Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Salute to our Veterans and Local Citizens

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Submitted by Norman Huff

As a Salute to our veterans on Memorial Day Weekend, I have rounded up some personal history and accomplishments of local residents that have lived in Coronado and graduated from Coronado High School. This tribute is for those who served in the military, WW II, Korea, the Cold War, Japan, Berlin Crisis, Cuban Crisis, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and should be recognized as American Patriots. Individuals included, especially the Coronado High School graduates, and others that have contributed by serving in the military, and local private enterprises— like Medical Doctors (MD) and PhD’s. It’s a salute to our Military past and present, also honoring our MDs, Medical Technicians, and Nurses – heroes that fight Coronavirus this Memorial Day weekend.

  1. Col. W Dean Hunter, USAF (Ret); 26 Years in the military including 6 years in the United States Marine Corp, 20 years as a Command Pilot in the USAF.  24 yrs. in education. Combat experience in the Korean War in 1950, Cold War 1958-63, Vietnam 1963-67. Note that is four (4) years…. Listed as one of the Highest Decorated Young Officers in the Air Force for Heroism in 1965… the list goes on…Dr. Hunter is currently a candidate for the Congressional Medal of Honor for a flight flown on June 25, 1964 in South Vietnam. See attachment for verified short personal biography.
  2. Vincent Flynn, MD, served in the California Army National Guard, 1965-71, achieved the rank of Captain, was the Battalion Surgeon, In the 40th armored division stationed at both Ft. Irwin and Camp Roberts.  Activated in 1965 to quell the Watts Riot in Los Angeles.  Had his own practice in Coronado and La Jolla urology for 30 years and worked with Kaiser Permanente for another 16 years.  The Dr. Flynn’s father, 2 uncles and 2 brothers (Patrick and Stephen, Jr.), also MDs. Dr. Vince Flynn’s two siblings’ MDs are known for their medical service in the US Navy and Phoenix area for seven decades, over 70 years. With Dr. Flynn’s two siblings the Flynn’s Family Practice and Legacy is anticipated to go another three decades, 100 years. Dr. Flynn’s uncle Dr. Vincent Patrick Flynn was my FAA Medical Examiner for certification of commercial aviation for both single and multiengine aircraft from 1938-1969.  Dr. Vincent J. Flynn’s son, Vince Jr., is also an MD, urologist, in San Diego and his daughter, Lisa, is an RN in Colorado Springs. Brother, Patrick, had a 20-year career as a Naval flight surgeon and retired as a Captain from the US Navy.  Father, Stephen E. Flynn, MD also a career Navy medical officer and retired as a Captain after 20 years. He received a Bronze Star for his heroic medical care on the USS Columbia during the battle of the Linguyen Gulf in WWll.  After the war he started his medical practice in Coronado and practiced for another 20 years. Dr. Vince’s sister, Kathleen, is a retired RN in San Diego.
  3. John Elwell Educator, Teacher, Principal, and Educational Consultant.  Publisher/writer, author of the book, Surfing In San Diego Arcadia Press. Considered an Authority on Surf History; especially on the life of Robert “Bob” Simmons; designer and builder of his 2nd generation all balsa longboard commonly called the Simmons Board in California and Hawaii.  Mr. Simmons was known by other ocean surfers as the Phantom Surfer.  Mr. Simmons surfed by himself and was usually seen at the outer break. See attachment for short biography.
  4. Norman Nelson Huff, two years at Coronado High School, Met Tom Shine in the Coronado H. S. Swim Team in 1948-49.  Lettered.  Moved to Biloxi, Mississippi to be with his mother.  Graduated from the Gulf Coast Military Academy in Gulfport, MI in 1951; Graduated from San Diego State University (SDSU) with a BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Minors in Chemistry, and Air Science; received his US Air Force Commission as a 2nd Lt. in June 1957.  Served in the USNAR with VF-823, FASon 871, VS-871 from 1959-74. Recipient of the Marquis Who’s Who Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award personal biography for year 2020. See attachment for Norm’s Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who’s Who. Award as shown in the Wall Street Journal, Feb. 5, 2020
  5. Pete Glynn earned his PhD in Marine Biology, Professor for numerous Universities. Worked for the Smithsonian Institute as a researcher for sea life, and at the University of Miami, Florida. Acclaimed as the World Authority on sea coral.  Has written multiple articles, as a contributing editor and writer to numerous Marine magazines.  Professor emeritus at the University’s Marine Station Miami, Florida.
  6. Richard “Dick” Vance United States Navy.
  7. The late Lt. “Sunny” Varner Unites States Navy. Deceased.
  8. Tom Carlin spent 6 years in the US Navy as an enlisted Frogman in the Underwater Demolition Team. They were the predecessors of the SEAL Team. After his service he was a professional diver for private companies. He is retired and lives with his wife, Fran, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
  9. The late Cmdr. Thomas Shine Unites States Navy, USNA Class of 55, President of the Coronado Senior Center.  Graduate of Coronado High School in 1951. Deceased.
  10. 1st Lt. Carlton Koehler: enlisted with the Coronado National Guard from 1955-57, Commissioned in the U. S. National Guard in 1958. Served at Fort Ord, California. Started his Underwater diving company at Santa Catalina Pier in 1959.  Graduate of Coronado High School 1953-57 (sic.) Present status unknown.
  11. The late Nick Reynolds, created the Kingston Trio Group that started the Folk Singing Era in the ’50s through the ’80s.  I consider Nick an American Patriot all during the Cold War.  While I was standing alert in Spain, West Germany, and Morocco, his associate Donald McArthur continued mailing me some of their fresh cut 33 1/3 RPM recorded albums; with some of their famous songs like Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooly, The MTA, and Remember The Alamo. I received 10 to 15 albums through USPS APO addresses. I played them while serving fighter alert in Spain, 1960, 65; West Berlin for the Berlin Crisis in 1961, Morocco in 1960, and Vietnam in 1965. Note that Nick’s father served and was a close friend of my late grandfather Capt. Charles Peabody Huff USN on the USS Naval Cruiser called the Marblehead in the late ’20s near San Francisco, CA.
  12. It should be noted that my grandfather a USNA cadet Charles Peabody Huff was selected to be Admiral George Dewey Chief Navigator of the U. S. Navy Great White Fleet.  A noteworthy assignment since my Grandfather —age estimated to be 20 to 22 years of age —, when he was either a 2nd or 3rd USNA class cadet, as his Chief Navigator all during the Spanish American War.  —  I can just see or imagine the other US Naval Officers watching my grandfather, a USNA cadet, shoot the sun with a sextant, and compute the longitude and latitude using logarithms to chart the passage of the Great White Fleet around the Caribbean, Atlantic, and Pacific Oceans. Admiral Dewey allowed cadet Charles Peabody Huff to lead a battalion of US Marines to attack the Morro’s Castle that was guarding the entrance to the Puerto Rico Bay.  He was wounded while leading the charge. Cmdr. George K. Peabody Huff USN, survived the December 7th, 1941 Japanese attack at Kaneohe, Hawaii.  He was the Executive Officer of VP-14 at the time. While attempting to start and eventually attempt to take off during the attack the second attack, the Japanese attacked his PBY-1 Catalina several times. —My letter to the Department of Veterans is in error.  Became the CO while the Squadron Commander (SC) had to report to Washington DC. For the Dec. 7th attack.  My father then became the acting CO.— My father’s permanent residence was at 155 Alameda Blvd, in Coronado in 1939 – 56.
  13. Corporal Robert “Bob” Burns served with the local Coronado U.S. National Guard Unit along with Carlton Koehler in 1955.  He served in Korea, and Japan. Bob Burns is the son of Patrick Burns who was the former owner of the 24 Hr Café on Orange Ave. up to 1954.  Where I worked part time on weekends as a Short Order Chef from 1953-57. Corporal Burns is deceased
  14. Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Charles Keating IV who died in a gunbattle with Islamic State Fighters on May 3rd, 2016.

Information Compiled and Submitted by Norman Nelson Huff (listed as #4 in above list)


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Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.”Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:


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