News From Fort Schuyler

January 18, 2002 - Volume 6, No. 2

SHIP NEWS - The PERSISTENT (AGOS 6), a 224 ft Stalwart Class ocean surveillance ship, is now tied up at the college pier. According to Jane's Fighting Ships, ships in this class, built in the 1980's, were designed to tow 8575 ft. long passive sonar arrays on a 6000 ft cable, and originally were operated and maintained by civilian contractors. Currently some of the ships in the class are involved in drug interdiction, undersea research, and other purposes. ( )

SIGNS OF THE TIMES - Prof. JEFFREY A. WEISS, Class of 1978, has a new sign on his door, "Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs." Jeff, who is also the Director of the Graduate School, replaces his colleague, Dr. PHILIP SMUKLER, who has returned to graduate and undergraduate teaching duties in the Marine Transportation Department. Also, the graduate Department has hung its sign in a new location, the recently reburbished McMurray Hall Student Activities Building located downriver from the pier. Now graduate students can use the adjacent Caf' on the Sound as their lounge.

BRUNCHEON DATE - Attendees of the Alumni Brunch at Annapolis on Sunday, February 24 will be able to meet VADM JOHN R. RYAN, who takes over as president of SUNY Maritime on 1 June. RSVP ASAP because seating is limited. Full details at

PEOPLE'S FLOTILLA - A subscriber to NFFS, free-lance author Richard Mooney writes: "It occurred to me just now, on reading your latest, that some of your "domers" --- faculty and/or students -- might be game to join a demonstration to "reclaim" Governors Island next June. We are organizing an armada of boats -- hundreds of them, motor boats, tugs, sailboats, rowboats, kayaks -- to go from Battery Park to the island where we will plant a flag to reclaim the island for New York (city and state). As you may know, the Federal government is threatening to sell it to the highest bidder, now that the Coast Guard is gone. We want them to give it back to New York for public use, as it was before we gave it to them in 1800. The sponsoring organizations are a dozen non-profits interested in harbor development, environment, parks, historic preservation, etc. BTW -This demonstration was originally scheduled for last Sept. 16, but had to be postponed because of 9/11. We had 350 boats lined up." [EDITOR - There is more information about this June 2nd event at the following website address, but be advised that the site is so fancy and high tech (Flash 5) that it may be difficult to print or even cut and paste from:]]

BUNGLED ? Members of the Class of 1953 have weighed in on last issue's SALTY TALK item. For example, STUART FITZ writes: ".raised my eyebrows that 'bung up and bilge free' should now be relegated to be obscure, antiquated and novel. That particular expression and the implementation of that stowing technique were 'de rigueur' in the course of instruction for us 'deckies', at least through the class of 1953." LEN SUTTER writes, "'Bung up and bilge free' was part of our cargo stowage course. Can't believe that I'm that old."

The term also brought back memories for BOB FEY. "I made nine voyages on the American Export Lines freighter, S.S. EXIRIA in 1953-1954, and on each trip we would pick up olives in kegs in Seville. We would proceed up the Guadalquiver River with limited fuel and practically no water, because of the low water in the river at Seville, so we could load as much of this premium cargo as possible. The olive kegs were stowed bung up, and they were stablized with hardwood wedges called quoins to keep them as stationary as possible. (The quoins were saved for reuse on subsequent voyages - wood was scarce and expensive in Spain.) Despite this procedure, in rough seas the kegs were racked enough to lose a lot of brine - often enough to require pumping the cargo hold bilges during the voyage home."

"We off-loaded the olives at Pier 39 in Brooklyn, where the first persons on board after tying up (other than Customs and Immigration) were two rather wizened Italian gentlemen whose job was to hammer wafer thin slivers into any leaking joints between the staves and to refill the kegs with brine before they were unloaded."

FACULTY DEATHS - Two long-time members of the college faculty died in recent weeks. Professor Emeritus of English, Dr. EDWARD GRAHAM, died of a heart attack on December 25 at the age of 74. Dr. Graham, known as a demanding but fair teacher, was an expert on Jonathan Swift and a recognized scholar of eighteenth century satire. He taught at the college from 1968 until his retirement in 1997. According the Dr. KAREN MARKOE, Chairwoman of the Humanities Department, "Ed taught the full range of Humanities courses and his two elective specialties: 'Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion' and 'The Bible as Literature.'" In addition to his teaching career at Maritime, Ed served as Cantor at the Larchmont Temple for 40 years ( Ed is survived by his wife Dorothy, two sons, a daughter, and five granddaughters. His funeral service was held at the Larchmont Temple on December 27.

Prof. STANLEY LEHR, Associate Professor of Engineering, died on December 20, 2001 after a long bout with brain cancer. Stan, who taught electrical engineering, began teaching at the Maritime College in 1981. Survived by his wife, Sophie and a daughter, his body was donated to Columbia University Medical Center for research.

FINAL WORD - "Did you know that," writes ROD McFADDEN, Class of 1975, "once upon a time, the Army and Air Force convinced the Secretary of Defense that the Navy was causing the Constitution of the United States to tremble on its foundations by saying 'Active Duty for Training' (ACDUTRA) instead of 'Annual Training' (AT) like every body else ? And the Secretary, alas, bought it. So now the Navy is stuck with AT. But everyone still understands ACDUTRA." (See NFFS January 11)