With Dick Ellis in 1952 on the USS DES MOINES (CA-134)

Ray Medeiros

Dick Ellis (16) was one of the most interesting plebes to arrive at Bancroft Hall in 1951. He already had a Bachelor’s Degree from Dartmouth, and he arrived with a German Leica camera and a Speed Graphic, the type used by the press corps. It seemed like whenever we had a work detail such as transferring stores, refueling at sea, or holy stoning the decks, Dick which show up with his cameras; announce himself as the class photographer, and start taking pictures of his classmates, WORKING. Many of his pictures were sent to Hometown News and appear in our Yearbook. And, in those days, USNA grads were Commissioned in the Regular Navy, and NROTC meant the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corp.

During the cruise we always looked forward to that period after the noon meal when we lounged on the after deck on blankets playing cards, reading, or just sunbathing. Early in the cruise Dick and I were on our blanket and we invited a passing NROTC to join us. After he sat down and we exchanged names, the conversation went something like this:

Ray- "Where are you from?"

NROTC- "Georgia Tech"

Ray- “Home in Georgia?"

NROTC- “Yeah”

NROTC then would ask where we were from. I replied Rhode Island and Dick replied Boston, Mass. The NROTC then asked whether we had attended college before the Naval Academy. I replied that I had spent a year at Rhode Island State, and Dick replied that he attended Dartmouth. The NROTC then asked Dick how long he had spent at Dartmouth, and Dick replied 4 years to which the NROTC asked if he had graduated from Dartmouth and Dick replied in the affirmative. The NROTC then asked "If you had a degree couldn't you have gotten a Commission in the Navy?" To which Dick replied with an absolutely straight face “Actually I was offered a commission as an Ensign but I didn't take it because (he paused here, a pregnant pause, for a few seconds, and then continued) it was only a "Reserve" Commission. I still remember the look on that NROTC face as his eyes widened and his jaw dropped. We patented that discussion and improved on it slightly during the cruise to lead other NROTC Mids down the same garden path ending with the same facial expressions each time.

Been thinking of this since Dick passed away, and I am offering it now in his fond memory.

Ray Medeiros (3)

That’s my story, and I am sticking to it.