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134th Column. 31 Dec, 133d is at AOG for Mar/Apr Assembly. Time to begin anew for May/June. Had a call from Al Chase about his participation in Angel Flights. The outfit is “a group of pilots who volunteer their time and aircraft to transport passengers to and from their medical treatment. These passengers are usually of limited financial means. Transportation costs would mean a severe financial burden.” Al mailed me the photo of Joe and his mother. Joe had a bone cancer unique to children and young adults. Al flew them from Richmond to Philadelphia for treatment. He has been flying Angel Flights for about six years. Pop your chest up, Al!
A week later, Will Merrill called to tell me about going to St Louis for promotion of son Will III ’83 to LTC USAR. I asked for a photo and it arrived on 18 Jan. Sons and daughters promotions are one way to make us feel proud… and old. Congratulations to parents Barbara and Will Jr and Will III! I like the sound of Will Three ’83.
News about our super USMA Admissions volunteer, Buck Griffin, being down for the count with surgery was followed by updates about his long-running recovery from surgery (three hospitalizations now stretching over 50 days) provided by B1 CCQ Dick Price and fellow USMA recruiter Jack Tierney. I pray by the time you read this in Assembly that Buck will be doing much better. This email traffic served to prompt the topic of recruiting for USMA.
Admissions work. Using the forum, I asked about admissions work: “Here is a very meaningful activity. I know that Buck B1, Jack Tierney C1, Glenn Brown F2 and Joe Schwar I2 are involved in Admissions work. Are there others either involved now or have been in the past? There must be. Please let me know.” Scribe was blessed with responses reflecting varying degrees of involvement ranging from actually working for USMA Admissions Office, to committee work for Senators or Congressmen, to attending high school college fairs, to recommending candidates, to interviewing candidates, etc.
My incomplete list of classmates based on these replies adds the following to my short list above: Jack Peters, Stan Bacon, Mel Drisko, Alex Pensiero, Bob Pointer, Rolie Peck, Ed Jasaitis (thanks to Andrea for replying), Alex Johnston, Gary Kosmider, Denny Sharon, Bob Miller, George Robertson, Tom Cameron, Tony Nadal, Dick Oberg, Don McCullough, Will Collett, Bo Craddock, Clyde Brown, Fred Easley (or is it Michael?) and Bob Moscatelli. No doubt other classmates have been involved in USMA or other service academy admissions work -- please let your friendly Scribe know.
First-ever communication. Email from Alex Johnston was over and above the call of duty. It covered multiple categories tracked by your Scribe. In addition to admissions work, he (1) admitted to first-ever communication with Scribe (only took Alex 45 years), (2) provided a great Plebe Christmas story and (3) belatedly confessed airplane ownership. First, Plebe Christmas story is quoted here: “I took guard duty for Burt Cohen on Christmas Eve because he had been turned out (aside added: Burt was found in Plebe Math) and my high school sweetheart wasn't coming from Oklahoma until the 27th. When she arrived, I ushered her to the plebe balcony of the Hotel Thayer to kiss her without fear of PDA. As I embraced her, she stepped forward onto my spit-shined shoes. When all I could think of was what happened to the base, I realized something had changed.”
Airplane ownership. “I should have sent info on my aircraft ownerships a few years ago when you were asking about it. I owned a Cessna 152 and a 1/4th interest in a 172 from 1981 to 1984 while I was an off duty CFI (flight instructor) & CFII (instrument instructor) at Ft Campbell. As a non-military aviator, I used the GI Bill to get all my training and taught and depreciated the planes in a small business to support my flying. I later owned a 152 and a 1/2 interest in a 185 on wheel-skis in the winter and on floats in the summer when I was in Alaska from 1984 to 1988. I leased these to the Flying Club when I wasn't enjoying them myself. Now I'm airplaneless but still dream about it.”
The rest of the story from Alex. “I didn't marry a lady who came up in June, but did marry Lynn after I finished Ranger School in March 1959. We had 2 kids, Debbie, now a Social Worker, and Alex IV, now in residential construction, and then we were divorced. I've been married to Charlene for 28 years now. We have 2 boys: Michael, who is an engineer for a solar voltaic energy company, and Andrew, who got married last July and is teaching to work his way through his MS and PhD in order to become a college prof.” First-ever communication and a great job of covering Plebe Christmas to the present – about 48 years or so. Thanks!
6 Feb. Bad news does not improve with age. Notification from CINC Obits, Jack Downing: “Stan Dus died of cancer on 6 Oct 2002. His funeral was held on the 9th. Stan's remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered in the area of his home in New York. Carol suggested that in lieu of flowers, that the class make a donation to the American Cancer Society -- which we will do. I am sorry that this notification is late. Carol is ‘not an e-mail person’ and we missed this. Well Done, Stan, Be Thou at Peace.”
There is little Scribe can add. Those on email net knew of Stan’s cancer. On 30 Sep he sent an email to B-2 on the company net about missing the company mini in Lynchburg. “Carol and I had a trip scheduled to Southern Italy and Sicily Sept 7 through 22 and then an out-of-state family wedding this past weekend which prevented us from going to Virginia. Unfortunately, all our plans had to be scrapped when on Aug 29th I was suddenly diagnosed with cancer of the liver, lungs, and pancreas. I've been told further hospitalization and treatment would be of little or no value, so what happens next is in the Lord's hands.” Scribe got Stan’s permission to share this sad news with the class. I did by email on 2 Oct. We did not know just how little time remained before Stan was to join the Ghostly Assemblage. Grip hands.
Tom Taylor, author. The email gang knows that Tom is deploying with 101st. His plan is to write about the division as he did covering Desert Shield/Desert Storm. George Lawton provided an account of Tom’s book signing for his most recently published book, “The Simple Sounds of Freedom.” George wrote, “Mary Jane & I went over to Bethesda, MD, to buy and get Tommy Taylor to sign his new book. Also present was the subject of the book, Joe Beyrle and his wife. We saw and talked to Dick & Sylvia Schonberger and Bill & Mary Jane Parks who were there for the same reason, although I noticed Dick ate an inordinate amount of cookies, indicating that, perhaps, Sylvia had not fed him that night.
“You may have read that Joe was a GI in WW2 who jumped into Normandy with the 101st, was captured by the Germans, escaped, was policed up by the Russians, and fought the rest of the war with them against the Nazis. According to Tom, Joe was the only person to have fought both for the Russians and the US against the Germans -- and lived to tell about it. When Joe mentioned during his presentation that he was subsequently married in the same church in France that he was buried from, both MJ and I thought he had momentarily ‘lost it’ mentally in that he is probably in his upper 80s. However, it turns out that when the Germans captured him in ‘44, his outfit thought he had been killed and held a memorial service for him in this church in which he was later married.
“You might want to pick up a copy; besides, as we all know, Tom needs all the help he can get!” Thanks, George. I am out of time, space, energy, etc. Seven photos were mailed to Assembly. Re-read 132 in Jan/Feb for myriad opportunities to see classmates this year. Too late for skiing, that one is history. Not too late for Danube Cruise 21 Jun-1 Jul; 4th Annual Williamsburg Golf 11-13 Jul; 4th Annual March-Back in Aug; the MAIN EVENT 45th Reunion 10-14 Sep; Post-Reunion Nova Scotia Cruise 14-21 Sep and C-1 all classes reunion (’58 are all honorary C-1 files) 24-26 Oct.
1. Pilot-owner Al Chase, patient Joe & his mother
2. Barbara, new-LTC Will III ’83 & father Bob Merrill
3. Alex & Charlene Johnston, Chuck LeMere, Bonnie & Bob Moscatelli, Doc & Cathy Heyerdahl Oct 02
4. Dave & Nina Bourland Apr 02
5. JoAnne & Jude Theibert Apr 02
6. Bill & Alicelee Graf Apr 02
7. March-Back Aug 2002 “It’s all downhill from here”
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