shelton, a North Carolina native who is now heading a leadership-training program at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, said he also doesn't recall seeing the large chart that the former Able Danger officers claim to have produced, displaying as

many as 60 al-Qaida operatives, including Atta and other hijackers.

"Unless they had a big star by their names saying ‘potential 9/11 guy,' then they (the names) wouldn't jump out at you," Shelton said.

"Only in retrospect, when you go back and start saying, ‘Well, we had this guy all along,' does it sound like we (the intelligence officers) were brilliant."

In its final report last year, the Sept. 11 commission spread blame across the government but said it had not identified any of the 19 hijackers before the attacks. The panel Tuesday gave the government poor grades on implementing its post-Sept. 11

recommendations, some of which aimed at increasing the sharing of potential terrorism intelligence among different agencies.

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., who has led a congressional push for the Pentagon to allow open Able Danger hearings, said the 9/11 commission failed to adequately investigate the program or its findings.

"This is not Curt Weldon speaking," Weldon told Fox News on Tuesday. "These are senior military intelligence officers. These are not people off the street. One's a Naval Academy graduate. Both of them have 23 years of experience. The analysts who worked this program are all in sync."

Lee Hamilton, a former Indiana Democratic congressman who was co-chairman of the Sept. 11 panel, said its staff interviewed the intelligence officers at the center of the Able Danger saga.

"They claim to have information about Mohamed Atta, and they clam to have this chart, but they cannot produce it," Hamilton said Tuesday in an interview. "If these folks have documentary evidence, let's bring it forward."

Despite an exhaustive two-year probe, Hamilton acknowledged that the commission could have missed important clues about the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We looked at over 2 million documents and had a very good staff, but it's possible we missed something," he said.

The Bee's James Rosen can be reached at (202) 383-0014 or

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pearl Harbor Day

USNA At Large,
  One of our many great symbols of the success of The American Experiment, salutes the ARIZONA Memorial.
  We are reminded on this 64th anniversary that America takes very seriously attacks on our citizens.
  Yet, just a few years ago we lost even more Americans in New York City, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon.  Yet, there are many Americans in leadership positions today throughout our society who would have us forget 9/11 and what that day meant to free people everywhere in the world.
    Remembering Pearl Harbor and 9/11, John Howland

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Fair Winds/Following Seas: Bill Lawrence

  Bill Aston passes along this sad news.
  Bill Lawrence was a Navy football great and a former Supe.  He was also a POW for a long, long time.
  More details will be put out soon.
    With regrets, John Howland
VADM  Bill Lawrence passed away  at his home in  the Annapolis area
yesterday, December 2nd.  He was taking a routine afternoon nap and
had been planning to attend the ARMY- NAVY Game today. Bill will be
remembered by many as  a splendid  Naval Officer, an outstanding Naval
Aviator and a decorated Wartime Leader.  We in the Class of 1951 were
honored to have him as a Class President during our early years in the

Strawman Comes Up Just Short At End of Marathon

  I have further word from good sources that the vote was actually 17 for the Strawman and just 12 against.
  That gets to the 29 correct total Trustees and corrects the first report we received Thursday night (copied below).
  And, it says that this issue was even tighter than we first thought with a safety margin of just 2 votes to stop the Strawman freight train.
  The 12 votes came from all 4 Regional Trustees and 8 of 12 Chapter Trustees.
  The further message from that statistic is that a huge schism is revealed among the BOT.
  In essence, it is the Washington-Annapolis-Baltimore axis seeking to subjugate all of the rest of the country.
  The 17 Strawmen then were made up of all 7 of the Class Trustees and 4 of 12 Chapter Trustees plus the Chairman, Vice Chairman, President & CEO, Past Chairman and the two Board Appointed Trustees (read mini-me Chairman Trustees).  In essence, the entrenched folks sourced from the Washington-Annapolis-Baltimore axis.
  So, at this point, we know specifically how seventeen of the Trustees voted on this issue.
  But, at this point, we don't know how the 12 Chapter Trustees split.
  Here are listings of what we know and need to know:
  Deserving of Bravo Zulus --
  * Bill Rentz
  * Bob Stevenson
  * Len Wass
  * Jack Adams
  * and 8 out of 12 Chapter Trustees
  Failed Strawmen --
  * George Watt
  * Carl Trost
  * Corbin McNeill
  * Snuffy Smith
  * Jerry Miller
  * Roy Snyder
  * Mike Haskins
  * Perry Martini
  * Dan Proulx
  * Tom Wagner
  * Jeff "Murph" McCarthy
  * Bart Phillips
  * Leo Williams
  * and 4 out of 12 Chapter Trustees
  Here are the 12 Chapter Trustees -- which way did your Chapter Trustee vote? --
  * Carl McCallum, Atlanta
  * Fred Sheehan, Boston
  * Ed Sullivan, Greater Washington
  * Dan Lear, Hampton Roads
  * Arvel Popp, Knoxville
  * Joe Koch, Los Angeles
  * Lee Price, Pensacola
  * Colin Saari, Puget Sound
  * Tom Hammonds, San Diego
  * Raese Simpson, St. Louis
  * Roy Collins, Tampa
  * Lynn Wegner, Texas Gulf Coast
  REQUEST:  Please advise us at USNA At Large asap re how your Chapter Trustee voted -- FOR or AGAINST the Strawman.
    Thanks! and Beat Army TODAY!  John Howland
=============================Thursday Night Message==================================
  Jock Craig relays (from his Class Prez) the first word we have of the results of the vote on the Strawman Proposal for the restructuring of the Board of Trustees.
Board of Trustees Reconstitution:  At the BOT Meeting on 1 December 2005 a vote by the Trustees attending was taken regarding the proposed reconstitution of the BOT.  The proposed change was defeated since the "ayes" did not receive a 2/3 vote.  The final count was 17 for and 13 against.
  Not sure exactly how those numbers are supposed to work as I thought we were working with 29 total Trustees vs. 30.  In any event, based on the 30 number the Strawman was just three votes shy of pulling it off.  All things considered, I call that a close call.
  Will be interesting to find out who voted for and against the Strawman.
  Will also be interesting to find out where the BOT intends to go from here.
  In any event, for the ongoing health of the Alumni Association, this was a good result.
  BZ to the 13 that stood in the path of the Strawman!
    Whew!  John Howland

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Commander in Chief Trophy Back in Chet's Good Hands

  Stop the milk carton presses!
  Chet Gladchuk has the Trophy and all's well!
    Carry on!  and ... Beat Army!  John Howland

Coveted Trophy Found at Naval Academy

Thu Dec 1,12:03 AM ET

The Commander-In-Chief's Trophy was recovered Wednesday night, about 48 hours after it was believed to have been stolen, Navy officials said.

The trophy, awarded annually to the winner of the football competition between the three major service academies, was found in a storage room inside Bancroft Hall, the academy's dormitory.

"All that matters is that we found the (trophy) and it's in good hands, now," Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk told The Washington Post. "We'll bring it to Philadelphia with us and the winner of the game will take it home with them."

The 170-pound trophy was taken Monday night from the team's locker room, Navy spokesman Scott Strasemeier said. It is normally displayed in a locked glass case at Bancroft Hall, but was moved to the football building to provide motivation for the players.

Left in its place was a note that read: "Before we win the football game on Saturday, we thought we would take the trophy. By the time you read this, it will be halfway to West Point," home of the U.S. Military Academy.

Although it appeared that the theft was an Army prank, there was no evidence except for the note. In the past, Army has stolen the goat that Navy used as a mascot.

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==================Earlier Message====================
  The At Large are well aware that it appears that the Whoops made off with our Commander in Chief Trophy on Monday night.
  Well, we don't have the ability to put photos on milk cartons, but we have posted a photo at
  Be sure to let us know if you recognize and/or stumble over this Trophy between now and Saturday afternoon when our Big Blue Navy team will win it outright for the third season in a row.
    Go Navy; already Beat Air Force; now ... Beat Army!  John Howland