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FD 36: WP-ORG: Communication
The ability to grip hands across the Long Gray Line .....

THAT's what makes West-Point.Org so special.  Earlier this week, I was sending a note to my husband's classmates and it occurs to me that much of what I wrote is applicable to the entire West Point community.  I am not a grad - but honored to be the spouse of a grad and the mother of two young grads ... and I share their love for their alma mater ... and even moreso, I admire the bonds that tie them together.

And so, during this Veterans' Week, it only seems appropriate that I take a moment to thank each and every one of you ... my husband's Classmates and dearest friends and all fellow members of the Long Gray Line.    I did not have the pleasure of knowing Dutch when he was a cadet (with a seven year age difference, it's a guarantee that my folks would have frowned even MORE than they did when they initially learned his age), but I know that each of you, in your own way, has made an indelible mark on my husband's life - and in turn, on mine.  

The bonds that you share go far deeper than most friendships - bonds that allow you to pick up where you left off - five, ten ... even twenty or more years ago. 

Speaking from the perspective of my husband's Class, I can say with confidence that the Class of 1968 has become stronger over the years - strength and camaraderie made easier through email communication.  Not only has the Class become stronger and more connected, but all members of the Long Gray Line have the ability to join hands and converse across the West Point Forum and the various other forums hosted by West-Point.Org

West-Point.Org provides the venue for these connections - continual communication by and among grads of all years ... 

.....and by and between parents.  

As a parent, I well remember the void that occurred on R Day, 2000.  Suddenly, a seemingly normal, sane human being morphed into a mailbox stalking / phone watching blithering mess of .....   I can laugh now at the memory of refusing to leave the house lest I miss a call from our older son - a call that my husband rightly predicted would not come on that particular day as the cadets would be attending the 4th of July concert, just as we had for so many years  ... but no, would I go to that concert?  Nope.  I was determined to be available, should the phone ring.  Needless to say, the phone never rang that night ... and can you imagine how mortified I was when we received a letter asking how we liked the concert and wasn't it cool that he had carried the Connecticut flag?  Oh, my ...

Admittedly, some of my fears were based on tales of "the good old days"  supplied at various tailgates, reunions and Army-Navy games where my husband's classmates would try to "educate" me on Dutch's life before I entered the picture - and shall we say that some of those tales may perhaps have been a tad bit exaggerated over time (only for effect, I'm sure) .....

Not a computer person before our son entered, I soon learned that there were folks "out there" at all hours of the day and night, willing to answer questions about life at West Point. (didn't matter that my husband was a grad and we lived virtually under the flag pole - when they take your son away, it's all very different) ... Remember, back in 2000, there was no Facebook and the Parent Forums provided the only source of communication about life behind those gray stone walls.  I didn't have to ask - I simply hit the refresh button on my computer and magically there were questions and answers ... comforting words to "trust the system" and "no news was good news".  

Yes, I relied on Plebe Net in those early days and Parent Forum thereafter ... and it likely saved my husband's sanity ... he who says that he's now gone through Beast three times, and the first was most assuredly the easiest, as he was busy all the time and didn't have my fingernails digging into his forearm ...

And we still rely on the various forums provided by West-Point.Org .... not only for communication about West Point, but to keep in touch with classmates and friends whom we have made and treasure throughout the years.

Communication ...  the key to understanding.

Communication - secure, confidential when needed, providing the information you need / want.

In addition to the many forums that have become part of our lives, West-Point.Org offers so many other services ... the credit card services that have been so critical to successfully and easily running reunions and Class events ... and now providing the ability for cadets themselves (or their parents) to purchase their bus tickets to the airports rather than having to stand in line at Grant Hall ... easy and convenient. 

AND .. the eulogy sites - honoring all those who have gone before us ... These sites are so very important to the families and to the Classes to remember and honor those they have lost.  

Invaluable services - provided to grads, parents and cadets.  The ability to reach out and COMMUNICATE ... 

Yes, our services are free and the vast majority of those "working" for / with West-Point.Org are volunteers - giving freely of our time as others have in the past.  BUT the reality is that someone has to kick the mainframe every once in a while; someone has to build those credit card sites and eulogy sites; someone has to balance the books and forecast our needs every six months ... and that's all done by 2.5 super humans.  Truly the work of 10, done by 2.5

If you feel you have received value from the services provided, please consider foregoing that next trip to Starbucks (or two trips) and instead, donate that money to West-Point.Org.  Admittedly, everyone seems to have their hand out - but our needs are so very small in comparison .. and your gain so vast.


And, in the interest of full disclosure, please see:


Thank you for your continued support of West-Point.Org!

Megan Hostler
West-Point.Org Advisor
 
Born from crack-addicted mother to captain at WP

Just a few months ago, Dave Lenox and his husband, Nathan Merrells, moved to Seattle. As they settle into the Northwest, their adopted son, Max, is thousands of miles away in his senior year at West Point Military Academy. The journey all three made between Max's adoption 22 years ago and present day was recently profiled in Sports Illustrated. It highlights a list of hurdles and obstacles that had to be overcome before Max could be where he is now -- captain of Army's men's basketball team. "Sometimes in life, you just have to throw up your hands and say, 'Let's see where this takes us,'" said Merrells. Max Lenox was born in Philadelphia. His mother was an admitted drug user who had ingested crack while pregnant. Lenox showed no ill effects, and five days after birth, he was adopted by Lenox and Merrells. "Born from this crack-addicted mother to captain at West Point," said Lenox, now the executive director of Special Olympics Washington. "That sounds very dramatic, but the reality of it was, 'OK, that was important for a while,' but then it was important to us that he never see himself that way."

Read more...   2nd Article...

 
DoD Extends Pre-Check to Service Academies

Despite recent criticism of the program in a WCBS-New York report, the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Defense have extended the TSA’s Pre-Check program to cadets and midshipmen at four of the five federal military academies across the country. The expanded program includes students at: the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York; the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut; and the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado, according to the release. TSA Precheck is an expedited screening program that allows participating airport travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, retain their laptop in its case and keep 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels in a carry-on bag. On average, more than 50,000 DoD employees benefit from TSA Precheck on a weekly basis.

Read more...

 
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin salutes USPTO veterans

It was one small step taken 45 years ago. Around the world, eyes were collectively riveted to grainy pictures on a television screen while others gazed up at the sky in wonder and awe. America had achieved the impossible as Buzz Aldrin joined fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong in walking on the surface of the moon. “I was one of three lucky guys who got selected for that mission,” said Aldrin of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing in July of 1969. “I just happen to come along at just the right time with just the right credentials.” Speaking to a standing room only crowd at the U.S. Patent and Trade Office Military Association’s Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 6, Aldrin talked about his continuing passion for space exploration. “I would like to see us get to Mars,” Aldrin said. “But we need the American people to feel the same passion for our space program as we felt 45 years ago.” After graduating third in his class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1951, Aldrin went on to earn a doctorate at MIT and is the holder of three U.S. patents for his schematics of a modular space station, Starbooster reusable rockets and multi-crew modules for space flight.

Read more...

 
Army's nickname could change

Army is considering a rebranding effort that could result in a nickname change for its athletic teams. Athletic director Boo Corrigan said West Point, “has been in an ongoing discussion” regarding a different way to identify the Academy’s sports program. Corrigan didn’t comment on specific nicknames. Army’s longstanding nickname was the Cadets before a rebranding change to the Black Knights in 1999.

Read more...

 
Let's rally for Antonio Buehler

I am a West Point, Stanford and Harvard educated entrepreneur and former military officer. On January 1, 2012, I saw two Austin cops assaulting a woman who had not committed a crime. When I tried to take pictures and question the cops, I was assaulted and charged with a felony crime of spitting in a cop’s face (2-10 year prison sentence). Fortunately, numerous witnesses came forward, including one who took video of the incident. Every witness said the cop lied, and the video proves it. However, the Austin Police Department pushed forward with their charges against me. A few months after my assault and false arrest, I joined with local activists to launch the Peaceful Streets Project, a grassroots movement dedicated to stopping police abuse. We began to educate people on their rights (Know Your Rights trainings), document police activity (cop watches) and we held a Police Accountability Summit.

Read more...

 
7-Eleven to give away a franchise to a veteran

One veteran will be awarded a 7-Eleven franchise worth $190,000 as part of "Operation: Take Command," the company's first franchise giveaway contest. The initiative is a multiphased competition that includes meeting 7-Eleven's franchising qualifications, interviews, a Facebook video contest by 10 preliminary finalists and an interview with 7-Eleven President and CEO Joe DePinto for three finalists. The competition is for first-time prospective franchisees — veterans who do not already franchise a 7-Eleven store. "I can think of no one more deserving of this extraordinary opportunity to win a 7-Eleven franchise than one of our military veterans who has given so much for our country," said DePinto, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and former Army officer.

Read more...

 
Veterans Affairs shakeup

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald participates in a veterans forum at The Washington Post in Washington, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. The Veterans Affairs Department announced a reorganization Monday designed to make it easier for veterans to gain access to the sprawling department and its many websites. McDonald called the restructuring the largest in the department's history and said it will bring a singular focus on customer service to an agency that serves 22 million veterans.

Read more...

 
San Mateo County gets new CEO

The county’s $3 billion retirement plan board has named a new CEO starting this week to fill the shoes of his retiring predecessor. The board of the San Mateo County Employees’ Retirement Association unanimously chose Scott Hood in September after a nationwide recruitment. His new position was effective Nov. 9. He replaces David Bailey who is leaving in early 2015. Hood served as SamCERA’s information technology manager for two years before becoming assistant executive officer in 2002. For the last 12 years, Hood has managed the benefits, finance, information technology, communications and administrative staff of the association. Hood said he was “both humbled and honored” to be chosen. Hood has a bachelor’s of science in engineering from the United States Military Academy and a master’s of science in computer information systems from Boston University.

Read more...

 
West Point-Trained Intelligence Officer

Patrick Ryan was a sophomore at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York sitting in his dorm room between classes as the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 unfolded. “Someone yelled ‘turn on CNN,’” Ryan said. He flipped on his TV and saw what was happening just 45 miles down the Hudson River from where he was sitting. As a high school senior in Kingston, New York, Ryan’s mum had insisted he apply for a few other colleges. But as a kid, family visits to West Point for college football games just an hour’s drive away had convinced him that the Academy was the only fit for him — even though he didn’t come from a family with a deep military background. At a memorial the night of the attacks, Ryan was struggling to put the day’s events together in his mind just as everyone else in the country was. It dawned on him that his West Point education would have immediate real-world relevance. “I remember thinking: Yeah, we’re gonna go to war here,” Ryan said after a pause.

Read more...

 
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West-Point.Org (WP-ORG), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization not affiliated officially with the United States Military Academy, provides an online communications infrastructure that enables graduates, parents, and friends of the military academy to maintain and strengthen the associations that bind us together. We will provide this community any requested support, consistent with this purpose, as quickly and efficiently as possible. WP-ORG is funded by the generosity of member contributions. Our communication services are provided in cooperation with the AOG (independent of USMA) and are operated by volunteers serving the Long Gray Line. Contents of and comments on this web site do not reflect the official position of the United States Military Academy or the Department of the Army.  For questions or comments, please email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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