Class Notes

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1955 OCT / DEC 2010 Assembly
28 APR 2010

1221 Woodland Road
Petersburg, VA 23805-1911
804 733 7827

Charlie Johnson says, "I look forward to serving the Class as your President for the next five years. It is a very humbling and most appreciative feeling I have for this opportunity. I am blessed with a great group of classmates who have agreed to serve as members of the EXCOM. Hang on folks, it’s going to be a stupendous ride!"
[Note: As of the time of this writing, the first EXCOM meeting with our new President is scheduled in Albany, NY on August 22, 2010.

Pat and Rod Vitty
[55th Reunion - May 2010]

Dan Ludwig sent this summary of our 55th Reunion (somewhat abridged.) For the Reunion Committee, 10 AM May 15th 2010 marked the culmination of many months of planning and preparation as the first of more than two hundred attendees arrived. Graduates were issued a yellow shirt with the new ‘A’ Army logo and a safari hat. Our ladies received Faberge egg motif necklaces bearing the Athena helmet on one side and the 1955 Crest on the other side; a small cigar-box type purse, and a sterling silver pin with the Class of ’55 crest. John Sloan donated CDs loaded with West Point photos. Soon, registrants were on their way to the Hospitality Suite operated by Tommy West. Hugs and remembrances were shared all day. Flowers sent by the Malone's brightened the room. Some made long trips despite being handicapped by medical conditions; e.g., Don Buchwald who shed his wheel chair and John Gamble who came despite the need for dialysis treatments every other day. We salute the widows for attending. Lo Dienst showed outstanding dedication by making the trip from Texas in order to manage the reunion decorations while needing dialysis treatments three times each week. Some of our ladies Marcia Cathey, Ellen Schick, Nancy Joseph, and Dorothy Crancer played 18 holes of Golf at West Point. By the time the cocktail reception began at 6 PM, an estimated 95 % of those registered had arrived. The buffet dinner theme, ‘Safari Night’, started the reunion as classmates wore the issued safari hats while jungle-animal shaped balloons floated above each table.

Many were up early on Sunday morning to attend 9 AM Catholic or Protestant services led by Father Oscar Raynal and Reverend Walt McCrillis respectively. At 10 AM over 100 of us boarded two buses, headed for New York City, most of whom had ordered tickets for the Broadway matinee musical Billy Elliott. In Manhattan, We dispersed into groups to view the NY sights such as Times Square and grab lunch prior to the show. Playgoers raved about Billy Elliott and the teenage star of its cast who provided excellent singing, dancing, and acrobatics.

Those not on the buses to New York, relaxed in the hotel or made visits to West Point or other local sites. Curator Gary Hood from the West Point Museum met with members of the Executive Committee to receive the Class ring of Dick Struss recovered by the Alumni Ring Recovery Group and paid for by donations from the Class. It will be placed in the West Point Ring Collection in the museum representing the Class of 1955.

By 6:30 when the cocktail reception began, we greeted those who were scheduled to arrive on Sunday, including Joe Dado who came all the way from Manila, PI. Unfortunately, the hospitalization of Judy McCloskey that afternoon due to a fall was not good news. We enjoyed a cocktail reception and buffet dinner while catching up with activities of old friends.

Father Oscar
[55th Reunion - May 2010]

Monday, after lunch in Eisenhower Hall, the Supe talked to attendees on the status of the Corps. For the first time, the Class held our memorial service in the Catholic Chapel. Following this solemn service commemorating the lives of our 151 deceased, Carl McNair led a tribute to classmate Oscar Raynal by designating him a "Distinguished Classmate" for superior achievements in pastoral service and raising the living standards of hundreds of needy people during his Jesuit assignments. Father Oscar received an impressive framed citation designed by Jim Ryan. Additionally, this day, as we have done since the 45th reunion in 2000, we commemorated the sacrifices of our five classmates who are honored with plaques on the Class of 1955 Memorial Terrace adjacent to the Lichtenberg Tennis Center. Bert Torrence and her son Jim participated in this short program led by Class President Carl McNair. At 4 PM, all graduates assembled in the hotel’s Grand Ballroom for the Class Business Meeting. With the major item being the election of Class officers for the period 2010-2015, Class VP Rich Cardillo, as appointed ballot collector, reported that the slate of officers was elected unanimously. We finished another enjoyable day with a cocktail reception and a buffet dinner.

On Tuesday morning, light rain fell as our buses headed north on the NY Thruway. Graduates looked neat in the reunion attire. Rain continued as graduates formed for the march to Thayer Monument while our ladies and guests sat in the wet stands. Cancellation of the parade reprieved the cadets from getting wet; however, the graduate "march" and "laying of the wreath" by the oldest grad from ’35 proceeded. We sang the Corps and Alma Mater then headed for Washington Hall. During the Alumni Luncheon, we helped congratulate the five recipients of Distinguished Graduate Awards. Jim Bergen guided everyone into the appropriate bus for visiting selected sites (’55 Coach's Housing Area, Kimsey and Foley Athletic Centers, and the new Jefferson Library) prior to departure for the hotel. The Grand Ballroom that evening was decorated with numerous black, gold, and gray balloons placed along the perimeter. This was our traditional Tuesday dinner-dance. When the band played, the dance floor was busy even before Carl McNair welcomed us for the traditional toasts. Rod Vitty presided during a session recognizing individuals for service to the Class. Awardees were primarily Class Officers and Committee Chairmen. Trudy Lichtenberg received a special gift recognizing Kelly’s highly dedicated love of and service to the Class. As a memento of this reunion, each grad was given a coin emblazoned with our Class Crest on one side and the Academy crest on the other. The dance floor was filled with energetic ‘55ers and guests until 10 PM when the band music stopped. The evening ended with many goodbyes.

It was a great reunion, a delightful time to renew and strengthen the bonds that were forged during those four years more than fifty-five years ago. We thank Carl McNair, Rod Vitty, and their team for leadership and efforts in making the reunion so successful; and all who came to make it so enjoyable.

Election results: President Charlie Johnson, Vice President Jim Drummond, Treasurer Jim Bergen, Historian Dan Ludwig, Secretary Don Andrews, Info Systems Officer Jack Campbell, Scribe Jim Ryan.

The Class of 55 Holiday Brunch is scheduled for Sunday Dec 5, 2010.

Chuck Steinman


      Phil Bouchard


        Sandy Sanderson

Taps sounded for three of our classmates and a former classmate. Charles A. Steinman passed on May 14, 2010 of complications of a stroke. Funeral services will be held at Arlington National Cemetery 9:00 AM on August 26, 2010. Philippe O. Bouchard left us on Jun 10, 2010. He died of Cancer. A Mass was held for Phil on June 14 at St. Luke Catholic in the Dayton, OH area. Henry L. Sanderson died on Jul 5, 2010 in Crested Butte, CO. Graveside services are scheduled at West Point for 1:30 PM Tue July 13. Peter Vann who went from ’55 to ’56 passed away on May 30, 2010. Pete’s funeral held Jun 12 in Kerrville, TX was well-attended by representatives of ’55.

--- Jim Ryan, (

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