Houston Maritime Center Lecture

On Tuesday, February 8, Chapter-member Bill Prom ’09 will present “A Warfare of Dockyards: Expeditious Shipbuilding in the War of 1812” as part of the Houston Maritime Center‘s History Lecture Series.  It will be similar to the talk he gave at the Chapter’s June Luncheon, so if you missed it then, this is an excellent opportunity to catch it again.  Here are the details:

  • 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 8, 2022
  • Houston Maritime Center
  • 2311 Canal Street, Houston, TX 77003
  • In-person tickets are free to members and $5 for nonmembers
  • Zoom registration is free

The lecture covers the exploits of the self-taught shipbuilders, Noah and Adam Brown, who over the course of the War of 1812 built everything from gunboats to ships of the line. Their work included some of the most successful privateers of the war; the sloop Peacock, which took more prizes than any other U.S. Navy ship; and Robert Fulton’s steamship Demologos. However, their most impressive work was on the lakes. They built Perry’s squadron at Lake Erie with nothing but hand-powered tools in the winter of 1813. And in 1814, they built Macdonough’s squadron on Lake Champlain, which included launching the brig Eagle in 19 days after laying the keel. In both cases, the brother’s ingenuity and resourcefulness contributed directly to American victories. As entertaining as the brothers’ exploits are, the lessons that their story provides for our modern Navy regarding the importance of a strong commercial maritime industry are even more impactful.

Read more about the Houston Maritime Center and register for the event here.

Naval Academy Summer Programs

The U.S. Naval Academy’s Summer Seminar and Summer STEM Program are now accepting applications for high schoolers interested in attending the Academy.  For the last two years, both programs were conducted virtually, but it is hoped that attendees will be able to return to in-person participation this summer.

Current high school juniors can apply to attend Summer Seminar to participate in Naval Academy academics, athletics, professional training, and life on the Yard for an immersive week-long program led by Midshipmen cadre.

Current 8th through 10th graders can apply for the Summer STEM program to create, build, and explore science and engineering projects at the Academy’s world-class facilities with faculty and Midshipmen.

If you know interested high school students, please pass on the information.  More details and applications can be found at the Naval Academy Summer Seminar and Summer STEM Program websites.

2021 Joint Service Academy Military Ball

The USNA Parents’ Club is hosting this year’s Joint Service Academy Military Ball.  the event will be at Moody Gardens in Galveston on Sunday, December 26 and will feature a presentation by former Navy SEAL and NFL player, Clint Bruce ’97.  There are still seats available for those interested.  You can find more information for purchasing tickets at the Parents’ Club website and updates at the Parents’ Club’s Facebook page.

George W.S. Abbey Rocket Park

NASA’s Johnson Space Center renamed the Rocket Park for former Director George W.S. Abbey (USNA ’54). Abbey began working with NASA on the Apollo Program in 1964 as an Air Force Captain.  His NASA career included investigating the Apollo 1 ancient, serving as Director of Flight Operations, and Director of the Johnson Space Center, among many other roles.  His service has been recognized with the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  You can read more of Abbey’s impressive bio in NASA’s press release for the Rocket Park dedication and the Houston Chronicle’s coverage of the dedication ceremony.

Navy Football Sings Second!

Navy Football put up a great effort in their victory over Army.  It might not have been the prettiest of seasons, but beating Army made up for it.  Navy Athletics created a video that sums up the victory nicely.  Check out Navy Athletics presents: Mission Accomplished.

We had a great time at the viewing party with the West Point Alumni chapter and Combined Arms at Little Woodrows.  It is always nice to have alumni of every generation (including some mids-to-be) come together to cheer on Navy as they beat Army.

It’s sad to see the football season end, but what a great way to end it.  We can’t wait to join you all again for our viewing parties next season.

Death of Commander Brian Bourgeois ’01, USN

The Commanding Officer of SEAL Team 8, Commander Brian Bourgeois ’01, USN, suffered serious injuries from an accident during a fast rope training event last week. Tragically, he died of his injuries on Tuesday, December 7.  You can read the U.S. Navy’s press release and Navy Times’ reporting for more details.

Commander Bourgeois is survived by his wife and five children. The Navy Football Brotherhood, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization, started a fundraising campaign on Facebook to collect funds to support the family.  100% of donations will go directly to the family.  Check the campaign’s page for more details and to donate.

Please consider supporting a shipmate’s family in their time of need and sharing the information with others that can help support them too.

Successful November Lunch

Last week’s monthly luncheon proved to be a great success.  The football update from Mike Yeager ’76 and the presentation by BGEN Joe Medina ’76, USMC (Ret) were very engaging.  And, as expected, the food from El Tiempo was delicious.  We hope to see you all there again next time.

Navy Vs. Notre Dame Viewing Party

It’s Notre Dame Week!

For this special game, we’ll be joining the local Notre Dame Alumni Chapter for a dual watch party at Penny Whistle Pub.  Enjoy some drink specials as we watch Navy Beat Notre Dame.  Here are the details:

  • 1625 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX 7700
  • Saturday, 6 November 2021
  • Kick-off is at 2:30 p.m. Central
  • It’s Free to attend!

COVID guidelines are in effect for the venue.  Penny Whistle is an Irish bar, so please no one under 21 years old.  We hope to see you all there.

USNA Parachute Team Fundraising

The USNA Parachute Team is looking for help to fund a full-time coach to train, educate, and mentor them during the week in preparation for weekend jump practices, competitions, and other activities.  For decades, West Point and the Air Force Academy have employed full-time coaches.  This professional support has led their teams to establish superb safety records, dominate collegiate parachuting competitions, and represent their schools at games or events.  West Point and Air Force’s public parachuting exhibitions are a successful part of each school’s “strategic public outreach,” and it is something USNA lacks.

USNA’s Parachute Team is an extracurricular activity funded entirely by midshipmen team members, alumni, and other benefactors. In order to raise funds to afford a full-time professional coach to put them on par with the other service academies, the team is asking for your help.  You can learn more about the USNA Parachute Team and why they need your support with this short video here.

The Alumni Representative and Team Support Coordinator, Captain Bill Boniface ’72, USN (RET), provided us with a USNA Parachute Team FAQ and information on how to contribute.  Please take a look to see if and how you can help.