DENNIS R. COLL
3 Sun Valley Court
Lake in the Hills, IL 60156-4473
847 658-1050 (Fax)
Greetings once again from Chicago! Hope all is well at your end of the Long Gray Line! This may be one of the last issues that you receive before the 40th Reunion, so we will try to bring you up-to-date on what has been planned. Please remember that this is being penned some three-four months before you will read it, so some aspects of the actual reunion may change. Check the class website or one of the Reunion Committee members (e.g. Bob Frank firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Ammons email@example.com) to verify.
The dates are 8-11 September, with some arriving on the 7th. Tee off for golf (at Central Valley CC) on Thursday for the 60+ who have registered will be 0930. Ditto for the dozen or so tennis players (at the new USMA tennis facility) who have registered. You can still register for either; just let the someone on the committee know. Class HQ will be at the Hotel Thayer, where we have most of the rooms. Overflow is being handled at the Holiday Inn Express and other locations, as needed. We are expecting about 400 classmates and guests, certainly one of the largest turn-outs ever. A list of attendees can be found at the website. Check-in will start Thursday afternoon and will be in one of the rooms off the Thayer lobby.
On Friday, we will have a business meeting in Ike Hall with one of the USMA Leadership team and (hopefully) a senior cadet participating. Election of new class officers (Clair Gill has been nominated to be our next CinC, with Bob Harter and Harry Dermody as his deputies) and other class business will be handled. The meeting will be followed by lunch, and the cadet area, cadet store, Supe's yacht, etc. will also be available that afternoon. We are trying to arrange a cadet p'rade. Stay tuned. Friday dinner will be at the Hotel Thayer. By the way, "preferred" uniform of the day will be blue blazers, white shirts over khaki/tan trousers, with '65 straw hats available for purchase and optional for wear. For those of you who never liked to be told what to wear, wear whatever moves you!
The football team plays BC at Boston, so we will have the Academy to ourselves on Saturday. The class memorial service will start the day, on Saturday, at the Old Cadet Chapel, followed by a tour of the cemetery (very worthwhile--see the class website for details) and visitation to our fallen classmates' graves. Lunch will be served at the Kimsey Center overlooking Miche stadium, and with luck, we will view a pre-season, 150-pound football game and/or the televised BC game. We also will be able to tour the brand new Randall Hall, Press Box and Army Sports Hall of Fame facilities. Dinner that night also will be at the Hotel Thayer!
Sunday will be checkout (by noon), although we are arranging, for whoever wants to, to brunch in the Mess Hall with the cadets (separate cost payable in advance). The scribe and his lady also will be doing a two-three-hour hike in the hills around our "rockbound highland home" to be completed in time to catch a 6PM flight out of Newark. If you have never walked the woods around West Point, you have missed a truly neat activity. Let me know if you are interested.
One final but important observation -- we still are missing eulogies and/or memorial articles on our deceased classmates. I am working with many of you on the latter, but if you are interested in making sure every classmate has at least a eulogy entry, go to the class website and click on "Taps" on the left side of the page. That will link you to the eulogy pages where you can add yours. Contact Chuck Nichols if you have any questions or problems.
What can YOU do to make this the BEST-ever reunion, you ask? First, sign up and attend, even if you have not signed up yet. Second, if you know of a class widow, son/daughter, or a classmate not on the attendee list, contact me (to make sure someone else has not made contact already with them) if you would be interested in sponsoring the widow/children and/or, get on the phone and try to get a non- attending classmate to attend. Thirdly, look over the attendee list and let me know (in advance, by e-mail, with all names and the group name by 15 August) if there is a group with whom you would like a picture taken for publication in ASSEMBLY (e.g. Ranger buddies, Beast squad, or roommates, Firstie year companymates, AAA teammates, etc.). I will schedule the individual group pix sometime convenient to all during the reunion. By the way, you also can contribute to help defray the expenses of bringing our widows to the reunion. A dozen or so classmates have already made such a commitment--why not consider doing so?
If you have never had the experience of helping a young man or women enter USMA and then watch as they graduate and join the Army, you are missing a most worthwhile experience. Cathy & I have been fortunate to have helped young people almost every year and then to watch them blossom into outstanding cadets and future leaders of our Army. The first photo shows two of these young folks with their parents and your scribe and his lady. David Coulombe '04, third from the right, was home for the Christmas holidays between his stints at the mountain and then swamp Ranger camps. He successfully graduated Ranger School on his first try (very few do so without at least one recycling) and now is off to be an Infantry platoon leader, probably in Alaska. The firstie (third from the left) is Dan Savage '05, who likewise will join the Infantry later this year after Ranger, etc. Both are truly outstanding young men and will make great young leaders for our 21st Century Army!
The next photo shows Jack & Annette Lowe in a great family picture (grandma Lowe, their daughters and son with their spouses, and grandbabies) during the Christmas holidays. As mentioned last time, the Lowe's are back from their long sabbatical in Europe, supposedly for good.
In the "egg-on-the-face" category, I have discovered a rather interesting way to get classmates to write their old scribe, even if it is after 40 years! The secret? Mix up two guys with the same, albeit not common first name. The letter starts "...first time I have written in 40 years" followed by "hardly ever miss reading your column..." So far, so good. Then, when he read about his "old girlfriend" writing the scribe asking about him, it dawned on Preston Motes that maybe the scribe was actually talking about Preston Hughes. My apology to both Prestons! Now I can hardly wait to hear from Mrs. P. Hughes about the old girlfriend. Oh well; never a dull moment! Preston M plans on visiting Tim Vogel on his next, annual trip to Yellowstone from his retirement home in Salt Lake City, as well as seeing us all at the 40th. Thanks for having a good sense of humor, Preston.
That's it for now, friends. Keep those cards, letters, and pictures coming, and we will see you on the Plain in September!