January 2012 Newsletter

Letter from Dennis Murphy

Dear Callaghan Society Members,

Welcome to the Callaghan Society. I hope you enjoy our inaugural newsletter. Thank you for becoming a member to help honor the legacy of SI alumni who have served in the military and to support the students who may aspire to serve their country or just want to support the military. I am pleased to tell you that there is now a Callaghan Club at Saint Ignatius with over 100 student members who recognize service to country as a noble calling. Many of them may never serve in the military themselves, but they have enough interest to become a member of the club. There are over a dozen members in their senior year who have already applied to Service Academies or for ROTC scholarships.

Since we launched the Callaghan Society at the downtown business lunch in March 2011, your Board has been very active in developing plans to grow this Society and ultimately achieve our objective of raising one million dollars to endow the history department with the Admiral Daniel Callaghan Chair of Public Service. We often underestimate the capacity of learning of our young adults. The pursuit of this endowment is intended to open the students’ aperture to public service and encourage them to participate, not necessarily in the military, but necessarily in the public good. This endowment goal is both ambitious and audacious but we cannot achieve it without the kind of support that you have already given by joining. I hope you would agree with me that this is worth pursuing and I encourage you to draw more members into this Society.

In this newsletter, you are going to get visibility into a number of initiatives that are ongoing. The biggest one to share is the essay contest that we are sponsoring for all students on a topic of service in the context of Daniel Callaghan and the sacrifice he made for his country. Our Society is sponsoring an event on April 26th at Saint Ignatius to recognize the contest winners, so please save the date and plan on being there. More information will be sent out when we get closer to the date. You will also see a rendering of a display case of the Callaghan Society that is going to be mounted in a high traffic area in the student activity center. This should be ready in the February/March timeframe and expect to get an invitation to the unveiling.

We are at a very tenuous point in our existence as an organization. We had a nice big bang at the start with the downtown business lunch, and you are the early adopters who got onboard from the beginning. Thank you for that. But, our aspiration does not match our current membership and we are orders of magnitude away from endowing the chair of public service in the history department. So, I encourage you to promote the Callaghan Society, actively recruit members, designate your financial contributions to Saint Ignatius for the Callaghan Society and/or just donate to the Society.

In creating the Callaghan Society, we have sowed the seeds of a future state that many of us are committed to achieve. I thank you for stepping up and being part of this and look forward to working together in advancing the mission of the Callaghan Society. I invite anyone reading this to contact me directly if you have any thoughts or advice on moving this forward. If so, please e-mail me at: djmurphy@amgen.com

Most Sincerely,
Dennis Murphy SI 1977
President, Admiral Daniel Callaghan Society

Adm. Daniel J. Callaghan, A Sailor’s Story

Adm. Daniel J. Callaghan, A Sailor’s Story

By Dick Wall ’52

Rear ADM. Daniel Judson Callaghan, the Ignatian whose life of service to the country inspires the Callaghan Society, was born in San Francisco in 1890 and grew up in Oakland. In his high school years, he rode the ferry to the City each morning and walked up Market Street to what was then Saint Ignatius College between Fourth and Fifth Streets. The Nordstrom store now occupies the site.

Graduating in 1907, Callaghan attended the United States Naval Academy, graduating in the class of 1911 and starting a career that would end 31 years later on a night of courage and sacrifice. In 1938, after 26 years of ship and shore duties, he was appointed Naval Aide to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1942, he had a brief tour in Auckland as a chief to staff to Vice Admiral Robert L. Ghormley. After Callaghan was killed, a telegram of condolences arrived from the “mayor, councilors and citizens of the city of Auckland.” Callaghan had become very popular there.

At Land’s End, in San Francisco, a remnant of the bridge of Callaghan’s flagship, the USS San Francisco, stands as a memorial to the admiral’s last battle. The gray steel, ripped and torn, testifies to the power of the shells that pierced it. What is missing are the crackles and booms of the gunfire, the darkness, the panic that grew out of lack of communication, and the confusion of friendly ships mixed with enemy ships in a sea illuminated by explosions and tracer bullets. Historian James W. Grace calls it “the most confusing fight in American naval history.”

A preclude to the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal was a brief but bloody attack by enemy aircraft on the afternoon of Thursday 12 November. An enemy plane crashed into the after superstructure of the USS San Francisco, killing or wounding 29 officers and men. The 9,950-ton San Francisco sailed on, however, with nine eight-inch and eight five-inch guns ready for a fight. That night, which was cloudy, stormy, and tropically warm, a Japanese surface force was reported on radar. Ominously, Thursday the 12th turned into Friday the 13th.

From the north, the Japanese force was headed toward Guadalcanal (known by the code name Cactus) to bombard Henderson Field. The American fleet picked up the Japanese ships on radar, which was a new, crude, and not particularly well understood tool at the time. Slowly, the ships found each other in the darkness, and started shooting. It was over in about 30 minutes.

A critical moment came when the USS San Francisco, in the middle of a slugfest with a Japanese battleship, cruiser and destroyers, was hit by a six-inch shell which exploded on the signal bridge, the concussion killing Admiral Callaghan and three of his four-man staff.

Soon the battle was over, with casualties and losses on both sides. Medals of Honor would be awarded to Callaghan, Rear Admiral Norman Scott, two other officers and one enlisted man. A Navy Cross went to a stretcher bearer named Leonard R. Harmon, only the second black sailor to be so honored in World War II.

Most important, thanks to the courageous actions of Admiral Callaghan and his men, the bombardment of Henderson Field was prevented, and, as historian Eric Hammel put it, “On November 12, 1942, the (Japanese) Imperial Navy had the better ships and the better tactics. After November 15, 1942, its leaders lost heart and it lacked the strategic depth to face the burgeoning U.S. Navy and its vastly improving weapons and tactics. The Japanese never got better while, after November 1942, the U.S. Navy never stopped getting better.”

General Albert A. Vandegrift, commander of the Marines on Guadalcanal would say: “…our greatest homage goes to Callaghan, Scott and their men who with magnificent courage against seemingly hopeless odds drove back the first hostile attack and paved the way for the success to follow. To them the men of Cactus lift their battered helmets in deepest admiration.”

William F. Halsey, then a vice admiral, had particular praise for the two rear admirals killed in the battle, Callaghan and Norman Scott.  On his promotion to admiral, Halsey sent his vice admiral’s three stars to their widows, with the message that their husbands’ bravery had earned him his promotion.

Callaghan Club Report

Callaghan Club Report

By Ian Anderson ’12

The Callaghan Student Club has been formed this year in conjunction with the Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan Society. The club has merged from the Semper Fi club, which primarily supported injured Marines and their families, to encapsulate all branches of our Armed Forces.

The Student Club is off to a good first campaign, totaling over 100 pledged members. Our club strives to achieve the

same mission of the Callaghan Society, but on a student level. The Callaghan Club seeks to raise current student awareness of Saint Ignatius alumni who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces. The Student Club also works with Society members to provide mentoring for those students interested in serving their country, especially by attending one of our nation’s federal service academies or an R.O.T.C. program.

The Callaghan Student Club is up and running, and looks forward to continued success. Members are excited for the big essay contest at the culmination of the year. Our club seeks to preserve the tradition of service in our school, both military and public, and inform students and try to get them interested in not only serving but in supporting the service men and women of our country.

Callaghan Society Essay Contest

Essay Contest

The Admiral Daniel J. Callaghan Society sponsors an annual essay contest open to all SI students. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive cash prizes of $3000, $2000 and $1000. Essays will be judged on logic and organization, creativity, and writing quality. The theme for this year's essay is "Service," and essays must be submitted by March 25, 2012. Detailed contest rules will be published shortly and the following essay prompt has been approved by the Callaghan Society Board:

 On January 20, 1961, in his inaugural address, President John F. Kennedy issued a challenge to the Nation to honor, maintain and cultivate the ethic of service that has distinguished this country from its inception:

 " . . . Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe . . . In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger . . . The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world . . . And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country."

Daniel J. Callaghan, like President Kennedy himself, was of a generation called to defend "freedom in its hour of maximum danger." When called upon to put duty in the defense and service of his country before all other considerations, Callaghan did not waiver in his resolve or question the necessity of selfless action. He knew that his task group was heavily outgunned by the enemy force, and the assessment of Cassin Young, captain of Callaghan's flagship San Francisco, was that the mission was "suicide." Callaghan's reply: "Yes I know, but we have to do it."

Service, whether to country, to God or to one's fellow man, often requires men and women to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of that service. At times, the possibility is abstract and remote; at other times it is real and immediate. But it is always present. Given this, discuss reasons for choosing a life of service; discuss why and how a nation should cultivate and maintain a culture of service.

The winners of the contest will be announced at the Annual Callaghan Society dinner on Thursday, February 23rd, in the SI Carlin Commons. Dinner guests will have an opportunity to interact with current students, enjoy a film on the life of Admiral Callaghan and hear from guest speaker Major General James M. (‘Mike’) Myatt, USMC (Ret). For more info, please contact the Alumni Office at 415-731-7500 ext. 211.


Catching Up With ...

Catching Up With…

Calvin Joewono ’10 is a midshipman at the College of the Holy Cross Naval ROTC Battalion. Last year, he was awarded the Language Skills, Regional Expertise and Cultural Scholarship. He is majoring in Chinese Language and Asian Studies and plans on becoming a Foreign Area Officer and a cryptologic language analyst during his years in the Navy. Yra Meehleib ’10 (not pictured) is student at Willamette University and an AFROTC cadet at the University of Portland. She has recently activated an Air Force scholarship and will be majoring in Japanese Studies.

USS San Francisco painting

“Home Is The Sailor, Home From The Sea”

U.S.S San Francisco  CA 38 

Artist Frank Walsh will soon be releasing a L/E giclee canvas print of his painting. He has kindly donated the original to the Daniel J. Callaghan Society as well as a percentage of the sales of this L/E print. For more information, please contact the Alumni Office at gpoggetti@siprep.org or call (415) 731-7500, ext. 211.

Recent Grads in Military Academies

Recent Grads Enrolled in Military Academies

Samuel Magennis-Molke ’11: U.S. Air Force Academy

Brian Yee ’11: U.S. Air Force Academy

Joseph Palazzolo Jr: ’11 U.S. Naval Academy

Eileen Welch ’10: Calif. Maritime Academy

Samuel Strelkoff ’09: U.S. Naval Academy

Conor Wilkes ’08: U.S. Naval Academy

Callaghan Society Display Case

Callaghan Society Display Case

At the March 2011 Downtown Business Lunch, featuring Rear Admiral James Shannon, USN, Callaghan Society President Dennis Murphy ’77 stated that he hopes “no future SI student ever graduates without knowing the legacy of Admiral Daniel Judson Callaghan.” To that end, the Callaghan Society is having a display case constructed in the SI Student Center, featuring a shadow box with Callaghan’s Medal of Honor Citation, photos of SI grads currently serving in the military, a list of all SI graduates who lost their lives in the service of their country, and an original painting of the U.S.S. San Francisco returning to the city for which it was named.

Join the Callaghan Society!

Join the Callaghan Society

If you are not yet a member of the Callaghan Society and would like to join (and continue to receive
this newsletter), you can do so by paying a one-time membership fee of $25.00. Membership includes:

  • Participation in a Society that promotes military service at SI
  • An invitation to the annual essay contest dinner event (April 26, 2012 at SI)
  • Invitation to all Callaghan Society events
  • Opportunity to mentor and engage with Callaghan Club students
  • Quarterly newsletter

If you are an active military member, in ROTC, or have family wounded or killed in action, please
email alumni@siprep.org for a free membership in the Society.

Please join by visiting the SI website at www.siprep.org/alumni or by sending a check to
John Ring, St. Ignatius College Preparatory, 2001 37th Avenue, San Francisco, 94116.
Please write “Callaghan Society” in the memo section of your check.

Callaghan Society Board

Callaghan Society Board

Dennis Murphy ’77

Dick Wall ’52
Vice President

Ian Anderson ’12

Raul Artiga ’78

Vic Artiga ’87

Patrick Faye ’94

Kieran Firlit-Ring ’12

Benjamin Harrison ’83

Stefano Maffei ’14

Vic Rollandi ’68

Luke Swartz ’98

Mark Tandoc ’94

Steve Welch ’82

St. Ignatius College Preparatory

Courage to Lead; Passion to Serve

2001 37th Avenue San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 731-7500
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