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CGA 72 Link In The Chain for 2022

Updated:  7/22/2018
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Table of Contents (more to be added)
(01) - 7/02/2018 - Script for CAPT Greg Johnson CGA 72 Link In The Chain for 2022
                                To The Parents of the 2022 SWABs at Swearing In Day, Day 1     (download pdf version)
  
   (02)  7/07/2018 - Warriors - from Greg Johnson
     (03) - The Chain Flag Ceremony July 28, 2018 - from Greg Johnson
 
     (01)  -  CGA 72 Link in the Chain for 2022

  

(1)  July 2, 2018 - Script for CAPT Greg Johnson CGA 72 Link In The Chain for 2022
                              To The Parents of the 2022 SWABs at Swearing In Day, Day 1     (download pdf version)


  
Admiral Rendon, Admiral Allen, Academy staff, distinguished guests, and a special welcome to the parents of the soon-to-be cadets of the CGA Class of 2022.  


   June 24, 1968, 50 years ago, 425 young men entered Chase Hall as the Class of 1972 and began their CGA journey.  Four years later 171 of us graduated as Ensigns and we began upholding the great Coast Guard traditions of humanitarian service to our country.  As the 50 year class for 2022, our two classes forever will be special links in the chain of the Long Blue Line of CGA graduates. 


   There have been many changes to the Academy since 1968.  And even though the missions of the Coast Guard have changed and increased dramatically, one thing has remained constant and that is the mission of the Academy.  


   Regardless of how many active duty years my classmates served, the Academy experience had a profound impact on each one of us.   Whether we knew it or not, the Academy succeeded in its mission to produce leaders of character, mission ready officers, and a resolve to be worthy of those CGA graduates who came before us, who had established our incredible tradition of sacrificial service to our great country.


   As Ensigns we served during the last few years of the Viet Nam war, and then played big roles in the Gulf wars and drug wars, we pioneered marine fishery treaty enforcement, migrant interdiction, embraced technology before Microsoft and Apple, we brought new classes of ships and planes into the CG and we were instrumental in reorganizing CG maintenance and logistics in the late 80’s and 90’s.  Then in our 30th year 9/11 changed everything.  
 
   Our Class of 72 has an amazing history both while on active duty and later in the civilian sector.  Most of us are retired now, but after our active duty service we were owners and leaders of businesses, a doctor, a dentist, {lawyers}, college professors, high school educators and coaches, {civil and electrical engineers}, ship and aircraft design consultants, leadership and business trainers, leaders in local, state, and federal government and community service, marine industry managers and executives, museum curators, commercial airline pilots, and commercial ship captains. 


   During the 3 decades while on active duty we were involved in hundreds of incredible sea and storm rescues, medical evacuations, and protecting our ports, coastlines, waterways and maritime industry and environment, all the while upholding the great traditions of our Coast Guard.   But four of our classmates represent the highest of Coast Guard tradition and have been inducted into the Coast Guard Academy Walls of Gallantry and Remembrance on the quarterdeck of Chase Hall.


   August 1980 Jimmy Ng was a pilot of an HH-3 Helo and his crew rescued 17 seamen from Merchant Vessel Theresa Lee which was filling with ammonia gas, disabled and sinking during the remnants of a devastating typhoon in Bristol Bay Alaska.


   Two months later, was the October 1980 amazing rescue of 550 passengers and crew of the sinking Cruise Liner Prinsendam, on fire in the Gulf of Alaska; it was a miracle that no lives were lost and no serious injuries.   You are able to see a large painting depicting the Prinsendam rescue in the foyer of the Alumni Center.   I was chief engineer of Mellon, one of three CG cutters involved in that rescue.    But Bruce Melnick our second Classmate on the Wall of Gallantry was an HH-3 Helo pilot whose crew rescued 110 of those survivors and he also later became the first of only two CG NASA astronauts. 
 
    Eleven years later in October 1991, “The Perfect Storm” hit off the coast of New England.  You may have seen the movie based on this event.  Larry Brudnicki our third Classmate on the Wall of Gallantry, was the commanding officer of CGC Tamaroa.  In that tremendous storm, the crew of Tamaroa heroically rescued 3 sailors from a sinking sailboat and then saved 4 National Guardsmen after their helo crashed during that dangerous rescue operation.  Larry and his wife Carol are here with us today and I’ll introduce them later with our classmates. 


    And there is one special classmate we would like to honor today, Bill Turek.   In 1993 while inspecting and certifying a merchant ship for CG license, a test of the engine room CO2 system malfunctioned endangering workers in that space.  LCDR Turek disregarded his own life and entered the engine room warning the workers to evacuate.  Bill then went down to the lower level of the engine room thinking there may have been other workers in danger.  There were none, but Bill didn’t make it out. He died of asphyxiation.  In addition to being honored on the Wall of Remembrance and the Wall of Gallantry, Bill’s memory also lives on within the Coast Guard Marine Inspection community. The “Turek Award” is presented at the graduation of each Marine Inspection training class at Yorktown, VA to the student who most exemplifies Bill’s dedication, strength and courage.


   Thirteen of us from the Class of 72 and 7 incredible wives are here today to honor the Class of 2022.  Together we have 650 years of sea stories about the Academy and a life of CG and civilian service to share with you all. So please seek us out during the day, especially if we are from your state.   We will each have an orange nametag with our name and state so hopefully we will stand out.  Please let me quickly introduce my classmates. 
 

Link In The Chain Classmates Attending 2022 Swearing In Day: 
   Bill and Ella Armstrong - Derry, NH
   Buck Baley   - East Sandwich, MA
   Larry and Carol Brudnicki -  Sunapee, NH
   Paul and Maggie Duddy - Mystic, CT
   Frank and Suzette Kishman - Cooper City, FL
   John Larned - Newport, RI
   Charlie and Robbie McCarthy - Waterford, CT
   Tiger McCarthy - Dorchester, MA
   Tom Meisenzahl - East Haddam, CT  
   Jim Morton - Chesapeake, VA  
   Jim and Janice Norton - Quaker Hill, CT
   Tom and Maggie Paar - Niantic, CT
   Greg Johnson - Red Lion, PA


    As the Link in the Chain to the Class of 2022, it is our desire that over the next four years we convey and model the traditions of our Coast Guard and help instill in your cadets a deep resolve to be worthy of those traditions.  It is important because they will be writing the history and upholding the traditions of our Coast Guard over the next 34 years.  {I know that it must be hard to get your arms around this thought because you are thinking your SWABs are just hoping they will survive today, but it is a reality that your Cadets are the future leaders of our CG!!}   And most of all, we hope to convey and model what it means to be a Classmate.  Your cadets will find that it is next to impossible to make it through these next challenging four years independently. They will not succeed on their own, but as a class.  Classmates are everything and Classmates are for life.  And the Class of 72 welcomes you to the Coast Guard Family. 


Go 22, Go 72, and forever Go Bears.


Gang of 13 and 7 attending the 2022 Swearing In
    
(click on photos for larger image)
 

      
   

    (02)  -  Warriors

(2)  7/07/2018 - Warriors - from Greg Johnson

    

CGA72:  Day 5 is just about over for the CGA Class of 2022, our Link in the
Chain of the Long Blue Line. 

   Last Monday July 2 was the day 2022 reported in and that afternoon they were
sworn into the Coast Guard.  13 of or classmates and 7 incredible wives honored
the new class of SWABs. 
 
   A prefunction was held at John and Cindy Larned's beach house on the South Coast of RI Sunday afternoon.  It was a great and memorable time.   I don't have pictures of that gathering, but John, if you would, please send out a couple.  Thank you to John and Cindy for hosting that event, I will never forget it. 

 
   On Monday July 2, we first had a a continental breakfast at the Alumni Center where we mingled with the parents after they left their SWAB off at Roland Hall.  They reported in by assigned companies starting 0630.  The parents were then invited to the breakfast and our classmates and wives did our best to make the parents feel like their sons and daughters made the right decision to choose CGA.  At 0900 we and the parents all went into Leamy auditorium for the Superintendent's brief.

 
  Adm Rendon and his staff including the Commandant of Cadets, the Athletic Director, the Dean, the Admissions Director, the chaplain, the diversity officer etc gave briefs about their different parts of the Academy and how much the new SWABs and soon to be cadets are highly valued and will be well taken care of.  Then 72 was introduced as the Link In The Chain to 2022.  I had 5 minutes to say something profound. If anyone is interested, I'll send you my script, just send me a request and it will be sent to you. 

    My comments were about 6 minutes long but I wanted to emphasize that these young men and women will be the future of our Coast Guard and that we as a class over the next four years will do our best to instill in the class of 22 a deep resolve to worthy of the traditions of CG officers.  And more so, what it means to be a Classmate.  I prefaced this by stating that whether we knew it or not, the Academy met its mission in developing leaders of character, mission ready officers, and a resolve to be worthy of those CGA graduates who came before us.  I summarized our accomplishments in retired life and then the history of our class in general over the 30 years of our active duty service.  But to emphasize CG tradition,I summarized the accomplishments of our four classmates who are on the Wall of Gallantry/Remembrance: Jimmy Ng, Bruce Melnick, Larry Brudnicki and Bill Turek.

 

    I then introduced the 13 of us and wives.  We were seated in the front row of Leamy and they stood looking at the audience as I called their names:  Bill and Ella Armstrong NH.  The full crowd in the Leamy Auditorium immediately started to give an ovation.  There were twelve more classmates to go, so I asked the parents to wait until I introduced all of us.  Buck Baley MA, Larry and Carol Brudnicki NH, Paul and Maggie Duddy CT, Frank and Suzette Kishman FL, John Larned RI, Chuck and Robbie McCarthy CT, Tiger McCarthy MA, Tom Meisenzahl CT, Jim Morton VA, Jim and Janice Norton CT, Tom and Maggie Paar CT, and I am from the great state of PA.  There was a long and loud round of applause. And then our classmates sat down. 
 

  Then I concluded with: 
    "As the Link in the Chain to the Class of 2022, it is our desire that over the next four years we convey and model the traditions of our Coast Guard, and help instill in your cadets a deep resolve to be worthy of those traditions.  It is important because they will be writing the history and upholding the traditions of our Coast Guard over the next 34 years.  [That concept is somewhat hard to get your arms around when you know that your cadets are thinking about just getting through this day, but it is a reality, your cadets are the future of our CG]  But most of all, we hope to convey and model what it means to be a Classmate.  Your cadets will find that it is next to impossible to make it through these next challenging four years independently. They will not succeed on their own, but as a class.  Classmates are everything and Classmates are for life.  And the Class of 72 welcomes you to the Coast Guard Family." 

   As we had planned ahead of time, our classmates and wives were then going to stand as I was going to yell, Go 22, Go 72 and forever ...and we were all going to yell "Go Bears".  

   But just as I finished and as they started to stand, the whole crowd rose en mass and gave us a Standing Ovation.  I was really taken aback. I think we all were.  I don't know how long it lasted...a full minute? More? But what a feeling it was. When the ovation started to quiet, I yelled out,  "Go 22" and there were a few claps and cheers.  And then "Go 72" some more cheers and then Forever...now the Admiral has started this cheer of 'Forever, Go Bears' in every speech I've heard him give.  He exhorts the crowd to yell out 'Go Bears!!!  So all the speakers did this.  The volume level was high only with Admiral Rendon.  With some of the speakers, no one joined in.  But when I yelled out, 'And Forever'...and the 'Go Bears!!!!' was awesome, it was loud, very loud.  You all would have been proud of 72. 

   There was then three rounds of lunch served in the Leamy Ballroom and we all met with parents.  I can't tell you how much the parents appreciated us interacting with them.  I have already received emails from grateful parents to whom I gave my business card.  Classmates who were there, please do not doubt that you made a lasting impression on those parents.  They will never forget your kindness.   

   We are on the map.  The Link in the Chain started in 2006.  72 had the most attendees at Swearing in Day ever.  Mostly 2, 4, once 7.  Thank you so much to those of us who made the commitment.  The attached pictures were taken in Hamilton Hall at the Admiral's reception just prior to the SWABs being sworn in at 1500.  With only a couple hours of practice, 2022. the 2/c Cadre and 1/c Battalion staff marched smartly in on the parade field by the 8 companies to the tunes of the CG Band.  It was a hot day, we were on the steps of Hamilton Hall and roasted, but it was a sight to be held.  What memories of 50 years ago.  

   There will be other 2022 events over the next four years, mostly at the beginning of the academic year, at formal events already on the schedule, and then graduation. I hope you will consider joining in on this remarkable journey of the Class of 2022; to share your experiences of CG lore and to model what it means to be a Classmate of 72.  I will keep you informed of the events as time goes on. 

Go 22, Go 72 and forever Go Bears

Your Classmate forever
GregJ72

 

    (03)  -  The Chain Flag Ceremony 

 

(03) - The Chain Flag Ceremony July 28, 2018 - from Greg Johnson


72 Classmates:  You may have seen the emails about our first Link In The Chain Event on Swearing In Day for 2022 last July 2.  By all accounts, Academy Staff, Alumni Staff, Parents, Classmates who attended,  we were a huge success and from our point of view very honored. 
 
    There is another impromptu gathering in Norfolk where a number of our classmates are meeting Eagle coming from Miami to Norfolk after the first cadet cruise.  We are invited as VIPs by the Captain.  It is being spearheaded by Jim Morton and I think it is taking place August 3 or 4.  If you would like to join, give Jim a call or email and he can give you the info. 
 
    Before that event however, the next opportunity for you as a Link In The Chain participant, is the first time we will be able to interact with SWABs.  It is on Saturday July 28th at Mystic Seaport and where the SWABs are presented their Class Flag by Mystic Seaport and by us.  The event starts at 0800.  The SWABs will be bused into the parking lot.  Around 0830 the new SWAB marching band will lead the other companies marching into Mystic Seaport.  It is really impressive the change in these SWABs after only four weeks.  As guests of the Academy, we may enter the seaport free.  Chuck McCarthy has already volunteered to be the face of the class for this event.
 
    In the last several years, I have attended because I have had PA SWABs I knew from being an Admissions Partner and promised to be there.  1/3 of the SWAB corps will have left for Eagle that same day in Miami, but the other 2/3 will be at this event.  After the SWABs march in the SWABs are granted time to be with their parents.  What I saw is that there are many parents who made the trip to be able to see their SWAB for the first time in four weeks, but many more SWABs have no one, mostly those outside of driving range.  There are some CG families in the area who volunteer to come and seek out these 'lost SWABs', but if you are interested, you could be there for some lonely SWAB (s) whose parents did not come.  They are easy to spot, there are no adults around them and, since they get their mobile phone back for the first time in four weeks, they usually have their phone in their ear or their face in the screen.  You would just go up and say 'Hi, I am Greg from the class of 72 and your Link In The Chain, where are you from?'  and go from there. 
 
    After the flag presentation, the SWABs will be bused back to CGA, but will be granted libo until 1800 or so.  At the Ceremony you might invite them to go have something to eat, take them to town or just hang out and encourage them.  One thing that would be meaningful to the parents is for you to take a  picture of their SWAB or someone to take a picture of you and the SWAB, get the phone number for the mom or dad from the SWAB, and send the pic to them.  You will be on the parents all time favorite list.  Maybe our classmates could get together with a bunch of un-parented SWABs and go somewhere as a group and really show them what Classmates are all about. I'm sure you can use your trained initiative and do something memorable.   Unfortunately I will be on the west coast for some family reunions, but if you are in the area for other reasons and can make it, let Chuck McCarthy know. 


Go 72 and Forever Go Bears
Always Your Classmate GregJ72 

 

  (click on photo for larger image)