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.

Currently the ’62 endowment stands at 4.8M, Our participation is 89%.
By Dave Phillips