USMA I-2 Graduates,
Tom is honored in the '55 Memorial Terrace in the Lichtenberg Tennis Center (which was '55's 50 year gift to West Point).
Salutations! The rumors going around about the “I” companies coming back to West Point for the first time since 1998 are true. We have contacted you, because you have been noted as an I-2 graduate. This letter summarizes the progress of the newly reinstated USCC company of I-2 and explains how you can help the development of the company proceed in the right direction!
Currently, we are building the company from scratch. With a mixture of ideas and enthusiasm, many of the future I-2 members have been working hard to create the right culture for the company. Our current goal is to “grip hands with us now, though we see not”, and continue the legacies of I-2 for many more years to follow as “the long gray line of us stretches.” In order to accomplish this, we are currently trying our best to instill some of the old traditions of the past; therefore we have decided to continue the use of the moose as the company mascot. However, our knowledge of our past is limited. There are countless traditions that I-2 once had that we do not know about. Questions upon questions about our true history have troubled us as we begin to develop a record of our company’s history and our culture.
Because of this lack of knowledge, we ask for your feedback concerning cadet life as a member of I-2 while you were here. What was it that made I-2 the best company in the corps while you were a cadet? What were the traditions and significant objects or symbols that you’d like to see if you were to come back? It is our duty to honor our past and so we ask for your input. Furthermore, we ask that if you have any special historical artifacts from I-2 when you were a cadet including stories, pictures, or anything else to help us continue the old traditions and better understand our past, then please contact us.
Lastly we would like to invite all I-2 alumni and their families to the 1st annual I-2 reunion that will be held here at West Point on September 17, 2011, which is the same weekend as the class of 76’ and 81’ reunions. It will begin immediately following the home football game against Northwestern University. At this time we do not have a disclosed location however we will be sure to inform you as we work out the details. So if it is possible for you to make it please come enjoy the football game grab a burger and tell us how awesome I-2 used to be. Points of contact for further information are the future chain of command. Our future CO and 1SG are CDT SGT Richard Talbott (Richard.Talbott@usma.edu) and CDT CPL Emily Taylor (Emily.Taylor@usma.edu) respectively. Our TAC team will be MAJ Michael Rodick (Michael.Rodick@usma.edu) and SFC Eric Merritts (Eric.Merritts@usma.edu). We would like to thank you in advance for all your help, encouragement, and motivation.
CDT CPT Richard Talbott
CDT 1SG Emily Taylor
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Feedback from I-2, Class of 1955
The West Point Class of 1955 was the smallest entering class since 1947. The entrance exam was taken by 1977 candidates and 649 new cadets were admitted on R Day, 3 JUL 1951. Eighteen turnbacks joined the class in August and 20 new cadets were separated during the summer, resulting in a strength of 647 to begin the academic year in September.
The class of 1955 graduated 470 on 7 Jun 1955 (still had June Week in our days) with Bachelor of Science degrees. Of the 470 graduates, 464 were commissioned as 2d Lieutenants in the Regular Army or Air Force, 4 were honorably discharged on account of physical disability and 2 were foreign cadets (one Filipino and one Mexican). Of those who were commissioned as 2d Lieuxtenants, 140 were commissioned in the Air Force. Branch assignments to the Regular Army were as follows: Infantry 143; Artillery 85; Corps of Engineers 41; Armor 33; Signal Corps 22.
There were six new cadet companies in Beast Barracks and the Corps consisted of one brigade with two regiments, six battalions and 24 companies. Authorized strength for the Corps was 2496 and we had about 100 cadets in each company.
We marched in Battalion mass formation at parades until 1954, when we learned and often used Squad drill formation from earlier days. Squad drill was introduced to facilitate the filming of "The Long Gray Line" at West Point in the spring of 1954. Several '55ers had small roles in the movie.
All company assignments were by height and all four years were spent in the same company. The companies were A-1 through M-1 (in descending size) and A-2 through M-2 (in ascending size). There wasn't a J company. A-1 and M-2 were the "Flanker" (tall) companies and M-1 and A-2 were the "Runt" (short) companies. We in I-2 probably averaged about 6' 1" and we were in a Flanker Battalion (I-2 through M-2). Cadet density per room was 3.14, with some Firsties living in two-man rooms.
I-2 Company Commanders and Tactical Officers:
(1951-1952) Dave Lyon CO - Capt. W.F. Veaudry Tac (later Col.)
(1952-1953) Norm Delbridge CO - Maj. J.S. Timothy Tac (later Brig. Gen., DSC, SS)
(1953-1954) Bob Gray CO - Maj. J.S. Timothy Tac
(1954-1955) Frank Donald CO - Capt. H.E. Emerson Tac
(later Lt. Gen. Hank "The Gunslinger" Emerson, DSC, SS, PH)
We didn't have Company NCO's and rarely saw enlisted personnel at West Point, except for the mess hall waiters, band members and at the motor pool.
I-2 was domiciled in North Area in the 43rd and 44th divisions which had four floors, four rooms to a floor, plus the sinks. The 43rd division (which accessed our private sundeck through a rear window onto a flat outcropping from the granite wall behind the divisions) was on the west side of North Area adjacent to Washington Hall. We had the pleasure of hearing the Hellcats, upclose and personal, every morning from their formation area at the Washington Hall entrance to North Area.
We endured 11 months of sub-human treatment during our plebe year which finally ended with recognition after the Graduation parade in June 1952. We didn't leave West Point during Plebe year except for day trips to the Southern Cal game at Yankee Stadium and the Navy game in Philadelphia. The only real breaks we had was Plebe Christmas and Spring Leave when the upper classes went on leave and we were in charge.
We were charged a weekly flat rate of $7.40 for laundry and $1.60 for dry cleaning and were restricted on the number of pieces that could be sent per week, per cadet, to the USMA laundry. The number of sheets in the hands of cadets was reduced from six to four with no appreciable depreciation in standards of cleanliness.
1951 was the year of a large cheating scandal (mostly involving the football team) and we went from a team with national championship expectations to a season with only 2 wins and a lop-sided loss to Navy. Didn't help our Plebe year.
We graduated 20 '55ers from I-2 after starting with 23 and there were two turnbacks from the class of '54. We now have 11 living I-2ers from '55.
Our I-2 classmate, Tom McCarthy (DSC), was one of the early heroes and casualties in Vietnam. Here's the link to his '55 Personal Web Page (which includes his DSC details):
Ralph Chesnauskas http://forwhattheygaveonsaturdayafternoon.com/wp-1956/ralph-chesnauskas, a 2009 selection for the Army Sports Hall of Fame, was an I-2 company mate in the class of 1956. Ralph earned 3 Army A's (football, baseball and hockey) in each of his three years of eligibility and was a first team All American guard in football.
Capt. "Happy Hank" Emerson, our Tac for Firstie year, wanted I-2 to be first in everything, especially intermurder, and we kept him happy by winning the Banker's Trophy which was awarded yearly to the company with the best record in the Corps in intramural sports. I-2 had a lot of Corps Squad athletes (three '55 Corps Squad captains from '55) which detracted from our sports manpower pool, but some I-2ers on Corps Squad took time off from their Corps Squad regimen(s) to compete in a different intramural sport. For example, Ralph Chesnauskas wrestled for I-2 while he was earning A's in football, hockey and baseball. Winning that trophy was a primary focus for all of I-2 all year long.
We didn't have company mascots in our day.
Pictures: Appended are I-2's '55 Company pictures for all four years (Plebe, Yearling, Cow and Firstie years) and pictures of the I-2 1953 Football team and the 1954 and 1955 Water Polo teams.
1955 50th I-2 Bios
Thanks for the invitation to the I-2 reunion(s). We'll try to attend, when possible/convenient.
Having an I-2 again is good news to I-2 '55ers and we wish you well. Let us know if you have any questions.
Class of 1955
6 MAY 2011
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *