What ’62 Gave

This Effort is in Honor of My Friend Jim Kays

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Steven D. Pierce 
Steve Pierce
We Lost him 3 Feb 1962.  He never had the opportunity to give back to America.  A Star Man, he could have added so much to our Class Lore. “I was in the hospital bed next to his at West Point. He was a very great man!” Larry Amon In that moment a part of each man changed — each man became a little of Steve Pierce in his heart.  Tom Johnson ’65


President Kennedy & General Westmoreland

In 1962 our West Point Class of just over 600 strong, accepted their commissions into the armed forces of the United States and swore to support and defend the Constitution of our great nation.

Here is an attempt to assess the contributions of a single West Point class to the nation.
Click on the above

The Day We Lost Our President

Conceived and Consolidated by Roy Degenhardt



Project Development

Cliff McKeithan
Deputy Program Manager for Military Applications for the XV-15.

Larry Mengel
Developed and ran simulations for the M1 Tank and the Apache Helicopter.

George Telenko
Activated Lima Tank Plant and built first year production of M1 Abrams Tanks
It will still be his Abrams in the future design.

Duke Meceda
6595 Areospace Test Wing, OSAF Space Systems 

Ed Brown
The Air Force Systems Command is an inactive United States Air Force Major Command. It was established in April 1951, being split off from Air Materiel Command. The mission of AFSC was Research and Development for new weapons systems.

Wayne Willis
Program Development nuclear warhead for the Pershing II missile 1978-1982.

Al Robb
Deputy Director, Space and Weapons Army War College, 1986 to 1992

Dick Wylie

Dick designed both Eisenhower Hall and the Stony Lonesome Duplex Housing. The funding for Stony Lonesome was side tracked toward Vietnam. When funding was restored there was insufficient money to complete the desired plans for both projects. Redesigning both of the original plans was one of the most painful work Dick never had to do. He also worked on several other Areas at West Point. (Material prepared by John Wagner)

Additional Gifts by our Class

The Hockey Rec Room

Corps Squad Locker Plaques Honoring Classmates
Al Rushatz, Dale Kuhns, Phil Burns
With STU SHERARD, Denny Benchoff Glen Blumhardt
& a Football Plaque for Al Rushatz pending .

Wayne Downing
The General Wayne A Downing Scholarship program offers select Army Officers, from all commissioning sources in the Maneuver, Fires, and Effects branches, the opportunity to attend a fully funded graduate education program at top-tier universities around the globe

Wayne Downing
The Combating Terrorism Center was created in February 2003 thanks to the vision and generous support of Mr. Vincent Viola, former Chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange, ’77; the vision of General Wayne Downing, ’62; and the leadership of Brigadier Generals Russ Howard and Cindy Jebb, ’82

The Buffalo Soldiers Memorial guided to completion, assisted by our Classmate
Buffalo Soldiers

’62 Publications, Writings and Papers

The 1930 game was played at Soldier Field in Chicago before 110,000 shivering fans. Every seat in the huge lake front stadium had been sold in anticipation of a capacity attendance of 126,000, putting the crowd on track to be the largest ever to witness a college football game. However, the raisn, sleet and cold on game day dampened the ardor of some fans, reducing the number of those attending. 

The Irish came into the game with eight straight season victories following their nine game winning streak from the preceding year. Army, under dynamic new coach Major Ralph Sasse, would not be a pushover. He had rebuilt the team after the loss of many starters from the 1929 team. The heart breaking loss of the previous year was also a major motivator for the cadets. 

Rockne was ill for this game as well. However, unlike in ’29, he attended the game, coaching from a wheelchair on the sidelines. The game was another hard fought Army-Notre Dame defensive battle with neither team able to score in the first three quarters. With five minutes to go, Notre Dame quarterback, Frank Carideo, and halfback, Marchmont (Marchy) Schwartz, combined to move the ball from the Irish 46 into the cadets’ end zone and take a 6-0 lead. Carideo added the extra point increasing the lead to 7-0  with now less than four minutes remaining in the game. 

After receiving the kick-off and failing to move the ball, the cadets punted, pinning the Irish deep in their own territory. After being stopped for no gain the Irish elected to punt the ball away on third down. Frank Carideo standing on his own ten yard line carefully wiped the slippery ball on the referee’s towel before handing it to the center. Signaling for the snap, the waiting Irish quarterback received the ball cleanly. However, Army’s substitute left end, Dick King, crashed through the Notre Dame line and blocked the kick. The ball bounded to the Irish goal line where cadet guard Harley Trice fell on it in the end zone. The Army fans were ecstatic while the Notre Dame fans sat in stunned silence by the sudden turn of events. The frozen fans who had endured a scoreless game  for 55 minutes had now witnessed two touchdowns in less than two minutes.

With the clock ticking down, all eyes now turned to a frail, blond, Yearling (Sophomore) who trotted onto the field. At  5’ 7” and 140 lbs, Russ Broshous was too small to compete in the rough and tumble contact aspect of Army collegiate football. He was, however, Coach Sasse’s choice to attempt the tying extra point.  His preferred method of kicking was the drop kick, a  common but not reliable technique at the time. * The football in 1930 had a more round shape than today’s ball, making the bounce for the kicker more predictable. ** Sasse had some confidence in the young kicker since Broshous had kicked the tying point on a wet field against Yale a month earlier in a 7-7 game. 

The Irish loaded the line with nine of their biggest players. Broshous wiped his hands on his jersey and then signaled for the ball to be snapped. The ball never got off the ground as the Notre Dame linemen broke through the Army front and smothered Cadet Broshous and the ball. The game was another heartbreaking loss for the Army, 7-6. 

Knute Rockne sought out the despondent young kicker in the Army dressing room after the game. He put his arm around the cadet’s shoulder, trying to console him, telling him not to allow one failure in a football game to get him down. (The Big Game-p. 133) 

The win over Army helped to propel the Irish to a second consecutive National Championship, shared with undefeated Alabama. Tragically, Rockne’s involvement in the Army-Notre Dame series would end after the 1930 game.

*When I asked Russ Broshous Jr., the son of the Army kicker and my classmate from West Point, how his Dad felt about his skills as a drop kicker, he told me that his Dad said results from this type of kicking were pretty much ‘hit or miss.’ He also said that he felt that his results were a little bit better than ‘random.’ Russ Broshous became a Brigadier General and the Head of Earth, Space and Graphic Sciences Department at West Point.

**On January 1, 2006, Doug Flutie of the New England Patriots, kicked what may have been the last drop kick in the NFL against the Miami Dolphins, the first such successful kick since 1941. Richie Cacioppe

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Brian McEnany
R Day 1862

By Brian McEnanyJim Kays
As a player, coach & OR, Jim gave
R Day 186226 years to 150 / Lightweight / Sprint Football
17 Scientific Publications,
21 Scientific Presentations
Wayne Downing
Firepower, Attrition, Maneuver
 Assessment of Khobar Towers Bombing
Don Snider
Publications By Don Snider

Dennis Reimer
Empowerment, Environment and The Golden Rule
Soldiers are our credentials!
Reimer Directs Review of Army Modeling and Simulation Efforts
The Army

Class of ’62 Authors

ArmstrongDaveBullets and Bureaucrats
BennettDennisOperation: Preying Mantis
BennettDennisMy Rambling Thoughts
CacioppeRichHeaven On Hold
CarterMarshPromises to Keep
ChafetzDonThe Israel Philatelist
ChafetzDonStudy of Israel’s Dateless Cancellations
CraneLarryA Bridge To Treachery
CraneLarryMissing Girls
DegenhardtRoyDuty Stations: John F. Kennedy and the West Point Class of 1962
DeVoreJohnSitting in the Flames: Uncovering Fearlessness to Help Others
DeVoreJohnGolfer’s Palette: Preparing for Peak Performance
DeVoreJohnSunland Springs Golf Club: A Case Study
GordenFredNew Cadet Barracks 1958
KambrodMattLobbying for Defense: An Insider’s View
KammErvManaging by Values
KoscoBillEstablishing the Brotherhood: The West Point Men’s Rugby Program
LaneRonRudder’s Rangers
McCarthyTerryRhymes That Remain
McEnanyBrianFor Brotherhood and Duty
MoganBillSons of Slum and Gravy
MooreDaveThe Superpollsters
MooreDaveHow to Steal An Election
MooreDaveThe Opinion Makers
MooreDaveThe First Primary: New Hampshire’s Outsize Role in Presidential Nominations
MooreDaveThe ‘Little Ladies’ of Durham Take On the Richest Man in the World
MumfordJohnBROKE – What Every American Business Must Do to Restore our Financial Stability and Protect Our Future
PettyBillEgyptian Glyphary
PettyBillHieroglyphic Dictionary
PettyBillHieroglyphic Sign List
PettyBillEnglish to Middle Egyptian Dictionary
PettyBillThe Names of the Kings of Egypt (co-author)
PettyBillUnderstanding Hieroglyphic Inscriptions
PettyBillAhmose: An Egyptian Soldier’s Story
PettyBillThe Carnarvon Tablet
PettyBillLuxor: Gods Grit and Glory 
PettyBillComprehensive Middle Egyptian Dictionary
PhillipsBobStrategic Leadership – A Multiorganizational-Level Perspective 
PhillipsDaveCan Do Tales
PhillipsDaveSocks, Jocks, and A Light Coat of Oil
PhillipsDaveFire Missions and Redleg Reminiscences version 2
PhillipsDaveBe Thou At Peace: Memorial Articles
PhillipsDave62 Can Do: Class Notes Photos and Military Descendants
RyanJimWhat Abides: West Point In Afterthought
SniderDonOnce Again, the Challenge to the U.S. Army During a Defense Reduction
SniderDonDesert Storm: The Gulf War and What We Learned. 
SniderDonU.S. Civil-Military Relations: Crisis or Transition
SniderDonThe Future of the Army Profession
SniderDonThe Future of the Army Profession, 2d Edition, revised and expanded
SniderDonForging the Warrior’s Character: Moral Precepts from The Cadet Prayer
SniderDonAmerican Civil-Military Relations: The Soldier and the State in a New Era
WalkerTomYOU’VE BEEN SELLING ALL YOUR LIFE- Principles of Relationship Selling
WebbErnieRescuing America! We Are Taking Her Back
WebbErnieWest Point sketch book
WebbErnieReclaim Your Inner Core!: Stand On Top Of The Mountain!

Currently our list of class authors encompasses 64 books by 29 classmates and one spouse. More publications are expected.

The Class has donated books to both the Library & the English Department.


General Officers

Regular ArmyArmy ReserveNational Guard
Dave ArmstrongDick Chegar
Gary BrownLarry GundermanThomas Buck (CO)
PY BrowningThomas KilmartinThomas Moore (CA)
Nick HurstDon Woodman ( USAF)
Jim Kays
Carl Morin
Howie Prince
Frank Horton
John Landry
Joe Rigby
Steve Arnold
Denny Benchoff
Walter Bryed
Chuck Dominy
Jim Ellis
 Bob Ord
Ted Stroup
Wayne Downing
Dennis Reimer
Bob RicksBob had a temporary grade


Can DoWinter Track and Field Men
Class of 1962 – Can DoRon Zinn
Army/Navy 1961-1962 Winter Sports

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Team Captains

Go to Can Do every Classmate will be listed, along with what we accomplished as a Class.

150 Ronnie Brown

Track Gary Brown

Football Mike Casp

Soccer Art Brown

Lacrosse Butch Darrell

Basketball Stu Sherard

Baseball Al Dejardin

Wrestling Al Rushatz

Hockey Paul Dobbins

Cross Country John Jones

Gymnastics Phil Costain

Swimming Barry Thomas

Rifle Ed Brown

Tennis Pete Peterson

Golf Rep Dick Sklar

Squash Rep Jim McQuillen

Pistol Dave Swick

John Taylor
Inspired by John coached by Rick with the nucleus of Tank, Russ,
Bob, Bill, Dave, Paul, Dennis, Wayne and Mike, ’62 gave West Point Rugby, a team that has dominated the sport since its inception. Both Women’s and Men’s Rugby are now Corps Squad

  1. Art Brown’s 7 or 8 stories about Army Soccer.
  2. Marty Bilafer’s Comment about Mack Howard’s Greatest shot
    Marty had ever seen.
  3. Dale Kuhn’s comment to Roger Staubach.




3/22/1967 Chuck Anderson
Chuck & Cecillia Anderson

9/3/1966 Andy Andrews
Andy Andrews & Rosemary (Casey) Pappas

10/11/1967 Ed Bailey

11/14/1967 Mike Casp 
To get through the line I depended especially on three teammates and Classmates, Mike Casp (our team captain) – at Right Guard, Bill Whitehead – at Center, and Barry Butzer – at Left Guard. They were great Army football players. Bill and Mike were Killed in Vietnam.  Barry was Killed in an auto accident several years ago – – Al Rushatz

11/18/1967  Mike Crabtree
Wife Lynne and Daughter Chris 

9/11/1967 Tom Culp
Tom & Judi Culp

3/20/1965 Ken Dean 
Ken & Sheila Dean

7/1/1968 Bob Dickinson
Bob &  Dorothea Dickinson

  8/12/1965  Bob Fuellhart 
Bob & Jan Fuellhar
Army’s Lonely End in 1960 and 1961 upon the Graduation of Bill Carpenter. In ’61 Bob was banged up with injuries but was still a hard nosed defensive back.  Killed in Action 12 August 1965 the same day his Daughter was born.

Purple_Heart_Medal.png 1/17/1965 Thurston A.  Turk Griffith
Starting guard and key contributor on Army’s 150-pound 1961 football team, earning 2 Army As.

2/14/1966 William Hoos
William Hoos & Barbara Calabrese

Purple_Heart_Medal.png 11/2/1968 Bob Hufschmid  Unknown-1
Robert Hufschmid & Suzy Weisman
Killed in Action Republic of Vietnam 2 November 1968

1/23/1966 Roy Kobayashi

9/31/1967 Steve Kott
Steve & Julie Knott

6/10/1965 Ed Krukowski
Ed & Marilyn Krukowski

8/2/1966 Jim McDonough
James & Lucy McDonough

2/281965 Tom McMahan

medal-of-honor copy 2.jpg   Purple_Heart_Medal.png 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

Tom Reach

6/29/1965 Douglas Wauchope   A-6.jpeg 
3d Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Pilot.

  6/30/1968 Bill Whitehead
William C. & Mary Ann Whitehead  
To get through the line I depended especially on three teammates and Classmates, Mike Casp (our team captain) – at Right Guard, Bill Whitehead– at Center, and Barry Butzer – at Left Guard. They were great Army football players. Bill  and Mike were Killed in  Vietnam.  Barry was killed in a car accident.    – – Al Rushatz

Purple_Heart_Medal.png 7/7/1965  Ron Zinn USMA Shoulder Patch
Ronald L. Zinn

First Cadet to be selected to a USA Olympic team; competed in race-walking at the 1960 Olympics and was top American finisher in the 20K race. Also a key contributor on the Academy cross-country and track teams. Ron was Killed in Action Vietnam 7/7/65 – –  John Easterbrook

We Lost Chuck Chandler on October 12 1968, when he was assassinated in San Paulo, Brazil. His acceptance by the People of San Paulo because of his Stature as an American, and all that we stand for, appeared threatening to a faction within Brazil.

Inducted into the Army Sports Hall of Fame

Al Rushatz
Stu Sherard
Dale Kuhns

Please Note: We are working to have Jim Kays and Ron Chisholm Inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Distinguished Graduate

Ted Stroup

Marsh Carter

Dennis Reimer

Jim Kimsey

Wayne Downing

A listing of every Classmate who returned to West Pointas an Instructor or Department Head.

We returned for a over a total of ???? years to support the education of the Corps of Cadets

Al Rushatz – Physical Education Dept; Bill Boozer – Office of Military Psychology& Leadership;

Jim Kays – 23 years in the Math & Systems Engineering Depts;

Don Snider – 17 years in the Social Sciences Dept; Barry Butzer – Military Instruction Dept;

Howie Prince – 12 years in the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Dept; Will Meade – Physics Dept;

Dick Chegar – (Engr) of the Military Art & Engineering Dept; Larry Gunderman – Math Dept;

Art Brown – (Engr) of the Military Art & Engineering Dept; Wayne Willis – Physics Dept;

Dave Phillips – Math 69-72 & Dean’s Office 77-81; Bob Martin – Social Sciences Dept.

Fred Bothwell – Co Sup Trps; Jim Worthington – Math Dept; Bill Burns – Math Dept;

Don Perdew – Earth, Space & Graphic Sciences Dept; Don Street– Mechanics Dept;

Neil Nydegger – Mechanics Dept; Nick Hurst – (Engr) of the Military Art & Engineering Dept;

Ted Stroup – Office of Military Instruction; Roy Alcala – Social Science Dept;

Dick Helmuth – Math Dept; Kraig Hansen – Physics Dept ; Frank Miller – Physics Dept;

Art Bondshu – English Dept; Bill Calhoun – English Dept; Gus Zenker – Math Dept;

Bob Carroll – Office of Military Psychology& Leadership; Dave Armstrong – History Dept;

Dave Windom – Aide to 48th Superintendent  MG Samuel W. Koster; Al Ailinger – Physics Dept;

Denny Benchoff – Math Dept; Gus Fishburne – Staff & Faculty; Don Lair – History Dept;

Dick Garvey – Math Department; Pat Hueman – Mechanics Dept; Bill Kosco – Math Dept;

Bob Phillips -Aide to 47th Superintendent MG Donald V. Bennett; Art Crowell – Math Dept;

Bud Tinnemeyer – Math Dept; Stu Sherard – Military Psychology & Leadership Dept;

Gene Tomlinson – Physical Education Dept; Bob Redmond – Physical Education Dept.

Skip Campbell – Tactical Officer & SGS for 51st Superintendent General Andrew J. Goodpaster;

Cliff McKeithan – Chemistry Dept; Don Williamson – HistoryDept; Don Voss – Electricity Dept;

Our Experience

In 1960 the West Point Class of 1915 returned for their 45th Reunion.
Jerry Garwick I remember how old those guys looked.

President Kennedy Graduation Address to the Class of 1962
The Day We Lost Our President

Duty, Honor, Country. General Douglas MacArthur Thayer Award Acceptance Address
If you go to Douglas MacArthur and work your way down, you will find Comments by the Class – for example

Stu Sherard ’62 was moved by the reaction of his roommate, Frank Reasoner, a former Marine sergeant who returned to the Marine Corps after graduation and was killed in action on 12 July 1965 in Viet Nam, receiving the Medal of Honor posthumously. Hard core Marine Reasoner had tears in his eyes several times during the speech.

Leslie Groves
One of the things I remember from his comments to us, was the incident where someone told General Groves that Heavy Water could only be found in a specific location. (A Guy trying to make money) General Groves knew – “Heavy water can be made using hydrogen sulfide-water chemical exchange, water distillation, or electrolysis. Hydrogen Sulfide-Water Exchange – In a mixture of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and water at chemical equilibrium, the concentration of deuterium in water is greater than the concentration in H2S”

Stories we tell
1. Prior to being escorted out of the Port Said, a NYC bar featuring belly dancing (Mike Crabtree balked at paying the cover charge), Jim Andress asked one of the dancers if she would be his date for the Ring Hop. She wisely declined. Out in the street, a passerby chatted us up and gave us $20 for no reason at all. Jim had to wait for the trip to Ann Arbor for the Michigan football game to meet his future wife, Lyn, via the blind date route

2. Bob & Kathy Douglas
An attempt to improve on his first couple of days as a Cadet – Bob reported in as a new Cadet several years after Graduation.  He upset the Beast Cadre,   HE REALY, REALY UPSET THE CADRE

3. John Fagan
John & Barbara Fagan
First in the Class of 1962. First to shake President Kennedy’s hand. Hope John was a Democrat for those few seconds.

4. Dave McLaughlin
David & Barbara McLaughlin   
As Plebes Dave asked Lee Taylor “Will you teach me” – two years later when they placed winning certificates on General Stillwell’s desk, he said “Do not do that again”.  They did it again and General Stilwell approved Judo as an Academy Club

5. Harry Hagerty                       
“You Man Halt”   Twice he heard it, Harry halted for one ran at the other – he had well over 200 hours on “The Area”  No one ever had a better Ranger Buddy – Phil

6. George Handy & Marilyn Handy 
M2 Honor Rep, Soccer – A Friend who will stand with you.  George continues to be a part of teams – currently involving East Europeans and Americans in economic growth and stronger security.

7. George Handy and George Schein are the only Class of ’62 names on the Donors List in Room 405 of the Thayer Hotel which Honors the 1953 – 1954 Corps of Cadets and their Football Team.

8. George Schein
George & Diana Schein  Doctor serving the Pittsburg community
George Schein Chairman of the Honor Committee

9. Jim Ellis Our Bridge Commander and future 3 Star – said of George “I was impressed with the manner with which he led the Honor Committee.”

10. Chairman of the Cadet Honor Committee.
During June Week 1962, at the corner of Grant Hall,  John Selby and Jim Kays bumped into George Schein as George was headed out to meet his soon to be wife Diana.  George asked how I was doing – studying for an Ordnance Department Turnout.  John said something like – He is in the rack and has not been studying.  George immediately turned around running back into South Area, asking which Room?   I was in the rack wrapped in my “Brown Boy”when the door crashed open and I heard the leather soles hit the concrete floor as I pretended to be asleep – maybe he would go away.  Suddenly my bed was lifted and I was thrown against the wall. I got up saw who it was laughed and said “George!”.  He said get over at that desk and study.  He returned once and I was at the desk. The Turnout was easy.  To this day whenever a woman with spikes hits a concrete floor, I flinch.  Note it was my 5th Turnout and I could not believe they would do that to me June Week.

11. Because I was the lowest ranking member (Private finally Sergeant) of the Honor Committee, I stayed after the meetings sweeping up the floor. Note – there was no dust pan so I swept the dust under Col Blazey’s Rug. George never asked me where I put it.

12.220px-Military_service_mark_of_the_United_States_Air_Force.svg   Mike Schredl
Michael & Judy Schredl   
Founding Member of Army Rugby; an aggressive Tiger on the playing fields, while involved in 15 different Clubs. The 24178 Undistinguished  Graduate  – 362 below the 1st man in the Class and 238 above the last man in the Class; The Army sends you to hot places in the muddle of nowhere and the Air Force sends you to cold places, in the middle of nowhere.

13. Duane Slater Duane & Janet Slater 
At Buckner I had good looking boots.  Duane asked me to shine his.  I said “Sure”.
I gave his boots back just before inspection – one shined beautifully, the second with the mud still on.

14. Pete Wuerpel
With Jim Ellis, Responsible for the recording of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur‘s Duty Honor Country Farewell Address to the Cadet Corps – on 12 May 1962.  Pete created the Wuerple Roll to ease our efforts during summer Class Trips.

15. Bob Cooper – His first swim was early Beast Barracks along with Evans Whiting. His second swim with black paint bucket was with Bob G., Rusty and Evans Whiting to paint ’62 on a Constitution Island rock. The rocks were gray, the 6 was perfect but as he was hanging upside down the 2 was backward. During the swim a barge passed with the wake nearly sending Bob G. to the bottom.  Bob Cooper now does Volunteer work in Sudan – Darfur, Nuba Mountains – Hand Pump Repair for clean abundant and disease free water for those who suffer genocide.

16.Firstie Year as I came around the corner of Grant Hall to enter South Area I met John Selby & Jim Kays. I immediately said “Guess who Loves me!” – – – John said “Molly”. Molly & I had broke up the 3d week of Beast.

17. Many of us did not like to dirty our napkins, so we would grab the over hang of the table cloth to wipe our months. I was was at breakfast with Molly’s Family and I reached down to grab the edge of the table cloth, suddenly realizing what I was doing and “CEASED WORK”. Molly broke out laughing.

18. At the conclusion of Yearling Year I had a nice pair of shoes – which had cracks in the side due to spit shining them so much. I did not want to toss 2 good looking shoes into the trash, so I wore them at Graduation Parade. I left them at a 45 degree angle on the Plain. I made arrangements with the Plebe who sat CQ to bring me a pair to wear when we returned to Central Area to form up after the Parade. At the end of Cow Year, I again had a a pair I was no longer allowed to wear and repeated the process. HOWEVER, this time the Plebe was late bring my shoes. I slipped them on but saw Major Shultz approaching and did not have time to tie the laces. He spoke to John Wagner our L1 Company Commander and we Opened Ranks. Major Shultz began his inspection and stopped in front of me and asked if I had left my shoes on the Plain. While on the First Class Trip I was Confined for 30 days, received 30 Demerits and reduced to Private, even before I became a Sergeant.

. But it’s still ancient. Charles Bernitt, whilst cleaning out his man cave, stumbled on a newspaper article surely read by millions of NYC residents so long ago. The article features local boys who made good at Alma Mater: Charlie Shaw, Frank Scharpf, Bill Dworsak, Al DeJardin, Roger Andrews, Jim McCrorey, Steve West, Dick Kent, Steve Sperman, Paul McNamara, Al Girardi, Phil Browning, and Charlie his own self. Outing these men occurred on June 3 and that’s prior to our actual graduation. Plenty of time remained for one or more of the men to disqualify themselves.

Presidents Kennedy’s Guidance to us

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 have 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 country’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 today. 

General Westmoreland was slightly pained to hear that this was impending in view of the fact that one cadet, who I am confident will some day be the head of the Army, has just been remitted for 8 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 may 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 Viet-Nam or in Laos or in Thailand, whether it is a military advisory group in Iran, whether it is a military attaché 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 10 years will have the greatest opportunity for the defense of freedom that 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 in 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 worldwide 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 advisers, 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 battleground 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 nonmilitary problems which you will face will also be most demanding, diplomatic, political, and economic. In the years ahead, some of you will serve as advisers 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 whether 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 4 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 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 sentry 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, “54-40 or fight” or “to make the world safe for democracy”-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 resoluteaction 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.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (post-gazette.com)

May 5, 2012

The Corps, And Core Values

By David M. Shribman

Where to start with Douglas MacArthur? To say that he was general of the Army? To note that he was superintendent of West Point? To recall his famous exit from the Philippines and his even more famous return? To cite his role in the occupation of Japan? To refer to his time commanding U.N. troops in the Korean War? To reflect on his firing by Harry Truman? To quote his remarkable “just fade away” speech, interrupted numerous times by applause, on Capitol Hill?

We may not know where to start, but we surely know where to end — where MacArthur effectively ended his public career, 50 years ago this coming Saturday, when he appeared among the ghosts and memories of West Point and spoke to the sparkling young men who could have known only vaguely on that day in May 1962 how Vietnam would shape and, in some tragic cases end, their lives.

On the surface, he was there to accept the Sylvanus Thayer Award, a coveted honor named for the father of the military academy. But in truth he was there to take his leave, to share the perspective of a man who was forged in the fire of battle, who thrived on military, moral and political conflict, who had grown weary of war and impatient with the conventions of diplomacy that led nations into armed confrontations that seemed ever more senseless and remorseless.

MacArthur was there to say goodbye to the world stage and to the millions whose lives he touched and commanded and whose spirits he lifted — or repulsed. He did so with his customary flourish and flair and in the florid language that was as much a hallmark of his personality as his corncob pipe, always jutting from his teeth at a crisp 90-degree angle:

Duty … Honor … Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.

These are the three words most commonly associated with MacArthur, but they trace their provenance back to Sylvanus Thayer himself, and thus when MacArthur chose to make these words the leitmotif of his acceptance speech, he was identifying himself firmly with the grandest traditions of West Point.

Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government; whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing, indulged in too long by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as thorough and complete as they should be. These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution.

This is, in many ways, the most remarkable element of this remarkable speech, for MacArthur is the best-known violator of the most sacred element of the relationship between the military and civilian lives of our nation — the notion that policy is made by civilians and prosecuted by soldiers. It was MacArthur’s criticism of Truman, in a letter read on the floor of the House, that led to his dismissal and here, in the late autumn of a life that would end two years later, he presented an unmistakable critique of his greatest failure as a general.

The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished tone and tint; they have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.

He spoke this passage without notes, leaning and bobbing in his customary fashion, deliberately creating the impression that he was no longer speaking from his head, but instead from his deepest sentiments. This was MacArthur showmanship at its greatest, for he had worked for days to memorize these words.

“No one could improvise such rhetoric,” wrote biographer William Manchester. “The awed cadets thought that he was coining the phrases as he trod the platform before them, but what they had actually witnessed was the last performance of a consummate actor.”

Today marks my final roll call with you, but I want you to know that when I cross the river my last conscious thoughts will be of the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.

These are the final words of the speech, set up by his remark that in his dreams, “I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.” To our ears this sort of rhetoric is antiquarian, more suited to the days of Rudyard Kipling than to the era of Norman Mailer.

But there remains something intoxicating about the final passage: “the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.” It possesses a martial rhythm, echoing like shots in the very night that occasioned MacArthur’s dreams of guns crashing and musketry rattling.

Glenn Edward Schembechler was 33 years old and still an assistant football coach at Ohio State when MacArthur delivered this West Point valedictory. In 1969, five years after MacArthur’s death, he would ascend to the top coaching job at Michigan, where he would coach for 21 seasons.

It cannot be a coincidence that the remarks for which Schembechler is most famous — indeed some of the most enduring words ever uttered by a football coach — carry eerie echoes of MacArthur. Some 21 years after the West Point speech, Schembechler spoke of “the Team, the Team, the Team.”

MacArthur now is a figure of history, his life remembered by few, his achievements studied by fewer. But this speech, given 50 years ago this week, deserves to be remembered as one of the greatest delivered on these shores, and revered beyond West Point and by more than the Corps, the Corps, the Corps.

Army Navy 1961 – 1962 Winter Sports

Gymnastics is Eastern Conference Champion and Army over Navy in Basketball, Wrestling, Gymnastics, Track & Field, Squash and Pistol while losing only Rifle and Swimming.

Duty Honor Country

The Mission of the United States Military Academy

To educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army.” 

The West Point Motto & Crest

The best source of information on the Academic Board’s selection
of the USMA motto in 1898 is found in the U.S. Military Academy Staff
Records which are available in the USMA Archives. There is very little information on the reason for the selection of the motto and no
discussion of why a committee was originally established in 1896 to
consider the subject of a so called “Device for the Military Academy.”

At an Academic Board Meeting of 31 January 1898 the committee
appointed to consider the subject of a “Device for the Military Academy” submitted a report dated 14 January 1898. After amendment, the report was ultimately adopted. This committee, which selected both the Academy’s crest and motto, stated that: “The selection of a
satisfactory motto includes some of the foregoing, such as significance, propriety, intelligibility, and suitability, as well as dignity, conciseness, and to a certain extent sonorousness and tradition.” 

Although some discussion of the reason for the selection of the crest is included, the following is the only mention in the Staff Records of the reasoning behind the selection of the words for the motto:

“After much thought and inviting the opinion of many others, the
Committee is satisfied that the sentiment expressed by the words:
‘Duty, Honor, Country’ more clearly and concisely express the genius of the institution than that embodied in any other motto or quotation which has suggested itself or has been suggested by others. It has met the approval of those to whom it has been submitted.” 

Charles W. Larned, Professor of Drawing, Chairman
E.W. Bass, Professor of Mathematics
S.E. Tillman, Professor of Chemistry

At the following meeting of the Board on 4 February 1898 it was decided, by a vote of 5 3 with three members absent, that the words for the motto should be arranged as “Duty, Honor, Country.” The amended report of the committee was then formally adopted.

At the 31 August 1898 meeting of the Academic Board it was resolved:
“that the Academic Board recommend to the Honorable Secretary of War
that the design for a Seal and Arms and the Motto submitted and
recommended by the Committee of the Academic Board appointed for its
consideration and preparation, be adopted as the Seal, Arms, and Motto
of the U.S. Military Academy.”

That approval was evidently forthcoming because at the 15 December 1898 meeting of the Board the following resolution was adopted:

“Resolved that the sum of one dollar and five cents ($1.05) be allotted from the Contingent Fund of the Military Academy appropriations for the current fiscal year, to be expended under the direction of the Academic Board for the payment of the fee for copyrighting the Arms, Motto, and Seal of the Military Academy, and Descriptive Text of same.”

Office of USMA Historian 25 February 1980

Dr. Stephen Grove — USMA Historian, Office of Policy, Planning and Assessment 

Class of 1962 – Can Do

The Class of 1962 – Can Do

Complied by Class Scribe & Sports Historian Dave Phillips – 2004


Thirteen media guides covering 14 sports in which the Academy competes at the varsity level contain hundreds of individual and team records.Exactly one of these records can be said to belong the Class of 1962.


1st Row Downey, Mac McRaeBob LilleyLarry CraneGeorge KirschenbauerJohn SchmidtRobert FoxAl DeJardinRay LoPrestoJohnnie Nau, Linn, Ron Borrello 2d Major Ochs, Coach “Tipton”, White, Perkins, Kierstead, Caywood, Rogers, Boice, Arbogast, Vopatek, Cerzarski, Alikuppi, Davis, Sheppard, Capt. Munson, “Col. Reeder”, Maj. Wierenga 3d Michela, Banovic, Rusnak, Boyle, Dopslaff, Tanner, Haydash

I was unable to persuade anyone at the Academy to send me a baseball media guide. I think everyone was too busy winning 35 games, beating Navy three out of four, winning the Patriot League championship, and playing in the NCAA tournament.

In scrutinizing the on-line baseball archives, however, I found no mention of any member of the USMA Class of 1962 or any of the three teams to which that Class contributed other than the list of lettermen:

Larry Crane,
Al DeJardin,
Tom Eccleston,
Robert Fox,
Bob Lilley,
Mac McRae,
John Schmidt

John Grimshaw and Ray LoPresto appear in the Howitzer team photo.

Howitzer informs us that the 1960 team was 18-5 but lost to Navy and the 1961 team was 12-7-1 but lost to Navy. The 1962team went 15-6 but lost to Navy.

In my mind’s eye I can still see Bob Lilley staggering under the longest, highest fly ball ever hit at Doubleday Field, post Babe Ruth. The ball was struck by Roger Maris during the exhibition game against the Yankees. Bob was holding down right field and had moved back towards the Library Tennis Courts fence out of respect for Maris. Now, if this happened in 1962, Maris was coming off the year he hit 61 home runs. If it happened in 1961, it was just after the major league season had begun, the season in which Maris would break the record. In fact, if it was 1961, it would have happened about 

the time Maris began his run at the record, because he did not hit his first homer until game 9 of the season. (He hit 61 homers in his last 154 games of the season, just as Ruth had hit 60 in his 154 games.)

The overflow crowd had leeched onto the playing field and more or less surrounded Bob as he followed the arc of the ball, gauging its trajectory with geometric logic and experience gained from hundreds of games of baseball. I heard someone yell, “Go back further!” Bob heeded this advice, camped under the high-flying missile and actually got his glove on it but could not hold it. Maris strolled into third base. The ball struck the ground perhaps 20 feet from the fence, a monstrous shot. 

It’s like it happened yesterday.

I did not witness George Kirschenbauer hitting a home run off the Yankees’ Bob Turley. I wish I had seen it. By all accounts, it was a magical moment. Turley was only a .500 pitcher in his last two years, despite being a young man; he was either 31 or 32 when he grooved one to our beloved Class president. This incident, like Bob’s heroic attempt, must be remembered by the generations to follow through oral history and story telling. Pass it on.


Stu is moving fast

When we, members of the Can Do Class, think basketball, we think Stu Sherard. After all these years, his name — the media guide calls him “Stu,” but Howitzer confirms the correctness of “Stew” — is found all over the Army record book as follows:

Named All-American (honorable mention)by the Converse Yearbook. 

In 1962 led Nation with free throw % of 92% 

One of 24 members of the 1,000-point club. (His entry contains an error in the calculation of his free-throw percentage.)

Number 10 all-time career scoring leader and was number one upon graduation. Only one player with just three years of varsity eligibility, “Mike Silliman”, scored more points. Only three players finished their careers with more average points per game than Stew’s 19.4. (Another error appears in Stew’s career ppg average.)
Number 7 all-time in points per game and third upon graduation.

Had seventh best season points per game average, 22.7, second upon graduation.

One of only three Army basketball players who led their teams in scoring each year of eligibility.

Number six in career free throws made, number one upon graduation.

Number five in career free throw percentage, number one upon graduation.

Had sixth best season free throw percentage, number one upon graduation.

One of only four Army basketball players who led their teams in free throw percentage each year of eligibility. (Another error appears in this chart.) Stew’s 15 for 15 in free throws against Rider College is matched only by “Kevin Houston”‘s 16 for 16.

Of Army’s great perimeter shooting guards of our time – Kouns, Houston, Sherwin, Stew – only Houston played in the era of the three-point shot (just one year), making us wonder, “What if…?” 

But — That still comes to five Academy records held at graduation.

The sleepy-eyed, rail-thin, hunched shouldered jump-shooting Missourian thrilled us for three years on Wednesday afternoons (I went to almost every game) and Saturdays.

He was team captain First Class year, never scored 30 points in a game (according to the media guide, but the 1960 Howtizer credits him with a 34-point performance against Massachusetts and he scored 35 points against UCLA in a Christmas Tournament); and was the Most Valuable Player of the 1962 East-West All-Star game, draining long jumpers over all those future pros. Oddly, the media guide does not mention this last fact but we who watched the game on TV in the Weapons Room (or maybe it was the First Class Club) will not forget it. My personal recollection includes a brief spell where Stew was having difficulty guarding Nate Archibald, but that in no way tarnishes the luster of this roundball hero.
As for the team accomplishments during our three years:

The 1959-60 team is Army’s 10th best in total rebounds, 8th best in rebounds per game, and had the 10th highest number of players disqualified for personal fouls.

The 1960-61 team was 9th highest in disqualifications, had one of Army’s 15 100-point games, and suffered one of Army’s 19 100-points-against games, losing 103 – 54 to Ohio State. This Army team was the first to go to the National Invitational Tournament, winning 13 of 14 games late in the season, including nine in a row.

The list of lettermen includes Larry Crane (1960 and 1962 — we would like Larry to tell us about 1961), Al DeJardin (1960 and 1962 — same question), Bob Loupe (1962), and Stew (1960, 1961, and 1962).

The media guide includes two photos of Stew and a rather odd one of Larry 

The 1959 – 1960 team was 14-9 and lost to Navy. 

The 1960 – 1961 team was 17-7 for a winning percentage of .708. That percentage has been bested only five times in the 43 seasons since: twice by Tates Lockes-coached teams, twice by Bob Knight, and once by Mike Krzyzewski. This team also lost to Navy.

The 1961 – 1962 team was 10-11 but we will long remember how we beat Navy in the Field House. Stew had fouled out and the straw that stirred the drink for Army’s offense, Al DeJardin, had also been disqualified. No matter. One of the five players we had on the floor was Bob Loupe — can anyone name the others? — and his famous scoop shot in the last few seconds was all we needed. Absolutely unforgettable. Navy did have one more chance, but I think they threw the ball away.

Army basketball has compiled a record of 1046-987 since 1903 (.515), including 37 – 63 against Navy. Our last winning season was 1984-85. 

Forgive another personal reminiscence. One lonely Saturday afternoon in 1959 at Camp Buckner, I checked out a basketball from the Guard Room and spent about an hour at the outdoor courts all by myself. Someone was walking the Area on the adjacent tennis courts. When I was done, I headed on back and the man walking the Area was taking a break under a tree. He called out to me with a surprised look on his face. I recognized him immediately: Fred Kaiser, captain-elect of the Army basketball team. He told me he had been watching while he walked and thought he was watching Stu Sherard. This is my all-time sports moment.

Oh, one more personal reminiscence. In 1971, I was on a pretty good Math Department team in the West Point faculty league. We won our league and were to face Military Psychology and Leadership for the championship. MP&L had Stew and Bill Crossand some supporting players. We knew the key to victory was to hold Stew down somehow. We decided not to double-team him but rather to put our best defender, Roy Buckner ’64, two-time lacrosse letterman, on him and employ a lot of switching and fighting through picks. The game was not that close. Stew got knocked down after every shot but had 30-something points and once again the Math Department was thwarted in its determination to dominate all faculty athletic competition.

Cross Country

Despite its status as a varsity sport, cross country archives proved elusive. That means I did not find any.

The sport is mentioned almost in passing in the track and field media guide. One column each is devoted to the men’s and women’s 2003 seasons. The men defeated Navy for the first time since 1996. The women also beat Navy for the first “sweep” since 1987.

So it’s back to our Howitzer for information on the 1961 season.

Howitzer lists John JonesFred LaRoqueStan Thompson, and Ron Zinn as Army “A” Award winners. The team photo depicts these four along with Gus Gertsch and manager Terry Murphy.

Although we have no context for this particular season, it must be seen as successful for several reasons.

We swept two triangular meets and went 4-1 head-to-head. One of those was against the hated Midshipmen, handily, 22-37, at Crabtown. John Jones finished first. Sweet. And largely unrecognized.

As a proponent of public transportation, I admire those who can run these long distances. One could say John, Fred, Stan, and Ron received at least some recognition as letter winners, but I would like Gus Gertsch to tell us what he got out of all that pain and suffering. Besides wonderful aerobic fitness, frequent rushes of adrenalin and endorphins, and a chiseled body, of course.


What is this powerful hold that football has over American men? We overlook the hypocrisy and cheating, the runaway costs, the tenuous connection between the institution’s football team and the educational mission. We devote ourselves to the fortunes of 19- and 20-year old athletes who may or, more likely, may not be students.

Speaking for myself, I love it and cannot get enough of it. Especially Army football. In my memory lane excursions, I spend time with the 1958 team, our three upperclass seasons, the Jim Young years, and the remarkable series of Army-Navy games that were determined by late field goals and 99-yard drives. 

I once promised my roommate, Chris Stanat, First Class year that if we did not beat Navy, I would sit in the lobby of the Ben Franklin Hotel reading my Tactics Notebook until it was time to head for the train station.

Our three seasons, under Coach Dale Hall, seemed disappointing at the time. We lost three times to Navy. We did not win the Lambert Trophy or achieve any kind of national recognition. We were 4-4-1 in 1959, 6-3-1 in 1960, and 6-4 in 1961.

In retrospect, these seasons grow somewhat in stature. I remember a victory at Penn State and another over Syracuse in Yankee Stadium. There were two tough, hard-fought losses to Oklahoma in a home-and-home series. We played strong teams. Dale Hall‘s three-year record at Army as head coach — 16-11-2, .586 — has not been eclipsed since. If these were not Golden Years for Army football, they were our years and we should consider them 24 carat.

Although no member of our Class is an all-time Army football record holder, ’62 can be found many places in the football media guide, probably the best of all the Army sports media guides. It’s detailed, voluminous, interesting, and professional.

Our first mention comes with a description of the Kimsey Center.

Al Rushatz receives several mentions. First is his two touchdowns in the second half against Navy in 1960. He led the team in rushing in 1960 (648 yards) and 1961 (556). In 1961, Al had back-to-back 100-yard rushing games: 151 yards on 22 carries against William and Mary and 125 yards on 24 carries against West Virginia. Al stands 24th in career rushing yards and was seventh upon graduation, behind only Bob AndersonGil StephensonTommy BellGlenn DavisDoc Blanchard, and Pat Uebel, Davis and Bell having had four-year careers. Al also led the team in scoring with 10 touchdowns and a PAT for 61 points in 1960 and eight TD for 48 points in 1961.

Mike Casp‘s photo appears as our Captain.

George Kirschenbauer is listed as team leader in pass receptions in 1960 with 25 catches for 273 yards, an average of 10.9 yards per catch. Tom Culver led the following year with 20 catches for 305 yards, 15.3 yards per catch. (And we thought Tom spent his time in the coach’s dog house, at least some of us less-informed types did.) These ratings seem to be based on yards per catch. Tom’s 55-yard reception from “Dick Eckert” against Navy didn’t hurt.

The defensive records included in the media guide begin with 1963.

Dale Kuhns is cited as being selected for the 1961 North-South Shrine Game. This classic was played on Christmas Day in Miami, the South prevailing, 35-16. Did Dale go and play? How was it? Which great players did he tackle or open holes for? Was he excused from recitation the day he got back?

1962 receives no further mention with respect to regional or national honors, although I recall seeing framed certificates on the wall of the old Cadet Gymnasium attesting to some kind of all-American status for Al for one and perhaps others. I wonder if those framed certificates were safeguarded when the gym was taken down?

In recognition of the important and difficult, time-consuming responsibilities of the head manager, the media guide lists them all and “T.R. Davis” is included.

The list of lettermen includes Glen Blumhardt (1959, 1960 but not 1961), Barry Butzer (1960, 1961), Bob Fuellhart (1960 but not 1961), Pete King (1961), Dale (1959, 1960, 1961), Al (1959, 1960, 1961), Tom Culver (1961), Bill Whitehead (1959, 1960, 1961), and Paul Zmuida (1960, 1961). I am guessing that the “missing” years I have recorded are a result of injuries.

In 114 seasons, Army has compiled a record of 622-406-51 for a winning percentage of .600, our 0-13 record in 2003 costing us seven points off that mark. We are 49-48-7 against Navy.

150, Lightweight, Sprint Football

Army is and always has been a powerhouse in this sport, sometimes referred to as lightweight football but now officially known as Sprint Football.

Sadly, no official media guide was published last year and we rely on the current coach’s self-published Year in Review (YIR) for history. 

We learn from YIR that Army began play in 1957 and has racked up a terrific record of 238-47-2 and a winning percentage of .833. Navy accounts for 29 and Cornell 12 of the 47 losses and our overall record against the Squids is 31-28-1, .525. Army often plays Navy twice in a season. In 2003, for instance, Navy won, 14-0, in the Pride Bowl — the conference has sponsored an exhibition game each year since 1983 — and Army won the conference game, 30-25, and the conference title with it.

The YIR does not list lettermen, but Howitzer states that we produced 13 Army “A” Award winners: Ron BrownSkip CampbellBob CarrollRuss DeVriesBob DeVriesTurk GriffithErv KammSteve KottJohn Landry, “Jon Lynn”, Art PattarozziLarry Sanders, and Sonny SloanMac McRaeErnie Webb, “Dick Storat” (manager), and Jim Kays (assistant manager) also appear in the team photo. I am guessing that injuries prevented one or more of these four from being letter winners in their First Class years. For example, Jim Kays earned a major “A” for Yearling and Cow years. Ron Brown is shown twice as team captain.

Our teams went 5-1 in 1959, 1960, and 1961, losing to Navy all three years. We were league champions in 1960.

Nobody has ever given serious thought to my idea to rejuvenate the Eastern Sprint Football League, which now includes Army, Navy, Cornell, and a couple of other teams. Why do Army and Navy not field two teams each in the league: Army Black and Army Gold, Navy Blue and Navy Gold. The two Army teams would not play each other, nor would the two Navy teams: conflict of interest. But add two more solid teams to the league and it would take off.


Through spring, 2003, Army rang up a record of 405-170-13, a winning percentage of .700. Against Navy, the record is 27-35-1, .437. 

All this was done with very little contribution from the Class of 1962.

Dick Sklar is shown in the Howitzer team photo and he was Corps Squad golf for four years, but we had no golf lettermen. In fact, a Cow, John Woods ’63, served as team captain our First Class year. But, get this, he was not the captain his own First Class year! What is up with that?

If a copy of this report makes it to Dick Sklar in Russia, maybe he can explain this interesting turn of events.

We took golf in PE; it was called a carryover sport. And I know many of us are completely hooked on it. It all goes back to those several lessons on The Plain when “Mr. Sorge” explained golf terminology to us: “The fairway is that portion of the golf course ‘twixt tee and green.”


The patient reader of the media guide will be pleasantly surprised to discover rather impressive contributions by the Can Do Class to the 78-year history of Army gymnastics.

Now this sport hit me hard when we first met on the 5th, 6th, or 7th floor of the Cadet Gymnasium, whichever it was, plebe year gymnastics instruction. Coach Maloney and the enlisted soldier with the squeaky voice demanded things from us I, for one, was simply not prepared to give. Climb a rope? Stand on my head? Swing my legs over a pommel horse? Forward roll? It was a relief finally to do these ridiculously easy skills, take my 2.2, and move on to boxing.

Where I once got a 2.7 for making Seth Hudak’s nose bleed. I never properly thanked him. But I digress.

Then we attended the corps squad gymnastics meet to qualify for a fall out and the scales fell from our eyes. And now, spend 10 minutes watching Olympic gymnastics and we can properly appreciate the sport and our guys who excelled in it.

We were Eastern League champions in 1960 and in 1962. The latter team, Maloney’s last, was Army’s last Eastern League championship (although Maloney resigned after the first meet!). Phil Costain, team captain, was Eastern League champion in the horizontal bar in 1962. Howitzer states that Phil was named national champion in that event in 1962 but there is no mention of this accomplishment in the media guide. Furthermore, one would think that the national champion would also be named All-American, but, 

according to the guide, no Army gymnast made All-American between 1958 and 1994. Is this an oversight?

We were 10-0 in 1960 and beat Navy by four, 5-2 in 1961 and lost to Navy by one (!), and 7-0-1 trounceing Navy in ’62.

The guide identifies our letter winners: Phil Costain (2 letters), Warren (Steve?) Foote (1 letter in 1962 but he did not graduate with us; does anyone know why?), Ed Hendren (2), Larry Mooring (1), Ken Wallace (2), Merle Williams (2), and Will Worthington(1). Of those I knew, I always considered them the fittest looking of the fittest.

In 79 years, Army has compiled a gymnastics record of 512-248-6, a winning percentage of .672. We are 43-28-2 versus Navy.


In his final year, Ron Chisholm held opponents to 2.18 goals per game, an Academy record that has stood for 42 years. This is the only Academy individual or team record belonging to the Class of 1962.
Ron had a sensational career but this writer is only now realizing it. 

His 50 career wins in goal is third all-time and put him first by 13 wins at graduation.

His 1639 career saves is 8th all-time but was first by 41 saves at graduation.

His career goals-against average of 2.53 is 3d all-time but was first by about a full goal at graduation. 

His career save percentage of .905 is second all-time but was tops at graduation.

His eight career shutouts is second all-time but was first by five shutouts at graduation.

In addition to his all-time record for goals-against per game in First Class year, his Cow year mark is still 6th best and his Yearling year mark is 9th. Ron stood first, second, and third in this category at graduation!

His save percentage in his last year puts him second all-time but he was first at graduation.

His five shutouts First Class year puts him second but first at graduation.

He received the Henry “Hal” Beukema Award as the most valuable player on the hockey team in 1962.

By my count, then, Ron Chisholm held eight all-time Army hockey records when we graduated. Was it just me who did not know this?

The hockey media guide is a good one and mining this Ron Chisholm data from it resulted in the discovery of a very interesting sub-story, one that might support a mini-series.

The goalie for the 1962-63 season was “Jack Shephard”, ’63. The year after that, the goalie was “Neil Mieras”, ’64. So each of those guys got to start in goal for one year. Well, Shephard eclipsed Ron in three of the all-time goalie records and Mieras tied him for another! These three goalies put together a five-year run of excellence unequalled in the annals of Army hockey history.

So visualize Shepard and Mieras, top goalies, riding the bench for two full years waiting for the man ahead to graduate. I’ll bet there is a story there and I hope someone will come forward with it.

The excellent media guide makes mention of Dave Harkins’ generosity in donating funds for the team recreation room and includes a full list of letter winners with their career statistics:
Marty Bilafer (forward, 24 goals, 28 assists, 52 total points), Rusty Broshous (forward, 20-43-63), Dave Harkins (forward, 30-34-64), Albie Symes (forward, 35-43-78), “Fred Avis” (forward, 11-14-25, did not graduate), Ron Chisholm, and Paul Dobbins, our captain (defense, 16-61-77). 

We were 16-5-1 in 1959-60. That .750 percentage is 5th best in modern Army hockey history. In 1960-61, we went 17-8 and were 17-6-1 First Class year. That year gets glowing treatment in Howitzer: 18 wins if one counts a victory over THE SWISS NATIONAL TEAM!, trouncing of BC, a shutout of BU to snap a 28-game losing streak to them, and a trip to the ECAC tournament (losing to Harvard in OT).

Since 1904, Army is 989-833-74, a winning percentage of .552. 

Army has never lost to Navy in hockey.


I know for a fact that many of our classmates had never heard of lacrosse prior to Beast Barracks. One afternoon during that stirring summer, rain forced cancellation of mass athletics and lots of new cadets found themselves sitting on the floor of the Central Gymnasium watching a replay of the 1958 Army-Navy lacrosse game. Army had won, 17-12 and was named national champions. Some of us were seeing lacrosse for the first time.

I knew about it. While a kid at West Point one October, I was importuned into trying out for the youth lacrosse team. Some eighth grade goon stuck me in the goal with a mask and baseball catcher’s chest protector. I took two or three balls on the shoulder and inside thigh and gave up lacrosse. I walked home and as I entered our quarters on Wilson Road, I heard the TV in the living room: “And that brings Bobby Thompson to the plate with two on and the Giants down by two.”

Our class made a giant contribution to Army lacrosse during our three years. We shared the national championship in 1961. In 1962, Bob Fuellhart received the Schmeisser Memorial Cup for being the nation’s top defenseman. (Although it was Jack Reavillwho was singled out in Sports Illustrated because of his blue eyes.) In 1962, Al Biddison and Bob Fuellhart both made first team All-American.

Wait, there’s more. Al was honorable mention for All-America in 1960 and 1961. Bob was honorable mention for All-America in 1961. 

Butch Darrell honorable mention for All-America in 1961 and 1962. And old Blue Eyes was honorable mention for All-America in 1962.

And more. “Dick Ryer” joined Jackson, Al, and Butch at the North-South All Star game in 1962. I could not find anything on the web about this game, but it must have been played after graduation. Perhaps one of the four all stars will tell me about it.

No Army team since has sent four players to this game and no Army team has ever sent more than four players.

Of 108 names of all-time leaders in career and season points, career and season goals, career and season assists, career and season saves, and career save percentage, we find scant mention of classes earlier than about 1970: “Bob Miser” ’60 four times (he played three varsity seasons beforer coming to West Point), one guy from ’52, one from ’65, one from ’55, one from ’53, and “Norm Webb” from ’64. I think teams began scheduling more games a year and scoring soared after the giants who strode The Plain in the “60”s departed.

The list of lettermen includes “Dick Ryer” (one letter), Jack Reavill (1), “Dave Moore” (2), “Tom Middaugh” (3), Dave Harkins(2), Bob Fuellhart (2), Butch Darrell (2), Tom Culver (1), “Len Butler” (3), Rusty Broshous (2), Al Biddison (3), and “Mac Howard” (1).

As I say, these athletes were more important to Army lacrosse than we may have realized.

In 1960, we were 8-2, losing to Mt. Washington and Navy. In 1961, we were 9-2, losing to Mt. Washington and Virginia, beating Navy, and earning a share of the national championship. In 1962, we went 9-3, losing to Mt. Washington, Hopkins, and Navy.

Since 1907, Army has compiled a record of 657-285-7 for a winning percentage of .696. (I believe the media guide has an error in this calculation.) We are 26-49-3 all time against Navy.


Pistol is no longer an intercollegiate sport at West Point. This fact made it difficult to learn much about any contributions our class may have made to the program.

The Army Sports Information Office reported that it did not possess the archives from this sport. The OIC of the Cadet Pistol Club said the same thing. Later, I could not locate the Cadet Pistol Club on the Cadet Activities website. It appeared under Cadet Marksmanship Club and Cadet Competitive Shooting Club (which has beat Navy and Air Force three straight years).

Somewhere files exist that can tell us team and individual records over the years. Maybe this report will result in those files being located.

Our Howitzer, however, provides good coverage of the 1961-62 season. “Ray Pendleton”, “Dave Swick”, and “Bob Shuey” are singled out as Army “A” award winners. Dave is twice identified as captain of a team that went 7-1, finished first in the NRA sectionals, broke “the USRA intercollegiate record” and beat Navy.

Lee Pardi is shown as the team manager.

I never attended a pistol match nor do I recall ever meeting anyone who did. I won’t pretend to be ashamed of this shortcoming, but apparently our team was quite good and deserves to be in the spotlight, even this dim one I am shining.Nor can I say the event I will now describe actually happened but it might have happened. I’ll go so far as to say it must have happened.

It’s Army-Navy Winter Sports Weekend, 1962, at West Point. The Field House is packed for the basketball and wrestling contests. At some point that afternoon, we hear this from the PA announcer, “In Army-Navy competition this afternoon, in pistol: Navy, 1354. Army, 1377”. And a crowd of several thousand roars with approval to learn of this latest example of Army superiority.

Wouldn’t we all like to have an account of that sweet victory? A victory surely noted in the files but available to us now only in the 800 or so copies of the 1962 Howitzer. 

Questions remain.

Was the victory over Navy at home or in Annapolis? Is there “home court advantage in pistol?

What was that USRA intercollegiate record and how long did it stand?

What is or was the USRA?

Did their marksmanship help Dave, Ray, and Bob during their army careers? Were they able to continue to compete?

Members of the pistol team were also members of the Pistol Club. Was this a way to get around a lack of “off-season Corps Squad status” for our marksmen?

Was it even possible back then to go to a pistol match and have a place to sit down and spectate?

Finally, speaking as a bolo at Camp Buckner — I had to devote a Saturday afternoon to qualify in my second attempt — it is easy to respect those who can shoot a pistol well. As a lieutenant, I confirmed four incidents of soldiers harming or nearly harming themselves and others by mishandling the .45 cal pistol. And as a field grade officer shooting for familiarization at that same Camp Buckner range, I witnessed outstanding and competent fellow officers, officers who later commanded brigades and divisions, fire pistol shots that struck the ground 10 feet in front of their feet instead of targets 25 yards down range.


According to the media guide for Army’s rifle team, we have been competing since 1919 except for two periods when the program was discontinued: 1937-38 and 1995-96. The latter hiatus was due to a fire in the old rifle range. In 1932, competition was outdoors.

During that period, the guide reports that Army has compiled a record of 778-136, a winning percentage of .851. The 2003-04 team went 9-2 and lost to Navy at Annapolis, both teams breaking scoring records. Army’s team included men and women; a woman was our top shooter.

We look in vain for aggregate Army-Navy results. 

The new facility, which also houses the pistol team, is apparently quite wonderful.

Howitzer, but not the guide, informs us that “Ed Brown”, John DilleyJohn King, and “Joe Porter” were Army “A” Award winners and Ed is mentioned twice as captain. “Bob Martin” is pictured as manager.

I believe Bob did a good deal of firing himself. As he was in B-1 with me, I heard him relate some inside scoop on rifle marksmanship that was pretty interesting. There is a major mental component to it, I take it.

I wouldn’t know; I was a TRAINFIRE Marksman only. Everybody else I know made Expert or Sharpshooter. I could hit what I could see, however.

All these fellows had that club status thing going for them in the off-season. More power to them. 

And now we find our first mention of the Class of 1962 in the Army record book: John King was second team all-American in 1962! Who knew? Was a big deal made of this? I remember being presented with a certificate by the Commandant on the Poop Deck in recognition of B-1’s loss in the Brigade Intramural Basketball championship game (our coach, Ron Skarupa, was not available for some reason). John’s accomplishment deserved at least that spotlight.

I hope John will provide us some details.

Rifle went 8-0 our Yearling year, 6-3 Cow year, and 10-3 First Class year. During our Class’ three-year contribution to Army rifle, John King was the only shooter to achieve any all-American status.

Did the rifle team — and the pistol team, too, for that matter — make those fancy Spring Break trips to warm places like most off-season varsity sports do now? They couldn’t have gone far; we got off at 3:15 on a Wednesday and had to be back by supper formation on Sunday. At West Point now, I think that is called “short weekend”.


The soccer media guide informs us that Doug Morgan was named Regional All-American in 1961, one of 56 cadets to be so honored since 1959. As most of us knew nothing of the game back then, only now does Doug’s selection take on significance, at least for me. How did Doug — and the other lettermen listed in the media guide (Art Brown, “Ric Cesped”, Dick IrwinPaul Kirkegaard, “Sammy Samaniego”, John Schmidt) — learn the game well enough to play it at the college level? Sammy we understand, but the others? Perhaps they will tell us.

No mention of Art Brown as captain — we have to refer to Howitzer to confirm that the sleek goalie from C-1 had that position (I can see him yelling commands to his teammates all the way at the other end of the “pitch”) — and no other mention of our Class or our teams can be found in the media guide. Except the season records:

1959: 7-1-2
1960: 8-2-0
1961: 5-5-0

We lost to Navy all three years. 

Army soccer has an overall record of 561-330-105 (.616) in 82 seasons. We are 24-33-12 against Navy.


From what I could find, squash is neither a club nor a varsity sport at USMA and no archives were available to me. Again, maybe the distribution of this report will get those records out of the closet; we know they exist.

Again we turn to our Howitzer to learn what we can about Army squash, winter of 1961-62.

Our lettermen were Jim McQuillen, “Jim Peterson”, and Don Voss. The team photo also includes “Dave Windom” (manager) and “Rich Carlson”. Jim McQuillen is cited as captain.

In the absence of historical squash records, it is difficult to put the season in context. The team went 8-5, winning only one point each from the effete Ivy League powerhouses Harvard, Yale, and Princeton but shutting out MIT, Wesleyan, and Cornell and beating Trinity, 8-1. That win over Trinity looms large now, as Trinity has won the last six national intercollegiate squash championships and its coach is a former Army tennis coach.

Beating Trinity College in 1962 is something to boast about. Like bragging that Army football”s record against the University of Tennessee since 1984 is 1-0-1, both games being played at their place.

Most importantly, given no chance, we beat Navy, 6-3. Think about the number of times Army has upset Navy in any sport since we became involved in the rivalry and this victory stands out.

It was not easy to support the squash team by going to the matches. It was hard to find the courts, for one thing. There may or may not have been a place to sit. Few knew the rules until we learned them in Yearling PE. And there was always this uneasiness about playing without umpires and calling your own matches. We were at a disadvantage there; we had the Cadet Honor System. I always felt we had to be that much better under these conditions.

Here are my questions (and I welcome yours):

Did the same player get that one point against Harvard, Yale, and Princeton? Now that would be something to remember.

Where was that match against Navy played and how did we manage to win?

Is my sense of being at a disadvantage against the barbarians from other schools because of the Cadet Honor System overstated?

Doesn’t one use a different stroke in squash than in tennis and, if so, did that hurt “Jim Peterson” at all?

Were the two Jims, Don, and Rich ever to compete again in this sport? Or even play at all?


The Army swimming and diving teams of our era are the Rodney Dangerfields of Army sports history: no respect whatsoever.

The media guide has one Can Do class citation: Barry Thomas is listed as team captain, First Class year. 

To be sure, the media guide is all about now and the Class of 1962 is so five minutes ago. No “Army swimming history” no yearly records, no list of lettermen. Much space is devoted to the women’s team.

But just a glance at Howitzer is all you need to learn that the 1961-62 team BROKE EVERY ACADEMY RECORD (except one)!

Again: the 1961-62 team BROKE EVERY ACADEMY RECORD (except one)!

Using the analytical skills developed during 191/2 years of formal education, I conclude that Barry was a member of the record-breaking 400-yard free-style relay team and held the 50-yard free-style record when he graduated.

Then “Bert Finn” must have accomplished the same in the 400 yard free and “Steve Childers” in the breaststroke.

According to Howitzer, our letter winners were Barry, Bert, and Steve.

The media guide records Academy, pool, and plebe records in 14 individual and five relay events and four diving events. All these marks were set since 1977. The top ten times in the 14 individual events were likewise accomplished since 1977.

Everything is still in yards.

We were 11-4 in 1961-62 and lost to Navy.

Army swimming is 604-344-4 in 83 seasons for a winning percentage of .637. We are 29-37 against Navy. Army has won the Patriot League nine times in 14 seasons, including seven successive championships from 1992 to 1998.


According to the 2003-04 media guide, Army has compiled a record of 816-600-12 since 1920, a winning percentage of .576 (incorrectly calculated as .574 in the media guide.

The team’s record during the upperclass years of ’62 were 9-8 in 1960 (lost to Navy, 4-5), 6-9 in 1961 (lost to Navy, 1-8), and 11-6 in 1962 (beat Navy, 6-3) for a three-year mark of 26-23. That record includes 5 wins and 17 losses against Ivy League teams; we never beat Harvard, Yale, or Princeton during this period. “Lief Norlie” coached.

Army tennis is thriving now since joining the Patriot League. Since the spring season of 1995, Army has won the team title four times and finished second six times, losing out to Navy or American University each time. In three PL (individual tournaments)the Black Knights have won twice and finished second.

All tennis all-time individual records date from 1993; some team records are held by earlier classes, but not ’62.

Lettermen from ’62 were team captain “Jim Peterson”, Don Voss, and “Rich Carlson”. The team photo also includes Jim McQuillen.

From the media guide, I calculate the record against Navy as 27-48. In some years, we played the Squids twice, in some years not at all.

The Navy win in 1962 must have been sweet and wouldn’t we like to hear from Jim, Don, Rich, and Jim on this score?

Incidentally, regarding the Ivy League, in the early 1980’s, the Academy approached the Ivy League about joining them for football. This was prior to the Jim Young hire. The Ivy League position was that we would not be welcome because USMA, in effect, had an unlimited number of athletic scholarships.

Track & Field

Photo Ron Zinn, Olympics, Killed in Action – Vietnam

The Class of 1962 is hosed pretty well by the media guide. We can excuse the absence of the fact that Gary Brown held the Academy record in the pole vault for a while. After all, that record has been broken many times. And no doubt this athletic team does not receive abundant funding from ODIA as a “non-revenue-producing” sport, money being saved on the guide perhaps. So there was just no room in the guide for year-by-year season records, team captains, aggregate record against opponents, letter winners, and the like. 

It takes some digging in Howitzer to learn that the indoor track team defeated Navy in all three of our upper class years (although no member of ’62 seems to have been a member of the 1959-60 team). Howitzer also lists our letter winners: Gary Brown (team captain), “Terry Garwick”, Gus Gertsch, “Fred Gordon”, John JonesPete KingFred LaRoqueLarry MengelJerry SeayEd SpragueStan Thompson. The 1963 Howitzer adds “George Schein” and “Don Williamson”.

But how could the remarkable Ron Zinn not be included in the Army track and field media guide? He was a member of two US Olympic teams and I remember well watching the beginning of one of his Olympic races on television (black and white). He was in the lead as the walkers left the stadium. I was so proud of him and West Point I practically levitated.

The Gary Brown record prompts this thought: it would be a great thing to know what Academy records were held by ’62 at graduation.

Indoor track team records:

1959-60: 7-0, beat Navy; 1960-61: 3-3, beat Navy; 1961-62: 6-1, beat Navy by 2 points!

Outdoor track team records:

1960: 3-4, lost to Navy
1961: 2-5, lost to Navy
1962: 5-1, beat Navy by one point!

Wouldn’t you want some details of those two thrilling victories over Navy in 1962?


When we think about wrestling, our thoughts usually gravitate towards two images: endless repetitions of “sit out and turn in” in the Cadet Gymnasium during plebe wrestling instruction and Al Rushatz.

Al is featured prominently in the media guide. He is listed as team captain in 1962. His photograph appears in the pantheon of Army’s 14 All-Americans. He was third in the 1960 NCAA tournament at 177 pounds, won the Easterns at that weight the same year, and was Eastern runner up in 1961 and 1962 at 177 lbs. and 167 lbs. respectively. Only four Army wrestlers have ever done better at the NCAA championships than Al Rushatz, including the great double winner, Mike Natvig, Class of 63. Perhaps we can think of a way to memorialize our champion by getting a wrestling award named after him.

But Al R. was not the only outstanding wrestler in ’62. Buzzy Kriesel finished fourth at the Easterns as a Cow at 167 lbs. and Dale Kuhns was Eastern runner up at heavyweight as a First Classman. Howitzer lists Denny Benchoff, “Phil Burns”, and “Al McElhose” as additional Army “A” winners. In 1961-62, Al R. and Dale were 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. 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.

West Point’s Infamous Indoor Obstacle Course

Gray Matter – 17 March 2011 

Mention of the words “indoor obstacle course” to most West Point cadets or graduates, and you are bound to get an interesting reaction. For some, it recalls a recurring opportunity to set a record in physical education, or at least chalk up a maximum grade. For others, it means several afternoons spent in practice, attempting to cut a few seconds off the time required to negotiate an obstacle by improving one’s form, if only for bragging rights within one’s cadet company. For many, it was part of the natural course of events – neither feared excessively nor considered a great way to spend an afternoon. For some, however, images of “mission impossible” come to mind, due to inherent problems with height or upper body strength. All, however, unite in recalling the dry, dusty feeling in one’s lungs during the three laps on the indoor track that immediately preceded the finish line.

The indoor obstacle course now must be passed in order to graduate, and it is a devilishly intricate and demanding test of agility, flexibility, confidence and endurance involving eleven obstacles. Early versions arranged some of the obstacles in a different order, but the three minutes or so of hell remain about the same for all.

Nowadays, the first obstacle after the command of “Go” requires one to crawl under a low frame with a plastic or other sheet over the top. Hitting the supporting frame is slightly painful; bumping the sheet too much slows you down. Immediately following is obstacle two: a series of tires that forces you to raise your legs high to navigate without tripping. Not terribly difficult, but a single misstep can cause you to fall and lose precious seconds. An overly cautious approach costs almost as much time and runs the risk of being run over by the cadet who started 15-20 seconds behind you.

Obstacle three has changed in spirit, if not substance, over the years. It is a padded pommel horse draped in a mat, and at one time in the past, a dive, tuck and forward roll was required. Since military movement first became a part of the curriculum of the Department of Physical Education, now one’s hands may be placed on the horse and a vault executed with no other part of the body touching the horse. Also, a degree of subjectivity is introduced. A grader determines if you landed “under control” or not.

Assuming that you were under control and did not fall, you proceed to obstacle four, the shelf. It is a plywood platform about six or seven feet off the floor and supported by a pipe framework. One must grab onto the shelf – not the pipe framework – and pull one’s self onto the shelf. Then one faces obstacle five, the horizontal bars. Just navigate to the middle of the gym by walking on a pipe framework with vertical supports just far enough apart to challenge your balance in between supports. Being cautious again costs precious seconds – bounding from one support to the other like a monkey is faster. Then drop back down to main floor level and obstacle six, the suspended tire. Super athletes can jump feet first through the tire and slide their upper torso through on the run. Most cadets grab the two cables suspending the tires and then thrust their legs through, costing them about five seconds. Next is obstacle seven, the balance beam. Walk the entire distance without falling off, then jump down and execute a forward roll. Fall off or do a bad roll? Start over.

Obstacle eight is hated by the vertically challenged or those with less upper body strength. It is the infamous eight-foot wall. Get over it in any way possible without touching the vertical supports on either side. Easier for a tall cadet or those unafraid of rushing the padded wall at full speed, jumping up, and getting most of one’s body over on the fly. Obstacle nine is a horizontal ladder. Putting both hands on the same rung takes too much time. Alternating hands is faster, but only if you don’t fall. You have to start over if you do, and the clock is always ticking.

Take heart; the end is in sight. Of course, the finish line is on the indoor track above, and you are down on the main floor of the gym. Enter obstacle ten, the rope climb. Make it to the red line on the rope, jump onto the platform and climb onto the track. Getting your feet on the platform without reaching the red line with your hands will cost you a 15-second penalty; don’t make it up the rope and it costs you 30 seconds – enough to fail most cadets. Then you still have to climb a rope ladder up to the track and run anyway.

Once on the track, a helpful staff member hands you a medicine ball that you proudly carry around the track for one lap. Then you carefully place the ball into a bin and pick up a baton for another lap and another careful return to a bin. Then your dust-dry lungs must attempt to scavenge enough oxygen for a partial lap at full speed to the finish line. That or discover that giving less than everything you had left – even though you were certain that you had nothing left – puts you across the finish line at one second over the course record or the company record or the passing time for the indoor obstacle course test. There are several large plastic waste receptacles off to the left for those who need them. Better luck on the re-test. 

Your humble servant, J. Phoenix, Esquire 

Please forward guest articles, comments and suggestions for future topics to JPhoenix@wpaog.org. You may also sign up to receive Gray Matter directly at that same email address. 

Did you know that a number of previous Gray Matter essays may be found at http://www.westpointaog.org ?

R Day 1862

Dear reader, today we have a guest Gray Matter, written by Brian McEnany ’62, describing what approximated R Day for a member of the Class of 1862.

R-day in the mid-19th Century was not limited to a single day. The Post Adjutant’s arrival book documents quite a spread of time between the 1st of June, the first day candidates could arrive, and around the 20th of June when the medical examinations began. Our country was so large geographically that lengthy travel times were accepted. After all, the faster clipper ship from the West Coast still took 100 days. There was no transcontinental rail, and only the east bank of the Hudson River had a rail line. Stage coaches served the Academy from Suffern and Newburgh through Buttermilk Falls (now Highland Falls) and Canterbury (now Cornwall) for those arriving from the east. Steamers and sloops came up river from New York City or down from Albany daily to deposit new candidates at the South Dock for the long uphill climb to the level of the Plain.

On 10 June 1848, around mid-morning, Tully McCrea from Ohio and five other new candidates walked off the gangplank of a steamer from New York City. A sentry at the end of the dock recorded their names and directed them to Post Headquarters. They walk behind a cart loaded with their baggage up the dirt and gravel road to the level of the Plain above them. Three-quarters of the way up, the road branched to the left toward the Post hospital and the Mess Hall and to the right past a large, stone riding hall, the largest building of its kind at the time. 

Within a few minutes, the group halted in front of a Gothic building that served as the Post Headquarters and Library. Just in front of them, the stirring sounds of martial music could be heard. For the first time, the new candidates saw the precisely aligned ranks of the United States Corps of Cadets on parade as it marched and counter-marched in the summer sun. Crowds of tourists lined the grassy Plain to watch.

Tully and the other candidates opened the heavy doors to Post Headquarters and entered, while their baggage continued on to the cadet barracks. Inside, Tully entered the Post Adjutant’s office, where 1LT James B. Fry stood waiting behind a desk. LT Fry asked each of them to produce their conditional appointments and checked off their names. Tully signed his name in a large, red ledger book and filled in information about his family, their occupation, and his birth date, birth place, state and county. Next, Fry asked him to turn over all the money he brought with him. Candidates were not allowed to have any money other than the $30 per month that they received as pay, but they had to have at least $60.95 to cover the rent of a room and the purchase of any clothing needed. In return, they were given a small account book listing the amounts of their deposits. All their expenses were to be written in the book each month, as well as charges for some furniture items for their rooms, uniforms and books.

After all six candidates completed their processing, a soldier led them out the door and toward the Chapel, the Academy where they would take most of their classes, and the cadet barracks. As they passed through a sally port into the cadet area, a shower of gold buttons rained down from the loft above as the upperclassmen welcomed the new candidates. In the cadet area, the soldier led them to the 8th Division (Old Central Area) where an upperclassman awaited. The small group was herded into a room on the right of the doorway and immediately several upperclassmen – corporals and sergeants – began calling attention to their unsuitable posture, appearance and behavior. “Stand attention, Sir! Where do you think you are! Take off your cap! Put your heels together on the same line! Little finger along the seam of your pantaloons! [This exaggerated position of attention required that the palms face forward.] Button your coat! Draw in your chin! Throw out your chest! Keep your eyes 15 paces to the front and on that nail over there! Don’t let me see you wearing a standing collar again — and stand steady, Sir!”

After answering what seemed to be a thousand questions, Tully and two others were sent to their assigned room. Tully looked around the virtually bare, right hand room in the 7th Division, and then back at the other candidates – Cliff Comly from Ohio and Joseph Alexander from Georgia – all scared and over-awed by their introduction to life as a cadet. A loud bang and the door slammed open. A cadet Corporal from the 3rd Class entered. He handed Tully a printed piece of paper detailing the room arrangement and began explaining that the room was to be organized at all times. Minutes later, drums echoed in the sally port, and the stairwell rang with the thunder of new candidates rushing out the door to the cadet area. There they were formed up to march to lunch at the Mess Hall (current site of Grant Hall).

The column of gawky boys, clothed in civilian attire, had their eyes fixed on the collar of the boy in front of them. Several cadet Corporals circled and berated them – “Keep your toes pointed outward, Sir!” The drums and bugles played a bouncy martial air and the group lurched forward with a cadet Sergeant calling out “Hep, Hep, Hep!” Every once in awhile, one of them lost the step and trod on the heels of the boy in front. “Halt!” said the Sergeant, and immediately the Corporals descended upon them. Finally, they reached the front steps of the Mess Hall. Inside they stood in front of one of the twelve long tables until told to sit by the First Captain. Their meal was roast beef with potatoes, rice and beets, bread and gravy plus a bit of mince pie for dessert with coffee or milk, but the new candidates did not get to eat much of the meal. Within 30 minutes, the First Captain called them to attention and then commanded “Rise.” They rushed from the Mess Hall to line up to march back to the barracks. 

Upon their return, a cadet Corporal led them to the Commissary storehouse, where they were issued bedding (pillow, blankets, comforter), a water bucket, soap, a dipper, tin candle box, candles, candlestick holder, washbowl, broom, waste bucket, and a small looking glass. The clerk then handed them a slate, two slate pencils, ink, 12 sheets of paper and an arithmetic text. The clerk told Tully to tie all of them together in one of the blankets, push the broom handle through the loop, and hoist it on his shoulder for the return trip to the barracks. Many of the items issued to them that day were charged against their accounts, but the candidates would not be issued a uniform until after successful completion of the entrance examinations. In the interim, upper class cadets would tutor them in arithmetic and English grammar. 

The cadet Corporal returned to their room and informed them they were assigned to his squad. He explained how each of the items they brought back to the room were to be displayed and impressed upon them that when the drums began, they only had five minutes to be outside in the cadet area near the guardhouse. 

Evening meal was a repeat of lunch. Their marching was now getting more attention from upper class cadets as more new candidates joined the formation. More bugle calls were heard, and other cadets moved quickly into various parts of the cadet area. The evening meal was mostly leftovers from lunch. After returning to their room, Tully and his roommates were exhausted. Bugle calls and drums now controlled their entire day. Outside, a bugle played something called Call to Quarters. Tully opened his trunk and began to fold his clothing and place it in a wooden locker. He would have to purchase some new clothing soon, as today’s clothes were already stained and dirty. There was little time to write a note home – perhaps tomorrow there would be time to do that. At 10 o’clock, drummer boys tapped on their drum heads in the cadet area, and the bugler played Extinguish Lights. The upper class cadets yelled, “Lights out and get to bed!” Candidate Tully McCrea collapsed into his bed and quickly fell asleep. R-Day was officially over, but more excitement awaited him tomorrow.

Thanks to Brian for this excellent reconstruction; for a future Gray Matter, he will describe the testing that Tully and his classmates endured.

Your humble servant, J. Phoenix, Esquire

Please forward guest articles, comments and suggestions for future topics to JPhoenix@wpaog.org.

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Worth of a Class

May 26, 2002

LTG William J. Lennox, Jr.


United States Military Academy

West Point, NY 10996

Dear General Lennox:

Forty years ago, the West Point graduating Class of 1962, just over 600 strong, accepted their commissions into the armed forces of the United States and swore to support and defend the Constitution of our great nation. 

As this class observes its 40th reunion, we wish to try and assess the contribution of this class to our country. We do so in the belief that the contributions of this single class might be thought typical, as class after class makes equally important contributions, and provide a powerful endorsement of the Academy’s worth.

The question we address, then, is, “What is the worth of a West Point class?”

Military sociologists, politicians, journalists, soldiers, accountants, and critics will all answer differently, using different criteria viewed from a variety of perspectives.

But the biographies of the men from the Class of 1962, as they appear in The Register of Graduates and Former Cadets, USMA, allow a revealing glimpse of the contributions of a West Point class. Not all biographies are complete; many contain no career details at all. What you find attached to this letter, therefore, is an accounting that surely understates the contributions of a West Point class, but these are the contributions we know about.

We hope you will find this summary to be more than simply interesting. It may prove useful to you in explaining to others the unique place occupied by West Point in our nation’s past and present. Please accept it with the best wishes of the West Point Class of 1962 on the occasion of its 40th Reunion and the Academy’s Bicentennial.


George W. Kirschenbauer

Colonel (Ret.), US Army

President, USMA Class of 1962


The Worth of A West Point Class

Forty years ago, the West Point graduating Class of 1962, just over 600 strong, accepted their commissions into the armed forces of the United States and swore to support and defend the Constitution of our great nation. 

Here is an attempt to assess the contributions of a single West Point class to the nation.

Their campaigns included the Cold War, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Somalia, Desert Storm, Vietnam, and the war against terrorism.

They served 568 tours in Vietnam. 

Their wounded and killed in action were awarded 96 Purple Hearts.

Twenty-two died as a result of their service in Vietnam.

Their decorations and awards include:

A Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, awarded to a Marine. Another Marine earned the Navy Cross for exceptional heroism. An Infantryman won the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism.

140 Combat Infantry Badges while assigned as members of infantry or Special Forces units while engaged in active ground combat.

63 Silver Stars for gallantry in action performed with marked distinction.

26 Distinguished Flying Crosses for heroic action above and beyond the call of duty while participating in aerial flight. 

728 Bronze Star Medals, 156 of them for valor, and 48 Army Commendation Medals for valor.

709 Air Medals for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight, including 61 awards to recognize single acts of heroism.

10 Soldier’s Medals for non-combat heroism involving the voluntary risk of life.

26 Distinguished Service Medals for exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility, the highest award for service given by the Army and the Air Force, and 224 Legions of Merit, the next highest award for service. 

26 achieved General Officer rank, including 2 four-stars, one of whom was Army Chief of Staff and another a Commander in Chief. 

They commanded an estimated 900 company-level units, 116 battalions, 41 brigades, and five Army divisions. Their General Officers commanded 27 times. 

362 served until retiring, including 52 from the Reserve Component and 17 who were retired for disability.

They earned 487 post-graduate degrees, including 13 Doctor of Medicine degrees and 61 other doctorates.

Beyond their active duty contributions, the ranks of this class include 300 company presidents and vice-presidents , ten clergy, and a federal judge.

They raised $100,000 among themselves when they were least wealthy and distributed it to the widows of their fallen classmates to help with the education of their children. Collectively, they have donated over $13,000,000 to their Alma Mater.
By Dave Phillips

The Honor Code

Given by the Class of 1957


The purpose of the Cadet Honor Code is to foster a commitment to honorable living in cadets in preparation for their service as leaders of character for the Army. It is a baseline standard of behavior to which all cadets are expected to adhere. But, as part of their moral-ethical development at USMA, cadets are expected to go beyond this baseline and develop an understanding of the “spirit of the Code.” 

After ingraining the prohibitions of the Code in cadets, the Honor education program focuses on inculcating this related principle. Instead of teaching cadets just not to lie (a prohibition), the spirit of the Code emphasizes being truthful in all matters. The same goes for fairness (cheating), respect for others and their property (stealing), and professional responsibility (toleration). Cadets who live and abide by the spirit of the Code will never have to worry about violating the prohibitions of the Code. 

The spirit of the Code is embodied in the positive principle behind each of the Code’s four prohibitions. As an affirmation of the way of life that marks true leaders of character, the spirit of the Code goes beyond the mere external adherence to rules. Cadets who live only by the Honor Code do not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate. Cadets who live by the spirit of the Code will be truthful, fair, respectful, and professionally responsible. 


Honor has always been and will continue to be the foundation of cadet development at West Point. USMA’s Honor Code originated from a gentleman’s Code of Honor prevalent in the early officer corps. This “Code of Honor” was a broad concept, and in the Academy’s application it meant that a cadet was fundamentally honest and was to be accepted at his word. Not everyone agreed about what constituted a violation of the early Code, and until the mid-1920s, no attempts were made to place the Code into written form. Sylvanus Thayer stressed the importance of honor as an essential component of the character development of an officer and gentleman. Over time, the West Point community recognized that honor was the essential component of an environment in which discipline and education could develop the leaders of character for the Army and nation. The four tenets of the Honor Code originated at different times and were codified separately. 

LYING. Lying is the only one of the four tenets that has been a part of the Honor Code from West Point’s founding through today. Initially, the Honor Code was confined to rules against lying and requirements for integrity in the written and spoken word. 

CHEATING. The first attempt to expand the early Code beyond lying occurred when Sylvanus Thayer was Superintendent of the Academy. He considered cheating to be a violation of the Honor Code and announced that violators would be expelled. Expulsion for cheating faded out in the late 1800s. The USMA Adjutant in 1905 stated that if a cadet were caught cheating, his punishment would be severe, but would not necessarily warrant dismissal. He further stated that the Honor System at the time addressed only the standard that the word of a cadet is never questioned. However, two years later, in 1907, the Superintendent issued a written directive that placed cheating under the Honor Code, changing the Code to formally proscribe cheating. Acceptance and implementation, however, was not immediate. It was not until 1926 that the Academic Board responded with the particulars of how honor would apply in the classroom. But that same year the Superintendent stated in writing that initial honor violations in the classroom would be ignored; in effect, he granted cadets an automatic second chance. When the General Committee of the Academic Board requested clarification, the resulting policy established that if the first violation were flagrant, no second chance would be given. These rulings caused dissent and confusion, and as a result some instructors continued to give an automatic second chance at their own discretion for the next several years.

(The statement that cheating became part of the unwritten honor code in 1907 is incorrect. The correct date is 1905. The Superintendent acted soon after he learned of the adjutant’s response.)

STEALING. For many years, the Academy considered stealing a matter for the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or Army regulations. Stealing, the third tenet of the present Honor Code, was not included in the early Code but was rather a matter of regulations. Offenders were court-martialed; if found guilty, they were separated from the Academy as a minimum. Stealing did become a part of the Honor Code in the mid-1920s, though serious violators were then (as they are now) referred to court martial. With the addition of stealing as an honor violation, the Honor Code became “A cadet does not lie, cheat, or steal” and remained so until 1970. 

TOLERATING. It was not until after the Civil War that a sense of non-toleration of violations of the Code became common. The first formal institutional statements on that issue occurred during Douglas MacArthur‘s superintendency. Prior to MacArthur’s formation of an Honor Committee and formalization of the Honor System in 1922, honor enforcement was conducted primarily through cadet Vigilance Committees that took matters into their own hands. 

Throughout the 20th Century, West Point required non-toleration, though the policy was not officially promulgated until quite recently. While not formally declared initially, cadets were certainly aware that toleration was proscribed.

During the 1951 cheating incident, numerous cadets who had not cheated themselves but merely knew of occasions when other cadets had done so chose to resign in lieu of separation. —
(The White Paper is mistaken here, please read the small print below)

Editor’s Note — Over the years since 1951 a number of myths developed which have become accepted fact. The Academy made no effort to dispel these myths; being interested only in moving beyond the scandal. Eleven Cadets of the 94 found guilty of Honor Violations had never cheated but admitted under oath to knowing of the cheating, and stated they took no action to report it. There was corroborating evidence from other cadets who admitted cheating, to support the statements of the eleven. The Collins Board found the eleven guilty under the term “Guilty Knowledge”. As a result of subsequent case reviews, not one of these eleven Cadets was discharged, or resigned. Each was reinstated in the Corps of Cadets, with his Class, and 9 of the 11 Graduated.During the period, beginning in 1923, the year the Honor System was officially sanctioned, on through the 1951 incident, non-toleration was expressed differently than today. Annually, during those 28 years, “General Principals upon which the Honor Code was founded — ,” were restated in the Bugle Notes, the book of Plebe Knowledge given to each Cadet entering the Academy. Non-Toleration was expressed as “Every man is Honor Bound to report any breach of Honor which comes to his attention.”By the late 50’s the phrase “nor tolerate those who do” had became an equal part of the Code and in 1970 the phrase was formally added. In 1998 The Cadet Honor Committee made the grammatical correction so that the Code became “A Cadet will not Lie, Cheat, Steal, or Tolerate those who do” thus insuring no misunderstanding as to the obligation of a Cadet to report violations..References are at the end of this White Paper.Note information relating to the 1976 Cheating Scandal is at


The informal non-toleration policy became more official as time went by. The 1958 Honor Guide for Officers stated that each cadet is responsible for assuring compliance with the Honor Code and System and that if he does not do so, he too is violating the Honor Code. In 1970, the non-toleration clause, “nor tolerate those who do,” was formally added to the Honor Code. 

Throughout the history of the Honor Code and system, the concept of non-toleration has been the most problematic and the most difficult of the four tenets for cadets to internalize. Today, cadets continue to find non-toleration to be an uncomfortable issue–some have trouble with the critical notion that members of a profession must choose loyalty to the profession over loyalty to friends. Currently, cadet honor education emphasizes the concept that the non-toleration clause is a vehicle for cadets to develop the personal responsibility and obligation to enforce the ethical standards of character, conduct, and competence within the profession of arms. Reporting a suspected violation is necessary to maintain the collective integrity of the Corps and the Army, not a personal act directed at an individual. 

Exceptional provisions like the Non-toleration Clause, which hold the cadet to standards of behavior above and beyond societal norms, provide concrete and constant, if not always gentle, reminders of the extraordinary nature of their moral duty to the people they have freely chosen to serve. . .The way to be is to do. And unless the cadet can do, and ultimately be, all that is required morally, he or she will not have attained the moral-ethical standards required of a professional officer in our Army. 


A grammatical correction was made to the statement of the Honor Code in 1998. For several years, the grammatical imperfection in the previous version of the Cadet Honor Code (A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do) had been a subject of discussion among the Cadet Honor Committee, the Corps of Cadets, and the Staff and Faculty. In the spring of 1998, the Executive Staff actively explored the possibility of correcting the grammar without changing the meaning of the Code. Two events helped spur this action: 1) the planning for a Class of 1957 memorial to the Cadet Honor Code, and 2) the creation of the Center for the Professional Military Ethic. The Cadet Honor Committee wanted a properly worded code before it was carved into the memorial and before CPME began its outreach initiatives to the Army and the nation. In August 1998, the Executive Staff presented a recommended correction to the entire Cadet Honor Committee for discussion within their individual companies. On 29 September 1998, after careful consideration, the full Cadet Honor Committee, in a nearly unanimous vote, changed the statement as it read at that time (“A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do”) to the current statement: “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” This correction has not altered the meaning or the Spirit of the Honor Code. The grammatical correction adds clarity and strengthens the importance of non-toleration by making it co-equal to the other three tenets in the statement of the Code. 

The old wording implied that non-toleration was an added, perhaps optional, element of the code. The current wording undercuts that belief by connecting non-toleration in a grammatically tighter way to the first three forbidden acts. More important, cadets initiated and completed the action. 


Just as the statement, interpretation, and scope of the Honor Code have not remained static and unchanging, the procedures included in the Honor System to enforce the code have changed through the years. 

During the early period, when the Honor Code was generally concerned with lying, the Honor System was an informal enforcement process conducted first on a cadet-to-cadet basis and later through a cadet Vigilance Committee. The Academy became involved only in serious cases that had some official interest or impact. Otherwise, it appears that a “guilty” cadet was usually confronted by the cadet chain of command and asked to leave the Academy. 

In 1922 Superintendent Douglas MacArthur established the Cadet Honor Committee and formalized the Honor System. A two-tiered due process Honor System existed from 1926 until 1976. The first tier was a cadet hearing conducted by the Cadet Honor Committee when a violation was reported. In the second tier, a cadet found guilty by his peers could request a hearing before a board of officers or a court martial. 

If found not guilty at this second tier, the cadet was returned to the Corps but faced the unofficial punishment of the “silence” (before 1973). Since the “silence” was such harsh punishment, almost all cadets found guilty by the Cadet Honor Committee elected to resign rather than have a hearing before a Board of Officers. 

The “silence” ended in 1973 in the aftermath of a contentious honor case. The year before, the Corps voted on silencing a cadet who had been “found” as a result of a cheating incident but had been reinstated after an official review. Even though the results of the vote were decisive (80% in favor of silencing, 12% opposed, 8% not voting), the “silence” was not strictly observed. The ineffectiveness of the “silence” imposed in this case signaled the end of this practice. An important side effect of the end of the “silence” was the marked increase in the number of requests for a Board of Officers following “found” verdicts from honor boards. From September 1965 to June 1973, a total of 305 cadets were found guilty by the Cadet Honor Committee. Of those, only 15 elected to go before officer boards. During AY 1973-74, 10 of 25 cadets found guilty requested officer boards; during AY 1974-75, 14 of the 24 cadets found guilty at cadet boards requested officer boards. The end of the “silence,” in effect, made the option to select a Board of Officers a viable alternative to resignation. 

Later, following a 1976 cheating scandal, the USMA administration and the Corps of Cadets adopted several reforms, proposed in a series of reviews and studies commissioned to look at the Honor Code and System. USMA modified various academic procedures, including the practice of giving the same examination to cadets at different times during the class cycle. The Academy also became sensitive to the temptation to rely upon the special constraints imposed on cadets by the Honor System to enforce relatively insignificant requirements. “Using the Honor System to enforce regulations” by relying on the requirement for cadets to always tell the exact and whole truth also undermined the purpose of the System. 

With more and more cadets requesting officer boards, the cadet honor hearing had less impact and was becoming less and less a critical stage in the separation process. With 85% of the Cadets voting in favor of the proposed revisions, the Corps completely eliminated the two-tier system in 1977 in favor of a single “due Process” hearing at the cadet Full Honor Board level, now called the Full Honor Investigative Hearing (FHIH). From the Academy point of view, the two-tier system had become a procedural and administrative liability. It also had become a tremendous source of antagonism between the cadets and the Academy administration. Although there was one Honor Code, the two-tier system seemed to create different standards of enforcement, something that neither the Academy nor the Corps of Cadets could tolerate. 

Another key change to the Honor System after 1976 was the reintroduction of the concept of an alternative to the “single sanction” associated with a “found” verdict. Allowing “second chances” has a long history at the Academy, but such “discretionary” practices had disappeared in the 1940’s. The 1976 reviews and studies linked the single sanction of separation to an extremely serious underlying issue: cadet unwillingness to support the non-toleration clause of the Honor Code. Each of these studies recommended that West Point consider sanctions other than separation based on the individual facts of each case. Perhaps the most famous of these studies was the Report of the Borman Commission which recommended that “sanctions other than dismissal should be authorized for violations of the Honor Code.” In response to these recommendations, the Superintendent in 1977 began to exercise his discretion in deciding whether the sanction of separation or some developmental alternative was appropriate in any given case. This practice became a formal part of the Honor SOP in that year. 

Initially the Superintendent received little guidance on the exercise of discretion. In 1992, the Secretary of the Army provided specific guidance to the Superintendent directing him to evaluate all honor cases for possible discretion by applying the following criteria: intent, manner reported, resolve to live honorably, severity of the violation, and unusual duress at the time of the violation. 

These changes to the Honor System adopted in 1976, modified and streamlined in 1979 and 1988, fundamentally shaped the Honor System that exists today. The current procedures serve the needs of both the Academy and cadets — and most importantly ensure that the basic purpose of the Honor Code is still fulfilled. In addition the current System is designed to fully protect the rights of our cadets as they are being interpreted in the law and by the courts. A healthy balance has been struck between the essential demands that we place on the Code as an instrument of character development and the need to ensure fairness, thoroughness, and efficiency of process. 



Today, a 76-member Cadet Honor Committee fulfills two main functions – Honor Education of the Corps of Cadets and enforcement of the Cadet Honor Code. Current Committee composition includes an Executive Staff consisting of: Chairperson, Executive Officer, Secretary, Vice Chair for Investigations, Vice Chair for Education, Vice Chair for Liaisons, Vice Chair for Special Projects, Vice Chair for Mentorship, four Regimental Honor Representatives; and two company honor representatives, a Firstie (senior) and a Cow (junior), for each company. 


The Cadet Honor Committee investigates allegations of violations of the Cadet Honor Code brought to its attention. The investigative process begins with a company team (CT) initial inquiry. Following the inquiry, an investigative team (IT) from another company within the regiment conducts a thorough investigation and makes a recommendation. The Regimental Honor Representative (RHR) reviews the inquiry and investigation and makes a recommendation to the Vice-Chair for Investigations (VCI). If the three (IT, RHR, VCI) are not in agreement about whether to forward the case to an Honor Investigative Hearing (HIH) or to drop the case, the Chairperson of the Cadet Honor Committee will make the final recommendation to the Commandant. 

Once an investigation leaves the Cadet Honor Committee, the Special Assistant to the Commandant for Honor Matters (SAH) will review the case for completeness. After receiving legal advice on the case from the Chief of Special Actions in the office of the Staff Judge Advocate, the SAH takes the case to the Commandant. The Commandant reviews it and makes the decision to refer the case to an HIH, drop it, or send it back to the VCI for additional investigation. In practice, the Commandant normally accepts the recommendation of the Cadet Honor Committee. 

If the decision is to refer the case, an HIH is scheduled. The Cadet Board President (a First Class Honor Representative) and a Hearing Officer (from the SJA) run the HIH. The nine voting members of the HIH Board are the Board president, three other honor representatives, and five members of the Corps at large. The purpose of the HIH is to determine whether a cadet violated the Cadet Honor Code. To “find” a cadet in violation of the Honor Code requires a vote of six of the nine members. The standard of proof is defined as “more likely than not” for each element of the allegation. 


The Superintendent determines what sanctions to impose on all cadets found by an HIH Board to have committed an honor violation. The standard sanction for a violation of the Cadet Honor Code remains separation. 

Prior to deciding the disposition of a “found” cadet, the Superintendent reviews the entire case file. This file includes recommendations from the HIH board members, the Chair of the Honor Committee, the cadet company commander, the tactical officer chain of command, the Special Assistant to the Commandant for Honor Matters (SAH), and the Commandant. 

After receiving all of the recommendations and using the general criteria listed above, the Superintendent makes a decision on whether or not to grant discretion. He may grant discretion if he determines the violation does not represent that cadet’s overall character and it was an isolated mistake which the cadet can overcome with proper mentoring and guidance. If, however, the Superintendent determines the cadet has not fully accepted responsibility for his or her dishonorable act, cannot or will not live honorably in the future, or will not develop stronger character through the Mentorship program, then the Superintendent will not grant discretion and the cadet will be separated. 

Cadets receiving discretion are generally either turned back an entire class year, or their graduation is delayed until the December after their normal graduation date. In some cases cadets are sent to the Army, where a commanding officer in a “line” unit mentors the cadet and makes a recommendation regarding readmission. In a few special cases, especially for cadets early in their development cycle, the found cadet may be allowed to remain on track for graduation with his or her class. 

Though not always referred to as “discretion,” the notion of a “second chance” in select cases was not new to the Honor System when adopted in the 70’s. In the mid-nineteenth century, it was not uncommon to give a second chance to cadets who committed a violation of honor. In the 1920’s and 1930’s the second chance was not an espoused policy but still a possibility. The 1924 Chairman stated that cases of a minor nature were disposed of by disciplinary means. The 1930 Chairman said that while his committee would not offer a second chance, if an offense was a “small matter” the Honor Committee would not find the cadet guilty. The 1935 Chairman stated that a man with a record of truth and veracity would not be dismissed for a minor slip. 


If discretion is exercised, the “found” cadet is placed in a suspended separation status and enrolled in a mandatory USMA Honor Mentorship Program. The USMA Honor Mentorship Program is the keystone for helping cadets given discretion to overcome their mistake and to learn and grow from it. This program is a six-month process completed through one-on-one mentoring from an officer or senior non-commissioned officer. Some of the requirements of this program may include such actions as: conduct a self-evaluation using West Point’s Leader Characteristics (these are based on the current Army Officer Evaluation Report and include the Army Values and Leader Attributes, Skills, and Actions); participate in at least seven counseling sessions with the mentor; maintain a journal; write their own case in the first person for others to review, analyze, and learn from; present honor instruction; prepare a developmental project; conduct a role model emulation; and write a summary essay of their experience in the program. In some cases, separated cadets enter an Army Mentorship Program. In this program, a cadet serves in the active duty army as an enlisted soldier under the mentorship of a field grade officer. Upon successful completion of the mentorship program, they may reapply for admission to the Academy. 

To date, the Honor Mentorship program has been an overwhelming success. Those cadets successfully completing the program show greater understanding of their moral-ethical development and quite often assist other cadets in avoiding moral-ethical failures. 


When General Douglas MacArthur institutionalized the Honor System and USMA formally adopted the Honor Code, USMA also recognized to the need to educate cadets about the System while strengthening their character. The responsibility for education fell to the cadet Honor Committee. The Honor Committee conducted both formal and informal classes until 1982 when West Point implemented the Honor Education Program. Today, as part of the Center for the Professional Military Ethic’s (CPME’s) 67 hours of Values Education Training over four years, the Honor Committee conducts 20 hours of Honor instruction over a cadet’s first three years. In addition to the honor classes, the training consists of classes on respect issues, the Army Values, and the Professional Military Ethic. During the first year, the lessons focus on USMA Rules and Policies for Honor and Respect and their application to the academic, athletic, and barracks environment. During the second year, the theme is our Army Ethics Doctrine. The third year’s lessons focus primarily on Army Values and Ethical Leadership. In the culminating fourth year, the Values Education Program centers on the Professional Military Ethic and its practical application. Company Values Education Teams, consisting of both cadets and members of the staff and faculty, conduct this instruction, which includes the following topics: 

–Temptations to act dishonorably that lieutenants may experience in the Army, e.g., false reporting to meet standards, careerism, and deception by omission.
–Moral dilemmas as contrasted with self-interested behavior. 

–The requirements of the nation’s moral values, treaties, and laws. 

–The responsibilities of leaders in establishing an ethical climate in their units.

The formal four-year Values Education program is a significant improvement over similar previous Academy efforts. Of all the changes from times past that have led to the Honor System as we know it today, it is this enhancement in education and training that is having the most dramatic and positive effect. Values Education of the Corps of Cadets is a partnership effort of volunteer staff and faculty (officers, NCOs, and civilians) with the Cadet Honor and Respect Committees. The curriculum is professionally and progressively structured and designed to produce the leaders of character that our Army demands from West Point. The mandatory Values Education classes, which are the centerpiece of the moral-ethical education of today’s Corps, are a necessary step beyond and a far cry from the Academy’s earlier education efforts which often consisted of only a few formal classes for new cadets during “Beast Barracks” followed by informal cadet discussions in the “sinks” or hallways of the divisions during the academic year. 


The Superintendent has several means at his disposal to review, assess or otherwise obtain feedback on the health and vitality of the honor code and system. They include: 

Superintendent’s Honor Review Committee (SHRC)

The SHRC, consisting of cadets and members of the Staff and Faculty, meets monthly and publishes an annual report on various aspects of the Cadet Honor System. At the end of each academic year, the Superintendent mandates a charter to the SHRC from which the committee derives the tasks it will accomplish during the upcoming academic year.
The major finding in the most recent SHRC Report was that “The Honor System continues to play a prominent, productive role in the West Point Experience by providing the foundation for the process of character development.”
Corps Honor Survey. The Office of Plans, Policy, and Analysis (OPA) administers an Honor survey for the Corps of Cadets every two years in January. The survey gathers information about cadet attitudes and perceptions relating to the Honor Code and System. The statistical analysis of the Corps Honor survey provides the Superintendent with an assessment from the Corps on the state of the Honor Code and System.
In the most recent (1998) Corps Honor Survey, 92% of the Corps provided a positive response to the following two questions (with only 2 % providing a negative response):
I am confident I have the ability to apply the ethical principles of the Honor Code to situations I will encounter as a commissioned officer.

I will live by the spirit of the Honor Code once commissioned.
Commandant’s Sensing Sessions. The Special Assistant to the Commandant for the Respect Program coordinates sensing sessions between the Commandant and different cadet populations. During the academic year, between six to eight sensing sessions take place. The Commandant uses these sessions to receive input on cadet perceptions and attitudes on a wide variety of topics, to include the Honor Code and System.
Cadet feedback summarized in minutes from recent sessions completed this Academic Year includes the following:
“All agreed that honorable people do not lie, cheat, or steal.”
” — the Corps internalizes the Code and they are glad that it is in place.” 

Battalion Commander’s Survey. The Office of the Dean coordinates an annual survey of recent Battalion Commanders at the Army War College. Ethical conduct and values of West Point graduates are two of the topics surveyed.
On those subjects the Survey reported: “West Pointers are thought to exemplify Army values, approaching their jobs and soldiers with integrity and respect. Moreover, they can reason through ethical dilemmas.”
Middle States Accreditation Assessment. The Academy receives its academic accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Every ten years, the Academy conducts an extensive self-study and hosts an accreditation team from Middle States that evaluates the Academy’s success in achieving its mission. The most recent MSA report, while not specifically reviewing the Honor Code and System, highlighted them as a key aspect of the USMA experience.
“The commitment to moral-ethical development engages all members of the West Point community. The establishment of the Center for the Professional Ethic, has great potential as a source of integrating and coordinating activities and initiatives in the areas of honor, respect, values based education and leadership development.”
First Class Survey. OPA conducts a survey of First Class cadets every spring to measure their perceptions of the four-year developmental experience at USMA.
The vast majority of the Class of 1999 who responded to the First Class survey indicated their moral and ethical development (i.e., sense of integrity, honor, service, respect for others, etc.) was important to them while at USMA. 


The Honor Code will always be more than just the baseline standard of ethical conduct expected from all cadets while they are at USMA. As it always has in the past, it will continue to serve as an inspiration to cadets to go beyond simple proscriptions, and, once they graduate, to live an honorable life, abiding by the spirit of the Code, while serving as commissioned leaders of character in the United States Army. The Honor System will continue to maintain its two major purposes at West Point — educating the Corps on the concept of honorable service and investigating allegations against members of the Corps who may not have upheld the standards of the Code. The Cadet Honor Committee, with assistance from the Center for the Professional Military Ethic and the chain of command, will remain the primary administrators of the Honor System and the Corps’ vanguard for communicating and upholding the principles embodied in the spirit of the Code. All three — the Honor Code, System, and Committee — must be continually guarded and shaped by those who recognize the critical balance that must be struck between time-honored principles and the need to adapt certain procedural aspects to meet the demands of changing conditions. 

And, while the Honor Code and System have undergone changes over the last two centuries, the mission of West Point to produce leaders of character to serve our Army and our nation, and to fight and win the nation’s wars will never change. The Code and System, so critical to leader development at the Academy, will be subject to constant review and vigilance to ensure its most important functions are fulfilled. There is no higher priority for the leadership of the Academy than to ensure the viability, relevance, and integrity of Honor at West Point.


Chapters 8 & 10 of “A Return to Glory” by Bill McWilliams —

A two-part series article published Nov-Dec 2001 and Jan-Feb 2002 issues of the Assembly titled “The 1951 Honor Incident: Myths, Facts, and Lessons.”

Additional InformationA Sports Illustrated article in the 13 November 2000 issue seriously mishandled the truth. Some of the former Cadets interviewed for the Article provided information which did not correspond to their testimony before the Collins Board. (The 1951 Academy Investigative Board) In addition the article was completely lacking in fundamental knowledge or understanding of the code and system of that era. The Academy has steadfastly refused to release the names of the cadets discharged. It was a long standing policy not to release the names of cadets discharged for honor violations. In 1951, when the absolutely unprecedented incident blew up in everyone’s face, the Academy stuck determinedly to that policy – for three primary reasons. The institution wanted the men involved to be able to start their lives anew somewhere else, and not be dogged publicly, or labeled as criminals. The Academy was also well aware that families and friends would also be besieged by media if the names were released. And last, it was simply the right thing to do. Although some of the discharged Cadets have come forward on their own. This was the policy and is the policy today — a principal established long before our current attitudes toward our “Rights to Privacy”. In fact, the Academy was so determined not to release their names, the public affairs officer, when confronted by phone, by a muckraking journalist, who had obtained some volunteered names and called to say he was “going public” with them, then proceeded to demand the rest of the names be released, drew a sharp response from the Public Affairs Officer — the response was that the Academy would join with the parents of the discharged Cadets in court action against him if he released the names. Another group of associated (organized) journalists, threatened to sue the Academy to obtain release of the names. The Army and the Academy refused, and probably told them the same thing.

The Day We Lost Our President

Originated & Edited by Roy 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 BroshousTed 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

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.

Pete 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 apartment 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 21 times. Mike Ashapa our 2/48 S-4, told me he was in his office down the hill – everything shook and he was afraid the windows might shatter.  I stood outside near the guns, at attention, rendering the Hand Salute.
62′ had been given General MacArthur’s expectations in May and our President’s gave us his on June 6.   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.

Ed 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.

Denny 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

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.

Butts 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.

Dave 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.

Richard 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 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 LOG1962JFK@aol.com 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

American Rhetoric

General Douglas MacArthur

Sylvanus Thayer Award Acceptance Address

delivered 12 May 1962, West Point, NY

General Westmoreland, General Grove, distinguished guests, and gentlemen of the Corps!

As I was leaving the hotel this morning, a doorman asked me, “Where are you bound for, General?” And when I replied, “West Point,” he remarked, “Beautiful place. Have you ever been there before?”

No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a tribute as this [Thayer Award]. Coming from a profession I have served so long, and a people I have loved so well, it fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But this award is not intended primarily to honor a personality, but to symbolize a great moral code — the code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved land of culture and ancient descent. That is the animation of this medallion. For all eyes and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated in this way with so noble an ideal arouses a sense of pride and yet of humility which will be with me always.

DutyHonorCountry: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.

Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

But these are some of the things they do: They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation’s defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid. They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions, not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future yet never neglect the past; to be serious yet never to take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

They give you a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory? Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then as I regard him now — as one of the world’s noblest figures, not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give.

He needs no eulogy from me or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast. But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. In 20 campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people. From one end of the world to the other he has drained deep the chalice of courage.

As I listened to those songs [from the glee club], in memory’s eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs, on many a weary march from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle-deep through the mire of shell-shocked roads, to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of  God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always, for them: DutyHonorCountry; always their blood and sweat and tears, as we sought the way and the light and the truth.

And 20 years after, on the other side of the globe, again the filth of murky foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts; those boiling suns of relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms; the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails; the bitterness of long separation from those they loved and cherished; the deadly pestilence of tropical disease; the horror of stricken areas of war; their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory — always victory. Always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men reverently following your password of: 


The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong.

The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training — sacrifice.

In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him.

However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind.

You now face a new world — a world of change. The thrust into outer space of the satellite, spheres, and missiles mark the beginning of another epoch in the long story of mankind. In the five or more billions of years the scientists tell us it has taken to form the earth, in the three or more billion years of development of the human race, there has never been a more abrupt or staggering evolution. We deal now not with things of this world alone, but with the illimitable distances and as yet unfathomed mysteries of the universe. We are reaching out for a new and boundless frontier.

We speak in strange terms: of harnessing the cosmic energy; of making winds and tides work for us; of creating unheard synthetic materials to supplement or even replace our old standard basics; to purify sea water for our drink; of mining ocean floors for new fields of wealth and food; of disease preventatives to expand life into the hundreds of years; of controlling the weather for a more equitable distribution of heat and cold, of rain and shine; of space ships to the moon; of the primary target in war, no longer limited to the armed forces of an enemy, but instead to include his civil populations; of ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy; of such dreams and fantasies as to make life the most exciting of all time.

And through all this welter of change and development, your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable: it is to win our wars.

Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purposes, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishment. But you are the ones who are trained to fight. Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory; that if you lose, the nation will be destroyed; that the very obsession of your public service must be:


Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men’s minds; but serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation’s war-guardian, as its lifeguard from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiator in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded, and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice.

Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government; whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing, indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as thorough and complete as they should be. These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night:


You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the nation’s destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds. The Long Gray Line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses thundering those magic words:


This does not mean that you are war mongers.

On the contrary, the soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.

But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”1

The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished, tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield.

But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point.

Always there echoes and re-echoes: DutyHonorCountry.

Today marks my final roll call with you, but I want you to know that when I cross the river my last conscious thoughts will be of The Corps, and The Corps, and The Corps.

I bid you farewell.