Constantly working on our behalf, behind the scenes, Chuck Nichols was recently scanning and restructuring our Class notes for us when he came on this beautifully written tribute to Ric Shinseki by our long time Scribe, Denny Coll. He felt that due to recent events it was timely and appropriate to share it. I couldn't agree more. It comes from Denny's May 2003 edition of the many Class Notes he provided for us. It comes just before Ric's retirement from the Army and tells us much about his illustrious career. Enjoy:
Class Notes 2003v61n5May
Greetings once again from Chicago! Hope all is well at your place in the Long Gray Line! Planning continues for the first-ever Class Mini-Reunion. It is scheduled for late October in Santa Fe. If you have NOT signed up yet and you want to go, let me know. We have made arrangements for additional rooms. It should be a lot of fun. The retirement ceremony for the Shinseki's is set for June 11th at Ft. Myer. The plan is for our Class to have a special function with Patty and Ric on Monday June 9th. First choice will be a dinner and second choice a lunch, most probably at the Ft. Myer Officer's Club. Details, once finalized, will be sent to you separately and may contradict the information above. Go with the latest letter or email which you have received.
"My name is Shinseki and I am a Soldier. I will always be a Soldier." Ric's service as the 34th Chief of Staff of the United States Army will surely go down in history as a pivotal one for the Army. His untiring and highly focused efforts to transform the Army from the Cold War/heavy armor mind-set into a more "mobile, sustainable and lethal" fighting force capable of fighting and winning America's wars will stand the test of time. This is even more amazing given the public ferocity of many of the political battles that he had to wage during his tenure. While doing all of this, he will also be remembered for humbly shining the spotlight on the Soldiers, who he called the centerpiece of The Army's formations--never on himself. Much of this he learned from his Alma Mater, which has been "providing leaders of character for the Nation for over 200 years!" Ric, as will be shown below, certainly fits this motto to a tee.
About 70 of us heard some of the Chief's ideas on his focus during his remarks at his welcoming ceremony in late June 1999. After thanking his predecessor Denny Reimer '62 for successfully integrating the Reserve Components into the Army "with a unity of purpose," Ric stated that the Army would receive his "unfailing commitment to keep [The Army] persuasive in peace, decisive in war and preeminent in any form of conflict." The cover of The Army Vision, published a few months later, boldly reflected this intention: "Soldiers on Point for the Nation--Persuasive in Peace, Invincible in War." The Army was changing and Ric was leading the change.
Another early indication of how he wanted to change the Army was his co-authorship of a Washington Times op ed piece with his good friend GEN Jim Jones, the then Commandant of the Marine Corps. In it, they warned that "the future of national security will depend on our ability to work together as a joint force that is rapidly deployable and ready for any contingency." This article followed a joint Warfighter Conference at Carlisle Barracks attended by all of the senior Army and Marine Corps warfighters. While most of us were pleasantly surprised at the publication of an op ed piece from two of our most senior active duty military leaders, the fact that the Army and Marine Corps were talking "shop" still amazed us. Some of us recalled the lack of communication and transportation capabilities that came out of previous conflicts where the Army and Marine Corps were fighting side by side. Clearly, this represented new, courageous and focused leadership for the two ground branches of our Armed Services.
This azimuth change to the beginning of a major Transformation was a tough course to chart. Ric was really trying to get the official Transformation off the ground so that his successors could bring it to fruition. The Chief addressed this need for change in the strategic environment by initiating changes within the present-day Army so that the future Army could co-exist within that strategic environment. He was courageous enough, meticulous enough, and ingenious enough to orchestrate a carefully synchronized Transformation that wouldn't disrupt or lower current readiness. A predecessor and role model, GEN Creighton Abrams, once mused that if he could "move the Army one degree, his tenure [as the CSA] would be a success." The new Chief clearly had a tough job ahead of him.
In a lengthy article that focused on the Chief, The New Yorker Magazine argued, in 2002, that Ric "believed that it had fallen to him to save the Army from irrelevance by saving the Army from itself." Truth be known, Ric Shinseki never saw himself or The Army in that light. Ric never liked the article because it focused solely on him. It wasn't a matter of saving The Army from itself--The Army is all about Soldiers, as the Chief and many others have continuously noted, who are quite able to handle themselves in just about any situation. Soldiers will accomplish any miss ion and take any objective they are given, no matter how difficult the task. All they need is an effective and focused leader with a strong backbone. Character still counts.
As many of us well know, or if you were to talk with those who have served with him, for Ric it was never about pride either, except pride in his Soldiers. It was always about giving Soldiers the training, the leadership, and the equipment that would enable them to accomplish their mission and thereby, keep their Country free, as they have been doing for more than 227 years. It was also about excellence in war fighting by the Soldiers who are, as he often said, "on point for the Nation."
Much of Ric's commitment and focus came from his experiences in RVN. "Our Army came out of Vietnam torn and in search of identity, discipline and direction." he said at a 2002 AUSA Eisenhower Luncheon attended by many of his predecessors, "Men of courage, strength and vision marched that Army through the Cold War and Desert Storm, and back out again." Coming from a (twice) gravely injured Vietnam war veteran who fought hard to stay in the Army, despite his injuries, to make sure that his experiences were "captured, retained and passed along," Ric's words rang loud and true to many in and outside of the military.
In its first paragraph, the Army Vision Statement, authored and inspired by Ric, broadly outlined several important concepts--concepts that represented the foundation and logic behind the Vision--People, Readiness, and Transformation: "The magnificence of our moments as an Army will continue to be delivered by our people. They are the engine behind our capabilities, and the Soldier remains the centerpiece of our formation. The Army is all about people and it must continue to attract, train, motivate and retain the most competent and dedicated people in the Nation to fuel our ability to be persuasive in peace and invincible in war. We will assure the Nation's security by equipping, training, and caring for our people and their families..." Those first four sentences predicted the work to be done during the Chief' four years. They are, in many respects, a touchstone for anyone who wants to truly capture what Army Transformation is about. And they represent as succinctly and precisely as is possible, what the years 1999--2003 meant for The Army. The Vision statement further explains that this "strategically responsive" force must exhibit "dominance across the entire spectrum of operations." The Army would have to be more "deployable, agile, versatile, lethal, survivable, and sustainable." Transformation was underway with Ric's unveiling of this Vision at the AUSA Eisenhower Luncheon just four months after his appointment. The future azimuth of The Army had been established firmly and clearly.
Consider for a moment what he was proposing in that speech! He said that The Army intended to transform into an objective force that could place "a brigade anywhere in the world in 96 hours after lift-off, a division on the ground in 120 hours, five divisions in 30 days." He would attempt to get the Army (and Congress) to sustain the existing forces (Legacy Force) by recapitalizing this force to meet America's near-term commitments. He would achieve all of this while staying ready to defend the Nation. In testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, he would describe Transformation in the following manner. "To mitigate risk, we structure Transformation to occur along three mutually supporting axes for change. On the one, we preserve the readiness of today's Legacy Force. On another, we bridge the operational gap between today's heavy and light forces with six Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. And on the third, we develop future concepts and technologies that will provide a capabilities overmatch in the Objective Force that we intend to field before the end of this decade." That's less than 7 years from now--a short breath in terms of normal systems development!
Ric's ultimate goal was to set the basis for the development, by his successors, of the Objective Force, a dominant force that would achieve the characteristics/capabilities mentioned above. During one discussion with the Chief, I was stunned when I realized that he was talking about his current job being all about setting the basis so that his successor (twice removed) could successfully activate the Objective Force!
Ric knew that change would not be easy, and that controversy would soon follow. Concern would grow within the Army that the Army was changing too quickly. On the other hand, there were some within the Department of Defense who thought that the Army was not transforming quickly enough. Both Ric and Army Secretary Tom White '67 would feel the wrath of this dichotomy in public. As the military leader of The Army, Ric would absorb most of the criticism. Yet many insiders will tell you that Ric was never the problem. If anything, the problem was his steadfast and "unfailing commitment" (to quote the Army Secretary) to The Army's and Ric's Vision for its future.
Ric, with a lot of help from Patty, also found time to have some fun. He wanted to honor the Army that went before him, so about 120 classmates and spouses joined him for the "Birth of an Army--Birth of Freedom" celebration of the Army's 225th birthday at a formal Army Ball in DC. Patty also focused on their home, viewing it as the Army's home, opening up Quarters One at Ft. Myer to the entire Army family. Their 1999 book on the Chief's official residence, "Quarters One" made that statement loud and clear! On several occasions during his tenure, Ric was not afraid to join his classmate, the Supe, on Blaik Field and in front of the nation at the Army-Navy game, to lead the "Big Brass" cheer for the Army football team. And he made sure that that Supe, Dan Christman and his lady, had a proper retirement send-off from Quarters One, also attended by over 100 classmates and spouses.
While we were enjoying ourselves at the Army Ball, Ric made sure that we did not lose sight of what soldiering was all about by scheduling a private Strength & Drive wreath-laying service at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery, followed by a sobering staff ride to one of the bloodiest killing fields in our Country, the Manassas Battlefield.
This focus on the Soldier was easy for the Shinseki's. They both placed a high premium on people and family. Patty would patiently and quietly remind him of the importance of the Soldier's family to the success of his Army's mission. Usually unseen when the Chief visited the troops at their posts, Patty would always have her own agenda, visiting schools and hospital, day care, commissary and other key post support facilities. She knew that if these were working properly, it would enable The Army to not only attract the best that America had to offer, but improve the lives of their families, thus making the Soldier's retention that much easier. She focused much of her estimable energy on the education of the Army's dependents. And she always did it with grace and humility. Take as an example her work on secondary education issues. Her group initially sat down with nine high school principals to define the issues of concern. Many in S&D know well these issues: your child is in high school in Texas, for example, and you are PCS'd to California and then to Kentucky in a period of 2-3 years. Your child has to re-take the state history course for each state in each new school in order to graduate and meet that state's requirements. Or even worse, your child is going into his/her senior year and you receive a new duty assignment. This initial group has expanded to now include over 100 school leaders, mostly from secondary schools near large Army posts. And as a result, the child in our example above can now graduate in Kentucky with having taken only the Texas state history course or in the other case, the Soldier can extend his tour for one year so that his dependent can complete the senior year in the same high school without having to move to a new one. And how about the neat idea of in-state tuitions, currently being worked hard by Ric, Patty and others. If adopted, the Soldier's children would receive in-state college tuition rates if they are technically state residents but living elsewhere, or even if they are not technically residents of that state but their family is stationed there, and or even after a PCS move once school has been started. These sound like small issues, but to an Army family, they can be huge! Mary Jo Reimer and others started many of these programs. Patty has moved them along quite nicely.
One of Ric's clear strengths has always been his ability to set a goal and to remain focused on that goal, regardless of the interim flack. The issues of the "Army of One" ad campaign, the black berets and pay raises are good examples. Critics were manifold when the Army decided to move beyond the tremendous and sustained success of Max Thurman's "Be all you can be" campaign and introduced a new campaign that, quite frankly, none of us over the age of 40 could understand. "An Army of One" as one local "old grad" told me, would probably not arouse fear in any enemy's eye. As the Leo Burnett ad agency promised, the young men and women too whom it was aimed WOULD understand the campaign. And they did!! Ric was correct--recruitment goals were achieved, often earlier in the year than had previously been possible. Retention was likewise improved. In 1999, the Army missed its recruitment goal by a significant margin. Last year, the Army had achieved its recruitment goals for the third year in a row.
The nay-sayers really came out when Ric decided that the Army needed to standardize its headgear. The powerful chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee asked the Army to "stand down" on the beret issue. Soon it was front page ""news" in every paper in the Country. Ric (with great support from his battle buddy, the Army's senior enlisted soldier--Sergeant Major of the Army Jack Tilley) persevered and again, remained focused. So many missed the point. It wasn't about a piece of headgear--that was just a symbol. It was about unifying The Army--every Soldier as part of the team--The Army team. No longer was this "One Army" all about the troops of the heavy forces on one side versus the troops of the light forces on the other. It was not about active versus reserve; special ops versus conventional forces. It was about the unity of purpose that Reimer had initiated. As Ric often said, "If you can't put The Army in berets, you can't transform The Army." The black beret now clearly distinguishes The Army Soldier from all other Services. And you cannot deny that the new beret looks pretty darn sharp. Ric's "Vision" wasn't about immediacy--it was about long term, relevant change.
Controversy and intramural battles are commonplace at the CSA level. The battle over the Crusader artillery weapon system was one of the most public. What a quandary--at 60 tons (initially), the system clearly did not fit into the "lighter, more mobile" aspect of the SecDef's transforming Army. But warfighting is, as any combat-experienced Soldier will tell you, about firepower and maneuver. The just-released Army Posture Statement put it like this: "Decisive warfighting is about fire [power] and maneuver: Fire [power] enables maneuver, and maneuver enables fire [power]. Joint and organic, close, supporting, indirect fire [power] destroy[s] the enemy, suppress[es] the enemy's capabilities, protect[s] our forces, and enable[s] ground units to maneuver." The Army sorely needs responsive, organic artillery with rapid-fire support when troops are pinned down. 20 minutes is not responsive, especially if you are the one pinned down--seconds count. The Air Force's close air support capability could not fill The Army's fire support requirements--24/7, all weather, responsive, firepower day or night. Something else was needed.
The friends and foes of Crusader each had powerful friends in high political places. "Killing this killing machine wouldn't be easy" as the Wall Street Journal noted in 2001. The previous CSA, an artillery officer, had backed the Crusader and even recommended an increase of 50% to 1,200 in the number of systems to be produced. To fund this and other programs, Ric was faced with "finding" an additional $40 billion within the budget over 10 years and the Crusader represented about 25% of that number. The SecDef finally stepped in and "killed" the program. But in Washington as in baseball, Yogi had it right "It ain't over 'til it's over." Fortunately, our Congress takes seriously its Constitutional responsibility of raising an Army and is carefully watching the money that was planned for Crusader as it is used to meet the firepower support requirements for the Soldiers. Hopefully, the Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Cannon will answer the firepower requirement when it is fielded in 2008.
In that previously mentioned New Yorker article about Ric, the author Peter Boyer noted the suggestion of a defense analyst who had compared the Chief's role to that of Aleksandr Kerensky, the Russian revolutionary who was undone by the Bolsheviks: "Shinseki represent[s] a change over what came before, but the world wanted more change than he was able to deliver in the time frame that he had [available to him]." As a comparison, this quote is not quite on target. Kerensky failed; the Chief hasn't. True, Ric's time has been short--almost too short for all he set out to accomplish. Interestingly, the current topic of the day within the Beltway, namely shortening the tenure of the Service Chiefs from four to two years, would make time available for change even shorter, and all but eliminate the opportunity for the Service Chiefs to implement any relevant or meaningful change.
I once asked a mutual friend what the CSA work schedule was like. He asked me to take a guess. I guessed 15-16 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. His response was "try 20 hours a day, usually 6-7 days a week, and that is without a crisis." In Wes Clark's ('66) book on his experiences as NATO commander during the Kosovo war, his normal dealings with his superiors alone would seem to make the 20 hours/7 days estimate be on the low side. Think about these facts: The Army has a FY 2003 budget of about $90 billion. It entered this year with an interesting motto--"Transforming the entire Army while at war." We had 10 Army deployments in the 40 years before the Wall came down. In the last 13 years alone, we have had 56 deployments and counting--all with a much smaller fighting force--about 33% less than in 1989 to be exact. At any given moment, Ric has 177,000 "boots" on the ground in 120 countries! He has troops in harm's way in the Balkans, the Sinai, Kuwait, the Philippines, Korea and Afghanistan as well as Central and South America to name a few. He has had to provide troops and staff for the war on terrorism while securing the Olympics. Much more to do with a lot less with which to do it. In short, one busy fellow, our classmate.
Well, The Army has made great progress in taking care of those Soldiers, civilians, retirees, veterans, and all of their families, as Ric defines The Army. It has been greatly assisted by Congress, which has been instrumental in many of The Army's "Well-Being" achievements. Programs like TRICARE for Life and TRICARE Reform (even with all their problems), Retired Pay Reform, housing initiatives, cost of living increases--all of these things are making The Army a better place.
One cannot help but wonder, at least for a few moments, why someone like Ric would ever put himself in such a difficult situation--trying to change a million-person organization while it is at war. We all know how difficult the battles can be in that place called the Pentagon and how underhanded Beltway politics often are, especially when one adheres to and is devoted to a set of deeply-seeded core values. The values that we all began to learn and cherish as we stood on the Plain that fateful first day--Duty, Honor, Country, coupled with the additional Army Values of Loyalty, Respect, Selfless Service, Integrity, and Personal Courage, formed the basis of the warfighting profession for all of us, including the Chief. And they have also made it more difficult for this Chief to operate in a political system that sometimes overlooks these values.
But then you think a bit more about the issue and realize that without guys like Ric, and without his courage to stand and fight for what he believes is in the best interests of the Army and our great Country, our future ability to "fight and win America's wars" would at worst not exist and at best, be severely diminished. One quote from Ric seems appropriate. While he was under personal verbal attack, some of it vitriolic in nature, during the Stryker vehicle review, he stated frankly and courageously to wide public report: "Look at our numbers, challenge our metrics, question our analytics, they're all on review. But don't question our honor or our integrity!" Tough times require confident leaders of character.
Recently, Ric explained what he had told many of us privately--the framework is in place for irreversible momentum in the Transformation of The Army. Again, the results of this momentum are not something to be reaped by our classmate, but rather, one of his successors.
Ric was always soft-spoken, even as a cadet; but words always mattered to him. He wrote little, if anything, that wasn't intentional, and when he spoke, every word was carefully chosen. If you go to the CSA's web page and read some of those speeches, you'll understand what Ric Shinseki is all about. He is about our Soldiers. You've probably noticed that throughout these Class Notes, I have capitalized the word "Soldier", the phrase "The Army," and the word "Nation." The Chief does that in all of his correspondence and all of his writings. It is a subtle means for him to tip his hat to the Soldiers he admires, The Army he loves, and the Nation he would die for. If each of us adopted that practice, well, it would clearly honor Ric, but it would also honor our Army and its great Soldiers even more.
The first--and last--thing this Chief, our classmate, always talks about is people, our "Soldiers on point for the Nation." It is how he started nearly four decades ago (remember the story, told at his welcoming parade, of listening with great admiration to his uncles who had served proudly and with distinction in the Army during WW II), and, very likely, it will be his last thought as he walks off Summerall Field after his retirement parade.
For all of the above and for his many, many other contributions to our Country, our Army, and our Class, I would like to reiterate, but slightly revise, Buddy Bucha's salute to the Chief of Staff of the United States Army given at a NYC West Point Society luncheon in late 2002 before 23 classmates: "To [our] friend, [our] classmate and [our] hero," to which we all would add: Congratulations on a job well extremely done! Strength & Drive is proud to call you one of our own! You are truly a leader of character for our Nation. To which our humble classmate would probably reply: "My name is Shinseki and I am a Soldier. I will always be a Soldier."
Denny, thank you for this exceptional article. Chuck, thank you for bringing it to my attention. Ric, thank you for being this guy.
David Winters ('64) was kind enough to forward this to Clair Gill through Dan Christman to get it to me so I could share it with you all. It is taken from The Patriot News way back in February of 2011. Jim Scheiner died that month after a 12 year battle with cancer. This article, by Jeff Frantz, will give you a feel for how highly he was thought of in Pennsylvania and beyond. Chuck Nichols has posted it as a eulogy for Jim and it can be found at: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2011/02/jim_scheiner_who_shaped_centra.html. Given that greatness should be celebrated wherever we find it, I have chosen to share it here also. Enjoy:
Three short stories about Jim Scheiner:
1: Shortly after Dick Thornburgh's election in 1978, Scheiner -- then a 34-year-old Vietnam veteran, civil engineering consultant -- wrote the governor-elect a letter detailing why he should be his secretary of transportation. He didn't know Thornburgh. He had never even met Thornburgh. But Scheiner liked Thornburgh's reform agenda and he felt he had something to offer the commonwealth. His resume impressed the man Thornburgh had already chosen, Tom Larson, so much that he hired Scheiner as his deputy.
2: He later joined a book group that included a few other Thornburgh administration veterans. They each took turns picking a book. Scheiner's first choice was "War and Peace."
3: From time to time, during his 12-year battle with cancer, Scheiner required an operation or some other procedure. He preferred to schedule them for the afternoon. That way, he could reschedule his tennis game for 6 a.m. and not miss watching his partner chase his left-handed slice serve.
Scheiner -- a public official and public citizen, a patron of the arts, a man who shaped the midstate from behind the scenes, a Shipoke resident, a husband, a father of three -- died Monday afternoon. He was 66. His highest-profile job was his four years as the state's secretary of revenue, but his subtle influence could be seen in scores of projects across the area.
He helped craft the Susquehanna Area Regional Aviation Authority to operate Harrisburg International Airport when the state said it should be in private hands. He served on the board of Harrisburg Area Community College when the school began its expansion. He was one of the architects of the merger between the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and the Capital Region Economic Development Corp. He guided WITF in the planning stages of its public media center. As president of Benatec Associates, he helped revive the Capital City Airport.
With his wife, Kristin Scofield, he helped sponsor a series of August Wilson plays. He knew seemingly everyone, said chamber president David Black. He was the man to call when you weren't sure who you needed to call.
"There's a lot of people that knew him that would call him one of their personal heroes," said George Grode, who served with Scheiner in Thornburgh's Cabinet. Scheiner was born in Minneapolis, but worked in Philadelphia before writing to Thornburgh.
"His goal was to give something back to the public because he had been given such a free ride," Scofield said. That "free ride" -- government-paid tuition at West Point and Princeton University -- included a tour in Vietnam, for which he was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.
Scheiner valued work. He put in 70-hour weeks at the Capitol and files for the boards he served on after leaving government were never far out of reach. Even though he was trained as an engineer, Thornburgh felt his hands-on style could move the Revenue Department forward.
"He could make things happen," Thornburgh said. But he preferred to make things happen from offstage. "He did not aspire to stand behind a podium," WITF CEO Kathleen Pavelko said. "He aspired to see organizations succeed."
His drive continued after doctors told him in 1998 that he had months to live. The thyroid cancer they had found had spread to his brain. He fought through it, in part with medicine from two clinical trials. "He didn't alarm people," Susan Cohen said. "He didn't talk about his treatments unless asked. He was a positive thinker."
All his life he wanted to think, friends said, and wanted you to think, too. His book club reading assignments tended to have morally ambiguous heroes, Grode said. "He was always looking at what is the right thing to do in a certain set of circumstances," Grode said. "And the right thing is not always the easiest thing or the most obvious thing. It takes thoughtful examination."
He carried that spirit through his civic life.
"He always told us, you'll just have your name," said his daughter Meredith. "That's what's left."
David, thank you for bringing this to us. Jim, we salute you.
My good friend Tom Kovach just sent me
this message to share with all of you. He and his lovely wife, Marilyn,
have been working very hard to put together a terrific 50th reunion for
all of us. This is just a small part of the detail work they have been
To the Class of 1965 Community:
A 50th Reunion mailing with lodging information has been sent to the printer. You should receive this mailing in your USPS mailboxes within a week or so. In the meantime, the letter in this mailing is attached for your preview. The tentative reunion agenda will arrive with the mailing and is available on our reunion webpage.
The preliminary headcount of probable reunion attendees stands at 770 at the moment. I am certain that the plans of some will change prior to May 2015, but we're still counting! For comparison, the Class of '64 had approximately 700 attendees for their 50th Reunion last month.
The response from the family members of our deceased classmates has been very encouraging and, at times, overwhelming. Here's a sample of the tentative attendee counts:
Jerry Clark - 15
Chuck Hemmingway - 5
Joe Koz - 6 or more
Leo Allen - 12 to 23
Pat O'Connor - 6 or more
John Alger - 5 or more
Pat O'Toole - 4 or more
...and on and on...
We hope all of you are included in the final headcount of attendees.
Strength and Drive!
I too hope that this reunion will include every one of us who can walk, stand, or sit with old friends from so many years ago. Let's make this the biggest reunion the Rock has ever seen!
Once again we have to say good bye to a dear friend. Rance Rountree died peacefully at his home in Altamonte Springs, Florida, early in the morning of February 28th after a long battle with numerous illnesses. I was pleased to have Frank Arnall step up and offer to take on the position of POC. Shortly thereafter Art Mark also offered and was asked to assist where possible. Thank you Frank for a job exceptionally well done and to Art and all my other Classmates for their assistance in preparing this message. The following is Frank's report:
The funeral service for Rance Rountree was conducted in the Old Cadet Chapel by Chaplin Todd Cheney, the Regimental Chaplin of First Regiment, USCC. He opened up with saying how impressed he was with the obvious closeness of our class. He introduced Ric Shinseki who said that he first roomed with Rance in East Barracks as a yearling. After our class changed companies, Ric and Rance were the only two from B-1 who were assigned to A-1 so they remained as roommates in East Barracks cow year. Firstie year they picked the big room closest to Reveille Formation, but added Don Kurtz to their quarters. Ric said Rance was the near perfect cadet. He did his work, always marked his card, and went to bed early. Ric said he usually turned in next, and neither he nor Rance ever knew what Don was doing or when he slept! They may have been the only two in our class who were together 3 years. After graduation, Rance was the best man for the wedding of Ric and Patty, but were not to meet again until August 9, 2013 when Ric's schedule which brought him to Orlando enabled him to visit Eileen and Rance. Ric said, "You need a haircut," and their friendship was fresh as ever even with a 48 years of no contact.
In conclusion, Ric read a prose-poem "What Will Matter" that could have been a description of Rance's life and then said "Good night & Joy be with you"
The graveside ceremony was as impressive as any at Arlington until the Chaplin said "And now the Class of 65 will sing the Alma Mater." We were surprised by this, but fortunately, we were all standing together behind the seated family. Even though none of those present was ever in the Glee Club, Jim Tomaswick turned around and got us all started, but initially off key. It eventually sounded good to me, but then we reached the end of the first verse, and abruptly stopped as no one knew the new gender neutral second verse! Fortunately no video or sound could be recorded at the service.
The reception at the Thayer was indeed the party
that Eileen Rountree wanted and she and her family were loved and heard
Rance stories with the warmth of old friends, although this was not
only her first time at West Point, but also her first meeting of anyone
other than Ric Shinseki last August. Eileen told me later that she felt
as if she knew many of "65 from regularly reading Rick Bunn's news
service with Rance during his final confinement. At the reception, the
continuous slide show of Rance's life that had prepared enabled us all
to know our classmate better. For example, I had no idea that as a
Firstie, he was with Ross Wollen, taking pictures,
when Ross interviewed Ike Eisenhower. On display were Rance's Viet Nam
combat boots that had been bronzed exactly as they were when Rance look
then off on his return. Even one worn shoelace had been repaired with a
knot! Rance's Ranger buddy, Art Mark, presented to
Eileen the Rance memo book he had prepared which began with an actual
copy of the orders assigning the members of '65 to their initial active
duty with the 101st Airborne, and continued with Army photos of Rance
at Ranger school and even in the rubber assault boat perhaps an hour
before Rance nearly drowned as a tree branch hooked his harness and
pulled him into the water.
Most members of '65 in attendance stayed for at least 3 hours, but Rollie Stichweh had driven from Connecticut for the service, then rushed back to see the second half of the Fairfield-Greenwich Rugby game for the state championship. Rollie's grandson, John Roberts, plays for Fairfield.
Even in the face of his monumental difficulties recently, Ric Shinseki made it a point to be present for this final salute to his three-year roommate and good friend. Attached is his beautiful eulogy.
Photographs were not permitted in the chapel and later we had a technical problem with Frank's camera so what you will see here are the best pictures we could collect of the reception from Frank's, Art's, and Bob Frank's cameras.
First a poignant picture of Ric as he says good bye to his three-year roommate and good friend. Next, John Salomone, Jim (Swick) Tomaswick, Joe DeFrancisco, and Ric Shinseki gather near the urn.
Here we have John Salomone, Jim (Swick) Tomaswick, Joe DeFrancisco, Ric Shinseki, Ross Wollen, and Roger Frydrychowski, and finally the same gang with Bob Frank in the third position. I couldn't help but notice that they all seem to have seen the same (or pretty similar) uniform flag that morning -- well done.
As we shift gears and move on to the reception, I would like to share a great comment by Art Mark. He sent it to me, and I immediately suggested that he send it in as a eulogy, so you will be able to find it there also:
My RANGER buddy Rance Rountree and I did not get to
know each other until we graduated from West Point and went to the
101st Airborne and RANGER school together. Rance came from South
Georgia and I was raised in Chicago and spent my summers on the farm in
Michigan. As cadets at West Point he was in the 1st Regiment (A1 &
B1) & I was in the 2d Regiment (E-2 & B2). I was into running
track, choir, and band, while Rance gravitated to language clubs and
outdoor sports. When we graduated we both ended up in the 10lst
Airborne, but I went Infantry and was in the 2/50lst Infantry Bn. Rance
went into the Signal Corps and was assigned to the Division signal
battalion. Rance and I just happened to arrive at the exact same moment
for RANGER school. We selected each other as "ranger buddies" and were
like "peas in a pod" for the nine weeks of RANGER school. While I
was always a HOOAHing Infantryman, Rance remained steadfastly laid back
as he quietly took on the arduous tasks in patrolling. He would never
balk at his turn at carrying the radio or the machine gun. Rance &
I ended up walking "point and compass" on our patrols. He almost died
one night when he fell into a 20 foot deep ravine in the Georgia
mountain phase. He told me the next day he that he was really OK after
the fall, but had enjoyed being evacuated so he could sleep in a bed
for one night. At the end of the six day patrol in the mountains we
were promised a "hot meal" in base camp. We were first to arrive back
and received our hot meal, a live chicken, a carrot, a potato, and an
onion. Rance quickly told me that he was going to enjoy some good
sack time and that I could have his share of the "hot" meal. I quickly
gutted and cleaned the bird in good RANGER style. And cooked meat on a
spit and made soup from the carrots, onion, and potato. He did awake to
share our "hot" meal when he, having had good outdoorsman training at
USMA, he caught the scent of the chicken cooking over the open
fire. After RANGER school Rance & I returned to the 101st
Airborne. Rance always carried his weight, but also seemed to get his
rest. On one patrol he was selected as patrol leader to plan a
contingency operation and to give the patrol order. As Rance enjoyed
his well-deserved rest from carrying machine gun, we prepared the order
for home and managed to wake him up to give it when the cadre came to
After RANGER school, we returned to the 101st. Rance went back to the Signal Corps and I went back to the Infantry. We rarely got to see each other, but he did invite me to his wedding while we were in the 101st. I attended and got to be a saber bearer at that wedding in Georgia. After that 1st assignment in the 101st, Vietnam and the Army controlled our destinies to go on to other duties and other places. I had not heard about Rance until this year and his funeral. I enjoyed meeting with Rance' relatives and reuniting with classmates who attended the funeral and reception that followed at the Hotel Thayer.
Events like these make me think how fortunate I am to have relatives and friends we can love and with whom we can still share our thoughts, memories and prayers.
Ric, God bless you and Patti and your family. Thanks for all your great service to the Army and our veterans and for the great presentation you did at Rance' farewell and funeral.
Strength and Drive!
Here's a great picture of our Classmates and wives at the reception.
The class assembled in front of our flag for this picture. Joe McChristian is kneeling, first row is Myrita Pindar (Ross Wollen's girlfriend) Eileen Rountree, Carol Tomaswick, Mary Kay Salomone, Ric Shinseki, Patty Shinseki, Rance' first wife Charlotte Rountree, Joe DeFrancisco, Art Mack, Ross Wollen. Second row: (Slide of Rance & Charlotte at his promotion to Major) Roger Frydychowski, Jim Tomaswick, John Salomone, Mary Frank (behind Ric), Gene Manghi (behind Joe), Frank Arnall, and Bob Frank.
Since I wasn't being fair, in the previous picture, to Mary Frank, Gene Manghi, and Frank Arnall seen below in positions 6, 12, and 14 respectively and because there is such a great picture of grampa Rance with his granddaughter Kayleigh in this shot, I decided to add it.
While preparing this report, I called Eileen Rountree (a charming lady to talk with) and discussed Rance. A few things came out that I thought might be of interest to you all. As many of us have, Rance managed to lose his Class Ring and was very sad about it. Eileen contacted Balfour which still had the original order on file so they could replace it exactly the way he had his original. He was so pleased that he made sure to have a picture taken to remember the event. The next picture demonstrates a side of Rance that many of us knew. He saved his boots from Viet Nam and used them around the house for years and years and finally, to be sure they wouldn't accidentally get tossed out he had them bronzed. Now that's a pair of booties! (Note the knot in the laces of the boot on the left). And the third picture here would sure have been special to me. Rance has the opportunity to shake the hand of my all time favorite grad -- Ike himself.
Finally, here are the excerpts from the Howitzer that I like to share with these messages to remind us of the great guy we knew all those years ago.
Grip hands my friends as we say good bye to our dear friend Rance Rountree. On behalf of the entire Class of 1965 I wish to express our condolences to the family and to Rance - Be thou at Peace -- Well Done!
I just sent off a quick message to Jim (Swick) Tomaswick, telling him that this is exactly the type of brief message I love to receive because it helps to keep us connected, takes very little time, and is very easy to share. I point this out in the hope that it will inspire more of the same from many of you I haven't heard from. Here is Swick's message and pictures:
On our way back home after attending the Rance Rountree's Service at West Point, John Salomone and I visited Jack Terry at the Castle Point VA Hospital. Jack seemed pleased to see us and we shared stories from the "good old days." John reminded Jack that the two of them were the only members of '65 in their Airborne Class because both had been recycled due to injuries. Jack was alert and continues with his patented mischievous ways. He plans to be in the VA Hospital for the next week or so while his wife, Sue, visits with a new grandchild.
Here are a couple of pictures we took during the visit. First me with Jack (left) and then John with Jack (right). Both show Jack's alertness and, yes you can see the mischievousness in his eyes.
Thank you Swick, it's always good to see you guys getting together like this.
Tom Cindric sent me this great report from his and Janie's recent trip to Normandy.
Janie and I were at the Normandy Beaches on June 5 as part of a Grand Circle Tour Group. Here is the day blog that we write (Mostly Janie) every day of our travels. If for some reason you cannot read it you can go to tjcindric.wordpress.com to see our blog. Click on home and it will take you to the latest post.
Thanks Tom and Janie for a great report.
Many times over the years I have shared with friends just how proud I am to be a member of this unique Band of Brothers we refer to as Strength and Drive. This often led to an opportunity to say, "and Ric Shinseki is my Classmate" as if this fact would somehow imply that his rare combination of talent and integrity had rubbed off on me. The pride I have felt to have him as a Classmate has been redoubled many times in the past few weeks as I watched him deal with the most difficult of situations and come through it looking ever so much stronger and more impressive than his detractors.
When it became the right thing to do, he "chose the harder right" and resigned. At that time Chuck Nichols set up a Blog page on our Class website so we could all express our appreciation and support to Ric and Patty. Soon thereafter, I offered to use my access to the Class Listserv to share with all of you Ric's reaction to our comments. For what it's worth, we currently have 118 individual messages for Ric and Patty, by far the largest response I have ever seen to any message or comment I have shared. What a perfect day, D-Day + 70 years, for Ric to share his thoughts and feelings. Here is his response to your support:
I would like to express my deep and abiding appreciation to the men and women of the Class of 1965 -- Classmates, Spouses, Surviving Spouses -- for all that they have done for and meant to Patty and me over many years now, but especially during my tenures as Chief of Staff of the Army and, most recently, as Secretary of VA. At the end, I cannot tell you how much each note of confidence and support lifted us during some tough days at VA. And this final collection of greetings has sustained us in the days following my resignation. I was privileged to have both assignments and will be forever indebted to the Presidents who gave me these opportunities to serve. I will never regret having the chance to make things better for the men and women, who served our Nation in peace and in war, as the Secretary of VA. There are 22 million of us -- Veterans. That amounts to about 7% of our population, but 100% of our national security.
I have said publicly on a number of occasions that, in life, there are not many opportunities for "do over's", where one gets to go back and address again earlier periods of one's life. Serving at the Department of Veterans Affairs was a "do over" for me. I had the opportunity to care for the folks I went to war with in Vietnam nearly 50 years ago, including and especially the members of this Class and its Survivors. I was able to care for those I sent to war as Army Chief of Staff. And I was able to care for the true giants in our military history, the men and women who saved the world during the 1940's, and who marched to the guns in the 1950's to save a nation. They were many of our mentors as we grew up in the profession of arms during the 1960's. What a privilege this has been.
Patty and I are fine. We are spending time together, which we have not had over the past 5+ years -- early starts, late nights, weekends on the road. I am disappointed in the way things ended at VA, but it was for the best. When trust was breached inside the appointment scheduling system of some medical facilities, it was unexplainable, indefensible, and intolerable. I accepted responsibility for all of it and apologized to the American people for the Department's frailties. With my departure, the Department can get on with healing itself and holding accountable those responsible for violating our trust, and the trust of the American people.
Throughout it all, the loyalty and support of this Distinguished Class was the bright and unwavering beacon that burned through the fog of crisis each day. When it came time, it was clear what needed to be done, and I did it. On this 70th Anniversary of D-Day -- Duty Honor Country. Thank you for your many kindnesses and for embracing Patty and me during some difficult moments. See you at our 50th, where I hope to express my thanks in person. For those attending Rance Rountree's funeral next week, I'll be able to do that sooner. Strength and Drive!
Your Classmate and Friend -- Ric Shinseki
Wow, and I thought I was proud to be his Classmate before! Thank you Ric, you are one of a kind.
John Malpass sent me two great pictures and a very brief couple of comments:
The first picture (left) is at the Veteran's Classic: John Vann, Lansing Hewitt, John Malpass, Jim Dyer, Jane Dyer. (We were probably yelling "Beat Navy," but I can't remember)
The other is again at Myrtle Beach, but this time for the Retired Military Golf Classic, taken outside of Joe's Bar and Grill (yes, there really is a place called Joe's Bar and Grill): John Malpass, John Vann, Chuck McCloskey, and Walt Kulbacki.
It's been a long and difficult month for Linda Ganshert and her family. With much of the family in Minnesota and the desire to have Steve buried in Salisbury, North Carolina, there was much time, effort, and logistics that went in to bringing everything together in such a dignified and beautiful way. My involvement began with the typical search for a Classmate who would be willing to step up and take on the responsibilities of POC (Point of Contact). I frequently describe the duties as, serving as the representative of the family to our Class and at the same time serving as the representative of the Class to the family. Paul Rau was very quick to step up and offer his services and did a terrific job. The first part of this report is a result of his work. Once it was decided that Steve Ganshert would be interred in North Carolina, I found another very willing Classmate who was equally quick to offer his services. Steve Philo stepped up to take on the role of Assistant POC for the services in Salisbury, North Carolina. Steve used a line when he accepted the responsibility which I had not heard before but felt very much as if it fits well to describe my feelings about the job you have entrusted to me. He said, "Thank you for the opportunity to serve".
Here first is the report on the Visitation and Mass conducted in Sartell, Minnesota as provided by Paul Rau:
Visitation for Steve was at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Sartell, Minnesota on Friday evening May 3, 2014 5:30pm-8:00pm and Saturday morning May 4, 9:30am-10:30am. Steve's ever-present humor was still in evidence; reminding us of his love for fishing, an open tackle box was displayed, urging visitors to take a bobber and use it in his memory
The Mass of Christian Burial was held at 10:30am Saturday. Family members from four states attended. Steve is survived by Linda, his wife of 48 years, and by his children Amy Ganshert of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Laurie Bell and her husband Dover of Shalimar, Florida; and John Ganshert and his wife Christie of Greensboro, North Carolina. He had nine grandchildren; Nicholas Crooks and his wife Marsha, Benjamin Crooks, James Bell, Stephanie Bell, Christopher Crooks, Christine Bell, Matthew Bell, Stephen Ganshert, and Genevieve Ganshert. He had one great-grandchild, Aaron Crooks. He is also survived by his siblings Cynthia Burgett, Philip Ganshert, and Jay Ganshert.
Steve will be interred at the Salisbury National Cemetery, Salisbury, North Carolina.
NOTES: The family opted not to have military honors presented. The Class Flag was noticed and commented on by every adult family member present; Linda, especially, appreciated the gesture.
Thank you Paul for all your efforts for us and the Ganshert family. Next we have the report from Steve Philo regarding the actual burial in Salisbury, North Carolina:
Dennie Sellers and I along with our wives represented the class at Steve Ganshert's burial at the National Cemetery in Salisbury, North Carolina. The weather was nice, and the ceremony was short and dignified. Here we see my wife Molly with Karen and Dennie Sellers.
While the National Cemetery in Salisbury is not one of the largest it certainly stays busy. Steve's ceremony was at 2:00, and there were at least two other burials that day and at least 12 that week.
Besides Dennie and me and our wives, Steve's immediate family was in attendance. There was Steve's wife Linda, 1 son and 2 daughters with their spouses and grandchildren. In the first picture below we see Steve's wife Linda with daughter and her children. Next we have Linda with her two twin grandchildren.
A shelter with a funeral bier and permanent seats were provided with the seal of each service above the bier. To Make the occasion more personal we had the Class flag, and I added a picture of the Academy as it looked when we graduated, a parade hat and saber, a Vietnam service medallion and a U.S. Army medallion, our 1965 Howitzer (annual), and framed pictures from the annual of Steve's picture and caption along with a framed picture of the Firsties in F-2.
The honor guard formed and brought Steve's casket and placed it on the bier. All but two of the honor guard marched off leaving the sergeant in charge and one other honor guard to guard the casket throughout the ceremony.
Steve was Catholic so the ceremony was conducted by a priest, a Providence College ROTC graduate, and a 25-year Army veteran. He said a short prayer and gave a burial message about life and its progression to death. The honor guard then fired its volleys into the air followed by the American flag's folding by three of the honor guard. It was the flag that draped the casket. The folded flag was then passed to Steve's son-in-law, a retired Air Force Lt. Colonel who came in his dress uniform. He in turn presented the flag to Steve's wife Linda. She and Steve had dated since high school and would have celebrated 49 years of marriage this year.
In this final picture from the military portion of the ceremony we see one of the seargents from the honor guard presenting the shell casings from rifle salute to Linda.
On behalf of the Class, I mentioned that Steve personified the Class' motto "Strength and Drive" and the Academy's motto "Duty, Honor, Country." And because he didn't just serve his time but did so as an example of these mottos, the country owes him more than just a thank-you. But that while the country was paying part of that debt by providing him a final resting place, those of us present were left the task of paying the rest. And we could only do that by making this great country of ours what Steve would want it to be.
Following the ceremony we spent some time together, and then we all ate at a restaurant Dennie's wife, Karen picked. One last note- while we did not go to the grave site because of the number of open graves in the cemetery, Steve's casket was driven on a cart to the grave, by a former Ranger. That seemed fitting.
Two terrific reports -- thank you gentlemen.
Let me close this report with a picture of Steve this year and in 1965 along with a reminder of how we saw him back in the day. Steve you will be missed by so
many. Grip hands my friends as we say good bye to our friend
Steve Ganshert. On behalf of the entire Class of 1965 I wish to express
our condolences to the family and to Steve - Be thou at Peace -- Well
Once again I find myself disappointed because I live so far from my Rock Bound Highland Home. I would love to have been there to see my friend Buddy Bucha receive this Distinguished Graduate Award which he so richly deserves. However, Bob Frank, Clair Gill, John Howell, and Joe Sanchez stepped up to provide the narrative and photos for this great tribute. I frequently ask contributors to provide photos and narrative to give those of us who were unable to attend, a feeling for what it was like to be there. I think these gentlemen accomplished this in spades. Bob's report:
On Tuesday, 20 May, over 40 Classmates and family members came to West Point to honor Buddy Bucha as he joined Ric Shinseki, Dan Christman and Joe DeFrancisco as Distinguished Graduates from the Class of 1965. Buddy was one of the five USMA graduates who made up the 2014 Distinguished Graduates, as recognized by the AOG and West Point. This award came into being through the efforts of Gen. Shy Meyer when he was Chairman of the Association of Graduates as a way of recognizing graduates whose adherence to "Duty, Honor, Country" would serve to inspire cadets and provide role models for their future service to the nation.
The festivities started with the Alumni Luncheon in Washington Hall. In addition to the Class of 1965 contingent, Buddy's supporters included Ken Fisher, Chairman of Fisher House (which provides housing for military families whose loved ones are undergoing treatment in military medical facilities) and Gerry Byrne of the Intrepid Museum in New York City, both endorsers of Buddy's nomination. John Howell was their escort to the VIP area. The picture of Buddy with the Superintendent, LTG Caslen '75, and the WPAOG Chairman, LTG (ret.) Larry Jordan '68 shows the award citation. The second photo includes Buddy, Philippine President Rojas (far right) and two of Bud's special guests: Ken Fisher (Chair of Fisher House) and Gerry Byrne (a Fisher House board member). Ramos was in the Class of 1950, and as such, was a classmate of GEN John Wickham, formerly a Chief of Staff, Army. The reason I know this is that I was on the Army Staff when a political disruption in the Philippines resulted in the State Department asking Wickham to call his old classmate, then the chief of the Philippines armed forces, to ask him to play a stabilizing role in restoring democracy to the Philippines. I have never met him, but Ramos was regarded as someone who was a constructive force in his country.
USMA and WPAOG made certain that each of the tables with 1965 supporters of Buddy were provided with at least one member of the Class of 2015 at the table. It was another effort to recognize and strengthen the affiliation of our two Classes.
The Alumni Luncheon was followed by the annual Alumni march to Sylvanus Thayer's statue. The parade was led by BG (ret.) Henry Newcomer '39, who is 97-years old. The good general showed his stuff by marching all of Diagonal Walk and standing throughout the 15 minute ceremony. The first picture shows the 2014 Distinguished Graduates with Buddy in the second rank. (Note the beautiful Supe's quarters in the background). The second picture shows Buddy right after the March to Sylvanus Thayer's statue. This portion of the festivities was rather solemn, not only honoring Thayer but also honoring those of "the ghostly assemblage, those of the Corps long dead." A reminder to all present of those upon whose shoulders we all stand.
The WPAOG website has photos of the parade, which will confirm that parades are not that much different from some 49 years ago. However, the pre-parade mill around included the shot of Fred Smith, Lenore Garman (John Howell's friend from Laguna Beach, CA), John Howell, and Chuck Shaw. The second picture shows Buddy and LTG (ret.) Pursley '49 after they received the DG medallion. To their left is the First Captain and members of her staff. The third picture shows all five DGs along with the entire Brigade Staff.
After the parade, Buddy hosted a reception in the Arvin Alcove within the "Arvin Gym" entrance donated by our Class and dedicated to all of our Classmates who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. It was a great opportunity for all of us to mingle and congratulate Buddy on this recognition. The Superintendent honored Buddy and all of us by joining in the celebration. LTG Caslen was prevailed upon to make a few remarks, which he did gladly. He highlighted one of the many reasons why Buddy deserved this distinction. The Supe related how the Beast Barracks cadre invited Buddy to talk to the New Cadets, and that the talk was so inspirational that Buddy was asked back by 2014 Class President at the beginning of the Academic Year to address the entire First Class. The Supe remarked that this was just one instance of Buddy's motivational effect and that Buddy had similarly spoken to Air Force cadets, USNA midshipmen and to Coast Guard middies. The Supe pointed out that recognition as a Distinguished Graduate was intended, as Gen. Shy Meyer indicated, to provide role models for the cadets. And Buddy noted that was also the purpose of the Arvin Alcove, as well. (Note the great pictures of Bob Arvin behind LTG Caslen in both angles). (By the way, it was my choice to identify Bud as Buddy in these references because that is the way I have always known and thought of him).
Finally, here is an end of the day picture with Clair, Lenore Garman (John Howell's friend from Laguna Beach, CA), Buddy, (Buddy's wife, Cynthia aka Chintz by Buddy and his children), and John Howell.
A big thank you to Bob, Clair, John, and Joe for making this report possible. And to Buddy, congratulations, my friend, I can't think of anyone more deserving of this recognition. Your continuing work with and for current cadets at West Point and the other academies is an inspiration to us all.
Attached is a list of attendees for this event. I hope we were able to get everyone correctly listed. My sincere apologies if errors exist.
I recently received this very nice report from Tom Abraham sharing a visit with our dear friend Jack Terry. How nice that Gene Manghi was there also. Thanks Tom, we always like to get reports from your visits with Jack and Sue and to have Gene there just puts some icing on the cake. Here's Tom's report:
After the DGA for Buddy Bucha, which was an A-squad event with A-squad remarks by Buddy, Ina and I went on to visit Jim and Carol Tomaswick in New Hampshire. My old roomie and his wife went all-in in showing us a great time in the Live Free or Die state. Unfortunately, pictures were not thought of. On the way home, we stopped to see my other old roomie, Jack Terry and his wife Sue. They just moved into a beautiful country home in North Branch, NY. They have delightful neighbors, can see horses across the road, and "Bear" is a delightful lab mix rescue dog who is a great friend to Jack or anyone who visits. Sue must have thought Prince Harry was with us considering the wonderful lunch she put out. The good news is that Jack looked well. Sue said he had good days and bad days. That was a good day. He was excited about all the books that Swick sent for him. He gets day help once a week from Castle Point VA and they seem to be monitoring his well-being. He's on Tri-Care and there is a civilian hospital only 6 miles away. I asked Jack if he needed anything and he said that he would love to hear from and see classmates. It is now much easier to reach him and it is easier to talk to him. He and Sue seem to be very happy in their new home, which is within 4 miles of where they used to live, so they are familiar with the area. Gene Manghi was also there and he promised Jack he would visit often. Their home phone is 845-482-4564, and they are ok with the class having that number. We did think to get pictures. It's only Gene Manghi, Sue and Jack, Ina and I, so I think you'll have no problem knowing who is who.
Thanks again Tom, please continue to keep us posted.
As I was finalizing the message that just went out regarding the Distinguished Graduate Award received by Buddy Bucha, I received this report from Gene Parker. How nice to have this complete report provided with photos inserted and ready to share with all of you. This gives a totally different perspective on a wonderful and pride filled event for us all. Here is Gene's report:
On the graduation day I thought I'd share some notes and photos from my recent visit where I attended the awards ceremony for Buddy and the alumni activities with my son and a good friend from Missouri who has always wanted to visit the academy.
When we arrived on Sat. evening, I hadn't had my ice cream fix for the day so we stopped at Grant Hall. Unfortunately, it was closed so we started walking up Thayer Road toward the Plain. We were stopped by a Firstie who was on "guard" checking ID's. There had apparently been a security issue last year when a TV reporter from NYC walked around campus and went into a number of off limits areas and then reported on lax security. So, while the rest of the Corps was off when they completed exams on Thurs/Fri., there were Firsties who had hours to walk before graduation. They were assigned to walk Thayer Rd. and then across diagonal walk to the gym and to ask for ID from folks not in uniform. Our cadet was a woman who was captain of the crew team. The policies on drinking have "evolved" and in reaction to an incident last year, the cadets are not allowed to drink while on an academy sponsored trips even if they are 21 (at least that is what I understood). She got 80 hours this spring since she was the team captain and drinking occurred!) It appears that the standard for any drinking violation is an automatic 80 hours. Having them present worked out well for us since the cadets who were walking were bored out of their skulls and could stand and talk to visitors (especially old grads) and could escort them to the mess hall and gym (so we got personally guided visits to both). My son, who is 36 and has Downs, has excellent taste in women and he fell in love with "our" cadet! J She graduates today and will be in the MI branch at Bragg (3d generation grad to serve there)
There is a gaping hole in the ground below the Cadet Chapel (where bldg. 7?? was--where the tacs' offices were). This is where the new barracks are being built. I believe it will house 600+ cadets. The cadets we talked to were clear that the Corps "has" because the new barracks will be air conditioned. The Supe told us the about 70% of the Corps is living with 3 in 2 person rooms and 4 in 3 person rooms because there is a major renovation project underway with the barracks between the gym and mess hall.
In the cemetery there is a new columbarium which should be completed and dedicated soon. It is beautiful. The existing columbarium is under the Old Cadet Chapel. My wife and I plan to "graduate" to the new one but are not in any hurry! Photo here.
The indoor obstacle course is alive and well! We have seen it run the last 2 years the day before the alumni parade. It is run at this time for those on medical profile and those who have not passed during the year. There were many cadets out to cheer on their friends who needed to pass and we learned that you can run it to improve your grade. (At this time of year, the group running it are at the low end of the curve). The shelf is still a big obstacle for some and if they fail to do it, they can make up time other places but the highest grade possible is a D.
The cadet sitting next to me was a cow cheering on a Firstie who needed to pass to graduate today.
The cadets claim that there is something special in
the Hayes gym that causes the Hayes gym cough! (I just remember
feeling like I needed to barf at the end).
Several other items:
1. Cadets are not impressed with the food in the mess hall--they say there are too many carbs so they have to run a lot to burn them off and of course, then they get to eat more so they can run more. My son has been blown away by the number of cadets you see out running. We saw one along the road this year in Ft. Montgomery and some run the 6 miles back from Buckner when they need to park their cars there.
2. My friend asked the woman Firstie if there were any uniforms like skirts. She said yes but they were convinced that there was a special committee that insured any uniform for the women is in no way flattering or attractive!
3. Buckner is alive and well. We got to drive through one evening and I realized I had not been there since 1962. Not much has changed. Summer training started before graduation for the football team and others.
4. We asked many cadets if they were going to be able to march in the alumni parade for us. Most had some other "pressing" duty that allowed them to avoid it. We saw the rehearsal and the NCO in charge of drill announced that the final number of required cadets in each company was 55. He also told them to leave the cell phones in the barracks, to eat and hydrate and to press their pants (some of you looked like you slept in your pants the last time!)
5. They get to park their cars about as far up the hill behind the football stadium as possible so while they get cars in the spring of cow year, they are not very handy to get to. They also get to move them to Buckner when there are football games or other special events.
6. The cadets are very proud of their academic achievements. One Firstie told us that their class has produced a spike in academic achievement and they believe that the ranking of WP by Forbes in 2009 (when they were high school juniors) had a lot to do with it. It caused many smart kids to consider attending and they did, leading to the results
7. We left the visit with immense pride in the current cadets--they are truly outstanding.
Looking forward to our big reunion next year!
Thank you Gene, well done!
I recently shared a story about the Seaworths visit to Scottsdale, Arizona. They have apparently finished their trip to some of the most beautiful places in the western United States with a visit with Classmates in the Las Vegas area. Tom Kovach shared this report regarding their visit to the land of sparkling lights, great shows, and more gambling than most can handle. Tome writes:
Last week, Ron Walter had reported that George & Jill Seaworth had traveled to the Scottsdale area where Ron & Janice and George & Jill enjoyed a fine Italian dinner.
Later in the week, George & Jill continued their travels north to Sedona and the Grand Canyon in Arizona, then to Bryce Canyon and Zion Canyon in southern Utah, and finally westward to Las Vegas for a one-night stay to catch their flight back to Chicago on May 25th. Most of the Las Vegas area Classmates were available to meet them for dinner on the 24th - Jim Holmes the exception as he had traveled to Texas for the Memorial Day weekend.
Unfortunately for George & Jill, I had booked an Italian restaurant prior to reading Ron's report. I did not change the reservation since I did not want to confuse anyone and wind up with some of us at one restaurant and some at another. George has to take the blame for this since he replied "one that has a liquor license" to my question regarding the type of restaurant that he and Jill would prefer.
We had a male waiter at this restaurant as well. He had such a thick Italian accent which, we surmised, he probably had nurtured in a Hollywood acting school. He probably spoke with a Texas twang when he got home after work. With his Italian accent, he described a special appetizer platter that was available only to parties of six or more. We ordered it thinking that we would get one platter and the six of us would share. What we got was one appetizer platter per person! Needless to say, no one experienced hunger pangs as we departed the restaurant.
Here we are on the way out: Skip & Marilyn O'Donnell; Jill & George Seaworth; Marilyn & Tom Kovach. (Note the great WP/Hawaiian shirt on Skip).
Thanks Tom, great report.
As we all celebrate this Memorial Day Weekend, this is the day we should take a moment to remember its true meaning. Today we remember and salute the brave men and women who have laid down their lives in defense of the freedoms we so frequently take for granted. I'm afraid I'm not the writer who can do justice to this noble cause but fortunately I have Classmates who have stepped up with some very appropriate film clips which do a terrific job of reminding us of the ultimate sacrifices that have been made by so many for us and for the country we have all loved and served. Let me start with the history of "Taps", written by John Mitchum and read by John Wayne. Paul Schultz was kind enough to share this with us all.
Next, I would like to share a clip entitled "FREEDOM IS
NOT FREE -- A Soldier's Pledge" spoken by one of my favorite Presidents,
Finally, Jerry Hoffman sent me this link to a DVD which is dedicated to the U.S. Servicemen and Women who paid for our freedom with their lives. Music by the United States Military Academy Cadet Glee Club and Metro Voices, Tenor Ronan Tynan and Sgt. MacKenzie -- DVD by John Langskov.
I hope these brief videos help you, as they did me, to focus on the real meaning of the incredible sacrifice made by so many of our Classmates, friends, and countrymen to preserve our precious freedom and way of life. I wish you all a wonderful holiday filled with a renewed sense of appreciation for the gift we have been given by so many which makes this the land of the Free because of the Brave.
A while back I heard about the collection of miniatures which Ross Wollen has put together over many years. Ever since then I have bugged him to provide me with some photographs and the story behind the collection which is currently on loan from Ross to the New York Union League Club on Park Avenue in New York City. This first picture shows the cabinet which houses the collection. To the right of the cabinet you can see the Citation which describes the collection and its connection to our Class. The verbiage on the citation is shown here below and is also included in the attached picture. Note that the attached picture bears a striking resemblance to the diploma that most of us having hanging on one of our walls. The second picture is a blown up section of the first picture (as are the next two pictures) to provide a better view of the cabinet's contents. It seems Ross was not able to get any close up pictures for me but the overall cabinet picture was professionally taken and was therefore provided to me with a huge (3MB) electronic footprint which allowed me to crop it and provide a closer look at each shelf.
Longtime Member Ross Wollen admired for
years the toy soldier collection of Peter Werner on the ULC's
Library Floor. It was previously at the United States Military
Academy at West Point, Ross' Alma Mater.
While not intending to build a collection, Ross, USMA '65, would frequently stop over a 40 year period at a near-by, mostly Cadet miniatures', store. All new toy Cadets (as in the Women Cadet Miniatures
which he requested) were reserved for him and the result is in the adjoining cabinet (on loan from Ross to the ULC), which he and Peter designed. Many of the artifacts included with the Miniatures are originals used by Ross in the 1960s and bear references to his enormously successful, and war-tested West Point Class of 1965.
While it is by no means perfect, I think this process gives a pretty good idea of what the collection looks like.
This final shot of the collection makes a nice connection to a shot shared by Joe Sanchez from the recent Distinguished Graduate Award ceremonies for Buddy Bucha. In the cabinet is a die-cast miniature/replica of Ross's '65 Corvette alongside a picture of Cadet Will Goodwin (Class President of our Affiliation Class of 2015) and Ashley Phillips (Class Historian) out in front of the Arvin Gym (now just referred to as Arvin) sitting in Ross's actual '65 Corvette at Buddy's DMG Reception. There will be more to come on the DGA ceremonies and Reception as soon as I receive the promised pictures and report.
I hope to see this handsome collection in person one day. With any luck Ross will get some better pictures down the road and I will be able to share another, more detailed report.
I wish you all a pleasant Memorial Day Weekend. There will be a few special items to share with you tomorrow as we remember the many brave men and women who have fallen in defense of our freedom.
Like many of you, I'm sure, I have spent the last two weeks feeling very helpless as I watched one of my favorite Classmates being targeted by a very biased media. The slings and arrows aimed at him have seemed extremely unfair and he has been characterized in ways that are blatantly untrue. While I have been blessed to have the ear of the Class, I have found it very frustrating that my own self-imposed avoidance of all things political has made it seem all but impossible to share my very strong feelings in support of Ric. For this reason, I was thrilled when I received the suggestion by our Class President, Clair Gill, that I share this article from Politico Magazine. It points out in a very specific but non-political manner some very important facts about the real story and goes on to address the rare qualities of the individual we know and admire as our Classmate and friend, Ric Shinseki.
Please enjoy, as I did, this brief article by Max Cleland, a disabled Vietnam veteran, a former U.S. Senator and former Administrator of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In The Arena
Take the Target Off Shinseki's Back
By MAX CLELAND
May 16, 2014
The toughest job in Washington is to prosecute war. The second toughest job is, as Abraham Lincoln once phrased it, "to care for him who has borne the battle."
I tried to do that job once. I was the head of the Veterans Administration under President Jimmy Carter after the Vietnam War.
I found that many folks in the VA were committed to our mission of caring for those who had served our country in uniform. I found, however, that we couldn't put the genie back in the bottle. We couldn't heal all the wounds of war. I found that our job was to care, to fail and try to care again.
Now, the VA is caught up once again in dealing with the overwhelming number of claims for benefits and health care after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. VA hospitals try to see veterans quickly.
However, allegations have surfaced that a cover-up of records has gone on in the VA, obscuring the fact that some veterans are not seen quickly for health care and others may have died because of it.A man at the center of the controversy is the head of the VA, Eric Shinseki, himself a wounded veteran of the Vietnam War.
I've known Shinseki for over a decade. He is a truth
teller to power.
How do I know that?
Because he testified, in his previous position as the Army chief of staff, before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee upon which I sat and said that if we went to war in Iraq it would take "hundreds of thousands" of troops, not the small investment Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was talking about. As a result, Rumsfeld announced Shinseki's replacement a year earlier than normal.
The commander of the American Legion, an
organization of which I am a member, has called for Shinseki's
resignation. This is ill-advised and misguided.
We veterans need facts, not a firing.
Before leaping to conclusions about Shinseki's work as VA secretary over the past five years, some should take the time to consider these facts:
1. Veterans' homelessness has been reduced by 24
2. The VA health-care system has enrolled 2 million additional veterans. These are veterans who choose to receive VA health care.
3. The latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), an independent customer service survey, ranks the VA's customer satisfaction among veteran patients to be the very best in the nation and equal or better then private-sector hospitals.
4. In many areas, the VA outperforms the private sector, especially in the management of hypertension, diabetes and other conditions.
5. The VA has decreased its disability claims backlog by nearly 50 percent.
6. The VA is now providing post 9-11 GI Bill educational benefits to more than 1 million students.
7. The VA handles approximately 236,000 health-care appointments each day, totaling 85 million appointments each year.
Even one appointment delay that harms a single veteran is one too many. No one would agree with that sentiment more than Shinseki.
But, in the name of common sense, no VA secretary
should be asked to resign because a few staff members may have broken
some VA rules by hiding the wait times for veterans' appointments.
The mark of an effective leader is being able to first understand the nature of the problem and then bring together the right people to solve that very problem. That is exactly what Shinseki is doing. He has asked the VA inspector general to do a full review of all allegations regarding VA waiting lists. The IG's report, which will be public when completed, is a critical step in allowing the secretary to accurately analyze the extent of the problems in Phoenix and to give him time to determine an effective solution. Meanwhile, to facilitate a complete and thorough review by the IG, Shinseki has ordered the director and associate director of the Phoenix VA to be put on administrative leave.
As a disabled veteran myself, there is no one I
would rather have heading up the VA now, in this turbulent time, than
Eric Shinseki. In my experience, he is the best there is. As the
investigation unfolds and the truth comes out, our country and our
veterans will come to realize that.
Max Cleland, a disabled Vietnam veteran, is a former U.S. senator and former administrator of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Thank you Clair, for sharing this with me. Thank you to all my Classmates who, like me, feel very proud to know Ric Shinseki, a truly great American, an amazing Classmate, and a fellow member of the Band of Brothers we call "Strength and Drive". And thank you to Ric for all he has done for the Army, the VA and this country. Your work on behalf of all of us to support the brave men and women who have served with us for this great nation is an immense source of pride to us all.
A little over a week ago I shared the first offering of the Legacy Project with some comments from Madeline Lewis regarding her becoming a New Cadet in the Class of 2018. Our own Merritt Bumpass (easy for me to find in the Howitzer as his picture is right next to mine) went out of his way to make the announcement to her to her high school class a very special event for her. I fondly recall the announcement at my high school all those years ago when someone said at an assembly, "Oh, and Rick will be going to West Point", heady times.
I just received a nice note from Dennis Lewis Jr. (please note how he identifies himself in his signature -- pretty cool), who shared that:
Merritt Bumpass came to Madeline's school to officially present her with her USMA Appointment. It was a great and emotional day for all of us. Merritt did a fantastic job, and honored USMA and the Long Gray Line with his words.
6 weeks from today is R-Day.
Dennis Lewis Jr.
Son of Class of 1965
Dad of Class of 2018
Thank you Dennis (or do you go by Denny as your dad did?) for sharing this. And thank you Merritt for making this a very special event for Madeline and the family. We wish you the very best, Madeline, as you face a very challenging but also very rewarding summer and four years as you become a part of the Long Gray Line.
Boy, I love to see Classmates getting together like this especially when they take the time to share with us all a few photos and some words to tell us what is going on.
Here are a couple of photos of Jill and George Seaworth during their recent visit to the Valley of the Sun to attend a niece's wedding. Janice and I got together with them for dinner after they arrived Wednesday evening, 14 May. Both photos were taken at Buca di Beppo's in Scottsdale, where we enjoyed a very pleasant evening of Italian food interspersed with a whole lot of catching up. George had been practicing his Italian in anticipation of the dinner, but all he could remember was what he learned during our 1963 trip to Italy, and "Ciao, Bella" didn't do him much good with our male waiter. That's Jill and George in the first photo and Jill, George, Ron, and Janice in the second photo.
Fortunately, they came by our place for dinner again on Sunday evening, where George was able to redeem himself by speaking reasonably intelligible English for most of the evening.
The Seaworths are off to Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Las Vegas for the rest of this week, and I imagine, given his pretty advanced years, that George is going to need a long rest when they get back to the Chicago area.
Thanks Chops for a very nice report and photos. I hope you asked the Seaworths to share some more pictures as they continue their trip.
As you have probably heard from Chuck Nichols by now, our server has been down for over a week. It is not yet fully back in order yet but I discovered that I can get a few messages out now. There are several messages either stuck in the system which will be sent out soon or they will have to be resent which I will do as soon as I get the word. To send them out before I get the word could cause some duplication and heavier loads on the system which I am trying to avoid.
Anyway, I just received this terrific story from Step Tyner regarding the very early years of his career which I think you will find entertaining:
Rick, Harley Moore said that he had promised you that I would send photos of myself in connection with my sojourn in Buenos Aires in '66 ... some day I'll have to ask him where he gets off committing me to anything, but in this case it's not a particularly onerous obligation, and I comply willingly. Basically, when I arrived in BA, I was told by the US defense attache' to design my own uniform. Though for everyday purposes I wore a fatigue shirt and Ridgeway cap, breeches in tan or brown, and brown boots, I had to spiff up a bit more for horse shows, ceremonies, and the like. The two photos inserted below depict my appearance when properly washed and brushed up.
In February 1966, I was trying not to freeze to death at motor stables in beautiful Gelnhausen, Federal Republic of Germany when the brigade adjutant (MAJ Hoy, formerly of OPE) appeared and escorted me to brigade headquarters. While I was trying to figure out what I had done to receive such individual attention, I was directed to the AUTOVON phone, on the other end of whose connection waited a brigadier general at the Army's Office of Personnel Operations. The Argentine government had invited the US to send an officer to their army's advanced equitation school. Department of the Army had decided it should be a lieutenant, regular Army, fluent in Spanish, with some experience in equitation and the IBM 360 had burped out my punch card. Given that (a) my platoon had passed its CMMI but the battalion as a whole had twice failed and we were due for our second re-inspection (and probably more after that), (b) my recon platoon had more vehicles than people present for duty, (c) Gelnhausen -- and, indeed, most of Hessen -- was an industrial dump, I could not but agree to the reassignment. I was given two weeks to get my ducks in a row and flew out of Frankfurt via Pan-Am, leaving behind my Jaguar XK-150 for a friend to ship. That he did so on a Polish freighter (at the advice of a PFC at Bremerhaven who said, "We don't have any troopships going to Argentina") meant that I ended up paying for said shipment, but my household goods went by air.
For the first several months, my then-wife and I lived in a hotel downtown, which meant arising at 0330, hiring a car to go to a taxi stand, taking a taxi to a bus depot, and riding on a fume-exuding bus for 45 minutes out to Campo de Mayo, where the cavalry school complex was situated. The trip back was equally long, so I was initially putting in about 18 hours a day, right on a par with the 3d Armored Division. The curriculum embraced stadium jumping, dressage (precision exercises under subtle controls), and combined events ("Three-day trials," testing the horse and rider over natural obstacles, in the dressage ring, and over fences in the show ring, culminating in a 15-20 km race over hill and dale), as well as carriage-horse training and a smattering of stable management and hippology. Most of this was a lot scarier than Ranger School or Vietnam. Once we were situated in an apartment and my car had arrived, my days settled down to a manageable number of hours and I began to enjoy the pace and variety of activities connected with training oneself and one's horses and competing against some of South America's best riders. I even managed to pick up a few ribbons though, understandably, no podium finishes.
The Argentine officers were splendid fellows and very professional ... not at all like the typical US-held stereotype of the overweight, corrupt, and inept petty tyrant, oppressing the worker and peasant whilst soliciting bribes from widows and orphans or torturing priests and nuns. We had a good selection of other foreign officers as well, including an Italian major who'd won medals at both the 1960 and '64 Olympics.
That's Step on the right in case you weren't sure.
At the conclusion of my tour (December '66), several reassignment options were being discussed by my betters back in DC, including a position as equitation instructor at the Olympic pentathlon center at Ft Sam Houston or remaining in Argentina to be AdC for the CG of our MilGroup there. Fortunately, they read my dream sheet and sent me to the 82d, with whom I deployed to RVN within the year. My poor old Jag by that time had more miles afloat than it had compiled under its own power (US-Germany-Argentina-US).
Never, ever refuse a ride with the brigade adjutant if it gets you out of the motor pool!
I hope someone else will admit to having to go to the dictionary for "equitation" and "hippology" (no one ever accused me of being the brightest bulb on the string). Oh well I did learn something.
Thank you Step for a great story. I think I should ask others to share some snippets from their past. I know my buddy Ron Walter has a great story about clearing a tunnel in Nam. Maybe we can talk him into sharing it.
I hope to have the other messages, that got caught in the system, to you soon.
Here is the second installment of the report on the 2014 Pinehurst Golf Outing. As suggested in Part 1, please use the names provided there to identify folks in the pictures I will share here. I understand that there has been a problem with the server which has caused a pretty big backlog of messages so you will probably get both Part 1 and Part 2 at pretty much the same time.
What a great shot we have here of the Pinehurst Country Club (albeit in the rain). I tell you what, you folks on the right coast sure know how to pick venues.
Next we have a couple of shots of our fearless leader. One where he is clearly leading (or at least controlling the microphone) and one where he is out enjoying the beautiful golf course (I hope those folks in front of him are going to move before he shoots for that green).
Now for a special treat. I'm not sure how he did it, but Mitch Bonnett
put together the next picture which is not only a great shot of the
whole gang enjoying a nice dinner, but if you drag your cursor over it
and click it while you hold down the Control (CTRL) button, it will
take you to a brief video with music and several more pictures of the
event. If for some reason the photo link doesn't work, try clicking
(again, while holding the CTRL button) on the link that follows the
photo for the same presentation. [NOTE: no need to hold the CTRL
button in the WPAOG version]
Thank you to all who made this such a special event and to those who provided these pictures and this special add on. It sure makes me want to try to get to the next outing.
Wow, am I ever bummed out that I had to miss this great outing. From what I have seen it was one of the best yet. I don't have a whole lot of write up to share but I sure have some great photos. And for the first time I have a link to a terrific video with music which I will share in Part 2. However, there are a few items I want to make sure I share. First, Ann and Jack Thomasson were mentioned several times for the wonderful dinner they provided on the first evening. Apparently they really know how to put on a dinner, make everyone feel at home, and provide a terrific meal to boot. It was noted that Rocco McGurk was able to attend for the first time and all seemed very happy to have him join in the fun (I couldn't help noticing that his shirt had shades of my favorite fuchsia shirt in it -- what a great look!). I'm not sure how the numbers worked out, but I was told that 10% of our Class showed up for this event -- that's pretty darn good. I was also asked to acknowledge the fact that this was 1LT Dave Sage's seventh trip from San Francisco with John Swensson to join our Class Golf Outing (that's Dave in the next to the last picture below).
Now for the pictures, I'll share here all the foursome pictures I received and when I get Part 2 out, I will share all the other shots taken during the outing. In no particular order, here are the player groups -- first we have Dave Gnau, Jerry Dernar, Steve Harman, and Tom Carll and in the second shot we have Tom Harman (Steve's brother), Bob Harter, Dave Jones, and Rocco McGurk.
Next we have Clair Gill, Chris Needels, Steve Ammon, and Jack Thomasson and then we have Don Parrish, Karl Savatiel, John Malpass, and Bob Radcliffe.
In this shot we have Bob Selkis, Curt Adams, Swick Tomaswick, and Fred Grates and then we have Chuck McCloskey, Pat Kenny, Mitch Bonnett, and Chuck Moseley.
Here we have Harley Moore, Lance Hewitt, Walt Oehrlein, and Steve Darrah. Only one picture here because these guys didn't want to stand too close together.
In this shot we have Curt Adams, Bob Selkis, Fred Grates, and Fred Smith. And in the next shot, John Harrington, Tom Henneberry, Jim Wood, and John Vann.
In this foursome shot we have John Malpass's guest (sorry I don't have a name), Fred Laughlin, Jay Stewart, and Dave Sage (a friend of John Swensson). And finally, Steve Ellenbogan, Gordy Larson, John Swensson (who provided most of these pictures -- thanks John), and Bob Frank.
As always, I have tried very hard to get all the names right, but as Popeye used to say, "I yam what I yam", so don't be surprised if I got some wrong. My sincere apologies to those who may have fallen victim to my horrible memory. When I get the Part 2 pictures out, there will be many with large groups which I will not even try to identify so please hang onto these to help you identify folks in the larger groups.
That's it for now but if you have any question about the degree of success we should attribute to this outing, just count the smiles in all these photos. It's pretty clear it was an overwhelming success. What a terrific job John Malpass did in putting this together. I understand that Bob Radcliffe (having done so many of these in the past) was very helpful (even though he is still recovering from his surgery) in putting this together. Additionally, a shout out to Swick Tomaswick who barrowed John Swensson's camera and took all of these great pictures which John then forwarded to me.
Late last year and early this year I shared an idea I had received from one of the real stalwarts of our Class (he has chosen to remain anonymous at this time) which I labeled the Legacy Project. The idea is to reach out to the sons and daughters of our Classmates for a brief write-up about their dad to share with all of you with the hope that those who are or were close to the Classmate would follow up with some feedback to the writer with more information about their dad. Thus far I have contacted about a dozen offspring and have high hopes for some nice stories.
Below you will find what I consider to be a magnificent start to this project with a slight twist in that it comes from the granddaughter of one of our own. What follows are her words about her grandfather and how he influenced her life as well as an accounting of some of the many things she is doing as she follows in his footsteps. I chose not to interrupt her words with the pictures she provided but I will share them after her comments. Here then is the first Legacy Project story, which, I hope, will be followed by many others:
My name is Madeline Lewis, New Cadet, USMA Class of 2018. My grandfather, Dennis B. Lewis, USMA Class of 1965, is my inspiration, and my idol. It's been five long years without him, but I am proud to say I am a stronger person because of it. I have never stopped trying to impress him even though he is no longer physically with us. His memory is a driving and motivating factor in my decision to attend the Academy. He showed me how much West Point influenced his life. Now, 53 years later, I strive to follow in his footsteps and develop myself into an Army officer and a better person.
I'm a senior at Howland High School, from small town Warren, Ohio. This year I have taken 13 credit hours of college classes as part of an honors and AP high school class load. Marching band, jazz band, and symphonic band take up the majority of my fall sports season. When winter sports season comes, I pick up my rifle and shoot competitive NRA 4-position and was the captain of my team. I throw the shot and discus in the spring. My dad and I also shoot trap and skeet for fun. This year I'm also the president of my local 4H Shooting Sports club.
I'm looking forward to R-Day and the challenges that await me. GO ARMY! BEAT NAVY!
I will start with the pictures from a little earlier time when Madeline was younger, but clearly had her eye on the prize. Here she is as a very young cheerleader already supporting the Black Knights. Then a very nice shot with our Classmate Dennis Lewis.
Next we have a great picture of the family with from left to right, sister Audrey, Madeline, mom Amy, sister Vivian, and dad Dennis Jr. And finally, Madeline's senior picture showing what a beautiful lady will be showing up for a tough summer at the Rock.
Thank you Madeline for this very nice tribute to your grandfather. All of us in the great Class of 65 wish you the best in your future endeavors.
Should you choose to communicate directly with Madeline, her e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Class President, Clair Gill, recently received this letter from C. Tino Lambros (there must be something about these Ypsilanti boys going with an initial and then their name) who is the Chairman of the Arvin Foundation. The letter was quickly shared with the entire Leadership Team who agreed with sharing it with the Class remembering that we had previously indicated that pushing for contributions to the Class Gift (to be presented at our 50th Reunion) would be the last real drive for support. However, given that this is, and always has been, an excellent Foundation to support, we share it hear as an opportunity to support for those who are so inclined.
Clair wanted to share these words to help clarify our position:
Having heard from the Class Leaders regarding the following appeal from Tino Lambros of Ypsilanti, MI who heads the C. Robert Arvin Foundation, we would like to share this with the Class of 1965 as a very worthy charity that Classmates might be inclined to support (as many are doing already).
Aside from the strong local support of this scholarship/memorial event by former team and high school classmates of Bob's, our Class of 1965 has provided speakers for each of the 10 tribute dinners that have been held. This year's speaker is another of our own, Tom "Abe" Abraham.
Bob became a personal friend of mine when through happenstance we shared a trip to Germany for AOT and when I was able to borrow a car we were both able to talk our way into a three day weekend for a driving trip to Paris -- a time I will never forget (that's saying a lot from a guy who has such a knack for forgetting so many things). He was an amazing member of our Band of Brothers and the exceptional work that C. Tino Lambos has done with the Arvin Foundation is commendable and deserves our support. Please don't consider this to be any kind of pressure, just a desire to share my personal feelings about a dear friend.
Gordy Larson was kind enough to bring
this article from the GoArmySports.com webpage to my attention. It
appears our favorite quarterback will be back on the field at Michie
Stadium this Saturday.
April 15, 2014
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The Army football team's first
spring practice season under head coach Jeff Monken will come to a
close on Saturday, April 19 at Michie Stadium. Fans can get their first
glimpse of Black Knights under its new leadership beginning at noon.
The game format is schedule to be as game-like as possible, but are ultimately at the coaching staff's discretion. Special teams will also be utilized at appropriate times.
"We're going to try and make it just like a game," Monken said after Army's first practice this week. "We'll open it up with a kickoff. We'll punt at appropriate times, and kick extra points and field goals. We haven't always been able to do that based on the number of injuries. We feel like right now that we have enough healthy players that we can play a game. Hopefully, we'll be healthy enough on Saturday to have a game."
Monken will not be the only coach roaming the Michie Stadium sideline on Saturday. Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, the Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy, and Brig. Gen. Richard Clark, the Academy's commandant, will serve as the head coaches. One team will be made up of the first-team offense and second-team defense, while the other squad will have the first-team defense and second-team offense. The remaining players will be divided between the two teams to ensure each has enough players at each position.
There is no admission to charge to gain access to Michie Stadium. Gate 3, which will open at 11 a.m., will be the only access point. There will be pregame activities for fans beginning at that time just inside the gate. Tickets for the 2014 season will also be available for purchase at Gate 3. Concessions will be on sale, and the team will remain on the field after the game to meet fans and sign autographs.
In addition to guest coaches, there will be eight former Black Knights who will serve as honorary captains -- Greg Gadson, Jody Glore, Carlton Jones, Tom Morgan, Seth Niemann, Gary Steele, Rollie Stichweh and Jim Ward.
The Black Knights begin the 2014 season on Sept. 6 when they host Buffalo.
Thanks Gordy and to Rollie, it's good to see you back.
This is the report on the Memorial Service for our good friend Bo Forrest. John Malpass has done a magnificent job as our POC (Point of Contact) for the family and our Class. However, Jay Vaughn, who with his wife, Sharon, traveled the farthest to say good bye to his good friend, submitted his own, very comprehensive report. John and I both agreed that Jay's report was so well done that there was almost nothing more that we could add. Therefore what you see here is the report by Jay with some beautiful pictures provided by John. Additionally, Jay provided a Eulogy which I have attached. While it is lengthy, I highly recommend that you take the time to read it as it very clearly demonstrates the love that exists among and between so many of our S&D Band of Brothers. Right after reading the two documents, I called Jay and offered him my job because his writing is so impressive (fortunately, he turned me down, because I love this job). Thank you Jay for providing this beautiful account of the events that took place last Saturday. I have taken the liberty of inserting some of John's photos where they seem to fit most appropriately. Here is Jay's report:
I write this while the memories of this past weekend are fresh in my mind and I can remember the details of when we said goodbye to our pal, Bo Forrest at his Memorial Service in Shelby, North Carolina on Saturday, 12 April 2014. The service was held in the Central United Methodist Church and was officiated by the Reverend Joe Collins. For those unable to attend, or even for those who were there, having an account of this occasion will help you to know that there are others who share in the loss of this fine man. It might also help you to feel that Bo got a proper send-off by people who knew and loved him.
Here we see the front of the church where the cremated remains of Bo are beautifully displayed. Next is a picture of Paul Singelyn and Tim Simmons in the first row, Suzanne Atchley and Janie and Tom Cindric in the second row and 1/2 of Annie Thomasson's face and Steve and Molly Philo.
We, his classmates and our wives, were welcomed to Shelby by Bo's daughter, Mary Graham Forrest, and his son, Russell Forrest, with a social gathering and meal at their country club. They had arranged for a private room for us with a buffet. None of us had been to Shelby before and this generous act of kindness made us feel welcome and part of their family for this sad occasion. We met Bo's cousin, Dr. Harold (Bubba) Plaster and his wife, Brownie, plus Jacob, Mary Graham's companion and Sunni, Russell's companion. This initial gathering gave Bo's classmates and wives an opportunity to share stories about our old pal. Some say that laughter is an antidote to grief. I for one certainly did appreciate being around all these great people who knew Bo and missed him just like I was missing him. The Bo stories were fun and we laughed a lot. I guess that is why wakes are a tradition of many cultures.
Saturday before the service, we were invited to a luncheon at Doctor & Mrs. (Bubba and Brownie) Plaster's house a beautiful old home next door to the house Bo lived in when he was in Shelby. Bo actually had his dental practice in the nearby town of Grover, but he raised his children in a Shelby neighborhood filled with trees and beautiful homes. Brownie had arranged a catered meal for family and close friends. We were honored to be included in this event. We met more of Bo's kin, including his brother Louis Forrest and his wife, Sharon, and their children and grandchildren. Of interest to me during this occasion was reading an award citation and picture from a family scrapbook of Bo's cousin, who had been a pilot in the Army Air Corps during WWII. This man was greatly influential in Bo's decision to go into the Air Force upon graduation from West Point. I vaguely remember Bo telling me about his admiration for him during our First Class year.
Bo was honored and his life celebrated in front of a full church. Every pew was filled. The minister asked various groups to stand including his fellow dentists, his patients, the church members, and his West Point classmates. Eleven classmates were in attendance. Some had been his E-1 Company mates during his Plebe and Yearling years. These included Paul Singelyn (room-mate), Roger Frydrychowski, Jack Thomasson and me. Some were his H-1 company mates during his Cow and Firstie years. These included Lee Atchley (room-mate), Tom Cindric, Tim Simmons, Bill Connolly, and me. Some were his golfing pals from North Carolina. These included John Malpass, Lance Hewitt, and Jack Thomasson. Our classmate, Steve Philo, had gone to high school with Bo in Winston-Salem, NC and accompanied him to West Point. Wives in attendance were Janie Cindric, Suzanne Atchley, Dede Malpass, Molly Philo, Susan Hewitt, Ann Thomasson, and Sharon Vaughn. These classmates came from the following states to be present at Bo's service: North Carolina (Thomasson, Hewitt, Malpass, Philo); Virginia (Frydrychowski); Maryland (Connolly); Illinois (Singelyn); Tennessee (Atchley); Texas (Cindric); Colorado (Simmons); and Arizona (Vaughn). We claimed to be the presidents of the Bo Forrest fan clubs from all of these various states. Several classmates called or emailed regrets that they couldn't be present.
Here we have the gathering around the Class flag -- left to right its Tom Cindric, Lee Atchley, Bill Connolly, Tim Simmons, Jack Thomasson, Lance Hewitt, Jay Vaughn, Paul Singelyn, John Malpass, and Roger Frydrychowski. Then with the ladies its Bill Connolly, Lee Atchley, Suzanne Atchley, John Malpass, Dede Malpass, Tom Cindric (behind Dede), Janie Cindric, Ann Thomasson, Jack Thomasson, Susan Kerner (Lance's wife in front of Lance) Sharon Vaughn, and Jay Vaughn, and the three behind are Tim Simmons, Paul Singelyn, and Roger Frydrychoski. The Philo's are not pictured because they stayed with the family.
John Malpass had earlier stepped forward to be the class POC to assist the family with all arrangements that involved the class. He and several others had been in attendance the night before at a visitation in Pinehurst, NC. John took some pictures of this whole group to be sent to Rick Bunn to appear in the obligatory "Bunn-o-gram" detailing the event. Deserving of special recognition for her super-human efforts to get to the service was Janie Cindric who sat in a Prius next to Tom all the way from Denton, Texas. Hands down, Bill Connolly wins the "above and beyond the call of duty" award. Noler obtained the class flag from Terry Ryan in Northern Virginia and brought it plus the stand and pole by train from Maryland to the nearby town of Gastonia, NC and then the final 30 miles by taxi to Shelby, a total trip that took 13 hours due to an accident that added 4 hours to its duration. Before you ask, Bill took the train to avoid driving 9 hours at night (he's older than most of us) and to avoid trying to go through airport security with what looked like a Bangalore torpedo (the flag pole) plus a land mine (the stand). Bill's return train trip began in Gastonia, NC at 0045 hours the night following the service. He was delivered to this lonely depot in the middle of the night by Paul Singelyn, who nearly came to a complete stop before throwing Noler and all his baggage out somewhere near the train station. Noler, one of the more decorated war heroes of our class, took that train home rather than travel the next day in order to be home in time for his grandson's soccer game and his grandfatherly duties of bringing the snacks. Incidentally, how many classmates does it take to assemble a flagpole, attach the flag to the pole, and put the pole in a stand? Answer -- Five is not nearly enough.
Bo's classmates honored Bo by singing the Alma Mater. This was an act of love and great courage for some of us. We learned that Paul Singelyn and Tim Simmons have great singing voices and both sing with groups as a hobby, Tim with a barbershop quartet and Paul with a larger group. Not only that, but Tim owns a pitch pipe and seems to know what to do with it!! Steve Philo also has a good singing voice. That leaves eight of us who's croaking and off-key groans needed to be covered up or drowned out. We did our best and were intensely grateful for Tim, Paul, and Steve. According to the wives, we sounded pretty good, considering. Bo would have enjoyed it, I'm sure. His family thanked us for adding this precious song to the ceremony. A couple of lessons learned through this experience are (a) make good friends with classmates who can sing and who will outlive you. I highly recommend "Pitch Pipe" Simmons and Paul Singelyn (who has the word "sing" embedded in his name), and (b) if you can carry a tune, don't stand too close to me and if you do, cover the ear that is in my direction.
Here we have Bo's Classmates giving it their courageous best to sing the Alma Mater.
The service included playing of taps by a lone bugler and a trumpet trio that played the song "Eternal Father" in three part harmony. These musicians were (I believe) from the nearby symphony orchestra and they all did a magnificent job. It was very touching. The other music was presented by the church organist, Libby Alexander, who did a wonderful job with several pieces throughout the service. Music has always been a huge part of Bo's life and the music at this service would have pleased him greatly.
Three people presented remarks. Bo's son, Russell Forrest, thanked all for coming and did a great job of describing the highlights of Bo's life, how he got his nickname ("Bosque" is Spanish for "Forrest), mentioned his dad's wish to have his original class ring melted down and passed along to subsequent West Pointers, described the traditions of the flags to be presented by the honor guard, thanked many people for their parts in this occasion, and let us know in no uncertain terms how proud he was of his father and how much he and his sister knew they were loved and how much they loved this man.
I spoke on behalf of Bo's classmates to convey how much we admired and loved Bo as a dear friend, and how much we are going to miss him. Non-classmates in the audience were polite and respectful. Classmates reacted as they did to General MacArthur's Farewell to the Corps speech. Most just dozed quietly. This is not to compare my humble comments with those of that great man. I was a better friend of Bo Forrest and that is what is important here.
Steve Philo, who first knew Bo in high school, told a very personal and touching story of how Bo's kindness had affected his life, particularly in gaining admission to West Point and then finding his professional calling as an attorney. His main point was that we never know how what may seem a small kindness such as Bo inviting Steve to "Come, go with me" can affect another person's life in huge ways.
A reception followed the service that gave us a chance to meet Bo's family and friends and to visit with the classmates who had driven to Shelby for this occasion. People visited with me who had been Bo's patients in Grover, known him since the 7th grade, or just wanted to tell us how much they appreciated our classmates coming for this service. Just like our pal, Bo, everyone we met was very kind and gracious. Typical of our group of classmates and wives, we were the last ones to leave the reception and headed from there to a local barbecue place for supper and then to our hotel lobby for a couple more hours of visiting and Bo stories.
The plan for final disposition of Bo's ashes is still in flux, but in the meantime, Russell will safeguard them. One option being considered is interment at the West Point Cemetery with a ceremony to be scheduled, if possible, in conjunction with our 50th Reunion next year (May of 2015). Of course these plans are subject to change. Regardless of where his ashes finally end up, Bo Forrest memories will stay with us and his wonderful spirit will be in our hearts for the rest of our days.
Anyone wanting to send the family a sympathy card can send it to Mary Graham Forrest, 308 Cross Creek Drive, Cherryville, NC 28021.
While visiting with the family, John was able to see two pictures which we both felt should be shared here. One because it tells a little about the history of Bo and his family showing Bo with his Brother Lou and their parents and the second one which John and I agree, captures the essence of who Bo was. Here in a more recent photo, he's the Tooth Fairy for the annual Pinehurst parade, where he handed out toothbrushes to the kids.
Finally, let me share, from the Howitzer, his picture and brief write up of Bo as most of us knew him.
Bo, you will be missed by so many. Grip hands my friends as we say good bye to our friend Bo Forrest. On behalf of the entire Class of 1965 I wish to express our condolences to the family and to John - Be thou at Peace -- Well Done!
I just received the second report on the same subject from two Bobs (note that I did not say two Boobs), Bob Selkis and Bob Radcliffe. It appears that they shared a great visit to our Rockbound Highland home and made it up to Michie Stadium to watch Army destroy Navy 14 -- 7 in Lacrosse. I'll share both reports to give you a double perspective on the occasion. First, here is Bob Selkis' report:
This past Saturday, Bob Radcliffe, Ray Paske, Jack Jannarone and I gathered at West Point for Army Lacrosse Alumni weekend. We got together before the Army - Navy game at a luncheon at the Kimsey Athletic Center. (See photo). It was a warm sunny day as we watched Army whip Navy's ass 14-7! Radcliffe seems to have bounced back from his recent surgery and is looking forward to our class golf outing at Pinehurst.
I'll throw in the photo from Kimsey Athletic Center here and save the outside shots to share below. Here we have Jack Jannarone, Bob Selkis, Ray Paske, and Bob Radcliffe:
Next we have the other Bob's (Radcliffe) report:
Joe Alberici, the Head Lacrosse Coach at Army, is very good at engaging former players to support the team. He invited Lacrosse Player Alumni to a reception in Kimsey Center and to the Army -- Navy Lacrosse Game at West Point in Michie Stadium this year this past weekend. Four of us attended. Bob Selkis, Ray Paske and I were the starting defense. Jack played attack and was the recipient of many a check from us in practice over the years.
It was a beautiful sunny day at West Point (spring had finally arrived) and Army played a great game beating Navy 14 -- 7. There was a great crowd on hand. I have never seen so many young kids with lacrosse sticks. It seemed like every youth club in the northeast was there! Army's win takes them to 8 and 3 with two games plus the Patriot League Tournament remaining. Sadly they lost all three games by one goal; but they are a young, fast and scrappy team that is improving with each day of experience!
Hope all goes well! I think I am totally recovered as evidenced by being able to hump up the mountain behind Michie Stadium to my car in a distant parking lot!!!
Here now are the outside photos. First we have the super arrival of the Black Knights Parachute Team as the audience strains to see them when they first jump:
And the final shot shows the team standing on the sidelines:
Thank you gentlemen, it looks like a great time was had and a real pleasure to see a victory over the squids. And wow, how great to see how quickly my good friend Bob Radcliffe is bouncing back after his surgery.
Due to his past history of excellent leadership, coordination, and reporting on the PMEE Program for our Class, we have come to expect nothing but the best from Paul Schultz and all the Classmates who have volunteered to work with him. He has not let us down. Here we have one of his fine and very comprehensive reports on the last planned event for this academic year:
Report to the Class of 1965
PMEE Program -- Leader Challenge Class "Authentic Duty" 31 March 2014
The program continues to grow as more people volunteer and spread the word, both within the mentor classes and within the USMA Departments. The three mentor classes had 43 participants, and all 144 Cadet Classes have proactive faculty volunteers. With so many mentor participants, PMEE organized a dinner Sunday evening for early arrivals within the 3 mentor classes in Eisenhower Hall. The intent was to get the 3 classes working together more closely, and that worked. The Picture of the Cake captures the mood of the evening.
We had nine Stalwarts for the dinner, accompanied by 3 spouses and a great invite by Lee Hewitt -- Pat Riedel, who was Gen Westmoreland's Secretary and also was the one who typed the transcription of McArthur's speech to use in the Mess Hall. Pat survived through 8 Superintendents and had great stories of the foibles during all those times. One picture (photo left) shows Lee and Donna with Pat Riedel at one table, and the other Dinner photo (photo right) shows Russ Campbell, Rollie Stichweh, Gene Manghi, Paul Schultz, and Jose Sanchez.
The next morning we had all 13 Class of 1965 participants at the Rally Point Breakfast. The morning prep session was moved to the West Point Club because there were too many people for the Haig Room. 5 members of the Class of 1967 joined us to get ready for their Class participation in the Fall of 2014 (Great idea for early involvement). The Leader Challenge, "Authentic Duty" dealt with leadership when deaths (suicide or accidental) occur or are attempted in a unit.
Just before the Prep Session ended we gave a Class Award to the young Officer who has been a real driving force in getting mentor class involvement in PMEE. He has been with us all 3 years, and is rotating to a new assignment in June. Major Graham Davidson did a truly outstanding job, and will be missed next year by all of us. The Class Letter from Clair is attached and the award is pictured here.
Remember that the Class of 2015 had a classmate die at Camp Buckner just weeks before the March back -- so the afternoon class involvement of the cadets was very good. The change in this program over the 3 years is remarkable. All 144 platoons now have a volunteer faculty advisor who preps the Platoon Class Leader (Firstie) in advance, Cadets come to the class ready to engage in the topic, and our role has changed from scrambling to prep the unprepared class leaders in the time before class starts to meeting with already prepared Cadet class leaders and actually mentoring during the class. We all receive continuing feedback from cadets that this is one of the most meaningful and useful programs they have -- especially as graduation nears. That's our reward.
A special thanks goes to all the Class members who
have participated in the programs. The list for this last PMEE session
before the summer was:
Russ Campbell, Dan Donaghy, Robert de Laar, George Gehringer, Doug Gibson, Lee Hewitt, Jack Jannarone, Bill Lehman, Gene Manghi, Jose Sanchez, Paul Schultz, Dick Smoak, and Rollie Stichweh
I'll have a separate report for next year's programs. The Class of 2015 will be Firsties, and there will be both Leadership Challenge and other programs where we might work only with the Firsties.
POC USMA '65
Paul, on behalf of the entire Class, thank you for the outstanding work you continue to do for us and the Class of 2015. A special thank you also to all the volunteers who have helped in such a significant way to make this program such a success.
I apologize for this reminder being so late, but I have been on the road all day heading home from The City by Bay. Tomorrow there will be a memorial service for our Classmate Bo Forrest who passed away one week ago on Saturday the 5th of April.
The memorial service will be held at the Central United Methodist Church, 200 East Marion St., Shelby, North Carolina 28150-4610 at 2:00 PM Saturday, 12 April. Bo's daughter Mary has been designated the next of kin (NOK). At this point the family does not want flowers, but will provide guidance soon regarding where to send charitable donations if you are so inclined.
Yesterday there was a First Visitation held in the evening at the Boles Funeral Home Chapel in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Our designated POC, John Malpass and his wife Dede attended and shared some pictures which I thought would be appropriate to share along with this reminder. The first picture shows how beautifully the urn with Bo's cremated remains was displayed. The next picture shows Chuck McCloskey and Bill Bradburn.
Next we have Eleanor Vann, Steve Philo, and Dede Malpass (not much of a picture of Eleanor and Dede but what are you going to do?). Then we have Mary Forrest Graham (Bo's daughter) and Jack Thomasson.
Finally we have Rosemary McCloskey, Chuck McCloskey, and Dede Malpass. The final shot is of Bill Bradburn and Eleanor Vann. Sorry John was unable to get a picture of Molly Philo.
Once again, let me say Grip Hands my friends.
I would like to share a brief story about my wife and me but the good news is that there are many others in the story to make it less boring. For many years my wife, Donna, and I have considered San Francisco to be one of our favorite places to visit. This is based mostly on the fact that we departed for Okinawa (our first service station) from the Bay Area and a few years later returned with our beautiful daughter and a little later we said our good byes as I left for Viet Nam from Travis AFB nearby and then returned (thank God) a year later, again to Travis. Add to this the many reminders on the radio as Tony Bennett reminded us that we had "left our heart" there and this just became a special place for us.
As a way to celebrate our recent anniversary, we decided to spend a week in San Francisco. I shared this information with John Swensson and he immediately suggested that he put together a dinner with us while we were in town. This quickly grew to a full day together which turned out to be a huge success and an unexpected education regarding the growing of wine in Sebastopol which is just north of the city. I made the mistake of referring to it as part of the Napa Valley and I was quickly told that Napa is where you buy hubcaps.
John and his lovely bride Susan picked us up early at our hotel (The Inn at the Opera in downtown San Francisco) in his beautiful deep metallic blue Jaguar XJL. A very pleasant drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and soon we arrived at the Emeritus Vineyards which is owned and run by John's friend Brice Jones who is 1961 Air Force Academy graduate. Here we see John, Susan, and my wife, Donna, as we arrived at the vineyard and then the plaque that Brice hangs to show how all-encompassing his job can be.
We started in the tasting room where we got a terrific education regarding the growing and production of the world's best Pinot Noir wines. That's Brice at the head of the table (as you can see, he is honoring us with the wearing of an Army hat -- it even says Beat Navy on the back) with Susan, Donna, and Moi. Next we visited the vines and learned more about the growing of the grapes. The gentleman who has joined us is Michael, a Canadian wine buyer friend of Brice's.
Of course we also enjoyed a visit to the cool processing rooms including the oak barrels shown here.
Following the visit to the vineyard we saw much more of the wine country, visited another wine tasting room, and even took a look at some beautiful rare cars that John had an interest in (a couple of amazing and very rare Corvettes). Finally we returned to downtown San Francisco to enjoy a Cajun dinner in one of so many fine restaurants in this city. Several folks joined us for the dinner -- around the table are: Donna Bunn, Classmate Bob Anderson, Classmate John Swensson, Classmate Ralph Adams, Pat Fisher (Bob's friend), Susan Swensson, and Brice Jones.
What a great day. Thank you John and Susan for making it so special and to Bob, Pat, and Ralph for joining us to make it even more special. And a very special thank you to Brice in case he sees this.
I have received a great deal of information regarding the Founders Day Dinner which was held at the Union League Club in New York City on March 28th. While there were many things which made this a very special evening, the fact that we had nine members of the amazing Class of 65 in attendance including a 5+ year POW, a Medal of Honor Recipient, an Army Sports Hall of Fame inductee, and a lawyer who has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court made this an evening that few will soon forget.
My good friend Ross Wollen, who was there, was kind enough to provide the following comprehensive report on the highlights of the evening:
The Founders Day Dinner at the Union League Club on March 28 was New York's 100th Founders Day, tracing back to nights at the Waldorf-Astoria before WWI. As usual, among the 220 attending we had a full complement from West Point, including the Color Guard, Glee Club, elements of the Band and 40 or so Cadet guests. All were led by their First Captain and the 74th Commandant of Cadets, BG Dick Clarke, '84, who gave the Keynote Address.
The thrill for most old-timers like us, however, was the presence of Bud Bucha, Medal of Honor (MOH) Recipient, Bob Jones, 5+year POW, and Rollie Stichweh, Army Sports Hall of Fame, all '65. (Ric Shinseki '65 and Dan Christman '65, previous guests multiple times had important conflicts and sent sincere regrets.) They were guests and no Classmate was on the Evening's Schedule but the occasion of Bud and Bob together was too noteworthy to miss. Bud (pictured while speaking) is well known to the West Point Society of New York which supported his receipt of the Distinguished Graduate Award this May, spoke mostly about his POW Classmate Bob Jones (photo left), who is less known residing as he does in Hawaii. Bud contrasted his MOH, which he received, as he always adds "as representative of my troops"' with Bob's POW Award. Bud and his troops suffered a terrible night against a far larger enemy force. But it was just one night said Bucha, while Classmate Jones endured more than five years of such nights. As Bud spoke there was great emotion in the room and when he finished there were many moist eyes including those of Bob Jones, his daughter and son-in-law to be. Bob embraced Bud and his Class of '65, all seated near him. Earlier Bud reported on the Group MOH Ceremony just held at the White House and delighted much of the audience by calling for MOHs to be awarded to deserving service women.
I chose this picture of Bob because it includes Rollie, known to all of us, and Jim Harmon, Esq. Jim may be less known but how many classes, even of the law school type, can boast of a Classmate who argued, as Jim did, before the US Supreme Court.
Thank you Ross for a great report. As usual I like to include as many photos as possible so that those of us who were unable to attend will get a small taste of what it was like to be there. Here then are some of the photos that were kindly offered to help with that. First we have a terrific shot of a very spiffy looking honor guard followed by an overall shot of the very full room.
Next we have the obligatory Class group picture with, from left to right, Ross Wollen, Jim Harman, Rollie Stichweh, Bob Jones, Tom Abraham, Buddy Bucha, Tom Barron, Roger Frydrychowski, and Reg Dryzga.
And finally we get to the much better looking attendees. These are the daughters of some of our Classmates. Christina (I understand she goes by Stina) Cooley whose dad was Jack Cooley, Robin Galloway whose dad is Tom Fergusson, and Katie Jones who is also shown with her father Bob in this photo. By the way I would like to point out that all these great pictures were provided by Robin who purchased them all and then sent them to me.
Here are two additional pictures I received from Tom Barron that, once again, just add to the feel of the evening not to mention we can never get too many shots of such beautiful ladies. Here we have Christina Cooley, Tosh Barron, Carol Stichweh, and Robin Galloway. And finally, we have Jim Harmon and Rollie Stichweh hanging out with the lovely Robin Galloway and Christina Cooley.
Wow what a great evening that had to be. It almost makes me wish I lived closer to the Big Apple and/or Hogwarts on the Hudson but I think I'll stay in Arizona.
It is once again my sad duty to inform you all of the passing of one of our dear Classmates. Earlier today Jay Vaughn sent me and others a message informing us of the passing of Earnest Graham "Bo" Forrest. After checking for geographic proximity, I asked John Malpass to act as the POC for Bo's family and our Class and he quickly accepted. John has already tried to contact the family but, as is often the case, initial contact is difficult. However, in order to keep you all informed, I have chosen to use Jay's initial comments to inform you of as much information as possible at this time. Jay wrote:
It is my very sad duty to inform you that our pal and classmate, Earnest Graham "Bo" Forrest, passed away on Saturday, 5 April 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. His heart simply gave out following a successful procedure to remove a blood clot near his heart. Bo had been suffering from COPD and congestive heart failure and this episode with the clot was just too much for his heart to handle.
Bo's daughter, Mary Graham Forrest, and his son, Russell Forrest, were with him through his final days. He also received many kind emails and phone calls from you, his dearest friends, offering encouragement and letting him know how much he was loved. Once Mary Graham and Russell have time to plan, we will learn about his final arrangements. I learned of Bo's passing from his dear friend, Alyce Gaines, who has been the love of his life and brought great joy into his life for the past couple of years.
Thank you Jay for sharing this sad news and thank you to John for stepping up so quickly to take on the task of acting as the representative of the Class to the family and the representative of the family to the Class.
Grip hands my friends as we once again mourn the passing of another of our dear Classmates.
Bob Radcliffe sent me this great picture, but I fear he was only trying to make his many friends up north a little jealous of his ability to fish at this time of year. Unlike those of us who live in Arizona and other points west who would never think of pointing out that we have been playing golf all winter long and that the really rough part is having to wear a sweater until about 10:30 in the morning. Oh well Karma will catch up with him. By the way, someone told me that they had a bad day when their Karma ran over their Dogma.
Here is Bob's gotcha picture and comment:
I just sent this to several of our northern classmates to remind them why so many of us move to the South! Six pounds plus Largemouth caught in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina on a five inch pumpkin Senko.
Thanks Bob, great picture, that sucker looks like it's trying to eat your hand.
Lloyd Briggs sent this great photo and brief comment regarding the Founders Day activities in Vermont:
I am attaching a photo taken today at the West Point Society of Vermont's Founders' Day celebration. The Supe gave a great speech and a good time was had by all. Pictured here with General Caslen and myself is our oldest graduate, Bill Luebbert '49, who was in charge of the Computer Center when we were cadets.
Thanks Lloyd, it's good to hear from you.
My good friend Fred Laughlin sent me a very nice article which we agree says a lot about the new football coach at West Point. I share it here in case you didn't happen to see it:
By Sal Interdonato
Published: 11:35 PM -- 04/01/14
Last updated: 2:25 AM -- 04/02/14
WEST POINT -- If there ever was an example of Army and Navy being on the same team, it was Monday.
Army coach Jeff Monken, running back Terry Baggett and linebacker Justin Fahn attended the services of fallen Navy running back Will McKamey at Grace Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn.
McKamey, a freshman, collapsed during a football practice on March 22. Three days later, McKamey, 19, passed away due to brain injury. Monken, Baggett and Fahn met Randy and Kara McKamey, Will's parents, during the service. The moment was moving to Fahn, who grew up in Bristol, Tenn., two hours from Knoxville.
"It was as emotional as it can be", Fahn said. "The family was amazing, how strong they were. They just embraced us. We had a nice heart-to-heart with them. Even the Naval Academy, they all invited us in. Most of their football players were there. It was quite the experience. Navy was very kind to us. They were just really happy to see us and I'm glad coach asked Terry and I to go with him."
When asked about paying their respects to McKamey, Monken said he, "felt it was important that our academy and our football team was represented there."
"He is a very special young man," Monken said. "He touched a lot of lives. He touched a lot of people in his hometown as well as at the Naval Academy. Our rivalry with Navy is much more than just a football game. It's fiercely competitive and we want to win. We want to beat them on the football field. But the goals are the same and we are ultimately preparing our players and empowering them to lead other Americans as our superintendent says, 'to stand in the gap between our freedom and those who want to take it.' We are ultimately going to be on the same team and there's a tremendous amount of respect for our other academies both Navy and Air Force."
The McKameys appreciated Army's presence at the service.
Thanks Fred, I agree that this was a classy move and says a lot about the man. I wish that the nice things that I'm reading about him could give us a guarantee but since that won't happen I plan to remain optimistic about the season to come.
Ray Hawkins was kind enough to share this report by Hugh Wyatt on his observations at the Army Football Spring Practice. He also provided this explanation (for those of us who may not have known) of who Hugh Wyatt is:
For those who don't know Hugh, he is an accomplished High School Football Coach in Ocean Shores, Washington, who has written several books on football, specifically his Double Wing Offense, and also holds several major coaching clinics each year all across the US. He played for Yale back in the early '60's and also held personnel/GM positions in the old World Football League. Perhaps most importantly, he is the founder of the Black Lion Award program which is presented at hundreds of High Schools around the country each year, as well as to the Army team.
The Black Lion award is presented in honor of Don Holleder, USMA '56, who was KIA in Vietnam. It is awarded to that player who most exemplifies the character of Holleder: leadership, courage, devotion to duty, self-sacrifice, and -above all - an unselfish concern for the team above himself.
Coming from such a knowledgeable football person, I find Coach Wyatt's objective, detailed, and comprehensive review of Coach Monken and his new staff's first Army practice highly encouraging, especially since it was only in shorts/helmets.
Sounds pretty good to me. I'm convinced he should at least know what he is talking about. Hugh's report:
ARMY SPRING PRACTICE OBSERVATIONS
On our eastern trip, I was fortunate enough to be able to stop off at West Point Tuesday and watch the Army football team's first-ever practice under Coach Jeff Monken.
My overall impression was, "Wow!" I loved it.
They started at 5 PM. Outside. It was maybe 33 degrees and getting colder. They went past 7, and stayed outside the entire time.
It was impossible to count bodies, but a cursory survey of the number of men in warm-up rows times the number of rows put my estimate slightly over 100. Some 13 others, evidently unable to practice for various reasons, were off to the side engaged in a workout strenuous enough that I suspect they wished they'd been able to practice.
Things were fast-paced. The hustle was evident. They made use of both the artificial turf field next to the Foley Center, and the field at Michie Stadium, and they wasted no time moving between them. (Some of the players must have run close to a mile just moving between fields.)
An assistant coach whom I've known for years told me that the staff had been engaged in what they called a "Kamikaze mission," a long stretch of 5 AM to 7 PM days in preparation for this day, and once on the field it showed. A lot of planning had to go into making a first practice run as smoothly and crisply as this one did.
Out on the field, the coaches were everywhere - active and vocal. And positive. The players hustled, but probably because everything was so new to them, there wasn't the sort of chatter I'd heard at a practice I'd watched at another college earlier in the day. Not that they were dumb cattle, either. I'd call their approach "enthusiastically businesslike."
I watched mostly offense. As you might expect, they spent a lot of time on fundamentals - the QB steps, the mesh between the QB and the fullback, the steps and fit and drive of the offensive linemen, the stalk blocking of the split ends. The ball was always carried high and tight.
When they began running the offense, I was impressed by the quickness of everything - not only the players themselves (was it wishful thinking?) but the speed of the overall operation. There wasn't a lot of standing around between reps.
They sprinted - really sprinted - from the huddle.
Dixon looked super, and his backup, Matt Giachinta (did I mention that they all had names on their jerseys?) looked big and fast, on the order of some of those stud fullbacks Navy has had.
Although, as you'd expect, the major emphasis of the offensive backs' and ends' work was on the triple option, they did throw quite a number of play action passes. Especially in view of the cold, the QB's threw rather well and the receivers caught just about everything thrown to them.
Coach Monken is INVOLVED. He took a very personal, intense interest in the offense, and coached individuals wherever and whenever he saw the need. At one point, frustrated by a blown assignment in the perimeter blocking, he said, "You guys act like you've never run this offense before. IT AIN'T THAT HARD!"
That comment, well-deserved, was as close as anything ever got to being anything other than constructive.
Nothing was allowed to slide.
When a fumble occurred, the ball was covered immediately by the fumbler, who was given instruction on the proper way to cover the ball. When a throw was clearly off the mark, the quarterback had to go get the ball. On one occasion, I don't know what went wrong but the entire offensive unit had to do up-downs, not so many that it was punitive or cost precious practice time, but enough to remind that whatever it was wasn't going to be tolerated. That happened early in the going, and evidently wasn't necessary from then on. Point made.
Twice, at the end of offense vs defense sessions on the MIchie Stadium field, Coach Monken told the players, "Everybody find a teammate (and shake his hand)!"
At the conclusion, he addressed the players for maybe ten minutes. All I could hear was the very start - "We've got a lot of work to do." And I did hear another coach read off the names of several players (perhaps the 13 who didn't practice?) who would be "meeting" at 5 AM the next day.
And then coaches - including Coach Monken - stayed around after practice to work on individual skills.
This is going to be a very well-coached team. I'm looking forward to the spring game.
I don't know about you, but I'm tickled to hear anything that even sounds positive about those kids who are trying so hard to give us a team we can watch beat a few other teams on our schedule. I've always been proud of them, but I know they want to give us more. I know we all hope that Coach Monken can turn this program around.
Bob Baldinger sent me this interesting note regarding a monument in Texas which was dedicated on March 29th:
After a gentle reminder from Tom Barron in NYC on the Austin calendar of events for this weekend, Hali and I checked out [this] dedication ceremony.
Here are a few photos below taken during the ceremony. Although a bit slow in coming, the monument is awesome.
The monument at the northeast side of the capitol shortly after the unveiling, which was performed by representatives who served in Vietnam in each of the various branches of service.