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Members of Racine’s Navy Club Ship 60

, from left to right: Bill Mutchler, commander; Marty Jacobs, paymaster; Mike Peterson, master-at-arms; and Glenn Smith, trustee.

 

 

Their monthly meetings are structured like those of a crew on board a U.S. Navy ship, with reports given by the ship’s commander and paymaster, sick bay, communications department and more. They salute the American flag during the Pledge of Allegiance and their ship’s chaplain leads them in prayer at the meeting’s start.

They are the men and women of Racine’s Navy Club Ship 60, a nonprofit organization that meets on the second Wednesday of the month at the Racine Veterans Center, 820 Main St. And while they are serious about upholding the spirit and ideals of the U.S. Navy, this group also knows how to have fun, as they work to serve area veterans and their families.

Formed in 1944, Navy Club Ship 60 is the local branch of the Navy Club of the United States of America, chartered by an Act of Congress in 1940. Ship 60’s members are mostly Navy veterans and their root goals are to “further, encourage, promote and maintain comradeship among its members; to revere, honor and perpetuate the memory of its departed shipmates; and to promote and encourage further public interest in the United States Navy and its history.”

Community-minded

In addition to their monthly meetings — which offer laughs as well as serious moments — Ship 60’s members support a variety of service projects both with time and money. Their efforts range from playing bingo with residents at the Union Grove Veterans Home to supporting and mentoring members of Milwaukee’s U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a federally charted, nonprofit civilian organization for youth ages 11-17.

The club also holds fundraisers to benefit veterans’ organizations including the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight (www.starsandstripeshonorflight.org), Fisher House Wisconsin (www.fisherhousewi.org) and Vets Roll, an organization based in Illinois that transports World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, D.C., by bus (www.vetsroll.org).

“We’re all about veterans helping veterans,” said Marty Jacobs, Ship 60’s paymaster and Radioman Second Class in the U.S. Navy, 1975-1980.

The club’s community-mindedness is something that Ship 60’s commander, Bill Mutchler, said drew him to the group.

“We go out in the community to help people and we’re using the money we raise to better things,” said Mutchler, who served as a commander in the U.S. Navy from 1963-1972. Such action is also appreciated by longtime club member Lyle Tennis, a Navy Cross-decorated, 28-year Navy veteran who served in the South Pacific during World War II.

 

“We do what we can to help other people, even if it’s just giving them a ride to the hospital,” Tennis said, adding that he also enjoys the opportunity the club provides to connect with veterans from all eras.

“I just appreciate coming down here to a meeting,” he said. “It is so much of a release to see other people who are happy and ready to talk about their experiences. We learn from each other.”

Shipmates, friends

The camaraderie among members is something many of Ship 60’s crew said keeps them involved in the club.

“We share stories and sometimes we like to bug each other, but we know how we mean it,” said member Sam Graceffa, a Navy veteran who served on supply ships in the Mediterranean Sea during the Korean conflict.

One of Ship 60’s youngest members, Mike Peterson, said that even though many of the crew are Vietnam veterans (he served in the Navy from 1975-1987), he still feels a strong connection with them.

“Once a shipmate, always a shipmate,” said Peterson, who served on the USS Iowa. “Shipmates are friends for life, and I consider these guys my shipmates.”

One doesn’t have to be a Navy veteran, though, to join this group. Navy Club Ship 60 is open to those who have served, or are currently serving, in the U.S. Navy, the United States Marine Corps or the U.S. Coast Guard. Associate memberships are also available to members of any branch of service and their dependents (associate members have no voting rights).

The ship currently has 28 active members, including three women. And Ship 60 is always looking for new members, Jacobs said.

For more about Navy Club Ship 60 visit the club’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Navy-Club-Ship-60-Racine-WI-344369631904/timeline or send an email to ncship60@wi.rr.com

 

 

EVENTS

 

Pictures from a recent S.O.S. breakfast.  For dates see the calendar on the main page

 

 

 

 

 
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