The USMA Class of 1955 EXCOM met 30 October 2013 via teleconference. Participating were Charlie Johnson (President), Ed Anderson (Vice President), Jim Bergen (Treasurer), Jack Campbell (ISO), Jim Ryan (Scribe), Dan Ludwig (Historian), Don Andrews (Secretary) and Bob Strati (invited Advisor).
Charlie called the meeting to order at 1500; a quorum having been determined to be present. Minutes of the last meeting held 26 April 2013 at the Birmingham, AL mini- reunion were addressed. Motion for approval was made and seconded. They were unanimously approved.
Jim Bergen presented the status of Class funds as of 24 October 2013. They are as follows:
AOG Memory Pages (escrowed with AOG): $28,900
Memory Funds: $60,871.50
Caring Fund: $5,292.81
Class of '55 Memorial Terrace Endowment (escrowed with AOG): $70, 014.29
Administrative Fund (working capital): $18,593.44. Includes a cash advance of $2,000 to the 60th Reunion Committee paid to the Park Ridge Marriott and $187.15 for reunion postage.
There was discussion regarding the Class Memorial Terrace at the rear of the Tennis Center. As stated in the Treasurer's report, AOG oversees the endowment and arranges for any maintenance. Charlie recently discussed with AOG the need for rehabilitation/replacement of the military decorations on plaques of classmates recognized at the Terrace. He was assured necessary work would be accomplished in time for the 60th Reunion.
Jim Ryan reported up-to-date Class notes had been posted on the Home Page.
Dan Ludwig briefly reviewed the Historian's duties and included his relationship with and responsibilities to provide Class information to AOG. Dan has always personally put together a Reunion Book and arranged for its publication. However, he will not do one for the 60th Reunion. In its place, he will put together a short brochure to be distributed to all classmates. He added that 184 classmates are deceased and 286 are living. The latter figure constitutes 63 percent of the Class. Twenty-two classmates have not yet reached 80 years of age but will do so by reunion time. Jack and Dan both brought up the issue of whether a new request should be made of classmates to provide input to the topic of "How I Got To West Point"; a follow-on to an earlier effort. The EXCOM supported the idea. Dan will provide Jack with an appropriate time to make the request and will then include input received in his brochure. Charlie brought up the matter of funding the effort. Jim Bergen thought the Administrative Fund could support it. Charlie will inform Fred Pirkey who is chairing the 60th Reunion Committee.
Jack gave an overview of activity on and status of each Class net. Of significance is that about 85 percent of living classmates are on the Quiet and/or Business nets, including 63 widows. As a class, we have been very supportive of West Point.org fund drives.
Charlie gave an overview of the status of Distinguished Graduate Awards. This year is the last year our Class recommendation of Rod Vitty will be considered by the selection committee. Phil Enslow, with considerable assistance from Dick Regnier, has done an excellent job updating the Class letter of recommendation which Charlie hand carried to AOG. Concurrently with its delivery, Charlie met with Bob McClure and conveyed general dissatisfaction with the lack of visibility given the Class in the Fall edition of West Point magazine for its many contributions and for misstating the name of the tennis center. Charlie included details on the status of our Class Housing Area for Coach's.
Charlie has spoken to Pete Fikaris who leads the Nominating Committee charged with developing a slate of officers to assume duties effective at the 60th Reunion. All slots are filled except those of President and Secretary. The issues with the President's position are the potential costs of travel and other expenses. Charlie reviewed his recollection of the impact his position has had upon him. The EXCOM devoted considerable time to discussion of all aspects of and precedents for providing the President a stipend to defray the costs of his office. It was agreed the matter should be tabled and discussed again after Christmas. Jack will convey the EXCOM's thoughts to Pete.
Charlie and Fred Pirkey have met to review tentative plans for the 60th Reunion. The schedule of expected activities has been posted on the Home Page. Fred envisions at least 100 classmates will attend with spouses and guests adding to that total. He plans to stick to basics and avoid gifts, head wear, mementos, elaborate name tags etc. to hold down costs. After lengthy discussion, the EXCOM proposes to Fred that the registration fee should be set at $550/person. Jim Bergen was of the opinion that the 10 percent fee AOG will charge to provide semi-management of the event and impact of the refund policy (as yet undetermined) will probably drive the actual cost above $550. Several suggestions were made on methods/sources to hold down the cost of name tags. The EXCOM recognized Rod Vitty's willingness to personally financially support some of the costs of previous reunions. A big item was Rod's printing of the Reunion Book.
Jack recognized the fine help Ed has been in identifying persons to act as LCA when deaths occurred.
Charlie complimented Bill Haas and his committee for the excellent mini-reunion in Birmingham. Charlie also provided the status of housing in our Class Housing Area for Coach's and construction of columbaria in the cemetery, the first two of which have been completed. The columbarium our Class is financially supporting will be completed in time for the 60th Reunion and will bear the Class crest. Only about 100 spaces remain for in-ground burial. The Class memorial service at the 60th Reunion will be held in the Old Cadet Chapel located in the cemetery. Charlie informed the EXCOM our efforts to recognize Tommy Bell through his selection to the Army Sports Hall of Fame have not been successful and, that Tommy personally believes the effort to do so should end. This is his last year for "normal" consideration. In future years, he will fall into the "old timers" group.
Final topics for the meeting were the 1 December Class Christmas Brunch at the Army-Navy Country Club, the death of Rich Miller's brother (a '60 graduate) and the river trip arranged by Rod Vitty.
All necessary discussion having occurred, Jack motioned for adjournment. All members supported this action. The EXCOM adjourned at 1640.