Hartley Holte

In 2010, the Class of 1955 created a small book named, LEGACY, and included several stories about the gifts made by the class collectively and individually to the Academy after graduation. One of these projects was initiated by Bill Anders to honor his father in the form of a new soccer facility to house memorabilia, referee facilities and related items. In preparing the write-up about this facility, our then all-American goalie, Bruce Newell was asked to describe the older facilities which were less than satisfactory. Bruce did this and added a vignette about the forced landing of a small plane in the field during a practice session. In reviewing some “archived” family material, we ran across an article which further explains the plane landing incident. You may now enjoy re-reading the story in the LEGACY book as well! Transcribed below is that AP story.


Thursday, October 25, 1951: By Associated Press.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. A New York couple, whose little plane “dropped in” unexpectedly on the Naval Academy soccer field had to shuttle out of town today. Robert Yarnell Richie, 43 year-old movie producer, gunned his single-engined craft and cleared the field, goals and all, about noon. That’s where he landed last night in a driving rainstorm with only a few drops of gasoline left. Mrs. Richie, 28, his companion on a trip to Houston, Tex, had to be picked up elsewhere. Their cameras, film boxes and other gear would have weighted down the plane on the short field. So she was driven with the gear to Lee Airport, just outside Annapolis. Richie went by air to pick them up and take off again from a standard runway.

Richie had tried to put down at airfields in Washington and Baltimore and they were despairing until they saw the flood-lighted soccer field. “It looked extremely inviting”, Richie said, and circled his small plane low over the field. On the ground, Glenn Warner, Navy soccer coach, was putting his charges through a late practice session when he noticed the craft fluttering above the field, its lights blinking. He deployed his players on either side of the field and stationed others by each of the soccer goals. They waved white shirts, which looked like moving lights. Richie landed with room to spare.

“You know, those Midshipmen really are clever”, Richie said, “We are both very grateful to the Navy.”