Tag Archives: Wrestling

Leroy Aliz

I do not know how much of an influence Coach Alitz had on my character. I am not so sure I would have graduated if it were not for Army Wrestling and Coach Alitz. I remember how I felt when he smiled at one of my comments or at something I did. I know how I felt when the night before the match he told me we had to have my win and I failed losing on points. (Army 14 — Lehigh 19). I know how I felt when he put an arm around me as I walked off the mat after bridging for 9 minutes in a loss to an All American. I know how I felt when he put an arm around me and said thanks for my contribution to a win over Navy. (Army 15 — Navy 14) I know that — when after he had repeatedly given me a fresh man every 3 minutes, yelled at me “Hold your head up” as I sucked in huge gulps of fowl air steaming from under my rubber jacket and then as I sat dejected against the wall, came over sat down next to me, put and arm around me, asked me about academics, — he made me just want to give more. Each morning I go to the Y for my routine — I think of him.

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Doug Blubaugh

Assistant Army Wrestling Coach Late 50s – Early 60s

Doug was to say later “If it were not for Al Rushatz I would never have won my Olypmic Gold Medal”. Al was a Plebe & Yearling who Doug practiced against.

In the shadowed ruins of Rome’s ancient Basilica, Doug Blubaugh battled the world champion from Iran for the Olympic gold medal. Emamali Habibi had never known defeat.
Three times the Persian attacked, each time throwing the young American into danger. Then a swift counterattack from Blubaugh hurled his opponent to his back … suddenly the struggle was ended.
Thus did an Oklahoma farm boy reach the apex of a brilliant athletic career, earning the 1960 Olympic gold medal at 160.5 pounds, and with it recognition as the outstanding wrestler in the world.







Norman Schwarzkopf

awaiting data


Wrestling pages

Buzzy Kriesel

2 Army A’s 167 Pound Wrestler

Buzz & Jeannine Kriesel
Against Wisconsin he was head butted.  The Ref asked if he was OK, Buzz told Coach to fix him. Coach Alitz stuffed his nose with tissue, waved his ever ready ammonia capsule, and Buzz stepped back on the mat.  When Buzz grabbed his opponent, lifted him high in the air, the Ref said let him down gently.  Buzz did and pinned him, providing 5 points of the 23 and 8 win.  On Christmas leave, on an unheated Air Force transport, Frank Reasoner’s feet were frozen, Buzz unzipped his dress jacket, and had Frank push his feet against Buzzy’s chest. Oh lastly, Jeannine was in the stands at Wisconsin, Buzz might have executed as he did for her benefit.  (Write up by a Team Mate)

Frank Reasoner

medal-of-honor copy 2.jpg 7/12/1965  Marine emblem copy Frank Reasoner & Sally NordstromFirst Marine.jpeg
3d Recon Bn, 3d Mar Div 

Frank once told me that he wanted 3 things – 30 Years in the Marine Corps, own a bar outside the Main Gate of a Marine Base and Earn the Medal of Honor. Frank was Killed in Action 12 July 1965. He was Awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions – – by a Wrestling Teammate

Just a note about my Team Mate – I had a vicious cross face which I once practiced against Frank. He was meaner than I – Frank bite me.

Frank Reasoner

Class of 1962

B Squad 150

123 Pound Wrestler – My Teammate

Brigade Boxing Champion 4 years running.

Reasoner Hall of Arvin Gym

USS Reasoner a Navy Destroyer

Camp Reasoner


Medal of Honor Citation

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, Company A, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, 3d Marine Division.

Place and date: near Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, 12 July 1965.

Entered service at: Kellogg, Idaho.

Born: 16 September 1937, Spokane, Wash.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. The reconnaissance patrol led by him had deeply penetrated heavily controlled enemy territory when it came under extremely heavy fire from an estimated 50 to 100 Viet Cong insurgents.


Accompanying the advance party and the point that consisted of 5 men, he immediately deployed his men for an assault after the Viet Cong had opened fire from numerous concealed positions. Boldly shouting encouragement, and virtually isolated from the main body, he organized a base of fire for an assault on the enemy positions. The slashing fury of the Viet Cong machinegun and automatic weapons fire made it impossible for the main body to move forward. Repeatedly exposing himself to the devastating attack he skillfully provided covering fire, killing at least 2 Viet Cong and effectively silencing an automatic weapons position in a valiant attempt to effect evacuation of a wounded man.


As casualties began to mount his radio operator was wounded and he immediately moved to his side and tended his wounds. When the radio operator was hit a second time while attempting to reach a covered position, he was courageously running to his aid through the grazing machinegun fire when he fell mortally wounded.


His indomitable fighting spirit, valiant leadership and unflinching devotion to duty provided the inspiration that was to enable the patrol to complete its mission without further casualties. In the face of almost certain death he gallantly gave his life in the service of his country. His actions upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He was awarded the Medal of Honor.


Army charges to 45-27 Victory in the Army – Navy Prep School Football Game. Reasoner Trophy presented for first time.

Ft. Monmouth, NJ, Saturday, 15Nov08.

The gray skies and intermittent rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the future cadets of the USMA Class of 2013, who charged to a 45-27 decisive victory over the future midshipmen of the USNA Class of 2013 at the Annual Prep School football game at Ft. Monmouth, NJ on Saturday.

Army scored first, early in the first quarter, and Navy came back, minutes later to tie the score at 7-7. Army scored again, and Navy was never able to catch up. Army took advantage of the speed and agility of its running backs and free safety to rack up the yards and put points on the scoreboard. The Army QB did well in the passing game, also.

Navy’s QB had a good arm, with good distance, but Army pass defense kept the Navy receivers from completing many of the long passes.

The final score reflects the excitement of the game. Army scored six touchdowns and a field goal, and Navy had four touchdowns, and a failed 2-point conversion.

The game also marked the first presentation of the 1LT Frank S. Reasoner Trophy to USMA Prep. 1LT (USMC) Reasoner (USNAPS ’58 / USMA ’62) was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry near Da Nang, Vietnam. The trophy will be awarded each year to the winner of the Army – Navy Prep School Game, and is analogous to the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the winner of the Army – Navy – USAFA football series for the Service Academies.

The Trophy was inspired by discussions between the Commanding Officer of USNAPS, Capt. L. Hart Sebring, and the Commandant of USMAPS, COL Tyge Rugenstein. The final impetus came from COL (USMC Ret) John “Rip” Ripley, USNAPS ’58 / USNA ’62, with members of USMA ’62; and was accomplished in the last weeks before Ripley’s unexpected death. Members of the USNAPS ’58 class matched a generous donation from an anonymous USMA ’62 graduate to create the trophy and deliver it to the game.

At the presentation ceremony, USNAPS ’58 / USNA ’62 were represented by LtCdr. Barry Ketner; and USMA ’62 by John Fee and COL (Ret) Bill Dieal.

Al Rushatz

Al & Lynda Rushatz 145PATCH.JPGUnknown.pngUSMA Shoulder Patch copy.jpg
6 Army A’s  An All American in Football & Wrestling.  Inspirational Guide in Creating the 62′ Room in Arvin Gym. 145th Avn Bn RVN, Def Rep India, 8th Cav RVN, Co 269 Avn Bn, G3 XVIII Abn Cps. DPE USMA.  (Flew Mission after Mission attempting to contact Glen Blumhardt when the Vietnamese Regiment Glen was Advising was over run.  Glen led his RTO out, the only survivors)

Doug Blubaugh – 1960 (160.5 Pounds) Olympic – told me “I would never have won the Gold Medal if it were not for Al Rushatz”. Day after day at the far end of our Wrestling Room Doug and Al would go at it.

Dominate Athlete of the Early 60’s

He came to West Point from the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania and, during four years as a cadet, set the standard for athletic prowess and physical development. He was recognized as an All-American in two major Academy sports and earned both the Army Athletic Association Award for most valuable service to athletics during his career as a cadet and the 306th Infantry Award, presented in the name of the late Walter B. Tunick, for excellence in physical education. He put his stamp on cadet physical development during 10 years in the USMA Department of Physical Education, the last six as Deputy Head of the Department. This latter period was marked by unprecedented improvement in cooperation among the Dean, Commandant, and Director of Athletics and such initiatives as the Master Fitness Trainer program and realignment of responsibility for competitive cadet clubs. He conceived of and designed the ’62 Room in the Cadet Gymnasium, lauded by three Superintendents as the finest class gifts of their tenures. During this period, he received a President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Award.


Al up the Middle, #31, Army Football All American

He was a three-year starter in football in an era of shorter careers and seasons, one-platoon football, and competition against the likes of Nebraska, Penn State, and Michigan. Running from the fullback position, he led the team in scoring and rushing two years and graduated seventh in career yards rushing. He was selected by the American Football Coaches Association as an All-American in 1961. He was inducted into the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 2002. He played on offense and defense in the 1962 East-West College All Star game in Buffalo, NY, on June 29, 1962.


Induction into The Army Sports Hall of Fame


62 Captain, 177 Pounds, Army All American Wrestler

Doug Blubaugh Army Assistant Wrestling Coach had this say about Al – – “If it were not for Al Rushatz I would never have won my Olypmic Gold Medal”. When Al was a Plebe & Yearling, Doug practiced against him daily. Doug also stated “Al would have been a National Champion if he had not torn up his knee”


Within days after the Navy football game, he would drop from his 195 pounds football weight to begin the wrestling season at 177 pounds. In three years, he lost but once in dual meets. He was the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association champion at 177 pounds in 1960. He became Army’s second wrestling All-American with his third place finish in the 1960 NCAA tournament. He was an inspirational team captain First Class Year, drawing fans to matches just to see him compete, while battling crippling injuries.

Unlike most athletic programs, Army’s is effective in supporting the purpose of the institution: the development of leaders of character for careers in the armed forces. This man embodies that concept. He was a hero to his classmates and a role model for all four cadet classes. Nearly every day during his 4 years he either practiced or competed. At graduation he had earned 6 Army A’s and 3 Gold Stars.


The above is the Nomination Letter written by Dave Phillips, below is what Dave’s Nomination Letter accomplished – the recognition Al deserves


The last entry under Credits is the dedication of this site to Al.


Al’s contribution to the Football & Wrestling Teams are addressed at




#31 Surrounded by Middies


The Plaque Given by the Class of 62 – West Point Wrestling Locker Room

Start of 59 Season





One little known fact is that Al played the entire 60 minutes against Syracuse in the 1960 game at Yankee Stadium. I still to this day have fixed in my mind Al coming around right end toward us, getting tripped up at the line, going near horizontal, dropping his free hand to the ground, regaining his balance — off running down the side line.



At his Induction into West Point’s Hall of Fame, he thanked his blockers Bill, Barry and Mike (Center, and 2 Guards – as most of his runs were right up the Gut); mentioning that we had lost all 3 – bill & Mike our Captain – Vietnam and Barry in a car accident.

Army 9 – Syracuse 6


Ernie Davis was to play along side Jim Brown with the Cleveland Browns in 1962. Al was with Ernie for a couple of days at the 1962 East-West College All Star game in Buffalo, NY, on June 29, 1962. Ernie never played in the Game and died shortly thereafter. Al played both offense and defense. He might not played as much if Ernie Davis had not been diagnosed with Leukemia.

Denny Benchoff

LTG.png Denny & Barbara Benchoff 
Sunday School Teacher, Coach Alitz taught him how to earn 3 Wrestling Army A’s; 508th PIR, 101st Airborne RVN, USMA Math, ODCSO, CO 707 Mnt Bn, DISCOM, CO Red R Dep Tx, CG 509th Ord Bde, CG DESCOM, CG AMCCOM, DCG Log Ops

 Coach Alitz taught him how to earn 3 Army A’s. 137 pounds

Going for another Pin

Al Rushatz was not the only outstanding wrestler in 61-62.Buzzy Krieselfinished fourth at the Easterns as a Cow at 167 lbs. andDale Kuhns was Eastern runner up at heavyweight as a First Classman. Howitzer lists Denny Benchoff, Phil Burns, and Al McElhoseas additional Army A winners. In 1961-62, Al Rushatz and Dale Kuhnswere both undefeated in dual matches.

This strong corps from the Can Do class led the Army wrestling team to records of 6-5 in 1959-60, 7-4 in 1960-61, and 6-4 in 1961-62, beating Navy all 3 Years. Apparently, Leroy Alitz did not believe is patsy schedules as we find Penn State, Syracuse, Springfield, Lehigh, Pittsburgh, and Illinois on the schedules, along with Navy.