JUL 3, 2009
MEMORANDUM FOR: Classmates, Spouses and Family Members of the Class of 1955
SUBJECT: Annual Report on Class Activities and Scheduled Events, JUN 3, 2008 - JUL 3, 2009
Your Executive Committee held our fourth EXCOM meeting of the year via teleconference on MAY 29, 2009, to receive committee reports on activities, review class business matters, scheduled events, and further planning for 2010 Other meetings held over the past year were:
JUL 19, 2008: Meeting in Falls Church, VA
OCT 22, 2008: Telephonic Meeting
FEB 14, 2009: Meeting in Falls Church, VA
IN MEMORIAM: During the past year, we lost seven classmates as follows:
[SEP 16, 2008]
[OCT 12, 2008]
[JAN 11, 2009]
[FEB 4, 2009]
[MAR 23, 2009]
[MAR 29, 2009]
[MAY 24, 2009]
Our deepest condolences go out to the families of these departed. Each has been remembered by the class with their name inscribed in the Memory Book in the AOG Alumni Center, Herbert Hall at West Point. In addition, a '55 memorial wreath or a $200 memorial contribution was provided to the charity of the family's choice from the Class Memorial Fund. Also, in each case, the class was represented by one or more classmates at the services and the family was assisted by a Local Classmate Assistant in accordance with the Class SOP on "Response to Death of a Classmate". An updated/revised copy is attached for reference and filing with your personal information. This update contains valuable information on whom to notify including key telephone numbers and agencies to call in the event of death.
RANGER MEMORIAL MONUMENT -- FORT BENNING, GA:
The ISO recently forwarded a request from WP-ORG to all graduates advising of the current campaign to have all West Point Ranger graduates who died in the line of duty in a combat zone listed on individual pavers at the Ranger Memorial, the most visited site at Fort Benning. Of the 180 USMA Ranger grads who lost their lives in the Vietnam conflict, only 26 currently have pavers. In reviewing the list of those not covered, it was noted that our three Ranger classmates honored on the Memorial Patio at the Tennis Center at West Point are not covered at the Ranger Memorial. Pavers have now been purchased and will be put in place honoring:
Thomas W. McCarthy, Co I2 [MAR 3, 1964]
Christopher J. Miller, Co I1 [OCT 20. 1966]
James E. Torrence, Co K1 [MAY 18, 1971]
May they rest in honored glory.
CLASS LEADERSHIP CHANGES AND ADDITION OF RESPONSIBILITIES:
ISO Handoff to Jack Campbell:
With the loss of our classmate and long time Information Systems Officer, Bill Welter, on MAR 23, Jack Campbell, our alternate ISO and backup to Bill Welter, stepped in to accept responsibility for class communications and net management within a matter of hours. Full continuity of operations was maintained and all nets were shifted over from Bill Welter's home in Williamsburg, VA, to Jack's home in Austin, TX, the following morning. Passwords for WP-ORG and the AOG were handed off and Tom Sims was requested to assume the back up role behind Jack Campbell. We are all grateful for the dedicated services provided by Bill Welter these many years and were deeply saddened upon his passing. We are likewise grateful to Jack Campbell and Tom Sims for their dedicated efforts over the past four months and look forward to the same high standards of service we had experienced for years with Bill Welter.
As the net handoff was accomplished, it was decided to integrate a multitude of electronic communications and documentation items into a single site,
http://www.west-point.org/class/usma1955/ , along with the excellent photos and bio data already collected and stored over the years by Tom Sims. Thus, our class rosters, e mail lists, bios, eulogies, class business and key messages, reunion information and even the current prayer list are instantaneously available and virtually "real time." Tom Sims, as webmaster, is constantly updating and improving the site based on class input and information needs. Feedback from all has been most positive. If anyone has not visited the site, by all mean, check it out.
Scribe Reports and Assembly Articles:
Chuck Roades, our longest serving and faithful Scribe for 24+ years, moved from the Leesburg area in April to his hometown of Colorado Springs joining his brother, Bob, in a local retirement community. They are now comfortable in the new place and report that the Rockies are as inspiring as ever - near to the Air Force Academy. Although Chuck is now back up on the net with a new laptop, he indicated that is no longer as connected to the class as he had been in the Washington area, where he joined many classmates for the monthly luncheon at JR's Steakhouse. So, beginning with the Jul/AUG issue, Jim Ryan in Petersburg has been assisting Chuck in the Scribe reporting function, collection of information, pictures and material for the Assembly articles. So, if you have information on yourself and family, you may forward it electronically or call Jim or Chuck so that it can be included in the bi-monthly '55 Assembly column. We are proud to report that 186 members
[56%] of our 329 living classmates subscribe to Assembly and look forward to the Scribe's report and other news from our Alma Mater. Thanks to Chuck for his long tenure and dedicated service. Chuck will serve out his term through the 55th Reunion, completing a quarter century of reporting as of the Jun/JUL issue, 2010.
55th REUNION FOR '55: MAY 15-19, 2010
The second class wide communication was dispatched to all on JUN 5, 2009, by Committee Chairman Rod Vitty, so all should have complete details on time, place and activities. We have the schedule and details known also included as an attachment to this report to provide "double coverage". The next and final postal communication will be Jan-FEB 2010, with periodic e mail notices in between.
OTHER SCHEDULED ACTIVITIES:
JUL 9: Travel Club, Russian Waterways Cruise, Rod Vitty, Coordinator
[T]: Summer EXCOM Mtg, Alexandria, VA
OCT 3: Army vs. Tulane, Homecoming, Michie Stadium, West Point
NOV 7: Army vs. Air Force, at Air Force, Colorado Springs, CO
NOV 14: Travel Club, Ancient Egypt and Nile River Cruise, Rod Vitty, Coordinator
DEC 6: Christmas Brunch, Army Navy County Club, Arlington, VA, Matt Schepps, Coordinator
DEC 12: Army Navy Game, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
[NOTE: DEC 10, 2011-Army Navy game will be at FedEx Field, Washington DC]
MAY 15 -19: 55th Reunion for Class of 1955, Park Ridge, NJ, Rod Vitty, Chairman
All dates/events above have been announced in other messages/media by the committee coordinators and are consolidated here for your convenience and easy reference.
FINANCIAL REPORT: Bill Street, Treasurer, provided the following report on our Class Accounts at the last EXCOM meeting:
Administrative Fund: $87,250 Includes $69,000 escrowed for the Memorial Fund to remember our classmates, $4,200 in the Caring Fund and approximately $13,800 uncommitted + $1500 deposit to hold our priority space in the reunion hotel for 2010 at our guaranteed 2005 rate of $135 per night
Gift Fund: $71,000 $188,634 was transferred to the Coach's Housing Project this year
Coach's Housing Project: Bob Strati reports that $435,756 has been contributed towards our objective of $500,000 to complete the project. $64,244 and 316 days yet to go before the 55th.
Memorial Terrace at Tennis Center: AOG reports the balance of our '55 Endowment for maintenance and upkeep of the Memorial Terrace honoring our classmates lost in Vietnam was $62,312 at the end of 2008. However, the market has declined since that time and we anticipate that the 2009 AOG financial report will show a decrease in that amount.
West Point Fund 2008 Annual Report of Gifts: AOG Annual Report released earlier this month reflected that 12,975 alumni, joined by 5500 other friends and parents of graduates, contributed $31,885,900 to West Point during 2008. It is significant to note that '55 has been very generous with 352 members of the class, spouses and friends contributing toward our Alma Mater over the past decade. Well done and many thanks to all those who have helped in this worthy effort.
WIDOW'S SUPPORT PROGRAM: Dick Wargowsky and Marcia Cathey continue to lead this important effort in linking our widows to the class through the regional coordinators:
Western Region Marlowe Viney and Bob Hinrichs
Northeastern Region Maggie Miller and Ed Zaborowski
Southeastern Region Carol Riggs and Dave Wheeler
Central Region Dick Baker
Mid Atlantic Region Marcia Cathey and Dick Wargowsky
CLASS ROSTER UPDATE:
It was observed at the FEB 14 EXCOM that our class roster had become out of date due to the high mobility of the class relocating to retirement areas nearer family members. A Task Force led by Dan Ludwig assisted by Jim Ryan and Dick Baker was asked to conduct a 100% scrub of the entire roster and synchronize it with AOG records to insure that we had the very latest addresses and phone numbers for all classmates and widows. This required six weeks of diligent research. During this effort, the Region Coordinators listed above were very active making phone calls, sending e-mails, letters and following leads. They contacted almost all of the class widows, not only verifying data, but confirming their desires to participate in class activities. Dan Ludwig was very complimentary on their support and recommended they receive special thanks for their efforts. In turn, the Widows Committee requests the support of all in keeping them informed as to information about any missing widows. This program will become even more critical in the years ahead to keep our widows linked and in communications with the class. Thanks to all of you for helping make it the success it has become.
Likewise, if anyone detects errors on the current roster, please send corrections to the ISO for "real time" update to the roster which is now posted and readily available on the class net.
CLASS OFFICER NOMINATIONS FOR 2010- 2015:
Ed Trobaugh, Immediate Past President of the Class of 1955 and Chairman of the Nominating Committee, provided a schedule and overview of the process for the nominations and election in a message to the class on MAR 17, 2009.
- Other committee members are: Dick Auer, Bill Haas, Bill Hadley, Tom Phillips, Fred Pirkey, and Dave Wheeler.
- The Committee's goal is to announce its preliminary slate not later than DEC 15, 2009, to permit classmates the opportunity to forward additional nominations to the Chairman as provided under the Class Constitution.
- The Chairman will then inform the Class of the names of all nominees on the final slate not later than MAR 15, 2010.
- Balloting and tallying of the votes is the responsibility of Charlie Johnson, the Class Secretary, and will be accomplished at the Class Business Meeting on MAY 17, during the 55th Reunion.
DISTINGUISHED GRADUATE AWARD NOMINATION:
During the course of the 2009 nominations for Distinguished Graduate, while our focus was on other candidates at our meetings, unknown to me, the EXCOM elected to place my name in nomination for the award. I learned of the submission only after it was signed by Rich Cardillo, our Vice President, and forwarded to West Pont. Not only was I flattered that my fellow officers saw fit to do so, but will be forever grateful for their confidence and the write-up provided. The true honor of that recommendation rests in such nomination by your peers, coupled with the privilege of serving the class and our Alma Mater. Having myself been on the DG Selection Committee of the Board of Trustees in earlier years, I know the level of intense competition and especially this year, wherein there were over forty finalists before the Selection Committee. Those selected were absolutely the finest of any year to date, key four star Army Commanders who are legends in our time, a Medal of Honor winner and a distinguished Air Force General Officer. Thus, to have had the opportunity to compete in their company was a great tribute from my classmates and I am indebted to you all for allowing me that privilege.
We have timed this annual report to follow the 54th anniversary of our graduation on JUN 7, 1955, and it should be delivered on the 58th anniversary of the "RED SASH" day none of us will ever forget, JUL 3, 1951. So, as you reflect on our class activities behind us and yet ahead, remember also that memorable day when 436 of us walked thru the Sally port of the West Academic Building, fresh off the Mohawk Coach Line from New York City, bag in hand, new black shoes underfoot, with heels locked, to quickly learn those three unforgettable phrases, "Yes Sir, No Sir, No Excuse Sir" and the seldom used, "Sir, I do not understand" - which we learned was a "puny b-ache".
Six other classmates reported on later dates in July while 28 had been admitted as cadets in 1950, that distinguished group we later learned were "turn backs" - with fallout privileges. But, there were another 182 admitted with us on JUL 3, who today do not wear the coveted ring, and are listed as "non-graduates", for a completion rate of 72% of those sworn on Trophy Point that fateful afternoon. By comparison, a quick glance at the recent Class of 2006 reflects a similar completion rate of 73%, so the Corps has not. Standards remain high, although more than a half century separates our year groups. West Point remains West Point as "the Long Grey Line of us stretches".
Having now lost 141 of our 470 graduating members, we now stand at 329 living, 70% remaining 58 years later, reflecting our resilience, fortitude and longevity as a class.
And with that thought in mind, pause now and remember those who have gone before and those in need on our Prayer List today: Dewey Auger, Don Buchwald, John Gamble, Ken Ikeda, Charles Steinman, Wynne Stern and spouses, Jo Ann McNair, Jill Wiegand, and Jane Zaborowski.
Remembering always our commitment - NO CLASSMATE LEFT BEHIND!!
FINALLY - FEEDBACK TO THE EXCOM:
As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions and your participation in all our activities as you can. Your service as a Class Officer or with the many committees is likewise welcome. The final attachment lists the organizational responsibilities of your officers and the fifteen committees working to make these things happen. Feel free to contact any of the officers or committee chairs to offer your services or provide comments on class operations and initiatives.
We look forward to seeing you at the 55th Reunion - only 316 days to go.
Carl H. McNair, Jr.
President, Class of 1955
7871 Rolling Woods Court, Unit #407
Springfield, VA 22152
Encl 1: SOP - Response to Death of a Classmate
Encl 2: 55th Reunion Schedule and Information
Encl 3: Class of 1955 - Organization - 2005 - 2010
Encl 4: Online Class Roster
Excel Class Roster