Born Bronxville, NY, parents Gaetano Vincent and Louise Adele Strati, on Oct 3, 1932. His early years were spent in Westchester and NYC (Greenwich Villiage). Both parents were Italian. Bob was proud of them and his grandparents for their hard work and adapting to American ways. Dad was a JAGC in the AAC and retired as an 0-6. Bob had ten years of his early education in the Catholic schools, something about which he often spoke with pride. Teen years were spent in Columbia, SC, NY, and Anchorage , Alaska where Bob graduated from HS. That small HS (only one in town then) sent 4 people to WP in a 4 year period. It was probably those friendships which peaked Bob's interest in WP.
Bob attended Braden's prep school in Cornwall-on Hudson in '50-'51 and boned enough smarts under Gerald G. Sullivan '21, to gain a Presidential appointment to WP. Bob managed to survive his 4 years at USMA. There where no stupendous achievements but lots of friends as a result of 'his even temperment and easy going but efficient manner' and a reputation 'whenever a helping hand is needed, Bob has always been at the head of the line'. Someone, quite perceptive, penned these words for the '55 Howitzer.
Bob met his wife, Patricia Wright, a colonel's daughter, at Sampson AFB (Lake Seneca, Geneva N.Y.) Officers Club bingo at the end of plebe year. Story has it that this was 'arranged' by their mothers. After several false starts, created primarily by separation, they were married shortly after graduation. Bob and Pat have been an active pair in both military service and retirement as well as with the Class of 1955. They were blessed with 2 daughters, Teresa and Kathleen, and 5 grandchildren.
Bob started his active duty career at Fort Benning with the Basic Infantry Officers Course followed by Ranger and Airborne training. His first duty assignment was in Germany with the Second Armored Division. It was there that their first daughter, Teresa was born, followed two years later at Fort Hood, Texas, by their second daughter , Kathleen. Kathleen was born deaf. As Bob's career unfolded this was to play an important part in assignments.
In 1960 Bob attended the Quartermaster Officer Advanced Course and them served in Korea as a supply officer in the 1st Cav. Div. for one year. Returning to the U.S. Bob received a master's degree in Business Administration (cum laude) from American University in 1964. The 'utilization tour' was three years as the OIC for the Cadet Mess at West Point. He considered this his most rewarding assignment. Bob worked with the Cadet Activities Officer and they introduced optional Sat evening buffets and Sun brunches. Cadets could escort to both of these meals. Cadets became involved in panels for taste testing of sample food and in the development of menus. The ration allowance in those days was $1.30 per cadet per day. It was also during this period that there was a major expansion of the Corps and the Mess Hall was not only enlarged to accommodate the larger Corps but updated with state of the art equipment and systems to insure that service could be accomplished in the same amount of time.
Bob attended the Command & General Staff College followed by a tour in Vietnam as an operations officer at 1st Logistical Command Headquarters.
It was back to West Point in 1969 for another 2½ years, this time primarily as a logistics staff officer on the post side. This allowed Kathleen to have almost 7 years out of 8 in the same school.
Battalion command opportunity came Bob's way with the Supply and Transport Bn., 4th Inf Div. at Fort Carson, Colorado. This was a challenging time to command with the Vietnam conflict winding down and the Volunteer Army with Unit of Choice recruits coming into its own. The Bn was doing a lot of advanced individual training for the Div. for drivers and mechanics so it was not long before the impact of this training was felt throughout the Div. This assignment also ranks high on Bob's list of rewarding jobs.
Next, followed 6 years in the Washington D.C. Bob served two years as an assignments officer for Colonels, then as a student at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and three years as a logistical division chief in the Pentagon for the Army's food and clothing programs.
In the summer 1979 Joe Franklin, a classmate was selected as Commandant and an opportunity arose for Bob to return to West Point as the Director of Cadet Activities. It was an easy choice and a most rewarding job working with all kinds of cadet extracurricular groups. When Bob retired in 1983 with 28 years of service, almost ten had been at West Point and seven had been directly involved with cadets on a daily basis.
Bob found a challenging and rewarding retirement job with the AOG as Vice President for Development (West Point Fund), a job which he held for 12 years. During his tenure over $70 million was raised for the benefit of the Military Academy and included major projects such as the Herbert Alumni Center, and the Flight Memorial Project. The fund raising program increased 10 fold as Bob put into place a strong foundation which in the five years after his retirement was to triple the annual income and successfully complete a major capital campaign for the Military academy.
Concurrently, Bob served for 20 years as his class fund raising chairman and raised almost $2 million for various class projects. He also served as scribe & treasurer, at various times for the class. Living at West Point and Highland Falls for many years Bob was active in reunion planning and was in charge of one.
Bob was very proud of his association with the West Point Federal Credit Union. He served for 20 years as a Board member, 12 of which were as Board Chairman. In 2002 a merger was completed with the Pentagon Federal Credit Union. He often spoke of the satisfaction he derived from this service and of the benefits to the membership which accompanied the merger.
In late 1998 Bob and Pat moved back to the Northern Virginia area to be close to their family. They continued to enjoy their travel, mostly to Europe. Alumni trips plus trips with classmates and friends totaled more than 20.
In 2007 Bob & Pat moved to community in Winchester, VA. and have enjoyed the area of the north Shenandoah Valley. They have continued their annual trips to FL. And visits with relatives and friends.
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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