News, Events & More

USNA Virtual Information Session for Prospective Candidates on 20 April

Posted: 4/13/2021

Please share with any 7th-12th graders, parents, teachers, and counselors!

Don’t miss the Virtual Information Session for the US Naval Academy — one week from today! Speakers will discuss what life is like on the Yard, how to navigate the application & nomination process, career opportunities available upon graduation, and what parents need to know throughout this process. This session is hosted by the Greater DC area Alumni Association but it is open to ALL who are interested in the Naval Academy.

Registration is via the USNA GWC website, or see their full event flyer here.

In Memoriam: Shannon Willits to be Honored on 8 May (Jacksonville, FL)

Posted: 4/11/2021

As many of you have already heard, Shannon Willits passed away suddenly during competition in late March (classmail – 31MAR21). A friend of the Willits family has put out a call for donations via GoFundMe to help the family if you are interested in making a contribution.

For those in the Jacksonville area, and those able/willing to travel, there will be a service for Shannon in early May:


Saturday, May 8
From 4pm to 7pm
Military honors rendered at 430pm

Maranatha Church Of Jacksonville
7550 Collins Rd
Jacksonville, FL 32244

Per his family, this will be “Open House” style, just come and remember him with us.


If anyone has addtional stories or photos of their memories with Shannon to share in tribute, please send them my way. I’ve already sent the Shipmate column in, but I’m working on a crowd-sourced memorial wall for the In Memoriam section of our class webpage. Very much in draft form now, but expect to be live later this spring.

Col. Shane McDonald’s Live (Virtual) Retirement Ceremony 01 April – All Welcome!

Posted: 3/30/2021

We’ve certainly been blessed with an increase in virtual/live-streamed events over the past year, which in some cases allow us to connect for events we might not otherwise have been able to attend. Retirement ceremonies are no exception. All are welcome to join us online on Thursday for Col. Shane McDonald’s retirement ceremony, which is being live streamed from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency out in St. Louis. The ceremony begins at 1430 EDT (1330 local/central time) and will be accessible live using the event link below – as early as 1420 Eastern so that the ceremony starts on time. Please tune in if your schedule permits as we wish Shane fair winds and following seas into his retirement from the great Class of 1996!

Date/Time: Thursday, 01 April 2021 @ 1420 EDT

Event link: Join live here

New ’96 Hour: Tune in Friday with Jenn Campbell and Mark Mhley

Posted: 3/24/2021

Mark Mhley takes “mission-driven” to a new level. On Friday, March 26th, we get to hear from Mark about two big transitions: the first from active duty into civilian life, and the second from one business venture to another. The pivot in his business is an extraordinary one, led by both an evaluation of the market and a steady commitment to his purpose. If you’ve struggled with the balancing act of making the “smart” decision with staying true to yourself, ideally hoping to make the “right” decision, you’ll want to join us! Mark faced down fear and uncertainty, built connections, and found fulfillment and success on a very different path than the one he started on. Learn more about how he made the difficult decisions required to execute such a shift.

The New ’96 Hour with Mark Mhley
Topic: Navigate the Pivot
Date/time: March 26 at 1pm ET

Register here! Remember that you’ve got to be *LIVE* with us to get your questions answered. See you then!

25th Reunion Football Ticket Block Live (Reserved/SRO)

Posted: 3/12/2021

Attention to announcements, ’96! Ticket sales for the reunion weekend game vs. USAFA have gone live on the NAAA website. If you would like to reserve seats for the game within a special Class of 1996 block, either for an actual seat (end zone) or standing room only (the hill), you may do so here. The promo code you need for ordering is 1996. Please note, these block ticket sales will close on 11 May for reserved (end zone) seats and on 01 July for SRO (hill).

Full reunion schedule and details on the reunion page, as well as Nagel’s most recent class email blast. As a final reminder, our 25th reunion tailgater is outside the stadium in the vicinity of the water tower. Therefore, you only need a game ticket if you want to be inside the stadium for any portion of the game. We plan to have TVs set up inside the tailgating tent at the reunion in order to support maximum socializing for those who are happy to stay outside the gates. Party on!


Regional Voting Begins 01 March: Make Your (Alumni) Voice Heard!

Posted: 2/28/2021

The USNA Alumni Association regional Board of Trustees elections open 01 March for the Mid-Atlantic and the Western regions and will run through 21 April. Whether you fall in either of these regions depends entirely on the address you have on file with the Alumni Association. We’re reached the point in life when a good number of folks running for regional and area chapter board position are from our own class, adjacent classes, or Shipmates we crossed paths with in the Fleet – so be sure to read about who is running so that you are equipped to support those you know if you choose to do so!

From the Alumni Association: If you live in the Mid-Atlantic or Western regions, be sure to vote in this year’s Alumni Association Board of Trustees election. Your input strengthens our Association and our shared future. Those elected will join the board for the Spring 2021 meeting. Those living in the Mid-Atlantic and Western regions will receive a ballot via mail for the 2021 Board of Trustees election. Printed ballots will be sent to regular members by an external vendor, Yes Elections, with complete voting instructions for mail, phone and online options. You may opt out of a paper ballot and vote electronically should that be more convenient for you. Additional information on the election, including candidate biographies, is available here. Voting closes on 21 April 2021 by 5 p.m. EDT.


New ’96 Hour: Tune in with Jenn Campbell and Eddie Buckles

Posted: 2/24/2021

You can’t miss this event on Friday! Whether you want to transition into a new role or sector, or you have entertained entrepreneurial ideas, you’ll want to join me as I interview Eddie Buckles Jr for the New ’96 Hour. Eddie’s track record is incredible. He has held a wide range of roles and has started companies across multiple sectors, and when we talk on February 26, he’ll be sharing his insights on how his Naval Academy and active duty experience set him up for success.

The New ’96 Hour with Eddie Buckles
Topic: Seize the Initiative: What a USNA Grad Can Contribute to the Corporate World
Date/Time: February 26 at 1pm ET

Register here. Remember that you’ve got to be *LIVE* with us to get your questions answered. See you then!

Early Bird Special: ’96 Class Store Open through 7 March!

Posted: 2/1/2021
Email sent via Classmail 1/31/2021

The Class of 1996 Merchandise Store is open with ’96 gear available for “Early Bird” orders now through 7 March. Fill those shopping carts, ’96! In advance of our reunion later this year, the store has been open for a spring ordering period and will be open again this summer. Orders placed during the current period will ship on 5 April.

See yesterday’s email blast for more details and contact our merch POC Tony Yanero with questions or suggestions. BZ, Tony! Thanks for keeping us all stocked.


In The News: CAPT Frank Okata on Improving Maritime Security

Posted: 1/23/2021

Our own CAPT Frank Okata, currently serving over in Italy as Military Sealift Command (MSC) Europe/Africa Commander, made the newswire following a recent four-day exercise with the Tunisian Navy in the Mediterranean. We caught this quote featured yesterday on official U.S. Navy social media. BZ, Frank! Enjoy the rest of your tour over there.

Read the full story here.


First Annual Fundraiser Honors CAPT Teresa Elders

Posted: 1/10/2021

Happy New Year, ’96! Sharing some gouge on a 501(c)(3) established to honor CAPT Teresa Elders called the The Captain Teresa E. Elders Foundation (CTEEF). The first annual CTEEF Fundraiser started in December with a goal of raising $9,600 by 17 January (goal selected to honor of the upcoming Class of 1996 25th reunion). If you would like to donate, use the Facebook group or donate directly via the foundation website. This charity is a non-profit which distributed donations from friends and family to initiatives that Teresa supported. More details from the foundation:

We are a not-for-profit established to further the goals and charities that Teresa supported during her life and to honor those who came before by inspiring those who come after. The foundation provides donations aimed at encouraging women from young to old in family, service, and faith, including programming support, scholarships, and angel donating to ensure others have the opportunities and services that Teresa herself benefited from and that she wanted to help others attain.

In 2020, CTEEF grant recipients include:
Nine Girls Ask (for a cure for ovarian cancer)
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition
New Jersey Distinguished Young Women (formerly America’s Junior Miss; Teresa was Junior Miss New Jersey in 1992)
First United Methodist Church Chula Vista Children’s Ministry

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