Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,
Well here we are at the first ever, entirely electronic Assembly Class Notes. This transition is not without its challenges. The format calls for an unlimited number of items but each item is limited to only one photo. Since I want to share as many photos as possible, you will see several events broken into numerous items. I have attempted to include as many items with you as possible without making this drag on incessantly. We have also been asked not to include long lists of names as these are better shared in other communications. I’m sure the rules and the process will change over time as improvements are sought and implemented. Your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Bill & Nancy Hecker got our Affiliation Program off to a great start by having four, soon to be new cadets, over to their home in Colorado Springs for dinner and conversation. They did this in mid-June so I’m sure Bill’s comments were both helpful and timely. There was a fifth candidate in the area, Dan Hokanson, but at the time Bill had not yet had an opportunity to connect with him. These four learned of the Affiliation Program at a statewide gathering of cadet candidates in Longmont (about 30 miles north of Denver) in May. Wow, don’t they look young and eager? Photo: Raymond Bonilla, Court Adams, Todd Andrew, Bill Hecker, and Justus Anders in Bill’s living room
Ray Hawkins and Harry Dermody have ventured into enemy territory each year for over 17 years. Shown here on the 7th hole of the Naval Academy Golf Course, they are once again determined to beat the squids at the annual Member-Guest Tournament. Not afraid to brandish our colors (note the head cover in Harry’s hand), they courageously represent us all and hope one day to beat someone from that other school while they are at it. Thanks guys for your undaunted spirit – you make us proud. Photo: Ray Hawkins and Harry Dermody at Annapolis Golf Course.
John Swensson was kind enough to send me information regarding our own Bud Bucha who was the honored guest speaker at the Annual Stanford Graduate School of Business Military Service Appreciation Dinner. Bud was accompanied at the event by his lovely wife, Cynthia. He was introduced by John Swensson, David LaRochelle and Duncan MacVicar. Bud’s speech focused on the importance of connecting with veterans and the key ingredients of true leadership. He pointed out the five essential characteristics of a good leader, “integrity, competency, confidence, compassion, and humility”. He went on to point out how universities like Stanford and West Point are going to great lengths “trying to produce leaders of substance.” Bud captivated the more than 200, many of whom were veterans, in attendance with passionate remarks on the privileges and obligations of leadership. He continues to make me very proud to consider him a friend. Photo: Paul “Bud” Bucha, John Swensson, Dave LaRochelle, and Duncan MacVicor standing behind a gift from the Class of 65
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) honored Texas State Representative Jerry Madden with its prestigious “Legislator of the Year” award at the organization’s 38th Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. “I am pleased to recognize Rep. Madden as a Legislator of the Year, and would like to thank him for his outstanding dedication to our organization,” said ALEC National Chairman, Rep. Noble Ellington. The “Legislator of the Year” Award is given to state legislators who are ALEC members in good standing and have distinguished themselves by taking a leadership role in advancing, introducing, and/or enacting policies based on the fundamental Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty. Well done Jerry. Photo: Jerry Madden
Barrie Zais and Bob Selkis beat Bob Radcliffeand Ray Paske 2 up in mid-May during their annual grudge match. Bob Radcliffe reported that he was exhausted because it was cart path only, the round took five hours, and the course looks as if it was designed for mountain goats. Fortunately Zais and Selkis have agreed to give Radcliffe and Paske one more chance – we shall see. Photo: Barrie Zais, Bob Selkis, Bob Radcliffe, and Ray Paske looking fresh and ready before the round
What a romantic! Ken Yoshitani surprised his wife, Izumi, for her 70th Birthday at the dance hall where they have been learning dance for over 20 years. There were some 50 in attendance including Denny & Cathy Coll, Tom & Anna Croak,and George & Jill Seaworth. The highlight of the evening was when the Ken and Izumi danced “The Bolero” with Izumi in full costume. Photo: Ken & Izumi Yoshitani dancing “The Bolero”
John Pickler shared this story regarding Sonny Ray’s work in the judicial system which has found him in as many as 15 foreign countries advising and assisting with the setup, operation, and maintenance of a working judicial structure that would serve each country. When his work finally took him to Bagdad, this picture was taken and it has caused quite a stir with his many friends stateside. While his friend in the photo will have to go unnamed (sorry, I have a terrific memory but it’s very short), he can be clearly seen and he seems to be un-phased by his less than friendly surroundings. He did share that he found the entire experience to be “Hot, dusty, and dangerous”, an understatement if I ever heard one. Photo: Sonny Ray and friend in Bagdad
10-13 Aug found Harry Dermody, Joe DeFrancisco, Larry Neal, Clair Gill, Lew Green, and Bob Radcliffe back at our Rockbound Highland Home for the AOG Leaders Conference. The conference is held annually to assist class leaders as they serve their respective classes. It is open to all graduates whether currently serving as class leaders or not. While they appear to be having a good time you can rest assured that they work hard on your behalf. Photo: Harry Dermody, Joe DeFrancisco, Larry Neal, Clair Gill, and Lew Green at West Point.
The heart of your leadership team made up a great foursome at the Indian Lake, PA Member-Guest Golf Tournament on 8-9 July 11. The Radcliffe/Frankduo took away some prizes (partly due to skill) and the others were left to just "drink Irish." The course (Arnold Palmer's first) was reputed to be long and difficult, and while Friday was a bit wet, Saturday was dry and glorious. The other great part of the outing was that the wives (Faye Hayes, Mary Frank, Sherry Gill, and Kay Dermody) who accompanied them had some touring and golf of their own. Photo: Bob Radcliffe, Bob Frank, Clair Gill, and Harry Dermody - ready to take on the world – although the two Bobs seem almost too close
Tom Kovach shared these comments regarding his summer trip: Marilyn and I recently traveled from our home in Nevada to visit family in the New England area. On the way there, we had a stop-over in Chicago and had dinner with some of our classmates and spouses. Judy Hemmingway,Chuck's widow, had traveled from North Carolina to visit her son Chuck and daughter-in-law Jennifer. The three of them also joined us at the dinner. Photo: Seated in front row: Tom & Marilyn Kovach; Looking over Tom’s right shoulder: Judy Hemmingway; Back row: Norm (former classmate) & Bridget Eckstein, George & Jill Seaworth, Cathy & Denny Coll, Anna & Tom Croak, Jennifer & Chuck Hemmingway
While in the Chicago area, we visited the newly constructed Veterans' Memorial in downtown Burr Ridge, IL. The photo is of Tom with his hand touching a memorial brick with the inscription "Fallen Members West Point Class of 1965." Tom &Marilyn had sponsored this brick prior to their relocation to Henderson, NV, but the Memorial was not constructed until after they moved. Thank you Tom and Marilyn. Photo: Tom Kovach
There has been a lot of reminiscing recently about the Great Penn State Rally. While I am limited to just one photo here to remind you of the Greatest Food Fight of All Time, I highly recommend that you read the entire write up which can be found on our Class Website under the heading of News. Once in the News area, look for “Pep Rallies” and then find the highlighted “accounting of that night in 1963”. It’s well worth the read. While this photo is old and hard to make out, it clearly shows that the tables were stacked at least 5 high. My own memory was that I was very proud to have seen a 6 high stack. I was not courageous enough to climb one of the stacks, however, I do recall volunteering to ride, chariot style, on one of the fast moving tables being run around and raced. What a night! What a sight! What a memory! Photo: Unidentifiable hooligans in the throes of chaos
Tom Abraham shared this great story of Jack Terry and 674 other wheelchair veterans who came to Pittsburgh to compete in the Veterans National Wheelchair Olympics. The vets loved Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh loved them. They all had a great time. Jack competed in two events and won two gold medals. Our two-time brigade heavyweight boxing champ won a gold in both ramp bowling and wheelchair relay. Jack received his first gold from former Pittsburgh Steeler running back and wounded warrior from Vietnam, Rocky Blier. Tom told Rocky that Jack was an Army football player and he gave Jack an extra bit of love. Everyone had a fantastic time. All the vets had a lot of team spirit and competitiveness. Photo: Jack Terry with his two Gold Medals
On their way home to Castle Point, NY, Jack Terry and his buddies stopped at the home of Tom & Ina Abraham for a cookout. It went very well and the group included 11 vets plus staff and drivers who were vets, and wives of vets. Many friends, neighbors, and several businesses helped with needed materials and equipment, and they had two newspapers and two TV stations cover it. Tom and Ina really enjoyed having them stop by their home and all in attendance enjoyed it immensely. Photo: Jack Terry takes on Tom Abraham – have you ever seen a more determined look on anyone’s face?
Our Class President, Clair Gill has stayed in close touch with Bernie Kistler’s brother Andy and his wife Jean who live in Franklin, PA. We lost Bernie in Viet Nam in November of 1966. Clair and the Kistlers have shared many good times and enjoy retelling the stories about the exploits of Clair and Bernie all those years ago. I’m sure the stories become much better over the years. Andy is a disabled veteran of the Korean War, is a past commander of the National DAV, and is a good friend of Strength and Drive. Photo: Jean Kistler, Clair Gill, and Andy Kistler
Sue Bryant was kind enough to share 50 pictures taken at this great outing. As explained earlier the limitations imposed on us by this new format made it necessary to pick the best sampling I could to try to get as many faces in as possible and then break them down into 9 items. I hope this doesn’t make it too hard to follow and enjoy what was happening. We start with this great shot of folks just having a good time. Photo: Larry Neal, Larry Bryant, Linda Adams, Art Adams, and Sharon Parrish
As reported by Bob Radcliffe, there were 49 classmates in attendance (almost 10% of the living members of our class). This is the largest turnout since this terrific event was started over 10 years ago. Additionally, the weather was just perfect (70 degrees in bright sunshine). Photo: Diana Loftin and Harley Moore - nothing but big smiles
A business meeting was conducted by Clair Gillgiving an update on Class activities as we move toward the 50th Reunion; Fred Laughlin gave an update on efforts to determine the Class gift(s) andBob Radcliffe led a discussion on the future of outings and the current process. Photo: Dave Gnau, Mike Huston, and Marcella Gnau
Participants were nearly unanimous in wanting to continue this tradition twice a year for as long as we are physically able. Photo: Tom Henneberry, Lansing Hewitt, Tom Carll, and Chris Needels - watching TV or checking scores
There were three new participants meaning there are still folks who are either able to free themselves to attend, or have just now heard about these events. Either way, it is encouraging for the future outings attendance. Eleven of the ladies attended and greatly enjoyed the Myrtle Beach sights and shopping. Photo: Curt Adams, Bob Selkis, Mike Huston, Marcella Gnau, and Joanie Huston - drinks at the ready
First time attendees at this outing were Dave & Marcella Gnau, Rollie Stichweh, and Steve Ellenbogen. Virtually all teams were able to shoot subpar rounds in the Day 1 and Day 2 scramble matches. In the “grudge matches” on Day 3, the highlight was a major league beat down administered by the team of Bob Harter and Bo Forrest over the team of Bob Selkis and Barrie Zais. Photo: Tom Henneberry, Jerry Dernar, Pat Kenney, and John Malpass - bring on the chow, we’re ready
While I mentioned the process I went through to select the appropriate photos for this publication from a very large collection, there was no doubt that this one had to be chosen. At this writing it has only been twenty four hours since I heard the terrible news regarding our loss of one of the giants of our Class.Bill Zadel will be greatly missed by all who knew him or experienced the tremendous impact he had on all of us. Here he is, ready to enjoy dinner with his good friend and teammate Rollie Stichweh. Photo: Rollie Stichweh and Bill Zadel
Plans are in the works to have the stag fall outing in October 2011 in Pinehurst, NC at the Mid Pines Resort. It may already be underway by the time you read this, but you should have received any notices and updates by our regular e-mail system. Photo: Mitch Bonnet, Ray Hawkins, Bob Frank, and Harry Dermody - they’d probably like us to believe they’re waiting for dinner, but I’d guess they’re waiting for drinks
The spring 2012 outing is tentatively planned for Charleston, SC with the ladies invited and the hotel in the downtown area. Photo: Dave Jones, Gordy Larson, and Larry Bryant - boy do they look like they’re having fun
Thirty one of our Classmates and wives attended the R-Day Reception and activities. This was the first time we have been able to connect on this level with our Affiliation Class. Photo: Some of the R-Day group: Doug Gibson, Ray Woodruff, Jim Tomaswick, Emory Chase, Bob Cato, Howie Reed (hidden), John Longhouser, and Russ Campbell – the two AOG reps are Nadia Kind and Elena Meskill (both grads)
The highlight of the R-Day activities is the taking of the all-important Oath. Their lives are changing in ways they won’t fully comprehend for quite some time. Photo: The Class of 2015 Takes the Oath
Twenty six stalwart Classmates registered for this test of endurance and physical wellbeing. Classmates not marching the whole 12.5 miles were bussed from Buffalo Soldier Field to the ski slope, somewhere after 1000 hours. The Old Grads marched to Washington Gate leading the New Cadets. In the vicinity of the gate, the Old Grads broke into two "companies," one on each side of the road. The Class of 2015 marched between them in the form of a "pass in review." Photo: The Class of 2015 returns to the academy behind their new banner and motto
Washington Road was lined with folks all the way to the Commandant's house. The USMA band, in ACUs (Army Combat Uniform) led the procession. The Superintendent and others in the chain of command followed, with the Class of 2015 next in order of march. The Old Grads other than our Classmates were next and our contingent was last, carrying our banner. Photo: Our stalwart Classmates carrying the banner which declares that we have “gripped hands” with the Class of 2015
The Superintendent and others in the reviewing party stopped at the Commandant's house, where a reviewing stand was in place. 2015 passed in review, led by a banner emblazoned with their motto. They marched straight into the New North Barracks Area, where they were met by "emissaries" from their new companies and were taken to their new homes. Thus ended New Cadet Barracks. The Old Grads including our Classmates marched past the Superintendent's house (closed for repairs), around the periphery to, fittingly, the Arvin Gym, where they could shower. It was a much improved shower compared to our 30 seconds "hot water off, cold water on" affair of 50 years ago! Photo: Class President, Clair Gill and longtime Scribe, Denny Coll ready to hit the showers at the Arvin Gym
As always, the toughest part of this job is reporting on our fallen Classmates. I have been very pleased to see how quickly our Classmates step up to assist when asked to serve as POC (Point of Contact) to assist the families of our fallen brothers.
On 3 Jun 11 we lost Jim Hall. Bob Jones was quick to step up and represent us all as the POC.
On 4 Jun 11 we lost Frank O’Brien. Larry Neal was quick to step up and represent us all as the POC.
On 8 Sep 11 we lost Bill Zadel. Rollie Stichweh was quick to step up and represent us all as the POC.
These gentlemen shall be sorely missed. Thank you POC’s for taking on this very sensitive task when the families are going through this most difficult of times.