Since its original christening in 1984, the R.H. Ledbetter has served generations of Naval School students and staff. When it was re-christened on July 13, that generational span was very apparent.
During her brief speech, Betty Ledbetter pointed out that when the R.H. Ledbetter was originally christened, there were only five family members: her husband and the boat’s namesake, Robert H. Ledbetter Sr., N’52, ’54, their sons Robert Jr. N’81, Wright N’84, and David N’85, ’88, and her. For the re-christening, there were now 16 Ledbetters present, including nine grandchildren.
But, she added, the day was “bittersweet in that we lost our ‘Pops,’ as we all called Bob, Sr. He left us a little over a year ago, knowing full well that this boat needed a serious refit from many years of use.”
She also noted the re-christening was being held almost “to the day” when the boat was originally christened 34 years ago.
The two ceremonies also touched two generations of two other Culver families.
Deck 7 senior counselor Hannah Bartholomew SS’11 (left) and Deck 4 assistant counselor Gwen Gregg SS’15 (right) took advantage of the opportunity to recreate the “historic” moment from their families’ perspective. In 1984, Margaret (Hess) Greg SS’82 and Kim Green SS’77 attended the Ledbetter christening ceremony, remembering the moment with a photo.
Margaret is Gwen’s mother and Kim is Hannah’s mother and they were summer staff members at the time. Fast forward 34 years and their daughters, also summer staff, had the opportunity to take part in the re-christening ceremony.
To celebrate, Hannah and Gwen recreated their mothers’ photo. The resemblance is uncanny with the same poses, positioning, and sunglasses. They became the second generation to celebrate the Ledbetter’s tour of service.
The uniforms may have changed, but the sentiment certainly hasn’t.