News, Events & More

Passing of Shirley “Lee” Morrissey Smith, 17th company

Posted: 10/13/2021
Sad News: Shirley “Lee” Morrissey Smith, 17th company
Shirley Smith (March 11, 1961 – October 3, 2021)
Cary, North Carolina – Shirley “Lee” Morrissey Smith passed away October 3, 2021 at the age of 60 at her home in Cary, North Carolina after a three-and-a-half-year battle with lung cancer. A virtual memorial will be held with family and friends at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that memorial gifts be made in Lee’s name to the American Cancer Society, or Transitions LifeCare.
Lee was born March 11, 1961 in Groton, Connecticut, the third of four children born to Captain John Noel Morrissey, USN and Barbara Ann Hatch Morrissey. Lee grew up on various military bases including tours with her family in Groton, CT, Alexandria, VA, the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, and Boston, MA. She graduated from Fort Hunt High School in Alexandria, VA in 1979, finishing as the valedictorian of her class and was a member of the record setting high school girls track team. Lee went on to attend the US Naval Academy for one year, then transferred to Virginia Tech where she earned a BS in Computer Science. She was an active member of the Sigma Kappa sorority. Later, she earned an MS in Computer Engineering at NC State. Lee worked as a programmer for IBM for 10 years. There, she met her future husband, Timothy Smith. Lee and Tim were married in the Duke University Chapel in 1987. They lived in the Raleigh and Cary area throughout their 34 years of marriage raising their two children and one guinea pig.
Lee was the consummate mom, doing everything she could to raise her kids to be kind, generous, and caring. She was a very engaged parent, assisting with school functions, dance trips, recitals, tennis matches, cross country races, swim meets, and even debate contests. When going to one of the debate contests, she had planned to just give the group of kids a ride. But, she was asked to judge a debate even though she had never been trained to be a judge. They couldn’t have picked a better person! Lee was also a big fan of water aerobics at the A.E. Finley YMCA. There she developed special friendships that she enjoyed far beyond the exercise.
Lee is survived by her husband Timothy; their daughter and her fiancé, Jaclyn Smith and Connor Daly; their daughter and son-in-law, Jamie and Alex Shiels; two sisters Jane Morrissey Hybsch and Nancy Morrissey; and one brother John Noel Morrissey Jr. as well as many nieces and nephews.
Published by The News & Observer

Passing of Commander Paul D. Shankland, PhD, USN (Ret)

Posted: 10/20/2020

Commander Paul D. Shankland, PhD, USN (Ret) ’83, of Cedar Key, FL, passed away on 20 October 2020. He was 59 years old. He had a dynamic personality and was loved by all.

The son of Joseph and Karlyn Shankland, Paul was born in Florence, Italy on 6 March 1961. After graduating from Ragsdale High School, in Jamestown, NC in 1979, Paul entered the U.S. Naval Academy with the Class of 1983.

At the Naval Academy, Paul was a Mathematics major and proud member of the 8th Company. He was active in the choir and the astronomy club.

Following graduation, Paul earned his Surface Warfare Officer designation aboard USS SELLERS (DDG-11). In 1986, he transferred to the aviation community and earned his wings, becoming an E-2C Hawkeye pilot. During his twenty-five years on active duty, Paul earned a master’s degree in Astronomy (with distinction),from the University of Western Sydney, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Astronomy from James Cook University.

Paul flew with various squadrons aboard USS FORRESTAL (CV-59) and USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN-73). He then served as a flight instructor at VAW-120, and then at Carrier Airborne Early Warning Wing Atlantic. As Strike Operations Officer, aboard USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN71), he concurrently flew with VF-102 and HS-11. Paul then served as Executive Officer, then Commanding Officer, of VT-9

Paul‘s final active duty tour was as the Director of Space Acquisitions, Programs, Plans & Requirements (N5/N8) at the U.S. Naval Observatory, where he was designated a Space Professional. He proudly retired from the Navy in 2008, with 3,800 hours in 22 aircraft types and 374 arrested landings on 12 aircraft carriers.

Paul was then appointed as the sixth Director(GS-15) of Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station, where he served for twelve years, until his civil service retirement in January 2020.

He is survived by his beloved wife and best friend Amanda; mother, Karlyn; sons, Nick and Rudger, both of Denver, CO, and five stepchildren: Rodrick, Andrew, Lilly (USNA ’21), Wesley, and Molly, all of Flagstaff, AZ.

A celebration of life will be held at Williams-Thomas Funeral Home in Newberry, FL on 27 Oct 2020. Paul donated his body to science and will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

Donations may be made to a worthy cause of choice, or the U.S. Naval Academy Physics Department (astronomy projects), the Fallen Aviators Fund, or to the Commander, Airborne Early Warning Wing Atlantic.

Look inside for special Class of 1983 Items

Posted: 10/7/2020

Now Available – for a limited time

1983 Neck Ties, Bow Ties and Ladies Infinity Scarfs

All items are hand made, ties at the fabric mill, scarves at the vendor’s Vermont facility.
Because the fabric is custom-manufactured for this order, this is a one-time opportunity with a minimum order requirement of at least 50 ties (scarves don’t count in this because of the fabric contract with the mill). Unfortunately we can’t promise delivery in time for the holidays, but we do expect them to arrive very early in 2021. With this in mind, the ordering deadline is 2359 EDT 21 OCT 2020.

1983 Long Tie

Class of 1983 Long Tie. Comes in two lengths – 58″ and 62″.


1983 Lady’s Infinity Scarf

Class of 1983 Long Tie. Comes in two lengths – 58″ and 62″.


1983 Bow Tie

Bows are 2.5 inches high. Pre-tied or to-be-tied, sizes 13.5-15.5 inches and 15.5-19.5 inches. Design same as the Long Tie.

Order a tie (Either long or bow) and a lady’s scarf and receive a $5.00 discount. Just enter the discount code COMBO at checkout.

Contact 1983 Class Store Coordinator Lynn Thomas at with any questions.

2020 All Academy Challenge

Posted: 7/30/2020

Dear Classmates:

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones happy, HEALTHY and coping during these unprecedented times. 

The 2019 All Academy Challenge was a huge success bringing in over one million dollars for the Naval Academy from nearly 4,000 donors. Thank you for your past support! 

The 2020 All Academy Challenge kicks off on Sunday, 16 Aug and continues for 5 days. Navy is facing off against Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine—with the service academy with the highest percentage of alumni making a gift in support of their alma mater taking home bragging rights. Naval Academy alumni have consistently taken the top spot in terms of dollars raised—but this contest is all about participation and not total dollars raised.

In 2020, with your help, we plan on taking the participation prize! You should have received, or will receive very soon, a sticker from the Naval Academy Foundation with more information, but we really want our class to come together to show our support especially in these trying times. Visit  starting 16 August and make your gift—then use your personal networks to ask your classmates and other alumni to do the same. This year’s All Academy Challenge site features a Class Participation Leaderboard as well as buttons to make social media sharing—and getting your friends and classmates involved—even easier.

Also, the Naval Academy Foundation has made it possible for classes on active class legacy gift projects to make All Academy Challenge gifts directly in support of those projects. This year our class is choosing to support the MWF component of our class project during the 5 day challenge. If you don’t want to support that fund, you can always direct your gift to the Naval Academy Fund and that will still count in our class totals. You can direct any questions to Clay Evans, class giving coordinator at the Naval Academy Foundation, at or 410-295-4117.

If you’ve already made a gift in support of the Academy this year, thank you, and please consider making another small gift to help us ensure our victory – every gift counts towards our participation!

As a ‘participation’ event, you can make small donations (last year the minimum was $5), but I urge people to consider $83, or $83.83. Even $19.83 is good! We increased our participation last year, and hopefully can do even better in 2020. With everything going on in the world right now, USNA still needs your help.


Steve Fischer, Class of 1983

VADM Bill Galinis Takes Command of NAVSEA, VADM Tom Moore Retires After 39 Years

Posted: 6/23/2020


Vice Adm. Tom Moore turned over command of Naval Sea Systems Command today and retired after 39 years in the Navy, leaving the service’s largest systems command in the hands of Vice Adm. Bill Galinis.

Moore has led the organization since 2016 and has overseen the ship construction and lifecycle management organization during a particularly interesting time.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday was at the ceremony – socially distanced, with limited chairs spread out at Leutze Park at Washington Navy Yard. After ribbing Moore for being “the most interesting man at NAVSEA,” Gilday praised the retiring vice admiral for his calm perspective and lead-by-example style of leadership.

“Tom did more than just set the example here, he chartered a clear path for this enterprise to follow. Under his guidance, NAVSEA has certainly expanded our advantage by delivering 40 battle force ships to the fleet, to include the Gerald R. Ford, the first new class of aircraft carriers since the Nimitz class in 1975; updated ship repair and maintenance processes to deliver ships and submarines on time to the fleet – that’s a massive job; taking a long view in improving shipyard infrastructure to improve productivity and to bring our public yards into the 21st century; creating the Cyber Engineering and Digital Transformation Directorate to secure and defend NAVSEA’s cyber ecosystem while supporting model based systems engineering,” Gilday said.
“But nowhere was Tom’s calm leadership more apparent than in NAVSEA’s stellar response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During this dynamic time, NAVSEA managed to stay open for business, it kept the fleet sailing while continuing critical work in our shipyards and in our warfare centers. Meanwhile, NAVSEA workers partnered with local communities to make masks, face shields and to design oxygen-delivery equipment.”

Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, Vice Adm. Thomas Moore, takes a selfie with Sailors assigned to Assault Craft Unit 4 Detachment Panama City Sailors during a site visit at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division on Jan. 30, 2018. US Navy photo.

Moore said in his farewell speech that “I would like to say thank you to the entire NAVSEA workforce. You have made it a joy to get up and come to work each day. My favorite part of every day was roaming the halls or getting out on travel to talk and listen to you. You epitomize the exceptional people who make this Navy great. I wish more of you could have been here today, you are truly the force behind the fleet and I will miss each of you. The good news is for you, is you have an exceptional leader coming behind me in Admiral Bill Galinis. And I will tell you, there’s no better naval officer than Bill Galinis, I’m so proud that he’s relieving me today, and Bill, best of luck to you.”

During the ceremony, Moore was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal with a gold star in lieu of second award.

The award citation stated that “Vice Adm. Moore skillfully led the Navy’s largest systems command, managing an impressive portfolio of active appropriations valued at $232 billion, increasing the total number of ships from 272 to 300, and placing the Navy on a path to reduce maintenance delays by 88 percent in Fiscal Year 2020. He managed 840 foreign military sales cases, advocated for small business and improved contracting to provide a stable and predictable workload to industry and increase the capacity and throughput of naval shipyards by injecting resources, staffing and infrastructure. Vice Adm. Moore projected is goal-oriented strategy through clear communications and inspirational messages that spurred innovative problem-solving and technical accuracy and thereby empowered the NAVSEA enterprise to accomplish amazing results.”

Moore graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1981 and began his career as a surface nuclear trained officer, serving on two nuclear-powered cruises and carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65), as well as an Adams-class destroyer. He switched to the engineering duty officer community in 1994 and spent much of his career since working with aircraft carrier construction, maintenance and refuelings. Moore commanded the Program Executive Office for Aircraft Carriers from August 2011 to June 2016, when he took command at NAVSEA.

Galinis most recently served as the program executive officer for ships, one of five PEOs affiliated with NAVSEA that oversees surface combatant, amphibious ship, expeditionary ship and connector programs. Prior to that, he led the Navy Regional Maintenance Center organization that plans and executes surface ship maintenance at private shipyards, served as supervisor of shipbuilding (SUPSHIP) in the Gulf Coast and served as the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock (LPD-17) program manager. Galinis is a 1983 graduate of the Naval Academy.

“It’s been said that good teams need hard problems. Boss, we have both here at NAVSEA, and we’re working urgently to get after those hard problems. To the men and women of the Naval Sea Systems Command enterprise, it’s a real honor for me to have the opportunity to work with you all and lead this talented team. I’m thrilled to be here and excited about the direction the organization is going,” Galinis said near the end of the ceremony.

“Today, as a nation, we are in challenging times: engaged in a great power competition, working through the ongoing pandemic, and then having a real debate on equality for all. I, we, for the NAVSEA team, need your ideas, your skills and your talents now more than ever, and I am very much looking forward to working with you to achieve our goals.”

Senate Confirms New Leader for NAVSEA

Posted: 4/1/2020

The Senate confirmed several Navy flag officers for new positions, including new leaders for U.S. naval forces in Europe and the Middle East and a new commander of the service’s shipbuilding and maintenance arm, USNI News has learned.

The Senate action that confirmed almost 30 flag positions came with no public notification by the Navy, a service official confirmed to USNI News.

According to a readout of a summary memo reviewed by USNI News, the Senate voted to approve the flag nominees on March 20.

Confirmations from the vote included:

Rear Adm. Bill Galinis

Program Executive Officer for Ships Rear Adm. Bill Galinis will be promoted to vice admiral and take command of Naval Sea Systems Command. He would replace Vice Adm. Tom Moore, who is expected to retire.


Extracted from:  USNI News


Lietzau Named Chief of New Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency

Posted: 3/16/2020

William Lietzau will take charge of the the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, the agency now responsible for background investigations for 95 percent of the federal government, the Pentagon announced March 16.

The agency is responsible for security clearances and background vetting of 95 percent of the federal workforce, including more than 100 federal agencies and more than 10,000 companies that require government security clearances.

Lietzau succeeds Charles Phalen Jr., who had served as acting director since last July. Under his tenure, the agency absorbed the National Background Investigations Bureau from the Office of Personnel Management. The transfer was one result of the massive data breach at OPM in 2015, which exposed the personal data of more than 4.2 million people.

A Marine Corps veteran and former military judge and senior counsel, Lietzau had been Director of the Defense Department’s Personnel Vetting Transformation Office, according to his LinkedIn page. His bio there also cites prior Defense Department posts including service as a deputy assistant secretary of defense from 2010-2013, responsible first for detainee policy and later for rule of law and detainee policy. He also served as deputy legal adviser to the National Security Council from 2009-2010.

“Bill’s leadership experience within the military, government, and industry, combined with his role leading DCSA transformation efforts, make him the ideal candidate to hit the ground running and lead the DCSA,” said Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Joseph Kernan in the release announcing the appointment. “Bill understands the criticality of the background investigation and security mission, and the necessity to ensure a trusted workforce and protect critical defense information from theft or disclosure.”

Lietzau is an alumnus of the U.S. Naval Academy, Yale Law School, the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General School, and the National War College. His industry experience includes nearly five years with defense contractor PAE.

SOURCE: Air Force Magazine:

President Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Vic Mercado

Posted: 2/26/2020

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate the Following Individuals to Key Administration Posts

Victor G. Mercado of California, to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense (Strategy, Plans, and Capabilities).

Victor Mercado currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Plans and Posture.  Before transitioning to government service in January 2019, Mr. Mercado served as Director of Maritime Operations for the United States Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  Formerly, he served as Director of the Assessments Division for the Chief of Naval Operations.

Mr. Mercado has also served as Commander of Carrier Strike Group Eight, Vice Director of Strategic Plans and Policy for United States Central Command, and Deputy Director of the Surface Warfare Division.

Mr. Mercado is a graduate of the Naval Postgraduate School, where he earned his Master of Science in Systems Technology in Joint Command Control and Communications, and the United States Naval Academy, where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.

Mr. Mercado is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

New magnet school named after Lubbock-native Willie McCool

Posted: 12/12/2019

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) – The Lubbock Independent School Board voted Thursday morning to name its new STEAM magnet school after Lubbock-native and NASA astronaut Willie McCool.

The current Smylie Wilson Middle School, at 4402 31st St., will open next school year as a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics Magnet School. The thought of naming the new school after McCool came from a social media contest LISD had.

Willie McCool, an astronaut and naval officer, was one of seven crew members who died when the Columbia space shuttle disintegrated as it was re-entering Earth’s atmosphere in February of 2003. He was 41 years old.

“We received lots of great ideas, but the one that rose to the top is the one that we’re going to share with you today,” Kathy Rollo, LISD superintendent, said before the name was officially revealed. “We had lots of positive comments about this and it is very fitting for this middle school because of the nature of the school.”

When the school opens next year it will be officially known as the Commander William C. McCool Academy. The new academy will have a focus on project-based learning and STEAM.

It’s that focus that has the parents of Willie McCool excited for the opportunities this could bring to students who attend. As a scientist and astronaut, those areas of study were most important to him.

While he was alive, Willie McCool made a point to always teach children the value of learning, especially when it came to math, science and technology. He even made a point to to encourage young girls get in those fields, which are historically male-oriented.

“He was also interested in motivating children, both boys and girls, to get more involved in studying science and technology; pointing out there are so many career opportunities and this is the wave of the future,” Adrey McCool, Willie McCool’s mother, said.

Both his parents were surprised when they were told about the school’s name. They were not even aware he was being considered by school administration.

Barry McCool, Willie McCool’s dad, said he was out in public around other people when he got the call on Monday, Dec. 9.

But, as children apply and are accepted into the school, Barry McCool said he is excited for the opportunity they have. He also added, the parents should be excited for the students and encourage them as they continue their education.

“If a student doesn’t have the support of the family it’s going to be extremely hard for them to succeed,” Barry McCool said. “It’s a family affair — education — and it starts with the parents and it continues on through the children and their children.”

Source:  KCBD Coverage

Thomas Modly acting SECNAV

Posted: 11/24/2019

As of Sunday, Undersecretary of the Navy Thomas Modly is now acting SECNAV, according to the statement.


Source:  USNI News

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