On March 18, 2017, the NJAHS hosted a special meet-and-greet presentation by GEN(R) Eric Shinseki on the new National Museum of the U.S. Army. The event was held at National Japanese American Historical Society's (NJAHS) Military Intelligence Service (MIS) Historic Learning Center in the Presidio of San Francisco. Through the National Veterans Network, plans are underway to dedicate a gallery to the Nisei Soldiers of the 100/442/MIS within the museum. NJAHS hopes to share with the nation the lasting legacy of the Nisei soldier experience and to make available on loan to the new museum its extensive archive and collection, just as it has done for the Smithsonian Institution. Pictured is GEN(R) Shinseki with WWII veterans at the event.
To me the term "Classmate" connotes not only those who tossed their hats in the air on 9 JUN 65 but also those who reported to the Man in the Red Sash on 5 JUL 61 but were unable to join in that happy occasion 47 months and 4 days later. Further, it embraces spouses, including our Class widows and other close surviving kin, and in my case even an ex-wife, who loves West Point and probably knows more people in the Class than I do, at least in terms of recent encounters. Please do not regard my salutation above, then, as being in any way exclusionary!
I am still finding my way here, so again my thanks for your tolerance as well as the good wishes and as-yet unmerited praise with which many of you have blessed me individually. Answering you all has been quite a task, but a very welcome one.
As an administrative aside, you'll have noticed that I've disseminated several messages that were not under the "Despatches" rubric. It's my intent to reserve that term for lengthy reports of Class activities that have already occurred, or for multiple topics or those submissions with many graphics. When something time-sensitive arises, such as the impending celebration of Rick Bunn's life or the funeral for John Seymour, I will issue individual announcements.
And now to the meat of this edition: Dave Hopkins has reported on the most recent gathering of Classmates in Central Virginia (as opposed to them Dam' Yankees who live up around the Beltway). Here's Dave's report, edited only with respect to AOG-mandated format:
Our central Virginia group met at the Bavarian Chef Restaurant in Fredericksburg on 19 JAN 17: Jim & Margie Berry, Emery & Eleanora Chase, Bob & Tricia Clover, Jim & June Harvey, Dave & DarleneHopkins. For those of us who served in Germany, it was a chance to enjoy some really authentic German fare.Jim and June won the prize for traveling the greatest distance — 2-1/2 hr ea way — and had to rush home so granddaughter Lauren could spend the weekend with them.
Jim & Lynne Helberg, who usually get together with us, weren’t able to join us. They returned home on Jan 2 from Christmas holidays with family in Minnesota, battling what they thought were—in Jim’s words—“mongo colds”— but last we heard from Jim, Lynne’s diagnosis of pneumonia was confirmed, and he was pretty sure he had it too. They thought it best not to share their health adventures with the rest of us. He said he was sure we’d leave a few of the world’s problems unsolved so we’d have some to tackle next time. Truth be told, we spent so much time rejoicing about beating Navy ( ! ! ! ) and winning the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and catching up on grandkids, etc., we didn’t solve many of the world’s problems. We’re looking forward to getting together in Richmond in the May/June time frame.
Great report! As they used to say in the society column in small town newspapers, a wonderful time was had by all. Thanks, Dave. And we very much hope that Lynne and Jim Helberg have recovered from their indisposition!
A member of the armed forces mentioned in … despatches is one whose name appears in an official report … sent to the high command, in which is described his or her gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy. [Wikipedia – “If it’s on the Internet, it has to be true!”]
As most of you already know, I have had the honor to be named Class Secretary/Scribe by the Leadership Team. I face assuming those responsibilities with no little trepidation, for in no sense would I presume to be Rick Bunn’s “replacement.” Rather, my aspiration is to become a worthy successor to our late and much lamented Scribe. His shining example of selfless service and boundless energy will constitute a model for me as I strive to grow in the role.
Without a doubt, Rick’s sudden final illness took all of us by surprise, and apparently mystified the medical world as well. I, but one among many, shall always feel his loss. But I take heart from Rick’s exemplary courage in facing the end. The fact that scant hours before his passing he cared enough about the Class to compose a farewell message (and even manage a smile for a last photograph) is astonishing … a magnificent gesture from a magnificent man! To his family go our profound condolences and the assurance that we, too, mourn Rick’s death even as we celebrate having had the opportunity to know him. There was a phrase current in our salad days to the effect that some highly admired person was an “all-time all timer.” Rick Bunn was that to the nth degree, and he will live on in our hearts forever.
Like all of us, I have had high and low points in the arc of my life, but certainly the apogee was to graduate from West Point as a member of the Distinguished Class of 1965. For those who don’t remember me from school or the Army, I was in D-1 (yes, the D-1!), then B-1. Never a jock, I was only a hive in the subjects that interested me, which unfortunately excluded 70% of the curriculum. In fact, I have the distinction (or so I hypothesize ) of going from advanced math to accelerated to turn-out exams in a mere three semesters. Aside from being CIC of the Goat-Engineer game and co-writing and acting in our Hundredth Night Show, I did little that would have been noticed outside my own company save for being the weakest player on the B-1 Brigade runner-up intermurder volleyball team.
In the Army, I began in the Infantry, commanded a company in the 1-505PIR, 82d Airborne Division both at Ft. Bragg and in Vietnam, and later transferred to Military Intelligence. I taught in the Sosh Department at WP and was a professor of military strategy and policy at the National War College. Because of prior enlisted service, I was able to retire in August of 1984, after which I worked at various things that matter little, including several stints on the periphery of the feature film biz. Now, at a mere 74 years of age, I have a steady writing gig whose target audience is the finest group of men ever assembled at Trophy point to be sworn into the Corps. Feel free to refer to me as an overnight success.
Now to the administrivia. I respond best to email communication. Because of my hearing (or lack thereof), even conversations on my amplified phone can be frustrating for my interlocutors (“That lady was awesome!” “I didn’t see no possum!”), and a normal land line is much worse. As for my cell phone, I use it only for texting because on it even Morgan Freeman sounds like a chipmunk on helium squeaking around a mouthful of kazoos.
I am, I believe, our first non-travelling Scribe. Compared to what many of our Classmates have endured, my complaints are trivial … but they are significantly debilitating. Not to put too fine a point on it, I have advanced emphysema, pretty bad arthritis in one hip and my lower back, a ticker that tends to go into tachycardia under stress but is normal in diagnostic tests, sciatica now and again, and occasional gout. The emphysema is entirely my own fault, my having smoked enthusiastically from puberty until five years ago – hey, who knew the Surgeon General was serious about that stuff? The arthritis is probably connected to my having made 68 bad PLFs in my airborne days, and necessitates using a cane. The hearing loss is doubtless traumatic, given the rather noisy environment we worked in as young men. On the plus side, though I live alone (save for my German shepherd) my daughter and her family are but an hour away, so I am not a total recluse and I can manage my symptoms pretty well so long as I have control over my environment and the freedom to sink into a chair and gasp for five or ten minutes as circumstances demand. Believe me: being in my presence is not an enviable experience; you’ll not miss me at reunions!
Though my fondness for writing in our beautiful language may occasionally militate otherwise, I have no intention of turning the Class Notes into my personal blog. The members of the Class of 1965 are the true authors of the Class Notes and, though I will add clarifying prose where required or append my own observations, I will only edit your submissions under one of two circumstances: (a) the submitter so requests, or (b) it is really bloody awful. In the latter case, I will work sensitively with the submitter to make necessary improvements to communicate his message more clearly.
That aside, I feel strongly that the Notes are also a proper venue for recollections of things past, experiences we had in common, etc. As we all understand, I think, the Notes are not intended to be a venue for post-and-comment threads or a repository for political debates or social commentary. The Class Forum was created for that purpose and, if that’s your thing and you haven’t joined, I recommend you contact Chuck Nichols to do so. Things can get lively!
So there, in brief, is where we stand. With Rick’s brilliant example and the wholehearted support of our splendid Leadership Team, I hope to build on the foundation laid by a long line of dedicated Scribes as we grip hands and march into the future – I’ll be the one marching with a cane.
Navy again, and again, and yet again!
Step Tyner, ’65, Your Secretary/Scribe
Classmates, Wives and Friends of '65:
I pass on this announcement from our Class President, Russ Campbell, without comment.
Even though we are still mourning the unexpected loss of our dear friend and Classmate, Rick Bunn, I am very pleased to announce to the Class that Step Tyner will fill the position of Class Scribe/Secretary.
The Leadership Team moved quickly to fill this critical position. We were concerned about continuity, momentum, geographic representation, willingness to serve, communication skill, and we might add a sense of humor. Step can move into the role almost immediately thus maintaining the momentum of our Class operations. He lives on the West Coast and is from the 1st Regiment, so the geographic and unit balance on the Team continues. He is committed to serve our great Class, and he brings to the position talented communication skills and a unique command of the English language, (get out your Webster's Dictionary folks and keep it close at hand). It will be fun to enjoy Step's sense of humor as he puts his own style, spin, and brand into the position. We are very fortunate to have such talent and willingness to serve in our Class.
His selection by the Leadership Team was unquestionably unanimous.
Please join in congratulating Step and thanking him for becoming the Distinguished West Point Class of 1965 Scribe/Secretary.
Your new Class Scribe can be reached at email@example.com. Support him the way you supported Rick with lots of stories and pictures about class happenings.
Classmates, Wives and Friends of '65:
Skip O'Donnell forwarded this message about the US Army Rangers Advisors Reunion to be conducted in Las Vegas in February. The coordinator for the reunion is Bill Miller (803-641-9504 (H) 803-292-2571 (C)). Skip's comments follow.
I got this e-mail about Us Army Ranger advisors. Many of our classmates were advisors in Vietnam and a few have written books about their advisor experiences RVN.
The California Hotel is in downtown Las Vegas on Freemont Street and has just completed refurbishing the hotel rooms.
I am not involved in coordinating this event but some of our classmates may want to attend this event with the POC identified below.
Skip, I made the registration information into a PDF form that interested classmates can fill out, print and mail to Bill. I noticed the deadline for hotel reservations was yesterday. I recommend you call Bill to be sure you can get a room. [Rangers Advisors Reunion Form PDF]
Classmates, Wives and Friends of '65:
Dick Williams sent me this great picture of him and my company mate, Don Parrish at an RV Supershow show in Tampa, FL, just stating Dick was on the left and Don on the right. After prompting Dick I found out how they came to be together at the show. Dick writes:
Chuck, we were attending the Supershow separately. Joan and I are with the Newmar RV Rally (180 coaches attending) and Don and Sharon came separately in a different brand of motor home, staying in a different area. We touched base and found we were both here at the show and would try to stop and say hello. Needless to say this show is huge and finding each other among the thousands of visitors and thousands of new RVs on display constituted an issue for this ex-Ranger. I was operating without a map and was being guided in by Don on the cell phone. After a mile of hiking through the crowds, success! Our time together was very short. Time for a "Grip and grin" and short discussion regarding possible get together of our Florida classmates in the near future.
Dick, I strongly encourage you to pull together the Florida contingent (54 'Gray Hogs' by my count, second only to the DC area). Who knows, there may be enough of them with RVs that you can have a mini RV reunion.
Dave Kuhn forwarded this note from Brian Kruger. Brian is doing a documentary on the life of Bob Arvin funding the research and production on his own. He hopes to have it completed by late this year and then have it air on public TV. Brian needs all the help he can get with pre-orders of the video. Here is Brian's note to Dave.
Here is the first of a few teasers that will come out on “Where the Brave Dare to Tread”. I’ve set up a Pre-Order for the film that will come out in October, and if you could pass that information along to as many West Point alums as you can, it may help me offset some of the production costs coming down the pike.
Man, this is a great story.
Hope all is well, and I hope you have a Merry Christmas! Let’s try to get together soon.
Pre-Order link- http://stunt3.com/store/p12/Where_The_Brave_Dare_to_Tread-_The_Bob_Arvin_Story.html
The cost is $29.99 a copy. Dave ordered three.
Classmates, Wives and Friends of '65:
I received this nice note from Ken Yoshitani (you remember him, he and his lovely wife Izumi were the ones who made our 50th a most memorable reunion) concerning a get together of the Chicago contingent at a local eatery. Ken writes:
The Chicago Group minus Denny Coll (Wisconsin), Ron Layer (Florida) and Chuck Shaw (Work) gathered for a semi-annual luncheon in Schaumburg, IL (suburb of Chicago). With good food and drinks, lively conversation and joyous camaraderie, we all had a great time. The attached photo shows from left Don and Judy Shutters, George and Jill Seaworth, Norm and Bridget Eckstein, Tom and Anna Croak, Ken and Izumi Yoshitani, and John and Carol Roseburg. Our next gathering will be sometime in late spring organized by the Roseburgs.
A good looking bunch but where is the booze and food? Ken, thanks so much for sharing this with us.
Classmates, Wives and Friends of '65:
I received this nice reminder from our Class President, Russ Campbell.
This is a reminder to the Class, that the Polish Mission through the support of the Class of '65 will be hosting a very unique special event at West Point on Feb. 9th, at 5:00 in the Haig Room of the Jefferson Library. [Press Release] [Invite]
All Classmates spouses, and friends are invited. The POC is Walter Oerhrlein, and the uniform is Class Blazer, Tie, and gray trousers. You need to book reservations at the Thayer Hotel or local Motels. Please advise Walter, firstname.lastname@example.org if you and your guests plan to attend. More edited information from the Polish Mission follows:
This was in the message forwarded by Russ.
My name is JJ Przewozniak, and I represent and educational project in cooperation with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum of Poland (A-BSM). My organization is The Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools, and we’re based in Michigan near Detroit. We’re America’s oldest Polish cultural and educational organization, established before Ford Motor Company and Coca-Cola.
The reason I’m contacting you is because of a mutual acquaintance: Mr. Walter Oehrlein of the USMA West Point Class of ’65. He has been a close associate of ours and has been invaluable in our current project to take a three-ton traveling exhibition to USMA West Point in a few weeks. It’s called Forbidden Art, and it’s a unique and moving experience that was created by A-BSM and stewarded across the country by The Polish Mission.
For more information of our program with Forbidden Art, please see the article published here: http://www.polishmission.com/authenticity-and-memory-forbidden-art-premiers-at-university-of-michigan-dearborn/ And for more information about our event at West Point, please visit this webpage: http://www.polishmission.com/72nd-anniversary-of-the-liberation-of-auschwitz-at-west-point/
Please see the attached invitation for details, and I do hope that you may be able to come. There will be some elegant hors d'oeuvre, a moving musical program with Marina Arsenijevic and MSG Mary Kay Messenger, and of course an address by A-BSM Director Dr. Cywiński.
The Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools
Polish-American Art and Cultural Research Foundation
Classmates, Wives and Friends of '65:
Pat Kenny and Sonny Ray admirably represented the Distinguished Class of 1965 at the memorial services for Fred Scruggs in Columbus, Georgia on January 14th and at Camp Merrill Mountain Ranger Camp on January 15th where, in keeping with Fred's wishes, his ashes were scattered in a location that meant so much to Fred. Here is their report.
Members of the class of 1965 came together this past weekend to pay their respects to Fred Scruggs at a memorial service in Columbus, Georgia and the spreading of his ashes the next day at Camp Merrill, Army Ranger Camp. Fred held an iconic position in our class with his tall gangly frame and his slow and soft Eastern Kentucky accent. But most of all he was known for his steadfast nature and ability to quietly observe any situation and then deliver the perfect understatement for which there was no rejoinder.
Photo Left: shows classmates and wives who attended the Columbus service. From left to right they are: Wes Taylor, Sonny Ray (the organizer), John Thompson, Dan Benton, Bill Connolly, Bob Radcliffe, Pat Kenny, Larry Neal, and Dave Jones.
This photo shows Bob Radcliffe and Dave Jones talking with Sherry Ray in the background. This photo shows the wives joined their husbands with (from left to right) Pat Kenny, Sonny Ray, Alice Kenny, Wes Taylor, Sherry Ray, Bill Connolly, Sandee Scruggs, John Thompson, Dan Benton, Larry Neal, Faye Radcliffe, Bob Radcliffe, Dave Jones, Patti Jones.
Members of 7th Special Forces Group including the commander and chaplain came from Hurlburt Field, Florida to pay their respects to Fred who had been a 7th Group commander. The CO read Fred’s bio, emphasizing the strong role he played in stabilizing several Latin American countries during his time in command. The 7th Group Chaplain conducted the ceremony, read scripture, eulogized Fred and then called upon members of the audience to provide their own personal eulogy. The audience was overwhelmingly from Special Ops, CIA and Southern Command genre where Fred spent the majority of his career both in the military and as a civilian. At the close of the ceremony, Flags were presented by the CO of 7th Group to Fred’s wife, Sandee, his daughter Jennifer and his son Rick.
This photo shows the interior of the Funeral Home where the memorial service was conducted.
The following day (Sunday) we met at Camp Merrill Mountain Ranger Camp for a short service that included spreading the ashes by the family on Etowah Creek which runs through the camp. It was a spot Fred himself designated to his daughter. The Ranger Cadre and the Mountain Ranger Association provided the bugler for taps, Camp Merrill provided the post chaplain who conducted the service and the Ranger Cadre Canteen for refreshments after the ceremony. The camp commander also attended the service. The Ranger Cadre and the 7th Group provided noteworthy support that exemplified their professionalism, concern for the family and dignity of a fallen Ranger. The participation of both the Ranger Cadre and 7th Group was voluntary and in the middle of a four day long weekend. Both ceremonies were short and without flourish reflecting Fred’s humble character and respect of all who knew him.
Photo Left: shows the Camp Merrill post chaplain spreading Fred's ashes with Sandee Scruggs (far right), Fred's son Rick and his wife Nichole along with Jen Scruggs (far left) looking on
This photo shows the gathering at Camp Merrill, Georgia. 1st Row: Nichole Scruggs, Ricky Scruggs, Jen Scruggs, Sandee Scruggs, Sonny Ray, Lee Atchley. 2nd Row: John McCullough, Paul Singelyn, Larry Neal, Bob Guy, Dave Jones, Bill Connolly (Dan Benton not pictured-early departure).
you Sonny and Pat for the excellent report.
Fred, Be Thou at Peace.
A message dictated, and recorded on video, from Rick Bunn on Thursday January 5th, 2017.
Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,
My dear friends, I’m so sorry to be sending this email but I am fairly certain it is my last one. I am currently in Madigan Hospital in Washington state and have been diagnosed with a terminal respiratory illness which they cannot identify. I came back to this hospital on the night of the first of January and have been here ever since with this deteriorating condition. I have chosen to share my condition with you as a show of my respect and appreciation for all the support you have given me over the years. Six and one half years ago as we were approaching our 50th reunion John Mogan and Fred Laughlin approached me on numerous occasions to take on the job of Scribe for this amazing Class. I fought them tooth and nail and they knew it wasn’t me. Wrong! I have loved this job from the outset and it has been a huge support to me and the highlight of my time with this amazing Class. I’m sorry that I will probably not be able to respond to the many messages of support that I have received. I love you all as brothers and friends and could not have asked for a better connection with the Class at this time in my life. I am so proud and humbled by your acceptance of me as one of the band of brothers and hopefully a contributing part of it.
Just so you are aware my religious connection is not the strongest but I believe strongly in a wonderful Lord and savior Jesus Christ. I have explained to my wife that I feel very much as if along with hundreds of wonderful people around the world who are praying for me that we are praying to Jesus for a miracle. But as I see it the real decision comes down to his “Dad”. I guess I’m hoping he doesn’t need a Scribe.
I have been told that my good friend and Ranger buddy, Duncan Brown, that let me carry the 50 caliber on our final days of Ranger school has been willing to step up and be my POC. He visited me just yesterday and we discussed a lot of memories and the upcoming events.
With that I will say farewell and hope that I will be able to get back into the swing of things, but honestly my optimism is not there. It has been an incredible pleasure and honor to serve this Class and to have so many incredibly amazing friends within the Class.
Go Army, beat Navy… AGAIN
Classmates, Wives and Friends of '65:
I received the following message from Bob Frank:
Dave Jones reached out to Chuck Dickey's sister, thereby demonstrating that Chuck is still on our minds and in our hearts these many years after his untimely death in Vietnam. The story would have pleased Rick Bunn because it was accompanied by a photo.
Here is Dave's message forwarded by Bob:
visit with his [Chuck's] sister
Carolyn today. She indicated no need for any West Point/Army
memorabilia but did state that she appreciated the contacts over the
past several years.
Found that she is an avid reader so will forward a memory stick next week with 20,000+ Kindle books.
Here are the pictures of Chuck Dickey's grave site Dave provided. (Coming soon)
I'll take this opportunity to recall an experience in Ranger School. Ranger #4 had a "Tac" named Murphy, who was abysmal. We called him "Murph the Surf" because he had been in the Navy prior to being commissioned in the Army. He was constantly reminding us of this fact and talking down our West Point backgrounds. (He got run off in the Mountain phase, thanks to Mike Thompson - but, that's another story.)
For our Ranger class, the Florida phase was a challenge because of the cold, especially the cold water. On Thanksgiving, several patrols had to cross Turkey Gobbler Creek, although only the far shore point men actually got into the water. One of those was Chuck Dickey. Because it was so cold the rest of us did not have to get into the water. Chuck was recalled from the far shore and we moved to a rally point somewhere in the swamp. Today day break, we could see Chuck squatting under his poncho with a somewhat serene look on his face. When asked what he was doing, he took a term of Murphy's lexicon to inform us that he was "warming his grommet." You see he was hunkered over a can of sterno, trying to dry out a bit as well as get warm. All of us got a good laugh at that, including Chuck.
Thanks to our Classmate for keeping Chuck's sister close to the Class!
this is an excellent example of the Strength and Drive bond of
brotherhood that has made our Class such a close knit band of brothers
Classmates, Wives, and Friends of '65,
Here’s a nice little report on the goings on of a couple of our Classmates. Jack Lowe sent this to me and he writes:
What do classmates who hunted grouse together on the West Point Reservation as cadets do in retirement? Hunt Ducks together near Port Aransas, Texas.
Left to Right: Jack Lowe, Emory Pylant, Connor Lowe (grandson), Bruce Lowe (son), and Duce (the most enthusiastic hunter of the lot).
Note one injustice: I am still hunting with a pre-WWI double barrel that I hunted at West Point with and that I inherited from my great grandfather while my son hunts with a very nice new automatic.
Thanks Jack, nice report. To respond directly use: Jack Lowe email@example.com