Roy Thorsen

[13 NOV 1930 - D2 - 20410]

Roy's Roystorations Website



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Roy and Margaret Thorsen, Supe and Mrs. Huntoon
[LA FDD - Mar 2012]



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Rob Cummins and Roy Thorsen
[D-2 Mini: NOV 2011]



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Margaret Thorsen, Abe Lincoln, Roy Thorsen
[NOV 2011]



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Mickey Rooney, Roy and Margaret Thorsen
[LA Charity Fundraiser - NOV 2011]



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Margaret and Roy Thorsen
[Los Angeles AUSA Army Ball - JUN 2011]



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Roy Thorsen and Rob Cummins
[D-2 CA Mini - OCT 2009]



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Wynne Stern and Roy Thorsen
[AUG 2008]



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Bill McCulla, Jim Heye, Mary Monahan, Roy Thorsen, Sybil Michalove, Bob Meisenheimer, Larry Michalove, Bob Werner [Austin Mini - APR 2008]



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Mary Monahan and Roy Thorsen
[Austin Mini - APR 2008]



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Bob Werner, Roy Thorsen, Bill McCulla
[Austin Mini - APR 2008]



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Roy Thorsen, Larry and Sybil Michalove
[Austin Mini - APR 2008]



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Roy Thorsen, Docent, Jim Fiscus, Art Follett, Natalie Wilcox, Chrys Follett, Carl Bossert, Laura and Bill Haas [Austin Mini - APR 2008]



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Roy Thorsen, ?, Larry and Sybil Michalove,
Art Follett, Tour Guide [Austin Mini - APR 2008]



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Jerry Denman, Roy Thorsen, Dan Geran, ?,
Bob Carpenter [Austin Mini - APR 2008]



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Jerry Denman, Roy Thorsen, Dan Geran, Bill Norvell, Bob Carpenter, Karl Derrah, Bob Deardoff, Jan Roberts (Tour Guide) [Austin Mini - APR 2008]



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Roy Thorsen, Jim Drummond, Paula Campbell
[Austin Mini - APR 2008]



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D2: Thorsen, Mary Monahan, Werner, Joan McCulla, Jim and Bettie Heye, McCulla, Sybil Michalove, Meisenheimer, Michalove [Austin Mini - APR 2008]



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TJ Myers and Roy Thorsen
[MAR 2007]



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Terry Moore (Friend of West Point), Roy and
Margaret Thorsen [MAR 2007 LA FDD]



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West, Hilbert, McCulla, Doyle, Roades, Karam, Michalove, Walt Boge (friend), Thorsen, Quinn, Sy Kaback (golfing buddy), Pete Beczkiewicz '51 (Bob Carlisle, friend is hidden from view) [Honorary Pallbearers: Al Bundren Funeral - DEC 2006]



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Joe Franklin, Roy Thorsen and Marcia Cathey
[Bundren Funeral DEC 2006]



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Bob Deardorff and Roy Thorsen
[Bundren Funeral DEC 2006]



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Roy, Mara and Margaret Thorsen
[JUL 2006]



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Don Giza, Jane Withers and Roy Thorsen
[JUN 2005]



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[50th Reunion Bio]



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Roy Thorsen, Jack Doyle and Dick Prater
[50th Reunion]



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Roy Thorsen, Mary Monahan, Hugh Quinn,
Hagedorns, Bossert's [50th Reunion]



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Larry Michalove, Bob Meisenheimer, Hugh Quinn, Roy Thorsen
Rob Cummins, Bob Russell, Bill McCulla [50th Reunion]



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Kay Stockett, Roy Thorsen, Lo Dienst, ?,
Marcia Cathey, Larry Michalove [50th Reunion]



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Sheila and Wynne Stern, Bob Meisenheimer, Dee Cassidy, Roy Thorsen, Joan McCulla, Rob Cummins, Hugh and Ann Quinn [50th Reunion]



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Mary Monahan, Hugh Quinn, Roy Thorsen,
Ann Quinn [50th Reunion]



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Wynne Stern, Bob Meisenheimer, Dee Cassidy, Roy Thorsen, Joan McCulla, Rob Cummins, Hugh and Ann Quinn, Bill McCulla, Val and Al Bundren, Sybil and Larry Michalove, Kay and Larry Stockett, Mary Monahan and Jack Doyle [50th Reunion]



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Roy Thorsen, Mary Monahan, Quinn's, Carolyn Hagedorn,
Lucia Bossert [50th Reunion]



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Roy Thorsen, Mary Monahan, Quinn's,
Bossert's [50th Reunion]



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Maurer, Quinn's, Thorsen, Bundren's
[50th Reunion]



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D-2: Stern, Stockett, Russell, Michalove, McCulla Bundren,
Cummins, Quinn, Meisenheimer and Thorsen [50th Reunion]



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Roy Thorsen and Father Oscar
[50th Reunion]



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Larry and Kay Stockett, Ann and Hugh Quinn, Russell, Cummins, Thorsen, Dee Cassidy, Meisenheimer [D2: 50th Reunion]



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Murphy, Sullivan, Fralen, Robinson, Toni Maurer, Lichtenberg, Carla and Don Hilbert, Stern, Thorsen [From NYC - 50th Reunion]



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Larry and Kay Stockett, Joan McCulla,
Thorsen, McCulla [50th Reunion]



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Roy Thorsen
[JUL 2004]



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Roy and Margaret Thorsen, Toni and Dave Maurer,
Tom and Harriet Phillips [2002 LA Founder's Day]



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Mara, Roy and Margaret Thorsen
[MAY 2001]



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Michalove, Woodruff x55, Meisenheimer,Fontaine, Thorsen,
Werner, McCulla, Bundren [45th Reunion - SEP 2000]



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Thorsen, Michalove, Bundren, Meisenheimer,
Stern [45th Reunion - SEP 2000]



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Dick Prater, Jack Doyle and Roy Thorsen
[45th Reunion - 2000]



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Strom, Thorsen, Patton, Wray
[45th Reunion - 2000]



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Coyle, Michalove, Stern, Meisenheimer, Werner,
Woodruff x55, Thorsen [45th Reunion - SEP 2000]



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President Ferdinand Marcos, Margaret and
Roy Thorsen, Imelda Marcos [Phillipines - 1985]



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Margaret and Roy Thorsen
[25th Reunion]



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Margaret O'Brien Thorsen and Cadet
Capt. Andrea Hollen [25th Reunion]



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Col. and Mrs. Harvey Perritt '52, Margaret and Roy Thorsen,
Supe and Mrs. Goodpaster [25th Reunion]



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[25th Reunion - 1980]

Row 10: Bergen, Cathey, Chapman, Gamble, Todd Graham, Don Smith, ?, Polly, McCloskey, Row 9: Blitch, Secord, Jim Ryan, Wing, ?, Row 8: ?, Matuszak, Wayne Smith, ?, Fleeger, Lynn, Joe Franklin, Charlie Johnson, Gunderson, Row 7: Regnier, ?, Reed, Stone, Herren, Weaver, Matteson, Hayes, ?, Enslow, Cliff Jones, ?, Reid, Feagin, Row 6: Wargowsky, Lichtenberg, Sanderson, Baker, Dienst, McCullough, Schick, Ludwig, Soper, Bean, Shideler, Lenio, Pirkey, Row 5: Goldstein, Fralen, Le Cates, Meisenheimer, Wheeler, Horst, Whittaker ?, Cardillo, Page, Newton, Prater, Lucas, Row 4: ?, Sloan, Traut, Rich Miller, Hoeferkamp, Heye, ?, West, Bill Graham, Row 3: Andrews, Perkins, Gay, Pace, Olvey, Strati, Dugan, Jackson, Whtitaker ?, Ralph Henry, Gallup, Murray, Ewing, Fikaris, Row 2: Hornbarger, Al Edwards, Robinson, ?, Thorsen, Dickson, Vitty, Tom Phillips, Bill Anderson, Giddings, Jacobs, Dryer, Row 1: Bazilwich, Samos, Wray, Trobaugh, Brokenshire, Bossert, Hagedorn, Walton, Poirier, Hasbrouck, LaFrenz, Nourse, Malooley



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Margaret and Roy Thorsen, General and Mrs. Omar Bradley
[Hollywood Army Ball JUN 1974]



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Paul Smor, John Brookes, Frederick Mayer,
Ron Murray, John Klingberg, et al [AUG 1973]



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Paul Smor, John Brookes, Frederick Mayer,
Ron Murray, John Klingberg, et al [AUG 1973]



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Gen Robin Olds, Roy Thorsen, Col Jim Waddell
[LA Founders Day MAR 1971]



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Bill Graham, Murray, Spaulding, Bullard x55, Wing, Knieriem, West, Michalove, Regnier, Tom Phillips, Viney, Klung, Pond, Smor, Perritt x55, Thorsen (seated) [Mini Reunion @ Thorsens - MAY 1970]



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[15th Reunion - 1970]

Row 8: Auer, McNair, Street, Wix, Row 7: Horst, Paul Parks, ?, Dugan, Grubbs, Domeck, Bliss, Row 6: Howie Stone, Newton, Booras, Strom, McDonald, Row 5: Fikaris, Schick, Gallup, Cardillo, Wheeler, Masson, Row 4: Katenbrink, Spellman, Joseph, ?, Schlotter, Row 3: Bergen, Fralen, ?, Andrews, Dunaway, Bob Johnson, Jim Ryan, Row 2: Bean, Strati, Soper, Jeter, Wiegand, Lenio, Price, Row 1: Prater, Thorsen, Meisenheimer, Reid, Zaborowski, Feagin, Joe Franklin

Larger Size



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Roy Thorsen, Omar Bradley, Ferd Mencassy
[1970]



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Eisenhower Letter
[MAR 1968]



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[10th Reunion - 1965]

Standing [L to R]: Weaver, Lewis, Turner, Chikalla, Gallup, O'Brien, Freed, Hadly, Wix, ?, Streett, ?, Reb Young, Quinn, Lenio, ?, Perkins, Thorsen, ?, Nieves, Sherman, Burroughs, Giza, Traut, Sloan, Gay, Paul Parks, Andrews, Ginter, Bates, McNair, ?, Lichtenberg, Nidever, Secord, Feagin, Cathey, Herren, ?, ?, Ludwig, ?, ?, ?, Ralls, ?, Shimunek, Macdonald, ?, ?, ?, ?, ?, Bob Strickland, Front [L to R]: Soper, Newton, Dax, Chance, Schmidt, Shideler, Bergen, Matteson, Hargrove, Hornbarger, Steakley, Stevens, Drummond, Rudzki, Knierem, Wargowsky, ?, Stern, ?, ?, Livesay, Dickson, Michalove, Hagan, Landers, ?, Blitch, ?, Cardillo, Ordway, Trobaugh, Crancer, Maus, LaFrenz, Sydenham, Strom, ?, Howie Stone, Schepps, Raymond, Spellman, Sanderson ?, Wray , Fikaris, Stevenson, Sims, ?

Larger Size



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Roy Thorsen and Hugh Quinn
[JUN 1955]



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Mary Lee and Roy and Dagny Thorsen
[June Week - 1955]



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Thorvald, Dagny and Roy Thorsen and Kenneth
[June Week - 1955]



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Mary Lee and Roy Thorsen
[June Week - 1955]



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Roy Thorsen
[June Week - 1955]



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Ike and Roy Thorsen
[JUN 1955]



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Hugh Quinn and Roy Thorsen
[June Week - 1955]



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John, Fran, Roy, Dagny and Thorvald Thorsen
[June Week - 1955]



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Paul Fetko, Hugh Quinn, Roy Thorsen
[June Week - 1955]



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Dagny, Roy and Thorvald Thorsen
[June Week - 1955]



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Thorvald and Roy Thorsen at Supe's Reception
[June Week - 1955]



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Mary Lee and Roy Thorsen
[June Week - 1955]



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Roy Thorsen and Milt Herman
[Niagara Falls - APR 1955]



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Roy Thorsen
[Niagara Falls - APR 1955]



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Roy Thorsen
[100th Night Show - MAR 1955]



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Boodle Group
[100th Night Show - MAR 1955]



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Roy Thorsen and Dick Prater
[100th Night Show - MAR 1955]



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Roy Thorsen, Dick Prater and Ron Murray
[100th Night Show - MAR 1955]



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[100th Night Show - MAR 1955]



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Pete Vann and Roy Thorsen
[100th Night Show - MAR 1955]



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Samos, Urbach '56, Thorsen, Pettibone '57,
Landers [100th Night Show - MAR 1955]



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Arlene Francis and Roy Thorsen
[MAR 1955]



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Arlene Francis Show
[MAR 1955]



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Arlene Francis Show
[MAR 1955]



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Hugh Quinn and Roy Thorsen
[FEB 1955]



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Roy Thorsen with Victor Borge and Family
[FEB 1955]



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Roy Thorsen and Skip Massey
[Army-Navy 1954]



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Roy Thorsen
[Army-Navy 1954]



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Roy Thorsen and Larry Stockett
[Army-Navy 1954]



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Bob Meisenheimer and Roy Thorsen
[Ring Weekend - OCT 1954]



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D-2 Firsties - 5th Row: Wilkinson, Woodruff x55, 4th Row: Stern, Stockett, Thorsen, Werner, 3rd Row: Russell, Meisenheimer, Michalove, Monahan, Quinn, Riggs, 2nd Row: Fontaine, Herman, Heye, Jefferies, McCormack, McCulla, 1st Row: Bundren, Chura, Coyle, Cummins, Erminger, Fetko (CO)



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Special Program Committee Stationery
[SEP 1954]



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Special Program Committee
[SEP 1954]



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Roy Thorsen
[Plebe Hike - 1954]



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Roy Thorsen
[Eglin AFB - JUL 1954]



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Marty Maher and Roy Thorsen
[The Long Gray Line - APR 1954]



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Pat Wayne, Katherine (Thorsen's date), Thorsen,
Walt Ehlers [APR 1954 - Picnic on Flirty]



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Pat Wayne, Walt Ehlers, George Monahan, his date D.J. Bill
Woodruff x55, Katherine (Thorsen's date) [APR 1954 Picnic on Flirty]



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William Leslie, Betsy Palmer, Pat Wayne, Bill Woodruff x55,
Roy Thorsen [The Long Gray Line - APR 1954]



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D-2: Thorsen, Crews, Woodruff x55, Carroll
[The Long Gray Line - APR 1954]



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Roy Thorsen and Julie Dingell
[OCT 1953]



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Roy Thorsen with D-2 Yearlings
[SEP 1953]



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Verne Staffen, Roy Thorsen, Ny [Hellesund, Norway,
German Bunker Radar - AUG 1953]



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Roy Thorsen and Bob Meisenheimer
[Flying to Germany - AUG 1953]



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Bob Wheeler, Bob Millard, Roy Thorsen,
Bob Meisenheimer [Virgin Islands - AUG 1953]



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Roy Thorsen
[Hamburg, Germany - AUG 1953]



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Hugh Quinn, Bob Meisenheimer, Roy Thorsen
[MacDill AFB - AUG 1953]



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Julie Dingell and Roy Thorsen
[CAMID - JUN 1953]



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Free Time
[CAMID - JUN 1953]



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Thorsen, Chura, Heye and Fetko
[CAMID - JUN 1953]



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Grant's Tomb NYC
[CAMID - JUN 1953]



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[Summer Trip - JUL 1953]



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Roy Thorsen
[Summer Trip - JUL 1953]



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Roy Thorsen
[MAY 1953]



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Sherman, Thorsen, Quinn, Monahan
and dates [APR 1953]



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Roy Thorsen, George Monahan,
Hugh Quinn [APR 1953]



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Roy Thorsen and Bernice Kjaer
[APR 1953]



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Mess Hall Rally
[APR 1953]



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Mess Hall Rally
[poster drawn by Roy Thorsen - APR 1953]



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Scotty Adams and Roy Thorsen
[100th Night Show - MAR 1953]



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Scotty Adams and Roy Thorsen
[100th Night Show - MAR 1953]



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Roy Thorsen and Scotty Adams
[100th Night Show - MAR 1953]



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Roy Thorsen and Gerry Samos
[100th Night Show - MAR 1953]



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[100th Night Show - MAR 1953]



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Rain Formation
[MAR 1953]



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Roy Thorsen Posture Record
[MAR 1953]



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Roy Thorsen and Bernice Kjaer
[MAR 1953]



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Buck Riggs, Roy Thorsen, Bob Meisenheimer
[MAR 1953]



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Roy Thorsen, Dorothy Robe, Bill Parks
[MAR 1953]



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Garneau, Quinn, Posner,
Meisenheimer, Erminger [MAR 1953]



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Roy Thorsen @ Flirty Turnstile
[FEB 1953]



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Roy Thorsen's cousin Gertrude @ Flirty Entrance
[FEB 1953]



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Roy Thorsen and cousin Gertrude
[FEB 1953]



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Hugh Quinn, Roy Thorsen, Rob Cummins
[DEC 1952]



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Bill Davis x55, Roy Thorsen, Hugh Quinn
[NOV 1952]



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Bill Davis x55 and Roy Thorsen
[NOV 1952]



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Bill Parks, Ted Perritt x55, Roy Thorsen
[SEP 1952]



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Roy Thorsen and Ted Perritt x55
[1952 Mortar



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Corbins, Roy and Dagny Thorsen, Nancy,
Perritt x55, Quinn [Camp Buckner - 1952]



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John Lovell, Roy Thorsen, Ted Perritt x55
[Camp Buckner - 1952]



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Roy and Dagny Thorsen, Ted Perritt x55
[Camp Buckner - 1952]



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Roy Thorsen
[Camp Buckner - 1952]



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Roy Thorsen
[A-Bomb replica, Camp Buckner 1952]



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Roy Thorsen
[Barksdale AFB JUN 1952]



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Roy Thorsen and Walt Ulmer
[D2 Party - APR 1952]



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Roy Thorsen Posture Record
[MAR 1952]



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Thorsen, Wargowsky, Perritt x55 and Croy
[100th Night Show - MAR 1952]



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Roy Thorsen and Ted Perritt x55
[100th Night Show - MAR 1952]



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Bob Chapman, Roy Thorsen and Ted Perritt x55
[100th Night Show - MAR 1952]



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Thorsen, Wargowsky, Humphries, Malone, Croy
and Perritt x55 [100th Night Show - MAR 1952]



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Roy Thorsen
[100th Night Show - MAR 1952]



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Roy Thorsen
[FEB 1952]



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Roy Thorsen and Ted Perritt x55
[DEC 1951]



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Roy Thorsen as a young Scrooge
[A Christmas Carol - DEC 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[DEC 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[DEC 1951]



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Dagny, Roy and Thorvald Thorsen
[DEC 1951]



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Fontaine, Riggs, Thorsen, Heye
[DEC 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[DEC 1951]



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Fetko, Roy's Mom, Thorsen,
Wilkinson [NOV 1951]



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Paul Fetko, Roy Thorsen, Tom Wilkinson
[NOV 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[OCT 1951]



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Paul Fetko and Roy Thorsen
[OCT 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[OCT 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[OCT 1951]



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Tom Wilkinson and Roy Thorsen
[OCT 1951]



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D2 upperclassmen after taps
[OCT 1951]



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Thorsen Demerit Record
[1951]



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Thorsen Equipment check list
[1951]



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Thorsen Posture Record
[1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[OCT 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[OCT 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[OCT 1951]



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Cadet ID Card Back
[AUG 1951]



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Cadet ID Card
[AUG 1951]



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Rhinehart x55, George Jackson x55, Thorsen, Spaulding,
Dale Patterson x55, Friedman x55 [Plebe Hike - 1951]



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Tom Wilkinson, Dave Young, Roy Thorsen
[Plebe Hike - 1951]



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Wilkinson, Jackson x55, Spaulding, Thorsen
[Plebe Hike - 1951]



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Jackson x55, Thorsen, Spaulding, Friedman x55
[Plebe Hike - 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[Plebe Hike - 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[Plebe Hike - 1951]



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Roy Thorsen at Round Pond
[Plebe Hike - 1951]



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Roy and Dagny Thorsen
[JUL 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[JUL 1951]



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Check List
[3 JUL 1951]



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Inman, Roy Thorsen
[JUL 1951]



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Cadet Appointment
[JUL 1951]



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DD form 214
[JUL 1951]



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DD form 214
[Back, JUL 1951]



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USAF Discharge
[JUL 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[USMAPS Party - MAY 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[USMAPS Party - MAY 1951]



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Oscar Turner x55, Ted Perritt x55, Roy Thorsen
[USMAPS Party - MAY 1951]



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Roy Thorsen and Baise
[USMAPS Party - MAY 1951]



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Baise and Roy Thorsen
[USMAPS Party - MAY 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[USMAPS - APR 1951]



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Roy, Thorvald, Dagny and John Thorsen
[FEB 1951]



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[FEB 1951]



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[FEB 1951]



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Can Conference: John Ellman, Bill Dickson, Roy Thorsen,
Charlie Derwin [USMAPS: 1950 - 1951]



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Chick Bosshard, Bill Dickson, Russ Blair, Hugh Sams, Bill
Woodruff, Willie Salmon, Ken Wilson [USMAPS: 1950 - 1951]



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Bob Deardorff, Kent Johnson and John Sloan
(USMAPS CC [USMAPS: 1950 - 1951]



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Roy Thorsen
[USMAPS: 1950 - 1951]



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John Thorsen
[Germany FEB 1950]



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Roy Thorsen, Jack Doyle and Dick Prater
[SEP 1950]



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To '55 from Virginia Mayo



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Roy Thorsen and Emily
[1949]



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Margaret O'Brien Thorsen
[1945]



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Margaret O'Brien @ White House with Roosevelt
Grandchildren [March of Dimes Broadcast JAN 1945]



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Roy Thorsen
[1937]



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2012 AOG Online Register Entry

Register Glossary



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I DANCED AS A CHILD




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How I got my appointment to West Point

In 1949 Emily Garske and I were dancing at the famous New York night club, Leon & Eddies. The Commander of Bolling AFB, General Grubbs, saw our act and, when he returned to Bolling praised our performance and kept urging the manager of the Officers Club to book us at the club. The Bolling Officers Club, outside of Washington, D.C., was also the watering hole for any military VIPs who visited our nation's capital.

On January 1st of each year it was traditional for the officers of an air base to present some sort of plaque or other token to the Commander to express their appreciation for his leadership during the past year. This year,1950, they decided to forego the plaque and instead his gift was "Roy and Emily" for a two week engagement at the club.

General Grubbs (actually at that time he was still a Colonel and shortly thereafter became the youngest General in the Air Force) was overwhelmed by the refreshing uniqueness of the gift so he insisted that, rather than have us stay in D.C. like most of the other entertainers who played the club, we were to stay on the Base at the Bachelor Officers Quarters for me and the Visiting Women's Quarters for Emily. At the time I didn't realize or appreciate that this kid from Brooklyn had a two-room suite while full Colonels were doubling up in a single room down the hall.

I soon learned that General Grubbs (USMA Class of '33) also had a secret agenda, to convince me to give up show business and go to West Point. Whenever a visiting military VIP came to Washington he usually ended up at the Bolling Officers Club and afterwards there would be another get together at the Grubbs' residence. Apparently General Grubbs put the word out to them and I would find myself getting a lecture on the benefits of a West Point education. I remember one evening when I was sitting on the couch in the Grubbs' living room and felt like I was getting the third degree. My interrogators were General Hoyt Vandenberg on the left, General Tunner, commander of the Burma Hump airlift during WWII in front of me, and General Curtis LeMay to my right. They presented many good points and I really couldn't find any reasons to disagree with their logic. All this for a 19 year old kid from Brooklyn whose father, a Norwegian immigrant, was the Superintendent of a number of apartment buildings, and whose mother was born here but raised in Norway and returned to this country as a native-born citizen who couldn't speak English.

The message sank in but I still couldn't believe that it could become a reality. A few months later Emily came down with pleurisy so we would be out of commission for a few weeks. I had kept in contact with the Grubbs family and when I told them about Emily's illness they invited me to spend some time with them. I went to Bolling AFB and within a day General Grubbs had me in the House of Representatives Office Building checking with one of the Congressmen from Brooklyn. I, of course, was in awe of meeting a real live member of Congress and didn't realize that at the time he was suffering from a miserable hangover. He agreed, probably to get rid of us, to give me a First Alternate Appointment where the Principal appointee had a medical problem that would probably disqualify him and make the First Alternate a shoo-in if he passed the physical, medical, and academic exam.

General Grubbs then explained to me that any member of the Armed Forces who has an appointment to West Point is automatically assigned to the USMA Preparatory School at Stewart AFB, Newburg, New York. Since it had already been two years since my high school graduation I realized that I needed a lot of brush-up academically and, therefore, made one of the most meaningful decisions of my life.

I enlisted in the Air Force and then called my parents. I told them that I had decided to give up show business, of which they had always been very supportive, and had enlisted in the Air Force with the hope of eventually being admitted to West Point.

I remember my mother's asking me if I had given a lot of thought to my decision. I told her that I had. There was a pause as she talked with my father and then said that as long as I had given it good thought they were in total support and sent their love and best wishes for my success.

The next call was more difficult when I called an ailing Emily and told her that she was now a single. Just prior to Emily's illness we, as a team, had been offered a booking at the famous Paladium Theater in London. In addition, I was offered, as a single, a part in the movie, "Summer Stock" with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. For me it seemed to be a good time to make a change because I could leave show business like "an athlete dying young", at the top of my career with only good memories. My decision was a surprise to Emily but she said that she always felt that I was destined to do more than just tap dance and so she wished me well.

At the time of my swearing into the Air Force, two other young men, Jack Doyle and Dick Prater, who had appointments to the Academy were also sworn in. After that we were to be issued our uniforms. The official Air Force uniform at the time was olive drab, just the same as the Army. The new Air Force blue uniform was available for purchase but not yet available as government issue. Bolling AFB, because of its proximity to Washington, D.C., had been selected to be the first Air Force Base to be furnished a supply of blue uniforms, however, the official issue date was a couple of weeks away. General Grubbs said that he wanted his representatives at Prep School to be properly attired so he had the Supply Officer open the warehouse where the new blue uniforms were stored and outfitted the three of us with the very first government issue of Air Force blues.

Thanks also to the kindness of General Grubbs I started off my Air Force career with a 30 day leave so I could get my civilian affairs in order, say my goodbyes, and still arrive at Stewart Field before the start of the Prep School term.

While I was at Prep School and about one month before we were to take the entrance exams for West Point I received a notice that my First Alternate Appointment had been withdrawn and given to someone else. Apparently my bleary-eyed Congressman had sobered up and wanted to find favor elsewhere. It was a tremendous blow and, with that went a young man's idealistic respect for the world of politics.

The first thing I could think of was to call General Grubbs who was now the Commanding General of Ramey AFB in Puerto Rico. His response was not to worry and keep studying. "Sure", I said, "but I'm in the Air Force for four years and am now a Private First Class who hasn't even been through basic training."

True to his word, a week later I received a Third Alternate appointment from a Brooklyn Congressman whose Principal appointee had been a Qualified Alternate the year before and was assured of entrance under the appointment. The Third Alternate appointment, however, permitted me to take the entrance exam which was just a week away.

In spite of all that, I went to Washington and walked through the halls of the House of Representative and the Senate asking if anyone had an uncommitted appointment. One of the nicest ones I spoke with was Senator John Kennedy but he wasn't able to help.

I did well on the entrance exam. On the physical aptitude portion I figured that my strong legs would help me overcome my lesser arm strength. The main program that I relied on was the squat jump. I started squatting and jumping while an Army Sergeant started counting. I had forgotten how many it took to get 100% so I just kept going and after I reached 110 squat jumps I finally asked him how many it took to get 100%. By this time his eyes were sort of glassy as he continued to count and said that I had reached it at 80 and had never seen anyone do so many before. So much for tap dancing lessons from the age of 4.

When the results of the entrance exam came through I was advised that I had passed but was not admitted under my appointment because the "Principal or Alternate" before me had passed and would be admitted. My only recourse then was to be admitted as a "Qualified Alternate" to fill the vacancy where the Principal and Alternates had all failed to qualify. As I recall, there were 13 vacancies and about 2,000 qualified alternates.

My only other recourse was prayer. I had been doing it regularly but now did it with a new energy and focus.

Then, out of nowhere, I received a message to come to the office of our Prep School Company Commanding Officer, Capt. Goeth, to report to his office.

Capt. Goeth told me that I had an appointment at West Point (20 miles away) with Capt. Eisenhower at 3 p.m and that a staff car would take me there. I asked him if he was any relation to General Eisenhower. He said, "Yes. He's his son."

I asked him if he knew why he wanted to see me and he said that he had no idea but that the minute I returned I was to come to his office and tell him what it was all about.

I agreed and in a total fog got into the staff car and went to West Point.

Capt. Eisenhower was an instructor in the English Department so our meeting was set up in the English Department Library. Naturally, I got there first and sat there wondering what I had done wrong. Then he entered and introduced himself and in a moment made me feel that I was with a friend.

He started out by telling me that he and his father, who at that time was the commander of SHAPE (Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe) were on an R&R (Rest and Recuperation) in Puerto Rico as General Grubbs' guests. During their stay General Grubbs had constantly told them about Cadet Candidate Roy who had given up a promising career in show business to attend West Point only to have his appointment withdrawn in the last minute.

On their last day on the island General Grubbs came to bid John and his father good-bye and made a request that General Eisenhower have John check out Roy and, if warranted, recommend him to the Academy as a Qualified Alternate. General Grubbs then wrote out my full name and, according to John, it was the first time that his Dad realized that General Grubbs hadn't been talking about his own son. He then asked John to meet with me and report back to him.

John Eisenhower then sort of picked my brain and we had a delightful conversation. I told him where I came from, why I was where I was, and where I hoped to be one day.

I was impressed with him and I guess he gave his Dad a good report because General Eisenhower then sent several messages on my behalf to members of the Academy Staff and the Secretary of the Army. Thanks to our West Point archives I've received copies of his letters and wires to them concerning me.

A few weeks later I received a notice that I had been selected to enter the Military Academy as a "Qualified Alternate". A friend of mine at Prep School was also selected as a "Qualified Alternate", however, his selection apparently was based solely on his entrance exam grades. When we compared grades we found that mine were higher than his. So there is a good possibility that I would have been admitted even without General Eisenhower's support but, of course, wouldn't have had such an interesting story to tell.

.....

I'm eternally grateful for the guidance and support that so many fine people gave me, a kid from Brooklyn who didn't even know that the proper response to a General was, "Yes, sir" rather than, "Yeah."

.................,

P.S. During our summer Camid Cruise my D-2 classmate and fellow Brooklynite, Wynne Stern, and I talked about how we ended up at to the Academy and finally realized that he was the one who received the appointment that had been taken from me shortly before the entrance exams. We laughed at it and it brought us even closer together.
Roy Thorsen
29 July 2010


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Ventura County Jail Ministry Program

From: Roy "rttoca@roadrunner.com"
To: USMA 55 Forum "usma1955@west-point.org"
Subject: usma1955: 55-forum Jail Ministry
Date sent: Fri, 27 Aug 2010 07:56:47 -0700

For some time now I've been participating in the Ventura County Jail Ministry Program in which various churches send one to three representatives to visit with the inmates for one and a half hours on Sunday mornings to share the Scriptures with the inmates and discuss the messages they contain. There are enough churches participating in the program so that each church only attends every second or third Sunday.

This is all conducted under the highest security. We get body scanned before entering the prison area. We are not permitted to touch an inmate and after the session is completed they are body-searched to make sure that we didn't slip something to them.

We meet in a "Visiting Room" about 6'x8'. Depending on the inmate's status, we might meet with as many as eight inmates at a time or just one inmate who, for numerous reasons, cannot be in contact with other inmates.

I've enjoyed participating in this program because I've witnessed how discussing the Gospel with these men, some with tears in their eyes, and seeing how it has affected them, especially as they look to the future, has given me a deeper understanding of how blessed I've been and how much I owe.

The reason I'm recording this now is because this morning was the first time that one of the inmates said something that brought tears to my eyes.

To understand the significance of this moment I should mention that last year, during one of my Sunday meetings with some inmates, I showed them a 5x7 photo of a framed picture that I have at home. It is a beautiful painting of Jesus. On the left side it says, "I never said it would be easy". On the right side it says, "I only said it would be worth it." I also read them a poem I had cut out of the New York Daily Mirror in 1948 written by columnist Nick Kenny called "What Have You Done For Your Soul Today". They said that they would really like to have a copy of them. I told them that I wasn't allowed to give them anything but added that, since Christmas was only a month away, and our Jail Ministry Group would be giving every inmate a Christmas gift, a goodies bag of snacks, candies, and spiritual readings, I'd see if I could have them added to their Christmas gift. The picture and poem, "What Have You Done For Your Soul Today", that I'd shown them were printed by me and I figured I could just print them out and bring them to the wrapping party.

I asked the Jail Chaplain if it would be okay to include them in the bags. He said it would be fine as long as I had one for every inmate. When I asked him, "How many?"

He said, "1,800."

I realized that I wasn't going to live long enough to print them all so I had them printed by a local printer and they were included in the inmate's Christmas bag.

Now, back to today. I was assigned to Quad G which contains the more isolated inmates. It was one on one, just Oscar and me. He was a nice looking young man who brought with him an obviously well-read Bible. He mentioned to me that he came from a Christian home but that he was never much involved with religion. Nevertheless, when he was first incarcerated and sent to his cell there was a Bible sitting on the table and he asked his cellmate if it was okay if he took it. The cellmate said it was okay because he couldn't read English.

Oscar told me that he started to read the Bible and after finishing it he re-read it and then wrote notes about certain sections. As I looked at his Bible I could see that it was well-read and had many notations and inserted notes.

We then moved on to the matter of showing our appreciation for our many blessings by sharing it with others. I told him that I had a favorite poem that I had cut out of a New York newspaper in 1948 and that it expressed it perfectly.

As I opened my Bible to where I had the copy of the poem, he said, "You mean 'What Have You Done For Your Soul Today?' "

I was shocked. He wasn't in jail last Christmas and he was too young to have ever read it in 1948. I asked him, "How in the world did you know that?"

He smiled and said, "When I first came here my cellmate, who couldn't read English, had gotten the poem last Christmas. He knew it was special and had kept it in his personal box. He showed it to me and, after I read it, I knew that it meant a lot to me so I traded him three cookies for the poem. I've read it many times and it's taped on the wall over my bed."

And that's when the tears started for me. I realized that if 1,799 of the 1,800 copies of that poem had been thrown away this one copy made it worthwhile.

Then, feeling rather pleased with myself and ready to take credit, I asked him, "Do you know who sent that to you?"

He said, "Yes. God sent it."

I stopped and suddenly realized that here was also a message for me too. I then responded, "Yes, God sent it. And I was just his messenger."

Roy Thorsen
22 AUG 2010


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From: Roy "rttoca@roadrunner.com"
To: USMA 55 Forum "usma1955@west-point.org"
Subject: usma1955: 55-forum Jail Ministry
Date sent: Thu, 21 Oct 2010 0:15:20 +0000

Another day of Jail Ministry and another day of special blessings for me.

Today I held my Jail Ministry service with five inmates. There weren’t enough chairs for all of them in our small visitor’s room so one of them just sat on the floor. As usual, after they entered the room I told them that my name was Roy and each one of them told me his name. The first one, a young man of about 19, who was sitting on the floor was named John. I told him we had a kinship becaus? my older brother™s name was John and he was very sp?cial to me.

After an opening prayer and reading of a selected scripture we all shared our thoughts and feelings about the message I had read. It then moved us to a discussion of how we are blessed by the love and support of our families and good friends. We also agreed and acknowledged that a very special love and support comes from our Heavenly Father.

It was then, from his seat on the floor, that John said he had a very large family with several brothers, sisters, and cousins who were very close and did lots of things together. He went on to say that he was a new inmate, had never gotten in trouble before, and was supposed to start college next month. He also acknowledged that a bad decision had brought him here.

Then his voice softened and trembled a bit as he stated that his father had visited him the day before and during the visit his father said to him, “Even though you did something wrong I want you to know that I will never stop loving you.”

John then looked up at me with tears flowing from his eyes and said, “That was the first time my father ever told me that he loved me.”

A silence followed with of all of us dealing with our emotions, after which we acknowledged that we all share another Father who will never stop loving us and, based on what we do, will either weep or smile for us.

After leaving the jail, and recalling John’s tearful statement, I vowed that, whether family or friend, I would never hesitate to say, “I love you.”

Roy Thorsen
Sunday, October 17, 2010



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JAIL MINISTRY – June 24, 2012

Another Jail Ministry Sunday at the Ventura County Main Jail and, while the setting and the situation were the same as before, this one was very different.

I was assigned to Quad E where most of the inmates are segregated from each other for one reason or another. Because of this, the session is just one-on-one and I was able to schedule two sessions within the ninety minutes that are allotted for jail ministry.

My practice is to start with a prayer and then read a passage from the Bible on which I can base my comments and then solicit the inmate’s thoughts and opinions. We then engage in a conversation about the scripture and, hopefully, they receive the message and take it with them. We end the session with a closing prayer usually offered by me but once in a while by one of the inmates.

The first inmate was named John. He was slight of build and about in his late twenties. He was pleasant enough but he was constantly looking down with a sad and dreary expression. Even when I asked him a direct question he would respond in a monotone while looking at the floor. When I asked him if he was married he responded with, "I have two daughters."

After discussing our Heavenly Father’s love for us and His desire for us to follow his commandments, I asked John what he would tell his daughter if she came to him and asked him how she should live her life. He said that he would tell her to be honest, work hard, don’t use drugs, and be good to other people.

I then asked, "How would you feel if she ignored your advice."

"I’d feel real bad," he answered.

"And that’s the way that God feels when you or I don’t follow his advice" I said.

After a few thoughtful seconds John raised his head, looked me straight in the eye, smiled and said, "Yes. You’re right."

I pray the message has stayed with him.

After waiting in the Deputy Sheriff’s Control Station while John was being body searched to make sure that I hadn’t passed anything to him I went back to the Interview Room to await the second inmate.

When the door to the Interview Room opened I was surprised to see a beautiful woman with a full head of hair curling gently over her shoulder and down past her bosom. She later mentioned that she was 29. Her make-up was applied with precision and her exceptionally long fingernails were meticulously manicured.

I was also surprised because I had never met with a female inmate before and thought that they had all been transferred to the Todd Road Jail facility in Santa Paula several months ago. However, I’d also heard that when inmates were to appear in Court they would often house them in the Main Jail because it was closer to the court building. It also explained why she was in Quad E.

After she sat down I told her my name was Roy and asked her for her name.

"Monique" she answered with a confident smile.

I said the opening prayer and read the scripture for the day. Then, despite my attempts to focus on the message in the scripture reading, the minute I gave her the opportunity to offer an opinion she just started off on how angry she was because her cousin was being so selfish by not furnishing her with the money that she needed to buy some things while in jail. Even though her cousin didn’t have much she knew that she had enough to be able to share some of it.

She also found reasons to blame her parents and others for all her problems. We spent the rest of the time discussing our responsibility for our actions. By the end of our meeting I felt that I had gotten my message across to her and she finally admitted that she should start blaming herself rather than others.

During our discussion she mentioned that she had received the "Goodies Bag" that the Jail Ministry gives to each inmate at Christmas and that she especially enjoyed the card with the poem "Walk With Me" in both English and Spanish. She said that she had written out the Spanish version and mailed it to her mother. I couldn’t resist telling her that I had written it.

She was a new and different challenge but I felt that I had reached her and that it was indeed a worthwhile visit.

I then went downstairs to the Visitor Room to await the other two Jail Missionaries from our church who had driven there together. When the first one, Bruce, arrived we started sharing our experiences. I told him that I had had two sessions and that one of them was a woman. I also told him that I was surprised because I thought that all the women had been transferred to Todd Road Jail in Santa Paula.

He smiled knowingly and said, "Yes. There are no women here. Was his name Monique?"



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How I met Margaret

When Ferro Cast, the casting foundry where I was working, was located in Santa Monica, my business associate and I would normally have lunch in a nearby luncheonette. Peggy Ann Garner, former child star, who was now selling cars at a nearby dealership would also go there for lunch.

At that time I was also on the Board of Directors of an organization called SERVE (Servicemen’s Emergency Recreational Events) which had been started by David Evans, a former Society reporter, producing various patriotic programs and events in support of Service personnel. One of the events was a salute to the Hollywood community.

I purchased two rather expensive tickets for it and decided to ask Peggy Ann Garner to accompany me. She was very sweet but still turned me down. When I mentioned it to David Evans he said that he knew a beautiful young lady who had recently returned from France where she had made her debut the previous year. Her name was Marissa and when I contacted her she said she’d be delighted to attend with me.

After that, Marissa and I became good friends and a regular duo at various social functions in the Greater Los Angeles area. During the Christmas season Marissa invited me to a Christmas dinner at her parent’s beautiful home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It was a lovely dinner with about fifteen guests including Marissa’s cousin, Margaret.

I was seated next to Margaret and we both seemed to really enjoy each other’s company, so much so that I was tempted to ask her for a date, but I knew that dropping Marissa for her cousin would be the kiss of death date-wise. So, I just kept it in the back of my mind until one day when I asked Marissa if she would like to join me at one of our West Point Society local area parties. She said she’d love to but she was going to be out of town that weekend.

I then asked her if she thought that perhaps Margaret might like to attend in her place. She said she thought that Margaret would love to. I then asked her for Margaret’s telephone number which she gave me and said that I should call her right then because she had just spoken with her and so she knew she’d be home.

I waited about five minutes because I figured that Marissa would probably call Margaret and tell her that I’d be calling and it was okay with her. As it turned out that’s exactly what she did and when I called Margaret she feigned surprise but also accepted my date offer.

We both had a great time at the party and that was the end of my socializing with Marissa until two years later in 1974 when she was Maid of Honor at our wedding.

Roy Thorsen
28 April 2011


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YOUNGEST GRADUATE SPEECH

Roy T. Thorsen
Founders Day March 1958
Officers Club, Taipei, Taiwan

In 1958 Carl McNair and I were both stationed in Taipei, Taiwan.   As Founders Day approached it appeared that we were the youngest graduates in the area.  I tried to convince him that he should deliver the youngest graduate speech since I was older than he.  Carl explained that the youngest graduate was the one most recently graduated and since he stood ahead of me in class ranking I was the youngest graduate.   Realizing that it was useless to argue with a hive I ended up delivering the speech.

  While going through some old papers I found the speech I gave at that time.  I got a kick out of reading it and thought that some of you might enjoy it too.

  Roy


 
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I was just beginning to feel like an old grad and was even learning to use such expressions as, “The Corps has gone to hell!”  when I was informed that I would have to give a speech here this evening as the youngest graduate.  I feel like I did when I was a Plebe during June Week and an elderly gentleman with his black gold and gray alumnus name card stopped me.  He asked me what year I would be graduating in.  I smiled and proudly answered, “1955, sir.”

He snickered for a second and then said, “Well, I’ve got sixty years on you, dumbsmack, so grind that chin in!”

I don’t think there’s anyone here who has sixty years on me, but those years that we do have between us have been years of change at West Point.  There have been changes in the Academic System, the Plebe system, Military Training, and also there are a number of new or altered buildings.  We “Plebe” graduates like to think that these changes have been improvements on the old system.  To advise you of some of the major changes since you left the Point, I guess I should start out with the fact that it’s no longer necessary to carry water up to your rooms from the Central Area well, and the punishment for being drunk in ranks after a night at Benny Havens has been increased considerably from three demerits.

Concerning the changes in the buildings, some of you who graduated prior to 1946 will be sorry to learn that the Riding Hall has been transformed into an Academic Building housing 191 additional classrooms, two auditoriums, and extra study and laboratory space.  The outer structure of the Riding Hall remains the same---the only changes being in the new rooms and the absence of that nostalgic aroma.  The transformation of the Riding Hall into the Academic Building will probably give great strength at times to the accusations by the goats as to exactly what the Academic Department is built on.

Another addition in the building department is a new laundry.  The new laundry wasn’t built until after I graduated, but I’ve been told that for sentimental reasons they retained one of the machines that they had in the old laundry.  I believe it’s the one that pulls the buttons off your shirt and shoots them through your socks.

One of the most recent changes at West Point and possibly one of the most extreme is in the system of placing cadets in the lettered companies.  Since 1817 the determining feature, as you know, has been the height of the new cadet.  Starting last July with the new class of 1961 cadets were distributed in Companies regardless of their height, but rather based on an equal distribution of potential leadership and academic abilities.  This was decided after a number of tests were made and it was established that, while marching in formation, it was possible to have a gradual change of 6” difference in height without being noticeable.

  Speaking of marching brings up another revision.  Instead of Company and Battalion mass formation the Corp is now using the Old Squad Drill which had been used a number of years ago. 

In the Academic Department courses such as Nuclear Physics have been added.  Probably some of the courses which you may have studied and labored over have been dropped or shortened to make way for others, but an examination of delinquency reports shows that a good percentage of the Corp is still found studying after taps---either in the sinks, or in the halls, or for the more adventurous---in their rooms with the lights on and with a thick blanket covering the windows.

Some older graduates say that there isn’t any Plebe system and that Plebes live just like Upper Classmen now.  Well, I can remember the Plebe who used to come to my room on calls when I was a Firsty.  He was there quite often for some reason or other, and my roommate and I always took great pains to insure that he was properly corrected and that his posture was up to par.  I discovered sometime later that his father was a graduate of West Point, but I doubt that his father can claim that he had a rougher plebe year than his son had.  And I’m sure that if General Bowen who is here with us now had seen us correcting his son he’d agree with me.

Some older graduates also have made the claim that the current crop of cadets seem much younger and less mature than when they were cadets.  I guess I have to agree with them on the group that’s there now---but not when I was a cadet!

Of course I was a bit worried about this last month when I was chosen to play the leading role in a training film about Taiwan.  I was very pleased about being chosen for the part and after agreeing to do it I asked why I was chosen and what part I would play.  I was then told that I was chosen because I looked like a typical PFC.

In spite of the many changes, I would also like to say that there is still a great deal of sameness at West Point.  I’m sure that even the oldest of all the graduates sees much that he remembers from his cadet days---the uniform, the Plain, the precision, the discipline, the unsure Plebe with his chin in, and the proud Firsty anxiously awaiting graduation.

There have been changes since you graduated.  There have been changes since I graduated, and there will be more changes in the future.  But the objective will always be the same---the development of leaders with the knowledge to create and maintain the world’s finest military organization and leaders who will, in the performance of their duties, exemplify the standards of integrity, discipline, and devotion upon which our country is founded and has prospered.

To you who have gone before us, we thank you for the example you have given us to follow. And we who are still teething on our Lieutenant’s bars, hope that we may prove that “change” has not sacrificed “quality” and that someday we may be in a position to receive the thanks of the youngest grad for the example we have set for him.

Thank you.


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