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James Everman Drummond
James Everman Drummond was born on 13 July 1932 in Oklahoma and was appointed to West Point by Congressional Representative A.L. Miles of New Mexico. He entered West Point on 3 July 1951. He was in Company F 1, played football his Plebe and Yearling years, was a Corporal his Cow year, was a Captain and Company Commander his First Class Year. He graduated on 7 June 1955 and was commissioned in the US Army in the Field Artillery.
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How I got my appointment to West Point
I can not tell you a specific time when I decided that I wanted to go to West Point. Probably it was sometime during World War II on a fall Saturday listening to a radio broad cast of a football game, when I realized that these guys, Blanchard and Davis, and Rafalko and Coulter, Green and Poole, et al ... and that song the cadets kept singing, "On Brave Old Army Team" ... had a connection with those Howitzer yearbooks of my father's. (He was a member of the Class of '23 along with the fathers of others like: Al Raymond, Bill Lucas, Jim Torrance, Phil Enslow, and Joe Vincent, if I recall. Dad was away during the war and I couldn't ask him about any of this at the time. In any event I began to study those old annuals and I decided that I too wanted to go to West Point.
From that early experience, I began to read everything I could get my hands on about West Point ... I became an expert in "Dick Prescott's Four Years at West Point" (and the dastardly things that envious classmates could do to ruin your cadet career), and every other boys' books based on cadet life, and decided that all I wanted in life was to go to West Point and to serve in the Army.
I stayed firm in this resolve through high school and I wrote all of New Mexico's representatives (2 in number at the time), and both senators looking for an appointment. The result was a third alternate to Annapolis. My father, having been 32 from the bottom of his class, thought I would be better off with a year of college before entering. So I took a freshman football scholarship to the University of New Mexico in the fall of 1950 and began to think about gaining some political klaut with New Mexico's Congressional delegation.
I found that help in the person of my Aunt Virginia, the wife of mother's brother. Uncle Floyd and Aunt Virginia Rigdon owned a daily newspaper in Carlsbad, New Mexico. 1950 was an election year and to quote Aunt Virginia, " I just told him
[Congressman John Miles, the incumbent], 'Johnnie you give my nephew that appointment and we'll endorse you. Give it to anyone else, and you are dead in this election'." The end of problem! Not the whole problem but a big part of it.
The rest of the problem: In October 1950, our New Mexico Lobo Freshman went down to play the Arizona Wildcat Freshman in Tucson. Both teams then played in the Old Border Conference. We ran the opening kickoff back for a 6 to 0 lead (missed the extra point) and then Arizona proceeded to whip us, 76 - 6. Coach Warren Woodson had imported a team from the Chicago area that simply overwhelmed us.
[BTW, none of those Arizona hoods ever played varsity football for the Wildcats; they all flunked out, lost their student exemption and got drafted for Korea, stole something and went to jail, or had some irate father with a shotgun run them out of town.] In the course of this game I received a "complete tear of the right medial collateral ligament" which required 7 weeks in a ligament cast to heal.
Once the cast came off, I had to rehab the knee in preparation for the physical and physical aptitude test at Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso in March. This I managed to do. I recall Bennie Barrett, who became an ex Yearling year, John Martling, Dan Dugan, Myron Minich and Marty McNamee from Beaumont. All of us apparently passed. I do not recall having to take any academic tests; perhaps they used my first semester college transcript where I had done well. Several weeks later I got my orders to report on 3 July 1951.
Dad took over the travel arrangements ... essentially the same as his in 1919 by train but from Albuquerque on the Santa Fe Chief rather than from Corsicanna, TX. A train to Chicago; transfer to the New York Central to New York City; stay at the Astor Hotel on Times Square; taxi to the Wehawken Ferry; West Side RR to West Point. I'll bet they were the same damned old rail cars on the WSRR. I later traveled in better cars when we used to rail load our SP howitzers to Grafenwahr in '56 and '57. The train got to the West Point Station about 0915 and the rat race was on!
Not much recalled of the remainder of that day except I was assigned 3rd New Cadet Company with George Kennebeck, Bob Wray, and Bill Everett as roommates. We stayed together through the first three weeks and then George and I were "detailed" to room with Barry Mendez and "Rip" Fagin. George can tell some stories about that pair ... both now deceased ... since we ended up with them again in F-1.
One memorable occurrence from Day 2 which was the 4th of July. We were allowed to eat the noon holiday meal "at ease". Someone on the table said, "I knew this S__T couldn't last." Guess again ... it did!!!!!
21 SEP 2001
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Major General James Everman Drummond
Retired U. S. Army Major General James Everman Drummond, 80, died Monday, October 22, at a local hospital. Born in Stillwater, Oklahoma to Garrett B. and Frances Rigdon Drummond, he graduated from Albuquerque High School and attended the University of New Mexico for one year on a freshman football scholarship before entering the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. While there, he played on the offensive line for a young assistant coach, Vince Lombardi. He graduated in the Class of 1955.
Funeral services will be conducted Saturday, October 27 at 11.a.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church by the Revs. Robert Wisnewski, John Coleman and Chip Broadfoot and by Lay Associate Daniel Cenci. Burial will follow in the church columbarium with military honors and a three gun salute. A luncheon will follow at the family home.
During his 33-year Army career General Drummond commanded Field Artillery units at every level from a two gun firing platoon in an Armored Cavalry Howitzer Battery through a fifteen battalion Corps Artillery. Following commissioning, his initial assignment was as a Forward Observer with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Germany. In the early 1960's after serving as the Aide de Camp to the chief of staff, 2nd U.S. Army, he attended graduate school at the University of Arizona before assignment as Assistant Professor of Astronomy-Astronautics at the Military Academy. He served in Vietnam as a District Advisor in the Mekong Delta. He commanded the 1st Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery at Fort Hood, Texas and served as the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1 of the 2nd Armored Division. He later served on the Army Staff in the Pentagon in the Office of the Chief of Research and Development. In 1977 and 1978, he commanded the forward-deployed 2nd Infantry Division Artillery in Korea. Promoted to Brigadier General in 1979, he assumed command of the III Corps Artillery at Fort Sill. In 1980, at the time of the "Marial Freedom Flotilla," General Drummond was detailed to command the Cuban Refugee Camp at Fort Chaffee, Arizona.
His later assignments included command of the Army Materiel Systems Analysis Agency at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Combat Developments at HQs, TRADOC at Fort Monroe and Commanding General of the TRADOC Combined Arms Test Activity at Fort Hood. At the time of his retirement in 1988, he was the Commanding General of the US Army Operational Test Activity and served as the Army's Tester and Independent Evaluator of all new major weapons systems proposed for acquisition for the Army in the Field.
He was a graduate of the Field Artillery School Basic and Advanced Courses, the U. S. Command and General Staff College, the U. S. Army War College, and was the Honor Graduate of the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College. He held a bachelor's degree in Military Art and Engineering and master's degrees from the University of Arizona in Aerospace Engineering and from Central Michigan University in Management.
Among his decorations were the Distinguished Service Medal, three awards of the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Army Staff Identification Badge and the parachutist badge. While in Vietnam, he was awarded the Republic of Vietnam's Cross of Gallantry with Palm and the Vietnamese Honor Medal by the Vietnamese Army.
He was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, The Order of the Carabao, and a 32nd Degree Mason.
A resident of Montgomery since 2004, "General Jim" was active in numerous civic organizations, including Leadership Montgomery, the Montgomery Area Non-traditional Equestrians, SAYNO, the Montgomery Kiwanis Club and Meals on Wheels. He was a member of the St. John's Altar Guild, taught youth Sunday school at Church of the Ascension and was a graduate of the Education for Ministry (EFM) program. He was a regular at the Montgomery Quarterback Club and a Master Gardener.
Drummond was predeceased by his wife of 43 years, Helen Hillman Drummond, and his sister, Elizabeth Drummond Ray. He is survived by his wife, Jeanne Leighton Drummond, of Montgomery; his brother, Garrett B. Drummond, Jr. of Livermore, California; his son, James E. Drummond, Jr. and his wife, Connie, of Yukon, Oklahoma; his daughter, Dr. Sarah Drummond Kirby and her husband, Kent, of Wake Forest, North Carolina and four grandchildren, Katie and Matthew Kirby, and Haley and Cara Drummond. He is also survived by his extended family, Jonathan Leighton Hackman and his wife, Heather, of Danville, California; Jennifer Hackman Dees, and her husband, John Allen, of Braselton, Georgia and grandchildren, Senta Grace and Sadie Rose Hackman and Wilder Scott.
Honorary pallbearers will be the graduates of West Point Academy, the Church of the Ascension Thursday Morning Men's Prayer Group, the Wednesday Night Card Club, the Montgomery Quarterback Club and special friends, Thomas Jackson McLendon, Dempsey Wiley Moody III, Richard Gassenheimer II and Dr. David George Bronner.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. John's Building Fund, 113 Madison Ave, Montgomery, AL 36104; the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, 315 Clanton Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104 or to MANE, 3699 Wallahatchie Rd., Pike Road, AL 36064.