Sam Houston Squadron
Texas Navy Spring Commissioning Ceremony
Submitted by SHS Deputy Commander Adm Marsha Taylor
he Sam Houston Squadron of the Texas Navy held their annual Spring Social on Sunday, March 16 in the Ballroom of Lakewood Yacht Club. Commander Don Genitempo welcomed the group and led the pledges to the United States flag and the Texas flag.
After the invocation from Rev. George Aurich, SHS Secretary Admiral Marisa Hegesyi led the group in singing The National Anthem, accompanied by Admiral Sue Warters on piano. Commander Genitempo then initiated the squadron's first Admirals Commissioning Ceremony, as Jack Frassanito, Tom Richards, Jeff Southard and Loyd Thornton were inducted into the Sam Houston Squadron and were presented their Commission certificates. Individuals are granted Admiral Commissions in the Texas Navy by the Governor of the State of Texas.
The speaker was Admiral Bob Callanan from the Nimitz Squadron, with a colorful, informative and entertaining program entitled "Galveston Island; Texas' Earliest Privateers." One of the areas of his presentation focused on the positive contributions and accomplishments of Jean Lafitte to the City of Galveston. As a fun aside, Admiral Callanan shared the speculation that research indicates Johnny Depp may have based his Captain Jack Sparrow character upon the recorded history and spoken legends of the French pirate and privateer, Jean Lafitte.
After the program, Admiral Callanan presented the SHS with a star to top the flagpole which flies the Texas Navy Flag presented to the SHS by the Nimitz Squadron in 2012. He did so with a familiar and good-natured ribbing about General Sam Houston's general relationship with the Texas Navy. As she presented a gift to Callanan on behalf of SHS, Deputy Commander Marsha Taylor accepted the star on behalf of the squadron and theorized that if General Houston were around today, he would likely elect to join this squadron that bears not only his name, but maybe a tad of his feisty character as well. In addition to having strong opinions, Sam Houston was known also for being a peace maker, and at all times he had Texas' best interest at heart.
Adding a special finale and high note to the evening, Admiral Hegyesi led and Admiral Warters accompanied on piano as the group sang "Texas Our Texas."
The SHS was honored to have guests from other squadrons present, such as Texas Navy Association Vice President Admiral John Nicholson and wife Carol from the Lamar Squadron at Houston Yacht Club. Guests from the Tom Toby Squadron in Houston included Commander Curt Osborne and wife Peggy, Admiral Beth Fisher whose ancestor was the second Secretary of the Texas Navy, and author Admiral Jim Bevill and wife Jodie. Admiral Bevill's most recent book is "The Paper Republic: The Struggle for Money, Credit & Independence in the Republic of Texas."
The SHS was also honored to have several area officials present. Among those, Congressional Candidate for the 36th District, Brian Babin and wife Roseanne; Chambers County Commissioner Rusty Senac; Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne and wife Heather, County Clerk of Chambers County.