Class Poop

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

Class Notes Second Quarter 2015

The June 12th Graduation of 8 new 2LT's

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Here is a nice treat for you. Gene Manghi submitted this great report on the June 12th graduation ceremony of eight cadets who faced and overcame some last minute academic challenges resulting in a delayed graduation. I have extracted four pictures from the AOG link which included many more photos all of which were very similar. Check them out yourself at: if you choose. Additionally, I noted in Gene’s report a reference to General Dempsey’s singing of a portion of Frank Sinatra’s "New York, New York" at the original Graduation on May 23rd. I had not heard about this so I did a little digging and with the help of Paul Schultz (by the way, he is doing well on his slow but steady road to recovery), I was able to get this link (General Martin Dempsey, Address to 2015 West Point Graduation) to the introduction by LTG Caslen and the entire Graduation Speech by General Dempsey. It is long (almost 26 minutes) but well worth the time for all you gray hogs out there. There are a few times that the wind caused some unwanted noise but you can still follow the gist of his words. Good stuff - enjoy.

Here is Gene’s report:

It was a very hot June day at West Point. Fortunately the air-conditioning in Eisenhower Hall worked well.

The Crest Hall area was the site of the June Graduation of eight members of the class of 2015. The room was set up with rows of chairs, a podium and appropriate flags. Slowly people gathered, including families of the graduates and many members of the academic board and professors.

After the arrival of the Superintendent, Gen. Caslen, and his party, there was some socializing by him with the families of the Graduates. There were brief remarks by the superintendent including the recollection at the May Graduation, Gen. Dempsey had sung some of the Frank Sinatra song, "New York, New York". He said he would not repeat that performance. However, at that time Gen. Dempsey gave out autographed dollar bills to each of the graduates. The Superintendent had eight of the same dollar bills to give to the graduates. This was a nice touch. Here are the eight cadets before and right after receiving their diplomas:

The eight had been waiting for 47+ months and the moment finally arrived. Each in turn received their diploma and then stepped over to the side where your humble servant handed them Second Lieutenant bars, a gift from our Class. The hats went into the air. And finally, Gene presenting the butter bars from our Class:

All in all it was very good and personal event. It was brief so that the graduates could begin their military careers starting with 60 days leave. This gave new meaning to the words "June Graduation", even though it was not a weeklong event. Photo 3 | Photo4

Great report Gene, thank you very much.

Another 50th Anniversary Success Story

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

This is kinda neat as I continue to receive 50th anniversary success stories. Tom Kovach and Marilyn, who put together our amazing Reunion, provided this note:

Marilyn and I recently returned from our 50th wedding anniversary cruise which began in Venice and ended at the port for Rome. Here's a photo of us onboard the ship during the evening of our anniversary - June 12th.

Thanks Tom, great picture and nice celebration and a huge thank you from all of us for the wonderful job you both did on our reunion.

So Who are Those Guys Holding up the Long Knives?

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Here's an interesting twist for you. Rick Charles sent me a nice story with some pictures and a thank you for serving as a sabre bearer at his wedding. Rick writes:

Thanks for being one of my Classmates who served as sabre bearer on 12 June fifty years ago. You, Bud Fish, Mark Sheridan, Steve Paek, and two others who my fuzzy mind has not remembered helped Marlene and I start on our incredible 50 year journey. Barry Levine, my yearling roommate, and Liz (Kopp) Murtland, a close childhood friend of Marlene's served as best man and maid of honor. Our children hosted an anniversary celebration for Marlene and I last weekend and we were blessed to have both Barry and Liz attend again, Barry from San Diego and Liz from Nampa, Idaho. Maria and Pete Cahill attended as well. Maria had been one of Marlene's bridesmaids who later met Pete while visiting us on our first tour in Germany. Have attached a picture showing us in 1965 and replicating the scene in 2015 (Less Blackjack Pershing in the background).

Also a picture of Maria, Liz, me, Marlene and Barry.

The interesting thing about this story is that I don't believe I ever served as a sabre bearer in any wedding and I'm pretty sure I was on the road to L.A. to prepare for my trip to Mexico with Ron (Chops) Walter when this wedding took place. However, in this and other shots of the bride and groom leaving the chapel I look at the guy just to the left of the one wearing the cool tennis shoes with his Dress Blues and I think, that could be me cleverly hiding my face behind my right arm. There is no question about it, a mind (or a memory) is a terrible thing to waste (or loose). Oh well, the good news is that the wedding was a success and has lasted fifty years. Congratulations Rick and Marlene.

Thank you Rick for sharing this great (albeit fuzzy) story.

A Great Trip for our Favorite Supe and his Lady

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Wow, how cool to get a very nice message from our favorite Supe with some great pictures. Dan writes:

May-June 2015 an unforgettable, emotional ride with family and friends. Following the extraordinary reunion and the privilege to represent the class with battle-buddies Bud Bucha, Joe DeFrancisco and Ric Shinseki at the class of 2015's graduation, Susan and I flew 24 hours later to Rome for the start of a two week sailing journey to Sicily, Malta and the Amalfi Coast. Favorite spot on the Amalfi coast -- partly because it was the least crowded of any of the stops in that fabulous countryside -- was Ravello. Bottle of red wine and fabulous woman by my side (Susan!!) explain the allure.

No shortage of wine here.

Sicily was the most frequently visited during the two weeks; had to sample the Sicilian beer with the same young lady and spend moments of spectacular beauty at the Valley of the Temples near Agrigento. Photo

I'm guessing that the smiles get bigger as the glasses get emptier.

Came upon the reclining statue (20th century AD) in front the Ancient Greek temple (5th century BC). Was curious about origin of modern reclining statue. Local lore claims it was based on anatomically correct rendition of Long Island NY sports star Carl Stichweh in 1961, before he entered West Point. I'm just sayin'..... No confirmation on this local yarn.

I'm so embarrassed!

Also swung through Malta. Despite terrible damage in WWII, beautifully restored and preserved. Only disappointment? No tour guide -- on the ship or in Valetta, the capital -- could give us correct info on how to find the headquarters that General Eisenhower established there before the allies' 1943 invasion of Sicily. Go figure.

Photo Left: But the most important development of all during the last 30? days? Birth just before we left of granddaughter Eleanor Browning Workman, pictured with Grandma Susan. Mother (our youngest daughter, Dr. Catherine Workman) and daughter doing terrifically.

Now that's adorable!

What made this especially joyful is that baby arrived on Susan's birthday, May 21st! We've been -- and are -- blessed!

Strength and Drive

Thank you Dan, great report and congratulations to you and Susan.

President's Message to the Class

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

It is my pleasure to be able to share with all of you a letter from our new President, Russ Campbell, who is sharing the results of a considerable amount of input, coordination, and review by all members of the Leadership Team. Russ writes:

Message to the Distinguished West Point Class of '65

Before the emotions, memories, and euphoria of the greatest 50th reunion ever have faded away, I wanted to bring everyone up to date on several matters.

Although Article XI of the bylaws indicates changes to the bylaws may be made at any reunion, there are some actions the Leadership Team will take now to more effectively administer Class business. We are confident we can operate within the boundaries, spirit, and intent of the bylaws as provided under the general authority granted in article VI, Section 3, without amending the bylaws. Going forward we will use the label "Leadership Team" instead of the Leadership Committee , and we will consider including other classmates when we believe it will serve the class well.

In that regard, the Leadership Team will form committees and working groups as necessary to carry out the affairs of the Class. Because Information and Technology place such a vital role for the Class, we have convened a committee chaired by Bob Axley to address how best we can evaluate and structure a response to this critical and essential area. At this time, the committee's recommendations are pending submission to the Leadership Team for review and endorsement. Once finalized, the results will be communicated to the Class.

The bylaws do not specify what rules govern meetings, therefore the Leadership Team has adopted the following policy:

"With respect to all meetings of the Class, including Board meetings, committee meetings, conference call meetings, and member meetings, the Chair of the meeting shall manage the meetings using a process that encourages open dialogue, honest discussion, and fair consideration of the views of all meeting participants. If the Chair's ruling on a matter is challenged by any of the meeting participants, he shall call for a vote of the participants and abide by the majority vote of the participants."

Next, I am pleased to report that through the efforts of Chuck Nichols and Bob Frank, the Leadership Team has approved the purchase of a two page Ad in the 2015 Howitzer for about $1300. They have put together a wonderful congratulatory message to the Class of 2015 emphasizing our affiliation relationship depicting a number of events along the theme of "With You Every Step of the Way". It represents a permanent record that will exist long after graduation and remind them of our special 50 Year affiliation. Thanks Chuck and Bob for making this happen.

Here are the two pages of the ad:

The Reunion may be long over but closing out the finances and loose ends continues. Mitch Bonnett is working with Tom Kovatch and AOG on the final accounting and reconciliation. They hope to have that all wrapped up in August, at which time they will provide a final financial report to the Class. Bob Frank is finalizing the inventory and distribution of "Strength and Drive" by Bob Doughty. Bob is trying to send a copy of the book to those Classmates or Next of Kin who were unable to attend the Reunion. And, as you know from Rick Bunn, Gene Manghi secured the framed picture from AOG, that was a gift from 2015 to us. Gene did this while representing the Class at the first of three late graduations on June 12th. And, Rick Bunn continues to get out the pictures and memories from the Reunion to all of us.

Rick has also carried out the very difficult and sad task of communicating the loss and details of those Classmates that have answered their last roll call.

With that a final reminder---please stay healthy and try to get at least 20 minutes of exercise each day.

Salute, Strength and Drive,

Thank you Russ for this and the leadership you have demonstrated in this process.

The Garage of a North Carolina Gray Hog

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Here's a cute add on to the Collage that Denny Coll gave us showing all the Strength and Drive license plates. Chuck Mosely points out that:

They didn't make the trip section and stayed home in NC!

How's that for a set of Lexuses (or should that be Lexi?). Chuck is clearly a gray hog as he even has his garage decorated to show it (not so sure about the rifle on the wall but each to his own).

Sharing the Pride

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Here's a cool project that Denny Coll took on for us. As he put it, "Great proof of how S&D feels about S&D!" He shared this comment about what he did:

We arrived on the first day of the reunion and after check-in, I had to go to the car to get something. As I walked the parking lot, I noticed all the '65-related plates. So, I took some pix and then went out the night of the dinner, and took some more.

He even got some professional help putting this great collage together.

Coll stuff, thanks Denny.

A Gift from our Affiliation Class of 2015

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Gene Manghi sent me these pictures of the gift that was presented to our Class from our Affiliation Class of 2015. I hope you can see the details of the framed gift. I have shown it before but this looks like a better shot of it. I will watch for an even better one down the road. Gene writes:

I received this from AOG while at the June Graduation for 8 in the Class of 2015. It is a gift from the Class of 2015 to the Class of 1965.

Thanks Gene.

Random shots from the Reunion

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

I just received these great shots from Harley Moore, a bit random but all interesting.

Photo Right: a very nice picture of Marv Jeffcoat's grave stone.

Next a reminder to all of us of how they saved us money on alarm clocks way back then.

Next is a great picture of Susan and Bill Sherrell who will be hosting a gathering in the Pacific Northwest in August.

Then we have a very nice picture of Harley Moore with Myrna Valdez. Next we see Dave Brown and half of Frank Skidmore (I'm sure we'll get the rest of you next time Frank).

Next we see Peggy and Ray Pollard and a shot of Jerry and Martina Ledzinski.

Charlie and Vi Eckert (Charlie was Harley's beleaguered Ranger buddy. Just goes to show that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger). Neil Brown (and a bit of Vi – again, we'll try to get the rest of you next time).

Photo Left: we have a terrific picture of Major traveling with his buddy, Gordy Larson.

Patricia (Tosh) Barron and Bob Jones (Bob's looking as if he's about to run out of gas) and then Dore and Frank Skidmore.

Harley Moore and a bunch of old guys with similar hats doing the eight-count millaround before the parade. Then the parade with some guy in a cadet uniform just after pulling the prank of the reunion. Alex et al sure had the cajones!

Finally Curt and Ann Adams. Ann and Harley, and Bill Griffin (RIP) were high school classmates at the Academy of Richmond County, the white high school in Augusta, GA.

Thanks Harley, a great reminder of what a wonderful reunion it was.

Happy Couples at a Great Reunion

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Rick and Marlene CharlesOlive and Steve PaekDon Erbes sent me a few very nice pictures that he took on Monday evening, May 18 at the special dinner we had at the Reunion.

Photo Left: we have Rick and Marlene Charles

Photo Right: second one is Olive and Steve Paek

Next we have Frank and Susan Arnall and then George and Carol Bell.

Great shots of great folks having a good time. Thank you Don.

A Farewell to Ron (Chops) Walter

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Last week was one of the worst for me since I took on this job. Saying good…bye to my dear friend Ron (Chops) Walter was extremely difficult for me. I was given the honor of being the first to speak at the funeral service and Mass at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona on Wednesday, June 10th. While it was an honor to share my memories of Ron, it also provided considerable anxiety because, unlike many of you, I am no public speaker and the emotion of the situation was almost overwhelming. There were so many treasured moments in our past that I wanted to share but the best I could do was remind people of what a great guy he was and how much he will be missed.

As I mentioned earlier, I took on the responsibility of POC (Point of Contact), however, I asked Fred Laughlin to act as my assistant POC (that's just an easier way to say that I let Fred do all the heavy lifting while I was traveling down to Arizona) so that there would be someone local to handle the details of planning and coordination. Thank you Fred for all your efforts. Unfortunately, neither Fred nor I were able to attend the Rosary Service on Tuesday evening so George Seaworth stepped up to attend along with Sonny and Judy Arkangel. Here is George's report on the Rosary Service:

Tuesday June 9th, 2015

On the 50th Anniversary of our graduation, family and friends gathered at Queen of Heaven Catholic Mortuary, Mesa, AZ to honor the memory of our Classmate Ronald Lee Walter. Family members included: Ron's wife Janice, son Brett, daughter Jeanine with husband Blaise Williams, daughter Shannen and daughter Tara with grandson Gavin Glaus. Many of Janice's extended family members were also able to attend. Photo

Sonny and Judy Arkangel and George Seaworth represented the Class of 1965.

MG (Ret.) Thomas Needham, who attended the Infantry Advanced Course with Ron, Sonny, Bob Frank and other Classmates came from Exeter, New Hampshire. Tom was a member of Ron and Janice's wedding party. Ron's business partner, Dan Bieger and wife Shelly also attended.

The chapel was an impressive setting. The sun shining through the large stained glass window illuminated the flag draped casket as the rosary was led by the Deacon.

A slide presentation highlighted Ron's exceptional life of military service, business success, nonprofit work and accomplishments as an author. But above all, it showed his dedication as a husband, a father and a grandfather.

On Wednesday, June 10th at 1:00 PM the Funeral Service and Mass was held at The Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. This first picture shows the chapel where the funeral and mass were held. The next picture jumps to the entrance to the area where the military ceremony at the cemetery took place. I just wanted to share this beautiful glass entry.

Following the service there was a procession to the cemetery with a brief military ceremony which included a three gun salute, and a flag folding and presentation to Janice. Here we see the preparation for the flag folding and the presentation of the folded flag to Janice.

Following the ceremonies at the cemetery, we all returned to the Renewal Center for the reception. During the reception we were able to gather Classmates and families for the usual group photos. In this next picture we see (in the back row, left to right) Jim Coughlin, Bob Hill, Ed Hill, Rick Bunn, Donna Bunn (peeking through), and Tara Mogan (daughter of John Mogan). In the middle row is Cissy Caughlin, Cyndee Hill, Shannen Walter , Sonny Arkangel, Bob Frank, Mary Frank, Jim Holmes, and Fred Laughlin. In the front row is Tara Glaus, Judy Arkangel, Janice Walter, Dennis Hawker with Diane Hawker in front of him, George Seaworth, and Jeanine Williams. And in front of Judy Arkangel is Gavin Glaus.In the next picture (this time just faces from left to right) are Ed Hill, Bob Hill, Jim Caughlin, Sonny Arkangel, Mike Teeters, Dennis Hawker, Bob Frank, Jim Holmes, Rick Bunn, Fred Laughlin, and George Seaworth. I hope I was able to get the names right here and I need to add two who joined us but missed the picture, Dave Kuhn and Jim Paley.

Finally, after the completion of the ceremonies and difficult goodbyes a few of us gathered for a quick bite at a nearby restaurant where we tipped one for Chops. Here we see George Seaworth, Sonny Arkangel, Judy Arkangel, Mary Frank, Donna Bunn, Bob Frank, and me.

All aspects of the services and ceremonies were conducted beautifully and we all left realizing how blessed we have been to have had Ron in our lives.

As is my custom, here is a quick look at Ron back in the day:

As I explained in my remarks at the funeral, I'm not sure when or why he and I started calling each other Chops but it didn't matter to me because it just felt right and reflected a special bond between us that was very meaningful to me. This is one little guy (shortest man in our Class) I will never forget. Ron was my best friend for over 54 years.

Grip hands my friends as, on behalf of the entire Class, I offer Janice and the family our sincere condolences and to Ron, Be thou at Peace – well done! I love you Chops!

50th Wedding Anniversary

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Now this is just very nice to see! John Madia sent this nice comment along with a very nice picture.

I followed the proceedings when the class was collecting wedding pictures for the 50th Class Reunion, and I thought "Getting married is the easy part, but staying married for 50 years, now that's something." So I decided to send you a picture of Susan and me celebrating on the day of our 50th Wedding Anniversary (12 June).

We renewed our wedding vows, less the part about having children.

Highest Regards
John Madia

Thank you John, very nice.

Anniversary Celebration

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Preston Motes sent in this very recent shot of a combined anniversary in Salt Lake City. Preston writes:

Sandy and Preston Motes celebrate their 27th wedding anniversary with Marilyn and Skip O'Donnell as they celebrate their 49th wedding anniversary. We met for dinner in Salt Lake City on Thursday evening, June 11. Skip was best man at our wedding those many years ago. We usually get together when they pass through on their way from Las Vegas to Idaho Falls.

That's Preston and Sandy on the left and Marilyn and Skip on the right. Sure looks like some nice wine was consumed.

Thanks Preston.

OLDEST and youngest!!!!! in Strength and Drive

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

I can't verify the accuracy of Jon's statement here but it sure sounds fine to me. He writes:

An interesting shot from the greatest Reunion ever! Our oldest grand, who crossed the 75 year line last September, Jon (Dad) Thompson, and 30 year old, in appearance anyway, Jay Stephenson.

Best, Jon

Thanks Jon, great smiles on both of you.

Reunion Week and Old Gray-2015 Rugby Game

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Bill Connolly, provided this great report and pictures regarding the history and current status of Rugby at West Point. Very interesting stuff and a very comprehensive report. Bill writes:

Possibly unique to this story is the number of other classes that paid tribute to the Class of 2015 during our Reunion Week. Thirty eight former Rugby players from '64 to '07 (Old Grays) spent the weekend of 15-17 May at West Point honoring the 2015 Firsties as they prepared to join the ranks. We played a game on Saturday, but the most important events to me were the gatherings at the O'Club Friday night, BBQ on Saturday on the Hudson (former site of Lower Tennis Courts), dinner Saturday and Breakfast on Sunday. The only rule was that Cadets would not spend a penny! Old Grays picked up the tab. These are outstanding young men and women. Anyone who thinks the "Corps Has" need only to spend time with this class to dispel that thought. It was like looking in the mirror 50 years ago! there is a unique bond among Ruggers as evidenced by the Old Gray-Firsty Games. The small sample of 2015 Cadets that I was privileged to spend time with seemed truly appreciative of the affiliation with our class and moved by the effort of the other classes to celebrate their entry into the force and transition to membership in the Old Grays.

The first picture was taken on the Rugby Pitch at Notre Dame University in late April 1965, one of the last games that the 1965 Ruggers played. You can see from the list of players that our class played a big role in the early days of Army Rugby. In the rear row is our great Friend, Classmate and Rugby Brother, Chuck Hemingway. It was amazing to see how tough he was, playing on two bum knees. The event was the first tournament Army was invited to. We played three games in two days, and won two. The 2015 Ruggers were very interested in this picture. I wonder if they thought any of them would be honoring the class of 2065 in the same fashion fifty years from now.

The second picture is of the Class of 2015 Ruggers on the Anderson Rugby pitch on May 16, 2015 following their last game of their Cadet Days against the "Old Grays" to include myself in tribute to our 50 year Affiliation Class. An Army Rugger becomes an Old Gray immediately upon graduation. Whenever possible, an Old Gray team will play the Firsty Ruggers just before graduation. All are going Combat Arms except for Dave, back row second from the right who will attend Medical School at Walter Reed. As Dave is 6' 4'' and 245, I did not give him a hard time. I told him that if I ever get wheeled into a Trauma Unit and look up at his "Hawkeye" grin, I'll feel much better. The Ruggers over the years have felt that there is a legacy to go Combat Arms in keeping with the Warrior Ethos that they believe Rugby personifies. Some of the guys going to the 82nd assume they will be in Iraq soon to join the 3000 man force now deployed in Iraq. Speaking for myself, the leadership and teamwork lessons I learned on the Rugby Pitch, coupled with Ranger School, more than made up for not going to the Basic Course as I joined so many classmates in Combat early in our careers.

Third picture is of current and Old Gray Women's Army Rugby (WAR) players. The officer on the right, Kari Joseph '03, founded the WAR. Cadet third from left is the WAR Vice-Captain, Ashley Mohr. They are great individuals and the WAR has been extremely successful. The only two teams to beat both Navy and Air Force last year were the Men's and Women's Rugby Teams. The Men's Rugby Team was voted most successful of WP sports teams this year.

The fourth picture was taken after the game. Since there were only ten Firsties they had to recruit Cows, Yuks (formerly Yearlings) and Plebes to fill out a 15 man team. They only had two subs. The Old Grays had two full units and we substituted at will. I asked Bill Jackman before the game what the level of contact would be. "Full Combat" he replied. And Full Combat it was! I was amazed at how well the Old grays played. Many continue to play competitive Rugby and Andy Locke '07 is on the Army National Team. We won with much help from the Referee, the outgoing Coach, Mike Mahan '70. The Cadets revered him. He carries a ring with Dog Tags representing all Ruggers that were KIA. Chuck was represented on that heavy key chain. During the second half our Scrum (Linemen) dominated play which kept the ball out of the back's hands. That's when I put myself in the game. As Bill Jackman related in his report: "Even those who qualify as Ancient Gray stood out: Bill Connolly played 10 minutes at wing late in the second half and lived to tell the tale."

The last picture is of the Ancient Old Grays! Bill Jackman, 64' on the ground (the one with the hat), has been the organizer of the event for many years and does a great job with monthly newsletters as well. He had Rugby –related neck surgery on 9 June and plans on being back on the pitch in short order.

A few thoughts in closing:

  • Recommend '65 Old Grays join in on the fun at the Old Gray –Firsty Games in the future. No need to play in the game. The camaraderie is worth the trip.
  • Recommend all '65 classmates support the Men's and Women's rugby teams if they play in your area.
  • Finally, if we attend any future reunion without taking the opportunity to meet and really talk, one on one, with current Cadets, we will be missing out on a very important piece as we reflect on the privilege it is for us to be proud members of the Long Gray Line.

Strength and Drive

Thank you Bill, very interesting and well put together report.

400th Honor Flight

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Chuck Nichols, one of the hardest working members of our Class when it comes to Class and Academy support, provided this great note and link to a video that lasts only 7 minutes but will make you proud to see what has been done for so many of our World War II heroes. Chuck writes:

While the Distinguished Class of 1965 was enjoying the camaraderie of our 50th Reunion there was an event happening at Washington Reagan National Airport that a number of our classmates were missing. The classmates were members of the West Point Alumni Glee Club and the event they were missing was the arrival of the 400th Honor Flight of World War II veterans coming to DC to see their memorial. Honor Flights were started seven years ago to honor these heroes of The Greatest Generation. The Alumni Glee Club sings at a number of these flights each year and members look forward to seeing these ordinary people who did extraordinary things freeing Europe and the Pacific from oppression. To commemorate this event American Airlines put together a YouTube video. The video opens with the Glee Club (less Jim Ferguson, Pete Linn, Chuck Nichols, Terry Ryan and Terry Tutchings) singing a version of "The Longest Day" composed specifically for this flight.

Enjoy it at

Thank you Chuck and thanks to the entire Honor Flight Organization.

More folks getting together at the Reunion

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

I got a very nice message from Nic and Darcy Merriam along with this great picture taken on Tuesday just after the Alumni Review. It looks like Tom and Nic went to the same tie store but then I noticed that many of our number had that same tie. Nic writes:

Photo: Tom and Mary Satorie along with us, Nic and Darcy Merriam, outside Washington Hall right after the review.

Mary was the one who, at our first duty station (Nellingen, Germany), helped us greatly in our hour of need. Our daughter Erika, was born at the Army hospital in Stuttgart, Bad Canstatt. As I had orders for Viet Nam, I had to drive our VW beetle up to Bremerhaven for shipment. So that I didn't have to drive up to Bremerhaven alone and so Darcy could go with me, Mary graciously and joyously volunteered to take care of Erika, then only four weeks old. At the reunion we were glad to show Mary photos of Erika, now 47 years old, and her three children to see how "her baby" had grown up. (Darcy wants me to add that the picture also included our other 9 grandkids, 2 sons, and 3 in-law children!) At the reunion, Mary told people that, at the time, she didn't even know how to take care of an infant; Darcy replied, "Are you kidding? Neither did I!" We remain grateful to Mary.

Nic and Darcy

Thank you Nic and Darcy for another reminder of how much fun it is see old (sorry about that word) friends.


Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

As most of you probably recall, today is the actual 50th anniversary of our Graduation. I just wanted to send out a brief congratulatory note to all as we remember that day when we finished the 47 months that created bonds so strong that to this day we enjoy remembering together.

On a different note, I will be "off the air" so to speak for a few days as my wife and I fly down to Arizona to say good bye to my dear friend Ron (Chops) Walter. I do not plan to take my laptop with me so please don't expect any quick responses to messages you may send me.

Last use of the ball room

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

I just got this brief note and picture from Bo DeSantis:

I'm sure we were all wishing that the days were longer and we had more time to visit with company mates, branch mates, and old roommates from the four years. In my case, I tried my best to seek out as many as possible that went Air Force. As luck would have it, Andy Zaleski, Jack Jannarone, and I were delighted to find each other to reunionize some.

I'm not sure how long we visited, but we three Air Force guys held on the longest as chairs and tables were being stacked and the ballroom closed.

Bo DeSantis

Thanks Bo, nice shot.

A Farewell to Jack Terry - The Interment

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

On Friday, June 5th Jack Terry was laid to rest at the West Point cemetery. His very good friend and POC for this event, Tom Abraham submitted this report and pictures:

Following is my POC report on Jack Kingsland Terry's interment of cremains at West Point on Friday, June 5, 2015. The service was held at the Old Cadet Chapel in the Cadet Cemetery, Chaplain Barbara K. Sherer, US Army Colonel, presiding.

Attending were the Classmates and spouses listed with the photographs, several friends, Kathleen and Andy Byrdsong (Andy was the faithful VA volunteer at Castle Point who looked in on Jack and kept some of us apprised of how he was doing and assisted Jack in any way he could), and Sue Terry and her sons.

Photo Left: Jack's family with Classmates and their spouses - L to R: Tom Abraham, Ina Abraham, Jim Tomaswick, Carol Tomaswick, Sue's son Rob, Jim Wood, Sue's son Kyle, Sue's son Ryan, Sue Terry, Russ Campbell, Rollie Stichweh, Bob Frank, Mary Frank, Gene Manghi, John Salomone, Mary Kay Salomone. Absent or hidden was Ellen Wood.

The memorial service was short, sweet, solemn, and well done. Brief comments were offered by Russ Campbell, Rollie Stichweh, Andy, and myself. The Chaplain offered several prayers and readings followed by the recessional while the organist played the Alma Mater. Some were surprised that we did not sing the Alma Mater, but based on our performance at the first funeral service in February I'd say the Long Gray Line is more proud that we didn't try it without Glee Club assistance.

Several of us were at the service in February when Jack first passed on and this one was just as emotionally draining for me as the first was. I'm sure it was even more so for Sue. We left the Chapel and went outside to the "graveside tent" for the burial portion of the service which consisted of a 21 gun salute by the West Point Honor Guard, more prayers, and presentation of the US Flag to Sue by the Honor Guard. This was followed by an informal procession to Columbarium B1 (Wall) where Jack reached his final resting place.

It was Jack's strong desire to be placed at rest at West Point and Sue made it happen for him. We can know that he is proud to be there. Susan Terry entertained her guests with a wonderful luncheon at the Hotel Thayer following the service. Gene Manghi acknowledged to the group that Susan did so much for Jack and for that our Classmates where thankful. On behalf of the Class, thank you again, Sue, for all that you endured and did for our brother.

This picture shows the class flag at the service.

Photo Right: Jim Tomaswick, Jim Wood, Tom Abraham, Russ Campbell, Rollie Stichweh, Bob Frank, Gene Manghi, and John Salomone.

Respectfully submitted,

Tom Abraham

Thank you Tom, excellent report.

Another Reunion for Three

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Steve Olson just sent me this very interesting story regarding a sort of reunion+ event:

I am sending an interesting aside to the sundry events during our 50th reunion. There was another reunion of 58 years that took place for two or our Classmates and one other person, my wife, Melissa. In 1957 9th graders Mert Munson and Barrie Zais graduated from the junior high school at Fort Campbell, KY. Melissa McCoy was a graduating member of the same class and school and had not seen Mert or Barrie for the past 58 years. In July of 1966 Melissa McCoy and I were married. I had been hearing about her two Classmates and good friends for these past 49 years. I was bound and determined to get all three of these Classmates together for at least one brief visit and camera shot. I was successful on both counts and the picture of the three is shown here.

Steve Olson

Very nice story and picture. Thank you Steve.

One More Great Story From Back In The Day

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Larry Neal shared this brief note and wonderful story which was one of the memories to come out of the reunion. Larry writes:

Of all the wonderful reunion experiences, one of my favorites was the recovery of memories from our re-telling of classroom antics. This was especially true for those events shared with the next of kin of our fallen mates. Here is a story recounted by Hank Kelley for Mary Pelham White, Jack Hutton's sister. Written by Hank and formatted by Mike Lapolla it was presented to Mary as a tangible reminder of some of the camaraderie shared among Jack and his mates. Enjoy!

Larry Neal

Fear and Trembling in the Power Lab

By Hank Kelley

In our second class [junior] year [at West Point], one of the courses we were required to take -- regardless of aptitude for it -- was Electrical Engineering. The course consisted of two parts: classroom, where the theory was taught, and laboratory where the theory, presumably learned in classroom, could be put into practice. I had no more than my usual academic problems with the classroom portion: the laboratory was something else entirely. I was perfectly content to let what was taught in class remain in class, in the realm of the theoretical. After all some things just have to be taken on faith; for example everyone knows that a friendly little fellow lives in your refrigerator and helpfully turns on the light whenever you open the door to get a beer. But try proving that in a lab.

And so one fine morning I found myself in the power lab along with my two roommates Mike Lapolla and Jack Hutton. Since we were roommates, we found ourselves assigned to the same workbench for the conduct of the day's experiment. This had the unintended consequence of assembling under one roof, in one laboratory and at one workbench the greatest scientific minds at large since the heyday of Larry, Moe, and Curly.

Mike had the task of doing the calculations that would hopefully yield a numerical result somewhat relevant to the solution of the problem assigned us. Jack was the man of action. He had the task of plugging wires into various and sundry sockets on the workbench in hope of physically duplicating the circuit diagram of the given problem. I thought this a questionable enterprise at best -- after all, didn't mother warn us repeatedly not to stick things into wall sockets? As for me, I had the task of reading the diagram and figuring out how the wires should be connected.

Right from the start I perceived a problem: while the wires on the diagram were all straight lines intersecting with others at right angles, the wires at the workbench were extremely flexible and would not hold their shape. Moreover, other devices on the diagram were represented by squiggles and curlicues -- nothing like this appeared on the workbench. But we soldiered on, rolled up our sleeves and got to work (rolled sleeves were authorized in the lab). Wires were plugged, numbers were crunched, and somehow the assigned circuit began to appear before our wondering eyes.

But time was running out and our solution was incomplete; there were a few wires left over -- extra wires are never a good sign. Jack picked up one and asked where it should go. Before I could say, "Your guess is as good as mine," Jack, perhaps anticipating just such a reply, stuck it into a socket. And the rest as they say is history.
There was a loud BANG!

Simultaneously the lab was plunged into darkness. Clearly something of significance had happened that hadn't been covered in the classroom. The emergency lights came on and when I looked at Jack, I was horrified to see his arm was black from wrist to elbow. My first thought was that Jack had been burned, but he didn't seem to be in any pain; he was just stunned as was everyone else in the lab. Soon the lights came back on and I could see that his arm was coated with the ashes of what remained of the wire that he put where God did not intend for it to go.

We were later told that we had tripped the circuit breaker for the entire academic building. We took a quiet pride in our accomplishment and basked for a while in the envy of our classmates in the lab who had merely solved the assigned problem. There were rumors that we had actually blown circuits all over the post, caused an uproar in administrative offices and panic in the housing areas. Nice if true, but I think the stories were exaggerated. And it is definitely not true that Jack feigned injury, rolled on the floor and threatened lawsuit if he were not assigned new lab partners. Jack was a stand-- up guy … a real team player. But you know how cadets love a good story.

The next day in the classroom, the prof awarded Jack a plaque bearing his name upon which was affixed a wire and the inscription "Master Arc Welder." Mike and I didn't even get honorable mention.

We were not allowed to work together in the lab again.

As for the circuit we were building, I think it would have saved a lot of drama if someone just purchased it from Radio Shack.

Hank Kelley
Shirley, Massachusetts
May 2015

Thank you gentlemen, a terrific story.

Even more on the "stew" story - and more added

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Some stories are just such fun they don't want to end. Here is more on the "stew" story from Terry Ryan:

I'm afraid I have to accept the responsibility for the "missing stew's" absence from the picture as was documented in Jim Helberg's note to the class. Nancy Ryan indeed was missing from the picture (is there now any question why the Class of 65 was drawn to the elegance of the ladies at "stew heaven" in NYC?). So here is a pic of the Ryan's and Laughlin's to document that Nancy was indeed present. That's Terry and Nancy Ryan with Fred and Maralee Laughlin.

Regrettably, Nancy and I had to make a presentation at the Glee Club Graduation concert on Tuesday night. It was also the anniversary of the night I asked Nancy to accept my "A" pin.

Bob's book documents how many of us were drawn to Queens (Lefferts Boulevard) where three '65er roommates met and ultimately married three American Airline Stews roommates! Smartest thing we ever did. The picture is of two of the three couples. The Laughlin's celebrate their 50th on June 12th. The Ryan's lag behind at 48.

Another great picture from our Reunion. Thanks Terry.

Ah the memories of the Ladies who came up in June - more

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Terry Tutchings gave me this great follow up to the message I sent out regarding the ladies who come up in June and here is the photo that went with that story for comparison purposes:

And here is the picture Terry shared with his comment: We found two of the three ladies at the 50th. The other is hanging out with O'Grady. Her we have Terry Tutchings with Sharon, and Chuck McCloskey with Rosemary. Terrence R. Tutchings, PhD

Thanks Terry nice picture, these ladies sure have stayed beautiful!

FYI - Commemorative Stamps Honoring MOH recipients including our own Buddy Bucha

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Jerry Eichelberger spotted something at his post office and was kind enough to share it with us all. I, for one, had not seen this. Jerry writes:

Perhaps I'm part of the 2% and everyone else knows about this, but the post office has sets of these commemorative stamps honoring MOH recipients from Vietnam. Bud Bucha is one in from top right. There are also other sets from other wars. The Vietnam set seems to be in short supply because the postal clerk at my post office had to go to the safe in the back of the post office to get a set. It's a wonderful remembrance item of so many heroes especially with one of our own on it.

Strength and Drive

Best regards,

Wow, this is pretty cool, thank you Jerry.

Even more on the "stew" story

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

This story seems to keep going. Why wouldn't it as it is the basis of so many wonderful memories for so many of us. Alex Alexander (yes our favorite prankster) writes:

Small world. I too filled in on a blind date; Roger Frydrychowski couldn't make it. blind date was a stew, living at 435 E. 65th street. I married her. This story didn't have as happy an ending because my blind date only lasted 23 years, but it did produce two world-class daughters.

Oddly, Ross Wollen and I had been scouting 435 E. 65th prior to my blind date, and we had even, due to Ross's brashness, gained entrance to that citadel of female pulchritude (this sounds like a Ron Walter word) for a memorable weekend early firstie year.

I think they should preserve that memorable building as a national historical monument (memorable for its contents, not its architecture).


This comment was quickly followed by another from Ross Wollen who wrote:

The below referred to "infamous Stew Zoo" (435E65) still exists and is mentioned on page 30 of Denny Cole's Class Notes History. I look out on it from my apartment here in Manhattan. Two famous next door neighbors of stew heaven were Frank Sinatra and Pack in the 1950s+' and the Papal Nuncio today where the Pope will stay on his visit this fall. Lots of strange bedfellows there, including many from '65! Ross

A Ross Wollen, JD; CFA

Thanks guys, good additions to the story.

More on the "stew" story

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Here's a nice follow up to the recent story regarding the stews. Bernie Ziegler writes:

Following on Jim Helberg's nice story and great "stew" photo, this short story has an indirect "stew" connection. Following the Syracuse football game in our Yearling year, Ron Wells asked me to fill in on a blind date with him, his blind date and Ellen a friend of Ron's blind date. While Ellen was there under some duress and I was a desperate last minute replacement, the rest is history for the Zieglers. Some time later, Ellen and I fixed Ron up with Erica who by that time had started rooming with Ellen at the infamous "Stew Zoo" at 435 East 65th Street in Manhattan. While neither of them were stewardesses, they did enjoy the attention the building attracted. It was our very good fortune and extreme pleasure to reconnect with Erica and Ron at the reunion following a break of some 48 years. Left to right Ron and Erica Wells, Ellen and Bernie Ziegler.

Well, we got most of the tops of the heads. Thanks Bernie.

More good times at the Reunion

Left to right: Cheryl Viani, Mike Viani Joe and Diane Barkley LikeClassmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

This time from Diane Barkley, a very nice picture of two couples have a great time at our reunion:

Left to right: Cheryl Viani, Mike Viani( who was in our wedding 50 years ago) me and Joe. We had sooooo much fun!

Thank you Diane, it's great to see folks enjoying that wonderful Reunion.

Ah the memories of the Ladies who came up in June

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Mike O'Grady sent me this very nice comment and photo from back in the day:

Here is a reminiscence of those times 50 years ago which is, I believe, untarnished by the passage of time and trials--actually rather finely varnished, I would say---certainly in my own case.

These three attractive young ladies, pausing for a moment at West Point in early June of 1965, would shortly become Mrs. Barbara O'Grady, Mrs Sharon Tutchings and Mrs Rosemary McCloskey, ----all affiliated, somewhat, with Co E2, USCC, Cl 1965.

All six parties still working on the project.

Photo courtesy of Charles McCloskey.

Now if we could just bet the same picture taken 50 years later we could see how beautiful they remained. Thanks Mike.

More Reunion Moments

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Jim Helberg sent me this reminder of just how special stews were in some of our lives. It reminds me of the time I found myself in an apartment building in Chicago full of only stews but that's a story for another time. Jim writes:

Photo Right: From left to right are Maralee Laughlin, Lynne DeFrancisco, Roberta McCreary, and Lynne Helberg still making Fred, Joe, Bill, and me look smarter than we really are.

Back in the day there was a group of American Airlines stewardesses (stewardii?) who all began their flying careers around the same time, were based and lived and were friends in New York City. They had another thing in common: They all met and married members of the West Point Class of 1965. This reunion's version of the "stew" photo (there are several from earlier reunions) features four of the five. Nancy Ryan is not in it (I'm not sure why) although she certainly was at the reunion and played a large part in the festivities.

Photo Left: I am also including what may be the only photo in existence where Tad Ono is not smiling (Grant Fredericks isn't smiling either; maybe he was making a final run at getting a cup of HOT coffee).

Jim Helberg

Now that's a good looking gaggle of stews if I ever saw one. And as for Tad, even the happiest of us needs a serious moment every now and then.

Thanks Jim.

I'll bet these folks know how to Ring in the New Year

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Jim and Janet Dyer sent me this brief comment with two really cool pictures. Finding this big ring in Eisenhower Hall made for a very special moment and memory for them.

When we went to Eisenhower Hall after the Memorial Service, we entered through Crest Hall and found the Class of 2015 ring replica there. Someone was kind enough to take our picture. When we got home,

I found our picture from Ring Hop Sept. 12, 1964.

Nice memory and comparison, thanks Jim and Janet.

Let's call this the Mature K-1 Plebes - one more time

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

As often happens, one story or picture will remind some folks of another. Here, my recent Bunnogram with the picture of the Mature K-1 Plebes, inspired Dick Williams to share the original picture taken back in the day. So now we have both pictures side by side. I have sent this with the pictures as large as is reasonable so you can see the faces. Please let me know if you have difficulty opening it.

Photo Right: 1961


Photo Left: 2015 - Starting at the left rear, Tom Carll, John Harrington, Nate Kniker, Joe Anderson, Dick Williams, John Bell, George Brock, Jim Kelly, and in the front row from the left, Barrie Zais, Emery Chase, Curt Adams, Dave Hurley, Laary Bennett, Jim Tomaswick, Art Adam, Bob Selkis.

Thanks Dick nice to see how some of us grew up.

Some Random Reunion Photos

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Denny Coll, our long time, hardworking Scribe, sent me these three pictures plus one I have already shared of our favorite prankster, Alex Alexander, as he was leaving the parade field.

Photo Right: the presentation of a gift from the leadership of our Affiliation Class to immediate past President, Clair Gill, and our recently installed new Class President, Russ Campbell.

Photo Left: a little closer view of the gift which focuses on the connection between our two Classes. That's Will Goodwin (President of the Class of 2015) between Clair and Russ.

And finally we see Rick Shinseki with, from left to right, Cathy Coll, Patti Shinseki, Marilyn O'Donnell, Eileen Rountree, and Lynne DeFrancisco. So how come Ric gets the shot with all the lovely ladies (I guess some guys just get all the easy jobs).

Thanks Denny, great pictures.

Let's call this the Mature K-1 Plebes

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

John Bell sent me several picture just like this one claiming that it takes that many to insure all the K-1 Plebes look their best. I like this one so here are:

Starting at the left rear, Tom Carll, John Harrington, Nate Kniker, Joe Anderson, Dick Williams, John Bell, George Brock, Jim Kelly, and in the front row from the left, Barrie Zais, Emery Chase, Curt Adams, Dave Hurley, Laary Bennett, Jim Tomaswick, Art Adam, Bob Selkis.

Great picture and one I'm sure we will see again in the reunion book.

This hobby fills a lot of Space

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

John Bell asked me if hobbies are an appropriated subject for my Bunnograms. I have tried to keep my posting focused on the Class, its members, and their many interests and adventures so naturally, I consider hobbies to fit very nicely into that mix. Anything that helps us get a better idea of who our Classmates are is fair game as far as I'm concerned. In this case, timeliness is important due to the 50th anniversary today of the 1st U.S. EVA (Extra Vehicular Activity or Space Walk). Photo Left: Patrick AFB in 1966.

John writes:

While we were enjoying our busy June Week 1965, The Gemini-Titan-4 astronauts Ed White and Jim McDivitt were orbiting the earth on the 2nd manned Gemini mission. On June 3, 1965 Ed White ( USMA 1952 ) became the 1st American to have an EVA ( Extra Vehicular Activity i.e. Walk in Space ). I read and marveled at the article on front page of the New York Times during our final week at West Point.

It was especially interesting to me because my first duty station was Patrick Air Force Base, Fl. with an assignment to the USAF Eastern Test Range where launches and mission monitoring occurred.

I had been a long time "Space Enthusiast" which was initially prompted by the Colliers magazine's "Space Series" which began in 1952. In Jr high and high school I collected futuristic Space books written by Werner Von Braun and Willy Ley about the near term possibility of Space Travel. These books were illustrated by the art of Chesley Bonestell ( also a Collier's magazine contributor ) and soon proved to be not so futuristic.

While stationed at Patrick, Gemini and soon to be Apollo astronauts were often sighted on base, at Cape Kennedy and in Cocoa Beach restaurants and bars. On January 27, 1967 we were doing our usual Friday night celebration in the "O Club Ratskeller" restaurant. At KSC The Apollo 1 Spacecraft was undergoing launch simulation with a "plugs-out" test to determine whether it would operate while detached from all cables and umbilicals with the 3 man crew aboard. At the Ratskeller, an announcement was made of a fire in the Apollo capsule. White's ( also Grissom and Chaffee ) death occurred from the fire inside the Apollo Command Module. Hearing the shocking sad news about the fire, the party stopped and we dispersed.

Photo Right: Ed White signed EVA photo/ GT-4 "FLOWN Flite line" Medallion/ Crew signed Apollo 1 photo/ Apollo 1 "Robbins" Medallion (unflown due to tragedy)

Today's 50th anniversary of America's first EVA, my interest in Ed White and Space history and White being a "grad" sparked this posting.

As a side bar:

The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum currently has a special "Outside the Spacecraft" in which White's first U. S. Space walk and other EVA's are featured.

Around 2000, I became a collector of Space Art, astronaut signed items and Mercury, Gemini and Apollo mission "FLOWN" memorabilia. Most items were obtained at auctions. According to my wife Becky, I quickly morphed from a collector to an obsessed hoarder with a good chance of moving into the garage with my "stuff". In spite of her hazing me, she agreed to help with the attached photographs. I hope there is not too steep a price for me to pay ( just kidding ? ).

Photos: 3. Becky with Ed White Diploma 4. Chris Calle's Original Art of the GT-4 EVA

Thanks John, nice story and impressive collection.

A quick look at things you may have missed

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Our new Class President, Russ Campbell, asked me to be sure to share some pictures from major events that took place during Graduation Week just in case some of you didn't get a chance to see them. Let me start with one picture of the presentation of our Class Gift Check which took place in the Mess Hall during our Alumni lunch. While many of us were there, it was way too noisy and most of us were too far away to see. That's Larry Jordan '68 on the left, he is the current Chairman of WPAOG, next is Bob Harter who was very instrumental in raising the funds for this gift (he took over the project when Harry Dermody passed away), then our outgoing Class President, Clair Gill, and, of course, the Supe, LTG Caslen. In case you can't read it, the check is made out for $3,325,000. The next five pictures are a sampling of the many that can be found on our Webpage thanks to the efforts of our IT Guru, Chuck Nichols. These include four of our notables (Ric Shinseki, Paul (Buddy) Bucha, Dan Christman, and Joe DeFrancisco) who presented the newly graduated Second Lieutenants with their Gold Bars which are inscribed with 65 and 15 on the back side.

A joyous day for those involved and a terrific start to some, sure to be, amazing careers.

Thanks for the suggestion Russ. Maybe this will inspire some to go to our Webpage and see many more photos of this and numerous other events of interest. Photo 3 | Photo 4 | Photo 5 | Photo 6

A Farewell to COL (Ret) Malcolm S. (Gil) Gilchrist - Revisited

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

As most of you have probably seen, yesterday I sent out a farewell message regarding the passing and interment of our dear friend Malcolm (Gil) Gilchrist which included a very beautifully written report from our POC, John Pickler. John was disappointed that weather and circumstances precluded him from being able to provide much photographic coverage of the event. He was, however, able to include one great picture of all of Gil's Classmates who were in attendance along with our Class Flag.

Photo Left: we have a shot taken during the memorial service showing the prominent role our Class Flag played in the event.

This morning John sent me an e-mail informing me that he had learned that over 400 pictures had been taken by a professional company called Mattox Photography. With the approval of Gil's widow, Martha, I looked at all the photos that Mattox Photography had taken and then called Martha (Marty) Mattox to see if I could share some of the photos with all of you. Marty was extremely helpful and generously permitted me to use the following eight photos to give you a feel for what it was like to be a part of this very special event.

Photo Right: the honor guard transferring the coffin.

Here we see the coffin on the caisson as it is moved to the site of the interment and then the traditional rider less horse with boots backwards in the stirrups.

Here we see the assmbled watching the ceremonial folding of the flag which has covered the coffin and then the presentation of the folded flag to the widow.

Next is a very touching shot of Martha placing a rose on Gil's coffin and finally a picture of some treasured photographs and memorabilia from Gil's life.

I'm sorry to have broken this final report into two parts but I thought it important to share these great pictures with you all. If you are interested in seeing the other pictures taken by Mattox Photography, go to this link on the internet:, click on, "Click Here to Enter Our Site", then enter "martha2015" where it says, View Your Photos. This will permit you to see all the photos taken and purchase any you may want to keep.

Thank you again to John Pickler and John McCullough for this and all you did to represent the family and our Class.

And once again I say, Grip hands my friends as we say good bye to our friend Gil Gilchrist. On behalf of the entire Class of 1965 I wish to express our condolences to the family and to Gil - Be thou at Peace - Well Done!

How did they find time to be Soldiers?

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Well, here's one to make your day (maybe). Johnny Wells responded to the story about the shortest room with what could be an all-time record?

I think there is another Beast Barracks squad which (while, arguably, in the running for shortest room and/or shortest squad...) might and probably should lay claim to a record of another sort: the most kids produced by any Beast Barracks squad in academy history. Between three of us (me, Art Mark and Steve Harman) we have 26 natural born children. (One wife each, still married, no multiple births...) No telling what the total kid count would be if we added in the rest of the squad.

Complicating my claim to this record, though, is the fact that I cannot remember who was and was not in my squad. The other candidates that my questionable memory has come up with so far include: Ladd Metzner, Jack Lyons, Herb Smith and Jerry Hoffman. Also, I am not absolutely sure that Art and I were in the same squad. (Without Art's all-important contribution of ten kids, we probably would have to kiss the record goodbye...) With a little help from others whose memories are better than mine, though, we ought to be able to confirm the squad members and, hence, the associated kid-count. Armed with those facts, we then could assess the merits of flinging down the gauntlet. Or not.

Thanks Johnny, I'm sure this will generate some responses.

And now we start remembering our own Favorite Pranks

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

I was 99% sure that this would happen but then this is what makes my job fun. One great story (or in this case prank) leads to another. Ralph Locurcio couldn't resist sharing:

Here's the deal… on one cold Friday evening in November… the night before a football game all the upperclassmen had privileges… but not the plebes. They had extended taps from 1100 to midnight.

Carl Letterie, John Wattendorf and I were sitting around my room trying to enjoy our "freedom" but were getting pretty bored. Carl suggested we go down to the trunk room and get our instruments… Carl played the sax in HS and I had played the trumpet. We got the instruments and started "jamming"… but that was going nowhere. I don't know what Wattendorf was doing… perhaps singing the blues!

So for fun I played taps on my trumpet… in the room… about 10pm. And it was good! My room was on the 3rd floor in the 3rd Division of B-1…. right next to the sally port where the Hell Cat bugler played taps every nite. Well we started trash talkin' about my taps and one thing led to another and I think it was Carl who said… "You don't have a hair on your ass… Locurcio… if you don't stick that trumpet out of the window and play taps at 1100!" In other words at the regular time! "That would really be funny!"

So when the area clock struck 1100 we turned out the lights… I stuck my trumpet out of the window and blew the best taps you've ever heard. It was perfect!

Then to our surprise we could see the guys in the guard house scurrying around… looking at their watches to see what time it was… or why Taps had been blown early!

About the same time… hundreds of upperclassmen came streaming through every sally port into Central Area trying to get back to their rooms to unmark their card before the taps inspection hit their rooms! Most of them probably ditching their drags somewhere on campus!!!

Carl & I ditched the instruments, turned out the lights and jumped into bed. Pat Stevens (later MG Pat Stevens) made our taps inspection… and we issued a giggling "all right" from under the covers. I think Wattendorf scurried back to A-1.

Pat Stevens smelled a rat… after the inspection he returned to our room and stood us at attention… and stared us down… exclaiming… "I know you guys did this!!"… we couldn't contain our laughter… and after a few tense moments… he recognized us and stated… "You guys have got some hairy balls pulling a stunt like this… there are several thousand upperclassmen who would like to cut yours off right now!"

We all had a big laugh… and forgot about it afterwards… for many years.

Then in about 1993 as Commander of the South Atlantic Division of the Army Corps of Engineers… while introducing Mike Bowers, Class of 62, then Attorney General of the State of Georgia, as our guest speaker to a conference of about 1000 engineers… I mentioned this story… just to break the ice with Mike.

He laughed heartily and said… "You know… I remember that event because I was one of the upperclassmen who had to ditch his girl and run back to my room to unmark my card… my girl was pissed… and I've been waiting 25 years to find the SOB who played taps one hour early that night!!!!"

Then he got up to the microphone… threw away his speech… and told the entire story to the crowd of 1000!!!!

That's my story… as accurately as I can remember it… I've copied Carl, Wattendorf and Pat Stevens to see if they concur with my version!


Prof. Ralph V. Locurcio, PE
Brigadier General, US Army (ret)
Head, Construction Management Program
Florida Institute of Technology
Tel: (321) 674-7149

Thanks Ralph, good stuff. One of my favorite memories was showing up for an inspection with a tiny white thread showing on the front of my turtle neck sport coat (dress gray). When the inspecting upperclassman spotted it and hollered at me for being so gross as to have a "rope" hanging on my uniform, it would be grabbed and pulled off. However, the inspector would soon discover that it was attached to a spool in my pocket that took some time and effort to unwind. Yes, I was a member of the Century Club.

Trying to put the "Prank" to bed

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Well I thought I had wrapped up the comments about the "Prank" or "Spirit Mission" but not so. I just received this great, call it a report, that answers many more of the questions that I keep getting about the event. Here are Alex's comments followed by his journal entry and then his letter to Company A-1:

Here is the full account of the spirit mission in the form of a journal entry. I wrote it to preserve the memory for myself. I've also included the letter I sent to the men and women of company A1, the Avengers.

West Point Reunion 2015 - The Spirit Mission
December 2014 -May 17, 2015
I've been prepping for this reunion for months, loosely, and a couple of weeks intensely. Late last year I was remembering my favorite West Point "moment." When I was a cadet captain, and commander of company A-1, I used to start off all the parades on the Plain. When the A-1 Commander said, "Forward: March!" the band played and everything went into motion. The moment before that, everything was quiet, with an expectant air. It occurred to me that, at the upcoming West Point 50th reunion, I might be able, with the help of some cadets, to sneak into the A-1 Commander's slot, and once again, as in the "days of yore" lead off the parade, turning aside after passing the reviewing stand to join my classmates and watch the rest of the parade from the sidelines, like I was supposed to do in the first place.

So I sent a blind email to the Avengers Newsletter (Company A1 produces a quarterly newsletter for all of us old grads who used to be in A1) suggesting we do a black ops prank…sneak me into the parade, in full dress uniform, as a joke and a surprise to all and sundry. A good morale builder for the cadets, and an even better one for my classmates at our 50th reunion.

Long story short, they went for it. It seems that the Corps still has a sense of mischief. So, this coming Tuesday, weather permitting (rain is predicted…damn!), I'll don cadet grey, and one last time march where cadets have marched since 1802.

Monday, May 18, 2015
After the memorial service (I sang in the choir), I joined my co-conspirator for the Cadet Parade, Cpt. Sean Breen, age 32, so we could do some reconnaissance and practicing in case tomorrow's expected rain didn't happen and I could actually march in the parade. Sean turned out to be a stalwart supporter, with a backbone to match (more about that later). We reconned the Plain to see how the parade works these days, and then he took me through the barracks where I would be donning the uniform tomorrow, introduced me to some cadets and staffers, all of whom were completely on board, loving the prank, and inclined to see me in a good light for initiating it.
Breen and I parted after a couple of hours, regretting that the rain was almost certainly going to wash us out, yet, hoping somehow the parade might happen. We wouldn't know until the next morning at 7:00am, when this kind of weather/parade decision gets made.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Up at 7:00am, and called Sean Breen first thing. Miracles do happen. The parade is ON! And now I have to deliver on my promises. I'll hit the highlights.

I arrived at WP just after 9:00am, got off the bus, and met up with Sean. We headed to the cadet barracks, where my uniform was waiting, along with the Cadet regimental commander (Bill Goodwin) and his cadet sergeant major, (Casey Childers) all of whom helped me into the uniform, which - yay team! - fit well. Except for the hat, which would later prove to be a problem. Quick trip to the bathroom (old bladder), then out into Central Area where the cadets were forming up for the parade.

Sean, plus the company commander, Bob Hill (whose place I'd be taking), and the guidon bearer, Tyler Griffin (who would march one step behind and left of me, coaching me every step of the way), took me under their collective wings, and launched into an intensive training session, in which I had to relearn stuff I'd long forgotten, mainly what commands would be happening when, and how to handle the cadet saber. (The saber and the ill-fitting hat would meet up later.) While we were practicing, hundreds of cadet eyes were staring our way, wondering what we were up to. I felt conspicuous as hell, but enjoyed it nonetheless. As the stares continued, and the word circulated that the old fart was actually going to march in the parade, the stares turned into smiles, and I found myself posing for a lot of pictures.

Sean called me over to company A1, my old company, and the one I'd be commanding for the parade, so he could introduce me, and so I could say a few words. He glorified me a bit, and then I spoke to the company. I told them that I fondly remembered when I was the commander of A1 fifty years ago, to be patient with the old fart up in front in today's parade, and finally what a privilege it was for me to be marching with the likes of them. They seemed to like my remarks.

And then it was time to march off. It could have been a disaster - I was that out to lunch - but we actually pulled it off pretty well. The guidon bearer did a masterful job of coaching me through all the motions (he was a great kid, a former Prep Schooler, with excellent presence of mind, which was important because I was pretty much in a haze). I screwed up almost every small motion, but got the big ones right, which was okay because, at our distance away from the audience nobody could see the small things. Like my damned hat. It didn't quite fit right, and for the 45 minutes or so of the parade, it was slowly, slowly slipping down my forehead, toward my nose. I didn't dare adjust it - the white gloves would draw every eye in the place if I reached upward. So I said to myself, "deal with it" and carried on, slowly tilting my head backward to keep the hat level. I got into a good marching rhythm (I always could keep in step), so as we passed in review, I looked like I belonged there…except, as a number of people later told me, for the frizzy old-guy hair sticking out from under my hat and over my collar. Still, when we finished the pass in review, the cadets called out to me, "Good job, sir!" All in all I felt pretty good about it.

Finally, after the "Eyes, Front" I reached the leading edge of my classmates, who were occupying their part of the day's Long Gray Line. I did a sloppy right turn, started the saber salute I had planned, caught the tip of the saber on my hat, and flipped the damn thing in the air. Luckily I caught the hat on the fly and didn't drop it. I inserted this picture because I love his smile and the smiles of all the cadets behind him.

At that point my classmates realized what had happened, and that one of their own had done something that had never been done before (as far as I know) since West Point was established in 1802…an old grad had marched in a cadet parade, and not only that, but had "commanded" a company. After that it was handshakes, pictures, smiles, laughs, and "how the hell did you pull that off?" For the rest of the day and into the next, I was a minor celebrity. I'd have to call it the highlight of the reunion for me, actually one of the highlights of my life.

But wait. There's more. Immediately after the parade, Sean Breen and Stephen Ruth, the Regimental Tactical Officer (the LTC in charge of the Army staff overseeing the cadet regimental organization) came up to me…both the Superintendent and the Commandant of Cadets were pissed and the cadet and military staff, including Sean Breen, were in hot water for my prank. We had known that there might be some flack, and Sean was willing to take the heat, and now, here it was. So I told Ric Shinseki (former Chief of Staff of the Army, 4 stars), and Dan Christman (former Supe, 3 stars, I used to date his sister), both of whom are classmates whom I know quite well, about the potential dustup, and asked them if they would use their influence to ease whatever repercussions might be in the works.

Next Sean and LTC Ruth plus the cadets involved plus me (still in cadet uniform) marched over to the Brigade Tactical Officer's office presumably to be royally chewed out. It looked ominous. I was safe from any harm arising from the stunt that I had instigated, and, although I had no power or influence in the affair, I wanted to protect Breen and the cadets as best as I could because they were all standup guys, and had done so much for me. Well, the bird-colonel loved it. He launched into a five minute speech, praising us for the stunt, and congratulating Breen for having the cohones to pull it off, adding that it's this kind of thing that creates legends in the Corps of Cadets, and that any aftermath would dim with time and do no career harm, and in fact would informally enhance the reputations of all involved. He pledged his full support, saying, "I stand with you in this." We wrapped up the meeting by taking a picture of me standing before him, giving him a snappy salute. Later in the day, Sean texted me that it had all blown over, with no negative impact on him or the cadets. Yay, team!

We hustled back to the barracks so I could change back into my own clothes. I thanked Sean for all he had done, and pledged to stay in touch. Then I scooted over to the cadet mess hall, where lunch was served, and more formalities (presentation of Distinguished Graduate awards).

The final result as reported to me by Cpt. Breen is this:
The official punishment from the event: We had to submit a few reflective essays to the Superintendent and the Commandant. We finalized and submitted those yesterday and have been absolved accordingly. General Shinseki assisted greatly in keeping us off the area, but I can tell you that had we been put on the area, most of the Corps would have voluntarily been out there with us and it would have been worth it-100%.
Since that day, I have been getting all kinds of feedback, all of it positive, from cadets, grads of all classes, and of course my classmates. The only regret I have is that I should have paraded down the full line of the class of '65, instead of veering off at the beginning. That way the whole class could have borne witness to the "spirit mission." Maybe next time.
Alex Alexander

Next we have the letter that Alex wrote to his old Company A-1 (The Avengers):

Dear Avengers,
I want to thank you all, and add some thoughts from my old grad's perspective.

You can't know (until you reach my advanced years) how grateful I am for the privilege of marching with you in one of life's really cool spectacles, a West Point parade.

I hope it wasn't evident to you, but throughout the parade, I felt like a bumbling old fool, making mistake after mistake. Yet we pulled it off. The only reason I didn't totally screw up and embarrass all of you is that Bob Hill called the commands and Tyler Griffin coached me every step of the way, and your TAC, Cpt. Breen put everything in place so that the venture could succeed (I suspect that he even had something to do with clearing up the weather). Fortunately, the many mistakes I made were small scale and invisible to the spectators, so to them I looked like I belonged, and thanks to all of you, I felt like I belonged. Most importantly, mission accomplished.

I want you to know that this "prank" had a deeper meaning to me and my classmates than you might think. At our stage in life, having lived all the joys and tragedies that come to people who engage in the risks of war and service to the nation, we have (and you will have) a deeper appreciation of ourselves and our comrades than does the average citizen. Because of our caper my classmates felt an even closer connection to the spirit of the Corps, a spirit that shaped each of us profoundly 50 years ago, and continues to shape us even now. Bumbling or not, I, and therefore in a very real way, they, were again a connected part of, not just the Long Gray Line, but the very spirit that is the essence of that legacy. We all know that spirit starts with Duty, Honor, Country, but it also contains kinship and the love of brothers (and now sisters). And threaded through it all - all the dedication, sacrifice, risk, and hardship - is a twinkle of the eye. I have never known a West Pointer - even the deadly serious ones - who didn't have room for joy in hardship. It's more than cracking jokes and pulling stunts like our Old-Grad-Marches-in-Parade caper. There's a deep thread of humility that fuels it. We can laugh at ourselves; we can see the light side to everything (except the death of comrades, and even then we derive joy from having known them); we can see the good in any situation, and when there's no good there, we make it appear. I don't know how, but this spirit gets built into us during our West Point years, and pranks are a small part of it.

Even "Beat Navy" is much more than the desire to win a contest. It's part of the connective tissue that binds us all in service of a common goal. We're in it together and we depend on each other, whether the goal is to win a war, keep the nation safe, or triumph in a sporting contest.

This parade prank made me an instant celebrity among my Classmates, at least for a little while, and it struck the deeper chords I spoke of, but it's all due to you. So, once again, I thank you.

Alex Alexander, Class of '65

So that's it the whole story (at least for now). I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.

Little Folks - The Rest of the Story

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Apparently the story that I ran on the shortest room was just too much for Les Hagie to handle so he shot off this response to the story. Actually, it doesn't look to me like any of these guys are suffering from Squatty Body.

Rick, I could not let the picture of Tad Ono, Ron Walters and Bob Wolfe, posing as the shortest room in Beast Barracks, go unanswered. While they were the shortest room, the rest of the shortest squad roomed just across the hall. Here is a before and after shot of the rest of the squad: 50 years ago showed Les Hagie, Ted Sendak (trunback to 1966) George Seaworth and Bill Tredennick standing tall. Fifty years later George, Les and Bill still stand tall, though the rest of the proportions have changed somewhat (at least for some of us).


Thanks Les, it doesn't look to me as if any of you have changed much. I need to be careful with how I approach this issue because I have lost 2 inches in recent years.

A Farewell to COL (Ret) Malcolm S. (Gil) Gilchrist

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

As always saying good bye to a Classmate saddens me deeply. However, in this case I am even more saddened as I was with several other Classmates who came so close to being able to share the joy of our magnificent reunion with all of us but just came up a little short.

Gil Gilchrist passed away in February and when I went looking for a volunteer to take on the responsibility of POC (Point of Contact), both John Pickler and John McCullough stepped up immediately to offer their services. The family moved so quickly to arrange for a memorial service that we were not able to get the word out fast enough to arrange for the attendance by our Classmates that would have been appropriate. Both Johns were able to attend even though they had to travel some 200 miles to do so. However, the family also made arrangements for a service, interment at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC), and a reception on Thursday, 21 May 2015 which was well attended by Classmates.

John Pickler was instrumental in making the arrangements for this recent event and has submitted a terrific report which covers the details of this very special way to say good bye to our dear friend. John writes:

Family, friends, and USMA Classmates and wives filled the Old Post Chapel at Fort Myer on Thursday morning, 21 May 2015, to pay their final respects to Colonel (US Army, Retired) Malcolm S. ("Gil") Gilchrist. The overcast skies and rainy weather in no way dampened the spirits of those in attendance, and US Army Chaplain (CPT) Andy Jenks provided an appropriately strong and equally poignant eulogy for Gil's personal life and characteristics and his professional Army career. The Old Guard rendered full military honors throughout the funeral service in the Chapel and the burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

To begin the service in the Chapel, the West Point Alumni Glee Club (WPAGC), with four Classmates as participants, sang "Mansions of the Lord." Chaplain Jenks began his remarks with the historical significance of the Old Post Chapel and mentioned some of the famous military leaders who had been there. He then cited the importance of the Warrior Ethos and said that it followed the biblical willingness to serve found in Matthew 28, "…Here am I, send me." Chaplain Jenks then mentioned that Gil was a proud and valorous member of the USMA Class of 1965 who had earned many awards and decorations for his service to include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal for service and valor, Purple Heart, Ranger Tab, and Parachutist Badge. He singled out the Purple Heart and the selfless sacrifice that it represented. Next, the Chaplain said that Gil was a very proud husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather who loved family and friends, coveted being a Soldier and serving his country, and enjoyed gardening, reading, and eating. The congregation was then invited to join in singing Gil's favorite hymn, "Amazing Grace." In summary, the Chaplain said that Gil had found the Peace (Philippians 4:7), Hope (John 3:16), and Comfort (Ephesians 2:8) that comes from knowing and having a personal relationship with Christ. The service concluded with the WPAGC leading our 18 Classmates and other USMA graduates in singing our "Alma Mater."

From the Chapel, Gil's casket was transferred to a horse-drawn caisson and escorted by the US Army Band and a military honor guard to its final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery. A long stream of cars followed the caisson to ANC; and the Chaplain gave some final remarks, the honor guard fired a 21-gun salute, Taps was played, and the US Flag over Gil's casket was folded and presented to Martha by the commander of troops on behalf of a grateful nation in recognition of Gil's many years of dedicated and faithful service. From there, attendees returned to Fort Myer Officers' Club for a wonderful reception hosted by the Gilchrist family, which gave us time to share our stories of Gil with Martha and her family and to celebrate Gil's life.

Our Classmates and wives who attended the funeral service were: Steve Ammon, Mike Applin, Joe & Diane Barkley, Joe & Lynne DeFrancisco, Jim & Karen Ferguson, Tom Fergusson, Bob & Mary Frank, Clair & Sherry Gill, Bob Harter, Leo Kennedy, Joe McChristian, Chuck Nichols, John & Karen Pickler, Doug & Sharon Richardson, Terry & Nancy Ryan, Hank Sterbenz, Ric & Patty Shinseki, and Terry Tutchings. Classmates shown in the Old Post Chapel with our Class of 1965 Flag are: (front row) Terry Ryan, Mike Applin, Chuck Nichols, Jim Ferguson, Joe DeFrancisco, Hank Sterbenz, John Pickler, Ric Shinseki, Doug Richardson, Tom Fergusson, Joe McChristian, and Terry Tutchings; and (back row) Bob Harter, Bob Frank, Leo Kennedy, Clair Gill, Joe Barkley, and Steve Ammon.

Strength & Drive, '65! John

John M. Pickler: 1923 Pointe Barton Drive | Lebanon, TN 37087-9053 | Home: (615) 453-5499 | Cell: (615) 416-1835

Now a quick look back at how we knew Gil in the day:

Thank you John Pickler and John McCullough for a job exceptionally well done.

Grip hands my friends as we say good bye to our friend Gil Gilchrist. On behalf of the entire Class of 1965 I wish to express our condolences to the family and to Gil - Be thou at Peace - Well Done!

Memories of a Great Reunion

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Tom Matkov sent me a nice set of pictures from the reunion. Tom writes:

Attached are photos from the reunion which were taken by my wife Becky except for the last. The first two are of the Chapel which Becky agrees is more beautiful than Duke's.

Photo Left: the couple in the lower right corner are Doug and Sharon Richardson who we did not know at the time of the photo but who we later spent some time with.

An interesting point that I learned years ago is that the flags (which I think make a beautiful addition to the look and feel of the place) were originally added to help with sound deadening by reducing echoes.

The third photo is of Suzy Eisenhard, Pat O'Connor's widow. It was a most enjoyable surprise meeting since Pat and I were high school classmates, played sports together, and roomed together at Ft. Bragg after graduation leave. I had never meet her, and Becky and I enjoyed talking with her about Pat.

The next two photos need no explanation. Photo 1 | Photo 2

Photo Right: George and Carol Bell along with Becky and me at the evening dinner.

The last is of Becky and me at Trophy Point. The last time we were there was the summer of 1968 after Vietnam.


Thanks Tom for taking the time to share some of your memories of one of the greatest reunions ever.

Wrapping up the Story of the "Prank" or "Spirit Mission"

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

I thought my last message on the subject of the "prank" would pretty much wrap it up. However, I just received an even better way to "wrap it up" from the guy himself with some very interesting comments which I will call "the rest of the story". Alex Alexander writes:

A few more details to wrap up "the prank."

1. Nomenclature: The TAC and cadets call it a "spirit mission" rather than prank, stunt, or whatever.
2. The TAC also wrote a letter of reflection, as did the cadets involved. I have read it and it is a fine piece of work, with a lot of self-disclosure, and a thoughtful commentary on the spirit mission and his (the TAC's) role in it. He would do it again, and is quite proud of the role he and the cadets played in it.
3. The cadets involved, plus the company and regimental TACs, plus me (still in cadet uniform) were called to the Brigade TAC's office, presumably to explain everything and to get royally chewed out. As it turned out, the Brigade TAC was delighted with the spirit mission, and his final words on the subject were, "I stand with you in this." He then asked to take a picture with me, and we did so, with me standing in front of his desk while we saluted each other, shown here:

4. I can't read minds, but I know cadets, soldiers, and chains of command. I am convinced that, had I or any of you been in the Supe's and Commandant's shoes, we would outwardly do the right thing, as did they, by condemning the people involved, as was the actual case, and required some form of "slap on the wrist." I am also convinced that both of them, having been cadets, and having lived through "spirit missions" in their own time, in the privacy of their own hearts, approved of the spirit mission, and the positive repercussions it seems to have spawned.
5. It's been a week-plus and I'm still getting attaboys from folks in our own class, from earlier classes, grads from remote locations, and cadets. I have yet to receive any kind of negative comment or criticism from any quarter. Apparently, if the TAC involved is to be believed, the "old grad" network on the Internet was burning up about the spirit mission, and it's all positive and approving.
6. All-in-all, while I executed my part in the parade clumsily, my many, many mistakes were all invisible to observers of the parade, and the end result was a successful spirit mission. I feel good about it.

Alex Alexander

Thank you Alex for completing the story for us and for what it's worth, let me add my attaboy to your list.

Good Stuff from the Glee Club

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Terry Ryan was kind enough to share these two pictures. With the first picture, Terry writes:

Jim Ferguson and I attended the Cadet Glee Club Graduation Concert on Tuesday night, May 19 as we were presenting an award (attached pic) and contribution of $3000 from the West Point Alumni Glee Club. The Supe and the Dean were in attendance as was Bob McClure from AOG.

Photo Right: left to right: Terry Ryan, Sebastion Sakarapanee (2015) (William H. Cosby Award Winner), Jim Ferguson.

Photo Left: we have the Villiage Idiots, Dave Gnau (Emcee), Terry Ryan, Nancy Ryan, Steve Sperry, Terry Tutchings, Chuck Nichols (AV).

Thanks Terry, good stuff.

Memories of Five terrible Years

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Skip O'Donnell who provided the picture of the Buddy Bucha MOH display in the Arvin Gym also took this shot of the Bob Jones POW display which shows some of the items Bob brought home from his harrowing five year stay in North Vietnam. I still can't imagine dealing with either of the situations that these two heroes had to face. Thank you to both Buddy and Bob for sharing your memories of those terrible times.

The Great Prank and The Final Solution

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Following the terrific prank pulled off by Alex Alexander, I received a question from someone (sorry my memory doesn't work well enough to tell you who and I'm too lazy to dig through all the e-mails I received to find the name) who was concerned about the possible punishment to the cadets involved. This tweaked my interest as well and I assumed that most of you would like to know so I made a few phone calls and eventually heard (by e-mail) from Dan Christman who is vacationing in Italy. He apparently talked with the Com after the event and learned of what I would have to label as a brilliant solution to the problem. Dan wrote:

On Alex's caper, I didn't talk to the Supe but I did talk to the Com and the First Captain. While the cadets may have been amused, it was pretty clear that LTG Caslen and the senior leadership at USMA was not. The Supe viewed the act as denigrating the solemnity of an historic occasion. In the end, however, the Supe executed what in my mind was a Solomonic decision: rather than taking any formal action against cadets in the chain of command, LTG Caslen directed that three cadets write "letters of reflection" about the incident, outlining what they learned and internalized from the prank; those "reflections" were then to be forwarded up their chain. I suspect the Tac as well was informally counseled by the Com as well. But that was it, Rick. When I spoke to the Com and the First Captain later in the week at graduation, the incident had been put behind them.

Bob Caslen is well liked by the cadets and the staff and faculty; handling this incident the way he did only reinforced that reputation.

I had a little discussion with LTG Caslen on a different subject around the same time and was disappointed with his reaction. However, this report from Dan gives me a whole new perspective on the intricacies of decision making in that position and has renewed my faith and confidence in the man currently holding that job. His "Solomonic" (I love that word and its implications - no need to cut the baby in half) solution to this issue was very impressive to me.

Thank you Dan for giving us all a little insight into this sticky situation.

By the way, as I have with many of you, I have asked for and received a promise to share a few pictures and comments from what sounds like a wonderful trip for Dan and Susan.

The Paul (Buddy) Bucha MOH Alcove

Paul (Buddy) Bucha MOH alcove on the second floor of the Arvin gymClassmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Skip O'Donnell sent me this nice picture of the Paul (Buddy) Bucha MOH alcove on the second floor of the Arvin gym. I'm very pleased to see this as I was one of those who was unable to get an opportunity to see it in person

Thanks Skip, Buddy and his actions all those years ago remain a constant source of pride for all of us.

Some Lovely Ladies at the Chapel

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

John Funk sent me this great picture and comment:

Here is a picture of Al Clark's daughters and granddaughters before the memorial service. Al and Judy were at Ft. Knox in 1969 and our daughter used to play with them while we played bridge. Sadly Al passed away in 1981. We were delighted to escort them during the reunion. Al would certainly be proud of all of them. They are from left to right Noa Weinshel, Mary Helen Clark, Betty Weinshel, and Sidney Weinshel.

Thanks John, I'm always happy to share pictures of beautiful ladies.

This Group Sticks Together

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Dave Gnau sent me a couple of very nice photos (which he got from Jean Stowell) of a gang who seem to have stuck together for at least two of the functions during the Reunion.

Photo Left: was taken in the Chapel after the Memorial Service and shows (left to right) David and Marcella Gnau, Bob and Jean Stowell, John and Susan Swensson, and John and Mary McCullough.



Photo Right: taken in the bleachers after the parade shows (in the front row) Susan Swensson, John Sewnsson, David Gnau, and Marcella Gnau, and in the back row Bob Stowell, Jean Stowell, Mary McCullough, and John McCullough.

While I'm sure they are some of ours, I'm afraid I don't know who the three folks in the upper left corner are but they don't look like they're trying to photo bust this shot.

Very nice pictures, thank you Jean and Dave.

A Beer with Mike Thompson

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Ralph Asplund sent me this nice story of his visit with one of our fallen heroes:


Last weekend following the Reunion, I stopped in Bourne, Massachusetts. And had a beer with my roommate, Mike Thompson (see pictures below).

I told Mike, he missed a great reunion.; Mike's widow Joan and his three kids, Jesi, Erik, and David, who visited West Point for the first time, were impressed with the Memorial Service, the Parade, our Classmates and the lore of Ranger Thompson.; In addition, as they toured the Athletic Building, they found Brian Riley in his office.; He gave them a tour of the complex and then took them back to his office where he showed them all of Mike's records.;

The Thompson family was very appreciative of the assistance of Tom and Marilyn Kovach and the class of 1965 for life lasting memory.

Thank you all,


Thank you Ralph for including us in your very special moment with a dear friend.

Bonnie Abney Joined us to Renew - Reflect - Rejoice

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Way back in 2013, George Ruggles shared a great story with me which I, in turn, shared with you. Just to help those with a horrible memory like mine, here, between the lines below, is that original story.

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Well here's a challenge for you, this story is so convoluted, I had to read it several times and even had to get back to George Ruggles for a clarification. Admittedly the clarification had to do with the fact that I don't text and therefore didn't know the meaning of the abbreviation MIL (I thought it might mean "My Ideal Lady" or something like that). Anyway, the story definitely has a tragic element to it but the fact that it will be shared in a potentially major book may soften it a little.

George sent this:

Got this note from my MIL (Mother in Law). She lives on Whidbey Island in WA, and is a neighbor and friend of Bonnie, Doug's OAO (One and Only) and intended bride. Bonnie was on the way to HI (Hawaii) to marry Doug while he was on R & R when word came down that he was KIA in RVN.

"George, I just learned that "Doug" will be a character in J.A. Jance's latest mystery 'Second Watch', to be out in September. And, by extension, my friend Bonnie Abney, who was about to marry him at the time of his death in Vietnam, will also not only be in the book, but is going to accompany Judy on her nation-wide book tour to promote the book. Bonnie indicated that their appearance is but a minor segment of the story, but she is an experienced businesswoman and seems to be looking forward to traveling with Judy, whom she has known for many years. I think Bonnie and Doug were classmates at Mercer HS and Judy was either two years ahead or two behind them.

Thought you might be interested in this bit about a classmate of ours."


Doug's friends may know this tragic story already. Hard to imagine what Bonnie went through when she got the news about Doug's death.


Thank you George, I'm sure there will be many of our Classmates who will get the book just to see how the story is covered.

A few days ago George sent me this note and nice picture:

Photo of Ruggles and Bonnie Abney.

She was engaged to Doug Davis '65 and was about to leave for Tokyo to marry him on his R & R when word came thru that he was KIA in Vietnam. Even today, when she talks of it, there are tears. I didn't know Doug. The connection is that Bonnie is a neighbor of my MIL on Whidbey Island near Seattle. They are good friends. The MIL is the widow of a Navy Capt, USNA '40.

Further about the MIL: she was the librarian in Kosciusko MS for many years. I once asked her how the staff stayed busy on days when someone had already checked out the book. She didn't see the humor.


Thank you George for sharing this and thank you Bonnie for joining us at this very special time.

Some Cool Stuff from Jim Olivo

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Here is one more contribution to the many reminders about what a wonderful reunion we just had. Jim Olivo shared these two shots taken on the day of the Alumni Parade and Lunch.

Photo Right: is the expected response to the request by the announcer to "Please avoid walking on the plane". If you look closely, you'll see that I was one of those folks ignoring the directive.

It turns out that Jim Olivo is somewhat of a photography buff and shared a very cool technique (he called it HDR and I'm afraid I have already forgotten what that stands for) wherein the picture is taken three times with different settings each time to come up with the look you see below. I called and talked with him about it and he went into great detail about the process. I'm afraid I'm not capable of doing it justice in writing so I asked him if he would be willing to share his phone number for anyone who might want to pursue this further. He said he would be happy to do that so give him a call at: (909) 987-2233 if you would like to learn how to do this.

Photo Left: shows us all gathered in the mess hall for what turned out to be a very nice meal. I thought it was nice that each table had a Firstie Table Com but unfortunately mine was way too quiet when we were hoping he would share some current poop.

When I first saw this I thought it was a picture of a painting but it's really a photo using this special technique. Also, if you look closely, you will see the Patton statue behind Ike.

Thanks Jim, cool stuff.

The Arvin Award Winner for 2015

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

It was really great to see Paul Schultz at the reunion given that there was some doubt, due to his recent health problems, that he would make. You're looking good Paul! Not only was he able to join us but he was able to put to put together this terrific report on the presentation of the Arvin Award. He preceded his report with these comments:

Photo Right: Cadet Chandler D. Smith and his delightful family (Mom, Brothers, and Grandfather).

I wanted to try to put a face on the outstanding cadet who wins the Arvin Award so the Class can see the character of the awardee.

It was an honor to get to present this award. Thanks to all for allowing me to do it!

Paul Schultz, Jr.
203-778-9164 Home
203-919-5600 Cell

And here is his report:
Class Report - Arvin Award Presentation at the USMA 2015 Awards Convocation

The Convocation was held May 22, 2015 in the Eisenhower Hall Theater.

There were 91 awards given and the presenters were as interesting and varied as their awards.

The Carl Robert Arvin Memorial Award was established by the Class of 1965 in 1984. It is awarded to the graduating member 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 fellow members of the Class of 1965 who were killed in the Vietnam conflict.

We had a chance to meet the awardees and their families at a lunch before the presentation.

I really enjoyed talking to them. They are from Overland Park, Kansas where he attended Rockhurst Jesuit High School in Kansas City, Mo. Chandler played football and was on the wrestling team in high school. Rockhurst won the State Football Championship in 2010 with a perfect record and finished the season ranked 19th nationally.

Photo Left: me with Chandler just before the presentations started.

Cadet Chandler D. Smith is a true leader with a confident demeanor and great personality. He is Captain of the Wrestling Team, Captain of the Black and Gold Crossfit Club, 1st in the Class of 2015 Physically, and has won both the Hal Moore Warrior Athlete of Excellence Award and the Mike Krzyzewski Award for Excellence in Teaching Character Through Sport Award. He graduates with a double major in American Politics and Latin American Foreign Area Studies. Chandler branched Armor and is going to Fort Carson, CO as a first assignment. He also has a goal of qualifying to compete in the2022 National Crossfit Games. I gave him a biography on Bob Arvin and discussed who Bob was that made him special for our Class.

Paul Schultz
USMA 1965

Thank you Paul, great report.

Under the Trees after Lunch

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

I'm still receiving many photos from reunion attendees. While it's keeping me busy (not a bad thing) it is taking me a little time to get them out to you. Here is a great picture and brief note from Diane Barkley. She writes: attached please find picture of Sue and Tim Timmerman with Joe and me at Reunion right after lunch in Washington Hall.

Diane Barkley

Thank you Diane, very nice.

A Farewell to Joe Weatherall

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Gil Curl quickly stepped up to take on the duties of POC (Point Of Contact) for us to the family of Joe Weatherall. You may have seen his previous reports which informed us that the Weatherall family (and, apparently, Joe himself) were inclined to have a very small and private ceremony at his passing. Here is Gil's report on that ceremony along with a very nice obituary published in the Asheville Citizens Times:

A private memorial service was held on May 22nd to honor our friend and classmate, Joe Weatherall. Bonnie (Joe's widow) was surrounded by family and a few close friends as the service was conducted in a beautiful chapel near their home in Asheville. Although I was not able to attend, I did speak with Bonnie when we returned from the reunion and shared with her the sincerity of the memorial service at West Point and that Joe's name was honored by his classmates as part of the ceremony. Joe and Bonnie have been special friends since we met them in Asheville several years ago.

Here we have a picture of the beautiful little chapel where the memorial service was held

Photo Left: his beloved Bonnie surrounded by her family.

We will miss him! Joe's obituary, published in the Asheville Citizens Times, follows:.

Joe Albert Weatherall

Asheville - Joe Albert Weatherall, Jr., 73, departed this life May 6, 2015, after a short illness. He was born in Waco, Texas, grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1965. Commissioned a U.S. Army officer in the infantry, Joe served in Germany and Vietnam. He then pursued a career as an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, working in San Diego, Calif., and Champaign, Illinois. The last case Joe managed became the subject of a book and then a movie both titled "The Informant". Following retirement, Joe became an ardent student of Spanish and Latin American language, history and culture and traveled widely in Spain, Mexico, Central America and to Peru. He enjoyed taking classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, as well as studying Spanish and French with colleagues.

Joe was predeceased by his parents Joe A. and Frances Weatherall, his first wife, Judith Davis, daughter Kelly and son Lee. He is survived by his wife Barbara (Bonnie), daughter Joanna, son-in-law Robert Gertson and granddaughter Vivien of Austin,Texas; step-son Eugene Koontz of Oakland, California; step-daughter Mimi and step-grandson Ian Koontz of Asheville, brothers-in-law Carl Wohlfeil of Charleston, South Carolina and Steven Wohlfeil of Savannah, Georgia, and mother-in-law Ethel Wohlfeil of Charleston, South Carolina; and numerous cousins in Texas.

The family has asked that any contributions in Joe's memory be made to the American Cancer Society.

If you would like to share a message with the family you can do so by sending your comments to Gil Curl at: or by calling him on his cell phone at: 828-989-0589.

As has become my practice, I would like to share here a quick look back to how we remember Joe when we were all so very young: Thank you Gil for a job very well done. I love that Joe shared my "goat indifference". Joe you will be missed by so many. Grip hands my friends as we say good bye to our friend Joe Weatherall. On behalf of the entire Class of 1965 I wish to express our condolences to the family and to Joe - Be thou at Peace - Well Done!

Now this is just Downright Mean!

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Bob Bradley, never one to shirk from an opportunity to mix things up, shared this comment: 

Bumpass, who had no valid excuse for not attending the Reunion, asked me to get him an official Reunion Hat, which I was more than happy to do.

He even used staples to put the Reunion Logo on the swabie hat -couldn't even sew it.

I share this, but I take zero responsibility for the content. This is all on Bob.

Some Great Shots from Don Nowland

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

A good friend of mine from Buckner Days, Don Nowland, sent me four terrific pictures to share. He writes:

Here are 4 photos from our "great" reunion…what fun…and so memorable!! I'll never forget it!!

Best, Don Nowland

Photo Left: left to right…me, my wife, Davita Nowland, Steve & Cathy Ellenbogen, Karen & Dennie Sellers, Denny (I think someone just tickled him), & Diane Hawker Steve & Molly Philo. We're on the patio at the Westchester Marriott on Tuesday evening.

3rd: left to right…Karen Sellers, Davita Nowland, and Diane Hawker…in the reviewing stand before the parade.

4th: Me & Timmy Thames at the Sunday buffet.

Photo Right: left to right…Denny & Diane Hawker, Davita & me.

Cool stuff, thanks Don.

Oh No - It's the Guy with the Infectious Smile

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

My good friend Tad Ono shared a huge batch of pictures from a site one of his daughters created. I selected these as representative of the good time he obviously had at the reunion. We start with a picture of he and Bill McCreary with Tad's beautiful wife, Hiroko (I'm not sure if Tad just bit into a lemon but he liked the shot so I'm happy to share it).

Photo Left: Tad (he hasn't been able to get that lemon out of his mouth yet) with Dennis Lewis Jr. (son of our fallen brother Dennis Lewis) again with Hiroko.

Next we have a very nice shot of Tad and Hiroko with Bob and Phyllis Wolff.

Photo Right: the folks from the shortest room in Beast - Tad Ono, Ron Walter, and Bob Wolff.

Thanks Tad, good stuff.

The Gathering at Thayer's Monument

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

George Ruggles sent along this nice shot of the ceremony at the feet of Sylvanus Thayer with the caption:

Bradley making sure I didn't fall out

Thanks George.

Random Photos from the Reunion

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Lloyd (Kent) Brown sent me this great batch of pictures taken at different times and places during the reunion:

Here we have 3 Sherry's - that would be Ray, Brown and Gill all very pretty in pink in the hall of the Westchester Marriott. Then Betsey Reed and Ilse Gabel also outside the Chapel.

Next, here are two shots of the Boise Boys - Kent Brown, Mike Viani - first the fight, then made up.

Photo Right: Kent Brown, Don Erbes, George Bell - plebes together in B-1.

Next we have Ron (Kent's RANGER Buddy) & Mary Beth Williams in the Chapel and outside the Chapel Mike Viani and Ron Bailey.

In this shot we have Kent Brown, Brielle Ibe (Class of 2018, Kent helped her get into West Point), and Sherry Brown. And then Cheryl Viani, Mike Viani (Boise High class of 1961), Brielle Ibe (Boise High Class of 2014), and Sherry Brown.

Here we see Johanna & Emory Pylant and then Phyllis & Bob Wolff.

Photo Left: Ron Bailey, Cheryl Viani,, Dore' Skidmore, Sherry Brown, Raine Bailey - I think they are just outside the Chapel.

Thank you Kent, great photos.

Team Mates Teamed Up Again

Chuck on the left and Jack on the right - good friends together againClassmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Chuck Shaw shared this nice photo with the comment:

Sure enjoyed being with my classmates and their loved ones. Fun to catch up with my old teammate Jack! Never had to worry about Navy running on Jack's side of the field because you knew it would end badly for them.

Chuck on the left and Jack on the right - good friends together again.

Bob Selkis cuts the pie

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Fred Grates sent this along with the words: "This is a classic!" showing Bob Selkis getting a little help with the cutting of the pie. What, no template? I noticed also that he didn't eat much of his lunch - making room for the pie?

Thanks Fred.

'65's Four Distinguished Graduates

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Bob Frank just forwarded this great set of photos of the Graduation exercises yesterday. As he points out, there are 12 images of our four Distinguished Graduates: Ric Shinseki, Paul (Buddy) Bucha, Dan Christman, and Joe DeFrancisco.


Thanks Bob.

Standing Tall with our Great Tree

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Here's a great picture provided by Ross Wollen, of the Class Tree. Ross was instrumental in making it possible along with the library behind it. Standing in front of it is our Affiliation Class Leadership Team getting ready to graduate and take on the world.

Thank you Ross for all you have done for our Great Class.

Another Great set of Photos

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Jim Mirando sent along this very nice set of photos. I'm sorry I don't have names for the lovely ladies in the second photo but they look like they are having fun. Jim shared these comments on the photos:

Photo Left: Three roommates and wives from F-1 Renew-Reflect-Rejoice Left: Linda and Art Adam; Middle: Connie and Jim Mirando; Right: Marilyn and Jerry Eichelberger.

Photo 2: Group of wives visit the Rockefeller Estate while the guys were golfing.

Photo 3: Reunion of classmates and wives who served together in the 123d Signal Battalion in Wurzburg, Germany in 1966- 1967: Left: John Nolan and Blair Cullen and Right: Connie and Jim Mirando.

Photo Right: The Golfing Buddies: Left to Right; Steve Harman, Jim Mirando, Larry Bryant, and Art Adam.

Thank you Jim, great shots and all happy campers.

A Real Gray Hog Family

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Another brief comment and good pictures, this time from Emery Chase:

Here are a couple of photos. Photo Left: taken at the hotel, is me in the '65 shirt with son Ken (Class of '91) on the left and Grandson Gavin (Class of'15) in the center.

Photo Right: is of Gavin receiving a plate as the first son to graduate from the Class of '92.

It was a great Reunion!


Thanks Emery, good stuff.

Hawkins with Two Darlingtonites

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Bob Frank shared this nice comment and photo:

After hearing that Firstie Conner Roche, a marathoner and fellow citizen of Darlington WI, Ray and Linda Hawkins linked up with him after the Alumni Luncheon. Conner carried the game ball into the stadium at Army-Navy last year. He has also run the Boston Marathon three times and the New York Marathon once. A very busy cadet!

Thanks Bob.

Myrna and Harley at the Whitney

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Boy, they don't get much briefer than this but I still enjoy sharing your photos and comments. Harley Moore wrote:

Looking south to One World Trade Center

Thanks Harley, keep them coming.

A Prank and A Magnificent Response

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

You've already seen something of Alex Alexander (the short clip included in my first reunion report) which shows him to be a bit of a cut up. After I sent that out I received this additional information about the stunt and thought it might be fun to share it as well. One of the cadets in the parade wrote:

Oh, how the Superintendent was pissed.. news of this spread through the Corps like wildfire. He led the company until they did 'Eyes Right' then broke off and joined his class.
I was holding the American flag with the Color Guard, so all that I saw was him standing in full White over Gray under arms (saber, red sash and all) with the rest of the '65 grads.
Apparently the TAC had been planning it for months. Everyone but the leadership thought it was hilarious and good-intentioned- the reception in the Corps was overwhelmingly positive.

And here is a picture provided by Ross Wollen which shows the salute to the Supe.

Thanks Alex for adding to the "fun" of the reunion.

After I received this information from Ross, I received a terrific e-mail from Alex on a completely different look at the reunion. He may be a cut up but he's also a very talented writer and captured a very important aspect of our 50 year Reunion when he responded to my first report. Alex wrote:

I went to the 50th Reunion - my first ever - and I wanted to share my "takeaway" with you on this forum. I was writing a journal of the event on the flight back home, and the words below wrote themselves, and taught me something most of you have known for decades, but that I hadn't realized until that moment.

"The main activity for the reunion consisted of looking at name tags (thank goodness for name tags), and striking up a near-infinite variation of the same conversation with each person: [Glance at name tag], "Hi [whomever]…long time…what have you been up to for the last 50 years?." Like that. The conversations were all variations of the same things - career anecdotes, where are you living (where's that?), kids, grandkids, and ailments, scattered with some, "The last time I saw you was [somewhere in Viet Nam, or some such]." It was banality on a grand scale, and you'd think it a recipe for tedium. But oddly, the recipe cooked up into something special, a re-connection, and the realization that I value these connections more than I had known, and more than all other connections other than family. And I learned, to my surprise, that the connections were anchored not so much in my memory as in my heart. I like and respect these guys, and they like and respect me, even when we hardly knew each other. (I'm only realizing this as I'm writing it, and it's blurring the letters on my screen.) These are all exceptionally good people, some of them great, none of them jerks, and each with Duty, Honor, Country deeply, deeply engraved within him, and grateful for it. And I'm one of them. I enjoy the rah-rah stuff as much as anybody, but what really touches me somewhere in my core is this connection, and the sense of belonging - almost a oneness - that comes with it. What a privilege."


Thank you Alex for your contributions to a very successful reunion.

D-2 Group Tie Picture

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Sorry for the delay in getting more information out to you regarding the reunion. I took a couple of days (one to visit the first house Donna and I bought in Middletown while I was going to Stephens Tech for my Engineering Masters and one to go to dinner and a show {It should Have Been You} in the city). I'm now back home and will try to catch up.

Let's start with a nice message and a couple of photos from Bob Bradley which shows the boys from D-2 saluting their leader, John Pickler. Bob writes:

We instituted the official D-2 Pickler tie to honor John's leadership over the past 50 years. Not only was John Pickler our D-2 Company Commander, he has led and watched over us since we graduated, insuring we got money and wedding pictures in as requested [keeping score to make sure D-2 led the Brigade]. The only D-2 alum out of uniform during the Tie O-Rama induction ceremony was General Pickler, who offered, "No excuse, Sir," so we awarded him 5 demerits and his own tie. Chuck Mosely followed with the official John Pickler poem to close the ceremony while tears flowed from several D-2ers because the tie did not match their outfits. Obviously, very moving. In the second picture Mike Liebowitz is the only D-2er missing (health).

Bob didn't give me a list of names and I'm not even going to try.

If you want your own official D-2 Tie, it's $29.90 on Amazon and comes with matching pocket square and cuff links. You may wear the D-2 tie, but only real D-2ers learn the official D-2 hand-shake, D-2 dance moves and D-2 financial investing success secrets.

Thanks Bob, good stuff.

A Message from the President

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

It is my pleasure to share a message from our new President. I look forward to working with him and all the members of our new Leadership Team as we move forward. Thank you Russ for taking on this very challenging position.

Message to the Distinguished West Point Class of '65

It is an honor and privilege to serve this great class. After three and abut days of "Renewing, Reflecting, and Rejoicing", we can safely say that our 50th Reunion was the best ever. Once again, we give tribute to Marilyn and Tom Kovach for organizing, leading, and executing a flawless and memorable operation. For those who could not attend, you were truly with us in spirit.

Your new leadership team is already in place and moving out, so that should give you some assurance that you are in good hands. In putting this team together we were looking for continuity (3 out of 6 positions continue), succession planning (2 vice president positions), and bench strength (all are in pretty good health). Individual attributes we were looking for included geographical diversity (all parts of the country are covered, North, South, East and West), shared and different experiences, willing and able classmates, and about equal regimental representation (three from each regiment). So that's the team: Senior Vice President, Bob Radcliffe, B-1, North Carolina; Vice President, Bob Axley, I-2, Texas; Treasurer, Mitch Bonnett, I-2, Michigan; Secretary and Scribe, Rick Bunn, K-1, Washington State; Historian, Bob Frank, B-1, Maryland. Also, a critical and major contributor to the team is our Web Master and IT expert, Chuck Nichols. Maybe we need to make that an official officer position, something to think about.

Going forward, we take the stewardship role in which you have entrusted us very seriously and will do our best to live up to your expectations. Speaking of that, there is a role for you to play. As a Class, we're not done. We are still in the arena, so don't take off your spurs yet, stack your arms, or even consider packing up. We are not on some final glide path nor should we be "counting the days". We still have so much more to give; in experience, in judgment, in example, in intellect, and in energy. There are many opportunities to serve and give back, but to do so we must stay healthy, physically fit, and socially engaged. As my wife Maryann, Master Reiki practitioner and certified Senior Fitness and Nutritionist, would say, "eat lots of fruits and vegetables, exercise every day, stay relaxed, and have fun".

In closing, I want to thank the previous Leadership team members who are moving on Gill, Harter, and O'Donnell for their term of exemplary stewardship. And finally a special thanks and round of applause for Clair and Sherry Gill for all that they have done for us. They set a high standard of leadership and love for the Class that has really kept us united and connected.

With that, I Salute the Class of 1965, "Strength and Drive", Russ Campbell.

Was that a Great Reunion, or What?

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

WOW, COWABUNGA, HOLY MACKEREL, SHAZAM - yes, I'm aware that all caps is like shouting but that's exactly what I mean to do with all my favorite accolades for the magnificent reunion we just had. Tom and Marilyn Kovach out did themselves as did so many others who contributed to this wonderful gathering. I, personally had the opportunity to connect with many more of my Classmates than I ever thought possible.

I have just experienced the most wonderful connection I could possibly have expected with so many of my dear Classmates. I pretty much expected that many would recognize me and I wouldn't recognize them because I've pretty much put myself out there to be seen (even though I try to minimize the number of times I show up in photos), but I had no idea that so many would go out of their way to come up and talk with me. I was overwhelmed by the number of folks who took the time and effort to find me and thank me for my efforts with the Class Notes. To the many who did that, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks. I love this job and I'm thrilled to get the feedback that you shared. Up to now I have hit the "Send" button only to see my messages disappear into cyberspace with very little idea who, if anyone is really getting them. Now I'm know and it's very gratifying.

Photo Right: I was waiting for a rental car with Frank and Kathy Meier when one finally came available which was considered by one gentleman to be too ugly to drive but not so for the Meier's and I promised to share their willingness to take it on. My apologies to anyone who may be driving one of these back home.

I could not have been more moved by the incredible memorial service and visit to the cemetery and the parade the next day (thank you Odon for not coming through to help those cadets avoid another parade) brought back many memories (see the note later about the prank that took place during the parade). However, for me a highlight came when I visited the Arvin Alcove and listened to our own Bob Jones sharing his memories of his five year imprisonment in Vietnam. At one point he told us that sometimes specific Classmates and sometimes just Classmates in general would help him through difficult times (torture, solitary confinement, etc.) as he would ask himself what would he do or what would my Classmates do in this situation. Call me a softie if you must but this brought me to tears. To become aware of how our mutual background helped him through some of these unimaginable experiences was just a little too much for me. Thank you Bob for giving us all so much to be proud of.

Photo Left: We get the Classmate (sorry, I'm so bad at this that I don't even remember who this was) who had the perfect pair of socks for our visit to the plain. Thanks and my apologies for forgetting who's at the top of the photo.

Next, a nice message from Jerry and Peg Merges for the reaction to Peg's fall:

Please thank the many, many classmates and wives who cared for Peg after her fall. The expressions of love and concern were deeply appreciated by both of us.

We are truly a band of brothers and families and the cords that bind run deep.

We are safely home and soon Peg will have her usual smile and pretty face.

Again, many thanks to you all.

Jerry and Peg Merges

And finally a great clip (I hope this comes through for all to enjoy). Ron Williams sent me this little clip that helps to explain the prank that some of us only heard a little about. It seems that Alex Alexander couldn't resist getting in on the parade act and did a little marching with the cadets. As you can see he stopped halfway through to join us on the sidelines. Ron wrote:

I know a lot of people were unable to actually see the great Alex Alexander caper at the reunion review at West Point. I do not know if my wife (Mary Beth) knew what was going down or if she just got incredibly lucky, but she got the action on video. It is attached. My CrimLaw background tells me this was certainly disorderly conduct. But also one of the great escapades in reunion history. Hope all enjoy it!

Just hit control click with your curser on this little picture to see the clip. I was impressed because I'm sure I couldn't have even gotten into one of those uniforms.


This is only the first of many reports that will cover the reunion but I need your input to get out as many stories as possible. Please go through your many pictures and send me the best half dozen or so and any stories that may go with them. Pictures alone will also work. I just need many perspectives to share the whole picture of what this magnificent gathering was all about. Thanks for anything you can contribute.

A big Hello from the City by the Bay

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Ralph and Kathy Adams, the O Club at the PresidioRalph and Kathy Adams, the O Club at the PresidioJust got this quick note with a hello from Ralph and Kathy Adams:

To the Class! from the O Club at the Presidio. Wish we could be on the Hudson with you.

Ralph, A-2

Thank you Ralph, sorry you couldn't join us.

'65 hits the Las Vegas Strip

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Now this is more like it - a pleasant memory to share. Rollie Stichweh shared this memory of a great post-graduation adventure:

As our 50th Class Reunion approaches, here's an adventure of four classmates which took place soon after our graduation in June. The picture shows (from left to right) John Ritch, Rollie Stichweh, Buddy Bucha, and Mark Walsh at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas shortly after our graduation from West Point. Buddy and Rollie, firstie roommates, met in Buffalo where Bill Zadel and Rollie had played in an East-West All America football game with other players including Gayle Sayers, Dick Butkus and Roger Staubach. They piled into their cars (a Pontiac GTO and Corvette) following the game and headed west in a two car convoy to meet up with John Ritch and Mark Walsh in Vegas. Why make this trip? It turns out that the father of a Plebe who attended the 1965 Class graduation had made an offer to these (now former) four cadets to work for two weeks in Vegas where he was the manager of all the restaurants and bars at the Riviera and Desert Inn casinos. L - R John Ritch, Rollie Stichweh, Buddy Bucha, and Mark Walsh at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas shortly after our graduation from West Point

What would be their jobs? They would handle challenging responsibilities as lifeguards - for two hours each day - which provided them with lodging and dining privileges at the hotel. This was very tough duty, especially since all of the lovely showgirls worked on their tan each day around the pool and required frequent rescues and resuscitation efforts by these stalwart lifeguards to prepare the young ladies for their shows each night. It can be confirmed that these four 65'ers were always on their very best behavior with their co-workers throughout this hazardous two week tour of duty!!!

If you're buying that last line, I have a great bridge I'd like to sell you.

The Naming of Camp Enari

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Wow, I just received another great Vietnam story, this time from our soon to be Class President, Russ Campbell.
1st Battalion 22nd Infantry

Camp Enari, Pleiku, Pleiku Province 1969

The Naming of Camp Enari 

As Colonel Jud Miller, commanding officer of the Second Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division, completed preparations for leading his brigade from Fort Lewis, Washington to Vietnam, Major General Arthur Collins, Division Commander, called him to his headquarters to wish him luck and give him final instructions. Among other things, Colonel Miller was to establish the base camp which the division would occupy when they arrived later in the year.

"Jud, I want you to name the base camp after the first GI killed by hostile fire after you get to Vietnam. That would be a fitting tribute to a brave soldier", said General Collins in his parting instruction as Colonel Miller left on that day in July, 1966 to board the plane taking the advance party to the division's new home south of Pleiku, Vietnam.
On September 3, 1966, while operating on a search and destroy mission as a member of Charlie Company, First Battalion, 22nd Infantry regiment, PFC Albert Collins became the first Ivy Division soldier killed in action when he was cut down by heavy fire from a Vietcong unit.

Knowing that General Collins would not want it to be perceived that the base camp was named after him, Colonel Miller sent a back channel message to General Collins at Fort Lewis explaining his proposed alternative plan for naming the base camp. "Since the first enlisted man killed in action was named Collins, I recommend we name the base camp after the first officer killed in action." General Collins agreed with Colonel Miller's recommendation.

On November 5, 1966, while participating in Operation Paul Revere IV with Alpha Company, First battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, Lieutenant Richard Collins, graduate of the West Point class of 1965, became the first Ivy Division officer killed in Vietnam when he was shot by a dug in North Vietnamese force. By now, General Collins had arrived in Vietnam and discussed the dilemma with Colonel Miller. "We'll name the base camp after the first posthumous recipient of the Silver Star, regardless of his name or rank," was the agreed to plan.

Lieutenant Mark Enari had worked on the Second Brigade staff and was constantly prodding Colonel Miller to let him go to a line company to lead a rifle platoon. As a replacement was needed in the First Battalion, 12th Infantry regiment, Lieutenant Mark N. Enari earned the Silver Star while fighting the North Vietnamese regulars during Operation Paul Revere IV in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. Lt. Enari died as a result of the wounds he received during that battle.

Early in 1967, the Fourth Infantry Division's base camp, sitting at the foot of Dragon Mountain in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, was named Camp Enari in honor of Lieutenant Mark Enari and retained that name as long as American forces were in Vietnam. 

PFC Albert Collins' name is engraved on Panel 10E, line 66 on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. (Photo)

Lieutenant Richard G. Collins' name is engraved on Panel 12E, line 27. (Photo)
The above story was told to Bob Babcock, B/1-22 1965-1967, by BG (Ret) Jud Miller at a mini-reunion at Fort Lewis, Washington in 1994. It has appeared in the "Ivy Leaves" and in the book "War Stories - Utah Beach to Pleiku."
1LT Mark Enari

First Lieutenant Mark Enari served as a platoon leader in Company A, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division.

The 4th Infantry Division had arrived in western II Corps in 1966. It was their mission to seek out North Vietnamese divisions that had infiltrated across the Cambodian border.
Enari routinely led his platoon on "search and destroy" missions, a term given to operations that would seek out heavily entrenched enemy units and assault their fortified positions.
On December 2, 1966, Enari led his platoon in an assault on one of these positions concealed in an area of dense trees. As the platoon advanced, heavy automatic weapons fire erupted from bunkers hidden at the base of the tree line. As the battle raged, Enari was continually subjected to intense enemy fire while commanding the operation.

In the heat of the fire fight, five soldiers were wounded and pinned down in an open area by machine gun fire. Realizing that his men would die without cover and medical attention, Mark Enari stormed the machine gun nest with a furious barrage of fire.
During his single-handed assault, the lieutenant was struck by both sniper and machine gun rounds but continued his attack in defense of the wounded.
The young officer pushed forward until succumbing to his wounds; he finally slumped to the ground. As a result of his action, the five men were saved. Lieutenant Enari was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for valor.
Camp Enari was officially named in his honor on General Orders of the 4th Infantry Division on 14 May 1967.

Mark Niggol Enari was born on 8 April 1942. His home of record was Pasadena, California.
His name is inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the east wall, Panel 13E, Line 4. (Photo
The above picture and story was taken from:
VIETNAM Military Lore 1959-1973…..Another Way To Remember
by Master Sergeant Ray A. Bows, U.S. Army, Retired
edited by Stephen Bows
Copyright 1988 by Bows & Sons Publishing.

Thank you Russ it's always good to read about our fallen heroes.

The Long Shadow of PTSD

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

My good friend Tad Ono recently sent me this excerpt from the AARP Bulletin. I'm sure many of you have seen it already but to make sure it gets the widest possible distribution within our Class, I chose to share it here also. For me, it is the best explanation I have seen to explain the amazing heroism of our own Paul (Buddy) Bucha.  I spoke with him about the article and he gave me the green light to proceed. The entirety of what I am sharing here is from that bulletin. For those of you who haven't already read this, please do so and share with me my immense pride in this true hero.

AARP Bulletin
The Long Shadow of PTSD
Decades after Vietnam, retired veterans reunite and seek help
by Brian Mockenhaupt, AARP Bulletin, May 2015

After two tours as an infantryman in Vietnam, Dave Dillard came home to a country that he felt didn't understand where he'd been, or how the war had affected him. The Army discharged him with no advice about the lingering mental strains of combat. His family told him to get on with his life. Some of the World War II veterans he met at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post weren't much help, either. "Just forget it," they told him.

Dave Dillard (Photo), 66, of the 101st Airborne Division. - Brent Humphreys

He couldn't forget, but he moved on. He studied theater arts in San Francisco and later taught elementary school. But he gradually withdrew from friends and family. He avoided crowds and standing in lines. While mowing the lawn one afternoon, a loud noise sent him diving under ambush. Sleep was tortured. He dreamed that he'd been sent back to Vietnam for a third tour, and always he saw the same North Vietnamese soldier, his face lit up in the darkness by a rifle's muzzle flash.

In the mid-1980s he started searching for the men with whom he'd fought. He found them one by one over the next three decades. Many of them, he discovered, had been suffering as he had, and most hadn't gotten help until years later, if they'd sought help at all.

This is a common story among older combat veterans, who have contended with both the stigma of appearing weak and the lack of knowledge about the mental effects of combat. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - characterized by hypervigilance, intrusive thoughts, nightmares and avoidance — wasn't a formal diagnosis until 1980, and effective treatments weren't widely available until the 1990s.

"They came home, stayed quiet and tried to muddle on as best they could," says Steven Thorp, a San Diego psychologist with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "They worked really hard as a distraction, 70, 80 hours a week, so PTSD didn't really hit them full force until they retired, or the kids left the house, or they're reminded of loss through the deaths of their friends."

"What they do know is that they're different," Thorp says. "But they don't know why it happened, and they don't know how to change it."

Dillard didn't know how to right himself, but he knew exactly what had changed him: one long, terrible night in the jungles north of Saigon during his first tour, when Delta Company, his unit from the 101st Airborne Division, was nearly overrun by hundreds of North Vietnamese soldiers. That night he witnessed heroics by his captain, Paul Bucha, and waited with Delta Company buddies like Calvin Heath and Bill Heaney for a dawn they feared would never come.

"That night marked all of us," says Dillard, 66, who now lives on a ranch in Livingston, Texas, and assists other veterans with their disability claims. "It's been the source of lots of nightmares."

Eighty-nine men stretched out in a long column that snaked north through the jungle. They'd been dropped off by helicopter two days earlier and ordered to track down North Vietnamese soldiers who had infiltrated South Vietnam for the Tet Offensive. At dusk on March 18, 1968, a soldier radioed back and asked Capt. Bucha, the commander of Delta Company (3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment), if he could recon by fire — shoot a few rounds to provoke a response from any enemy waiting in ambush. He fired twice, and the jungle erupted.

Paul Bucha (foreground) on March 19, 1968. The battle had killed 10 Americans and wounded 47. - EARL Van Alystine/ Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University
"The entire mountain in front of us just blew up," Bucha says, "fire from everywhere."

Amid the fire from machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, the company medic sprinted ahead to treat the wounded. Bucha followed and used hand grenades to kill a machine-gun nest in a tree, the first of many actions throughout the battle for which he would be awarded the Medal of Honor. Bucha continued forward and found the medic and several other men dead from the initial attack.

Farther back, the wounded were gathered in a small clearing. A helicopter arrived to evacuate them but didn't have room to land. Soldiers decided to carry the wounded to a larger landing zone, but as the helicopter flew to that location, Dillard, who was Bucha's radio operator, saw it being hit with gunfire from the opposite direction. He realized they were surrounded.
From the corner of his eye, he saw a grenade land a few feet away. The explosion wounded two men and rattled Dillard. For several minutes he didn't know where he was or what was happening - and he forgot to warn the others about the gunfire from the south. The soldiers evacuating the wounded walked into another ambush and several more were killed, deaths for which Dillard blamed himself.

As night encased the jungle, survivers consolidated in a small clearing and Bucha issued an extraordinary order: In order not to give away their position, no one was to fire without his permission. Instead, Bucha and his men threw hand grenades and lobbed tube-launched grenades at random intervals in different directions to confuse the enemy and give the impression that they were a much larger force.

The enemy crept in close, probing for the Americans. Dillard, body pressed to the ground, watched a Vietnamese soldier just a few feet away fire in the opposite direction, the enemy's face illuminated by the rifle flash. "This is a hell of a place for it to end," he thought.

As the night wore on, some Americans played dead as enemy soldiers infiltrated their position. In the morning, as American reinforcements neared, the North Vietnamese pulled back. The battle had killed 10 Americans and wounded another 47. Dillard's buddy Calvin Heath had killed a North Vietnamese soldier with a bayonet as the man checked to ensure the Americans were dead. Another North Vietnamese soldier sat on Heath's seemingly lifeless body to eat breakfast before the enemy force withdrew.

Five Delta Company veterans at a March barbecue: (from left) Raymond Diaz, Bill Heaney, Mike Rawson, Billy Ford and Dave Dillard. - Brent Humphreys

For the men who endured that hellish night, the seeds of shared trauma had been planted.

Dillard and others from Delta Company credit Bucha with their survival. But Bucha, now 71, saw the battle as a personal failure. "I must have done something wrong," he says.

"By saying that I failed, that allows me to live with the fact that someone died. I don't accept that someone has to die and you did everything right," he says.

After leaving the Army in 1972, Bucha worked for an American company in Iran. He was in Lebanon during its civil war and in Pakistan during a coup. While those adventures mitigated his trauma, guilt visited him daily. "At some point I'll wake up and just think: What did I do?" he says. "I needed a counselor to explain that's natural."

A few years ago, Bucha sought help for the guilt and anger issues arising from the war, joining a growing cohort of veterans seeking relief from decades of anguish. Thorp, who runs the San Diego VA's PTSD clinic, says visits have tripled over the past decade, and most of those patients have been older veterans.

Prompted in part by the large number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking care, the past few years have seen a growing use of novel treatments for post-traumatic stress, from yoga and meditation to virtual reality and time spent in the outdoors.

Two common psychotherapy treatments are cognitive processing therapy and prolonged exposure therapy. In cognitive processing therapy, patients work with a therapist to better understand and change how they think about a traumatic event and its aftermath. For exposure therapy, patients try to overcome or lessen the fear of memories by talking through the traumatic event - repeatedly and at length - and confronting situations that cause anxiety.

There are unique challenges in treating retired veterans. Unlike, say, a 22-year-old Afghanistan veteran who seeks help for post-traumatic stress in the immediate aftermath of war, for many older veterans the misery has already come to pass. "They're kicking themselves. 'Why didn't I do this earlier? I could have saved decades of pain, for me and everyone else,' " Thorp says. "But, as I always remind them, even if they had recognized it and wanted to get help, it wasn't around. There was no official diagnosis, and there were certainly no well-developed treatments, in terms of medications or psychotherapies."

Dillard lost touch with his buddies after leaving the Army. He went by himself in 1983 to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington with a list of dead friends to locate. Then he vowed to find the living. At first, progress was slow. But the Internet brought quicker results. Dillard organized a reunion in 1999 for a half-dozen men at the home of their old first sergeant. A second Delta Company reunion in 2001 drew more than 40 men.

Bill Heaney (Photo) in 1968: "You didn't talk about it back then." - Courtesy Bill Heaney Among them was Bill Heaney.

Among them was Bill Heaney. He hadn't been in touch with his Army friends since he left Vietnam, and wasn't sure about dredging up so many memories. "You didn't talk about it back then," he says. "You just held it inside. There was nobody to talk to."

He tried a VA hospital in the early 1970s, but they made him feel he was crazy, he says. He stayed away from the VA, and instead self-medicated. "I got high every chance I could," he says.But his former comrades from Delta Company would provide the help that the drugs and the VA hadn't. At the reunion he found that everyone had struggled after the war. "They were all looking for the same thing I was," says Heaney, who lives in New Haven, Conn., and works as a computer technician at Yale University. "It's great to know you're not the only one going through it."

He returned to the VA in 2004 and was diagnosed with PTSD. He attends therapy regularly and has stopped using drugs and drinking. For veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, his advice is simple and emphatic: Don't wait. "When we came back, we had no choice," he says. "They can learn from our experience."

Heaney was with his friends again in March, on the 47th anniversary of the battle. Five Delta Company soldiers gathered, this time at Dillard's ranch in Texas, where Dillard barbecued 15 pounds of beef brisket. They caught up on each other's lives and traded stories about long-ago parachute jumps at Fort Campbell in Kentucky. They talked some about Vietnam, too.

Heaney thinks about Vietnam daily, but has made peace with it. "You just have to realize it's not your enemy anymore," he says. "It's not going to hurt me anymore. It's just memories."

Brian Mockenhaupt is a former Army infantryman who served two tours in Iraq. Additional reporting by Adam Piore.

I can't add anything to that.

Better Late than Never!

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

I just received this brief report from an old friend, Rick Charles, who admits to being a little late but what the heck, a good connection and a few nice pictures always goes well. Rick writes:

I have been remiss in not letting you know that shortly before Halloween Tad Ono and I attended the annual reunion of our battalion from Vietnam, the 25 Infantry Division's 65th Engineer Battalion. Members of Tad's company started the reunion several years ago, then extended it to include the other five companies. Tad commanded D Company while I commanded A Company in 1968. I turned my company over to Chuck Nichols and Barry Levine took command of C Company about the same time. The reunion was in Pigeon Ford, TN, and you can see from the Hatfield McCoy picture we had a good turn out and a great time. I got to share memories with five Soldiers that I had the privileged of leading; all great Americans. We are looking forward to this year's reunion at Fort Benning in October. (I left there the night of Ranger graduation and never expected to return.) Also attached a picture of my vanity plate that turned out to be dual purpose!

Photo Right: we see Tad and Rick obviously having a good time (but, honestly, I don't think I've ever seen Tad without his patented, toothy smile).

Photo Left: the group picture from the stage of the Hatfield/McCoy show.

And, of course, Rick's dual purpose vanity plate. With that frame it looks more like a three purpose arrangement - Class - Battalion - Beat the squids!

Thanks Rick, good stuff.

Andy Zaleski to be inducted into DAU Hall of Fame

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

It feels as if we are a Class in need of some good news. I have been way too busy with the details of the passing of several of our dear brothers. I received this nice report recently and am proud to share it. Andy Zaleski spent 30 years in the Air Force in Research and Development and Acquisition of New Systems and was able to parlay that experience into DOD's Acquisition Business (DAU) as a DOD employee. He was recently voted into the DAU Hall of Fame for his many years of service of which the last 12 were as the Dean of the DAU's West Region, headquartered in San Diego.

I'm not sure when the actual presentation will be made but rest assured I will be all over him to provide another report with pictures.

In the mean time I was able to get several pictures of Andy to share here.

Photo Right: we have Andy hard at work doing what he did so well: and another hard at work.

And here we have a shot of Andy addressing his staff at his DAU retirement celebration two years ago.

Photo Left: a great shot of Andy (as retiring Dean of DAU), General (retired) Frank Anderson, and Andy's beautiful wife Ruthie.

Congratulations Andy, we look forward to a report from the presentation ceremony.

A Farewell to Paul Renschen

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

On April 26th I reported to you that we had lost our dear friend Paul Renschen to aspirational pneumonia which resulted from one more heart related issue. Paul had suffered many issues with his heart in recent years. Although, to see the stories and pictures that he shared regarding his many adventures in and around his beloved Fairbanks, Alaska home would lead anyone to believe that this robust, full of life, individual had no such problems.

Photo Right: shows Paul at one of his favorite pastimes, snowmobiling on the Tanana River near Fairbanks.

After a very nice talk with Paul's widow, Neva, I contacted our only other Classmate living in Alaska, Tom Mushovic. Even though Tom lives more than 500 miles away from Fairbanks in Soldotna, Alaska, he immediately accepted the responsibility of being the POC (Point of Contact) and got right to work making arrangements with Neva and even drove all the way to Fairbanks, with his wife Lois, for the memorial service. We were also very fortunate to have Paul's next door neighbor, Bill McDonald (a retired Air Force Colonel), volunteer to be Tom's assistant POC and helped out in many ways as we addressed the details of a memorial service.

Tom provided this report regarding the memorial service:

The funeral was well attended by many of Paul's former associates from his activities in the Fairbanks area, friends (and he had many), church members and of course his immediate family. Lois and I represented the Class. John Pickler's son Jeff (active duty) also attended. Photos show Tom Mushovic with John Pickler's son Jeff and then of how our Class Flag was incorporated into a display of pictures and memorabilia to commemorate Paul's life.

The day of the funeral was a beautiful spring day in Alaska. Clear with temperatures in the high forties. The Catholic funeral was a High Mass as had been requested by Paul. Following the funeral there was a reception in the fellowship hall located beneath the church's sanctuary .

Paul's family will be traveling to Ft. Snelling for the interment on Friday 8 May.

This next picture (sorry it's a little fuzzy) includes, from left to right, granddaughter Kayla, Paul's sister Lori, wife Neva, son Paul, son's wife Dawn and, finally Paul and Neva's daughter Kimberly. This is followed by a picture of Tom on his way home the next day showing how beautiful the weather was and showing a very rare (I've been there several times and never saw it this clear or pronounced) view of Mt. McKinley in Denali National Park.

Included here, because it tells Paul's story very well, is an article taken from the Daily News-Miner:

Lt. Col. (Retired) Paul S. Renschen had a big heart. It carried him through a lot, working hard past all the ills that came his way. He often expressed his own surprise he was still alive, delighted to be riding a snow machine into his 70s. He loved life and he loved living it in Alaska. He took part in every activity he could cram into his day, and when the day was done, he sat down before bed and wrote a story of the day's adventure to share with everyone who wasn't lucky enough to have his life. Paul Renschen simply could not be slowed down. It was that large heart, not Paul, that finally gave up Sunday morning, April 26, 2015.

Paul was born an Army brat in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Aug. 3, 1942, but Minnesota became home, along with a lifetime devotion to Vikings football. He set his sights on a military career at an early age and paid his own way through a private military high school with the goal of attending West Point. He graduated from West Point, class of 1965, and began his military career in Germany.

There he met his future bride, Neva. They were married in May 1966. Their son was born in January 1968, four weeks premature, giving Paul precious time with his newborn son before he shipped off to Vietnam, exactly four weeks later.

After his first tour, Paul attended flight school, and was rewarded with another tour in Vietnam, flying Cobra helicopters. His love for flight never waned. The family was reunited in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they welcomed their daughter from Seoul, Korea, in 1973. Paul earned his master's in history at the University of Michigan. After graduation, the military took the family to Fort Hood, Fort Leavenworth, and back to West Point, where Paul taught military history. It was there he had his first heart attack. He was grounded from flying and sent to Bad Hersfeld, assigned to East German border patrol. After assignments in Heidelberg and Kaiserslautern, Germany, and Belgium, the family returned to the United States and Paul retired at Fort Lewis in 1990.

Now it was Paul's turn to follow Neva's career. They returned to their beloved Heidelberg where Paul could fly gliders, downhill ski and teach. Next up was Alaska in 1997, where snow machining and fishing were added to the menu of adventure. When Desert Shield began, Paul and Neva moved to Vicenza, Italy, where they stayed throughout Desert Storm. There were no soldiers for Paul to teach; they were all deployed, so he researched the history of Vicenza and became a tour guide for military families.

During the winters, he returned to Alaska for one month to ride his snow machine. Neva remained in Italy, but they communicated daily.

The pair returned to Alaska for the final time in 2004, but the word "retire" was never a part of the vocabulary. Paul liked to say that there was more to do in Fairbanks than could possibly be done. He worked as a local road service area commissioner, was active in Right To Life, served on the board of the Snow Travelers, and fished whenever the opportunity presented itself, often accompanied by his pets. Animals were always a part of his life. He continued to teach military history at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He was regarded as a firm, but fair mentor who expected the best from his students.

He loved his church, sang in the Latin Mass choir and never missed a service unless he was ill, even braving the ice on Chena Ridge to attend.

There will be Requiem Mass held at 5 p.m. Friday, May 1, at St. Nicholas Church in North Pole, followed by a reception in the church hall. Paul will then make his final flight and be laid to rest at Fort Snelling Cemetery, St. Paul, Minnesota, near his parents. His wish was to be "buried with soldiers."

Paul is survived by his wife, Neva; son Paul (Dawn), daughter Kimberly, granddaughter Kayla, sister Lori and all the many family and friends with whom he shared his adventures.

Donations can be made in Paul's memory to the Wounded Warrior Project. "Deus vobiscum, Paul. You are much loved."
Please visit to sign an online guest book.

Published in Daily News-Miner on Apr. 28, 2015

Paul's wishes included interment in Minnesota. Once again I was impressed to see how quickly Marshall Schwartz stepped up to take on the responsibility of Assistant POC handling all the details of the interment at The Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis. Here is Marshall's report:

Our classmate Paul Renschen was interred today (May 8, 2015) with military honors at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis. Following a rifle salute and taps, the trifold American flag that had draped Paul's wooden coffin was presented to his widow, Neva. Jim McEliece, Jim Stephenson, Ken Hjelm, and Marshall Schwartz from our class were present for the moving ceremony. Julie McEliece and Judy Schwartz were also present.

Paul's service was very tastefully done, and the cemetery staff were wonderful. Over 200,000 deceased veterans and family members are buried at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, and 25-30 funerals were held there daily; yet the staff treated Paul's service as if it was the only one being held today. The Cemetery Director, a retired Marine aviator who I met earlier in the week, was present.

In the photograph from left to right are: Jim McEliece, me, and Jim Stephenson with our class flag.

As I close this report, let's remember Paul as we knew him in the day.

Should you want to send your condolences to Neva Renschen, she can be reached at:

Thank you to Tom Mushovic, Marshall Schwartz, and Bill McDonald for their outstanding service to the family on behalf of our Class.

Grip hands my friends as we say good bye to our friend Paul Renschen. On behalf of the entire Class of 1965 I wish to express our condolences to the family and to Paul - Be thou at Peace - Well Done!

The Passing of Joe Weatherall

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

I am so sorry that as we approach the joyous occasion of our 50th Reunion, I once again have to share some sad news. A few days ago I gave you the news that our dear friend Joe Weatherall had been taken to a hospice because of his serious health condition. Late last evening (May 6th) Joe passed away. Gil Curl, who stepped up to take on the duties of POC (Point of Contact) just informed me and I wanted to get the word out as quickly as possible.

We do not have much in the way of details to share at this point but if you would like to get a message to the family you can do so by sending your comments to Gil Curl at: or by calling him on his cell phone at: 828-989-0589.

I will share more information as soon as it is receive. Grip hands my friends, as we hold up our dear friend in our thoughts and prayers.

Strength and Drive -- The West Point Class of 1965, by Robert A. Doughty

Strength and Drive -- The West Point Class of 1965, by Robert A. DoughtyClassmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Mert Munson shared this heads up with us and I can't recall (I have a terrific memory, it's just extremely short) if I shared this information before. Anyway, I can't help thinking that it is better to share it twice than not at all. So here it is. Mert writes:

What we called the "Class History" written by Bob Doughty is now available as a book. The title is Strength and Drive -- The West Point Class of 1965, by Robert A. Doughty. It can be ordered from It is available in hard cover and paperback.
Mert Munson

Thanks Mert, I appreciate the heads up and I'm sure our Classmates appreciate knowing about this even if this is just a reminder.

Superintendent Panel - Years of a Century Told

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Bob Wolff provided this great report on the subject event at West Point last Tuesday, April 28th:

The panel, moderated by Chris Wallace, included the current and four former superintendents, with Dan Christman being the oldest. The Supes spent the day with Chris Wallace and were given questions to answer but were not given the questions in advance. The entire Class of 2015 were present, as well as several other dignitaries, including our own Joe McChristian who was introduced as General Van Fleet's grandson. Also present was General Eisenhower's granddaughter. Chris Wallace also mentioned Ross Wollen as the individual who interviewed General Eisenhower prior to the 1964 Army-Navy Game and Ike's telegram inspired the Army Team to Victory. The most interesting questions were related to the biggest challenge for each Supe as well as a discussion of the changes in the Honor Code. On the biggest challenge for each Supe, Dan indicated that his was the budget, which was declining in his five years at West Point. This decline posed problems in getting the funds for facilities (such as the Arvin Gym renovation), which were greatly in need of repair. LTG Huntoon indicated that his biggest challenge was getting the funds to renovate existing barracks and build the new barracks, which is finally underway during LTG Caslen's tenure. On the question of "why do we need a USMA," each of the Supes responded with the benefits to the Army and the nation by providing a continuous flow of officers with the values of Duty, Honor, Country which provide role models for the Army's officer corps. While Chris Wallace's question stated the high cost of a USMA education, one of the Supes indicated that OCS is in fact the most expensive commissioning source and it's hard to evaluate ROTC since the cost of schools varies so much, but that West Point's 20% of newly commissioned officers are the seed corn of Army values. Finally, the panel discussed the issues of integrity with GEN Patreaus. All treated the issue with respect for the General's exceptional career and concluded that the lesson learned is that military officers cannot separate their personal and professional lives - both must be lived to the high standards of the military profession and West Point.

With regard to the Honor Code, the discussion focused on the change which affords the Supe "discretion" in deciding whether to terminate a cadet or give the cadet a second chance. The discretion allows the Supe to send a cadet into the Army for a year and then allow the cadet to rejoin the next class. Dan started the discussion of the change as being consistent with the "Developmental" approach to leadership which began at the Academy more than a decade ago. Each of the Supes on the panel supported the change, indicating that each read thoroughly the Honor cases before making a decision, and the tremendous difficulty in making these decisions. When Chris Wallace asked each of the Supes to talk about a "defining moment" during their tenure, Dan stated that interacting with cadets, both during his tenure and in the years following, continues to be the highlight of his association with USMA. Another Supe indicated that interacting with the Corps of Cadets following 9/11 to ensure cadets did not overreact by leaving USMA to join the Army.

I don't have a complete list of Classmates and we did not take a class photo (bad on us) but here is a partial list:

  • Bob Wolff
  • Bob and Mary Frank
  • Ross Wollen and his guest
  • Dan and Susan Christman
  • Clair Gill
  • Joe DeFrancisco
  • Joe Sanchez
  • Rollie Stichweh
  • Jack Koletty
  • Joe McChristian
  • Gene Manghi
  • Bruce Marshall
  • Russ Campbell
  • Bill Reisner
  • Larry Neal

Dr. Robert Wolff, P.E., F.SAME

I would like to point out here that Dan Christman and Joe DeFrancisco were big supporters of this project and played a big part in making it happen. However Gerry Buckosky (who wasn't even able to attend) was a huge driving force behind this effort. He was described to me as the "sparkplug and motor that never stopped running!" he actually worked on this project for several years.

Attached to give you a little more information about the event is the AOG report.

LTG Robert Caslen '75, 59th Superintendent of USMA, was joined April 28 by previous superintendents LTG's(R) Daniel Christman '65, William Lennox '71, Franklin Hagenbeck '71, and David Huntoon '73 for "Years of a Century Told," a discussion of 100 years of living history, moderated by award-winning journalist Chris Wallace. The Class of 2015, members of the Class of 1965 and descendants of members of the Class of 1915 were in attendance.

Wow, would I love to have been there! Thank you Bob for this great report and thank you Dan, Joe, and especially Gerry for making this happen.

Class of 65 tree

I just received a nice note from Ross Wollen regarding the movement of our Class of 1965 Tree Marker. Ross writes:

As you may recall I have pressed for a return of our Class of 1965 Tree Marker for a long time. As a supporter of the new Jefferson Library I felt a little extra remorse because of the demise of our older tree, which I actually tried to have moved. This picture, Jeff Reynolds sent me, is most pleasing because it confirms the new placement - near our '65 Forum and Jefferson Hall - and it is a beautiful Japanese Lilac "teenage Sapling" sure to last and be in its full glory for the 50th Reunion of 2015! in wow, 2065!

I have known Jeff since he was a kid usher at Michie. Recently he escorted GEN Dempsey all by himself, no uniforms, to our Box.

S&D Ross

Thanks Ross. This makes me want to stop by and see what has been done (and I'm sure others will want to do the same) when I'm there later this month.

Don Nowland - Dinners with Chris & Laurie Spire and Dennie & Karen Sellers

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Now this is kinda special - a definite twofer. Don Nowland sent me this very nice report on his and Davita's visits with two Classmates as they made their way back to what had been a very cold, cold Marblehead, Massachusetts this winter. Don writes:

Davita and I spent the winter in Jupiter, Florida this year … a great decision, given the record snow in the northeast this winter (we live in Marblehead, Massachusetts).

So we had a chance to see old friends, Chris Spire and Dennie Sellers.

In mid-March, we had dinner with Chris and his lovely bride, Laurie, in the Jupiter area … and had fun talking about classmates and old times at the academy. Chris is still gainfully employed as a Management Auditor. Chris and Laurie are in great shape, probably due to all the bicycling they do. That's Chris and Laurie on the left and Don and Davita on the right.

On our drive back to Massachusetts in late March, Davita and I stopped in Salisbury, North Carolina to have dinner with Dennie and Karen Sellers. Again, we had a great time reliving our times together back when. It's amazing how much we can remember (and embellish) from 50 years ago, when it's sometimes hard to remember what we did last week! Dennie and Karen are looking great and busy keeping up with their children. That's Dennie and Karen on the left.

The Spires and Sellers are planning to be at the 50th … as are we.

Best, Don '65

Great report and pictures, thanks Don.

Founder's Day in Austin, Texas

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

I recently received a very nice, albeit brief, note from Skip O'Donnell. It's always nice to see father and son (or daughter) shots. Skip writes:

My son Chip (USMA 1992) and I attended the West Point Founders Day dinner on March 28 at the University of Texas sports complex in Austin. It was a good mix of young and old grads.

It was fun to meet some of the younger grads that Chip had recruited for West Point.

Skip O'D

Thanks Skip, nice note and photo.

Bob Radcliffe Doing PT

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

I just received this very nice update on our good friend Bob Radcliffe regarding his rehabilitation. Faye Hayes writes:

Bob Radcliffe Doing PTHere is a picture of Bob working on his legs during a physical therapy session. He is making progress and is now able to walk short distances with a walker. IV antibiotics continue six times a day since the infection still lingers. Bob's spirits are good and he really appreciates the calls, email, cards and prayers from the Class of 65 on his behalf. Folks can continue to email him at or leave him a voicemail at 910-398-2528.

All the Best,

Faye Hayes
538 Keswick Place
Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Home Phone 910-579-5105
Cell Phone 804-221-0583

Please share your thoughts of support as Bob struggles to get back on his feet. By the way, note that bob is wearing a hat with the new logo on it.

The Passing of Paul Renschen

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

It is once again my sad duty to inform you of the passing of one of our dear brothers. Paul Renschen passed away early this morning of aspirational pneumonia which resulted from one more heart related issue. I'm told that he had suffered many issues with his heart in recent years. I have spoken with his wife Neva who seems to be doing quite well under the circumstances. Should you wish to offer your condolences, she can be reached at .

As you may recall, I have shared many stories from Paul and Neva in the past few years. Living in Fairbanks, Alaska, he always seemed very robust, full of life, and a spirit of adventure that was inspirational. This makes his passing seem much more surprising and difficult to understand.

I am in the process of naming a POC (Point of Contact) and will share that with you along with plans for services and burial when they are finalized.

Grip Hands my friends notices of this type are coming our way far too frequently.

Engagement Announcement

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Now here's a very nice story to share. Our own Bob Anderson popped the question to Patricia Bailey this past Thursday. I had to push a little to get the whole story, but Bob came through with flying colors. He writes:

Pat and I took a 25-day vacation to Honolulu, Tokyo and Seoul arriving home late on Sunday night, April 19. Through all of the joys and trials of international travel we had a terrific time together. This wasn't our first lengthy vacation, but it did present some interesting challenges which we weathered through the same pair of eyes.

At dinner on Monday evening we talked about getting engaged and eventually married in the near future, although we do not have a date or a place to reside. We presently live 180 miles apart. I asked Pat when she would like to become engaged. She answered, "Thursday." So that set the ball in motion to find a nice place for dinner and a proposal.

We chose Fleming's in Fresno where Pat lives. It turned out to be a perfect evening with the most wonderful table hostess, great food and a marvelous bottle of wine.

I, Bob Anderson, a confirmed widower, got on one knee in a crowded restaurant in front of many other diners and proposed marriage accompanied by a beautiful diamond ring. Fortunately, Pat remembered her line and said, "Yes!"

The hostess suggested the special hot lava chocolate cake for dessert. Well that was a great idea too since it kept us awake all night amusing each other.

After dinner we were feeling lucky so we went to the liquor store and bought some scratch-off cards -- and won $15.00! Surely, a sign of all great things to come.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the Reunion where I can show off my fiancé Pat.

And here is a great keepsake picture of that special evening.

I wish we had a picture of Bob down on one knee. If I did that now, I'm not sure I could get back up. Let's all wish them every happiness and welcome Pat into our fold at the Reunion.

The Villages Monthly Luncheon Meeting

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

I just had a nice talk with Dave Gnau this morning regarding this report he sent me concerning the monthly Villages Luncheon Meeting. This time they were honoring Jerry and Peg Merges for their hard work in organizing and maintaining the cohesiveness of the group in the Villages. Dave writes:

Dan Steinwald (in the red shirt) standing next to his pool while he acknowledges the special contribution made by Jerry and Peg to the groupAs you know, the Alumni Group here in The Villages gets together every month or so. On Tuesday we were invited to the Steinwald's home in Howey in the Hills (about 40 minutes south of The Villages) for a barbecue. We had a wonderful lunch and get together and Dan and Diana surprised all of us with a toast and gift for the Merges' in recognition of their original effort (with the Steinwald's) to get the chapter going and their continued efforts to keep it going (I know it takes a lot of work). The pix included are from that day when Dan made a special presentation to the Merges.

Jerry and Peg admiring the beautiful cake presented to themDave also sent some nice pictures of the event.

Photo Left: Dan Steinwald (in the red shirt) standing next to his pool while he acknowledges the special contribution made by Jerry and Peg to the group.

Photo Right: Jerry and Peg admiring the beautiful cake presented to them.

And a shot of the Cake itself.

Another great gathering in Florida. Congratulations to Peg and Jerry and a big thank you to Dave.

A Gathering in California

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

 Mark and Linda on the left and Dave and Rosemarie on the rightDave Kuhn sent me this brief note and nice picture of a small gathering which included a boat ride and dinner in the Newport Beach area of California. Dave writes:

Rosemarie and I had the pleasure of a visit from Mark and Linda Walsh. After a leisurely boat ride around Newport Harbor, we enjoyed a great dinner together and catching up on 50 years.

Mark and Linda will be at the 50th and are looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends.


That would be Mark and Linda on the left and Dave and Rosemarie on the right.

Interestingly, as I consider the possibility of buying a boat down the road, I've been told several times that it is far better to know someone with a boat than to buy one. What do you think Dave?

A Happy Heart Makes it's own Weather

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Karl Savatiel, Don Parrish and I enjoying another day on the linksI have no idea how this will come through, but we'll give it a try. Mitch Bonnett sent me this brief clip to make sure that everyone knows how really tough it is sometimes to have fun with Classmates. Even if the clip doesn't come through, the picture shows how bad the rain was. Mitch writes:

Photo Right: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going". Karl Savatiel, Don Parrish and I enjoying another day on the links! Click on the golf cart or the link below for a typical day at Pawley's Island.

Despite the rain, we all had a great time!


 Joe, the Gator & Joe's ballThanks Mitch, that looks like good Infantry weather, that's why I went Air Defense (an air-conditioned van vs. a muddy foxhole was not a tough decision for me).

On a different note I got a great comment from Dave La Rochelle regarding this picture that I shared earlier.

He said: Great shot. Obviously Joe picked up the gaiter, swung it around in a perfect "Revolution Golf" swing, and off it went into the pond. No movement on the ball, so no penalty! I agree, in fact I think we ought to refer to him as Crocodile Dun…DeFrancisco. Ok, it was a Gaiter not a Croc but I don't think that Alligator Dun…DeFrancisco sounds cool enough for the way this guy handles prehistoric monsters.

Does anyone else have stuff to share from Pawley's Island?

The Great Pawley's Island Golf Outing

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Wow, what a great report. I received this from David Jones and I'm not sure if I'll be seeing more from others but if I do, I'll share them later. David writes:

Jim Tomaswick, Dean Loftin, Ray Hawkins and Walt Kulbacki obviously strategizing about the game to comeThe Class of 65' spring golf outing on Pawley's Island, South Carolina was a wet and soggy affair from start to finish but none-the-less an enjoyable experience. With Bob Radcliffe on the mend, our classmates picked up the slack. Special thanks to Barry Zais who drove all the way from Pennsylvania to manage the affair although he was unable to play golf and Gordy Larson who retrieved the hospitality suite supplies from Bob Radcliffe's home and subsequently returned the unperishable remains.

Photo Right: Jim Tomaswick, Dean Loftin, Ray Hawkins and Walt Kulbacki obviously strategizing about the game to come.

Then we see John Vann and Don Parrish blocking the drink table while they review a success on the golf course.

 Joe, the Gator & Joe's ballNext we see Jim Wood, Steve Harmon, and Bob Frank honing their skills on the practice putting green.

One event occurred that deserves special mention. Russ Campbell offered Joe DeFrancisco $5 if he could, with his driver, hit an alligator that was about 50 yards down the fairway from a tee box. Whether intentional or not, Joe hit the gator. This last picture (which clearly deserved to be shared in a larger form to make sure you see the detail) shows Joe, the Gator & Joe's ball.

Joe, being a righty, I would love to have seen how he handled this next shot.

Great report, thanks David.

A Farewell to Lance Stewart

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

On April 2nd I shared with you the sad news of the passing of our dear brother Lance Stewart. I was on the road when I learned of his passing so I asked my good friend and frequent back up, Chuck Nichols to reach out and find a POC (Point of Contact) to act as liaison between the Stewart family and our Class. Lance was living in Bullhead City, Arizona when he passed, his ex-wife, Susan Stewart, who lives in upstate New York, is handling most of the arrangements for the family. Therefore Chuck searched in her area and found that Larry Wiest was quick to accept the responsibility. He has done an outstanding job for us and the Stewarts and provided this report for us:

On Saturday, 4 April, I visited Susan Stewart (and her beautiful and very active four-year-old weimaraner named Fonda) at 5757 Jockey Street, Galway, New York 12074.

Over coffee in her well-appointed house, Sue told me she met Lance at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Niskayuna, NY, she as a non-engineer professional, he as a manager in several areas, ultimately security, which she said was the best fit for Lance. Knolls makes nuclear reactors for the navy's submarines and aircraft carriers. A more complete work history is contained in Lance's Las Vega obituary, which Sue authored.

Photo Right: shows Lance and Susan's uncle, a WWII vet of the Army Air Corps, when they marched in the Memorial Day parade in Peterborough, NH.

After twenty-three years of marriage, Lance and Sue parted ways amicably, keeping in contact at least once a month. Sue remembers discussing with Lance how apprehensive he was when his friend Ric Shinseki placed himself at the mercy of DC politics by accepting the Veterans Affairs Secretary job and how very upset Lance was on the occasion of Ric's stepping down from that position.

In February, Lance was to have what would have been his second knee replacement procedure at a Bullhead City, Arizona, hospital. Subsequent to the surgery, he developed pneumonia, which he was unable to shake. When his sister Teresa Figueredo arrived from Colorado Springs and was advised by the doctors that there was nothing more they could do for him, she immediately had Lance medevacked to a medical center in Las Vegas, where he spent the next three weeks on and off and finally on a ventilator, unconscious, until his death on 19 March.

Lance's three sons (all in their forties) from a previous marriage to Anne Knodel Stewart of Oswego, New York are: Peter of Lafayette, CA, who is in the import/export business; Paul, a professor at SUNY Oswego, and Phillip, a restaurant and high-end market entrepreneur, in Hinsdale IL. As an interesting aside, Phillip is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and was allowed to take his commission in the Army! Lance's three granddaughters, Emma, Abigail, and Elle are the children of Phillip and his wife, Staci. Lance also has another sister, Elizabeth Seeger, also of Colorado Springs.

Lance's ashes are being shipped to Paul, but according to Sue, no plans have yet been made with the three sons as regards any ceremony and/or distribution of ashes. Lance did remark to her in the past when Saratoga National Cemetery was opened, "That will probably be the place where I'll be buried." Lance also expressed a desire in the past to have his ashes scattered in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Sue will inform me when any such plans are made.

Sue was made aware of the offer of colors, the modest stipend for flowers/charity, and the use of the class flag for any service if needed or desired.

Photo Left: the remembrances from the Howitzer of how we knew Lance in the day.

Last December, Lance discussed with Sue the upcoming Class reunion. She does not know if he decided to go or if her took any steps toward that end. Nor does she have any literature on the schedule or any other details. She said one or more of the sons may be interested in attending some of this. (She appears to get along well with the sons).

Sue was surprised and quite impressed that Lance's Classmates would show such concern and reach out so.

Lawrence Wiest

An excellent report Larry. Thank you for your service to the Class and the Stewart family.

As explained in Larry's report, it has not yet been decided if or when there will be a ceremony/service for Lance or just what the final disposition of the ashes will be. I will share any further information I receive on the subject.

The following pictures are very telling about who Lance was and how he loved life. We start with him and his spinning class with T-shirts they made that read "Body by Lance", his t-shirt reads "Body of Lance". Next is a picture of Lance with niece and nephew.

I also received this next great shot from Don Parrish showing Lance (on the right) sharing a drink (I'm guessing that's not a milkshake) with Dave Hurley.

Thank you to all who contributed to this report.

Should you wish to offer your condolences to Lance's family, please send your comments by e-mail to Susan Stewart at and she will forward them for you.

Grip hands my friends, we've lost another great guy. On behalf of the entire Class, I wish to extend my condolences to the Stewart family, and to Lance, Be Thou at Peace - Well Done!

A Farewell to John Concannon

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

A few weeks ago when I received the message from Larry Bennett with the sad news of the passing of our dear Brother John Concannon, I immediately asked Larry to take on the responsibility of being our POC for John's family. Larry quickly accepted and got right into his duties. However, when we discovered that the family had plans for a funeral mass at a church near his home in Gainesville, Virginia with an interment planned at the West Point Cemetery later that same week, we had a problem because Larry's schedule would not permit him to attend both services. After speaking with John's widow, Linda, I contacted Bob Wolff who was also very quick to accept the opportunity to serve the Class and the family as an alternate POC. I share this information to make it clear why this report is a combination of two reports by two of our Classmates.

Larry reported:

The events on Monday of last week (6 April) were as follows:

The Funeral Mass @ Holy Trinity Church, Gainesville, Virginia at 2PM. (Flowers from our class with Black/Gold/Gray ribbon emblazoned with "CLASS OF 1965 USMA") The attendance at the mass appeared to exceed 250.

Classmates, Spouses, Widow and Children in attendance included:

Adams, Curt Frank, Bob and Mary Linn, Pete Shinseki, Ric and Patty
Applin, Mike Gill, Clair and Sherry Lowe, Jack Simpson, Ed
Bennett, Larry and Jean Harrington, John Mainone, Carol with children, Lauren and Chris Thompson, John
Cahill, Pete Harter, Bob Marshall, Bruce Viani, Mike and Cheryl
Darrah, Steve Kennedy, Leo Mollepski, Bob Wattendorf, John
DeFrancisco, Joe Kulbacki, Walt and Cathy Nichols, Chuck Wolff, Bob and Ellen
Fergusson, Tom and June Lehman, Bill and Jane Ryan, Terry and Nancy Ziegler, Bernie and Ellen

First the beautiful flowers provided by the Class,

Photo Right: Classmates in attendance: first row: John Harrington, Tom Fergusson, Terry Ryan, Peter Cahill, Chuck Nichols, Mike Viani, and Bob Wolff, second row: Bob Harter, Bruce Marshall, Bob Frank, Leo Kennedy, Walt Kulbacki, Bernie Siegler, Joe DeFrancisco, Curt Adams, John Koletty, Pete Linn, Larry Bennett, Jim Ferguson, Ric Shinseki, Bob Molepske, Ed Simpson, and Jack Lowe.

The Celebration of Life gathering at the Club House at our community (Heritage Hunt) here in Gainesville, Virginia from 3:30 to 5:30. The attendance also exceeded 250. A continuous stream of pictures appeared on the main screen up on our stage during the entire gathering. Several individuals spoke, music was provided, the flowers from the class were present along with the urn and the class flag. The afternoon was exceptional in conveying how much John was admired and will be missed.


And now for the report from Bob Wolff regarding the grave side service at West Point and the Reception that followed:

John Concannon's interment at West Point took place on an overcast day on Friday, April 10. Linda Concannon, John's wife of 49+ years, daughter Kate from Geneva, Switzerland and Megan Richardson from Virginia with her husband Chrisand three daughters Abby, Emily and Anna - gathered with family and friends at the Holiday Inn in Ft Montgomery to form a procession to the West Point cemetery. The AOG representative, Shelisa Baskerville, met the group and led the procession. The graveside service was well attended including a priest; the Head of the Foreign Language Department, COL Greg Ebner; Associate Professor for Russian, Lawrence Mansour; and several veterans from John's Infantry Company in Vietnam. Military honors were rendered, a friend of Kate's with an accompanying guitarist sang "And I Will Raise You Up on Eagles' Wings," and the flag was presented by COL Ebner to Linda. Following the service, the Class gathered for a photo with the Class flag, brought to West Point by Tom Fergusson, and to talk with Larry Mansour about the Russian Language Department, which was one of John's passions during his military and post-military career.

Following the burial, the Concannon's hosted a reception at the Holiday Inn, including some of John's favorite dishes - matzoh for Passover, smoked salmon and bagels. Another AOG Representative, Cathy Kilner (Class of 1990 with a son in our Affiliation Class of 2015) assisted with the setup. During the reception, Kate's friend sang "The Parting Glass" after which the group toasted John with a bit of champagne, and Joe Sanchez organized the class and other graduates for the singing of the Alma Mater. Unfortunately, we had no Alumni Glee Club representatives but we muddled through with Tom Fergerson as our director.

The class representatives included Russ Campbell, Tom and June Ferguson, Gene Manghi, Glenn and Joanmary Nenninger, John and Mary Kay Salomone, Joe Sanchez, Bob and Phyllis Wolff and Barrie and Lynda Zais. Those attending were honored to participate in the ceremony at West Point to lay John to rest and celebrate his many accomplishments, both personal and professional. The family has asked that donations be made in John's memory to the Catholic Extension Society of the USA ( After talking with Professor Mansour, several classmates thought it also fitting to send donations in John's memory to the AOG and specify the Russian Language Department, which is in need of funds to send cadets abroad as part of their language training.

In conclusion, we can all say that John lived up to the West Point motto - Duty, Honor, Country - and to our Alma Matter - And when our work is done, Our course on earth is run, May it be said, "Well done. Be thou at peace."

Bob Wolff

On Thursday evening several Classmates got together for a dinner at the Schades Restaurant in Highland Falls. Here we see: L-R: June Fergersson, Tom Fergersson, Lynda Zais, Barrie Zais, Phyllis Wolff, Bob Wolff, Glenn Nenninger, Joanmary Nenninger.

Next we see Joe Sanchez and Jack Kolletty.

Burial at West Point Cemetery and the flowers provided by the Class.

And standing proudly around our Class flag are: Bob Wolff, Glenn Nenninger, John Salomone, Joe Sanchez, Jack Kolletty, Russ Campbell, Gene Manghi, Tom Fergersson. Then we have Classmates talking with Prof Larry Mansour, Head of Russian Language Department (Far Right).

Moving on to the reception we see Tom Fergersson leading Class and other Graduates in the Alma Mater.

Finally we have a great group picture with Joe Sanchez, Tom Fergersson, John Salomone, Glenn Nenninger, Gene Manghi, Bob Wolff, Russ Campbell, Jack Koletty, Barrie Zais.

Should any of you wish to share your condolences, Linda can be reached by e-mail at Now, as has become my way of saying goodbye, I would like to share a look back at how we knew John in the day.

Photo Left: Here we see him with the nice words drummed up to describe him as we first got to know him:

Grip hands my friends as I offer the family our condolences and to John, Be thou at Peace - well done!

Mentoring the affiliation class

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Bob Frey sent me some great shots of a couple of cadets from our Affiliation Class of 2015 enjoying their Spring Break in Big Sky Country. Bob writes:

On a less serious note (although we take our fishing quite seriously out here), I, along with several other Montana guides, had an opportunity to "mentor" two members of our affiliation class, Montana style. Ben Minden and Woody Eckhardt, USMA'15, both fly fishing addicts, came here over Spring Break, stayed at a classmate's home, and enjoyed a non-stop fishing tour of several of our fabled Montana rivers. I had the privilege to spend two days on the river with these two fine young men.

Here are some pics of the happy campers with some not-so-happy fish (which were released to swim again)

Photo Right: One of the happy campers

The other happy camper

Photo Left: Them with their over-the hill '65 guide.

Bob Frey

Thanks bob, great report. Normally, I would have cropped these down to make it easier to see the individuals but in this case it would have prevented folks from seeing the truly Big Sky in your neck of the woods.


Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Home again, home again, jiggity jig. Coming to you this evening from beautiful downtown Puyallup, Washington. I arrived home a few hours ago to find a nice, albeit very brief, note from Jack Blau with two great pictures. Jack writes:

Happy to be home again! Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes. There is no place like the good ole USA.

Photo Right: Vicki and I outside Bishkek, Kyrkyzstan, at a mountain retreat area.

Photo Left: Larry Moran, a friend, and Vicki and I on a tour boat in Istanbul.


We may need to impose a rule that says you can't send pictures from places I can't spell, pronounce, or, for that matter, find on MapQuest. Just kidding Jack, but I must admit it took me some time to just find where you had been on the map.

Thank you for these great pictures.

The Passing of Lance Stewart

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

It is once again my sad duty to inform you of the passing of one of our dear Brothers. We lost Lance Stewart on March 19th to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. He was a resident of Bullhead City, Arizona. However, his ex-wife Susan, who lives in upstate New York is handling most of the arrangements. Since I'm currently on the road and still two days from home, Chuck Nichols has stepped up to assist me with finding a POC near her. When a POC is appointed we will share more information.

Grip hands my friends and let's keep Lance and his family in our thoughts and prayers.

The 2015 Valley of the Sun Gathering

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Coming to you this evening from beautiful downtown Frisco, Texas, here is a report on a terrific "Valley of the Sun Gathering" at the beautiful home of Dennis and Diane Hawker in Mesa, Arizona. Late last fall, when my wife Donna and I decided to return to the Pacific Northwest to be close to our kids and grandkids, I asked if any of our Classmates in the Phoenix area would be willing to take over the planning and organization of the gathering that I have enjoyed doing for the past eight years. Dennis and Diane Hawker, who had already volunteered to host this year's event, quickly stepped up to take over the job. I'm pleased to see that the annual event will continue and I will be doing my best to return to enjoy the gathering when possible.

This report which will be mostly photographic, will start with a nice shot of our perfect hostess and host, Diane and Dennis Hawker. These folks clearly know how to throw a party.

Photo Right: Dyanne Mogan (sporting a new and very attractive do), Bob and Cyndee Hill, and Janice Walter and yes, that's Jacki and Larry Clewley photo bombing albeit probably unintentionally.

Here we see Tom Mushovic, Ron (Chops) Walter, and Tom Needham (Ron's guest - they served together in the 173rd a few years ago). And in this next shot we have Chris Deems, Lois Mushovic, Becky Isakson, Larry Isakson, Judy Lawson, and Lowell Lawson.

Then we have Fred Laughlin helping Ron (Chops) Walter promote his new book while Larry Clewley and Dennis Hawker watch. While we are in the kitchen, I had to share a really great looking (and later I found that it was delicious) picture of a bundt cake. This cake was the subject of some contriversy in that Ron (Chops) insisted it was a butt cake, while most thought it was a bundt cake (I actually thought it was better called a bunn cake).

Given that the weather was spectacular (as usual at this time of year in the Valley of the Sun) many of us found ourselves enjoying the Hawker's beautiful back yard. Here we see Lowell Lawson, Dennis Hawker and Judy Lawson enjoying the great outdoors. Then back to the center of activity we see Frank Hennessee sharing a story with Larry and Jacki Clewley.

Now I'm going to take a liberty with the fact that I'm the author of this report. I stayed out of all the other pictures at this event to justify to myself the sharing of a picture of me with my latest midlife crisis gift to myself. Here is my brand new Mustang (I call her Sally for obvious reasons). She has performed amazingly well on my current trip. I guess I'm going to have to start renaming such gifts because I think I have left the midlife age quite a while back. Anyway, thanks for letting me personalize my story. The next picture shows Fred Laughlin being kind enough to step up and tell us a little about the activities of the Class Leadership as we approach our big Fiftieth Reunion.

Photo Left: finally, since we were already all together we formed for the OGP (obligatory group picture). Left to Right, kneeling are Judy Lawson, Lois Mushovic, Dyanne Mogan, and Chris Deems. In the second row Larry Isakson, Becky Isakson, Jacki Clewley, Bob Hill, Cyndee Hill, Ron (Chops) Walter, and Janice Walter. And in the third row we have Fred Laughlin, Larry Clewley, Lowell Lawson, Diane Hawker, Dennis Hawker, Tom Mushovic, and Frank Hennessee.

Thank you to all who attended for the fantastic food we all enjoyed and a special thank you to Dennis and Diane Hawker for being such wonderful hosts and for taking over this project for future gatherings.

Lunch in The Villages

Left to right - ladies in front: Marcella Gnau, Joyce Triick, Peg Merges. In the back row, the studs - Dave, Bill, Jerry LikeLeft to right - ladies in front: Marcella Gnau, Joyce Triick, Peg Merges. In the back row, the studs - Dave, Bill, Jerry LikeClassmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

The Villages may be our biggest Class hangout short of the DC and Virginia area and, of course, our Rockbound Highland Home. Once more we have what appears to have been a very pleasant gathering down there. Jerry Merges sent these comments and this nice picture with many smiling faces:

Bill and Joyce Triick joined Dave and Marcella Gnau and Peggy and me for lunch at the Havana Country Club in the Villages. Great visit and remembering days of long ago - all looking forward to the reunion.

Picture from left to right - ladies in front: Marcella Gnau, Joyce Triick, Peg Merges. In the back row, the studs - Dave, Bill, Jerry

See you soon

Washington and Puget Sound Founders Day

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

Jim Holmes sent me this nice report and photo of our two attendees. Once again my travels have prevented me from attending. Oh well, maybe next year. Jim writes:

Here is some information about the Washington and Puget Sound Founders Day Banquet at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WA last night. There were approximately 300 attendees at the banquet with only two from Strength and Drive: Duncan Brown and Jim Holmes.

We may want to speak with the photographer as our proud flag gives my friend Duncan the look of a head full of spiky hair. However, he's still a cool looking dude. I'm not sure what to say regarding what the general's flag is doing to Jim.

The oldest grad was Dr. Fred Denman, '51, who gave a very entertaining speech. The youngest grad was 2nd Lt. Jozlyn McCaw, '14, serving with the 508th Military Police, Joint Base Lewis-McChord. While the quest speaker was the Dean, BG Timothy Trainor, who's presentation provided all grads and guests with all the latest happenings at our alma mater to include academics, facilities, corps squad, and intramural sports, clubs, honor system, prep school and general information about the outstanding young men and women entering and graduating from the Academy.

Jim Holmes

Thanks Jim, good report.

'65 at West Point Society of New York Founders Day. 27 March

Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,

'65 at West Point Society of New York Founders Day. 27 MarchI'm afraid my travels are getting in the way of timely communications - my apologies. I received this from Tom Barron the other day and I have decided that if brevity is a virtue then Tom is probably destined for sainthood. He writes:

Thought you'd like this photo of '65 including our two Medal of Honor recipients: Russ Campbell, Bud Bucha (MOH), Ross Wollen, Reg Dryzga, Jack Jacobs (MOH and Honorary '65), and me.

Tom Barron

Thanks Tom, I kid but I truly appreciate that you took the time to send this to me.