I just received this this great story from Paul Schultz who has been doing a terrific job for us with the PMEE program. Paul writes:
In the last few years, USMA has used volunteers to rehearse the cadre the day before the Cadet Candidates arrive. In the spirit of Class of 1965, I "volunteered" my wife to be a rehearsal cadet candidate, and the day was Friday the 28th of June. Sabine survived in fine style, and can be seen in this picture with the Commandant (BG Clark) and Command Sergeant Major Duane at the end of the rehearsal.
Our 2015 Mentor Class had many of the cadre slots for this Beast Barracks. It was great to meet and talk to many of the ones I've worked with during the PMEE sessions. They went out of their way to stop and come over to talk, and are very aware of our class's role in working with them. Since I had my '65 hat on, The Comm also mentioned thanks for our help in the PMEE and other mentoring programs. So there is a nice awareness of the contributions being made by the Class, and I wanted to pass that along.
By the way, the Comm, Dean, and CSM are going to form a relay team for the West Point Tri, so Sabine and I have a challenge as to whom to beat that morning. Should be interesting.
A very interesting report, thank you Paul.
Not much of a story here, just some good friends getting together to enjoy each other's company. However, as I have said many times, I like to share when Classmates gather for whatever reason. Donna and I are leaving on an extended motorhome trip in a little over a week and we wanted to enjoy a dinner with our dear friends here in the Valley of the Sun before we take off. Actually, the last leg of our three month trip will be a visit with Ron and Janice Walter at their lovely cabin in Durango, Colorado. I will share that visit and a picture or two in September.
Here (L to R) are Ron Walter, Janice Walter, Donna Bunn, Dyanne Mogan, and Moi.
We had a lovely dinner at the Persimmon Golf and Country Club in Anthem, Arizona where Dyanne is a member.
As promised, here is the second half of the report (this one from Bruce Marshall) on the gathering at Mt. Hood. Clearly, a good time was had by all.
I do have a few nuggets to add.
I had a great time with Ben, Paul, and Jay.
I was pleased to see that Ben's sons took this climb very seriously and were well prepared to do the climb. The fact that they carried the Class Flag to the summit is remarkable and you can see the little pennant that I carry and was planning to hold myself on the summit; there was no way I was going to carry that big Class flag, I think it weighed as much as my whole pack.
Here we have Paul Singelyn, Ben Whitehouse, and Jay Vaughn obviously tickled about holding Bruce's little flag.
What a difference a day makes - Sunday the 23rd was rainy, relatively warm and low visibility above 10,000 feet. My guide Todd Glew & I decided conditions were unstable enough in the Chute that it did not make sense to chance being hit by falling rock. (Who wants to be a bowling pin in a bowling alley?)
Here we see Ben's three sons, Donald, Ben, and Harrison (beards are clearly in for this generation) holding U.S. Geological Survey Bench Marks for the top of Mt. Hood (great souvenirs).
Only the Magic Mile ski lift existed in 1963 so PBJ were able to ride up to 7000 feet but no more. They still had over 4000 feet of elevation to climb and about 2.4 miles of distance to cover just to Summit, then 3.4 miles of steep down climbing when fatigued (this is when most accidents occur). May, June, and July are the optimum months to climb Mount Hood not August. In August a good bit of the snow has melted but the rock is very unstable and very dangerous to climb on. They apparently climbed on a nearly perfect day. They were extremely fortunate not to have been badly injured or worse.
Finally a great group picture showing (L to R) Paul, Ben IV, Ben III, Donald, Harrison, and Jay.
By the way, Search and Rescue was out all day Sunday and Monday looking for an experienced climber who disappeared sometime Saturday night. Hood is a mountain due a lot of respect and should not be climbed solo, in my opinion.
Two more nuggets: Ben Whitehouse's father was West
Point class of 1927 .
In 2002 the Bicentennial of West Point he was honored as the oldest living graduate present at the Bicentennial at the age of 100. He lived to age 105. For the last nine months of his life he was the oldest living graduate.
During one of our games & discussions Paul Singelyn came up with the following Wedding Toast:
May your love be strong
May your Bloodline be long
& To each other may you do no wrong!
Bruce R. Marshall
Thank you Bruce, for a great report and super pictures.
Wow, I have frequently asked for reports on big and small gatherings of Classmates for different reasons and have been fortunate to receive some very nice responses. However, the one I am sharing here has clearly gone above and beyond and provides a complete report on the small gathering of our Classmates, Paul Singelyn, Ben Whitehouse, and Jay Vaughn (otherwise known as PB&J) as they recalled (and in some ways relived) an adventure they enjoyed (and damned near didn't survive) some 50 years ago. Jay sent the attached report to me and offered to let me edit it any way I saw fit. As you read and look at it, I think you will agree that no editing was appropriate and actually would have diminished its content and charm. Read it by clicking here.
Following receipt of this report, I received another perspective from Bruce Marshall. Rather than overwhelm any of you or your computers, I have chosen to share this story in two parts. The Bruce Marshall perspective will follow shortly.
As stated by Jay in his report, Terry Ryan was very helpful in getting our Class Flag to this little Band of our Brothers, for which I want to add my sincere thanks.
Please enjoy this great report.
My good friend from right here in Arizona, Hank Mickells, shared this great report and photo from his recent visit to Hawaii. I have heard in other reports that Hiro's special Italian dinner is an amazing dish. Next time I get out there I'll have to see if I can talk her into sharing one with my wife and me. Here is Hank's report:
Just wanted to share that Carl Letterie and I along with our wives visited Oahu recently. Other than Honolulu completely changing from what we remembered. Myself from Vietnam R&R ('68) and Carl from a tour in 83. We were able to get together with Dave Bangert and his Lady friend, Shannon Carrol, at Tad and Hiro Ono's house one night and the next day at the Marine Corps base Club near Tad's house. The picture was taken at the Club. From Left to Right are Angie and Carl Letterie, Trina and Hank Mickells, Shannon Carrol and Dave Bangert, and Tad and Hiro Ono.
Guys look a little older but the ladies look as lovely as ever. Hiro made a delicious Italian meal the night before we went to the Club for Brunch. Carl and Angie were duly impressed by Hiro's culinary expertise and declared the meal better than those in South Philly. Dave had to fly to Hilo after our gathering to rid his property in Hilo of squatters. Because of our Ranger training, Carl, Tad and I offered to help but Dave did not want to see us hurt ourselves. Had a great time with Dave and Tad. Many of the world's problems were solved.
Thank you Hank for making my job so easy with a great commentary and very good photo. Tad, between the stories I'm hearing about your beautiful wife and her culinary expertise and your terrific looking home, you're liable to have more visitors than you can handle. If you do, please keep the stories and photos coming. I'm glad no Rangers got hurt as Dave took care of his problem with the squatters.
Bob Frank has asked me to share this message with the Class because of its obvious importance:
In my role as Class Historian, I visited Marilee Meyer, Archivist at West Point AOG to discuss how the Cullum files at AOG work. I knew a bit about the files because I have contributed material that some of you have sent me in times past. However, this is the first time I got a "handout." Marilee was kind enough to share with me the importance of this repository. The primary benefit of such information generally falls to those writing a Memorial Article for "Taps". The documents help to nail down dates and other tidbits that ensure accuracy and detail. However, there are occasionally other uses for the material. For instance, burial at West Point (or any national cemetery) requires proof of service. In the recent case, Marilee was able to provide a copy of the DD214, thus facilitating funeral and burial arrangements.
Please consider adding to your Cullum file. You can restrict access to the file should you desire. Marilee can be contacted at the e-mail above or (800) 232-4723 ext. 1545.
Here are some Suggested Documents to submit for your Cullum File:
Please note: Your DD214 (or other military document of service and discharge/release status) is mandatory to verify eligibility for interment at West Point.
These are some great ideas which I highly recommend you
pursue. Chuck Nichols added the following as points of interest as you
prepare and forward this information:
There is no web access for posting information to your Cullum File. There are very few individuals who have access to the files. Anyone wishing to have documents posted to the file can send them one of three ways.
A word of caution on all documents sent by any means. Make sure to blank out all but the last 4 digits of your social security number wherever it appears on a document.
Marilee Meyer also provided the attached Autobiographical Memorial Data Package (view by clicking here) which will be very helpful as you begin to put this material together. Additionally, she provided this link to http://www.westpointaog.org/Document.Doc?id=1714 The Vital Statistic Sheet which can be filled out right on your laptop and submitted electronically. Now what could be easier?
Alright folks, I know you have all been looking for a great activity to keep you busy this summer. It won't take you anywhere near that long and when you are through you will feel ever so much better about what you family and friends can learn about you now and will have to remember you by way down the road. Your "Cease Work" command will be self-imposed when you are comfortable with everything you have submitted but for now I'll give you the "Start Work" order. Good Luck.
Tony Gamboa and his wife, Irene, in response to my recent comments regarding getting around, shared this great adventure that they recently took to South America. Using the services of Vermont Bicycle Tours (VBT), they traveled through Peru and visited several cities and old Inca sites (I challenge you to try to pronounce them - I gave up). Here is Tony's report:
Our Peru trip was 12 days long and started with a stay in Lima and then off to Cusco, the Inca capital till the Spanish took over. Cusco is a beautiful colonial city built on the foundation of Inca ruins. We then spent several days visiting noted Inca sites such as Sacsayhuaman, Moray, and Ollantaytambo, to name a few. The stone work is unbelievable. The guides were excellent at explaining the significance of the various sites. The high point of the visit was the climb up the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We faced the challenge with some trepidation. The whole Inca Trail is a four day affair camping along the way each night. However we did the last 10 miles of the Trail ending in Machu Picchu. This was enough for us.
Our hike started at Kilometer 104 on the railroad between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes (the town on the Urubamba River below Machu Picchu). We got off the train and went straight up for three hours and then leveled off a bit, but still with many ups and downs. Most challenging were the narrow, uneven Inca steps along the various Inca agricultural terraces that we had to climb, as shown in the second picture.
Our climb was a net 2000 feet from 7000 feet at Kilometer 104 to a high of 9000 feet. One of our party had an app for her Iphone which showed a net elevation gain of 2000 feet with an overall gain of 4000 feet with all the ups and downs we did. Hot and exhausted we reached the Sun Gate overlooking Machu Picchu and were elated by the beauty of the place and the realization that two old folks had made it all the way.
While Tony and Irene had traveled to Paris, the Loire Valley and Burgundy, this was their first adventurous trip. On this trip they tried some of the local delights of Alpaca steaks and guinea pig. Wow, these folks are really into adventure.
Having just read through the Gamboa's big hike/climb of some 4000 feet, I think I will hit "Send" and go take a nap.
Bob Frank shared this first photo with me and caused me to follow up with a call to Keyes Hudson to get "the rest of the story". It surprised me when he answered the phone in Paris (no, not Texas, California, Ohio, or South Carolina) he was in the big one where they talk funny - well, I guess that could be said of the one in South Carolina also. Anyway Keyes was kind enough to send me the second photo along with this brief report:
This micro-celebration came to pass because 1) Bob Doughty had work/relaxation plans for June in Paris; 2) Valerie and I thought it would be a great idea to be there at the same time to absorb the Doughty's wealth of experience as Parisians; and 3) Dave Hurley planned a stopover for his first ever visit to Paris between visits to his daughters in Moldova and London respectively. Dave made note in advance of the auspicious date of his stopover and we gathered at Petit Chatelet for appropriate celebration. (The celebration was for the 48th anniversary of that great day when we threw our hats in the air and drove our new cars out the gate with diplomas in hand and new bars on our shoulders hell bent on fixing everything that was wrong with the Army and the world). '65 is aging like fine wine -- much of which was consumed for the occasion!
In the first picture, all with similar, good looking hats, are (L to R) Dave Hurley, Keyes Hudson, and Bob Doughty. In the second photo, at dinner at Petit Chatelet (I'd love to say it's one of my favorite hangouts but I haven't been to Paris since 1967 when Bobby Arvin and I drove in from AOT in Germany for a wild weekend) are (L to R) Keyes Hudson, Dave Hurley, Bob Doughty, Valerie Seastrom, and Diane Doughty. I notice that there is nothing but wine and glasses on the table - a fine celebration for sure!
Merci beaucoup gentlemen for a great report, cool pictures, and a cause for many of us to be jealous of the good time you are obviously having.
Force et entrainement (Strength and Drive?)
On November 30th of this year, Army will be playing the University of Hawaii in Hawaii. Several Classmates have already indicated that they would be interested in combining this event with a trip to the islands. Bob Frank (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Gordy Larson (email@example.com) with an assist from Tad Ono (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Hawaii are going to attempt to coordinate the efforts of all who are interested in sitting together as a Class. If tickets are purchased as a group, this can be accomplished and will result in a lot more fun for all.
Please check your calendars and contact these gentlemen if there is even a chance that you can join in. I suggest addressing your interest to all three so they can all work together for the best outcome. Additionally, there is some interest in putting together a round of golf while there and those outings are always fun. Be sure to indicate any interest you might have in golf when you contact these guys.
Finally, if this turns out to be a great outing with many in attendance (and why wouldn't it be?), and I don't get a few great stories and photos to share, I will be upset beyond repair. Please think of my health and send me some good stuff.
In recent months I have received some e-mails which suggest that there is considerable misunderstanding about different aspects of our Class communications. For this reason I have decided to share a few basic points about the way we (Chuck Nichols and I) are attempting to do things.
Roles: Chuck Nichols has been our IT (Information Technology) guru ever since 2001 and has done a magnificent job for us over the years. Starting in 2010 at our 45th Reunion I took on the task of being the Class Scribe. Together, Chuck and I have attempted to keep the Class informed about all the comings and goings of our Classmates around the world.
The Listserv: This is the primary means by which I communicate with the Class and it is maintained by Chuck using the class database he created. If you see the email@example.com address in the "From:" line or my standard moniker: "Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65" in the introduction to a message, you can be relatively sure that it is from me and will contain information regarding our Class. Early on in the use of this Listserv the address above was open to anyone who chose to use it. However, due to some issues with the use of the Listserv, I asked Chuck to limit its use to just he and I. Now, should you choose to use "Reply" or "Reply All" to a message I send out, that reply will only go to Chuck and me and not to the entire Class. Should you have a reply that you feel should go to the entire Class, there are two ways to do it. First you can send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will decide if it should then be shared with the entire Class or you can use the "Forum" described below.
The Forum: This network was developed by Chuck 4 years ago to accommodate those who want to carry on extended discussions on any subject (within the normal guidelines of decency and civility) including politics, religion, et al. If you are interested in participating in the forum, you need only contact Chuck at email@example.com and he will connect you with the network.
The Website: 12 years ago Chuck developed our Class website which can be accessed by going to http://www.west-point.org/class/usma1965/. This website contains an amazing amount of information which is broken down into 24 different pages each of which is identified on the home page. Additionally, a simple click on the Class Crest at the top will take you to a listing of all Classmates organized into three different ways to share the information for the maximum convenience depending on what you need (use "usma1965" without the quotes as the user name and use our Class motto, all one word in lower case, as the password).
When I first took on this job, I decided that I would focus my efforts primarily on information that had a direct relationship to Class functions and Classmate activities. However, over the years I have received numerous messages with profound and sometimes very moving patriotic or just plain military information as well as some very interesting and helpful information regarding medical conditions and solutions to medical problems. This always caused me to make the difficult decision, is this appropriate for the Listserv or maybe the "Forum" or is there another way to get this information to Classmates who may want or need the information without overloading the network for those who may choose not to see a lot of that type of information. With the help of Chuck Nichols, I think we have come up with the perfect solution. Chuck has created a new page on the website which is identified as "Classmate Stories" which can be found at the bottom of the first column of available pages. If you click on this page you will get an option to go to one of two sub-pages, "Military / Patriotic Stories and Reports" or "Things Medical". Each of them already includes several messages I have recently received and each identifies the submitter and the date of the submission. In the future, when I receive this type of information, I will alert you to the fact that there is something new on the webpage which you can review at your leisure.
I hope this information is helpful to you in understanding what Chuck and I are attempting to do for you and I hope you will feel free to submit information for the new webpage as well as providing me with stories and photos to share on the Listserv.
Last summer during the mini-gathering in the Pacific Northwest, Bill and Susan Sherrell hosted a terrific party at their beautiful home in Spanaway, Washington. Even though there is no planned gathering this year, they have decided to, once again, host a party. Timing has worked out for my wife and me as we will be motor homing in the area at that time. Given that the Pacific Northwest is a prime target for summer travel and visiting, maybe there are many more who can join us. I hope so.
This photo is from last year's party. Here, gathered on the Sherrell's back deck (around the circle starting at the left front) are: Donna Bunn, Susan Sherrell, Bill Sherrell, Meredith (Bill's Daughter), Ben (Bill's Grandson, kind of hiding behind the umbrella), Ellen Ziegler, Bernie Ziegler, Jim Wood, Ellen Wood, Grant Fredricks, Anita Fredricks, and in the center, Tad Ono (have you ever seen a picture of Tad without that great smile?).
Here is Bill and Susan's invitation:
Susan and I are planning a BBQ at our home on Saturday 20 July similar to what we did last summer and are inviting anyone who is interested. The highlights of last summer's event were Rick's resurrection of the bird that flew into our patio window; Tad Ono's demonstration of his air inflatable back brace; and, of course, spending the day with classmates and friends. Attendees need only bring their warm bodies and arrive around 3 PM. If anyone is interested in extending their stay and playing some golf or sightseeing in the Puget Sound area, I'll help organize their activities. Additionally, if anyone is going to be in the area at another date, please give us a call.
26027 13th Ave Ct E
Spanaway, Washington 98387
OK, there it is, an opportunity to gather with Classmates and enjoy the hospitality or a great couple. I hope we are able to see many of you there.
Dave Bangert has been doing a terrific job as our POC (Point of Contact) for the Guenther family. After a wake/viewing and a Mass, Randy was laid to rest at the West Point Cemetery last week. Here is Dave's final report:
Randolph Kent Guenther was buried at the West Point Cemetery on May 28, 2013. Appropriately, there was a light rain, which started before the reception and ended as we returned to the hotel. Prior to the interment, a reception was held at the West Point Club for approximately 40 mourners. Representing the class were Dave Bangert, Roger Griffin, Hank Kelley, Gene Manghis , Nic Merriam,Larry Neal, Joe Sanchez, and Larry Weise with our class flag. In the first photo, left to right are Merriam, Bangert, Neal, Griffin, Kelley, Manghis, Sanchez, and Wiese. After the reception, the immediate family went to the Hogan funeral home and escorted Randy to the cemetery. The remaining mourners went to the grave side. Ric Shinseki joined the funeral party in the cemetery. Father Burns, a family friend, Randy's handball partner,chaplain in Randy's battalion, and former West Point chaplain conducted a brief, moving grave side ceremony. In the second photo, left to right are Griffin, Father Burns, Shinseki, Merriam.
While we all mourn the loss of our dear friend, it has been the family's desire that we celebrate his life. With that in mind, I have chosen to share one more great story about those days when we were all so much younger and full of stuff and vinegar as we took on the challenges of the Academy and the bright world that awaited us just outside the gates. Hank Kelley shared this story/memory of Randy and his great sense of humor:
This story had its origin in Ordinance Class, second semester of senior year. Ordinance was nother of those required subjects whose mysteries still escape me after nearly 50 years, but exposure to which, like eating broccoli at mother's insistence, was somehow thought to be beneficial.
We had spent the morning in Ordinance making merry by firing bullets of several calibers into a block of gelatin, observing the results, taking measurements, and performing calculations which led to conclusions that I don't remember other than if given a choice you should opt for being the shooter rather than the block of gelatin. I met Randy after class as we walked back to the barracks to get ready for the noon meal formation. (In the interest of full disclosure let me state here that Randy and I did not share a class in the same academic section. In fact our classrooms were likely separated by the equivalent of a city block or two. While Randy galloped in pursuit of knowledge, I plodded wearily along.) I noticed that Randy was carrying his books in front of him like a tray in a cafeteria, and on that makeshift tray was a block of gelatin such as we had just murdered in Ordinance class. Somehow he had gotten permission to take it home with him. As Randy explained, he felt the experiment was incomplete; we had just observed the effect of projectiles on the gelatin, he now wanted to observe the effect of the gelatin on some other object. In short, what he proposed to do was drop the block of gelatin from the top of New South Barracks.
Well, this certainly sounded like my kind of experiment. And so together we trooped up the stairs to the fifth floor of the barracks to where a hallway window overlooked the ramp into New South. After opening the window, Randy patiently waited for those returning from class to get out of the way. I must admit I wasn't nearly so fastidious; I could easily identify several passersby deserving to get hit with the Great Blob from Heaven as I had come to think of Randy's experiment. But Randy was not only a man of science, but a great humanitarian as well, and so he made sure the drop zone as clear before he launched, possibly sparing some future general from being slimed.
Now I've read somewhere about a Roman emperor who liked to have large animals thrown from the top of high buildings because he enjoyed the sound they made when they hit the ground. I guess nothing much has changed over the years, because here we were standing at a fifth floor window surrounded by a group of the curious and clueless -- a roundup of the usual suspects of I-1 -- all looking forward to the big SPLAT!!! that would result when Randy dropped the blob. And aftera proper pause for dramatic effect, he did so. Down it plunged more than five stories to the ramp below.
But there was no big SPLAT!!!. Not even a disappointing plop. Instead what happened was what no one expected. The blob bounced! And not just an ordinary bounce. A real Superman bounce! When it hit the ramp, the block of gelatin bounced high up, up and away onto the roof of Grant Hall. We made no effort to retrieve it. It may still be up there. Or more likely it has dissolved over the years and like the old soldier faded away, blending its elements with those of our Highland Home, part of 65's contribution -- and Randy's in particular -- to the Legends of the Long Gray Line.
have been very proud to be part of the numerous
contributions our Class has
made to our rock Bound Highland Home and now I can add to the list of those items, a grease spot on Grant Hall. It almost brings a tear to the eye, doesn't it?
Clearly, Randy was one of a kind. Well done my friend be thou at peace.
As many of you may have heard, this fall, Bob Radcliffe is taking a well-deserved break from organizing our semi-annual golf outing and Pat Kenny is stepping up to handle those duties. Pat has chosen to hold the event in Columbus, Georgia near Fort Benning where so many of us began our careers in the Army with Airborne and/or Ranger training. He is planning to include many more activities than just golf and has therefore asked me to share this with all with the hope that he can attract many of you who would otherwise not plan to attend. Please look over what he is sharing and look at your calendars to see if you can fit it into your plans. Given that the location is much farther west than normal, I plan to try to drive out for the event, maybe there are others on the left side of the country who may be able to do the same. Here are Pat's current plans:
The Fall Golf Outing - With a Twist
A fall golf outing is a fixture on our calendar, but this year there is a twist. Rather than taking place in the Pinehurst, NC area it will take place in Columbus, GA, adjacent to Fort Benning. Certainly there will be golf but the draws for the new location is the chance to visit the National Infantry Museum, a magnificent facility opened in 2007, see www.nationalinfantrymuseum.org and a return to Fort Benning, the place where most of us began our military service. The outing is scheduled from Tuesday, October 15th to Friday, October 18th. Golfers, non-golfers, spouses, and guests are very welcome to attend; in fact spouse friendly events are planned, to include golf if there is an interest. The agenda will not be locked-in until mid-June but it looks like this:
Tuesday: afternoon golf on the Mountain View golf course at Callaway Gardens, and check-in at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Columbus - it's a dramatically different downtown than you remember from 48 years ago.
Wednesday: morning golf and lunch at Maple Ridge Golf Club in Columbus, leaving the afternoon free to explore Columbus and perhaps take a 2 hour partial white-water rafting trip on the Chattahoochee River. Check it out at www.columbusgawhitewater.com.
Thursday: morning - attend basic training graduation at parade field adjacent to National Infantry Museum followed by visiting the museum (including lunch), or golf at either Fort Benning or Bull Creek, a top notch municipal course. Evening - dinner at the Benning Club, formerly Fort Benning Officers Club.
Friday: attend Ranger Graduation and Rangers in Action demonstration at Victory Pond
So, whether you want to play golf or choose not to there is something for all. The cost will be approximately $450 (double occupancy) including lodging and breakfasts, golf, 2 luncheons, and dinner at Fort Benning. Space is limited so if interested in attending please contact Pat Kenny (firstname.lastname@example.org) specifying : definitely will attend, or possibly will attend. Details will follow.
Thank you Pat for taking on this gigantic task.
Denny Coll, who continues to serve in many ways, just forwarded these two great pictures which were given to him by Walter Keats (the brother of our fallen Classmate Bob Keats).
This first shot is Bob as a Second Lieutenant while he was serving in Korea.
This picture was taken when the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, was at West Point for the Graduation of the Class of 2013. Here we have (L to R) Bob and Jeanette Scully, Chuck Hagel, and Winnie and Walter Keats:
Thank you Walter and Denny for this great reminder of our dear friend.
Bill Hecker has shared this message to make participation with our Affiliation Class in their Affirmation Ceremony available to those of us living or traveling in the Colorado Springs area this August. Here is his invitation:
Hi to all.
I am writing to invite you to a very special event on Thursday, 15 August at the US Air Force Academy here in Colorado Springs.
The seven new Cows, who are visiting USMA Exchange Cadets from the Class of 2015, our affiliation class, will be affirming their commitment to West Point and the Army at a special ceremony to be held at the Falcon Athletic Center Reception area, 1700-2000 hours.
At this ceremony we, the Class of '65, will present each cadet with a Class of '65 Challenge Coin. LTG (US Army, ret) Jack Sterling will be the featured speaker. Of course, wives are invited.
Save the date. If you would like to spend the night and would like some recommendations on where to stay, please ask.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Bill Hecker '65 S&D - email@example.com
Thank you Bill, I hope you get a substantial turn out.
On Sunday and Monday, May 19th and 20th, the viewing/wake and Mass respectively for Randy Guenther were held in Gaithersburg and Derwood, Maryland. Our Point of Contact, Dave Bangert, has done a great job of keeping us informed and working with the family to represent the Class of 65. Here is his report:
On May 19, there was a viewing/wake for Randy Guenther followed by a mass on the next day. The class was well represented at both events, physically and in spirit. The class flag hung proudly next to the US and Army flags. Red, white and blue flowers with black, gold and grey ribbons (seen here behind the flags) were next to Randy. There was a display of his West Point keepsakes, the year book was open to his page, his Presidential Memorial Certificate and a shadow box displayed his awards. Carol and Mike Barker also sent flowers. In attendance at the wake were Steve Ammon, Carol and Bob Almassy '64, Dave Bangert, Frank Birdsong, Roger Griffin, Kay and Bob Cato, Lynne and Joe DeFrancisco, Mary and Bob Frank, Anne and Steve Harmon, Bob Harter, Larry Neal, Sandy and Pat (Pat is Frank's sister) O'Brien, Ann and Hank Sterbenz, and Cheryl and Mike Viani.
The mass was moving. Randy was brought into the church by his son, Dave; a mentee of his, Michael Hanson; and four classmates, Bangert, Cato, Griffin, and Neal as the Alumni Glee club led by Terry Ryan and conducted by Jim Ferguson sang The Corps. A recording of the Star Spangled Banner was played. It was arranged and sung by Dave Guenther in 7-part harmony. Dave gave a moving and humorous remembrance of Randy.
The mass was presided over by Father Vince Burns, a family friend, chaplain for Randy's battalion in Germany, hand ball partner, and Catholic chaplain at West Point in the early 1990s. Father Burns drove eight straight hours to be at the mass. Mid-way through the mass, the Alumni Glee Club preformed Mansions of the Lord. At the end of the mass, all West Pointers joined the Alumni Glee Club in singing the Alma Mater.
Attending the mass from the class were Emory Chase, Dave Bangert, Kay and Bob Cato, Karen and Jim Ferguson, Pat and Roger Griffin, Leo Kennedy, Larry Neal, Nancy and Terry Ryan, Mary and Bob Harter, Sandy and Pat O'Brien, and Ann and Hank Sterbenz.
Thank you Dave for this excellent report. Please note that I have attached the entire text of Dave Guenther's eulogy to his dad (an exceptional message which clearly demonstrates the love and admiration he has for his dad) which you can view here and a copy of the singing (in seven part harmony) of the Star Spangled Banner, also by Randy's son (another exceptional tribute to his father). Click here to listen.
All in all a very special way to say goodbye to an exceptional member of our Band of Brothers.
Well done, Randy, be thou at peace.
Pat Kenny has asked me to share this great message from our Class President, Clair Gill:
SAVE THE DATE - AUGUST 18, 2013
You are invited to attend an important event in the passage of the Class of 2015 through USMA. The evening before the start of the Second Class academic year, each cadet pledges his/her "Commitment to the Profession of Arms" in an event entitled the "Affirmation Ceremony". The significance is that when a cadet attends the first academic class of his/her Second Class year, the cadet incurs a military obligation, whether leaving the Academy voluntarily or involuntarily before graduation. Our class plays an integral part in the ceremony, through the presentation of a commemorative coin to each member with their class crest on one side of the coin and our class crest on the other. The evening is highlighted by a speech by a prominent member of the Affiliation Class, in our case the current Secretary of Veteran Affairs and former Chief of Staff of the Army, Ric Shinseki. The Affirmation Ceremony is scheduled for Sunday evening, August 18th in South Auditorium of Thayer Hall, now called Robinson Auditorium. It would be wonderful if a sizeable contingent of the "Strength and Drive" Class joined Ric in celebrating the Class of 2015's "Commitment to the Profession of Arms." If you would like to participate please convey those intentions to Pat Kenny at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's try to make this another tremendous show of Strength and Drive with big numbers in attendance. For those of you, like me, who are curious about what the coin will look like, I asked Pat to provide a visual to share with you all. I think it will be a very appropriate and well received memento. The coin is expected to 1¾" in diameter.
John Howell put a lot of work and time into putting this report together for us. It clearly chronicles the off golf course activities that take place when many of us gather for fellowship and to enjoy the camaraderie of this Band of Brothers. I complained when I received a bunch of pictures with no names identifying those being shown, so John went way out of his way to make sure he got all these identified (I may never hear from John again). Here's what he had to say:
This last East coast Class '65 get together (aka a golf outing -- of sorts) had the most attendees yet. 52 or 53 members of the Class of '65 showed up at Myrtle Beach during the first week of May 2013. The attached pictures capture a little over half of the attendees.
Those not captured in the pics below are: Larry Bryant, Steve Ellenbogen, Bob Frank, Dave Gabel, Rog' Griffin, Sandy Hallenbeck, John Harrington, Steve Harman, Dave Jones, Walt Kulbacki, Gordy Larson, Fred Laughlin, Dan Loftin, Dave Mastran, Chris Needles, Karl Savatiel, John Swensson, John Vann, John Malpass, Steve Darrah, Lanse Hewitt and Bo' Forrest. If I have missed any one, my apologies. For more pictures, click here to see the online '65 Album.
left) L - R Ed Knauf, Jim Tomaswick,
Mitch Bonnett, Bob Harter, Tom Abraham, Fred Grates (back of head)
(photo right) L - R Standing Bob Selkis, Jerry Dernar, Sitting Ed Swick, Mitch, (standing behind Mitch) Chuck McCloskey, Fred G's back of head again
Contrary to the above series of pictures, we did play some GOLF.
An outstanding job here John and yes I owe you a beer for all the work you put in to accommodate the fact that I don't have a good enough memory to put names to faces without a whole bunch of help. I hope you all agree that it's fun to see pictures like this to help us remember what a great bunch of guys we have in our Class (with the possible exception of the one telling John that he is #1).
I wish I could have joined you.
Tom Abraham just submitted this great report on the presentation of the Carl Robert Arvin Memorial Award.
Once again, I have been deeply honored to
the class at the Awards Convocation ceremony where the Carl Robert
Arvin Memorial Award is presented to "the graduating senior of the
Wrestling Team who best exemplifies the qualities of Leadership,
Scholarship, and Commitment to Army Wrestling in memory of First
Captain Carl Robert Arvin and those fellow members of the Class of 1965
who were killed in the Vietnam conflict." Not everyone may know
that the award mentions all classmates killed in the "conflict".
(Seemed like war to me!) So, I find it fitting that I write my
report on this day, Memorial Day, 2013, when all of us are thinking of
all those who never saw their 30's. And I know it's more than one
day a year when we think of them.
Unlike previous years, the sponsors did not get escorts or coffee, were not presenters, were not introduced or recognized, and were not allotted time to eat with and visit with the awardees. We were dissed. That is a subject I have taken up with our president and I am certain he and many other sponsors will let their disappointment be known. Previous ceremonies have taken 1.5 to 2.0 hours. This one took 25 minutes flat.
My wife, Ina, and I did get to see the graduation parade, under sprinkles and serious threat of rain. Most of you know I was never fond of parades, but this one is ripe with military tradition and I wouldn't miss it. Here the First Class has formed to review the Corps and the Second Class has taken command of the Corps. Almost made me want to re-up.
The Arvin Award is given under the criteria mentioned. It does not necessarily go to the most accomplished wrestler or the most popular wrestler. Patrick Marchetti is this year's awardee. Another great choice with lots of leadership potential, top 20% of his class, and hung in there tough on the wrestling team despite injuries. This year he compiled a 16-11 record at 157 pounds before having disk surgery on his neck. He came to West Point from Father Ryan High School in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was a two-time state champ with a 104-27 career record. His branch was to be Aviation, but that got changed to Infantry due to the neck surgery, so he is still awaiting his orders. He is getting married in two weeks to the sister of Phil Simpson, a great Army wrestler, class of '06. The good news: his brother Mark is coming to West Point next year. Mark is also a state champ and a national high school champ from Tennessee.
Patrick Marchetti with Tom Abraham
I did get to squeeze in 15 minutes to talk to Patrick and to meet his family, brother and fiancée'. I told him about Bob Arvin the wrestler, the First Captain, and the young lieutenant I saw in Vietnam when he was an advisor to the ARVN paratroopers. I also gave him my version of leadership, which I was asked to include here even though I know this is too long.
I told Patrick about a question I was asked last year by the awardee, Mike Rafferty: How do you know when you are a leader? Are you born a leader or can you learn to be one? Here's how I answered. With so many leaders in our class, I'm sure there are many ways to answer this correctly, but this was and is my version. I answered in the context of a young lieutenant going into a combat situation, which is where I felt the question came from.
First, you are born either with or without the molecule that enables you to be a leader. If you are born without it, you have little chance. If you are born with it, you're still not a leader. You develop leadership skills while you are going through elementary and high school by being involved in extracurricular activities, sports, and mixing with other people and experiencing leadership roles. But you are still not a leader. You go to West Point and you receive four years of leadership training and most of the world thinks you have become a leader. But you're still not a leader. You go to your first combat platoon and the men look at you and say, he's a West Pointer, he may be a leader, but we'll see. You're still not a leader. You take over, you ask your combat experienced sergeants for their advice and you consider their advice. If you think it is sound, it probably is, so you consider that as you issue your order. If it turns out right, you do it again. If not, you're on your own. The men will learn to have confidence in you the more times you make good decisions, even if the original thought came from an experienced NCO. There will come a time when you are able to make the decisions without advice and your men will respect you as their leader. You will know when that happens. THEN, SON, YOU ARE A LEADER.
Thank you Tom for a very fitting report on this Memorial Day. I especially like your answer to the question that occurred to many of us as we embarked on our careers.
Grip hands as we remember all who have fallen in the service of this great country.
I just received this great excerpt from the speech made by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2013. This came at the end of his speech and is a very telling tribute to one of our own:
That reflection brought me to a concluding observation. It's a reflection not about my own experience, not about me, but rather, it's about someone else. A professional soldier who walked these grounds as a young cadet fifty years ago.
Robert George Keats was a member of West Point's Class of 1965. He was an outstanding writer who helped put together General Douglas MacArthur's memorial articles. He established West Point's history club and became its first President. After graduation, he completed Airborne and Ranger schools, married his high school sweetheart, and volunteered for duty in Vietnam.
A few months after arriving in Vietnam, Captain Keats took command of my company - B Company, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Within ten days of taking command, on February 2, 1968 - shortly before his 24th birthday - he was killed. I was there. Captain Keats is buried at West Point Cemetery, alongside other heroes of the Long Gray Line - including 33 of the more than 90 West Point graduates who have died in uniform since September 11, 2001.
One of Captain Keats' brothers, Walter Keats, and his West Point roommate, Robert Scully, are here with us today. At Captain Keats' funeral service a letter he had sent as a cadet was read aloud. He wrote of being an idealist, committed to upholding and defending American values and virtues. His letter included the following words: "I am in a fight to save the ideal now. I shall be until the day I die. The world can only be saved by people who are striving for the ideal. I know we shall win, it can be no other way."
Wherever you go, whatever you do, remember, that like Robert George Keats, you chose to be a soldier at a defining time in our nation's history. You too are fighting for an ideal - as the Class of 2013 motto says, you are "defending the dream." America needs you, and it will count on you to uphold this ideal. In Captain Keats' words, "It can be no other way."
Thank you for what you will do for our country and your families - and God bless you all.
This came to me from Denny Coll who continues to serve our Class in many ways. Thank you Denny.
To all my Classmates, have a wonderful and meaningful Memorial Day.
Jerry Dernar sent me this quick note to correct the caption I gave to this picture from the report on the Great Myrtle Beach Golf Outing. I had mentioned that it looked like they were working on score cards or doing some arts and crafts. In fact, they were signing cards which Tommy Abraham had brought for Jack Terry.
As frequently happens, one thought runs into the next and before you know it we have another story. In this case Jerry thought of this poop he heard at the outing:
I just thought of another Tommy Abraham story. This was a little hard to believe, but Tommy told us that before he came to West Point he never swore in his life. He got a considerable amount of "special attention" when he ended the days with "Sir, there are 39 and a butt days until Army beats the heck out of Navy. He did not feel right saying hell. After considerable pressure he relented and for the first time in his life said the word hell in the days.
Thank you Jerry, and thank you Tommy for giving in to the pressure as I'm sure there is a bunch more hell in Navy than there is heck.
Gene Parker sent the following message to his Classmates in A-1, one of whom suggested that he send it on to me to share with you all. While it's a little long, I found it filled with interesting poop that much of which I had not heard so decided to share it in its entirety:
My son, Paul, and I drove to West Point on Sunday for Joe's ceremony and to tour. It was a wonderful trip for both of us. On Monday, we started at the Cadet Store where Paul purchased an I pad mini he had been saving his hard earned wage money for and then visited Thayer Hall (same as it was 48 years ago). The cadets were doing a practice for the alumni parade so we got to stand on the reviewing line and watch. We moved on because it seemed like they were going to be out there quite a while (it turned out that the rehearsal was almost 2 hours long) and Paul's comment was that they were going to stay out there until they got it right! We visited the mess hall and chapel where the class of '63 was having its memorial service.
We noticed that there were 15-20 firsties walking the area and asked a cadet what had happened. It appears that the firsties on the rugby team had a recent incident dealing with respect or a lack of respect and all involved got a slug and will be walking quite a few hours this week in order to graduate on Saturday. I learned when I got home that the team was not going to the Collegiate Championship tournament in Philly in 2 weeks and was being replaced by Villanova.
We went into East Barracks so Paul could see my old room-looks the same and went to MacArthur barracks to visit a cadet in '15 who is from the Greensboro area. We learned that the tac and NCO tac offices are in the barracks!
During our visit to Arvin gym we observed about 50 cadets running the indoor obstacle course-apparently they had medical issues earlier so were doing a make-up and several looked to be football players. It is the same course we had but without the old horsehair mats. That shelf hanging off the balcony is still there and a big challenge. Some of the shorter women had a big issue with it and we asked a cadet who was cheering on friends and he said the deal is that everyone has to try for at least 15 seconds and then gets failed on this particular item and gets to climb up to the balcony on a cargo net. The cadet we talked to is a rising firstie and when we asked about starting his senior year he showed us an app on his I phone that shows the no. of days until graduation. I wonder if the Plebes have an app so they can learn the "days".
We went to the Supe's brief in Ike Hall. The reunion classes present were: 38, Jan and Jun 43, 48, 58 and 63 (the largest group since it was their 50th). The oldest living grad is 97 years old from the class of 38 and he led the alumni march on Tuesday. The Supe noted that 102 grads have died in combat in the last 10 years. He also said that they were close to starting construction on the first new barracks in 40 years and a new visitors center.
We formed up at about 10 am on Tuesday for the alumni review. The assembly area is between East Barracks and Bartlett Hall and the alumni march is across the Plain to the Thayer Monument (in front of the Commandant's home). There were some grads in wheel chairs and at least one determined to do the march with his walker. He got a large applause when he later made it to the review line. The entire Brigade (4 regiments) participated in the Parade. I have passed on some suggestions to our reunion planners (the esteemed Tom and Marilyn Kovach) on how we might deal with the heat and humidity at WP in May. It was certainly unhealthy to have folks wearing coats and ties standing in the sun for 2 hours-5 members of the class of '63 "fell out" and needed medical attentions during the review. Grads who were not in the reunion classes were able to sit in the stands with our families (and we had access to water).
The alumni luncheon in the mess hall was very nice. Joe and the other 5 recipients of the Distinguished Grad award were honored. We had 1-2 cadets at each table so got to talk with them. It appears that cadets were not eating regular meals in the mess hall for graduation week and were doing box lunches most of the time. Joe and Lynne hosted a wonderful reception in the Haig Room at Jefferson Library (the new-new library). Here is a photo of Joe and me and one of Patti Shinseki with my son, Paul. There was a very good representation from our class and I visited with Ross Wollen and Don Kurtz' partner, Roz who were there from A-1 along with Ric and Patti. If you visit WP, plan to visit the library and go to the 6th floor-there is a balcony that overlooks the Plain and the river.
A couple of other observations: my son noted that it seemed that cadets were out running all the time. We saw them on post, in Highland Falls and even out in Ft. Montgomery where we were staying at the Holiday Inn. We also saw many plebes preparing for the air assault course (10-11 days long) which is conducted somewhere close to WP. They needed to complete a 12 mile march with 35# rucksack in 3 hours (in the heat and humidity)! It made me weary to watch them but proud that we have outstanding young men and women who are willing to serve in this manner.
It was really nice to have an opportunity to preview our 5oth reunion and to share with my son, some of what I experienced as a cadet. He pleasantly reminded me several times that I had already told him something before (must be short term memory lapses! : ) ).
Congratulations again to Joe and Lynne on his award-it should be her award too! We are looking forward to our 50th in 2 years.
Thank you Gene, a great report with terrific pictures.
I have some terrific news to share! I recently received this notice from Tom Fergusson:
This evening, West Point (Office of the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics) announced the selection of our own Jose Gonzalez to the Army Sports Hall of Fame (ASHOF), along with nine other Army sports heroes, including football All-Americans, Paul Bunker (class of 1903) and Richard "Dick" Nowak (1964), legendary coaches Jack Emmer (lacrosse from 1984-2005), and Carleton Crowell (track & field, 1954-1975, and cross country, 1954-74), Al Vanderbush (1961), Charles "Monk" Meyer (1937), Gary Steele (1970), Ed White (1952), and Julie DelGiorno (1986). Here's a link to the official announcement just posted on the Army Black Knights website: http://www.goarmysports.com/genrel/052313aab.html
Jose, who was at his home in Oakville, Ontario at the time he received the call from West Point, was notified on Tuesday, 21 May of his selection via a phone call from Army Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Boo Corrigan. He was not able to let others know that day because the official announcement from Boo Corrigan would not be made until all 10 of those to be inducted in September 2013 had been notified. He was told that today (23 May) would probably be the day of the official release to the media, etc. For those who wish to send a note to Jose, here is his email address: email@example.com;
Jose, who was nominated for the ASHOF earlier this year, was a three-time soccer All-American and star player at left wing (outside) on the outstanding Army soccer teams that advanced to the NCAA national semifinals during the 1963 and 1964 seasons. He is a most worthy selectee for the ASHOF class of 2013!
Here's an excerpt from the letter nominating Jose to the ASHOF:
Without question, Jose Gonzalez's extraordinary achievements on the soccer field, while playing on some of the most outstanding teams in the history of Army men's soccer, mark him as one of the greatest players in the 92 consecutive seasons that West Point has fielded a men's varsity soccer team for intercollegiate competition (1921-2012).
In recognition of his superb performance at West Point, where he started at left wing on Army's front line for three years, Jose was selected for All-American honors by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) in 1962 (Second Team), 1963 (Second Team), and 1964 (Honorable Mention). Only two other players in Army men's soccer history, Tom Tyree, Class of '48 (1945, 1946, 1947 seasons) and Francis "Scotty" Adams, Class of '55, (1952, 1953, 1954 seasons), were selected for NSCAA All-American honors three times! . . .
Through his brilliant individual performance during his junior year in 1963, scoring five goals and assisting on seven others, and unselfish team play, leading a relentless cadet attack and inspiring his teammates to play to their highest potential, Jose played a crucial role in Army's undefeated regular season (10-0), including a stunning 3-2 upset victory on the road in overtime over highly ranked Maryland, a NCAA men's soccer finalist in 1960 and 1962. At the end of the regular season, the 1963 Army soccer team received its first ever invitation to the NCAA Soccer Tournament. Advancing through the preliminary rounds, Army reached the final four, played at Rutgers University, 5-7 December 1963. After losing in the national semifinals, Army finished the season with an overall record of 12-1, one of the very best in Army soccer history.
As a senior in the fall of 1964, Jose was the offensive engine of an explosive, high scoring Army team which averaged over five goals per game and finished the season at 9-3-1, once again advancing to the NCAA national semifinals where Army dominated Michigan State throughout the game before bowing to the Spartans in overtime. Jose assisted on many of the 20 goals scored during the 1964 season by team captain Mike Deems, Class of '65, a new Army season record for goals scored, and the 14 goals scored by rising sophomore star, Joe Casey, Class of '67. In his letter endorsing this nomination, Joe Casey writes that, "in the fall of 1964 as a third classman, I found myself on the receiving end of Jose's accurate crosses with lots of open space as teams double-teamed him to attempt to neutralize his effectiveness, but to no avail."
Jose and the other 2013 selectees for the ASHOF will be officially inducted on Friday evening, 13 September during a formal black-tie Hall of Fame Induction Banquet in Eisenhower Hall. The group will also be recognized during Army's football game vs. Stanford at Michie Stadium the following day. As many of us did when Rollie Stichweh was inducted into the ASHOF at West Point last September, I hope many of you will be able to be there this September to show our support for Jose and his family on this very special occasion.
GO ARMY!! BEAT NAVY!!!
Strength and Drive!
What a great report and an excellent choice for the Hall of Fame. This is just one more reason we can all pump our chests up (come on ladies, you can join us) with pride at being associated with this incredible Band of Brothers!
I did a little digging and Jose helped me so I could add some photos to this good news. First we have this shot of the team taken from our '65 Howitzer. Next we have an action shot from the '64 Howitzer where it looks like Jose is about to get beaned.
Next a great posed shot of Jose at the Rock. And finally a shot of Jose with his beautiful wife Ana to let us see that he is one of so many of us who was able to hang on to his good looks (wish I could say the same).
Congratulations Jose on a very much deserved honor. You make us all proud.
Wow, all those golfers and we finally get a report and some nice photos. My guess is that everyone assumed someone else was sharing the story with me. Anyway, I received this from Jerry Dernar who has worked hard to help me identify everyone in the pictures. This might be a good place to insert a reminder - Please identify everyone in the photos you send me, counting on me to be able to identify people is pure folly. Now, here is Jerry's submission:
I know it is a little late, but I wanted to add my thanks to Bob and Barrie for the great job they did once again in putting on our spring golf outing in Myrtle Beach. As always, it was great connecting with classmates and telling our "war" stories again. The best new one I heard was from Tommy Abraham. He told of his days rooming with Jack Terry, and their constant competition to determine just who the alpha male in the room was. Jack won the bragging rights in the boxing ring, but he could never take Tommy on the wresting mats. One morning as they were getting out of bed for reveille Tommy looks at Jack and says he is going to be the last one dressed for formation. Not to be outdone Jack just stands there not moving. They continue this stare down until the minute caller announces the last call at two minutes. Tommy pauses then tells Jack he is excused from formation that morning. I was laughing so hard I could not hear what the outcome was so Tommy will have to furnish that unless everyone else has already heard this story. I am attaching some pictures I took. Most of them are from the hospitality room with card games going on, but there is one lovely shot of the wives who were in attendance, and one of my Tuesday foursome with Trey Adams, Dave Mastran, and Roger Griffin.
Before we get to the photos I would like to interject that I called Tommy Abraham to get the rest of the story and he confirmed that it was a true test of manhood and he had Jack really squirming but by dressing while he ran out the door, Jack just made it to the formation.
The first picture includes Chris Needles, Steve Harman, John Vann, Tom Henneberry, and Johnny Malpass (both standing), Jack Thommason, and Tommy Abraham. It's hard to tell what they are doing (I'm guessing it's either working on the score cards or some arts and crafts). The next shot with Mitch Bonnett, Pat Kenny, and Chuck McCloskey (and Lance Hewitt and Harley Moore at the table behind them) clearly shows a card game about to break out.
Here we see Harley Moore, Trey Adams (Curt's Son looking very suspicious of all the old guys around him), Lance Hewett, and Curt Adams (Walking behind is Steve Darrah and seated in the background facing the camera are Steve Ammon and Barrie Zais).
I'm not sure what they are so happy about but the wives who joined in the fun sure seem to have had a great time. Here are (clockwise from front left) Ina Abraham, Sue Bryant, Ilse Gabel, Diana Loftin, and Carol Tomaswick (who was also very helpful to me in my attempt to get the names right).
The final photo is one of the foursomes getting ready to tee off on Tuesday. They include Jerry Dernar, Trey Adams, Dave Mastran, and Roger Griffin.
All in all it looks like everyone had a great time. Thank you Jerry for sharing the story and photos.
On May 21st the long awaited presentation of the Distinguished Graduate Award (DGA) to our own LTG Joe DeFrancisco took place at West Point. There were around 30 of our Classmates in attendance, however, unfortunately, I don't have a complete list of names to share. As you will see, there are numerous pictures to give you a taste of what it was like that day. Let's start with Joe's own words to our Class Committee who put together the nomination packet that resulted in his selection:
On Tuesday I had the great honor of receiving the DGA at West Point. You need to know that I fully understand and appreciate all you collectively did to make that happen. First in selecting me to represent the Class, and second in doing the hard work assembling the packet that led to the ultimate selection. There are hundreds of graduates who do enough to receive a DGA, but there are not hundreds of Classes like ours or Class Committees like you. Lynne joins me in thanking each of you.
Please let me know if I inadvertently omitted someone from this message. I have, of course, included Harry who may be checking on us.
I look forward to seeing you all at the 50th, if not sooner.
Strength & Drive
Our Class President, Clair Gill, responded for the Committee with this message:
As I mentioned to you--almost jokingly, but with sincerity--it was our pleasure!! We had zero issues getting behind your nomination, you did the real work, and Bill Birdseye (under Bob Radcliffe's tutelage) made it all come together. WE are very proud of you--and Lynne. It was a great honor for those of us fortunate enough to be able to make it to the moving ceremony. Unfortunately, all were not able to be there--though we had 30 or so who could make the trip section.
Our first photo shows Joe at the ceremony where he received the award from Superintendent LTG Huntoon (standing just behind Joe is Jodie Glore, Chairman of the Board of the AOG). In the second photo we see Clair Gill, 2015 Class President, Will Goodwin, Joe DeFrancisco, 2015 Class Vice President, Kyle Warren, Bob Frank, and 2015 Class Secretary, Hope Landsem. I'm told that the medal is pretty impressive (reminding some of a Frisbee).
Here we have Joe with his wife Lynne (in yellow) and their family along with the First Captain of the Corps. Lynne told me that it was 85 and humid that day and that many were struggling with the heat. Looking at this photo makes me believe what I heard so many years ago that "horses sweat, men perspire, but the ladies, they just sparkle". And in the next photo we see Joe sitting in the middle of his family back in the day. It's interesting to note how many stars are represented in the center of this photo given that he is sitting just to the left of a guy we all know and admire. Ric and his wife Patty were also in attendance on Tuesday. A-1 was quite the prolific company when you add Denny Benton (third from the right in the first row) with three stars and Wes Taylor (fourth from the right in the back row) with one star - it looks like A-1 gave us 11 stars.
Finally, a great shot of six Classmates gathered to honor Joe. Here are Gene Manghi, Ross Wollen, Bill Reisner, Bob Selkis, Ric Shinseki, and Reg Drysga.
Then two photos to help get a feel for what it was like to be at our Rock Bound Highland Home for this great event. In the last shot, Jo Anne Tyner shows us what a beautiful day it was. Step Tyner, who was unable to attend, asked me to mention that Jo Anne was the source of many of the photos I'm sharing in this report. He also mentioned that since they have been divorced for around 40 years, they now get along very well.
I will close with a note from Denny Coll who has prepared a photo book of Joe's DGA award:
It is hard-bound, very professional and durable and 24 pages of good pix, to include 5-6 pages of neat WP/USMA pix that were important to S & D as Cadets and afterward. Plus, of course, all the pix of the Old Grad March On, Thayer Statue Ceremony, Cadet Parade, Awards Luncheon and the Soiree in the Haig Room at the new library.
Anyone interested in purchasing one or more books should e-mail their mailing address and mail $30 per book +$5 for me to ship it/them to them.
This should be done right away as he is planning to place the order on June 3rd.
We have some Classmates out there who just refuse to slow down. Here we have a great report and picture from Bruce Marshall who recently rode the Cumberland - E. Continental Divide trail. He also shares some very ambitious plans for other activities this year. Way to go Bruce, you make me tired just reading about your adventures:
I live just north of Baltimore & my son lives in Ohio & with his birthday coming up I decided to go see him and enroute attempt the section we plan to avoid in August. I stayed at a Super 8 in Cumberland Thursday evening the 16th and got up by 6 am on the 17th. I was on the trail by 7:30 am and thinking:
(1) If a non-cog rail train can make it I can
(2) I only need to ride up the equivalent of a 70-80 foot tree every mile.
To say it was a "piece of cake" would be mischaracterizing the ride, it was more like a "piece of tough steak". It took me right at 2hr 25min of actual biking time to complete the 23.5 miles from Cumberland up to the Eastern Continental Divide or an average of 9.7mph. The trip back was "a piece of cake" and made me really appreciate what a 1.5% slope was really like (it actually seemed steeper coming back down than going up)! Biking time on the return was 1hr 24min or >16mph - FUN!
Anyway, it probably makes sense to take the train, especially in August, when the temperature could be 20 degrees hotter, but I'm glad I did it; By comparison my 70 mile bike ride this Saturday, May 25th, on my 70th birthday should be "a piece of cake" or at least a good conditioning ride in preparation for Mt. Hood, OR (linking up with our 3 Classmates Jay Vaughn, Paul Singelyn & Ben Whitehouse who climbed Mt. Hood 50 years ago) in June; Mt. Kathadin, ME (annual HighPointers Convention) in July & our C&O - GAP Trip in August.
Here's to Adventure,
Bruce Marshall "Aging Gratefully"
PS: By the way, I'm working on the video; I used a Contour GPS mounted on the bike and shot a photograph every 60 seconds and ended up with about 150 photos - which I am turning into a YouTube Video of less than 10 minutes. It should give everyone a real feel for the beauty and "texture" of the Great Allegheny Passage trail, which looks to be a better trail than the C&O Canal.
Thank you Bruce for a great report and a strange, albeit, appropriate picture.
Well, we came very close to having a nice visit with Sonny Arkangel as he was passing through Phoenix on his way home from Hawaii. I picked up Ron Walter so we could arrive together at the airport and take Sonny to lunch. We only missed by 24 hours. If you look at the bigger picture we were only off by .0039% (looking at the lifetime of one of us). Of course given that there were three of us involved, I guess we could say we were only off by .0013%. I'm sure some of you hives will want to shoot down my calculations but it's my story and I'm sticking with it. Anyway, Ron and I had a very nice lunch while we chuckled at the fact that neither of us was free to come by the next day to help Sonny get through his 8 hour layover in the Valley of the Sun. Sorry about that Sonny. Robert Burns got it right when he said: "The best laid plans of mice and men...", however, I prefer, "Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda"
Here is a picture of what our lunch might have looked like had we not gotten our wires crossed.
Don't laugh, my son was too busy to do the photoshop for me so I did it myself the old fashioned way with two photos and a pair of scissors. Sure, Sonny looks a little ghost like, but, after all, he wasn't there. All right I'll keep my day job, oh wait a minute, I don't have a day job or any job for that matter. Oh well, whatever it takes to get a story to share.
Last evening my wife, Donna, and I were privileged to be invited to the beautiful home of Tom and Marilyn Kovach for a mini gathering with Skip and Marilyn O'Donnell, and Jim Holmes. What a great time we had and talk about being a great host and hostess, Tom and Marilyn served salad that was so fresh it had been growing in their garden just hours before we arrived, the slices of prime rib, which had been slow cooked on the bar-b-cue, were so large they had to be folded over to keep them on the plates and Tom even made the ice cream served with cake and fruit for dessert. The Kovach's home is on the southern extreme of the many communities that make up the Las Vegas area and provides an amazing view.
Here we see (left to right) Tom Kovach, Marilyn Kovach, Donna Bunn, Marilyn O'Donnell, Skip O'Donnell, and Jim Holmes (he of the colorful shirt). Note that they are standing in front of an 1883 map of our Rockbound Highland Home (some guys just can't get enough of that good stuff). Next we have a great shot of our host and hostess.
Sorry, I was facing a little pressure to get myself into one of the pictures so we decided to take one of just the guys. Here we have Tom, Moi, Skip, and Jim (he of the colorful shirt).
Thanks Tom and Marilyn for being such great host and hostess and thanks to all for including Donna and me in your Las Vegas group.
Isn't it great to know that we all have so many friends, literally, all around the world?
Our Classmates, Paul Schultz, Joe Sanchez, and Gene Manghi (seen in that order in the first photo) recently did a magnificent job on our behalf as they worked to combine the Professional Military Ethic Education program with the Class of 2015 Cemetery Walk for our Affiliation Class of 2015. Here is Paul's report:
Report to Class of 1965
Class of 2015 Cemetery Walk on May 2, 2013
The "Inspiration to Serve" Cemetery Tour began in 2006, and is currently the Professional Military Ethic Education (PME2) program's capstone event for all Yearlings. This event provides Yearlings the opportunity to recognize and reflect on the accomplishments and personal courage of fallen West Point graduates and other significant leaders of character who have shaped the United States Military Academy's Long Gray Line. As we learned when we participated, there had been no thought or efforts to tie the Mentor Class Program to this "Capstone Event" for yearlings.
Because of our Class interest and PMEE participation the last two years, PMEE asked if we wanted to participate in the program. It was a first for any mentor class, and there was very little time to learn the program and work on integration of the Mentor and Cemetery Tour Program. PMEE was thinking we would walk on the tour with our Cadet Company but had not incorporated any mentor based activities (which they had done very well throughout the rest of this yearling year). The date also conflicted with a lot of other Class and personal activities, so our participation was limited to Gene Manghi, Joe Sanchez, and Paul Schultz.
When the three of us reviewed the program, it was too late to incorporate Mentor Class presentations at the Cemetery Walk, since those were locked in during early March. We decided to concentrate on two activities:
A. Mark and display a physical presence for the Class of 1965 throughout the cemetery.
B. Develop a quick summary of selected Class of 65 members in the cemetery whose actions exhibited the traits being emphasized in "Inspiration to Serve".
C. Communicate the developed summaries to the Class of 2015 in an effective manner.
Gene Manghi did the heavy lifting on developing a concept and producing 55 Class of 1965 grave marking flags, which were placed with a US Flag on every Class affiliated gravesite. The pictures below show how that came out - a real credit.
Joe Sanchez enlisted the efforts of multiple classmates and family members to highlight the careers of Bob Arvin, Gary Kadetz, Mike Berdy and William Hecker III (Class of 1991), the son of Bill and Nancy Hecker. This document is directed to all yearlings, but is being transmitted via a PMEE Communication to all classes. Joe did a great job on very short notice.
The included pictures show Paul, Joe, and Gene with the Class Flag, which was flying in the middle of the main gravesite group for 1965 (see above). Every yearling cadet company walked by this area. The next picture shows the flagging display for the same with one of the presentation locations in the background. There are also close-ups of some grave sites for you to see the flagging up close. Near the end of the 4 hour event, the Superintendent walked up and expressed his approval of the way we had brought the mentor class presence into the activity. He was also happy our class had brought the mentor program forward during the last 2 years.
PMEE has asked us to work with them to develop the program to bring Mentor Class History and traditions to the Yearling Class as part of the cemetery walk. That's a nice summer project. We have a chance to be the class that makes the Cemetery Walk "mentor meaningful" just like the Buckner Flag ceremony or the March Back.
As a personal note, what made the last two years worth it for me was Yearlings from the Plebe Year classes I taught at F2 dropping out of their Cemetery Walk formation and coming over to talk to me for a few minutes. They wanted to share how those first classes had already helped them this year and their personal yearling year stories. That alone signed me up for the next two years. I hope the other participants throughout the year had the same experiences. It does matter to them that we're there.
Click this link and you will also find a congratulatory statement to the Class of 2015 upon the completion of their Yearling Year. This statement helps to tie together the many parts of this most meaningful time for our Affiliation Class and serves to extend our encouragement as we "Inspire to Serve".
Thank you to everyone who gave so much of your time and energy to make this happen. You have contributed greatly to the many works that continue to cause each of us to share an overwhelming pride in being identified as a member of the amazing Class of 1965.
I see numerous eulogies with this job and I usually forward them for posting on the eulogy page and frequently refer folks in that direction to see them. However, Hank Kelley sent me this eulogy which reminded, as I'm sure it will many of you, of a very significant project in the Civil Engineering course we all took. I still find the approved solution to the posed problem to be a perfect example of ingenuity and "thinking outside the box". Until now I was unaware of the solution Randy Guenther came up with and I hope you will all find it as entertaining as I did.
One of my favorite memories of Randy has to do with a project for the Civil Engineering course in the second semester of our Senior Year. As I recall, the requirement was to design a radar station in some awful place above the Arctic Circle where a nameless someone had determined there was a crying need for one. This project went on for several weeks (or months...or forever it seemed), and consisted of a series of requirements whose completion, step by step, would result in the completed radar station.
And so it went; one requirement after another: the foundation; the storage area; the living quarters; the dining area; the communications room, etc. Each requirement built on the one before. Naturally there was an "Approved Solution" handed out after each requirement was turned in. But since this was an individual project, as you can imagine, there were as many solutions (unapproved) as there were cadets working on them. And as the solutions for each requirement were submitted and graded, you were pretty much locked in by what you had developed in earlier requirements.
At long last, we came to the final requirement. Part of the final task of putting everything together was to show a diagram of the finished installation. Now as Randy worked his way thru the project, his solutions invariably received high grades although they were somewhat unusual. But still, isn't that what innovation and creativity is all about? Naturally we were all curious as to what his final product would look like.
We were not disappointed. When all the stages of Randy's radar station were assembled, the result was a giant snowman. Three hemispheres of different size made up the body. A radar dome was cleverly housed in a structure resembling a top hat. One arm extended to hold an antenna that bore a close resemblance to a broom. And there were circular windows placed in the top level in such a way as to suggest eyes. Another row of windows made up a mouth fixed in neither smile nor frown. This was not a happy snowman that glared out on a bleak Arctic landscape that made our Hudson Home in winter look cheery by comparison. An assignment to Randy's installation would count as a hardship tour. Unorthodox to be sure, but it satisfied the requirement.
I didn't take to Civil Engineering with Randy's ease and competence. In fact Engineering and I were locked in an adversarial relationship all that semester. Eventually Civil Engineering won and by semester's end I was "found" and "turned out" It was then that the architect of the Great Snowman of the Artic came to the rescue. Randy coached me as I prepared for that most final of final exams. And I give thanks to Randy that I can say I am Hank Kelley, member the graduating class of '65.
Randy was a class act.
Thank you Hank, your eulogy/story should bring back many fond memories of our Rock Bound Highland Home in general, and Randy specifically.
Once again Randy, well done - be thou at peace.
It's always fun when one story leads to another. Here, Dave Bodde shares a memory from Ranger School:
The photo of Sonny Arkangel reminded me of an incident from Ranger School, one of those memories of small events that seem to stick in mind permanently.
It was toward the end of the Florida phase, and we were all getting a bit cheeky with the cadre. Sonny had been designated patrol leader. As he gave his patrol order, he worried (with a completely straight face) that the enemy (the dreaded Circle Trigon) might discover that we were rangers. So to prevent this lapse in intelligence, we would no longer call each other "Ranger so-and-so," but rather just use our first names.
We all got a big chuckle out of doing just that until reminded by the cadre (no longer dreaded) who was really in charge...guess the tab did not come with a sense of humor.
Anyway, Sonny, great to see that big grin again.
Dr. David L. Bodde
You're right Dave, the tab didn't come with a sense of humor but I recall that it was the source of some humor for my troops in my first unit with the Air Defense. They wanted to know if I planned to jump out of a plane with a Hawk missile strapped to my back. I remained proud of my wings and tab and explained that if I did, they would be expected to follow me out the door.
I recently received a great report from Tad Ono who enjoyed two independent visits out in his paradise home in Hawaii. During the first visit, Tad describes the dinner they enjoyed. While I'm familiar with the mai tais, I haven't got a clue what they ate but the bottom line is that they had a good time and enjoyed the company Classmates and their wives. Tad wrote:
We recently had a couple of nice visits from classmates: Lynne and Joe DeFrancisco kindly invited us to have dinner at the Halekulani. Joe came as an invited speaker at a regional military conference. After the traditional mai tai, we had a most wonderful dinner of local abalone and opakapaka accompanied by a Brunello di Montalcino.
A few weeks later, Sonny Arkangel called to say he was on the island for some work with the Hickam/Pearl Harbor community. So, he came over for some local poke of ahi and garlic shrimp. The he-man Sonny drinks, would you believe, White Zinfandel, so he had to settle for Hiro's Gewurztraminer followed by Hiro's famous spaghetti with Italian sausage. As you can see from the pic's, everyone looked great.
Tad comments about Sonny's taste for White Zinfandel. For what it's worth, Tad, while no he-man, I'm somewhat of a big boy and I love the pink elixir myself and that along with Hiro's spaghetti and Italian sausage sounds like the perfect dinner to me.
Tad does know his wine. He has become quite a connoisseur and when we had our golf outing in the Pacific Northwest last year, he brought many bottles to share and regaled us with more information about each bottle than we will ever need.
Thank you Tad for a great report and photos
This boy just doesn't know how to slow down. And from my point of view, he's still pretty darned good at what he's doing. Sure he looks like he's doing the Hokey Pokey or winding up for a magnificent pirouette but look closely and you can see how close to perfect he is with the landing.
Here are his comments:
The jump was at the annual Cheryl Stearns Accuracy Camp and Competition. In the meet I passed the 2000 jump mark with 5 cm. on this jump. We had 40 competitors from eleven countries. I jumped on a team called "Las Americas" made up of a Brazilian, a Uruguayan (our two South Americans) and two of us from the US (our two North Americans). We finished in the middle of the pack. Credible but not outstanding.
It may not have been outstanding to you Dick, but from where I sit, it is exactly outstanding! As if that isn't enough, he and Joan are touring the country in their new (their first RV in which they visited me in Arizona wasn't big enough) Newmar Dutch Star motor home. Here is the rest of his report:
Joan and I are now on the second month of a grand 97 day RV trip across this marvelous country of ours. We have replaced our previous RV with a 39 foot Newmar Dutch Star and are pulling our Honda. What a great lifestyle for us old farts. Since March 28, we have been on what we call "The Winery Tour" and have stopped at more than ten so far. The wineries let us spend the night free and, of course, we go in and taste their wines. So far we have about seven cases on board. We have stopped to visit friends and relatives along the way. We are now at Camp San Luis Obispo, CA and will visit the Hearst Mansion tomorrow. Then Eastward to Nevada and to Sedona for a few days. Afterwards all of the southern Utah national parks for photos. Then further east to DuQuoin IL for a Newmar rally (about 1000 of our type of RV). Finally a caravan of 20 of us through Nashville, Kentucky horse country and ending in Ashville at the Vanderbuilt Biltmore mansion. We expect to be back home by early July.
Here is a picture of his new rig. He's right, this is a great lifestyle.
Thanks Dick, for a great report and some super pictures. I wish you and Joan safe travels.
As most of you are aware, Randy Guenther succumbed to cancer on Tuesday, May 7th after a long and valiant fight which actually started over ten years ago. During the past few weeks, Dave Bangert has stepped up to provide the family with his personal support and has kept us all informed of Randy's condition. Following Randy's passing, Dave quickly stepped up to take on the responsibilities of our POC (Point of Contact) with the Guenther family. The following report will give you all the current information available and will be followed by more information as it becomes available or if there are necessary changes:
The Guenther family is gathering and appreciates the outpouring of support that our class has provided. The wake, mass and internment are being spread over three weeks since Randy passed. This is being done to accommodate people travelling over long distances and the June Week celebrations occurring in mid-May during which there is a hold on funerals.
The following is the current plan. However it is subject to change should circumstances dictate.
The viewing or wake to be on Sunday, May 19, 2013 from 2:00 to 4:00 and 6:00 to 8:00 at the DeVol Funeral Home, 10 East Deer Park Drive, Gaithersburg, M.D. 20877.
The mass will be on Monday, May 20, 2013 7:00 pm at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 6701 Muncaster Mill Road, Derwood, Maryland 20855. Light refreshments will follow.
The internment will be at West Point after Memorial Day, details to follow.
If you have questions, please contact me, 808 293 2981 or firstname.lastname@example.org
All classmates are welcome and at all of the above events and their attendance will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you Dave, you are doing a magnificent job which I'm sure is appreciated by the Guenther family as well as all your Classmates. As you may recall, Dave lost his dear wife Linda last November so he is no stranger to either the ravages of cancer or the difficulties faced by the family when a dear one is lost.
As we prepare to say a final goodbye to our friend Randy, I want to share a reminder of how he looked back in the day and some comments made about him in our Howitzer:
Wow, what a great story! My good friend from right here in Arizona, Jay Vaughn, sent me this great history and promise of things to come this summer. Here is his first part of the story:
PB&J is one of my favorite sandwiches. It also represents an adventure this summer among E-1 plebe roommates, Paul Singelyn, Ben Whitehouse, & Jay Vaughn to return to Mount Hood, 50 years after they climbed this mountain in the summer of 1963.
Here's the story...
Jay grew up on a wheat ranch in Eastern Oregon. His dad suffered a heart attack during our plebe year and was incapacitated. Neighbors pitched in during August 1962 to get the wheat harvested. Our yearling training at Camp Buckner in '63 gave us leave during August, allowing Jay time to make it home for that year's harvest. Good guy city slickers Paul (from Detroit) and Ben (from Boston) volunteered to help out. Ben drove wheat truck for the Vaughns while Paul drove truck for a neighbor. When harvest ended, we decided to climb Mount Hood, the tallest point in Oregon at 11,250 feet. We had been eyeing this beautiful mountain from the wheat fields for two weeks and decided it needed climbing. Our not-so-classic ascent was done wearing polo shirts, tennis shoes, and jeans. Our only equipment was a Brownie Camera. We met other fully-equipped climbing parties that must have thought we were statistics about to happen. We could have and probably should have died on that mountain like so many had before us, but since the Good Lord looks out for small children and fools, we survived the crevasses, falls, head-long slides down a glacier, and some fairly serious cramping due to altitude sickness.
Here's the plan...
Ben contacted Paul and Jay this year to suggest we return to the scene of our near-death experience, 50 years later. Ben is working his way through his "bucket list" and a return to this adventure was near the top. We DO NOT INTEND TO CLIMB IT AGAIN although some of Ben's sons and/or sons-in-law will come with us and do intend to climb the mountain while the three of us geezers lounge around the lodge by the fire doing our best to remember old times and good friends of days gone by. We do plan some lesser adventures such as river rafting or riding some zip lines to try to recapture those feelings of cheating death. We hope to provide additional pictures in June, but here are a couple of us either at or near the top lo those many years ago. The first is Ben and Jay on the way up. The second is Paul and Jay at the top.
My comments - what's this crap about "hope to provide additional pictures"? Come on, put a camera on your list of things to bring and make sure you share some great shots of the gang doing their thing or just sitting around the fire in the lodge. Additionally, I have challenged Jay to try to duplicate these poses and conditions so we can see how these death defying kids grew up.
By the way, I know how precious my leave time was, so I'm very impressed that you all gave of your time and energy to help out a family (and neighbors) in need.
Thanks Jay for a great contribution.
George Ruggles shared a good story with me regarding a nice visit he had with Step Tyner while on his way through central California:
Passing thru Sacramento on the way back to Oregon, I talked Step Tyner into joining me for lunch. We had not seen each other since the 35-year reunion. We go all the way back to USMAPS where we first met in 1960. It turns out we have a lot more in common than we knew: both took Basic Training at Ft. Ord; went to Puerto Rico on different maneuvers; attended the same Ranger class (although he graduated and I didn't). The two-hour lunch flew by. Step is quite the raconteur, plus the guy can tell a great story. We were going to match out for who paid for lunch, but it was a Chinese restaurant with no table knives and we couldn't figure out how to do it with chopsticks. I'll get it next time, Step, I promise. Attached photo taken by the waiter, but it looks like he was a little shaky.
Thanks George, good job but we may need to suggest that restaurants provide better training in photography for their waiters. Additionally, some training for you guys in the fine art of "Rock, Paper, Scissors" might be in order.
Dave Bangert has taken on the very difficult and supportive role as a helper and Point of Contact (POC) for Randy Guenther and his family as they go through a very difficult time. Here is Dave's message to all of us:
Randy Guenther is quite ill. Randy had kidney cancer about 10 years ago, and the operation appeared to get the tumor. Right after the New Year, he felt weak and sleepy. The doctors found that he had a number of small tumors throughout his abdominal cavity. The tumors, though not in the kidney, were from his original cancer. There were too many tumors to operate and his blood lacked oxygen carrying capacity. The doctors at Bethesda tried to strengthen his blood with limited success and then started Randy on oral chemo treatments. Yesterday, he was in pain and his son, David, took him to the emergency room. Randy has decided to stop chemo and asked to be put into hospice.
Randy has had amazing support from wife Betty and his four children, two of whom live in the DC area. I am in regular contact with Randy and his family. I am happy to act as a POC for questions (email@example.com 808 293 2981). Until now, Randy had asked that we not share information about his illness. This morning, his daughter, Susan, stated that notes of support would be appreciated. His mailing address is 7713 Miller Fall Road, Rockville, MD 20855. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I am not sure if anyone is monitoring his e-mail in box. Copy me and I will ensure your note gets through. I will be travelling to DC in mid-May to spend time with Randy. Feel free to contact me if you want any task done for him.
Betty has asked that I determine what awards Randy has earned so his uniform is correct for burial. Can anyone give me guidance on how to do that?
Thank you Dave for stepping up to help our friend Randy and his family. Does anyone have an answer to Dave's question regarding awards? Please contact Dave right away if you do. Additionally, anyone who knows Randy well, please send your support both directly and through Dave to give him that boost that only Strength and Drive, can give.
Grip hands, my friends, we have a brother in need.
I recently received this message from Ed Armstrong. I was moved by his comment regarding the re turning of his ring. I must admit that I feel the same way a lot of the time and might consider doing the same thing if I could even get it off my finger. I may have outgrown that option. My main reason for passing this along, however, is because I found his comments regarding Alzheimer's to be very interesting and possibly helpful to others in our ranks. It is not my intent to make this listserv into a Dr. Oz of the internet, but when I see something brief that might be helpful, I say what the heck. Here are Ed's comments:
I very much appreciate your reports on the comings and goings of our class. I haven't been as close to the class as I would like to have been after graduation. I was in the Air Force and classified world for 45 years.
I remember at graduation when we traditionally turned our rings around as our allegiance changed from our classmates to the Long Gray Line. A couple of years ago as I realized how close I felt to the class I turned my ring back around with the class crest closest to my heart.
You have a challenge because at our age there is more sad than glad news to report but it is no less important. In December my wonderful wife and best friend of 47 years, Karen, was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. She functions fine, drives, shops, and works her crossword puzzle every morning. If you did not know you could spend a week with her and not be aware of her disease - unless you asked her what day it was. I want our classmates to be aware because if you don't know someone with Alzheimer's you soon will. Thirteen percent of us over 65 have Alzheimer's and 48% over 85 have it. It is the most expensive and under diagnosed disease. If you want excellent advise on how to be an Alzheimer's care giver Google Teepa Snow YouTubes. That's important because Alzheimer's care givers are 40% more likely to die early due to the stress of dealing with the disease. They rarely outlive their patients. Karen and I are fortunate to be blessed with a large and caring church family, many close friends, and family nearby so we intend to be an exception.
Strength and Drive was our motto long before we really needed it,
Thanks Ed, I'm sure we all wish you well with your care giving.
Step Tyner saw this picture in one of my messages and shared a great suggestion for a caption: "Recent Meeting of the League of Extraordinary Foreheads."
I believe I've mentioned before that there are
clowns out of work and yet
some of us feel the need to step up to the plate. Thanks Step.
As I mentioned in my previous message, I found myself in North Carolina with enough time to enjoy the company of two Classmates for lunch. John Malpass and Jack Thomasson were able and willing to join me for lunch. John was kind enough to pick me up, as my wheels were actually a very large U-Haul truck. He immediately brought my attention to the finely reupholstered back seat in his amazing car. (He told me that many of our Classmates have given him a hard time about his car so I guess that opens the door for me to do the same) The upholstery job consisted of many overlapping pieces of brown tape which didn't match the original color very well so it was easy to see how "fine" it was. I then learned that I was sitting on the same thing so I felt very lucky to extricate myself from the car without either bringing the seat with me or the tape. I won't say it's an old car (212,000 miles) but I think it was parked next to my Pontiac Lemans back when we had to leave them down at the old Buffalo Soldier Field. Enough said, it got us to lunch and back and to the best of my knowledge, I didn't catch any of the diseases John warned me to watch for.
Jack joined us for a very nice, albeit short lunch. We discussed the fact that they were both going out for round of golf after lunch to warm up for the big golf gathering on Sunday. I wish I had known I was going to be making this trip earlier so I could have made plans to join in on the fun once again. However, I had to get back here for a trip with my men's club to Sandy Eggo for the same reason.
Jack, John, and I decided to have this picture taken just outside the door of the restaurant so as to avoid the many comments that seem to abound whenever I let folks see what we have on the table. For those of you with a memory like mine, that's Moi, John Malpass, and Jack Thomasson. I was concerned that John's shirt and mine would clash too much but by putting his arms behind us the color didn't show too much. Do we try to consider the sensibilities or what?
Thanks guys for finding the time to visit with me. I hope you and all the rest have a great time in Myrtle Beach next week.
As can happen so often when retirement tells the world that your time is usually free and you can be counted on for a favor, I found myself helping a dear young lady (86) with her move to North Carolina. Time permitted so I contacted several Classmates in the area and we were able to get together for a brief visit or lunch. Bill Bradburn was unable to join us for lunch but was able to come out and visit at the lady's new home. Here you see the two of us trying to get along even though we represent two different Regiments. You wouldn't believe some of the horrible things he had to say about the 1st Regiment while he pointed out that we were always the first to finish parade duties and he was sure that we were all back in the rack while they were still marching past the reviewing stand and waiving at the guests.
With that exception Bill appears to be a great guy (we had never met) who is still having difficulty dealing with the loss of his dear wife, Ann, last year. In fact, the reason he couldn't join us for lunch was a scheduled bereavement session at his church. I can't (and don't want to) imagine how painful it is to lose a spouse after many, many years of wedded bliss. It occurred to me that we have all heard that each of grieves in his own way, but Bill's situation caused me to think about the fact that while that may be true, we don't necessarily have any choice about how that situation will affect us and how we will handle it. Bill seems to be handling it very well, but it lingers much longer than he would like. It's a complex thing when you desperately want to remember that very special person, but want the pain of their absence to go away. Anyway, I was pleased to have a few minutes to share with Bill and draw on our shared background at "Hogwarts on the Hudson". As it turns out we both have forgotten more than we have remembered about those years so anything we claimed to remember couldn't be challenged.
Any of you who may be dealing with a similar or related situation, please take the time to send him an e-mail (email@example.com) or give him a call (910-295-2449). You'll find that he is a great guy to talk with and I'm sure he would appreciate hearing from you.
Thanks Bill for taking the time to come out and meet me.
The following was passed to me by Clair Gill who also included some comments by Sandy Hallenbeck who had forwarded the notice to him. Following the notification, I spoke with Mike Teeters and I'm pleased to say that he seems to be handling this very difficult time with strength and grace as would be expected. When I asked if he would be comfortable with me sharing this with all of you, he asked that I make sure that everyone knows that he and his family are not trying to be standoffish, but would just prefer that MayBelle's passing and funeral be kept within the family where they will provide support to each other. Here are Mike's comments:
Dear MayBelle died earlier this evening. May
Lord embrace her. Her 8-year burden has been lifted. I will be taking
her soon to West Point, N.Y., where she will rest. There will be no
Mike, please know that, while we will respect your wishes, we are all standing in silent support during this difficult time. God Bless you, my friend.
I've been "off the air" (so to speak) for the past four days with Chuck Nichols kindly covering for me. If you didn't notice, good, that's the way it should be.
Unfortunately, I have to get back to work with a sad message from Preston Hughes. He shares the report of the passing of "Gus" Heilbronner. Many new him as a Tac while we were at the Rock and he obviously had a brilliant career after that.
Just a note to let you know that Edmund G. "Gus" Heilbronner died last night, at age 92, in his hometown of Kosciusko, MS. Between 1960 and 1963 he was a Tac--of A-1, I believe--and also served on the Commandant's staff--as G-4, I believe. He was a 1945 grad, fought in Korea, where he earned 3 BSMs, and also served on Westmoreland's staff in Vietnam in 1965-66.
He and his wife Nancy were "plebe Mom and Pop" to three members of our class: Frank Birdsong, Duncan Brown and me. We had some great Sunday dinners in their home during plebe year, along with receiving lessons in shoe-shining, buckle-polishing, etc.
He retired in 1975 and returned to Kosciusko to live out retirement. Because that is also my hometown, my family and I returned there when I retired in 1992 and lived there until 2009. Therefore, we knew the Heilbronners well. I can say unequivocally that in his nearly 40 years of retirement, he lived an exemplary life wholly consistent with all the tenets of the Cadet Prayer. The words of our Alma Mater--"Well done, be thou at peace"--are entirely fitting.
Thank you Preston, great report.
Following my last message to the Class regarding Cadet Hargraves fencing prowess, I was privileged to be copied on a message from Bob Frank to some cadets in leadership positions in our Affiliation Class of 2015. I so enjoyed reading Bob's words of encouragement and guidance that I decided to share it with all of you. These are Bob's words to the Class of 2015:
Just so you understand there are many of my Classmates who are following the accomplishments of FOR THOSE WE LEAD. Our Class Secretary does a great job of keeping us informed about each highlight we learn about. The more info we get, the more we can share, and the more pride we have in your Class. Nearly one hundred years ago, a small class of 1915 departed the Academy not knowing what they would be facing. They "earned their spurs" in the Expeditionary Force into Mexico, followed by World War I. They persevered through the doldrums of the '20s and '30s, and then they faced WWII. At their 50th Reunion, we were proud to share the spotlight with them, graduates like Eisenhower, Bradley, Beukema, Van Fleet and a stellar bunch of their classmates. On our 50th Reunion, we will proudly share the spotlight with your class, knowing that you have begun the journey in the profession of arms in a stellar fashion. The Class of 1965 looks forward toward your continued development and preparation while at West Point and has great anticipation for your future service.
Bob Frank '65
Interestingly, Step Tyner also responded by pointing out that we did have fencing back in the day but that it was a club not a Corps Squad sport. Additionally he mentioned that he recently did some fencing following a wind storm to keep his dog from wandering. Thousands of clowns out of work and everyone wants to be funny - well, alright, it was.
Bob Frank shared this nice story about one of our Affiliation Class members. As Bob pointed out in messages to Cadet Hargraves, this was a great achievement after many, many hours of practice and training. The report:
Not sure anyone else noticed the announcement on the West Point Facebook page, but Cadet Marvin Hargraves achieved a National Championship in the sport of fencing. This sport was not available when we were cadets (at least, I don't remember it). Just so happens that Marvin is a 2015 (Our Affiliation Class) Class Officer (Information Systems Officer, I think).
Here are two pictures. One is with Marvin wearing the medal; the other is a close-up of the medal's detail. By the way, Marvin is a great guy - very outgoing and enthusiastic. Weren't we all that way back in the day?
Our good friend and Class representative to the far north, Paul Renschen, sent me this great story after having been asked to present the "Oldest Grad" speech to the Ft. Wainwright/Fairbanks Founder's Day Dinner. That reminds me of the time I was asked to present the "Youngest Grad" speech on Okinawa in 1966. But that's another story for another time. Paul's story:
As the oldest grad in the Ft. Wainwright/Fairbanks area, I received a special invitation to Founders' Day. I had to deliver the "Oldest Grad" speech in return. Five to ten minutes on the old days at West Point. Since I hated most of my time there, I offered to talk for five to ten minutes on my experiences as a LT in the Army in the olden days. As a retiree, I am authorized to wear a uniform to military events and chose to do so (if it would still fit me). We invited Paul (son) and Dawn (daughter-in-law) to join us. Paul was on duty on the Slope but Dawn did join us. This is me giving my speech.
The youngest grad also had to give a speech, three minutes or less. After the speech the youngest grad had to cut a cake into nine equal slices. I had to supervise. She was reasonably proficient.
That is me, Dawn and Neva posing at the podium
the formalities were done.
If they invite me back next year, I told them I would talk about my experiences in Vietnam.
Thank you Paul for a great report. Doesn't he look spoony in his uniform? I could do that also but I'm not sure what I would put on my other leg.
Chuck Heindrichs was kind enough to share an accidental discovery (two pages from the program for our Christmas at the Rock. I always find it enjoyable to look back at things that have long since faded into the great gray fog of lost memories.
I inadvertently ran across the program for Christmas in 1961 while looking for something else. I had not seen this since that year and thought I'd pass it along as a matter of interest. I'd like to say that I can remember any one of these events to include the reading of the Christmas Carol by Dr. Speers, but to no surprise, there is nothing on the program that jumps out at all. There is a page I did not copy that refers to a taxi service from Highland Falls for guests at the rate of 35 cents a person and 15 cents for busses taking girls to the hops.
Here is Chuck's e-mail address in case you have comments for him.
What a great story I just received from George Bell. This has got to be the best part of being the Scribe for our Class, sharing great stories of Classmates getting together wherever and whenever and enjoying our common bond. Thank you George:
Unaware of the other's intentions, Mike Lapolla and I signed up for a Christmas Holiday trip with the OAG Travel Group. Mike discovered we both were going just before the trip departed, and there were a total of only four West Pointers (one from the Class of 1945, who we hope to see at our 50th). Mike was in A-1 and I in B-1 as plebes and we probably have not seen each other since graduation. We and our spouses (two Carols) had a wonderful time together as we travelled though Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and other exciting places, all beaming with bright lights in the spirit of Christmas. It's wonderful to be transported to exciting places to find classmates of days long gone by and yet quickly pick up where we were almost 50 years ago. We even watched the Army/Navy game on the Internet with an app Mike had downloaded, as we drank beer in a German bar. Below is a picture of us in Vienna. From left to right Carol and Mike Lapolla and Carol and George Bell. Best regards, S&D.
Please do as George did and remember to share big gatherings, chance encounters, or any other event that brings our Band of Brothers (and their lovely ladies) together. And don't forget the camera.
Terry Ryan has stepped up to share with us a report on the Founders Day events at Heritage Hunt. Here is his report:
This is a photo taken at the Heritage Hunt Founders Day. Heritage Hunt is an over 55 community near Gainesville, VA and is often a popular alternative to the much larger West Point Society of DC Founders Day.
For the past couple of years, the event has been extremely well done by Bernie Zeigler, John Concannon and Larry Bennett and their ladies. Curt Adams, a previous organizer, escaped to North Carolina, allegedly so he could avoid the work. This year the oldest grad present was Malcolm Agnew, Class of 1949 and Captains Marin (Leo and Niki), Class of 2009. The West Point Alumni Glee Club sang a few songs, one of which is "America" with a new narration called "American Warrior" presented by Mal Agnew and Niki Marin.
In the photo, Left to right: Tom Fergusson, June Fergusson, Bill Lehman, Jane Lehman, George Gehringer, Sue Gehringer, Pete Linn, Linda Concannon, John Concannon, Jack Lowe, Annette Lowe, Terry Ryan, Nancy Ryan, Bernie Zeigler, Ellen Zeigler, Jean Bennett, and Larry Bennett.
Looks like many happy campers. Thank you Terry for thinking to take the picture and share it.
As previously reported, the Society of American Military Engineers held its Golden Eagle Dinner on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, at which time it honored our favorite Supe - Dan Christman. Bob Wolff shared some great photos and made this great report:
The 2013 Golden Eagle Dinner was attended by 375 SAME members and guests, including the Chiefs of all the Engineering Uniformed Services-Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Public Health Service-and nine members of the Class of '65. LTG Tom Bostick was asked to introduce Dan due to his current position as the Army Chief of Engineers, but also because he told me that Dan was one of the main reasons he stayed in the Army. Tom was a Lieutenant in Dan's engineer battalion in Germany. Turns out that Tom had no money for a wedding reception so Dan and Susan had the wedding reception at their home. So the relationship between Tom and Renee (his wife) and Dan and Susan, has been close since those days in Germany. General Bostick was outstanding in his introduction, particularly in marveling at "how did Dan do that," like getting a law degree while on active duty and going to extreme lengths to be the head rabble rouser while Sup at West Point. The main theme of the General's remarks was clear-Dan is viewed by all with whom he worked-subordinates, peers and superiors-as an outstanding, extremely capable leader admired by all. In Dan's remarks, he told a story of building a ladies latrine on the DMZ in Korea and on to some exceptionally captivating accounts of his work with U.S. and Israeli leaders on Middle-East Peace talks and his perspective on China.
Bob went on to suggest I take a few excerpts from Dan's speech to share. However, I was so captivated by reading the entire speech that I was unable to select just a few parts so I have attached the entire speech for your pleasure (Click here to view). Here we see LTG Tom Bostick, P.E., USA, Chief of Engineers and Commanding General, US Army Corps of Engineers and Mr. Bill Brown, P.E., SES (Ret.), Chair of the SAME Academy of Fellows presenting the award to Dan and then Dan presenting his terrific speech.
I was extremely pleased to see the great attendance by our Classmates who came out to show support and recognize the tremendous contributions Dan has made to the Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Army throughout his magnificent career. Shown here are, in the first photo (right): Bob Wolff, Clair Gill, Phyllis Wolff, Susan Christman and Dan, and in the second photo(left): George Seaworth, Frank Skidmore, Chuck Nichols, Clair Gill, Dan, Jack Kolety, Bob Wolff, Joe DeFrancisco, and Mike Viani. Disappointing as it is, I was not given a picture of the famous (or should I say infamous) ladies latrine to share.
Thanks Bob for this terrific report and congratulations Dan on a well-deserved honor - we all salute you.
Paul Schultz has once again submitted a terrific report to give us all an idea of what he has been doing with the help of many of our Classmates, listed below, to support the PMEE Leader Challenge Programs. His and their efforts have given us all enormous cause for continuing pride in our Class and how we are seen everywhere we get involved.
Class of 1965 Report on the February 21st PMEE Leadership Exercise
PL/PSG Tipping Point
This session continued the Class of 1965 PMEE participation in the Leader Challenge Programs. Twelve Classmates continued the record of our class having the largest participation record. Due to our participation, the other two classes made a real turnout effort and had 9 each - which were their largest efforts to date. Our Class group picture was taken on the steps of our Class Gift before we went to the Haig Room for the Preparatory Classes. It was not photo shopped - all our PMEE volunteers look that good! Just volunteer and watch your own results. Front Row: Gabel, Frank, Stichweh, Hewitt, Chase, Cpt M. Graham Davidson (PMEE Coordinator), Back Row: Gibson, Smoak, Donaghy, Manghi, Lehman, Schultz, Campbell.
Just prior to the start of the prep session in the Haig Room, Captain Mark Adamshick, USN(ret), Ph.D., Class of 1969 Chair for the Study of Officership in PMEE, made a statement I'd like to share with the entire class:
I want to express on behalf of the Simon Center our profound gratitude to the great class of 1965 for their contribution to the development of the Corps of Cadets. Your selflessness and spirit are an inspiration to the young men and women who have answered our nation's call to serve during a tenuous and volatile time in history. Your participation in the Professional Military Ethic Education program offers insight and wisdom to the Cadets development that is invaluable and continues the legacy of the long grey line. Thank you for your effort and profound contribution and look forward to your next visit to West Point!
We joined the Classes of 1964 and 1963 to participate as "Platoon Mentors" with an assigned Cadet Company in the exercise called "PL/PSG". Attached is a PDF outlining this particular Leader Challenge. More detail is available if you want to see it.
Thanks to our classmates for their participation. Our class Mentors for the March session were:
Russell Campbell Bob Frank Gene Manghi
Emery Chase Doug Gibson Paul Schultz
Dan Donaghy Leland Hewitt Richard Smoak
David Gabel Bill Lehman Roland Stichweh
The morning session was held in the Haig Room to accommodate the larger group, and it was another of the best "Prep" sessions. I have included a couple of pictures of our volunteers hard at work on
The problem they have to facilitate in the afternoon. In the first shot (left) are: Stichweh, Campbell, Gibson, Chase. In the second shot (right) are: Smoak, Frank, Lehman, Gabel.
This was the last Class for the semester. PMEE also conducts the Cemetery Walk for the yearlings (Our Mentor Class) in early May, and they would appreciate our participation. I'll have the exact date and details in a week or so, and will send that out for anyone who would like to attend the event.
Class of 65 POC PMEE Program
As Paul points out there will be one more PMEE event to get involved with this academic year. That is the Cemetery Walk for the yearlings (Our Mentor Class) in early May. Please consider participating if at all possible. How could you not want to be a part of this great looking group?
Jerry Hoffman was kind enough to dig through the archives to find a few photos of me. Here he chose to share one taken at a shower formation early in my cadet career:
Please note how hard I had to push my neck back to create the indentation in the wall.