William Penn 1963



Jimmy, Wayne, Warren



Kimberly, Keith



Viet Nam 1968-1969



My Thompson 1968



Viet Nam 1972-1973



U21



National Security Agency



Windsurfing



Keith's Graduation



Kimberly's Graduation



Kimberly's Wedding



Chris & Mary's Wedding



James & Kim's Wedding



Severn, MD - 1995



Eugene



Kitesurfing



Mackenzie & Hunter



John, Jim, Butch, Wayne



Nancy, Janie, Cookie



Reunion 2008



Kitesurfing



Family Photo - 2013







1963:

I graduated from William Penn with the idea of continuing my education at the University of Delaware. My English scores were too low on the SAT for me to be immediately accepted, so I had to take a class at the U of D for admission in September. It was during this class that I decided that I needed a break from schooling. My good friend Wayne Farrington talked Jimmy McConaghie and me into joining the Delaware National Guard, so as to avoid the draft and end up in Viet Nam.

We caught a flight from New Castle and ended up at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. Basic training went well and then it was time for us to go to Ft. Sam Houston, Texas. That's when things fell apart, Jimmy and Wayne received orders to AIT in Texas and I was to remain in Kentucky. The thing that I remember most during basic training was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

After six months on active duty, we came back to Delaware. In March, 1964, I got a job with Hercules Powder Company as a chemist assistant. Which is quite funny if you knew what I did in chemistry class. I sat in on all the classes, and took all the tests, but I was guaranteed a passing grade if I would use Mr. Bucher's "horse racing formula" as a case study. I played the horses, on paper only, with his formula and made a sizeable amount of money by the end of the school year. My boss was Dr. Jerry Brieter and a better boss I couldn't have asked for. We enjoyed each other's company and after work, he taught me how to play golf on the company's golf course.

1964:

Still working for Hercules, I married Patti K. Leonard in August. On February 18th, 1965, our son Keith was born.

1966:

On March 9th, 1966, our daughter Kimberly was born. We lived in New Castle on 6th Street above the garages of Gebhardt's Funeral Home and I commuted to work with Bobby Watson, a guy I was on the wrestling team with and who graduated in 1963 as well. Wayne, Jimmy and I drilled with the National Guard one weekend a month and two weeks during the summer, in Bethany Beach, Delaware. In the summer of 1965, I put my papers in to attend Officer's Candidate School. I originally wanted to go to the US Army's Warrant Officer Aviation program, but they were not accepting National Guard applications because of the build up in Viet Nam. I graduated as a Second Lieutenant in the summer of 1966 and immediately applied for active duty and rotary wing flight school.

1967:

I reported for active duty in January at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for the Field Artillery Officer's Basic Course, which lasted 9 weeks. I was then assigned to Battery D, 214th Artillery Group as an Executive Officer. Our mission was to provide fire support for the Artillery School. Most of my time was spent as a range safety officer, which entailed authorizing each and every round that was fired from every 105 howitzer. It seemed like once a week an artillery round ended up in the lake on post where families were trying to enjoy the water.  I, on the other hand, received a 300 hour safety certificate for perfect performance of duty.

I reported to Rotary Wing Flight School at Ft. Wolters, Texas in August. We lived in a trailer and boy did it get hot. I was now driving a new 1967 Chevelle Super Sport 396. We were training in Hillard OH 23s and Hughes TH 55s. I soloed in just under 16 hours of training and completed 110 flight hours. Our training lasted until December, and then it was off to Ft. Rucker, Alabama where we learned to fly the UH-1D, made by Bell and called a Huey. I ended up with 208 hours of total flight school time. My class was ORWAC 68-4 and my MOS was 1981.

During my last flight physical, the doctors found that I had a hernia and it needed to be repaired. They wanted to operate immediately and pull me out of flight school. I was able to squelch that idea, with the promise that I'd have it repaired during my 30 day leave after flight school. We graduated in April with orders to report to Viet Nam in May. I had the hernia operation at the Philadelphia Naval Hospital and reported to Viet Nam on schedule. While attending flight school and living in Daleville, AL, I lost Kimberly several times while I was supposed to be watching her. I found her on the main street in town at a restaurant seated with a family of six kids. They had her in a high-chair and she was eating pancakes with the rest of their brood. Patti, Keith and Kimberly moved in with her parents, Tom and Sulley, at 511 Delaware Street, New Castle, DE, during my 1st tour in Viet Nam.

1968:

After arriving in Saigon, Viet Nam, I was given orders to report to the Americal Division in Chu Lai. I was then assigned to Division Artillery Aviation. My commanding officer was Major Voelkel, a person I soon learned to dislike. His "fame to claim" was having crashed an OH23G helicopter in to the South China Sea, by flying too low and allowing a wave to roll through the door. Missions for Div Arty consisted of flying battalion commanders out to their respective artillery firebases. Once there, we would often make supply runs, shuttle soldiers back to their home base, etc. A special mission came along in which the 11th Marine Regiment in Da Nang needed US Army helicopter support for an indefinite period of time. The mission required low level flying around the "rocket belt" of Da Nang. This was the area surrounding Da Nang in which the Viet Cong would sneak into and set up rockets on mud launching pads. Once set up, they would leave someone there to fire off the rockets at night time. I was tired of the "ash and trash" missions with Div Arty, so I immediately volunteered. We bunked with the 11th Marine Regiment and flew our mission three times a day. Gun ship support was always on call in the event we spotted something or needed help. In addition to myself, I had a crew chief who also served as a door gunner and a Marine Aerial Observer who was responsible for getting us through the areas were Naval gunfire was taking place and manned the other M60 machine gun that hung from the door frame. Because the mission was so dangerous, crews were limited to 30 days. I was so enthralled with this mission that I convinced the decision makers to let me stay 90 days. I would have stayed longer, but I was pulled out after being shot down for the third time. Only one shoot down was attributed to my lack of judgment. After a mission was completed, I'd always fly down a particular river that had a big bend in it, on the way back to our base. In this river bend would be young Vietnamese women washing clothes. They were always bare breasted and waved back to us. One day while flying down that river and coming up on the bend in the river, it struck me as being odd that no one was around. Just then several machine guns opened up on us and my engine took a direct hit. Being below tree top level, I pulled back hard on the cyclic and gained enough altitude to make an emergency landing in an open area. All those hours practicing autorotations in flight school paid off. We landed without further incident, and were picked up with a Huey team in three minutes. The rest of my flight time was for VIP flights around Chu Lai and Da Nang. I then became commander of Div Arty Aviation and commanded thirteen aviators. I ended up with 674 combat hours. I was promoted to Captain on this tour of duty. I did get an R&R to Bangkok, Thailand, but I won't go into any of those details. Suffice it to say that I didn't get much rest. I also had to sell my Thompson submachine gun in Na Trang for some "unexplained" reason.

1969:

In May 1969, I reported to Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Georgia, to be an instructor pilot. I went through instrument training and got my instrument rating. I was then given command of Flight A of Division B, which was comprised of twelve other instructor pilots, and we began teaching instrumentation to US Army flight students in TH-13s. A year later, we were transitioned into contact instructors for the UH-1D Huey and we began teaching South Vietnamese flight students. I spent a lot of time playing golf, tennis, football and softball during this tour as well as enjoying family time. I remember teaching Kimberly how to ride a bike. Keith and I had lots of hours playing catch with baseballs and footballs. A lot of time was also spent at the Officer's Club pool. I also began to take classes after hours at Savannah State College.

1970:

In the summer of 1970, it became obvious that I would have to return to Viet Nam. Some aviators were transferring to the Coast Guard during this time frame, but I opted to do a branch transfer to Military Intelligence in order to get a fixed wing transition and my multiengine rating. We were then stationed at Ft. Holabird, Maryland, were I attended the MI Career Course for nine months. It was here that I met Harry L. Sharp, who would become my best friend in the military and whom I roomed with in Phu Bai and Da Nang while assigned to the 224th Aviation Battalion, 138th Aviation Company.

A three week course at Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, was next and then we received orders back to Ft. Rucker, Alabama, where I got a fixed wing transition, fixed wing instrument rating and multiengine rating in the U21, commonly known as a Beechcraft King Air. We lived in a section of a duplex house while Harry, his wife and baby lived in the adjoining section in Enterprise, Alabama while assigned to Ft. Rucker. On this assignment, I remember Keith learning to ride his first mini-bike and Kimberly teaching the local cats and dogs to play nicely together, or else they wouldn't get any potato chips. I was also informed by Keith and Kimberly that I would go to hell if I didn't break my rock and roll records. That was the last time they were allowed to go to a Baptist Church.

1972:

Harry and I completed a three week course at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, for airborne direction finding and then we reported to the 224th Aviation Battalion in Saigon, Viet Nam. We were then assigned to the 138th Aviation Company in Phu Bai. Harry flew "Left Jab" U21's which performed a special collection mission. I flew "Laffing Eagle" U21's which performed standard airborne direction finding missions. I was also appointed the Class "A" Agent for the company, which meant that I was the pay officer. I was responsible for obtaining the monies from the finance office and paying the troops as well as the local Vietnamese who worked around our compound. I was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross on February 12th, 1973, for action that took place on December 22nd, 1972. Patti, Keith and Kimberly rented an apartment at Forrest Hills, Apt. I7, New Castle, DE, during this tour of duty 1972-1973.

1973:

The US Army in all its wisdom decided that I needed a ground assignment next, so as to further my military career. Wanting to be as close to Delaware as possible, I opted for an assignment at Fort Meade, MD, at some unknown location called NSA (National Security Agency). What's an Army Aviator going to do at NSA, that's what they wanted to know. Not knowing what to do with me, it was decided that I should work in a new 24 hour watch center, because of my limited background with computers. I was one of 5 System's Officers on a rotating watch. Once I got acclimated to the shift work, I realized that this was the job that I would relish the rest of my life. I started taking computer classes at the University of Maryland and just couldn't get enough of it. I did high level briefings on sophisticated terminals and within two years was made the senior systems officer for NSOC (National SIGINT Operations Center). It was during this time frame that I met Jane Cheryl Hayes while working in NSOC. We became instant friends, going to lunch whenever possible. One thing lead to another and we fell in love with each other.

1975:

Patti and I were divorced in 1975 but Janie didn't get her divorce until 1977. Janie and I bought a house at 1211 Holmewood Drive, Pasadena, MD, in October 1977. I then left the US Army in November and was immediately hired by NSA, thanks in large part to the efforts of Mr. Jerry Braunstein and Mr. Dick Lord, who would go on to become the Deputy Director of NSA. The agency had a hiring freeze on, but these two individuals knew how to get things done in a bureaucratic environment.

One thing that sticks in my mind is the rope swing that I set up for the kids. It was a 30' rope attached to a big limb on a huge oak tree. It had a small piece of 2" x 4" that the kids sat on and hung from. The object of the game was to swing out as far as possible while hanging from the back of their legs and stick a knife in the ground. The next person would then have to swing out and retrieve the knife, and then it was their turn to stick the knife. The kids would play this game hour after hour. In fact, I had to install a special high-intensity light in the back yard so that they could play at night as well. Whenever a neighbor was looking for their kids, they knew to check our yard first. The only accident with this game was when Johnny fell off and broke his arm.

1978:

Janie and I were married on May 13th, 1978. Prior to getting out of the US Army, I left NSOC and went to work in the basement of NSA for a group of computer programmers known as AutoLine. They wrote and maintained computer programs that ran on a mainframe known as TIDE (Time Dependant). Data that entered TIDE was time dependent and if certain criterion was met, special reports had to be on the Presidents desk within ten minutes. I was assigned to program the terminals that were being used in NSOC, using assembly language. Later on, a new clustered system was purchased from Incoterm and I was put on a team of programmers that included Mark Hirsh, Rich Murtha, Jim Enyart and Marie Wyatt. We developed a system known as ATSS (AutoLine Terminal Support System). Each clustered computer supported eight terminals and we installed eight systems in NSOC. With the success of the ATSS, other operational centers throughout NSA wanted the new system (DFAC, SSA, MCSF). Work was fun. My next programming assignment came when TIDE had to be replaced. Tandem Computers had a new mainframe that was fault tolerant, so NSA bought several. We gave ours the name of Tideway and I was assigned the job of programming the front end to interface with our worldwide array of ops comm circuits. I worked with Mr. Fred Cox who developed a box called AutoMux that took the input from eight ops comm circuits and multiplexed them into a single stream of data before sending it to my program on Tideway. The AutoMux was essential in order to handle the complexities of dealing with crypto gear from TComm.

1980:

Janie and I took a windsurfing lesson in Dewey Beach, DE, from a girl named Vickie. The next spring, Janie asked me for a windsurfing rig as her Mother's Day gift. We bought a Cowabunga and started learning how to sail it at her mother's house, which is on Bodkin Creek. We spent the whole summer there learning and bought a second board so that we each could sail at the same time. We also began teaching any of our friends who wanted to learn - Rick & Micki Zablocki, Dale & Sharon Gisselman, as well as each of our kids. Windsurfing became our way of life with routine trips to Sandy Point State Park, Dewey Beach, Ocean City, Florida Keys, Michigan, Outer Banks, Aruba and Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs. In 1985, we bought a small condo in Dewey Beach so that we could be on the water all weekend long. We met lots of people through windsurfing. I was also a baseball coach for Keith's teams and a football coach for James's teams.

When IBM came out with their PC, I was quick to jump on this machine. I began writing small applications for the users in NSOC and those stationed at the CSGs (Cryptologic Support Groups). I wrote the applications using Turbo Pascal and did a lot of traveling during this time frame. I continued to work on PC applications and Website applications until my retirement in 1996.

In 1993, we moved from Holmewood Drive to 7882 Severn Tree Blvd., Severn, MD, which was only a seven minute drive to NSA.

1996:

I retired from NSA in November. After retiring, I began a part-time job at Toad Computers in Severna Park, MD. I was on the hardware side and built computers to customer specifications. Janie wasn't ready to retire when I did, so she waited until 1997.
My daughter, Kimberly gave birth to her daughter, Mackenzie Feehery on the 28th of November.

1998:

We put our house and condo up for sale and bought a house in The Glade for $289,500. We moved into 120 Glade Circle West, Rehoboth Beach, DE, in June. I was making three mortgage payments until our condo sold in July and our Severn house in August. We got plenty of time that year to windsurf in the ocean and on the bay.

It was April 2000, and I saw three guys from Hatteras put on a show at New Road, Trip Forman, Ty Luckette, and I think the third kiter was named JC Turner. They were flying F-One ram air foils and directional boards. The air they were getting was mesmerizing and they were doing 720 spins as well. After watching for 30 minutes or so, I decided right then that I was going to Hatteras to learn this sport. Bob Singer, of East of Maui, made arrangements with Trip to have Mike Littlejohn and me come down and take lessons the following week. Dave Loop, of H2Air, was the Naish rep and he wanted Mike and I to get a lesson from him as well. We spent a couple of hours with Dave, learning how to rig the kite and fly it. I remember watching Mike with the kite and thinking "wow, he's never going learn to fly this", you should see him now.

Mike cancelled out at the last minute, so it was just me. When I got to Hatteras, there were about six other guys taking the course too. Trip put several of us up in a house as well. We were taken out to the Cove, just below the Light House in Buxton. That's where Trip's Boot Camp began! Since I was picking up three kites for East Of Maui, Trip made sure I rigged and flew each one. I ran in the sand so much that I was exhausted at the end of the day. The next two days were spent on the water, but the wind was really light. Trip followed us around on a jet ski and his instructions were excellent.

When I got back to Dewey I started trying to kite immediately. I had so many kitemares I can't begin to describe them all. If it could go wrong it did! I ended up in bushes, trees, parking lots, and boats. One time I was rescued by Brent Clark on his boat. I had been swimming my kite to land and both of my legs were tied together by the kite lines. He had to haul me into the boat and help me get my legs free. I spent so many hours in my driveway untangling lines, that my neighbors thought I had a part-time job. I was keeping an online journal of all this and it seems like every other day I was posting "that's it, I'm quitting this sport".

While I'm trying to learn to kite with the ram air kites, Mike Littlejohn, John O'leary, Bryan Rust, Sam Postlethwait and Bill Briedis were learning on Naish inflatables. They were all doing much better on those kites, so in the fall I bought two Wipika's from Dave Loop, who was now the Wipika rep. Once I got on those kites, the sport opened up for me.

As I began to progress in kitesurfing, Janie wanted to learn. She's not one to just sit on the beach and watch. Not wanting her to have the kitemares I had, I took my time with her and tried to make sure that she enjoyed the learning phase by not letting her go out when I thought it could be dangerous. She had one bad incident in Hatteras, but soon learned to handle the kite quite well after that. She now enjoys kitesurfing almost as much as I do, although not when it's cold.

Some of our kitesurfing trips have been to the Outer Banks, South Padre Island, The Keys, Tarpon Springs, Destin, Sebastian Inlet, Ft. Walton, Biloxi, Galveston, Cabarete, St. Augustine and Dauphin Island, Alabama.

2001:

On February 18th, (the same birthday as my son Keith) James and Kim Hayes gave birth to a son, Hunter Hayes.

2002-2007:

In 2003, we spent three weeks in Cabarete, DR, in February with Bill & Christy Briedis, Dave & Spunky Loop, Alice Klein, Bryant Clark and George & Cindy Hammond.

In 2004, we went back to Cabarete in February with the same people.

In 2005, Janie and I traveled along the west coast of Florida, Florida panhandle, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Staying almost three weeks in South Padre Island, TX.

We have been living the quiet life since our retirement. I continue to build and maintain Websites when not kitesurfing. We get to see the rest of the family during the holidays and during the summer months. Janie bought a 2007 Volkswagen Wolfsburg Jetta at the end of January. From time to time, people will drop off their computers for me to clean up and get working properly.

August 2006:

I contracted encephalitis and was hospitalized for a week and then spent 3 weeks on acyclovir intravenous. Janie tended to me 7/24 and finally got me back on my feet. Kudos also go out to Dr. Paul Pete for diagnosing it so quickly in the ER and to Dr. Olewiler for continuing the treatment.

December 2007:

Janie had a minor heart attack and spent almost a week in the hospital. She's doing fine now, but must stay on the prescribed medications. Dr. Dar is her cardiologist, Dr. Jani is her primary doctor and Dr. Pando is treating her for rheumatoid arthritis. We're still on schedule for our St. Augustine, FL trip from Jan-Mar 2008. Also, we're now in the MonaVie business.

January 2008:

Well, Janie and I are now in St. Augustine, FL (actually Matanzas Point). We have a two bedroom condo right on the water. The ocean is a stone throw away and driving on the beach is great. Janie and Eugene can now fish right off the pier just outside our porch door.

July 2008:

On July 12th , Janie and I had a "reunion" party with Cookie & Jimmy McConaghie, Wayne & Nancy Farrington and Chris & Johnny Shelton. I hadn't seen Johnny in 40 years and Wayne in 19 years. The Farringtons brought some delicious steaks, we supplied the lobsters and drinks, the McConaghies brought excellent dessert and the Sheltons brought some nice appetizers. I took some pictures and we played "corn hole", 99 and "the game". Basically we laughed at each other for 7 hours. Everyone wants to do it again real soon.



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