Class Poop

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Visit the 1965 Class Notes Photo Album to see all the photos below full-size!

Class Notes Second October-December 2012

Great Holiday News Out of Las Vegas
On Christmas Day, the Las Vegas area '65ers gathered at the home of Tom & Marilyn Kovach for eggnog and dinner. Pictured in the following photo are Tom & Marilyn, Marilyn & Skip O'Donnell, and Vicky King & Jim Holmes.

During the evenings' activities, Jim announced that he and Vicky became engaged last Friday and are planning a July wedding. A champagne toast followed Jim's announcement. Vicky is a member of the research department at the new VA medical center in Las Vegas and has close to 20 years of employment with Veterans Affairs.

Congratulations to Jim & Vicky!

And a joyful New Year to all!
Tom Kovach

On behalf of the entire Class let me add congratulations and welcome Vicky to our Band of Brothers (and sisters).

The Passing of Gene Farmelo

It is once again my sad duty to inform you of the passing of one of our Classmates. A little over a week ago I shared the fact that Gene Farmelo, who has been battling bravely against the effects of Parkinsons disease for several years, had several complications impact him so much that his doctors recommended that the family remain close. At 4:00 AM this morning (December 27), in the company of his entire family, Gene died peacefully...when it was "his time."

George Gehringer was quick to step up and take on the responsibility of being our POC (Point of Contact) with Terry Ryan assisting him. George can be reached at 703-392-1332 and Terry can be reached at 703-973-8731. George has shared the following regarding services for Gene:

  • A service will be conducted at the Moser Funeral Home, 233 Broadview Ave., Warrenton, VA (540-347-3431); 2:00 – 4:00 PM, Sunday, December 30th. If possible please plan to join our Classmates at this service.
  • Bev Farmelo has asked that those Classmates able to attend please be prepared to share any memories/stories of Gene as this would be very meaningful to the family.
  • Flowers can be sent to the Moser Funeral Home at the above address.
  • If charitable donations are preferred, please send them on Genes behalf to: Hospice of Rapidan, P.O. Box 1715, Culpepper, VA 22701, (504-825-4840).
  • While it is a little too early for phone calls, if you would like to share your condolences with Bev, her address is 94 Old Hollow Road, Sperryville, VA 22740 or you can send her an e-mail at
  • There will be no formal interment ceremony; rather Gene's ashes will be dispersed within their farm area.

As we remember the good times with our dear friend, possibly the following excerpts from the Howitzer will be helpful:

Unfortunate News at This Special Time of the Year

Terry Ryan has forwarded to me a request from Bev Farmelo, wife of our Gene Farmelo, to share with you all this sad news. As Terry put it:

Gene has contracted pneumonia as a consequence of his Parkinsons and other ailments. Although there is a possibility of surviving this latest battle, his family has been requested to be nearby with the expectation that he will pass within a couple of weeks. He is in hospice care at home, on strong antibiotics and morphine. His wife Bev continues her loyal and loving care that she has so faithfully given Gene during his many years with Parkinson's. I know she would welcome your prayers and messages of support either at bevfarmelo@aol.comor by phone at (540) 987-8383.

Please share with her your thoughts and prayers as she prepares to deal with this very difficult situation and the emotions of the Holidays.

Some Very Welcome Good News

I am very pleased to share the following report from my good friend Ron Walter who, as most of you are aware, has been struggling this year with some pretty heavy health issues. As he puts it, he has good days and bad days. He and I watched the A/N game together and between his not feeling 100% that day and the very disappointing game, I would have to say that was one of his bad days. This report and the inherent optimism that he shares in it makes me feel much better about his condition. Here is his report:

Since Harry's funeral, I have had inquiries from several of you with whom I had not previously corresponded concerning my own health issues. This is to update those of you with whom I had been staying in touch as well as the rest who might have an interest.

Since my 4 Nov 12 update (next under), I have had the consult at Mayo Clinic, and I began a drug cocktail/chemotherapy regimen last Thursday, 13 Dec. While I am still trying to figure out what this is all doing to my body, I THINK I am tolerating the chemo pretty well after the first few days. The steroids they have me on may be keeping me awake and/or making me a little hyper, but I am hoping they will also help me get a little more "buff" if I can maintain my presence in the gym throughout this 16-week treatment. The good news is that I MAY not need the bone marrow transplant at the end of this 16-week cycle if these new drugs are as effective on me as they have been on others in recent trials. The bad news is that I may no longer be eligible for the transplant if I DO need it since there is a concern that the amyloid proteins that have settled in my heart may have done too much damage to make it safe to proceed. I have a consult with a cardiologist scheduled for next Wednesday, 19 Dec, to discuss the implications of the heart issues. All I know right now is that I have some severely increased concentric left ventricular wall thickness and severe left and right atrial enlargement along with a mildly thickened aortic valve and some other issues that didn't mean a lot to me; the bottom line, I think, is that all this "thickness" is constricting the expansion and contraction of my heart, contributing to shortness of breath/fatigue, and probably causing a lot of the water retention I am experiencing around my ankles, calves, etc. as well as some water in my right lung identified at my second echo cardiogram earlier this month.

All in all, I am VERY glad to be started on treatment, and I am looking forward to beating this thing as soon as possible. I thank each of you for your thoughts, prayers and concerns, and I wish you each a very Happy Holiday Season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

I thought I would throw in one of my favorite pictures of my buddy – I call this one “The Great White Hunter”, taken when we took our Graduation Leave together and drove from California to Acapulco for a month. Sometimes I forget to mention that for a single Peso kids along the highway would allow us to hold their barely alive Iguanas for a picture.

Thanks Chops (his and my knick name for each other for about 50+ years) for sharing the details and your very positive attitude toward it all.

Let me add my Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all,

A Call For Help and Participation

Paul Schultz continues to do a terrific job for us as the Coordinator of our Professional Military Ethic Education (PMEE) Program. He is now ready to share the appeal for participation in the Spring Mentorship Programs. Please click here to find his latest report and information for the next phase of the program.

As you consider your own ability to participate this spring, let me share a few thoughts that Paul and I discussed prior to sending this message out. While it is only in the talking stage at this time, PMEE and the Leadership staffs are considering a change for our mentor classs (2015) Firstie year which would find our prior Class participants more directly involved in the program for the day with one mentor per Cadet Company. The Class of 65 is the first class to have the higher participation which might make that possible.

Ours would be the first class to ever do that. No guarantees, but the more participation we have, the better chance there will be for us to once again set the standard for future programs of this type.

Please check your calendars and contact Paul if there is any way you can participate.

Paul Schultz
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Harry Dermody

Harry Dermody '65, our former classmate, died November 24th after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis. Last year, Harry and Kaye hosted Fred Hinshaw, Harvey Fraser and Jim McCormack for a night at their great waterside home in Centreville, MD. Kaye prepared a wonderful meal while Harry held court and explained all the challenges facing our country, our school, the US Army, the Catholic Church, and many more venues. Jim reported that even Harvey was subdued, a rare event in of itself. He went on to say, "Fred and I then joined Harry and a huge group of Poop Schoolers at a the Poop School reunion at Ft. Monmouth. Harwood "Nick" Nichols was our "safe" driver when six of us we would pile in his fancy Sienna van to go to dinner. Harry, of course, entertained us with remembrances of some of the stupid things we did in that one year school before pushing on to West Point. He was truly special."

(Scribe note: On a much lighter note, when I was spell checking the above paragraph the correction for "Schoolers" as in Poop Schoolers was "Scholars." Go figure. You couldn't make that up!)

Photo Fred & Harry

ARMY/NAVY Heroes and Heroics

Joe Sanchez was kind enough to share this article and suggested all might enjoy it. Its a little long but I guess we cant have too much information regarding the most important game of the year.

Thanks Joe and lets all get behind the words we hear all year – BEAT NAVY!!!

It's Official

In a recent letter to the Leadership Teams of each Class, Nadia King - the Director of Class Support for the Association of Graduates, included the following paragraph listing the newest Advisory Council Class Advisors. The new members listed will serve through to the end of the year during which their Classs major reunion is held. In our case it will be the 50th Reunion and our representative, Bob Frank will serve until December 31st 2015. Congratulations Bob and thank you for your service on our behalf.

New Class Advisors List. As of Jan 1, 2013, the newest Advisory Council Class Advisors are: Don Hilbert 55, Robert Frank 65, Kenneth Hunzeker 75, Todd Browne 85, Justin Wilcox 95, and Cecil Wolburton 05. Class advisors whose term ends Dec 31, 2012 are: Harry Dutchyshyn 52, Gus Fishburne III 62, M. Thomas Davis 72, Alex Gorsky 82, and Deb Vann Edelen 92. Thank you all for your leadership.

Here is the contact information for Nadia.

Nadia King 91
Director, Class Support West Point Association of Graduates
698 Mills Road West Point, NY 10996
Phone: 845-446-1563 Fax: 845-446-1695 Email:
Serving West Point and the Long Gray Line

Bob is also happy to address any questions you may have or concerns you may want him to share with the Council. He can be reached by e-mail at:

An ARMY/NAVY Game Retrospective

John Bell shared this great retrospective on the most important game of the year. I thought it might help to get us in the mood for the game and the victory we all hope for this Saturday:

The Army-Navy game December 8 marks the 122nd anniversary of the great football rivalry. Their first game, played on a gridiron laid out on southeast corner of the West Point Parade Ground, was so sparsely attended that spectators could move up and down the field as the line of scrimmage shifted.

We have come a long way from that first encounter, but as Army and Navy get ready to play again, the legacy of that 1890 game is worth recalling.

In 1890 Army had only one player with any real football experience -- Dennis Michie, in whose honor today's West Point's football stadium is named. As a result Army was trounced 24-0 by a Navy team that had been playing football since 1886. The next year Army hired a part-time coach, played a series of early-season games, and with Michie (who would die tragically in the Spanish-American War) once again leading the way, Army avenged its earlier loss by a 32-16 score.

Both teams could now claim bragging rights. Their competition had gotten off to the perfect start. Five years before the advent of the modern Olympics, the two service academies had turned their new athletic rivalry into front-page news.

The Army-Navy game, as those reporting it noted, quickly became as much about character as physical skill. "Pluck was the most conspicuous feature of the game of football at West Point on Saturday between the cadets of the Naval and Military Academies," an 1890 account observed. "Where bravery was so common and so notable it would be unfair and unjust to cite one man as braver than another."

The public's response to that first encounter worked to the advantage of both schools, and they went out of their way to make sure their rivalry remained consistent with the military values they sought to display on the gridiron. When in the wake of the 1893 game, which drew a crowd of 8,000, animosities between the two academies reached such a fever pitch that a retired rear admiral and a brigadier general came close to fighting a duel, the game was canceled for six years by order of the Secretary of War and Secretary of the Navy.

The lessons the cancellation taught were absorbed by both sides, and when the game resumed in 1899 on a neutral site, Franklin Field in Philadelphia, before 27,000 people, everything went so smoothly that Army and Navy officials decided that the game must be played annually. Making sure their football rivalry did not deteriorate into petty squabbles paid further dividends two years later when President Theodore Roosevelt and 30,000 fans attended the 1901 Army-Navy game.

The president became so excited about the play, which featured a 105-yard kickoff return by Army's star quarterback, that at one point he left his seat and moved to the sidelines to get closer to the action. But Roosevelt was careful, despite having served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, to maintain public neutrality. At halftime he inaugurated the presidential tradition of moving from one team's side of the stadium to the other's.

Since TR's time, the Army-Navy football game has always had a life of its own. In his memoir, "You Have to Pay the Price," legendary Army coach Earl "Red' Blaik wrote, "The primary objective of Army football must be victory over Navy. It cannot be achieved by anything less than complete dedication." For Navy's coaches victory over Army has the same priority. Coaches at both schools know that success in the Army-Navy game is crucial to keeping their jobs.

How far this pressure to win goes is epitomized by the story former Army coach Paul Dietzel [we called him Pepsodent Paul] tells in his autobiography, "Call Me Coach," of a dinner party at the home of Gen. William Westmoreland, later Commander of American troops in Vietnam, who while Superintendent of West Point hired Dietzel in 1962 to revive Army's football fortunes. "There's one thing you'll need to understand right from the beginning," the general's wife, Kitsy, told Dietzel. Then, turning around, she flipped up her skirt to reveal a pair of black panties with "BEAT NAVY!" printed on them in bright gold letters.

In 1944, when Army, led by its All-American running backs "Doc" Blanchard and Glenn Davis, [their quarterback was Arnold Tucker from Miami High] was ranked No.1 in the nation and Navy, with a line superior to Army's, was ranked No.2, they played an epic game, won by Army, that helped sell more than $58 million in war bonds. At the game's conclusion, sports' columnist Allison Danzig wrote, "The country can now return to the normalcy of fighting the most terrible war ever inflicted upon mankind. This Army-Navy game has passed into history."

But an even more revealing comment on the place the Army-Navy football game had come to occupy in World War II America was summed up by a telegram that General Douglas MacArthur, then leading American forces in the Pacific, sent to Army's coach in 1944. "THE GREATEST OF ALL ARMY TEAMS," MacArthur wired. "WE HAVE STOPPED THE WAR TO CELEBRATE YOUR MAGNIFICENT SUCCESS."
MacArthur's hyperbole was deliberate, but there was nothing exaggerated about his belief that the Army-Navy game should serve as an antidote to dark times. When the Army-Navy game of 1963 was canceled as a result of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, it was played a week later at the request of the Kennedy family, and the coin that President Kennedy would have flipped to decide which team received the opening kickoff was sent as a gift by Secretary of the Army Cyrus Vance to Navy's winning football captain Tom Lynch ‘64.

The following year, with the Vietnam War in its early stages, retired President Dwight Eisenhower, then living in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, put his own stamp on the Army-Navy game. Ike, a 1915 West Point graduate, had desperately wanted to be a football star, and in 1912 he was heralded as one of the best running backs in the East. A knee injury ended his football career and kept him out of the 1912 Army-Navy game, but over the years, Ike maintained his interest in Army football. When he was asked by a cadet interviewing him for West Point's student-run Pointer magazine to send the 1964 Army team a telegram on the eve of the game, he happily complied.

The telegram was designed to rally Army's players, who had lost five straight games to Navy, then led by All-American quarterback and future Dallas Cowboys star Roger Staubach ‘65. But what emerged from Ike's telegram was much more than a call for victory.

For Ike, the essence of the Army-Navy game was the pressure it put on everyone who participated in it to hold nothing back. "You will always have what you give today. The more you give the more you will keep!" Ike wrote in a message that is as relevant today as it was in 1964.

Army-Navy football remains a stellar attraction but it has suffered from the increased competition for fans' attention at the pro and college ranks. That doesn't, however, take away from what the game stands for.

This year's game, like those of the past, marks the last time most of both teams' seniors will ever step on a football field. As they have known ever since they arrived at West Point and Annapolis, what awaits them is not a tryout in the National Football League or a lucrative job in business, but active service, which these days amounts to a five-year commitment. In no other athletic rivalry is the price of participation higher.

By Nicolaus Mills

Thank you John, very interesting stuff.

It's Great to Have Some Good News to Share

I received this great note from Frank Prokop:

Thanks to Keyes Hudson for getting the word out to our class about my health problems. A lot of my classmates responded to my situation and I intend to answer them individually.

During the April-May 2012 timeframe I was in my normal mode of playing both indoor and outdoor soccer when I went downhill pretty fast, feeling listless and weak. This was quite unusual for me as I'd been playing soccer for 55 straight years without incident (one torn Achilles that healed pretty quickly). The local doctor discovered a swollen lymph node in my abdomen and the following CT/PET scans diagnosed me with lymphoma. I went from 185# to 149 within weeks and things looked pretty grim. After trying some holistic modalities that did not seem to improve my condition we elected to try MD Anderson hospital in Houston. With all the hospital and hotel reservations already in place, we chose a last-ditch try to search out a cancer specialist here in the local Dallas area, three days before departing to Houston.

A Google search uncovered an oncologist, specializing in my malady, who said he'd visit with me before my departure to Houston. This visit was unbelievable as he declared, with a strong positive affirmation, that I would get better immediately and with incremental strength all along the way. I was not fond of going the chemotherapy route, but, what the heck. It was like a miracle happened that very day. I had been urinating 7-8 times a night; I could not string together more than 1 hour of continuous sleep. That very night I only went twice and it's been normal ever since. And this all happened BEFORE the chemo. I started eating better, turned around my weight (now 175), got my energy back, blood numbers went back into the normal ranges, and it was as though nothing had ever happened.

Now, after 4 chemo treatments (last one was the week after Thanksgiving), the doctor was so amazed with my recovery that he shared with me the PET scans from both May and last week. In the May picture my insides lit up like a Christmas tree; the recent one was all dark, no cancer. He said he couldn't really explain it but encouraged me to keep doing what I'd been doing, and that he would probably be shutting down the whole treatment program shortly. I waited this long to make any statement because I wanted to see the results from the most recent PET scan.

Personally, I think it was his positive thinking that triggered and reinforced my own desire to heal. Being a student of the philosophy of New Thought's Science of Mind for the last 40 years played heavily into this, I feel. Basically, you heal yourself. I am not bragging about this but am in awe over this mind-body-spirit manifestation. It's reversed a lot of the priorities I've had in my life, and given me a chance to go forth with a renewed outlook on life.

I will go back to playing soccer (some folks play golf, tennis; I just like to kick the ball). Also, I will go continue my project of building a composite, 4-seater airplane with a Corvette engine. I am semi-retired as an Instrument Engineer (if it flows through pipe, we control it) and have several projects I'm consulting on with a local Dallas engineering company. With a beautiful wife and two lovely daughters I am pretty busy and have many plans down the road.

This is rather long-winded but I thought I'd give you an update on my situation. I was truly amazed at the encouraging letters from our classmates.

Love you all, S & D!!!
Frank Prokop

Great news, Frank, thanks for sharing.

Rest in Peace Harry Dermody

I have received a lot of information from several sources regarding the services for our dear friend Harry Dermody. I will attempt to avoid plagiarizing as I use some of those sources to share a few thoughts. Chuck Nichols put it very well when he said it “was both a joyous and moving experience”. I mentioned earlier that we had lost a giant in our Class. If you review the attached list of attendees (click here) and also review the numerous eulogies that have been pouring in, I think you will see that there are many among our number who agree with me. By the way, there was a tremendous effort to identify all Classmates in attendance. If the list I have shared missed anyone, I apologize but rest assured that it was not for lack of effort on the part of all those who tried to count noses.

Clair Gill, in his inimitable style, presented a very moving and informative eulogy which helped us all understand just how special Harry was. Interestingly, Harry himself, tasked Clair to present the eulogy. The text can be viewed by clicking here for those who couldnt attend and if you are interested, Bruce Marshall “polished and shortened” it to a ten minute video that you can enjoy by following this link:

Here are a few pictures to help you get a feel for what it was like to be there. This first one (photo top left) shows what a charming little church Harry used to attend. The second shot (photo top right) shows a clearly full house.

Here is a shot of the beginning of the flag folding ceremony (photo left), and finally a group we can recognize. Here we have Joe DeFrancisco, Leo Kennedy, and Harold Tincher (Harrys Wharton classmate) also Terry Ryan and Jack Concannon can be seen over Joes right shoulder (photo right).

Altogether a fitting farewell for a great guy. What else could we expect when our good friend Harry planned the whole thing?

Rest in Peace my friend – Well Done!

A Great Story/Mystery

Here is an amazing story shared by our own Chris Needles.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Donna Gugger's heart was heavy as she sifted through the scattered debris and devastation left by Superstorm Sandy along the Jersey Shore. Pieces of broken furniture. Shards of metal. Chairs ripped off patios. Blue jeans tossed out of bureaus.

But there was something different about that swath of gray cloth with shiny brass buttons. She stopped to take a second look, leaning down to tug on an edge of the fabric that peeked out from under the sand. At first glance, she thought it was an elaborate Halloween costume — a jacket that reminded her of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper.

It was no costume. Gugger had stumbled across an 80-year-old tunic owned by a 1933 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a World War II hero described in his West Point yearbook as a soldier with a "heart like a stormy sea."

The jacket's journey is as mysterious as its history. No one knows how it ended up on the Jersey Shore, hundreds of miles north of the late warrior Chester B. deGavre's home on Virginia's Eastern Shore. His 98-year-old widow, Tita deGavre, didn't even know it existed.

But now that it has been found, the jacket is more than just a recovered forgotten relic.

For deGavre, it is another part of her late husband to cherish. She plans to hang it on the wall along with some of his other military garb and awards at the Deep Creek Plantation, a sprawling Virginia landscape along the shore where she also found her husband's missing West Point ring years ago.

"I found it most impossible to believe," deGavre said after Gugger drove five hours earlier this week to deliver the ornate jacket. "Where could it have been all this time?"

Chester deGavre's parents used to live in Red Bank, less than 10 miles southwest of where the jacket was found. But that was years ago and the house has been sold many times over.

"Somebody must have had (the jacket) under great care, and whether their house blew away with Sandy, I don't know," said deGavre, who met her husband while he was overseas in her native England. They married in 1948.

"It's all a big mystery, but I'm happy about it."

To Gugger, the jacket is nothing less than a symbol of resurrection and renewal in a landscape scarred by sorrow and loss.

The 48-year-old pharmaceutical consultant from Holland, Pa., found the military clothing while she and other members of the Sandy Hook Bay Catamaran Club helped clean up damage from Sandy, which struck in late October.

"I saw blue jeans, I had seen jackets, chairs, backpacks — all kinds of things," she said. "And to go from a point of looking at devastation and the sadness that was associated with that, to find that something so good could potentially come out of the findings in all of that debris, I was just overjoyed."

Gugger took the jacket home, shook out the sand, and washed it off. It was in extraordinary condition, and upon closer examination, she noticed the words "West Point" and "issued to deGavre" on the inside. Determined to get the jacket back to its rightful owner, she contacted West Point's Association of Graduates, which cleaned and preserved it and tracked down deGavre's family.

The heavy coat, studded with brass buttons down the front and sleeves, hasn't changed much since it was first adopted at the academy around 1816, said retired Army Col. Chris Needels, a 1965 graduate of West Point and family friend of the deGavres. With its tails, intricate stitching, and diagonal gold braids on the shoulders, the jacket is still worn by cadets for formal occasions and in parades.

Before his death in 1993 at age 85, Chester deGavre was a Retired Army brigadier general, a pioneering paratrooper and chief of staff for the 1944 airborne invasion of southern France. He was one of the first Army officers to take parachute training at the start of World War II, joining the Airborne Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. The Newark, N.J., native improved techniques and standardized equipment for the airborne forces as a parachute-training officer and chief of test and development. His decorations included a Silver Star from the Korean War and the Legion of Merit with three oak-leaf clusters.

"This was a soldier, this was a war hero, somebody who risked his life for our country, and I was determined to get it back to the family," Gugger said of the jacket.

"It's a miracle because it's still a mystery how it made it to that beach and for me to have even had the opportunity to pick it up. It's not really about the jacket, it's about the journey."

Thanks Chris, good stuff.

Remembering the Soldiers and Their Families

Last week I shared a few thoughts regarding Thanksgiving as I enjoyed one of the benefits of this bully pulpit. I received several responses which I have wanted to share with everyone, but the timing of two funerals made it seem inappropriate then. I have decided that today would be a good day to share one of the responses and another will be forthcoming soon. Carole Smith the widow of our good friend Herb Smith has found herself involved in a very special activity – visiting the Fisher Houses at the new Walter Reed (Bethesda) facility. Here are her comments:

I had an opportunity a few weeks ago to visit the Fisher House(s) at the new Walter Reed (Bethesda) facility. We shared our lunch with families who are residing there while their loved ones receive in and out patient care at the hospital.

The five (5) homes there are so beautiful and abound with warmth and caring for these wonderful soldiers and their families. I was there with a group from my Leisure World, Virginia Community Veterans group, and time was too short. We received a wonderful tour of two (2) of the five homes. Both the veterans and wives I attended with were also heartened by the care that is given to these wonderful soldiers and families. I hope to have the opportunity to visit again and I am going to explore volunteer opportunities.

Although I am without my husband, Herb Smith, Class of 65, I too am grateful for the family and friends I am fortunate to have, as well as the wonderful brave young soldiers sacrificing so much on our behalf.

Happy Holidays,
Carole Smith

Thank you Carole for thinking to share this with us and for remaining connected to the Class of 1965.


I just got this terrific story and challenge to us all from Tom Kovach. Many have asked if there is anything they can do to assist with the planning and execution of our biggest reunion yet, the 50th. Tom is obviously doing a great job along with his lovely wife Marilyn but now they are asking for a little help from all of us. Please read this message carefully and take a little time to follow the steps Tom suggests. What a nice activity for those quiet moments when we like to reflect during the Holidays (I know many will say “what quiet moments”, but be honest, you can find a little time for something so important to all of us). Toms message:


Marilyn and I traveled from Henderson, NV to spend a long Thanksgiving weekend in Washington, DC. Upon our arrival, we dined out with Hank and Ann Sterbenz and their son John. Hank, my best man, will coordinate the Memorial Service at our 50th Reunion in May 2015. Pictured, left to right, are John Sterbenz, Hank Sterbenz, Tom Kovach, Marilyn Kovach, and Ann Sterbenz.

On Thanksgiving Day, I visited the Vietnam Wall. As I did on my first visit on the Fourth of July 1991, I arrived shortly after sunrise so that I would have the Wall to myself. I conducted a reveille roll call by finding and touching the gritblasted name of each of our twenty-five brothers who are listed on the Wall. Then silently, I gave thanks for having had the honor of knowing these fine young men.

The experience only strengthened my resolve to find the families of these twenty-five brothers. In January, I will distribute a summary of the status of my search.

Two resources that have been instrumental in my search are the Memorial Articles and the Personal Eulogies posted on and the Remembrances posted on the website of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF). There are many very moving eulogies and remembrances by Classmates, family members, and friends. Some family members have expressed their thanks for the postings by others; some family members have expressed their hope that others will share their memories. Sadly for some of our Classmates, zero eulogies have been posted on and only general remembrances have been posted by volunteer groups on the VVMF website.

And so, I announce the first pre-50th Reunion activity available for participation. To participate, go to:

then click on a Classmate's name, click on "View or Post a Eulogy", and share your memories. Surely, each of us has a roommate, a Ranger buddy, or a company mate on the list (every cadet company is represented by at least two company mates). I will confess that I am at the top of the delinquent list for not having posted memories, but I have begun to rectify that.

If you post a eulogy to one of the twenty-five who we lost in Vietnam, then copy your posting and paste it as a remembrance at:

by entering the first and last names of a Classmate in the search fields (most can be found with relative ease with only first and last names), click "Submit", click "Profile" for the appropriate name, and then paste your memories.

A third website for the twenty-five lost in Vietnam, the Virtual Wall, can be visited by clicking the link on the memorial page on, but the remembrances portion of that website is undergoing a software upgrade and currently is not available for new postings. I have added my e-mail address to be notified when the upgrade is complete, and then I will notify the Class.

Let's strive for 100% participation in this activity.

Strength and Drive!
Tom Kovach

Thank you Tom for all you and Marilyn are doing for us.

Rest in Peace Doug Kline

This past Monday, November 26, 2012 services were held for our friend Doug Kline who passed away of a heart attack on November 20th. While quick to respond and take on the responsibility of POC (Point of Contact), Terry Ryan was unable to attend, due in part to ill health, but was able to take care of all the necessary details and asked Clair Gill to submit this report following the service:

Visitation (wake) was conducted at the funeral home with the lovely Diane, her sister and mother, and Doug's sister the primary next of kin. Doug's mother passed away in the last few years, and apparently raised her two children alone after the father died when Doug was ten. Classmates at the visitation: Tom Abraham, Don Rowe (up from Alabama), Joe Sanchez and myself.

Funeral was conducted by their local pastor in the funeral home. Classmates attending: Larry Neal, Don Rowe, Joe Sanchez and myself.

Shown here are the flowers provided by the Class – Note the Black, Gray, and Gold ribbon.

One of the eulogies that talked to much of Doug's professional life in and with the military (laser physics, SDI/Star Wars, etc.) was capably presented by LTG (US Army Ret'd) Malcolm O'Neill (non-grad YG '62) with whom Doug and Diane had both personal and professional contacts.

Graveside services and burial were done at a beautiful local cemetery outside of town. There were no gravestones and just a smattering of snow on a sun shining, but cool day (34 degrees). An Army Reserve contingent from Johnstown (458th Engr Bn) played Taps, fired rifle volleys, and rendered honors with the National Colors that covered Doug's casket. The soldiers looked sharp and did a very fine job; Taps was done as well as I have ever heard it played.

Thank you gentlemen for a difficult job, well done.

Rest in Peace Doug.

Services for Harry

Ray Hawkins has accepted the responsibility of being our POC (Point of Contact) for our dear friend Harry Dermody. He reports that Visitation will be from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Friday, November 30th. Mass will be at 12:30 PM on Saturday December 1st. There will be a reception following the mass in the church hall. Both the visitation and Mass will be at Our Mother of Sorrows Parish in Centreville, Maryland (303 Chesterfield Ave., Centreville, Maryland).

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, or Hospice of Queen Annes,

If you care to share your condolences with Kaye, she can be reached at or by phone at 410-758-4816. Also, Ray Hawkins can be reached at

Im told that Harry, in his inimitable way, actually planned many of the details of his passing to lighten the burden on his family. There will never be another quite like him. Here is a brief reminder of the Harry we got to know way back in the day.

Grip Hands my friends, we have lost a great man and dear friend.








The Passing of Doug Kline

As Im sure you are all aware by now, we have suffered another loss with the passing of our Classmate, Doug Kline. Terry Ryan was quick to step up and offer his services as our POC (Point of Contact) for the Class and has been in contact with Dougs widow, Diane Kline. While obviously, very difficult, she was able to share that Doug woke up with difficult breathing on Tuesday morning. While waiting for the emergency folks to arrive he succumbed to what was an apparent heart attack and could not be revived.

Services for Doug will be conducted at 10:00 AM, Monday, November 26, 2012 at the Hauger-Zeigler Funeral Home, 494 West Main Street, Somerset, PA 15501. Burial is expected to follow immediately after the service. Clair Gill has indicated that he will attend. Please join him if you can.

Should you choose to send flowers, use the Funeral Home address or if you prefer to make a donation, the family has asked that any donations be sent to St. Pauls United Church of Christ, 202 West Union, Somerset, PA 15501.

Diane can be reached with condolences at or use her home phone (540-869-0224) but be aware that she will be unable to answer for about a week.

If you want to communicate with Terry Ryan, he can be reached at or use his cell phone (703-973-8731).

Let me close with this reminder from our Howitzer of the great guy we remember from our earlier years of getting to know him.

Photo: Doug B-1

Douglas was the Academic Departments problem child and a regular at the area formation. He was the only man in the Corps with no shadow, having sweat same to the wall of Room 1524 at Ranger Dans bidding Subsisting for long interludes on coffee, Pall Malls and much bag, ouglas suffered as few of us have ever done, yet he seemed to soak up the troubles of others like some cosmological sponge. Whatever should we have done without him?

POINTER 4, 3; Ski Club 4; Cadet Chapel Choir 4, 2, 1;Cadet Band 4, 3; SCUSA 4, 3, 2, 1.

What a Great Reason for Gathering

This is something I really enjoy hearing about and sharing with everyone. When we gather in small groups we gain insight and appreciation for the uniqueness that we each bring to the party and our bond as an amazing Class is strengthened to our mutual benefit.

Here our Las Vegas Classmates gather to celebrate Veterans Day at McCormick & Schmicks. Around the table clockwise from left front: Marilyn O'Donnell, Tom Kovach, Vicky King, Jim Holmes, Marilyn Kovach, and Skip O'Donnell.

Thanks Jim for sharing this.

Vietnam War Commemoration

Clair Gill forwarded this message from the Public Affairs Officer of The United States of America, Vietnam War Commemoration, DOD Office of Commemorations (wow, thats a mouthful) along with the attached Newsletter . Please note that the attached newsletter contains a link to the 50 year (1962) anniversary of our engagement in the Vietnam. Clair feels, as I do, that many or most of us will find this emerging website full of memory–evoking thoughts.

Good Morning,

Please see the attached newsletter for the fourth quarter. As you will find, our Commemorative Partner Program has launched!

Eligible organizations within the United States and its territories may apply through the Commemorations website at by filling out and submitting an application and Statement of Understanding. Organizations must agree to conduct events that thank and honor Vietnam Veterans and their families and adhere to the Congressionally-mandated objectives of the Commemoration. Further details about the program can be found on the Commemoration website.

Your feedback is welcome as we continue to improve our website and newsletter.

You can also follow us on Twitter @VietnamWar50th and like us on Facebook /vietnamwar50th

Thank you for your support and interest in The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration.

Veteran, thank you for your service. I hope you and your family enjoy your Veterans Day!

Very Respectfully,
CPT Valerie Palacios
Public Affairs Officer
The United States of America
Vietnam War Commemoration
DoD Office of Commemorations
1101 Wilson Boulevard Suite 810
Arlington, VA 22209
Office: 703-697-4898
Cell: 703-409-7892

Thank you Clair.

The Passing of Linda Bangert

David Bangert has written a beautiful tribute to his wife, Linda. As I read through it, I couldnt help but remember when I met her and marveled at her warmth and joy while facing such difficult times. I chose to include the picture below (taken at the Arizona Gathering and Leadership Meeting just last April) because it captured some of her charm and that infectious smile. The guy with her is no slouch either. He has been incredibly strong and supportive as they fought this battle together. His message:

Linda would often say that she still has so much to do to make this world a better place. Such a mission spurred her on the 19-month journey to find the cure for pancreatic cancer which would lead to a center of healing. Now she had given as much as she could, met wonderful people in life, and enjoyed the most amazing things that the world could offer. She has accomplished so much, and yet wanted to do more. She has helped many people achieve their dreams and potential, yet there was always one more person she wanted to mentor, to befriend.

Wherever you may be in the world, there is a part of Linda in each us. She challenged us to be truly what we are meant to be - whole and happy. She introduced us to people who join her in bringing the best out of us.

Lindas energy left her body on Wednesday, November 07, 2012, but her spirit is with us all. She passed away not in a hospice or hospital, but in the home of beloved friends who feel honored to have her near to them. You, our friends are scattered all over the world. We want to remember Linda, not to mourn her passing, but to celebrate her life, her beautiful mind, her generous and kind deeds, and spirit.

Her celebration of life will be on Sunday, November 18. If you chose, on that day, take time and reflect on your time with Linda. Where ever you may be, please meditate, light a light -- a sparkler, launch a balloon, and remember Linda for a shared time that was filled with joy and meaning; or when she helped illuminate the way for you towards knowledge, growth, and loving yourself and others. You may write out your memory and send it to Linda in a flame. You may even put the message in a bottle and launch it in a waterway on that day. Or keep it between the pages of a favorite book to read again. Linda will be delighted by your creativity and free spirit!

Together, our collective conscience will celebrate having Linda as a precious friend, mentor, aunt, a sister, a wife, whom we dearly love because she first loved us.

In lieu of flowers or donation, do a good deed in Lindas name. Thank you for your support for the past 19 months.

Thank you David for sharing this tribute. We will all miss Linda greatly and wish you every comfort as you deal with your loss. David can be reached by e-mail at:

A Golden Eagle for Dan Christman

Our favorite Supe, Lt. Gen Dan Christman has been selected by the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) as a recipient of the prestigious Academy of Fellows Golden Eagle Award to be presented at a Black Tie Dinner at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, in Bethesda, Maryland on March 27th, 2013. See the attached article for the details of his selection.

This Dinner is a “members only” event. However, Bob Wolff, the Executive Director of SAME has made special arrangements to make it available to members of the Class of 1965 at the same $150 per person price paid by SAME Fellows. This event will be attended by a substantial number of engineer leaders from all of the military services as well as the Public Health Service and OSD. Registration will begin early in January on the SAME website ( Please share the word and put together some groups to attend and give Dan the support he so richly deserves.

Read the press release by clicking here .

Bob can be reached at 703-549-3800 Ext 110, or Cell at 703-795-8869, or e-mail at

Veterans Day 2012

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Jim Holmes suggested that I share this information with you all as we approach Veterans Day. Isnt it nice that things are so different now than they were back when most of us came home from Vietnam? One point regarding one two of the stores on the list, Lowes and Home Depot, they offer the 10% discount year round, not just on Veterans Day. Im sure there are others as well.

I hope many of you will have the opportunity to enjoy some of these very nice offers as we remember the sacrifices of all the veterans who have served our great Nation.


As Veterans Day 2012 approaches -- here are some of the restaurants and companies that offer Veterans Day discounts, deals and free meals as a thank you to our Veterans service to our country. Veterans Day is on Sunday, November 11th, but may be observed on Monday, November 12 by many.

Restaurants with Veterans Day Free Meals

Applebees Free Meal
Applebees is offering a free signature entree on Sunday November 11th, 2012 at participating locations. Choose from a 7-oz House Sirloin, Fiesta Lime Chicken, and a Bacon Cheeseburger. Beverages and gratuity not included. You must present valid Veterans form of identification.
Choose from Margarita Grilled Chicken, Chicken Club Tacos, Santa Fe Wrap, Old-time w/Cheese, Cobb Salad, and more. Beverages and gratuity not included.
Olive Garden
Choose from Seafood Alfredo; Chicken Parmigiana; Braised Beef & Tortellini; Cheese Ravioli; or Spaghetti & Meatballs.
Texas Roadhouse
Choose from Country Fried Chicken, Country Fried Sirloin, Cheeseburger, BBQ, Grilled Chicken Salad, and more. Dine in only.
Outback Steakhouse
Get a free Bloomin' Onion and beverage (non-alcoholic drinks only).
Get 10 free boneless or traditional style wings. Drink purchase required.
Dennys All You Can Eat Pancakes
Get all you can eat pancakes for all active duty military and veterans with a valid ID on Monday, November 12, 2012.
Golden Corral Free Meal
Get a Veterans Day free meal to any veteran who has served in the United States military or is a current active duty service member. All Golden Corral locations will be participating On Monday, November 12, 2012 from 4 PM to 9 PM. No identification is required to get your free Veterans Day meal.

Retail Stores with Veterans Day

Home Depot Veterans Day Discount
Every year on Veterans Day the Home Depot offers a 10% discount on Veterans day. Must present a valid military ID. Home Depot also offers this discount to Veterans on Memorial Day, Fourth of July,
Labor Day.
Lowes Veterans Day Discount
All Veterans receive a 10% discount on Veterans Day up to $5,000 on in-stock and special-order purchases. The offer cant be used online, on previous sales or on sales of services or gift cards. Must present a valid Veteran Identification Card (VIC), valid Form DD214 or other proof of service. Lowes also offers this Veterans discount on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

Other Discounts and Veterans Day Deals

Atlas Van Lines

Win a free iPad or donate $500 to the Wounded Warrior Project. Post a photo of an active or veteran military service man or woman on Atlas Van Lines Facebook page with a description of why they deserve to win. The photo with the most votes by 11:59 p.m. CST, Sunday, Nov. 11 wins.
Brides Across America Free Wedding Gown Events
From November 6th to November 24th Brides Across America is partnering with bridal salons to giveaway wedding dresses to qualified military brides. All military brides must pre-register online.
California Association of Bed and Breakfast Inns
Inns belonging to this association are offering military specials for Veterans Day on November 11, 2012 and some Inns are extending the special through the month of November or keeping year round. See the press release for more details.
National Parks Free Veterans Day Admission
Everybody gets free entrance to our National Parks Veterans Day weekend. Dates this year include November 10 – 12, 2012.

Companies that havent announced Veterans day specials but did so last year include 7-11,, Anheuser-Busch Parks, Kmart, Krispy Kreme, Little Caesars Pizza, Old Navy, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Sizzler, Sports Authority, Sports Clips, Subway Restaurants,

T.G.I. Fridays, and Walgreens.

****Be sure to bring proof of military service and call ahead to confirm****

Thank you Jim for sharing this information,

Some Great Memories

Tom Fergusson, while reading some of the comments on the Caring Bridge site for Jerry Ledzinski found this one written by Bob Guy which says a lot about our friend Jerry as a soldier, an Army Ranger, and a leader of men. Here are Bobs comments:


Reading sadly about your current medical challenges brought back to me some memories that perhaps you don't recall, but which have always been with me. Those memories go back to October through early December of 1965 while we were Ranger candidates in the U.S. Army Ranger School. On all the patrols that I can remember (and there were many), you always volunteered to be our point man, no matter how tired, hungry, or cold you may have been. It just seemed natural to look to the point and see you there, followed by Emery Pylant with his trusty compass, leading our patrols to the Ranger objective and the accomplishment of our mission. I don't think it's overstated to say that most of us probably owe our Ranger tabs to you because you were so instrumental in the successful accomplishment of all of our missions.

I remember during the Benning phase when you fell over that cliff, bouncing off the ground some 25 feet below, in darkness so black we could not see the man in front of us, and then us listening and hearing you say "I'm okay – – be careful guys there's a little drop-off here!" What an understatement! I also remember clearly, in early December, when we had just completed the toughest nine weeks of our lives, celebrating boisterously in the barracks at Fort Benning. Then we found you lying in your bunk with a raging fever and coughing your lungs out. We discovered that you had contracted pneumonia in the Florida phase, but continued to do your duty and kept silent about the pain and suffering you had to feel!

I've often thought about your example and the character you showed all of us during our time in Ranger school. No challenge too difficult, no objective too far---fight on to the Ranger objective! While you and I never had the opportunity to serve together later in the Army nor to cross paths since graduation, I want you to know that you've always been an inspiration to me and always will be. When I had rough times, and was in places I didn't want to be, when I was totally discouraged and wanted to quit, I thought of you and the example you set for all of us endeavoring to become U.S. Army Rangers in 1965. I'm proud to be your classmate!

Just wanted you to know – – God bless you!

Bob Guy
Class of 1965

Id like to add a little memory of my own (I have so few). I was in that same Ranger Class, however Im not sure it was that patrol that I was involved in when I had difficulty maintaining noise discipline while holding back my laughter. You may recall the line of candidates stumbling through pitch dark terrain with nothing to focus on but the twin tabs on the hat of the guy in front. Periodically we would hear the whispered warning that there was a rock or fallen tree in the trail to try to avoid. The warning could be heard being whispered from man to man down the line, “rock, rock, rock…” or “tree, tree, tree…” The one that caused me the problem followed a fairly long period of silence which was interrupted by an ear splitting scream and a crash and then the whispered warning, “cliff, cliff, cliff…”

Thank you, Bob, for a great tribute to our friend Jerry, and to you Tom for sharing it with us. Get well soon Jerry.

That's What I'm Talkin About!!!

Dominant is the word that comes to m'll leave the details to the likes of Gordy Larson but what I saw was magnificent on both sides of the ball. Wasnt it great to see the brass on the sidelines? That kind of support has to help.

Now lets watch the Black Nights carry this momentum into Philadelphia next month.

Well done guys that was pure Strength and Drive,

An S&D Love Story

My good friend Jay Vaughn responded to the message I sent regarding the memorial for wives who have passed with a terrific line “Our lives were made infinitely better because of these ladies” and he went on to share a love story about our Classmate, Doug Davis:

Doug and Bonnie met in Florida thanks to the persistence of Pat O'Connor's mother. Doug was visiting the O'Connors at Homestead AFB following graduation and was at loose ends because Pat was busy elsewhere. Mrs. O'Connor decided Doug needed female companionship to show him around. While she didn't know Bonnie at the time, she literally hounded this poor lady, then an instructor of Pan Am cabin attendants, to meet Doug. They met. They fell in love. Their whirlwind romance included a trip to West Point, walks on the streets of Manhattan, Thanksgiving dinner in Greenwich Village (hamburgers), an Army-Navy game, and strolling in the sand at Miami Beach. Storybook stuff, indeed.

After too short a time, Doug heads for Ranger School and assignment to the 25th Division in Hawaii. On his way home to Bisbee, AZ, he totals his brand new Mustang outside of Kerrville, TX. Bonnie flies out to be with him in the hospital. Doug recovers and heads for Hawaii. Bonnie later joins him in Hawaii just before his unit ships out for Vietnam in January 1966. They decide they will be married during Doug's R&R in Japan. This was their last time together.

Through letters, they plan their wedding. Bonnie literally has her wedding dress packed and ready to get on the plane when she learns that Doug has been killed in a firefight. She travels to Bisbee to support Doug's mother and brothers in their grief. Doug's siblings adopt Bonnie in as their sister. She met Doug's casket at the Benson train station and escorted him to Bisbee and then supported the family through the funeral, burial, and for several days after. Bonnie returns to visit Doug's grave every couple of years.

Bonnie says, "Throughout it all, Doug has been with me. I miss his smile. His confidence, his enthusiasm for life, his energy. I have often thought how lucky I am that he chose me to share those too few days so long ago. I love him to this day."

Life moved on for Bonnie. She married a former Marine Corp pilot who had left the military and began working for Pan Am. They were married for 32 years and are now divorced. She formed her own consulting business in 1976 and retired in 2007. She now lives on Whidbey Island in Washington state, where she enjoys walking, kayaking and working with Burnese Mountain Dog, especially her dog, Crackerjack. Bonnie has connected with our Washington-based classmate, Jim Airy and his wife, Ann. Jim was Doug's final roommate when Doug was the H-1 company commander in the spring of 1965. Bonnie is an honorary member of the 1965 H-1 gang.

I heard about the Bonnie and Doug story through noted mystery author, Judy A. Jance, who attended Bisbee High School at the same time as Doug, although a grade or two behind him. Judy was in Bisbee for a book signing when I asked her if she knew Doug. She stopped the book signing with a line of people stretching out the door and up the street to tell us about Doug and this story of his and Bonnie's romance. Bob and Cyndee Hill, at a later book signing, were also able to meet Judy when the same thing happened (Jance telling the Bonnie and Doug story). Thanks to Judy, we connected with Bonnie via email and eventually, Sharon and I met Bonnie for breakfast in Sierra Vista, AZ on one of her visits to Doug's grave-site. Incidentally, Bonnie tells me that Doug (Lennie) is a character in Jance's next novel that is due to be released this coming summer. Here are pictures of Doug and Bonnie in 1965, a recent picture of Bonnie with her new pursuit of kayaking and Doug's headstone.










An Update on Jerry Ledsinski

A very considerate Tom Fergusson has provided a comprehensive report on the status and recent circumstances of our friend Jerry Ledsinski. For those who may not want to read all the details, Tom has shared the gist of his report in the first paragraph with all the details you could want in the parts that follow. The bottom line is that Jerry and Martina Ledsinski are in dire need of our thoughts and prayers.

I have taken the time to write this because I wanted to give you and a few others the full story on our plans to take Jerry and Martina up to West Point for the Army – Air Force game this weekend and the fact that everything was a go until day before yesterday when Jerry and Martina visited one of his doctors and he had to immediately undergo a six hour blood transfusion. Very sad, but this is the reality of his fight with prostate cancer. That and everything else going on with Jerry wiped out our plans to take them up to West Point, but fortunately, their son, Justin, his wife, Elli, and their two sons, who live here in northern Virginia, decided to go anyway. Jerry and Martina urged them to do so. They will arrive at West Point this evening and will stay with Jeff and Amy Pickler on post. (Jeff, as you know, is aide to the Supe.)

Heres a more complete story of our plans for the Air Force weekend at West Point and what happened to wipe them out in the past 48 hours:

During one of my first conversations with Martina Ledzinski last month after Jerrys VA doctors in Pittsburgh told him he had Stage 4 prostate cancer that had metastasized, Martina asked me if I might be able to arrange a weekend visit to West Point on a football weekend, sooner rather than later. I was surprised and delighted that Jerry would be able to do something like this in his weakened condition and that he really wanted to make the trip up to West Point, especially with all of the medications he was and is taking including powerful painkillers, but Martina told me that this was something they both wanted to do and it would mean a lot to Jerry to make what could be his final visit to our alma mater. Jerry confirmed this 100% in my subsequent conversations with him.

After a quick look at Armys remaining home games this fall, I suggested that we go up to West Point for the Army – Air Force game over the weekend of 2 Nov. Jerry and Martina liked this idea and immediately gave me the green light to try to make it happen. We decided early on that Jerry and Martina would drive or fly over to Washington and spend a night with us at our home in Great Falls, VA before we drove up to West Point together the next day (Friday before the game). At the same time, the Ledzinskis younger son, Justin who also lives in northern Virginia and works at FBI HQ in DC, expressed a strong desire to take his wife and two sons (ages 4 and 7) up to West Point with us, assuming I could secure game tickets and lodging for all. I assume that I could, but the quality of tickets and lodging might not be so good!

Of course Jerry and Martina were thrilled that Justins family was going to be part of this, too. With wonderful assistance from a classmate, also a longtime close friend of Jerrys, we got excellent (40 yard line) tickets for the game even though we were starting very late in trying to get eight tickets together anywhere in Michie Stadium! This same classmate helped us secure reservations for the parade on the Plain tomorrow morning at 0900 (going to the parade was a special request from Martina) and passes for the pre-game tailgate in the Kimsey Club at Michie Stadium. Without timely assistance from this classmate, who wishes to remain anonymous, this would have been a far more difficult mission.

I also needed help to secure good lodging on or near West Point because again I was starting so late with the Air Force game only weeks away and everything already jam packed around there. Until a few days ago, we were going to stay up in Fishkill, NY across the Hudson from Newburgh, and that was OK, but then I received help from several key (active duty) players at West Point who understood Jerrys situation and went to bat for us, resulting in reservations at the Five Star Inn on post for Jerry and Martina and June and me. I never had to worry about lodging for Justin and his family because they were invited by their good friends, Jeff and Amy Pickler, to stay with them at their quarters on West Point. Justin and Jeff had served together in the 82nd and Justin (USMA 95), who had served with the 3rd Bn, 75th Rangers after the 82nd, had advised Jeff when the latter was working on a request for an assignment with the Rangers. (MAJ Jeff Pickler, son of John and Karen, is aide to LTG Dave Huntoon, the Supe.)

There was always some doubt about whether Jerry and Martina would be able to make this trip, as dynamic as Jerrys situation is, but even after Jerry received his long awaited biopsy results from the VA on Tue, 30 Oct, our trip to West Point this weekend was still a go according to everyone, most important Jerry. We were all very excited at the prospect of going until night before last when I learned during a phone call with Jerry and Martina that everything had changed during their visit to another of Jerrys doctors on Wed, 31 Oct. They were supposed to fly over to Washington Dulles yesterday.

You will understand why Jerry and Martina decided they had to cancel our West Point trip this weekend when you read (below) the two most recent entries to the Ledzinskis Caring Bridge website, established by Jerry II (Jerry, Jr.) to keep the Ledzinski family and friends informed about Jerrys condition. These entries were posted in the “Journal” by Jerry II on 31 October and 1 November. I have pasted them in here because I realize that some of our classmates may not be checking Caring Bridge site frequently (or at all) and may not be aware of these developments.

Once again, here is the link to the Ledzinskis Caring Bridge website: for those who want to use it.

Strength and Drive!


Biopsy Results Written Oct 31, 2012 by Jerry Ledzinski II

I spoke briefly with my mom yesterday to get the results from the appointment at Pittsburgh VA hospital with doctor (to review biopsy results, etc.) Confirmed dad has stage IV cancer and it has metastasized. As expected, he received a hormone shot which is expected to quickly bring down his elevated PSA level. He will receive this shot once every 6 months and will be taking medication (oral) in conjunction with this effort. Also discussed was that going forward he will be treated by a physician in Steubenville, OH which is much more convenient to where my parents live. He will be having regular appointments and start very soon getting regular blood tests to check PSA level, etc. Today he has another appointment regarding treatment & prognosis. Will keep you all posted. Please keep the posts coming as mom has enjoyed hearing from everyone (yes, she is getting on the computer regularly) --- all your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated! Jerry II

Blood transfusion complete Written Nov 1, 2012 by Jerry Ledzinski II

When Dad went in for his appointment with the doctor yesterday, the doctor said he looked "anemic" and wanted him to have a blood transfusion this morning at 11 am. The combination of the transfusion + hormone shot + medicine is going to make him feel worse in the short-term. For that reason, the doctor recommended that Dad not travel thru the end of the year - unfortunately this means Dad (and Mom) will not be going to the game this weekend at West Point (with Justin and Elli) nor will they be able to join Dolly and me for Thanksgiving in California. We are all planning to be in WVA for Christmas. Dad got the blood transfusion today and is in some pain, but was already looking better right after it was completed (6+ hours). His face was looking flush vs pale and his hands were warm (he has been complaining about being cold quite a bit and I imagine the blood transfusion would help with this too) - all good news. I am headed to WVA on Sunday and will have more updates during the week I am there. Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers. Jerry II

Thank you Tom for this update.

Bad News - Good News

Keyes Hudson sent along this report on the health of his good friend Frank Prokop. While naturally a great concern, it is also good to hear that things are going well with the treatment. Keyes comments:

My old C-1 buddy and former Dallas neighbor, Frank Prokop has always been determined to take care of his own health. He was still playing soccer in outdoor and indoor leagues in Dallas, but -- feeling listless and rundown -- agreed to his wife Dorma's insistence that he go in for his first checkup in over 10 years. One exam led to another and an enlarged lymph node near his navel turned out to be follicular lymphoma cancer. He was initially determined to stick to holistic healing, but when his weight and stamina continued to fall he again took Dorma's advice and went back to an oncologist. He started his first two day round of chemo on 30 September. If you know Frank, you won't be surprised that he insists on driving himself to his treatments. His second round was Wednesday-Thursday of this week and I spoke with him this morning around 0900. He had just come in from working in his yard and was about to have breakfast. He feels better every day and has had no nausea or other side effects from the chemo. All indications say that he's beating it, and he is very positively disposed to do so -- and get back to playing soccer ASAP.

His email is and he would be happy to hear from classmates.

Your Classmate,

Thank you Keyes for sharing that.

Sandy Hits Hogwarts on the Hudson

I thought some of you might have wondered, as I did, how Sandy impacted our favorite Rockbound Highland Home. The young lady (Laura Mayer) who does such a great job of posting to our Class Notes all the things I share with you, was kind enough to find this link to a dozen pictures taken at and around the Point.

A Great Idea

What a terrific idea! As a result of the most recent 50th Reunion update shared by Tom Kovach, he received this idea from Emery Chase. Isnt it great when our system works so well to benefit all of us?


As feedback on the latest Reunion Update which was distributed a few days ago, Emery Chase sent a very thoughtful suggestion in regards to our Memorial Service. We traditionally honor our deceased classmates with a roll call of names. Emery has suggested that we also remember, in some manner, the deceased spouses/widows of our classmates. I think this is very fitting since I believe that we all consider our better halves to be part of the Class.

Through the years, the list of deceased classmates has been readily available. Unfortunately, I am not aware of a similar list of deceased spouses/widows, so I have attempted to create one. The following is my list - generally in order of date of death:

Joan C. Menninger (Ed) - 1968
Geraldine W. Munson (Mert) -
Peggy Miller Alger (John) -
Maria L. Cooley (Jack) - October 31, 2002
Cathleen Anne Metzner (Ladd) - January 9, 2011
Marie Barnhart Hudson (Mike) - June 9, 2011
Ann Elizabeth Konermann (Larry) - September 23, 2011
Mary Kathleen Leary (Rich) - November 6, 2011
Doris Jurgens Kennedy (Leo) - March 17, 2012
Lynne Momcilovich (Mike) Delany - June 22, 2012
Georgia Ann Munson (Mert) - August 30, 2012
Barbara A. Anderson (Bob) - September 30, 2012
Maureen Frances De Vitto (John) - October 2, 2012

I will work on filling in the remainder of the dates of death. If there are other spouses/widows to be included in the list, please e-mail me at Many thanks.

Grip Hands!
Tom Kovach

Thank you Emery and thank you Tom for running with it.

Strength and Drive at the Beach

0ne of my favorite stories to share is when our Classmates get together in small gatherings to just enjoy each others company. Here we have Bob and Betty Selkis, Faye Hayes and Bob Radcliffe, and Barry and Linda Zais visiting Steve and Wanda Darrah at the Darrahs beach house on the Outer Banks in North Carolina a few weeks ago (fortunately, way before Sandys arrival).

First the guys, L to R, Bob Selkis, Bob Radcliffe, Barry Zais, and Steve Darrah. Then the lovely ladies, L to R, Betty Selkis, Faye Hayes Radcliffe, Wanda Darrah, and Linda Zais .

Now lets mix them up a little. (Photo Left)L to R, front: Faye Hayes Radcliffe, Betty Selkis, Linda Zais, and Wanda Darrah with Bob Selkis (trying to hide behind Faye), Bob Radcliffe, and Barry Zais in the Back Row. And finally, (Photo Right)in the front: Faye Hayes Radcliffe, Betty Selkis, Linda Zais, and Steve Darrah and in the back: Bob Selkis (still trying to hide), Bob Radcliffe, and Barry Zais. So, did I get all that right?

Thanks Steve for sharing all these great photos.





Another 50th Reunion Update

Here is another great update regarding out 50th Reunion. Tom and Marilyn have been working very hard to make sure they address all our needs and desires for this most important reunion. If you have any ideas or suggestions please make sure you get them Tom and Marilyn just as soon as you can.

To the West Point Class of 1965:

Time for another update on the preparations for our 50th Reunion in May 2015.

We will headquarter and lodge at the Westchester Marriott Hotel in Tarrytown, NY. A block of 350 rooms for Sunday/Monday/Tuesday nights, 17-19 May 2015, has been negotiated at a rate of $149 (plus applicable taxes) per night - single or double occupancy. In addition, a block of 70 rooms will be available for Saturday night, 16 May 2015, at the same rate for early arrivals (Reunion Committee as necessary, golfers, etc.). Please do not attempt to book your rooms at this time as the hotel will not accept reservations until approximately one year in advance. We will send a notice with booking instructions which will include an online reservation capability.

Five other Classes will hold their Reunions in the same Alumni Exercises timeframe of Graduation Week in May 2015. We will have to await the allocation of venues/times in order to firm up our Reunion schedule. The allocation will occur within one year of Reunion and will be accomplished by Class seniority (we will be the junior Class and the largest Class - the latter should give us special consideration in the allocation process). And the 17-20 May 2015 dates are still subject to change as announced in an earlier Reunion update. With those caveats, the following is a tentative schedule of our Reunion events:

Sunday, 17 May 2015

1400 - 2100 Reunion Registration at Westchester Marriott
1800 - 2030 Welcome Buffet Dinner at Westchester Marriott

Monday, 18 May 2015

0630 - 0800 Continental Breakfast at Westchester Marriott
0800 - 0830 Buses depart for West Point
1000 - 1045 Memorial Service at Cadet Chapel
1100 - 1145 Visit to Post Cemetery
1200 - 1315 Lunch at Eisenhower Hall Ballroom or Cafe
1330 - 1430 Academy & WPAOG Briefing at Eisenhower Hall Theatre
1445 - 1545 Class Meeting at Eisenhower Hall Theatre
1545 - 1615 Buses depart for Westchester Marriott
1800 - 2300 Dinner/Dance at Westchester Marriott

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

0630 - 0800 Continental Breakfast at Westchester Marriott
0800 - 0830 Buses depart for West Point
1000 - 1100 Alumni Exercises on The Plain
1100 - 1200 Cadet Review on The Plain
1215 - 1345 Alumni Luncheon at Washington Hall (Cadet Mess)
1345 - 1415 Walk to Arvin Gym - visit Arvin Alcove
1415 - 1600 Free Time with some bus transportation - visit Jefferson Hall, Cadet Store, Herbert Hall, West Point Museum, etc. - or return to Westchester Marriott
1600 - 1615 Last buses depart from Arvin Gym/Herbert Hall/West Point Museum for Westchester Marriott
1800 - 2300 Farewell Dinner at Westchester Marriott

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

0700 - 0930 Continental Breakfast at Westchester Marriott

Additionally, an optional golf outing and possibly an optional tennis outing will be held on either Saturday, 16 May 2015, or Sunday, 17 May 2015.

The next general Reunion update probably will not occur until we are much closer to Reunion. In the meantime, the Reunion Committee will be working on the details of the various events.

If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail us at

Strength and Drive!
Tom & Marilyn Kovach
50th Reunion Committee

Thank you Tom and Marilyn for all you are doing for us.

Edd Luttengerger's Story

I received a very nice response to my offer to share the stories of folks who, for whatever reason, were unable to graduate with us. Here is the Edd Luttenbergers story:

After reading Eddy and Franks accounts, I felt I had to write as well. Even though I left the Academy in February 1963 - “found” in History - the Academy, and the Class of 65 never left me.

C-1 may have been a hard luck company, as fully 1/3 of the companys plebe class never made it through yearling year. A combination of academics and evaluations took its toll on our group.

After leaving, I spent the next almost two years helping my family manage a business they bought shortly after my return home, and trying to go back to school while working 80-100 hours a week. Even West Point had not prepared me for that.

In January of 1965, I enlisted in the Army and after basic and AIT, spent 2-1/2 years at Fort Polk, processing new soldiers into the Army. I married in July of 1966, and were still together after more than 46 years, with one daughter, 45.

In September 1967, I re-enlisted for 6 years, and shortly thereafter received orders for Vietnam. I arrived in country in early December and was assigned to the AG section of Headquarters MACV as a Billeting NCO. My job was running a transient hotel for MACV personnel and securing hotel accommodations for personnel permanently assigned to the Saigon area. During my tour, I ran into an old friend, Carl Letterie, who was passing through, and another classmate I hadnt previously known. John Swensson was in country for a second tour, having branch transferred to AGC, and was also assigned to the AG section. For me this turned out to be a life changing experience.

At the time I was a Staff Sergeant, with aspirations of someday becoming a Warrant Officer. John convinced me I should apply for a direct commission. I did, and went through the interview process while still in Vietnam, and then rotated home shortly thereafter, not giving it much more thought.

In February 1969, while assigned to the Overseas Replacement Station at Oakland Army Base, processing Congressional inquiries, I received a call from DA asking if I still wanted to be a Second Lieutenant. A month later, I came to work as a Staff Sergeant, and left an hour later as a new Infantry 2LT, on my way to Fort Benning for Officer Basic, where Im proud to say that I graduated 3rd in my class, an Honor Graduate. I credit that to my time at West Point.

While at Benning, I took my flight physical, in anticipation of going to flight school. After serving as Training Officer in a Basic Training Company at Fort Jackson for two cycles, I received my order to flight school, and headed to Fort Wolters in November 1969. After graduating from flight school, I received a transition into Chinooks, and returned to Vietnam at the beginning of November to spend the next 10-1/2 months with the 242nd Assault Support Helicopter Company out of Phu Loi, covering virtually all of III Corps and parts of Cambodia. Eventually becoming the Operations Officer for the company, I helped deactivate the unit in Vietnam before returning to the States.

I spent the next year at Fort Lewis with the 15th Support Brigade, first as Assistant Personnel Officer for the Brigade, and then as Commandant of the Brigades Basic Leadership School. At that point, another opportunity opened to me that I couldnt pass up. A Chinook unit, the 243rd ASHC, was forming at Fort Lewis, and I was selected as the Operations Officer for the company. In July 1973, while on a ferry flight bringing two Chinooks back from New Cumberland Army Depot, I was informed that I had made the RIF list, and would be separated in 90 days after my return to Fort Lewis. Given a choice between reverting to my former enlisted rank or being discharged, I chose the latter, and spent my last three months in the Army working as an Intern for the Airport Manager at Boeing Field in Seattle, where I wrote the Operations Manual for the Airport.

Following the Army, I went to work for Peterbilt Motors Company in Newark, California, and spent the next thirty-three years in their employ in various managerial positions in Engineering, Training, Manufacturing, Marketing, and Sales, and a three year stint with our parent company, PACCAR, on a software development project.

The company moved from California to Texas in 1993, and shortly after settling here, a local chapter of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association was formed. Being a member of the national organization, I joined the local chapter, and very shortly became part of the historical committee – ironic, I know. That committee rapidly morphed into The National Vietnam War Museum project, and the committee members became the founding Board of Directors. Ive served on the Board since its inception, and just completed my third non-consecutive term as Board President. Ive also served as the Communications Director for the last ten years. The museum is a $25 - $40 million dollar project, and while we have a very long way to go, everyone associated with it is committed to seeing it accomplished in our lifetime. If anyone is interested in more about the museum our website is

Anyway, Ive rambled on here forever, and I just want to say that I am proud to have been a member of the Class of 65, even though I didnt get the opportunity to finish with you. Never before, or since, have I felt as close a bond as I had with my classmates, and I hope to be able to make it to the 50th and reunite with some old friends and comrades.

Edward T. “Edd” Luttenberger

Thank you Edd, its fun to follow your path through the military. I could not agree more about the strength of the bond shared by all of us. Hope to see you at the 50th.

Remembering Jack Cooley

Paul Schultz had an interesting request. He learned that Jack Cooleys daughter (we lost Jack back in 2009) is planning to travel to Vietnam soon. She asked if Paul knew or could obtain the geographical name of where Jack was assigned in RVN. Jack was with HQ 53rd Arty Group RVN from 1967 to 1968.

If anyone has information regarding Jack and his time in Vietnam please share it with Paul. Additionally, if you have anything that he could use as he prepares the Memorial Article, please provide that as well.

Paul Schultz

Frank Birdsong's Story

Following my recent report on Eddy Dye I learned of three other gentlemen who Bob Doughty had been working with and offered to share their story if they chose. One of them, Frank Birdsong shared this very telling message with all of us:

Thanks for reaching out to those of us who were not able to graduate with the rest of our class of 1965. I have become an ardent fan of the class' forum emails ever since Denny Coll invited me back into the fold back in the days of the Katrina disaster in New Orleans and its surrounds. Last year I did send Bob Doughty a synopsis of "life after being found." I've been privileged to correspond a few times here and there over the past few years with other classmates. In every instance of such contact I have felt honored by the respect and acceptance I was offered. I was touched as I read Eddie Dye's own statement to the same effect when he said:" I was taken back, for I had no idea that you would even entertain any association, much less what I was granted." I cannot improve on his statement to describe my own reaction to Denny's overture and to the class' response to me after 5 intervening decades. West Point has shaped my whole life, significantly. I've never been able to share that with classmates before. You don't have to have graduated or to have been career military to have been so shaped. And I believe that only those who have experienced the Point can understand that shaping.

Last year, here in Virginia, I participated in the class support of Frank O'Brien in his final few days and in gripping hands at Arlington Cemetery to see him off for the last time. It was the first time in 50 years that I had stood amongst classmates from West Point. Songs from our cadet days were sung so beautifully and so movingly by glee club grads honoring Frank. Their singing in the church brought tears to every eye. Mine gushed. It was a very moving experience for me.

In the past several days I read with some chagrin that my status in the class is at question. Then Eddie Dye beat me to the punch with his question, "In all I in or out?" You see, up until Frank O'Brien's funeral I had thought that I was a classmate, albeit not a graduate. This had been fully endorsed by the several classmates with whom I had reconnected and been in touch. Then as I was standing before and greeting Ric Shinseki across from our class flag there at that sad event, it was clarified, by another classmate to Ric and to all who could hear that I am actually "just" an associate classmate. I felt I was being upbraided for daring to presume ... etc., etc. Intellectually, I accepted the reclassification as I am fully aware of and sensitive to the fact that I did not go the whole way with the class. I cannot and will never be able to share with you that aspect of the class bond. That said, it was a bit of a letdown, given the recent, warm and encouraging overtures of so many others to be labeled as "just an associate." For a while I even quit reading the forum emails. But after a while I picked it up again. Now comes this discussion of honorarias, associates, and finally Gordy's new 'adjunct' category which, by the way, actually gave me a huge grin. It appeared, according to some accounts on the forum, that we who did not graduate are not even 'associate' classmates. It all leaves me wondering, for sure.

Regardless of how all this shakes out in the debates amongst those of you who do share the full version of the class bond, I am proud as hell of at least having been a classmate of the wonderful men of '65 Strength and Drive for 19 months, 4 days and 8 hours, whether I still am one or not. None of you can diminish that honor. And, yes, it stands as a huge honor. It shaped my life. I am proud of it.

And I am immensely grateful for it.

Strength and Drive,
Frank Birdsong
USMA 1965
B2 (1961, '62, '63)
Alexandria, Virginia
Engineering Fellow
Raytheon Company

Let me say that I fully support Dennys actions with regard to making these gentlemen feel welcome as one of us and, while I respect each S&Ders right to his own opinion, I hope this message will help us all see the situation from a different perspective. After all, these gentlemen shared with all of us the life changing impact that only an institution such as West Point could have on an individual. In that regard we are all brothers and I am proud to consider Frank as one of us.

By the way, the roster provided at the 45th reunion identifies 24 gentlemen (3 of whom have passed) in that category. I hereby invite any of you to share your story with us (preferably with a photo). This is not intended to generate a discussion (Ill leave that to the forum) but just to keep us informed.

An Update on Linda Bangert

David Bangert has provided the following update on the condition of his beautiful wife Linda. I went back to the Arizona Gathering and Leadership Meeting last spring to find a picture of them at a happier time. Here is Davids report:

Lindas supporters

Linda is getting quite weak. She is anxious and loses focus often.

She is getting strong meds to help combat pain, nausea and anxiety.

She is not eating; drinking very little. Wednesday (Oct 10), she was admitted to the hospital for severe pain, probably from constipation.

She was released Monday after the constipation was overcome. Since arriving home, she has slept. It became obvious that she lacked the strength to continue cancer treatments. On this Wednesday, I put her on home hospice. The Pans are very supportive; Samantha (her niece) visited from Wisconsin; Bee Leng Chua is here for two weeks; and supporters in the DC area are stopping by.

Mellow is still with us. She also is on pain meds. The tumor in her front leg has become large, and she does not put weight on it. She still wants to greet visitors, take car rides and eat. She senses that Linda is quite sick and has her tail between her legs when in Lindas room.

A quick recap of our time in Virginia.

We arrived in mid-June and were welcomed by the Pan family. They have provided for us a wonderful, supportive place to stay. We started immediately with the protocol of the Natural Horizons Wellness Center which is based on the same theory as the clinic in Phoenix. Its execution seems more science based. The tumor and associated cancer activity was measured when we started and after 10 chemo treatments, the tumor and activity was measured again. The tumor grew slightly and the activity increased slightly. This was a big disappointment.

Linda planned to attend a womens conference in Maryland the weekend after the test results (to celebrate?). She went there with our friend Jane, but never left bed. When she came back, she did not eat or drink and was in bed most of the time. Then she entered the hospital on the 10th.

Sorry for the sad news.


David C Bangert

Now would be great time to reach out to David and share with him some of the great Class support which can be so helpful in difficult times.

Eddy Dye's Story

As I followed the discussion in the “Forum” regarding the definitions and appropriateness of the terms Honorary and Associate members of our Class, I couldnt help but be amused when Gordy Larson asked if he should take our Class Crest off the service vest that his dog, “Major” wears. I found Jim McElieces reply to that question to be humorous if not appropriate, he said, “Gordy, dont you dare. If we have to choose between you or Major, youre out”. This led Eddy Dye to ask, “In all I in or out? - I got worried when I saw that there was debate about a dog”. The response to that question seems to be an overwhelming support for Eddy as one of us. His comments which followed caught my eye as something I wanted to share with the entire Class (not just those who follow the forum), so I asked Eddy for a little more to help those, like me, who have a difficult time remembering the rest of the story. Here are Eddys first comments:

On a serious note, for years I have observed a group of young men honor a commitment made on the Plain on a hot July day years ago. I have seen some of those men join the ghostly assemblage years before their time. Others approach old age with a grace borne of fire. For the short time I was numbered among you, and throughout my lifetime, I have been privileged to say that I was a part of that honorable group. Your acceptance of me has been gracious beyond anything I would have ever expected. When Denny Coll suggested I join the AOG I was taken back, for I had no idea that you would even entertain any association, much less what I was granted. Recently I was able to correspond with Ladd Metzner's daughter, and tell her some things she did not know about her dad. Years ago I found George Menninger's son and relayed that information to Denny. Yesterday my eyes filled with tears as I read and thought all afternoon about a Beast Barracks classmate, one who played that Communist game (soccer), one from old 6th Co who shared a table with me, one who took the heat off me more times than he should have because he could not quit everything....thank you Gene Farmelo !!! And thank you Class of '65.

S&D, Eddy

When I asked for a brief summary of his history since the Academy, Eddy provided the following along with this great photo of him and his wife Kathy (taken in the Paha Sapa {Black of South Dakota} about a month before Eddy fell and broke his back):

I left the Academy in January 1963. When I left I was beginning to have back problems, from which I suffer to this day. I graduated from Memphis State University and then went to dental school at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. I was in private practice in Memphis and Townsend for a total of 34 years. Married to my wife Kathy and we have two sons and a daughter. The two sons are both lawyers and the daughter is a surgical tech. We also have five grandchildren....and like many of you wish they had come first !!! In the summer of 2007 Kathy and I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. While there I honestly felt the Lord impress upon me to sell my practice and serve Him during the time I have left. Twenty-five years before we had volunteered on a Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I never got it out of my system. Every two to four years, for twenty years, I would call the reservation to see how the clinic and folks I knew were doing. But Kathy absolutely refused to go there....until that day in the fall of 2007 when the Lakota asked me to come back. I hung up the phone and Kathy said, "Let's go" !!! We moved to the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, lived in a ghetto, stayed four years and loved it. During that time I served as the Chief Dental Officer and interim pastor of the First Baptist Church of Eagle Butte. While there I broke my back and lost the ability to stand and walk. Fortunately surgery was able to restore most function, though I have severe foot flop. I permanently retired from dentistry and recently started another career teaching Anatomy and Physiology at two local colleges. To this day I stand amazed at the impact that West Point had upon my life. Words and phrases like "harder right, rather than the easier wrong" and "hatred of hypocrisy and pretense" seem to have found fertile soil in my spirit, and while I would like to say that I lived up to those words and others that at I learned at West Point, I have to admit to feet of clay. Always I cherish the memories and challenges West Point presented. To be associated with you after all these years is truly a blessing. The Class of 65 will always have my respect.


I wont attempt to speak for all of you, but for my part, Im proud to consider Eddy Dye and his beautiful wife Kathy as members of this truly remarkable Class.

Classmates Traveling Together

Preston Hughes was kind enough to send me this great photo and brief note about Classmates traveling together. In this case we have a pair of Prestons and a Larry with their beautiful ladies in Turkey. Preston's comments:

Attached is a photo taken in late September 2012, at an archeological site (Gobekli Tepe) in southern Turkey. (For more info on Gobekli Tepe, see June 2011 issue of Nat'l Geographic.)

From left to right: Preston & Sandy Motes, Preston & Ann Hughes, and Larry and Becky Isakson.

Preston also asked for instruction on how to access the Class Notes on line. I decided to share it here because I do get this question frequently. While the notes are available in several locations, I find that the most recent postings can be found at the AOG Website ( Click on “Read Class Notes” and then choose the 1965 button. Please remember you must be logged into the WPAOG site to access Class Notes. As I share messages with the Class, a representative of the AOG posts them to this list within a day or two.

A Visit with Gene Farmelo

Fred Lauglin sent me this terrific report on his and Terry Ryans recent visit to Gene Farmelo in Sperryville, VA. It looks like a good time with longtime friends. Fred wrote:

Last week Terry Ryan and I drove to Sperryville, VA to visit Gene Farmelo and his lovely wife Bev. For the past few years, Gene has been battling Parkinson's disease, which has left him confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak. The Farmelo's live in a beautiful house on a hill outside Sperryville. Several days a week, they receive help from Henrietta, a caregiver they call Henry, who along with Bev gives Gene excellent care. Terry and I spent a couple of hours with Gene, Bev, and Henry getting caught up with our respective families and reliving our times in I-2 -- at least as much as our memories would allow. Although Gene has difficulty communicating, he has no trouble tracking the conversation. Terry brought his iPad with a special application that allows the user to "speak" by spelling out words or tapping an icon with a particular phrase. We spent some time working with the app and later Bev was able to put it on her iPad. She says that the app has improved Gene's ability to communicate.

Here is a photo of Terry, Gene, and me in Gene's family room after working with the iPad app. Terry and I ask not to be reminded that Gene is the youngest looking in the photo. For those of you who have the same problem I have with recognizing old friends, thats Fred on the left, Terry in the middle and Gene seated.

Terry and I, and I'm sure those who knew Gene, remember his infectious sense of humor. Although he doesn't have a voice now, his eyes reveal he has lost none of his keen wit and personality. I'm sure he would love to hear from classmates. Because he has trouble typing, however, those sending him greetings should not expect a reply. The Farmelos contact data are below:

Bev's email:
Gene's email:
Home telephone: 540-987-8383

It was a delightful visit with a warm and wonderful guy.

Fredric Laughlin
H: 623-670-7966
C: 301-520-8594

Thanks to Fred and Terry for making the visit happen and to Fred for a great report.

Jack Back in the Saddle

Bob Bradley included me in the list of addressees of several messages that were being bounced around to share this great photo (Right) and a few comments about it. Now that looks to me like real focus. Jack Terry ready to take on all comers with his jeep mounted 30 Cal.

Andy Matura is a VA volunteer who usually visits with Jack Terry at least twice a week. He writes:

My neighbor spends his time in retirement by refurbishing WWII Jeeps and arming them to the teeth. If the US had armed its Jeeps the way my neighbor does, the War would have been over in 1944 instead of 1945. Jack Terry came over to check it all out, go for a ride, and even got to squeeze off a burst of six (blanks of course). All the neighborhood guys came over for a meet-and-greet with Jack and Susan, and a good time was had by all. ".....but you can't take the West Point Airborne Ranger Combat Infantry Captain out of the Man."


Tom Abraham added:

Jack, you old scoundrel. Better stick to arm wrestling. Machine gunning can get hairy, if you know what I mean. Awesome picture though.
Your old roomy, Abe

When I called Abe to request more details he sent me this:

I will be out to Phoenix sometime in the near future to visit the family of my recently deceased uncle and will get in touch with you '65'ers in the area. I told you how much we appreciated the assistance of the VA that was able, within hours, to find the Army records of my deceased Uncle whom I was told was in the Navy and who had changed his name sometime between high school and serving in WWII (the way many first generation Americans did in those days). My uncle's wish was to be buried in the VA cemetery even though he had paid for a commercial plot. The VA was able to make that happen for him. My cousin and our entire family could not have been more impressed with the VA and its representatives for the way they provided support at this very difficult time.

I have also been equally impressed with all of the VA staff I have run into in the Pittsburgh area with their politeness, professionalism, and their sincere desire to be helpful.

Tom Abraham

What a great photo and impressive report on the VA. Thank you all for sharing these stories. The VA seems to be doing outstanding work in many areas in the true tradition of Strength and Drive.

The Celebration of the Life of Barbara Anderson

Dave Hopkins shared this very nice report following the services for Bob Andersons dear wife Barbara. He also provided several photos which makes it easier for us to get a feel for what it was like to be there.

The primary celebration of Barbaras life had already occurred on October 3 at St. Pauls Episcopal Church in Burlingame, CA, attended by family, classmates, and many friends. The celebration at West Point on Oct. 9 was attended by family, friends and classmates from the East Coast. Heaven smiled on the weather that morning. As we gathered at Hogans Funeral Home in Highland Falls on a slightly chilly but beautiful morning, in bright sunlight at that moment, one cluster of attendees noted that the night before, had been predicting a 40% chance of rain and cloudy all morning, but at dawn on Tue the site was showing 0 or 10%.

Here we see the Chaplain shaking hands with Bob after the graveside service (Photo Left), and then a gathering in General Pattons Tavern in the Thayer Hotel after the memorial service. (Photo Right) Left to right are: Dave Hopkins, Gene Manghi, Bob Anderson, and Bob and Mary Frank.

Coincidentally, a total of 65 family members, friends, and Classmates joined Bob to celebrate Barbaras life – including Bob & Mary Frank, Gene Manghi, and Dave Hopkins. During the celebration in the Old Cadet Chapel, Bob spoke about meeting his sweetheart Barbara at Grant Hall 51 years ago, on a blind double date, for which he had been paired with the much taller of the two girls. The four agreed they would switch dates so theyd be more closely matched in height, and that eventually led Bob and Barbara to “a marriage made in heaven.” We heard accounts from Bob, Bob and Barbaras son David and daughter Cheryl, Barbaras brother Robert Nase, and others about Barbaras being a wonderful wife and mother, compassionate nurse, and wonderful friend who would light up a room just by being in it. We heard of her desire, when she was young, to become a nurse and to serve as a missionary. And we heard of her unselfish life of service in the former role and her five years in the latter role when she and Bob spent five years in Cameroon, as medical missionaries for the Evangelical Lutheran Church, in service for their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Following the service in the Old Cadet Chapel, the crowd proceeded to the burial site, where Bob and Mary Frank had earlier positioned the Class of 1965 flag. After a brief service commending Barbara to God, the group made its way to the Hotel Thayers General Patton Tavern for libations, and then to the Thayers General MacArthur Restaurant for a delicious buffet lunch.

Bob Frank wanted to share some special thoughts regarding the use of our Class Flag as was done on this occasion. Here (Photo Left we see our class of 1965 flag, Dave Hopkins, Bob Anderson, Bob Frank and Gene Manghi (with his eyes closed but, he felt, looking better than the other similar shot taken at the same time). And here are Bobs comments:

"Many years back, when Joe Sanchez was explaining to me why we should invest in a Class flag, I could not fully understand his explanation. This Tuesday, it all became clear at Barbara Anderson's funeral. Bob had planned a family event at the West Point cemetery. When he got to the Old Cadet Chapel, he was surprised to see Dave Hopkins, Gene Manghi, Mary Frank and me. It was a comfort to have Classmates enfold him. When we all went graveside, Bob was truly overwhelmed at the sight of the Class flag - a clear manifestation of our bonds and concern for one another. It was at that moment that I understood what Joe Sanchez had tried to tell me.

"Having carried the flag at Jim Hall's funeral and seen the flag at other events, I know how much it conveys by its presence. My hope is that all our Classmates (and their family members) understand it is available to grace other important events in the life of our Class. It certainly inspires me when I see it at events, whether sad or happy. I also saw the inspiring effect at Camp Buckner when Clair and Buddy gave the Class of 2015 its flag. The pride of our Affiliation Class was evident as they ran back to main post the next day, carrying the flag the whole way.


Thank you to all who submitted information and photos to make this report complete.

Some Very Disturbing News

Im sorry to, once again, have to share some very unpleasant news. Tom Fergusson sent me a very comprehensive report regarding the health of our friend Jerry Ledzinski. I followed the included link to the Caring Bridge Web Page and extracted two photos of Jerry and his family. Here is Toms report:

Last week, I was stunned and tremendously saddened to receive an email from Jerry and Martina Ledzinski's older son, Jerry II, with the news that Jerry, a plebe year roommate in L-2 and a wonderful friend over the 50 years since, had been diagnosed by VA doctors in Pittsburgh with Stage 4 prostate cancer. Jerry is scheduled for a biopsy on 24 October so his doctors can provide a more precise diagnosis of exactly what is going on and what the outlook is for Jerry now and in the months ahead. Naturally, the family has asked the VA to move this date forward if possible and they are working on it.

At some point after Jerry and Martina moved back to Martina's hometown of Weirton, West Virginia (located just west of Pittsburgh near the West Virginia-Ohio border) from their longtime home in Carmel, California in the fall of 2008, Jerry was diagnosed with Vietnam-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related health issues (severe depression, loss of weight, lack of energy, etc.) by VA doctors in Pittsburgh. Since then he has received excellent treatment from a VA team of health care professionals, usually as an out-patient at VA facilities in Pittsburgh and on several occasions when he needed more help, as an in-patient. Needless to say, Jerry and Martina have been through a great deal over the past four years, but they have been very reluctant to let others know about their situation or to ask for help. In the summer of 2010, a few months before our 45th reunion at West Point, a VA Benefits Board determined that Jerry would receive 100% disability for the rest of his life based on his Vietnam-related PTSD. Needless to say, Jerry was in no condition to attend the 45th reunion.

Here is a great picture (Photo Left) of Jerry dancing with his beautiful bride to the “Theme from a Summer Place” and (Photo Right)a great family picture with Jerry seated, his wife Martina standing behind him, and his son Justin on our left, and Jerry II on our right.

Thanks to unflagging support from Martina and the Ledzinski's two fine sons, Jerry II (a USAFA grad living in California) and Justin (a 1996 USMA grad now an FBI agent living in northern Virginia and working at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC), other family members and close friends, Jerry's VA doctors in Pittsburgh and Palo Alto, CA, and his own unyielding determination to combat these daunting challenges, Jerry has made a lot of progress over the past few years although he would be the first to admit he still has a long way to go. Also, he would tell you that he hates some of the powerful prescription meds he has had to take and their effects, but realizes they are "a necessary evil!”

Jerry II wrote last week: "Two weeks ago, Jerry complained of severe pain in his abdomen. Martina took him to the hospital and he was admitted immediately. After many tests, the doctors found that his PSA (prostate cancer screening test) was over 30 (less than 4 is "normal"), he was running a fever, and there were issues re. his bone marrow. It has now been determined that he has prostate cancer and it has metastasized to his bones. Jerry is in great spirits (vicodin has helped tremendously), but the entire family is still processing the news. After further tests, the doctors have found tumors on Jerry's spine, pelvis, arms, and legs. No prognosis has been given, nor has a plan of treatment been discussed. The doctor called last night and told them that Jerry's cancer is Stage 4 (the highest level). Jerry and Martina are positive and ask that everyone pray for a miracle. They believe that God is in control and will guide and comfort them through this."

My wife, June, and I have visited Jerry and Martina in Weirton several times over the past few years, driving out there from our home in Great Falls, Virginia. During our last visit with Jerry and Martina and in the course of our phone calls over the past year or so with them, Jerry has repeatedly told me how much he has missed staying in touch with classmates and how he is determined to recover from his illness and regain his physical strength and stamina so that he and Martina can attend and enjoy our 50th reunion at West Point in 2015. Of course, this makes the news of his Stage 4 cancer diagnosis by the VA even more heartbreaking.

"Cards and letters are the best way to communicate your love/concern to Martina and Jerry." Their home address is: 93 Martina Drive, Weirton, WV 26062. Additionally, the family's Caring Bridge Web Page is intended "to keep family and close friends updated about Jerry's condition and progress. It is also an excellent way for all of us to keep in touch and to let them know we are thinking about them and to offer prayers and encouragement." Follow this link to Caring Bridge Web Page and follow the simple prompts to log in.

Tom Fergusson has also made himself available as a point of contact should anyone want to discuss Jerrys situation in detail. He can be reached at: (1) Office at SAIC, McLean, VA: 703-676-5018, (2) Home in Great Falls, VA: 703-421-2675.

Thank you Tom for this report and all you are doing for the Ledzinskis.

Running for Wounded Soldiers -- Again

Its hard to believe that it was almost a year ago that I sent out a request for support for the efforts of Dave Hopkins daughter, Amanda as she was preparing to run in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC as a fund raiser for the Yellow Ribbon Fund which supports wounded soldiers at Walter Reed. Once again she will be running in this Marathon and has forwarded this message which, once again, I have chosen to share with you. My comment then still applies: I prefer to avoid using this forum for solicitation of charitable donations, but I have chosen to make an exception due to the fact that I see our support of this effort to be extremely appropriate for all of us.

Here, in her own words is Amandas message:

Friends & Family--

It's marathon time again!! I am excited to be running my 7th Marine Corps Marathon on October 28, 2012 and am honored to once again run with the Yellow Ribbon Fund MCM team. The mission of the Yellow Ribbon Fund (YRF) is to assist injured service members and their families while they are recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and to provide support after they return to their homes. Here are some of the great things the YRF is able to provide:

  • Free hotel stays, rental cars, and cab rides for visiting family members.
  • Free apartments to keep families together during months or years of outpatient treatment.
  • Family caregiver support — they are one of the only service organizations to offer childcare and family-oriented activities, plus stress-relieving massages, spa visits, dinners out, and more.
  • Social events and outings to cultural and sporting events that offer relief from the grueling rigors of recovery.
  • Innovative mentoring that helps injured service members build new lives through education and career guidance.
  • Ongoing support after injured service members leave the hospital and return home, to ensure no one falls through the gaps.
  • Pro bono legal services when injured service members need an advocate to stand up for them.

As many of you know, I am currently in school starting the process of working towards a doctorate in physical therapy. Until I am able to help these soldiers in that capacity, I continue to run to support them through the Yellow Ribbon Fund. As I run 26.2 miles on October 28th, please help me in supporting a great organization that helps injured soldiers and their caregivers. You can submit donations online to Click on 'In Honor Of' and enter 'MARATHON--AMANDA HOPKINS' in the box. Also, please take a few minutes to check out the website if you have more questions about what this organization does for injured service members.

Thanks in advance for your support!!

An obviously very smart and dedicated young lady who deserves our support. Lets show her how Strength and Drive can jump on board a truly good cause.