Sunday, March 13, 2011

Iconic Navy cryptologic officer loses valiant battle with cancer

Captain Fred R. Demech, Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired), a resident of Moosic, died peacefully on March 11, 2011 after a battle with cancer.  Ironically, Interestingly, he passed away on what could have been the 76th Anniversary of the former Naval Security Group.

He was born on June 1, 1940 in Taylor, son of the late Fred and Minnie Uritz Demech. He graduated from Pittston High School, Wilkes College, the Naval War College, and the National War College. Commissioned as Ensign in 1962, he served in the Navy for over 27 years, retiring in 1989. He was a career cryptologist and a qualified Surface Warfare Officer.

As a Navy Captain and Presidential Appointee, he twice served as the Executive Director for the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board  (PFIAB) in the White House. For his service, he was awarded the nation’s highest peacetime military decoration, The Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

For two years, he was Commanding Officer of the Navy’s largest cryptologic base in Edzell, Scotland, a 1000 person overseas facility. This command won the coveted Travis Trophy (awarded by the Director of the National Security Agency) that identified it as the top communications site in the Department of Defense. For his service he was awarded the Legion of Merit. He also served as Executive Assistant to three senior flag offices, Research and Technical Officer aboard two ships, and Operations and Executive Officer at several shore stations.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Janet; a daughter Lesley D’Andrea, and husband Robert of Doylestown; two grandsons, Kevin and Brian D’Andrea; and a sister Carolyn Salvaggio of Forty Fort.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Appointment of Fred Ralph Demech, Jr., as Executive Director of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board

September 23, 1988

The President today announced his intention to appoint Fred Ralph Demech, Jr., to be Executive Director of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. He would succeed Gary J. Schmitt.

Since July 1988, Captain Demech has been Acting Executive Director of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at the White House in Washington, DC. Previously he was Special Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence at the Department of the Navy, 1988. From 1987 to 1988, Captain Demech was the Inspector General for the Naval Security Group Command, and from 1984 to 1986, he served as commanding officer of the U.S. Naval Security Group Activity in Edzell, Scotland. From 1981 to 1984, Captain Demech was Deputy Executive Director and then Executive Director of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at the White House.

Captain Demech graduated from Wilkes College (A.B., 1961), the Naval War College (1974), and the National War College (1987). He has served in the U.S. Navy since 1962. Captain Demech was born June 1, 1940, in Taylor, PA. He is married, has one child, and resides in Bowie, MD.

Anonymous said...

Interoperability: An Introduction

In the 1960s, the Sixth Fleet Commander, Admiral Kidd in the Mediterranean, used to die for information. The system was clogged up. He couldn’t get information. Then every day he used to see this plane flying over the Mediterranean. It was an Air Force reconnaissance plane. It used to dip its wings to him. That plane had all the information he needed. They couldn’t talk. Simple solution and a couple of young officers got medals. They put a compatible communications system on the plane and the ship. They solved it. The people thought they were heroes. Twenty years later, the same problem. A different part of the world; Air Force planes flying over a Navy ship; they couldn’t talk to each other. You fix it by doing the same thing that was done 20 years ago. We sometimes just don’t learn our lessons about communications problems.

— Fred R. Demech, Jr. 1

Anonymous said...

RAF EDZELL REUNION
by: Ken Cadran

An American and a Scot were walking the site of the Highland Games in Montrose, Scotland. It was the day following the 2002 Edzell Reunion. The American, who had previously been observing the size and beauty of the Clydesdale horses, wanted to know more about the animals. He opened the conversation: "Dave, what do you know about the Clydesdales?" Dave, being the epitome of Scottish wit, immediately replied: "I know that they have a leg on each corner!" Such a blend of sharp intellect, shrewd wit and open character is what sets the Scottish people apart from their fellow man.

In 1997, Naval Security Group Activity, Edzell, Scotland was decommissioned.

That same year in Bethesda, Maryland a reunion was held of former members of the base, more commonly known as RAF Edzell. Five years later on August 3, 2002 at the East Links in Montrose, Scotland, 363 "Edzellites" assembled under a marquee. Of that number, 198 Americans, coming from as far as California, with one individual arriving from Bahrain, combined to dine, dance and renew friendships. Betty Morton, former Community Relations Advisor at RAF Edzell, and Janet and Fred Demech of Oakton, Virginia were among the primary coordinators of this unforgettable event.

Piper Mark Lumgair was on hand to serenade the guests as they arrived. Mr. John Smart, Lord Lieutenant of Kincardineshire and a former Chairman of the Scottish-American Community Relations Committee, and Chairman of the Reunion Committee, welcomed the guests on behalf of the Scottish hosts.

Captain Fred Demech, USN (Ret), one of the former base commanding officers present, provided the reply on behalf of the Americans. Grace was provided by Captain P.S. Spain, CHC, USN (Ret) who also served at the base.

In 1847, Queen Victoria took lease on an estate on the banks of Loch Loggan.

On her arrival, she wrote in her diary: “Alas!. The country is fine, but the weather is most dreadful.” Conversely, her husband, Prince Albert wrote in his diary: “The country is full of beauty, of a severe and grand character ...and the air remarkably pure and light... . The people are more natural, and are marked by that honesty and sympathy which always distinguishes the inhabitants of mountainous countries.”

If one has served in Scotland, one can agree that prominent to visiting this land is the friendliness of the people. Through association at work and social events, strong bonds developed. American service personnel and their families who served in this land of the haggis, tartans, short bread, whiskey, bag pipes, highland dancing and the tug-o’war, were able to experience the spirit of these people. The 2002 Edzell Reunion was a time to renew friendships and re-experience the flavor of this land called Scotland.

The day following the reunion, the annual Highland Games (which can be traced back at least one thousand years) were held adjacent to the marquee. The activities consisted of caber tossing, tug-o’war, piping contests, heavy horse display, cycling races, field events, dog show, highland dancing, and the crowning of the 60th Rose Queen. Pipe bands marched from the Town House to the Games, providing the unique sound of a bagpipe band. The visiting Americans were publicly welcomed at the beginning of the Games.

A welcome it was. A joyful time it became. A fond memory it shall be.

Ken Cadran

Anonymous said...

Editorial note: His death was not ironic, nor did it preclude the anniversary of the NSG.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

Ironic - adjective
3. coincidental; unexpected:

Coincidental that he would pass away on the 76th anniversary of the birth of the cryptologic community where he spent so much of his life.

Anonymous said...

He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, following a funeral procession with full military honors. The ceremony is on 8 July at 0900 at Ft Myer, VA.

Anonymous said...

I was the UK District Works Officer during Captain Demech’s command at RAF Edzell and had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions concerning the upkeep of the base. I will remember him for taking a particularly keen interest in estate matters large and small and recall accounts of Captain Demech walking around the base and looking down into various excavations asking the contractors what they were up to. He certainly kept my staff at the base on their toes.