News From Fort Schuyler

July 28, 2008 - Volume 8, No. 25

SNIPES v. DECKIES - "I have to take issue with Bob Schwieger re too much stuff from the deckies," writes FRANK NICKELS '58. The Class of 1958 had more snipes than deckies, 98 vs. 74 entered in 1954 and 40 vs. 37 graduated in 1958. (Engineering curricula was tougher - I know. I was a deckie for one semester finishing Number 1 in the class, switched to engineering and graduated by the skin of my teeth.)"

ANOTHER POWER ENGINEER - Bob Schwieger's update on the power engineers prompted BILL HEFNER '57, a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers who received his ME master's degree from Union College, to report that he "...retired from GE in 1996 after 40 great years; 25 of which were in gas turbines and combined cycle engineering and sales. All of the GE CC legends during that time worked with or for me." Bill splits his time between homes in Fort Myers and Schenectady.

SALTY SNIPE - A note from deck graduate, ROBERT BRANNIGAN, that his classmate: "RUSSELL (PETE) CROWTHER '53 ran the powerplant in St. Thomas USVI for many years. He is also an expert in desalinization, having worked in the Persian Gulf in that endeavor."

A CLASSY HISTORY - The Class of 1958, celebrating their 50th Reunion in September, has compiled an impressive 449 page class history, containing historical information, photos, faculty profiles and career biographies for the period from their arrival on campus in 1954 to the present day. Published in pdf format, it was edited by FRANK NICKLES with copious contributions from his classmates.

The world was certainly different when they attended Fort Schuyler: " ...during our second class cruise in 1956 we witnessed the last days of square rigged commercial sail when we spoke to the barque PASSAT in the Bay of Biscay. As the DC-8 and Boeing 707 jet airliners were yet to enter service, transatlantic passenger travel was primarily served by crack luxury liners such as the SS UNITED STATES and RMS QUEEN MARY. Air cargo was virtually non-existent. Containerization had begun but only in the hatch squares of traditional break bulk cargo ships and with two small closed system operators, Sea Land and Matson Lines. Steam propulsion was the power of choice for large oceangoing ships, diesel power was relegated in the main to smaller vessels. Nuclear power had been developed for submarines but was yet to be employed in surface vessels. Offshore floating drilling platforms were yet to be developed. Radar was only beginning to be in general use on merchant vessels; GPS could not have been even dreamed of."

RED HOOK REBORN - Speaking of changes to the maritime industry during the past 50 years consider that the waterfront at Red Hook not only features the only Ikea store in New York City, but it is also the site of the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal on the south side of the Atlantic Basin on Pier 12. The terminal, which opened two years ago, is home port for Carnival Cruise Lines (Cunard and Princess Cruises.) According to the college website, two summer session classes from the graduate program visited the terminal last week " get a behind the scenes look at the preparations for the departure of QUEEN MARY 2. Hosting the tour was SUNY Maritime grad and former staff member TOM SPINA '94." [Tom is Director of Cruise Operations for the New York City Economic Development Corporation.]

SERIAL SEAFARING CLAN - In his career biography, FRED 'BILL' BUSE '58 recalls, "I had a cousin who was going to Schuyler when I was graduating from high school. It was his mother who convinced me to go. As of 2006, the family (cousins, nephews, grand nephews and second cousins) will have nine members that graduated from the Fort. It has been an even distribution of engine and deck." (Admissions Office dream?)

Fred also recalled an electrifying incident on one of his cruises: "On the 1956 cruise in the English Channel on July 4, in rough seas, when I was pulling a 100 amp fuse with 'Jesse' Caldwell's 10,000 ohm pliers, the ship lurched and the next thing I knew I was waking up across from the fuse box and the pliers were welded together. Also, after I repaired the cook's oven I could get anything I wanted to eat. They even made me a birthday cake."

CHOWDAH CLASSIC - An e-mail from TOM MERRELL '73 commenting on the June 2 NFFS item about the Chowder Bowl was caught in a spam filter until recently. In it Tom noted that he "... and ROBIN BOOTH '73 organized the first Chowder Bowl tailgate on the shores of the Cape Cod Canal (Mass Maritime) last year and stood in the huge crowd to cheer Fort Schuyler on to a hard fought victory in the first ever Chowder Bowl game. Let's get everyone out to support the team this year." (The 2008 Chowder Bowl and Privateer football season opener will be played at Fort Schuyler's Reinhart Field on Thursday, September 4 beginning at 7PM.)

SCHOLAR ATHLETES AND MORE - 31 men and women athletes from Fort Schuyler were honored as Scholar Athletes for combining outstanding achievements in academics and sports during the past year in baseball, basketball, cross country lacrosse, soccer, swimming, volleyball, softball and soccer. In addition, two students were chosen as Athletes of the Year: swimmer CHRIS BOSCH '08 (who maintained a 4.0 GPA) and lacrosse player BRANDON MIDDELTON '09 (who sported a 3.81 GPA.) Bravo Zulu to all! (


Richard Corson - Forest Hills, NY

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