Gregory Dean Black – Lieutenant (jg) United States Navy

Gregory D. Black Aircraft accident October 30, 1958


The following tribute to Gregory Black by Dan Ebert was published in the December 1997 issue of Shipmate:

The September 1997 issue of Shipmate carries the obituary of Admiral Joseph Dean Black 1931. There was a brief mention of his son, Gregory, but no reference that Greg was a USNA Class of 1955 Classmate of ours. Greg was a good friend and a team-mate on the Plebe Crew that won the National Championship in 1952 (the same year the Varsity Eight won the Nationals and the Olympics) and on the JV Heavyweight Crew in 1955. Greg sat directly behind me on both boats as the bow oar.

During CAMID summer at Little Creek, Greg took me along to visit his dad on his ship in Norfolk, the CURRITUCK (AVP-7). What an impression the Captain's Quarters made on this Mid, especially after our 5-high bunks on the “troop ships”. Greg's dad was equally impressive but quite formal, unlike Greg. I left with quite a feeling of respect for the office and the man. Greg, on the other hand, was always ready with a laugh, even at the weakest of jokes. It could have been disastrous during practice, since Greg's oar could have easily speared me in the back if he lost timing.

During 1/c year, Greg supplied the mascot for our eight, a small toy monkey, taped to the bow of the shell. We managed to push the monkey across the finish line first quite a few times, but we were only third at the Nationals that year. I can still see that monkey's grinning face. Of course, we commented more than once on the resemblance to it's sponsor. It's been nearly forty years since Greg and his F9 Cougar were lost. I often woke up dreaming that someone had told me that the report of his death was a mistake. As our own family grew, I thought of the pride Greg's dad must have felt to see him graduate and win his gold wings, and the ache he must have borne all these years after his loss. Greg often spoke of his Scottish heritage and had traced his roots to the famous “Black Watch”. I'm sure they were proud of him. And I'm sure that Greg and his dad have been reunited wherever kilts, gold wings and laughter are assigned.



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