Jim Devereaux

[24 APR 1932 - G1 - 20245]

Jim Devereaux Archives



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Jim Devereaux
[Fort Benning - MAR 2017]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



John - Patti - and 2nd Lt. John Braune (S-I-L - daughter - grandson) -
Mary and Jim Devereaux [Fort Benning - MAR 2017]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *





Devereaux grandsons - Tom Carroll - Rick LeFever and James Devereaux III - raising the flag during a spring break camping trip on Mt. Sterling in Tennessee around St. Patrick’s Day in 2011. Standing behind them is Steve Frank - a very close friend.



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Bridget Devereaux (front center)
[MAR 2014]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Bernadette - Mary - Jim and Catherine Devereaux
[Lord of the Dance - MAR 2013]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Devereaux Thanksgiving Dinner
[NOV 2012]

Larger Version



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *





Jim and Mary Devereaux plus their ten kids - grandchildren - eight son in-laws - one daughter in-law - our youngest son’s girl friend - and a granddaughter’s finance and Abigail (Amy’s golden retriever) [DEC 2007]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Catherine - Bernadette and Maureen
Devereaux [MAY 2006]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



33 Devereaux Grandchildren
[JUL 2005]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Lizzy (Jim Devereaux's granddaughter)
[DEC 2004]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Giddings - Devereaux - McNair -
Bill Anderson - Wilson [c1993]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Mary and Jim Devereaux
[c1993]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Mary and Jim Devereaux - Joan
and Bill McCulla [1989]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Starla Vittori - Mary and Jim Devereaux
[1989]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Ed Anderson - Mary and Jim Devereaux - Strati -
? - Goldstein - Joan McCulla - ? [1989]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



Booras - ? - Mary and Jim Devereaux -
Chikalla - Wiegand - ? [1956]



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *





[Ft. Benning Jump Class - JAN 1956]

Row 1: Coyle (2) - Meekison (7) - C. Johnson (8) - Row 2: Nidever (5) - Cardillo (6) - Bergen (10) - Row 3: Sietman (4) - Landers (8) - Row 4: Tebodo (3) - Grubbs (8) - Row 5: Strati (1) - Hadly (4) - McIlroy (5) - Strom (7) - Kinzer (9) - Joseph (10) - Row 6: Nieves-Rivera (1) - H. Stone (6) - Holbrook (8) - Wells (9) - Row 7: Whittaker (5) - Row 9: Martling (1) - T. McCarthy (2) - Macdonald (3) - Devereaux (4) - Row 10: Meetze (9)



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *





G-1 Firsties - 1st Row: Geran (CO) - Steakley - Devereaux - Wilson - Hufnagel - McNamee - Schick - Giddings - 2nd Row: Wiegand - Blitch - Nourse - 3rd Row: Cohan - Thompson - Reed Stone - 4th Row: Stanley - Bouchard - Rule - 5th Row: Dunaway - Buie - Bill Anderson - Massey



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



2012 AOG Online Register Entry

Register Glossary



* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


How I got my appointment to West Point

Just to see if I was qualified, I applied to a congressman for an appointment and was tested in February 1951 as a third alternate. I received a letter in early April notifying me I was qualified but without an appointment. I had no expectation of getting one.

At the time I was a sophomore in college studying electrical engineering with a full academic scholarship including room and board. In the middle of May, just before final exams, I received a letter telling me to report to West Point in July. I was stunned.

I rethought my future and decided to make the change from electrical engineer to military officer. What I knew about West Point had a strong influence in my deciding to accept the appointment. Having to redo two years of college seemed like a small price to pay for the opportunity to be part of its long tradition.

I never thought it was possible, but I tried anyway. To this day, how I got there remains a complete mystery to me. God works in mysterious ways.

Jim Devereaux
27 July 2010


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


What Have Your Kids Done?

I will summarize what our children have done in this troubled world. They have honored Mary and me in the way they have lived their lives and raised their children.

For example, I observed a nineteen year old grandson at a family gathering take time out from a game with his peer cousins to teach a nine year old cousin how to throw a Frisbee so she could join in the game.

As my wife says, it is in the small things that we see the potential for big things and value the lives in our midst. I liken it to General MacArthur's observation about the fields of friendly strife.

Are there any problems in the family of which I boast? Of course there are, but that is what parenting is all about, dealing with the problems and rejoicing in their resolution.

Jim Devereaux
1 SEP 2010


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


A Brief History of Jim Devereaux as of October 9, 2010

Jim (James Anthony Patrick) Devereaux was born on April 24, 1932. His parents, John and Rosalie Devereaux raised him, his older sister Jean and his younger brother John in Chicago, Illinois in the midst of many loving relatives. While a sophomore in High School he earned a full two year prep and four year college scholarship to Fournier Institute of Technology in Lemont Illinois. After four years he surrendered the remaining two years of the college scholarship when he received an appointment to the United States Military at West Point, New York.

After graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1955 with a Bachelor of Science Degree and a 2nd Lieutenant Commission in the Regular Army, he and his hometown sweetheart Mary Helen Andrews married and moved to Fort Benning Georgia where he received Basic Infantry Officer, Airborne and Ranger training before joining the 3rd Infantry Division as a Platoon Leader in the 7th Infantry Regiment.

In 1959 Jim sought and received an honorably discharged from the Regular Army and a 1st Lieutenant Commission in the Inactive Reserves for seven years to become a software engineer with the IBM Corporation in its Federal Systems Division. There he earned an Outstanding Contribution Award for his work in developing multiprocessing concepts for the Nation’s new En-Route Air Traffic Control System and recognition for transitioning an expensive overhead Management Information Systems organization into a cost-effective break-even profit center.

Jim subsequently worked for Orange Systems developing computer aided HVAC design software and Association database software. He later worked for the Oracle Corporation as a Technical Manager developing database software for various government agencies. After retiring as a software engineer he worked as an Independent Columnist writing a bi-weekly Editorial Page column for the Frederick News-Post on topics related to Faith, Family and Freedom.

In the past Jim served as President of the Flower Valley Citizens Association in Rockville Maryland, a member of the Regional Service Committee for the Charismatic Renewal in the Washington Metropolitan Area and as Archbishop James Cardinal Hickey’s Liaison to the National Association of Diocesan Liaison’s to the Charismatic Renewal.

By their 55th wedding anniversary Jim and Mary had raised ten children consisting of Mary married to Patrick Fagan, Joan married to Mark Lefever, James married to Colleen Nelson, Anne married to John Carroll, Patricia married to John Braune, Sharon married to Joseph Hall, Karen married to John Fritz, Amy married to Jeffrey Spafford, Margaret married to Timothy Jurkowski and Daniel who remains single and eligible. Their family of families includes thirty-four grandchildren, spouses of their two married grandchildren and one great grandchild.

As lifelong Catholics, Jim and Mary remain active in parish activities. Jim has served at various times in parishes as general helping hand, lector, greeter and catechist in child and adult religious education programs. Jim is also a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus and an at-large Board of Directors member of the inter-faith Marriage Resource Center of Frederick County Maryland. He and his wife are currently members of St. Ignatius Parish Community in Ijamsville, Maryland where they now reside.

Jim’s hobby was home-improvement and he has several remodeling projects to his credit. He attributes his success as a husband and a father to his faith, his education and his wife Mary who remained a loyal and staunch supporter as a full time wife and mother who made sure all members of their growing family of families knew they were wanted, cared for, appreciated and loved unequivocally. Gratefully, he considers himself a member of the fortunate generation.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


My most memorable moment at West Point

My most memorable moment at West Point took place when we gathered together to select our branch of service one evening in March of 1955

At that time cadets selected their branch of service according to class standing which had to do primarily with academic grades. Only so many slots were available in the Air Force, Engineers, Signal Corps, Artillery, Armor and Infantry. Historically, Infantry with the most available slots ended up being the only choice left for cadet goats while cadet hives usually opted for Engineers.

I was about 83 in line to select branch of service which meant I was in a position to choose any branch except Air Force - my eyes didn’t measure up to the standard required for flight training. Actually, I would not have selected Air Force anyway because I had always considered Engineers as the branch in which I hoped to serve. Whenever asked what my branch choice would be I always responded Engineers and that was the general expectation of anyone that knew me.

Underneath my engineer-bound veneer however there was this nagging sense that if Army was my future I ought to go Infantry. I can’t explain exactly when it came about except to say that West Point in general showed me that people were more important than things. Having a squad of plebes all my own to take care of for a month during First Class summer certainly had a big influence in changing my outlook on life.

So when gathered together and we began the process of each in turn selecting branch of service, my mind was still unsettled. It was not until my name was called that I actually made my choice. In no uncertain terms I stood up and confidently shouted “Infantry”.

I was stunned by what happened next, the class roared in unison giving their approval to the first in class to select Infantry. I was further surprised when one of the Tactical Officers latter donated a set of Dress Blues to my uniform collection. To round out my choice, I subsequently opted for the 7th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning , Georgia where I would first receive Basic Infantry Officer Training, Airborne Training and Ranger Training.

Looking back at what West Point taught me about caring for people has never left me. My family grew faster than promotions and I subsequently left active duty during the cold war for a job in civilian life, but the lessons I learned about human dignity stuck with me. The experience I had over a squad of plebes was repeated with a platoon of Infantry, in raising a family, in managing people in business and in associating with people in pursuit of some objective. West Point called it leadership but I think of it as respect for others and helping each on your side to achieve their potential in working together for the common good.

For a brief moment, something I had done resulted in an unexpected roar of approval from classmates. I have never experienced anything like it before nor have I since. It was my most memorable moment at West Point.

Jim Devereaux
10 JUN 2011


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


My First Assignment

I was not disappointed with the challenges and rewards of serving in the Infantry. It was a peace time Army experimenting with the TOE of Regimental Commands and dealing with slumping troop morale following the truce in Korea.

My first assignment was Security Platoon Leader in Headquarters Company of the 7th Infantry Regiment. There was no other platoon so designated in the Regiment. I asked the S3 what all he expected from a Security Platoon. He told me to decide for myself and come up with a training plan.

My company commander informed me the Security Platoon consisted of regimental jocks on the Colonel’s baseball team and a bunch of malcontent enlisted guys that no other unit wanted. The jocks and malcontents got along fine because neither had any intention of doing anything except eat, sleep and play their own game.

The company commander introduced me to the platoon sergeant. The sergeant admitted he was frustrated and would welcome a new assignment. I told him I’d see what I could do, but for now have everyone out on the field for calisthenics at 8AM the next morning and I would introduce myself to the troops. The next morning I got up on the exercise platform, told them my name and led them in calisthenics until they all dropped. They got the message.

The first thing I did was get some of the more serious malcontents a good-for-the-service General Discharge to let everyone know I was serious. The second thing I did was convince the Regimental Commander to let me distribute his jocks among the line units and transfer in some new faces. The third thing I did was find a platoon sergeant that had some fire in his belly to make something of the unit.

After a couple of months things were shaping up. We had a good training plan and kept the troops busy doing patrols, getting physically fit and figuring out how best to secure a regimental command post under different scenarios.

I still had a few malcontents on my list. One was marginal and seemed redeemable. His problem was mostly the company he kept. One morning my door slammed open and he barged into my office without knocking. Seemingly ready for a fight he shouted as loud as he could “Lieutenant, how can I get out of this chicken-shit Army?”

I looked him in the eye and calmly replied, “Go AWOL tomorrow and I’ll have you home in a week.” He sobered up and so I went on.

I told him he was only months away from an Honorable Discharge and it seemed foolish not to go for it. I assured him an employer or a girl friend would think more of him with it. I told him his problem was the malcontents he hung with, not the Army. I asked him if there was anything else he wanted to know and he said “No sir”, saluted and quietly left the room. He didn’t go AWOL and I lost track of him when a few weeks later I took command of a Weapons Platoon in a line company.

A few months later I was walking toward regimental headquarters and heard someone call my name. It was the malcontent that didn’t go AWOL. We exchanged salutes and he said he was looking for me and wanted to thank me for helping him think about his future. He just got his honorable discharge. I congratulated him and wished him the best. It made me feel good to see how proud he was of shaping up. It was a welcome epilogue to my first assignment.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


My Last Assignment

Starting my fourth and last year of active duty I was a seasoned 1st Lieutenant and the Executive Officer of a Battalion’s Weapons Company. The entire 3rd Infantry Division had moved to Germany and the 7th Infantry Regiment ended up in Aschaffenburg Germany.

One morning my company commander told me to report to Regimental Headquarters. I was to assume command of the regiment’s Supply and Maintenance Platoon. I was back in Headquarters Company where my service career began, but this time I would be working for the S4 – a hard nosed Captain that knew every four-letter word in the book and how to use them effectively. Apparently the Lieutenant I was replacing didn’t fit the S4’s temperament.

Keeping busy in Germany was no problem because we were on field maneuvers half of the time and had repeated unscheduled early morning practice alerts when in garrison. My first task was to inventory and assume responsibility for millions of dollars of communication, transportation, arms, mechanics tools, and kitchen equipment assigned to the Supply and Maintenance Platoon.

Fortunately I had a team of S4 hand-chosen sergeants that knew what they were doing. My main job was to position and oversee the operation of the regiment’s Logistic Command Post (LCP) on maneuvers, keep the regiment supplied, keep all vehicles operational and take my orders from the S4 stationed at the Regiment’s Command Post (CP). It wasn’t long before I knew every little town in southern Germany and the best places to locate and operate a regimental LCP.

The S4 proved to be a great guy to work for. His bark was worse than his bite. All he cared about was keeping the regiment supplied and moving, and he didn’t much care how. I let him cuss and I did whatever he didn’t want to handle.

My one problem was the S3 even though I didn’t work for him. He had some kind of grudge against West Pointers. Every time we practice a withdrawal he would pre-empt my LCP for the next regimental CP. I recommended moving the LCP on every other move instead of every move to maintain some stability in the regiment, but he preferred to make me move every time.

The last time I was on maneuvers I picked two sites for the LCP - one good and one mediocre. I told my Platoon Sergeant that we would set up at the obviously mediocre site. He looked at me as if I lost it. I told him to unload only bare essentials because I expected we would be moving out soon. Sure enough the S3 called me the next day and said the CP would be moving into the LCP site and I would have to move out. I turned to my Platoon Sergeant and told him with a wink we were moving to the better site. He had a grin on his face that went from ear to ear.

The best part of the incident unexpectedly occurred the next morning when the Regimental Commander stopped at my LCP on his return from Division Headquarters. His radio wasn’t working so we proceeded to mount a spare on his Jeep. While waiting he looked about and complimented me on my site selection. He wondered out loud why the S3 picked the mediocre location for his CP instead of the site we were at. I shrugged my shoulders as if ignorant of the S3’s reasons. My sergeant, always at my side, excused himself holding back his amusement.

A couple of weeks later my Honorable Discharge came through with reassignment to the Inactive Reserves back in the States. On announcing my eminent departure, my platoon sergeant offered me the best compliment I ever received. He shook his head and said: “Aw shit.”


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Since I Retired

Jim Devereaux

Since I retired full time with a heart condition that impacted my physical stamina, I find myself taking a closer look at my faith. In the process it has become clearer. I liken it to putting a jigsaw puzzle together in which the outer edges have been in place for a number of years and only recently have I begun to fit various areas of the puzzle together so as to better reveal the whole picture.

Some clarity came when, while searching for a single source of information on the social teaching of the Church, I discovered The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. It provided me a way to look at social areas of my life and link them with other areas. It also anchored these areas to the Bible and to apostolic teaching such as The Documents of Vatican II, Encyclical Letters, Apostolic Exhortations and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. From my self-study I developed a deeper appreciation for the Church Christ established, its history and its many diverse Saints whose lives exemplify its teaching.

Two other things happened that helped. I began to write a biweekly column for the Frederick News-Post on issues related to "faith, family and freedom" and I became a member of a book club that met monthly to discuss faith oriented books that members agreed to read. As my West Point grades would attest, communication skills such as writing and public speaking were weaknesses while analytical skills such as science and math were strengths. Strengthening weaknesses helped me to clarify scattered thoughts in my mind.

With some confidence in my own faith I began to serve on the Board of Directors for the Marriage Resource Center of Frederick County (an inter-denominational Christian outreach enriching marriages) and as a Catechist in my own parish community where I instructed adults interested in joining the Catholic Church. In so doing I found I was comfortable praying with Christians from other denominations and I realized that the specifically Catholic prayers I had memorized in my youth carried with them special memories of events particularly meaningful to me.

Finally, through all my married life, my wife Mary has been my steadfast companion whose faith sustained me in times of my weakness. So as I often heard before, when one door closes another is open. Days of physical vigor are over and days of discovering the depths of my faith are upon me, and I have no misgivings in knowing these days too will pass with the closing of one door and the opening of another.

DEC 2011


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


My Most Life-Changing Experience

The experience I will attempt to describe defies description. However in order for it to fully serve its purpose, I feel bound as best I can to put into words what happened.

It was not an experience I sought or deserved and I do not believe one can have such an experience in seeking it. The unexpected and undeserved aspect of the experience is part of its power. As for why I had such an experience? Perhaps it was to change a man who lived his faith trusting more in himself than God who created him. Remember, the Spirit works in each of us according to our need, not according to our fancy.

The experience occurred on the evening of February 21, 1973 in a Holiday Inn motel room located in downtown Rochester Minnesota. I was alone and on a business trip, having arrived the previous day. There was nothing unusual about the day and there was nothing unusual going on in my life that would suggest something unusual was about to happen.

I was a cradle Catholic married to a cradle Catholic, satisfied in my faith yet moved to take it more seriously since the close of Vatican II. We attended Mass each Sunday and on occasion I served as a Lector reading some of the scriptures for the day from the altar - an unheard of privilege in pre-Vatican II days. In any case work was satisfying, family was healthy and I had a loving and devoted wife.

After eating alone that night I ambled up to my room expecting to turn on television and allow it to lull me to sleep. As I sat on the side of the bed kicking off my shoes I began to think about where I stood in my efforts to deepen my faith. It occurred to me that my faith lacked complete trust in God of the sort that two familiar Saints had in their lives – St. Francis of Assisi and St. Ignatius of Loyola. I realized my situation was different. I was married with a large family to support. Furthermore, I hardly felt up to the life that Francis and Ignatius led following their absolute surrender. The idea of absolute surrender seemed out of place.

On the other hand I was aware that with reservations I was not really trusting in God. I thought if I truly wanted to profess faith in God it should include surrender and trust without conditions or preconceived notions of what it would mean. I thought perhaps I should set aside my concerns and just surrender for better or worse as I did in marriage. Dare I do such a thing? Dare I not do such a thing? My thoughts were debating the issue.

Then, a question interrupted the debate: "What are you waiting for?" It was strange because the question was not one I posed to myself but a question seemingly posed to me. As I considered the interruption the question confronted me a second time: "What are you waiting for?" This time I wondered what excuse I could possibly have for waiting. Then, a third time the same question arose: "What are you waiting for?" This time the question carried with it a sense of impatience with my failure to respond. Without further hesitation I dropped to my knees and surrendered.

This is where the experience goes beyond explanation. I lost all sense of space and time basking instead in a profound peace. I had no desire to be anywhere or give thought to anything. A presence overwhelmed me that I had never experienced before and have never experienced since. I can not tell you how long the experience lasted before I once again sensed being on my knees alone in a motel room. At first I just wanted to rekindle what I had experienced, but I began to realize I could not reproduce it. It came and left without my doing. I remained on my knees bathed in tears for a long time, a much different believer than I had been before, mystified but thankful for the loving embrace of peace I had experienced.

My wife, my family, my work all remained in my life as before but the memory added a hunger for prayer and scripture. I spoke to nobody about the experience until a month later at a Day of Renewal at Catholic University when a spokesman for the day explained a similar experience that he had – God’s Spirit was renewing His Church one person at a time.

One thing I can still say after thirty-eight years. The experience had a lasting impact on me, my wife, my family and my work though it never occurred again. It influenced many decisions I made though in it I heard not a sound, saw not a vision, smelled not a fragrance, felt not a touch and tasted not a morsel. It was a singular soul satisfying experience apart from my will to choose it, my imagination to conceive it or my intellect to clarify it. It remains an experience that firmly anchored me to God and His Church ever since.

As you may know, my father died on Christmas morning and years earlier his father died a few days before Christmas, so I am never without thoughts in this season as to what lies ahead. But as we celebrate the birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace, I also have the memory of that profound peace that overwhelmed my soul and became my most life-changing experience.

Jim Devereaux
December 25, 2011


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Lost in the Woods

Some might consider raising ten children (newborn to 16) a challenge and at the time, it must have been, though the memories of hard times have faded compared to the memories of good times.  I notice it is that way with many recollections, like four challenging years at West Point or an assignment under a Captain Queeg clone.  As Raymond, the one everybody loves, said at his brother’s wedding-gone-haywire (due to his mother’s disruptive behavior), it’s the good memories that count. “Editing” can take care of the bad ones.

It is that way now with Mary and me. The good memories of raising ten kids stand out – like the game “Lost in the Woods”.

It was not a very complicated game and no woods were required. All we needed was that big Ford Station Wagon in which you could lay flat a 4’ by 8’ panel with all back seats folded down and the rear door closed.  Those were the days when passenger safety still depended entirely on safe drivers rather than seat belts and air bags that invite risky driving habits, like a lead foot on a gas pedal.

With all kids piled in the station wagon and having gone through the count to make sure all were present, off we would go to our favorite Pizzeria were we could spread out in comfort around four tables pushed together.  The count in the car became necessary when once we discovered we were missing one of the children when we got to our destination. We found her back home asleep in her bedroom with her favorite blankie in hand.

The owner of the Pizzeria knew us well and wasted no time getting our three extra large pizzas (two with sausage and one with mushrooms) in the oven and four pitchers of coke on the tables.  There was a time when the kids failed to eat the crusts of their pizza until I picked up a crust and munched on it with pleasure asking why nobody liked their pizza pretzels.  After that, their plates were empty of unwanted crusts.

The game of “Lost in the Woods” came after the pizza feast. For some reason I always had to stop on the way home at the Seven-Eleven for milk.  Nobody objected though knowing we always had plenty of milk in the fridge.  My objective was a small package of M and M’s for each.  The game began when I got back into the car.

I would turn to Mary and ask with dismay, where are all of the kids. They were supposedly out of sight, hunkered down on the floor in the back of the wagon. Mary would respond with her usual lack of concern, “I think they are lost in the woods”. With an equal lack of concern I would respond, “Oh well I guess we will have to eat all the M and M’s ourselves." It was then, as if by magic, the kids reappeared popping up shouting in unison “Here we are.”  Mary and I applauded their happy return and passed out the M and M’s. With the game over, you could barely hear a sound in the car on the rest of the way home except for the munching on candy that never had a chance of melting in anyone’s mouth.

That’s it. I admit it is not much of a game, but it is one of our fondest memories. What’s more, it’s a memory with no editing required.

More memories

While on a long trip to Chicago from Maryland, Mary taught son James how to read a road map to keep him from teasing all of his sisters. He became the watchdog of the fuel guage and progress. He eventually taught his inquisitive sisters how to read a road map as well. It served them in good stead when they got older with none ever afraid of taking a trip on their own.

I evenually learned to answer the question "How much longer before we get there?" with a rsponse they understood better than minutes and hours. I estimated time by "Hazels".  The kids loved to watch the television show by that name and understood how much time it took. Everyone to this day understands that a Hazel is equivalent to a half hour. Once I announced the number of Hazels till we got to our destination, they invented other questions to ask.

One thing that drove me crazy was their insistence on seeing how many times they could sing "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" every time we crossed a long bridge or went through a long tunnel. Eventually I just joined in the song and enjoyed the ride.

On long trips we frequently combined the travel with campouts along the way. We had a Nimrod Camper and a four-man tent that gave us enough room for everyone. The setup and breakdown of the overnight campsites took more time but it helped keep everyone less fidgety. I learned to strum a guitar as the kids made somemores over the campfire and sang folk songs like "The Fox went out on a chilly night". Good old Burl Ives, I still have his singalong album.

As the kids got older we couldn't fit everyone in the Ford Station Wagon so we offloaded four into our Ford Pinto. Mary drove the wagon and I drove the Pinto. We had some cheap Walkie Talkies for communication. The kids loved to chat and had no trouble wearing out batteries and adapting to cell phones when they came along years later. Thank God for family cell phone plans.

I must say that I enjoy grandparenting as well as parenting. Our youngest grandchild Lilly was two last November and beginning to talk up a storm. She is our first officially adopted member of the clan and she has no idea how blessed she is that her birth mother saw fit to give her life and place her up for adoption. It occured to me in looking at my own life that I probably have no idea myself how blessed I have been to have life and to be surrounded with a loving family.

Jim Devereaux
JAN 2012


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


A Sunrise Reflection

Spending a winter month in Florida sounds good enough by itself but it is only part of the story Mary and I have the pleasure of experiencing.  When you couple it with being with family in a spacious and beautiful home on the picturesque edge of one of the many lakes near Orlando, you might appreciate even more how blessed we are.

Mary and I were sitting alone on the screened-in lanai this morning with fresh-brewed cups of coffee in hand watching the sun slowly rise. It was breathtaking. The cloud cover combined with the sunrise produced an ever-changing assortment and arrangement of colors over Disney World that reminded me of the Disney movie Fantasia.

I have to believe this is as close as we can get to what the Garden of Eden must have been like before humanity blue most of it away in moment of weakness. The experience was sort of a promise of what awaits us when once we break the chains that bind us to this tempestuous world of temptation.

We realize that this pleasure is but a passing moment in a lifetime of moments and that we are unable to sustain it except now by the sweat of our labors. It is not so much a reward as it is a vision of that which we seek and awaits us – a promise of much, much more.

As I silently observed the wonder before me, I wondered how anyone could possibly deny faith and cling only to reason. It is my faith that spurs my curiosity to seek truth with the hope of finding a better answer to “How” than “Accident”, a better answer to “Why” than “Accident”, and a better answer to “Who” than “Accident”.

We might learn much from sending missiles and men into space but we might learn even more in a moment of prayer.

Jim Devereaux
JAN 2012


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Speaking of Silence

The Simon and Garfunkel hit “Sound of Silence” came back to mind the other day when Pope Benedict XVI suggested that perhaps in this age of ultra high-tech communication we should take more time in silence to seriously consideration inwardly our responses to situations before acting outwardly.

I found that putting thoughts and memories into rhymes has a way of forcing thought before word and deed. I also discovered it was fun. I really admire the talent of artists such as Simon and Garfunkel that can not only write such thoughtful and poetic lyrics but can add melody and harmony to a presentation that captures the rapt attention of so many.

Yet in their successful communion of sound that began in 1957, they found it difficult to remain a steadfast team beyond 1970. I wondered, what drove them apart. Other successful teams in the entertainment industry have experienced the same difficulty, not only in their careers but in their marriages as well.

I think the inability to value monotony may be the problem. I credit G.K. Chesterton with putting such a thought in my head. He once mused that what we need is a return to childhood when we would repeatedly say, “Do it again!”, when pleasantly surprised. At each sunset, he suggested we might turn to God shouting with appreciation and delight for the day we just experienced, “Do it again!”, and wake up in the morning thankful for another day.

   In silence, we can ponder the monotony of life and find in it the good that hasty changes would discard. In silence, we can value the good and make thoughtful changes that would enhance it.

Jim Devereaux
JAN 2012


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Lessons from West Point

Over the last fifty years I watched Montgomery County of Maryland slowly disintegrate because of liberal bulldozer drivers and I am now watching neighboring Frederick County beginning to follow in its path.   If the people of Frederick do not halt the liberal bulldozer drivers, the Villages of Urbana will become a replica of Montgomery Village within the next fifty years.

"Liberal bulldozer" is a metaphor for secular humanism – the idea that a godless society can build heaven on earth for everyone by destroying what those that fear God have developed.  Secular humanism is the false notion that it is possible for humanity, in its innate goodness alone, to accomplish without God what it has been unable to accomplish otherwise – material equality for all.

The equality that God grants every person is spiritual equality and we are to nurture it in mutual love.  With free will, a unique set of abilities and circumstances as well as the quirks of nature, there is no assurance or even possibility of material equality. The pursuit of it is the fuel that powers the liberal bulldozer.  Class warfare becomes the tool of the power hungry and invites Cain to kill Able out of jealousy.

One of the first lessons my children learned at table was the same lesson we learned at table while plebes at West Point. The head of the table gets first choice and the person that cuts the pie gets last choice. We are to give God our best and accept what we receive in gratitude. We are sitting at table with God, and that alone is the best possible gift we could have. This is not so for liberal bulldozer drivers that would demolish God's table with the promise of material equality for all.

Jim Devereaux
FEB 2012


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


A Challenge Met of Hopefully Lasting Significance

This may be of interest to some on how, whether in or out of service, the leadership training we received at the United States Military Academy prepared us to face a variety of challenges.

After graduating in 1955, I fulfilled my active duty commitment with an added tour in Germany. I completed my remaining service commitment in the inactive reserves and received my Honorable Discharge in 1964. While in the inactive reserves, IBM hired me in 1959 to work in their Air Traffic Control (ATC) Support Department to provide traffic analysis tools for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). FAA's mission is to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world. In 1960, the ATC Support Department of IBM became part of IBM's Federal Systems Center of its Federal System Division.

I was fortunate to still be in the department in 1963 when the FAA launched a major effort to automate its twenty ATC Centers that controlled all flights across the United States above 18,000 feet. The objective of the effort was to increase safety and efficiency, after several mid-air collisions, through the application of automation techniques. You may remember the mid-air collision that took the lives of some of our fellow cadets returning from Christmas leave. Continuity and safety of operations was among its most stringent operational requirements. To satisfy their requirement, FAA deemed a multiprocessor was necessary rather than a single processor so as to maintain continuous operations should a processor experience a catastrophic failure.

Having had experience in the development of a single processor test-bed Operating System (called a control program in those days) that used multiprogramming concepts for dynamic interactive applications, I was designated lead software engineer on the design of an Operating System for multiprocessors that could function in a multiprocessing mode, similar to a single processor functioning in multiprogramming mode. The Operating System had to efficiently respond to all dynamic demands from a host of user input/output devices according air traffic priorities and rapidly recover from hardware failures of processors, data memory and storage units and a host of input/output devices. This represented a unique challenge, particularly in those days before hardly anyone dynamically interacted with computers and their apps.

While the concept was technically feasible, we could find no evidence of multiprocessors actually functioning in a multiprocessing mode (i.e. tightly coupled and allocated according to application priorities). Neither could we find any existing plans within IBM to develop processors that could operate in a multiprocessing mode. However we did find plans in IBM for processors that, with some added features, could be designed to function as multiprocessors in a multiprocessing mode. "The Brawl in IBM 1964" by Joseph M. Fox already tells the story of what it took to get the hardware we needed. What follows is some of the software story in which I had a role. I will skip the technical details of the software since the Operating System is documented in an article I wrote for The IBM Systems Journal Volume Six - Number Two - 1967 titled "Control program features".

Since the safety of crews and passengers of inflight aircraft were at stake, much depended on the successful development of the Operating System and ATC Applications. When I worked on the hardware procurement with Joe Fox as a software analyst, my task then was to provide a preliminary design of the Operating System and specify the processor changes we needed for IBM processors to function in multiprocessing mode.

When FAA selected IBM hardware, I worked on the proposal team for the software procurement. My task was to finalize the design of the Operating System for multiprocessing mode operations, defend the design within IBM against alternatives, assure that the added features on the processors were adequate to implement the Operating System and to estimate the cost of developing and testing the Operating System.

When IBM won the software contract, I became the technical manager of the Operating System development team. Since all applications were depended on its design, it was a critical path effort. As such, IBM allowed me to handpick my development team with first call on the resources the team would need to complete the effort. My team included five top-notch programmers. The six of us had twelve months to develop the software and prove that the Operating System met all requirements including performance, fail-safe and fail-soft operations. Other teams were busy building Applications to satisfy FAA's functional and performance requirements and Operating System interface specifications we provided them.

I will spare the sweat, fears and prayers that went into completing the development and testing of the Operating System. We met the cost and schedule requirements as well as the functional and performance requirements. We proved the multiprocessing concepts to the surprise of a few remaining IBM doubters expecting the effort to fail. The Operating System and Applications were eventually installed in each of the twenty ATC Control Centers. Joe Fox recently told that much of the old software is still operational, with upgraded hardware of course.

I received an IBM Outstanding Achievement Award in 1974 for my effort, just in time to supplement the expense of another challenge met of hopefully lasting significance, the ten children then sitting around the table each night with Mary and me. It is hard to estimate the number of lives saved, but the record of air safety in the high skies overhead speaks for itself, as do the 34 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren now in our family of families. One of our grandsons is a commercial airline pilot flying in those shies. Hopefully the efforts of FAA to keep our airways safe will continue well beyond my days.

James A. Devereaux
6 October 2016


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


West Point 1955 Home Page

Personal Web Pages

All rights reserved © West Point Class of 1955