In November 1996, Shipmate Bill Paschall contacted RADM Bryan W.Compton, USN, (Retired), the first Skipper of USS NIMITZ (CVN-68) with the idea to form an Association of former Shipmates that had served in the The Great Ship Nimitz. Both contacted the then Skipper, Capt Ike Richardson to solicit his support for the idea, which was immediately given. The USS NIMITZ (CVN-68) Association was “Officially” launched.
By the spring of 1997, it was “full speed ahead” and ads were placed in military periodicals in an effort to locate former crew members. Shipmates from PreCom days were contacted to see if the idea was viable. It indeed was, and many responded very positively. On 8 August 1997, a group of NIMITZ Shipmates, who had served at different times during Nimitz’ twenty-two year history met at the Club, Naval Air Station, Oceana, Virginia Beach for dinner with their wives, lots of “Sea Stories”, and made preliminary plans for the first Reunion. This group included the following Shipmates and their wives: Charlie and Pattie Hogue, Chuck and Jo Blazek, Steve and Kathy Young, Larry and Laura Atkins, and Carolyn and Bill Paschall. Shortly after this first meeting, the group was joined by: Bud and Beverly Scott, and Gary and Susie Rollins.
Along with RADM Bryan Compton, you might say that this group was the“Founding Fathers and Mothers” of the USS NIMITZ (CVN-68) Association. Shipmate Charlie Hogue volunteered to serve as Chairman of the Norfolk Reunion Committee. Regrettably, Charlie passed away a short time later on 11 October 1997 doing what he loved best – playing golf after retiring from a 30 year Navy Career. Steve Young stepped up immediately and agreed to take over in Charlie’s stead. Steve also purchased a wreath and attended Charlie’s funeral to represent our fledging Association. Steve had sowed the seed for what was to become the Association’s Bereavement Program, which is now in full swing under the direction of the Association Chaplain.