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Foundation Board Directors

Douglas J. Katz VADM, USN(Ret) - Commodore and Chairman of the Navy Sailing Foundation

VADM Katz is the son of the late Leroy and Lois Katz of Bluefield, West Virginia. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and was commissioned June 9, 1965. He holds a M. S. degree in Management from the Naval Postgraduate School and is a graduate of the Naval War College Command and Staff Course.

VADM Katz's sea assignments include gunnery assistant, first lieutenant and ASW officer aboard USS PERRY (DD 844); ASW officer, and after attending Destroyer School, weapons officer aboard USS JOHN PAUL JONES (DDG 32); executive officer aboard USS MAHAN (DDG 42); and surface operations officer on the staff of Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Group Two. He commanded USS DEYO (DD 989) from 1983 to 1985, receiving two Unit Citations and his squadron's Battle Efficiency “E.” From 1987 to 1989, he commanded USS NEW JERSEY (BB 62), providing pre-Olympics presence off the coast of Korea and representing the United States at the Australian Bicentennial Naval Salute. VADM Katz assumed command of Cruiser-Destroyer Group Two in November 1990 where he commanded the America Battle Group during Operation Desert Storm; he then re-deployed aboard USS AMERICA seven months later, becoming the first Desert Storm Battle Group Commander to return to the Gulf after the War.

Ashore, he served as shipboard advisor with the Fleet Command Advisory Unit in Vietnam, as a weapons system engineering instructor and professional education committee chairman at the U.S. Naval Academy, as the program planning and budgeting officer for the Surface Combat Systems Division (OP-35) in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, as Director of Professional Development at the U. S. Naval Academy, and as the Director, Surface Warfare Division (OP-32) in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. He was promoted to vice admiral in October 1992 commanding the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and the Middle East Force just prior to its redesignation as the U.S Fifth Fleet. He assumed command of the Naval Surface Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet in September 1994 and retired from active duty August 1, 1997. His personal decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (three awards); Legion of Merit (three awards); Bronze Star with Combat “V"; the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards); the Navy Commendation Medal (two awards); the Navy Achievement Medal; the Vietnam Staff Service Medal, First Class; Order of Bahrain, First Degree; and numerous unit commendations and citations.

VADM Katz is married and has two children. His wife, Sharon, is also from Bluefield, WV; they presently reside in Annapolis, MD. Their son, Robert, is married and a naval officer. Their daughter, Erica, is married and lives in Charlottesville, VA.


Louie Partida, CDR USN (Ret) - Director

An avid sailor since Boy Scouts in Southern California. Sailed with the Varsity Offshore Sailing Team (VOST) at USNA from 1982-86, serving as Skipper of Cinnabar (Sparkmans & Stephens 49' Aluminum sloop) his junior year, and Hunter (Petersen 45’ Fiberglass sloop) his senior year, and lettering both years. His time in VOST included multiple Chesapeake Bay racing events, as well as several long-distance and international sailing races such as: Annapolis to Newport, Newport to Bermuda, Corinthian 200, Block Island Race week, and the Southern Ocean Racing Conference.
During his time as a Naval Aviator he continued to participate in local sailing and sail races wherever he has been stationed or visited, including: Pensacola, FL; Norfolk, VA; Puerto Rico; Monterey, CA, Yokosuka, JA; Perth, AUS; Hong Kong, CH; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Pearl Harbor, HI; San Diego, CA
He has actively participated in Navy Sailing programs throughout his career, including serving as Newsletter editor and then Commodore of the Naval Postgraduate School Sailing Association, member of the Navy Yokosuka Yacht Club, serving as Rear and the Vice Commodore of Navy Yacht Club San Diego, and now a member of the Norfolk Naval Sailing Association.
He retired from active duty after 27 years of service in 2012.

CAPT Jeff Bennett, USN - Director

Jeff Bennett is an active duty Navy Captain. He is from Bay View, Michigan and a 1992 Naval Academy graduate. He has enjoyed racing and cruising the Great Lakes, the U. S. East and West Coasts, Mediterranean, and even some buoy racing in Bahrain. Jeff commanded USS DEXTROUS based in Bahrain, and USS GLADIATOR and USS AVENGER based in South Texas. He recently commanded the destroyer USS STOCKDALE based in San Diego, California. Jeff led the Naval Postgraduate School Sailing Association while stationed in Monterey, CA. Sailing and in particular Navy Sailing has been an important part of Captain Bennett’s life. It has offered him great opportunities to sail in amazing places all over the world. Most importantly, he has developed great friendships and mentors. If you ask him, he will tell you that no other activity has had a greater influence on leadership and practical seamanship than sailing.

Louise Burke - Director

Louise Burke is still cruising aboard Marty Halvorsen's 48 foot Shannon. I am also writing my autobiography which I intend to finish before spring, 2015. The title is Aye,Aye, Sir, Ma’am. The midshipmen would say “yes sir, Ma’am. I would welcome any of the offshore sailors thoughts on why they felt that offshore sailing, with it's demand for seamanship, camaraderie, working as a well trained team and using chain of command, was a good start on their becoming future Naval Officers. I have quite a few that keep in touch including Rear Admiral Sandy Daniels who was with me on the 10,000 mile schooner “Mistral” trip, Paul Hankins who did the second schooner trip and who I sponsored into Eastport Yacht Club where he is on Bermuda Race Committee now, and Astronaut Capt. Kay Hire who just returned to the USNA to teach Aerospace Engineering as well as the Officers who have loyally returned to keep USNSA committee going.

Captain Michael W. Bacher  Master / Offshore Installation Manager 
Captain Michael W. Bacher  Master / Offshore Installation Manager  - Director

Michael W. Bacher is an active member of the Strategic Sealift Officer Reserve (SSO) community and works as a U.S. credentialed Merchant Mariner.  He holds an Unlimited Master License with Offshore Installation Manager (OIM) endorsement and is currently employed Patriot Contract Services as Master of USNS Soderman.   Born in Switzerland and raised in Colombia and Germany, he now calls Annapolis, Maryland home.  He is a father of a young teenager,  and avidly pursues avocations both above and below the waterline.

Bacher earned associate’s degrees from State of New York (SUNY) Regents College in 1987 and Maine Maritime in Boat Yard Management in 1989, his bachelor’s degree from SUNY Maritime in 1992 in Marine Transportation, and master’s degree from New York Maritime Graduate Studies in 2001 in Transportation Management.   

Capt. Bacher enlisted into the US Navy service in 1980 as a Quartermaster Seaman Recruit and was assigned to USS California (CGN-36), USS Spruance (DD-963) (CO Vern Clark and XO Gary Roughhead), and USS Lassalle (AFG- 3).   From 1986 to 1990 he served as staff instructor at Maine Maritime Academy NROTC Unit, during which he attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer and earned his original 3   Mate’s license.  In 1990 he separated honorably from active service and received a Direct Commission in the Strategic Sealift Reserve Group (SSRG) Program in 1991.  Service as a Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO) included participation in Rainbow Reef, OIC at the US Naval Academy YP Program, JLOTS exercises, instructor at GMATS and contributions to MSCHQ, MARAD, MSCEUR and MSCFE and Instructor in the PCI courses mentoring young SSO Ensigns.   In 2012, Bacher was promoted to the rank as Captain, US Navy.

As a Merchant Mariner, Capt. Bacher sailed in a variety of positions on commercial and Government vessels.   His first job was as 3   Mate on SS Cape Canso during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.  Progression through the ranks as a  civilian  mariner  included  service  with  various  MEBA  contracted  commercial  shipping  companies  and  US Government contacted Strategic Sealift vessels including missions supporting Haiti Operation Restore Democracy and Thailand Operations Cobra Gold.  His sailing service was interrupted in the late 1990s with ventures in small business, but he answered the call of the sea for the Global War on Terror in 2002 and served as Chief Mate on LMSRs USNS Mendonca and USNS Gilliland during early stages Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He then served as Master on MSC PM- 23 vessels USNS Mary Sears and USNS John McDonnell, and in 2008 transitioned into the ultra-deepwater drilling sector as Master / OIM on the GSF Explorer (formerly Hughes Glomar Explorer), Seadrill Americas ultra-deepwater Drillship West Auriga and now as Master on LMSR USNS Soderman.