Letter from John “Clancy” Jenista

13 Nov 1988


Dear Aviation Midshipmen:

Boy, have I got news for you! In the directory, the list of missing Midshipmen included my old roommate from class 4-48 William E. Greeley. Well, I found him – in the last place you would ever think to look – still on active duty in the Navy! Captain William E. Greeley D. C., USN is the head of the Dental Department at NAS Miramar in San Diego. This is over 40 years since he started Pre-Flight on the eighth of February 1948. This has to be the record and Gus Kinnear will have to move over as the last of our group to be on active duty.

Bill served his first sea duty tour flying the Grumman AF “Guardian” at NAS Quonset Point. He then did a tour as an instructor at NAS Kingsville in Texas. Next was the obligatory “Ships Company” tour in the Randolph (CV-15) I think. Anyway the ship was in drydock at the time. This is double disappointment for an aviator, no flying and not even any airplanes around in a shipyard. Bill then got out and went back to school. After learning to be a dentist, he rejoined the Navy and is just now finishing his career in the field. My son is an F-14 RIO with VF-2H at Miramar. When his wife had a dental checkup, Capt Greeley remarked about her name and recalled his old roommate Clancy Jenista. Amazing stuff. Bill is about to retire or may have already.

Surely we should send him a certificate or something. Bill also, by the way, may be the shortest Aviation Midshipman. He had to get a medical waiver because he was only 5'6'' tall. I remember his first flight in the SNJ. It took 3 seat cushions and 2 back cushions to put him up high enough in the cockpit. The instructor told him to pull the landing gear up after takeoff. When he bent over to reach the lever the instructor yelled “keep your head out of the cockpit and watch for other traffic.” Bill couldn’t reach the lever without bending way over so things were at an impasse for a while. He said it took quite a while before he finally got a hand on the wheel lever.