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Captain Harold R. (Bob) Wise

Captain Harold R. (Bob) Wise

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of former NNOA president, Captain Harold R. (Bob) Wise on November 20, 2022.

During his 30 plus year career in both active and reserve duty assignments, he served in several leadership positions including Commanding Officer, Auxiliary Floating Drydock Medium 104, Trenton, NJ;  Assistant Programs Officer, Naval Reserve Readiness Command Region Four, Philadelphia, PA.; Plans Officer, CINCEASTLANT 108, Atlanta, GA; Communications Officer, SACLANT Det. 205, Buffalo, NY; Director of Training, Naval Reserve Center, Buffalo, NY; Management Information and Retention Officer, Naval Reserve Readiness Command Region Eight, Jacksonville, FL.; Commanding Officer, Naval Reserve Voluntary Training Unit 0801, Atlanta, GA; Assistant Inspector General and Assistant Director of Plans for Readiness, Naval Reserve Readiness Command Region Eight, Jacksonville, FL.; Commanding Officer, Naval Reserve Readiness Unit “C”, Atlanta, GA; Director of Selected Reserve Training, Naval Reserve Readiness Center, Atlanta, GA; and Explosives Safety Inspector, Naval Ordnance Center, Indian Head Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, DC.

Captain Wise attended the Naval War College, served as a member of the Secretary of the Navy’s National Naval Reserve Policy Board for three years, served on the Naval Reserve Readiness Command Region Eight, Jacksonville, FL’s Reserve Policy Board for three years, completed the Reserve Components National Security Course presented by the National Defense University, attended the Armed Forces Staff College, attended the Naval War College War Gaming course and served on several Navy Reserve Officer line and staff selection boards.

Captain Wise was awarded the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy “E”, the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with two stars, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with hourglass, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Expert Rifle Medal, the Sharpshooter Pistol Ribbon, and Command Ashore Pin.

Captain Claude R. Williams

Captain Claude R. Williams

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of NNOA founding member, Captain Claude R. Williams. Dr. Claude R. Williams, Sr., 93, Orthodontist, Navy Captain, and Civil Rights Champion was born in Marshall, Texas in February 1929 died in Dallas, Texas. Williams was educated in the segregated schools of Marshall, Texas where he graduated from H.B. Pemberton High School. He attended Wiley College where he pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity but transferred to and graduated from Howard University in Washington DC with a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology, a Doctorate in Dental Surgery, and a Certificate in Orthodontics. Upon graduation, Dr. Williams joined the United States Naval Reserves and served on active duty in Bainbridge, Maryland. Dr. Williams became the First African American Dental Commanding Officer and the First African American Navy Dentist to achieve the rank of 0-6 (Captain).


Dr. Claude R. Williams Sr. Endowed Scholarship fund at Texas A&M University School of Dentistry

How to give to the Dr. Claude R. Williams Sr. Endowed Scholarship fund at Texas A&M University School of Dentistry. The scholarship is endowed to exist in perpetuity, and the funds are managed through the Texas A&M Foundation:


  1. Go to
  2. Click on the Give Now button.
  3. Where it says “Select a Unit or College” select: An Unlisted Account
  4. Where it says “Giving Account Name or Number” type: Dr. Claude R. Williams Scholarship – 23-076011
  5. Follow the rest of the instructions regarding donation, contact and payment information

By check:

Make check payable to: Texas A&M Foundation
In memo/notes section write: Dr. Williams Scholarship -23-076011
Mail check to: Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX 77840

Farewall – LtCol Larry Hicks, USA

Farewall – LtCol Larry Hicks, USA

Dear NNOA Family,

It is with great sadness that I announce the sudden and unexpected passing of LTCol Larry Hicks, USA on 26 February 2022. Colonel Hicks was the husband of Captain Lynne Hicks, USN

Burial at Arlington Cemetery to be determined at a later date.

Larry Hicks Obituary (2022) – Fairfax, DC – The Washington Post

Farewell Mrs. Mildred Brewer

Farewell Mrs. Mildred Brewer

Dear NNOA Family,

It is with great sadness that I send the news of Mrs. Mildred Brewer passing. Mrs. Brewer was the mother of one of our long time champions Vice Admiral David Brewer, US Navy, Retired.  Mrs. Brewer lived a very full and productive life and was less than a month from celebrating her 102nd birthday. Mrs. Brewer lived a life of purpose that included service as an elementary school teacher for almost 50 years. The Brewer family legacy of service continues in the scholarship foundation they established.

To commemorate her legacy, the Brewer Family will be asking those inclined to donate to a college scholarship & elementary school empowerment fund taught in four Title One schools. As soon as more details are available, we will pass them via NNOA social media and email.

Please join me in sending our prayers and thoughts to VADM David Brewer and his family.  

V/R, Sinclair Harris, RADM USN Retired, President, NNOA

Farewell CDR Smith, USN (Ret.)

Farewell CDR Smith, USN (Ret.)

It is with great sadness that I let our NNOA Family know of the passing of Commander Merle Smith, the first African American to graduate from the United States Coast Guard Academy.  More will be shared and I know your prayers and thoughts are welcomed by his family.

It is with great sadness that I inform you that CDR Merle James Smith, USCG (retired), passed away on June 16th, 2021 in New London, CT.  As many of you know, CDR Smith is the namesake of the Eclipse Legacy Coalitions “Merle J. Smith Eclipse Legacy Endowment,” which was established in 2017.  Merle J. Smith was the second African American to receive an appointment to the Academy and the first to graduate in June of 1966.  He was characterized as an excellent CGA Cadet, excelling with hard work in the classroom, in the barracks and on the football field.  CDR Smith Served as the Commanding Officer of a Patrol Boat during the Vietnam War and achieved his Juris Doctor, becoming a licensed attorney in 1974, all before being assigned to the Coast Guard Academy law faculty in 1975.  It was then that LT Smith’s impact at CGA would become legendary as a teacher, mentor and coach.  He served as the Class Advisor for the class of 1977, as an assistant football coach under the great Otto Graham and was an inspirational example for many of the young cadets to follow.  Including the class of 1978’s VADM Manson Brown, USCG (ret), who would tout “LT Smith modeled for us what we could become in the Coast Guard.  As such, he added to our motivation to stay and do the hard work necessary to thrive at the Academy.”

There is so much more to learn and remember about CDR Merle J. Smith, and the Eclipse Legacy Coalition will provide more details as time goes. However, for a couple of great reads on CDR Smith’s legacy please read:

The Long Blue Line: Merle Smith – the first African American graduate of the Coast Guard Academy « Coast Guard COAST GUARD COMPASS (


The Day – Coast Guard Academy renames officers club after first black graduate, retired Cmdr. Merle Smith – News from southeastern Connecticut