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Class Notes Second Quarter 2020

USMA1965 Class Notes – Despatches #65 – 200609

Dear Classmates,

This is it, issue # 65, disseminated on the 55th anniversary of our graduation, as promised. My profound thanks to those of you, some first-time contributors, who rose to the occasion and submitted their material. This issue is a potpourri of items great and small, momentous and seemingly trivial, serious and light-hearted.

Frank Hennessee

We begin with a fond look back at one of our Class stars and our most recently fallen Classmate, James Frank Kennessee, BG, USA. The photo below, submitted by Tim Timmerman, shows four A-1 Plebes, apparently falling out in Central Area, outside East Barracks. This shows Frank at his best: the infectious grin, the magnificent physique, the relaxed but ready-for-anything stance … he even looks good in his post-Beast dress coat!

Photo Left: L-R, Frank Arnall, Tim Timmerman, Frank Hennessee, Grant Fredricks

Our POC, Emery Chase, on the Frank Hennessee viewing, 06JUN20: “Today I attended the ‘Drive Through Visitation’ for Frank Hennessee. In the age of Covid-19, where gatherings, even for memorial or funeral services, are restricted, the passing of a classmate is still cause for pause; too many of us are joining the ‘Long Grey Line’ stretching through the years of two centuries told. The ‘Drive Through Visitation’ was as the term described. Friends were afforded the opportunity to pay respects with the family at a drive through tent, but not to gather. I was able to ensure the Class Flag was displayed, and passed on to Cam, Rachael, Jon and Marc the condolences from our class. Frank will be inurned at Arlington Cemetery at a latter date and, hopefully, there will be a better opportunity to show our respects.”

Photo Right: Homage to our fallen brother

Emery was able to display the Class Flag as part of the homage to our cherished friend, even though restrictions precluded the customary group photo of Class attendees. I know that I speak for all of us in thanking him and Terry Ryan for arranging its presence.

Speaking of Emery...

I do not know how many others there are, but Emery is a great-grandfather. As he informs us, “On 14 March, just prior to the 'Great Lockdown,’ Eleanora and I had the great fortune to visit with our son, Ken, and his wife and family. For the first time, we had all three (at that time), great-grandsons together. The picture shows Liam (will turn four this summer), Elliott (just turned two), and Killian (had just turned 6 months). Since then, we have added Oliver (born on Memorial Day). We miss seeing and playing with all of them!”

Photo: Top to bottom, Liam, Elliott, and Killian Chase

Taking the high ground

Hank Kelley sends a photo of himself and his children checking out key terrain in the far West. “I'm sending a picture of me and the kids on our latest hike in Arches National Park, Utah, back in the days when you didn't have to stay six feet apart and didn't have to wash your hands.  I'm the one on the right.”

Photo: L-R, Son Kelley, Daughter Kelley, Hank Kelley

Hank, I assume the “kids” requested anonymity. I notice that you have cleared excellent fields of fire, though there seems to be a paucity of cover and concealment,

Jon “Dad” Thompson

Our octogenarian about town, seems to have been doing everything everywhere for the past several decades: making a documentary about the discovery of RMS Titanic, looking for Amelia Earhart, on the ground in Tienamin Square the day the troops went in (though he was not, apparently, the gentleman with the shopping bags who stood down the tank), travel to scores of exotic climes and far-off places, etc. Frankly, his rest schedule makes me tired, never mind his numerous itineraries in support of various civic and commercial endeavors.
Now come two photos demonstrating that one can be old yet not look it, an effect I attribute to his not remaining stationary long enough for old age to find him.

Photo Right: About to dive in Russian submersible, MIR-2, 2000

Photo Left: CO, 2d Bn, 2d Regt, USCC, 55 years later

That Shar Pei is sniffing some very old scents and appears appropriately fascinated thereby.

A few of our Classmates enjoy getting high

Geographically if not pharmacologically. Ralph Adams is one such, as the following two photographs will attest.

Photo Left: Ralph with unidentified promontory in background

Hmmm. I bet if I got a really long extension cord for my oxygen generator and a platoon of Sherpas, I could … never mind.

Photo Right: Ralph representing, atop a mountain whose identity is obscured by climbers’ stickers

No comment required.

In case you were wondering how Harley Moore is faring these days

Behold the two photos below. In lieu of standard captioning, I retain his descriptions as sent.
“Harley Moore (F-2 / A-2) and Myrna Valdez (wife-2) enjoying a pre-covid-19 break at Sombra Antigua, a small winery in southeast New Mexico of which we are co-owners.”

“Harley Moore at our retirement home in Merida, Mexico, after three months of COVID-19 lockdown and ten days and nights of torrential rains from tropical storm Cristobal.”

So the answer to that question is that he is impersonating Ambrose Bierce in the land of the Aztecs just now. I know we all wish him many happy and cartel-free days of rest and rejuvenation.

From our new Class President, Pat Kenny, comes this intelligence:

Pat & Alice Kenny, and Karl Savatiel & friend Linda spent a recent Saturday night at the historic home of Sonny & Sherry Ray in Charleston; all enjoyed a marvelous meal of clams, shrimp, and squid prepared by a wonderful chef - Sonny himself!”

Photo: Seated, Karl Savatiel; standing, L-R, Sonny Ray, Pat Kenny

Keeping busy under quarantine

Tom Kovach sends the following sweet souvenir of days gone by.

“In our quarantine, Marilyn and I have been sorting through a lifetime's collection of photos and memorabilia. Attached is a portion of the June 6, 1965 Sunday bulletin of the Catholic Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity listing the June Week weddings. Bob and Joanne Higgins and George and Jill Seaworth led the way by tying the knot during the afternoon of Graduation Day “

And another great-grandchild!

Lowell Lawson sends the photo below, and notes that: ““Great-grandfathers, Classes of 1930 and 1965, grandfather on father’s side born at West Point. Grand-uncle recently shared The Nobel Prize for Chemistry.”

Photo: Lowell Lawson and Nash Albert Modisett Smith

I asked for haircuts, I got ‘em!

First up are before and after shots of Mike Leibowitz, followed by Ken Slutzky (yet another great-grandfather) rocking locks that are the longest he’s ever had.

Photo Left: Leibo before & Leibo after

Photo Right: Ken Slutzky with grand daughter and great-grand daughter and a whole lotta hair

And then there’s this year’s graduation

From Chuck Moseley comes news of the travails of the Class of 2020: “Last Saturday, 23 May, the Class of 2020’s original Graduation date, the class was sworn in as commissioned officers (virtually) by the Commandant. Afterwards, I had the privilege of administering the oath to our grandson Chase Moseley as well. After rendering his first salute, I then presented him with a US Army saber that belonged to my father who retired from the Medical Corps in 1966.

Photo: L-R, Chase Moseley (2020), Chuck Moseley (1965)

“The firstie class returns to West Point on May 28th to rigorously planned screening, quarantine, isolation etc. They will then graduate on June 13th with Trump the designated speaker. Unfortunately that was Chase’s original wedding date. (We have three grandchildren getting married in the next 8 weeks and all have had to juggle plans.)

“Some interesting cadet stories have arisen as a result of this pandemic. For example, class will graduate in dress grey over white, apparently. Because the class was commissioned on Saturday, a number of new Lieutenants got married on Sunday, becoming the only class to be married and not having graduated yet! 

“Chase also humorously shared that during the distant learning classes that have occurred over the last several months, a number of his classmates have been shown handling babies who were introduced as ‘my fiancée’s baby.’

“Summer leave is shortened because of the President changing the graduation date, after which Chase will report to the Corps of Engineers Basic Course at Fort Leonard Wood. Then off to Ranger School and his first choice station at Fort Stewart.

Summer of ’64

Jim McEliece submitted the photo below, depicting CPT Hoy (OIC) and first detail Buckner cadre at kegger celebrating their joint achievements (hey, it beats a joint celebrating their first keg, doesn’t it?) Everyone looks tall and tan and young and lovely, do they not?

Hoops back in the day

There follows an excerpt from a recent newspaper story about our own Denny Shantz.

Rowan County resident Denny Shantz is a brilliant guy, quite literally a rocket scientist for several years for Uncle Sam.

“Now 76, Shantz also is a former point guard, a three-year starter at Army, during the golden years for Black Knights basketball. Shantz played a key role in six NIT victories and two third-place finishes in the mid-1960s, and in those days, when the NCAA March Madness field was much smaller, the NIT was quite prestigious. Conference runners-up and 20-win independents swaggered into Madison Square Garden for furious battles in the NIT.

“’Everyone was more talented than we were and taller than we were,” Shantz said. ‘But no one was in better shape than us, and we never gave up. We were a surprise team for two seasons.”

“There was a stretch in 1963-64 season when Shantz played against legends of the game — Miami’s Rick Barry, Princeton’s Bill Bradley and Syracuse’s Dave Bing — back-to-back-to-back. Army was no slouch. It won two out of three.

“’We played against Bradley’s Princeton team a lot, but that was the only time we ever beat them — in a holiday tournament down in Miami,’ Shantz said. ‘Barry — you remember the underhand free throws. Bing was the toughest guy I ever had to guard. He was 6-foot-3 and every bit as quick and fast as I was at 5-foot-10. That was a dilemma.’

“Shantz played for coaches at Army who walked the fine line between genius and madness. Bobby Knight, who Shantz got along with splendidly, was a calming influence in those days compared to Tates Locke. Shantz has some stories. He’s modest and doesn’t go out of his way to shout about what he did back in the day, but if you ask, he’ll tell you the truth.

“If you’re wondering how a Pennsylvania native and former West Point athlete wound up in Rowan County, Shantz’s daughter, Andrea, and husband, West Rowan graduate Stephen Bullock, are Wake Forest graduates who raised their family here. Their daughters, Katie and Laura, are college students now at Furman and Davidson, respectively. Before that, they were athletes for Salisbury High, with Katie shining brightest in soccer and Laura in volleyball.

“Shantz’s story starts in a small town. He was the best athlete they’d ever had at Plymouth Whitemarsh High, about 10 miles west of Philly. He scored 1,298 points in three seasons for the basketball team. He was a good baseball player, as well, but he threw his arm out in Little League, basically pitching every game.

“’I did average 25 or 26 points in basketball my junior and senior years because I could shoot and I could drive,’ Shantz said. ‘It wasn’t a big school and we didn’t have great teams when I was there. It was a different era. Our big guy was 6-foot-3. The big men we played against usually were 6-foot-5.’

“Shantz was a stellar student. He graduated in 1961. His basketball heroes were guards Bob Cousy and Jerry West. His dream was Princeton, where he would have gotten to play with Bradley. Bradley was a very good NBA player, but he was such an amazing college player that he was MVP of the 1965 Final Four — while playing for the third-place team. He scored 58 points in one game.

Shantz actually had accepted a scholarship offer from Princeton, but his father’s dream for his son was Army. Army is where he went. West Point wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I made the most of it, and I can’t complain about how it all turned out,” Shantz said.
And neither can we, Denny, neither can we

Say, who was that masked man? Paul Scholtz, that’s who! “Happiness is my very own West Point COVID-19 Mask for my birthday.  It arrived a couple days early,courtesy of my son and his family. Made My Week. “

Frank Prokop

Is “trying to keep up my Strength & Drive, I am in good health and mental attitude. 

Photo Right: L-R, unknown (4), Zequinha, Frank Prokop

My formula is with the "communities" I am engaged in:  

  1. “Soccer - attached are 2 pix, one of which is our weekly indoor league (some play golf, I play soccer; it's all about hitting a ball, right?).  The fellow in the dark shirt is Zequinha ("Z") and he used to be a teammate of Pele and now plays with us.  The other shot is me (red and white shirt) in an outdoor tournament in Denver in 2016.  We play annual outdoor tournaments in the over 70 division, and indoors twice weekly.  Right now due to the virus we're playing outdoors weekly.
  2. “Engineering - I still put in several hours/month with a local Dallas engineering firm (LGI) in the oil/gas industry.  I'm their automation instrument engineer.
  3. “Financial - I belong to 3 small trading groups that do swing trading and snatch profits in 3-5 days.  Keeps the mind alert and it's a lot fun.
  4. “Aviation - I keep current as a certified flight instructor and give flight reviews to fellow pilots to keep them current.  I am in a partnership to build a 4-seater; don't know when we'll get this flying but it's a fast one and can climb ~ 6000 fpm.

So, life is definitely not boring.  All the great books of wisdom proclaim that "it is done as you believe", and it's been working for me.  I wish all my comrades the best of everything.

Photo Left: L-R, some geezer faked right out of his jock and Frank Prokop

Frank, you are another guy whose days off make me tired. I rejoice in your vigor and positive attitude and am only mildly jealous of your rugged good looks and virile physique. Perhaps I could interest you in joining a platoon of Sherpas I am forming?

And there you have it, folks

You must admit that from the vantage point of 9 June 1965, little of what appears on these pages could have been predicted in any great detail. It has been a long trip, with many unexpected obstacles and some really sharp turns, but it has, on the whole, been well worth the effort. And I count my presence amongst you as the greatest blessing I have ever received.

Strength and Drive! Now get out there and do another 55 laps around the Sun!


USMA1965 Class Notes – Despatches #64 – 200527

These are interesting times in which we find ourselves. With the necessity for social distancing only now beginning to be relaxed in some places, there have been few Class gatherings of any size of late. While I completely support measures to bring the pandemic under control, they make compiling our Class notes slightly frustrating.

Fortunately, items of interest are not wholly lacking, as you will see.

The Old Man and the Lake

We begin with Bob Radcliffe’s latest adventure in angling at beautiful Lake Waccamaw, 13 May.

Bob Radcliffe and Basil Bass

Bob alleges that Basil weighs 6.64 pounds, or did before cleaned and poached in shallots and Puligny Montrachet, and further avers that “fish fear me.” Well, I suppose that’s better than giving the sheep cause for concern.

A Daring Gathering of Classmates!

George Bell communicates on the scandalous juxtaposition of several Classmates in the same grid square recently. “For Despatches some good news. Barrie and Lynda Zais, George and Carol Bell and Faye Hayes and Bob Radcliffe met for dinner at George Bell’s home at St James Plantation, NC on March 12th. Much mirth attended as we shared “old times”. This is a rare picture of me with
‘the last haircut,’ pre Corona Virus.

L-R, George & Carol Bell, Bob & Faye Radcliffe, Lynda & Barrie Zais

Well, they all look healthy enough, and I have heard no discouraging news in the interim, so I am guessing the Covid-19 bullet went astray. Barrie’s attire seems a bit formal; perhaps he had a gig at Manny’s Naugahyde Lounge after the gathering?

Chicago Strength & Drive Virtual Lunch

The Windy City contingent got together via Zoom or equivalent to break wind bread together recently. Per Ken Yoshitani: “We Magnificent Seven from the Midland assembled together for a virtual lunch. They were John Roseberg, Denny Coll, George Seaworth, Dave Jones, Tom Croak, Norm Eckstein, and Ken Yoshitani. Chuck Shaw, Ron Layer, and Don Shutters were AWOL, but we know where and how they are. We are very pleased to report back that all 20 of us, both husbands and wives, are safe and healthy, though cabin-fevered. We are also very fortunate to be able to report that our adult children and grandchildren are all in good shape. (We don’t have a great grandchild yet, but maybe in a few years).

Besides our good fortune to be healthy, we have all cancelled our planned cruises this year. We religiously follow the stay in your castle order from our Governor, but all of us walk, walk, and walk some more. Our knees are collectively giving away, and no one seems to do much jogging. We wish all of ’65 to be safe, healthy, and happy!”

No screen shot available, but given that crew, I am confident that the coefficient of yucks was high indeed.

Meanwhile, back at our Rockbound Highland Home

Denny Coll reports that Harry & Kaye Dermody’s grandson will be joining the Class of 2024. Denny has two grandkids at

West Point – grand-daughter Darby Horne will be his classmate and her older sister Kirby is a rising Cow. My how time flies! I know Harry would be proud.

Finally, a 20-year commemoration

Ralph Asplund recently performed his annual ritual of having a beer with our dear departed Classmate and his best friend, Mike Thompson. He sent along a photo (below, note Ouzlefinch) and having been a friend and company mate of Mike’s, I felt they belonged in Despatches. I hope Mike’s where the ice is smooth and the puck never hits you in the face. We miss you, buddy!

And that’s it for this issue of Despatches. I hope to publish Issue Number 65 on 9 June, so dig me up some material, folks!


Class Notes – Despatches #63 – 200405
There’s an old Chinese curse that goes, “May you live in interesting times!” Its originator(s) probably envisioned famine or Mongol invasion or peasant revolt, but our current circumstances certainly qualify! We who have grown up under the belief that there is a cure for nearly everything and it’s probably already on the shelf are given pause by the behavior of the COVID-19 virus, as well as by the dynamics of the contagion itself.

Well, then, let us settle in for the long struggle ahead, determined to give our progeny cause to say of us, “they, too were truly a Great Generation.”

Skip O’Donnell

And speaking of the Greatest Generation, Skip O’Donnell sent in a photo of himself, his father (who attended World War II, Korea, and Vietnam!), and younger brother taken in Vietnam during the Tet 1968 counter-offensive.

Skip, COL O’Donnell, Tom O’Donnell, Fire Base Bear Cat, South Vietnam, 25APR68

Quoth Skip, “Today is Vietnam Veterans Day.  I put out my US flag this morning.  Here is to my fellow Vietnam veterans and those that did not come back -- lest we forget. The picture shows me, my Dad and my brother Tom at Bear Cat, South Vietnam on April 25, 1968 welcoming Tom’s 5/42d 155mm towed FA battalion from Xenia, OH into Vietnam.”

Thanks, Skip! The family resemblance between you and your Dad is quite remarkable, as is his record of service to our Nation!

Founders’ Day, The Villages, Florida

Another report from Jerry Merges about the active group of USMA grads in his community: “I am turning over the reins to a group from '79 -- They say Top of the Line -- nice motto and certainly more techno savvy than I.

Gen. John Campbell from '79 was guest of honor; an outstanding commander and career. It was an honor to have him address us. Youngest grad was Phil Battaglia '83, oldest Bob Oliver '61.

Dave Gnau, Marcella Gnau, Susan Arnall, Frank Arnall, Lynn Arvin Brondos, Carol Appler, Bob Carini, Pat Krepps, Peg Merges, Jerry Merges

Yet another Octogenarian!

Observant readers will recall that not long ago (around Despatches #54, “Dad” Thompson marked his 80th birthday. I had heard of no other such observance and could discern none (birthdates being expunged from the Register of Graduates as classified, compartmented information) until Ed Zabka gave me a holla via email.
“I recently read that Jon Thompson became the first octogenarian of our class still living. In January I had the good fortune and health to also become an octogenarian. My wife Maryellen made that day very special for me and we celebrated very nicely.

Photo Right: Ed apparently about to flambé his birthday pie!

I have attached three relevant photos. I really have not had a great deal of contact with class activities and thought I would share that with you. One of my nieces is an 88 grad! I am still physically pretty active by lots of walking (no cane or walker), still some jogging, and I am bummed out that the Gold gym had to close for the time being. So I’ll keep on plugging along. Thankfully my wife is encouraging me to keep the body moving as she is very health conscious and somewhat younger than I. In April we will have our 42nd Anniversary. We have two sons and four grandchildren that keep us moving as well. I also have a daughter and granddaughter from my first marriage who live in Ohio.”

Photo Left: L-R, Ed, eldest son John, and daughter-in-law Amy

L-R, Ed, his wife Maryellen, daughter-in-law Krista, son Geoffrey holding Lyla

Thanks for making us privy to this significant milestone, Ed. I know many will follow you, though I am not sure that the practice of having a birthday pie will become a fad!

Heritage Hunt Founders Day Observance

The DC Area marking of FD drew a number of Classmates, of whom Terry Ryan undertook to furnish photos. Thanks!

Photo Right: L-R, Bill Birdseye, Larry Bennett, Bernie Ziegler, Jean Bennett, Curt Adams, Ellen Ziegler, Ann Adams, Martha Birdseye, Linda Concannon

Photo Left: L-R, Maria Cahill, Pete Cahill, Jim Ferguson, Karen Ferguson, June Fergusson, Tom Fergusson, Nancy Ryan, Diane Maddra, Chuck Nichols.

And finally …

The Southeast Pennsylvania contingent of the Class of Strength and Drive had its customary quarterly luncheon last month. Joe Barkley has this report:

L-R, Fred & Mary Ellen Smith; Dan & Elaine Donaghy; Howie & Betsy Reed; Russ Campbell; Chuck & Rosemary McCloskey; Diane & Joe Barkley; Mike & Judy Leibowitz; Joe & Nancy Sanchez with Granddaughter Hannah

“The Southeastern Pa and New Jersey Class of 1965 Local Lunch” – held on March 10, 2020 at the Yardley Inn, Yardley, PA. We have been meeting about every four months – this is the third meeting - and we intend to continue this. We got caught up on the past 54 and butt years and all the families and lots of ‘war stories;’ and stories about the trauma of our first assignments too. It was good to get everyone together. Anyone in the “neighborhood” is invited.  I think Fred and Mary Ellen might have driven the furthest – about 70 miles to get there (Photo credit to Robert the Marine who was our waiter)

And now for the kicker: about ten days after this luncheon, both Russ Campbell and José Sánchez began to evince symptoms of COVID-19 and, indeed, both turned out to be infected. Russ was hospitalized on a ventilator but has since returned home to recuperate. Joe, however, remains in the ICU, on a ventilator and under sedation, with a guarded prognosis. Prayers for Joe’s recovery are indicated, as are thanks to God for Russ’ apparent recovery. The other luncheon attendees are monitoring themselves for any sign of infection, but it could be that both Russ and Joe were infected in some other setting entirely.
With the fervent hope that all of you survive this public health crisis and the tribulations that are almost sure to follow it, I remain,
Your humble servant and faithful friend,

(Self-isolated for several years, now)