Larry A. Potton
1940 ~ 2020
Captain Larry Alan Potton, age 79, of River Falls, Wisconsin died at his home surrounded by his family on Sunday, January 12, 2020, after stoically battling cancer. Larry was born in Clinton, Wisconsin on July 6, 1940, the third child of Howard and Martha (Roberts) Potton. Larry spent his youth in Avalon, Wisconsin hunting and fishing with his father and two brothers, Bill and Dale, and tormenting his little sister, Ruth Ann.
Larry Potton graduated from Clinton High School, class of 1958, and from the University of Wisconsin – Platteville in 1962. He earned his Wings in 1964, proudly serving for five years as a Naval Aviator with Helicopter Combat Support Squadron 2 (HC-2), also known as the “Fleet Angels”. He and Linda Millman, of Platteville, Wisconsin, eloped and were married at Lakehurst Naval Air Station on June 12, 1964.
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Richard ‘Dick’ Hauff
1940 ~ 2019
Captain Richard Hauff, age 79, passed away quietly on December 9, 2019. He was a lover of country, church and Carol, his wife of twenty years. Dick was raised an only child and grew up in Royersford, PA. He graduated from West Chester University where he met his wife Carol.
Dick entered the Naval Officer Candidates School in August of 1962. He thereafter reported (one day late) to Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, VA for USN BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) Class 29. This rigorous training program also included Army Airborne Training, guerrilla warfare training, which together added the air and land components to the sea (Frogman) UDT qualification. It can be safely assumed that all who graduated from this high washout program excelled in all respects.
The range of Dick’s SEAL assignments would be worthy of a captivating book, but he was especially proud of the cover of Time magazine showing his UDT team attaching the first flotation bladders to the Gemini Three space capsule after splashing in the Pacific.
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Joseph ‘Ned’ Best
1940 ~ 2019
Captain Ned Best, age 78, passed away the morning of July 24, 2019 surrounded by his loving wife of 39 years and their three grown children. Ned was born an identical twin to Samuel and Helen Best on October 28, 1940 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Ned earned both a Bachelor or Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tulsa in 1962. Between the academic school years he found summer work fighting wildfires in Idaho, where he fell in love with the Pacific Northwest, vowing to someday make it his home. In addition to his academic studies at the University of Tulsa, Ned completed four years of Air Force ROTC and upon completing his degree was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force Resesrve.
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John E. McAlpin
1934 ~ 2019
Captain John McAlpin, age 85, passed away on December 14, 2019. Born on September 16, 1934 to Thomas and Mary Agnes McAlpin in Minneapolis, MN. John’s father was a salesman for Liggett & Meyers Tobacco Company. John grew up in St. Cloud, MN and attended nearby Saint John’s University.
After two years of academic work at Saint John’s University, a friend convinced John to take the screening examinations and physicals for the USN Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD) program. John was admitted and began flight training at NAS Pensacola. Upon pilot training graduation John opted for a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps and initial duty as a multi-engine pilot. He served as a pilot in a variety of aircraft to include: the SNJ, R4Q (C-119), T-33, AD-3W, and the F9F Panther. Much of John’s active duty flying was spent flying the R4Q (C-119) in Europe and around the Mediterranean. While operating out of NAS Naples (Italy) John encountered the legendary Mafia mobster ‘Lucky’ Luciano. Lucky had been deported from the US to Italy and resided in a hotel used to house transit NATO flight crew. Apparently, the mobster had an ‘open door’ policy toward airmen and especially enjoyed discussing major league baseball with John. Pro baseball was something Luciano greatly missed about the USA. In 1958 John few direct support flights for U.S. Marines deployed in Lebanon during the 1958 Lebanon Crisis. This Middle East crisis was provoked in part by Egypt’s Gamal Nasser during a period of particularly high level of political and religious tension. After separating from active duty John served with the USMC Reserve at NAS Twin Cities.
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