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March 10, 2014

Dear Shipmates,


Again, more sad news to report. This editor suffers the anguish that we all do to learn of the passing of members of our AOM family. This time around, the sad news has been compounded.



Previously, the details surrounding the death of MNCM Leo R. Smith were somewhat sketchy. All we know today is that Leo met with bizarre circumstances that took his life.


 Services for Leo R. Smith have been finalized and his obituary is reported here. 



Leo Ronald Smith, (AOM member # 650) Master Chief Mineman (Retired), age 65, of Lynn Haven, FL., passed away on March 2, 2014. 


 He was born on October 14, 1948 in Aurora, Illinois and has been a resident of Lynn Haven since his retirement from the U.S. Navy in December 1995. He served his country for over 30 years as a Mineman at various duty stations including MOMAG Unit 9 Subic Bay, Philippines, NAVMAG Guam Det Naha, Okinawa, MOMAG DET 7, Barbers Point, HI, Naval Ordnance Facility, Sasebo, Japan, MOMAG Unit Eleven, Charleston, SC, MOMAU, Long Beach, CA, Naval Mine Warfare Engineering Activity, Yorktown, VA. 


  He also served in Vietnam on an aircraft carrier as part of a Mobile Mine Assembly Team. He earned numerous honors and awards, including three Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals, four Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbons, the Vietnam Service Medal, two National Defense Service Medals, a Humanitarian Service Medal, three Overseas Service Ribbons, and seven Good Conduct Awards. After retirement, he continued support of his country as a defense contractor for 18 years.   Master Chief Smith served as Trustee and Finance officer of AMVETS Post 47 for the past 18 years.  


   He was preceded in death by his wife, Hideko Smith, and survived by his daughter, Margie Ogo (Ray); two grandchildren, Kaelani Ogo Garcia (Luis) and Andrew Ogo; one great-grandchild, Adam Garcia. Michi was listed in an earlier Mineman News article, as follows:




Hideko (Michi) Smith passed away on 16 June 2013. She was born in Kumamoto Japan on 14 June 1948 and has been a resident of Lynn Haven since 1995. At the time, Hideko was survived by husband of 45 years, Leo Smith of Lynn Haven; daughter Margie Ogo and husband Ray of Virginia Beach Va.; granddaughter, Kaelani Ogo of Virginia Beach Va; grandson, Andrew Ogo of Virginia Beach Va.; and great grandson, Adam Ogo. Memorialization will be by cremation and no services will be held.




Services for Leo will be held at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 10, in the Wilson Funeral Home Chapel, 214 Airport Road, Panama City, FL 32405. The family will receive friends at the funeral home on Monday, March 10th 2014 from 3-4 p.m., prior to the service. AMVETS Post 47 will be celebrating Master Chief Smith's life after the service at their facility at 8317 Front Beach Road, Suite 14, Panama City Beach, Florida. 


In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made and mailed to the Association of Mineman Scholarship Fund, in honor of Leo Smith, PO Box 510519, Punta Gorda, FL 33951.


Wilson Funeral Home of Panama City is in charge of arrangements. [Published in Panama City News Herald on Mar. 8, 2014]

Source: - Panama City News Herald 


You may offer your condolences in the guest book





We are saddened by the passing of the father of LT Stephanie Moss Cowart. Stephanie is an active member of AOM and attends our reunions religiously.




William Frank Moss, Jr. died suddenly March 5, 2014, in a Temple, Texas hospital, after a short battle with cancer. He was born Aug. 18, 1946, in Fort Sill, Okla. He was a Mason and a member of the Ben Hur Shrine of Austin.

Mr. Moss was preceded in death by his father, William Frank Moss Sr.; his mother and stepfather, Nadine N. and Myrle E. "Rusty" McDonald.


Survivors include his wife, Beverly Rogers Moss of Killeen; daughters, Stephanie Moss Cowart of Virginia and Tami Moss Burkett of Texas; grandchildren, Olivia Moss Cowart of Virginia and Kendall Lewis Burkett of Texas; brothers, Michael M. McDonald of Round Rock and David G. McDonald of Killeen; brother-in-law, Brad Rogers; and father-in-law, Kenneth Rogers, both of Killeen, Texas.


Memorials may be made in his memory to the American Cancer Society, the Muscular Dystrophy Association or to the charity of your choice.

No services are scheduled for William F. Moss Jr., 67, of Killeen. Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Killeen is in charge of arrangements.


Stephanie shared her thoughts on Facebook about her father: 


"This is my Dad. He is the strongest man I have ever known. He has always been there for me and has always taken care of me. (Even though I was always 12 yrs old in his eyes) 3 weeks ago he was diagnosed with cancer. Early this morning, God called another angel home for his basketball team and he passed quietly in his sleep. I'm going to miss you Dad! I love you."


Guest Book memorials may be signed in the book provided. Personal notes of condolence may be addressed to Stephanie at:




Sad news seems to come in clusters. This newsletter editor has the somber duty to report another sad event.


 "The children of Joyce and Harry Bright (Quin, Tim and Risa) would like to let our AOM family know that our Mom, Joyce Bright, passed away on March 4, 2014. Joyce was the wife of MNCS Harry Bright, MNCS who died 30 May 1987 in Elizabeth City, NC."


Harry's passing was reported in the  Spring 1988 Dashpot. Harry was well known to veteran minemen and is still missed by those who knew him.


Joyce's obituary follows.




Joyce Tarkenton Bright, 79 of 300 Bridge Court, Camden, NC died Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at the Albemarle Hospital. Born in Pasquotank County, she was the daughter of the late James Earl Tarkenton and Gladys Lawrence Tarkenton and the widow of Harry Finley Bright. She was a homemaker, a member of St. Paul Free Will Baptist Church and attended Sawyer's Creek Baptist Church and Fountain of Life Church. She was also a member of the Women of the Moose #1847.


She is survived by two daughters, Anquinette Hodges of Elizabeth City, NC and Marisa Shade of Wendell, NC; a son, Tim Bright of Kill Devil Hills, NC; three sisters, Earline T. Gregory of Camden, NC, Toni T. Critcher and Brenda Harris both of Elizabeth City, NC; five grandchildren; eight great grandchildren; and a loving friend Tammy Jones.


A memorial service will be Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 3:00 p.m. at Fountain of Life Church with the Rev. Preston Pitchford and the Rev. Kevin Buzzard officiating. The family will receive friends immediately after the service at the church and at other times at the residence of Earline Gregory, 340 N 34, Camden, NC. Memorial donations may be made to the music fund of either St. Paul Free Will Baptist Church, 1020 Cedar Street, Elizabeth City, NC 27909 or Sawyer's Creek Baptist Church, 241 Sawyer's Creek Road, Camden, NC 27921. Twiford Funeral Homes, Memorial Chapel, 405 East Church Street, Elizabeth City, NC is serving the Bright family. You may express condolences to the family on this web site.




Often times--more often that we care to think, one of our compatriots passes without any notice or fanfare. Sometimes a decade or more will go by without anyone realizing that one whom we cared for has disappeared from the scene. Paul E. McCumber is one such individual. This notice has been received from Phil Beckwith:


  "It is with great sorrow that I have to report the loss of a "Straight Stick" MN who was always smiling.


"This particular MN lived up the road in Cody WY. He and I were in contact several times but then I received a "cannot deliver" notice from the post office. This was in the mid 90's.  And no phone number listed anymore.


"Well, yesterday evening while I was in Cody I called a same name family member (they were grand cousins and really did not know the deceased)  and was told that retired MN1, Paul E. "Pope" McCumber  

 passed away back in about 1994, from a heart attack at age 52. I was given his widow's phone number but got an answering machine.   I left a message for her to call me if she desired. She is Gloria McCumber his  Philippine wife and there may be children as it seems that he told me that he had two. If so, apparently, they are not in Cody, or young and still with mom.  My memory is not real good anymore. I will pass on any more details when and if they are given to me, if ever.


"The "Pope" and I were stationed together three times between Yokosuka and Atsugi. Paul made it to the hospital but lost his bout with life at the door and could not be revived according to my source in Cody. I am going to try to get a copy of his obit from the records at the Park County library where according to the local paper, The Cody Enterprise, they are stored. 


"The ranks are thinning and he was very young. Paul is among the guys in the large NAVMAG Subic photo."  --Phil Beckwith




Note: Paul was born Mar. 27, 1942 and died Jun. 29, 1994. His grave has been located in Riverside Cemetery, in Cody, Wyoming. 



Those who were stationed at Subic Bay NAD will be pleased to learn that has a blog dedicated to that memorable duty station. Phil Beckwith again rewards us with the opportunity to re-live the good times we enjoyed so much.


The NAVYVETS web site offers a look back at greater downtown Olongapo.




And this just in ......


For those who missed the stark, astonishing appearance of CDR Maurice "Toby" Horn (USN, Ret.) dressed in the regalia of the naval Scottish clan at the 2013 AOM Reunion at Whidbey Island, here is another opportunity to witness the captivating appearance (as witnessed by bystanders) of Toby during the (up-coming) "Wearing of the Green."






One last note: Many folks have sent me photos to be added to the AOM archives. Please be patient, I will be adding more photos and reminiscences to the already over-burdened AOM web pages. We are currently displaying over 1,300 photos and more will be coming your way as soon as soon as this editor can enhance, re-size and find the appropriate pages to add them to. Many thanks to all who have responded. Keep 'em coming.


Due to the incompetence and cavalier attitude of Charter Communications, I have no phone and sporadic Internet contact with the outside world. I was hoping to report on the condition of Curtis Christian and Joe Beetar. During our last phone communication, Joe asked me to thank everyone for their prayers and concerns. He has recovered sufficiently to begin planning the 2014 reunion.

Curtis, well know for never complaining and minimizing any and all infirmities, was last known to have recovered sufficiently to resume his catfish enterprise. "Iron Man," we continue to wish you the best.

We wish these gentlemen well and anticipate seeing them at the fantastic 2014 Reunion . Dick Schommer has been busting his butt to ensure that this will be the very best reunion ever. Please keep abreast at this web site.

Respectfully submitted.


Derick S. Hartshorn
Communications Coordinator