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NavyLights74-78 -- Reunion '03

By Bowman - Posted on 29 April 2003

NavyLights74-78 Reunion 2003

On 25 and 26 April 2003, the 1974, 1975, and 1976 Navy Lightweight Crews coached by John Eric VanAmringe, Yale Class of 1970, conducted their first ever reunion.

Twenty-one alumni from the Classes of 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, and 1978 attended the reunion. Total attendance was forty-six, which also included fourteen alumni spouses, siblings, and friends; and six current coaches and officer reps plus their five guests.

Friday Evening, 25 April
A Friday evening dinner in the Hubbard Hall N-Room was a huge success! Glasses were raised numerous times and included toasts to:

  • The U.S. Armed Forces -- to the most powerful and capable military force in history; to the men and women who make this military great; and to all our Crewmates who continue to serve and keep us safe.
  • Jon Eric VanAmringe -- the man who brought us together, who keeps us together, and who made our USNA experience inseparable from Navy Lightweight Crew.
  • Rob Friedrich, his staff, and the Navy Lightweight Crews -- may Rob be the force to his crews that Jon was to us and may he continue with Navy Lightweight success for many years to come.
  • Charlie and Lynn Stefan -- to the Stefan's and their 1975 June Week Party for the Navy Lightweight Crews, which ignited the spark to one day have this reunion -- be it ever so late! Thank you Lynn and Charlie!!!
  • Carl Ullrich -- the finest gentleman and role model any of us have known -- and who kept Jon and the Navy Lights off the Commandant's enemies list!
  • Ken McBrayer and Carl Westfall -- Crewmates from the Class of 1974 who have gone before us -- Requiescat in Pace.
  • To our Ladies -- for putting-up with our stories of "when shells were wood and men were iron...."
  • To Yale Lightweights -- for the VanAmringe connection and the great Navy/Yale rivalry that has developed during the past two years -- may that rivalry continue for years to come.
  • To Rutgers Lightweights -- for the Rob Friedrich and Steve Perry connection and to future Navy/Rutgers dual meets.

Saturday Morning, 26 April
The Saturday morning races were wet with a steady light rain the entire time -- enough to drench everyone --- but as always that meant the water was smooth -- about as perfect as you get on the Severn.  In fact, the coaches stated that this was the best Severn race-day water in years!

Of four lightweight races, Navy won three and placed second in the 1V behind Georgetown.

The 1V race was a real heart-breaker as the crew hit a lane buoy at the ~1000 meter mark. At the time Navy was one-seat down on Georgetown and walking.  After all port-side riggers hit the buoy, Navy was one boat length down with some open water separation. At the finish Navy was walking up Georgetown seat-by-seat but lost by 1-2 seats -- they simply ran-out of water.  

However, Penn placed third in the 1V event and Navy retains the Callow Cup, which is awarded to the 1V winner between Penn and Navy each year.

In other events: Harvard won the Adams Cup with heavyweight finishes in all races placing Harvard/Navy/Penn; and Navy swept MIT in the women's boats.

An added reunion race-day bonus was that in addition to Jon, two more former Navy Lightweight Coaches were at the Hospital Point finish line! Hubbell Davidson-1945, who was the Navy Lightweight Coach in 1956, 1957, and 1958; and Jim Snead-1973, who coached in 1995.

Saturday Evening, 26 April
The Reunion Grand Finale -- the Coup de Grace -- was a reception hosted by Chris and Bill Daley on Saturday evening. This was a time of a great many lies and tall tales being told...!

Coach VanA brought us all Popsicles -- just like the old days when he used Popsicle rewards to get us to pull harder! A perfect ending to a great weekend! Thank you Chris and Bill!!!

Can you remember -- we could not.... Who was our Crewmate who used to yell to Coach VanA at the end of our "500-meter" pieces, "Yer killin' us Coach, yer killin us!!!" To which Coach would always reply, "Don't worry -- you'll pass-out before you die."

BTW: There is a consensus to do this again in two years....
...Stay tuned.

[Classes of 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, and 1978]

Alumni Oars and Coach
Larry Becker 77
Joel Bohlmann 78
Matt Clarke 76
Alex Cobble 76
Tom Cook 76
Bill Daley 75
Tim Hagen 76
Steve Hall 75
Gary Harrell 76
Tom Hejl 77
Gary Lundeen 75
Sean McCloskey 78
Loush Memminger 76
Steve Nimitz 76
Dave Oliveria 75
John Scherrer 74
Dennis Stone 75
Jon VanAmringe, Yale 70
Mike Wahl 74
Keith Weaver 76
Skip Wood 76

Current Coaches and Staff
Head Coach Rob Friedrich, Rutgers 97
Plebe Coach Steve Perry, Rutgers 99
Faculty Rep and Varsity Assistant, LCDR Tom Callendar 90
Varsity Officer Rep, LCDR Greg Cotten 87
Plebe Officer Rep, LT Ross Mackenzie 94
Future Plebe Officer Rep, MAJ Stu Lockhart 91

To our memories of rowing and memories yet to be made.

Navy Crew Fever [or Let’s Forever Row]
With fondest memories of the 1974, 1975, and 1976 Navy Lightweight Crews, "Navy Crew Fever" is dedicated to all Navy Crews past and present and yet to come

I must go down to the creeks again, to the creeks o’ my college days,
And all I ask is an eight-oared shell from one o’ Hubbard’s bays,
With a spruce wood oar at twelve foot six and a hull that’s cedar skinned,
And a bright day and a straight course and a light following wind.

I must go down to the creeks again that into the Severn flow,
On Weems and Spa and College Creeks where Navy oarsmen row;
And all I ask is a smooth slide and power tens – just one – not more,
And a clean catch and powered drive and a lightly feather oar.

I must go down to the creeks again where esprit is a way o’ life,
And camaraderie helps every oar o’ercome their every strife.
And all I ask is a cox to steer and seven fellow rowers,
And mem’ries that forever last when the Long Row is o’er.

Let’s Forever Row

Gary Arthur Lundeen
NavyLights74-78 Reunion I – 25-26 April 2003
Inspired by John Maesfield's Sea-Fever