Capt. Tushar Tembe was an avid golfer and was no doubt looking forward to playing in a local tournament he’d help plan that would pit golfers from his carrier, the Harry S. Truman, against players assigned to the carriers Dwight D. Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt and Enterprise.
Tembe, sadly, collapsed Nov. 8 while debarking the Truman at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va., and subsequently died — two days before the scheduled one-day tourney at Naval Air Station Oceana. Rather than postpone or cancel the event, the East Coast carrier commanders taking part — the Norfolk-based carrier George H.W. Bush is deployed — decided to honor Tembe by playing as scheduled Nov. 10 and by naming the tournament and top prize in his honor.
“This was the most appropriate thing to do,” said Capt. William C. Hamilton Jr., commanding officer of Enterprise, and a close friend of Tembe’s. “He planned this for us, and he would be so upset if we didn’t play. We’re here to honor him and I am proud to be here.”
“Capt. Tembe came up with the idea for this tournament,” said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class Jeffery Crawford, leading petty officer of Truman’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation department. “He was involved in every last detail of planning this event, and that’s why we decided to name it for him.”
Before hitting the green, the players held a moment of silence for Tembe and his family.
“Personally, this is a huge loss,” said Hamilton. “He was my golf buddy … my Navy buddy. We played golf together all over the world for the past 16 years. I’ll never swing another club now without thinking about him.”
Fittingly, Truman’s team won the inaugural Tembe cup. “We played inspired golf today,” said Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Scott Rossi, assigned to Truman’s Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department. “Working with and knowing Capt. Tembe made a big impact on me, and I was thinking of him all day as were my teammates and, probably, everyone out here today.”