Military Classmates



Received a nice email from Nancy Abshire, wife of our Royce Abshire to inform us that Royce was also a Marine.  I have added him to the list.  Here is the fine email......

My husband, Royce Abshire, TJ class of 1962, was a member of the US Marine Corp from June 1964 to June 1970.  He served at Paris Island and Camp Lejeune then served the remaining years in the reserves in Port Arthur/Beaumont.  


He is extremely proud of his service and I know he would be honored to be included on the class website of those who have served his country.  We made a trip back to Paris Island to visit the base in the summer of 2003 and he is so glad to have this memory.  


He enjoys visiting the TJ 62 website and we applaud the excellent work you and Lucille accomplish in keeping everyone up to date and informed.  Thank you so much for your help in adding Royce's name to those who have proudly served their country.


Nancy Cunningham Abshire
TJ class of 1963



Veterans from the TJ Class of  1962


Roger Cantu

Jim Cassel (Vietnam Vet)

Mike Eaves

Ed Flanagan

Joe Graffio (Deceased)

Martin Hefley (Deceased)

Buddy Jordan

Benny Knight

Jim Lee -(USN Security Group SE Asia 68-70)

James Lewis (Deceased)

Ronny New (Deceased)

Luther Odom (VN Vet) (Deceased)

Larry Quinn

Peter Russell (Deceased - in Vietnam)

Jerry Serville

Lew Smith (Deceased)

John Taylor (Colonel)

Ronnie Thompson

Loron Truett (Deceased)

Wilson Yancey

Harry Wolf (82nd AB)



Royce Abshire

Michael Bass

Ben Beauchamp

Charles Brabham

Ray Cates (Deceased)

Warren Henry (Deceased) 

Thomas Hunter (Vietnam Vet)

Harry Paul Logan

Ralph Moreno (Deceased)

Perry Don Mosley (Deceased)

Bill Piggott (Deceased)

Philip Samuel Skaff (Deceased)

Wayne Taylor

Bill Wahl (Deceased)







Harold Schroeder

James P. Hutchins (Deceased)



Gary Bowden (Ret)

Tom Dorsey (1965 – 1971)

Andy Foote

John Green (USN 8 yrs, 16 yrs in Seabees)

Dan Johnston

Charles Totoris (Deceased - in San Diego)




Donald Cain

David Earle

Alton Mathews

Dale Saulsberry (Retired as Lt. Col)

Gerald Thibodeaux (Deceased)

Ronnie Thompson (he has quite a story)

David Totino (Deceased)




One of Our Classmates Who Left Us Too Early in the Military
December 17, 1971



Lt. Philip Sammy Skaff


From the Front Page


The Port Arthur News


December 20, 1971

The Port Arthur News  Tuesday  

December 21, 1971


(Original Obituary)

A Painting
Sammy Skaff

Lt. Skaff Killed in Jet Crash


First Lt. Philip Samuel (Sam) Skaff, Jr., 28, of 2645 Twin City Highway, Port Arthur, died in a Naval Air Station hospital Friday following a plane crash at Harbor Point naval air Station, Oahu, Hawaii.


Lt. Skaff, a fighter pilot, was flying with a squadron of the Marine Corps Air Wing when the crash occurred.


A native of Morgantown, WV, Lt Skaff had resided in Port Arthur since 1945.  He was a graduate of Thomas Jefferson high school, class of 1962.  He was vice-president of the Senior Class, was in the Senior Court, and was one of the top ten in his class.  He was a member of the Order of DeMolay, was a Life Scout and Little League All-Star.


Lt. Skaff attended Georgia Tech, and was graduated from Texas Tech with a mechanical engineering degree.   He entered the Marine Corps and was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps Air Wing.  He was a Presbyterian.


Surviving are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Philip S. Skaff Sr; three sisters, Mrs. Phyllis Moore, Mrs. Patricia McQueen and Miss Carol Skaff of Houston; and one paternal grandmother, Mrs. Phoebe Skaff of Los Angeles, Calif.


Funeral service will be announced by the Grammier-Oberle 39th Street Chapel. 


Lt. Philip Skaff Rites Set

A Trisagion service will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Grammier-Oberle 39th Street Funeral home for First Lt. Philip S. Skaff, Jr., 28, 2615 Twin City High, Port Arthur, who died in a naval Air Station Hospital Friday following a plane crash at Harbor Point Naval air Station Oahu, Hawaii.


Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Thursday in the funeral home with the Rev. Constatatine Masood, pastor of St. Michael’s Orthodox Church of Beaumont assisted by Mel Metcalf. 


Entombment with full military honors by the Marine Corps, will be in Greenlawn Memorial Mausoleum.  Honorary pallbearers will be Morris “Spook” Laird and G. W. Bailey both classmates of Lt. Skaff, Arthur Ulbrick, Capt. Charles Farrell.  Pallbearers will be Marine Corps personnel.


Lt. Skaff, a fighter pilot, was flying with a squadron of the Marine Corps Air Wing when the crash occurred.


A native of Morgantown, W. Va. Lt Skaff had lived in Port Arthur since 1945.  He was a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School, class of 1962.


He attended Georgia Tech, and graduated from Texas Tech with a mechanical engineering degree.  He entered the Marine Corps and became a fighter pilot. 


He was a Presbyterian. 



This came directly from his sister who stated:

"Sammy painted this just before the accident in Hawaii.

He was a gentle soul."

Carol M. Skaff

Comments: He will be eternally young....  Wayne Taylor    




Dale Saulsberry remarked this was from his "Air Force Days".


That pic was taken by a buddy from Logansport, IN, who was foolin' around with amateur photography at the time while we were stationed at the Naval Communications Station in Adak, Alaska, in 1967. 

He took pictures of several of us one Sunday morning as we decked out in our dress blues and sat at desk of our commanding officer. 

Adak is one of the southern most islands of the Aleutian Island chain off Alaska and was the home of large number of G.I.'s during WWII.  In 1967, there were only naval installations on the island of which there were three, along with one Coast Guard facility.  Incidentally, classmate Richard Boyer was stationed there as well at a naval radio communications facility located on Mt. Moffett.  My facility was at the base of Mt. Adagdak, an dormant volcano.

If you Google Adak, AK, today, you'll find that the U. S. Navy has since abandoned the facilities (in 1997) and no longer has any military activity there. I believe there may be civilians that live there now who are now trying to develop it as a commercial center.  But, it's a long, long way from the mainland (450 miles and 3+ hrs. flight from Anchorage) and smack dab in the middle of the Bering Sea.

Tom Dorsey




The only local in this picture is our late classmate James Lewis, top row, 5th from left.  He had said -


"Here is a picture of my basic training company at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri. 

This picture was taken in January 1968.  I am the 5th guy on the top row. 

I was the only Texan in this company.  When I left for basic, it was 70 degrees 

in Port Arthur but 3 degrees in Missouri when I got there. 

I only wore a long sleeve shirt so it was pretty damn cold until 

I got my uniforms. Damn near froze my tail off. Seems like a million years ago."