MONTEREY BAY COMMANDERY
Naval Order of the United States
2007 ANNUAL REPORT
1 October, 2007
The Monterey Bay Commandery Executive Board consists of the following
Commander - Lieutenant Casey Mahon, USN (10/01/2006-02/24/2007)
- Lieutenant Commander Greg Fitzgearld, USN (02/24/2007-
Vice Commander - Captain Jeff Kline, USN (Ret.)
VC Programs - Commander “Spud” Lambing, USN (Ret.)
VC Membership - Lieutenant Commander Ronn Rygg, USN (Ret.)
Public Affairs - MMCS Jackie Kiel, USN
Treasurer - STS2 James Hester, USN (Ret.)
Historian - Commander Mike McMaster, USN, (Ret.)
Recorder - 1LT Bob Wood, USAF (Former)
Chaplain - Captain Dean Taylor, USN (Ret.) and Commander Michael
Congress 2007 Chairman - Captain Ken Johnson, USN (Ret.)
The Monterey Bay Commandery has a proactive recruiting and retention
program that reaches out to the military and civilian communities on the
Monterey peninsula. This includes participation in the quarterly Naval
Postgraduate School Information Fair reaching out to all new incoming Navy,
Marine, Coast Guard and international naval students. For the most part,
this is the first time that they have been made aware of the Naval Order.
FY 2007 membership totaled 71 showing an increase of 8 companions from
the end of FY 2006.
New companions included LT Mark S. Breckenridge, USN; RADM Raymond
G. Jones USN (Ret.); MAJ Lowell S. Lawrence, USMC (Ret.); AN Michael K.
Olson (SN (Former); CDR D. Timothy Pickney, USN; RMSN John F. Sanders,
USN (Former); RADM Ernest (Gene) Tissot, USN (Ret.); and, CDR Michael
P. Zuffoletto, USN
Commandery funds at the end of FY 2007 were $ PENDING. A separate
banking account was kept for Congress 2007 financial activities.
Commandery intra/inter communications are greatly enhanced through the
Commandery’s electronic website. Commandery’s organization, calendar of
events, newsletter, and specific projects are readily available to all
companions and to those using the National website as a search engine for
historical purposes. For local companions who do not have e-mail capabilities,
all material is sent by regular mail. The website can be found under the
National site … www.navalorder.org and then by clicking on Local
Commanderies, then Monterey Bay Commandery.
Community involvement continues to be the key of the Commandery.
History, heritage, and comradeship are the bases of all programs and
continue to be the focus of all activities. The Commandery sponsors several
major events during the year including the December 7th Commemoration
Dinner and the Battle of Midway Dining Out. In addition, the Commandery
is involved in a number of other NPS activities, such as the Summer Concert
on the Lawn, the Navy Birthday Ball, and various other events. All of these
occasions see participation of not just fellow Companions, but also of students
and staff of the School, other local military and veterans associations, as well
as a large number of area residents. A new series of events, planned this
coming year, are the “Friday Night Follies,” an opportunity for companions to
share their experiences and ‘sea stories’ with interested NPS students and
NPS is not the only setting for Commandery Events; other events in the
community through the year have included: the Memorial Day Wreath
Laying Ceremony, the Commodore Sloat Landing Commemoration, and the
17th of February Commandery Chartering Dinner. In addition, companions
are volunteer “watch captains” at the Monterey Maritime Historical Museum,
where they assist visitors and act as tour guides. A key part our community
involvement is the annual presentation of the “Admiral David G. Farragut Award” for
“inspirational leadership and conduct” during the school year to three of the outstanding
area NJROTC student.
2007 STORY LINES
December 2006 Pear Harbor December 7th Commemoration Dinner marked the
65th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The guest speaker was
Commander Allen Smith, USN (Ret.), who saw duty as the Communications
Officer aboard the USS RALPH TALBOT (DD 390), and told his story of
witnessing the start of American involvement in World War II. The dinner featured
patriotic music by the Defense Language Institute choir and the Sea Cadets from the
Monterey County Division. Among the guests were Carolyn Standley daughter of a naval
officer stationed at Ford Island. Joining her was Charlotte Minot who lived at the time in
Hawaii with her Navy husband serving aboard USS UTAH (AG 16). Another special
guest was Crover Carver, former crewmember of USS INDIANAPLOIS (CA 35). He
was one of the 316 survivors from the disastrous sinking of that ship later in the war.
The annual dinner and installation was held 25 February where Lieutenant Commander
Greg Fitzgearld, USN, relieved Lieutenant Casey Mahon as the Commandery
Commander. Casey was “commended” for his outstanding leadership and insight in
Commandery matters. Greg is another Naval Postgraduate School student in the Graduate
School of Engineering and Applies Science and will graduate in the fall of 2008. He and
his wife Becky and their daughter Skyler, reside here in Monterey. Greg’s organizational
skills will make CONGRESS 2007 here in Monterey a most memorable and enjoyable
time for all Companions.
On 27 May 2007, the Monterey Bay Commandery Commander, LCDR Greg Fitzgearld,
USN, and his daughter, Skyler (8), had the opportunity to participate in the annual
Memorial Day Wreath Ceremony aboard the Monterey Coast Guard Station cutter,
USCGC HAWKSBILL. This year was unique in that the cutter got under way, and
allowed the ceremony to be held in the Monterey Bay adjacent to Monterey’s Cannery
Row. LCDR Fitzgearld commented that. “It was a somber moment, yet a wonderful
ceremony that allowed us to remember those heroes, both men and women, who made
the ultimate sacrifice.” Skyler Fitzgearld said that “the sound of taps made her very sad.”
LCDR Fitzgearld also, noted that. “as the bell was tolled for the those heroes who passed
in the last year, I could not help but think of how important it is to get to know the
remaining members of the Greatest Generation, and their stories.”
The Commandery, joined by the Navy League, commemorated the Battle of Midway
with a black-tie Dining-Out at the Naval Postgraduate School. Guests of honor included
CDR Bill Cullin, USN (Ret.), one of the pilots of Squadron VV-44, which first sighted
the Japanese’s fleet at Midway and later rescued ENS George Gay, the only surviving
member of Torpedo Squadron Eight; and MAJ Lowell Lawrence, USMC (Ret.), a Marine
Corsair fighter pilot who flew from the USS Block Island with ADM Spruance aboard.
Combat action was seen at Okinawa, Iwo Jima, Miyako-Ishgich Island and later served in
the Korean Conflict. Following dinner, MAJ Lawrence with his daughter Donna by his
side, became a member of the Naval Order. The guest speaker was Dr. Daniel Moran
who teaches international and military history at the Naval Postgraduate School.
Companion Larry Reeves, a former member of the “agency”, provided a collection of
“Blue Flag” messages that stressed the value of SIGINT. The National Anthem was sung
by Miss Danielle Crook, Miss Santa Cruz County 2007 and a candidate for Miss
California 2007. Following dinner, Miss Cook’s commended that
"I was invited to attend the Battle of Midway anniversary at the Naval Postgraduate
School as a guest of honor and asked to sing the National Anthem. I have sung the
National Anthem many times and in many places, but this time it was very different. Here
I was singing to all those in our military and the words took on a new meaning to me. It
was a great honor to sing for them and something I will never forget.”
The Commandery presented their annual ADM David G. Farragut Awards for
“inspirational leadership and conduct” to the most standing senior NJROTC Cadets at
the Monterey, Everett Alvarez, and Soledad High Schools Each Cadet received a
certificate of merit and a savings bond to help with their further education.
2008 programs and events are published on the Monterey Bay Commandery website.
Planning continued throughout the year for the 2007 Congress here in Monterey 17-20
October. Captain Ken Johnson, USN (Ret.), and his Team have met bi-weekly in
preparing what promises to be a great “election year” Congress. The Congress 2007 will
be held at the Portola Plaza Hotel on the Monterey Bay wharf with the theme of
“Returning to Old Monterey - the First Capital of California”. Congress Committee
meetings will start on the afternoon of the 17th, with the Commander General’s Reception
at the Monterey Maritime Museum, the following evening. The historical aviation panel
discussion led by Captain Wayne Hughes, USN (Ret.), Dean Emeritus, Naval
Postgraduate School will discuss the “evolution of air operations during the 1920’s and
the 30’s into the climactic successes of the caries in WW II”. Several noted authors will
discuss their most recent book publications. The Congress concludes on Saturday night
with the Distinguished Sea Service Award Reception and Banquet Sea Service Award
banquet honoring Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, USN (Ret.). At that time, Captain Carter
Conlin, USN (Ret.) will be relieved by Kenneth A. Johnson, USN (Ret.), as the 34th
Commander General of the Naval Order.
Tours planned include to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Chateau Julien
Vineyards, “Old Monterey Path of History”, and other exciting sites of choosing.
Congress registrations began in April.
Lieutenant Commander Greg Fitsgearld, USN
Commander, Monterey Bay Commandery
Naval Order of the United States.