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How I got my appointment to West Point
I have read and enjoyed every story, and although my own is not as interesting as most I feel obliged to offer it. There was one moment of drama.
I attended high school in Hinesville, Ga. In those days half the city streets were unpaved, and Camp Stewart was a virtually abandoned anti-aircraft artillery base looked after by 10 enlisted and a few civilians. Our high school basketball team had no gym, and we played in the unused sports arena on post. We were not big enough to have a football team, but I followed college football in the old fashioned media, and I knew all about and highly admired Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis and Arnold Tucker. They were all Tacs when I arrived. Later I defended many a candidate against the oft quoted argument at the Academic Board that football had nothing to do with admissions.
One day my father came home from work at the local lumber/saw milling company to say that his employer, MG (Ret) Joseph B. Fraser, who had commanded the Georgia National Guard division in the Pacific in WWII, had asked him if I would like to attend West Point. Without thought or hesitation, I said 'yes' -- and that's all there was to it, almost. Our Congressman, Prince Preston, was a great admirer of MG Fraser and was prepared on his recommendation to give me the appointment. There was no interview , letter, exam, nothing. I only met him 5 years later, a few days after graduation. Gen Fraser was an admirer of my father -- I never met him either. The patronage system of appointment has long since expired in favor of competitive exams and virtually all congressmen turn the choice over to West Point; but I always defended it, while it lasted.
After high school, in an 11-year system, I was not old enough for direct admission so I attended Georgia Military Academy in College Park for a year. GMA was a respected military prep school, with many West Pointers on the faculty, and it was a year well spent. I got an NROTC scholarship for Cornell, about which I knew even less than West Point, but it seemed like a good backup, just in case. Doc Dorough, Bill Bottoms and Al Coleman were also there.
It was all smooth sailing until the day of the physical aptitude and medical exams conducted at Ft McPherson. I did fine on the PT test, but on the medical I was told my blood pressure was too high. I think it was somewhere north of 140 which was the standard at the time. I was told to come back at 4:00 pm (5 hours later) and they would recheck it. I prowled the streets of College Park until I found a doctor who would see me and listen to my problem. The doctor listened sympathetically, gave me a pill (no idea what it was) and told me to walk a lot. I walked without stopping for four hours and reported back just before 4:00. The guy who had given the instruction was coming out of the gate, obviously heading home, and my heart sank. 'It's ok,' he said; ' We decided to pass you.' To this day I still have trouble taking blood pressure exams.
18 AUG 2010
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USMA Class of 1955 Housing Area
The USMA Coaches Housing Project, sponsored by the Class of 1955, under the guidance of Herb (Kelly) Lichtenberg, is completed and the seventeen houses are occupied by ODIA Corps Squad Head Coaches. The entire Housing Area is prominently identified by the Brass Plaque on the huge boulder at the entrance, which reflects 'USMA Class of 1955'.
Upon the completion of the first eight houses, Kelly 'named' each by placing a small placard with the name of an individual on the lawn in front of the house. It was his plan to continue this practice as the remaining houses were completed. When we lost Kelly, Lou Gross, class of 1954, replaced Kelly and continued the project to its completion. Three additional names were added by Lou Gross, leaving six without the placard.
A few weeks ago, Lou contacted me and asked that I provide six names for the, to date, unnamed houses. I tasked a past president of the class to organize a committee and provide six recommended names. After a very thorough and detailed process, six names were recommended, and the Class EXCOM voted to accept the recommendations. The names were provided to Lou Gross, and they will be included on the placards.
The next, and final, item to be accomplished with this project is to organize and schedule a formal presentation of this Class gift to West Point. Lou Gross and I are in the process of coordinating this with the appropriate authorities. Stay tuned, folks, for this glorious event.
Names on Placards Selected by Kelly
*MG Philip Draper, given by his daughter, Linda Draper Newton
* Walter Kaye, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army
* Maggie Dixon
* West Point Class of 1955 (To be replaced with a Committee selected name)
* Carl Goldstein
* Marty Silverman, Friend of West Point
* Lewis Zickel, West Point Class of 1949
* Rod Vitty, West Point Class of 1955
* Carl McNair, West Point Class Of 1955
Names added by Lou Gross
* Pete Fikaris
* Charlie Johnson
* Dave Wheeler
Names selected by Committee
* Tom Bell
* Dave Burroughs
* Tom McCarthy
* Donne Olvey
* Bob Strati
* Fred Woerner
26 September 2014