April 23, 2010
MEMO FOR: Members of the Class of 1955, Family and Friends
SUBJECT: Twenty Days and Counting SitRep on the 55th Reunion
ATTENTION TO ORDERS: Sir there are only 20 days until the Class of Fifty-Five 55th Reunion and 227 classmates, spouses, widows, friends and family have dutifully signed on for this great adventure. They will occupy 497 total room nights at the beautiful and historic Park Ridge Marriott, host facility for many earlier memorable 55 events. First class accommodations, gourmet meals, with comfortable/safe transportation between the hotel and our Alma Mater await your arrival. Jim Bergen has provided details which conclude, "leave the driving to him he has the controls." One hundred classmates will spend Sunday in New York City on Broadway, dining at five diamond restaurants and going through boutiques with outfits and prices not thought of 55 years ago. So, come one, come all, for a memorable time and a stroll down memory lane with OAOs, roommates, teammates, area birds and lifelong friends.
HOTEL RESERVATIONS: For any who may still have the opportunity and last minute availability to attend, our 55 exclusive-executive room rate of $135 per night will expire this Friday, April 30, at which time Rod Vittty, Quent Bates and the Committee, must begin to lock the headcount and reservations for the social events and Academy luncheons.
CONTACT OUR CLASSMATES: For all attendees, would ask that you reach out to those of the class who simply cannot attend for whatever reason, time, distance, health, mobility, or family conflicts, and check on them so that you might bring us up to date on each as our conversations turn to questions, such as "Whatever happened to ------ ?" or "How is ------ , have you talked to him/her lately?" As the E-1 Company Clerk thru the years, I have made calls to each of our living members to report back on their health and welfare and convey their greetings to the class. We should all remember our 20 classmates and family members on our Prayer List as reunion time nears - a call to them would add cheer to their day.
WEBSITE BETTER AND BETTER: Thanks to Jack Campbell and Tom Sims for their good work on our website with continuing updates and documentation of our class archives, photos and eulogy pages. As I have talked with a number of our widows in preparation for their reunion attendance, I always mention the website, pictures, rosters and eulogy page for each classmate. Since many were lost years ago, before the website was created, a couple of families had heard about the site, but had not accessed same, thus were pleased to know they could now do so. It is significant to note that Bert Torrence, widow of Jim Torence, K1, who lost his life in Vietnam in 1971, and is honored on the 55 Memorial Patio, will join us with Jims two sons for our Remembrance Program on the Patio and Class Memorial Services at the Jewish Chapel, Monday, May 17. I have also reached out to the widows or family members of our four other classmates whom we will remember on the Patio, however they cannot attend due to time, distance or health, but asked me to please convey their greetings and appreciation to the class for their friendship and renewed contacts over the past decade since the memorial patio was dedicated at the 45th Reunion "at the turn of the century" sounds like the distant past for us.
WEST POINT ORG 55 SUPPORT: Cannot mention our website without recognizing the support we receive from WP ORG on managing our internet traffic. As all know, WP ORG is a volunteer organization supported by voluntary contributions, of which our class has always been a major supporter since inception. And that is most appropriate since we have 324 members currently on the WP ORG listserve (we have 320 living classmates, thus there are numerous widows from 55 also on the site). In the fund raising area, 55 stands in the top two or three classes in each of the campaigns and we currently stand #2, with 67 contributors averaging $55.10 per person, an enviable achievement. Our members should be proud in providing this service for our class and others around the globe, not to mention the parents of todays cadets. So, as Jack Campbell has urged you, please respond to the request from WP ORG for their support.
HOSPITALITY SUITE: Tom West will again orchestrate the Reunion Hospitality Suite where many will gather for "war stories" and a touch of the bubbly. If you have memorabilia, pictures or literature from yesteryear you wish to share with others, you may desire to display them in the Hospitality Suite, please coordinate with Tom and also label it so that it does not get misplaced. Our own Betsy Anderson, talented artist with her studio in the old Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria, has made a generous offer to provide one of her original oil paintings (which fetch four digit figures) as an auction gift during the Reunion, with proceeds going to the Class Fund. Betsy suggests that the bidding begin at a modest $555 an original idea for the 55th Reunion of 55. Thank you, Betsy, for your generosity, our only question remaining is, "Will this be a silent auction or live auction?" And who will be the auctioneer, perhaps your husband, K-1 stalwart and "first man" on todays class roster, Ed Anderson? We look forward to seeing your painting and naming the chosen auctioneer. I believe her painting was done with the Reunion in mind and may have a "semblance of West Point" therein. Am anxious to see it myself. Thanks Ed and Betsy for your special thought.
CLASS ELECTION FOR 2010-15 OFFICERS: Ballots weremailed/emailed weeks ago with a suspense date to be returned to Rich Cardillo, Class VP and Election Teller, by May 3, barely a week away. If you are attending the reunion, you may prefer to vote at the Class Meeting on May 17, however, if you cannot attend the meeting, get your votes in the mail/e mail to Rich NLT May 3, two weeks prior to the election. As of April 20, Rich advises he has received only 117 ballots, so that means 202 classmates have yet to vote. We have an outstanding slate of officers and ask that we lend our total confidence by having a strong turnout at the ballot box. If you have misplaced your ballot, you can find it as the first entry on the class website, right under the aerial view of West Point. Go to "http://www.west-point.org/class/usma1955/" , download, vote and e mail or snail mail to Rich Cardillo right away. You will have done your civic duty.
WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCEMENT: President Barack Obama will deliver the Commencement Address at West Point for the Class of 2010, at Michie Stadium, 10:00AM, Saturday, May 22. This is especially significant for us since we were privileged to have President Dwight Eisenhower as our own graduation speaker. The sun shone a little brighter on June 7, 1955, with the Commander-in-Chief present to shake our hands and take our first salute as 2LTs, US Army and US Air Force. May it also be so for the Class of 2010, and especially for one from our own 55 Family Tree, receiving his diploma from the President of the United States 55 years after his grandfather, Joe Vincent, Company A-2. Congratulations to Joe and Fran who have yet another grandson following in the Class of 2013. Joe will proudly tell you that he remembers well the plebe hike march-back from Buckner four years ago, every spirit filled pace, when he joined Grandson #1 in 2006, and even more recently in 2009 with Grandson #2, a double-header record that may likely stand in the Class of 1955 for all time.
ONE FINAL NOTE: For those of you who have read the latest "Assembly" magazine and "Taps", we should all be proud of the fine representation our "interim Scribe", Jim Ryan, has done for us over the past year, as Chuck Roades moved to his Colorado home and stepped down after a quarter century in that critical role. Thank you Chuck and Jim for your dedicated service. You have both been strong communications links for all through the class column and obituaries.
This will be my last informal message update to the Class as your President, but be assured Jo Ann and I will see you all at the Reunion. Having joined you for our 10th reunion in 1965, we have attended almost every reunion since. Now in our 53d year of marriage and 55 years of service, we look forward once again to reliving old memories while yet adding many new ones. We value our relationships with the Class of 1955 and service at West Point among our greatest gifts in life and thank you for your friendship and loyalty to our Class, our Alma Mater and our Nation. God bless and be with you safe travels see you soon.
GRIP HANDS THOUGH IT BE FROM THE SHADOWS FAITHFULLY,
Carl H. McNair, Jr.
President, Class of 1955