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Class Notes March 2012

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Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

 Wow, I guess I learned my lesson. Be careful what you ask for. Back in February I asked for a little help with stories and submissions as I was approaching the deadline for this submission of our Class Notes. Well the response was almost overwhelming. I now have so much to deal with that some won’t fit within the guidelines for submission. Thank you to all who stepped up to help me out. Also, if you don’t see your story here know that I will hold it for an opportunity down the road.

 By the way, now that I have the pleasure of dealing with a plethora (I’ve long hoped for a place where I could stick in a word like that and hope it sounded cool) of material to work with, doesn’t mean that I don’t want you all to think in terms of sharing stories (especially with photos) whenever you get together with Classmates.

Finally, I want to use this opportunity to say thank you to all of you who have taken the time to say a few kind words regarding my efforts here. It is greatly appreciated and really helps as I try to decide the direction all of you want me to go with our communications.

Big Bill Took on USNA for All of Us

This great story comes from Jack Lowe. Bill Zadeland Jack were assigned as Captains in 1968 in Danang. Jack was assigned as an Army Officer to the III Marine Amphibious Force and Bill was assigned to 3d Marine Division. Bill was getting a lot of grief from a Marine Major who graduated from Annapolis.  What it essentially boiled down to was that USNA turned out tougher officers in the Marine Corps than USMA turned out for the Army.  This went on and on and Bill basically just put up with it as a Marine Captain graduated from West Point. 

Then the Marines in Danang thought that morale needed some improvement so they announced that there would be a big Smoker (open amateur boxing tournament).  Well that really lit things up and all the tough guys in the Marines were signing up for the Smoker. Without saying anything to the Major, Bill signed them both up to fight each other in the Smoker. Well, interest in the Smoker went through the roof when it was learned that a Major and a Captain were going to fight.  Then when it was learned that a USNA grad was going to fight a USMA grad to see which Academy turned out the toughest grads, anticipation was beyond measurement.

Now, as you know, no one in his right mind would want to climb in the ring with Bill Zadel for three, two minute rounds. The Major immediately thought the same thing.  He started trying every way possible to get out of the fight without saying he did not want to face Zadel in the ring. While the point can’t be proven, it appeared as if many marine officers serving there who were not USNA grads were conspiring to thwart every effort of the Major to get out of the fight.  Finally, as the Major ran out of options he just chickened out and said he would not fight Bill. It was the last they heard about USNA graduating tougher officers than USMA. (Photo: There were no photos available with the story so I used this one that I took on the boat ride during our 45th reunion – Here is Bill with Bob Selkis)

A Long Belated Graduation Party

Last fall, October 21st to be precise, Mike Lapollafinally had his West Point graduation party. Bob andKay Cato graciously hosted this wonderful event at their home in Arlington, VA.

The story behind this event is unique. Ruthand Larry Neal got married graduation day. Neither of them had parents who could plan for or finance a wedding reception, and with them being too young, na├»ve, poor, and otherwise incapable of pulling it off, Mike’s mom and dad (Ray and Kathryn Lapolla) stepped up and organized the reception at Mike's home in Peekskill.  What a great party it was, with maybe a hundred guests (seemed like).  Even John J. "shake the hand that shook the hand that shook the world" Sciviletto of Peekskill's Union Hotel attended, and a kid named George Pataki (later to become Gov. of New York), and several I-1 mates.  

However, Mike’s graduation party, originally planned for that date, was collateral damage. It was toast, scratched, no makeup day possible. Ruth and Larry carried guilt feelings for 46 years. They had a great time finally celebrating Mike's graduation and reminiscing.  Joining them were the spirits of Spotswood Dewitt and Frank O'Brien. Also present in Peekskill were Randy Guenther, Roger Griffin and Bob Cato all of whom had been saber bearers at the wedding (as was Mike). The damage was repaired and all was forgiven on Oct 21st. (Photo: Seated for what looks like a great meal are: Bob Cato, Ruth Neal, Carol Lapolla, Mike Lapolla, Roger Griffin, Randy Guenther, Trish Griffin, and Larry Neal)

Hallenbeck and Pickler Dine in Saddam’s Old Hangout

John Malpass shared this story and photo. Sandy Hallenbeck and John Pickler are seen here vacationing in Iraq, circa 2003-2004. Tired of sitting in front of their computer screens in Northern VA, Sandy and John were desperate for some field time where they could get shot at again. As soon as Saddam was pushed from power, John got his chance as the director of security in Iraq for Bechtel. And, three days after the US Army took Baghdad, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) sent Sandy off to manage the Iraqi Media Network and, later, the New Iraqi Army project. In addition to travelling around mundane places like Baghdad, Mosul, and Basrah, John and Sandy both got to visit such hot spots as Falujah and Al Ramadi. And, over the course of the year, both made a lot of Iraqi friends. 

Happily, Sandy was away from Baghdad when the bad guys sent an RPG into his hotel room, making a mess of his liquor cabinet. When John and Sandy were both in Baghdad at the same time, however, they often shared a meal together in the Palace dining facility (pictured) or in Bechtel’s dining facility.  John and Sandy reported that it was a great year: “The most fun I’ve had since I became a civilian”, said Sandy. (Photo: Sandy Hallenbeck and John Pickler in Saddam’s Palace)

Old Pictures Are Always Fun

Johnny Wells was kind enough to help me out when I put out my plea last month. He found four “Academy Vellum” letter boxes stored deep in one of his closets. The tape holding one of them closed was old and split so out dropped this picture of Jim Talbot who was Johnny’s roommate and Ranger buddy. The guess is that it was taken at Ft Benning in either Airborne or Ranger School. Does this look familiar to anyone? It looks pretty crumby to me, so Ft Benning seems right and he seems to be dealing with sore feet, so Ft Benning definitely seems right. Comments? (Photo: Jim Talbot dealing with sore feet?)

Retired at Last

My good buddy, Ron (Chops) Walter also stepped up when I called for help and shared a great story and many photos which show he and his beautiful bride Janice as they made the transition from hard working business owners to very busy retirees with a wanderlust and a desire to be closer to a big city and new and old friends. I must admit to nudging the boy just a little as I have been retired a few more years than he and was anxious for him to join our ranks as well as have him move a little closer.

Ron and Janice had been living for many years in the small town of Sierra Vista in the South East corner of Arizona and were planning to move to Scottsdale when they finally accepted the reality of retirement. In 2009 they finally sold the business and made the move. Then they were off to Assisi, Italy and later on to Turkey and a cruise of the Aegean Islands. Then in 2010 they took in the Oberammergau Passion Play in Germany and took a cruise of the (not so Blue) Danube, then on to Salzburg, Austria and Budapest, Hungary, with a stop in Bratislava, Slovakia. Enough travel (my fingers are getting sore from all the unfamiliar letter arrangements). (Photo: Ron and Janice Walter on a parapet overlooking the Greccio Valley in Italy where Ron had hoped to consult the Oracle concerning something to do with his height)

Retired at last – 2

Between trips to Europe they find time to be with family both in Arizona and North Carolina. Here they are in North Carolina for granddaughter Maegen’s baptism with daughter Jeanine, son-in-law Blaise Williams and granddaughter Sadie. After all this gallivanting around, they took the time to purchase a beautiful cabin in Durango, Colorado just so they could get away from the summer heat in Scottsdale. (Photo: At their granddaughter’s baptism are: Janice, Ron, Jeanine with Maegen, and son-in-law Blaise Williams with Sadie)

Another Way to Travel in Retirement

Dick Williams recently retired from a second career Directing Public Safety in Pinellas County, Florida. He is now working harder than ever with a remodeling project, a long list of honeydos, and getting a brand new RV ready for a 6 week, 7,000 mile trip from Florida to California and back in one great big loop. Now that’s my idea of fun if you can get past the pain at the pump when it comes to filling that puppy up.

I have already asked Bill and Joan to stop when they go through Goodyear, Arizona so we can share a lunch or dinner and talk about retiring on the road. He’s hoping to find time for a stop, but he’s on a tight schedule to get to a 2 week skydiving clinic and competition in Lodi, California. Yes, that was Dick you saw in the last Class Notes making a dead center landing also at a meet in Lodi. Not inclined to limit themselves to RV travel, Dick and Joan will be on a cruise from Istanbul to Athens in July, but then they will be back on the road to follow the turning of the tree leaves from Maine to Florida in the fall then next year it will be the Great Northwest to include Yosemite and Mt. Rushmore. Maybe they will be able to joinBill Sherrell for his Pacific Northwest golf outing in late July. (Photo: Bill and Joan Williams in front of their new RV – with them is their RV factory representative)

Things To Do When Not Traveling in Retirement

Jerry & Peggy Merges report that The Villages, Florida’s Friendliest Hometown, has two other permanent residents making up the ’65 team, Dave& Marcella Gnau and Dan & Diana Steinwald.They were all recently visited by snowbirds Don &Carol Appler who came down from Kentucky to enjoy some of the warmth of Florida during the winter. The men and their spouses enjoyed a night out dining. Later the Gnau’s along with Don and Jerry got together for an afternoon of pickleball. Jerry explains, for those who don’t know what he’s talking about, that pickleball is a paddle game played on a 1/2 size tennis court, with a tennis net, hard whiffle ball, and graphite or wood paddles. It is like table tennis on steroids and you, the player, are on the court. A very fast paced game, excellent for those who like a great workout and not running as far as tennis players do. I can attest to this description as I played many years of this game while in the Seattle area where it was invented by a doctor who didn’t have room in his yard for a full size tennis court. He also had a dog named Pickles, hence the name he gave the game. Now you know all you need to know to go out and give it a try.

Jerry, Dan, and Don also spearheaded the 2nd Founders Day celebration in The Villages, with '69's Fred Dibella as the guest speaker. For those who branched armor, Fred was the Chief of the Armor branch, had a very distinguished career, and a successful post service career as well.

All S&D'ers are invited to visit anytime. They have over 500 holes of golf, both championship and executive and Dave & Marcella will gladly give you lessons.

At the last minute (just prior to submission of these Notes) I received this great photo from Jerry Merges at the very recent Founders Day Event in The Villages. It looks like a delightfully casual event. (Photo: Founder’s Day at The Villages. In the back row are: Dan Steinwald, Bob de Laar, Frank Arnall, and Jerry Merges, front row are Pauline de Laar, Marcella Gnau, Dave Gnau, and Peggy Merges)

Living the Good Life Just Outside Fairbanks, Alaska

Paul & Neva Renschen sent me some great pictures of a Boreal Owl which was the first owl they had seen visiting their beautiful home way up north. Having spent about 21/2 years in Alaska, I can relate to the appeal, however, when it hit - 48 degrees on my last visit to Fairbanks, I discovered that I had not lost anything up there that I’d be coming back for. Their usual guests are moose and other local critters. If you have a particular interest in the owl pictures or Paul’s home, let me know, but with the limited space I now have, thanks to the great response from my plea for help, I chose to limit this story to one picture of the happy couple. (Photo: Paul and Neva Renschen enjoying some wine in a restaurant outside Denali National Park, Alaska)

Army/Navy Weekend Revisited

Emery Chase submitted this great picture of his clan gathering for the Army/Navy game late last year. It sure looks like a dedicated Army family. Emery points out that our Affiliation with the Class of 2015 obviously holds a special meaning for him. (Photo: Emery, his eldest son Emery III (Class of 1989), his grandson Gavin (Class of 2015), and his son Kenneth (Class of 1991 – Gavin’s dad))

More Affiliation activities – This Time from the Heartland

The event was the 25th Annual United States Service Academies and Military Colleges Ball which was held on 30 December, 2011 in Kansas City with an attendance of over 300. The Ball is usually just for cadets, midshipmen and their families but Steve Kempf was a special invitee because of our Affiliation with the Class of 2015. Steve sent two pictures. The first showed him cutting the 25thAnniversary cake while surrounded by upperclassmen and this one which includes seven of the attendees who are members of the Class of 2015. (Photo: Retired COL Steve Kempf with seven members of the Class of 2015)

And Affiliation in Texas

Jim Webb sent this picture taken when he visited Tyler Glasz (a member of our Affiliation Class of 2015) and his parents at their home. Tyler was home on a 4 day pass (I remember when a pass of any kind seemed like such a far off dream). Jim points out that he is a fine young man, a member of G-2, who plans to major in civil engineering (wouldn’t majoring have been fun?). (Photo: Jim Webb with Tyler Glasz – Class of 2015)

More with our Affiliation Class – Plebe Parents Breakfast

Russ Campbell reported: “Nine hundred plebe parents, family and friends signed up for the AOG sponsored Plebe Parents Breakfast at Herbert Hall on Friday, March 9, 2012.  AOG estimated that 1,000 showed up. It was unbelievable weather for the dead of winter and “gloom period” at West Point – a perfect sunny, dry, and about 45 degree day.  We were met and graciously escorted during the event by Elena Meskill ’99 from AOG.”

Russ and his wife Maryann represented ’65 with the assigned mission to meet, mingle and engage the parents.  As the only reps they did their best but they were limited to just how many participants they could meet.  On the other hand, the AOG rolled out their entire staff and they did a great job meeting and greeting parents and guests.

Bob McClure ‘76, AOG President and CEO, gave a brief warm and welcoming speech to all five groups.   In his remarks he singled out the affiliation class and acknowledged the presence and support of ’65.

The parents were not only appreciative of the event but expressed genuine respect and pride in the experience.   A common theme when asked how their son or daughter was doing they all reported that they were doing fine---no real problems except challenged by lack of sleep and challenges with time management.  So they are doing well and the place has not gone completely soft.  That’s good. 

As you can see, we could have used many more from our Class at this function. Please join in when the opportunities come up. Thank you Russ and Maryann for representing us so well. (Photo:  Maryann and Russ Campbell with a proud 2015 parent.)

A Mini Gathering in Virginia

Since about 2008 the Berry’s from Fredericksburg, the Helberg’s from Midlothian, the Hopkins’ from Mechanicsville, and the Harvey’s from Chesapeake have been taking turns hosting dinner/get-togethers two or three times a year, congregating in an area in Virginia about 120 miles long. Dave Hopkins shared this story and picture which, this time came on 4 February when they met at The Tobacco Company (I wonder if they have a smoking section?) restaurant in the Shockoe Bottom area of Richmond. (I had some fun with my Google map trying to get a feel for these places) they  spent their time sharing the latest about kids and grandkids, solving world problems, reviewing Army’s football progress (another world problem), and generally having a good time with dear friends. An interesting coincidence – these are four Classmates with the first name Jim (Dave is actually James David). (Photo: Couples, left to right are Jim and Margie Berry, Jim and Lynne Helberg, Dave and Darlene Hopkins, and Jim and June Harvey)

Military Community Youth Ministries (MCYM) Banquet

Terry Ryan sent me this great report regardingJohn Pickler’s long service to the Military Community Youth Ministries (MCYM). He wrote: “At the invitation of John, several Strength and Drivers and their ladies joined John and Karen Pickler to attend an event that honored the completion of John’s service as Chairman of the Board of Military Community Youth Ministries at their National Banquet at Fort Meyer.  Clair Gill (sans Sherry who was grand mothering), Bob & Mary Harter, Jack &Annette Lowe, Tom & June Fergusson, Frank &Gisela Koleszar, and of course my OAO Nancywere in attendance.” 

John Pickler also shared, “It’s a great organization with a critical mission of ecumenical Christian ministry to military teenagers worldwide, and I have been privileged to have served for over 12 years on the board of directors, most recently as the chairman for the past three years, of MCYM/Club Beyond.  As you know, the past eleven years have been particularly turbulent in the lives of our military families and particularly our teenagers, many of whose parents have been on multiple deployments, whose families have been frequently moved, and some of whose parents have been wounded or killed. Others have suffered the family strains and dissolution from an extended period of war and deployments, and MCYM/Club Beyond trained religious staff members and community teams have joined installation chaplains and staff to counsel and minister to these teens and their families.” (Photo: In this photo we see John Pickler, Linda Bradshaw, Sam Bradshaw (MCYM Board Member), and Bonnie Burrell (banquet guest)

A Great Day on the Golf Course

Is there any other kind of day on a golf course? Bob Radcliffe sent me this great picture of a small band of S&D’ers who went out to beat up on some small white balls. Their “Great Southern Migration” took them to Cape Fear National Golf Course in Leland, North Carolina (just outside Wilmington). Bob Selkis, Barry Zais, and Steve Darrah were joined by Pat Kenny, Gordy Larson (full time southern residents), and Bob Radcliffe. Later, they were joined by Ed Knauf for poker night (as if the golf course doesn’t provide enough of a gamble). (Photo: Bob Selkis, Pat Kenny (I guess he doesn’t even need a club), Steve Darrah, Bob Radcliffe, Gordy Larson, and Barry Zais)

A Good Time at Founders Day

Terry Ryan sent me this photo of our Classmates at the Gainesville, Virginia Founders Day. It looks like a good time was had by all. In attendance from our Class were: Terry & Nancy Ryan, Larry & Jean Bennett, Jim & Karen Ferguson, Bernie & Ellen Ziegler, George & Sue Gehringer, Bill & Jane Lehman, Curt & Ann Adams, and John & Linda Concannon.  As Terry put it “it was perfectly organized by Concannon, Adams, Bennett, and Ziegler. (Photo: From left to right, couples are Terry & Nancy Ryan, Larry & Jean Bennett, Jim & Karen Ferguson, Bernie & Ellen Ziegler, George & Sue Gehringer, Bill & Jane Lehman, Curt & Ann Adams, and John & Linda Concannon)

Be Thou at Peace

I am thrilled that I have nothing to report here.