A Very Special Evening for John Carcioppolo
Photo courtesy of Don Smith
by Robert "Dex" Armstrong
A friend of mine once defined a GOOD MAN as "a
fellow who will volunteer to hold and comfort a worthless stray
dog, while a Vet sets his broken leg."
Your first handshake with John Carcioppolo tells
you that he is such a guy. Every sucessful organization has a small
number of "workhorses". Without these individuals voluntarily
sacrificing and foregoing pleasures, to don their heavy hauling
harness to pull far more than a reasonably alotted share of the
organizational load, you end up with something resembling the Leona
Helmsley Appreciation Society.
Recently John...aka "Gumba" was presented
with the Joe Negri Award. This was ironically fitting. Why?? Because
Joe Negri, whose namesake award is at present tucked safely under
Gumbas pillow, was the founding father of the organizational tent
we all attend memory revivals in.... USSVI. Gumba's stewardship
has provided the mastic that has held it together and strengthened
it through his now hallmark, unselfish dedication.
John comes equipped with a natural lighthearted
nature that instantly puts you at ease. My Dear Wife gave him one
of the finest tributes that can be given a true gentleman....She
said,"A woman immediately feels comfortable in his presence,
because his goodness is that apparent." That trait honors John's
Mother, for proper respect of that nature can always be traced to
the gentle hand of a truly good Mother. She must surely be proud.
Gumba, a lot of us are proud of this long overdue
recognition you have received. It certainly vindicates the faith
we all have in the wisdom of our fine organizational leadership.....and
it makes us honored to be able to call ourselves your Shipmate and
Friend. There is a line in Kipling's "IF" that goes something
like...(Forgive me Rudyard if I butcher it) "He can walk with
Kings but never lose the common touch." That line could have
been written specifically to fit our John Carcioppolo....but the
best term for John, the one that fits him best is LEADER.... for
the man exemplifies all of the finest qualities carried by the meaning
of the term. He belongs to us. He is "one of us".
He honors The United States Submarine Force everyday
by living an existence, that seemingly comes easy to men of his
caliber and as yet undetermined capacity, in unselfish service to
our Boatsailor Community. Someday, when we are all sitting in that
"All Comers Bar" at the end of the Silver Pier, up in
the Sky... you know the one....the place where they never run out
of free ice cold beer and two foot long Slim-Jims...The gin mill
with the hull numbers of every boat since Old Man Holland sold Uncle
Sam his first smokeboat, carved in the table tops....The place where
the Goddess of the Main Induction hustles pitchers to the tables
and doesn't mind old Qualified men patting her fanny...Yeah, you
know the place...
One day, all we old coots will be sitting there
swapping worn out lies and some newly arrived Nuke kid is gonna
come busting through the door yelling...."Some Sonuvabitch
just won the First GUMBA Award."... and some of us will smile
and say, "No Shit, I actually knew him and was his friend and
A Bizarre Conversation with Rose Negri
(What follows is part of a BBS post by Gumba in
reponse to Dex Armstrong's message reproduced above)
Now here's a scary no shitter for all of you. This
gave me the willies.
I just hung up the phone w/ Mrs. Rose Negri... Joe's
widow. Friday night I was 2500 miles away from Groton out in Reno
getting recognized with the most prestigious award in USSVI.. the
Joe Negri award. Rose told me that she was sitting at her kitchen
table and at about 11pm Friday night doing some reading when she
heard a crash from Joe's study down the hall. When she went in there
there was small picture of Joe and I taken at the 1984 convention
that had some how gotten blown off it's normal shelf. The glass
on the picture was cracked from the fall. Being Italian and very
supersticious she feared the worst had happened to me.
Saturday morning she said she called my house, but
since I was travelling there was no answer. Except she didn't know
that. She tried again later in the day, and again the next morning.
By then Dee and I were working at the club. So now she is really
fearing the worst. By Monday she had forgotten about me.
She said early this afternoon her son was visiting
and was looking through Sunday's New London Day and saw this article
on the "Joe Negri Award" He shows it to her, and she instantly
recognized my ugly mug. She was very relieved and excited that I
won the award.
So in her eyes, and heart she knows that Friday
night at around 11pm when our picture fell off of her shelf, that
Joe was talking to her telling her something about the two of us.
Now I'm not a supersticious person or any thing.
I don't believe in ghosts, and usually blow most of that stuff off
as nonsence. But humor me and an old lady here and do a little math
If it's about 11pm Eastern time, what time is it
in Reno. Well it's right about 8pm... right about the time that
John Carcioppolo gets the "Joe Negri Award".
I don't know what you want to call it, but there's
no telling her that it wasn't Joe.
And In Closing...
Simply, in the act of accepting this award, John
Carcioppolo has added to the very significance of it.
-- Don Gentry