Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Change of Command... In Two Parts, This Being Part One

SN2, hereafter referred to as either The Commander or simply Sam, assumed his current rank back in April of this year.  That said, The Commander thought it would be a great idea to delay his promotion party (commonly referred to as a "wetting down") until this month and roll the party into the change of command ceremonies and celebration.  Which, of course was a great idea.  

The party was held in the bar of The Falcon Club on Air Reserve Base Niagara Falls.  What follows are a few pics from the party with suitable annotations so you can put names to faces, Gentle Reader.  I'm good like that.  There's no rhyme or reason... which is to say chronological order to the photos.  We just grabbed the camera when the spirit moved us.  So let's get started.

From left to right: the outgoing commander of Naval Recruiting District Pittsburgh (NRD-P), CDR Jonathan Shoemaker; the Commander of Navy Recruiting Region East, CAPT Tim Pangonas; and Sam.  CDR Shoemaker was an F-14 driver of note before assuming command of NRD-P and CAPT Pangonas is also a Naval Aviator of the P-3 persuasion.

I spent more than a few minutes with both of these gentlemen and can vouch for the fact that pilots in general and fighter pilots, specifically, have the best war stories.  "Best" is a subjective thing, of course.  We ALL have war stories and some of mine are quite entertaining even if they're not suitable for mixed company.  Pilots... on the other hand... have stories for all occasions.

The First Mrs. Pennington and SN1.  It's a serious toss-up as to which one of us was the proudest parent this past week.  I'll give the nod to TFMP, tho.  There were times I thought she might literally burst with pride.

Major General Paul Crandall and SN1, with DIL Alisa and TFMP in the background.  Mrs. Crandall is obscured behind the general.  Gabby, Gen. Crandall's wife, is a cousin of Alisa's and the two families are close, which is why Gen. Crandall and Gabby were in attendance.  Gen. Crandall is a member of the US Army Reserve and has served on active duty for the last few years, including a tour in Afghanistan.  His current position is Commander, 416th Engineer Command.  He recently retired from General Motors and lives in the Detroit area.  Now that the bio stuff is done... Paul and Gabby are a fun couple and great people.  I first met them several years ago when I was living in Detroit.

The two pics above are of Commander Corry Judeman and Sam.  Corry and Sam go back a long ways, as they were shipmates in the same NROTC Battalion that served the University of Idaho (Sam's alma mater) and Washington State.  Corry was Sam's battalion commander, as a matter of fact.  She graduated from Washington State a year ahead of Sam and went on to pilot training and then to the Fleet.  Corry flew E-2s and has 300 traps (landings on a carrier), half of them at night.  She's currently in transit from her last assignment at the Pentagon to her next, where she will be a student at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  Can you say "fast track?"  Sure you can...

Ah, Corry.  Commander Judeman.  Ma'am.  I was quite taken with the young lady who, in addition to her professional accomplishments, has a smile that lights up a room... any room... an extraordinarily quick wit, and the knack for always saying the right thing at the right time.  If I were 15 or 20 years younger...

So.  We hung out until 2330 hrs or thereabouts and called it a night.  Sam hung on for a bit longer until CDR Mike Meyer, the last of his invited guests, arrived on a late flight from Italy.  Mike and Sam also go back a long way, having known each other since they were shipmates at Department Head school in Newport.  They were subsequently assigned as Department Heads on the USS Mason, from pre-commissioning through sail away.

So.  That was the wetting down, AKA Part One of our tale.  Part Two to follow.  Sometime.  Mebbe even today.


  1. HA! You know what's funny, Buck? Now I can't remember what I was going to say...

    But, this is much better. Pal, ummmm, Commander Corry there...I say "go for it."

  2. Like Andy said, Go for it!
    As for the stories, most of mine tend toward the
    "colorful" category.
    I would say it was a rather splendid evening for all.
    Well done to SN2 on his assumption of command.

  3. Good post. I've had the pleasure of putting down a few beers in that club. Good place, one of the old time clubs. If you have the time while you are there, you guys should go to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, the home and originator of the "Buffalo Wing". I'd put it on my Bucket list but I've been there already. Also, do me a favor if you can. Have a "Beef-on-Wick" sandwich, with horseradish on it, and tell me how good it was. Damn, my mouth is wet just thinking of it. Safe Journey my friend.

  4. Looks like it was a fun party. I was wondering if TFMP was there. I bet she was one proud mama!

  5. Andy and Glenn: Go for it? Heh. This (a) presupposes the lady might even be remotely interested in a geriatric gent who's old enough to be her father and (b) there was no tyranny of time and distance. It's a long way from Portales to Carlisle.

    And I hear ya about "colorful," Glenn. I have a few of those too. Most of mine, actually.

    Dan: We left Buffalo Saturday morning so I didn't get a chance to act on your suggestions. The whole thing was one of those "quick in, quick out" deals and more's the pity. I would have liked to spend more time up that way for a number of reasons.

    I'm also thinkin' the Falcon Club MIGHT have been remodeled once or twice since your day. It looks relatively new inside and is QUITE nice. Like you said: it's one of the "old time" types of clubs.

    Lou: TFMP was the proud Mama, and THAT is today's understatement.

  6. What a fun party! I'll third the "go for it," but you might want to wait til she's through with War College. Last time I was in Carlisle it wasn't exactly a jumping place and they're ALWAYS working on the roads! Of course, that was in the last century.

    TFMP is rather radiant, isn't she? Of course, you're pretty much glowing in your pics, too. I love it!

  7. Moogie: The "go for it" thing is a dead letter. I'm witty and charming and all that, but I'm also old enough to be the lady's father.

    TFMP was having the time of her life, btw. We were actually pleasant to one another, too. ;-)


Just be polite... that's all I ask.