This edition is devoted, though not solely, to reporting on Tom Barron’s elevation to the honor of Distinguished Graduate, USMA. Our principal report comes from Bob Wolff, and begins below:
“The class of 1965 was well represented at the Alumni Parade and Distinguished Graduate awards luncheon where our own Tom Baron was honored on May 22, 2018. The day started with the parade and the overcast sky threatened rain. It did sprinkle a couple of times but luck was with us and the rain held off until later in the afternoon.
“Some of the class stood in the line with the reunion classes (43, 53 and 68) while others took to the grandstand for the parade, well executed by the Corps of Cadets.
“Many of us noted the high number of female company, battalion, and regimental commanders – probably about 50 percent compared to 22% female population in the Corps.
“Tom Barron was recognized by the Superintendent, LTG Caslen, and the Chairman of the AOG Board, Joe DeFrancisco, along with the other five Distinguished Graduates from the Classes of ’57, ’68, ’69 and ’75 (2).
“The class was seated in the back end of the mess hall so we did not have a very good view of the presentations at lunch. But we cheered lustily for our classmate when he was presented the large, framed certificate.
“After the luncheon, the Class went to the Arvin Alcove for a reception, attended by not only classmates but also friends of Tom Barron from his youth, and his military and civilian careers. Russ Campbell provided some introductory remarks and then Tom rose to the occasion and gave thanks to his friends and classmates in attendance (Photo Left).
“We gathered on the steps to take a class photo.
Right: Front Row (L to R): Ross Wollen, Lloyd Briggs, Tom Barron, Bob
Wolff, Russ Campbell, Bob Baldinger Second Row: Joe Sanchez, Tom
Fergusson, Nick Merriam, Joe Anderson, Walt Oehrlein
Third Row: Dan Christman, Joe DeFrancisco, Bob Frank
Fourth Row: Dan Steinwald, Fred Smith, Bob Harter, Fred Laughlin, Jim Harmon, Clair Gill
“[Not shown are many spouses of classmates who were in attendance.]”
Many thanks, Bob, for a fine report. I apologize for taking too long to get it in print!
I have a series of other photos, many taken by Tom Fergusson’s daughter, Robin Galloway, that Tom Barron was kind enough to furnish, and a few gleaned from the USMA’s coverage of the event. They follow on the next page …
The Peanut Gallery, before noticing they were being photographed … (the guys, L-R, Bob Frank, Jim Harmon, Clair Gill, Russ Campbell) (the ladies … well, that’s Mary Frank on the right, but it’s more than my life is worth to attempt to name the others!)
In sum, a splendid event. The Class attendance was most respectable in both number and distinction, and included two previously elevated DGs (Dan Christman and Joe Anderson) and three (I think) Class Presidents.
And to Tom Barron I say this, on behalf of us all: “Richly deserved, long overdue, and we expect you to wear that thing at every reunion from here on in!”
Buddy Bucha received most favorable notices for a recent Memorial Day speech, and it is well worth reading.
It would be appropriate here to express our appreciation to Buddy for his wholehearted and enthusiastic support for efforts to enhance the national security, inspire patriotism, and provide a positive character model for young and old alike. The demands on his time and energy in that regard are many and ceaseless (as also for our other living Medal of Honor recipient, Honorary Classmate Jack Jacobs), yet those demands are met with consistent excellence.
Ours is indeed a remarkable Class, and every day I feel a humble gratitude to be counted among you. I don’t know if six Distinguished Graduates is a record (but intend to find out), but when one adds a Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, a Superintendant, a constellation of other general officers and senior civil servants, three academic department heads, three MOH recipients, a Rhodes Scholar, numerous stellar athletes, scores of private sector senior executives, the only person ever to teach both poetry and quantum mechanics at West Point, and the countless other roles of a less salient quality that our numbers have played, I am not at all reluctant to opine that there is not another living Class that has “given back” to USMA, the Armed Forces, and the Nation to the extent that ours has done.
may all fall out and take big bites! Strength and Drive,
several “indispositions,” I am back at my keyboard trying to eradicate
something of a backlog. My sincere apologies to anyone who felt
slighted that his contributions seemed to have disappeared into a black
hole. Not the case: all stories are welcome and valued, even “last week
I seen a snake out by the privy.” Just let me know what kind of snake
you think it might have been and, if possible, snap a photo as you dash
past or leap over it (or, if you are a hungry Ranger, try to capture it
Of historical moment. As separately announced earlier and pursuant to the Class By-Laws, on 21 May 2018 your Leadership Team unanimously agreed to declare the late Francis J. Sehn, a most generous contributor to West Point's Center for Oral History, to be an Honorary Member of the Class of 1965. A suitable certificate will be presented to his next of kin in the near future.
interrupted his negotiations with Discovery Channel for a new,
angling-based reality show to file this bulletin:
“Here is some happy news for a change. Attached is yours truly with a seven pound plus Largemouth Bass caught on April 27th fishing on Lake Waccamaw, NC.
Fish was released after pictures to report to her buddies that a very dangerous 75 year old bass fisherman is lurking in a boat above! The bass fisherman in the Class will enjoy this! Spring is finally here!!!”
Dave Hopkins reports that the Central Virginia crowd is still terrorizing local establishments with their flash-mob assaults on the peace of the community, in this case, Fredericksburg (where you may recall that Ambrose Burnside conducted a similar, though less successful, caper about 156 years ago).
“Sixteen classmates and wives from Central Virginia (and more-distant parts of Virginia) got together for lunch on Wed, 5/16 at the Bavarian Chef restaurant in Fredericksburg. The authentic German food brought back memories of some good times for those of us stationed in Germany eons ago.
& June Harvey drove from Chesapeake; 160
miles, ~3 hr. Next: Roger
from Hopewell; 80 miles. Shortest drive: Jim & Margie Berry; “about ten minutes,” Jim said.
“Longest walk: The restaurant has little parking, so most patrons park on the streets. Longest walk from the car to the restaurant: Emery Chase, 4 blocks.
“Comments on conversations:
L-R, Jim & Lynne Helberg, Tricia and Bob Clover, Margie & Jim Berry, Darlene & Dave Hopkins, Lee & Ed Simpson, Emery & Eleanor Chase, Chuck Nichols, June & Jim Harvey, Roger Griffin
Looks like your ordinary geriatric biker gang, Dave; nobody there I wouldn’t invite over to watch my vacation slides, at any rate.
Ralph Asplund sends this photo of the impressive memorial to our late Classmate, Mike Thompson.
“Memorial picture of the Thompson Memorial in Two Harbors, Minnesota, by Bob Nyberg (retired High School principal, family friend and person instrumental in completing the stone).”
A worthy monument to a great man, Ralph. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Bob (pictured) for his efforts on behalf of our great friend and Classmate.
Frankly, I had never understood the stock phrase “Happy Memorial Day,” an odd wish given the solemn nature of the observance … never, that is, until I read Mike Applin’s account of a very positive way to celebrate those who have given their all.
Yesterday [27 May], Cathy and I went down to the VN Memorial as part of a DoD sponsored volunteer group to distribute VN Veteran Pins to veterans....and 50th Anniversary Pins (however you define that) to whoever wanted one.
We go down to the Wall just about every year during the Memorial Day weekend but there was a major difference this year. Attendance was truly overwhelming. The veterans and their families, reinforced by Rolling Thunder with their POW / MIA jackets and so forth, were there in force. Motorcycles in the tens of thousands parked in designated areas on the mall. In addition, it was gratifying to see young families with their children and tourists from other countries asking for the Anniversary Pins.
The blogs this morning estimate 645,000 visitors and I can believe it. The numbers of bikes was very high as well.
Cathy chatted at the kiosk with those who passed her and pinned the "official" pin on those who seemed to be, or said they were veterans. I wandered up and down the wall with handfuls of Anniversary Pins giving one to anyone who asked but particularly targeting those that I thought were veterans.
Many were sitting in silence by themselves, others chatting busily with friends, old and new. All shook hands with me in comradeship and were very grateful for the traditional event and the commemorative pins. A staff of volunteers was there, as always, to help find the names of friends and loved ones and they were busy.
Children and grandchildren and friends were well represented. Lots of emotion and sadness for many and lots of cheerful camaraderie for others. I must have given a hundred or so 50th Anniversary pins and of course had to stop and chat with many. I was happy and privileged to do it and will do so again. I wore my new Vietnam Veteran, Fourth Infantry Division hat to establish my bona fides. You have to have a hat!
Cathy has all sorts of stories; one about a Yugoslav who insisted on getting a pin because he fought with American soldiers in Vietnam. There were Germans, French, a Bulgarian and lots of Asian tourists all of whom wanted a pin of some sort.
It was very, very clear that this year, America was honoring her VN veterans and making a small but special effort to welcome them to their Memorial.
Good to hear, Mike. You’re doing a good thing there. I presume that the Yugoslav (Serb, Croatian, Slovenian, Bosnian, Macedonian – doesn’t matter) fought US Forces, the NVA/VC? At any rate, your activism in support of veterans is commendable, and I am sure, much appreciated by their families.
In the next day or two, I shall be releasing Despatches #36, dedicated to Tom Barron’s induction as a Distinguished Graduate, USMA. As a teaser, the photo below shows the inductees. Picking Tom out is left as an exercise for the student [hint: he is not the tallest one, nor the shortest, nor the heaviest … just the most handsome.]
To those who feel that my occasional excursions into the vagaries of our language reflect an obsessive-compulsive determination to grind that axe until it has been reduced to a toothpick, I reply, “And your point would be …?” Here are a couple of quick points, one a graphic:
and verbs are not the same thing. They serve
different functions, and they generally do not exchange well. “Invite”
is a verb, present tense, first person singular and first and third
persons, plural. The instrument by which we invite someone
is called an invitation.
Likewise, when we try to do something and cannot, we fail. The
noun describing such an unsuccessful effort is called a failure.
What had been at best semi-humorous slang expressions have in recent years been elevated to written, formal communication by the news media, principally the mongers of gushy, click-bait items for computer and smart phone news digests.
The peril of failing to observe the above distinction is shown below:
endeth the lesson. Strength and Drive!
T.S. Eliot wrote truth when he began a poem with the line, “April is the cruelest month.” This month we lost three cherished Classmates. A report on the funeral of Dick Coleman is forthcoming – it will take place at West Point on 9 May (Terry Ryan is the POC) and a memorial service has already been held in Vicksburg, at which Jim Greene was our official representative.
Below are reports on the obsequies held for Don Appler and Bill McCreary.
“The Visitation, and Funeral Ceremony in Elizabethtown, KY and the Burial at Fort Knox took place showing high regard for our departed friend and classmates.
“The events were attended by a great number of Don's friends, relatives, and comrades in arms, including nine USMA Classmates.
Photo Right: L-R: Bob Frank, Mary Frank, Joe DeFrancisco, Dan Benton, Ric Shinseki, Joe Sanchez, Jill Seaworth, George Seaworth, Don Erbes, Jerry Cecil (’66, ex-’65), Oleh Koropey
“The burial took place at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery-Central, adjacent to Fort Knox. Don was buried with full military honors. The honor guard is shown having stacked arms after firing the military salute, marching toward the rotunda where the family awaits. Behind the honor guard, you can see the bugler who played taps.
“The Class of '65 flag was at the funeral Ceremony beside the National Flag covering Don's casket.
Class flag posted at the bier
Honor Guard folding the memorial flag preparatory to its presentation to the Appler family. (Don’s widow Carol is seated closest to the camera)
Photo Left: L-1 Classmates, our Plebe year (scan courtesy of Jerry Cecil)
“The Third Squadron 4th Cavalry, where Don had been a platoon leader, and later a troop commander in Vietnam, was strongly represented at the funeral and burial. They testified to Don's exceptional leadership in combat.
“After the burial, a very nice luncheon was provided for the participants at the Memorial United Methodist Church.
“In summary, Don was laid to rest in a way properly befitting a great soldier and human being.”
Many thanks, Oleh, for your performance of this important duty and privilege, especially on such short notice. I know that the presence of so many Classmates was indicative to the family of how greatly we valued Don’s friendship over the years.
“On Saturday, April 21st at 1000 we celebrated the life of William T. McCreary in a memorial service at the Treasure Coast Community Church in Stuart, Florida. Bill was deeply loved by all his family and admired and respected by his many friends and classmates.
“The church was filled over capacity with people standing in the aisles. Eleven of our classmates attended the service and gathered on stage to sing the Alma Mater. (None of us were Glee Clubbers, but somehow, I think we managed to get on key together before the end). Class attendees were Jim & Lynne Helberg, Dave (Mopes) deMoulpied, Larry Leskovjan, Tad Ono, Mike & Carol Barker, Guenter Hennig, Mike & Joanie Huston, Tom Cindric, Jay Stewart, Lee & Suzanne Atchley, and myself. Click here to read Bill McCreary’s Memorial Service Booklet.
“Helberg, deMoulpied, and Ono shared their remembrances of Bill. I then led the entire congregation in the Cadet Prayer. Military Honors were rendered by a Firing Party Honor Guard from VFW Post 10132 and by a US Army Reserve Honor Guard for the playing of Taps and the folding and presentation of the Flag. A reception followed the service. Class Flag.
“Larry Leskovjan did an outstanding job as our official photographer. He has placed many photos and videos of the service and of the reception following in a Dropbox for all to see. You can access the photos at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qk4iapkzf4q9vpe/AADnJ-Dgh8ZtISEp2HBDAJYUa?dl=0.
“Roberta and Bill Had four sons, all of whom were with us, along with 8 grandchildren. Roberta hosted an open house at her home on Friday afternoon. She was the consummate hostess, making everyone welcome and assuring we were all well provided for. Later on Friday evening, those of our classmates who were staying over in the area gathered at a local seafood restaurant for a late dinner and our own mini-reunion. Tad flew in from Portland, Oregon and joined us about 8:30. Roberta and her sons showed up about 9:00 to our delight. It was a happy surprise when Roberta saw Tad because she had spoken with him a few days earlier and did not expect him to be able to come all the way from Oregon. It was a wonderful gathering of friends and family.
“I’m proud and happy to have been able to attend Bill’s Celebration of Life Memorial Service. It was an honor to be able to represent our Class as Point of Contact. Special thanks to Terry Ryan and Oleh Koropey for making sure our Class Flag would arrive here in time. Grip hands.”
Our warm appreciation to Joe for his sterling work in this important function. It’s good to know that Bill’s family was pleased by the Class’ response to Bill’s passing. The Class flag was very well travelled this past week – from Terry Ryan in Virginia to Oleh in Kentucky, thence to Joe in Florida, from there to Vicksburg, and back to Terry, all in a five day period including a weekend. Each POC went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that it was rushed on to its next destination.
Ken Yoshitani provided a photograph of the Windy City’s Founders Day affair. “Forwarding the group photo from the Chicago Founder’s Day Dinner. Bob Bradley unfortunately had to tend to a family matter and could not come. From the Chicago group, we were missing Ron & Pauline Layer, John & Carol Roseberg, and George & Jill Seaworth. In spite of those absences, we were all glad to see each other. It was indeed a fun night.”
L-R, Ken & Izumi Yoshitani, Tom & Anna Croak, Don & Judy Shutters, Norm & Bridget Eckstein, Denny & Cathy Coll, and Chuck Shaw
I’ll not burden this rather somber edition of Despatches with my customary off-point frivolity … to post the cartoon below, courtesy of George Ruggles, who I suspect thinks that your Humble Scribe may have crossed the border between tireless pedagogue and tiresome pedant one too many times.
Again, we are indebted to our three POCs and flag custodian. Unfortunately, as we somehow continue to age, it’s likely that such exemplary performances will required ever more frequently in future.
Grip Hands! Step
Founders Day remains in the news, and here are some stories and pix about that event’s celebration in two venues.
Russ Campbell and Ross Wollen furnish this report:
“On March 9, 1968, our honorary Classmate, Col. Jack H. Jacobs, USA, Ret. (then a Lieutenant) distinguished himself on the field of battle in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta as an advisor to a Vietnamese infantry battalion. For his heroic actions in single-handedly rescuing American and South Vietnamese wounded under heavy fire while inflicting many casualties on a determined enemy, though severely wounded himself, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Photo Right: Jack Jacobs holding forth
“Coincidently, on the 50th anniversary date of his valorous actions, Jack was honored as featured speaker by the West Point Society of New York at the 2018 Founders Day Dinner, held at the Union League Club in New York City. His remarks were both humble and inspirational.
"The Presentation of Colors was executed by the USMA Military Police Color Guard and the National Anthem and Alma Mater were led by MSG Mary Kay Messenger of the USMA Concert Band. The U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains, MG Paul Hurley, '84, gave the invocation and benediction, ending his entreaties with a lusty ‘Beat Navy!’
“Others representing the Class at the dinner were Ross Wollen & Myrita Pindar, as well as Russ Campbell, Class President. Ross and Myrita were instrumental in putting a program together that featured LTG Robert Caslen, '75, USMA Superintendent and MOH recipient Paul "Bud" Bucha '65, both long-time comrades of Jack’s. It was an exceptional and festive evening framed in true military pomp and circumstance.”
Photo Left: L-R, Ross Wollen, Myrita Pindar, Russ Campbell
Mitch Bonnett reports on the dinner held in Auburn Hills, near the Motor City:
“We celebrated Founder's Day on March 17th. Walt Oehrlein and I were the only ‘65 grads. Very nice affair! I think attendees numbered right around 200, a little down from last year's event. Last year's speaker was COL Greg Gadson, a 1989 grad. I mention Greg because the two individuals on the left of the attached picture are Patti & Jim Anderson. Jim is the President and CEO of Urban Science. He provided the money, a lot of it, to have state of the art bionic legs made for Greg. Jim is an honorary member of the West Point Society of Michigan and continues to be a big supporter our Alma Mater.
may recall Greg Gadson from his role in the movie "Battleship.”
“Adam & Jess Weiner were my guests for Founder's Day. Adam is a USNA grad who spent 14 years after graduation as a Navy SEAL. Prior to our first defeat of Navy in many years, I invited Adam to attend a West Point Society luncheon. At that luncheon, I gave Adam a "Make Army Football Great Again" hat. Prior to our recent victory over Navy, I had Adam speak to another Society luncheon.
Normally, we have around 30 for Society luncheons. For Adam, we had over 80! He gave a great talk which he ended with a picture of his 5 year old son with the hat I gave him the year before. His son had taken an immediate liking to the hat and wore it everywhere.
“I like to think we helped in some small way with the last two victories over Navy. I'm hoping to have Adam's son with us for the next before-the-Game luncheon later this year. As we say in Detroit when attending a hockey game, we're looking for a "hat trick" when it comes to our next victory over Navy!
Photo: L-R, Patti & Jim Anderson, Walt Oehrlein, Mitch Bonnett, Jess & Adam Weiner
Thanks, Mitch! Jim Anderson is indeed a great American, and my! Doesn’t Walt look splendid?
Bob Bradley sends this account of the observance at the San Diego Yacht Club, where he has a permanent seat at the bar – he’s never mentioned a yacht, but that’s probably to avoid hurting my feelings. I have a rubber ducky myself, or did until my German shepherd ate it.
“Congressman Scott Peters presented Vietnam Veteran pins to San Diego Yacht Club members last night. There were about 30 Navy, eight Marine, three Air Force and two Army vets present. Many Navy were USNA deadbeats who tried to surrender when someone fired a salute cannon. Rather than attach the pins to our clothing, we Army legitimate warriors had Congressman Peters just jam the pins into our buffed chests, wiping the blood off with our DD214 papers as "We Gotta Get Outta This Place" [a popular ditty on patrols in the Florida swamps during my Ranger class – S.T.] blared over the loud speakers. As I left, the Marines were kicking the crap out of five retired Navy captains and one two star who’d made the mistake of stating the Marines were part of the Navy [as my Marine colleagues at NWC used to say (among them Tony Zinni and Butch Krulak), “One Department, two Services” – S.T.]. Of course I yelled out 'BEAT NAVY......AGAIN" while receiving my pin.”
For several years, Bob, George Ruggles, and a rotating selection of other Classmates have met for golf in Palm Desert (I won’t tell you what state it’s in, but it ain’t Vermont). The others rotate because … well, some of you know Bradley and those who don’t wouldn’t understand. Recently, however, this aggregation added to its agenda of Kraft durch Freude some obscure sport I don’t begin to comprehend, let alone appreciate. Let’s allow him the privilege of mis- explaining it himself:
“This was a combat S&D get-together in Palm Desert, hence the boonie hats, no camera flash bulbs (we also look much better in darkened conditions). The Paskes were supposed to join us, but Ray's son-in- law is very ill.
“Ruggles introduced me to the game of Pickle Ball while I was at his place in Palm Desert. It’s played usually as doubles on 1/4 of a tennis court with a wiffle ball and wooden racquets. Now I'll be sore for a week since I'm in such great shape.
“We're in the hot tub after Pickle Ball and a guy says he heard us talking about RVN and that he was there too. Asked him what his job was and he said he was a "Remington Raider.” What's that? Clerk- typist. Never heard that one before.”
Photo: L-R, Cinda & Art Hester, George & Susan Ruggles, Bob Bradley (note “aptitude stare”)
Jim Harvey reports on the latest iteration of a recurring gathering of Classmates in the Old Dominion … Mother of Presidents … the Commonwealth … whatever. No verbiage to speak of, but an excellently captioned photo, for which your humble scribe is most grateful!
Photo: L-R, Ed & Lee Simpson, Jim & June Harvey, Dave & Darlene Hopkins, Emory & Eleanor Chase, Margie Berry, Jim & Lynn Helberg, Trish Griffin, Jim Berry, Chuck Nichols, Roger Griffin
Thanks, Jim! A distinguished looking crew, hale and hearty as befits our mutual youth and vigor.
You’ll all recall how Dave & Margaret La Rochelle just barely escaped with their two toddler grandchildren from the ravages of the recent Northern California wild fires, in the process losing their lovely home and virtually all its contents. But you cannot keep a member of Strength and Drive down for long and, sure enough, they are in the process (and it will be a long one) of rebuilding. I suggest they use reinforced concrete and surround the place with a moat ten yards wide, but I’m funny that way. Here’s his account of an interesting discovery during the process of sifting through the ruins for what few possessions might have escaped the conflagration:
“Amazing that after five months this is the only recovery item I found in the fire debris related to USMA. It was just a wad of encrusted ash until placed in CLR solution for a week. I do not remember when it was sent to me. We also found some of my wife's jewelry using a metal detector.”
Thanks to you, Dave, I now have even greater respect for our AOG – they’re fireproof!
Frank Arnall recently visited Johnny, and sends this account:
“On the way to Charlotte I stopped by National Health Care to visit John. We were in A-1, then in the 82nd together. John has physically recovered from the stroke and seemed cheered by the visit. We wished each other a Happy 75th birthday as 25 March is Sunday.”
Photo: Johnny and Frank
Thanks, Frank, both for your report and for checking in with a cherished Classmate! And Johnny, though many of us are unable to be there in person, know that you have a multitude of fans in the Class who care for you very much and are cheered immensely by the progress you’ve made.
I get frequent requests for so-and-so’s email or address, and I am happy to help. Nevertheless, think of the sense of power you’ll experience when you can access the official Class Roster yourself, the most up-to-date version, maintained faithfully by our technology guru, Chuck Nichols! Chuck has put this word out several times in the past, but if you are like me, you tend to lose things – in the house, on your computer, in your mind.
First, enter this URL in your browser: http://www.west-point.org/class/usma1965/roster/. When prompted for user name, enter usma1965. The password is our Class motto, all one word, all lower case. Et voila! There you have several versions to choose from. : photos, Class History, even classic editions of Class Notes!
Here’s what I suggest – no, urge -- you all to do. While it’s fresh in your mind, paste the URL into your browser or access directly from the previous page by holding down the “control” key and clicking on the URL. for future visits. Both the user ID and password windows have the option to save your entries; I know, they’re not hard to remember, but if you type with your fists and elbows as I do, every time you save a keystroke an angel gets its wings.
Then check out your own entry for currency and completeness, and if there are errors or omissions, notify Chuck Nichols at email@example.com and they will speedily be rectified.
And in case you don’t do any of that, email me and I’ll look it up for you with only a modicum of static!
In an otherwise unimpeachable publication, a public official is quoted as saying that so-and-so was the benefactor of a kind deed by someone else. Of course, the deed-doer was the benefactor; the recipient of his kindness was the beneficiary.
Similarly, and in another reputable publication, the quoted party stated that “there are thousands of ancestors of Mayflower passengers walking around our streets today.” If so, they must be perambulating in an advanced stage of decomposition. Ancestor means “progenitor,” one who came before. The correct term for this obvious genealogical illiterate to have used is, of course, descendant.
With apologies to the Ring and Crest committee, the term “crest’ in heraldry refers to but a small part of a coat of arms, the others being the escutcheon, the supporters, the motto, etc. The crest is the small representation of a helmet, a crown, or an animal head that rests atop the escutcheon, or shield, on which the armorial colors and quarterings are displayed.
And now the conundrum: false agreement between subject and verb. Most people say (and write), “there are a lot of reasons why ….” Am there, indeed? “A lot” is a singular quantity, however many its components. We wouldn’t say “there are a bushel of peaches,” or “there were a carload of furniture ,“ would we? I didn’t think so. Why we do this (and I am at least an unindicted co- conspirator) may have to do with the substituted term, namely “many,” which would correctly require “are.” Likewise, for correct agreement, the clause “A lot of people …” should properly be “A lot of people …”, and that offends the ear as badly as Russian-originated click-bait on MSN news. That’s why I term this error a conundrum: we either treat the term as an authorized exception to grammar or we run the risk of offending idiom, the way native speakers talk and write. The solution? Can’t beat ‘em, might as well join ‘em. And by putting it in those terms, I commit the error of a comma splice as well as ellipsizing the pronouns.
And on that note, we come to the end of another thrill-packed edition of Despatches. My profound appreciation goes out to our contributors, past, present, and, one fervently hopes, future as well.
Strength and Drive, Beat Navy, and welcome spring (in parts of the country at any rate),
Jim Golden will receive the 2018 Prentis Award from William & Mary University. The award is presented annually to people in the Williamsburg community for their strong civic involvement and support of the university.
"When you combine piercing intelligence with powerful organizational skills, the capacity to complete tasks quickly and splendidly and a wonderful bedside manner, and then you mix in military training and experience, a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard, years of teaching and leading at West Point and a stint in the corporate world, all before joining us at William & Mary 20 years ago, you get Jim Golden," Reveley said. "The General has been an invaluable force for progress on campus and in the community. The range of his activities has been simply extraordinary. He is a cherished colleague and friend to so many of us. By any measure, Jim is a very worthy recipient of the Prentis Award."
In addition to his service to W&M, Golden has deep ties to the Williamsburg community. He is currently the chair of the board of the Williamsburg Health Foundation, immediate past chair of the board of Williamsburg Landing, past chair of the Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance and a member of the local Towne Bank board, the Williamsburg-James City County Schools superintendent's business & community advisory committee and the Troops to Teachers Virginia Center advisory committee.
"Jim Golden is extraordinary," said W&M Provost Michael R. Halleran. "I know of no one who combines as effectively his high-level strategic thinking, attention to detail, instinct for partnerships and commitment to the common good. We — William & Mary and the wider Williamsburg community — have been blessed to have him in our midst." Golden's work at William & Mary spanned many areas, including strategic planning, business innovation and communications, efforts to develop and buy property around campus and collaborations to help build the local economy, to forge research partnerships, to create links to the local military and defense establishments including the Army's Training and Doctrine Command and to help address veterans' issues.
In addition to spending the last four years as a volunteer senior counselor to the president, Golden works with several university committees, boards and projects.
Currently, Golden serves on the W&M Military and Veterans’ Affairs Working Group. He has been compiling all of the university’s military connections and trying to increase awareness of all that is being done. He serves on the steering committee for ongoing business innovation efforts. Golden clearly delights in his role with Reveley, whom he described as being of the same “vintage” of college class — 1965 at West Point and Princeton, respectively. Golden meets with Reveley monthly to discuss any topics either of them might have in mind, helps him with projects and frequently exchanges emails with him on various topics.
“He and I really have a close connection,” Golden said. “He’s always very, very supportive — very gracious. So it’s been a great partnership.”
A spin around Golden’s office looking at framed photos gives lots of clues to the story of the man who chose them.They include a dramatic spoof of a movie poster made in honor of his 2014 retirement, a photo of him as a young West Point cadet meeting President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a photo of military adviser Golden in a small group meeting with President Gerald R. Ford in the Oval Office and finally two more photos of Eisenhower — this time in Colonial Williamsburg, pictured with Winston Churchill in both.
Personally, Golden has always been very involved with sports and family. And he’s not the only Golden at W&M. His daughter, Heather, currently serves as associate vice president for university marketing and advancement communications and chief of staff in university advancement. Golden and his wife Elaine have three children and nine grandchildren, all in the greater Williamsburg-Richmond area, and spend lots of time vacationing and watching grandkids play sports.Golden himself was a starting varsity soccer midfielder at West Point, which went to the NCAA tournament final four each of his last two years there. Walking became his main activity as he settled into the working world, strolling Duke of Gloucester St. each day at lunchtime as a transition between mornings spent responding to other people’s needs and afternoons of bigger picture work.
Golden enjoys reading and writing, and is the author of nine books on economics and strategy. He said walking three to four miles a day and maintaining a limited schedule of work duties has made his latest role at W&M enjoyable.
“Retirement is just a terrible word,” Golden said, laughing. “In the military sense it means you’re withdrawing, which is hardly the case.”
Not many days have passed since Despatches #31 infiltrated your in-boxes, but a plethora of news about Classmates’ appearances at Founders Day soirées east of the Appalachians has shown up in mine. And I think you’ll find it more pleasant reading than most of what’s been in the mass media of late.
DC. Bob Wolff and Bob Frank are our virtual interlocutors in this story. We’ll begin with the former’s account: “The West Point Society of DC Founders Day dinner was attended by a small contingent of ’65 warriors: Joe & Lynne DeFrancisco, Clair & Sherry Gill, Bob & Phyllis Wolff, Bob & Mary Frank and Bill Birdseye. The event began with the Youngest Grad speech, followed by a video of LTG Caslen, with the usual message about the greatness of USMA. Then came the best part of the evening, the keynote speaker: Captain Kristen Griest ('11), Infantry Officer and Army Ranger. In 2015, CPT Griest was one of the first two women (along with Shaye Lynne Haver, '12) to graduate from the US Army Ranger School. In April 2016, Griest became the first female US infantry officer when the Army approved her request to transfer from the Military Police branch. She now commands an infantry company in the 82nd Airborne.
L-R, Joe DeFrancisco, Sherry & Clair Gill, Lynne DeFrancisco, Bob & Phyllis Wolff
“Kristen was a dynamite speaker, telling a great story of her entry into West Point, her temerity in asking any high-ranking official who came to West Point when women would be allowed into the Infantry, her mentorship which gave her the continuing confidence not only to advocate for women in infantry but also to follow through by attending Ranger School and transferring to Infantry branch. She was extremely funny and poised, with much humorous self-deprecation. She told how she and the other women failed the Darby phase and were given an opportunity to recycle if they could do 49 push- ups on the spot (after weeks of training and lack of sleep). Only she and one other female passed the test, completed the course, and earned the Ranger Tab.
“The event ended about 9:30 p.m. when a very loud band began playing dance music for the Millennials. Wisely, the Strength and Drive crowd drifted away in search of a quieter finish to the evening.””
L-R, Bill Birdseye, Joe Defrancisco, Bob Frank, Lynne DeFrancisco, Mary Frank
Bob Frank is an adept table hopper at such events, a skill that led to an interesting encounter with two members of our Affiliation Class, as he explains below:
“I am sending a photo taken at the WP Society of DC’s Founder’s Day Saturday night. The event was held at the Crystal City Marriott for over 500 people. I just wanted to add this piece to show that ‘65s affiliation with 2015 carries on. On the left is LT Kyle Warren, the ’15 Class VP, who is now a med student at USUHS (Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences) at Bethesda. In the middle is 1LT Tessa Knight , also USMA 2015, an MP officer assigned to the Old Guard. She commands the platoon of MPs that provides the gate guards and other security at Ft. Myer. Additionally, Tessa and her NCOs are certified for ceremonial duties. It was my pleasure to spend time with two of 2015’s finest!”
John Swensson submitted the following report on Founders Day activities. His reporting suggested recent trends in national policy making in that it was distributed across 17 separate emails; fortunately, my lavish budget affords me a mosaic artist, who put it all back together again. Snark aside, I am indebted to John for covering a major event, including photos, probably at the expense of enjoying his rubber chicken. Quoth the Waiguren:
Photo Right: USMA Class of 1965 Attendees -- The Obligatory Mass Photo – Heritage Hunt C.C., 11 March 2018
“The Founder's Day dinner was at Heritage Hunt Country Club on Sunday, March 11. HH is in Gainesville, VA off Route 66 to Charlottesville. Bernie & Ellen Ziegler live there, as does, I believe, Linda Concannon. Sixty-Five was the largest group attending, in part because the West Point Alumni Glee Club sang. Pete Linn soloed and other singers included Pete Cahill, Terry Ryan, Jim Ferguson, Chuck Nichols, and me. Other classmates in attendance: Tom & June Fergusson, Bill & Martha Birdseye, Curt & Ann Adams, Larry & Jean Bennett, Linda Concannon, the Zieglers, Nancy Ryan, Maria Cahill, and Jack & Annette Lowe. Jack said he’d had a little heart surgery but I listened to it and it sounded OK to me.
Photo Left: L-R, Chuck Nichols, Ann & Curt Adams, Jean & Larry Bennett
“The Oldest Grad was a member of the Class of '56. Anyone hear hoofbeats overtaking us? Our class is almost eligible. The Youngest Grads were a married couple, Captains Larry & Margaret Harris, Class of 2010. They met when both were in the Cadet Glee Club; Larry is a current member of the WPAGC and sang with us.” Click below for more photos:
L-R, June Fergusson, Annette Lowe, Tom Fergusson, Jack Lowe, Jim & Karen Ferguson | L-R, Martha & Bill Birdseye, Pete Lynn, Nancy & Terry Ryan, Maria & Pete Cahill | Jean Bennett and Bernie Ziegler contemplate a lighter-than-air elopement | In rehearsal, Pete Linn gets ready to try for that D-flat above middle C
Another sterling effort, John, and my compliments to your photography.
The usual Founders Day bacchanal took place, per Jerry Merges’ gripping account:
“Founders Day in da Vill featured a half dozen of S&D's tanned couples.
L-R, Marcella & Dave Gnau, Jerry & Peggy Merges, Bob & Georgia Carini, Frank & Susan Arnall, Günter & Diana Hennig, Don Parrish, unknown lady standing in for Sharon Parrish to balance the photo(?)
“Frank Arnall was our featured speaker and knocked it out of the park with his stories of arriving in Nam as a fresh faced 2LT and joining the 1st Cav, nine months after the Battle of Ia Drang.
“Bob Carini captured the door prize of 4 tickets to the Army- Liberty game on September 8th, so be on the lookout for him and Pat.
L-R, Gnau, Merges, Carini, Arnall, Parrish, Hennig
“Amy Hagan, Director of Alumni Services, also visited and gave a preview of 2019's celebration of 150 years of the AOG. I interface with her and her team and always receive courteous, prompt support in running our Society.”
Thanks, Jerry. I didn’t know that Sharon Parrish traveled with a stunt double! Or that Georgia Carini prefers to be called Pat. Slowly but unsteadily, I am beginning to pick up the finer points of this job.
Setting aside Founders Day 2018, we move to the topic of our succeeding generations at USMA. Like many of you, Emery Chase has sired and grand-sired members of the Long Grey Line, as he reviews below:
“My wife, Eleanora, and I attended Plebe-Parent Weekend this past weekend up at West Point. Our son, Ken, and his wife Ann were there as well supporting their son, our grandson, Sam, a member of the class of 2021.
“Despite the cold weather (the great Nor'easter hit the day before we arrived), we had a great time. Friday evening, we all went out to enjoy barbeque in Newburgh. While waiting to be seated, I took this picture of my wife, daughter-in-law, and Sam. I think the parkas tell it all.
Ken and Ann's oldest son, Gavin, was a member of our Affiliation Class of 2015 and is now a 1LT in Alaska. He and his wife Beth Ann presented us with our second great-grandson on Saturday. All is good!
Eleanora Chase, grandson Sam, daughter-in-law Ann
Thanks, Emery. Good to know that the tendrils of the 65 Mafia continue to insinuate themselves into the WP deep state!
Finally, some breaking news from America’s soft underbelly … well, a lot softer than Italy was in WW II.
Ever the champion of “the whole story” and prompted by Paul Schultz’ waxing rhapsodic in Despatches #31 about the balmy weather on Mobile Bay (must have been between hurricanes), Tim Thames divulges the schizophrenic nature of Alabama’s weather:
“That dispatch from Schultz truly points out the stark difference in the North and the South---Alabama that is. While they are basking in the warm Spring-like weather on the southern end of I-65 (that runs through Huntsville here in the north), we are covering our already blooming plants to ward off sub- freezing weather producing killing frost in the same State. I warmed my tootsies by what hopefully be the last fire in my fireplace this year as the temps hit a bone chilling 24 degrees with humidity seeping through even the warmest jacket. Not all is sunny and warm in the Heart of Dixie before Easter.”
Courage, old friend! Suffering is a gift from God! Strength and Drive,
Gloom Period is traditionally a period of little news, but the Class is far from dormant despite the vagaries of weather and politics. Below are a few items for your edification and/or amusement.
“Where the Brave Dare to Tread.” I am honored to say that I have viewed the documentary and am very favorably impressed with both the film and its treatment of its subject. Unlike many of you, I didn’t know of Bob at school until he was appointed First Captain. Our only personal encounter was at the Firstie Club a few weeks shy of graduation, when he astonished me by greeting me by name (we wore no name tags on dress grey, you’ll recall), saying some complimentary things about the 100th Night Show, and mentioning he’d likely see me at Benning. That’s a lot for a busy guy to know about some nonentity in the Wrong Regiment! Prior to that encounter, I had thought that Bob certainly looked the part of First Captain; after it, I knew he was far more than just our photogenic titular leader. That quality in Bob – his abiding concern for and interest in others and their welfare – is salient among the many that the documentary rightly praises. There can be no doubt that Bob’s early death was a great loss not only to our Class and the Army but to the nation as a whole.
Walt Oehrlein has provided the URL where the DVD can be ordered: http://stunt3.com. Get out those credit cards and hie thee to thy computers, gents! [Techno-weenies may order from their smart phones, I assume.] Just the thing for that grandchild who’s facing a career choice, as well as something well worth viewing oneself, and more than once.
Walt also informs us that the producer of the doc, Brian Kruger, has undertaken to provide a copy of “Where the Brave …” to every high school in Bob’s home state of Michigan. To underwrite that effort, Kruger has set up a Go Fund Me site at https://www.gofundme.com/the-bob-arvin-story. I understand that there may be some price advantage to purchasing the DVD if one is also participating in the funding, so perhaps the second site ought to be visited first if you are inclined to assist in getting “Where the Brave …” out to an appropriate audience. [Caveat: as usual, this information is offered as an opportunity to members of the Class, and does not imply official endorsement by the Leadership Team. That being said, it seems to me (speaking personally) that there could be no finer tribute to Bob than to help make the example of his brief but momentous life available to young men and women who have the potential to join the Long Grey Line – today, Michigan; tomorrow, the world!]
Henry V said it, but our own Bob Wolfe appears to be living it. Here’s the story in Bob’s words:
“Just wanted you to know that after 3-1/2 years since I left my job at SAME, I have been asked to come out of retirement and become the Executive Director for the Quality of Life Plus Program in McLean, Virginia. I accepted the challenge and start on Monday.
“The mission of the non-profit is to foster and generate innovations that aid and improve the quality of life of those injured in the line of duty in service to our country. For the most part, the organization works with amputees. The program is partnered now with six schools that link up students, wounded veterans, and faculty to work on projects that improve their lives—mostly in the engineering departments. I was familiar with the organization as I had a relationship with the founder when I was with SAME and went out to CalPoly several times to see the student projects. QL+ now has projects at colleges and universities in California, Colorado, Ohio, and Virginia, so it looks like I will again be traveling for business.
“In summary, I failed retirement but am very excited about this opportunity to support our veterans.”
February 21, 2018. Paul Schultz sends a report on a gathering of Classmates in the Mobile Bay region. Residents of the Northeast and the Upper Mid-West will no doubt appreciate being reminded that not all regions are suffering polar weather. Thanks for rubbing their noses in it, Paul!
Photo Left: L-R, Sabine & Paul Schultz, Susan & Tom Carll, Linda & Barrie Zais, and Brenda & Don Rowe
“The Class of 1965 Snowbirds and local residents gathered at Barrie & Linda Zais’s bayside Snowbird Nest to share memories, watch the sunset, and then have a great dinner at the aptly named Sunset Point Grill in Fairhope, Alabama. The picture below has the background lights from the boats in the harbor and the Class of 1965 Guidon which marked our tables. We welcome any classmates traversing the I-10 route through south Alabama to stop by and visit. They can be in the next picture.”
Photo Right: View of Mobile Bay from Snowbird Nest& Local flora enjoy the 70-degree weather
Thanks, Paul, for reminding us that not everywhere are frozen cod being delivered door-to-door by the tides!
And thus ends another edition of Despatches, the thirty-first of that ilk. With any luck, I’ll not have to issue any errata or emendations.
Strength and Drive, Step
So far, 2018 has been not too shabby for Strength and Drive: at the beginning of the year, Joe DeFrancisco quietly assumed the duties of Chairman of the AOG Board of Directors, and about a week ago our own Tom Barron joined Joe, Ric Shinseki, Dan Christman, Bud Bucha, and Joe Anderson in being designated a USMA Distinguished Graduate.
Our membership continues to thrive, or hold its own at any rate -- some of the ailing have improved and no one has PCSed to Fiddler’s Green either. As we tread water in a sea of socio- political turmoil, ever mindful that “there are no walls out there,” even the least fortunate of us must acknowledge that we have many reasons to be grateful, our DGs conspicuous among them. Congratulations, gentlemen, and thanks for all you’ve done, are doing, and will doubtless continue to do!
USMA Coaches’ Dinner, Union League Club, NYC, 6FEB18. Strength and Drive figured large at this event, held on Ross Wollen’s home turf. The two honorees mentioned in the paragraph above were in attendance, as well as number of other Class dignitaries. Ross writes: "The Annual WPSNY Coaches’ Dinner at the Union League Club in NYC was enhanced by the display of the recently awarded Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. We last won the trophy during Dan Christman’s tenure as Supe, and Dan loved getting re-acquainted with that handsome piece of sculpture.
They can lift it, but can they get it into the freight elevator and out of the building? L-R, Ross Wollen, Roger Frydrychowski, José Sánchez, Reg Dryzga, Bob Wolff
“Before joining almost 200 Army sports fans and coaches downstairs (including Boo Corrigan, the AD and Jeff Monken, recently voted Top College Football Coach for 2017), about a dozen '65ers met in a private, semi-secret room to toast Joe DeFrancico's election as Chair of the WPAOG Board of Directors.
L-R: Jim Harmon, Roger Frydrychowski, José Sánchez, Bud Bucha, LTG Swan (’76, AUSA), Reg Dryzga, Rollie Stichweh, Ross Wollen, Joe DeFrancisco, Bob Wolff, Dan Christman, Tom Barron, and Bob Jones
“To the right of the Classmates' group shot is a display case which features mostly '65 memorabilia I have collected over the years. Among my favorite items I pointed out: photos of Bud Bucha and Jack Jacobs, our two living MOH recipients (both attended the dinner); a certain ‘RIC WAS RIGHT’ cap, often cited elsewhere; a photo of Alex Alexander leading A-1 and the USCC at our 50th Reunion Parade; a shot of Rollie Stichweh, who later served as dinner MC , scoring in a 1963 Norelco Ad, ‘Close Shave;’ Dan dressed as Elvis riding in my '65 Corvette at the Memphis Game;
and our Bob Arvin memorial print by artist Paul Martin, who was present. Three (Bud, Bob Jones and Dan) of the print's signatories were also in attendance. I asked Tom Barron, just named a USMA Distinguished Graduate himself, to lead the toast to Brother DeFrancisco, who responded with gracious comments and thanks to the assemblage. Russ & Maryanne Campbell arrived late after fighting traffic, but from all reports everyone had a great night."
Thanks, Ross. Apparently a very pleasurable event, and a particularly significant one for the illustrious Class of 1965!
John McCullough reports on a recent gathering of Classmates at a pot luck in Nashville. Apparently, these folks see each other more than occasionally. I trust that the pot was either medicinal or liturgical, John! “The Nashville area contingent of "Strength and Drive” met recently at the home of Paul & Nancy Singelyn for a potluck supper, with Paul grilling a pork roast and the rest of us bringing side dishes, bread, wine, and dessert.
“For several years now we have been meeting twice a month for lunch at a local restaurant (without spouses). While other commitments often mean that not all of us can make both lunches each month, there is always a “quorum" of three. Until he graduated last spring, Oleh Koropey could be expected, but only between semesters at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, where he was taking Chinese and international business courses.
L-R: Cam & Deb McConnell, Nancy & Paul Singelyn, Janice & Oleh Koropey, Mary & John McCullough (standing) and Karen & John Pickler
I surmise that the semi-monthly luncheons are not enough and that evening events such as that depicted are much-needed social supplements. I would certainly agree that the addition of spouses/significant others represents a real aesthetic enhancement to what would otherwise be a bunch of (very) late middle-aged farts, sitting around bitching about their arthritis.
So, let me see if I have this straight: if China ever gives us the business, we can blame Oleh?
Bob Frank writes of a recent excursion to Naples, Florida, where he and Mary were able to observe several indigenes of the area at very close range: “Dave & Donna Mastran, Walt & Cathy Kulbacki, and Mary & I enjoyed a wonderful meal at Campiello in Naples FL. It was a pleasant evening for an outdoor opportunity to catch up with each others’ very busy lives. The Mastrans and the Kulbackis are Naples residents, although Donna & Dave are really based in
Nashville. Dave noted that they are returning to Nashville to participate in a WPAOG event that will feature our own Joe & Lynne DeFrancisco. What great news that our Class is supporting the new Chairman of the WPAOG Board.”
L-R, Mastrans, Kulbackis, and Franks
Thanks, Bob. I don’t see any golf clubs in the shot, but I remain suspicious.
Finally, Chuck Moseley demonstrates yet again the power of his loins by gathering a number of his clan for another beach-house photo – the serious version of the one previously published, he claims!
“Attached is our “serious” picture taken at NC beach (after you published the goof ball one last summer). Grandson Chase, class of 2020, is Photo Shopped onto my sagging stomach as he was at Buckner at the time. He has already seen Navy beaten twice as many times as we did – and still counting!!”
And so we come to the end of another edition of Despatches, the 30th of that ilk. Many thanks to all and sundry who contributed, whether with stories and photos or merely with an absence of malice against your humble scrivener and his product.
S & D, and continue resolutely to castigate the revanchist imperialist puppets from Squid School! [I may have been reading a few too many North Korean propaganda posters.]