Capt R. BuddyWellbornUSNA '59, *N, USN (Ret), Trustee USNA Found., Dickinson TX
Buddy Wellborn is a native Texan and graduated from USNA with the Class of 1959 winning the Thompson Trophy for Athletics.
For all three of his varsity years, he played on Navy football teams with winning seasons: 1956 (6-1-2); 1957 (9-1-1); and, 1958 (6-3). He was on the Navy’s 1956 team that beat Notre Dame (and Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung) 33-7 in Baltimore, and then the next year he was AP’s Back of the Week for scoring all three touchdowns in Navy’s 20-7 win over Notre Dame in South Bend. He shared the rushing honors for the Navy team that shutout Army (Anderson and Dawkins) 14-0 in 1957, and then beat Rice 20-7 for the Cotton Bowl Championship in 1958. The next season he scored a touchdown in Navy’s 20-14 victory over Michigan in the “Big House.”
After commissioning, he married the girl of his dreams from Cartersville, Georgia, and Houston’s prima ballerina, the beautiful Gladys Camilla Hamby. They had three sons, R. Burke, Jr. (USNA ’85), Robert Guy (TRF Kings Bay), and John Paul (Savannah). Unfortunately for this “Dream Team,” Gladys suffered from renal tubular acidosis that took her life 16 March 1993.
In July 1959, he first served in USS FRANK KNOX (DDR-743) deployed to WESPAC on patrol in the Formosa Strait off the islands of Quemoy and Matsu. All in all he served thirty years on active duty logging over seventeen years at sea, half of which was in submarines. He had four commands at sea during the 70’s and the 80’s deploying with 2nd Fleet to the North Atlantic and Arctic (Lofoten Islands); with 7th Fleet to the Western Pacific (YANKEE Station) and an excursion into the Indian Ocean (Persian Gulf); and, with 6th Fleet to the Mediterranean. During his last deployment he commanded USS DETROIT (AOE-4) and was the Battle Group’s Logistics Coordinator for OPERATION ELDORADO CANYON, the US air strike on Libya during the early morning darkness of 15 April 1986-- again, “…to the shores of Tripoli.”
He received his MSEE from NPGS in 1969, and his MA from NWC in 1976. He was the Director of ASW Programs for the Naval Sea Systems Command, and managed the first installations of the Navy’s advanced Tactical Towed Array Sonar (TACTAS) system. He has authored several professional papers, including Seaman’s Eye-- Seaman’s Mind; RAS-- the Multiplier; TRIXS-- Tactical Readiness Information Exchange System; The Decibel—an Acoustic Primer; Again “…to the shores of Tripoli;” The Efficacy of Submarine Warships; THREAT-21—Radical Islam; et al.
Buddy taught at Texas A&M Galveston in the 90’s but now only teaches part-time for ATI. For the last five years, he has posted reports of Navy Football games on the internet for many USNA alumni groups that have acclaimed that his reports not only are exactingly informative but are reminiscence of the style of legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice.
In April of 2011, he was inducted as one of the Trustees to oversee Athletic & Scholarship Programs for the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation.