Tom McInerney was the lead military consultant in the Fox News coverage of the attack on Afghan targets on 7 October, and many of us hung on his words.  A talking head!  We were impressed by his eloquence and by his encyclopedic knowledge of the problem and our response.  And I must say, as I write this I am concerned about our friend, Peter Stromberg, who is sticking out like a Nordic thumb as a university professor in Dubai.  And about Ann who is scheduled to join him shortly, and about my Polly, who will be with the U.S. Trade Rep for the WTO November meeting in Qatar. Damn.

Ann & Peter Stromberg at WP

            While we were all still happy before the events of 11 September, there was a Class Committee meeting on the 7th, of which we will hear by mailing; and a gala party at the Maleks’ in McLean, VA, attended by about 90 on the 8th.  Polly & I spent the same weekend helping with the wedding of two of our young friends, and like classmates at the Maleks’, we began the next week with exhilaration.  Damn.

            Memories of another war were part of Ed Robinson’s letter last June, and the photo of him in front of his helicopter during the 1965 Ia Drang Valley action came as Hal Moore’s book, We Were Soldiers Once, and Young, is being made into a movie with Mel Gibson.  Ed was leader of the last flight section on the assault into LZ Xray.  After the initial assaults, they flew nap of the earth, on the deck, in flights of two, into the hot LZ.  Ed witnessed the first Arc Light B-52 bomb mission on Chu Pong Mountain, along the Cambodian border.

Ed Robinson in 1965 with NV wounded

The citation on his award of the Distinguished Flying Cross for Heroism was for picking up wounded infantrymen and the crew of a helicopter downed on the LZ.  The wounded visible on his helicopter in the photo are North Vietnamese prisoners captured on Xray.  After this action Ed was in support of the 2/7th Cav at LZ Albany, which was a ground debacle, resulting in many infantry deaths.  He remembers carrying many of the dead and dying out of that LZ, night and day, during and after the battle.  That’s an important piece of our class history, and we thank Ed for supplying it.

Malek Party:  Steve & Audrey Hurley

            Even after recent events, much happiness persists.  Dick and Faye Rothblum are still enjoying life as Dick continues with the Overseas Building Operations, an office in the State Department responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of our embassies and staff housing.  He sees classmates from time to time at the WP Society of DC luncheons, most recently swapping stories with Dave Cotts and Frank Besson.

            John & Judy Ruth are in Cedar Rapids, IA, and transitioning toward retirement, says John, while he winds down his management consulting practice.  Retirement, he says, is a vision of a lot of hiking and vacations in warmer climates.  His hobbies are bridge and discovering family history; but, most of all the children, all of whom are cash flow positive, he is solvent to say.  He sees no classmates up there, but is happy to be involved in an active WP Society of the Prairies, always the site of a big event on Founders’ Day.

Malek Party:  Nick & Chris Krawciw

            Frank & Carolyn Salvatore are in Marlborough, MA, and having a great time watching their grandchildren grow and become solid citizens.  Frank is still working (as am I, Frank – isn’t it great?) and sees no classmates.  Well, come on down!

Malek Party:  Marlene & Fred Malek, Jane Robinson, Joe Shea

            Ron & Ruth Salter have a few acres of pine trees to care for in Thomasville, GA, and we might find Ron, he says, on his bulldozer or plowing a fire-break for a control burn.  President Eisenhower was in the habit of coming to Thomasville to hunt quail, and Ron invites us all to come and see why.  He is still in the investment business.  He has been running Salter Asset Management for more than 20 years, and he keeps Salter Investments, Inc., as an investment vehicle.  Observing the stock markets and the economy’s changes have been his passion.  He’ll probably cease the business part of it in another 15 years or so.  Golf is obligatory for him, he says, at least once a week.  Every two years he goes to England, Ireland, or Scotland for golf; and he has played every course, at least once, which has hosted the British Open.

Malek Party:  Bob & Elaine Weekley, Pete Dawkins

            Bill & Ann Turpin took the AOG “Legendary Waterways of Europe” trip and cruised from Amsterdam to Budapest for two weeks in July and August.  Lee & Sandy Briggs were on the same trip, so they spent some good time together.  They cruised up the Rhein to Mainz, east on the Main to Bamberg (Bill’s old duty station), south on the Main-Danube Canal (designed by Charlemagne, built by Napoleon and later by Ludwig I of Bavaria) to the Danube and on to Budapest.  They cruised at night and went ashore to visit the cities and towns during daylight hours. Bill and Lee formed a “Midnight Club” to fill their restless hours between two and four a.m. on board and talked until sleepiness prevailed again.  They went through 66 locks on the various rivers and canals.

1959:  Bill Turpin and Lee Briggs on AOG Cruise

            John Gurr reports that the completed Captain Rocky Versace Plaza and Alexandria Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be formally dedicated at 1000 hours on 6 July 2002.  The location is in front of the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Commonwealth Avenues in Alexandria, VA, some 500 meters from where Rocky lived as a kid.  John and the Friends of Rocky Versace, who have been instrumental in getting this done and in getting Rocky awarded a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor (an effort still very much on track), are hoping to stage a reception at the nearby Birchmere Center right after the ceremony.

            The funding for the Versace memorial was assured several months ago, says John, when Rocky's best boyhood friend in Alexandria, Mike Heisley, issued a $250,000 letter of credit to cover any shortfall in the Friends' fundraising efforts.  Nevertheless, and with their typical dedication, the Friends continue their fundraising.  They are at the Alexandria Farmers' Market every Saturday at 6:00 a.m., and have thus far raised slightly over $34,000.  Our class has contributed $1,000, and many classmates have contributed individually.  If you would like to join, make your tax deductible check payable to The City of Alexandria, and mark it "For Versace Plaza/Vietnam Veterans Memorial."  Mail it to Mr. David Neckle, Director, Department of Finance, City of Alexandria, P.O. Box 178, Alexandria, VA 22313.  It'll be the best thing you've done lately.