152d Column. 1 Jan 2006 another early start with item cut from 151st. Funny lines heard at reunions. If you have candidate reunion quotes for this category, please let me hear from you. My memory was jogged in this regard by cleaning out stuff and running across this comment in a 1994 letter from Herb Johnson. 1994 you ask? Yes, 1994. Serves to highlight the need to clean out “stuff.” Herb was writing about the interment of Skip Hettinger at Fort Logan National Cemetery, listing classmates at the military funeral: “Bob Moscatelli looked out of place among his classmates. I sincerely believe that he not only could get back into his cadet uniform, he looked young enough to wear it at a parade and not get discovered as an old fart grad. Hill (John), Johnson (Herb), Miles (Bill), Martin (Don) and Schroeder (Lou, one of our gifts to ’59) could not pass that test (parenthetical first names and other bits added by Scribe).” In Oct 2004, Bob still looked that good at San Antonio. While admiring the svelte Moscatelli, Scribe’s comments caused Bonnie to reply, “I am trying to starve him to death for the money, but it is taking too long.” It developed that Bob is some 20 pounds below his graduation weight!
Next memorable reunion lines date from the 35th. While some unnamed classmate was trying to entertain the restless crowd after the class dinner, Suzy Spurlock turned to Tony Smith at the I-1 table in the back of the room and asked, “Who is that classmate? He’s not nearly as funny as George Sibert was at the 30th.” To which Tony replied, “Suzy, he is George Sibert.” End of a short-lived career as post-dinner comedian, some might say too-long career.
28 Feb: situation normal, due tomorrow! So much for good intentions. Appropriately continuing with old news first. 2005 was year of changes-of-commands for Ann & Linc Jones. Son Peter ’85 relinquished the 1st Bn, 6th Inf in Baumholder, Germany on 15 Jun. Dau Patty Frost assumed command of 125th MI Bn at Schofield Barracks on 21 Jun while her husband Malcolm ’88 took over 2d Bn, 5th Inf at Schofield Barracks on 24 Jun. Peter became G3 of 1st Armored and is due to return to CONUS in 2006. Meanwhile, Patty & Malcolm are due for rotations to Iraq in 2006 (both had earlier tours in Afghanistan). Grandparents Ann & Linc have been and will be pulling “nanny duties” big-time.
Another serving son of ‘58, Bud Moentmann’s son Jim ’81, having completed O6 brigade command in Korea, is C/S to three-star commanding in Afghanistan. Jim has been there some months; this section is old news and will be older by the time you read it in May.
Still older news: Jerry Hoblit was belatedly awarded the Air Force Cross on 20 Jun 2003 for an action 36 years earlier over NVN. Jerry and his electronic weapons officer, Tom Wilson, both captains at the time, were among the first F-105 Wild Weasels. Quoting from an article about the award ceremony: “The Wild Weasel mission was to protect strike packages from enemy surface-to-air missile sites by actively searching them out and engaging them. The cold reality of this mission was it was one of the most dangerous in the Air Force.” Backseater Tom determined that Jerry was missing an award for a particularly hairy mission on 23 Apr 1967. He contacted the former squadron commander who said that Jerry had been recommended for the AF Cross. Tom pursued this through his local Congressman and AF Hqs, to include the CSAF, to set the record straight. The award ceremony at Davis-Monthan AFB included a Hoblit family reunion, arranged by Rosalie, with their three daughters and two grandsons present. Additionally, twelve Wild Weasels from the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron made the ceremony a unit reunion as well as seeing on old friend receive the second highest award for valor and heroism in combat. Thanks to Fred Hoblit ’68, Jerry’s younger brother for sending me the information, buried in my files almost as long as the original AF Cross recommendation. I know that all ’58 classmates join me in congratulations to Jerry!
And, even older news. Great letter from Pete Kullavanijaya before the 45th. Sorry for the delay, no excuse, sir! “My wife, Vimol, and I have been doing some traveling, but not to the States. Year before last (2000) we went on the Silk Road by a caravan of seven four-wheeled drive cars to Kasgar in China (in Kobi Desert).” They took the most Southern route of the Silk Road. Then in July (2001) they continued west by bus “thru Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Turkey, ending up at Istanbul. What we saw along the way, people used to live in tunnels and caves for hundreds of years. In Cappadocia, Turkey (about 100 km east of Ankara) ten thousands are still living in tunnels and caves. So when Bin Laden incident came out, we could understand how they can live in such conditions.
“I went to Laos at the beginning of this year (2002) on a caravan tour, intending to visit two battlefields: one in Long Cheng in Laos and Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. I selected the route, but crossing from Laos to VN required a temporary (daily) pass, not an international pass. We were told to double back 500 km to another entry point. We said ‘forget it’ and went to southern part of Laos instead. Then in March we took a group of boys and girls to three cities in Germany: Munich, Dresden and Berlin to show the art of Thai boxing. They are from slum areas. I started to train them for 2 ½ years ago. Last year we sent a group of them to demonstrate in LA, US. So this year we decided to send a different group to Germany. So you can see I have been kept busy.” When has Pete not been busy? Never! Scribe believes that Pete is still serving on the Privy Council to his King.
Current news. Our other Royal Thai Army four-star, Sammy Sookmark, is running for the Senate (wish it were our senate: we could use another grad there). Someone gave me a campaign flyer, but help from Thai Embassy is needed for translation. Sammy is running for the seat to which Jintana has been serving as an appointee: that was before system changed to senatorial elections.
Bad news I have trying to avoid. Those on email were shocked to learn of Mary Kosmider’s death. Especially shocked were those who had seen Mary at SF Mini – the picture of health and vitality. From Charlie Densford’s email: “I just talked to Jon Kosmider, Gary and Mary's son in Sierra Vista, AZ. Mary had been ill for a few days and was nursing a cold at home in Sierra Vista. Jon called her a few days ago to see how she was doing. She was not doing well, so he took her to the hospital. She developed more problems (associated with her diabetes I believe). By Wednesday, she had low blood pressure, her blood sugar was way off, and her kidneys had shut down. They were preparing to transport her to a hospital in Tucson when her heart stopped. Attempts to revive her were unsuccessful. She died on 18 Jan.”
And from Chuck’s report after the funeral: “Mary's funeral was well attended by friends from her church, Ft. Huachuca and Sierra Vista. The Class of 58 was represented by Bob Dey,
Patsy & me, Burt Miller, and Sally Payne. The Catholic Priest who officiated the service praised Mary for all of the work she had done in the community. She was particularly active in the Gift Shop at the Ft Huachuca Museum and in her church. He also made it a point to mention how wonderful it was that the West Point class of 1958 were there to pay tribute to Mary and Gary. He also specifically mentioned our class representation at Gary's funeral and how our singing of the Alma Mater was such a moving event that it brought tears to the eyes of most in attendance. After the funeral mass was completed, there was a procession to the Ft Huachuca Cemetery, where Mary was interred alongside Gary. The graveside service was also
well done and very moving. Following the graveside service, the procession returned to St Andrew the Apostle church in Sierra Vista for a tremendous reception buffet prepared by the ladies of the church.
“At the reception, we talked to Leslie (Kosmider) Miller and Jon. Leslie is married to COL Scott Miller, SC, stationed at Ft Monmouth, NJ. Jon is a Detective with the Sierra Vista Police Department. He has a very nice family. Leslie expressed a strong wish to attend our 50th Reunion at West Point. They are both great people, as are their families. Gary and Mary can be proud of the legacy they left on earth. The class flowers, a floral wreath on an easel, with black, gold and gray ribbon, were very pretty. Mary was a fine lady and we shall miss her.” AMEN.
Out of time and space. Time to add seven photos and wrap up this edition. You should receive it in early May before the Savannah Mini. Hope to see you there and at VN Memorial and ANCC Brunch on 21 May: this time we will specifically honor Bob Degen.