The Day We Lost Our President

Edited by J. R. Degenhardt USMA 1962
2 Reminiscences
7 The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
8 Asian Memories
20 European Memories
40 Homeland Memories
59 Last Letter Home
60 Editorial Postscript
61 Index

The Class of 1962 was unusually acquainted with President Kennedy for a number of reasons. Our first exposure came on a miserably cold day in January 1961 as we marched in Washington DC for his inauguration as the 35th President of the United States.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

PX 65-108-CC18280

Companies E, F, G, H of the 1st Regiment

We saw JFK again when he attended the Army-Navy game in December 1961 at the Municipal Stadium in Philadelphia. As could be expected of a Navy veteran, the President presided over a Navy win after spending the first half on our side.

Finally, we had the honor to welcome JFK to West Point for our graduation ceremony on the 6th day of June, 1962.

He was made an honorary member of the class and presented with a 1962 Class Ring which, thanks to the determination of several classmates, today resides in a display case in the Jefferson Hall library.


JFK delivered a speech that day which was remarkable not only for its eloquence but because he spoke to our hearts and our sense of duty, as we looked forward to taking our place in the Long Gray Line.

“You and I leave here today to meet our separate responsibilities, to protect our Nation’s vital interests by peaceful means if possible, by resolute action if necessary. And we go forth confident of support and success because we know that we are working and fighting for each other and for all those men and women all over the globe who are determined to be free.”


On a tragic and momentous day in American history, approximately 18 months after our graduation, the life of the President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was brutally ended.
This document is intended to be a snapshot of the service of the members of the Class of 1962 at that iconic moment 50 years ago. It was a unique time when our entire class was on duty at the outposts of our national influence and many other challenging military assignments. Once upon a time we were all Lieutenants and leaders of men.

The Class of 1962 was engaged in a wide range of responsibilities across the three principal military theaters of Asia, Europe and the Homeland. Each area was characterised by a distinct mix of Cold War threats and domestic political tensions. Looking back at the short JFK Presidency, one is struck by the number of significant events which occurred and the magnitude of the stakes in each theater.

Our individual remembrances of the assassination have been placed within the appropriate theater of assignment in order to provide context and the opportunity to remember shared experiences. Those classmates present in Hawaii have been included in Asia rather than Homeland because their units essentially functioned as a part of US contingency planning for the Pacific area and they were looking westward.
The fallibility of anecdotal information is the bane of historians, as many of our memories are becoming faint and some are vivid beyond reason. However stories carry the thread of life unlike recitation of simple facts. The sum of these reminiscences testifies to the fulfilment of our Duty as charged above in the last sentences of JFK’s graduation speech more half a century ago.
We dedicate this collection of individual recollections to the memory of those members of our class who are no longer here to regale us and their loved ones with their own stories.

The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
1230 CST, Dallas – 22nd November 1963
The citizens of Dallas woke on the 22nd of November 1963 to a bright and promising day, charged with expectations of pageantry and hyperbole associated with the visit of President John F. Kennedy, accompanied by his wife and two of Texas’ favorite sons, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and Governor John Connolly.
At approximately 1230 CST, two shots fired from a bolt-action rifle by Lee Harvey Oswald fatally struck the President, impacting the hearts and minds of millions of Americans and yet many millions more around the globe.
While the world recoiled in shock, there was a strategic process launched within minutes with the intent to protect Americans and the fragile Cold-War peace from as yet unknown consequences of that tragedy. The men and women of our armed forces, in countless locations at home and abroad, prepared for war.

The Cold War in Asia was in a period of rapid transition as the strategic confrontation with China and communism moved from the relatively conventional, but still dangerous, stand-off on the Korean peninsula to an emerging unconventional threat in Indochina. Projection of the American peace in the Pacific required a vast network of military bases and trained manpower.
The US was confronted by the ‘domino’ theory. President Kennedy was reluctant to act but determined that SE Asia should not be lost. The number of US troops in Vietnam began its climb from 500 to 16,000 during his presidency. President Diem of South Vietnam was overthrown, with reported White House support, and unexpectedly executed three weeks prior to JFK’s assassination.
The sequence of Asian stories is SE Asia, Korea, Hawaii, Pacific Islands.

Trevor DuPuy: D-1
When the President was assassinated, I was on a special assignment in Laos that was highly classified at that time – no uniform or ID. I was paid very well and I understood my primary mission was being funded directly by the White House. After learning of JFK’s assassination, I made my way back to the capitol city of Vientiane for further instructions. No one was sure what to do with me so I crossed the Mekong River into Thailand and then flew to Saigon where I was assured my project would continue to be funded for the foreseeable future.
After returning to Laos a few days later, I was asked to transfer to a permanent position in Laos. When I inquired about how I would continue to be able to work in my current capacity and if I would continue under the same financial arrangement, I was assured it could be done and the details could be worked out later. I declined on the basis I was engaged to be married in February, upon which I was then told my fiancée could be flown to Laos at no cost to me and that we could be married there. Like much of my work in Laos, it was a very “seat of the pants” plan which didn’t engender a whole lot of confidence in me, so I thanked them for their generous offer but decided not to take it. I remained in Laos until completion of my TDY assignment in February 1964 and returned to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. I was married the day after Valentine’s Day (February 15th) in Newton, Massachusetts. Later, after telling my wife of the options I was offered, she said her parents would have committed her before allowing her to go to Laos to get married.

Jim Gorman: C-1
I can’t forget that day. It was just goofy.

Although I had never met him, I always had a thing for John Kennedy. I was from Massachusetts and had received a Qualified Alternate appointment in 1958 from him in his capacity as a Senator. You may recall that, after he moved into the White House in 1960, a number of Kennedy impersonators became prominent in the entertainment world. People rarely asked, but I personally felt that I could do a rather passable imitation of his speaking style as well, especially after I had a beer or six.
In November 1963, I was the commander of a USMC infantry platoon attached to a 1st Marine Air Wing helicopter squadron stationed on the other side of the world at the airbase in what was then the relatively quiet and quaint city of Da Nang, still known then by some as Tourane. But on November 2, you may recall, there was a military coup, and the President of the Republic of Viet Nam, Ngo Dinh Diem, was executed. A group of us actually crowded around a radio and listened as someone on the rooftop of a Saigon hotel attempted to relate what was happening as the fighting in the streets below
progressed. Then came the announcement of President Diem’s death.
The powers that be had no idea how Da Nang would react and the base went on full alert for several days, but then things gradually returned to normal. In fact, I dimly recall that some of us even over-celebrated the Marine Corps birthday one week later on November 10. We continued on our daily routine until November 22 or, for those in that part of the world, November 23.
Viet Nam was some twelve or thirteen hours ahead of Dallas, so I was actually asleep when that bullet struck the President and changed our lives forever. So it was not until I got up and went to the head in the dark Viet Nam morning that someone – – I have no idea who – – simply told me, calmly: “The President’s dead.” To this day, I cannot forget my sleepy, cynical, unthinking, unknowing, callous response as I relieved myself: “Yeah, so’s Napoleon.”
Why, I asked myself later, did I answer in that fashion? Why did I refer to “Napoleon” of all people? I was never able to answer those questions. Not then, not now. Fifty years later, I still have no clue.
I also cannot forget that, later that day, after learning the available details of the assassination, I was going about my work. At one point, I was talking about the assassination with a Vietnamese national who was serving as an interpreter at the
base. In an ostensibly honest and straightforward pigeon-English question, he looked at me and asked: “Kennedy and Diem – – same-same, ne?
At the time, I recall, I huffed and protested mightily that, in effect, there were absolutely no similarities between the two events. Now, after fifty years, I sense that perhaps I really have no clue as to the answer to that question, either.

Pat Hueman: I-1
In November 1963, I was serving in Korea, assigned to the 13th Engineer Battalion, in the 7th Infantry Division, stationed about 50 miles north of Seoul. I had arrived in Korea on Saint Patrick’s Day, 17 March 1963, and had served as a Platoon Leader in Company A of the 13th Engineers at Camp Kaiser for several months, then was assigned as the Adjutant (S1) on the battalion staff at Camp Casey, near Tongduchon. I assumed command of Company B in Camp Beavers about November 1, 1963, and was getting to know my soldiers and our mission.
The 7th Infantry Division’s mission was to serve, along with the 2nd Infantry Division, as a “tripwire,” should the North Korean Army invade South Korea again. In 1963, only 10 years had elapsed since the armistice was signed in 1953 that ended the fighting of the Korean War. The mission of the 13th Engineer Battalion in the division was to impede enemy movement in the event of hostilities, and to facilitate movement of friendly forces. Although the 13th Engineer Battalion had the wartime mission of employing ADMs (Atomic Demolition Munitions), the peacetime mission was much more prosaic — maintaining dozens of miles of MSR in the 7th Infantry Division area, and of course training to perform our wartime missions.
Other classmates serving with me in the 13th Engineer Battalion included Bill Diehl, Ted Stroup, Dick Wylie, Todd Stong, Dave Spangler, Bob DeVries, Tom Ostenberg and Rusty Broshous — about one quarter of the battalion’s 30-odd officers were classmates. The Class of 1962 was well represented in Korea.
On Friday, 22 November 1963, I woke to my alarm clock at 4:30 a.m. and, as usual, turned on the radio to listen to the AFN news. At first I was puzzled by the lack of the normal news segment, but clearly some major event had occurred and was being reported. Then I heard Walter Cronkite voice the terrible truth — that President Kennedy had been shot and was dead. His assassination shocked the entire world. When I entered the company area an hour later, all conversation centered on the assassination. Soldiers’ reactions were shock and disbelief. We all wondered who the assassin was, what were his motives, whether he was a member of a conspiracy, or if he acted alone. Normal work and training were cancelled for the day. Midday, I held a company formation to read a proclamation that had been passed down through battalion headquarters.
President Kennedy’s assassination particularly affected the Class of 1962, as our class had special connections to President Kennedy — we marched in his Inaugural Parade on 20 January 1961, and well remember the frigid temperature and the deep snow that had been only partially cleared from the streets we marched on. And, of course, President Kennedy addressed our graduating class on 6 June 1962. I was fortunate to be among the few to whom President Kennedy gave their diplomas. I will never forget the six words he addressed to me: “Congratulations and good luck, Mister Hueman.”
In late October 1962, while attending the Engineer Officers’ Basic Course at Fort Belvoir, my engineer classmates and I huddled around a TV set in the evening, and

listened intently as President Kennedy told the nation about the Soviet missiles in
Cuba, and wondered if we would then be called to serve in a major war. Fortunately for the nation (and for us), President Kennedy exhibited great courage and purpose and forced the Soviets to withdraw their missiles from Cuba. With those actions, President Kennedy made the world a safer place. However, later President Kennedy made an initial commitment to help the South Vietnamese to defend their nation against the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese — a commitment that would later be greatly expanded by his successor, President Johnson, and would directly involve the US Army and the USMA Class of 1962 for a decade-long war — a war in which virtually all of the Class of 1962 would serve, and for some, result in the ultimate sacrifice.

Roger Brown: C-2
I was at a hillside I Corps artillery battalion camp in Korea when the alert (DEFCON 3) came. We quickly mustered, gathered our weapons and gear, and motor marched to our battery fighting positions just south of the DMZ with no knowledge as to the event that triggered the “call out”. As I recall, it was several hours later we learned the tragic news of the president’s assassination and the reason for our alert.

Dick Wylie: L-1
It was middle of the night in Korea and I was out checking guard posts when one of my guards said “sir did you hear that someone shot the president it just came across
AFKN” I rushed back to the CP to find out what was going on and all hell broke loose as Korea went on full alert status. Later it hit me that I hadn’t done a very good job checking my guards as what was he doing listening to a radio in the guard tower???
I was a brand new 2/LT company commander of Delta Co 13th Engineer Bn 7th Inf
Div. Delta Co was a bridge company augmented with a combat engineer Plt and an Engineer tank Plt. The bridge Co was the only Co in the 13th Engr Bn authorized armor mechanics to support the AVLB plt so they drew in all the combat engineer tanks in the Bn and formed a Plt of tanks. We were augmented with a combat engineer Plt and 1/3 of the TO&E of a Combat Engineer Co so we could provide general engineer support for 7th Div HQ in addition to our Bridge mission and the unique tank Plt.
I had my own compound which was located adjacent to Div HQ about a mile away while all the other 13th Engr Bn combat engineer Cos were scattered all over hells half acre in central Korea. Delta Co was an awesome unit-probably the biggest Engineer Co in the Army by body count and number of vehicles. I was thrilled to be the Commander- although it offered some real challenges as I was given command by default as the Cpt who had commanded the Co was relieved of duty as we had just flunked a CMI and I had been the Combat Engineer Plt Leader providing support to Div HQ. A 2/LT commanding a stand alone company with 4 other 2/LT’s–how cool can it
get!!! Experienced leadership–not exactly! At the time the 13th Engr Bn was awash

with “62” Engineer 2Lts on their initial assignment -Pat Hueman, Dave Spangler, Todd Stong, Rusty Broshous, Ted Stroup and me. We had one hell of a promotion party a month later when we all were promoted to 1LT!
As to my reaction to that horrible event–initial disbelief and I felt sick to my stomach. How could this happen? After all JFK was the first president I had been old enough to vote for-we marched in his inauguration parade and he was our Grad speaker. First and only president I have ever felt a personal connection to. Probably the most horrific event of my life. Way off in Korea I think everyone felt about the same but frankly we didn’t have time to grieve as if I remember we went on full alert and I had my hands full. Had just been given command-had fired the 1st Sgt was in the midst of a total reorganization and absolutely wasn’t prepared to go in full alert mode!

Bob DeVries: K-2
At the time of JFK’s death I was in Korea. As a lieutenant in my company I took the 6am morning report. I stood in front of the company and the 1st Sgt. reported—“sir, they got the commander in chief”. That is how I learned. A couple of days later the entire brigade held a solemn and moving ceremony.

Bob Krause: A-1
I was a Platoon leader in the 25th Inf Div, Hawaii. I had returned to my quarters late the night before the assassination as we had been on a 5 day FTX. I slept in the next morning and when I woke up, I eventually turned on the radio. Of course in Hawaii, Dallas was some 5 or 6 hours ahead of us. I immediately heard that the President was dead. And of course our class’s relationship with JFK flashed through my mind. I was stunned. How could this happen. I was heavy hearted for the rest of the day, and then we got on with our busy and demanding lives as young infantry officers.
I was a company commander in the Old Guard at the time JFK was transferred from his temporary grave site to his current one in ANC. My company was charged with securing the perimeter of the two grave sites (actually one large perimeter) while the transfer was made. This was at night, and the family wanted no news agencies involved. When hoisting the lead vault out of the temporary grave site, it cracked. Now, ANC had to come up with a replacement vault and re-seal the casket, which took most of the night.
At some point during the long wait for this to happen, Bobby Kennedy motioned me over, handed me a note card with a phone number on it and asked me to call Ethel and inform her that he (Bobby) was delayed and would not be home until the next morning. I dutifully turned the Company over to my XO and went to the ANC offices to place the call. I remember Ethel Kennedy being very polite and appreciative of my call, and asked me for a rundown of what was going on. I then reported back to Bobby “mission accomplished”.

As I recall, the actual transfer and closing of the permanent grave was not completed until after daylight – well off plan. Also, and unbelievably, the secret of the transfer had been mostly kept, and as I recall, we only had one or two incidents of persons trying to bust our perimeter. Of course, they were turned away (politely) by our good Old Guard Infantrymen.

Gene Baxter: A-1
I was a forward observer with A Battery 8th Artillery, 25th Infantry Division headquartered at Scholfield Barracks Hawaii. I was in CBR school that afternoon when we were notified. Most of us initially did not believe the news. Shock is probably the most descriptive term. I played the CD of his graduation speech to our class, and watched it with my 16 year old grandson. He now wants to join the Long Gray
Line. What a contrast to our current leadership.

Walt Menning: C-2
It was a bright, clear November morning as the convoy made its way through Kole Kole Pass. The pass was a large ‘notch’ in the Waianae Mountains that opened to a breath – taking view of the Pacific below. In another twenty minutes the convoy would reach the platoon’s training site at Makua Valley. The jungle growth in the valley would provide a good setting to conduct aerial observation exercises and to rappel through the canopy to the jungle floor below. Only two weeks of training remained before the platoon deployed to Vietnam. The training had been intense. Everyone in the platoon had gained confidence and readiness for the mission ahead.
As the lead truck pulled into the assembly area, radio silence was broken:
“Attention: Bravo Deuce; attention: Bravo Deuce. All training for today is suspended. I say again, all training for today is suspended. All personnel return to barracks now. Signal your unit status at Check point #2 and Check Point #1. DEFCON is now DEFCON 3.” As the last truck pulled into the assembly area, the platoon leader and non- coms gathered briefly to discuss the change in orders. While they were all puzzled, it was clear that something very significant had happened.
The return trip progressed quite rapidly. Reports were rendered by radio at each check- point. As the convoy entered the barracks area, the flag was at half-mast. The MP on duty reported, “ The President is dead!”
The platoon returned to Quad I of Schofield Barracks where it remained on alert with all units of the 25th Infantry Division for the next several days. On the next Monday when the fallen President was interred at Arlington National Cemetery, a full division review was held to honor the memory of President Kennedy. The next day training resumed for Operation Shotgun.

Rich Foss: I-2
When John F. Kennedy was assassinated I was stationed in Hawaii with the 27th Infantry Wolfhounds of the 25th Inf Div.. We were crowded around the radio in the day room to hear about the shooting. Television did not reach Scofield Barracks at that time. One of the lieutenants in our company was from Dallas and he said in his Texas drawl, “Ah dohn know, but ah dohn feel too see cure with LBJ in dah saddle”. He was later killed in South Vietnam.

Bill Ross: L-2
On November 22, 1963, I was serving as a launcher platoon leader in the Little John battery supporting the 25th Infantry Division. While normally based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, at that time we were on a field exercise at the Pohakaloa Training Center located on the Big Island of Hawaii. On that particular day we happened to be in from the field and at the cantonment area of Pohakaloa which consists of a dusty collection of Quonset huts at an altitude of over 5,000 feet.
I was in one of those huts working on supply matters with one of my section chiefs, SSG “Doc” Holliday, when a messenger brought the news of the death of the President to us. SSG Holliday was a 35-year-old African American of a dark hue. He was a man of few words, and on receiving the news, he merely shook his head and sat down. It was then that I noticed that his face had turned from black to grey. I think he knew better than I at the time what the nation had lost.
Later that day it was announced that there would be a memorial service that evening at the camp chapel. At an informal officers’ call proceeding that service, our battery commander who was from Texas saw fit to opine, “I think that Lyndon Johnson will be a better president anyway.” My reaction was strong and immediate, but I managed to suppress my career-ending impulse though I have never forgotten those thoughtless words. Since the post chapel was in another small Quonset hut and the voluntary turnout was great, the candlelight service was held outside.
The next day life went on, field training resumed, and only over the years have I learned to fully appreciate what might have been.

Bill Christopher: B-1
I was a 2nd Lt in the 65th Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, stationed at Schofield Barracks, HA. I believe I was Battalion S-2. I was designated to go on TDY to South Korea to participate in some sort of Command Exercises of the 8th Army. The 25th Division was a strategic reserve, and each battalion had to be represented.

There were not any volunteers to go to Korea in late November, so I was sent. I went through Tachikawa (sp?) Air Base outside of Tokyo both ways. On the way back, I was sleeping in the BOQ at Tachikawa (an open barracks-type facility), when an incoming crew member shook me awake and said that the President had been killed, or words to that effect. I got up, got dressed, and took my gear down to the flight center for my flight, and to confirm what he had told me. I returned to Hawaii.

Fred Sheaffer: M-2
On the night of 21 November 1963, I had been in the field with my 3rd Platoon, A Co., 1/35th Infantry Regiment (Cacti), 3rd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Div. on Oahu, Hawaii. Early in the morning of 22 November, we completed our night training exercise and were released for the day.
I drove back to the Waikiki apartment that I shared with Mack Howard (M-2), had breakfast, and was trying to decide whether to hit the rack or go to the Waikiki Beach at Fort DeRussey (my usual hangout) when I heard on the radio that President Kennedy has been assassinated. I was stunned. It was a very personal loss. I do not remember anything of that day after that. It was like being in a daze.
I felt the same way that I later felt in July-August 1965 when I was TDY in Vietnam and first heard that Ed Krukowski (M-2) and then my very close friend and roommate for two years in M-2, Bob Fuelhart, had been KIA.

Mike McDonnell: E-1
I was officer of the day in our quadrangle at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. I can’t recall now whether we had made the switch from pentomic organization to President Kennedy’s flexible response. (ROCID TO ROAD) But I was performing the assignment as a member of the 2/35 Cacti Blue. It would be a year before I was on my way to my first mission in Vietnam as a door gunner platoon leader, and two years until I deployed back to Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division.
As officer of the day, part of my duties required me to inspect the guard details for our battalion on post. As the reader of this will recall, that meant little, if any sleep and the quiet, dark traverse of the various post locations. “Halt, who is there!” I would hear as I approached each sentry. I would identify myself, check the soldier, and then give him a pat on the shoulder for doing a good but thankless job. I recall nothing out of the ordinary that night until the word came that the President had been shot.
The time difference between Texas and Hawaii in November is 4 hours. Kennedy was shot at 0830 hrs Hawaii time. Daylight savings time was not in effect in Texas, and Hawaii did not observe that convention. It was 0900 hrs in Hawaii when JFK was

pronounced dead. It was Friday morning, the final training day for the week, and the battalion was awake, fed, and ready to go to work.
I was just about ready to clear the battalion headquarters and resume my regular platoon leader’s duties when the tragic news came down. I recall receiving a call with orders for the unit to alert and I got the word out quickly, but it seemed like the news was everywhere at once.
The deuce-and-a-halfs and other battalion vehicles were brought to the quad and the units loaded on for a trip to Hickam field in the event of air deployment. The atmosphere was grim. No joking, no horsing around. As we waited I felt a sense of unreality spiked with an incredible rush of adrenaline. I had no idea what was to come, but I was ready to kick some serious ass. We waited as the man who would soon send so many of our numbers to their death was sworn into office. As I look back I see that we still have not learned our lesson.

Windsor Ward: H-1
I was the executive officer of a tank company in the 69th Armor, the tank battalion in the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. I was in the field with the company in the Pohokuloa training area on the Island of Hawaii.
My recollection is that the company commander, Captain Medley, came out from the base camp to tell me that the president had been assassinated. I was stunned that a president of the United States could be assassinated. My immediate thought was that assassination of a president only happened in the past. After informing the troops, the company commander and I discussed what it might mean. The company commander indicated that we had already been placed on alert for a possible attack. We discussed what we would do to prepare for an attack.
After the initial shock I do not remember anything. We had no TV and were not exposed to the media coverage after the assassination.

Roger Havercroft: A-2
I, and 5 other classmates: (alphabetically) Dan Buttolph, Dick Chegar, Wayne Downing, Erik Johnsson, Bill Pfeifer, and Don Snider) were on Okinawa, assigned to the newly activated 173d Airborne Brigade. It was Saturday, 23 November; I was wakened early by a phone call from the duty officer of the 1st Spl Forces Gp to notify my hootchmate, a captain, A Team Ldr, of the JFK assassination.
I regained my composure, and with some dread, knocked on the captain’s door (he was grumpy gus, and I figured he would make it my fault). He actually was fairly decent, called his HQ to confirm, and suggested we go to work (he showered first).

My battalion was a bit of a drive, most everyone was there when I arrived, and whatever was planned (Quonset Hut Inspection, maybe?) was scratched. All the talk was sad; those of us who had voted for Nixon felt even worse. Several troopers ask if we would deploy; where would we drop into, etc.
Later, that afternoon, I returned to BOQ, talked to my neighbors in the parking lot (mostly psy ops and intel types) and we decided to get a burger and beer in the
“ville.” After we ordered, the restaurant manager assembled his staff and talked to them at some length in Japanese, we watched quietly, and they bowed silently for several seconds. When the waitress returned, we ask what was said. She answered,”We were honoring your fallen President. That was very touching.
Two and 1/2 years later in Vietnam, I was having a beer with an Australion officer from the 1st Bn, Royal Australion Regiment (which was attached to the 173d), who related that he had been in the UK that day, and was watching the film, “PT 109” when the projection was interrupted and the assassination was announced. That was ironic. I thanked him for sharing that story.

Dan Buttolph: L-2
I was stationed on Okinawa with the 2nd Bn (Abn), 173rd Airborne Brigade when my clock radio went off at 0445 hrs for I was going out on an early morning parachute jump. Before I could get out of bed, an emergency announcement came on the Armed Forces Radio Network which was very unusual for the network. The announcer who sounded very distraught announced that President Kennedy had been shot and killed. That was all the information he had and it took the rest of the day to piece together the information on the assassination.
Since Okinawa is on the other side of the International Date Line, his assassination actually occurred at 0430 hrs on the 23rd Okinawan time. The 173rd Airborne Brigade conducted an all-brigade memorial parade about a week later which was one of the best parades I ever marched in—except at West Point of course. And the weather was certainly better than the freezing cold Inaugural Parade we marched in for his 1961 inauguration.

Dick Chegar: B-1
On November 22, 1963, I was in the field in Okinawa on a training exercise. At the time, I was serving as the Platoon Leader of the Davy Crockett Platoon in Headquarters Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade. The Davy Crockett was a man-transported or vehicle- transported nuclear weapons system deployed in Infantry Units. Years ago, one of the man-transported weapons was on display in the West Point museum.

We received news of the President’s assassination in the field. Because President Kennedy was our graduation speaker a mere year and a half earlier, it was shocking news. Our other contact with the President had been at his inauguration when we marched in the Inauguration Parade; though the only cadet interest as we passed in review was getting a glimpse of Mrs. Kennedy.
While none of our class had been deployed to Vietnam in the Fall of 1962, all of us remember clearly the Cuban Missile Crisis that took place in October. Word of the 82nd Airborne Division being airborne with members of the Class of 1961 aboard was most painful to us still in training at Fort Benning, itching to be part of an attacking force. That “itch” would be more than satisfied in the coming years!
My most memorable political lesson came from President Kennedy’s successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson in his 1964 presidential campaign. One of his oft-repeated campaign slogans was “Why don’t we let those Asian boys fight those Asian wars?” Now a First Lieutenant in 1964, that sounded like a promise I could live with, so I voted for Mr. Johnson! Six months later, I was in combat. Lesson learned!
Rog Luis: K-1 (Philippine Army in Manila)
November 23 1963 (22 November for USA) started out as an ordinary day for me. I was getting ready to go to the office when on the radio the news bulletin that President John F Kennedy, the president of the United States was shot and killed was announced! The first words that I uttered were “Oh Shit!” It represented my frustrations and utter feeling of helplessness and the question “Why?” What is happening in the United States? Suddenly I was afraid-Vietnam at that time was only spoken in hushed tones among us. What will happen to my classmates? They will be in the frontline as I would be being, lowly lieutenants in the infantry acting as platoon leaders or Executive Officers at the company level? What if USSR or PROC takes advantage of the situation and attack?
I did not go to the office that morning and kept tuned-in instead to the radio as more details started filtering in. Dallas Texas, where is that and what was he doing there in the first place? Why would any one shot a young dynamic president challenging the Americans with his “Ask nots!” What did he do to be so hated in a very short period of time? He was our graduation speaker and we have marched on a very cold day during his inauguration, our eyes straining to get a look at his beautiful First Lady. He definitely did not have the flowing, flowery oratory of a General Douglas McArthur but he did make sense and had that boyish captivating and endearing smile of a man so full of promises. I felt as if I had lost a personal friend!
If the United States goes to war with anybody wouldn’t the Philippines then be also involved as it was in World War II? The Americans are our closest ally after all. At least I will be fighting side by side with my classmates but against whom? USSR? PROC? Both? Will the local communist party take advantage of the situation and intensify the

local armed conflict? There were so many questions in my mind that went round in circles. What was to come next?

The European military theater was relatively familiar to Americans because the Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union was still dictated by the geographical divisions imposed in WWII agreements. There was an understandable immediacy about the USSR of intercontinental ballistic missiles and European occupation.
The conventional ‘front’ was the East-West German border. All stories but two from classmates in Europe were located in West Germany, facing eastward. The border in West Germany dated from 1945 with subsequent enhancements, while the wall in Berlin was only closed on 13 August 1961. At the time of JFK’s assassination, the residents of Berlin, West Germany and the rest of Western Europe were still basking in the reassurance of Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech of 26 June 1963. More than a million NATO and Warsaw Pact troops weighed the possible outbreak of war.
The sequence of stories is Berlin, Border, Northern Sector, Grafenwoehr, Southern Sector, Turkey.
Jim Worthington: H-2 (Posthumous memories from Kitty Sibold Worthington) I can’t write the story because I wasn’t there and Jim is gone.
However, I do remember his saying that he was in Berlin at the time, I think at a bar at the base, when the announcement came in. He said the bar cleared out immediately and everyone went to their rooms to monitor tv or radio coverage.
On the day of the funeral, Jim was in charge of the battery salute, queuing up the firing of the cannons. Someone else had to count in case of misfires, of which there were one or more.
Charles Hertel: H-1
Like most members of our generation, my memories of certain aspects of the day of Kennedy’s assassination are crystal clear. I was then stationed in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, with the 3rd Reconnaissance Squadron, 14th Armored Cavalry Regiment. The Third Squadron was posted, along with an Engineer company, at a small caserne called McPheeters Barracks. The Third Squadron had the distinction not only of being positioned less than 15 miles from the interzonal border with East Germany but also of being the northernmost stationed combat unit of U.S. Army, Europe. I had been the Executive Officer of K Troop for less than two weeks on 22 November.
Duane Slater was the Executive Officer of the Howitzer Battery of the Third Squadron and, as classmates and friends, we were inseparable running mates, sometimes to our own

physical and professional detriment. November 22 was a Friday and, although we had duty the next day, it was only until noon, so we opted to go out to a German gasthaus that night and have dinner and a couple of beers. With beer at 40 pfennigs or 10 cents a glass and meals correspondingly cheap, a night out was something we could well afford even on our base salary of $222 per month. We got to the gasthaus a bit after eight p.m. after we got off duty, cleaned up, and changed into a coat and tie. In those days, U.S. troops were not allowed off the caserne without a coat and tie. Duane and I were accompanied by one of the Howitzer Battery Forward Observers, Gene Hogan.
The three of us were sitting at a table in the gasthaus, having ordered a meal, and were obviously drinking beer a bit too fast and having good time. None of us noticed that the gasthaus seemed quieter than normal. We were animated to the point of being loud (and probably obnoxious), when the gasthaus proprietor came to our table and said, in quite good English, words to the effect that “Aren’t you ashamed of yourselves acting like this after what has just happened?” We three looked at the man dumbly and asked what he was talking about. He explained that President Kennedy had just been assassinated in Dallas.
We were dumbfounded by the news and, since we could not understand the German news commentary on TV or radio, we left without eating and returned to the BOQ where we could get the news on AFN radio. As the time in Germany was seven hours ahead of Dallas time, the latest news kept coming in well into the next morning, and we stayed up quite late listening to the incoming reports and talking. As young men who felt we knew Kennedy, having marched in his inauguration parade and having heard him at our graduation, we were terribly affected by the situation.
Sometime in the early morning, the order came out that all activities were cancelled for Saturday and that the Squadron would assemble in Squadron mass on the parade field at 1000 hours in dress green uniforms for a memorial service. As dress greens were seldom worn, this announcement set off a frantic effort to make sure that all the troops (and officers) were properly uniformed. Fortunately, Saturday 23 November was a bitterly cold day in Bad Hersfeld, and the uniform order was soon amended to dress greens with overcoats, so that any missing or incorrect decorations or insignias would be covered up.
The memorial service went without a hitch. The mood was somber, and the attitude of most of the troops was one of stunned disbelief, but we did our duty and stood in a squadron formation in the bitter cold and honored our fallen Commander . In later years, I have often tried to fathom what we were mourning for that day and why we remember that time so vividly. Was it simply the loss of a young, inspiring President, or was it our own loss of innocence — or something more — the end of an era of certainty and the beginning of an era of doubt and mistrust. I don’t know.

Roy Degenhardt: C-2
I was a platoon leader in the 14th Armored Cavalry at Fulda in West Germany. Fulda is the principal town in an area called the Fulda Gap, an historic route for invading armies from the east and also the route Napoleon used in 1813 to escape westward after defeat at the Battle of Leipzig.
Our unit had two missions. First of all, we carried out constant patrolling of the East Germany border to show the flag. Secondly, should the Russians launch an attack, we were expected to try to delay their formations to allow the US main battle units of V Corps, garrisoned to our west, to deploy. Surely not good for your health. If the 8th Guards Army didn’t kill us, our own Atomic Demolitions would have finished the job.
It was early evening and I had just returned to my bachelor’s apartment to clean up after an uneventful 24-hour patrol of the Border. Time for a shower, a beer and some sack- time. I turned on my stereo and within a few minutes the Armed Forces Europe announcer interrupted with news that the wire services were reporting that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. A few minutes later, my telephone rang with our standard Alert message. I happened to have a blank recording tape on my stereo and so I hit ‘Record’ on my way out the door with my gear.
As a Border-Guard unit, we were subject to an Alert at random times every month to ensure that we could be relied upon. We would receive a call and/or hear the siren in town and would race to the Kaserne, grab our personal weapons, jump in our tank, track or jeep and head for our assigned war positions on the border. Each vehicle would leave the Kaserne as soon as it had most of its crew and make its way (race) individually to its war position. Stragglers would hitch a ride and follow. The locals learned to vacate the roads during an alert as we did not bother with traffic rules.
I reached the motor pool in time to climb into my command tank where my crew was impatiently waiting. Our Exec confirmed that the President was reported dead. It is still difficult today to believe this had happened and, in a few moments, the world had changed. I felt a deep sense of personal involvement, even as a lowly Lieutenant, as I vividly remembered President Kennedy’s inspiring speech at our Graduation and, of course, his Berlin speech in June was still ringing in our ears.
The platoon was soon dug-in near the border, with scout vehicles in a forward
screen. My team of professionals were unusually quiet as they surveyed their target points in the dark and settled in for the wait. We all know how to wait. Radio silence was maintained, but we knew for sure that the Russians knew we were there and knew our positions. Three tanks, a mounted infantry squad, a mounted mortar squad and four scout vehicles. 36 enlisted men (when full), 1 officer, 10 vehicles. We were certainly not an insurmountable obstacle but of course there were eight other similar, combined-arms platoons from our squadron strung across the Gap. Yes!

A couple of days later, we pulled back into the Kaserne and resumed normal
activities. The West German government showed great sensitivity by closing all bars and dance halls, as I recall, for a week! Can you imagine? The residents of Fulda reacted as if they had lost a family member and we all knew we had been witnesses to a seminal moment in history.
I recovered my tape reel which was a running record of the announcements, interspersed with requiem compositions. The tape was recently transferred to CD, which I hope will one day be a source of interest to my family. I am older now, less idealistic and perhaps a little embarrassed by recalling my emotions on that day. But it was a day to remember.

Chuck Dominy: K-2
This personal JFK remembrance comes from Northern Bavaria Germany approximately 30 kilometers east of Bad Kissingen, Germany. I had arrived in Germany in May, 1963 as a second lieutenant on my first assignment after Airborne and Ranger training. With a brand new bride in tow I was assigned as a platoon leader in B Company, 10th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division.
The Cold War remained a fact of life and our focus on the East German Border dominated our training and how we were stationed. B company was a separate company about a two hour drive North of the Battalion Headquarters in Kitzingen. In the fall of 1963 I was given the mission to plan a 1 week Company Field Training Exercise(FTX) within a 3-hour convoy radius of home station. I spent several days on recon to find a suitable spot that would minimize maneuver damage yet provide a place for Engineers to do their thing. The final selection was a heavily wooded area in a rugged hilly, quite remote sector about 15 kilometers from the East German Border. The dates selected for the FTX were 19-26 November, 1963.
The initial convoy and establishment of a company bivouac were uneventful and training began in earnest . Each platoon had their own GP Medium tent for the troops-the four officers had a smaller tent with a pot- bellied stove for comfort. The “mess hall” was a field kitchen with two German Nationals augmenting the Mess Sergeant for food prep and clean-up.
On the evening of 22 November about 1900 hours dinner was over and the officers were in the tent discussing the next day’s training plan. Suddenly-a German cook burst into our tent screaming-“Kennedy Mord!!!! Kennedy Mord!!!!” Our initial reaction was total shock-he had a small portable civilian radio in his hand and he kept pointing to it and screaming. President Kennedy was very popular in Germany and it really hit hard.
So many unanswered questions-do we go on full alert-is a military response in the making-do we terminate the FTX and return home-who was responsible??? Being so close to the East German Border in that day and time caused some very unsettling

thoughts. After about 24 hours of intense anxiety it appeared a Soviet march to the Rhine was not about to begin.

Tom Middaugh E-2
Having just returned from a month’s tour of duty along the Czechoslovakian border, I arrived at my Landshut Germany BOQ in time to scrub off the grime of rustic living in the field, suit up in formal blues and depart with my fellow officers of 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Cav to attend what was a major German-American banquet hosted by our local civic leaders. We arrived and enjoyed cocktails with our gracious hosts who really seemed to appreciate our presence in town and our contributions to the community, perhaps motivated in part by President Kennedy’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech several months earlier in June.
The social interchange lasted for about an hour before sitting down to dinner. It was interesting that the seating plan was truly integrated, almost no Americans sat side by side. After the salad course and just as the entrees arrived a senior officer in the squadron came up behind this lowly 2nd Lt and whispered in my ear that the President had been shot, not to say anything, but on the CO’s signal, we were to immediately rise and depart as our unit had just been ordered to alert status. Several minutes later, and on cue, we all silently arose and made our way toward the banquet hall door. The silence was deafening! I could feel the pall set in on what had been a cheerful, good-natured evening. All I could hear was our footsteps on the hardwood floor. It took a good ten or fifteen seconds before our boss reached a microphone and announced that President Kennedy had been shot, and that we had been ordered back to our kaserne as our forces had been placed on the highest alert status.
This was a Friday evening I will never forget. I don’t think we even knew yet whether or not Kennedy had died, being so far down the information chain. So it was back to combat gear waiting to hear if we were going to deploy, going to war, whatever. Alerts were serious business in those days. More than once we had been ordered to the field and remained in positions for days on end without knowing at platoon level what was going on, suggesting more than just another monthly alert or practice exercise.
However, my most prominent memory of the evening of 22 November 1963, was the awkwardness of the moment , the shocked looks on the faces of our German friends and allies and the unanswered hush and utter stillness that blanketed our departure. My mind had swirled with thoughts of we Americans affronting our German neighbors, and the embarrassment I was beginning to feel until my CO reached the microphone and said his piece. The significance of losing our president had yet to cross my mind.

Gus Fishburne: F-2
I was assigned to C Troop, 1st Squadron, 11th ACR and stationed in Straubing Germany. It was approximately 1730 hours, Germany time, on the date JFK was shot and I was having dinner in the Officers Club with several other lieutenants. Our German waiter, Adolph, came running into the dining shouting “your president has been shot !! ” We immediately ran to our BOQ and turned on the radio. The news, though sketchy, confirmed that JFK had died.
Almost immediately, the word came down to the BOQ that we were to go on Full Alert status. Our squadron assembled in the motor pool under full combat gear with the engines running on all vehicles. We remained in this status for approximately 12 hours until ordered to Stand Down. The reason the alert status was called was because of the possibility that Russia was behind the assassination and that this may have been the prelude to an invasion of West Germany.
As I remember, among my fellow officers and men the feeling was more of anger and revenge than sadness. Yes we were definitely sad but anger was the overriding emotion. It was the opposite with the locals that worked at our kaserne. They were truly saddened. I think they were identifying with JFK’s Berlin speech and really looked upon him as a true friend of Germany. They would get tears in their eyes when the subject was brought up.

Tom Walker: L-1
The things that come to my mind were the connections that the Class of ‘62 had with JFK. Our class marched in his inauguration parade in January of 1961. I clearly remember seeing Jackie Kennedy looking at the cadets as we passed in review. She had this look of wonder in her eyes. She seemed to be fascinated by the ranks of cadets smartly passing by in review. I also remember that we did an unusual thing as we passed the reviewing stand. We did an “Eyes left” as opposed to the normal “Eyes right.” I held that “Eyes left” as long as I could to keep that historical moment in my mind. I was only 15-20 feet away from both the president and first lady.
Then in June of 1962, Jack Kennedy was our graduation speaker. A lucky few actually had their diploma given to them by Pres. Kennedy. That did not include me.
Fast forward to November 1963. I was assigned as a 2nd Lieutenant to the Artillery Battery, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cav stationed in Amberg, Germany. Our mission was patrol duty along the Czech border—the famed “Iron Curtain.” We patrolled within the 5 Km zone that separated West Germany from communist Eastern Europe.
At 7:00 PM German time (2:00 PM Dallas time) my wife, Mary Jean, and I were returning from dinner in town. As we came up the hill to the “kaserne” where we were housed, someone came up to us shouting “The president has been shot, the president has

been shot!” We did not know at that time whether he was dead or alive. To say that we were stunned, would be an understatement. My reaction is still as clear to me today as it was that evening.
Fast forward again—Spring of 1981. I was driving my car from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale on a sales call. On the radio an announcement was made saying, “The president (Reagan) has been shot.” My immediate reaction was, “Oh no, not again!”

Marshall Johnson D-2
In 1963, George Kirschenbauer and I joined 2 Airborne Battle Groups in Mainz, Germany (George – 505th & me – 504th). We were joined there by Fred Hillyard, Ernie Webb and Pete Hameister (all went to the 505th). Not too long after we arrived in Germany, the 504th; and 505th were reorganized into the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 509th Airborne Infantry, 1st Airborne Brigade, 8th Infantry Division. Much later we were again reorganized into an Airborne/Mechanized Brigade (probably the only such organization in Army history). This entire process is another interesting story in itself.
As with most tactical Army units in Germany at the time, we were subject to random alerts every month. Most of the time, if we were not in the field, we just moved to our initial alert positions near our kaserne. We were required to be in these positions within 2 hours of the alert being called. On occasion we would actually move to an airfield, load on C-130’s and make a tactical airborne drop to test our ability to rapidly respond to any crises in our geographical area of responsibility (much later this resulted in near deployments to Lebanon and Cyprus to protect US civilians). During each alert, we were inspected to ensure that we had all of our weapons, equipment and ammunition to perform an actual mission.
At the time of the assassination, I was a rifle platoon leader in B Company, 1/509th Infantry. My unit was training in Baumholder when we were notified of the JFK assassination (don’t recall if our sister unit was also there or in our home kaserne). Our units immediately deployed to our pre-assigned Emergency Deployment Positions (EDP’s) near the Fulda Gap on the East German border where we remained for several days.
It was both a stimulating and rather anxious experience for new 2 LT’s as we had no idea what was ahead. Hard to imagine at the time how light infantry was expected to stop Soviet tank columns blowing through the Fulda Gap – perhaps the “Airborne Multiplier”? In any event, there was no doubt in our minds we could handle the mission.
The autobahns were jammed with all sorts of US military vehicle convoys moving from locations throughout Germany to their EDP’s – quite a mess. Not only were we constantly attempting to avoid running over local German vehicles, but we also had to be alert for and report sightings of Soviet Military Liaison vehicles. Needless to say, it was

a circus. The entire process was repeated several days later as all units repositioned back to their home kasernes.
Once back home, our first Happy Hour at the O Club was filled with “war” stories of our unit moves to and from our EDP’s. The majority of the stories recalled the road trips up and back and humorous encounters with the local population and Soviet Military Liaison vehicles.
Several days after our return to home station, the Bishop of Mainz arranged for a High Mass to be held in the 1000 year old Mainz Cathedral. The Cathedral was filled with both the local population and the US Military in Dress Blues, with many forced to remain outside as the Cathedral was filled to capacity. A very somber and yet beautiful scene greeted mourners entering the ancient Cathedral illuminated entirely by candles.
Footnote: Forty five years after I completed Infantry Basic, Airborne and Ranger schools and reported to my unit in Germany, my son, Marshall A ’07, repeated the process, reporting to the 2/503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade in Italy – actually the descendent of my original unit. I deployed to Vietnam after my initial assignment. My son beat my timeline by deploying to Afghanistan while assigned to the 173rd.

Craig Richardson: E-2
On the day President JFK was assassinated I was stationed in Friedberg, Germany with the 1st Bn, 32 Armor.
There were three duties junior officers pulled, one of which was Courtesy Patrol. Many of you recall this consisted of visiting all the bars and nightspots to settle down or remove drunk or unruly soldiers. That was my duty that evening so at about 2000 hours local time I was heading out the front gate of the kaserne in a 3/4 ton truck and enlisted driver. He had a radio on the front seat tuned to AFN and as we were driving along he asked me if I’d heard that the president had been shot. I had not and this startled me and was stunned at how casually he mentioned it.
Shortly, a news bulletin interrupted the program on the radio with this news and soon the program turned to only reports of the assassination. I cannot remember how I received the word, but my mission was to go everywhere and tell soldiers to get to their units immediately. The MPs were out doing the same thing.
My most vivid and haunting memory of that evening was the stark contrast of emotions demonstrated by many soldiers, who grumbled and were upset that their evening on pass was cut short, and the many German citizens out on the streets, some in tears, who came up to me and expressed their sorrow.

Ed Rowe: D-2
The West Point Class of 1962 had a special relationship with President Kennedy. He was our graduation speaker who charged our class with our duty as newly commissioned officers bound for assignments during the Cold War. We made him an honorary member of the class and presented him with a class ring, which now resides in the museum at the Academy. He was the first President for whom most of us voted. We also closely related to him as he was young and did things like we enjoyed doing, such as touch football, sailing, golfing, and going to the beach. He had a young family. In short, he seemed like one of us, not like other senior government officials, most often viewed by us as old, bureaucratic, and stuffy. Losing him was especially meaningful.
In 1963, the Nation was still free from large scale worldwide terrorism and random domestic shootings, which made no sense, by deranged individuals. An assassination of a President was most likely to be viewed as the action of a foreign power. Our Class was spread around the world and throughout the country on its first duty assignments. The threat was the Soviet Union which had demonstrated its aggressive tendencies since the end of World War II. The tension along the Iron Curtain and the Cuban Missile Crisis were concrete examples we witnessed. Thus, it was natural to believe that the Soviet Union could have been behind the assassination to create chaos as a prelude to military action against the United States and its allies.
I was a platoon leader in C Co, 3/68 Armor, Sullivan Barracks near Mannheim, Germany and single at the time. The Battalion wives were having some kind of function that evening at the Officers Club so my Company Commander was hosting his officers at his quarters. I stopped by Class VI on way to his quarters (to procure my contribution to the gathering) and first heard the news there over a radio; there was no American television in the area. Once at Company Commander’s house, we checked in with battalion headquarters and settled in to listen to radio. While there was no official alert or recall, the troops all returned from being on pass (it was Friday evening in Germany), and we all just waited for the next shoe to fall.
In those days, there was an alert at least once a month. The tanks were fully uploaded with all ammunition and topped off with diesel. We were required to clear the Kaserne within 2 hours after the alert was called. I recall the somberness of that night as we waited for the alert which never came. Everyone was in disbelief that this could have happened to our Commander-in-Chief and wondered just what was coming next. The assassination was widely covered on German television and all Germans I knew expressed their sympathy to me in next few days. Everyone was surprised when hearing that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin. Despite all the reports and commissions, to this day I do not fully understand his motive and reasoning. All were saddened and shocked by his untimely and unjustified early death. However, we were all relieved to hear that the Soviet Union was not behind this as a first step toward a military confrontation and possible war. Now in hindsight, it appears that the assassination might have been the start of a changing world.

James Peterson: K-2
When President Kennedy was assassinated I was on my first assignment in Baumholder, Germany, as an artillery officer and Second Lieutenant in Howitzer Battery, 1st Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.
The day he was shot I was the Squadron duty officer, starting my tour at 5:00 PM with my Duty Sergeant and a duty driver. Most of the Squadron senior staff including the CO were out on Baumholder range for a night training session for the Squadron tank crews. Shortly after assuming my duties I had to send a sick soldier to the dispensary, which was separate from the main post. To get there and back the duty driver had to drive through downtown Baumholder. On his way back he called me to say there was suddenly pandemonium in the streets, with the Germans running about yelling that President Kennedy had been shot.
Assuming it was a hoax, I told him to get off the radio and back to Squadron HQ
ASAP. However, moments later I got a phone call from Regimental headquarters telling me president Kennedy had indeed been shot. Very shortly thereafter a full alert was initiated throughout Seventh Army. At some point, word came that President Kennedy was dead.

Phil Burns: L-1
I was at the other end of the Class so I did not shake the President’s hand at Graduation.
After the Basic Infantry Officers Coarse, Ranger and Airborne, Molly and I arrived in Germany, reporting in to the 2/48th Armored Rifle Battalion, Combat Command B ( Chuckle, Chuckle Banana ). We lived on the economy for several months. When President Kennedy came to Germany in June 1963, D Company Commanded by Big Ben Swinson, was responsible for erecting the tents for the soldiers who were to represent the 3d Armored Division. I was a 2d Lieutenant in charge of the tent detail.
When I returned from the Kaserne the evening of the President’s visit to Berlin, I was greeted by our landlord over and over with “ish bin win Bearleener” (the way the President with his Boston accent had said it).
By the Fall the 2d /48th had been broken in two and we only had 3 Rifle Companies in what became the 2d Battalion 48th Infantry, (Armored Rifle Battalion had more class) I was XO of Company A sitting in the Company Commanders Office (Phil McDonald) when Sgt Mallory 4th Platoon Leader opened the door with out knocking and said “The President has been shot” I immediately said “That is not funny”.
Word went out and in Gelnhausen the troops and Germans alike were in shock. The Officers Club was closed. Many went to the Chapel to pray.



Walking back to my in the upper housing area I passed our soldiers on both sides of the road walking single file with their heads down back to the Kaserne.  There was no siren activating the unit for deployment to our defensive positions covering the Fulda Gap.

Later that night a large group of Germans carrying candles quietly, almost religiously, passed by the Kaserne. By the next morning it was nearly impossible to walk inside the chapel – as the Germans had filled it with flowers.
We were told to report to our units in Class A, Dress Green, low quarters and overcoats the next morning. The entire Brigade was to stand formation at 11:00 hours. The uniform was unusual as all formal formations included steel helmets, woolen OG pants and shirts, boots, and pistol belts and weapons. If it was cold, field jackets with liners would be included.
The Kaserne was small and the only open space large enough to hold the entire Brigade at one time was the tank park. That night and early morning, all the tracked vehicles were moved to the maintenance area where they were parked bumper to bumper. The tank park itself was nothing but dirt and rock, not exactly something to walk on let alone march on in low quarter shoes. The engineers used a road grader to smooth the surface and a steam roller to flatten things out.
At 10:45, the entire Brigade, consisting of two battalions of infantry, one tank battalion, one artillery battalion, an MP platoon, a medical platoon, a signal platoon and an ordinance company marched onto the tank park, some 3500 men. We stood there in greens and unarmed. Immediately behind us was the Kaserne fence which ran along Frankfurter Strasse, (Renamed Colin Powell Strasse many years later.) Outside the fence, hundreds of German nationals stood in tears carrying flowers and pictures of the late President. They were all very well dressed and very respectful.
As in any large formation, the Brigade Adjutant commanded that unit commanders bring the units to attention and to present arms. The adjutant then informed the Brigade Commander that the Brigade was formed. Col. Gilbert Woodward returned the salute, ordered the units to Order Arms and Parade Rest. He stepped forward and said “It is my duty as your commanding officer to inform you that our Commander-in-Chief has been assassinated. Our new Commander-in-Chief is Lyndon Baines Johnson.” That is all he said. He ordered all units to stand down and return to their quarters. No band, no pass in review. We marched back up the hill.
At five PM, the colors were lowered at retreat, a ceremony faithfully performed every single day, seven days a week at every military installation in the world. A twenty one gun salute honoring the late president was to occur at that days retreat. There was a battery of howitzers (4) lined up in front of the flag pole. The call to colors sounded which was immediately followed by the artillery blasts, all four guns, firing in perfect

unison. A 21 gun salute. Mike Ashapa our 2/48 S-4, told me he was in his office just down the hill – everything shook and he was afraid the windows might shatter.
62′ had been given General MacArthur’s expectations in May and our President’s in June. We understood what was expected of us.

John Regan: D-1
President Kennedy stopped off in Hanau, Germany before he went to Berlin to give his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. My battalion along with hundreds of other American,
British, French and German troops were sent to Hanau for the ceremony. We bivouacked the night before and were up at 3am the next day. We were on the parade ground at 7am for a 10 am arrival. President Kennedy arrived and the band played at least 4 National Anthems. After a short speech, JFK trooped the line, stopping to shake hands with every Bn CO. Our bn symbol was the bayonet. All our guidons had a chrome plated bayonet on the end. As JFK approached our bn one of the Secret Service called out, “Watch those bayonets.” Needless to say, as soon as we returned to our kaserne, every unit in the bn had a streamer made up and added to our guidons that read, “Watch those bayonets.”
My parents’ 25th wedding anniversary was Nov 24, 1963. A friend of the family arranged for me to fly back and be the “surprise”. I arrived in New York early on the 22d and checked into the Astor Hotel (naturally). I turned on the radio to listen to one of the good old rock n roll stations we used to listen to as cadets. I called the family friend to let him know that I had arrived and while I was talking to him on the phone, President Kennedy was shot. I swear the rest of that day was a blur. Fortunately, I had an uncle who lived in the city and I spent some time with him. I went by train up to Boston and my folks met me at South Station. The wedding anniversary party was delayed 10 days, and it was more somber than we would have wanted.
Also, I went to late Mass that Sunday. I walked in the house after Mass, and my father said, “You’re not going to believe what just happened. Somebody just shot Oswald.”
Very vivid memories of a Great American Tragedy.

Terry McCarthy: E-2
My first duty station after Fort Sill and Fort Benning was in Kitzingen, West Germany. I was assigned to the 2/82 Artillery Battalion, which was a Corporal Missile Battalion. As you may remember, the Corporal was the US’s first tactical nuclear missile system loosely copied from the German V2 (thank you Dr Von Braun). It was a liquid fuel guided missile, fueled with fuming red nitric acid and liquid oxygen. The Corporal was transported and accompanied by a set of highly complex equipment that was all classified

Top Secret, and was rarely functional. Because of the security restrictions and lack of mechanical reliability, field training was minimal.
So as a bachelor 2d Lieutenant, I didn’t have much to do on weekends and in the evenings. I had taught myself to play the guitar during Firstie Year. In search of someone to point me to where I could purchase a cheap electric guitar, I was lead to Horst and Herbert, two German brothers, who with a third German, Peter, played in a band. Popular music in Germany then (and now) was American or English music, so a local band needed to know American music. I helped Horst and Herbert with some songs that I knew and in gratitude, they asked me to have dinner with them in the gasthaus where they were playing, if I would sing with them. We became friends and eventually they asked me to join the band.
My invitation to join the band was not because of my outstanding musicianship, but rather because, being an American, I could presumably get the band into American clubs which paid about twice as much as what German clubs paid. Since I had lots of time on my hands for practicing and playing on the weekends, with permission from my Battery Commander, I joined “Les Chevaliers”. The band had all the guitars and amplifiers, etc. The only thing I had to buy was a microphone. We wore gray suits, white shirts with maroon ties…..and actually looked like gentlemen.
The Kitzingen Officers Club: In the Kitzingen area were stationed many units, including 3d Division units, 7th Army support units, and aviation units. It was a busy club. Lots of infantry, armor and artillery battalions. And they all had battalion parties at the Officers Club.
I soon learned that the Kitzingen Officer’s Club was auditioning for a band to play at battalion parties. Les Chevaliers auditioned, was hired, and signed a six month contract to play on Friday and Saturday nights, from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, for about $100 per month each (those were big bucks then). We played the music of the day: Kingston Trio, Brothers Four, Peter Paul and Mary (I was Mary), plus Everly Brothers, early Beatles, Ray Charles, and some jazz music.
There was a little bandstand in the corner of the Club, elevated about three or four feet from the floor where our piano, drums, microphones, guitars, speakers, and even a vibraphone, were crammed together. The bandstand was our territory, no visitors allowed. It was Friday night and we were scheduled for play for an infantry battalion party. We were on the bandstand getting ready to start our 7:00 dinner music, when out of nowhere the Battalion Commander strode up to bandstand, jumped up beside me, grasped my microphone, and asked “Is this thing on?” “Yessir”, I responded, being irritated that he was encroaching on my territory.
After quieting the noisy crowd, his words were (to my best memory), “ I have the very sad duty to announce that President Kennedy was shot today in Dallas, Texas, and died at 1:00 pm Central Time. This party is cancelled”. I can clearly remember my own shock together with the silence in the Club, which must have lasted for several minutes. No one

moved. Then a woman began quietly sobbing, and then a second woman began to cry. Finally someone stood up and started for the exit, and in deathly quiet, the entire room slowly emptied….leaving Horst, Herbert, Peter and me on the bandstand.
I could tell that Horst and Herbert were affected the same way that I was. When Peter, our drummer, turned to me and asked “Does this mean we don’t get paid tonight?” Horst and Herbert both said something sharply to him in German, which I did not understand, and Peter left the three of us on the bandstand to put away the instruments.
When Horst, Herbert and I left the Club, we went to my place to listen to AFN, our only communication link to the US, where we learned of some of the details. Horst and Herbert apologized for Peter’s insensitive question, and I told them about how our Class felt so close to JFK because of his graduation address to our Class. Since JFK’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech earlier in the year, most German’s felt the same way as Americans did, attracted to his youth, intelligence and his courage for standing up to the Russians at the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Like most people of our age, November 22d remains vividly clear to me. My personal shock and grief, the Colonel’s words into my microphone; the deathly silence that ensued, the sobbing of the women, and (unfortunately) Peter’s untimely words, will forever be with me.
The Corporal Missile system was declared obsolete in 1964; I was transferred to the 3d Battalion, 21st Artillery, an Honest John missile system which was a much more practical system. It was a solid propellant rocket (no more fuming red nitric acid), fired from a modified five ton truck. I then began a more normal training regimen, going to Grafenwohr to fire them (with concrete warheads), and participated in many field problems and maneuvers. With that my music career came to an end. Les Chevaliers faded into history, Horst because a very successful architect, Herbert an attorney. I think Peter became a doctor. My friendship with Horst has survived the years; we see each other every other year or so, either in Nurnberg or in Seattle. I spent four days with him in March of this year.
We often talk of our memories of that terrible night in November, 1963. And we did get paid.

Tom Faley: K-2
I was an Infantry Platoon Leader, 3rd Infantry Division, 1/15th “CAN DO ” drinking with my buddies in the Officers Club near Wurtzburg, Germany. The Officer of the Day strode into the bar wearing his hat “covered.” He was therefore packing a loaded .45- caliber Colt automatic (wearing a hat in an officers club, unless armed, is such an etiquette breach that the offender must buy the bar a round).

He pointed at the bartender: “Close the bar.” He turned to us: “Red Alert.” This lieutenant was our drinking buddy, so we thought it was a joke and started laughing. He looked us dead on: “I’m not kidding…
At the motor pool, my four APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers) already had “Live ammo on board, SIR!” and we roared into the forest to begin our advance to pre-selected defensive positions near the East German border.
We sweated ‘till dawn awaiting the probable Russian attack; doubtful we could hold, even if we used our (then TOP SECRET) battlefield nuclear weapons…yeah, we were ready…you were safe.

Don DeSapri: C-2
Like so many other classmates, in the Fall of 1963 we were experiencing the wonderful challenges of our first assignments. Mine was as a tank platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor, 24th Infantry Division. That November, like so many other months, our unit was once again at the 7th Army Training Center in Grafenwohr Germany, engaged in tank gunnery training. That November 22 day began early with a tank convoy out to range 30, or 42, or perhaps some other number. I believe we were firing for qualification on table 6 or 7, leading to eventual qualification on Table 8, the annual required qualification for all tank crews.
At the end of each day on the range, most officers retired to the boisterous bar at the Graf officers club. Some of our battalion lieutenants were lined up at the bar next to some 7th Cavalry guys. As usual they wanted to serenade us with unending stanzas of “Garry Owen.” And, as was the custom of tankers, we responded with our rendition of “Herman Nelson.” You remember, that was the heater used inside of tents. That always drew a heated response.
The music blaring from the juke box, or whatever other source of music was either the Four Seasons singing “Walk Like a Man,” or maybe it was the Chiffons with “He’s So Fine.” Probably also heard that early evening was the Angels with “My Boyfriends Back,” or, most likely, the Surfaris belting out “Wipe Out.”
Whatever the song, suddenly the music stopped. And then someone on the public address system announced the news that the President had been shot and had been taken to a hospital in Dallas. He concluded by saying that the club would close in 15 minutes.
We emptied the club and silently walked back to our crude barracks. The next day as we were preparing to return to the range, we heard news of President Kennedy’s death. Our Company Commander offered some remarks to all the men, and then we got back to the business of qualifying our tank crews, with a deeper purpose to our efforts.

Don Chafetz: C-2
My memory of the events has faded with time. I do remember we were at Grafenwohr, Germany for training. I was a member of the 24th Infantry Division stationed in Munich, Germany. It was in the evening and we were eating dinner with some friends in the officers club when we hear the announcement. It became very quite and seemed unreal.
I do not remember any special activities, assemblies or orders coming through. Again my memory is fading but I believe we remained at Grafenwohr and probably continued training.

Dave Phillips: B-1
The tragedy occurred while the 1st Battalion, 35th Field Artillery was at the Grafenwohr training center. We were a 105 mm howitzer battalion, equipped with the self-propelled M52 tracked weapons, holdovers from, I believe, WWI. I further think it might have been that we received the new M109 self-propelled 155 mm guns upon our return from Graf. Not sure.
We held a formation, observed a moment of silence, and went on with our business. I do recall that the German people held JFK in extremely high regard and took the loss much more than the men and women I associated with. Odd.
Many years later, I incorporated into my riveting talk, “Things I Did Not Learn In School,” two examples of the strength of the US Constitution and the transfer of power in the greatest country in the world. One example was the resignation of Richard Nixon: one and only one military person was present when the presidency was transferred to Gerald Ford, the US Marine standing at the foot of the stairway into the helicopter.
The other example was when the doctor at Parkland Memorial Hospital announced that President Kennedy had died. The Army warrant officer carrying the nuclear “football” who had been sitting just outside the doors to the operating room, as near to the President as he could get, simply got up and walked over to sit beside Lyndon Johnson.

Brian McEnany: H-2
Grafenwohr, Germany – November 1963. Eating dinner at the O-Club in the early evening hours – suddenly, the loudspeaker activates and “General —- report to your HQ, immediately!’ followed by Colonel —, report to your headquarters immediately!” There were a number of these announcements and then it cut to a radio broadcast that told us that JFK had been assassinated.

We returned to our barracks, packed our go-to-war duffle bags and waited for the call to head for our alert positions – Graf was just 10K from the Czechoslovakian border. I even wrote out a will – left my only possessions, a Grundig stereo and records to my girlfriend – later my wife. Meanwhile, we waited and waited in the barracks, but no call came – finally turned in to await another day – uncertain of what actions would be required of us in the morning!
JJ Kelly: E-2
Well, since Brian McEnany and I were together at the Graf O’Club, I’ll corroborate his story. Just finished a rib-eye steak. German band playing. They just packed up, shed lots of tears and left.

Morris Brown: C-2
My first unit assignment after graduation and follow-on training was B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery (Honest John). The battalion was located in Pinder Barracks in the village of Zirndorf, on the outskirts of Nurnberg-Furth, (West) Germany. The Iron Curtain stood only a few hours’ drive to the east.
On the 22d of November, 1963 I was the battalion staff duty officer. After eating supper in the battalion consolidated mess per standing instructions, I returned to battery headquarters to work on some papers. My trusty Zenith Trans-Oceanic radio was tuned to the Armed Forces Network (AFN) and provided background music as I worked.
After about an hour there was a knock on the office door. One of the men stuck his head in and excitedly informed me that, although he didn’t understand much German, he thought the local radio station had just announced that President Kennedy had been shot. Since nothing yet had been said on AFN I doubted this, and told him not to do anything out of the ordinary until this announcement had been verified through channels. After about twenty minutes or so, AFN did broadcast the news that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas.
My initial thought was that this might be the precursor to a surprise assault by Warsaw Pact forces. Telephoning the division staff duty officer, I anxiously informed him of the AFN broadcast. He already was aware of it, but said that no direction yet had been received from VII Corps. After some discussion, he advised me just to pass the word thoughout the battalion, and discretely to round up those individuals on pass in the village.
After briefing my battalion commander by telephone, I proceeded to the main gate guard shack, informed the Sergeant of the Guard of events, asked him to send a couple of men into the village to recall all US personnel there, and that all questions should be deflected gently without comment. I then proceeded to the small Officers’ Club annex, where

several individuals were engaged in a card game, and informed them that the President had been shot. One of them replied, “That’s a poor joke!” I angrily replied that it was not a joke and that it was being announced on the air. The card game ended abruptly as the participants headed for the nearest radio.
For the next several hours there was a steady stream of people in and out of the orderly room, asking for the latest news about the shooting, and near-constant discussion about it. I think the entire battalion spent the night anxiously waiting for the klaxons on the barracks walls to loudly signal an Alert, Loadout, and Displacement to tactical field positions in preparation for the start of WWIII. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
The battalion commander called a formation the next morning and officially announced that President Kennedy had died. Everyone’s mood for the rest of the week was somber. A number of individuals later remarked that, when they went off-installation, many of the villagers approached them with sincere expressions of sympathy and encouragement.
Regardless of nationality, it seemed to me that all were united in common grief at the assassination of a beloved President.

Phil Galanti: K-2
I was in Germany, as ADM PLatoon Leader of the 3rd Engineer Battalion, 24 the Infantry Division (Mech). There were a bunch of us sitting in the Officers’ Club having a beer. It was about 2000 when the club manager made the announcement over the PA system. We looked at each other, put down our beer glasses and went home to await the call. We knew we were about to go to war. The story followed that Seventh Army had scheduled a Readiness Test that night, but had the good sense to cancel it, or who knows what might have happened.
I could not forget that he had given me my diploma on June 6, 1962. That fact made it very personal.
I had been ADM (Atomic Demolition Munitions) Platoon Leader for about a month, and it was the first time I had been faced with the possibility that I might have to actually fire those things off. It was a very sobering series of thoughts.
John King: C-2

At the time, I was a platoon leader in the 237th Engineer Combat Battalion in Heilbronn, Germany, but on TDY to a German Engineer unit in Koblenz where I was demonstrating a new machine that automatically placed anti-tank mines in the ground. On November 22nd, we were bivouacked in the woods somewhere outside of town where the demonstration was taking place and were out of touch, so nobody heard anything about the President’s assassination until we returned the next morning to the German kaserne

where the unit was stationed. We had no sooner arrived when I was informed by the first German officer who saw me what had happened the previous day. I was tremendously shocked and exploded with an expletive, which was sympathetically understood. I also remember receiving the condolences of the entire Pioneer (Engineer) Battalion at the barracks, something that made me appreciate the widespread upset caused by the assassination of our President.
Of course I was proud that President Kennedy had addressed our class’s graduation and he was special to me for that. That specialness was somewhat undermined a bit later just after my arrival in Germany when my platoon was sent to a military base where the President was arriving for a visit, and our role (among other things) was to paint the dirt green around the landing place for his helicopter so it would look like grass. But in retrospect, that is more a reflection on some up-tight local commanders than on the President. The fact remains that his assassination marked a major and world-shaking event that shook our confidence and remained forever imbedded in our memories, all the more so for the special association our class had with him.

John Kirby: I-1
I was stationed as a platoon leader in A Co, 67th Armor, at Monteith Barracks in Furth, Germany. As I recall, the reason we were there was to slow/stop a Russian attack designed to put all of Western Europe under Communist control. I felt that we were playing a deadly earnest role in the protection of Western Europe and our way of life. It was not a game but rather an assigned mission – to be executed with just cause and maximum speed.
We were constantly ready, kept ammunition for all weapons on the tanks at all times and had monthly alerts (normally in the middle of the night). We had a “chain” system for notifications, and when I got a call from my company commander – I would immediately call my tank commanders who then notified their crew members. We all at once went first to the arms room to draw weapons and the Orderly Room for radio frequency cards and then to our motor pool. Each of us kept a bag of alert gear (including clothes, hygiene kit [and cigarettes for those who smoked], as well as hot sauce to make C-rations edible!) on our tanks at all times.
As soon as I could, I turned on my tank radio and checked in to the company net. When the net was complete, we were notified to either stand down or move to our alert positions. Since movement included use of some German roads, before we could move, the German Police had to be present to stop civilian traffic. If we moved to these positions, we would normally stay there through at least one C-ration meal. Thank God we had heaters in our tanks so we could heat the C-rations. Occasionally either our Alert Positions or out Mission would change. When either of those occurred, during the winter when the ground was frozen, we would have practice maneuvers to either find our new alert positions or rehearse our new mission.

My wife and I were living in an Army apt bldg on Fronmueller Strasse in Nurnberg, Germany. It was supper-time and we were listening to AFN radio. The programming was interrupted by an announcement that JFK had been shot. I immediately called my friend, Walt Ligon (class of 1961) and told him what we had just heard. His response was: “Jay – Quit kidding — that’s not funny”. I told him that I was not kidding and suggested that he turn on the radio. I can’t remember whether he did or not!

Marlin Schmidt: C-2
It was night on an Armored Infantry Battalion (1/41 Inf) FTX in a cold dark forest in
Germany. I was asleep in my pup tent as a platoon leader, when a runner woke me to report to the Company CP. When I arrived with the other platoon leaders, the CO announced that President Kennedy had been shot. He ordered that all our men be told, while resuming our security for the night.
As I told my men the news, I cried as did a few others. I felt embarrassed by that as something a leader should not do. I no longer feel that way. At dawn his death was confirmed. We would prepare to road march back to our Kaserne in New Ulm; the FTX was over.
As we were awaiting the order to move out, black armbands & antenna pendants were somehow procured & distributed. When we thundered through the German villages, hundreds of people lined the road, crying in mourning. No one knew if the Russians were crossing the border & war was imminent. Memories of WWII were rekindled in their minds.

Dennis Bennett: M-1
It was a typical evening as a diverse group of military and embassy personnel celebrated Happy Hour at the Officer’s Club in Ankara Turkey on 22 November 1963, when the news of JFK was announced by the Duty Officer as he rushed into the room. Happy was quickly replaced with Somber.
As the Commander of the Detachment at the International Airport, I was responsible for any evacuation contingency plan for all military and embassy personnel, so I quickly dispersed to my pre-assigned station and duties.
But what struck me more than anything was not the efficiency of all the US personnel. No, it was the quick and sad reaction of the Turkish people. Air Force One had recently been to Ankara and the Turkish people held President Kennedy in high regard. And over the next few weeks their outpouring of sympathy and grief were a real testimony to the reach of his charisma.

Classmates assigned within the continental United States were confronted with the most diverse challenges of all theaters. From the world of ICBM’s and B-52’s to rapid reaction deployment in hot spots in the Americas, to maintenance of domestic peace in the escalation of racial issues, to preparing units and training soldiers available for strategic deployment anywhere in the world; 62 was there.
Our missile development was accelerated to support McNamara’s Mutual Assured Destruction principle. The Cuban missile crisis of October 1962 was probably the closest to nuclear war that we had ever experienced. Airborne units were rehearsing contingency drops into Latin locations. Medgar Evers of the NAACP was assassinated in June 1963, followed by Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in August. And we should not forget the US-based combat divisions ensuring their readiness for strategic re- deployment to Europe.
The sequence of stories is Fort Campbell, Fort Bragg, Air Force, Fort Carson, Air Defense, Northwest US, Schools and other US Posts.

Barry Thomas: A-2
The day started like so many others. Company formation at 0600 and then a PT run before breakfast. This week the 1st Battlegroup, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne division was taking over the responsibility for providing the Immediate Ready Force (IRF) for the Division. We all reported to the parachute rigging line right after breakfast to rig out our jeeps, mules, and other equipment. Stu Sherard and Neil Hyde were in A Company, Ty Cobb in B, John Godwin in C, Norm Grahn in D, and I, Barry Thomas, in E Company. I can’t remember which Company was designated for the two hour ready force but I know it was not E Company.
The rigging was going well and around noon we shut the line down and took a break for lunch. I went home and the troops went back to the Company area for chow. We were to get back to finish up at 1400. Pat and I were eating lunch when we saw the news on the TV. I was stunned, Pat was crying. I wolfed down what was left of my sandwich and headed back to the rigging line. Everyone was shocked and angry. The talk was all about who was behind this. Most people believed it was the Cubans. We expected to get the word to be ready to load out and go somewhere, maybe to Florida where some of the Division had been sent during the Bay of Pigs event.
The afternoon dragged on. We were done with the rigging by about 1600 and all went back to the Company area. I don’t recall at what time we were released but it was late in the evening. The troops were all told to stay on base for the night. Officers were to

remain by the phone in case we got the call to action. The atmosphere was very tense for the first few days but no alerts materialized. And that’s the way it was—Above the Rest!

Ty Cobb: E-1
I was assigned to Co B, 1/327 Infantry at Ft Campbell, KY. Got to Campbell in Mar ’63 after Frostbite 6 Ranger School with a bunch of Can Doers (Godwin, Hyde and Sherard in same battalion). I was company XO and weapons platoon leader.
On the DAY, I was attending a one week NBC class for officers and NCOs. Had been home for lunch when first saw on TV that there was a shooting in Dallas. Then as I was returning to class we learned that the President had been shot. At class, we learned that he was dead. Little instruction occurred the rest of the afternoon, as we all just stared into space.
Back at home Bev and I were glued to TV for hours.
That weekend Bev, my new daughter (Christy) and I went to Missouri to visit my grandmother. While there, we noticed on the TV that there was a shooting in Dallas. At first, we thought is was only a “re-run” of the Kennedy shooting. Soon we realized that Jack Ruby had killed Oswald. We thought “what is happening to our country?”

Ray Pendleton: E-2
I remember November 22, 1963 quite clearly.
It was a chilly day at Fort Campbell, KY, but the temperature was not as brutal as a few weeks earlier when we froze in the bleachers of Soldiers Field while watching Army and the Air Force Academy battle it out on the gridiron. Except for cold blasts off of Lake Michigan, that was a good trip, thanks to the generosity of the USAFA Supe who sent a plane to take most of our West Point grads at Fort Campbell to Chicago for the event. On the bus ride in from the airfield, we were reminded that President and Mrs. Kennedy had
visited Chicago only days before.
I was a member of E Company, 506th Airborne Infantry Battle Group of the 101st Airborne Division at the time. I had completed jump master training, and was tasked to help supervise and rig vehicles and equipment for a coming “heavy drop” exercise, which we were doing at the time. While lashing the quarter ton, three-quarter ton, and 105 mm light artillery loads to their cargo ‘chutes, pallets and cardboard honeycomb cushioning, we were talking about that Army-Air Force game … then one of the young troopers (who had been tuned into some great Blue Grass on his portable radio) rang out with, “Hey, sir, listen to this, they just shot the president!” Everyone went silent.

As best as possible we tried to hear the initial, sketchy and unconfirmed details coming from that small radio in an open area with wind gusting. Knowing more complete
and reliable information would be available shortly thereafter, we hurried up to complete the rigging, then left to join others for more comprehensive news reports. In the wake of that shocking announcement, the remainder of the day seemed to turn eerie and somber. In light of the President’s actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis a year earlier, we began to speculate about going to war with Cuba or Russia.

John Ulmer: I-2
I was flat on my back in the Ft. Campbell hospital where I had been since 9/11 having sustained a broken back and internal injuries on my 13th parachute jump (now that’s a good set of numbers!). I was in an open ward and the TV was on. For the next week I watched the entire set of events unfold. I watched Lee Harvey Oswald get shot live. My life had already changed substantially, but it was going to change even more.
John Winkler: L-1
Where were we (June & John Winkler) the afternoon of 22 November? We were driving back to Fort Campbell after a weeklong leave at my home in Caney Kansas. This was the first time I had been home since just after graduation. I had a wonderful time quail hunting with Dad and his beautiful English setters. It was great seeing my Mom, brother and twin sisters. We had to get back that Friday because of the start of Thanksgiving week and, as one of the most junior officers in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, we were on lots of duty rosters for that upcoming week. The more senior officers/NCOs would be on leave that week.
We were on US 60 going across southern Missouri near Poplar Bluff when the announcement came over the radio. Not much was said between us as the same report was repeated over and over again.
June was devastated by the assassination. She had bought into “Camelot” big time. Me not so much. While I was impressed greatly by JFK’s inauguration and graduation speeches, and his focus on Special Operations, that soured when I got to Campbell in March and saw the recon photos of the 506th drop zones in Cuba. The leadership of the Regiment felt that an inexperienced national politician had come within 12 hours of committing the unit to drop zones full of wire, obstacles and machinegun positions.
Many believe JFK was one of our greatest Presidents. I can’t rank him anywhere near the top.

Pat Canary: K-2
I was a platoon leader in C Co, 325 Battle Group (before we converted to Bn’s and Brigades) 82 Abn Div and the company was the immediate alert unit for the division with my platoon as the lead unit on a 10 minute alert standby in the company area—-ie. sitting on the trucks or on the steps to the barracks waiting for nothing to happen—-but we were ready to go to someplace in the Caribbean or wherever south.
We were alerted in late morning and loaded and departed the company area at Fort
Bragg for Pope AFB assuming we were on a “Drill”/”Test”exercise because we were not given any info as to why we were moving. On the way to the Pope one of my troops had a little portable radio and heard an announcement that the President had been shot in Dallas Texas. Upon arrival at Pope we assembled behind a C-130 with props turning and tailgate down waiting to load. Parachutes and gear were prepositioned so we started gathering up our equipment when a jeep from the G-3 arrived and a Major and senior NCO showed me an ESSO map of Dallas Texas and the airfield where we would land — Love field—–it was going to be a civil disturbance mission —–the other 4 platoons of the company were about 20 min behind and more C-130’s were moving into position —– -we had no need for parachutes, mosquito nets etc. so we stripped our troops of all the excess and began to load the first aircraft—–All went from we are ready to HOLD —- we were listening to the news reports on portable radios ——
We did not deploy but stayed at the airfield until the next morning thankful that there was no civil disturbance——-Yes it was a memorable event that I reflect on every November and when JFK is mentioned in a conversation.

Steve Warner: D-2
I was at Ft Bragg: D Co, 187th Inf, 82d ABN DIV. I was inspecting my platoon’s weapons in the company arms room, when news of the JFK assassination reached us. After work, I went home and cried.

Larry Waters: F-2
I was in the field in a commo trailer with the 504th ABN brigade, 82nd ABN. A ticker tape type message came thru while I was standing there that said “President Kennedy was shot” . A short time after it indicated he was dead. Not much we could do in the boonies. We always seemed to be on alert during the civil rights movement in Selma and other spots.

Greg Wilcox: E-2
I was a platoon leader of a recon platoon in 1/17 Cavalry, 82d Airborne Division attending Heavy Drop school that day when the word came. It was a shock like I’ve never experienced. Kennedy was our President. We marched in his inauguration parade. He spoke at our graduation and handed out the first 50 diplomas (I was not one of the 50). But it was not just us West Point grads who felt the pain. My entire platoon was more motivated than any time I had ever witnessed. It was a mixture of pain, shock, denial, grief, and a desire for vengeance.
Thirty minutes after hearing about Kennedy’s assassination, I was back at the barracks with my platoon, and we were ordered immediately to Pope AFB where we sat on our parachutes awaiting further orders. The rumor was that we were going into Cuba. I think we were there on the ramp about 12 hours before we were recalled to the barracks, but on a leash for further orders.
As I recall, we had no maps, no specific DZs, no intel. My memory is now foggy about all this, but none of us were clear of any plans other than we wanted revenge and we were going to unload on anyone who got in our way. A lot of our classmates were in the 82d at that time, and I’m sure we all wanted to jump into Cuba and take out the entire Cuban Army. Perhaps it was best that wiser heads prevailed.

Will Cannon: A-1
On November 22, 1963, we were at the height of the Cold War. Having gone Air Force after graduation, I was stationed on a Strategic Air Command Base as an Intelligence Officer.
SAC’s mission was, first, to survive an enemy attack on the Homeland, and this was accomplished by having intercontinental ballistic missiles buried underground in bomb- resistant silos and by having a fleet of bombers and an airborne command post already in the air at all times, 24/7.
Secondly, SAC’s mission was to respond with devastating force to any attack on the Homeland within 30 minutes, which was the predicted window of time between the detection of incoming planes or missiles at the Defense Early Warning Line (DEW Line) in Canada and nuclear impact in the United States.
This was the “Mutually Assured Destruction” situation that preserved the peace for decades of the Cold War between the United States on the one hand and Russia and China on the other hand.
Each bomber crew and each missile crew carried the nuclear Go Codes on their person. Activation of the Go Codes required an order from the President of the United States confirmed by the two senior officers on the crew before responding.

In those days there was no exception for perfection in the Strategic Air Command. The SAC Inspector General and his staff would swoop down on a SAC base, and anyone — ANYONE — who didn’t make 100 on their test was fired on the spot. If more than one person made less than 100 on their tests, the Colonel who commanded the Wing could expect to be told to get off the base and report to the Pentagon for reassignment.
On November 22, 1963, I was the Officer of the Day at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas. I was about 20 miles outside of Wichita on my way in a staff car to one of the 18 ICBM silos that ringed Wichita. I heard about President Kennedy’s having been shot on the radio. I immediately thought: This is it! The President is disabled or dead, so he won’t be able to initiate the Go Codes, and there will no doubt be so much confusion that no one else will be able to do it either. If this is a Russian plot, and planes or missiles were coming over the North Pole toward the DEW Line at that exact moment, there would be no way for SAC to respond in time.
I wheeled around and headed back to the base, top speed. I expected to see that the DEFCON level had skipped a couple of steps on its way to the top. I expected to see hyper-activity on the flight line. I expected to see people running, tires squealing, etc. But what did I find? Everyone was gathered around black and white televisions, dumfoundedly watching the drama unfold in Dallas.
As it turned out, there was apparently no Cold War threat that day. But, there could have been. Of course, it was easy for me to judge from the level of a Second Lieutenant, but I’ve never, before or since, been more disappointed in the Pentagon than I was that day.

Len Butler: K-2
In November of 1963 I was a young pilot in the 305th Air Refueling Squadron at McGuire AFB, New Jersey. I was new to Strategic Air Command (SAC) and was preparing to be certified on the Strategic Integrated Operations Plan (SIOP) for my unit. As such, I was in the special plans office studying the SIOP for my certification which was coming up in a couple days. The Chief of Special Plans had the radio on listening to a NYC easy listening station. The music was interrupted by the announcement that the President had been shot. Inasmuch as there was no speculation as to who was responsible, my study of the SIOP gave me a chill as I thought of the possible ramifications.
About ten years later during one of our moves, I found a copy of the White House Press Release of our graduation address by JFK. To this day I have no idea how I came to have it. I distributed a copy to as many classmates as I could.
Whether or not I agreed with President Kennedy politically, I was honored to march in his inaugural parade and have him speak at our graduation. Several years ago, I tracked down Ted Sorenson, JFK’s speechwriter. I wrote him to tell him how timeless I thought our graduation speech was. He didn’t respond and has since passed away.

Ray LoPresto: I-2
I tried but did not make the cut. I was in the middle of the middle third and so when they handed out other service commissions I did not get one. Since the Air Force would allow you to get a masters right away the powers that be were afraid that they would lose all of the star men to the Air Force, so they split the quota in thirds and counted back from the top of each third.
Ever since our cow summer at Eglin AFB when they had us lined up on the side of the runway and brought in the fighter series starting with the T-37 at very low altitude and ended with an F-104 going vertical, lighting the burner and very rapidly going out of sight headed for a contrail I knew what I wanted to do in the military. When I got to Ft Bliss for Nike missle training in El Paso I found the right Major who listened to my sad story, figured it was not some epiphany from a wild night in Jaurez and helped me write a request for transfer. I must have learned something after almost flunking out of plebe English writing themes. When I finished Nike missile school, jump school, got married and reported to my Nike battery in the L.A. area, I received a transfer in July 1963 to the U.S. Air Force and a pilot training class date of Sept,’63 at Moody AFB Valdosta, GA in the 3552nd Pilot training squadron.
I remember when I became aware of the JFK assassination very vividly. 22 November 1963 we had just finished briefing for my next training flight in the T-37 and were walking to the parachute room to don our chutes before going to our aircraft when it was announced over the loud speaker system. There was not a lot of time to contemplate the event for we were on a rather tight schedule to get airborne. I was still trying to keep up with fast moving events in the cockpit. When we got back to the flight room for the debriefing there certainly was a lot of speculation and discussion.
I graduated from pilot training in Sep. ’64 and joined the 3660th pilot training squadron at Laredo AFB Laredo TX in Dec.’64 after instructor pilot training at Waco AFB Waco TX.

Roger McNamara: D-2
I was assigned to the USAF Navigator Training Squadron in Waco, Texas at James Connelly Air Force Base. I was driving on a two lane road near the flight line; going back to my barracks from a flight training mission that I completed that morning. The radio was on; the music was interrupted by the broadcaster announcing that JFK had been assassinated.
Pulling off of that road, I stopped and put my head down on the steering wheel. I could not believe what I had just heard, yet the radio continued to broadcast news of the tragedy that had happened in Dallas. Dallas is about forty-five minutes North of Waco. I sat in my car with my eyes closed. I was in a state of disbelief and great sorrow. I felt totally

deflated. I just could not believe it. After a bit, I drove back to the barracks and spent time in the tv room with the other squadron fliers. Everyone was very quiet but we were glued to the television newscast.
All flags on James Connelly Air Force Base went to half- mast immediately. All flight operations were cancelled except for the alert aircraft which were on the runway.
I spent the evening in my room quietly trying to grasp what was happening. I was simply stunned.

Jerry Janicke: K-2
I was assigned to 570th SMS, part of the 390th SMW in Tucson, AZ, which had 18 Titan II silos strategically placed. I had just gotten off alert at a Titan II silo and I was on my way home (about 11:30 Tucson time) in my car when I heard of the shooting and since I needed some sleep—I was up 22 hours straight as part of our 24 hour duty at the missile site—I went to bed.
When I got up, about 3 pm, I learned that the president had died. I went on alert that Sunday and saw on TV Ruby shoot Oswald. I didn’t know how to feel. I can assure you we paid attention to the message traffic from SAC HQ that Sunday while we were on alert. I thought we would go to a higher alert status, but as I recall we didn’t.
I was not certain that this was a plot planned by many but I thought others were involved

Mike Schredl: A-1
After finishing school at Keesler AFB, Mississippi in 1963, and being assigned to the 6594th Aerospace Test Wing in Sunnyvale California as a Satellite Control Integrations Officer, Judy and I lived with her parents while I went back to work as a sausage maker, having a month of leave.
I reported for duty as ordered and Judy and I then started looking for a place of our own. We would drive on days that I was not on duty down to Silicon Valley and look at apartments and duplexes. On one of these trips, on 22 November, Judy and I were driving south from San Francisco to San Jose, listening to the radio, when the program was interrupted telling us that President Kennedy was shot. My reaction was that shot meant maybe a minor wound. The announcer kept talking for a bit, and then updated that the President was shot in the head and the Governor was also wounded. After excessive incidental talk we were advised that the President was being rushed to the hospital. This was the first inkling that made me think this might be bad. Again after much analysis, the news was reported that the President was reportedly dead. Judy was impacted by the word dead and I think I was more focused on reportedly, therefore thinking probably not true.
On this particular trip, we were going down to San Jose to take possession of a duplex in

a complex on the border between San Jose and Santa Clara which we had just
rented. When we arrived at the manager’s office, she was crying with tears streaming down her face. She then told us that it was confirmed that the President was dead. It still didn’t really hit me for a day or two of just how terrible this tragedy was. Of course those classmates who knew me, especially in A-1, should not be surprised. I always was a little slow on the draw. As General Franks would have said, I was not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
A few days later we launched a reconnaissance satellite and I was fully involved with long hours for the next week and although we didn’t really have time to think of current events, our workplace was really subdued. After about a week and a half, when we had recovered the payload, done the preliminary analysis, and forwarded our report to the Secretary of Defense, we then started discussing the assassination. I remember that many of the old timers, both military and civilian, were especially shocked and saddened by the assassination. I think more so than us new shavetails, as they were very fond of the President, but also concerned about Johnson. These old timers included Dave Sykes ’53 and Bob Conlan USNA ’54, who was the son of my father-in -laws’ boss Dr. Louis Conlan, President of the City College of San Francisco.
A short time later, Dick Randazzo and Jan Molvar were also assigned to the
6594th. Ultimately all three of us became Shift Leaders – 62 can do. We did, as we flew 26 satellites together before I left active duty. Although much of our work is still classified, after almost 50 years, I think it is now a well known fact that we were photographing Russia, Vietnam and other areas. Our resolution was remarkable and some of our best pictures missed the target coordinates. We had a three dimensional error of a Russian farmer doing poo poo in his field, and of several air force officers giving us the bird as we flew over a tracking station. Needless to say we also obtained some very good, important, and timely sensitive material which I still feel after all these years more comfortable not mentioning.
Judy and I really didn’t discuss the assassination too much; her hands were full with our four-month-old son and starting a household. I think both of us just tried to put it in the back of our minds, wishfully thinking that it really didn’t happen.

Don Babb: C-2
On 11/22/1963 I was at Fort Carson, CO, home of the 5th Infantry Division (Mech)
and assigned to C Btry, 5th Bn, 4th FA. The Bn had returned to post from the firing range where we spent 4 days running various scenarios with hip shoots, fixed firing positions, etc. I was supervising the Fire Direction Center (FDC) conducting training and cross training to improve proficiency and increase speed and accuracy to carry out fire missions.
The morning of Nov. 22nd I was with the FDC section in the motor pool conducting more training. We were contacted to return to the Btry area of barracks. We were redirected to

the Bn Hq area where the Bn CO was standing on one of the raised PT platforms. Once all personnel were assembled he told us the news from Dallas.
The entire post had been placed on alert status. We returned to our Btry area and remained there for 2 more days until the order came to stand down. We had access to a couple of radios for news updates. The TV in the Btry dayroom was out of order so I did not see any TV news until 3 days later. I recall feeling sort of numb and in disbelief.
Alan Biddison: L-2
I was a platoon leader in E Company, 7th Engineer Bn, 5th Inf Div Mechanized. The unit was based at Ft. Carson which is close to Colorado Springs.
My wife and I lived in post housing a few miles from the company area. I was listening to the radio while driving home to have lunch. The program was interrupted with an announcement that President Kennedy had been shot. I turned on a radio as soon as I got home and told my wife the president had been shot. We focused our attention on the radio until we heard the President was dead. It was unbelievable.
Either that afternoon or the next morning the battalion had a dress rehearsal for a
parade. We marched from the battalion area to the parade ground to keep tanks and other mechanized vehicles off of the post roads. The formal parade of the division was in the afternoon. The officer’s club was located next to the parade ground. The battalion commander, as soon as the parade was over, turned the battalion over to the
battalion’s sergeant major and announced an officer’s call at the officer’s club. All officers left their units on the parade ground and walked to the club.

Art Lovgren: H-1
On 22 November 1963 2LT Art Lovgren found himself as artillery forward observer in Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion 19th Field Artillery, in the 5th Mech Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado. I had reported for duty in January 1963. Our division was one of
those so-called STRAC divisions that had been alerted the previous October to convoy to Florida to take part in the planned invasion of Cuba to dump Fidel Castro.
As the “senior” 2LT of three in the battery I was assigned as Supply Officer as an extra duty. (The junior guy was traditionally assigned as Mess Officer—-not very desirable duty to say the least because of all the inspections and opportunities to fail!) Much nicer back in the Supply Room where a 2LT could set up office! FO’s didn’t have
offices! Since we depended on the draft to fill the ranks, my armorer was a PFC without a whole lot of education or technical/administrative skills. Physically he limped and was paralyzed on half his face. But he had his heart in the right place and was motivated to do well.

Thus, I was back in the arms room of that World War II vintage building, with a stove, fired…..yes, by draftees! I was helping my PFC inventory and properly document our weapons when we began to hear stirring and excited voices around the battery area…..something about the President being shot, down the highway in Dallas. We immediately sought out and found a radio in the XO’s office where we started picking up the ongoing details of that terrible day. Later that evening when I returned to my rented apartment in Colorado Springs I turned on the TV just as Jack Ruby was shooting Lee Harvey Oswald on live news!
As I now reflect on that horrible day and all the sadness that followed for weeks afterward, I think we can marvel at the fact that the transition to Lyndon Johnson went
down smoothly and without significant national disruption, thanks to our great constitution and political heritage! God bless America!!

John DeVore: F-2
After Fort Benning, Georgia (IOOC, Airborne, Ranger, Jumpmaster, 4.2″ Mortar & Davy Crockett School and Special Assignment as United Care Givers’ Fund Project Officer), the first duty station was Fort Carson, Colorado, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), 3rd Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry. In April 1963 the initial assignment was Rifle Platoon Leader, 2nd Platoon, C Company. On November 22, 1963 the new assignment became Reconnaissance Platoon Leader.
On or about the hour of JFK’s assassination, Recon Platoon Sergeant E-5 Michael J. Hughes and I were walking from the C Company Orderly Room around the Day Room of Headquarters Company to the Recon Platoon barracks for a first meeting with the assembled members of the Reconnaissance Platoon. As Sergeant Hughes and I neared the barracks, The Headquarters Company Clerk came bursting out of the Day Room to share that JFK had just been shot and was not expected to live. Sergeant Hughes and I stopped in our tracks, looked at one another, and were speechless.
The character of the introductory meeting with the Recon Platoon members was distracted and reflective. Aside from meeting each other, we just wanted to chat and
to reflect. The only decision we made was to request permission to wear red berets during field exercises. This permission was granted and the red berets made us feel special.

Rusty Wilkerson: E-2
My platoon was the aggressor in the Squad ATTs for the 1stBn, 11th Infantry. Because I (and more importantly, my platoon Sgt) were the most experienced, our Co Cdr knew we would ace it. I distinctly remember sitting on a hill at Fort Carson when we got a radio call to cease operations and move to a rendezvous point. No reason was given even though we asked.

Once we got back in the cantonment area we learned that JFK had been shot. Shortly afterwards we were directed to change into Class A’s for a Division (5th Mech) formation on the parade field. Before and after we stayed glued to the TV. A couple of days later and several others spend most of the day at our Battalion S-3’s quarters watching the entire funeral.

Will Miller: C-2
I’ve hesitated to contribute since I have a lousy memory and am astounded at the clear remembrances of my classmates. The best I recall, I was just returning to Ft Carson, CO from leave [my oldest child had just been born in Tulsa, OK] and eating lunch alone at the O Club [an unusual place for me to eat to begin with since I was a married O-1] when the announcement was made over the PA system.
I suspect I went back to my unit 4/12 Cav where I was XO of the Hq troop–which is where I spent most of my waking hours. If I went further than that I would be making it up…not even sure about that last sentence since I had several assignments within the squadron and the dates of those assignments are lost in my memory bank.
Sadly, Kennedy didn’t mean that much to me one way or the other at the time. Yes, he spoke at our graduation [but even that didn’t mean that much to me since I was happy to have just gotten through those 4 years] and he was our Commander in Chief, [but there were a helluva lot of layers between him and me].
Now if LTC Chapin [my squadron CO] had gotten assassinated… I suspect that would have been another story. That said, I’m sure I was as stunned as everyone else that someone would assassinate the President of the United States. But, frankly, I’ve always had enough on my plate to be too concerned about things I could do little about–but that’s just me.

Dan Clark: F-2
When President Kennedy was assassinated, I was serving as Executive Officer, C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 51st Artillery in San Rafael, California. Our Nike Hercules Missile Battalion was under the command of the 40th Brigade with Headquarters in San Francisco. Bill Byrd was also in C Battery. Ernie Zenker and one or two other classmates were assigned to the 40th Brigade.
Everyone was in shock and disbelief at the news. As I recall, there were several conspiracy theories. Cuba was suspected. So many units were moved to Florida that there was some concern that Florida would sink into the ocean. Some of us felt that we would be reassigned to Air Defense units in Florida. Because of the concerns and perceived air threat, all of our units were moved to the highest readiness status. I do not recall how long this lasted but it was more than just a few days. As many of us gathered

at various meetings and exercises, those of us in the ’62 Can Do Class realized we had lost a great leader, one whom we felt had a special connection to our class.

Dale Smith: I-2
I was on a Nike site in Calif, a mile up. I recall almost total silence from everyone in the Company and Fire Control area. Total disbelief was the first display of expression, followed by “Oh, My God” or something similar. The third phase was a dumb faced look on the face: shock. I still remember the “empty” feeling.

Larry Needs: K-1
As I was coming down from “the hill” in the IFC area of D Btry, 3/1 ADA (a NIKE Hercules air defense battery) outside of Pittsburgh after Tac Eval training, and, as I entered the HQ building, my platoon Warrant, CW3 CW Porter, yelled, “Lt, you better come in here, Kennedy’s been shot.” My BC, XO, and 1SG and CW3 Porter gathered around the TV.
Since our mission was to defend the skies around Pittsburgh from a massive Soviet bomber attack and since no one had a clue as to why the President was shot, nor who did it, our alert status was raised from 2-hour standby to 30-minute alert to meet whatever the potential threat might be.
Although, politically, I was not on the same page as the President on a number of issues, I had great respect for him and all of us were shocked that anyone in our time would be of a mind to shoot the President of the United States, no matter who he was nor the nature of his politics.
Gus Zenker: E-2

I, like Larry Needs, was in my Hercules battery area (San Francisco Defense). My first thought: Oh my gosh, Johnson is President! I was not a particularly big fan of JFK (or any Democrats)- still am not. I was one of the “lucky” ones to shake his hand at graduation, and the only thing I remember about that occasion was how blue his eyes were and that he was shorter than I. (I guess I, like many, thought of him as a giant.)

Sammy Steele: C-2
In November of 1963, I was with the 2d Battalion 43d Artillery (Nike Hercules) at Turner AFB, near Albany Georgia. I was assigned to B Battery, near Sasser, GA while Ron Henderson and Jim Tumpane were with A Battery, near Sylvester, GA. I don’t recall precisely where I was at my battery on 22 November, but I was on site, as was the norm.

One other lieutenant and I were working 33 hours on, and 15 hours off. At the time, that was normal working hours for a young lieutenant in Air Defense.
As the launcher platoon leader, I was most likely in the launcher building, when one of our crewmen came in and said that Kennedy had been shot. I thought he must have been talking about PFC Kennedy, one of our launcher crewmen. It took a few seconds for me to grasp the significance of what had happened that day. I only vaguely recall watching the news about the assassination on my small black and white television set over the next few days.
Then, there was the funeral procession itself with the horse, no rider, the caissons and most memorable, little John John’s salute.
The 2/43 was a two battery Nike battalion, with 12 missiles in each battery. The battalion had the mission of protecting Turner AFB, an element of the Strategic Air Command. Due to the battalion’s geographic location in southern Georgia, they were on highest alert during the time of the Cuban crisis. Today, there are no CONUS strategic Air Defense missile sites, and Turner AFB was closed during the late 60’s.

Will Worthington: C-2
On the morning of November 22, 1963, I was in the 559th Engineer Company headquarters at Ft Wainwright, Alaska, when someone said we should turn on the radio and we heard that President Kennedy had been shot. I think there were two small offices for four platoon leaders and we didn’t normally spend much time there, but it was early morning in Alaska, and for whatever reason we were all in the headquarters that morning, along with the CO, First Sergeant and other NCO’s. Our classmates Dick Irwin and Art Webb were in the same company and I suspect they were present.
A short time later, we heard the news that the President was dead. There was a feeling of incredulity among all of us there in the orderly room, wondering who might have done this and why, and could it be part of a larger plot? For the most part, the mood was very somber and we just listened quietly as the stunning news came in over the radio . . . there was no live television in Alaska at the time. As I recall, there was talk of establishing a higher DEFCON, and we may have been told to stand by for orders, but I do not recall that we actually did change our readiness status.
I’ve always been proud that the President was our graduation speaker, though my recollections of Kennedy’s speech to us on June 6, 1962, are limited as I suspect our main concern was that it not be too long so we could get on with our day, but I do recall that part of the message was that we would be called on to fight our nations wars and defend our freedom. I remember thinking at the time that the possibility of war was pretty remote as nothing was on the horizon that I thought might result in war, and that his warning didn’t get much traction with me. It was a bit ironic that on June 6, 1967,

exactly five years later, I stepped off the plane in Pleiku, Vietnam, to begin my first tour there.
Russ DeVries: I-1
I was stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska. We were out on a cold weather exercise for a few days. The announcement came over our military radio net. We all thought that it was part of the exercise. Ten minutes later we were informed that it was real and that the maneuver was ending. We were ordered back to Fort Wainwright to prepare for what could have been a national emergency. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

John Wagner: L-1
We all remember where we were when we heard that JFK had been killed. Here is how I remember the occasion.
At the time, I was stationed at Ft. Lewis. I was Battery Commander of Battery B, 6th of the 32nd Field Artillery, Self Propelled 8″ howitzers. On 22 November I was on leave in Louisiana and by the time I returned to my unit JFK had been buried and the immediate shock of the event had passed. At that time the officers and NCO’s tried to focus the troops on the tasks at hand as we prepared for field training at Yakima Training Area in early January.
Peggy was expecting our first son, Bart, in early November and for several reasons, we decided that it would be best for her to travel back to our home town in Louisiana to deliver Bart. Just before she delivered, I took leave and came home to be with Peggy during the birth. Bart was born on November 14 after a difficult birth. Peggy and Bart stayed in the hospital for a week while she recovered. They came home to her Mother’s home on November 20.
On November 22, we were in the bedroom playing with Bart and Peggy’s Mother was across the hall in the kitchen preparing lunch. The TV in the kitchen was tuned to Kennedy’s visit to Fort Worth and Dallas. All of the sudden, Peggy’s Mother, Lulu, screamed, “they’ve shot the President, they’ve shot the President”. We rushed into the kitchen and watched the news coverage the rest of the day and for the next few days until JFK was buried. We were shocked and saddened by the attack.
I was very familiar with the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I spent many family Christmases in Fort Worth with my Father’s extended family. While growing up, I spent many summer vacations there with two Aunts. Many other relatives lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I felt that I knew the kinds of people who lived in the area and was shocked that Kennedy would be killed there.

As a final note, our son, John H (Bart) Wagner III graduated USMA in the Class of 1986 and is now a practicing psychiatrist in Shreveport, LA…in the same hospital where he was born. He also practices in the local VA Hospital.

Joe Petrolino: K-1
I was in the Transportation Office at Ft Hood arranging travel back to my duty station at Ft Lewis. A group of us had been sent to Ft Hood to participate in Operation Big Lift and were now back from Germany and due to return to our home station.
A couple of day later we took the train to Dallas to connect to another to take us to Tacoma. We stopped off in Denver and watched all the TV news.

Bob Phillips: K-1
On that fateful day I was on base at the Army Language School (Monterey, California) clearing post and getting ready to sit for my final written examination in completion of the Language Course in Vietnamese. Bob Tarbet and I had both come from Armor assignments from Ft. Hood and took the three month course together. We were due to have a few days leave and report to VN in early December.
I turned on the radio in my car while driving to the location of the examination when I heard a halting, unsure voice inform me that the President has been shot with a few other speculations thrown in. My reaction was at once to think that “I thought all that kind of stuff was prohibited on the radio after the Orson Welles big scare of the Mars invaders,” and immediately changed stations. Again, I heard a similar halting announcement of the President being shot. A third station had the same thing.
I was stunned, confused, and in a mild state of shock. All I could do is seek more information from yet more stations. After a while, I had to deal with where I was going in my car and what I needed to do next. I arrived at the test site and was informed that the exam had been cancelled but graduation would proceed the day after tomorrow as scheduled.
Of course there was a flood of thoughts about the entire situation of JFK, his unprecedented support for Army Forces in Counter-Insurgency situations, his emphasis on equipment improvement, and his support in general. In a speech he quoted Kipling,
For God and the soldier we adore, In time of danger, not before! The danger passed, and all things righted, God is forgotten and the soldier slighted.
He visited soldiers in the Big Red One. He was determined to enhance our military ability to respond to small wars and not depend only on Nuclear Weapons. Yet, he had recently

announced a cut in the strength of US Forces in VN by 1,000. Clearly he was looking for a détente with the Russians at the time. Personally, I was wondering if Tarbet and I would be sent home within a few weeks after arriving in VN. Yet, I had read everything I could find about insurgency situations including WWII campaigns and battles involving guerillas and insurgents. And, of course I read, as did we all, Bernard Fall’s Street Without Joy, and the other three books he had out at that time. It was very exciting to be going to VN to try out our combat skills and our language training.
The enthusiasm of all of us at the Language School was very high even after JFK was killed. We felt we were continuing his work.

Walt Bryde: C-2
In my case, I was on a firing point in north Ft Knox, Kentucky. Had taken half the firing battery (C of 3d Bn , 3d FA) to the field that AM to fire in support of an Armor School problem. The Bn CSM arrived in a jeep and passed us the news from Dallas. Shortly afterwards, range control closed us all down. We march ordered, returned to the post, washed up and put the guns to bed. Then spent the next several days glued to our little black and white portable TV! Terrible business.

David McLaughlin: K-2
I was in the officer’s club at the Ranger Mountain camp in Dahlonega Ga. on temporary duty from the 82nd Abn to act as a Blackjack agent for the class of ’63 going through ranger training. I left the club to get word to the Commandant and on the way ran into a local and told him the President had been shot. His reaction shocked me as he replied, “Good I hope he is dead”.

Rick Kelly: F-2
On the day of the assassination, I was assigned on temporary duty from the 101st Abn Div as an instructor at the Mountain Ranger Camp in Dahlonega Ga. On that particular day I had made a trip to Gainesville, GA for the purpose of buying a used television for my hooch at the camp. I was in a pawn shop in Gainesville and asked the owner to plug in the TV to demo it for me.
Well I guess you know the rest, the station he tuned to had the headline of the shooting in Dallas. Needless to say, we were mesmerized for the next hour or two at which time I declined to purchase the set and headed back to camp.
The next day we held a small memorial service for the President and then went back to work. Not much to write about as we had class schedules to keep up with.

Steve Sperman: F-1
I had just been appointed both the S-2 and the S-3 of the 3/77th Armor at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. The S-3 had been reassigned due to the draw down, the S-3 also was the S-2. My S-2 SFC came running in to my office with a TWX which said JFK had been shot dead and we were to go on Alert, we were a STRAC unit.
Off I went to the CO LTC Wheeler, to hand him the TWX, he had just heard the news on the radio JFK been shot but they had not announced his death. Other than riot duty we could not figure out what to do but we canceled leaves and passes and waited for further instructions which never came. We later had a battalion formation where the news was read.

Dick Steinke: E-2
I was the battalion adjutant of a tank battalion at Fort Irwin California. The mail clerk had been listening to the radio and came in and told us that President Kennedy had been shot. A few days later we had an assembly of the entire battalion for the Colonel to read the official death notice.
We were all shocked at the news. It was unbelievable. As I look back this was a key event in the history of our country and things changed from this point on. The changes were not always for the good.

George (Tank) Telenko: I-1
Remembering what I was doing the day President Kennedy was shot in Dallas is easy for me. I was stationed at Ft Hood, Texas a short four hour drive south of Dallas when President Kennedy was shot. I was a young Tank Platoon leader in the 1st Battalion 67th Armor of the 2nd Armored Division. We had been on standby alert for deployment to Florida for over six months in preparation for the possible invasion of Cuba during the Cuba missile crisis. That alert status had been canceled and we were just getting familiar with living at home with our families and going through a normal scheduled day. We at that time were also preparing for the visit of President Kennedy the following day Saturday Nov 23rd.
I can remember plain as day getting the call from my wife Dana when I was in the troop barracks preparing for the visit by President Kennedy. She said “Honey the President had been shot”! It was hard for me to grasp the seriousness in her voice I kept asking her questions about the shooting. Where did it happen, when did it happen and ultimately what was the condition of the President? The only thing she knew was what she was seeing on TV which was the President had been rushed to the hospital and nobody knew his condition. I immediately ran to our day room and turned on the TV to see what was

going on. The room I was in filled up quickly and we all sat with our hearts in our hands wondering why this had happened and who had done it. About 30 minutes after we starting watching the situation in Dallas our company received an alert to go to full combat alert status similar to what we had been in for the Cuban deployment and to start drawing weapons. We all assumed that the shooting of President Kennedy was a prelude to a full scale military invasion of the USA. While preparing for the alert we received word that the president Kennedy had died in Dallas and that the Vice President had been sworn in as the new President.
We remained in alert status the rest of that day and by evening were released back to our quarters. When I got home my wife was in tears and glued to the TV set reliving all the events surrounding the shooting of President Kennedy. It was extremely hard for us to accept his death after seeing him at graduation a little over a year before. It felt like I had lost a classmate. Since he was given a class ring and made a member of our class at graduation, accordingly he was unofficially the first member of our class to be killed performing his duty for the United States. “Can Do” Mr. President, may you rest in peace!
20 January 1961
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”
6 June 1962
“But you have one satisfaction, however difficult those days may be: when you are asked by a President of the United States or by any other American what you are doing for your country, no man’s answer will be clearer than your own.”


Editorial Postscript
I would like to thank our class scribe, Dave Phillips, as well as Walt Menning, Fred Bothwell and Brian McEnany for their encouragement to undertake this project as well as their invaluable practical suggestions and publishing support to a novice editor. I doff my hat to our classmates who were willing to share their personal experiences and thoughts and I hope their stories will now also form a part of their family histories. Most of all, I thank my wife, Louise, surely bored with listening to recitation of my own story, for suggesting that it would be much more interesting to hear what my classmates were doing on that fateful day.
Naturally all errors and omissions in this document are my responsibility. I have tried to limit my intervention in the individual stories to matters of obvious typos. I have particularly avoided ‘political cleansing’ except in a very few cases where a comment may have strayed significantly from the purpose of the collection. So there are plenty of strong opinions expressed in the stories and which, of course, I and all other persons associated with the creation and distribution of this document do not endorse.
This document will be available to members and friends of the Class of 1962 as well as to open websites affiliated, officially or unofficially, with the US Military Academy, the Class of 1962 or the Kennedy Library. It is also anticipated that a bound version will be available for order on Amazon in the near future with copyright registered in the name of United States Military Academy Class of 1962. Questions or comments may be directed to until 31 December 2014.

Roy Degenhardt London, England March 2014

48 Babb Don
13 Baxter Gene
39 Bennett Dennis
49 Biddison Alan
36 Brown Morris
11 Brown Roger
56 Bryde Walt
29 Burns Phil
45 Butler Len
17 Buttolph Dan
43 Canary Pat
44 Cannon Will
35 Chafetz Don
17 Chegar Dick
14 Christopher Bill
51 Clark Dan
41 Cobb Ty
22 Degenhardt Roy
34 DeSapri Don
50 DeVore John
12 DeVries Bob
54 DeVries Russ
23 Dominy Chuck
8 DuPuy Trevor
33 Faley Tom
25 Fishburne Gus
14 Foss Rich
37 Galanti Phil
8 Gorman Jim
16 Havercroft Roger
20 Hertel Charles
10 Hueman Pat
47 Janicke Jerry
26 Johnson Marshall
36 Kelly JJ
56 Kelly Rick
37 King John
38 Kirby John
12 Krause Bob
46 LoPresto Ray
49 Lovgren Art
18 Luis Rog
31 McCarthy Terry
15 McDonnell Mike
35 McEnany Brian
56 McLaughlin David
46 McNamara Roger 1
3 Menning Walt
24 Middaugh Tom
51 Miller Will
52 Needs Larry
41 Pendleton Ray
29 Peterson James
55 Petrolino Joe
55 Phillips Bob
35 Phillips Dave
31 Regan John
27 Richardson Craig
14 Ross Bill
28 Rowe Ed
39 Schmidt Marlin
47 Schredl Mike
15 Sheaffer Fred
52 Smith Dale
57 Sperman Steve
52 Steele Sammy
57 Steinke Dick
57 Telenko George
40 Thomas Barry
42 Ulmer John
54 Wagner John
25 Walker Tom
16 Ward Windsor
43 Warner Steve
43 Waters Larry
44 Wilcox Greg
50 Wilkerson Rusty
42 Winkler John
20 Worthington Jim
53 Worthington Will
11 Wylie Dick
52 Zenker Gus

Gary Steele

ESPN – Gary Steele’s Lasting Impact







Steele heading into Army Hall of Fame |

Sep 12, 2013 – Gary Steele still has every team picture from Army’s 1966, 1967 and 1968 football seasons. Steele stands out in the photos, not because of his 

2013 Army Sports Hall of Fame

Class of 1970
Football/Track and Field

Gary Steele starred in both football and track and field while at the Academy.

On the gridiron, Steele ranked as Army’s first African American to earn a varsity letter in the sport of football at West Point and garnered three in all. A second team Newspaper Enterprise Association All-American as a tight end, Steele was a 17th round draft choice of the National Football League’s Detroit Lions. Steele hauled in 25 passes for 346 yards and two scores during his first season at Army in 1966 and then registered 14 receptions for 269 yards and a pair of touchdowns the next year. His best season statistically was 1968 when he posted 27 catches for 496 yards and three touchdowns. During that year, he registered eight receptions for 156 yards against Penn State, shattering the single-game record previously held by the legendary “Lonely End,” Bill Carpenter.

Steele closed his career with 66 receptions for 1,111 yards and seven touchdowns. He helped Army to a pair of football victories over arch-rival Navy.

Steele also earned four varsity letters in track and field, two indoors and two outdoors. He established the Academy record in the high jump with a leap of 6-feet, 9-inches opposite Navy, a mark broken later that season.


James Farley Izard

Class of 1828
James F. Izard – son of Major-General George Izard. First Lieutenant of the 1st Dragoons, on the frontier and in the Black Hawk War; killed in the Second Seminole War at the Battle of the Withlacoochee River.
Birth: Feb. 28
Saint Augustine
St. Johns County
Florida, USA
Death: Mar. 5, 1836

James Farley Izard: Born 1811.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1824, to July 1, 1828, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to
Bvt. Second Lieut. of Infantry, July 1, 1828.

Second Lieut., 2d Infantry, July 1, 1828.

Served: in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1828‑30, — and Ft. Niagara, N. Y., 1830‑31; on Topographical duty, Nov. 25, 1831, to June 18, 1832; in the “Black Hawk” War against the Sac Indians, 1832; on Topographical duty, Dec. 10, 1832, to Mar. 4, 1833; on frontier duty at Ft. Gibson, I. T., and on Expedition to Tow‑e‑ash Villages, 1834,
(First Lieut., 1st Dragoons, Mar. 4, 1833)

— and Ft. Gibson, I. T., 1834‑35; and in the Florida War against the Seminole Indians, 1835‑36, being engaged in the Skirmish at Camp Izard, Feb. 28, 1836, where he was Mortally Wounded, while commanding the advance guard, and directing his men “to keep their positions and lie close.”
Died of Wounds, Mar. 5, 1836, at Camp Izard, on the Withlacoochee River, Fla.: Aged 26.

Was the son of Major-General George Izard, who served in the war of 1812‑15, and was Governor of Arkansas Territory, 1825‑28.

Thayer’s Note:

a A tablet in the Old Cadet Chapel at West Point perpetuates his memory.
Saint Augustine National Cemetery
Saint Augustine
St. Johns County
Florida, USA
Plot: Memorial PyramidsLazar-grave

Class of 1828
James F. Izard – son of Major-General George Izard. First Lieutenant of the 1st Dragoons, on the frontier and in the Black Hawk War; killed in the Second Seminole War at the Battle of the Withlacoochee River.
Birth: Feb. 28
Saint Augustine
St. Johns County
Florida, USA
Death: Mar. 5, 1836

James Farley Izard: Born 1811.

Military History. — Cadet at the Military Academy, July 1, 1824, to July 1, 1828, when he was graduated and promoted in the Army to
Bvt. Second Lieut. of Infantry, July 1, 1828.

Second Lieut., 2d Infantry, July 1, 1828.

Served: in garrison at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., 1828‑30, — and Ft. Niagara, N. Y., 1830‑31; on Topographical duty, Nov. 25, 1831, to June 18, 1832; in the “Black Hawk” War against the Sac Indians, 1832; on Topographical duty, Dec. 10, 1832, to Mar. 4, 1833; on frontier duty at Ft. Gibson, I. T., and on Expedition to Tow‑e‑ash Villages, 1834,
(First Lieut., 1st Dragoons, Mar. 4, 1833)

— and Ft. Gibson, I. T., 1834‑35; and in the Florida War against the Seminole Indians, 1835‑36, being engaged in the Skirmish at Camp Izard, Feb. 28, 1836, where he was Mortally Wounded, while commanding the advance guard, and directing his men “to keep their positions and lie close.”
Died of Wounds, Mar. 5, 1836, at Camp Izard, on the Withlacoochee River, Fla.: Aged 26.

Saint Augustine National Cemetery
Saint Augustine
St. Johns County
Florida, USA
Plot: Memorial PyramidsLazar-grave

James F. Izard

Class of 1828
James F. Izard – son of Major-General George Izard. First Lieutenant of the 1st Dragoons, on the frontier and in the Black Hawk War; killed in the Second Seminole War at the Battle of the Withlacoochee River.
Birth: Feb. 28
Saint Augustine
St. Johns County
Florida, USA
Death: Mar. 5, 1836

Saint Augustine National Cemetery
Saint Augustine
St. Johns County
Florida, USA
Plot: Memorial PyramidsLazar-grave

Plan for Invasion of Japan

This is the invasion you would probably would have been a part of. Thanks Mr. Truman for sparing thousands of US lives.

Declassified plans for WW II invasion of Japan

Deep in the recesses of the National Archives in Washington, D.C., hidden for nearly four decades lie thousands of pages of yellowing and dusty documents stamped “Top Secret”. These documents, now declassified, are the plans for Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan during World War II.

Only a few Americans in 1945 were aware of the elaborate plans that had been prepared for the Allied Invasion of the Japanese home islands. Even fewer today are aware of the defenses the Japanese had prepared to counter the invasion had it been launched. Operation Downfall was finalized during the spring and summer of 1945. It called for two massive military undertakings to be carried out in succession and aimed at the heart of the Japanese Empire.

In the first invasion – code named “Operation Olympic”- American combat troops would land on Japan by amphibious assault during the early morning hours of November 1, 1945 – 61 years ago. Fourteen combat divisions of soldiers and Marines would land on heavily fortified and defended Kyushu, the southernmost of the Japanese home islands, after an unprecedented naval and aerial bombardment.

The second invasion on March 1, 1946 – code named “Operation Coronet”- would send at least 22 divisions against 1 million Japanese defenders on the main island of Honshu and the Tokyo Plain. Its goal: the unconditional surrender of Japan.

With the exception of a part of the British Pacific Fleet, Operation Downfall was to be a strictly American operation. It called for using the entire Marine Corps, the entire Pacific Navy, elements of the 7th Army Air Force, the 8 Air Force (recently redeployed from Europe), 10th Air Force and the American Far Eastern Air Force. More than 1.5 million combat soldiers, with 3 million more in support or more than 40% of all servicemen still in uniform in 1945 – would be directly involved in the two amphibious assaults. Casualties were expected to be extremely heavy.

Admiral William Leahy estimated that there would be more than 250,000 Americans killed or wounded on Kyushu alone. General Charles Willoughby, chief of intelligence for General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific, estimated American casualties would be one million men by the fall of 1946. Willoughby’s own intelligence staff considered this to be a conservative estimate.

During the summer of 1945, America had little time to prepare for such an endeavor, but top military leaders were in almost unanimous agreement that an invasion was necessary.

While naval blockade and strategic bombing of Japan was considered to be useful, General MacArthur, for instance, did not believe a blockade would bring about an unconditional surrender. The advocates for invasion agreed that while a naval blockade chokes, it does not kill; and though strategic bombing might destroy cities, it leaves whole armies intact.

So on May 25, 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after extensive deliberation, issued to General MacArthur, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and Army Air Force General Henry Arnold, the top secret directive to proceed with the invasion of Kyushu. The target date was after the typhoon season.

President Truman approved the plans for the invasions July 24. Two days later, the United Nations issued the Potsdam Proclamation, which called upon Japan to surrender unconditionally or face total destruction. Three days later, the Japanese governmental news agency broadcast to the world that Japan would ignore the proclamation and would refuse to surrender. During this same period it was learned — via monitoring Japanese radio broadcasts — that Japan had closed all schools and mobilized its school children, was arming its civilian population and was fortifying caves and building underground defenses.

Operation Olympic called for a four pronged assault on Kyushu. Its purpose was to seize and control the southern one-third of that island and establish naval and air bases, to tighten the naval blockade of the home islands, to destroy units of the main Japanese army and to support the later invasion of the Tokyo Plain.

The preliminary invasion would begin October 27 when the 40th Infantry Division would land on a series of small islands west and southwest of Kyushu. At the same time, the 158th Regimental Combat Team would invade and occupy a small island 28 miles south of Kyushu. On these islands, seaplane bases would be established and radar would be set up to provide advance air warning for the invasion fleet, to serve as fighter direction centers for the carrier-based aircraft and to provide an emergency anchorage for the invasion fleet, should things not go well on the day of the invasion. As the invasion grew imminent, the massive firepower of the Navy – the Third and Fifth Fleets — would approach Japan. The Third Fleet, under Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, with its big guns and naval aircraft, would provide strategic support for the operation against Honshu and Hokkaido. Halsey’s fleet would be composed of battleships, heavy cruisers, destroyers, dozens of support ships and three fast carrier task groups. From these carriers, hundreds of Navy fighters, dive bombers and torpedo planes would hit targets all over the island of Honshu. The 3,000 ship Fifth Fleet, under Admiral Raymond Spruance, would carry the invasion troops.

Several days before the invasion, the battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers would pour thousands of tons of high explosives into the target areas. They would not cease the bombardment until after the land forces had been launched. During the early morning hours of November 1, the invasion would begin. Thousands of soldiers and Marines would pour ashore on beaches all along the eastern, southeastern, southern and western coasts of Kyushu. Waves of
Helldivers, Dauntless dive bombers, Avengers, Corsairs, and Hellcats from 66 aircraft carriers would bomb, rocket and strafe enemy defenses, gun emplacements and troop concentrations along the beaches.

The Eastern Assault Force consisting of the 25th, 33rd, and 41st Infantry Divisions, would land near Miyaski, at beaches called Austin, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Ford, and move inland to attempt to capture the city and its nearby airfield. The Southern Assault Force, consisting of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 43rd Division and Americal Division would land inside Ariake Bay at beaches labeled DeSoto, Dusenberg, Essex, Ford, and Franklin and attempt to capture Shibushi and the city of Kanoya and its airfield.

On the western shore of Kyushu, at beaches Pontiac, Reo, Rolls Royce, Saxon, Star, Studebaker, Stutz, Winston and Zephyr, the V Amphibious Corps would land the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Marine Divisions, sending half of its force inland to Sendai and the other half to the port city of Kagoshima.

On November 4, the Reserve Force, consisting of the 81st and 98th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division, after feigning an attack on the island of Shikoku, would be landed — if not needed elsewhere – near Kaimondake, near the southernmost tip of Kagoshima Bay, at the beaches designated Locomobile, Lincoln, LaSalle, Hupmobile, Moon, Mercedes, Maxwell, Overland, Oldsmobile, Packard, and Plymouth.

Olympic was not just a plan for invasion, but for conquest and occupation as well. It was expected to take four months to achieve its objective, with the three fresh American divisions per month to be landed in support of that operation if needed. If all went well with Olympic, Coronet would be launched March 1, 1946. Coronet would be twice the size of Olympic, with as many as 28 divisions landing on Honshu.

All along the coast east of Tokyo, the American 1st Army would land the 5th, 7th, 27th, 44th, 86th, and 96th Infantry Divisions, along with the 4th and 6th Marine Divisions.

At Sagami Bay, just south of Tokyo, the entire 8th and 10th Armies would strike north and east to clear the long western shore of Tokyo Bay and attempt to

go as far as Yokohama. The assault troops landing south of Tokyo would be the 4th, 6th, 8th, 24th, 31st, 37th, 38th, and 8th Infantry Divisions, along with the 13th and 20th Armored Divisions.

Following the initial assault, eight more divisions – the 2nd, 28th, 35th, 91st, 95th, 97th, and 104th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division — would be landed. If additional troops were needed, as expected, other divisions redeployed from Europe and undergoing training in the United States would be shipped to Japan in what was hoped to be the final push.

Captured Japanese documents and post war interrogations of Japanese military leaders disclose that information concerning the number of Japanese planes available for the defense of the home islands was dangerously in error.

During the sea battle at Okinawa alone, Japanese Kamikaze aircraft sank 32 Allied ships and damaged more than 400 others. But during the summer of 1945, American top brass concluded that the Japanese had spent their air force since American bombers and fighters daily flew unmolested over Japan.

What the military leaders did not know was that by the end of July the Japanese had been saving all aircraft, fuel, and pilots in reserve, and had been feverishly building new planes for the decisive battle for their homeland.

As part of Ketsu -Go, the name for the plan to defend Japan — the Japanese were building 20 suicide takeoff strips in southern Kyushu with underground hangars. They also had 35 camouflaged airfields and nine seaplane bases.

On the night before the expected invasion, 50 Japanese seaplane bombers, 100 former carrier aircraft and 50 land based army planes were to be launched in a suicide attack on the fleet.

The Japanese had 58 more airfields in Korea, western Honshu and Shikoku, which also were to be used for massive suicide attacks.

Allied intelligence had established that the Japanese had no more than 2,500 aircraft of which they guessed 300 would be deployed in suicide attacks. In August 1945, however, unknown to Allied intelligence, the Japanese still had 5,651 army and 7,074 navy aircraft, for a total of 12,725 planes of all types. Every village had some type of aircraft manufacturing activity hidden in mines, railway tunnels, under viaducts and in basements of department stores, work was being done to construct new planes.

Additionally, the Japanese were building newer and more effective models of the Okka, a rocket-propelled bomb much like the German V-1, but flown by a suicide pilot.

When the invasion became imminent, Ketsu-Go called for a fourfold aerial plan of attack to destroy up to 800 Allied ships.

While Allied ships were approaching Japan, but still in the open seas, an initial force of 2,000 army and navy fighters were to fight to the death to control the skies over Kyushu. A second force of 330 navy combat pilots was to attack the main body of the task force to keep it from using its fire support and air cover to protect the troop carrying transports. While these two forces were engaged, a third force of 825 suicide planes was to hit the American transports.

As the invasion convoys approached their anchorages, another 2,000 suicide planes were to be launched in waves of 200 to 300, to be used in hour by hour attacks.

By mid-morning of the first day of the invasion, most of the American land-based aircraft would be forced to return to their bases, leaving the defense against the suicide planes to the carrier pilots and the shipboard gunners.

Carrier pilots crippled by fatigue would have to land time and time again to rearm and refuel. Guns would malfunction from the heat of continuous firing and ammunition would become scarce. Gun crews would be exhausted by nightfall, but still the waves of kamikaze would continue. With the fleet hovering off the beaches, all remaining Japanese aircraft would be committed to nonstop suicide attacks, which the Japanese hoped could be sustained for 10 days. The Japanese planned to coordinate their air strikes with attacks from the 40 remaining submarines from the Imperial Navy – some armed with Long Lance torpedoes with a range of 20 miles — when the invasion fleet was 180 miles off Kyushu.

The Imperial Navy had 23 destroyers and two cruisers which were operational. These ships were to be used to counterattack the American invasion. A number of the destroyers were to be beached at the last minute to be used as anti-invasion gun platforms.

Once offshore, the invasion fleet would be forced to defend not only against the attacks from the air, but would also be confronted with suicide attacks from sea. Japan had established a suicide naval attack unit of midget submarines, human torpedoes and exploding motorboats.

The goal of the Japanese was to shatter the invasion before the landing. The Japanese were convinced the Americans would back off or become so demoralized that they would then accept a less-than-unconditional surrender and a more honorable and face-saving end for the Japanese.

But as horrible as the battle of Japan would be off the beaches, it would be on Japanese soil that the American forces would face the most rugged and fanatical defense encountered during the war.

Throughout the island-hopping Pacific campaign, Allied troops had always out numbered the Japanese by 2 to 1 and sometimes 3 to 1. In Japan it would be different. By virtue of a combination of cunning, guesswork, and brilliant military reasoning, a number of Japan’s top military leaders were able to deduce, not only when, but where, the United States would land its first invasion forces.

Facing the 14 American divisions landing at Kyushu would be 14 Japanese divisions, 7 independent mixed brigades, 3 tank brigades and thousands of naval troops. On Kyushu the odds would be 3 to 2 in favor of the Japanese, with 790,000 enemy defenders against 550,000 Americans. This time the bulk of the Japanese defenders would not be the poorly trained and ill-equipped labor battalions that the Americans had faced in the earlier campaigns.

The Japanese defenders would be the hard core of the home army . These troops were well-fed and well equipped. They were familiar with the terrain,had stockpiles of arms and ammunition, and had developed an effective system of transportation and supply almost invisible from the air. Many of these Japanese troops were the elite of the army, and they were swollen with a fanatical fighting spirit.

Japan’s network of beach defenses consisted of offshore mines, thousands of suicide scuba divers attacking landing craft, and mines planted on the beaches. Coming ashore, the American Eastern amphibious assault forces at Miyazaki would face three Japanese divisions, and two others poised for counterattack. Awaiting the Southeastern attack force at Ariake Bay was an entire division and at least one mixed infantry brigade.

On the western shores of Kyushu, the Marines would face the most brutal opposition. Along the invasion beaches would be the three Japanese divisions,

a tank brigade, a mixed infantry brigade and an artillery command. Components of two divisions would also be poised to launch counterattacks.

If not needed to reinforce the primary landing beaches, the American Reserve Force would be landed at the base of Kagoshima Bay November 4, where they would be confronted by two mixed infantry brigades, parts of two infantry divisions and thousands of naval troops.

All along the invasion beaches, American troops would face coastal batteries, anti-landing obstacles and a network of heavily fortified pillboxes, bunkers,and underground fortresses. As Americans waded ashore, they would face intense artillery and mortar fire as they worked their way through concrete rubble and barbed-wire entanglements arranged to funnel them into the muzzles of these Japanese guns.

On the beaches and beyond would be hundreds of Japanese machine gun positions, beach mines, booby traps, trip-wire mines and sniper units. Suicide units concealed in “spider holes” would engage the troops as they passed nearby. In the heat of battle, Japanese infiltration units would be sent to reap havoc in the American lines by cutting phone and communication lines. Some of the Japanese troops would be in American uniform; English-speaking Japanese officers were assigned to break in on American radio traffic to call off artillery fire, to order retreats and to further confuse troops. Other infiltration with demolition charges strapped on their chests or backs would attempt to blow up American tanks, artillery pieces and ammunition stores as they were unloaded ashore.

Beyond the beaches were large artillery pieces situated to bring down a curtain of fire on the beach. Some of these large guns were mounted on railroad tracks running in and out of caves protected by concrete and steel.

The battle for Japan would be won by what Simon Bolivar Buckner, a lieutenant general in the Confederate army during the Civil War, had called “Prairie Dog Warfare.” This type of fighting was almost unknown to the ground troops in Europe and the Mediterranean. It was peculiar only to the soldiers and Marines who fought the Japanese on islands all over the Pacific — at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Prairie Dog Warfare was a battle for yards, feet and sometimes inches. It was brutal, deadly and dangerous form of combat aimed at an underground, heavily fortified, non-retreating enemy.

In the mountains behind the Japanese beaches were underground networks of caves, bunkers, command posts and hospitals connected by miles of tunnels with dozens of entrances and exits. Some of these complexes could hold up to 1,000 troops.

In addition to the use of poison gas and bacteriological warfare (which the Japanese had experimented with), Japan mobilized its citizenry.

Had Olympic come about, the Japanese civilian population, inflamed by a national slogan – “One Hundred Million Will Die for the Emperor and Nation” – were prepared to fight to the death Twenty Eight Million Japanese had become a part of the National Volunteer Combat Force. They were armed with ancient rifles, lunge mines, satchel charges, Molotov cocktails and one-shot black powder mortars. Others were armed with swords, long bows, axes and bamboo spears. The civilian units were to be used in nighttime attacks, hit and run maneuvers, delaying actions and massive suicide charges at the weaker American positions.

At the early stage of the invasion, 1,000 Japanese and American soldiers would be dying every hour.

The invasion of Japan never became a reality because on August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was exploded over Hiroshima. Three days later, a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. Within days the war with Japan was at a close.

Had these bombs not been dropped and had the invasion been launched as scheduled, combat casualties in Japan would have been at a minimum of the tens of thousands. Every foot of Japanese soil would have been paid for by Japanese and American lives.

One can only guess at how many civilians would have committed suicide in their homes or in futile mass military attacks. In retrospect, the 1 million American men who were to be the casualties of the invasion were instead lucky enough to survive the war.

Intelligence studies and military estimates made 50 years ago, and not latter-day speculation, clearly indicate that the battle for Japan might well have resulted in the biggest blood-bath in the history of modern warfare.

Far worse would be what might have happened to Japan as a nation and as a culture. When the invasion came, it would have come after several months of fire bombing all of the remaining Japanese cities. The cost in human life that resulted from the two atomic blasts would be small in comparison to the total number of Japanese lives that would have been lost by this aerial devastation.

With American forces locked in combat in the south of Japan, little could have prevented the Soviet Union from marching into the northern half of the Japanese home islands. Japan today could be divided much like Korea and Germany.

The world was spared the cost of Operation Downfall, however, because Japan formally surrendered to the United Nations September 2, 1945, and World War II was over.

The aircraft carriers, cruisers and transport ships scheduled to carry the invasion troops to Japan, ferried home American troops in a gigantic operation called Magic Carpet.

In the fall of 1945, in the aftermath of the war, few people concerned themselves with the invasion plans. Following the surrender, the classified documents, maps, diagrams and appendices for Operation Downfall were packed away in boxes and eventually stored at the National Archives. These plans that called for the invasion of Japan paint a vivid description of what might have been one of the most horrible campaigns in the history of man. The fact that the story of the invasion of Japan is locked up in the National Archives and is not told in our history books is something for which all Americans can be thankful.
I had the distinct privilege of being assigned as later commander of the 8090th PACUSA detach, 20th AAF, and one of the personal pilots of then Brig General Fred Irving USMA 17 when he was commanding general of Western Pacific Base Command. We had a brand new C-46F tail number 8546. It was different from the rest of the C-46 line in that it was equipped with Hamilton Hydromatic props whereas the others had Curtis electrics. On one of the many flights we had 14 Generals and Admirals aboard on an inspection trip to Saipan and Tinian. Notable aboard was General Thomas C. Handy, who had signed the operational order to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. President Truman’s orders were verbal. He never signed an order to drop the bombs.

On this particular flight, about half way from Guam to Tinian, a full Colonel (General Handy’s aide) came up forward and told me that General Handy would like to come up and look around. I told him, “Hell yes, he can fly the airplane if he wants to, sir”.

He came up and sat in the copilot’s seat, put on the headset and we started chatting. I asked him if he ever regretted dropping the bombs. His answer was, “Certainly not. We saved a million lives on both sides by doing it.. It was the right thing to do”.

I never forgot that trip and the honor of being able to talk to General Handy. I was a Lt at the time. A postscript about General Irving; he was one of the finest gentleman I ever met. He was the oldest living graduate of West Point when he passed on at 100+.

He was one of three Generals who had the honor of being both the “Supe” and “Com” of West Point. I think the other gentleman were BG Sladen, class of 1890 and BG Stewart, Class of 1896.

I am very happy the invasion never came off because if it had I don’t think I would be writing this today. We were to provide air support for the boots on the ground guys. The small arms fire would have been devastating and lethal as hell to fly through… Just think what it would have been like on the ground…..

***As I have mentioned to many, had Truman not dropped the A-bombs on Hiroshima & Nagasaki, I would not be here. Any of you who had fathers serving in the military in 1945 probably wouln’t be here either. For all of the historical “second guessers” who try to indict America & Truman as criminals for dropping the bombs, this proves their ignorance.

Football Days – Army-Navy – by William H Edwards 1916


The Project Gutenberg EBook of Football Days, by 

XII.—ARMY AND NAVY.     194-225
Character and Training of West Point and Annapolis Players—Experience of the Visitor Watching the Drill of Battalion—Annapolis Recollections and Football Traditions at Naval Academy—Old Players—A Trip de Luxe to West Point—West Point Recollections—Harmon Graves—The Way They Have in the Army—The Army and Navy Game.



When the Navy meets the Army,
When the friend becomes the foe,
When the sailor and the soldier
Seek each other to o’erthrow;
When old vet’rans, gray and grizzled,
Elbow, struggle, push, and shove,
That they may cheer on to vict’ry
Each the service of his love;
When the maiden, fair and dainty,
Lets her dignity depart,
And, all breathless, does her utmost
For the team that’s next her heart;
When you see these strange things happen,
Then we pray you to recall
That the Army and Navy
Stand firm friends beneath it all.

There is a distinctive flavor about an Army-Navy football game which, irrespective of the quality of the contending elevens and of their relative standing among the high-class teams in any given season, rates these contests annually as among the “big games” of the year. Tactically and strategically football bears a close relation to war. That is a vital reason why it should be studied and applied in our two government schools. [Pg 195]

On the part of the public there is general appreciation of the spirit which these two academies have brought into the great autumn sport, a spirit which combines with football per se the color, the martial pomp, the elan of the military. The merger is a happy one, because football in its essence is a stern, grim game, a game that calls for self-sacrifice, for mental alertness and for endurance; all these are elements, among others, which we commonly associate with the soldier’s calling.

If West Point and Annapolis players are not young men, who, after graduation, will go out into the world in various civil professions or other pursuits relating to commerce and industry, they are men, on the contrary, who are being trained to uphold the honor of our flag at home or abroad, as fate may decree—fighting men whose lives are to be devoted to the National weal. It would be strange, therefore, if games in which those thus set apart participate, were not marked by a quality peculiarly their own. To far-flung warships the scores are sent on the wings of the wireless and there is elation or depression in many a remote wardroom in accordance with the aspect of the news. In lonely army posts wherever the flag flies word of the annual struggle is flashed alike to colonel and the budding second lieutenant still with down on lip, [Pg 196]by them passed to the top sergeant and so on to the bottom of the line.

Every football player who has had the good fortune to visit West Point or Annapolis, there to engage in a gridiron contest, has had an experience that he will always cherish. Every team, as a rule, looks forward to out of town trips, but when an eleven is to play the Army or the Navy, not a little of the pleasure lies in anticipation.

Mayhap the visitor even now is recalling the officer who met him at the station, and his hospitable welcome; the thrill that resulted from a tour, under such pleasant auspices, of the buildings and the natural surroundings of the two great academies. There was the historic campus, where so many great Army and Navy men spent their preparatory days. An inspiration unique in the experience of the visitor was to be found in the drill of the battalion as they marched past, led by the famous academy bands.

There arose in the heart of the stranger perhaps, the thought that he was not giving to his country as much as these young men. Such is the contagion of the spirit of the two institutions. There is always the thrill of the military whether the cadets and midshipmen pass to the urge of martial music in their purely military duties, or in equally perfect order to the ordinary functions of life, such as the daily meals, which in the colleges are so informal and in the mess hall are so precise. Joining their orderly ranks in this big [Pg 197]dining-room one comes upon a scene never to be forgotten.

In the process of developing college teams, an eleven gets a real test at either of these academies; you get what you go after; they are out to beat you; their spirit is an indomitable one; your cherished idea that you cannot be beaten never occurs to them until the final whistle is blown. Your men will realize after the game that a bruised leg or a lame joint will recall hard tackling of a player like Mustin of the Navy, or Arnold of West Point, souvenirs of the dash they put into their play. Maybe there comes to your mind a recollection of the Navy’s fast offense; their snappy play; the military precision with which their work is done. Possibly you dream of the wriggling open field running of Snake Izard, or the bulwark defense of Nichols; or in your West Point experiences you are reminded of the tussle you had in suppressing the brilliant Kromer, that clever little quarterback and field general, or the task of stopping the forging King, the Army’s old captain and fullback.

Not less vivid are the memories of the spontaneous if measured cheering behind these men—a whole-hearted support that was at once the background and the incentive to their work. The “Siren Cheer” of the Navy and the “Long Corps Yell” of the Army still ringing in the ears of the college invader were proof of the drive behind the team.[Pg 198]

I have always counted it a privilege that I was invited to coach at Annapolis through several football seasons. It was an unrivalled opportunity to catch the spirit that permeates the atmosphere of this great Service school and to realize how eagerly the progress of football is watched by the heroes of the past who are serving wherever duty calls.

It was there that I met Superintendent Wainwright. His interest in Annapolis football was keen. Another officer whose friendship I made at the Academy was Commander Grant, who later was Rear Admiral, Commander of the Submarine Flotilla. His spirit was truly remarkable. The way he could talk to a team was an inspiration.

It was during the intermission of a Navy-Carlisle game when the score was 11 to 6 in Carlisle’s favor, that this exponent of fighting spirit came into the dressing-room and in a talk to the team spared nothing and nobody. What he said about the White man not being able to defeat the Indian was typical. As a result of this unique dressing-room scene when he commanded the Navy to win out over the Indians, his charges came through to victory by the score of 17-11.

There is no one man at Annapolis who sticks closer to the ship and around whom more football traditions have grown than Paul Dashiell, a professor in the Academy. He bore for many years the burden of responsibility of Annapolis foot[Pg 199]ball. His earnest desire has been to see the Navy succeed. He has worked arduously, and whenever Navy men get together they speak enthusiastically of the devotion of this former Lehigh hero, official and rule maker. Players have come and gone; the call in recent years has been elsewhere, but Paul Dashiell has remained, and his interest in the game has been manifested by self-denial and hard work. Defeat has come to him with great sadness, and there are many games of which he still feels the sting; these come to him as nightmares in his recollections of Annapolis football history. Great has been his joy in the Navy’s hour of victory.

It was here at Annapolis that I learned something of the old Navy football heroes. Most brilliant of all, perhaps, was Worth Bagley, a marvelous punter and great fighter. He lost his life later in the war with Spain, standing to his duty under open fire on the deck of the Winslow at Cardenas, with the utter fearlessness that was characteristic of him.

I heard of the deeds on the football field of Mike Johnson, Trench, Pearson, McCormack, Cavanaugh, Reeves, McCauley, Craven, Kimball and Bookwalter. I have played against the great Navy guard Halligan. I saw developed the Navy players, Long, Chambers, Reed, Nichols and Chip Smith, who later was in charge of the Navy athletics. He was one of the best quarterbacks the Navy ever had. I saw Dug How[Pg 200]ard grow up from boyhood in Annapolis and develop into a Navy star; saw him later coach their teams to victory; witnessed the great playing of Dougherty, Piersol, Grady and Bill Carpenter, who is no longer on the Navy list. All these players, together with Norton, Northcroft, Dague, Halsey, Ingram, Douglas, Jerry Land, Babe Brown and Dalton stand out among those who have given their best in Army and Navy games.

Young Nichols, who was quarterback in 1912, was a most brilliant ground gainer. He resigned from the Service early in 1913, receiving a commission in the British Army. He was wounded, but later returned to duty only to be killed shortly afterward. Another splendid man.

In speaking of Navy football I cannot pass over the name of W. H. Stayton, a man whose whole soul seemed to be permeated with Navy atmosphere, and who is always to be depended upon in Navy matters. The association that I formed later in life with McDonough Craven and other loyal Navy football men gave me an opportunity to learn of Annapolis football in their day.

The list of men who have been invited to coach the Navy from year to year is a long one. The ideal method of development of an undergraduate team is by a system of coaching conducted by graduates of that institution. Such alumni can best preserve the traditions, correct blunders of other years, and carry through a continuous [Pg 201]policy along lines most acceptable. Graduate coaching exclusively is nearly impossible for Navy teams, for the graduates, as officers, are stationed at far distant points, mostly on board ship. Their duties do not permit of interruption for two months. They cannot be spared from turret and bridge; from the team work so highly developed at present on shipboard. Furthermore, their absence from our country sometimes for years, keeps them out of touch with football generally, and it is impossible for them to keep up to date—hence the coaching from other institutions.


Lieutenant Frank B. Berrien was one of the early coaches and an able one. Immediately afterward Dug Howard for three years coached the team to victory. The Navy’s football future was then turned over to Jonas Ingram, with the idea of working out a purely graduate system, in the face of such serious obstacles as have already been pointed out.

One of the nightmares of my coaching experiences was the day that the Army beat the Navy through the combined effort of the whole Army team plus the individual running of Charlie Daly. This run occurred at the very start of the second half. Doc Hillebrand and I were talking on the side lines to Evarts Wrenn, the Umpire. None of us heard the whistle blow for the starting of the second half. Before we knew it the Army sympathizers were on their feet cheering and we [Pg 202]saw Daly hitting it up the field, weaving through the Navy defense.

Harmon Graves, who was coaching West Point that year, has since told me that the Army coaches had drilled the team carefully in receiving the ball on a kick-off—with Daly clear back under the goal posts. On the kick-off, the Navy did just what West Point had been trained to expect. Belknap kicked a long high one direct to Daly, and then and there began the carefully prepared advance of the Army team. Mowing down the oncoming Navy players, the West Point forwards made it possible for clever Daly to get loose and score a touchdown after a run of nearly the entire length of the field.

This game stands out in my recollection as one of the most sensational on record. The Navy, like West Point, had had many victories, but the purpose of this book is not to record year by year the achievements of these two institutions, but rather catch their spirit, as one from without looks in upon a small portion of the busy life that is typical of these Service schools.

Scattered over the seven seas are those who heard the reveille of football at Annapolis. From a few old-timers let us garner their experiences and the effects of football in the Service.

C. L. Poor, one of the veterans of the Annapolis squad, Varsity and Hustlers, has something to say concerning the effect of football upon the relationship between officers and men.

[Pg 203]

“Generally speaking,” he says, “it is considered that the relationship is beneficial. The young officer assumes qualities of leadership and shows himself in a favorable light to the men, who appreciate his ability to show them something and do it well. The average young American, whether himself athletic or not, is a bit of a hero worshipper towards a prominent athlete, and so the young officer who has good football ability gets the respect and appreciation of the crew to start with.”

J. B. Patton, who played three years at Annapolis, says of the early days:

“I entered the Academy in 1895. In those days athletics were not encouraged. The average number of cadets was less than 200, and the entrance age was from 14 to 18—really a boys’ school. So when an occasional college team appeared, they looked like old men to us.

“Match games were usually on Saturday afternoon, and all the cadets spent the forenoon at sail drill on board the Wyoming in Chesapeake Bay. I can remember spending four hours racing up and down the top gallant yard with Stone and Hayward, loosing and furling sail, and then returning to a roast beef dinner, followed by two 45-minute halves of football.

“One of our best games, as a rule, was with Johns Hopkins University. Paul Dashiell, then a Hopkins man, usually managed to smuggle one or more Poes to Annapolis with his team. We [Pg 204]knew it, but at that time we did not object because we usually beat the Hopkins team.

“Another interesting match was with the Deaf Mutes from Kendall College. It was a standing joke with us that they too frequently smuggled good football players who were not mutes. These kept silent during the game and talked with their hands, but frequently when I tackled one hard and fell on him, I could hear him cuss under his breath.”

M. M. Taylor brings us down to Navy football of the early nineties.

“In my day the principal quality sought was beef. Being embryo sailors we had to have nautical terms for our signals, and they made our opponents sit up and take notice. When I played halfback I remember my signals were my order relating to the foremast. For instance, ‘Fore-top-gallant clew lines and hands-by-the-halyards’ meant that I was the victim. On the conclusion of the order, if the captain could not launch a play made at once, he had to lengthen his signal, and sometimes there would be a string of jargon, intelligible only to a sailor, which would take the light yard men aloft, furl the sail, and probably cast reflections on the stowage of the bunt. Anything connected with the anchor was a kick. The mainmast was consecrated to the left half, and the mizzen to the fullback.

“In one game our lack of proper uniform worked to our advantage. I was on the sick list [Pg 205]and had turned my suit over to a substitute. I braved the doctor’s disapproval and went into the game in a pair of long working trousers and a blue flannel shirt. The opposing team, Pennsylvania, hailed me as ‘Little Boy Blue,’ and paid no further attention to me, so that by good fortune I made a couple of scores. Then they fell upon me, and at the close all I had left was the pants.”

J. W. Powell, captain of the ’97 team, tells of the interim between Army-Navy games.

“Our head coach was Johnny Poe,” he says, “and he and Paul Dashiell took charge of the squad. Some of our good men were Rus White, Bill Tardy, Halligan and Fisher, holding over from the year before. A. T. Graham and Jerry Landis in the line. A wild Irishman in the plebe class, Paddy Shea, earned one end position in short order, while A. H. McCarthy went in at the other wing. Jack Asserson, Bobby Henderson, Louis Richardson and I made up the backfield. In ’95, Princeton had developed their famous ends back system which was adopted by Johnny Poe and the game we played that year was built around this system. Johnny was a deadly tackler and nearly killed half the team with his system of live tackling practice. This was one of the years in which there was no Army and Navy game and our big game was the Thanksgiving Day contest with Lafayette. Barclay, Bray and Rinehart made Lafayette’s [Pg 206]name a terror in the football world. The game resulted in an 18 to 6 victory for Lafayette.

“My most vivid recollections of that game are McCarthy’s plucky playing with his hand in a plaster cast, due to a broken bone, stopping Barclay and Bray repeatedly in spite of this handicap, and my own touchdown, after a twelve yard run, with Rinehart’s 250 pounds hanging to me most of the way.”

I recall a trip that the Princeton team of 1898 made to West Point. It was truly an attack upon the historical old school in a fashion de luxe.

Alex Van Rensselaer, an old Princeton football captain, invited Doc Hillebrand to have the Tiger eleven meet him that Saturday morning at the Pennsylvania Ferry slip in Jersey City. En route to West Point that morning this old Princeton leader met us with his steam yacht, The May. Boyhood enthusiasm ran high as we jumped aboard. Good fellowship prevailed. We lunched on board, dressed on board. Upon our arrival at West Point we were met by the Academy representative and were driven to the football field.

The snappy work of the Princeton team that day brought victory, and we attributed our success to the Van Rensselaer transport. Returning that night on the boat, Doc Hillebrand and Arthur Poe bribed the captain of The May to just miss connecting with the last train to Prince[Pg 207]ton, and as a worried manager sat alongside of Van Rensselaer wondering whether it were not possible to hurry the boat along a little faster, Van Rensselaer himself knew what was in Doc’s mind and so helped make it possible for us to rest at the Murray Hill Hotel over night, and not allow a railroad trip to Princeton mar the luxury of the day.

I have a lot of respect for the football brains of West Point. My lot has been very happily cast with the Navy. I have generally been on the opposite side of the field. I knew the strength of their team. I have learned much of the spirit of the academy from their cheering at Army and Navy games. Playing against West Point our Princeton teams have always realized the hard, difficult task which confronted them, and victory was not always the reward.

Football plays a valued part in the athletic life of West Point. From the very first game between the Army and the Navy on the plains when the Middies were victorious, West Point set out in a thoroughly businesslike way to see that the Navy did not get the lion’s share of victories.

If one studies the businesslike methods of the Army Athletic Association and reads carefully the bulletins which are printed after each game, one is impressed by the attention given to details.

I have always appreciated what King, ’96, meant to West Point football. Let me quote [Pg 208]from the publication of the Howitzer, in 1896, the estimated value of this player at that time:

“King, of course, stands first. Captain for two years he brought West Point from second class directly into first. As fullback he outplayed every fullback opposed to him and stands in the judgment of all observers second only to Brooke of Pennsylvania. Let us read what King has to say of a period of West Point football not widely known.

“I first played on the ’92 team,” he says. “We had two Navy games before this, but they were not much as I look back upon them. At this time we had for practice that period of Saturday afternoon after inspection. That gave us from about 3 p. m. on. We also had about fifteen minutes between dinner and the afternoon recitations, and such days as were too rainy to drill, and from 5:45 a. m., to 6:05 a. m. Later in the year when it grew too cold to drill, we had the time after about 4:15 p. m., but it became dark so early that we didn’t get much practice. We practiced signals even by moonlight.

“Visiting teams used to watch us at inspection, two o’clock. We were in tight full dress clothes, standing at attention for thirty to forty-five minutes just before the game. A fine preparation for a stiff contest. We had quite a character by the name of Stacy, a Maine boy. He was a thickset chap, husky and fast. He never knew what it was to be stopped. He would fight it [Pg 209]out to the end for every inch. Early in one of the Yale games he broke a rib and started another, but the more it hurt, the harder he played. In a contest with an athletic club in the last non-collegiate game we ever played, the opposing right tackle was bothering us. In a scrimmage Stacy twisted the gentleman’s nose very severely and then backed away, as the man followed him, calling out to the Umpire. Stacy held his face up and took two of the nicest punches in the eyes that I ever saw. Of course, the Umpire saw it, and promptly ruled the puncher out, just as Stacy had planned.

“Just before the Spanish War Stacy became ill. Orders were issued that regiments should send officers to the different cities for the purpose of recruiting. He was at this time not fit for field service, so was assigned to this duty. He protested so strongly that in some way he was able to join his regiment in time to go to Cuba with his men. He participated in all the work down there; and when it was over, even he had to give in. He was sent to Montauk Point in very bad shape. He rallied for a time and obtained sick leave. He went to his old home in Maine, where he died. It was his old football grit that kept him going in Cuba until the fighting was over.

“No mention of West Point’s football would be complete without the name of Dennis Michie. He is usually referred to as the Father of Foot[Pg 210]ball at the Academy. He was captain of the first two teams we ever had. He played throughout the Navy game in ’91 with ten boils on his back and neck. He was a backfield man and one of West Point’s main line backers. He was most popular as a cadet and officer and was killed in action at San Juan, Cuba.

“One of the longest runs when both yards and time are considered ever pulled off on a football field, was made by Duncan, ’95, in our Princeton game of ’93. Duncan got the ball on his 5-yard line on a fumble, and was well under way before he was discovered. Lott, ’96, later a captain of Cavalry, followed Duncan to interfere from behind. The only Princeton man who sensed trouble was Doggy Trenchard. He set sail in pursuit. He soon caught up with Lott and would have caught Duncan, but for the latter’s interference. Duncan finally scored the touchdown, having made the 105 yards in what would have been fast time for a Wefers.

“We at West Point often speak of Balliet’s being obliged to call on Phil King to back him up that day, as Ames, one of our greatest centres, was outplaying him, and of the rage of Phil King, because on every point, Nolan, ’96, tackled him at once and prevented King from making those phenomenal runs which characterized his playing.”

Harmon Graves of Yale is a coach who has contributed much to West Point’s football.

[Pg 211]

“Harmon Graves is too well known now as coach to need our praise,” says a West Pointer, “but it is not only as a successful coach, but as a personal friend that he lives in the heart of every member of the team and indeed the entire corps. There will always be a sunny spot at West Point for Graves.”

In a recent talk with Harmon Graves he showed me a beautifully engraved watch presented to him by the Cadet Corps of West Point, a treasure prized.

Of the privileged days spent at West Point Graves writes, as follows:

“Every civilian who has the privilege of working with the officers and cadets at West Point to accomplish some worthy object comes away a far better man than when he went there. I was fortunate enough to be asked by them to help in the establishment of football at the Academy and for many years I gave the best I had and still feel greatly their debtor.

“At West Point amateur sport flourishes in its perfection, and a very high standard of accomplishment has been attained in football. There are no cross-cuts to the kind of football success West Point has worked for: it is all a question of merit based on competency, accuracy and fearless execution. Those of us who have had the privilege of assisting in the development of West Point football have learned much of real value from the officers and cadets about the game and [Pg 212]what really counts in the make-up of a successful team. It is fair to say that West Point has contributed a great deal to football generally and has, in spite of many necessary time restrictions, turned out some of the best teams and players in the last fifteen years.

“The greatest credit is due to the Army Officers Athletic Association, which, through its football representatives, started right and then pursued a sound policy which has placed football at West Point on a firm basis, becoming the standing and dignity of the institution.

“There have been many interesting and amusing incidents in connection with football at West Point which help to make up the tradition of the game there and are many times repeated at any gathering of officers and cadets. I well remember when Daly, the former Harvard Captain, modestly took his place as a plebe candidate for the team and sat in the front row on the floor of the gymnasium when I explained to the squad, and illustrated by the use of a blackboard, what he and every one else there knew was the then Yale defense. There was, perhaps, the suggestion of a smile all around when I began by saying that from then on we were gathered there for West Point and to make its team a success that season and not for the benefit of Harvard or Yale. He told me afterwards that he had never understood the defense as I had explained it. He mastered it and believed in it, as he won and [Pg 213]kept his place on the team and learned some things from West Point football,—as we all did.

“The rivalry with the Navy is wholesome and intense, as it should be. My friend, Paul Dashiell, who fully shares that feeling, has much to do with the success of the Navy team, and the development of football at the Naval Academy. After a West Point victory at Philadelphia, he came to the West Point dressing room and offered his congratulations. As I took his hand, I noted that tears were in his eyes and that his voice shook. The next year the Navy won and I returned the call. I was feeling rather grim, but when I found him surrounded by the happy Navy team, he was crying again and hardly smiled when I offered my congratulation, and told him that it really made no difference which team won for he cried anyway.

“The sportsmanship and friendly rivalry which the Army and Navy game brings out in both branches of the Service is admirable and unique and reaches all officers on the day of the game wherever in the world they are. Real preparedness is an old axiom at West Point and it has been applied to football. There I learned to love my country and respect the manhood and efficiency of the Army officers in a better way than I did before. I recall the seasons I have spent there with gratitude and affection, both for the friends I have made and for the Army spirit.”

[Pg 214]

Siding with the Navy has enabled me to know West Point’s strength. Any mention of West Point’s football would be incomplete without the names of some officers who have not only safeguarded the game at West Point, but have been the able representatives of the Army’s football during their service there. Such men are, Richmond P. Davis, Palmer E. Pierce, and W. R. Richardson.


If there is any one man who has permanently influenced football at West Point that man is H. J. Koehler, for years Master of the Sword at the Academy. Under his active coaching some of the Army’s finest players were developed. In recent years he has not been a member of the coaching staff, but he none the less never loses touch with the team and his advice concerning men and methods is always eagerly sought. By virtue of long experience at the Academy and because of an aptitude for analysis of the game itself he has been invaluable in harmonizing practice and play with peculiar local conditions.

Any time the stranger seeks to delve either into the history or the constructive coaching of the game at the Academy, the younger men, as well as the older, will always answer your questions by saying “Go ask Koehler.” Always a hard worker and serious thinker, he is apt to give [Pg 215]an almost nightly demonstration during the season of the foundation principles of the game.

Not only West Pointers, but also Yale and Princeton men, who had to face the elevens under Koehler’s coaching will remember Romeyn, who, had he been kicking in the days of Felton, Mahan and the other long distance artillerists, might well have held his own, in the opinion of Army men. Nesbitt, Waldron and Scales were among the other really brilliant players whom Koehler developed. He was in charge of some of the teams that played the hardest schedules in the history of West Point football. One year the cadets met Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Syracuse and Penn State. Surely this was a season’s work calculated to develop remarkable men, or break them in the making. Bettison, center, King Boyers at guard, and Bunker at tackle and half, were among the splendid players who survived this trial by fire. Casad, Clark and Phillips made up a backfield that would have been a credit to any of the colleges.

Soon, however, the Army strength was greatly to be augmented by the acquisition of Charles Dudley Daly, fresh from four years of football at Harvard. Reputations made elsewhere do not count for much at West Point. The coaches were glad to have Plebe Daly come out for the squad, but they knew and he knew quite as well as they, that there are no short cuts to the [Pg 216]big “A.” Now began a remarkable demonstration of football genius. Not only did the former Harvard Captain make the team, but his aid in coaching was also eagerly sought. An unusual move this, but a tribute to the new man.

Daly was modesty itself in those days as he has been ever since, even when equipped with the yellow jacket and peacock feather of the head coach. As player and as coach and often as the two combined, Daly’s connection with West Point football covered eight years, in the course of which he never played on or coached a losing team. His record against the Navy alone is seven victories and one tie, 146 points to 33. His final year’s coaching was done in 1915. From West Point he was sent to Hawaii, whence he writes me, as follows:

“There are certain episodes in the game that have always been of particular interest to me, such as Ely’s game playing with broken ribs in the Harvard-Yale game of 1898; Charlie de Saulles’ great playing with a sprained ankle in the Yale-Princeton game of the same year; the tackling of Bunker by Long of the Navy in the Army-Navy game of 1902—the hardest tackle I have ever seen; and the daring quarterback work of Johnny Cutler in the Harvard-Dartmouth 1908 game, when he snatched victory from defeat in the last few minutes of play.”

Undoubtedly Daly’s deep study of strategy and tactics as used in warfare had a great deal [Pg 217]to do with his continued ascendency as a coach. Writing to Herbert Reed, one of the pencil and paper football men, with whom he had had many a long argument over the generalship of the game, he said in part:

“Football within the limitations of the rules and sportsmanship is a war game. Either by force or by deception it advances through the opposition to the goal line, which might be considered the capital of the enemy.”

It was in Daly’s first year that a huge Southerner, with a pleasant drawl, turned up in the plebe class. It was a foregone conclusion almost on sight that Ernest, better known to football men throughout the country as Pot Graves, would make the Eleven. He not only played the game almost flawlessly from the start, but he made so thorough a study of line play in general that his system, even down to the most intimate details of face to face coaching filed away for all time in that secret library of football methods at West Point, has come to be known as Graves’ Bible.

Daly, still with that ineradicable love for his own Alma Mater, lent a page or two from this tome to Harvard, and even the author appeared in person on Soldiers’ Field. The manner in which Graves made personal demonstration of his teachings will not soon be forgotten by the Harvard men who had to face Pot Graves.

Graves has always believed in the force men[Pg 218]tioned in Daly’s few lines quoted above on the subject of military methods as applied to football. While always declaring that the gridiron was no place for a fist fight, he always maintained that stalwarts should be allowed to fight it out with as little interference by rule as possible. As a matter of fact, Graves was badly injured in a game with Yale, and for a long time afterwards hobbled around with a troublesome knee. He knew the man who did it, but would never tell his name, and he contents himself with saying “I have no ill will—he got me first. If he hadn’t I would have got him.”

A story is told of Graves’ impatience with the members of a little luncheon party, who in the course of an argument on the new football, were getting away from the fundamentals. Rising and stepping over to the window of the Officers’ Club, he said, with a sleepy smile: “Come here a minute, you fellows,” and, pointing down to the roadway, added, “there’s my team.” Looking out of the window the other members of the party saw a huge steam roller snorting and puffing up the hill.

Among the men who played football with Graves and were indeed of his type, were Doe and Bunker. Like Graves, Bunker in spite of his great weight, was fast enough to play in the backfield in those years when Army elevens were relying so much upon terrific power. Those [Pg 219]were the days when substitutes had very little opportunity. In the final Navy game of 1902 the same eleven men played for the Army from start to finish.

In this period of Army football other first-class men were developed, notably Torney, a remarkable back, Thompson, a guard, and Tom Hammond, who was later to make a reputation as an end coach. Bunker was still with this aggregation, an eleven that marched fifty yards for a touchdown in fifteen plays against the midshipmen. The Army was among the early Eastern teams to test Eastern football methods against those of the West, the Cadets defeating a team from the University of Chicago on the plains.

The West Pointers had only one criticism to make of their visitors, and it was laconically put by one of the backs, who said:

“They’re all-fired fast, but it’s funny how they stop when you tackle them.”

In this lineup was A. C. Tipton, at center, to whom belongs the honor of forcing the Rules Committee to change the code in one particular in order to stop a maneuver which he invented while in midcareer in a big game. No one will ever forget how, when chasing a loose ball and realizing that he had no chance to pick it up, he kicked it again and again until it crossed the final chalk mark where he fell on it for a touchdown. Tipton was something of a wrestler too, [Pg 220]as a certain Japanese expert in the art of Jiu-jitsu can testify and indeed did testify on the spot after the doctors had brought him too.

There was no lowering of the standards in the succeeding years, which saw the development of players like Hackett, Prince, Farnsworth and Davis. Those years too saw the rise of such wonderful forwards as W. W. (Red) Erwin and that huge man from Alaska, D. D. Pullen.

Coming now to more recent times, the coaching was turned over to H. M. Nelly, assisted by Joseph W. Beacham, fresh from chasing the little brown brother in the Philippines. Beacham had made a great reputation at Cornell, and there was evidence that he had kept up with the game at least in the matter of strategic possibilities, even while in the tangled jungle of Luzon. He brought with him even more than that—an uncanny ability to see through the machinery of the team and pick out its human qualities, upon which he never neglected to play. There have been few coaches closer to his men than Joe.

Whenever I talk football with Joe Beacham he never forgets to mention Vaughn Cooper, to whom he gives a large share of the credit for the good work of his elevens. Cooper was of the quiet type, whose specialty was defense. These two made a great team.

It was in this period that West Point saw the development of one of its greatest field generals. There was nothing impressive in the physical ap[Pg 221]pearance of little H. L. Hyatt. A reasonably good man, ball in hand, his greatest value lay in his head work. As the West Point trainer said one day: “I’ve got him all bandaged up like a leg in a puttee, but from the neck up he’s a piece of ice.” The charts of games in which Hyatt ran the team are set before the squad each year as examples, not merely of perfect generalship, but of the proper time to violate that generalship and make it go, a distinction shared by Prichard, who followed in his footsteps with added touches of his own.

One cannot mention Prichard’s name without thinking at once of Merillat, who, with Prichard, formed one of the finest forward passing combinations the game has seen. Both at Franklin Field and at the Polo Grounds this pair brought woe to the Navy.

These stars had able assistance in the persons of McEwan, one of the greatest centers the game has seen and who was chosen to lead the team in 1916, Weyand, Neyland and O’Hare, among the forwards, and the brilliant and sturdy Oliphant in the backfield, the man whose slashing play against the Navy in 1915 will never be forgotten. Oliphant was of a most unusual type. Even when he was doing the heaviest damage to the Navy Corps the midshipmen could not but admire his wonderful work.

What the Hustlers are to Annapolis the Cullom Hall team is to West Point. It is made up [Pg 222]of the leftovers from the first squad and substitutes. One would travel far afield in search of a team with more spirit and greater pep in action, whether playing in outside games, or as their coach would put it, “showing up” the first Eleven. Not infrequently a player of the highest caliber is developed in this squad and taken to the first eleven.

The Cullom Hall squad, whose eleven generally manages to clean up some of the strongest school teams of the Hudson Valley, draws not a little of its spirit, I think, from the late Lieutenant E. M. Zell, better known at the Academy as “Jobey.” It was a treat to see the Cullom Hall team marching down the field against the first Eleven with the roly-poly figure of Jobey in the thick of every scrimmage, coaching at the top of his lungs, even when bowled over by the interference of his own pupils. Since his time the squad has been turned over to Lieutenants Sellack and Crawford, who have kept alive the traditions and the playing spirit of this unique organization.

Their reward for the bruising, hard work, with hardly a shadow of the hope of getting their letter, comes in seeing the great game itself. Like the college scrub teams the hardest rooters for the Varsity are to be found in their ranks.

Now for the game itself. Always hard fought, always well fought, there is perhaps no clash of all the year that so wakes the interest of the gen[Pg 223]eral public, that vast throng which, without college affiliations, is nevertheless hungry for the right of allegiance somewhere, somehow.

While the Service Elevens are superbly supported by the men who have been through the exacting mill at West Point and Annapolis—their sweethearts and wives, not to mention sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts—they are urged on to battle by that great impartial public which believes that in a sense these two teams belong to it. It is not uncommon to find men who have had no connection with either academy in hot argument as to the relative merits of the teams.

Once in the stands some apparently trifling thing begets a partisanship that this class of spectator is wont to wonder at after it is all over.

Whether in Philadelphia in the earlier history of these contests on neutral ground, or in New York, Army and Navy Day has become by tacit consent the nearest thing to a real gridiron holiday. For the civilian who has been starved for thrilling action and the chance to cheer through the autumn days, the jam at the hotels used as headquarters by the followers of the two elevens satisfies a yearning that he has hitherto been unable to define. There too, is found a host of old-time college football men and coaches who hold reunion and sometimes even bury hatchets. Making his way through the crowds and jogging elbows with the heroes of a sport that he understands only as organized combat he becomes [Pg 224]obsessed with the spirit of the two fighting institutions.

Once in possession of the coveted ticket he hies himself to the field as early as possible, if he is wise, in order to enjoy the preliminaries which are unlike those at any other game. Soon his heart beats faster, attuned to the sound of tramping feet without the gates. The measured cadence swells, draws nearer, and the thousands rise as one, when first the long gray column and then the solid ranks of blue swing out upon the field. The precision of the thing, the realization that order and system can go so far as to hold in check to the last moment the enthusiasms of these youngsters thrills him to the core. Then suddenly gray ranks and blue alike break for the stands, there to cut loose such a volume of now orderly, now merely frenzied noise as never before smote his ears.

It is inspiration and it is novelty. The time, the place and the men that wake the loyalty dormant in every man which, sad to say, so seldom has a chance of expression.

Around the field are ranged diplomat, dignitary of whatsoever rank, both native and foreign. In common with those who came to see, as well as to be seen—and who does not boast of having been to the Army-Navy game—they rise uncovered as the only official non-partisan of football history enters the gates—the President of the United States. Throughout one half of the [Pg 225]game he lends his support to one Academy and in the intermission makes triumphal progress across the field, welcomed on his arrival by a din of shouting surpassing all previous effort, there to support their side.


It is perhaps one of those blessed hours in the life of a man upon whom the white light so pitilessly beats, when he can indulge in the popular sport, to him so long denied, of being merely human.

Men, methods, moods pass on. The years roll by, taking toll of every one of us from highest to lowest. Yet, whether we are absorbed in the game of games, or whether we look upon it as so many needs must merely as a spectacle, the Army-Navy game will remain a milestone never to be uprooted. I have spoken elsewhere and at length of football traditions. The Army-Navy game is not merely a football tradition but an American institution. It is for all the people every time.

May this great game go on forever, serene in its power to bring out the best that is in us, and when the Great Bugler sounds the silver-sweet call of taps for all too many, there will still be those who in their turn will answer the call of reveille to carry on the traditions of the great day that was ours.

1898 Football Team



What If? Army-Navy Game Proceeds Go To Charity

The year was 1930. It was a time of national despair with sweeping changes for the future occurring amidst the seemingly unfathomable chaos of the present. Sorting out our own ongoing changes and crisis, in looking back, perhaps there are events and lessons we might benefit from (if not merely relate to!) today.

In 1930, West Point – Annapolis relations were at best strained. The already great spectacle known as the Army-Navy Game had not been played for two years; not because of war, or economic woes (the Great Depression)…but over differences in player eligibility.

However, over the next three years, these two venerated institutions, whose very existence was predicated on serving the nation, resolved to come together for a worthy cause and in so doing played that annual game of football the nation had so come to cherish – for Charity! Could or should it be done again? Why not? 

(*It is understood that Army Navy game profits “…relieves the taxpayer from supporting the athletic programs at the two institutions.” – however, it is assumed, a portion of the proceeds might be earmarked for charity….)

Why not make a pledge for next year and perhaps for years afterward….until those who gave their all these last twelve years, are guaranteed the treatment and care they deserve?  Why not add to the game’s tradition a “noble cause.”  A cause worthy of the men and women our young cadets and midshipmen will someday have the privilege and honor to lead.

Who to benefit? I would leave it to AAA and NAA to determine the exact charities – perhaps to specified worthy charities under the Combined Federal Campaign umbrella…other ideas?..The Wounded Warrior Project?  The Special Operations Warrior Fund?  Event driven Disaster Relief ?

It can be done…it has been done.  AAA/NAA?

ArmyFB_1930_CappyWells-PAO_by WestbrookPegler_BuffaloCourierExpress_Nov211930










Note – charitable contributions from the game date back even earlier

Our History – Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

Initial funding came from the proceeds of the 1903 ArmyNavy Football Game held at Franklin Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In its first year, the Society gave 

Caveat – As stated in1955  – “Commercially, the game is a bonanza for the two academies. They will split the $540,000 in gate receipts (at $6 a seat) and the additional $125,000 for the TV and radio rights. The concessionaire, whose 600 vendors will hawk 150,000 hot dogs, 100,000 cups of coffee and 100,000 hot chocolates, 20,000 candy bars, 25,000 bags of peanuts, 20,000 pennants and badges, 10,000 corsages and 50,000 rain capes, adds another $40,000 to the kitty. Each academy can expect to clear about $300,000 for this one game, and it is this profit which relieves the taxpayer from supporting the athletic programs at the two institutions.”*

* This is understood – but again, some proceeds might be earmarked for charity….





k-ring1962Battalion Staff and Cadet Companies E1, F1, G1 and H1 US Signal Corps Photo

President Kennedy Trooping the Line May 1962

Most college graduates when asked who gave their graduation address and what did they say do not have any recollection. Well, for some unknown reason, I have a copy of the White House press release of President Kennedy’s remarks to us. Each time I read them they become more timeless. Inasmuch as we just passed the 36th anniversary of our graduation, I’m sending JFK’s remarks in their entirety. I have no idea how this came into my possession, but I thought you all might like a copy of it.

Provided by Len Butler to Jim Malley

Graduation Address by President John F. Kennedy
to the Class of 1962
US Military Academy
(As delivered, Wednesday, 6 June 1962)

General Westmoreland, General Lemnitzer, Mr. Secretary, General Decker, General Taylor, members of the graduating class and their parents, gentlemen: I want to express my appreciation for your generous invitation to come to this graduating class. I am sure that all of you who sit here today realize, particularly in view of the song we just heard, that you are part of a long tradition stretching back to the earliest days of this country’s history, and that where you sit sat once, some of the most celebrated names in our nation’s history, and also some who are not so well known, but who, on 100 different battlefields in many wars involving every generation of this nation’s history, have given very clear evidence of their commitment to their country.

So that I know you feel a sense of pride in being part of that tradition, and as a citizen of the United States, as well as President, I want to express our high regard to all of you in appreciation for what you are doing and what you will do for our country in the days ahead.

I would also like to announce at this time that as Commander-in-Chief I am exercising my privilege of directing the Secretary of the Army and the Superintendent of West Point to remit all existing confinements and other cadet punishments, and I hope that it will be possible to carry this out for the day.

General Westmoreland was slightly pained to hear that this was impending in view of the fact that one cadet, who I am confident will someday be the head of the Army, has just been remitted for eight months, and is about to be released. But I am glad to have the opportunity to participate in the advancement of his military career.

My own confinement goes for another two and a half years, and I may ask for it to be extended instead of remitted.

I want to say that I wish all of you, the graduates, success. While I say that, I am not unmindful of the fact that two graduates of this Academy have reached the White House, and neither was a member of my party. Until I am more certain that this trend will be broken, I wish that all of you will be generals and not Commanders-in-Chief.

I want to say that I am sure you recognize that your schooling is only interrupted by today’s occasion and not ended, because the demands that will be made upon you in the service of your country in the coming months and years will be really more pressing, and in many ways more burdensome, as well as more challenging, than ever before in our history. I know that many of you may feel, and many of our citizens may feel that in these days of the nuclear age, when war may last in its final form a day or two or three days before much of the world is burned up, that your service to your country will be only standing and waiting. Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth. I am sure that many Americans believe that the days before World War II were the golden age when the stars were falling on all the graduates of West Point, that that was the golden time of service, and that you have moved into a period where military service, while vital, is not as challenging as it was then. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that the period just ahead in the next decade will offer more opportunities for service to the graduates of this Academy than ever before in the history of the United States, because all around the world, in countries which are heavily engaged in the maintenance of their freedom, graduates of this Academy are heavily involved; whether it is in Vietnam or in Laos or in Thailand, whether it is a military advisory group in Iran, whether it is a military attache’ in some Latin American country during a difficult and challenging period, whether it is the commander of our troops in South Korea — the burdens that will be placed upon you when you fill those positions as you must inevitably, will require more from you than ever before in our history. The graduates of West Point, the Naval Academy, and the Air Academy in the next ten years will have the greatest opportunity for the defense of freedom than this Academy’s graduates have ever had, and I am sure that the Joint Chiefs of Staff endorse that view, knowing as they do and I do, the heavy burdens that are required of this Academy’s graduates every day. General Tucker in Laos, or General Harkins in Viet Nam, and a dozen others, who hold key and significant positions, involving the security of the United States and the defense of freedom — you are going to follow in their footsteps and I must say that I think that you will be privileged in the years ahead to find yourselves so heavily involved in the great interests of this country.

Therefore, I hope that you realize – and I hope every American realizes – how much we depend upon you. Your strictly military responsibilities, therefore, will require a versatility and an adaptability never before required in either war or peace. They may involve the command and control of modern nuclear weapons and modern delivery systems, so complex that only a few scientists can understand their operation, so devastating that their inadvertent use would be of world wide concern, but so new that their employment and their effects have never been tested in combat conditions.

On the other hand, your responsibilities may involve the command of more traditional forces, but in less traditional roles. Men risking their lives, not as combatants, but as instructors or advisors, or as symbols of our nation’s commitments. The fact that the United States is not directly at war in these areas in no way diminishes the skill and the courage that will be required, the service to our country which is rendered or the pain of the casualties which are suffered.

To cite one final example of the range of responsibilities that will fall upon you, you may hold a position of command with our special forces, forces which are too unconventional to be called conventional, forces which are growing in number and importance and significance, for we now know that it is wholly misleading to call this the “nuclear age”, or to say that our security rests only on the doctrine of massive retaliation.

Korea has not been the only battle ground since the end of the Second World War. Men have fought and died in Malaya, in Greece, in the Philippines, in Algeria and Cuba, and Cyprus and almost continuously on the Indo-Chinese Peninsula. No nuclear weapons have been fired. No massive nuclear retaliation has been considered appropriate. This is another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origin – war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins, war by ambush instead of by combat; by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It is a form of warfare uniquely adapted to what has been strangely called “wars of liberation”, to undermine the efforts of new and poor countries to maintain the freedom that they have finally achieved. It preys on economic unrest and ethnic conflicts. It requires in those situations where we must counter it, and these are the kinds of challenges that will be before us in the next decade if freedom is to be saved, a whole new kind of strategy, a wholly different kind of force, and therefore a new and wholly different kind of military training.

But I have spoken thus far only of the military challenges which your education must prepare you for. The non-military problems which you will face will also be most demanding, diplomatic, political and economic. In the years ahead, some of you will serve as advisors to foreign aid missions or even to foreign governments. Some will negotiate terms of a cease-fire with broad political as well as military ramifications. Some of you will go to the far corners of the earth, and to the far reaches of space. Some of you will sit in the highest councils of the Pentagon. Others will hold delicate command posts which are international in character. Still others will advise on plans to abolish arms instead of using them to abolish others. Whatever your position, the scope of your decisions will not be confined to the traditional tenets of military competence and training. You will need to know and understand not only the foreign policy of the United States, but the foreign policy of all countries scattered around the world who 20 years ago were the most distant names to us. You will need to give orders in different tongues, and read maps by different systems. You will be involved in economic judgments which most economists would hesitate to make. At what point, for example, does military aid become burdensome to a country and make its freedom endangered rather than helping to secure it. To what extent can the gold and dollar cost of our overseas deployments be offset by foreign procurement? Or at what stage can a new weapons system be considered sufficiently advanced to justify large dollar appropriations?

In many countries, your posture and performance will provide the local population with the only evidence of what our country is really like. In other countries, your military mission, its advice and action, will play a key role in determining those people will remain free. You will need to understand the importance of military power and also the limits of military power, to decide what arms should be used to fight and when they should be used to prevent a fight, to determine what represents our vital interests and what interests are only marginal.

Above all, you will have a responsibility to deter war as well as to fight it. For the basic problems facing the world today are not susceptible of a final military solution. While we will long require the services and admire the dedication and commitment of the fighting men of this country, neither our strategy nor our psychology as a nation, and certainly not our economy, must become permanently dependent upon an ever-increasing military establishment.

Our forces, therefore, must fulfill a broader role as a complement to our diplomacy, as an arm of our diplomacy, as a deterrent to our adversaries, and as a symbol to our allies of our determination to support them.

That is why this Academy has seen its curriculum grow and expand in dimension, in substance and in difficulty. That is why you cannot possibly have crowded into these four busy years all of the knowledge and all of the range of experience which you must bring to these subtle and delicate tasks which I have described, and that is why you will go to school year after year so you can serve this country to the best of your ability and your talent.

To talk of such talent and effort raises in the minds, I am sure, of everyone, and the minds of all of our countrymen, why – why should men such as you, able to master the complex arts of science, mathematics, language, economy, and all the rest devote their lives to a military career, with all of its risks and hardships? Why should their families be expected to make the personal and financial sacrifices that a military career inevitably brings with it? When there is a visible enemy to fight in open combat, the answer is not so difficult. Many serve, all applaud, and the tide of patriotism runs high. But when there is a long, slow struggle, with no immediate visible foe, your choice will seem hard indeed. And you will recall, I am sure, the lines found in an old century box in Gibraltar, “God and the soldier all men adore, in time of trouble and no more; for when war is over and all things righted, God is neglected and the old soldier slighted.”

But you have one satisfaction, however difficult those days may be: when you are asked by a President of the United States or by any other American what you are doing for your country, no man’s answer will be clearer than your own. And that moral motivation which brought you here in the first place is part of your training here as well. West Point was not built to produce technical experts alone. It was built to produce men committed to the defense of their country, leaders of men who understand the great stakes which are involved, leaders who can be entrusted with the heavy responsibility which modern weapons and the fight for freedom entail, leaders who can inspire in their men the same sense of obligation to duty which you bring to it.

There is no single slogan that you can repeat to yourself in hard days or give to those who may be associated with you. In times past, a simple phrase, “55-40 or fight”, or “to make the world safe for democracy” – all that was enough. But the times, the weapons and the issues are now more complicated than ever.

Eighteen years ago today, Ernie Pyle, describing those tens of thousands of young men who crossed the “ageless and indifferent” sea of the English Channel, searched in vain for a word to describe what they were fighting for. And finally he concluded that they were at least fighting for each other.

You and I leave here today to meet our separate responsibilities, to protect our nation’s vital interests by peaceful means if possible, by resolute action if necessary, and we go forth confident of support and success because we know that we are working and fighting for each other and for all those men and women all over the globe who are determined to be free.

I asked earlier this month if anyone knew who was the beneficiary of the amnesty granted by President Kennedy at our graduation in 1962. In his remarks the President mentioned that someone in the class had recently been punished and was being relieved of a great load due to the amnesty that the President was granting.

I received replies from two individuals. Charlie (“C.O.”) Bennett of Company M-2 thought he might have been the person but in a second message to me remembered that he was finished with his punishment prior to graduation.

Sam (“Sammy”) Steele told me that his roommate, Charlie (“Bud”) Merriam of Company C-2 was probably the person, as he had been caught off post about a week before graduation and was serving punishment when we were graduated.

That’s all I know so, by default it looks like Charlie Merriam was the classmate who could thank President Kennedy for allowing him to graduate in a timely manner.

In our Register of Graduates it shows that Charlie Merriam retired in 1988 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Larry D. Smith, Company K-1

Ray J Stecker







Stecker’s memorable run for the lone TD – Army 6 – Navy 0

1930 Army Navy Football Game Stock Footage HD




compiled from Pittsburgh Press, Dec 13, 1930 by grimmr22




























John K Waters



AOG – Graduates KIA 1812 – 1900










West Point Graduates Killed in Action – Spanish American War

San Juan Hill by Kurz and Allison>

San Juan Hill by Kurz and Allison




Class of 1960

1900 Team



Class Album 1901

Howitzers and Class Albums

Note: Most available from 1900-1949;  examples of years missing ~ 1903, 1917*, 1946.

Mouse over cover image to read year and information.

Howitzers – Class Albums – Army-Navy search!clalbums!howitzers/searchterm/Howitzer/field/all/mode/all/conn/and/order/title/ad/asc

Howitzers only


*November 1918 –  Yearbook of the United States Corps of Cadets. This class entered the United States Military Academy June 15, 1916 and on November 1, 1918, completed the course then prescribed which was known as the War Emergency Course. –

There are two 1921’s –

1921 –

1921(1918) – Yearbook of the United States Corps of Cadets. War time class; entered in 1917, graduated 1 Nov. 1918, recalled 3 December 1918, graduated 11 June 1919. –
There are two 1943-1 –  for the class graduating in January – these are duplicate yearbooks; but where is 1943-2 for class graduation in June?

Who has made the decision not to add classes after 1949?….. 60+ years of classes not available!

Dennis Trujillo – Curt Alitz


Duane Castro – RIP

Duane Stephen Castro
Date of Birth: August 4, 1954
Date of Death: April 28, 1980

I knew Duane well as I was a pilot in his unit at Ft. Bragg, NC when he was killed. Duane and I worked in the same office as he was the Supply Officer and I the Budget Officer. He and I flew many flights together as he enjoyed flying along on my OH-58A trips. At that time the OH-58’s were flown with one pilot so I took him along when I had an extra seat. He so loved flying and was a good pilot. I remember well the trip his accident occurred on as I had flown that same aircraft the day before on the same mission. The weather was so bad I cancelled the mission he was flying that day. There is no way I was going to slug my way back through that weather on the following day again. How he ended up flying that day I will never know. It was a sad day I remember well and he was so missed for all these years. I think of him often.
Eddie L. Hill

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Scott I brought this over from Rev9 – I am moving my up dates to this page as it is really outdated

Note – In the listing, the Class of 1917 graduated April 1917, the Class of 1918 graduated August 1917 and the Class of 1919 graduated June of 1918. There is also an error

Film – very basic -The St. Mihiel Drive September 1918 United States First Army

Association of Graduates Reports

Listing of Officers 1900 – 1950

Authorization for travel to Europe for Families

Recipients of the DSC WWI

Class of 1886

3141 Col Betram Tracy Clayton QMC N0. 3141 KIA May 30, 1918 DSC
The bomb dropped by a German aviator killed at the same time several other officers.

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