CDR Robert Bridges, USN, Ret.
It is sad to report that our friend and shipmate, Bob passed away last Sunday morning with wife, Marie, at his side. Arrangements are pending. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.
Farewell to a Shipmate
I first met Bob Bridges alongside SPERRY Pier in San Diego, 1976. I was in GUDGEON tied outboard of Bob’s boat SALMON and we were both duty officers that evening. Up checking the lines around sunset, I found Bob doing the same. We said hello, found things in common, and talked topside for a half hour. My impression: this is a really good officer.
Time later I was Bob’s detailer and watched him move up in the submarine force, XO in the submarine BARBEL. Later still, me as head of the Training Branch in Trident Program Headquarters, opportunity came to get Bob into my shop. Exciting time, building the Trident Training Center in Kings Bay for the new Trident II system (US and UK), buying months of new curricula, and still running both Trident I and Poseidon training for the fleet. Lieutenant Commander Bob Bridges was outstanding in the job, my right arm, and we came to know each other closely as fellow professionals.
Later still (1991 or so), me down here as the skipper at NOTU and Bob as Commanding Officer at US Naval Facility Centerville Beach California, he called me. Turns out my shipmate Howard Hively from my days in TROUT was relieving Bob at the NAVFAC. Their Commodore (Commander Oceanographic Systems Pacific) officiating at the change of command was to be Fred Crawford, classmate of mine in Submarine Prospective Commanding Officer School in 1979. And I was a plankowner at Centerville, one of a small cadre of enlisted guys trained to operate the equipment at the then (1957) brand new station. Small world.
Bob asked, would I come out and speak at change of command? Yes yes yes.
Here are my two buddies together on that day:
And Commander Bridges' biography from the change of Command brochure:
Bob last Navy assignment was as Executive Officer of the NROTC Unit at Thomas Jefferson’s school, the University of Virginia, a most prestigious posting.
By chance Bob and I both retired here on the Space Coast. He was very active in the submarine community, working hard to make the Navy League a success and serving the Naval Submarine League as its Secretary for years. About a year ago after one function Bob’s wonderful wife, Marie, came alongside me and said ‘Bob’s not doing well.’ With great sadness I watched my old friend fade, but always with fight and good cheer. We were at lunch together a month ago, a Naval Submarine League board meeting. Bob looked good and was his old self.
With great sadness I learned of his passing on May 8th. Friend, shipmate, a fine submariner and splendid naval officer, he put his whole heart into everything he did, family, profession, and friendships. Sailor, rest your oar.longside me and said ‘Bob’s not doing well.’ With great sadness I watched my old friend fade, but always with fight and good cheer. We were at lunch together a month ago, a Naval Submarine League board meeting. Bob looked good and was his old self.
RADM Jeffrey Caswell Metzel, USN, Ret.
Jeffrey C. Metzel Jr. passed away peacefully from heart failure in his sleep, in Huntington Beach, CA, April 17, 2016. Jeff was 90 years old. Jeff ("Mike" to close family) was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, as was his father and grandfather. Jeff's class was very accomplished, with fellow graduates President Jimmy Carter, CIA head Stansfield Turner, Joint Services Chief William Crowe, ADM James Stockdale, Capt. Thomas Hudner, and many others that uphold the great tradition of the Naval Academy. Jeff became a Submariner and was picked for ADM Rickover's Nuclear Power program. He was very proud of being part of this new technology and the people associated with it. Jeff served aboard several Nuclear Submarines. But, his favorite assignment was as Commander of the Nautilus, the first Nuclear Submarine and the first practical use of Nuclear Power. After helping to develop the Mark-48 Torpedo and serving as a project manager on the Trident Submarine program, Jeff retired from the Navy as a Rear Admiral, in 1979. Jeff married Jean Roberta Balcome in Las Vegas, in 1952, he said it was the best gamble of his life! They were together 62 years until, Jean passed away in 2014. They had four children, Bill, Bob, Nancy and Mimi. Jeff and Jean had seven grandchildren and so far, four great grandchildren! Jeff is survived by his three younger siblings, brother Bill Metzel, and sisters Martha (Patty) Mohler and Mary Popper. He had a long and wonderful life and felt very lucky for all his experiences. He was deeply loved by all and will be sorely missed. A Memorial Service will be held May 7, 2016 at 10:00 AM, at The WWII Submarine Memorial located at 800 Seal Beach Blvd. in Seal Beach. Instead of flowers, Jeff would appreciate a donation to the Navy - Marine Corp Relief Society.
Published in Orange County Register on Apr. 21, 2016- See more at: http://obits.ocregister.com/obituaries/orangecounty/obituary.aspx?n=jeffrey-c-metzel&pid=179699525
EM2(SS) Robert E. Wilton, USN, Ret.
Robert E. Wilton, of Litchfield, CT, son of the late Donald H. Wilton & Frances E. Post Wilton, died peacefully at his home on Friday, March 18th, at 11:53 p.m. He was born in Hartford, CT on September 1st, 1932, and was raised in Winsted, CT.
He is survived by Marion Wilton, his wife of 60 years, his guardian German Shepard Moxie, his daughter Amy Wilton and husband Neal Olson, along with grandchildren Emma and Nigel Wilton of Hope, ME, and his daughter Amanda Ianniruberto and husband Michael Ianniruberto, along with twin grandchildren Aden & Maille Ianniruberto, of Beacon Falls, CT.
Bob served 4 years in the United States Navy, 3 of which were in the submarine service aboard the USS Diablo, SS479. He graduated with a B.S. degree from the University of Miami in Florida, attended graduate courses in Anatomy from the University of Missouri, and graduated from Kansas City College of Osteopathy & Surgery, earning his D.O. degree. His first private practice was in Barre, VT. Then after a few years, he continued his residency at Springfield Hospital, in Springfield, MA. Upon finishing, he relocated to Litchfield, CT, where he went in to private practice with partner Dr. David P. Hebert. Upon leaving private practice, he then worked in the Emergency Department for Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, and served 20 years as Medical Director for the Torrington Company, in Torrington, CT.
During Bob's illness, he became a pen-pal, and supporter for a special 13 year-old Katherine Bowen, of Rockport, ME, who is working to overcome childhood leukemia. In lieu of flowers, please help Katherine to heal by making a donation in Bob's name to the Maine Children's Cancer Program http://fundraising.mmc.org
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, March 23rd at 1 pm at St. Anthony of Padua Church, 49 South Street, Litchfield, CT. There will be no calling hours, and burial will be private.
RADM Paul David Tomb, USN, Ret.
Rear Admiral Paul D. Tomb USN (Ret.) passed away 22 February 2016 in Arlington, VA after an extended illness. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy from Syracuse, NY after completing a year at Syracuse University. He graduated in 1951 and was assigned to the USS WRIGHT (CVL-49). It was during this tour of duty that he was selected for Submarine School. His first submarine assignment was the USS TILEFISH (SS-307) where he earned his dolphins, and was subsequently selected for the Navy Nuclear Power Program. During the Nuclear Power interview process when then LTJG Tomb (pronounced Tom) engaged Admiral Rickover in one of the more infamous “Rickover Interview” episodes that have become folklore and retold by all who are familiar with Admiral Rickover and his personal oversight of the Navy Nuclear Power Program. Following the technical interviews, Admiral Rickover mispronounced LTJG Tomb’s name as ‘Toom’ when he was called into the admiral’s office. LTJG Tomb corrected the admiral of the proper pronunciation of his name and awaited further questions from the admiral. Admiral Rickover continued to mispronounce his name with each question throughout the interview and with each response LTJG Tomb provided the admiral with the correct pronunciation of his name (Tom) followed by the answer to the admiral’s question. Finally, the interview came to its abrupt conclusion when Admiral Rickover again mispronounced Tomb’s name by asking “Tomb how long have you wanted to be in my Nuclear Navy?” LTJG Tomb replied, “Sir, it’s pronounced Tom and ever since they dropped the atomic boom.” LTJG Tomb was directed to leave the office in no uncertain terms by Admiral Rickover. Admiral Rickover selected Admiral Tomb for the Nuclear Power Program. He was directed to report as a member of the commissioning crew of the USS SARGO (SSN-583) with a following tour as a member of the commissioning crew of the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (SSBN-600) (Blue). It was on the Roosevelt where he served as Engineer and subsequently as Executive Officer. Admiral Tomb assumed his first command, USS SKIPJACK (SSN-585) in 1964 followed by his second command, USS GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER (SSBN-656)(Blue) in 1967. After his command tours, Admiral Tomb served on Submarine Flotilla Two staff in 1969 and then served on the staff of the Secretary of the Navy as Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management. Admiral Tomb then received what he liked to call his “hardship tour assignment” as Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in August 1972. He was assigned to the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations as Deputy Director of Attack Submarine Programs in 1975 and the following year was selected for flag rank. He was then assigned as the Chief, Navy Section of the Joint U.S. Military Mission for Aid to Turkey.In 1978, Admiral Tomb reported as Commander Submarine Group Eight and Commander Submarines Mediterranean. He served as Deputy Director of the Office of Joint Strategic Connectivity Staff beginning in 1980. He retired from active duty October 1, 1984. Included among his awards are the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster. He had many interests in life. Most of all, he loved people and a good glass of aged Scotch. He earned his private pilots license, enjoyed squash, racquetball, biking and scuba diving. He continued his love of the sea into retirement so he and his wife took numerous cruises to many ports, enjoying life and the people they met. Admiral Tomb is survived by his beloved wife of over 63 years Elizabeth Taylor Tomb and their three children, who each continued the Navy tradition begun by Admiral Tomb; Laura (married submariner RADM Paul Ryan ‘73(ret.)), CDR Kimberly Tomb (ret.) served as an Intelligence Officer (married submariner CAPT Harry Bishop (ret.)) and submariner CDR Mark Tomb ’80 (ret.)(married to Diane Leneghan Tomb). He is also survived by eight grandchildren; Michael ’99, Stephen ‘01, Craig ‘04, Kristen, Colleen, Emma, Shane and Sarah and four great-grandchildren. He was inurned at the Naval Academy Columbarium with military honors on 18 March 2016.
CDR Richard Karl Westfahl, USN, Ret.
It is with sorrow that we convey that Cmdr Richard Karl Westfahl, USN (Retired) passed away peacefully at his home in Houston on Sunday 06 March 2016. Dick was a Class of 1959 USNA graduate. There will be a church service held at the Grand Lakes Presbyterian Church in Katy, TX on Sunday 13 March at 2pm. A committal service will be held at the US Naval Academy Columbarium on 13 May 2016 at 11am. We - his family, friends, classmates, shipmates and co-workers around the globe will miss him dearly.
Captain (USN) Thomas Leighton Parry, Jr.
Born 19 October, 1942 in Forty Fort, PA. died, unexpectedly, at Cleveland Clinic 10 February, 2016, 10 days after heart transplant surgery. His son, Michael, and daughter, Robin, were at his bedside. He is survived by Hollis (McLane) Parry, his wife of 33 years, and his children, Robin Sherwood, David Parry, Chloe Gellenthein, and Michael Parry as well as grand children, Thomas Gellenthein, Wyatt Parry, and Zack Sherwood. He was pre-deceased by his wife Marilyn Sue Altschull (Cookie) who died in 1977. He had a distinguished 30 year Navy career. His personal and unit awards included 4 Legions of Merit and 4 Battle Efficiency E’s. He was qualified to wear both the Surface Warfare Officer badge and Submarine Officer Dolphins. He commanded USS Philadelphia (SSN690) for 5 years, USS LY Spear (AS-36) for 2 years, and Guided Missile School, Dam Neck, VA for 3 years. He retired from active duty in 1994. In his retirement years he enjoyed golf, snowboarding, sailing Mariah, his beloved 38’ cutter-rigged sloop and delivering large sailing vessels between New England and the Caribbean.