Six classmates – Jerry Jervell, Tom Leo, Mark Magnussen (Judy, too), Dick Rothblum, Will Weber, and Dave Whitmore -- kicked off our affiliation with the Class of 2009 by attending their Reception Day (R-Day) festivities on June 27.  This would be the equivalent of members of the Class of 1909 joining us on the “drop that bag” day.  It boggles the mind and gives a new connotation to “grip hands.”  The new R-Day class, according to Jim Satterwhite, consisted of about 1,250 candidates, including more than 250 minority candidates, 21 international candidates, and 30 combat veterans who served in Afgahnistan, Iraq or both.  Our Class hosted a reception, and Jervell notes that many of the parents expressed their gratitude and were pleased at the unexpected system of class affiliation.

R-Day participants:  Rothblum, Weber, Jervell, Magnusssen, Leo, Whitmore.

Jerry Jervell reports our Class participation in 2009’s marchback from the Plebe hike. Phil Huntington and Bob Weekley also reported, very positively on the event, as did Pete Dawkins, in a moving message that brought back the memory of our Plebe skins in August.  We had hoped to have 59 participants (get it?) in the marchback, and we overmaxed at 66!  Jim Satterwhite was the organizer and POC for the event, and Sandy Beach organized what Jerry thought a very well choreographed memorial service with a very moving invocation and benediction.  For the memorial roll, a representative of each company recited the names of fallen company mates, and in one case two men from the same company did so in unison.  When Taps was sounded, they stood uncovered with hands over their hearts; and others on active duty within earshot presented arms.  Heartwarming.

Pete Dawkins leading our marchback group.

Bill Barry sends the photo of a recent fishing trip to the Gulf, off Venice, LA, with his son, Kevin ’89, and his grandsons Brendan and Kieran.  Kevin has a PhD in coastal and oceanographic engineering and works for the Corps of Engineers.  Bill wants us to know that it was he, grandpa, who caught the 128 pound yellowfin tuna, and that Kieran, who weighs 100 pounds, caught the 86 pounder!  Tuna salad, anyone?

Bill Barry and progeny.

Jim Walsh sends the accompanying photo of four generations of the Walsh family.  There are Jim & Phyl, their son Jay (USMA ’83), Jay’s daughter Bridget, and her son Caleb.  Is Caleb, asks Jim, the first great-grandchild in the class?  Au contraire, says Bill Toskey, according to Tom Russell.  Bill’s great-grandchild was already 18 months old.

 The Walsh family.

Jerry Fogel has agreed to be our 50th reunion czar, and his enthusiasm for the challenge is infectious.  He was my Plebe year roommate, so I can tell you that he will be a taskmaster.  Look sharp!  He and John Joh are already making arrangements for a 2009 cruise ship to take us up the east coast, around Manhattan, and up the Hudson to WP, where it will serve as our reunion hotel.  Those who prefer the landlubber option will be housed at the Thayer or at other nearby accommodations.   Specifics for enlisting are in the works.

Marchback with ’09:  Tillar and Roberts carrying banner.

Reports are out that the ever successful and almost annual Maine Summer Gathering was hosted by Bill & Bobbie Fitzgerald on July 20.  The party boat was provided by Howard & Eileen Stiles, and the other attendees were the Conways, DeMonts, Hilliards, Bill O’Mearas, and Tibbetts.  Howard says there was much good food, a few adult beverages, much wonderful conversation, and just plain old good fun.  He reminds us that the next ski mini (he is the ski czar) will be in Vail from February 25 to March 4, 2006.

And there will be a Hawaii mini from October 22 – 29, 2006.  Organizers Len Katsarsky and Jack Bohman need tentative numbers to reserve a block of rooms at the Hale Koa Hotel in Honolulu.  Let Len know as soon as possible at  A schedule of events will be forthcoming.  Bill & Norma Mullen were there in May and enjoyed their stay at the Hale Koa.  Len & Honey Jean, says Bill, were kind enough to have the USN Nimitz enter Pearl Harbor during their visit and to get them to a vantage point at Hickam AFB where they could get a good look at the ship.

Jim & Marigold Abrahamson are in Pittsboro, NC, and have recently returned from a Grand Circle Tour of Southeast Europe – Prague, Bratislava, and cruising the Danube from Budapest to the Black Sea with stops in Croatia, Serbia-Montenegro, Bulgaria, Constantsa, and back to Budapest.  They were fortunate to meet up on the cruise with Jim & Maureen White ’60, with whom they toured Bran Castle, which the tourism folks (with considerable historical license, says Jim), call Dracula Castle.  It has a very weak association he says (always the punctilious historian) with Vlad the Impaler, who is a Transylvanian hero for twice beating the Turks.

Jim Abrahamson and Jim White ’60 at Bran Castle.

Bob & Jennie Howe are in Gloucester Point, VA, where Bob is very into water activities on the York River and on Chesapeake Bay.  He volunteers almost full time with the Coast Guard Auxiliary patrolling, doing safety checks, teaching, and standing in for “Coasties” doing radio watch standing.  He also enjoys building small boats, and has finished two kayaks and a 16 foot fishing skiff in the past three years.  Bob’s roommate, Carl Groth and his wife visited in January, and his boating activities bring him in contact with Don Tillar (and they sometimes discuss their time together on the lacrosse team).

Marchback with ’09:  Our guys are not even panting.

Jimmy & Clara Hill are in Owens Cross Roads, AL, where Jimmy has been retired from Lockheed Martin for eight years, and spends his time with Rotary, Habitat for Humanity, travel and grandchildren.  He is a charter member of the Rotary Club of greater Huntsville, AL, and served as president in 1992-3.  He plugs Rotary and its motto, “Service above Self” as a natural follow-on to a military career.  Their 125 members, 19 of whom are retired military, distribute around $35,000 a year to local causes and charities.  With Habitat, he has been wiring houses and installing lights and fans for nine years in 14 houses.  Because he and Clara love travel, they have visited eight of the top ten National Parks in the US and have taken 11 cruises.  Between their vacations and Jimmy’s military career, he has visited 42 countries.  OK, out with the pencils to see if anyone compares! 

As ever, our thoughts and prayers are with those of our children and grandchildren who are in harm’s way.