Winter 2002 Taft Bulletin

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Alumni in the



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B U L L E T I N Winter 2002 Volume 72 Number 2 Bulletin Staff Editor Julie Reiff Director of Development Chip Spencer ’56 Alumni Notes Anne Gahl Karen Taylor Design Good Design Proofreader Nina Maynard

Bulletin Advisory Board Bonnie Blackburn ’84 Todd Gipstein ’70 Rachel Morton Nancy Novogrod P’98, ’01 Josh Quittner ’75 Peter Frew ’75, ex officio Julie Reiff, ex officio Bonnie Welch, ex officio Mail letters to: Julie Reiff, Editor Taft Bulletin The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. Send alumni news to: Anne Gahl Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. Deadlines for Alumni Notes: Spring–February 15, 2002 Summer–May 30, 2002 Fall–August 30, 2002 Winter–November 15, 2002 Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. 1-860-945-7777 This magazine is printed on recycled paper.


On the Cover


Invisible Rewards: Horace Taft’s Motto in Action 16 Page 5


By Barclay Johnson ’53 The Taft Bulletin is published quarterly, in February, May, August, and November, by The Taft School, 110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795-2100 and is distributed free of charge to alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends of the school.


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The eagle is one of the most enduring symbols of American patriotism, and what better way to illustrate the values of strength and freedom our country stands for than this powerful bird in flight, patrolling the skies as our own servicemen do. For a closer look at alumni who’ve answered their country’s call to duty, turn to page 16.

From the Editor




Alumni in the News


Olympians to watch, a new collection of songs, All-American sisters, starting the year off right, a show in Toronto, and alumni games on campus.

Around the Pond


Visiting poets, “royal” theater, community service, gallery shows, new spiritual spaces, honored students, and Brazilian dancing.



E-Mail Us! Now you can send your latest news, address change, birth announcement, or letter to the editor to us via e-mail. Our address is Of course we’ll continue to accept your communiqués by such “low-tech” methods as the fax machine (860-945-7756), telephone (860-945-7777), or U.S. Mail (110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795-2100). So let’s hear from you! Taft on the Web: News? Stocks? Entertainment? Weather? Catch up with old friends or make new ones, get a job and more!—all at the new Taft Alumni Community online. Visit us at What happened at this afternoon's game?—Visit us at the new for the latest Big Red coverage. For other campus news and events, including admissions information, visit our NEW main site at, with improved calendar features and Around the Pond stories.

Four fall teams compete in New England Championships By Steve Palmer

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Letter Home By David Kenyon Webster ’40

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Emily Bogrand ’03 and Dru Palmer in the Fathers’ Day musical production of The King and I. For more on the show, turn to page 9. BOB FALCETTI








From the Editor I met with Willy MacMullen for the first time as head of school on September 6, the Thursday before classes began—the Thursday before terrorism rocked our world. Willy and I discussed the next few issues of the Bulletin and the stories we’d like to cover. I proposed a new series of winter theme issues (some of you may remember the department profiles that ran every winter for several years), which would explore themes of service and to profile alumni who contribute to the greater good in unusual or compelling ways. I had long wanted to dedicate an issue to those in the ministry; as an institution devoted to learning, it also seemed fitting for Taft to devote another issue to educators outside our own walls. Willy proposed, given the number of graduates in recent years who’ve chosen to serve their country, that we might do an issue on alumni in the military. And then it happened. On September 11 our world changed in unforeseeable ways, and there was no doubt in our minds that the first issue in this new series would focus on those who made defending our country their careers. We also knew, having concerned ourselves for many years primarily with keeping mailing addresses up to date, that it would be an enormous task to identify and contact all alumni in the armed forces. And we know we have missed many, but the sixteen alums you’ll hear from in this issue give us some idea what it means to serve and defend one’s country. Their stories and their courage are compelling, and we are honored to have them in our ranks. Still, this editor knew she was out of her element, not knowing the difference between a regiment and a platoon. And so the task of making sense of the whole and of putting these biographies into perspective fell to the capable and generous pen of teacher emeritus Barclay Johnson ’53, a man as familiar with tanks as he is with Keats and Faulkner. I am profoundly in his debt. Not to lose sight of our president’s advice, life on and off campus continues to be exciting and full of its own challenges. From our Olympians in Salt Lake (page 6) to talented student actors, visiting poets, and volunteers, Tafties from all walks of life make each day a new adventure and its own reward. Please, let’s hear from you. —Julie Reiff


Taft Bulletin Winter 2002

Back to Schuyl On page 11 in the “Competition” item, you were doing just fine until you referred to Philadelphia’s “rowing river.” Your near-phonetic spelling just doesn’t cut it. Were you to use a phonetic spelling, “schoolkill” with just the slightest hint of the initial “l” would be pretty close, but hereabouts we spell (and pronounce) it “Schuylkill” (again with just a hint of the initial “l”). Don’t ask me how the Dutch managed to name the river that graces Billy Penn’s Faire Countrie Towne, but we are grateful that the Welsh with their double “l”s and other unpronounceable and unspellable letter combinations were pretty much limited to naming the suburbs, even before there were suburbs. —Bill Keen ’50

Sailors Both I was delighted to see the article about Cindy Thebaud ’81 in the fall 2001 Bulletin. I had a small part in developing the story for Greenwich Magazine as can be seen by the quote from yours truly on page 23. I always felt that my total experience at Taft was an important factor in the success I had in the Navy and in business and charity work thereafter. I’m sure that, over half a century later, Cindy would agree with me! —Bob McCullough ’39

Dear Old Dad I wish that my father, who died a little over a year ago, could have read the fall edition of the Taft Bulletin. He, as the proud father of two alumni, Gary ’67 and Dick ’72, would have felt compelled to write. “Beyond the Promise of Command” and “Around the Pond: Those Teaching Moments,” would have touched his heart and his mind. You see, my father had two careers, one as a naval officer and one as an Episcopal priest.

My father, Edgar, wanted to go to the naval academy, but his father—who went to the western front and covered the First World War as a correspondent for the United Press in Europe—probably did not want his son to get involved in combat. But after a postgraduate year at Phillips Exeter Academy, my father went to Yale instead, where he got involved in NROTC. My father was enamored by the patriotic media of the time, like the battleships shown on the newsreels in local theaters. After graduating with a BA in English and a commission as an ensign USNR, my father went to work as a cub reporter for the Wilmington (Del.) Morning News. In 1940, after attending nonpaying naval reserve meetings in Philadelphia, he applied for his orders to active duty, entered in June, and was assigned to put the USS Conner (DD72) in commission at —continued on page 24

We welcome Letters to the Editor relating to the content of the magazine. Letters may be edited for length, clarity, and content, and are published at the editor’s discretion. Send correspondence to: Julie Reiff, Editor • Taft Bulletin 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. or to



Whitewater and Oils Do Mix Kendall Ayoub ’92 leads whitewater canoe trips, sea kayaking expeditions, cross-country skiing and hiking trips, and basic winter camping skills and dogsled trips as a full-time employee for Outward Bound Canada. But after injuring her back on a whitewater canoe expedition in August, Kendall has found time to pursue her other love: painting. Kendall held a show of her work at Gallery 109 in Toronto, Ontario, from December 7–21. Titled “Natural Reality: an exhibition of art celebrating awareness, spirit, and the elements of life,” the show featured 11 of Kendall’s representational oil paintings, and a dozen landscape and wildlife photographs by her Outward Bound co-worker Mike McKenzie. They devoted 10 percent of all sales to support the World Wildlife Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute. “We rented a space, promoted and put together the entire show on our own time,” said Kendall, who left for Guatemala in January. “It proved to be an incredible endeavor and experience.” Kendall received her BFA in major painting and drawing from Concordia University in Montreal and worked on 2-D and 3-D animation projects for video games while holding down studio space in Old Montreal before training to lead wilderness trips. She has received two grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation for excellence in figurative/ representational painting. She will hold a show of her work next year in the Mark Potter ’48 Gallery and will visit campus as a Rockwell artist. Joseph After Work, oil on canvas by Kendall Ayoub ’92, 5’ x 3’ Taft Bulletin Winter 2002




See Them in Salt Lake Ice hockey players A.J. Mleczko ’93 and Tammy Shewchuk ’96, both of whom continued their training under Coach Katey Stone ’84 at Harvard, compete again this year at the 2002 Winter Olympics … against each other. A.J., a veteran of the gold-medal Nagano team of 1998, has her second shot at a medal with the U.S. team, while Tammy, a multilingual (French, English, and Ukrainian) native of St. Laurent, Quebec, plays for Canada. Tammy has already taken home two gold medals in two World Championships and was Harvard’s leading scorer in 2001, breaking A.J.’s Crimson record of 257 career points. Captain of the Harvard squad her senior year, after the 1998 Olympics, A.J. enjoyed the most prolific scoring season in the history of women’s intercollegiate varsity ice hockey with 114 points in 34 games. A face-off specialist in Nagano, A.J. now plays defense for the U.S. team. MONTREAL GAZETTE


Taft Bulletin Winter 2002

All-American Sisters Emily Townsend ’99 and sister Brooke ’02 of Houston, Texas, are two big reasons the Big Red has gone to the New England Championships in field hockey for the last seven years; so it’s little surprise that they both earned AllAmerican recognition this year—Emily at Princeton and Brooke here at Taft. Emily, a first-team All-America selection, a first-team All-Ivy and MidAtlantic Regional All-America selection, was the only returning starter in the Tigers’ defensive corps and was its leader all season. She finished the season second on the team in scoring with 26 points (11 goals, 4 assists). She was a second-team All-America in 2000. Princeton’s 17–3 season came to a close with a 4–2 loss to Michigan—the eventual national champion— in the opening game of the Final Four. Brooke led her team to a 15–3 season and a number 2 ranking in New England. In addition to her All-American status, she was named first-team All-New England, a WNEPSFHA All-Star, and a Founders League All-Star. For more on the team’s success, turn to page 14.

Accident or Inspiration Fans of Mary Chapin Carpenter ’76 and neophytes alike will enjoy Time*Sex*Love*, her first collection of new material in five years. Composed chiefly of thoughtful ballads about the quality of life and the choices we make, Time* Sex* Love* is “an impressive collection, melodic and sharply produced,” writes “The Dreaming Road” and “King of Love,” they add, “are finely crafted and often hauntingly beautiful.” “Hit singles like ‘Down at the Twist and Shout,’ ‘I Feel Lucky,’ and ‘Passionate Kisses’ have habituated us to a breezy Carpenter,” writes guitar columnist Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, “when in fact the balance of her music has been serious-minded storytelling and bittersweet confession.” Her contemplative lyrics are a refreshing break from the platitudes of pop music and reveal an artist who can, writes Billboard, “effectively blend attitude and sensitivity.” In “The Long Way Home,” Mary Chapin sings, “Somehow she forgot about what got her there/Accidents and Inspiration lead you to your destination.” However she got there, this is a destination well worth listening to.


Alumni Games


A few loyal and familiar faces returned to campus in January for the annual Winter Alumni Games and gave the varsity squads a run for their money. Only the alumnae hockey squad proved victorious (with a little help from uppermiddler Shannon Sylvester—daughter of Paul ’74—and teammates Kalie Townsend, Nicole Mandras, and Jenn Sifers), but all agreed it was a great opportunity to play in a first-class facility and have some fun. Squash: Peter Frew ’75, Andrew Bogardus ’88, Darcy Bentley ’88, Jon Spencer ’88, Bill Morris ’69, Will Morris ’97, and Peter North ’62.

Men’s hockey: Guy Erdman ’68, Fred Erdman ’71, Carl Erdman ’77, Head of School Willy MacMullen ’78, Coach Mike Maher, Scott Richardson ’82, and Peter Maro ’83.

Alumnae team: Sara Coan Carr ’88, Marian Reiff Cheevers ’74, Avery Flinn Brighton ’80, assistant coach Kelley Roberts Bogardus, Margot Huber Heckler ’77, assistant coach Kate Fox, Ginger Kreitler ’94, and varsity coach Jess Clark ’94.


Starting the Year Off Right The spring sun casts a natural spotlight on Dave Jenkins ’97, the lone senior captain of the 2001 University of Virginia men’s lacrosse team, as he graces this year’s cover of the Inside Lacrosse calendar. Dave received the Dr. Allen Voshell Award as one of the team’s most valuable players for the 2001 season. As the team’s primary face-off specialist, Dave claimed 57.9 percent of his draws during the spring and finished 16th in the nation. He also led the ACC for the second year in a row with 106 ground balls. He finished his career second in school history with 426 face-off wins. Dave also received the Harry Gaver Award for leadership for the second year in a row. Playing as a defensive middie, in addition to his role as the team’s face-off leader, he scored four goals and added two assists last spring. But don’t worry; Dave’s time in the limelight isn’t up. He’s now a member of the MLL Boston Cannons … and his calendar cover photo runs again in March. For more information, or to obtain a copy, visit

Taft Bulletin Winter 2002



pond School Acquires Former Town Library

The former Watertown Library, circa 1884, now Walker Hall, takes on new life as a place of intellectual and spiritual reflection for Taft students. COURTESY OF THE WATERTOWN HISTORICAL SOCIETY 8

Taft Bulletin Winter 2002

Around 1926, Horace Taft asked architect James Gambel Rogers to design his school’s chapel. Rogers had already finished the designs for Charles Phelps Taft Hall and construction was about to begin. The chapel was to be the crowning piece to the buildings around MainCircle. But the Stock Market crash of 1929 quickly changed all plans. The absence of a place on campus for worship and reflection has been filled, at least in part, with the recent purchase of the original Watertown library. The stone library—located on DeForest Street between the last faculty residence on that road and the Congregational Church and parsonage—was built circa 1884 and is on the National Registry as a historic building. It has most recently served as a Lutheran church, although the fireplace tiles depicting scenes from Shakespearean plays serve as a reminder of the hall’s original purpose. School chaplain Michael Spencer stops short of calling the new property a

King for a Weekend

Peter Granquist ’03 and Eleanor Gillespie ’02

Senior Andrew Belcher as the King and Emily Bogrand ’03 as Anna in the Fathers’ Day weekend musical, with beautifully designed sets by director Rick Doyle. BOB FALCETTI

chapel. “The hall could serve as a sacred space in which the spirit of community is honored and celebrated, a space where individuals from various faiths, spiritual questers, atheists, and agnostics, could gather together. It will be a space for reflection,” he says, “intellectual and spiritual as well as musical.” The new space will significantly expand the ability of the Chaplain’s Office and the music department to nurture the spiritual life of the community and provide an exciting space for musical and dramatic performances. “The marriage of spirituality and music/drama is old and enduring,” says Spencer. “They complement one another well.” The acoustics in the building are reportedly better than those of the Choral Room, which makes the space ideal for smaller Vespers, holiday celebrations, coffeehouses, poetry readings, recitals, yoga and meditation classes, Bible study, and meetings of FOCUS, Jewish Student Organization, and other groups.

The building will be named Walker Hall, after Harry Walker ’40 who made the purchase possible through his generous support. “Harry Walker, a wonderful friend to Taft, was keenly interested in helping Taft in its mission to educate the whole of the student,” said Head of School Willy MacMullen. “In making the hall a reality, he has helped us provide a unique place for intellectual and spiritual reflection. We now have a community gathering place unlike any spot on campus.” Older than any other structure on campus—with the exception of a few faculty homes—the building is in terrific shape, although considerable work must be done to bring it up to code. The hall currently seats over 100 people, but plans are being explored to make maximum use of the space. Work will continue throughout the spring with an eye toward opening Walker Hall in September.

Amid college applications, papers, and exams, senior Andrew Belcher may not have received the royal treatment, but he certainly played the part—as the King of Siam—in the Fathers’ Day production of The King and I in Bingham Auditorium. Other major cast members included Emily Bogrand ’03 as Anna, Eleanor Gillespie ’02 as Tuptim, A Sinderbrand ’02 as Lady Thiang, and Peter Granquist ’03 as the young courtier in love with Tuptim. “The singing was just beautiful,” said instrumental music teacher T.J. Thompson, who directed the orchestra. “I thoroughly enjoyed playing every song with them just because they were so expressive. Each cast member really became the song, which is why I believe the show was so successful; they really sold it.” There were behind the scenes reasons for the play’s success as well. There was “exceptional unity and teamwork between the lead actors,” said assistant director Angrette McCloskey ’02, who, along with the audiences, marveled at the beautiful and elaborate scene painting by director Rick Doyle. The production was so successful that another musical, albeit on a smaller scale, is planned for the winter term. Japanese teacher Russ Wasden will direct You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and English teacher Mark Novom is directing a one-act play of his own work. Taft Bulletin Winter 2002



With Honors Brazilian Capoeira Dance and Conditioning for Athletes enjoyed a class in Brazilian capoeira, an athletic blend of dance and martial arts, with master teacher Efraim Silva. The program took place on December 4 in the Pailey Dance Studio. Dance instructor Elizabeth Barriser has also organized salsa classes this winter, open to students and faculty alike.

Peter Hafner ’01, Chris Wang ’04, Jacob Hammer ’05, and Chris Sturgess ’01 enjoy the rhythms of Brazilian dance. SAM DANGREMOND ’05

At a school already known for its rigorous academic standards, a few students manage to excel above the norm. In mid-November, Willy MacMullen welcomed fourteen members of the Class of ’02 to The Taft School Chapter of the Cum Laude Society. Recognized seniors this year include Audrey Banks, Bridget Baudinet, Kathleen Bernard, Jason Chen, Kyle Dolan, Norah Garry, Eleanor Gillespie, Arllyn Hernandez, Natalie Ie, Allison Lesher, Kara McCabe, Reina Mooney, Maiko Nakarai, and Neena Qasba. By its charter, Taft can admit no more than 20 percent of any class to the society. Typically, Taft reserves the honor for the top 15 to 16 percent of the class. Students are selected on the basis of their uppermiddle-year record; another 7 or 8 percent of the class will be recognized at graduation for their senior year performance. Founded in 1908, the Cum Laude Society is the secondary school equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa at colleges and universities. Taft’s chapter is one of the oldest, founded in 1911.

One Day with the Poet Nationally acclaimed poet and author Donald Hall spent a day on campus in November—a joint venture of the English Department and the Paduano Lecture Series. He opened Morning Meeting with a poem by his late wife, Jane Kenyon, and read from several books

of his own poetry, choosing poems about growing up in Connecticut, about his wife, about life on his grandparents’ farm in New Hampshire, among other topics. He visited classes throughout the day. A prolific writer whose career spans six decades, Hall published his first work at the age of 16 in 1944, and at age 70, published his lastest work, Without: Poems. His collection of poems, The One Day, won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He has written children’s books, short stories, plays, and books on baseball, the sculptor Henry Moore, and the poet Marianne Moore. Renowned poet Donald Hall prepares to read from his works at Morning Meeting in Bingham Auditorium. PETER FREW ’75

Hall served as poetry editor of The Paris Review from 1953 to 1962 and on the editorial board for poetry at Wesleyan University Press from 1958 to 1964. He and his wife were the subject of an Emmy Award-winning Bill Moyers documentary, A Life Together. His honors include two Guggenheim fellowships, the Poetry Society of America’s Robert Frost Silver Medal, and a Lifetime Achievement award from the New Hampshire Writers and Publisher Project. “Donald Hall’s remarkable works encompass a wide range of literary genres and subjects that appeal to all readers young and old,” said Debbie Phipps, chair of Taft’s English Department, “and his willingness to share his views with our students and faculty presents an exciting opportunity for all of us in the community.”

Community Service Day As parents dropped day students off in Main Circle on the morning of October 22, it was clear—from more than just the line of waiting buses—that this would be no ordinary day on campus. Instead of heading to their classrooms, students grabbed their bag lunches and loaded rakes, loppers, shovels, and other tools into cars, vans, and buses. Dress codes were relaxed for the day in favor of clothing more appropriate for work as students headed out for the school’s sixth annual Community Service Day. “We did some great work reclaiming three lots in Waterbury,” explains Chaplain Michael Spencer, who coordinates the event. Students showed their community spirit “helping Flanders Nature Center get ready for winter, singing at area nursing homes, painting a mural at the Waterbury Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center, landscaping at area schools and at a Habitat for Humanity house in Litchfield, painting and cleaning at local

churches and recreation centers, stocking food pantries in Waterbury, collecting donations for the Watertown Food Bank for area residents, and dozens of other off-campus projects.” For the second year, students and faculty also hosted an on-campus program for local third graders. Arriving at 9 a.m., visiting third graders chose between workshops in Spanish, creative writing, Japanese arts, and physics, as well as clinics in field hockey, squash, soccer, basketball, and volleyball, and enjoyed lunch in the dining hall. “As group leaders, faculty set the tone for the day and an example for the kids,” Spencer said. “I would also like to thank those faculty who helped me out in a variety of ways: Ginger O’Shea, Baba Frew, Bob Campbell, Jean Piacenza, Kate Fox, T.J. Thompson, Michael Friesner, Laura Harrington, Dave Hinman, Andrew Bogardus, and Garrison Smith.”

A.P. Art Students create a Van Gogh-like mural at the Waterbury Easter Seals Center on Community Service Day. JULIE REIFF

Once a year all Taft students get to experience the rewards of giving back to one’s community, while for others who participate in the Volunteer Program or ongoing efforts through the Volunteer Council, the feeling lasts all year.

Lessons and Carols

The Collegium Musicum performs at the 66th annual Service of Lessons and Carols at Christ Church on the Green. JANE NELSEN

For the 66th year, students strolled over to Christ Church on the Green on a dark December evening to attend the annual Service of Lessons and Carols. On the eve of the final day of classes for the term, many students found attending the service an opportunity to pause and reflect before the frenzy of exams began. As for many years, the highlights of the program were inspiring performances by the Collegium Musicum and Chamber Ensemble. This year, cellist Alex Britell ’03 and pianist Annabelle Razack ’02 provided the Meditation—a selection from Bach’s Sonata No. 1 in G major— and flutists Sera Reycraft ’02 and Kirsten Pfeiffer ’03 performed the Anthem. Members of the faculty, staff, and student body read the lessons. Paul Halley, founder and director of the Chorus Angelicus, was the guest organist. Taft Bulletin Winter 2002



Let Them Eat Breadsticks Among students, the Volunteer Council is perhaps best known for its weekly Pizza Hut breadstick sales to raise money for Save the Children Foundation. Whether it was selling breadsticks or collecting toys for children, members of the Volunteer Council have been exceptionally busy this year reaching out to the community at large. Since the opening of school the group, led by seniors Norah Garry and Jenny Zhang and their adviser Baba Frew, organized dozens of events and fund-raisers. The council already sponsors six underprivileged children in Nepal, but Jenny and Rachel Steele ’03 are working on new sources of revenue as well. This winter they encouraged girls to wear a dress they already owned to the Formal,

Volunteer Council leaders Norah Garry and Jenny Zhang

or to exchange with a friend, and then donate the money they would have spent on a dress to Save the Children. Children locally benefit, too, from Sunday afternoon reading days, begun last year by Stephanie Giannetto ’01. Seniors Lois Lo and Tishina Okegbe are taking on the program this year. Thanks to the efforts of the Volunteer Council, more than 275 members of the school community participated in National Denim Day on October 5, raising over $1,000 for breast cancer research and awareness, and 10 more students joined the five-mile March Against Breast Cancer on October 14 in Hartford. 12

Taft Bulletin Winter 2002

“The walk itself was a great experience,” said Jenny, “because there were many people walking, some in the memory of loved ones, others who are just passionate about the cause. Even those who could not walk on this day were able to aid the cause by sponsoring someone who was walking.” Later that month, the council hosted the annual American Red Cross Blood Drive in the John Wynne Wrestling Room. This year’s drive was especially successful, Jenny said, and there were so many walk-ins that they had to turn away some people in order to honor appointments. Fathers’ Day is always an opportunity to tap new resources. This year the council raffled off gift certificates to such local businesses as the Bungalo, Chubba’s, Betsy and Todo, and Carmen Anthony’s. Money raised that day will be used to buy sports equipment for a school in New York City devastated by the attacks of September 11. As the holidays drew near, council members filled stockings with toys for children at a Waterbury hospital, collected and wrapped Toys for Tots, collected more sports equipment for the Ground Zero school, and went caroling for the Ronald McDonald House. Looking ahead, students are learning to knit, with the help of faculty members Suzanne Campbell and Holly McNeill, for Project Linus, whose mission is to provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new, homemade, washable blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer blanketeers. Project Linus chapters across the country planned to host Make a Blanket Day on February 16 Finally, Habitat for Humanity is starting up at Taft, led by Norah Garry. “We started up a campus chapter—with over twenty people—and had a meeting with our local affiliate before Thanksgiving to introduce us to the program.” They are also hoping to do some fund raising for an affiliate in Mexico. More breadsticks anyone?

In the Potter Gallery Paintings: Andrew R. Heminway ’47 The first one-alumnus show in the new Mark W. Potter ’48 Gallery, Paintings by the late Andrew R. Heminway ’47, was a bold and exciting way to begin, said arts faculty and curator Loueta Chickadaunce. The opening reception was held on Nov. 2; Beverly Heminway, who loaned most of the paintings for her husband’s show, attended. Friends and family also came that evening and throughout the run of the show. To date the gallery has hosted several student and faculty exhibits as well as the alumni show to honor Mark Potter (Summer 2001), which served as the centerpiece for the dedication of the new space last May. Lou hopes to show work by many alumni and has already scheduled an exhibit of paintings by Kendall Ayoub ’92 (see page 5) and Kate Jellinghaus ’99 for next year. For more information visit






sport Fall 2001 Sports Wrap-Up by Steve Palmer GIRLS’ SOCCER: Only Team to Tie Undefeated Loomis This was a team that spread out the responsibilities both defensively and offensively, with 11 different players scoring 31 times during the season, and two fantastic goalies who allowed only 12 goals in 17 games, and never more than two in a game. Having lost to New England champion Loomis in the first round of the tournament last year, Taft powered through the 2001 season to tie for the Founders League title and remain unbeaten at home for over two years. Power was the defining word for this relentless, physical team that dominated nearly every game during the season. Even the two ties versus Berkshire and Westminster saw Taft outshoot their opponents four to one. All season the players followed coach Blanton’s selfless, team-oriented style of play, dispatching undefeated Williston 4–0 in a mid-season game which propelled them to a much-anticipated confrontation with undefeated Loomis. Down 2–0 at halftime at home, Taft fought back for an exciting 2–2 tie, and would have relished a rematch in the championship game of the New England

Striker Sarah Bromley ’02 led her team with six goals and was named a Founders League All-Star. PETER FREW

Division I Tournament. With a tense 2–1 shootout win against Milton in the first round, it looked as if that rematch might come true for Taft, but some unlucky bounces and missed chances allowed Andover to squeak by Taft in the semifinals with a 1–0 overtime win. Senior tri-captains Kara McCabe and Lucy O’Connell were All-State First Team selections, and along with goalies Annie Owen and Marci McCormack, they an-

chored this tough defense. Forward Katherine Simmons was selected to play in the WWNEPSSA All-Star game along with McCabe and O’Connell, and striker/ tri-captain Sarah Bromley (team-leading six goals) was a Founders League All-Star. In the end, the success of the 2001 season grew out of a selfless, dedicated, wellbalanced team that played hard right up to the final whistle of every game. RECORD: 11–3–3 Taft Bulletin Winter 2002







Number 14 Rob Madden ’03 and his fellow defensemen, along with senior goalie Matt Aleksinas, surrendered less than a goal a game this season. PETER FREW

FIELD HOCKEY: Seven Consecutive New England Tournaments With a 13–2 regular season record, the varsity field hockey team entered the New England Tournament for the seventh year in a row, this time as the second seed. Key wins propelling the team to the postseason included a tight 2–1 victory over rival Hotchkiss in the final regular season game and a 3–2 decision over Deerfield in an intense battle. Captains and four-year varsity members Brooke Townsend and Grace Morris have been to the championship game three times, and this year the team powered through the quarterfinal round 3–1 over Loomis. Their 1–0 semifinal victory over Andover set up a rematch of the final two years ago when Taft won its first New England field hockey title 3–2 against Greenwich Academy. In this year’s championship game, Taft came out flat against the ever-strong GA, losing 3–1. Still, this is a team that won the Founders League title, and if anything was different from former tournament teams, it may have been in the more balanced team play this fall. Without the same speed as past teams, the 2001 14

Taft Bulletin Winter 2002

squad got it done with precise passing and a stingy defense. Seniors Lauren Fifield and Brooke Townsend helped goalies Jane Ventresca ’02 and Sam Hyner ’03 to keep the season total to a minimum of 12 goals. Up front, Nicole Mandras ’03 led the team with ten goals, and senior Kim Harding put in eight. At the end of the fall, Brooke Townsend was named First Team AllAmerican (to go along with older sister Emily’s All-American status for Princeton field hockey, see page 6), co-captain Grace Morris was nominated for All-American, and Nicole Mandras was a Founders League All-Star. Taft has been a premier power in field hockey for many years, having been in the championship game three times since 1998, winning the title in 1999, and making it to the semifinals five times in the last seven years. RECORD: 15–3

VOLLEYBALL: Number 3 in New England Rankings From a 5–11 record a year ago, the varsity volleyball team rode the enthusiasm of demanding first-year coach Ginger O’Shea and an array of talented players across all the grade levels to a 14–4 record

Coach MacMullen Honored The Connecticut Soccer Coaches Association named Willy MacMullen NSCAA Coach of the Year; he has also been nominated for New England Prep School Coach of the Year Award, which has not yet been named. MacMullen has coached varsity boys’ soccer at Taft for 18 years.

and a number three ranking in New England. For the first time on record, Taft defeated Choate and Loomis (the latter three times) in the same season and went on to postseason play. An early season 3–0 blanking of the Loomis Pelicans served notice to the league that Taft was a real competitor this fall, and the intimidating figure of postgraduate Ann Belforti at the net provided the blocking and offensive punch that carried Taft to victories against every school with the exception of NMH and Hotchkiss (the top two teams in New England). The offense was also sparked by fast-improving Tiffany Bryan ’02, who boasted the best vertical jump on the team, and senior co-captains Katie

Other Records Boys’ Cross Country ................................................................................ 5–7 Girls’ Cross Country ................................................................................ 5–5 Varsity Football ........................................................................................ 1–7

Varsity Captains-Elect Boys’ Cross Country ............. G. Samuel Calder ’03, W. Tucker Serenbetz ’03 Girls’ Cross Country .................................. Jessica Little ’03, Marisa Ryan ’03 Field Hockey................................................................. Catherine Jensen ’03, Nicole Mandras ’03, Katherine Wilks ’03 Football ........................................................................... Maxwell Nipon ’03 Boys’ Soccer ...................................... Michael Bryan ’03, Robert Madden ’03 Girls’ Soccer ............................................................... Katherine Franklin ’03, Jennifer Sifers ’03, Shannon Sylvester ’03 Volleyball ................................................. Amy Freeman ’03, Reisa Bloch ’05 For more information, visit


Quarterback Joe Vanidestine ’02, All New-England as a safety, shows his offensive talent leading the team against Loomis Chaffee. PETER FREW

Blunt and Maiko Nakarai, along with freshman Reisa Bloch and Torie Snyder ’04, who were responsible for much of the hitting and team spirit throughout the fall. In their first trip to the New England Tournament, Taft started with a strong 3–0 win over Loomis before facing a very strong NMH team, falling to them 3–1 as they did earlier in the season. Bryan and Blunt were named Founders League All-Stars, while Belforti was honored with an All-New England selection as one of the top 12 players in New England. The team will return key players Bloch and Amy Freeman (co-captains-elect), Snyder, Kirsten Pfeiffer, and Myrna Delgado, as well as plenty of talent from a JV squad that went 15–1 this fall, as they look to repeat this outstanding season. RECORD: 14–4

BOYS’ SOCCER: School Record 59 goals Despite boasting 12 winning seasons in a row, the boys’ soccer program has never quite had the success it saw this fall. The 2001 team, after training for a week in Holland this August, dominated from the very first minute of the season, giving Wilson Hack ’03 scores against Convent of the Sacred Heart in the team’s first game of the season. Alex Woodworth ’03 is to the left, and Maggie Smythe ’03 is behind the goalie. Taft won 4–0.

Willy MacMullen the most successful season of his 20-year coaching career. An odd mixture of dedicated three- and fouryear senior members, some very talented uppermids, and a terrific college prospect in postgraduate Pape Seye, the 2001 varsity soccer team was an eclectic group that Coach Mac described as “the fastest, most skilled, and most tactical team I’ve ever coached.” They certainly pulled together on game day all fall, scoring a school record 59 goals while giving up only 16 on the way to a 14–1–2 regular season record. Beyond the records and the statistics, what distinguished this team was their incredible athletic speed and their ability to ensure the big wins. Senior goalie Matt Aleksinas is certainly one of the best goalies Taft has ever seen, and his brother Mark unified a skilled and relentless defense that included senior





Court Wold and upper middlers Alex Ginman and Rob Madden; together, they surrendered less than a goal a game. Other three- or four-year members Nick Dabbo, co-captain Luke LaBella, and striker Michael Bryan, provided the devastating speed up front. The incredibly poised, controlled play of Seye and the scoring touch of uppermid Casey Ftorek, (team leading 17 goals) rounded out the dangerous offensive punch. Highlights of the season included a powerful and complete 3–1 win over Choate and a tough 2–1 victory in the final game of the season versus Hotchkiss. With a number three seeding for New England, Coach Mac’s team began the postseason with a strong 3–1 decision over Deerfield. In the semifinal match, Taft started slow, giving up two goals to eventual champion The Rivers School in the first 15 minutes. Never giving up, Taft battled back in an intense, physical game to a 2–2 tie at the end of regulation. The 3–2 overtime loss was particularly hard to accept for this wonderfully talented and spirited team, but there is no doubt that they reached heights beyond any Taft team in recent memory. The Aleksinas brothers and Seye were named to the WNEPSSA All-Star Team, while LaBella and Dabbo made the Connecticut Senior Soccer Bowl, and Ftorek was an All-State selection. RECORD: 15–2–2


REWARDS: Horace Taft’s Motto in Action By Barclay Johnson ’53

Alumni at the Pentagon last July with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz: from left, Raymond DuBois Jr. ’66, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment; Dr. Wolfowitz; Jeff Baxter ’67, advisor to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization and master guitarist; and Marc A. Thiessen ’85, director of speechwriters to the secretary of defense and deputy secretary of defense.

Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army’s armor division, John Connelly ’52 later moved to infantry. He stays active even today as a major general with the Veteran Corps of Artillery of the state of New York. “I’ve always found a tremendous amount of satisfaction,” he says, “in learning leadership skills and then applying them.” John was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1999 along with now-Senator Hillary Clinton.

Col. Charles Goode Jr. ’53 spent 26 years with the United States Marine Corps, including two tours of Vietnam. He was battalion commander twice, and his last assignment was as director of the Marine Corps Leadership Unit. As did many others in the 1950s, he says he “felt an obligation to serve his country for at least a few years,” but discovered “a great love affair with duty, honor, country, and Corps and the great satisfaction of camaraderie with dedicated professional men and women. “The great privilege of leading young Marines who willingly sacrifice their lives for you and their fellow Marines is beyond description,” says Chick. “It was a terrific adventure that I wholeheartedly recommend to the young men and women of Taft today.”

uring a march against AIDS (Hartford, 1988), one of the placards read: Ambition is more powerful than compassion. This blunt assertion may have struck some people as blasphemous at the time. Undoubtedly a number of bystanders had failed to see this Third World epidemic becoming a threat to all nations. But after the painful awakening of September 11, a similar charge has hit home. Clearly, the emphasis on ambition is a call for selfless enterprise on all fronts. This article begins a series of annual tributes to alumni with careers defined by service to a greater good, from the military to the humanitarian. Of course, these graduates were well in place before the present crisis—some directing foundations, charities, programs for education and health here in the States; others working abroad. For good reason this first tribute focuses on alumni in the armed forces. The professionalism here is unprecedented. So, too, is the complexity of the mission and the risk. While guarding against familiar enemies for the Cold War, they must lead coalition forces in the total defeat of a formless outlaw regime, then keep the peace where it has Taft Bulletin Winter 2002




After graduating from Annapolis, Larry Green ’95 coordinated the Navy’s “Reach for Tomorrow” program, designed to help further the education of disadvantaged youth. From Surface Warfare Officer School, he reported to the USS Boone and began a six-month deployment to the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific. Conducting counterdrug operations, they seized over four tons of raw cocaine and apprehended 10 drug traffickers. Larry is slated to transfer to the USS Roosevelt as combat information center officer and deploy to the Mediterranean/Persian Gulf region. “I joined the service because of the promise of adventure and excitement, comradeship, and a chance to truly serve our country,” Larry says. “One visit to the Naval Academy was all that was necessary to make up my mind about my college choice and eventually solidifying what my career choice would be. I’m having a blast serving my country, but if I do decide to leave after my commitment—which is a possibility—I will cherish these memories forever and hopefully be able to share them with my children and grandchildren.”


Taft Bulletin Winter 2002

Rear Adm. Richard T. Ginman ’66 was a supply corps officer for his entire 30-year career, where he was in the business of developing, buying and delivering weapon systems to the fleet. “The Navy,” he says, “tends to cover it all with the word logistics.” As commander of the Navy Exchange Service Command (1998–2000), Dick was the equivalent—in civilian terms—of the president and CEO of a $2 billion a year retail chain of 114 store complexes with 1,400 selling locations and 17,000 employees. After receiving his BA from Williams College in 1970 and an MBA from George Washington University in 1976, Dick chose the Navy as an alternative to the draft and had “no intention of staying beyond my initial obligation.” He had the great fortune to work for gifted leaders, first on USS Puffer and then at the Naval Sea Systems Command, “who challenged me and gave me great opportunities and huge responsibilities. “The ship operations of USS Puffer, a nuclear submarine, were unique and of great importance during the Cold War,” he says. “It was heady stuff. At Navsea, I began my career in acquisition. Having been at sea and seeing firsthand how the weapon systems were used to further US goals, it was exciting to be able to work in the process that delivered those systems to the fleet. It gives me great pleasure, and it always will, to know I contributed to the capability of the Navy to meet its peacetime and wartime missions. “What I know now is that the Navy is its people; people who are dedicated to serving their nation. The youth who serve do so unselfishly and with great commitment, courage, and honor.”

Tech. Sgt. Zachary Highsmith ’73 spent 21 years in the Air Force, with two tours in Korea (1984–85 and 1989– 90) and service with Military Airlift Command, Strategic Air Command, Pacific Air Command, and (retiring in 1997 out of) Space Command. He was Base Honor Guard Member of the Quarter (April–June 1996). “I found college hard to handle,” Zach says, “financially as well as academically.” So he worked for a couple of years in NYC in a dead-end job, “but the recruiter’s office in Times Square beckoned and it was the Bicentennial thing to do,” he adds. “I wanted to see the world and find myself after Taft. Felt like I had something to offer as well as gain.” Zach recently received his BA from Chapman University after a 20-year hiatus from college and considered reentering the Reserves “to augment the current mission at hand.” In the end, he decided that might put his own “Homefront Security”—with four daughters—at risk, as wife Jacky is still on active duty. Tech. Sgts. Jacky and Zach Highsmith ’73 at a recent formal commemorating the 50th anniversary of the United States Air Force Flight Testing Center at Edwards Air Force base with Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager, center.

Lt. Ian McConnel ’93 with grandmother Grace McConnel

Ian McConnel ‘93 thought about the Naval Academy when he was looking at colleges, but grew long hair and headed to Alaska before attending Middlebury instead. A long military history in his family led him to apply for OCS in 1998. A shortage of officers has meant that he’s occasionally received a higher billet above his experience level, but he’s seen the same kind of great leaders in the Marines that he saw at Taft and college. Since September, he’s witnessed a “heightened sense of awareness around the base, and an urgency in the training we’re doing. We don’t need to reach back into history.” The work is more relevant, the reasons for it more accessible than it was only a few short months ago. Ian really enjoyed being in the Marines, and says it was a tough decision to leave, but calls military service a young man’s job. He moved to the Reserves in January. He and classmate Lindsay Stanley were wed on January 19.

never existed, and deliver massive aid in the cause of humanitarian relief. Moreover, some of their work can be seen as infinitely hazardous. Whether deployed in combat zones or embassies or homeland defense, they remain prime targets for a sprawling cult of assassins. Remarkably, alumni serve in every military branch and every type of command. Alumni veterans of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam can feel honorably represented here. Most recently retired after full careers, Rear Adm. Richard Ginman ’66 and Marine Col. Charles Goode ’53 impress classmates as still on active duty. Having spent years at sea, Dick became the assistant secretary of the Navy. His final office purchased all of the Navy’s ships and weapon systems. Meanwhile, Chick Goode convoyed to the Caribbean for the Dominican crisis, to the Mediterranean for the Jordan crisis, and served two tours in the Vietnam War. Twice a battalion commander, he finished his active duty as director of the Marine Corps Leadership Unit. With more than one era of modern warfare behind them, these compatriots might appreciate the résumé highlights of a few of their Taft successors in the thick of it now: Air Force Academy Taft Bulletin Winter 2002



Lt. Col. David E. Johnson ’80 has spent 18 years in the Army, serving now as legislative liaison for the secretary of the Army in Washington, DC. He was selected for Special Forces training in 1989. During Operation Desert Shield/Storm, he commanded an A-team, and later served as operations officer during Operation Restore Hope in Mogadishu, Somalia. He has also served in the Persian Gulf, during Desert Thunder/ Desert Fox. A lifelong learner, Dave is a graduate of Westpoint, the Command and General Staff Course, Collège Interarmées de Défense, and Université de Paris-Sorbonne. His qualifica- Lt. Col. David E. Johnson '80 at tions include a Combat Infantry Badge, CENTCOM, MacDill Air Force Expert Infantry Badge, Master Parachutist, Air base, Florida, in 1997 Assault Badge, Combat Diver Badge, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, and several foreign qualifications. His awards include the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medals, Joint Commendation, Army Commendations, Joint Achievements, Army Achievements, Joint Meritorious Units, Valorous Unit, and Army Superior Unit. He is a French, Russian and Arabic linguist as well. “I serve,” says Dave, “because I believe the old saying ‘From those to whom much is given, much is expected.’ I also felt, as a young man, the irresistible pull of adventure—hardships to be overcome, glory to be won, and dangers to be shared with comrades yet unknown. ‘We few, we happy few,...’ Maturity and hard knocks have caused me to realize that the path of honor has given me a breadth of opportunity and experience I pray my children will find.”

To Serve and Defend When we decided to devote an issue of the Bulletin to alumni in the military, we knew our first hurdle would be to identify all those on active duty. Some, we learned had long since gone into the Reserve or recently retired. And then there were the numerous veterans of World War II, who served loyally but did not choose to make the military their careers. We have tried to cull from our records all active duty and career service personnel, or active reservists. We apologize in advance if the rank has changed, or if we missed someone completely. We invite you to send updated information to the address below for inclusion in a future issue.

Capt. John S. Burrows, USN (Ret.), ’31

Col. Thomas S.M. Tudor, USAF, ’64

Maj. Harold Smith, USA (Ret.), ’32

Rear Adm. Richard T. Ginman, USN (Ret.), ’66

Col. James H. Drum, USA (Ret.), ’33

Capt. Rayburn L.S. McKay, USN (Ret.), ’68

Lt. Col. Richard Maxwell, USA (Ret.), ’33

Thomas Gross, USCG, ’69

Col. Joseph L. Knowlton, USA (Ret.), ’36

Cmdr. Michael H. Spencer, USN (Ret.), ’69

Lt. Col. John Vanderpoel, USAF (Ret.), ’36

Lt. Col. James Shih-Kong Wu, USAR, ’69

Col. Harry H. Dickson, USAF (Ret.), ’38

Tech. Sgt. Zachary L. Highsmith, USAF (Ret.), ’73

Thomas H. Pollock, USN (Ret.), ’38

Maj. John A. Cox Jr., USAF, ’75

Maj. Dallas W. Haines Jr., USAF (Ret.), ’41

Lt. Col. David E. Johnson, USA, ’80

Maj. Gen. Lawrence M Jones, USA (Ret.), ’42

Lt. Col. Britton W. Bankson, USAF, ’81

Lt. Col. Frederick G. Mason Jr., USAR (Ret.), ’43

Cmdr. Cynthia M. Thebaud, USN, ’81

Col. Robert A. Reade, USA (Ret.), ’43

Capt. Mark J. Tirrell, USAF, ’82

Col. Albert H. Ward Jr., (Ret.), ’46

Capt. David J. Sampson, USAFR, ’83

Maj. Jerome T. Cassidy, USAF (Ret.), ’47

Maj. Oliver B. Spencer, USMC, ’85

Cmdr. George F. Couperthwait Jr.,

Lt. Jay Allard, USN, ’90

USNR (Ret.), ’47

Lt. Jason R. LeDuc, USAF, ’91

Col. Dirk A. Plummer, USA (Ret.), ’48

2nd Lt. Jean-Paul Chaine, USMCR, ’92

Cmdr. Robert N. Quinn Jr., USN (Ret.), ’51

Capt. John R. Crombie, USA, ’92

Maj. Gen. John E. Connelly III, USA, ’52

Lt. Ian McConnel, USMCR, ’93

Col. Charles J. Goode Jr., USMC (Ret.), ’53

Lt. Charles C.H. McGill, USN, ’93

Lt. Col. Christopher D. Righter, (Ret.), ’55

Lt. Thomas J. Oneglia, USN, ’93

Capt. Seth W. Baldwin II, USN (Ret.), ’56

Capt. Richard P. Tucker, USA, ’94

Lt. Cmdr. David H. McCulloch, USN (Ret.), ’56

Lt. j.g. Larry C. Green Jr., USN, ’95

Maj. James G. McDonough, USMC (Ret.), ’57

2nd Lt. Christopher J. Tucker, USA, ’96

Max S. Johnson, USA (Ret.), ’58

Ensign Jesse A. McFadden, USN, ’97

Col. William H. Dassler, USAF (Ret.), ’61

Cadet Andre T. Senay, USAFA, ’98

Lt. Col. Geoffrey T. Love, USA (Ret.), ’61

Midshipman Mark D. Deschenes, USNA, ’99

Capt. Eric Vanderpoel, USN (Ret.), ’61

Cadet Jed M. Richard, USMA, ’99

Col. John B. Steele, USAF, ’63

Midshipman Nicholas W. Ryan, USNA, ’00

Lt. Col. John P. Carson III, USAF (Ret.), ’64

Send updated information to Cathy Mancini, Alumni Office, The Taft School, 110 Woodbury Rd., Watertown, CT 06795 or to 20

Taft Bulletin Winter 2002

Only a month after his appointment as director of the secretary of the Navy’s Congressional Liaison Office, Lt. Charles McGill ’93 was in the Pentagon on September 11, just a few hundred feet from the impact area, but mercifully escaped the building unharmed. A graduate of Annapolis, he spent six months at Surface Warfare Officer School and reported to the guided missile cruiser USS Shiloh. As one of 30 officers aboard, he served as gunnery officer, responsible for the cruiser’s weapons. During his tour years with the Shiloh, he participated in a six-month Western Pacific Deployment (including 77 continuous days at sea in the Persian Gulf) and the first firing and testing of the Navy’s Theater Ballistic Missile Defense system. He next spent two years with the coastal patrol craft USS Monsoon of Special Boat Squadron One, U.S. Special Operations Command, aboard which he served as the executive officer, responsible for the conduct and performance of the ship. They completed two six-month Southern Command Deployments, patrolling the coastal and riverine waters of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. Charlie reported to his current post last August. As a member of the secretary’s personal staff, he oversees all congressional matters on the secretary’s behalf, working both in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. “I chose to join the Navy to serve and defend my country,” he says. “There is no better reason I can think of.”

Flying ever since he was a teenager, Capt. David Sampson ’83 (center, then first lieutenant) in Nairobi, Kenya, on a State Department Mission in 1994. Now in the Air Force Reserve as an instructor with the 732 Airlift Squadron, McGuire Air Force base, N.J., Dave entered the Air Force Reserve in September 1989 and was halfway through Officer Training School (OCS), when the Berlin Wall came down. “Everything changed!” he says. “I trained as a C-141 pilot and served in the Gulf from 1991 to 1996. I slept in Khobar Towers five days before it blew up in June 1996. It’s been exciting and extremely rewarding.” He has also participated in Operations Provide Comfort in Turkey, Restore Hope in Somalia, Uphold Democracy in Haiti, and Joint Guard, Sentry in Bosnia and Croatia. “I have always loved to fly,” says Dave, “and who better to train with than the best. Without exception, these are the finest, most dedicated individuals our nation has to offer.” When he’s not flying for American Airlines, Dave maintains readiness in the Reserve.

graduate Lt. Col. Britton Bankson ’81, who led bombing missions against the Taliban and Al Qaida in Afghanistan; West Point graduate Lt. Col. Dave Johnson ’80, commander of an A-team during Desert Storm and operations officer for joint operations forces, Mogadishu, Somalia, and recipient of a Bronze Star among other medals; Marine Maj. Oliver Spencer ’85, intelligence officer for the 2nd Regiment of the 2nd Marine Division. During Desert Storm Oliver commanded a recon platoon of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade in the assault on Kuwait City. He, too, then served in Somalia during Operation Restore Hope; and Army Capt. Richard Tucker ’94, West Point graduate, aide-de-camp to assistant division commander, who has been deployed to Kuwait and to Bosnia. These officers, in particular, show the stature and experience of modern combat leaders. Then, too, Navy pilot Lt. T.J. Oneglia ’93, presently on antisubmarine patrol, reminds us that the superpowers are still running silent, running deep. Also, virtually covering the unsteady world from the sky is Air Force Capt. Dave Sampson ’83. Taft’s only woman in uniform, so far as we know, is Cmdr. Cindy Thebaud ’81, a graduate of Annapolis Taft Bulletin Winter 2002



Ever since he can remember, Lt. Thomas J. Oneglia ’93 wanted to be a naval aviator. “It is the greatest job in the world,” he says. “I can’t say enough good things about the people that I work with. Being in the Navy has been the greatest experience of my life.” T.J. flies the P-3 Orion and has done one six-month deployment to the North Atlantic, Caribbean, and South America. He left in January for another six-month deployment, this time in the Mediterranean. “I think the highlight of my career so far was doing counternarcotic operations in the Caribbean and South America. We worked with many different agencies and were able to interact with foreign militaries. Working with people from other countries is truly one of the things I like the most about the Navy. Due to recent events the surveillance missions that we fly will be focusing on other parts of the world.”

In January 1991 Maj. Oliver Spencer ’85, then a lieutenant, was our eyes and ears in the Gulf War as he and his fellow Marines awaited word to invade Kuwait or Iraq (“A Letter From the Gulf,” Spring 1991). Today he is a major in his 12th year with the Marine Corps. An intelligence officer for the 2nd Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine Division, he served in Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Restore Hope in Somalia, and moved to Camp Lejeune, N.C., in 1999. “Currently we are planning a deployment to central Norway in late winter,” he says, “where we will conduct a NATO ‘force on force’ exercise, Strong Resolve. The exercise was developed in the 1980s to test the Marine Corps’ capability to defend/counterattack against a Russian offensive into Norway. Now it is an opportunity for NATO to develop its war-fighting capability and unity, especially as we wage a war on terrorism today. “When I was off of active duty from 1994–96,” says Oliver, “the biggest thing I missed was working with young Marines from all walks of life. I enjoy the planning and execution of Intelligence to support combat operations. Additionally, I enjoy working on projects with a team that I have built. The Marine Corps is no bed of roses, but we have a very strong esprit de corps, and overall we ‘do the right thing.’ As far as the future and our role in this fight against terrorism, I look forward to the challenge of engaging this enemy on the front lines. It does not make it easy now that I have a wife and three great kiddoes. The deployments are far more difficult now that I must leave so much when I go ‘down range,’ but this is my job and I feel so strongly that we regain the peace that we once had, that I will do what my Corps asks of me. Semper Fidelis.”

The late Michael Patrick William Stone ’42 was the United States’ only foreign-born secretary of the Army. He was born in London and served with the British Royal Navy during World War II, received pilot training in the U.S., and served in the Mediterranean and Far East as a member of the Royal Naval Air Squadron 1831. He graduated from Yale and NYU Law before becoming a founding partner in Sterling International. He later served as director of the U.S. Mission for the Agency for International Development in Cairo, Egypt. He was appointed assistant secretary of the Army for financial management in 1986 and co-chaired the Army’s Commission to Implement the Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, resulting in the most sweeping changes to the Army in years. He served in several related posts until sworn in as the 15th secretary of the Army in 1989 during the Bush Sr. administration. Under his direction, the Army participated in Operations Just Cause (Panama), and Desert Shield and Desert Storm; Cold War victory was finally achieved during his tenure, and the Army reshaped itself for the new era. The highestranking military alumnus the school has known, he died in 1995.

“Papa” arriving home, September 10, 2001

Cmdr. Cindy Thebaud ’81, here with husband Cmdr. Mike Fierro, is currently flag secretary to the vice admiral responsible for all 83 surface ships in the Pacific Fleet. She will take command of the USS Decatur in November (See “Beyond the Promise of Command,” Fall 2001).

Capt. Richard P. Tucker ’94 (then 1st lieut.) and a Kuwaiti captain during training with the Kuwaiti Strike Battalion of the Land Force for the defense of Kuwait in September 2001. Formerly a transportation officer, his current assignment in Fort Carson, Colo., is aide-de-camp to a brigadier general. He is transferring soon to Aviation and attending flight school. Richard’s first assignment after West Point was a season as a graduate assistant coach for Army Football. Since then, he’s participated in training exercises at Ft. Carson and across the United States; has been to Bosnia during SFOR 8, SFOR 9, and SFOR 10; has been deployed to Kuwait as part of the Coalition Joint Task Force, where he worked in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar; he’s also been to the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai, Egypt. “I have had the pleasure of leading soldiers in different areas of the world,” he says, “on different missions. In my book, the people who deserve the praise are the sergeants with two children and a wife who are deployed for six or eight months in the desert of the Middle East, for example. Or the company commander in Bosnia who is away from his wife for six months and misses the birth of their first child, Christmas, and their wedding anniversary, for example. Although soldiers are excited to put into practice what they have trained for—and are excellent at what they do—they generally do not wish to live in extremely harsh conditions all over the world, working around the clock with little rest, and being away from their families and friends.”

Col. Tom Tudor ’64 at the desk of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega shortly after Operation Just Cause in 1989

Lt. Col. James Wu ’69, a surgeon in the Medical Corps, U.S. Army Reserve, enlisted in 1989 because “they offered me a stipend when I was a surgical resident, and the extra money allowed my wife Michelle to return to school. She subsequently earned her Ph.D. in molecular biology, her M.D., and completed her residency in internal medicine.” Their daughter Margaret is 11 years old. His most interesting assignments have been to Germany in January; Fort Smith, Ark., in August; Guatemala in August; and Kosovo in the winter. Jim earned his bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth and a Ph.D. from Yale, before completing his M.D. at Washington University, St. Louis, in 1986. He has since worked at Jewish and Barnes Hospitals, Lahey Clinic, Henry Ford Hospital, and is now on the staff of Cleveland Clinic. “I graduated in the bottom half of my class at Taft,” Jim says. “I wasn’t even close to the honor role. Taft taught me that everything is possible. Decide what you want, go for it, and don’t give up.”

who served aboard the USS Prairie near the Strait of Hormuz during the Gulf War and is about to command her own ship (see Fall 2001). In addition to graduates in the military, Taft salutes those who serve internationally as officials in defense, diplomacy, journalism, and foreign affairs: Victor Rocha ’69 as U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, Craig Reistad ’80 at the American Embassy in Sarajevo, State Department foreign service officer Gerald Rothrock ’72, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Ray DuBois ’66, New York Times Balkan bureau chief Steve Erlanger ’70. Their work is reminiscent of the contributions made by Harry Hyde ’52 for the CIA and Navy Department, Ted Mason ’43 for foreign service, and other Cold War veterans who put themselves in harm’s way. If viewed from the past, the special careers in this article might surprise some classmates and faculty. In retrospect, however, we all might have known. Certainly, if Horace Taft were alive today, he would feel reassured. Having lived in times of war, epidemic, and depression, he knew the value of selfless ambition. Of course, these alumni commitments can inspire us all—especially our students, already humanitarian fighters in a critical time of their own. Again, Mr. Taft would be pleased. Taft Bulletin Winter 2002



After tours in Korea and Germany, attorney Col. Thomas Tudor ’64 returned to the States in July as chief of International and Operations Law for the Air Force. September 11 issues, he says, “are now my daily fare!” Working in the Pentagon, he and his staff of 17 touch on such topics as the law of aerial warfare, status of forces agreements, negotiation and conclusion of international agreements, war crimes and aerospace operations, peace operations, space law, national security strategy, intelligence oversight, nuclear weapons policy, rules of engagement, multinational air operations, noncombatant evacuation operations, aerospace accident investigations, antiterrorism and force protection, civilian personnel supporting military operations, code of conduct, cooperation with domestic civilian authorities, media relations, personnel claims, political asylum, and temporary refuge, just to name a very few. “My office is about 500 feet from the scene of the blast,” he says. Fortunately, Tom was 6,000 miles away on an inspection mission in Seoul, Korea, preparing to depart for Taipei. “I spent another week in Seoul instead and lined up a future job as the international law advisor for U.S. Forces Korea beginning March 1. Nobody in my office was hurt. One was in the operations center and never felt a thing but saw everything on CNN. “As I write we are working on military commissions, a weapons review, deployment orders, law of armed conflict issues, transfer of military property to the State Department, and a number of other issues that make me realize how very useful my training at Taft was, particularly Sullie’s (Bill Sullivan, English 1936–69) famous 2–8–2s, those little essays we had two minutes to think about, eight minutes to write about, and two minutes for review!”


Letters from page 4— the Philadelphia Navy Yard. That was the beginning of my father’s 21 years of active duty in the Navy, where he retired as a commander. I feel that my father would be extremely proud of Commander Cindy Thebaud’s accomplishments. He, too, had his doubts initially about staying in the Navy. As chief engineer on the destroyer USS Foote (DD511), my father had the stern of his ship blown up by a Japanese “long lance” torpedo. Nineteen sailors died in the explosion. Despite this and with a reduced naval role in the world after the war, he was persuaded to stay in the Navy, and I’m certain that he was glad that he did. After retiring from the Navy, he took his wife and four children to live in Alexandria, Va., where he went to Virginia Theological Seminary for three years to become an Episcopal minister. His new commanding officers were bishops in the Episcopal Church. My mother has an inscribed copy of one of Bishop Moore’s books that says that he was glad to sit down with my father to reminisce about their experiences in the Pacific during the war. It amazes me that both of them arrived at the ministry after Yale and military service. I have to give credit to the U.S. Navy for recognizing that some of the best and the brightest among their naval academy graduates are women. I also have to give credit to Taft for developing the type of talent that our country depends on. And the leadership at Taft should be commended for bringing in a man of Bishop Moore’s character to speak to the faculty about those teaching moments and freedom. And thank you for inspiring me enough to write. —Dick Forrest ’72 24

Taft Bulletin Winter 2002








By David Kenyon Webster ’40

The following is a letter home by the late David Webster, whose memoir, Parachute Infantry (Alumni in Print, Fall 2001), was one of the sources for Steven Spielberg’s HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. Webster’s words remind us of another conflict, another time, and all the alumni who answered their country’s call then—as those profiled earlier in this issue do today. His experiences with 101st Airborne on D-Day are extraordinary to be sure, but they illustrate the lengths to which Americans have gone—and at times must go—to defend our basic values of liberty and justice for all. —Editor

Headquarters Co., 2nd Bn. 506 Parachute Infantry A.P.O. 472, Postmaster, N.Y. July 23, 1944 Dear John: Since you ask for it, I’ll try to give you as complete a description of my excursion abroad as possible. Any gaps will be the holes cut by the censor. We must have reached the French coast at about 10:50 D-Day. We were stood up and hooked up 20 minutes before we jumped, and during that time you could hear the pilot gunning, then slacking the motor and you could see the tracers and flares outside. I was scared almost speechless. About 11:10 the green light came on. Somebody got stuck in the door; I thought I’d never get out of that damned plane, but when I did I regretted it, for all I could see was water, water, everywhere. I came down so fast I didn’t have time to take off my reserve and landed on my face in about three feet of water. Scared? I was shaking all over. Once I got out of my chute I assembled my M1 and lay down in the water to await developments. All I could hear now was German machine-gun and sniper fire. I felt very much alone. Another battalion flew over a little later. I could see tracers going into their chutes as they came down. Then I heard the slow swishswish of somebody sneaking through the water. When he got near enough I signaled him and was delighted—to put it mildly—to find out it was one of the men from my plane. That night was like a nightmare. We wandered around in the water from 1:15 to about 8:00, circling, staggering, going over our heads in the deep, 10-foot wide drainage ditches that bordered the flooded fields, picking up men from almost every regiment that jumped. Since none of us knew where we were, and since our cheap pocket compasses were waterlogged, we just tried to reach high ground. We kept as low as possible and avoided

obvious thoroughfares …. Whenever they shot a flare, we stood stock-still; even our shivering stopped. Just as the sun came up we stopped to watch a large group of B-26s bomb the beach defenses, laying a string of bombs, almost a mile long. A lovely sight. I passed the bodies of two paratroopers cold and white and very still in the shallow water who had either been drowned or machinegunned, but I didn’t stop to see who they were. I just didn’t have the stomach to roll them over. Finally we hit dry land. As luck would have it, we immediately met D Company. We passed huge craters, 30-feet deep, made by our naval bombardment, went through an old deserted, undamaged village, where we helped ourselves to wine (the infantry coming in later complained that the paratroopers had taken all the wine in France wherever they went) which warmed me considerably…. By now the dead Germans were getting thicker. Killed by paratroopers during the night, they looked like wax figures you see in a museum. I felt no emotion toward them. They were lying about in the little villages our boys had seized during the night, but the French paid no more attention to them than we did, although they were a little afraid of the black-faced, wildeyed paratroopers who had killed their rulers. We kept on marching. The days are blurred because they were so much alike. About the third day, however, some German paratroopers almost caught us in a trap. We were stopped on the edge of a small town. A sniper opened up on us from the church steeple. When a bullet kicked up the dust next to my face, I decided to move across the road behind a stone wall …. Just as our Intelligence sergeant jumped around the corner to blast him with a Tommy gun, all hell cut loose. He was killed instantly by a machine gun. We looked behind us. Smoke was coming down the road. We looked to our left. Germans were pouring out of the woods and sneaking around our front …. We fired through all the openings in the

hedgerow. I got up behind a tree and blasted away at 200 yards at the woods. Probably never touched a German, but it was fun trying …. What saved us there were the tanks [that] had just passed through us on the road several minutes before. The colonel sent a man down after them, got back three, and ordered them to fire at the enemy. They mowed the fields and hedgerows with their machine guns and threw 75s into likely spots. Fifteen minutes or so of this and the Germans waved the white flag …. It turned out that there was about a battalion of German paratroopers opposing us, that they had bicycled some 40 miles into battle, that most of them had not yet jumped in combat, that the tanks’ shells had piled them up dead two and three deep, that they had only about 125 men left alive out of about 500. These figures are all hearsay, but most stories agree on them. Our boys had a merry time picking up Lugers and German jump knives …. Several nights later the regiment moved out across a causeway, over a makeshift bridge built by our engineers one night, through some wild woods, and into the city of [censored]. It was on the outskirts of that place that a mortar shell landed about six feet behind me, blew off my helmet (don’t button your chin strap) and knocked me flat. When I got up my right arm was bleeding a little, so I went into the nearby aid station, thinking it would only take five minutes to get fixed up. The next thing I knew I was being evacuated to England. Although it meant a good rest, in a way I was sorry to leave, because I wanted to see a little close fighting …. If you ever go into combat, don’t let the noise scare you and never get so terrified that you lie in your foxhole or refuse to move. Always keep going, always keep alert, and don’t rely too much on the men around you. If you go out on an outpost or a patrol or flank guard, make sure that somebody else besides your squad leader knows where you are;…the more people who know, the less chance of your being forgotten …. As a matter of fact, you can learn far more from the Intelligence bulletins and the Infantry Journal than I could possibly tell you from my meager week’s experience. Your loving brother, Kenyon To read more of Webster’s letters visit

Taft Bulletin Winter 2002


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