Class Poop

Send your input to Class Scribe - LTC Step Tyner (Retired) at
Visit the 1965 Class Notes Photo Album, Photo Album 2 and Photo Album 3 to see all the photos below full-size!

Class Notes Fourth Quarter 2017

The Fall Golf Outing – More! Harder!

Unlike the spring classic, this fall’s outing resulted in a paucity of photos, but Bernie Ziegler has saved the day. He writes:

“So sorry this is so late. Also wish I had some better pictures. Rather than try to cast this in a glorious narrative, I decided to just go with a few facts and the few pictures I have. Here goes ....

“Class of 65 golf outing - Pawleys Island, SC - October 8 - 11, 2017, organized as always by the very capable Bob Radcliffe - 23 classmates and five wives - Ron & Erica Wells were first time participants - lots of rain on first two days but finished with great weather on day three - hospitality room was well used as everyone enjoyed one another's company - great time was had by all.”

No gentleman’s course, the round began with a tactical problem in the form of an opposed river crossing

L-R: Tom Henneberry, Steve Darrah, Bob Radcliffe, Jack Thomasson being coached by Steve Ammon

Pawleys Island Tavern, with its famous wallpaper of $1 bills. L-R, Bernie Ziegler (who won big dick on the mustard), TomHenneberry, Fred Smith, Russ Campbell, .John Harrington, Larry Neal

Waiting to fill outa foursome is this member of the opposing force for the river crossing problem

Gordy Larson resting after a long drive, while Rodeo keeps an eye out for another of those fascinating little white balls that fly around seemingly at random

Many thanks, Bernie! How much did the ‘gator charge for the slither-on? No more than scale, I hope.

What the Brits would call a juggernaught. Bob Carini sends this shot of something you don’t see every day, even if you watch all the automotive shows as I do.

“Don’t know if I’m one of the last to see this rig for the Army team gear or not so I’m passing it on for your use.”

And using it I am, Bob, with thanks. Now that’s what I’d call a wrap!

Strike up the band!

On 29 October, three classmates from Xavier High School (NYC) Class of 1961, who also happen to have graduated from our alma mater in 1965, took in a concert by the USMA Band and Cadet Glee Club – replete with bar, hors d’oeuvres, multi-media presentation, and an intro by the Supe (not sure if sung or spoken) – at Lincoln Center. It was the 200th anniversary of the institution of our “band of musick;” prior to 1817, the “musick” comprised one sole drummer/fifer (I presume he played them serially), who had played for George Washington when he was present at West Point during the American Revolution. Even assuming that one-man band had enlisted in 1776 as a callow youth, he’d have been in his 50s by the time the band was founded, so I’m sure he appreciated the help.

[Time for full disclosure: even as a Plebe in D-1, I liked parades and reviews, loved the old Cadet Drill, and thought we had the best military band I’d ever heard. I still do.]

But even if you didn’t think that the six-count halt and “file closers to the left flank, tippy-toe” were the coolest thing since the mambo, you had to like the band. It’s a bit smaller and a lot busier now than in our day, and considerably more versatile as well, spinning off not only the Hellcats but also several dance ensembles.

And as for the mystery Classmates, see below:

L-R: Reg Dryzga, Jim Harmon, and Ross Wollen

The only way Jim could look any trendier is if he wore his shirt untucked! In case you haven’t seen them for 28 years (Jim didn’t own a tie then either), see below:

Arvin Film premieres in Ypsalanti

Mitch Bonnett attended the premiere of “Where the Brave Dare to Tread” in Bob Arvin’s hope town recently, and renders this report:
“All I can say is "Wow"! Brian Kruger has done a heck of a job telling the Bob Arvin story. I certainly learned some new things about Bob and I've got to say the film brought back a flood of memories of our time at the Academy and afterwards. Our classmates added a lot to the story as did a number of Bob's Ypsilanti friends and his wife Merry Lynn. I can wholeheartedly recommend this film and hope Brian will have the CD version available soon. The film drew a packed house of well over 100 attendees for the Ypsilanti viewing. Brian did an excellent job introducing the film and answering questions.”

Thanks, Mitch! I know many of us are eager to get the CD too!

Honor Flight Support

This report from Skip O’Donnell:

“Recently, we local USO volunteers participated in the annual Honor Flight activities at the Las Vegas McCarran airport.

Once a year the local Honor Flight organization puts together a long weekend round trip to Washington, DC for the local WW II and Korean veterans to visit their respective national monuments there as well as get some personal recognition from the Honor Flight folks in Washington. This year there were 21 WW II and 6 Korean veterans and guests.

Our local USO volunteers welcome them to the airport on their departure with fanfare and a quick breakfast and then we welcome them back with a lot more fanfare (picture) coordinated with participation by Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, veteran organizations, and the general public.

It was also emotional for me to see several of those veterans with the three war caps on. My Dad was one of those three war veterans.”

Center, rear, Marilyn and Skip O’Donnell with Honor Flight participants

Skip apologized for the quality of the photo, but I say that’s more than outweighed by the good work he’s doing there. The youngest legally-enlisted WWII vet would have to be 90 by now, and these Honor Flights are the penultimate tribute to our parents’ generation. Their numbers dwindle daily. Well done, Skip!

And on a lighter note...

Mert Munson, a guy who knows how to indulge his inner child, recently sent this shot of himself calling for his significant other for a Hallowe’en date:

“But Herr Oberst Klink, I know nussing, nussing!”

While Bernie Ziegler recently discovered that Michelangelo lives on his street:

And so we come to the end of another episode in the continuing story of the Class of ’65. Many thanks to our contributors. For my next Despatches, I expect a lot of photos of people barfing on other people’s shoes after what will surely be a paroxysm of celebration when we BEAT NAVY!

Strength and Drive,

The great service our funeral POCs

Let me begin by acknowledging the great service our funeral POCs perform for the Class of 1965. Particularly at this stage in our journey, when the vicissitudes of life prevent many of us from traveling as often or as far as we would like, the POC represents our collective love for our deceased brother and our tender concern for his surviving family. The role requires great tact and sensitivity, for the POC is dealing with bereaved people who are often unfamiliar with the unbreakable bonds forged by the West Point experience. Irrespective of those exigencies, our POCs have functioned magnificently, and we owe each our gratitude.

BJ Mogan comes home

Joe Sanchez sends us this report on services and interment of our much lamented Classmate, BJ Mogan.

“On October 10, 2017, a beautiful fall day, West Point welcomed John “BJ” Mogan home. After a family tour of the Academy, the funeral attendees met at the Thayer Hotel and from there proceeded to the Catholic Chapel to celebrate John’s life with the Mass of Christian Burial. John’s daughter, Tara, remembered her father with a beautiful and poignant eulogy.

Photo Right: Class of 1965 Contingent: L-R, Joe and Nancy Sanchez, Christine Deems (widow of Mike), Gene Manghi, Dyanne Mogan, Barrie Zais, Rick Kuzman, Chuck Boohar, Roz Ruby (significant other of Don Kurtz), Mary Frank, Ellen Wood, Bob Frank, Jim Wood

“At the conclusion of the chapel service, we moved to the West Point Cemetery for the graveside service and the rendering of full military honors. John now rests with his daughter Tamara Lynne and his son Sean Michael.

“From the cemetery, we retired to Herbert Hall for a reception hosted by John’s family and shared reminiscences of John and the life he led -- a life that exemplified the spirit of our Academy motto: Duty, Honor, Country. John loved God, his country, his family, his fellow soldiers, and his friends. He served them all well, and our world is a better place for his having lived.

“Among the attendees were BJ’s widow, Dyanne and his sister, Micheline, though her husband, K.C. Scull (’69), was recovering from surgery and unable to attend. BJ had introduced Micheline and K.C. ‘back in the day,’ and love did the rest.

Photo Left: Family, Classmates, Friends

“BJ was a true friend. His charm, gracious manner, and consideration for others marked him as the epitome of a great southern gentleman.

“See you on the other side, Hermano! “Strength and Drive!
“Joe Sanchez ‘65”

Class flag and flowers at USMA Catholic Chapel

The memorial flag is presented to BJ’s family Seated, L-R: BJ’s daughter Tara, her fiancé Rob Blom, BJ’s widow, Dyanne, BJ’s grand-daughter, Jacki Martin

Plinth with urn, memorial flag, and honor guard

BJ’s Gravesite

L-R, Jacki Martin, Rob Blom, Tara Mogan and Dyanne Mogan

Many thanks, Joe, for a splendid report. Clearly, a magnificent send-off for a magnificent guy!

Farewell to our own Joe Bishop

Roger Frydrychowski ably served as our POC for the funeral of another cherished Classmate, Glade Mckay Bishop, known to many of us as Joe. Here is Rogers report:

“On October 14, 2017 services were held for our Classmate, Glade “Joe” McKay Bishop LTC, USA Retired, in King George, Virginia. Family members and Classmates gathered in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, built in the late 1760’s and the parish church of historic St. Paul’s Parish, originally formed in the early 1660’s. Joe’s family have been for years and continue to be proud parish members of this church, where George Washington attended services. The current Rector, Rev. Lee Gandiya, a retired chaplain of the British Army, conducted a quiet, sensitive service for the family. Joe’s son, Brian, offered an obviously sincere, loving, and forthright recounting of his memories of Joe. Joe’s sister, Patricia Frazer also spoke lovingly, particularly on behalf of Joe’s younger brother, James A. Bishop, and Joe’s sister, Janet Bishop, who looked after Joe as his declining health took him from Virginia to Colorado to be nearer to them. Joe’s children, Meredith Bishop Adams, Garrett, David and Brian warmly welcomed our Class members in attendance. The presence of Joe’s grandchildren ensured the continuing memory of our Classmate. Classmate Bill Hecker, though unable to attend, was the principal mover behind Class participation and our initial link to the family. Bill had also visited with Joe in Colorado and constituted a compassionate link between him and our Class in his final years. Joe’s son Brian had arranged for Military Honors through Ft. Belvoir and the small detachment rendered those with precision and compassion. Joe was laid to rest in the small cemetery at the church and in view of the gently rolling, open Virginia countryside. “The family asks that those wishing to honor Joe’s memory send donations in his name to the Haiti Micah Project, an Episcopal 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization with a ‘mission to invest in children and adolescents in Haiti.’ Haiti Micah Project; 3606 Seminary Road; Alexandria, Virginia 22304 (703) 328 5808.”

L-R, Jim Kelly, Bob Wolff, Roger Frydrychowski, Linda Concannon (widow of Jack), Joe DeFrancisco, Chuck Nichols, Leo Kennedy, Ric Shinseki, Wes Taylor

Class flowers

Roger extends special thanks to Chuck Nichols, who brought the Class flag, and to Bob Wolff, who escorted Linda Concannon. In the hooda thunk it? department, Roger also reports that Wes Taylor was accompanied by Jeannie Phillips Truscott, LTC Army Nurse Corps, Retired, with whom he recently became re-acquainted after their having dated Firstie year!

Well done, Wes! And thanks, Roger, for an excellent report!

Ties that ever bind

Heidi Lounsbury reports that three Classmates recently visited her and Pete at their home in beautiful Utah:

“Peter and I had a wonderful visit from three of Peter’s classmates the last couple of days.

Photo: Front and Center, Pete Lounsbury -- Second row, L-R: Dave Gnau, Jack Lowe, Sonny Ray

Dave Gnau, Sonny Ray, and Jack Lowe flew all the way from the East Coast to Salt Lake City, Utah and then drove another 150-odd miles to Roosevelt, Utah where we live. They came to check on their friend and it brought a spark of life back into Peter.

“We live on a golf course and I took the guys on a tour of the course while they were here. We sure appreciated their visit. Last year, Rick Osgood paid us a visit and that was wonderful too.

“I can’t get over what a close bond there is among this class.”

Who’s got the keys? I got your keys right here!

Many thanks for the report and the photos Heidi! I imagine that a visit from these three renowned chuckleheads raised Petes spirits considerably.

And so we end another edition of Despatches, with profound thanks to our correspondents. Strength and Drive,

General Ric Shinseki

“I'm happy to report that Ric Shinseki has received another award recognizing his distinguished and unrelenting service to our country. During the opening ceremonies of its Annual Meeting, The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) presented the General Creighton W. Abrams Award to Ric as that "individual contributing most significantly to the US Army during the previous year". The three day AUSA Annual Meeting is the largest landpower exposition and symposium in North America. It typically draws over 30,000 visitors. A full capacity audience of 3,500 was on hand in the Washington Convention Center Ballroom to witness the presentation to Ric, which immediately followed a keynote address by Secretary of Defense James Mattis.”

Photo: L-R, GEN (R) Carter Ham, GEN (R) Eric Shinseki, LTG (R) Pat McQuistion

Many thanks, Joe, and heartiest congratulations, Ric! You’re still doing us proud!

A farewell glimpse

The photograph on the following page is almost too sad to publish, but I felt it was worthwhile to do so in the interest of heightening our appreciation for what one of our Classmates has recently had to endure. As Dave La Rochelle writes, “A flash back memory, while seeing my house...eventually consumed by surrounding fire of homes to the flanks of mine. The white area in the middle is my home, still [at the time of his escape -- S.T.] standing.”

Something no home owner ever wants to see, Dave.

Vets hit Vegas

From Skip O’Donnell comes this news: “Once a year The Salute To The Troops organization coordinates with American Airlines and this year the MGM to bring many of the physically or mentally wounded from Walter Reed and Texas for a long weekend here in Las Vegas. This year they stayed at the Mirage casino/hotel, went to shows on the LV Strip, took night helicopter rides around Las Vegas, attended a special Gary Sinese/LT Dan band show at Freemont Street and had some great meals courtesy of American Airlines, MGM and many other supporters.  Our local USO volunteers provide the cheering section at McCarron Airport when they arrive and depart Las Vegas.  It was the first time I have participated in this event and it was an emotional but happy event for me to welcome these young veterans to Las Vegas. Many of these young veterans, including the one in the picture, said ‘Welcome Home’ to me as well.”

Photo: L-R, Skip O’Donnell and Participant in Salute to the Troops, Las Vegas

Thanks, Skip! It is good to be reminded how much our successors in the ranks have endured … and overcome.

Clandestine Golf Outing

Unlike the Spring golf outing, where I was deluged with multi-MB photos and lots of verbal commentary, this autumn’s extravaganza has engendered but one photo and a brief note from Bruce Clarke: “John Vann and Fred Laughlin's teams continued to place. Red white and blue pants with MAGA hat were well received. [That’s Bruce’s story and he’s sticking to it. – S.T.] Jay Stewart continued his rivalry with the team of Bob Harter and Steve Darrah. This time Bruce Clarke joined his team to beat his rivals on both 9s and for the 18. Bob and Steve immediately talked rematch. Red white and blue pants with make America great again hat were just for Harley [Moore], and then he was a no show.

Photo: Front row, extreme right: The trousers in question – Just lovely, Bruce!

And there you have it … another brief chapter in the annals of the Distinguished Class of 1965! As ever, it’s an honor to bring these chronicles to you. My thanks to the contributors, even to Bruce Clarke, who has presented to us a sight we will never be able to un-see, no matter how strenuously we may try.

Strength and Drive and, of course, Beat Navy (and every team in between)!

Life on a tropic isle

Ross Wollen recently hosted Bob Jones and Reg Dryzga at his digs on Roosevelt Island in NYC. In Bob’s honor, a POW/MIA flag was flown. You can read all about it and see the photos using the link:

Be sure to scroll all the way down to learn: (1) Why it can be useful to commit an MLB starting lineup to memory, and (2) When it is inadvisable to engage a MiG with a .45-cal. Pistol!

Thanks, Bob, for the great stories; Ross, for getting the flag flown and sending your report; and Reg, just for being you! Also, our thanks to Rick at Roosevelt Islander for his coverage.

Consolation prize. From Frank Arnall comes this brief report on what he and a few other Classmates did to ease the pain of Army’s very close loss to Tulane:

“Army did not win, but we of '65 celebrated at Manning's that we survived the New Orleans sun!”

Photo: L- R - Frank & Susan Arnall, Key es Hudson, Bob & Diane Doughty , Ernie & Pam Westpheling

From your expressions, it looks as if you knew that Army ’s next outing would be a well- deserved victory. Thanks for the report, Frank!

And now to my obsession!
  1. Popular expressions mis-stated. These abound, but one of the more common is “one in the same.” Sorry, it’s “one and the same.” That seems redundant, I admit, and may stem from a little joke at the expense of the legal trade, where one doesn’t leave one’s heirs anything but, rather, “bestows, conveys, and assigns.” Or something like that.

Another garbled expression I’ve heard a lot of recently has to do with one’s getting a  “new lease inlife.” Nope, it’s a “new lease on life.” One can have an interest in a property, but one takes a lease out on one.

  1. When the right way seems wrong. There are occasions when correct English may seem incorrect to many otherwise well-educated observers. A major example is the use of the possessive case with a gerund. A gerund is a verb used as a noun, and thus requires the possessive case in the noun or pronoun with which it is associated.  In the paragraph just above, there is an instance of that rule’s being followed, just as there is in this sentence. “John getting a major promotion at work was good news ” is incorrectly stated. It should be “John’s getting ….”, just as one would speak or write of John’s new Bugatti Veyron.
  2. Arguably the most common error committed by native English speakers. Of course, it’s the use of “it’s” as a possessive! “It’s” = “it is.” The possessive of it is “its.” Don’t know why; doesn’t matter. That’s the way it is.

Right up there on the charts is “continue on.” Continue means to persist in an action or thought already begun. “Caesar continued to Rome after crossing the Rubicon.” The only time the preposition “on” is correct with “continue” is when there is a specific path mentioned, as in “After the Bear Mountain traffic circle, you continue on Route 9W until you see a bunch of drunken Cadets in a parking lot on the left, and you’ve arrived at Snuffy’s.”

  1. A Latin plural I left out in an earlier column. Singular, phenomenon; plural, phenomena. And yet one occasionally encounters phrases like “several puzzling phenomenons” or, worse yet, “That’s a phenomena for sure!”

Well, I hope you’re not reading this while driving, because most of you will be asleep by now. I leave you in the arms of Morpheus, subject to their being enough news for another issue.

Strength and Drive,

Class Information

Dear Classmates,

  • Attention Houstonians! A Classmate who is a genuine engineer (as opposed to a systems or PowerPoint engineer as I once pretended to be) offers a valuable service to our Classmates whose property suffered damage during Hurricane harvey. This from Bob Baldinger:

"I am an active structural engineer and spent last week in Houston doing Harvey inspections for AIG clients. Will probably be back there doing the same every other week for other insurance companies for awhile. If a classmate would like a "peace of mind" or 2nd opinion on their damaged property while I am there, I will be happy to try to work something in.

"A typical day is 10 to 12 hours on the road with 3 inspections. But there are cancellations and lots of different travel routes that may go near someone else's property. I am staying at Westheimer and I -610 and generally working that area and all points west - following the Buffalo Bayou and Corps of Engineers reservoir releases. Travel time and restricted access are generally the main constraints in getting things done.

"Folks can contact me at It is also worth sending a second note to that tells me to check gmail so that I recognize the inquiry in a timely manner. Another possibility is just sending me some photos with questions and we can talk through the concerns (512) 670-6063.

"We could probably try the e-mailed photo review for folks affected by Irma also. I have been trying to learn about this stuff since Katrina, and worked in Florida before."

  • Attention Floridians! See Bob's generous offer above.
  • Gifts in memory of Joe Bishop. Bill Hecker passes on this message from Joe's sister,


“To the Class of '65

“Thank you so very much for your support.

“For those who would like to give a gift in Joe's memory, the Bishop family would ask them to consider the “Bob Jones USMA '65 Endowment for Children of USMA Graduates Killed in Action(AOGC22).

“By Mail

  • Make the check payable to: "West Point Association of Graduates."
  • In the check's memo section: “In Memory of Glade (Joe) M. Bishop, USMA '65, AOGC22”
  • Mail to: Gift Operations, West Point Association of Graduates, 698 Mills Road, West Point, New York 10996 “On Line
  • “Comments” box: “In Memory of Glade (Joe) M. Bishop USMA '65, AOGC22”

“Whether by check or online, be sure to include 'AOGC22' in your comments line to ensure that your gift goes to this particular scholarship endowment.

“If you would like to send condolences to Joe's family, you can send them to [me], [and I] will ensure they are forwarded to his four children.

“Janet Bishop”

Indoor Obstacle Course. Other than Alex Alexander, I know of no one who recalls the Indoor Obstacle Course with even a scintilla of fondness, but the course has changed somewhat (it looks easier to me, but I was lucky to go tangent on the damned thing back in the day). To see the new version, which Emery Chase first put me onto, as well as to witness an old geezer (the Supe) and a geezer wannabe (the Com) go head to head running it, go to:

As a casual observer, I must say that it is relatively easy to discern whose knees are more worn out!


Army Football

Tommy Thompson provides the following URL, with the comment that it is always good to know thine enemy:

http://www.sho .com/a -season-with?s_cid=em-de fault-8715

Alumni Glee Club

Earlier in the week, the USMA Alumni Glee Club performed “Mansions of the Lord’ at the Lincoln Memorial in DC in connection with honoring Gold Star Mothers of the conflict in Southwest Asia.


Photo Left: USMA AlumniGlee Club at Lincoln Memorial – the blonde lady in the front row is the mother of a USMA Glee Club member fallen in combat in Southwest Asia

Photo Right: L-R - Alumni Glee Club members Jim Ferguson, Terry Ryan, Pete Lynn, Chuck Nichols, & John Swensson

Pre-Polonaise party

John Longhouser has furnished some photos and a brief account of a recent get-together:
“Cheryl and I are on our way to Krakow, Poland combining business and pleasure for about ten days. The pictures are from dinner in Fredericksburg, VA a few weeks ago. The rowdy boys [and spouses] had a great time with … old friends. Gonna do it again!”

Photo Left: L- R - Jim & Margie Berry , Dave & Darlene Hopkins, and Chery l & John Longhouser

Photo Right: L- R - John, Dave, and Jim . Note lev itating check appearing in right foreground. What kind of pub was that, John?

Four Colonels of Infantry

As is their wont, Barrie Zais, Bill Sherrell, Bob Radcliffe, and Jim Wood recently headed to Canada to molest the aquatic fauna a bit, as shown below. Note: Barrie assures me that (1) the bass pictured were not caught in the frozen foods section at Loblaws and (2) these are indeed four separate bass, not just one in four different disguises.

Photo Left: Barrie Zais and Friend

Bill Sherrell and his contribution to dinner

Photo Right: Bob Radcliffe asserts that his is the biggest one

“Canada Jim ” Wood challenging Radcliffe’s claim

Thanks, Barrie. Good to know that catch and release is alive and well in America Lite!

Presidential matters

From Jim Harmon, this news:

Chris & Conny Needels visited us on the way up to Maine to visit with President [G. H. W.] Bush, who is Honorary Chairman of the Board of the International Skydiving Museum & Hall of Fame to be built in North Orlando (Florida). Chris is chair of the museum’s Building & Exhibit Design Committee. The former president viewed a video of the conceptual design of the museum.

“Chris showed it to Jeanne and me as well. We watched it twice, especially taken with a future visitor’s experience of unexpectedly finding themselves standing on the back loading ramp of an aircraft as skydivers jumped into a digital sky.”

Chris adds: “The visit went very well. We spent about a half an hour with President Bush. It was an emotional reunion. Attached are a couple of photos.”

Former President George H. W. Bush and Chris Needels

The form er President with Conny Needels

Thanks, Jim and Chris. The Museum is fortunate to have Mr. Bush as Honorary Chairman, and even more so to have Chris chairing building and exhibit design. I venture to say that no member of ’65 has a greater margin of aircraft takeoffs over landings and, unlike mine, both his legs are the same length.

All’s well that ends well, even 49 years later

From Sonny Ray comes a tale of virtue triumphant and carelessness redeemed.
“A Short Narrative of Good Fortune

“Well, Well, Well. An old man told me onc e that God looks after “Drunks, Fools, Little Kids and Sailors ,” evidently because people in those various categories have a predilec tion for perilous and risky behavior. “Goats” also seem to have divine protection for the same reason. I evidently have excellent credentials in two of the listed categories as well as the added one. I will let you dec ide which categories, but I will provide a hint : I have never been a sailor, nor am I a little kid anymore (I once had that qualif ic ation but lost it about seventy years ago).

“Life has its ups and downs often leaving those with solid credentials in the protected categories asking with puzzlement: “Why did this happen to me?” Almost always the question is asked on the upside rather than the downside, sinc e those possessing the afflic ted think that they get what they deserve on the downside and find it diffic ult to understand why something good seems often to c ome out of the sky, without any exertion of their own.

“Such is my case again.

“In late 1968, I was assigned to MACV in the Delta of VN, c oming off a night ambush m idway between Vinh Long and Canto. We five American advisors were living in a small village where Vietnamese of all sorts strolle d c asually through our c ompound. I had two Americans with me on the ambush. The ambush was null a nd upon arriving back at our meager abode at about 7:30 in the morning, we began c leaning our weapons and ourselves. I shaved from a plastic bowl outside as I watched the market place come alive. I took off my class ring, laid it on a shelf, and stepped ins ide to retrieve a towel. When I returned - moments later - the ring was gone.

“Forever - I finally concluded, and all because I was so casual as to leave the ring unwatched. (See paragraph 2 above)

“Fast forward to 12 August 2017: While in Vail, CO to celebrate our (mine and my beloved, beautiful, and dutiful wife, Sherry's) 50th wedding anniversary with our kids and grandkids, I received an e-mail from AOG say ing someone was trying to contact me and including the text of an e-mail from a lady in Texas. She said that her father, who was an NCO, had recently died and her mother discovered a 1965 West Point c lass ring in a dress er drawer. It had been found in a parking lot at Ft. Riley Kansas in 1970. I rec eived the ring yesterday. (Nearly new, no wear and in good shape -- much better shape than the hand upon which it rests some 47 years later). ”

The ring (and hand) in question

Though it’s a trite characterization, I’d call your story heartwarming, Sonny. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!

More good poop from Tommy Thompson

“Here is a schedule and TV stations worthy of distribution:

Rumors quashed. Those who claim that I am but an apocryphal identity, probably a bot created by some insidious North Korean malware, I offer the refutation below:

Your humble scribe pointing out faulty syntax to his grand-daughter Rory

And finally … Our Classmate George Ruggles, at my insistence, having read an abbreviated version and being much impressed, has furnished me with this thought-provoking essay about “our” war. This column is not an interactive forum, so please don’t try to generate a discussion in this venue. Instead, reflect on your own views of this vexing question.

"Reflections on Vietnam"

“Fifty years ago, in August of ’66, as a member of the 11th ACR advance party, I landed at Tan Son Nhut airbase to begin my one-year stretch in-country. That year would change my life, as well as the lives of the more than three million veterans of the War in this small corner of Southeast Asia.
“First impressions: the bus trip to Long Binh, the temporary base for the 11th ACR, was fascinating. Vietnam looked different, sounded different, even smelled different from anything I’d experienced  before. Unarmed, but too green to be scared, our group headed through Saigon and out into the countryside.  It did seem odd that the windows on the vehicle had wire mesh on the outside, but maybe  it was just local custom. Our job was to prepare the base for the arrival of the regiment, scheduled for about a month away. There was little time to think about why we were there, the “big picture” of it all.

“Occasionally I am asked to speak to high school history classes about the War, and so I’ve had to think about that big picture. Invariably, the kids ask, was it worth it?

“As I pass around the Coke can that got shot instead of me, I try to answer that question, was the Vietnam War worth the effort? (Full disclosure: I was transferred to the 9th Infantry Division in February ’67 and that can was in a case of Cokes outside my tent. One night near the town of Binh Phuoc in the Mekong Delta we got shelled and the Cokes were an effective replacement for sandbags. I think that by the time that too-close round exploded, I had, in the vernacular of  the time, “unassed” that tent).  At  this point, the class is more interested in how you open this can; they’ve never seen a church key!


“So, I say to the kids: The purpose of the American effort in RVN was often expressed in terms of the “domino theory”, the idea that if  Vietnam  fell to the Communists, so then would all the rest of  Indochina. Next might be the Philippines, Singapore, even Australia. After the War, Laos and Vietnam would be controlled by the Communists anyhow, but none of the other counties in question. So was the domino theory wrong? Some would say yes, but another viewpoint is that the US involvement in the Vietnam War proved our country’s commitment to SEATO, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization.

Drawn up in 1954, the Treaty specified that South Vietnam would be protected. The USA was a signer, as well as France, the UK, and Australia.     In the end, South Vietnam as a non-communist entity was taken over by North Vietnam, at the cost of 58,000+ American lives and countless casualties, some not known at the time.

“The students ask about Agent Orange. Talk about a double-edged sword. I believe the defoliant saved American lives when we served, but costs those same lives now because of  its latent effects on our bodies. And this in addition to the toll that it must still take on the health of the Vietnamese people.

The story of the late Admiral Zumwalt is instructive: he was the commander who instituted Agent Orange application with the best of intentions, and his Vietnam veteran son later died of AO-related cancer, years before his father’s death.

“I recently finished reading LTG Mc Master’s book, Dereliction of Duty. It’s a thoroughly documented tome that lays blame for the War on all the higher-ups, from LBJ on down. He clearly has the least respect for the Service Chiefs, all of whom he sees as too timid to stand up to the political powers. I believe that one of the few positives we can take from the War is that the junior leadership of the services recognized the deficiencies of their organizations and resolved that when they were in senior positions, they would act differently. Hence the Powell Doctrine; hence the non-reliance on body-  counts; hence the quick victory vs. Saddam in the First Gulf  War.  The War in Vietnam taught our Army a hard lesson.

“The kids ask what it was like to come home from Vietnam. My experience was a lot different from what many soldiers found upon their return to the States.  I  came back to my home town, Portland, OR.  Never heard an unkind word about my service in Vietnam, no harassment at all. The only time people looked at me funny was when I turned down a marijuana joint. In later years, though, particularly after My Lai, attitudes changed. I worked in Belgium in the early eighties, and the locals were always curious  to hear an American’s story—where you grew up, went to school, etc.  If  I happened to mention  Vietnam, they would literally take a step back. By then, some Vietnam veterans had developed poor reputations that affected us all; drugs and alcohol were key factors.  I’m sure you know someone who   fell victim to those demons.

“Things are different now. Viet vets are largely celebrated and respected. That's led to many "stolen valor" cases of men saying they served in-country who in fact did not. Some internet sources, for what it's worth, say three million were in Vietnam but nine million claim to have been. The most egregious  case I know of is the Senator from Connecticut, Blumenthal, who said he was in-country during the War when actually he never left the USA, per the NYT, May 17, 2010. How does a guy like that get elected?

“The male students  understand that they must register for the draft when they turn eighteen.   They  know what selective service is about when I mention that roughly 25% of Vietnam vets were draftees, in for two years. Our drafted troopers will recall that their first few months were stateside, for training and leave. Then off to Southeast Asia for a one-year tour. Near the end of that year, the Army would often offer the soldier an early-out deal: extend for three months in-country, and as soon as that is over, we’ll ship you back home and discharge you the day you arrive. This was the proverbial good deal, a win-win for everyone. The Army kept experienced jungle-savvy troops on the ground, showing the ropes to the new guys; and the draftee, well, he gets out of the Army, where he probably never wanted to be in the first place, early by three months.

“But here’s the unintended consequence: you got this guy, tonight he’s on an ACAV in a free -fire zone. He’s manning the 50-cal and you told him if anything near the tree line moves, open up on it. And tomorrow, this same guy is a civilian on the streets of Los Angeles or Hoboken. You think he’s going to act like a normal person? No wonder so many vets went around the bend.

“Speaking of the draft, has it occurred to anyone else that we are still in Afghanistan some 15+ years now, no end in sight, and yet there is little public sentiment to end it? You can make a strong case that the Vietnam War ended because of civilian pressure. (Although, I think Walter Cronkite should get major credit. Go to YouTube and enter “Walter Cronkite, Vietnam War” and watch his report on his  1968 trip there; it’s said that when Lyndon Johnson saw that, he knew it was over). The difference, in my opinion, is the draft, or lack of one. In the Vietnam era, everyone in America had a stake in the outcome; a brother, son, husband, father, all of them subject in one way or another to get called up. Now, without the draft, it’s someone else’s kid. So, we fight on, deployment one after another, troops stretched thin and families exhausted. The students I talk to know they won’t have to worry about Afghanistan unless they volunteer. We’ll probably never see the draft again, not unless some catastrophe arises; seems like we’d better get used to lengthy conflicts.

“Back to the original, and most difficult, question: was the Vietnam War worth it?  I suppose it depends on whom you ask. To any family with a lost or wounded veteran, the answer must clearly be "no." Soldiers like me, never wounded, luckily never lost a man, it’s fifty years later and I'm still not sure.

“What do you think?”

Thanks for letting me print this, George. As Socrates is reported to have said, “The unexamined  life  is not worth living.” Whether we agree entirely with George or not, the Vietnam  War was for many of us the most important thing with which we were ever involved. As we approach the final manifest call, I believe it behooves each of us to come to grips with our own thoughts and attitudes toward that conflict and the policies which put us there. As I often said to my grad school classmates, good people all but

aghast that they were studying alongside someone who’d been in combat in Vietnam, “Well, it’s the only war we have.”
With a shout-out of encouragement to our Classmates pounded by Harvey, Irma, and (perhaps) José, Strength and Drive!

17 August AOG Leaders’ Conference

From WPSNY stalwart Tom Barron comes this item and accompanying photo:

“This was taken at the AOG’s West Point Leaders Conference at West Point last Thursday the 17th. That evening’s supper theme was styled a Texas BBQ. Straw hats were given out but our crowd seemed to have put them away.”

L-R: Sheryl & Dave Hurley, Joe DeFrancisco, Tom Barron, Bob Axley, Russ Campbell

Thanks, Tom – a cohort both prepossessing and puissant. With alumni leaders such as these, what need has West Point for a Superintendant … or an Academic Board or Tactical Department, for that matter? We got this!

Fugitive Outlaw Biker Sighted!

Harley Moore just celebrated his 74th birthday – Oh callow youth! – and John Swensson crashed the festivities with his camera. The captions will explain it all. Now, Harley, when you get to be my age ….

Photo Left: L-R, Alicia (daughter), Sophia (very serious grand-daughter), Myrna (doting abuela), Harley (abuelito)

The embroidered cannabis leaves really make the guyabera, Harley. Have you opened a dispensary somewhere?

Harley explains the Postulate of Extent to Sophia with birthday candles as a training aid

The queue Harley is sporting explains my outlaw biker reference, above. Sophia seems entranced by the concepts of “one” and “more than one,” but probably more so by the reality of “cake.”

Many happy returns, Harley, and so say all of us.

Did I or did I not? You decide

The photo below was taken at the WPSNY’s pre-season football luncheon, held on 26 June at (where else?) the Union League Club of New York. That WP Society is fortunate indeed to count Ross Wollen amongst its members, because that worthy seems able to book any number of WP- and Class of 1965-related events into that august and imposing venue. Were I to attempt such largesse here in Sacramento (where it is now 109F), the site would probably be Manny’s Chug and Slug on Condemned Levee Road in Weed. [“Come for the stale beer, stay for the meth-fuelled mayhem!”]

The question in the title of this section reflects trying to reconcile my memory of having already published this with its absence in my file copies of the past few Despatches. I sometimes think that my computer hard drive (and my mind) are sometimes in a quantum entanglement with a super-massive black hole somewhere. Herewith, perhaps for the second but more likely for the first time, a photograph taken at that event:

Photo: L-R, Wollen, Pete Dawkins (’59), Rollie Stichweh, Bob Jones, and Russ Campbell

Some very intellectual foreheads there! Thanks for the photo, Ross. I’ll try to be a bit more organized with the next one you send.
My air conditioning is barely coping with the heat, my dog is agitating for her rations, and I’ve little left to say, except to wish our Classmates and friends in the Houston area a prompt recovery from what seems to be developing into the storm of the millennium, and urge them to reach out to Classmates if they need any assistance.

Strength and Drive,

WELL DONE, DON! Rest in Peace!

Dear Classmates,

The sole item is Stan Genega’s report on the very moving and well attended celebration of the life of our fondly remembered Classmate, Don Nowland. Along with the loving remarks of Don’s widow, Davita, and photos of the activities in his commemoration, the report tells the story without need for any but closing remarks on my part. Many thanks to Stan for his services, both to Don’s family and to the Class as our POC.
Stan Genega’s Report:

The Celebration of the Life of Don Nowland took place on Saturday, August 19. 2017. Class attendees were Bob Axley, Leslie Alger, Ralph & Cheryl Asplund, Jack & Jane Barwis, Chuck Boohar, Russ Campbell, Chris & Nancy Dorney, Bob & Mary Frank, Stan & Barbara Genega, Dennis & Diane Hawker, Tom & Karen Henneberry, Dan Benton, T.J. Kelly, Chuck & Rosemary McCloskey, Dennis & Karen Sellers.
The attendees, family and many, many friends gathered outside under the yardarm of the Boston Yacht Club, seated and standing facing the water. Don’s cremains were on a table front and center. Classmates led off with the Alma Mater, ably led by Chuck McCloskey. MA National Guard soldiers conducted the military honors in exemplary fashion, assisted by a volunteer bugler in Coast Guard uniform (USCGA Class of 1961) who played Taps.
Boats were then boarded by attendees (11 boats in all) for travel to the chosen site. The boats formed in a semi-circle with Don’s boat- HAPPY- at the center. Davita scattered the ashes, then read the very moving remarks on the attached Program. Her remarks as well as those of the Veteran Service Agent, a friend of Don and Davita, were broadcast live on VHF radio so all aboard the boats could hear. Also, the broadcast was carried by radio to the room at the Yacht Club for those not on boats to hear. All others on boats were provided with red, white and blue flower petals which they scattered on the water. The video at shows portions of the military honors and the scattering.
After returning and debarking, attendees enjoyed food, drink, and social interaction. After a bit, we began the remarks with Davita leading off [see below], followed by a 5 minute slide show of stills of Don’s life. Ralph Asplund, Dennis Hawker, and Dennis Sellers then followed with moving remarks about their relationship with Don and testament to his character; Sellers read a moving poem which you can find at Russ Campbell represented the class and made general remarks about the Class, WP, and Don. They were followed by a friend who worked for Don for 20 years in Raytheon and admired Don’s strong character and leadership. Then a young man whom Don had mentored for many years spoke of the tremendous impact Don had on his life. Several other friends made brief remarks, followed then by food, drink and social.

The setting, Boston Yacht Club, was magnificent; Davita’s remarks were very moving; the Class was strongly and ably represented; Military Honors were praised by many attendees; his many friends present were testament to his impact early in life and certainly in Marblehead for the past 20+ years.

WELL DONE, DON! Rest in Peace!


Photo Right: Davita makes remarks via radio after scattering Don’s ashes

Davita Nowland’s remarks at Don’s Celebration of Life August 19, 2017

Good Afternoon!
Thank you all so much for being here.
Its wonderful to see so may people here today from all parts of Don’s life.
After my remarks, there are six other people I know of who planned to speak. If you’d like to say something too, please let it be known and you will have a chance after them.
I’d also like to take this moment to especially thank my amazing and wonderful friends and family. You, who have been unfailing there for both of us and then for me. What a spectacular gift to the heart. I will be forever grateful for your care and attention during our journey. You know who you are. I can barely speak your names at this moment.
And a very special thank you Mike Mentuck, Dave Rodgers and my boat captain friends who made Don’s Ashes Ceremony so special. And then there is Stan Genega one of Don’s West Point Classmates who has been there for me for all things Army. Strength and Drive.
Don was my soul mate, the love of my life. He told me I was the secret to his life.
Don took his last breath May 10 at the Kaplan House in Danvers. He would have been 74 on May 21. Don and I would have celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary this New Year’s Eve.
Don was an engineer, a soldier, a poet, a coach, a mentor, an inspiration, and the best guy I ever knew. It was no secret how we felt about each other.
Don was also a West Point Graduate class of 1965. He fought for our country in Vietnam, served 23 years in the Army, and retired from the Army as a full Colonel.
Then he went to work for Raytheon, and finally retired in June 2016.
Don was diagnosed in 2009 with a slow growing form of GI cancer for which there was/is no cure. One of the ways he managed his journey was to look for Silver Linings. For example, he instituted a tradition for us - stopping on the way home from treatments at Dana Farber for Prosecco and oysters – it was a time we spent together making plans, counting our blessing and enjoying each other’s company.
He was even an inspiration to his oncology team- as well as his visiting nurses -who marveled at the fact that he was always positive and upbeat no matter how he was feeling. He regularly asked them about their lives and families. Within days of his passing, all his caregivers called me to express their heartfelt condolences and to tell me the positive and lasting impact he’d had on their lives. Like a warm embrace to my heart.
Our wonderful lives together might never have happened however if it hadn’t been for a chance meeting in an Airport Limousine on the way back from Logan Airport in the early spring of 1993.

Now I have to ask, how many of you have heard this story before?
Thought so, but I’m going to tell it again anyway because it was Don’s favorite story, especially the way I tell it.
We’d had one of those late season New England snowstorms that impacted all modes of travel. Don was traveling for Raytheon and I was working on a consulting project out of Buffalo. Each of us usually enjoyed private rides home in normal weather conditions but the limo service we used was struggling to manage all the delayed travelers and was bunching people up in vans instead of private cars. I board the van at the middle seat. I look back and there is some guy in the way back behind me. When I get in the driver says he’s got one more customer to retrieve and both of us in the car groan. It’s already so late and I’m wondering how much time this will now add to my trip home. The driver says don’t worry, he never checks his bags – and his flight is here. Sure enough, as we pull up the to American Airlines arrivals, there he is dressed in a suit with his carry on bag and briefcase. He tosses his bag in the middle seat next to me and gets in front with the driver and his briefcase. He too seemed clearly disappointed to see the van with two other passengers instead of a private car. However a few minutes into our ride back to Marblehead Don notices me and decides to engage me in conversation. So for the next ½ hour or so we mostly talked about how each of us ended up in Marblehead. I liked his story and his distinctive voice and was thinking I’d like to know who this guy is. Of course he gets dropped off first but at least I can see where he lives. Happily before he gets out of the car he introduces himself, as did I. It was names only. Then I spent the rest of the ride home saying his name - making sure I remembered it so I could look him up in the local phone book – possibly invite him over next time I entertained. So there I am in my living room with my local phone book out looking for Don Nowland, wondering if its a K or an N, listening to my phone messages and my cat Precious telling me about her week. And bingo there it is – with an N – Don Nowland at the address we just dropped him. I’m thinking this is good. While I’m underlining his name in the phone book, and several messages have gone by, I suddenly hear the voice I just heard in the car. He says, “I was just in the car with you and really enjoyed our conversation.” He apologized for the short notice and asked if I would like to meet him for a drink the following night because he was traveling again for business the day after that. So I tried to count to 10 or so before calling him back. I’m thinking here’s a guy who isn’t used to being turned down. Although I didn’t get a good look at him I was betting he wasn’t hard on the eyes. So I call him back and we make a date. But then he had to cancel it because he realized he was under the weather and he had to travel the next day to Brazil. So we agreed to get together when he returned. But then we have another one of those major Nor’easters and his flight to Brazil is cancelled. So he calls me back to make another date for that afternoon, since he wasn’t traveling and he was feeling much better. This time we decided to meet at Maddies that afternoon. We didn’t think we would recognize each other so we described the jackets we’d be wearing. In those days, when there was a powerful winter Nor’easter predicted in Marblehead -to the point all travel is suspended- locals flocked to the Old Town waterfront streets and pubs to “do the storm” or the “Pub Crawl”. I’d already made plans for that day with my friend Carol, but since we’d planned to go out earlier than my date with Don, there seemed to be no reason to not do both. So Carol and I are out for a couple of hours playing in the snow and enjoying our storm beaten waterfront and drinking establishments when the designated time rolls around.

I’m in the lead as we stroll into Maddies scanning the crowd and I notice the jacket right away. I couldn’t restrain my delight when I saw him and quickly turned to give Carol an enthusiastic thumbs up. YES! The rest shall we say is history. Don loved that story, especially the last part. Don’s courage and determination to continue living his life with dignity and purpose, regardless of what was happening to his body, was nothing short of breathtaking. All the way up thru his last day at home he was still actively mentoring one of his favorite young people Brett LeBlanc who will speak today. In closing, I believe the best way to honor Don’s memory is by finding ways to give back, pay it forward, show compassion, and take responsibility. My sister Rhea Lewis and I put together slide show. It’s about 6 minutes. That’s next, then the other speakers will make their remarks. I hope you have a chance to sign my guest book today before you leave. It’s in the photos area by the main entrance. Thank you again for being here. Don loved a good party!

Photo Left: After remarks, L to R: Rear- Genega, Axley, Frank; Front- Campbell, Sellers, Davita Nowland, Asplund, Hawker, Dorney, Benton, McCloskey, Barwis

Scattering of flower petals after Don’s ashes
Debarked after scattering, L to R: Rear- Cheryl Asplund, Ralph Asplund, Dennis Hawker, Stan Genega, Bob Axley, Tom Henneberry, Dennis Sellers, Dan Benton, Chuck McCloskey; Front- Russ Campbell, Linda Hawker, Barbara Genega, Karen Henneberry, Karen Sellers, Rosemary McCloskey, TJ Kelly Not Shown- Leslie Alger, Dorneys, Franks (not on boats) and Barwis (on another boat).
Dennis Hawker spreads flower petals

Stan, sounds like an extraordinary send-off for an extraordinary Classmate. On behalf of all of us, profound condolences to Davita. Don was so fortunate to have her as his soul mate. Don, see you on the other side, but we’re going to miss you mightily in the interim! S&D, Step

Whitewater Rafting with PB&J (What could possibly go wrong?)

Short version: E-1 Plebe roommates, Paul Singelyn, Ben Whitehouse, & Jay Vaughn reunited in July 2017 for a 34-mile, two-day whitewater rafting trip down the Arkansas river near Buena Vista, Colorado. Their guide was Ben's son, Harrison. They met in Colorado Springs at the home of gracious hosts, Tim and Bobbie Simmons, for a wonderful supper, great visiting, and luxurious overnight accommodations. Along the river, they found an answer to that recurring haunting question that dogs their adventures, “What could possibly go wrong?”

Long verson: PB&J began their lifelong friendship as plebe roommates. In 1963, they climbed Oregon's Mount Hood without benefit of equipment, proper clothing or good sense. They traveled together through Europe for a month, sleeping in a French Panhard automobile. More recently, they toured Civil War battlefields from Shiloh to Chattanooga. It was time for another reunion.

At Ben's prompting, we headed for Colorado to go whitewater rafting with his son, Harrison “Harry” as our guide. Ben flew from Raleigh to join Paul in Hendersonville, TN where they began a two day drive to Colorado Springs at the same time Jay drove from Sierra Vista, AZ, all showing up on the doorstep of Tim and Bobbie Simmons within 30 seconds of each other. Remarkable military precision, huh? Bless their hearts, Tim and Bobbie hosted PB&J overnight and wined and dined them with unbelievable grace and hospitality. Tim took them on a special tour and provided an insider's view of Colorado Springs, given his tenure there as a judge.

The pleasant Saturday afternoon ring-knocker conversation soon spiraled out of control and into a dog-eatdog contest of wills over the Pegs & Jokers game board. Forget that stuff about the “fields of friendly strife,” this was for blood. Teams were outfitted in matching apparel. This day the Grays (P & B) edged the Blacks (T & J) by resorting to treachery.

Enough frivolity, it was time to get serious about the whitewater rafting!! Ben provided T-shirts for all (including Tim), worn in the group grope picture above that includes Bobbie. The back of this shirt is shown here. Notice the picture of the boater at the top of a waterfall. “What could possibly go wrong?” We would soon find out.

We left the safety of the Simmons' house, crossed some mountains, found lodging and met up with Harrison and his soon-to-be fiance, Meg for supper. Sorry we don't have a picture of Meg as it would significantly improve the quality of this tale. Harry has been guiding rafts for 11 years and knows his stuff. Incidentally, his other occupation is as a media tech in the truck that sits outside sports events (mostly football and hockey so he can be a river guide in the summer) and provides the stats you see on the screen. Over supper he asked if PB or J had any physical problems he should know about? One had bad knees, one had a bad back, and the other had bad shoulders. What a crew!! Harry rolled his eys and shook his head and decided he had better bring a raft equipped with oars. PB&J would have paddles, but little was expected of them. Turned out they were magnificent paddlers … mostly.

PB&J readied themselves for the two day trip by cramming their aging, aching, and bulging bodies into wet suits and riding upstream to a point a few miles north of Buena Vista, CO. All went well the first morning as Harry's geezer crew gained confidence to the point Harry could almost depend on them to paddle when he told them to do so. They mastered several sets of rapids. They relaxed, cracked jokes, made fun of Ben in front of his son, and laughed at everything. This was easy. Not.

At noon, they stopped for lunch and a much (okay, desperately) needed potty break and then got back on the river. Harry warned to be ready for the “Silver Bullet” set of rapids, which were next to an abandoned dam. These rapids consisted of a set of three drops. The first two were reasonably small but the third was about 13 feet with a large hole at the bottom. All went well until the bottom of the third drop when, coming out of the hole, the raft hit a rock and bent in such that when it sprang back, it launched our beloved guide straight up into the air like coming off of a bucking horse. At one point his feet were above his head. He landed unceremoniously back in the raft (thank goodness). Somewhere in all this, he LOST AN OAR (this is important)!

PB&J, in the front of the raft, detected a remarkable lack of guidance coming from the rear of the raft. Harry, a bit worse for wear, recovered somewhat, clambered back into his seat, and directed us into an eddy so he could assess the situation to either (a) use his spare oar, or (b) retrieve the lost one. We were temporarily hung up on a large rock even though the river raged around us. Harry spotted the missing oar trapped and twirling about in an upstream eddy. It teased us a time or two appearing to head our direction only to return to the eddy. Harry opted for plan (b) and left the raft to go upstream to retrieve the oar. PB&J looked at one another bravely and hoped to stay perched on the rock.

Scrambling upstream, Harry furtively glanced over his shoulder at his raft and crew, hoping they were still on the rock. He made it to and grabbed the oar and began hustling back to the raft. As he got about 5 feet from it and his wide-eyed crew, the raft slipped off the rock and back into the current. Did I mention that the current is going about 20 miles per hour? It seemed like more. Now PB&J were alone in a raft going backward downstream and in a big hurry. All three former leaders of men took charge of the situation with useless comments like, “This can't be good!” or “Head for the bank!” or (my personal favorite) “Paddle!”. The raft slammed around a bit and gained speed. The right bank seemed to be further away than ever as the raft rounded a bend such that Harry was now completely out of sight. Our boys now knew what could possibly go wrong.

Then, as often happens with any PB&J encounter, Divine Intervention saved the day, this time by presenting a hogwire fence jutting a couple of feet into the river. This was the only such fence seen along this stretch of 34 miles of river. With many thanks to the Big Ranger, and inspired by his screaming fellow paddlers, Jay grabbed the fence. The raft stopped, but was still very much in the current and aimed upstream. Again, fellow travelers, Ben and Paul offered inspiring words such as, “Hang onto the fence!!” Jay wished he had thought of that. They might be okay if Jay (or just his arm) did not come completely out of the raft until Harry caught up. And that is what happened. Harry came hustling, stumbling, swimming, and waving his oar around the bend. He splashed his way back to the raft, bruised and bushed, but still in command of a raft full of grateful geezers. No harm, no foul.

The trip continued down river to our overnight camping spot where PB&J could put on dry clothes and enjoy a night next to the river. It reminded them of good times past during Ranger School except they could warm by a campfire, sleep in a tent, and eat good food (no live goats or rabbits).

Our intrepid gang of three came away from this latest adventure with profound appreciation for the power of the Arkansas River, the beauty of Colorado's breathtaking scenery, and the accomplished skills and patience of our beloved river guide. We will long remember the joy of cramming ourselves into wet suits and the fun of sloshing around in booty juice. We hope you enjoyed this small sample of what can go wrong when these three guys get together. Photo 3| Photo 4 | Photo 5 | Photo 6 | Photo 7 | Photo 8

Despatches 17 - 6AUG17

Ours is a class that just keeps on keepin’ on. One of us, Keyes Hudson, is even retracing Medieval pilgrimage routes in Europe as I write (I narrowly avoided writing “as I stroke these keys,” an unforgiveable and potentially salacious pun). I hope to hear in great detail about this, his second such adventure, I believe, anon. I’d also like to link him up with Dr. Scholl’s as a corporate sponsor, but fear that might jeopardize his amateur status. Somewhat closer to home, our ranks are equally peripatetic, as evinced below.

Yet. Again. More. Golf

Barrie Zais writes to inform about the latest gathering centering in part on that noble martial art, but also encompassing all the other delights of Classmates doing manly things in a manly manner together: “Every year since 2004, Steve & Wanda Darrah have hosted a class gathering at their club and home near Richmond. Twelve or so regulars meet for three days of golf, food, drinks, poker, and camaraderie. As always, this year’s event was special. The picture was taken in their back yard.”

Photo L-R: Tom Carll, Walt Kulbacki, Bob Radcliffe, Fred Grates, Pat Kenny, Jack Thomasson (seated), Chris Needels, Barrie Zais, Bob Harter, Sandy Hallenbeck, Steve Darrah. [Greenhouse for medicinal herbs in right background?]

Thanks, Barrie! Some of those guys bear a remarkable resemblance to people I went to school with!

They sell sea shells by the sea shore

Well, no they don’t, but the clan of patriarch Chuck Moseley gathers every summer at the beach – which one its Chamber of Commerce pleads that I not reveal – to celebrate family solidarity and everything that goes with it. Chuck explains in this wise:

“The serious [photo] … shows our daughter, husband and their nine children (six adopted) and our son, wife and their five children. Throw in two grands’ spouses and a boyfriend. Chase, our son’s oldest, is beginning his yearling year (they call it Yuck year) [yuck!] and has missed the last two annual beach weeks so he is Photo Shopped onto my stomach.”

The Moseley Clan at an undisclosed beach location. As an only child who married an only child and had but one child who has as yet had but one child (still with me?), I cannot but be mightily impressed at the posterity you have generated, truly young America at its finest. I have one 5 x great grandfather who sired 27 children by three wives (apparently, they kept wearing out – he was with wife #4 when he expired), but I doubt they could have looked half as happy as your brood. Clever idea, inserting your Yuck [yuck!] grandson’s photo onto your shirt, and thanks for explaining … absent that, one might conclude that he’s the shortest man in the runtiest company at Buckner!

And the array of Solo Cups on the counter attests that everyone is staying well hydrated as well – perhaps well pickled in the adults’ case? Just one question: how many bathrooms does that condo have? If fewer than four, it must get a bit hectic right around reveille.

And then …. Chuck continues:“… our … beach [photo] usually ends up as our Christmas picture. As a ‘reward’ for sitting still / posing, we always take a silly one where the grands can act up!”
Crips, Bloods, or Moseleys? You decide.
Not just the grands, Chuck … not just the grands.

Prepsters 57 years after the fact

Skip O’Donnell and Preston Motes were classmates of mine (and a number of the rest of you) at Belvoir back in The Day. As this recent photo submitted by Skip attests, they don’t look all that different from USMAPS days, though they may require less frequent haircuts than when they were 18. For my part, I do not recognize myself from day to day, so it’s good for these rheumy old eyes to see people who age with grace. There’s a term of art in systems engineering, “graceful degradation,” describing a system’s ability to suffer hindered performance in one component without the remainder going
down the drain with it. [RMS Titanic did not degrade gracefully, for example.] Skip, Preston, and their lovely ladies exhibit such grace abundantly. I, by way of contrast, sit here waiting for my nose to fall off and take my internal organs with it!
Photo L-R: Preston & Sandra Motes, Skip & Marilyn O’Donnell

And more from Skip

“This e-mail notice came out last week. I just got my August 2017 VFW magazine with the same ad for this book [Brutal Battles of Vietnam]. It will cost $8 for shipping and handling. I hear this book covers a lot of the battles we were in.”

I seem to recall that place, and perhaps others do as well. In no way am I a shill for either the organization or the product, but I’ve ordered a copy, figuring that there’s still a lot to learn about the only war in which I was ever involved. My own memories are unreliable – I know that because every once in a while I wake up in the morning with the vivid impression that I won the damn thing! See for details.

Vagaries and Conundra

This is but conjecture on my part, but English must be one of the harder languages for non-native speakers to learn to use correctly. Consider: Most native speakers/writers flaunt many of our own rules out of either ignorance or the desire to accommodate a colloquial audience. Of course languages must evolve if they are not to die, and naturally rules may be bent in the interests of some higher creative (or commercial) purpose, like poetry or as a catchy way to sell more widgets. How we speak is sometimes in discord with how we spell, and often inconsistently. Very few people pronounce the “t” in “often,” yet there it is when we write it. How is the combination “ghtsbr” to be pronounced? Refer to the proper noun “Knightsbridge” to be instructed. Seek consistent guidance in examining “rough,” “through,” and “though.” No, don’t, because there isn’t any; you either know it or you do not.

-- Look at “lead me to the lead mine,” or “so do I,” or “I read that he could not read,” or any of a host of other paradoxes.
-- Ponder the reason for the predominance of the silent final “e.” Give up? It is a vestige of Old and Middle English declensional endings, as used in German, Russian, or Latin, today to denote the case of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. Nowadays, our subject-verb-object word-order obviates the need for all cases but the nominative, objective, and possessive. Save for the use of parentheses, nouns transition intact among the cases, leaving only pronouns to differentiate by case (as in he-him-his), and the subjunctive mood for verbs (“The judge decreed that John be hanged”) to puzzle the neophyte.
-- Peer at the dark underside of the language, where transitive verbs abruptly become intransitive (“Acura is the most awarded automobile in the US!”) Awarded to whom? I never won one! Then recoil in horror as the Denizens of Linguistic Hell back-construct adjectives to craft non-existent nouns like “beautifulness” and “wonderfulness.”

Finally (cheers from readership)

Despatches #18 will follow on the heels of this column. It was a submission so well crafted and complex that I shrank from making any change or comment whatever – there’s no virtue in putting lace on a pancake, after all.
That said, be ye persuaded that I still gratefully accept submissions in any form save crayon on the inside of a Happy Meal box. Still, when someone does my job for me, and so well ….

Your humble scrivener,

“Old Grad” Tour of USMA

A couple of weeks ago, George Ruggles escorted two grandsons from Oregon to West Point, where the boys attended a swim camp. Of course, there were opportunities to sponge off Classmates and bore his grandsons silly with stories about people they don’t know, but he also shepherded them gently i nto Grey Hog initial indoctrination by taking them on the Grad Tour, a feature of the Rockbound Highland Home Program. He saith in this wise: “Saturday 7/8 I dropped off my two grandsons, Parker and Hayden Ruggles, 15 and 13, for a 4 -day swim camp at West Point.

Photo Left: L- R: Hay den, Gram pa George, and Parker Ruggles

“The trip had started badly on Wednesday night when we saw a guy on a stepladder working on the airplane engine in Redmond, OR. This plane was supposed to take us to Seattle where we'd catch a red eye to Newark, but it never got off the ground. We caught the next flight, though, and made it to EWR on time where Ray Paske picked us up Thursday morning and took us to his nearby house for naps and refreshments. He and Ginny are great company; we see them in Palm Desert every winter. From there we rented a car and drove downstate to spend the night at the home of Mike & Judy Leibowitz, also wonderful people and gracious hosts. The boys were nearly unconscious by this time, and desperate for a good night's sleep.

“On Friday, we motored up to West Point and took the grad-insider tour of the campus.  Not free, it was $25 for me and $10 each for the kids, but well worth the money. “The boys said the place looked like Hogwarts.

“Two other grads and their kids joined us. Tour guide was a grad herself, class of about '90. Nice lady, but not quite up to speed on legends and myths. Did not know, for example, the story of Superintendent Mac Arthur and the missing dinner plates. Also had him giving his D, H, C speech from the poop deck; he actually was at a lectern on the floor of the mess  hall.

“As Bob Bradley would say, irregardless, we learned some stuff. The tables in the mess hall now house twelve cadets; imagine cutting the apple pie into twelve equal slices. Prominent among the condiments at the table is A-1 sauce, subject to ambient temperature despite the label stating "refrigerate after opening". We use A-1 at home, and are religious about its refrigeration. Well, maybe not religious, I mean we don't pray to it, and it's also good at Five Guys.

With respect to the Cadet Mess, George adds, “In our day, plebes announced the food and passed the items to the head of the table where the firsties served themselves, then the cows, etc. Cathy related that at some point in the past the cadets realized this approach is counter to Army tradition, where the troops are served first and the officers get what's left. So now the plebes fill their plates and pass the food on up to the yearlings and so  forth.”

“Tour included Kimsey Center, but we failed to see the three Heismans. Also the new library, with the spectacular view from the top floor. Tour guide Cathy said there are nearly .5 million books on the shelves, and twice as many on the website. Makes you wonder if we need libraries, other than a place to quietly study. The library has a ring display, and we are represented by the late Spotswood De Witt's, KIA in Vietnam.

“We walked thru Central Area, after getting permission from the civilian guard. (They are tough about unauthorized visitors). I swear I saw the path worn into the concrete where the aforementioned Bradley strode his 100+ hours on the area. Passing French Monument, I proudly recited the three things wrong with it, something the other two much younger grads on the tour could not do. The crowd was suitably impressed when I also mentioned the other thing about the monument, the belief that if a virgin walks by the cannon will fire. Cathy had never heard that one.

L-R: Parker and Hayden Ruggles test the grip of the railing stanchions’ anchor bolts atop the new Cadet Library

“Although not part of the tour, we snuck into the Cadet Chapel later in the day. It no longer has the Book of Common Prayer close at hand; the Bible is in its place. Cathy had mentioned earlier that there is an escape door halfway down the aisle in case a bride, (or groom), decides to bail at the last minute before the wedding  (sentencing).

“The boys are housed in Lee Barracks, in a room completely different from what I recall from Central area and Lost Fifties digs. From there they can see the new Davis Barracks, which I forgot to take a picture of. I heard it has air conditioning. Who can doubt that the Corps has?? Most impressive are the six flights of stairs that can be seen from outside the new building. Had the barracks been there in our day, we would surely have posted a plebe outside to signal a warning if the infamous one-tennis-shoe CPT Knoff were charging up the stairs looking for out-of-room miscreants.

L- R: Hay den and Parker Ruggles checking in to their Lee Barracks room

“The grad tour is a relatively new AOG benefit and worth booking. Without it, you'd have a hard time seeing all that you want to see. Plus, it's a great opportunity to show off some old corps knowledge, from the days when a plebe year meant something, back before fruit and milk....”

Many thanks, George. Your grandsons are both handsome and well turned out, and you must be very proud of them. Your report was most illuminating. For example, I had no idea I needed to refrigerate my A-1; I keep mine on the bedside table in case I waken in the middle of the night and need a fix. Guess I’ll crank the A/C down tonight!

Another insight into contemporary Cadet Life. From Emery Chase comes this URL, which connects either to a malware mill in Uzbekistan or to a presentation given to the parents and families of New Cadets. (As reported earlier, Emery was at West Point recently to witness a grandson’s swearing in, and was an eye witness to the deluge that attended that ceremony).

“Step, I have attached the link to the R-Day parents briefing for class of 2021. I found parts of it very interesting, times certainly have changed since our days.


Far from the madding crowd

Clair Gill recently hosted Classmates in his mountain lair, for what nefarious purpose we can only guess … I can envision people watching little white balls ricocheting off pines and firs, though. As Clair tells it,

“Pic tured are we three amigos: Clair Gill, Tom Abraham and Bob Frank. Bob and Mary Frank we re visiting us for several days at Sherry’s and my getaway c abin at Indian La ke, PA—high in the Alleghenies. We managed to persuade Abe to motor up from Greensburg to join us for some frivolity and tales of yore. Fun visit and some great golf shots. Gla d Tom and Roxie c ould join us .”

L-R: Clair Gill, Tom Abraham, Bob Frank – roughing it in Clair’s miserable mountain shanty while the ladies hike out for help

Cue closing credits

For those of you who are at their computers 24/7 anticipating them, I’m letting my bits of grammatical pontification accumulate, but in the next Despatches I shall resume my harangue. Not a promise; just a threat. Thanks again for suggestions from the readership.


The Vietnam Memorial

If you have been at all aware of your surroundings during the past months, you know that Chuck Nichols has cited in the “Taps” section of our Class Website the location on The Wall of each of our Vietnam fallen. Now, Larry Neal and Bob Cato have compiled consolidated lists, both in chronological sequence and alphabetically, of those much-lamented Classmates. [See companion attachment to the cover email for this edition of Despatches] If any of you find yourselves in DC and want to emulate Sonny Arkangel’s “Blitz of Honor” (see Despatches #13), or merely visit the panels where a few old friends are memorialized, then you’ll find Larry’s and Bob’s contribution most useful.

Many thanks, Larry and Bob. Fall out and make sandwiches!

Web pages of general interest

José Sánchez sends this link to a real blast from the past – 1970 to be exact, when many of us were just back from or still in or about to return to Vietnam. It’s especially appropriate as we approach the 241st anniversary of the founding of our republic, and features many major entertainment figures of our youth performing perhaps our most popular patriotic song. See Thanks, Joe!

From Jim Dyer comes this reference to a non-profit that gets prisoners involved in training service dogs, many of which will eventually be linked with a military veteran. Any program that does that and also contributes to the rehabilitation of prison inmates seems a win-win to me.

See Thanks, Jim!

And the May Golf Gathering photos continue to come in

The following two photos are courtesy of John Swensson. Thanks, John, and sorry there wasn’t room to include them in the main reporting on that gala.

Dave Jones and Sonny Ray, awaiting the call for seconds.

Gordy Larson attempts to unleash the hound on Swensson, but the pup isn’t having any.

English 441 (continued)

It is entirely unexceptional that my little harangues on grammar, punctuation, and diction have engendered responses from the readership, but encouragingly, those comments have been generally favorable, and many have suggested other errors for attention. Turns out that English is a more popular subject when there are no writs or themes involved!

Absolutes incorrectly modified. “A is very unique.” No, it is or it is not unique, for that word does not denote rarity but, rather, incomparability with any other thing in the known universe. Something unique is the sole member of a class, and the only modifiers it will bear are terms like “genuinely” or “literally” or “truly.” The same holds true for perfect. Like pregnant, perfect denotes a binary condition … either something/one is or it isn’t. Comparisons may be made between things that approach perfection or uniqueness by use of the adjective “nearly.” Thus, “MacArthur’s cadet record is more nearly perfect than Robert E. Lee’s.” God – in whatever guise(s) you envision the divinity – is perfect. The rest of us, from Napoleon to Joe Tentpeg, can only approach perfection as ▲X approaches 0. Should one of us achieve perfection, then he would be truly unique, which is not to say divine but certainly someone you’d not want to have to compete with for promotion.

Efficient or effective? We all understand the engineering principle here, but the terms are often used in conversation as if they were synonyms, which they decidedly are not. Efficient refers to the ratio between output and input. A motor vehicle that converts 90% of its fuel’s potential energy to angular momentum at the driven wheels would be highly efficient. If, however, it only achieves a speed of 5 MPH, it would not be an effective vehicle for highway cruising, however cheap to operate. In World War II, our Sherman tank in its various guises was less effective on an individual basis than comparable German armor, but that individual gap was eliminated because of the higher numbers of M-5s we were able to field – greater force effectiveness as it were. If we consider maintenance costs, both parts and labor, the Sherman was probably more efficient that most Panzers as well.

Tragedy. Though the language is changing such that it will probably soon be accepted as a synonym for “sad event,” I don’t think we’re there yet. Correctly, tragic denotes the ruin of a great figure through excessive pride (hubris), per its adoption from Greek drama. Thus, 20 disabled orphans run down in a crosswalk by a speeding concrete truck is heartbreakingly painful to contemplate, but it is not tragic. A king reduced to madness by losing sight of his principles in pursuit of his ambitions is.

Decimate. The lazy speaker/writer equates this term to “devastate” or “destroy.” In fact, any commander on the Western front in World War I would have been pleased as punch to have had his unit merely decimated in a major battle, for decimation denotes the loss of 10% a unit’s force. In ancient Rome, the punishment for a cohort or legion that performed badly, disobeyed orders, or fled the battlefield was the ritual slaughter of one soldier out of ten, usually in an impressive ceremony with the executioners coming from the remaining 90% of the punished unit, with neighboring units drawn up to observe and be scared straight thereby.

The infernal misplaced modifying clause or phrase. “Born in Braunau in 1889, Hitler’s family moved to Linz.” Interesting family, all the same age! Correctly one would say or write, “Born in Braunau in 1889, Hitler moved with his family to Linz.” A good dodge is to dispense with the introductory clause and merely say “Hitler was born in Braunau in 1889 and moved with his family to Linz.” This type of error may be heard in about 50% of the narration in on the History Channel!

Differ/Different/Differently. All three take the preposition “from.” Most people use “than.” This may be another area where the standard is changing and I am clinging vainly to a sinking straw. Noted for their preference for being different from their American cousins, even in error, many otherwise well educated Brits often say “different to!”

Nominative v. Objective case for pronouns. Nominative -- “I ate cold ham and lima beans from a can.” Objective – “That meal gave me horrific heartburn.” Easy-peasy. The rub comes in when there are several pronouns that stand as objects of the verb. “Jane invited her and me to the party” is correct, whereas “Jane invited her (objective) and I (nominative) is as fully incorrect as saying “Jane invited she and me.” If the case error occurs, it is usually in the second and subsequent pronouns, so a good rule of thumb is to eliminate the first pronoun and see if the sentence seems correct with just the second. Obviously, “Jane invited I” really grates on the native speaker’s ear! The conversational “It’s me” is probably locked in concrete, but “it’s I” is still proper in written form.

Latin plurals in English. Here I admit to being a lost-causer. Data refers to more than one datum, hence requires the plural verb form are. This distinction is almost universally disregarded. Similarly, media denotes more than one medium – so TV news is but one medium among the communications media, which are many. If it is a single requirement under discussion, then criterion, not criteria should be used. Fat chance!
Unintentional synecdoche. [Sin-ek-doh-kee] Synecdoche is a term of rhetoric and means representing the whole by one of its parts (or more rarely, vice versa) – “CENTCOM put boots on Iraqi ground in February of 1991.” Obviously, the boots had occupants with weapons and equipment, organized into units which were commanded in a coordinated way, etc.

But to say “cement” when what is meant is “concrete” is probably not an exercise of ancient Greek rhetorical conventions but, rather, an error originating with the ignorant but now equally common among those who know better. As we all recall from concrete lab, cement without sand or aggregate and water is useless, which explains the popularity of Ready-Mix among weekend DIYers.

Errors abounding in newspaper obituaries. Most obits for ordinary folk are written by a family member or the funeral home, and the most common errors involve the individual’s military service. “In World War II, John was a Merchant Marine.” No, he was a merchant mariner or served in the Merchant Marine.

“He enlisted in the Marine/Air Corp.” Corps, Captain Obvious!
“He served in the 291st Infantry Division [probably regiment], 3d Army, 1st Platoon under General Patton [echelons missing/out of hierarchal order].” Civilians cannot be expected to understand echelons of command, of course, so it would be so lovely if every living veteran would jot down the correct unit designation as they wish it to appear in print and secure it with their other important papers.
“He served as bo’sun on several landing crafts.” No, “craft” is both singular and plural: one or a thousand landing craft, one or a thousand aircraft, etc.

S&D and a Happy Independence Day to All,

Garden club

From the prairies of Northern Illinois comes this photo from John & Carol Roseberg, depicting a recent gathering of Classmates:

L-R: George & Jill Seaworth, Anna & Tom Croak, Carol & John Roseberg, Izumi & Ken Yoshitani

The above was taken at the Anderson Japanese Gardens, Rockford, IL, on 1 June 2017. Lovely setting, lovely people -- what’s not to like?

A little-known VA benefit

Ed Simpson provides this item on a VA benefit for wartime veterans now in reduced circumstances. The benefit can be applied to in-home care, domiciliary care, and other medical costs, subject to a ceiling on the veteran’s assets. Even VA personnel seem not to be all that familiar with this particular benefit.

“Hopefully everyone is doing well and is not in need of financial assistance. But just in case, check the following link for quick info:

“Qualifying in general is quite easy for any veteran who served during time of war, even if they were not in the theater of combat. Info denotes the periods considered as war for the benefit.

“Supposedly, not many of the one million+ living WW II veterans are enrolled in the program. I think the limiters are: 1) benefit isn't well known and 2) there is an asset ceiling of $80,000, not including house and vehicles!

“But I suggest you read info on site.”

According to an AP article that Ed quotes, “[The] Aid and Attendance and Housebound Improved Pension" benefit, known as A&A, can cover the costs of caregivers in the home (including sons and daughters who are paid to be caregivers, though not spouses) or be used for assisted living or a nursing home. The benefit is not insignificant: up to $2,019 monthly for a veteran and spouse, and up to $1,094 for the widow of a veteran.”

This info could prove quite useful to someone in the Class some day, be he/she a Classmate, a widow, or a friend or relative. Thanks, Ed, for having our six!

At Long last ….

Class Golf Guru Bob Radcliffe reports that, in the obsession known as golf, late is infinitely preferable to never:

“I am happy to tell you that after 64 years of playing golf, today I shot my first Hole in One! It was a perfectly hit 7 iron 127 yards to a front pin on the 3rd Hole of the Cameron Nine at Thistle. What was particularly great as all four of us in the foursome saw the ball the entire trip. So for now I surmise that I am the last guy in the Class to shoot a Hole in One!!! I will be happy to relinquish the honor so go get them!”

Bob Radcliffe just after hitting the little ball just right

And in case you thought that golf was the only sport not requiring a jock strap with which our former lacrosse great is involved, the photo below illustrates a second.

Rear to Front: Bob Radcliffe and 6-pound friend, Lake Waccamaw, NC, late April

[NOTE: Bob is dressed in layers for practicality in uncertain weather – the bass, not so much.]

Still at it!

After more than a decade of serving as our faithful Class Scribe (maybe longer), Denny Coll is still meeting and greeting Classmates all over this fair land of hours (save, perhaps, for the Correct Coast):

“What do you do when you have a graduation in Florida and lots of time? Get out the Class Roster and see who lives near the intended route. Road Trip - 2017 version.

“First stop - The Picklers in Lebanon, TN just outside Nashville. Lovely visit with John & Karen who had Oleh & Janice Koropey, John & Mary McCullough, and Cam & Deb McConnell over for dinner. Great conversation, lots of laughs.

L-R, McConnells, Koropeys, Coll/Schulze, McCulloughs, Picklers

“Next stops were to see Jack (as in Daniels) in Lynchburg (now that was fun), then a few stops before the high school graduation of oldest granddaughter Kirby Horne, who like her mother Shannon ('95) is headed to the USMA Prep School and then, hopefully, USMA '22. A couple of planned classmate visits on the way back had to be scuttled due to said classmates returning north. Maybe next year.

Kirby-Lynn Horne, Denny’s USMAPS-bound grand-daughter

“After a few days of R & R in Hilton Head, we stopped in Columbia SC to see John Johnson, who is in an assisted living facility. Although a bit frail, John's mind was clicking and we had some great laughs (with brother Ollie Johnson '68) looking thru the John Seymour Memorial photo book we presented John. The photo book showed the two of them with their '65 backfield mates Rollie Stichweh, and Don Parcells on the cover. John says hello to all.

“That evening, we dined in Asheville with Mark & Linda Walsh and rehashed all the good old times. With the exception of the Seymour Memorial, I had not see Mark since our Cadet days. It was good to catch up. Linda (whose brother Rick Kuzman is our classmate) had as many great stories as Mark.

L-R, Mark Walsh, Denny Coll, Linda Walsh, Catherine Schulze

“We back-tracked a bit and spent the next day in Pinehurst with the always loquacious Jack Thomasson and his lovely Ann. We were joined at dinner by John & Eleanor Vann.

“I almost forgot, after seeing "Jack" in Lynchburg, we also stopped in at Maker's Mark and a few other distilleries. I am not a hard liquor guy, but these distillery tours were fun and fascinating.

Catherine, Denny, and their daily supplies

“Fifteen days, 4,300 miles, 10 classmates, one former business partner, four distilleries, one Marine Boot Camp, to say nothing of a high school graduation and family get-together; great way to start another fantastic summer.”

Meanwhile, just outside the Beltway …

ensued the following, reports Bob Frank:

“Courtesy of Bob Harter, Classmates in the Washington area gathered to break bread at the Springfield Golf & Country Club on Wednesday, 7 June. In the best tradition of Rick Bunn, we assembled for a group picture, but not before Lee Hewitt had to leave.

L-R, Skidmore, Harter, Kennedy, Brock, Ken Ferguson, Viani, Simpson, Harvey, Ammon, JC Thompson, Neal Linn (behind Ken Chase), Ziegler (behind Linn), Frank (behind Ziegler), Chase, Sterbenz, Nichols, Gamboa, Clover, Murphy, Molepske

“Ken Chase ‘91, Emery’s son and third generation of Chases with Army service, just gave up command of the 25th ID Aviation Brigade. He’s on his way to Korea. Ken gave a sweeping overview of Army forces in the Pacific and the demanding challenges his sons (‘15 and ‘20) will soon face as lieutenants. Ken pointed out that just as we faced a different world than his WWII grandfathers, the new generation is facing a world much different from ours. The one constant: the desire to serve our nation. He is sure that the admiration he and his Classmates have for ‘65 will be replicated by the current Classes when look to the Classes that preceded them. All I could say is that Ken sure knows how to make us feel really good about ourselves. A repeat visit … would certainly be welcomed. “After all the camaraderie and cheer, 7 of us stayed for the frivolity: golf!”

Ruffles and Flourishes

The USMA Band is the oldest such organization in the Army (200 years and counting). Though smaller than the one we remember, it is even busier than it was in our day. See®ion=nygeo-promo-region&WT.nav=nygeo-promo-region&_r=0

So far, so good! Per Duncan MacVicar’s Caring Bridge page, he came through the surgery with flying colors and is now at home. I know this is welcome news and will close this edition of Despatches by wishing him a short and smooth road to complete recovery!


To all those who fought, bled, and died to accomplish Operation Overlord: Pax aeternam!

Herewith, another potpourri of items of interest to the Class of 1965. Once again, many thanks to all those who have given me their support, both moral and substantive. I do not believe that I have heard a single discouraging word from any of you, and as we approach the EENT of life, it is truly splendid to see how the solidarity of the Class of 1965 continues to grow and sustain us.

Steve Leach. Classmate Tom Kovach was kind enough to send me a link to Steve’s obituary on a Richmond site. As I’ve said before, I never had any contact with Steve after we graduated (barring a few snatches of conversation at a reunion or two), so I was more than a little enlightened to read of what an interesting and varied life he had led.
“LEACH, Steven Ralph, 74, of New Market, Tenn., passed away suddenly on May 21, 2017 in Knoxville, Tenn. Former places of residence include Richmond, Va.; Metuchen, N.J.; Fort Smith, Ark.; Laguna Niguel, Calif.; and Raleigh, N.C. He was born January 26, 1943 in San Diego, Calif. to Colonel Ralph D. Leach and Elizabeth Townsend Leach. In 1950, the family relocated from an avocado farm in El Cajon, Calif. to Richmond, Va. Steven was an alumnus of Bullis Preparatory School in Potomac, Md., where he excelled in athletics. He went on to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, with the commission of Second Lieutenant in Marine Corps Aviation. He served in Vietnam as a Marine A-6 Intruder bombardier navigator and rose to the rank of Captain. He flew 181 missions in Vietnam and won several medals for his service. Throughout his life, Steven lived by the West Point Code and was honest in all of his dealings. Steven joined the private sector in 1970 and worked at American Can Company in New Jersey and Dixie Cup Division in Fort Smith. While living in New Jersey, his children, Brian and Rebecca were born. He was able to retire early and live his dream with his wife, Anne in a log cabin on Pipingtree, the family farm. He was president of the Virginia Tree Farmers Association and thoroughly enjoyed his life as a tree farmer. In 2005, Steven and Anne moved to New Market, Tenn. and retired from the tree farming business. Steven had many interests, including fishing, hunting, camping, landscaping, and especially golf. Recently, he discovered a love for RVing. He was preceded in death by his father, Ralph Dewey Leach; mother, Elizabeth Townsend Leach; and brother, Glenn Ashley Leach. Steven is survived by his loving wife, Anne; sister, Mimi Miller and her husband, Gene; children, Brian Glenn Leach and Rebecca Leach Sanders; and eight grandchildren.

A man of many and diverse accomplishments! Many thanks to Tom for identifying this source of information!

A fitting tribute

A few weeks ago, Sonny Arkangel asked me how to find out where each of our Vietnam KIAs is memorialized at The Wall in DC. (FYI, Chuck Nichols has built that feature into the memorial page of our Class website). On Memorial Day weekend, while participating in a Purple Heart honor flight visit to DC, Sonny paid obeisance to our departed friends in a very singular way:

“The first ever [Purple Heart] Honor Flight to DC during the Memorial Day Weekend was truly a trip of a lifetime even if it was only 39 hours long from meeting at Bergstrom Airport in Austin and wheels down on return. Because of the unanimous decision from all 25 of us Purple Heart recipients, we attended the 149th Memorial Service at Arlington Cemetery to hear the President's address. That did not leave much time to visit the DC Memorials. However, I bypassed the WW II Memorial to go the VN Memorial--the Wall-- and touched all of our 26 classmates--those that I could reach--said their names, recalled something of them that I was close to and saluted with the SYOTOS--See You on the Other Side. That was a very emotion laden activity and my tired brain put me to sleep before we took off for the flight back.”

Way to go, Sonny! You have done us all a great service by so honoring our fallen.

Fancy meeting y’all here!

Two old roommates/Ranger buddies and their better halves got together recently in beautiful Jawjah and reviewed the state of the world over a nosh or two. This report just in from Dick Williams:

L-R: Joan Williams, Angie & Norm Boyter, Dick Williams

“Joan and I just had a fabulous day and a half visit with Norm & Angie Boyter in Evans GA. When returning from a two-week skydiving event in Chester SC, Augusta GA was right on the route home. Norm had retired from Westinghouse and settled in Evans, a suburb of Augusta.

“We began by meeting for a Friday night movie. Then on Saturday we gave them a short tour of our RV and then Norm and Angie took us on a tour of Augusta including the waterfront on the Savannah River and a glorious old Episcopal Church. Then off to lunch at their house and an afternoon of old war stories, Ranger School buddies and West Point roommate reminiscences. The photo is the four of us having dinner on the porch of their club.”

I would point out that Dick seems to have retained his Ranger School coiffure, as well as his engaging smile. Nevertheless, I must assess 5 and 2 for “elbow on table, supper, 29APR17.”

Today’s sermon

The line between tireless pedagogue and tiresome pedant is a fine one indeed, and I am not innocent of crossing that boundary without proper immigration papers. Nevertheless, until I am authoritatively told to STFU, I shall continue sharing my observations in, I hope, a helpful way.

1. Often confused homonyms:
Phase v. faze – “The fact that little Wanda had a tantrum did not faze me, because such behavior is common to her phase of development.” Get it?

Fuse v. fuze –“The word "fuze" is often spelt "fuse" by those unacquainted with artillery usage. This is incorrect. ‘Fuse’, derived from fusus, the past participle of fundo, means ‘to melt’, e.g., the term ‘fuse-wire’ used in electrical circuits. ‘Fuze’, on the other hand, is the shortened or modern method of spelling ‘fuzée,’ meaning a tube filled with combustible material. It is a derivation of fusus, a spindle and from the French fusée, a spindle full of thread.” This is a minor point in that most literate writers use the spelling “fuse” for both meanings. However, we never ought to apply the reverse, as in “Welding is a means of fuzing together two pieces of metal.”

2. Random errors unmasked:
Peruse – many otherwise careful writers/speakers confound peruse with “scan.” It means the opposite, i.e., to read with thoughtful attention.

Less v. fewer – Less generally applies to things we normally do not speak in terms of individual entities. “There is less sugar in that bowl than in this one,” but, “That bowl contains fewer sugar cubes than this one.” Hence, it is illiterate to say “All contest entries must be in 25 words or less,” or to limit the grocery express lane to customers with “10 items or less.” In both cases, fewer is correct. “Last month, Saudi Arabia exported less oil, fewer than X barrels.”

Try and – This is a wildly incorrect version of the infinitive form of the verb following. “I’ll try and do that” is only correct if the trying and the doing are two separate, unrelated actions. The correct idiom is, of course “try to do.” Though often used in informal conversation, “try and see/come/do/etc.” has stealthily crept into the output of such formerly authoritative sources as The New York Times and Associated Press.


Day 3 of Golf Outing

Dave Gnau drops the other shoe on Mitch Bonnett and Joe DeFrancisco:

“Yes, they won but only because Mitch is a good negotiator. We lost a beer to Mitch and Joe and bought them one but they never showed up so Art and I had to drink ours and theirs.”

Forced to drink beer! Oh, the humanity, the humanity!

And Speaking of Beer … Ralph Asplund is the sort of friend that all good people deserve and few ever find, and over the years he has done yeoman service in commemorating the life and achievements of his B-1 roomie and best friend, the late Mike Thompson. As is his tradition, he celebrated Memorial Day with Mike at the Massachusetts National Cemetery.

“Included are photos of my Annual Memorial Day drink with Mike Thompson. Also, I learned recently that Harry Dermody is a neighbor. Had a beer with Mike and a shot of Jameson with Harry! “Ralph”

Harry Dermody’s Niche at Massachusetts National Cemetery

The beer is a Yuengling, coincidentally the product of a brewery founded by a second cousin five times removed of your humble scribe. The original spelling was, of course, Jüngling or Juengling, but that succumbed to the family’s desire to have their name not too horribly mangled by non-German speakers. Good choice, Ralph, even though I do not receive a penny from sales! And many thanks for all you’ve done to keep the memory of a remarkable Classmate fresh in our minds. One imagines Mike, cozily ensconced at a prime table in Fiddler’s Green, hoisting an Iron City or a Strohs to you!

Mike Thompson … Bob Bradley

Mike Thompson … Bob Bradley, darling of the San Diego yachting and mud-wrestling set, writes about Mike’s brother and one of Mike’s kids:

“Dave and Jesi Thompson at Southwestern Yacht Club, San Diego [Jesi is next to Dave].

“Jesi is spending a week in San Diego with two of her girlfriends on Dave's 50' boat. Dave was a year older than Mike, and has lived in San Diego since '79. “Jesi, around 30, is the daughter of Mike's second wife. She has half-siblings almost 20 years older than she is from Mike's first marriage. “I've known Dave almost 15 years. “Fun Fact: Dave, drafted in the 60's, was asked to go to OCS since he was a college graduate. During OCS orientation, he was told to salute a tree because he said "nine" instead of "niner." [it was artillery OCS]. He told the sergeant to "go F himself," was posted to Germany where he was in charge of log books at the motor pool. Probably saved his life!”

L-R: Dave Thompson (our Classmate Mike’s brother), his niece Jesi, two equally comely friends of Jesi’s

Thanks Bob. Dave shows a resemblance to our Mike for sure, and Jesi certainly seems to have acquired her Dad’s warm Thompson smile. And just for the record, either of Jesi’s traveling companions is welcome to view my etchings at any time! I can tell from here that they are both aficionade of the art of 19th Century intaglio. {insert leering old man emoji here}

2017 Arvin Award

A propos of a cherished Classmate lost much too soon, Tom Abraham reports on his presentation of the award established in the name of our First Captain and star wrestler, Bob Arvin:

Photo : Cadet (now LT) Logan T. Everett (2017), 2017 Arvin Award recipient and Tom Abraham

“The format changed this year, for the better. A reception was held in Eisenhower Hall at 5 PM. There I met Cadet (now LT) Logan T. Everett 141#, this year’s awardee, and his guests, teammate Russ Parsons 157#, and assistant coach Chris Chionuma. Logan’s parents were not able to be present until the following day due to business commitments. Russ was Army’s MVP this season with the most victories, while assistant coach Chris graduated from Oklahoma State U, where head coach Kevin Ward did several years prior. Both were All-Americans and both coached together before coming to Army. I was very proud to be in the company these fine gentlemen. I told you before about Logan in my Navy report. Logan was beaten by the Navy kid 15-2 at the All - Academy tourney and two weeks later he wrestled a close match to the same guy but lost by one point plus a point riding time. I might have considered sick call that day, but Logan was a display of courage. Logan was the team captain, a two time NCAA tournament qualifier, as I was, but never placed, again taking after me. Logan majored in Engineering management and branched Engineers. His first duty station is Fort Stewart, GA. He had Academic honors, was a class officer, and will make an outstanding officer in the Army. His home town is Tioga, PA, located in the north central part of the state. He and Russ Parsons will make us all proud.

"The Carl Robert Arvin Memorial Award, established in 1984, is a Pewter Tray 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 those fellow members of the Class of 1965 who were killed in the Vietnam conflict.”

Photo : Russ Parsons, Logan Everett, Coach Chris, Tom Abraham, and Barli Ross, friend from church and health advocate

“The awards presentation began at 7 PM and proceeded with great efficiency and professionalism. It was over in less than an hour but performed with a lot of class and honor. The best program I have attended. Not sure how many times I have presented the award on behalf of the class but it must be at least a dozen and it continues to be a great honor for me as a classmate, teammate, and true friend of Bob Arvin. I constantly think what a loss our class, the long gray line, and our nation have endured by his early demise. “One final note, of a personal nature: I never considered myself what we used to call a gray hog. I had three priorities: an engineering degree, football, and wrestling. I achieved all three but could have done better in each. Over the years I find that I am more and more a gray hog. I love West Point, what it stands for, our class, and the long gray line. Not because I have made it better, but because it made me better. I feel very humble to have experienced what I have. And I am very proud of each and every one of our class.

“Strength and Drive.
“Tom Abraham”

Display honoring Bob in Arvin Gym

Better Late Than Never:

Class Medicine Man Dave La Rochelle sent this link in connection with Memorial Day. If you feel the need of a patriotic frisson or three, go to this Web site to hear the Cadet Glee Club perform one of their trademark numbers. (Sorry not to have run this item earlier, Dave! I plead age, disorganized personality, and plain stupidity, in that order).

From A Long-Time Reader

…of both my scribbling and the larger world of literature. Dave Bodde writes: “I … call to your attention a book, one that I read somewhat by accident ... it was placed on one of those tables that you trip over when entering a library. And so I did. “The book is Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon, a chronicle of his experiences as a platoon leader in WWI. It is a plainspoken tale of his experiences in the Battle of the Somme in 1916 and later as he realized the futility of the war. “… if at some time you think it worthwhile to pass along to the class, please feel free to do so...not for everybody, but perhaps conveying special meaning for some.”

I replied that I knew of Sassoon as a poet, but hadn’t read his war memoir. From what I know of the battles of the Somme, they were egregious examples of tens of thousands of Britain’s finest being butchered by the sheer, bloody-minded stupidity of the high command. Whole companies, battalions drowned in the mud resulting from the artillery preps or were rent asunder making frontal attacks against fortified positions … your worst day in Vietnam raised to the infinite power. No theater of war in human history has produced more instances of generals who ought to have been shot in place than does the Western Front in World War I, and I plan to visit my local library soon to renew my outrage at the monumental incompetence of French and Haig and their criminal accomplices. {“Gee, Step, how do you really feel about Allied strategy on the Western Front?”]

We’ll Be Right Back After These Words:

I am borderline obsessive-compulsive about our English language, a trait that only the late Tom Johnson ever encouraged. Every day, and in all manner of media, I encounter scores of semi-literate usages that only demean the richness of our language and, by extension, the user himself. Given the bully pulpit that this job provides, I am going to start highlighting some of these for you … misery loves company. This column’s item is false synonyms. “Notoriety” is the conceptual opposite of “fame.” When I read things like “MacArthur first won notoriety for winning two DSCs and seven Silver Stars during World War I,” I truly want to visit the publication’s editors and demonstrate the functioning of an AK-47 to them. Remember, Rangers: Mother Theresa was famous; Caligula was notorious. “Fortunately” and “fortuitously” are related only in their original Latin root. “Fortuitous” means resulting from chance, while “fortunate” means just what you think it means: a beneficial outcome. A fortunate event may occur fortuitously (strictly by chance with no effort on one’s own part), but so may a terrible catastrophe. “Fortuitously, they had scheduled their Caribbean vacation for a time that coincided with the hurricane, but fortunately they were unharmed.”

“Imply” and “infer” are often used interchangeably, and incorrectly! To “imply” is to convey meaning indirectly; to “infer” is to take meaning not directly stated. The author of a statement may imply something, which the reader may infer.

Some sobering news

I want to share with you a message I received from Duncan MacVicar. He agreed to my disseminating his letter, though wasn’t sure why and whether it might start a depressing trend. I think not – at this stage of our journey, we can all profit from the inspiration of his quiet determination to overcome an obstacle that fate has placed squarely in his path.

“I need to share with you my recent cancer diagnosis. I have mucosal melanoma, a very rare type of cancer found in the passages of the interior of the body. It was discovered by my physician during a routine annual physical. You know what the message is there: get those physicals! “Diagnostic tests have not uncovered any metastasis or abnormal lymph nodes, which is encouraging but not definitive. So at the moment I am dealing with a single infestation in the throat. After much study, Jeanne and I have chosen a team of physicians at Stanford Cancer Center for treatment. I also have two concurring second opinions from other cancer centers.

“Surgery to remove nearly all of the affected area is scheduled for Friday, June 9. This will be followed by a period of recovery and then 6 weeks of radiation therapy to destroy any remaining malignancy and cleanse the local lymph nodes. It is likely that a regimen of immunotherapy—the latest in cancer treatment, and an effective weapon against this type of cancer—will follow the radiation.

“I am fortunate to live in this area with some of the best medical resources in the country. I intend to battle this disease with all that I have, so that joys like playing with our grandkids, singing in the choir, and hiking in the woods may be mine for many years to come. “If you’d like to keep up on my progress, you can visit the Caring Bridge that I’ve set up. This is a website where I can write the latest news and you can post your comments and read comments of others. Just visit: “I appreciate your support and prayers.

“Strength and Drive,
“Duncan MacVicar”

I have always liked the hell out of Duncan – as who could not – and still regard every moment spent in his company as golden. Lamentably, I didn’t share a math Classroom with him after Plebe year, but we were in the same regiment, briefly dated some girls who traveled to West Point together, and – the bulk of our association -- sang in the Glee Club from Plebe year to graduation. I find his courage and resolve and total absence of self-pity inspiring. Those of a spiritual bent will want to include Duncan in their prayers, and all of us ought to follow his progress on the Caring Bridge site (URL above). Duncan, thank you for your candor and be assured that you have the entire surviving corpus of the Class of 1965 in your corner!

A Bridge Too Near

Art Mark has sent in several interesting photos involving a chance encounter with a Grad involved in a project near Art’s home. “Allen Decker (USMA "2008") & I on York Street in Aiken, SC. Allen was chief engineer in charge of the construction of a new ‘historic’ railroad bridge. Allen Decker (’08) and Art Mark

In a separate but related report, Art tells us a little about his house in Aiken, SC, right next to the bridge project: “Originally built in1834 by a man who became a Major in the Confederate army. Later home to George Herman Walker, founder of the "Walker Cup," great-grandfather & grandfather to two US Presidents, HW Bush and GW Bush. During the Civil War, Sherman's foraging party was defeated in the Battle of Aiken and this home and many others were spared the fate of being burnt to the ground. It now is officially called ‘Villa San Marco’, ‘the home of St Mark,’ and is the residence of Art and Terri Mark and the site of frequent visits by our ten children.” Villa San Marco, the Mark Family residence, Aiken, SC Well, Art, to say that you’re living large would be an understatement: landmark home (I trust that not all the Ten Little Marks are in residence at once?), temperate clime, and an interesting construction project in progress just outside. Two questions arise: (1) What happened to your signature “flat-top” coiffure, and (2) did you regale Allen with tales of designing the Great Pyramid with nothing but a ten-inch log-log-decitrig Keuffel & Esser and Hudson’s Manual?


By now, every sentient being among us knows that Ross Wollen is both a member of New York’s Union League Club and a consistent volunteer of that organization’s magnificent Manhattan facility for West Point-related functions. Recently, the ULC hosted the annual John P. Casey Dinner and Shoot. Pictured below is the West Point Team, which won I believe – the competition was held at Range 10 at West Point, not in the magnificent edifice pictured below. USMA Skeet & Trap Team at Union League Club, Manhattan
Ross said that all the Cadets were thrilled to meet a friend of the celebrated Alex Alexander, who marched A-1 in the 2015 Graduation Review at the age of 70-something. Former TACs among us will note that the rather well-decorated Cadet depicted right front is wearing his waist belt about five inches too low. Ross also mentioned that our honorary Classmate, Jack Jacobs, was speaker at the dinner, and that segues beautifully into the next story.

Jack Jacobs, Threat or Menace?

People often ask me, “what is it like to have been a friend of Jack Jacobs for 45 years or so.” My reply: “Often tiring, but never tiresome.” Though our relationship has gone through periods of scant communication, we’ve nonetheless compiled quite a record of juxtaposition. I worked closely with Jack, and goofed off as well, for three years in the Sosh Department, three years at the National War College, and a year at Leavenworth School for Wayward Tacticians. We overlapped briefly at Benning in ’69 and in the 82nd in ’66-67. He visited me a number of times in DC and Carmel. We babysat each others’ kids and drove each others’ wives crazy. We even wrote two of history’s best unproduced screenplays together. So I feel eminently qualified to tell you all about him.The distinguished guy in the double-breasted suit waxing eloquent on NBC is but one facet of his astounding personality. His is probably an even weirder sense of humor than mine, for example. Though he is no taller than the late Ron Walter, he routinely ran six-foot marathoners into the ground when in his forties. He is from Brooklyn by way of Joisey, but seldom says “Heeeyyy!” when affronted and almost never puts out a contract on anybody, though he may occasionally perform one in his free time. His knowledge of serious music and literature is almost indecent in an infantryman. He learned Spanish in college, working in the kitchen of Big Guido’s Pizza, and after a few vodka-rocks he’s been known to break into “La Cumparsita” in flawless Porteño. He has worked as a civilian in fields as disparate as flipping over-priced houses in London and Connecticut, running international securities arbitrage for a major investment bank, and, of course, serving as a media talking head on national security subjects. He still conducts an elective at West Point and performs many speaking gigs throughout the land.

I could go on, but the fear that he might retaliate some night on MSNBC deters me. Suffice it to say that I am stoked that the Class has seen fit to extend to him the mantle of respectability by making him an honorary member of the Class of 1965. If you ever encounter him, by all means engage him in conversation. He’ll tell you whatever you want to know, and if he doesn’t know it himself, he’ll make it up. And whatever he tells you will be far more interesting than wan, drab reality, I assure you.

Hey, I Remember That Guy!

If you happened to be in First Company in Beast or in the First Battalion, First Regiment after Reorgy Week, you’ll undoubtedly remember our Classmate Jim Gnecco. Jim left us during Yearling year after a disagreement with the Powers That Were, but fairly recently became an Associate member of the AOG and was kind enough to contact me when I first took on the Scribe duties. I prevailed upon him to give me a run-down on what he’s up to lately and whom he’s seen recently: “Jim Mims, Major Mims at the time, visited my home while he was a math P. Unfortunately, some time after that I lost contact with him.

“More recently, I reconnected with Mike Lapolla and Frank Arnall. Frank and I have since become business partners in a new venture we call GA Public Solutions. Looks very promising. Frank is in Orlando while I along with my bride of 29 years call Pittsburgh home. “Frank and I are addressing underfunded municipal pension plans with a unique non-investment solution. You are likely aware of so many cities facing dire circumstances since their pension liabilities far exceed their pension fund assets. Some will simply go broke (think Detroit), some will raise taxes, and some will fight it out with employee unions to cut benefits … all of which are ugly solutions. We have an alternative that is getting some attention. The IPO is on hold … for now!”

Beth and Jim Gnecco

Good to remake your acquaintance, Jim! Remember, it’s blood in, blood out with us, so I expect you to start immersing yourself in Class activities, if you haven’t already.

Long Time No See/Hear/Speak!

Ted Kleinmaier and I were in different regiments at WP – I in First, he in the Other – so wouldn’t have had classes together, and our extracurriculars don’t really coincide, but somehow we knew each other fairly well for a time, though how neither of us can figure out. While in contact on another matter, I prevailed on him to bring me up to date on his very interesting military career, both active duty and USAR. Here’s his encapsulated narrative:

“A short history of my combined active and reserve career: After the two Ft. Benning schools in 1965, and my initial commissioned assignments, I prepared for a branch transfer to the Finance Corps in 1967, for which I qualified by taking the FO Basic Course by correspondence while serving with 2nd Battalion, 14th Artillery, in Fuerth, Germany. Upon transferring, I became deputy Finance Officer with 39th Finance Section in Hanau for a year, then on to Vietnam. During nearly eight years of RA service, I went from Benning to Germany, thence to Vietnam, followed by service as an instructor and Advanced Course student at the Army Finance School, Ft Ben Harrison, IN.

“In 1973, I resigned my RA commission and was sworn in as a Captain, USAR, losing my RA five years' date of rank. Years later after serving with the 5030th USAR School, I transferred from Finance Corps to Military Intelligence (again, qualifying by taking the Officer Basic Course by correspondence from Huachuca).

“I served in the USAR as a weekend warrior for 20 years, ending my Army career commanding the 480th MI Detachment which was very top heavy – the unit had only 9 people: COL, LTC, MAJ, W4, MSG, SFC, SSG, E-5, E-4. Our weekend gig was open source research at Indiana University Library, Bloomington IN; "summer camp" consisted of two weeks staying in Belvoir barracks with daily commutes in our POV's to the DIAC on Bolling AFB, working anti-terrorism before the world ever knew the term ISIS.

“From 1973 to date I've been learning more about real estate, having taken the Armed Forces Institute Real Estate 101 course at Cam Ranh in 1969. The instructor was an SP5 attorney who owned a title company in Phoenix, AZ. Those were the days when one's RTO might be a Berkeley PhD whose draft deferment had ended. Say what you like about the "old" Army, but the draft did bring in a wide spectrum of talent.

“Betsy and I just celebrated our 51st anniversary on November 26th. We enjoy wintering here in Sarasota, FL, away from the cold Indiana winters that we have endured in the same Indianapolis home for 42+ years. Two of our three children, married with combined families of six beautiful children, live in Fishers, IN, 12 miles from us when we are up north. Our single son, retired, chose Carlsbad, CA as his hometown 25 years ago. Nice place to visit.”

It is surprising how many of our number have served in the Reserves or National Guard after our RA tours, Dick Coleman coming immediately to mind. Thanks for the rundown, Ted!


May Golf Outing in Charleston

Dear Classmates,

My apologies for taking so long to get out this all-source report on the May Golf Outing, celebrated with all due pomp and circumstance in Charleston, SC by 45 Classmates, 19 spouses, and one dog, with another (Mitch Bonnett) physically joining for the Class Leadership Team meeting and two others, Chuck Nichols and moi joining that meeting via teleconference.

Photo Left: Golf widows, apparently waiting for the bar to open

As is ever his fate, and one he seems to embrace with enthusiasm, Bob Radcliffe performed his usual miracles as HMFIC. More on Bob’s exceptional team later in this article.

John Swensson provides his impressions below, beginning with the attendees:

“Ladies First: Michele Axley (and Bob), Virginia Curl (and Gil), Lynne DeFrancisco (and Joe) , Janet Dyer (and Jim), Marcella Gnau (and Dave), Rosemary Hallenbeck (and Sandy), Linda Harrington (and John), Cinda Hester (and Art), Susan Hewitt (and Lance), Maralee Laughlin (and Fred), Diana Loftin (and Dean), Dede Malpass (and John), Rosemary McCloskey (and Chuck), Ruth Neal (and Larry), Conny Needels (and Chris), Sherry Ray (and Sonny), Karen Sellers (and Denny), Susan Swensson (and John), and Ellen Wood (and Jim).

“Stags: Steve Ammon, Russ Campbell, Steve Darrah, Steve Ellenbogen, Bob Frank, Clair Gill, Roger Griffin, Bob Harter, Ray Hawkins, John Howell, , Tom Henneberry, Dave Hurley, Dave Jones, Pat Kenny, Walt Kulbacki, Bruce Marshall, Chuck Mosely, Mike O’Grady, Steve Philo, Bob Radcliffe, Karl Savatiel, Bill Sherrell, Jay Stewart, Jack Thomasson, and Bernie Ziegler.

“Gordy Larson was also present with his new service dog, Rodeo, who was immediately welcomed. We all miss Major and his ball chasing skills, but Rodeo has lots of potential and was wearing his class patch on his Vest.

“Sonny and Sherry Ray, ever the gracious hosts, arranged a dinner at The Red Drum Restaurant and it was a wonderful evening despite Radcliffe’s charging some people double --those who could not remember whether they had already paid (a hazard of getting to our seventies).”

Chuck Moseley observed that the crew are slowly settling into a comfortable dotage (my characterization, not his) as evidenced by early bedtimes and the absence of poker. He neglects to mention whether there were towels snapped in the locker room, however.

Bob Radcliffe and Barrie Zais (not present at the outing) together opine that this gathering is somewhere between the 23rd and the 28th to have been held over the past 17 or 18 years. Bob further acknowledges his loyal supporters for this iteration:

Photo Right: I have not seen such rapt attention paid since COL Lincoln last lectured in South Auditorium!

“Jim Dyer handled the score sheets and the Scramble Competition on Day 1 and Day 2. “Gordy Larson, Bill Sherrell and Pat Kenny helped me with transport of food and liquor and set up of the Hospitality Room. [I’m guessing that they were of invaluable assistance in consuming same as well. S.T.] “Roger Griffin and Steve Darrah helped me with breakdown of hospitality at the end of the event. “Joe DeFrancisco became an accomplished ‘ice man,’ replenishing this very important commodity at the end of each day. “Bill Sherrell helped me to make it home safely (but exhausted) and to unload the car!” Several attendees cited Bruce Marshall’s excellent work as event photographer, even though he isn’t a golfer. I shall dribble out his photos in subsequent emails in order to evade the server’s file size limit.

Finally, Bob provides a glimpse of the next Class of 1965 Golf Outing: “October of 2017 in the Pauleys Island area south of Myrtle beach, SC. Details will go out when I set things up.”

John Swensson adds this observation: “As you can see, these golf outings are like mini reunions and all classmates are welcome, whether you play golf or not. A special thanks to explorer Bruce Marshall who photographed all of the foursomes and even recorded some putting with the movie camera he lugged up Mt. Kilimanjaro on a colder venture. And we expect Rapid Russ Dornier to join us next time”

Finally, the Class Leadership Team meeting held after Tuesday’s round will be the subject of a separate report, but by way of titillation, see the photo on the next page.


Johnny Seymour Be Thou at Peace

Dear Classmates,
Dave Kuhn has written what I consider a moving and elegant after action report on the funeral and inurnment of our dear Classmate, Johnny Seymour, at West Point last Thursday. Dave (West Coast) and Rollie Stichweh (East Coast) were our Class POCs for this event.

First, here’s Dave’s report:

“On May 11, 2017, a beautiful, clear and cool Spring day, approximately 125 people gathered at the Old Cadet Chapel and West Point Cemetery to pay final respects and honor the memory of our dearly departed classmate, John Bartholomew Seymour. There were almost 70 classmates and wives, some of whom had traveled from as far as Hawaii, Florida, Texas and California to honor John. There were also West Point graduates from other years, many of whom had played football with John. Two class widows, Elaine Parcells and Marie Lewis (along with her son Dennis Jr. and her daughter Eileen) also attended. By far the largest contingent there was the Seymour Family. John’s widow Donna was supported by her four children, six of her eleven grandchildren, John’s siblings and their families, Donna’s two sisters and their families and a few special family friends.
“Moving tributes were rendered by John’s two oldest children, Matt and Heather, followed by personal remembrances from over fifty-five years by John’s best friend, our own classmate, Rollie Stichweh. Stories of John’s love of life, his “outsized” personality, his roles as husband, father and ‘Papa,’ as well as his exploits on and off the football field had the audience alternatively laughing and crying. John’s youngest children, Dan and Scott, read poignant and fitting passages from the Bible, followed by a very moving memorial meditation by Chaplain (Major) Valeria Van Dress. All members of the Class of 1965 were then invited to come forward and lead the assembled group in the singing of all three verses of the Alma Mater.

Photo Left: Forty-five Classmates sing the Alma Mater, Old Cadet Chapel

“Following the benediction, everyone walked outside to participate in the formal military honors including the rifle salute, the folding and presentation of the American flag to Donna, and the playing of taps. John’s cremains were then laid to rest with a prayer by Chaplain Van Dress and everyone had an opportunity to pay last respects as they passed his final resting place in the Columbarium.

“After the service, a reception was held in the Bradley Room of the Hotel Thayer where Donna was able to meet the attendees personally and thank them for coming. Additionally, people were able to share a multitude of ‘Seymour Stories’ and view pictures and a slide show from John’s life. “The following day, the extended Seymour Family was treated to a guided tour of the Post and campus led by Marc Gunnels of the Association of Graduates and Rollie Stichweh. The group was able to personally tour Arvin Physical Development Center, Washington Hall, Grant Hall, Thayer Hall, Jefferson Hall (the new Cadet Library), Holleder Center, Kimsey Center, and the Army Athletics Hall of Fame.

Photo Right: Johnny zigs as defender zags

“The Seymour Family wishes to express its deepest appreciation to the following individuals who made this beautiful and fitting tribute an overwhelming success:
Kristan Burpo Association of Graduates
Marc Gunnels Association of Graduates
Hotel Thayer Staff
Chaplain Van Dress USMA
The Honor Guard USMA
“And, of course, Rollie Stichweh, who gave so much of his time to pay tribute to his friend and our classmate, John Bartholomew Seymour.

“List of attendees representing the Class of 1965:

“Tom & Sheila Genoni, Mark & Linda Walsh, Ray & Linda Hawkins, John C. Thompson, Jon Thompson, Russ Campbell, Bob & Mary Frank, Jack Koletty, Joe Sanchez, Mark & Linda Sheridan, Walt Oehrlein, Ray & Ginny Paske, Chuck Boohar, Gene Manghi, Jim Tillman, Jack Jannarone, Orly Mullin, Bill Sherrell, Dave LaRochelle, Bob Bedell, Larry Strassner, Bob Jones, Ric Shinseki, Joe DeFrancisco, Rocco McGurk, Dave & Rosie Kuhn, Fred & Mary Ellen Smith, John & Mary Kay Salamone, Ross & Myrita Wollen, Rollie & Carole Stichweh, Clair & Sherry Gill, Barry Zais, Nick Principe, Chuck Pfeifer, Frank Arnall, Bernie & Ellen Ziegler, Chuck Shaw and his daughter Lucille, Denny Coll, Doug Richardson, Fred Grates, Labe Jackson, John Howell, Tom & Lynda Kelly, Jim & Julie McEleice with grandson Cadet Petit USMA 2019, Fred & Maralee Laughlin, Tom Abraham, Jim & Carol Tomaswick and Tom Fergusson (apologies to any classmates I missed).

“Respectfully submitted,
“David B. Kuhn, Jr.”

And, though he does not mention it above, Dave was the principal engine behind what I understand was a splendid “celebration of life” for John held earlier on the West Coast. Thanks, Dave, for that and for your excellent report!

Another strong “well done’ is due Denny Coll, who took myriad photos at the event, a few of which follow. He also offers, “The best pictures of the event can be found @ If you want a copy of the 20-page hard cover, Photo Book that we have assembled for the family, let me know ( ). Cost is $35 including shipping. Nice keepsake!”

Stich delivering the final eulogy
Lucille & dad Chuck Shaw, Jack Jannarone, Walt Oehrlein, Ray & Ginny Paske
Honor Guard CO presents memorial flag to Donna and family
Dave Kuhn at Columbarium
Our first Class President and our current Prexy – Mark & Linda Walsh and Russ Campbell
Bob Jones explaining the mechanics of heavier-than-air flight
Bernie Ziegler
Linda & Mark Sheridan
Ross Wollen and José Sánchez
Mary Kay Salomone, Bob Frank, Joe De Francisco, Mary Frank
The extended Seymour Family

Again, profound thanks, guys, for all you’ve done for John, his family, the Class and USMA!


In Other Norts Spews

[ Re the title above: There once was a daily comic strip, “Tank MacNamara” – not about a one-size-fits-all-services armored vehicle from the Johnson administration but, rather, a retired pro defensive lineman who had become a TV sportscaster and lived in fear of misspeaking on air. In one episode, he made it through a bunch of complicated, non-Western European names, with superb fluency, only to end up signing off with, “…and that’s all tonight’s norts spews!” Shades of Hoobert Heever!

L-R: Bob Wolff, John Longhauser, Hiro & Tad Ono, Ken Slutsky at Lou Gross Gymnastics Center

The news in this item, however, eminently deserves to be pronounced correctly. Bob Wolff reports on the recent reunion of some prominent ’65 gymnasts – you know, the guys who could do 20 ankles to the bar in the time it took the rest of us to jump up and grab the damned thing.

“Four members of the class (Bob Wolff, John Longhouser, Tad & Hiro Ono and Ken Slutsky) attended the gymnastics reunion that was planned in conjunction with the NCAA Gymnastics Championships at West Point on April 22. We began with a great dinner at Cosimos Restaurant on Friday night and drank some of Tad’s famous wine. We were especially happy to have Hiro with us as the other spouses were unable to attend.

“We met Saturday morning at the Lou Gross (’54) Gymnastics Center where we were welcomed by Coach Doug Van Everen. The class of ’65 had the most gymnasts at the reunion of all classes, showing once again our “Strength and Drive.” We took a bus tour that included the new Rugby stadium and the new Library.

“Lunch in the Mess Hall was fun but certainly not an epicurean experience. We then visited the Arvin gym and took the opportunity to spend some time in the Arvin alcove where we met one of the coaches showing a family the letter Bob had written to a student at Ypsilanti that is now framed and displayed in the alcove.

Photo Right: L-R: Susan & Dan Christman, Ken, Hiro, Tad, Bob, and John

“Two surprise visitors at the afternoon Reunion Reception were Dan & Susan Christman as well as members of the Lichtenburg (’55) family. Dan was honored by the Gymnastics Coach as instrumental in making possible the donation from Lou Gross and Herb Lichtenburg and the timely construction of the Tennis and Gymnastics Centers during his tenure at West Point. While the initial design of the Arvin Gym renovation had a space for gymnastics, it was not approved by Congress and had to be redesigned to remove the gymnastics facility. So Dan, Susan and Lou essentially saved gymnastics at West Point and gave the sport a modern facility.

L-R: John, Tad (Cold Beverage Corporal), Bob, Hiro, and Ken – about to go Large Richard on dessert

“Following the reception, we attended the NCAA finals in which six teams competed—Oklahoma, Illinois, Stanford (the top three winners), Ohio State, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Unfortunately, only two West Point cadets competed in the individual final competitions and neither of them placed. The competition was held in the Holleder Center due to the size of the competition – it was a beautiful sight. It was a special night for the Class of ’65 as we were asked to present the individual awards as a part of the national effort to recognize Vietnam Veterans. So the four ’65 attendees, MG(R) Neal Creighton (’53), and George Winton (’67) were honored.”

Many thanks, Bob, for an excellent report! Once again, ‘65’s participation makes the crucial difference … and a highly photogenic one, too. And, though I could never carry it off half so well, I want to know where Ken got that sweater!

100 Klicks and Still Ticking

Surely a contender for World’s Buffest Septuagenarian, Hank Kelley, sends a bulletin in proof that he’s not the couch potato that so many senior citizens become:
“I don't know if this is in the approved format. I misplaced my style manual and I don't have an eleven-year old nearby to tell me what to do. But I have invoked the help of Rick Bunn from the Great Beyond to get this off my computer and onto yours. Let me know if you don't get it. [Rick’s surely got your back, Hank, because I got it fine. S.T.]

“A couple of weeks ago I rode in this year's El Tour de Mesa, a 100k race held in Mesa, AZ. It's a popular event and this year there were some 1300 riders including “himself.”

“As you can see, in the … picture [next page] at the 15 mile mark, I'm well out ahead of the pack. (Or the uncharitable might say vice-versa)
“I crossed the finish line to the rapturous acclaim of the crowd and shouts of GO ARMY!!! (I did). In all modesty I must admit that I finished first in my category: USMA '65 Grads over 75. “I didn't see any Navy riders. But then I didn't spend a lot of time looking behind me. “I had a good day and I was pleased with my time. I enjoyed the ride, and was glad for the opportunity to show the colors. (Someone actually asked me if West Point is a college. I'm still pondering a suitable reply).” Well, Hank, I for one am impressed. I had legs like that maybe 30 years ago but arms, never. I’d ask your secret but fear that it involves work and dedication so I shall refrain – I never ask a question whose answer I am not guaranteed to like. And just as an aside, the ad agency that handles the Dos Equis account really messed up when they didn’t sign you to replace the original “World’s Most Interesting Man.”

Hank Kelley modeling the latest in Grey Hog fashion

Meanwhile From the Sunshine State

* Three items, the first from Hank Mickells:

Photo Right: was taken in Naples, visiting with the Kulbackis, Fritzs, and Mastrans. We got together for dinner and catching up on our lives. Clockwise from bottom L: Walt & Cathy Kulbacki, Trish & Bob Fritz, Trina & Hank Mickells, Donna & Dave Mastran.

“Trina and I just returned from a wonderful trip to Venice and Naples. No, not Italy but FL to see our classmates living in those areas.

Photo Left: was taken in Venice with the Letteries. L-R: Carl & Angie Letterie, Hank and Trina Mickells

“We all had an enjoyable evening on both occasions. It was great to see everyone. We all are in good health and enjoying life.” Sounds like the proverbial good time had by all, Hank. Funny, last time I saw Slats Letterie he had a beard and I didn’t recognize him. I guess remaining clean-shaven is a condition of his parole?

More, From the Sunshine State

* Now, from Jerry Merges comes news that contrasts with the previous item in that it refers to people actually leaving Florida! Dave Gnau just celebrated his 74th birthday (punk kid!) with some assistance from Classmates. “Dave handled the one-candle blowout easily. Dave Gnau, having his cake prior to eating it too.

“Luncheon was a farewell to Don & Carol Appler as our favorite snowbirds head back to KY for the summer and fall. The Applers plan on returning once again so Don and I can compete in pancake eating competitions at the local eateries.

Photo Left: L-R: Appler, Merges, Gnau (when does he get to eat the damned thing?)

Steinwald at Pasta Faire “Dan & Diana Steinwald are making a more permanent relocation to Canada, so we bid them a safe journey.

“As always, come on down to visit us.” Only if there’s cake, Jer, only if there’s cake.

1965 Ranger School

* And a final Florida item from Toby Halvorson, to which most of us can readily relate: “Here are some photos from 1965 Ranger School that I recently found.”

had some problems extracting the embedded graphics, but the guy mooning Florida (indicated by the red arrow) is purported to be Ed Sharkness. In the second, we see (L-R) Unknown Pensive Guy, Toby, Nick Merriam, and Tony Gamboa.

(L-R) Unknown Pensive Guy, Toby, Nick Merriam, and Tony Gamboa. Toby (if you prefer Colin now, my bad), thanks for this blast from the past.

There’s something about the memory of wearing rough clothes and heavy shoes and remaining perpetually wet that just warms the heart. Here endeth the lesson, folks. Many thanks to our faithful correspondents. Keep having fun and keep telling me about it!


Another flurry of S&D social notes

I am beginning to feel like Cholly Knickerbocker, or Hedda Hopper dressed extremely butch. Birds gotta swim, fish gotta fly …And apparently the Central Virginia ’65 cohort gotta meet quarterly, whether anyone’s hungry or not. This just in (well, a few days ago) from Jim Harvey:

Photo Right: L - R: Jim & June Harvey, Jim & Margie Berry, Dave & Darlene Hopkins, Jim & Lynn Helberg, and Tricia & Bob Clover

“Actually the Clovers come from Northern Virginia and the Harveys come from Virginia Beach area. Not present this time due to illness were Eleanora & Emery Chase from Northern Virginia. Our next get together will be in Chesapeake (near Virginia Beach) on Jul 11th. Any classmates are welcome to join us. We have room if anyone wants to stay the night before or after.”
“Jim Harvey”

Glad to see the Helbergs back on station after their joint bout with pneumonia, but sorry that the Chases replaced them in the sick rank. This is clearly a group dedicated to maintaining the bonds that link us all, to which we say, “Good on you!” It was a small Founders Day observance, but there were those who loved it. From attractively frozen Vermont, a state with not many people to spread around, comes a brief missive from Lloyd Briggs: “Today [8 April] we held our Founders’ Day celebration in the midst of a light snowfall. photo[s] of myself … and our guest speaker, the Governor of Vermont, Phil Scott.” Lloyd, the Gov. may be younger, but you’re better looking. And, if I recall Vermont’s climate, a light snowfall is anything under 60 inches. Congratulations on your hardiness and thanks for putting the Class stamp on the affair! Meanwhile, beneath the sheltering palms …

From Florida, Jerry Merges flips the metaphorical bird at all you guys who dwell in the sub-Arctic regions (note absence of mukluks and parkas in the photo): “A nice April evening in Florida's Friendliest Hometown. Dining at Amerikanos Grill in Spanish Springs. The Curls were visiting from Asheville. “Delightful company, good food, tall tales, memories and made up stuff. Perfect!” I must say that Don Appler looks as if he could still crack coconuts on his abs … not that the rest of you don’t, of course!

Photo Left: L-R: Gil Curl, Jerry Merges, Dave Gnau, Dan Steinwald, Don & Carol Appler, Jackie Curl (Gil and Virginia's daughter), Virginia Curl, Marcella Gnau, Peg Merges


Ric Helps Honor Japanese American Veterans

I am informed by John “Scoop” Swensson of a General Ric (as in Shinseki) sighting recently in The City By the Bay: “Ric was here in support of an effort to honor Japanese American veterans of WWII and Korea and to tell the stories of the 442nd, 100th Bn and the Military Intelligence Service in the new Army museum. He was very gracious and acknowledged the Class in his remarks.” And from the AOG’s official site:

“On March 18, 2017, the NJAHS hosted a special meet-and-greet presentation by GEN(R) Eric Shinseki '65 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.”

Photo Right: Ric Shinseki (standing) with two 442/100 veterans

For those who carried a pillow to Military Art and have been semi-comatose ever since, the 442d Infantry Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion were two of the most highly decorated and consistently engaged combat units in WWII. Their rank and file as well as some junior officer positions comprised Japanese-American volunteers from both Hawai’i (where persons of Japanese ancestry were generally not interned) and the US mainland (where many were). The 442d RCT absorbed the 100th in Italy in 1944. The units served in such garden spots as the Italian mountains and in France’s Vosges Forest. The 442d (including the 100th) chalked up eight Presidential Unit Citations, 9486 Purple Hearts (the 100th became known as the “Purple Heart battalion”) and 21 Medals of Honor. Among the recipients of the last named honor was Senator Daniel K. Inouye. Many of us remember the Senator’s attending Ric’s retirement ceremony as CoS, USA, when smaller men of lesser merit but great official prestige stayed away.

Photo Left: L-R: Todd Browne (’84), Swensson, Harley Moore, General Ric, Ralph Adams, and Duncan Mac Vicar

Japanese-Americans serving in intelligence assignments, mostly in the Pacific Theaters (Southwest – MacArthur and Central – Nimitz) ran horrendous risks, including being mistaken for enemy infiltrators by other American troops, as well as having to endure pervasive anti-Japanese prejudice. Here endeth the lesson.

As might be expected in the California Republic (gateway to the Kingdom of Hawai’i), there was a good USMA ’65 turnout considering the intimate of the venue and the impromptu nature of Ric’s visit. [The guy on the left who looks too young to be our Classmate is too young to be our Classmate. He’s Todd Browne (’84), AOG President – I know, first the senior NCOs start looking young to us, then some 0-6s and 0-7s, and finally the AOG President, who in our day was a member of the Class of Ought-teen.]

Paul Schultz in Pensacola

As I am sure Mr. Justice Dick Smoak will attest, Pensacola is pretty much a Navy town. Nice enough guys, Naval aviators, although I say that from the enviable position of having no daughter in any danger of marrying one. Recently, however, Paul Schultz found himself down (though not found out) in that part of the world, and furnishes this report: “Sabine and I were exploring Pensacola FL the day before the Half Marathon at the Naval Air Station. We discovered a new species of Pelican on one of the roads leading to the Navy base. The picture captures the basic detail. Note that it also sports a Ranger tab.. “As a side note: Pensacola is also the only city in the US to have a replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in its Veterans’ Park. A nice stop in case you are travelling through the area. “Sabine placed first in her age group at the race the next day, also a real achievement. At race signup each contestant was asked what song they should play if you won. ‘On Brave Old Army Team’ and ‘Benny Havens’ were not in the Navy Band’s repertoire. -- Paul Schultz ‘65”

Thanks, Paul. Now we know where to repair for sanctuary if ever on the bum in Pensacola!

DC Area Founders Day

Thanks to correspondents Chuck Nichols and Chuck Moseley.

Chuck Nichols, our celebrated Webmaster and CTO, reports on not one but two gatherings not far from the Beltway:

“The Washington DC area has two Founders Day celebrations. One was conducted by the West Point Society of DC on Saturday, 11 March, and one by the residents at Heritage Hunt, a 55+ community located in Gainesville, VA, on Friday, 17 March. The West Point Alumni Glee Club was the featured entertainment at both events so you will see some of the same people in pictures from the two events. “The WPSDC event was held at the Tyson’s Corner Hilton, the same location it has been at for the past many years. Just under 600 graduates and guests attended with the Distinguished Class of '65, ‘Strength and Drive’ represented by the 13 people in the picture. Usually '65 is the largest class in attendance. I guess the rubber chicken they served for dinner caused some to find a better place to eat. [NOTE: The American Latex Association disclaims any responsibility for that entrée. S.T.]

Photo Left: L-R: Nancy Reiley (Glee Club Artistic Director), Terry & Nancy Ryan, Joe & Lynne DeFrancisco, Ric & Patty Shinseki, Bill & Martha Birdseye, Chuck Nichols & Donna Krupa and Jim & Karen Ferguson

“The Heritage Hunt event was attended in greater numbers by S&D (and the food was better and less expensive that the Hilton). The Heritage Hunt residents hosted the Founders Day dinner at their country club. The performance by the Glee Club was once again plagued by the curse of the Great Oak Ballroom. Every year there seems to be an audio or video glitch during the performance since Murphy has taken up residence there. To alleviate any potential problem with the house system the Club brought their own complete audio system. But part way through the performance Murphy struck and the audio system's wireless mixer that has never before shown a problem decided to stop working. Fortunately, Chuck had packed the backup wired mixer and during the telling of a bad joke by Terry Ryan he was able to rewire the audio system and the show went on.

“Also present at Heritage Hunt but not in the picture is Pete Lynn. We suspect he was out back coordinating with Murphy as to the best point in the performance for Murphy to do his thing.”

Actually, Chuck, Pete ought to have been carrying a large cudgel and looking for whoever designed the lighting for the Great Oak Ballroom. Short of technology beyond my ken, it proved impossible to darken the left side of the photo while lightening the right. I hope I achieved the optimal for facial recognition.
Research Triangle, NC Chuck Moseley reports on ‘65s presence at the 18 March Founders Day celebration in that part of the Tar Heel State that is not quite the Appalachians nor yet the sandy Atlantic shore – the Piedmont, specifically the much vaunted research Triangle encompassed by Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.

Photo Right: L-R: Pete & Maria Cahill, Terry & Nancy Ryan, Chuck Nichols, Nancy Rieley (Artistic Director), Jim & Karen Ferguson, Kurt & Ann Adams, Jack Lowe, Linda Concannon, Larry & June Bennett, Bill & Jane Lehman, Bernie & Ellen Ziegler, June & Tom Fergusson and Annette Lowe
“Here's the required report of 1965 attendance at the Research Triangle Founders Day held at the Durham Bulls Banquet facility. Our guest speaker was General Martin Dempsey who has recently retired in Wake Forest; his topic was "Why West Point is more important today than ever." Chuck adds that several outside agitators took advantage of the Triangle’s smack-dab-in-the-middle location to attend the festivities as well, namely John & Eleanor Vann, up from Pinehurst (the genteel environs of Ft. Bragg, as I recall), and Gil Curl, who was visiting his son in Raleigh. Last I heard, Gil was living close adjacent to if not on the West Point and Vicinity 1:50,000 UTM map sheet, so he may have encountered a bit of weather on the way South.

L-R:, Chuck & Rosemary McCloskey, Chuck & Cathy Moseley. Eleanor & John Vann, and Gil Curl

A distinguished group from a Distinguished Class -- I’m sure they helped raise the level of couth considerably. Thanks, Chuck; it wasn’t really a “required” report … but we do know where you live.

Oh, yes, and the mysterious luminescence emanating from behind the McCloskeys is doubtless some harmless ectoplasmic manifestation, perhaps Braxton Bragg appearing to excuse his conduct of the Eastern Tennessee campaigns. Or perhaps it was Murphy, fresh from designing the lighting for the Great Oak Ballroom at Heritage Hunt.

My thanks to the Two Chucks (when neither is in the room, they’re the None-Chucks – cue rim shot).


A Fond Farewell

John Swensson undertook the task of being my eyes and ears at Rick Bunn’s memorial service this past Saturday (25 FEB 17). Never one to do things halfway, John also took a number of photos, though others must have as well in cases where John is in the picture – I don’t think they make selfie-stix that long! Photos are at the end of his narrative, below. What follows is intended to complement Duncan Brown’s official report, which was disseminated separately.
“The Class of 65 gathered by its class flag in Federal Way, WA, to honor and celebrate our late scribe, the great Rick Bunn. Twenty classmates attended: our Class President, Russ (& Maryann) Campbell, POC Duncan Brown, and Scribe Emeritus Denny Coll, were joined by Bob & Mary Frank, Bob Hill, Jim Holmes, Mitch Bonnett,Tad & Hiro Ono, Fred & Maralee Laughlin, Clair Gill, Skip & Marilyn O’Donnell, Joe Sánchez, Bruce Marshall, Bob Radcliffe & Faye Hayes, John Howell, Bud & Judy Fish, Grant & Anita Fredericks, Jim & Maryellen Kelly, Ralph Adams, John Swensson, and Janice Walter, our late Classmate Ron’s widow. Chops (as Ron was known to a chosen few) was Rick’s closest friend and longtime neighbor in Phoenix.

Photo Left: Donna Bunn and Russ Campbell with Rick’s photo

“The Bunn Clan was there in force with Donna being joined by daughters Sheryl and son Bob, and granddaughters (many of who spoke eloquently and movingly of their grandfather), sons-, and daughters- in-law, nieces, nephews, and godchildren. What a wonderful family! Also joining us were soldiers from a Ft. Lewis color guard who rendered full military honors, and a wonderful group of motorcycle riders who carried American flags as an honor guard.

“Russ spoke on behalf of the class, talking about Rick’s pride in being a member of both our Class and the Century Club, and Denny spoke about scribe duties and what a great job Rick had done with his inimitable Bunn-o-Grams. They also cited Rick’s very touching last Bunn-o-gram in which he said goodbye to the class, the day before he died. Five of the nine class scribes were present, and we knew our current scribe was standing at attention in Sacramento, wishing he were with us. [You’ve got that right! S.T.] Friends and family spoke of many fond recollections, including a very powerful message (by video) from the Bunns’ pastor in Goodyear, AZ. The high esteem in which Rick was held was obvious to everyone present. We all felt very blessed.

Photo Right: Final salute

“Les Hommages.” José Sánchez ensured that the Class Flag was present and Duncan Brown that it was conspicuously displayed as part of the relics in homage to our cherished Classmate. The largest relic, however, had to remain outside! “Outside of the hall, ‘Mustang Sally,’ Rick’s Mustang convertible, was parked with his hat and his golf clubs and a sign “Ready for Another Road Trip.” Rick was a stalwart at Class golf, normally driving across country to get there. At Rick’s request, we listened to a wonderful recording of ‘Mansions of the Lord,’ sung by the West Point Glee Club. Not to be outdone, all twenty classmates present sang ‘The Alma Mater,’ with a modification in the last stanza that ran “May it be said, Well Done, Rick Bunn/ Be Thou at Peace.” It was a day of loss, but of great pride in being part of “Strength and Drive.” We especially thank Duncan Brown for handling the arrangements as POC and the Bunn family for their graciousness.”

Many thanks, John for a most moving narrative. And “what he said,” Duncan! Obviously, Rick’s memorial was a first-class production in every way, and we all thank you! You made a point of giving most of the credit for the event’s to Rick’s family – thank you, Donna and family, for allowing the Class of 1965 to participate in a final tribute to a Classmate whom we will always miss.

Duncan Brown and Bob Frank | Rick’s “Mustang Sally,” detail | Skip & Marilyn O’Donnell | Rick’s West Point memorabilia | Hommage, with Class Flag and Wreath | Russ Campbell speaking on behalf of the Distinguished Class of 1965 | Denny Coll extolling Rick’s performance as Class Scribe | L-R-Coll, Holmes, Adams, Swensson, O’Donnell, Sanchez, Hill, Marshall, Fish, Campbell, Brown, Laughlin, Kelly, Gill, Frank, Ono, Radcliffe, Howell, Bonnett, Fredricks | Grant & Anita Fredricks, Tad Ono, Clair Gill, Hiroko Ono

In short, a most singular celebration of a most singular life.

Sadly but proudly,