…and the Captain’s Daughter

At the U.S. Naval Academy the “Another Link in the Chain” program links classes whose graduations are fifty years apart. Thus the Class of 1963, my class, is linked with the Class of 2013. 2013 has graciously invited 1963 grads and their wives to their Ring Dance in May of this year…2012. The Ring Dance is held at the end of Second Class year where Midshipmen receive their coveted class rings, and thus will be able to wear them during their upcoming First Class year. Sixth Company classmate Chuck Maclin was asked if he and his wife Marion were going to attend, and Chuck replied, “I don’t think so, since the girl I took to our Ring Dance in 1962 dumped me.” I will not attend for the same reason, but Chuck’s response inspired me to write about the Ring Dance girl who dumped me.



                     Class Crests, Classes of 1963 and 2013

She has appeared peripherally in two of my previous tales; the one about the ’63 Ring Dance, where she is mentioned but not named, and the story of our trip to the 1962 Army-Navy game, where she is not mentioned, but where she played an important part…depending upon your definition of important. Her name was Marcia Hill. Her dad was an active duty Navy Captain stationed in Washington, DC during my Midshipman years, and her grandfather was Vice Admiral Harry W. Hill, USN, who commanded Amphibious Task Forces during World War II at Tarawa, the Marshall and Marianas Islands, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Since I was to become a Marine upon graduation the next year, I was naturally interested in meeting and talking with the Admiral, although my interest in Marcia was driven by much different desires. No cynicism at work there.

Marcia and I met at some point during my Second Class year, although the details escape me these many years later. We hit it off quite well and dated during the last half of that year. During this time she was a student at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Again, the details of what we did and where we went are somewhat hazy, but I do remember several incidents of raiding Admiral Hill’s liquor cabinet. Admiral Hill had retired from the Navy in 1952 and was living in Annapolis, just outside the USNA Gate 3 in one of those wonderful old brick houses you find in old town Annapolis. On several occasions he and Mrs. Hill were away on weekends, and Marcia, having open access to their house, took me there and we partook of the Admiral’s Virginia Gentleman bourbon. I’m amazed that I remember the brand. Does that say something about me? Of course drinking was against Midshipman regulations back then, but that didn’t stop us. Unless my memory fails me, some other extracurricular activities also took place during these visits to this house during the owner’s absence.

In any case, we spent significant time together when she could get to Annapolis, and Second Class year ended with her being my June Week date, and thus attending the 1963 Ring Dance with me. As I was a member of the Ring Dance Committee, I was granted an extra half hour of liberty, and the details of that, and Marcia’s part in it, can be found in my earlier story about that event.

That summer I spent my First Class cruise aboard USS Allen M. Sumner (DD-692) in the Mediterranean. Upon return from there, and after a 30 day leave at home in Kansas, I returned to the Washington, DC area to spend time with Marcia before the academic year began at the academy. I remember spending time at her home in Arlington and meeting her parents. We weren’t a “steady” couple as is evidenced by some of my First Class year escapades written about earlier as well, but we did see quite a lot of each other as the year progressed.

The night before the 1962 Army-Navy game in Philadelphia, yours truly and several Sixth Company classmates spent the night at Sixth Company classmate Jim Carter’s parents house in Arlington. We had been granted overnight liberty and were to meet up again with the Brigade of Midshipmen for the march-on into the stadium the next day. My earlier story chronicles that misadventure. Later during Friday night the Sixth Company gang and our dates, Marcia included, were in Carter’s basement watching television when she and I decided that we wanted to be alone and do something other than watch TV. We repaired to the darkened first floor and ended up on the living room couch and proceeded to get into an ever increasingly compromising situation. At this point Jim’s dad, Captain Carter, USN (Retired) arrived on the scene from the second floor, turned on the lights and told us in no uncertain terms to cease and desist and become less compromised. We fled back to the basement, deciding that maybe TV was a better choice if we wanted to remain at the Carter residence. The next day Carter, Lionel Banda, Bob Borlet and yours truly drove to Philadelphia and our dates met us there after the game…a Navy victory.

First Class year marched on and Marcia and I spent whatever weekends we could together. Once again the years have dampened my memories of specific details. We dated off and on as the year was coming to an end, but she was not my June Week date in ’63. I can’t remember why we drifted apart.

Marcia ended up marrying a classmate, Joe Clancy, who also became a Marine. The last time I saw her was in the parking lot of O’Bannon Hall, the Bachelor Officer’s Quarters at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. At some point during First Class year I had loaned, or maybe given, my athletic parka to Marcia. It was dark Navy blue with a gold “USNA 63” emblazoned on the left breast, and it zipped up the front. I had never gotten it back. I was looking out the window of my BOQ room when I notice Marcia and Joe in the parking lot. She was wearing my parka. Before I could leave my room they got into a car and left. That was the last time I saw Marcia…and my parka.

I don’t think Joe made the Marines a career. He left the Corps after his obligated service was up. I seem to have heard that they live in Colorado, but I’m not sure. In any case Marcia played a significant part in my life during my last two years at the old boat school. Where ever you may be, Miss Hill, thanks for the good times and the memories.


   Semper Fi

   Dirck Praeger sends