We are veterans of battles in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War. Our survivors are now approaching or just passing their 90th birthdays.
Our classmates died on foreign shores, blazed new trails, helped conquer space. Our legacy is a proud one. We are the United States Naval Academy Class of 1945.
When Admiral Arleigh Burke was the Chief of Naval Operations from 1955 to 1961, he often visited the Naval Academy. On one visit, the Academy Superintendent, Rear Admiral John F. Davidson, said that he wanted to show the CNO something special in the Yard. They drove out to the seawall and viewed the Triton Light, proudly flashing 4-5, 4-5, 4-5. As Admiral Burke admired this landmark, a Class of '45 gift to the Academy, the superintendent remarked to Admiral Burke's personal aide, Class of '45 member Allan Slaff, "Allan, when I first saw that light it made me damn mad all over."
When asked why, the superintendent responded, "Because my class didn't think of it!"
And so it has been for our Class of '45 over the years, often contributing to our Naval Academy, often leading the way.