USMA Class of 1959

Minutes of Class Committee

29 June 1999



1.  The Class Standing Committee met at the Institute for Defense Analyses, on Tuesday, 29 June 1999 from 5:00 to 7:55 PM.  Present were Fred Franks (Chairman, Class Standing Committee), Pete Dawkins (President of the Class), Tom Boyle, Frank Campbell, George Day, Art Griffin, Mary Clare Haskin, Powell Hutton, George Kleb, Tom Russell, Skip Schow, Jim Walsh, and John Wilson.  Absent were: Joe Coreth, Dave Fried, Nick Krawciw, and Joe Todaro.


2.  Presentation.  Phil Gibbs, retiring Vice Chairman of the Class Standing Committee since 1987, received a plaque from Fred on behalf of the Committee for his dedicated service to the class, and another on behalf of Carl Weaver for his work.


3.  After Action Reports on the 40th Reunion.  The major item of business was a review of the 40th Reunion, planning and execution so as to make future reunion planning better.


a.  Class Business Meeting.  Nick Krawciw’s minutes of the meeting at West Point on 23 May were passed out.  Action:  Comments should be forwarded to Frank Campbell no later than 12 July.  Frank will send them to Nick for incorporation in the final..


b.  Treasurer’s Report.  Art Griffin passed out copies of the financial sheet.  Some expected costs came in under budget (registration items, cruise), and some costs were above budget or unanticipated (cleaning of busses, charge for busses to wait after cruise, cleaning Barth Hall, gifts to “Road Scholars”).  Overall balance was positive by about $4,426.  Total in Class bank account was $27,917, and total in Class account with AOG was $27,925.  Former can be used as class sees fit.  Latter is locked in at AOG to be credited toward our class gift.  Recommendation:  Committee recommended that $1000 be set aside in budget at future reunions to account for emergencies.  Fred specifically thanked Art for all his hard work on keeping finances straight and Tom Russell for his invaluable coordination at the West Point end. 


c.  Registration.  George Day reviewed registration.  190 members were on registration list; but at the last minute some couldn’t make it.  Jack Knebel and Bob Rizzi showed up without pre-registration but never got registration packages.  George had 3 packages left over, 2 caps, 4 totes, and no pins.  Recommendation:  Committee recommended that we plan on having a few spare packages available to cover contingencies next time.  Committee discussed having extra materials to provide classmates who weren’t there.  Jim Walsh said 500 copies of the roster were printed for that purpose.  Action:  It was decided to have a mailing to those classmates who did not attend to provide them with:  a cover note from Pete, a class roster, a schedule of events, and copies of the two memorial service programs.  This mailing would be electronic to those who have e-mail, non-electronic to those who don’t.  Art has the database on those who didn’t come.  Frank can further sort by those who have and who don’t have e-mail.

This mailing would not take the place of a later, more formal, newsletter.  We still need a later mailing to all classmates who didn’t attend the reunion to let them know the specifics of West Point’s need and our decision on the class gift.  Action:  Pete asked that the addresses be noted and our files updated on those pieces of mail that are returned undelivered.


d.  Mementos.  George Kleb has sold all the left over golf towels!  He still has 5 crystal vases, at $25 each, left over from the 35th reunion.  Any more revenues from class items should go into Class bank account, not the AOG account.  George said costs for the 40th reunion items were less than budgeted.  People seemed to like the name badge, but some ladies thought they were too big to be worn on dresses – better to have a neck chain option.  This should be reviewed for our next reunion.  Mrs. Powell in the AOG Gift Shop was the key person through whom George ordered mementos.  It was decided to order another 100 Class lapel pins, because some lost theirs, they would make nice future gifts (for example, to widows), and they could be sold to classmates who weren’t there.  Unit costs increase with smaller buys, but since the die had already been cut, the price for more shouldn’t be much above the original $10 each for them.  Action:  Committee set $15 as the highest price for George to spend in reordering the extra 100 pins.  The Class of ’49 clearly impressed a number of people with their marching and uniform appearance (hats, blazers, gray slacks) at the Alumni Review.  Skip Schow said the Class Aides could help us by giving us guidance on how many to march abreast to Thayer Monument, how many lines to form at the review itself, etc.  Jim Walsh said responses were overwhelmingly positive to an earlier e-mail question about doing something similar to what ‘49 had done for the class 50 years behind them (their gift of inscribed 2nd Lt bars to each Class of 1999 graduate, a gift in the name of the Class of 1999, and a challenge grant for the Class of 1999’s fund).


e.  Distaff.  Mary Clare Haskin reported that the Distaff Tea went very well.  Arrangements by phone to the caterer were carried out well (even to the extent of making clotted cream when he couldn’t buy any).  A number of wives volunteered to work with Mary Clare.  She will work through the region reps to try to locate wives and find out those who would help out others as needed (sick, funerals, etc.).  She will get copies of the same materials in the registration packets to send to widows.  One widow was upset that she didn’t know about a recent donation of a memorial page on behalf of her husband.   AOG’s policy calls for notifying the donor but not the honoree’s family.  John Gurr has requested help in identifying opportunities for speakers to present our case for naming the new school in Alexandria after Rocky Versace.


f.  History.  Jim had a hand out at the reunion on the 50 Year Book for the class, then followed that up with an e-mail message to reach others.  He’s already had half a dozen responses by letter and about 15 by e-mail.  He said Ray Fisher’s letter on Palmer Johnson, located on our site, has drawn very positive response.  He suggested pictures for our 50 Year Book include one each as cadets, in uniform, and retired.


g.  Hotel.  George Day spoke for Joe Todaro who did the coordination but couldn’t be at the reunion.  The hotel did a good job, and the staff was responsive, with the single comment that there was the smell of cigarette smoke up the stairs and halls.  The biggest issue with hotels was the long lead time required for reservations.  Our class will be at West Point for our 45th reunion in the fall, but we don’t know which weekend because the football schedule has not yet been made public.  The Thayer will be open, but even the Class of ’39 had too many people coming to fit in the Thayer this spring.  Tom said the cost of rooms won’t be less expensive (they’ve set the price at $180 per room), but the location and lack of need for long haul busses would be the real advantage.  Pete asked if we could reserve 200 rooms at the Thayer for our 45th.  Action:  Tom said he’d talk with Gus Fishburne to see if we could get into the hotel and for which weekend.


h.  Memorial Services.  Skip said the class aides were most helpful, especially in things like getting flags and PA systems.  He said three members of the class had offered to assist with “spiritual” things in the future, Dave Gray, Ron Baldwin, and Powell Hutton.  Everyone thought the Fred had done a superb job at Herbert Hall where his remarks, the setting, and the heraldry were special.  Having company reps read their classmates names was powerful, even if it took a lot of last minute coordination to get someone available for each company.  Mike Gabel did a great job of organizing the singing at Buckner and was available to do it again in the future if needed.


i.  Transportation..  Tom reported on the bus and boat issues.  In these he relied heavily on the class aides.  We paid some $550 extra for the busses because the boat was slow in arriving, and they had to wait several hours.  There is definitely a need for a “bus meister” to herd people on and off the busses at the right times.  One couple almost got left at West Point after the Alumni Dinner Dance, and there were real delays in loading up busses at the hotel.  Recommendation:  The next reunion should plan on having a coordinator for loading and unloading.


j.  Information.  Frank said the database tools were different than those used for the previous web site.  Some web sites are apparently allowing commercial notices to appear, as in advertising classmates’ businesses.  Action:  Decision was that those notices which were of direct service to the class would be considered for putting on the class web site.


k.  Other Comments on the 40th Reunion.  Reaction to the Buckner evening was vocal.  Most didn’t want to do it again.  Many didn’t like the long bus rides, but others found them a good chance to talk to classmates for an extended period in a way that they wouldn’t have otherwise done.  Regarding planning, it seemed that each reunion had to reinvent the wheel again.  The USNA, for example, has a reunion template that allows the planners to pick and choose from a set of clearly defined and researched options.  Pete asked if we couldn’t tap into existing experience when we plan for our next reunion.


4.  New Business.


a.  DC Social.  The Mid-Atlantic/DC area social will be hosted by Jack and Zee Knebel at their home in McLean, Virginia, on Saturday evening, 11 September.  Powell will send out a flyer by mid-July, hard copy to those in the DC area, by e-mail through Jim for those on the ‘net.


b.  Minutes of CSC Meeting, 10 May 1999.  Skip presented these for consideration.  There being no objection, they were approved.


c.  Next Class Meeting.  Fred expressed his thanks for all the hard work from everyone in making the reunion a success and also to the members of the Class Standing Committee (CSC) for their hard work on behalf of the class.  He listed the accomplishments:


*   Handed off functions from the CSC to the elected officers of the Class Committee

*   Reached out to classmates by organizing and using the class representative structure

*   Recognized those classmates who have worked for the Class in the past

*   Honored those classmates who have left us

*   Lent our voice to issues of concern to West Point

*   Decided on a Class gift to the Academy, ably led by John Wilson

*   Been effective stewards of our Class monies


At this point, Fred “passed the torch” back to Pete, who then presented Fred on behalf of the class with a crystal plaque engraved “to our man of all seasons, who …..  brought us back to our beginnings…” 


d.  Next Class Committee Meeting.  Pete suggested agenda items for the next meeting:


*   Get the fund raising effort launched.  In this regard, he said Roger Ware, who lives in Denver, had agreed to co-chair the Class effort.  Bill Barry has volunteered to help out as well.  Pete commented on the need to get the right word to those who were not at the 40th and who didn’t hear the Supe.

*   Coordinate the regional mini-reunions which are becoming more popular.

*   Organize the Class Committee more completely, such as ensuring the Class Constitution is up to date with our current needs and structure.  In this regard, Pete had recently spoken with Chuck Darby to see if he would be interested in resuming an active part in class affairs.  Chuck received the message enthusiastically, and said he’d get back to Pete shortly.


The next meeting of the Class Committee will be held at 9:30 AM, Saturday, 11 Sep 99 at IDA.


5.  There being no further business, the Class Committee adjourned at 7:55 PM.