In 1999, Ron Turner had an idea. He acted on that idea by sending a letter and an article to Jay Olejniczak, Vice President for Publications at the AOG. In the article, later published in ASSEMBLY magazine, Ron stated:
"West Point invented the concept of the class ring in 1835, and we, her graduates, have all experienced the thrill of finally earning the right to wear our own West Point class ring with pride ever since. We all were proud to receive our ring, the symbol of membership in the Long Gray Line. Perhaps we would have been even prouder had our new class rings included traces of the gold from rings of past graduates — some of whom served many years before we, our parents, or even our grandparents were born. Would not such a “Memorial Class Ring” be even more significant?"
On 20 November 2000 a total of twenty-nine rings and portions of to others were given and used for the inauguration of the program. Included was the ring that had been taken into space by Astronaut (Colonel) Bill McArthur '73 on the 100th NAA mission. With a small portion of the gold from that melt was use to mix with the gold for the following year. In 2002 the Ring Memorial Program was inaugurated with 31 rings being donated and combined with the gold from the previous melt.
Starting with our affiliation class of 2015 four class rings were donated to the Memorial Melt. The list below shows all the 1965 class rings that have become part of the Memorial Melt and will live on in the rings of future graduates. Articles about the donors are available by clicking on their name.
2015Mr. Gerald A. Buckosky
Mr. Ladd H. Metzner
Dr. Karl J. Plotkin
Mr. George W. Ruggles
2016LTC Rance H. Rountree
2017CPT Robert G. Keats
2018COL Robert D, Brown III 1965
2019Mr. Anthony H. Clay
2020LTC John M. Deems, USA Retired
2021COL Zigmund J. Roebuck USA, Retired
2022Mr. Omar E. Rood Jr. Mr. John T. Thomasson
Finally, to donate your own ring to the Memorial Class Ring Program (or that of a deceased family member), contact Class Services at 845.446.1614, or send an email to RingMemorialProgram@wpaog.org. Please send in this donation form along with your ring donation.