Raymond Pierce (1968)
It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of Capt. Marland "Doc" Townsend. He was the Executive Officer onboard the USS Constellation (CVA-64). The Commanding Officer of Fighter Squadron 121, the USS Seattle (AOE-3) and the USS Kittyhawk (CVA-63). One of the greatest men I have ever known. Fair Winds and Following Seas my friend.
Doc was my Captain, mentor, and friend - I will miss him.
Ray Pierce USS Seattle AOE-3 1968-1972
Al R. Pillman (1971)
Doc: As you now sail into uncharted waters, be the sailor you always were - fearless, fair, approachable, decisive, and honorable. I enjoyed serving under you, Sir! I relished the nights I worked late in the Personnel Office and you stopped in and we chatted about all kinds of "non Naval" topics. The hours I spent as your Phone Talker during GQs, especially in GITMO, and unreps gave me good insight into your toughness, plus your wry sense of humor. Fair winds and following seas, Skipper. AL
Marland W. Townsend, Capt. USN (ret)
Born: November 11, 1927, died: July 28, 2020, age: 92 Captain Marland W. “Doc” Townsend entered the U.S. Navy flight training program in June 1945 and was designated a naval aviator in September 1948. His first operation experience was gained as an aviation midshipman fighter pilot flying F-8F Bearcats in Fighter Squadron 91. He was commissioned an Ensign in 1949 and served in Fighter Squadron 53 flying F-9F Panthers during the Korean War onboard USS VALLEY FORGE. Subsequent assignments included the Naval Post Graduate School, duty as an instructor in the initial F-8U Crusader RAG squadrons, duty as an aeronautical engineer on Commander Fleet Air Japan Staff, and duty as a test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center. In July 1966, Capt. Townsend assumed command of Fighter Squadron 143, an F-4B Phantom squadron. In June 1967, he assumed command of Fighter Squadron 121, the F-4 readiness training squadron at Miramar, California, later known as “TOP GUN”. The following year he reported aboard USS CONSTELLATION (CVA-64) as Operations and Executive Officer. He then commanded USS SEATTLE (AOE-3), and in 1972 USS KITTYHAWK (CVA-63). Capt. Townsend had a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering Degree from Georgia Tech and a Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering from Princeton University. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, 17 Air Medals, the Navy Commendation Medal, and Navy Unit Commendation Medals. He served in WWII and flew combat missions in Korea and Vietnam. After leaving the Navy he headed the aviation department for ARAMCO in both Saudi Arabia and the United States. He was elected Mayor of Foster City, California. One of his favorite quotes was “Our job is to do the assigned task and do it well.” Whether it was overseeing air operations for the US Navy, commanding a Navy Aircraft Carrier, raising a family, or guiding a small California town, he did his job well. He had a great sense of humor, was a good listener, and a great mentor. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn, three children, and 2 grandchildren. Fair Winds and Following Seas, my friend…You will be missed.