1. Notifications - When one of our Classmates passes away, the WPAOG normally alerts our Class Officers listed on the WPAOG web site (www.westpointaog.org). Classmates who otherwise become aware of another Classmate’s death should quickly contact one of the Class Officers who will then notify WPAOG through the Class Scribe. Thereafter, the Class Scribe will quickly appoint a Class Point of Contact (POC) and will secure and communicate to the Class as much information as possible relating to funeral or memorial service arrangements, funeral home, and find out family desires for either flowers or a charitable donation or a combination of both.
Whether there is a Class POC or a family member coordinating the Class assistance, the POC will provide further funeral arrangement information such as funeral service location and time, local hotel information and, if available, even a copy of the local newspaper obituary through our Class Scribe, Step Tyner (firstname.lastname@example.org). Additional information on the family request for a charitable donation or flowers for the funeral or memorial service or combination thereof should be passed on to the Class Treasurer.
If there is no family member or POC possible, the Class Scribe has been successful in the past in getting the local funeral home and service information, which will be passed on to the Class and Class Treasurer. Once the Class Treasurer is passed the above information on flowers and/or a charitable donation, the Class Treasurer will immediately contact the funeral home for information on a local florist and provide the flower information as discussed below to the local florist.
2. Playing of Taps - If no nearby provision to play taps at the memorial service is available, contacting Bugles Across America (www.buglesacrossamerica.org) is a great way to honor our classmate. Their website is comprehensive on how to obtain their assistance and their response has been fantastic.
3. Taps and Eulogy Page Postings - Upon request, our West-Point.ORG representative (email@example.com) will set up a Eulogy page on the Class of 1965 website and provide the URL to Chuck Nichols who will send an announcement to the Class. This page can be used by all Classmates to post their remembrances for all to view.
4. POC Final Report - No later than 96 hours after the funeral services the Class POC should provide a summary of the funeral services including location, what type of service, military honors, Classmates and family in attendance, and pictures if possible to the Class Scribe (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Chuck Nichols (email@example.com) for the Class web site.
5. Flowers - Depending on the family’s flower wishes, the following types of funeral flowers can be delivered for the funeral or memorial service-arrangements, easels, casket or standing spray. Funeral/patriotic floral designs from the www.ftd.com web site could be used as a guide with the local florist for designs ranging from $100 to $200.
Florist shops generally have several spools of colored ribbon. A black, gold and gray/silver ribbon streamer and flower card should also accompany the flowers. The flower card should read - "From the West Point Class of 1965, To: Classmate's Full Name - Well Done, Be Thou at Peace."
Most Class flower orders have been made quickly through the Class POC or Class Treasurer with a local florist, which ensures timeliness, more reliability and less processing fees than FTD.
When ordering flowers for West Point funeral services, contact the Main Street Florist in Highland Falls at 845-446-4749 or toll free at 1-866-744-7400.
6. Class Flag - The Class Flag should be used for services at West Point and/or at services conducted anywhere else. The Class maintains two flags, one resides with the Class of 1965 Flag Coordinator (FC), Terry Ryan, in the Washington DC area, and the second is maintained by AOG at West Point.
a. For funeral services conducted at West Point, the POC should contact Christine Merkel at 845-446-1517 or via email (Christine.Merkel@wpaog.org) (backup is Jo Ann Shipley at 845-446-1538 or Jo_Ann.Shipley@wpaog.org). She will work with you to arrange for the flag to be at the service.
b. For ALL OTHER memorial services, the POC should contact the FC, Terry Ryan, at 703-973-8731 (cell) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The FC or his designated representative will arrange to have the class flag shipped overnight to the POC or the location of the service. Please provide the name of the individual, street address (no PO Box addresses), city, state, zip code AND telephone number. The flag will arrive via a special UPS account set up for this specific purpose. The account number is 9R739R. The POC will receive tracking information via email so the shipment can be monitored. The shipment will contain ONLY the flag (no pole or stand) and a return envelope (ground transportation method).
c. In those rare cases where the class flag has not yet been returned, the POC and FC should make arrangements with AOG to implement use of the backup flag maintained there.
d. Derivative Tasks:
i. Once the POC has arranged for shipment, the POC should locate a flag pole and stand for proper display of the class flag. Often funeral homes have the items on hand but early checking is recommended. Another source of help with these items is the local VFW and American Legion posts who often lend them.
ii. Once the service is complete, the POC should ship the class flag back to the FC (without delay, see c. above) using the shipping materials provided with the flag.
iii. The cost of shipping the class flag is handled by the FC and the Class Treasurer via the UPS account so no reimbursement to the POC should be required.
iv. If the POC has any question concerning the shipment of the class flag, please contact Terry Ryan as necessary.
v. Timing - The goal is to never have a classmate's service occur without the class flag present. Quick action by the POC and the FC will meet this goal. UPS has assured us that a flag placed with them by 1900 hours in DC will arrive the next day by 1030 hours for services on the west coast. Please note that this timing is no reason to procrastinate.
7. Charitable Donations - If the family requests the Class give a charitable donation, the charity name and mailing address should be provided and a donation of $200 will be sent via the Class Treasurer and WPAOG. If the family requests flowers and a charitable donation, the $200 will be split for flowers and charity.
8. Funeral Services at West Point - As soon as the family has chosen West Point as the burial place for our Classmate, the POC should contact Jenifer McSwain at the West Point cemetery office (845-938-2504 or 7659 or email@example.com) to confirm eligibility and get a burial date ASAP. (Burial dates can vary from one week to several weeks). The POC should also call Kristan Burpo, WPAOG Memorial Support Coordinator (845-446-1620 or kristan.burpo@wpaog,org), who will help with the following coordination:
a. Pick a gravesite location.
b. Arrange military honors from the West Point soldiers such as pall bearers, firing squad and bugler.
c. Get chaplain assignment - name and phone number. Family and/or POC can work with the chaplain on what type of funeral services should be conducted.
NOTE: Memorial services at the very nice Old Cadet Chapel in the cemetery and subsequent burial/inurnment require much less transportation and coordination with the West Point officials, funeral party and guests than at the other religious locations on Post. Also suggest a 1330 hours memorial service so that nearby Classmates can travel to and from West Point that day.
d. As soon as there is a scheduled burial date, contact Tom Sullivan at Hogan’s Funeral Home in Highland Falls (845-446-2868). Provide him with the name and phone number of the funeral home delivering our Classmate’s remains. Tom Sullivan is also the authorized federal headstone provider for the West Point cemetery and can arrange that standard or another type of headstone with the family at a later date.
e. Receptions after the funeral services have been held at the Hotel Thayer (1-800-247-5047) through the catering department. Suggest getting the Hudson Gallery room, which is behind the main hotel lobby and has a great Hudson River view. (Nicole Vitale [845-446-1504] in the West Point AOG Development Events office may have some sway on getting things done with the Hotel Thayer officials). The West Point Club, formerly known as the West Point Officers’ Club, is another option for a reception.
f. Kristan can also assist with any of the following:
- Funeral Homes
- Transportation (Shuttle services from local airports and rental car companies)
- Reception Venues
- Photography, videography and Music
- Assistance with Itineraries
- West Point Tours
- Security Access onto post
Additional information for West Point funerals can be found at the following links (you will need your AOG login credentials - Cullum and password): https://www.westpointaog.org/page.aspx?pid=374.
9. Funeral Services at Arlington National Cemetery - If a classmate has elected burial at Arlington National Cemetery all the information concerning qualification, scheduling and military honors can be found at www.arlingtoncemetery.mil. The spouse, widow or widower, minor child and, at the discretion of the Secretary of the Army, unmarried adult child of any classmate qualified for burial at Arlington may be buried there as well. See the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website for information on burial at a Veterans Administration National Cemetery.
10. WPAOG Flower and Charity Billing Information - POCs should send their flower bills with their return address and/or the charity information discussed above to the West Point AOG finance department by mailing, FAXing and/or emailing the appropriate data as shown below:
WPAOG Flower Bills/Charity Information
West Point Association of Graduates
United States Military Academy
698 Mills Road
West Point, NY 10996-1607
West Point Association of Graduates
Subject: Classmate "name" Funeral
(Include all above emails addresses in same email)
After WPAOG Finance personnel receive the flower bill and/or charity requests from the Class POCs, they will contact the Class Treasurer or another Class Officer as shown below to verify the Class POC requests prior to their sending out the checks for the flowers or the charity.
Revised - 2/9/2017