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Robert McWethy

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Joined: 03 Jan 2016
Location: Fallbrook
Status: Offline
Points: 972
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    Posted: 05 Feb 2018 at 3:00pm
Captain Robert "Bob" D. McWethy (USN Ret.), 98, departed this life peacefully at home on January 29, 2018, surrounded by his family. He was born in Aurora, Illinois, in 1920, to the late J. LeRoy and Zula Miller McWethy. Bob graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in December 1941, as part of the wartime class of 1942. His first assignment upon graduation was to the heavy cruiser USS San Francisco (CA 38), operating in the South Pacific out of Pearl Harbor.

While serving on USS San Francisco, he received orders to submarine school in New London, CT. After completing the training, he was assigned to the newly constructed USS Pogy (SS 266), a Gato-class submarine, and returned to Pearl Harbor. Pogy made six successful war patrols from Pearl Harbor and Midway Island. Bob received the Silver Star for his actions as torpedo officer during a war patrol in the enemy-controlled waters of the Pacific Ocean which resulted in the sinking of two Japanese freighters and a 20,000-ton transport, and in the successful evasion of severe enemy countermeasures.               

After the war, Bob served as executive officer of USS Picuda (SS 382) and USS Skate (SS 305). Skate was a target ship for the A-bomb tests at Bikini. From 1952 to 1954, he commanded the USS Piper (SS 409). He also commanded USS Vermillion (AKA 107) and USS Providence (CLG 6). Bob pioneered submarine navigation under the Arctic ice pack. Working with his friend Dr. Waldo Lyon, the founder and chief research scientist of the Arctic Submarine Laboratory, Bob was instrumental in drawing up the Pentagon's plans for navigation of the Arctic by nuclear submarine in 1957. As chief of staff for Submarine Squadron 10, he wrote the orders that sent USS Nautilus (SSN 571) on its secret crossing underneath the North Pole.

Bob received the Legion of Merit for meritorious conduct as commander of Oceanographic Systems Atlantic and his role in the widespread operations of the Atlantic Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) underwater listening posts during a period of considerable growth and improvement.

After retirement in 1970, Bob was active in the sailing program at the Naval Academy. He served as commodore of the U.S. Naval Sailing Association in 1971, and as offshore coach and race-committee head for midshipmen sailing. He received the A.G.B. Grosvenor award for his contributions to the mission and programs of the sailing squadron during his 35 years of service. He was an active member in the Cruising Club of America, Chesapeake Chapter.

Bob and his wife Liz McWethy were actively involved in the Severn River Association, and they founded the Weems Creek Conservancy, spearheading many successful efforts to preserve the natural beauty of the creek. Bob was supportive of Liz's many contributions in the field of child development, and as a poet. Always humbly mindful of the source of his many blessings, he served as a Lay Eucharistic Minister and a lector for the early service at St. Phillips's Episcopal Church for 40 years. He held various offices in the men's club at the church and was voted "Father of the Year" in 1997.

He treasured his camaraderie with classmates and friends in his Friday golf group throughout his retirement. Bob is survived by Daniel R. McWethy, David A. McWethy (Pam), William C. McWethy (Tamyr), Martha F. Boynton, Margaret E. McWethy Bodie (Steve), and Melissa M. McNitt (James), ten grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bob's honor may be made to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
USNA[Canberra(CAG-2);Willard Keith(DD-775)];Providence(CLG-6);Sea Robin(SS-407); Nat Greene(SSBN-636B); GMS Dam Neck; Naval Advisory Group,Viet Nam; Okinawa(LPH-3); OIC FLTAC Corona;OIC NWS Fallbrook
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