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2019 - Issue 4

Alumni Review

Alumni & Post Events Nov. 1-2

3rd Fall Reunion Weekend

Dec. 17

December Joint Commissioning Ceremony

Dec. 18

Nov. 11

December Commencement Christmas Furlough Begins

Founders Day Institute Society Dinner

Jan. 13, 2020

Nov. 22

Christmas Furlough Ends

Ring Figure

Jan. 18, 2020

Nov. 23 - Dec. 2

Keydet Club Scholarship Banquet

Thanksgiving Furlough

March 4, 2020

Dec. 11

Jonathan Daniels Ceremony

Last Day of Classes

To see more alumni events as they are announced, visit:

2019-20 Basketball Schedule *Denotes Home Game

Nov. 5 ECU

Nov. 8

Nov. 26

Jan. 8


Western Carolina*

Dec. 4

Jan. 11




Nov. 11

Dec. 7

Jan. 15



Nov. 14

Dec. 11

Arkansas State

Ferrum College*

Nov. 15

Dec. 21


Virginia Tech

Nov. 17

Dec. 29

UC Davis

Nov. 20 Christendom*

Nov. 24 UNCG

USC Upstate

Jan. 1 Furman*

Jan. 4 Samford*


Jan. 18 The Citadel*

Jan. 22


Jan. 25 Mercer*

Feb. 8

The Citadel

Feb. 12


Feb. 15 ETSU*

Feb. 19

Western Carolina

Feb. 22 UNCG*

Feb. 26


Jan. 29

Feb. 29



Feb. 5

March 6-9


SoCon Finals


Virginia Military Institute Alumni Review 2019-Issue 4

In This Issue . . . This issue includes class notes and news items covering the time period of May 15, 2019, to Aug. 15, 2019.


Our Alumni Serving 4

Reitz ’61, McCarthy ’96 Inducted into Ranger Hall of Fame


In Memory 7 8


Harry G. Lee ’43 Grover C. Outland Jr. ’49B


Features 9 11

Corpuz ’89: The Science Behind the Magic Larlee ’90: Using VMI Skills in Business Ventures


Volume 96, No. 3

PUBLISHER The Chief Executive Officer of the VMI Alumni Agencies

CHIEF COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER: Amy Goetz Editor-in-Chief: Jordan Whitman Associate Editor: Molly Rolon ALUMNI REVIEW ONLINE

PUBLISHING OFFICE The VMI Alumni Agencies Alumni Review Office VMI Moody Hall, P.O. Box 932, Lexington, VA 24450; 540/464-7224

PRINTER Progress Printing Co., Inc. Lynchburg, Virginia

The VMI Alumni Review (USPS 954-740) is published four times yearly in fall, winter, spring and summer by The VMI Alumni Agencies, P.O. Box 932, Lexington, VA 24450. It is sent to alumni and friends of the Institute without subscription. ATTENTION POSTMASTER: Send changes of address to: VMI Alumni Review, P.O. Box 932, Lexington, VA 24450 Periodicals postage paid at Lynchburg, VA.

News and Updates


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2 13 19 28 40 46 47 163 164 169 170 173 174

Message from the Alumni Agencies CEO On Post Athletics Events Progress Staff News Class Notes Provisional Appointments Taps After Taps Alumni News Alumni Agencies Directory VMI Alumni Chapter Directory

VMI ALUMNI AGENCIES TELEPHONE NUMBERS The VMI Alumni Association: The VMI Foundation: The VMI Keydet Club:

540/464-7221 540/464-7287 540/464-7328

WEBSITE ADDRESSES Alumni Agencies: VMI: Outside Cover: The Silver Shako, awarded to the winner of the Military Classic of the South, made its return to VMI following the Keydet victory over The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, Oct. 5, 2019. Inside Back Cover: Rats cheering as the Keydets beat The Citadel 34-21 in Charleston. Photos by Micalyn Miller, VMI Alumni Agencies.


Message from the VMI Alumni Agencies CEO By Stephen Maconi

The return of the Corps and the start of the fall academic semester remind us all how fortunate we are to work at VMI. We are reminded on a daily basis how special a place VMI truly is. Whether it is the single-mindedness of the cadre to transform the rat mass into successful cadets, the commitment of the cadets to their academics in the confines of small classes taught by expert faculty or the dedication of our fall sports athletes – both NCAA and club sport – to perform their very best both on and off the field. Each of these singular acts reminds me of the power of personal commitment; the power of one. Where would we be without the cadre member who reminds rats of protocol and the process or the singular rat who reaches over the wall to pull another BR forward? It is the faculty member who answers a study question from an earnest cadet at 9 p.m., it is the cadet-athlete who heads to the weight room one more time and it is the private talks in barracks focused on the need to persevere through adversity with integrity. We are inspired by each of these individual acts of devotion.


It strikes me that a similar argument could made for the thousands of VMI alumni and friends who make efforts every day to contribute to the lives of cadets and the mission of VMI.

All of us have encountered such people. There are the alumni who urge young men and women to consider applying to VMI. There are the class agents who, over decades, serve their brother rats selflessly and energetically and, through their efforts, strengthen the bonds within their classes and their brother rats’ bonds to the Institute. There is the alumna who has decided it’s her job to re-energize an alumni chapter – and sets about doing so. There are cadet parents who tell their friends and neighbors about the difference that VMI has made in the lives of their children. In a very real sense, each one of them – and every one of us – is a trustee of the Institute. On post, those who act as trustees include faculty members who devote so much time and energy and give so much of themselves to improve VMI’s academic program by serving on committees, introducing new courses and embracing technological advancements in order to provide cadets with an education that will unlock their immense potential and broaden their horizons. Our coaches impart lessons about perseverance, determination and sportsmanship that stick with their cadet-athletes long after they’ve graduated, and the staff members make the Institute’s famous co-curriculum work. Of course, there are our cadets, who have an undisputed ability to “make the case” for VMI when they meet people who have scant knowledge of this extraordinary Institute and its enduring mission. No matter the size of their gifts, each one of our donors is a trustee whose investment makes the Institute better now and advances it toward a brighter future. Their individual generosity serves as an inspiring example to other members of the VMI family of the power of one in support of VMI. In each case, these people made an individual decision to act as de facto trustees of the Institute. The power of each person joined to others in a common effort is mighty indeed, and VMI’s current strength is evidence of what effect all these people have had. On behalf of the VMI Alumni Agencies, I thank all of them. I also ask those alumni and friends who might be wondering what they can do, what role they can play, in making a celebrated institution even better to think of what others in the VMI family have done – and join them in this great and important effort.


VMI Alumni Review

Our Alumni Serving Recognizing Those Who Serve Others in Their Communities, Country and the World Are you or someone you know serving the community, country or the world? Send in a photo and a description of what you’re doing, where and for whom. See instructions below.

The VMI Alumni Agencies would like to pay tribute to our citizen-soliders, who are, as Col. J.T.L. Preston said and as printed on the parapet, “an honor to our country and our state, objects of honest pride to their instructors ... and ready in every time of deepest peril ... .” Those alumni whose photos and articles appear in this section of the Review could be members of the armed forces serving anywhere in the world, or they could be members of police and fire departments, legislators, doctors offering their services to those less fortunate, alumni volunteering at food pantries or

2019-Issue 4

serving as Boy or Girl Scout troop leaders. If you or someone you know is serving others, please submit a high resolution photo (3 or 4 megapixels, minimum) taken at the location you are serving or with the people whom you serve. Along with the photo, please submit a caption that explains what your service is, where you perform it and for whom. Send these to the VMI Alumni Review staff at or by mail to VMI Alumni Review, P.O. Box 932, Lexington, VA 24450, Attention: Associate Editor. We will review your submission and consider it for publication.


Reitz ’61, McCarthy ’96 Inducted into Ranger Hall of Fame

Retired U.S. Army Col. Robert Reitz ’61 and Hon. Ryan McCarthy ’96, Secretary of the Army, were added to the rolls of the Ranger Hall of Fame during the 27th annual induction ceremony held at Fort Benning, Georgia, July 10, 2019. The Ranger Hall of Fame was created in 1992 to preserve the honor, spirit and contributions of the country’s most extraordinary Rangers. The photo behind Reitz, left, shows the then-captain carrying a wounded South Vietnamese Ranger to safety during the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam. This photograph is displayed on Reitz’s honorary plaque within the Ranger Hall of Fame and was taken by Dang Van Phuoc, an Associated Press photographer. U.S. Army photos by Markeith Horace.

Augusta Vietnam War Memorial Dedicated

The Vietnam War Memorial in Augusta, Georgia, was dedicated March 29, 2019. From left were U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Chris Eubank ’91, speaker at the dedication and commander of the U.S. Army Signal School at nearby Fort Gordon; Joe Knick ’72, design and construction committee member; Chris Henry ’74; Terry Bowers ’68, design and construction committee member; and David Thomas ’63. Not pictured are Mac Bowman ’73 and Jed Knick ’00.


VMI Alumni Review

Germany-Based Alumni Commemorate New Market Day

Alumni assigned to U.S. Army bases in Germany gathered for New Market Day, May 15, 2019, were, from left, Jonathan Ives ’80, Jason Trubenbach ’99, George Seiferth ’82, Rob White ’89, Ryan Steptoe ’07 and Andrew Upshaw ’06. Steptoe works at U.S. Army Garrision Wiesbaden, while the other alumni are assigned to the U.S. Army Europe headquarters, located in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Womack ’92 Assumes New Role in 25th Infantry Division

U.S. Navy Capt. Chris Bergen ’92, U.S. Army Col. David Womack ’92 and Joe McClung ’92 at Womack’s promotion to Deputy Commander for Support of the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks in O’ahu, Hawaii, in July 2019.

2019-Issue 4


Doss ’95 Assumes Command

U.S. Air Force Col. David A. Doss ’95 took command of the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, in May 2019. Doss came to Ellsworth Air Force Base from the position of vice commander of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

Deployed Alumni Meet Up

Several VMI alumni linked up while deployed out of the continental United States. From left were SEAL Master Chief Shawn Stephan ’96, Naval Special Warfare Development Group; SEAL Master Chief Christian Hartwell ’95, NSWDG; U.S. Army Maj. Pete Kirkendall ’07, U.S. Special Operations Command; U.S. Air Force Capt. Aaron Bradley ’12, SOCOM; and Josh Gerardo ’09, who was overseas in a civilian capacity.


Alumni Gather for Founders Day in Iraq

VMI alumni serving in the U.S. Marine Corps gathered for Founders Day at the Anbar Police Training Center in Habbaniyah, Iraq, Nov. 11, 2018, were, from left, U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Chris Attanasio ’15, Lt. Col. Craig Giorgis ’00 and Col. George Schreffler ’94, with an Iraqi police officer.

Gough ’15, Boyle ’15 Complete Cavalry Leader’s Course

Charles Gough ’15 and Brian Boyle ’15 after graduation from the Cavalry Leader’s Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, Aug. 2, 2019.

VMI Alumni Review

In Memory: Harry G. Lee ’47 By Scott Belliveau ’83, Communications Officer

Harry G. Lee ’47, former president of the VMI as a vestryman and leaders of the associated Boy Scout Board of Visitors and the VMI Alumni Association, troop of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond. died June 27, 2019. He was 93. Born in Richmond An ardent admirer of Gen. George C. Marshall ’901, in 1925, he graduated from Thomas Jefferson High he devoted a large share of his talent and time to the School in 1943 and matriculated at VMI later that George C. Marshall Foundation, serving on its board year. Like many cadets of wartime VMI, he soon for many years. Through this service, he strengthened the departed the Institute in order to serve his country. organization’s ability to perpetuate Marshall’s legacy of In 1944, Lee entered the U.S. Navy’s officer trainwinning “both the war and the peace” and to pursue its ing program at Columbia University and was soon mission of acquainting young people across the country commissioned an ensign. Trained in naval diving and with Marshall’s sterling leadership qualities and exemsalvage training, Lee served on the rescue and salvage plary character. ship, the USS Preserver (ARS-8), which deployed to A loyal alumnus and a great advocate of VMI, Lee the Pacific Theater in 1944 and was part of the fleet served the Institute and the VMI Alumni Agencies faithsupporting Operation Crossroads, the atomic bomb fully for many years. He was active with the VMI Club tests that took place at Bikini Atoll in July 1946. Later of Richmond and led it for several years. He became the in 1946, despite being offered a bachelor’s degree in second vice president of the VMI Alumni Association engineering by Columbia University, he returned to in 1969 and its first vice president in 1972. In 1973, he VMI and finished his degree in civil engineering, succeeded Elmon T. Gray ’47, his brother rat and forLee ’47 graduating with his class in 1947. mer roommate, as the Association’s president. He held Having remained in the U.S. Naval Reserve, he was recalled to active that position until Gov. Miles Godwin appointed him to the VMI Board duty during the Korean War and served two years on the USS Hoist of Visitors in 1977. Lee was on that board for eight years, the final two (ARS-40) in the Atlantic Fleet. Lee often asserted that his naval service as the board’s president. He served as an ex-officio and regular trustee and his military training at VMI contributed significantly to his success of the VMI Foundation for various periods from 1973-95. In 1996, the as an engineer and businessman. VMI Foundation presented Lee with its highest honor, the Distinguished In 1948, Lee received his Professional Engineer’s license and joined Service Award. His citation described him, among many things as “a his father’s architectural firm, Merrill C. Lee & Associates. He joined civic-minded resident of Richmond, Virginia, and a leader among the the construction firm of Doyle & Russell, Inc. the next year as a project alumni of his alma mater.” manager, responsible for the execution of many important construction Thomas G. Slater Jr. ’66, who, like Lee, was president of the Board of jobs, culminating with the building of the University of Virginia’s Main Visitors and the VMI Alumni Association and received the Distinguished Hospital in the late 1950s. Service Award, said of him, “I got to know Harry Lee when I arrived in In 1961, Lee and David Kjellstrom founded Kjellstrom & Lee, a gen- Richmond as a young lawyer in the late ’60s. Along with Frank Louthan eral contracting firm specializing in commercial, industrial and medical ’41, Jim Wheat ’41 and Harry Easterly ’44, he formed what you might construction in central Virginia. Lee was the company’s executive vice call the ‘senior cadre’ of VMI alumni in the city. To me and many other president. An influential leader in the construction industry in Virginia, alumni, he was a wise adviser and a real mentor who always was eager he was active in the Associated General Contractors of Virginia and to help us get established.” later served as the organization’s president. In 1986, he retired from “Nobody loved VMI more than Harry Lee,” Slater continued, “and Kjellstrom & Lee but, as a consultant, played a major role in several his devotion to making it stronger was unflagging. A top-notch leader in significant projects, including Riverfront Plaza in Richmond and the every way, as member of the Board of Visitors and later its president, he Memorial Regional Medical Center in Hanover County. was instrumental in guiding VMI through the often daunting challenges Lee somehow found the time to be involved in numerous civic ac- of the 1970s and 1980s. He also was dedicated to ensuring that the VMI tivities, as well. He served for decades on the board of directors of Alumni Association was well-positioned to serve alumni and the Instithe Sheltering Arms Hospital Foundation and was its president from tute. As the longtime chairman of its board’s nominating committee, for 1989-91. He also had a long association with Westminster Canterbury example, he played a major role in recruiting top-notch alumni to the Richmond, serving as a director of the corporation and the president association’s leadership.” of its supporting foundation. For his service to the latter, he received Lee is survived by his wife of 71 years, Elizabeth Cheves Lee, and their its Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award for Distinguished Voluntary five children, James M. Lee, E. Preston Lee, Hope L. Marshall (whose Leadership Service. Described as “a very dedicated Episcopalian,” he husband is John Marshall ’77), Harry G. Lee Jr. ’81 and Melinda C. Lee, was a trustee of the Church Schools in the Diocese of Virginia and served as well as 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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In Memory: Grover C. Outland Jr. ’49B By Scott Belliveau ’83, Communications Officer

its commander, Capt. Bert Prentis, and survey officer, Grover C. Outland Jr. ’49B died May 23, 2019, at Lt. Richey Dickson ’50B, whom Outland had known age 91 in Onancock on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, in barracks. The pre-deployment photo of the battery’s a few miles from where his parents met as teachers soldiers was always prominently displayed in his home. before World War I. For his service in Korea, Outland received the Bronze After graduating from Norfolk’s Maury High Star, the Korean Defense Medal with two service stars, School – where he was president of his class and a the United Nations Korean Medal and the Republic highly regarded lineman on the football team – he of Korea’s Korean War Medal. After the war, Outland matriculated at the Institute July 10, 1945. A liberal continued to serve in the Virginia Army National Guard arts major, he was a four-year member of the Glee with the 29th Infantry Division. He completed his serClub and was a member of the Officer of the Guard vice in 1961 in the grade of captain. Association as a 1st Class cadet. In October 1953, Outland began his delayed legal He played football for two years (until a knee injury career in Norfolk, focusing on litigation, estates and ended his gridiron days) under Allison “Pooley” corporate law. He ultimately formed the partnership of Hubert, head coach, who was the quarterback for Outland & Gray with George H. Gray (whom he met Alabama’s first national championship team in the in law school). By the late 1970s, the firm – then named 1926 Rose Bowl. During Outland’s first season, the Outland, Gray, O’Keefe and Hubbard and including law team, led by its rat quarterback Bobby Thomason Outland ’49B partner John J. O’Keefe ’65 – was a force in Virginia’s ’49B, upset North Carolina State and Vanderbilt and also beat VPI (now Virginia Tech), the University of Richmond and legal community, handling various transactional and litigation matters, including successful appeals to the Virginia Supreme Court. Outland retired Emory & Henry. As the Institute was still on its accelerated wartime schedule when he from the active practice of law in 2002. Outland was an extremely active citizen. He was a member of the Norfolk matriculated, Outland graduated in January 1949 with the Class of ’49B. He then entered Washington and Lee University’s law school midsemester and Chesapeake Rotary Clubs, the Norfolk Wetlands Board, the American in February 1949. The Korean War began June 25, 1950, and Outland Legion Lynch-Anchorage Post 35 (for more than 60 years), the Norfolk received orders for active duty in April 1951. He obtained permission to Yacht & Country Club, the Norfolk German Club, the Tidewater Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and Ducks Unlimited. Outland delay reporting until he graduated from law school in late August 1951. In September 1951, he reported to the 235th Field Artillery Observation was a lecturer on constitutional law and other legal topics at the Armed Battalion at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. The unit was commanded by Lt. Forces Staff College in Norfolk. He also led the Tidewater Chapter of Col. Salvo Rizza. In his remarks to the Corps and VMI family when he the Washington and Lee Alumni Association, the Norfolk YMCA, the received the VMI Foundation Distinguished Service Award in November Norfolk Council on Alcoholism, the Pyramid Club and the Folly Creek 2008, Outland recalled what occurred when he reported: “[Lt. Col. Rizza] Corporation. A devoted Episcopalian, he served the Church of the Good reviewed my 201 file and then said, ‘I see you graduated from VMI.’ To Shepherd and congregation as lay reader, choir member, vestryman and which I replied, ‘Yes, sir.’ With that he said, ‘I don’t have to tell you a thing. senior warden for several decades as well. Outland had what his family describes as “a special love” for the Institute. One of the finest officers I served with in World War II was a VMI graduActive in alumni affairs, he served on the board of directors of the VMI ate. Now go out there and give them hell.’ Accordingly, I did just that.” In fall 1952, Outland’s active duty commitment and time as the executive Alumni Association, and he was the president of the Association’s Norfolkofficer of the battalion’s Battery C were about to conclude, and his thoughts Portsmouth Chapter (making him perhaps the only alumnus of both VMI turned toward opening a law office in Norfolk. However, the battalion re- and W&L to lead a major metropolitan area alumni chapter for both ceived orders for service in Korea, and the battery’s senior noncommissioned schools). From 1981-83, he was president of the VMI Alumni Association. officers, as a group, appealed to him in person to deploy with the unit. He He served for one term on the VMI Board of Visitors from 1991-95 and one agreed and served with the battery in Korea until it returned to the United term on the Board of Governors of the Keydet Club in the 1970s. In honor States in August 1953. Outland always said that his senior NCOs’ stated of his service to the country, the commonwealth and the Institute, Outland faith in his ability to minimize the loss of soldiers’ lives while accomplishing received the aforementioned Distinguished Service Award. His survivors include two sons, Grover C. Outland III ’81, James M. the mission was the highest honor he ever received. The unit, which would normally have supported a single division, Outland ’83, and a daughter, Elizabeth O. Branner (whose husband is Wade supported three divisions within a 15-mile sector that straddled the 38th H. Branner ’83); eight grandchildren, who include Matthew J. Outland ’17 Parallel. The superb performance of Outland’s battalion contributed to and Benjamin M. Outland ’19; numerous nieces and nephews; and his sister, its parent unit receiving a U.S. Meritorious Unit Commendation and two Nancy O. Chandler (widow of Webster M. Chandler Jr. ’46). Outland’s beloved wife of 61 years, Margaret “Teancy” Matthews OutPresidential Unit Citations from the Republic of Korea. Outland attributed land, predeceased him. the battery’s success to its soldiers’ dedication to duty and the leadership of


VMI Alumni Review

Corpuz ’89: The Science Behind the Magic By Molly Rolon, Associate Editor

Jose Corpuz ’89 designs rides and shows for Disney. His latest project, the highly-anticipated Smugglers Run ride, opened last spring in California’s Disneyland and in the fall at Disney World. Corpuz came to VMI courtesy the Harry A. deButts ’916 Merit Scholarship. In 1981, the Southern Railway System began a scholarship in honor of deButts. To date, 68 people have received aid from this scholarship. Photos by Amy Goetz, Alumni Agencies chief communications officer.


aking magic is what Jose Corpuz ’89 does. A systems engineer at Disney, he begins with sky-is-the-limit ideas designed by creative teams and figures out the behind-the-scenes practical applications. His end products are the rides and shows enjoyed by countless Disney park visitors worldwide. His cadetship was not nearly as snazzy as his current job. Corpuz was a serious, quiet student who – minus his participation in band activities – spent his time in barracks concentrating on academics. “My roommates remember me as the guy who sat in his room studying,” he recalled. “I had no life. I was pretty happy being able to get into a book and trying to work problems out.” Part of Corpuz’s attitude toward education stemmed from his mother’s influence. The youngest of four children, he was born in the Philippines. His mother, sponsored by her sister, immigrated to the U.S. when Corpuz was very young. While he was growing up, she placed a heavy emphasis on the value and necessity of education. “My mother had very high expectations of us,” he said, noting that most parents of teenagers begin conversations about the future by talking about choices following high school. “My mother would start our conversations with, ‘Let’s talk about what graduate school you’re going to – and how you’re going to pay for it.’” Corpuz had looked at the service academies, including the U.S. Military Academy, but was temporarily ineligible for West Point after knee surgery in high school. That’s when VMI came calling with a full-ride

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Institute Scholarship in hand. Corpuz came to VMI courtesy of the Harry A. deButts ’916 Merit Scholarship. His mother was almost “dancing” when she heard about VMI’s scholarship offer, he remembered. “She loved it, because it allowed her to concentrate on the other kids.” At VMI, he learned that he “loved being an engineer” and decided to go into the private sector. VMI was “an incredible experience,” he said, noting that he still uses the fundamental tools he learned – and earned – at the Institute. Included among those skills is a way of doing things, of getting the job done, of seeing a need and meeting it – whether it falls under the job description or not. “I kept my word. I got there on time. I keep a set of core values that still provide me advantages,” Corpuz said, explaining the effect of a solid reputation built over time. “Every time you do something, you keep your word, you show character, you show poise, you show leadership – it’s a deposit in your ‘bank of reputation.’” Following his VMI graduation, Corpuz moved back to Illinois, where he was raised, to attend graduate school. There, he found a part time job at a small virtual reality simulator manufacturer and operator called Virtual World Entertainment. It didn’t pay much, but for broke graduatestudent Corpuz, unlimited free games after closing more than made up for the paycheck. Though he was hired as a ride operator, he soon found himself helping out in an engineering capacity, often maintaining the rides. “Most of the staff there knew I was an engineer,” he said. Things started to get interesting when one staff member came by to


check on the facility. “One day I was underneath a cockpit, head down, and challenges” was the VMI band. Col. John Brodie (Hon.) took over on my back and somebody kicked me in the leg,” Corpuz related, not- as band director when Corpuz was a 1st Class cadet, and the two remain ing that his uniform identified him as a ride operator, not a technician. friends to this day. Corpuz calls the work Brodie did and does with the The man asked Corpuz why in the world he was working on the ride, band “amazing,” and directs his VMI financial contributions to the band. “I wanted to share that experience and pass it on. It’s an incredible and Corpuz explained that there were some issues with the design and program,” he said. “They are one of the most visible and effective repadded, “If I was in charge of the design, I would do it another way.” After a little verbal back-and-forth, Corpuz was able to explain that resentatives of the school.” Continuing in the vein of financial contributions, Corpuz said “finanaside from being a ride operator, he was a graduate mechanical engineering student at the University of Illinois. The man gave Corpuz a funny cial considerations” are a simple reality when considering colleges. He pointed out that many talented alumni – himself included – would not look, and asked, “What are you doing Monday?” The man was the company’s CEO, and he had a position open. “The be VMI alumni without scholarships. “Scholarships help identify raw next thing I knew, I had a job offer to work as a field engineer. I eventu- talent and encourage the student.” Scholarships and support for VMI are important, he said, because ally rose to be the chief field engineer for Virtual World Entertainment, and it morphed into a software engineer position,” Corpuz said. “From of the type of graduate VMI produces. Explaining, he said, “We need there I got hooked up with Disney. I had a director of technology at leaders of character. We need people who will take the hard way ... They won’t take the easy way out. They will do what’s right.” VWE who was an ex-Imagineer and he pointed me toward Disney.” Corpuz’s values, which stand in stark contrast to the notoriously lawFor the past 15 years, Corpuz has worked with and been one of Disney’s famed Imagineers – the threefold teams of creative folks, breaking Millennium Falcon pilots brought to life in his latest project, hard-science engineers and programmers, and numbers-crunching ac- have had a ripple effect. Illustrating this, Corpuz said a young woman countants and project managers who put their heads together to – from who worked with him once remarked, “I had a Jose moment.” Baffled, Corpuz asked her what she meant. While writing code, she a story idea to programming and mechanical reality – make the magic explained, she noticed that something in the existing code base that happen for millions of Disney guests. Due to an internal organizational change, Corpuz’s title is no longer was not correct. She could have figured out a work-around, but what Imagineer, although he still performs the same job. Job titles aside, was really necessary was to rewrite the large section of code – not an Corpuz continues to make the practical magical. The latest launch easy, nor quick, task. She told Corpuz, “I heard you in the back of my from his team was the dream-come-true – for both Corpuz and every head, saying, ‘Do what’s right. Don’t be afraid of doing the hard thing.’” The character and values that VMI alumni carry with them when Star Wars fan on the planet – Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride, which opened in California’s Disneyland last spring and opened in Walt they leave barracks are hard to overstate. VMI men and women bring these straightforward qualities wherever they go, intangibly raising the Disney World this fall. Developing the ride – commonly referred to as the Millennium Falcon quality of any organization and holding everyone around them to a ride – involved several years of high-level secrecy, combined with the higher standard. And that, folks, is called a happy ending. pressure to live up to expectations of both Star Wars and Disney fans. “We had to keep it under wraps. We couldn’t say anything,” Corpuz said, noting that the team wanted to live up to the reputations of both Disney and Star Wars. “You don’t want to disappoint people. It was a relief to say, ‘OK, we’ve done it. Let’s go.’” When the ride opened, Corpuz was on hand to see reactions. “One of the things we like to do when we open a ride is to stand at the exit. We try to be at the attraction when the first people come in, to see the excitement [and] the anticipation. Then you savor their enjoyment when they get off.” Pulling off rides like Smugglers Run and the whole Disney experience doesn’t actually happen magically. Similar to VMI’s culture in many aspects, Disney maintains and expects very high standards. Both places require a uniform of sorts, have grooming standards and use regimented systems. “I like to say Disney is a lot like VMI except you have to smile more,” Corpuz said. Back in his less-smiley days, one of Corpuz in front of Cinderella Castle at Disney World. his few escapes from his cadet “troubles


VMI Alumni Review

Larlee ’90: Using VMI Skills in Business Ventures By Molly Rolon, Associate Editor

Christian Larlee ’90, together with his wife, Kathy, moved to Rockbridge County following his active duty Army career. The couple soon started two small businesses to meet needs in the local community and beyond. On Aug. 20, 1986, a young man matriculated to VMI courtesy of the Floyd D. Gottwald Sr. Merit Scholarship, which had been established in Mr. Gottwald’s honor by his two sons, Floyd ’43 and Bruce ’54, and their families. The investment was a wise one. The young man, Christian Larlee ’90, was an exemplary student both academically, earning the honor of distinguished graduate, and in his military training, where he earned top national honors and was awarded the Hughes Trophy – presented to the nation’s top Army ROTC cadet by the Secretary of the Army. Larlee came to VMI an enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army Reserve, but left with a commission in the regular Army infantry and, after four more years, became a special forces officer. In this first career he served his country nearly 29 years, with combat and other operational deployments around the world. With military retirement on the horizon, Larlee and his wife, Kathy, looked around the country for a new place to call home. They settled on Rockbridge County, Virginia, and soon joined a new type of ranks: That of entrepreneurs. The Larlees decided to build their new house and drew their own plans, acted as the general contractors and did much of the work themselves. While Larlee was finishing up his military service at Fort Bragg, Kathy moved to Rockbridge County to manage construction of the house. Through the home building process, she got to know local service providers. So well, in fact, that Kathy “would receive phone calls from people she didn’t even know – asking for recommendations,”

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Larlee said. After several of these phone calls, the Larlees realized the area had a need and a market for a new type of business: Concierge services. They launched their concierge service, The Front Desk Belle, LLC, five years ago. Personal assistance services are popping up all over the country but vary widely in shape, size and the quality of service provided. Even web giant Amazon has tried to cash in on the trend. Internet and appbased giants typically have higher prices, lower standards and rarely offer services outside of major cities, Larlee noted. In contrast, The Front Desk Belle offers high-quality service at reasonable rates and serves clients in cities and rural areas. The Front Desk Belle’s concierges can run errands, clean homes or offices, walk dogs, schedule appointments, manage home projects, assist with events or even find last-minute lodging for out-of-town visitors. “Every problem is different,” Larlee said, “but our approach is the same.” The Front Desk Belle provides efficient and quality services tailored to the unique needs of each private or business client. More than a web-based replacement for the Yellow Pages, The Front Desk Belle helps people and businesses regain one of their most important resources: Time. Their personalized service gives clients more time for the important things in life. “The Larlees and Front Desk Belle have been nothing less than amazing, and we are thrilled to be working with them,” said Charles V. “Van” Hardenbergh ’93 who, along with his wife, Mari, uses the


firm to care for their second home in Lexington. “We have been more than happy with everything they have done. As a rat, Christian was one of my biggest inspirations because he embodied everything that an officer should be. He encouraged me to go to Airborne School and helped me out when I got there, so it was great to work with him in this new capacity and we look forward to more excellent results with them in the future.” The Front Desk Belle makes other impacts on its surrounding communities. It offers better than average pay and great flexibility for its employees and sub-contractors, Kathy said. And, for many other business owners and service providers in its markets, The Front Desk Belle helps match needs to resources and customers to businesses. Even as they expanded their concierge services beyond Rockbridge County and into the states of Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee, the Larlees began working on a second business idea. This time, their new idea was to help a specific audience: Small businesses. In providing concierge services, the Larlees got to know many small-business owners, while becoming aware of two other factors. First, small-business owners face stiff competition from internet sales, big box stores and prepaid gift cards. Second, there is still a large market of people who want to support small businesses – but want to do so conveniently. “Everybody likes to shop online nowadays. This is closing shopping malls, but at the same time, towns everywhere are renovating their main streets,” Larlee said. “People are realizing that they like their local town. And so, there is a market of people out there who want to support local small businesses, but they want to be able to do it at home, online, in their bathrobe.” The Larlees conceived a way to offer customers the convenience of online shopping and the flexibility of giving prepaid gift cards, all while supporting local small-business owners and service providers. This inspiration, combined with several years of development and hard work, emerged two years ago with the launch of the couple’s second business, GifTicket, Inc. The GifTicket website, through a proprietary system the Larlees developed, allows online shoppers to search for participating small businesses nationwide and find unique gift ideas from local businesses near friends or loved ones. For a small service fee on their chosen denomination, the shopper can then purchase a virtual gift card, called a GifTicket,


for that specific business. The shopper can then customize the GifTicket with both a theme for any occasion and a personalized message, and then email it to that friend or loved one. The recipient can walk through the door of their local small business and spend it like cash. Meanwhile, small-business owners and service providers can take advantage of the free tools and marketing that GifTicket offers by visiting the website and creating an account for their business. Business owners gain nationwide exposure, an enhanced web presence, a gift card mechanism for their own use and receive feedback through their merchant dashboard. When a GifTicket walks through their door, they redeem the transaction through their merchant dashboard and receive the full amount via direct deposit within two business days. GifTicket is absolutely free to participating businesses, Larlee said, charging no enrollment or subscription fees and even absorbing the cost of GifTicket transactions. The website has been “amazing” said Anna-Lisa Fitzgerald, owner of downtown Lexington’s Books & Co...Toys, too! To provide the best customer service, Fitzgerald sold paper gift certificates for almost 20 years and maintained carbon copies. If the paper got lost, she could look up the recipient in her files and replace the lost certificate. Plastic gift cards were expensive for her, and she had no recourse to help customers who had lost cards. GifTicket keeps track of the gift certificates and brings in new customers. “They thought of everything ... they covered every single aspect. It’s no cost to the merchant. The purchaser can be anywhere, and I don’t have to manage it,” said Fitzgerald, who added that she receives reimbursements quickly through a fellow small business, Cornerstone Bank in Lexington. The Larlees added a few extras not normally found in gift cards. Aside from the option to personalize them for any occasion, GifTickets are good for five years. During that time, the recipient receives periodic reminders by email of the amount and time remaining. Unlike typical prepaid gift cards, GifTickets lose no value to swipe, dormant or replacement card fees. And, security is assured by a code unique to each GifTicket, while an email verifies each transaction with the recipient, and business owners can authenticate GifTickets from their merchant dashboard, Larlee explained. “In addition, GifTicket can help a wide variety of small businesses while providing

that variety of choice to online shoppers,” Larlee pointed out. “When the term ‘small business’ comes up, many people automatically think of brick-and-mortar shops on Main Street, but it also includes service providers like plumbers, accountants or even a local community theater. These businesses often don’t have websites or gift cards of their own, and unique ideas like home improvement services make wonderful gifts for a new homeowner or a newlywed couple just starting out.” Neither of the couple’s two businesses would have been possible when Larlee graduated from VMI. Technology – from the many options available via the internet to the constant, instant access provided by cellphone coverage – has made many small businesses a reality. “We’ve been able to do this with the tools and technology that are available to pretty much anybody,” Larlee said. Neither he nor Kathy has a business or technology background. Kathy trained in criminal justice, while Larlee majored in history and international studies at the Institute. It was his military experience, starting with his schooling at VMI, which taught Larlee the necessary skills to both start and run a business. “Everything you learn at VMI and in the military is about problem-solving. You identify a problem or need, develop a course of action to solve or fill it, and organize the team and resources necessary to execute,” he said. “Then you have to be able to selfmotivate, manage your time and prioritize your efforts. All of those things I learned at VMI and in the Army.” Larlee’s experience and background, beginning with his experiences at the Institute, to build two successful, profitable businesses serving diverse markets regionally and nationwide. For more information about either business, visit or In addition to their “day jobs” – Kathy works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, while Larlee works at VMI and does some independent contracting of his own – and running their two businesses, the couple volunteers in many activities and supports numerous charities. Similarly, their businesses actively support the local communities in which they operate. In their spare time, the Larlees travel and pursue a variety of adventurous hobbies, including motorcycling, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, scuba and sky diving – and Larlee recently began training as an airplane pilot.

VMI Alumni Review

On Post Soybean Research Goes Airborne By Mary Price, VMI Communications & Marketing For the past several years, Lt. Col. Anne Alerding, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, has been taking cadets into soybean fields with the goal of learning why some fields produce bountiful crops while others perform poorly. This year, though, Alerding’s research went airborne, even as she and others stayed on the ground. Thanks to an interdisciplinary project involving the biology department and the computer and information science department, Cadet Andrew Broecker ’22 flew a drone over a 150acre soybean field near Glasgow in southern Rockbridge County. The images captured by the drone’s three cameras provided insight into how well the plants were growing – in a fraction of the time it used to take Alerding and her cadet assistants to walk through a field and visually inspect the plants. “The best way to detect branching [of a plant] is to go underneath the plant and stare at the stems, but that takes a lot of time,” said Alerding. Alerding, though, hadn’t really thought about other options for checking on plants until Dr. Hongbo Zhang, assistant professor of computer and information science, visited the biology department earlier this year and brought several VMI-owned drones along, with the goal of encouraging collaborative projects. The next step was to recruit a cadet, and when Alerding met Broecker in the spring, he joined up eagerly, well aware that drone experience would go well with his goal of commissioning into the Army and serving in the aviation branch. He conducted his summer work with Alerding and Zhang under the auspices of the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute, funded by the Jackson-Hope Fund of the VMI Foundation. Broecker quickly learned that research often goes slowly and requires a steep learning curve. “Being a biology major, I wasn’t used to computers and the different types of software and uploading and image analysis,” he commented. “The No. 1 thing [I’ve learned] is patience – not everything goes as planned,” Broecker added. “But it’s definitely been a great experience.” Broecker explained that the drone’s three cameras capture three kinds of images: RGB (red, green, blue), infrared and near infrared.

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The RGB camera takes standard aerial photos, while the other two cameras use heat sensors to measure chlorophyll, a green pigment that helps plants absorb light. “[The cameras] use red light wavelength to reflect the levels of chlorophyll off the plants,” said Broecker. A higher level of chlorophyll, he explained, means a healthier and more productive plant. “Soybeans … show tremendous variation in the number of branches they produce, and since each branch increases to the total yield of soybeans, we want to figure out how canopy [leaf] conditions affect branching,” said Alerding. “Drone images will increase the accuracy and volume of our measurements and will help us identify the optimal field conditions to promote high-branching soybeans.” After each trip to the field, Broecker and Zhang uploaded the images from the drone’s cameras to a computer running a program that analyzes agricultural data. By the end of the summer, the trio of researchers hoped to provide farmer Mack Smith with a research report on their findings so he can use their data to inform future plantings. Alerding noted that using a drone to moni-

tor crops is part of precision agriculture, which is becoming more common at farms nationwide. “If you are in the know, and working with Extension agents, a farmer could call in a fly-by where a drone would fly over their crops and monitor them,” said Alerding. “But that’s just starting to take over in our state right now, so we’re sort of at the leading edge of this.” Zhang, whose trip to the biology department with drones in tow began it all, sees this summer’s work as an example of the kind of interdisciplinary collaboration a small school like VMI can easily produce. “VMI has a culture to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration through different departments,” said Zhang. He added that another cadet, Kevin Andres ’20, also conducted drone research this summer, and that he and Broecker flew drones together and compared notes. Likewise, he and Alerding stay in close touch – and Zhang didn’t mind getting hot and dusty when he joined Alerding and Broecker for field work. “Such close collaborations are making this project successful,” Zhang concluded.

Cadet Andrew Broecker ’22 flying a drone over a 150-acre soybean field near Glasgow in southern Rockbridge County. The images captured by the drone’s three cameras provide insight into how well the plants are growing. Photo courtesy VMI Communications & Marketing.


On Post

Matriculation 2019: More Than 500 Sign the Book


VMI Alumni Review

Photos by Micalyn Miller and Molly Rolon, VMI Alumni Agencies.

On Post

2019-Issue 4


On Post

Governor Announces Appointment, Reappointments to BOV


Gov. Ralph Northam ’81 has appointed Michael Lawrence Hamlar to a four-year term on the VMI Board of Visitors. Hamlar is a resident of Roanoke and third-generation owner of Hamlar-Curtis Funeral Home, which has been in business for 67 years. In addition, his Hamlar Enterprises LLC provides financial M & A consulting services for small businesses, and Hamlar Properties LLC provides real estate development services. Hamlar was a member of Northam’s transition team after Northam was elected governor in November 2017. He has also served as a board member for Family Service of Roanoke, a member of First Tee of the Roanoke Valley and a member of the Board Room, Roanoke. Hamlar has also served organizations associated with his alma mater, Wake Forest University, as a member of the Wake Forest University Athletic Council and president of the Wake Forest University Roanoke/Lynchburg Alumni Club. In addition to his degree from Wake Forest, Hamlar holds a master’s of business administration from Liberty University. Reappointed to the board for a second four-year term were Lara Tyler Chambers ’03, David L. Miller ’70 and Gene Scott ’80. Leaving the board after four years of service is Brian R. Detter.

Gorham Speaks at 33rd Annual College Orientation Workshop The 33rd annual College Orientation Workshop was held on the VMI post from June 30 through July 27, 2019. Although the workshop is geared toward young minority men, two of this year’s 26 attendees were Caucasian, noted Gene Williams ’74, COW founder and executive director. All young men who attend COW are considered at-risk, he said, noting that the workshop has “always been diverse” and is not focused on participants’ race or ethnicity, but teaching at-risk students how to use approaches and tools to help them reach their full potential, beginning with graduating from high school and attending college. The workshop focuses on the relationship between perseverance and success. During their four weeks on post, the young


men are exposed to a wide variety of activities: Meeting with influential people, like businessman Jerry Acuff ’71; visits to historical sites, like the Moton Museum in Farmville, Virginia; outdoor and sporting activities, including hiking House Mountain with Phil Clayton ’72; participating in community service events; exposure to various academic areas; and listening to and interacting with an author. This year’s author was Brig. Gen. James Gorham, whose father was a sharecropper and who is the first African American to reach the rank of brigadier general in the North Carolina National Guard. COW participants were required to read Gorham’s book, “Sharecropper’s Wisdom – Growing Today’s Leaders the Old Fashioned Way,” before attending COW.

Brig. Gen. James Gorham spoke to young men attending the College Orientation Workshop during the summer. Photo by Sam Sorrells, VMI Alumni Association.

VMI Alumni Review

On Post

VMI Core Professional Seminars Broaden Perspectives By Maj. Dave Dixon ’99, Assistant Director of Leadership Development, CLE The Center for Leadership and Ethics’ mission is to educate, engage and inspire the VMI Corps of Cadets, faculty and staff in their leadership and character development and share insights gleaned from VMI programs with a broader national audience. Initiated during the academic year 2017-18, the center has implemented a progressive program of seminars to enhance leader development as part of that mission. This program involves three phases of learning that address faculty and staff core professional leadership and followership skills needed throughout their careers at VMI. This year’s professional development began in the fall as part of the onboarding process for new faculty and staff. In addition to VMI’s initial two-day orientation, new faculty and staff participated in Phase I “Lean Forward: Accelerating Professional and Personal Development,” a one-day, interactive seminar. The seminar focuses on boosting key interpersonal and followership skills. Participants also received an introduction to the VMI Leader Journey booklet, which outlines the cadets’ leader development process over their four-year experience. During the academic year 2018-19 session, 22 new VMI team members completed this seminar. Beginning with this academic year, the center will incorporate Supervisors Training under its Phase I programming. Supervisors Training provides first-line and selected mid-level

supervisors with improved interpersonal and managerial skills to lead teams and small groups at VMI. Classified employees who have supervisory responsibilities are eligible to participate in this program. Michelle Prosser of Energy Focus LLC will join with the center this year to lead this interactive training that will occur throughout the academic year. To download a free copy of the VMI Leader Journey, please visit our Leadership Resources page: cadet-life/cadet-leadership-and-development/ cle/leadership-resources/. During 2018-19, the center conducted the first Phase II course titled “Emerging Leaders.” Using the adult learning model, the purpose of this seminar series is to enhance participants’ understanding of their individual strengths, meeting management, goal setting, interpersonal interactions, group dynamics and critical conversations. This eight-seminar course targets existing or rising committee/department chairs and mid-level (6-plus years) faculty and staff nominated by senior executives. During those sessions, 14 staff and faculty members graduated from the pilot course. Col. Dave Gray, director of the CLE, and Maj. David Dixon ’99, assistant director of leadership development, modeled the seminars after best practices drawn from educational research, other universities’ successful programs and the needs of the VMI community. They also serve as the

seminars’ primary facilitators. Feedback from participants was very positive. Following the Group Decision-Making Strategies session, one member commented, “The day of the session, I started mentally putting things into the different boxes. It has revolutionized how I prioritize. I never thought I was bad at prioritizing until recently. This has helped me better prioritize those things that are truly important and urgent to me.” Another, more senior member observed, “I had seen most of these techniques before, but what I found useful was why these techniques are valuable in group settings. I tried to sit with different people each week and shared the table with two nurses for this session. It was good to get their perspective on the session and other VMI topics.” A professor serving on a number of committees found several of the techniques for committee meetings very useful. He commented, “You set a good example of giving information ahead of time. I have been in too many meetings where we are presented with material for the first time during the meeting. It is impossible to think complicated issues through so fast.” The final phase, Phase III, of the core professional development program, is titled “Marshall Leaders Seminar” series. The target audience for these seminars is senior leaders – new or recently selected department heads or staff directorates. This course is currently under development.

2019-20 CLE Events Nov. 11, 2019 Courageous Leadership Speaker: TBA Each year, the CLE brings to post speakers whose unique experiences and insights further the mission of enhancing the leader and character development journey of VMI cadets. Speakers come to post a few times each year. The schedule can be found on the CLE website at

Feb. 21-22, 2020 4th Annual Cyber Fusion & Cyber Cup Competition ^

Mar. 31-April 2, 2020 31st Annual Environment Virginia Symposium

Spring 2020 Leader-in-Residence (visits) - TBA Annual Superintendent’s Leadership Dinner ^

*Please note that some dates are subject to change ^ Denotes invitation-only events

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On Post

Construction Projects Start on Post By Scott Belliveau ’83, Communications Officer

During the time between commencement and Matriculation Day, while the vast majority of the Corps of Cadets were enjoying summer furlough, the Institute remained active. There were two sessions of summer school – which began in May and ended in late July – and the monthlong Summer Transition Program along with what could be called the usual repairs and upgrades in barracks started about the same time. This summer, however, things were busier than normal because of several important construction projects and infrastructure upgrades. One of these projects was the renovation of Preston Library – which should be completed in the autumn of 2020. The first renovation of the building since the 1990s, it will create what Col. Diane Jacob, head librarian, describes as “a greatly enhanced, more modern building that’s much more suitable for a 21st century learning community.” Elements of the $19.2 million project include improved internet connectivity, new spaces for the Mathematics Education Resource Center and the Center of Undergraduate Research, a new conference room on the library’s top level (which many alumni will remember as the Timmons Music Room), and more group study rooms for cadets. In the VMI Archives, housed on the Library’s 400 level, the HVAC system will be replaced and the reading room and storage areas will be expanded. On the building’s 500 level, the level at which patrons enter, the entrance area will be completely transformed and what is now called the reference room will be converted into a “Learning Commons.” There will also be a smart classroom for library instruction, and a group study room with smart classroom capabilities. Also, the Class of 1969 Memorial Reading Room will receive a thorough upgrade – to include the creation of an entrance to the Learning Commons. During the renovation that happened from 1994-96, Preston Library was essentially emptied


of all materials and personnel. This time, the renovation is happening floor-by-floor, from top to bottom. That means that most materials remain within the building, and the library is open as usual to faculty, staff and the general public throughout the renovation. Like Preston Library, Scott Shipp Hall will remain open during the two-year renovation that began in summer 2019 and will cost $43.2 million. The faculty and staff of the five academic departments that call the building home will work in its older section, built in 1918-19. The project’s first stage will be the renovation of the newer section of the building, itself constructed in 1955, and the construction of a 28,000 square foot addition that will extend toward Crozet Hall. The second stage of the project will see the faculty and staff move into the sections that have been completed which will be followed by the renovation of the older part of the building. Besides expanded classroom space – needed to deal with the increased size of the Corps of Cadets – Scott Shipp Hall will receive its own auditorium with tiered seating, bringing it in line with Mallory Hall and Nichols Engineering Hall. Its main entrance off Letcher Avenue will be changed from its current narrow configuration to a wider one, centered on the overall building mass, in order to ease movement in and out of the building. The new addition will have an entrance directly across from Crozet Hall which will allow cadets more direct access to the building after BRC. Other important facets of the project include creating more areas for group study and collaboration by cadets and the introduction of the latest in classroom technologies. At Foster Stadium, Clarkson McKenna Hall, built in 1987, was renovated to expand the press box to improve broadcast facilities and meet the Southern Conference’s requirement that all member schools have instant replay facilities. This project also expanded facilities in the Ferebee Lounge.

Those coming on to post via Letcher Avenue will notice construction near Limits Gates. The old Bachelor Officers Quarters – which housed the VMI Police Department for several years – was demolished, and work began on a new, purpose-built police facility on the same site. The new building’s design matches the Gothic Revival architecture of the many structures at VMI, including the homes along Officer’s Row, Preston Library and barracks. During construction, the Post Police will be based out of a temporary trailer complex adjacent to the Physical Plant facilities that are located north of post near Rockbridge County High School. There was some work at Lejeune Hall as well, necessitated by the arrival of a new vendor for concessions which was completed in August. The VMI Bookstore remained open during the entire summer. In May, construction crews began work on a series of upgrades to the underground lines which supply barracks, Officer’s Row, and other buildings on post with natural gas, steam and water. Some of these lines are located under the Parade Ground, and some are located under streets, which will demand the rerouting of some traffic. Much of this project – which will cost $33.2 million – will be completed by the end of summer 2020. Another construction project – albeit relatively less visible – soon will happen on North Post. There, Anderson Drive, through which people access post via Jordan’s Point, will be widened. The bridge which spans Woods Creek will be replaced by a two-lane structure, and a sidewalk will be added. This work, part of the overall Post Infrastructure Project, is scheduled to begin in early December 2019 and end in August 2020. While there will continue to be inconveniences for those working at and visiting VMI, the rewards will be ample and the Institute will be an even better place for cadets to live and learn and faculty and staff to teach, train and mentor.

VMI Alumni Review

Athletics VMI Earns SoCon McAlister Award for Sportsmanship

Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, superintendent, and Dr. David Diles, athletic director, with the D.S. McAlister Award for Sportsmanship. The VMI athletic department was presented with the award May 29, 2019, as the Southern Conference held its Honors Dinner at the Sonesta Resort. Inaugurated in 1980, the D.S. McAlister Award is presented annually to the Southern Conference school which is judged to have exhibited the highest degree of sportsmanship in the conduct of its athletic program. The award is named after Col. D.S. McAlister of The Citadel, who served as Southern Conference secretary-treasurer for 38 years. VMI last took home the McAlister Award in 2000-01, and this marks the 11th time the Keydets have earned the honor, the most in the award’s history. Photo courtesy VMI Keydets.

All-time McAlister Award Winners 1979-80 1980-81 1981-82 1982-83 1983-84 1984-85 1985-86 1986-87 1987-88 1988-89 1989-90 1990-91 1991-92

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Davidson Furman Furman The Citadel The Citadel VMI VMI Western Carolina VMI VMI VMI VMI VMI

1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05

VMI Furman Davidson Western Carolina Furman Wofford Davidson VMI VMI Davidson Davidson Wofford Elon

2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19

Elon Wofford The Citadel Elon Wofford Wofford Samford Furman Wofford Wofford UNCG Wofford Wofford VMI



Bither: Pulling Double Duty By Molly Rolon, Associate Editor

Lt. Col. Bill Bither, above, on the air rifle range in Kilbourne Hall. He serves as both the NCAA men’s and women’s rifle team coach and on the commandant’s staff as the director of Corps marksmanship. Photos by Molly Rolon.


nique among VMI’s NCAA coaches, the head rifle coach is also a vital member of the commandant’s staff. Since 2011, Lt. Col. Bill Bither has been serving in these dual roles: Coach of VMI’s NCAA Division I men’s and women’s rifle teams, while also serving as the director of Corps marksmanship. The sport he coaches is also unique. Unlike the classic image of NCAA Division I athletes straining, striving – and sweating – their ways toward goals, baskets, runs and finish lines, control is the name of the game for rifle athletes. Rifle competition sounds deceivingly simple: Pick up the firearm, aim, fire. There is, however, much more to the discipline than meets the eye. Bither begins with the essentials. “I could probably write a two or three page list of things you need to do before you squeeze the shot,” he said, going on to explain that the first things he teaches “are the fundamentals of good marksmanship.”


These fundamentals involve significant patience and control on the athlete’s part: Breath control, trigger control, aiming – which is really twofold: Sight picture and sight alignment, hold control and follow through. The last step – follow through – is essentially holding the same shooting positon for a few seconds after squeezing the trigger. If the athlete doesn’t continue holding the firing position for those few seconds, the shot has good chances of going astray. Bither’s athletes initially spend more time practicing fundamentals without their firearms than with them. “If you start out wrong, you’re just reinforcing bad habits,” he said. By practicing the basics without the firearm, he can weed out any incorrect positioning and tendencies before they become routine. A well-trained rifle athlete can calmly combine all the fundamentals, squeezing the two-stage trigger and taking up the initial slack, then timing the final trigger squeeze with sight alignment and sight picture, finally breaking the shot “in a perfect timing sequence.” While rifle athletes benefit from physical training regimens, particularly core exercises, Bither feels that “every bit” of the allowed practice time is best spent practicing fundamentals and actually shooting. “We depend on the Corps and the ROTC” physical training time, he said, noting that he’s not concerned about physical training for his rat athletes “because they’re getting smoked every day.” Aside from learning – and practicing – fundamentals, Bither’s teams have some assistance from their gear. They wear a stiff, somewhat uncomfortable suit and boots, designed to minimize movement while providing a measure of stability. There is a thick, rubber glove for the non-trigger hand that helps each athlete support the rifle, particularly while in the standing position. The glove also decreases the athlete’s skin – and pulse – contact with the rifle. There is also a small table, called an offhand stand, beside each firing lane where athletes can set rifles to both rest and reload. For the “extremely uncomfortable” kneeling position, athletes tuck a kneeling roll underneath their feet to add support. Rifles themselves have slings to hold the weapon tight, along with butt hooks designed to tuck snugly into the armpit area. NCAA rifle competitors can use two types of firearms: Smallbore and air rifles, both of which are single shot firearms. For beginners, Bither encourages picking one type of firearm and getting comfortable with it for a year or two. Experienced athletes generally shoot both types of rifles in competition. After a 15 minute warmup period when athletes shoot as many practice rounds, or “sighters,” as desired, the timed competition begins. For smallbore, competitors have one hour and 45 minutes to shoot 20 rounds each from three positions: Kneeling, prone and standing. For air rifle competition, each athlete has one hour and 15 minutes to fire 60 rounds – all from a standing position. Rifle matches are calm events. At the first match of the 2019 season – a win over The Citadel – cadets, parents and coaches quietly conversed in the hallways outside the Kilbourne Hall range. Inside the range, everything happened in muffled tones. Cadets shooting were in their lanes, intensely concentrated on their targets and positions. Bither’s influence is felt in every aspect of the rifle team, said Andrea Doehler, mother of team member Cadet Ben Doehler ’21.

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The rifle teams opened the 2019 season beating The Citadel at the VMI home range in Kilbourne Hall Sept. 21. Bither, left, checks scores on the Megalink screen during the smallbore portion of the match. “Coach Bither goes to great lengths to foster an environment that ensures his shooters feel at home on the rifle range. He goes to similar lengths to make sure that visiting rifle teams and their friends and families feel just as welcome when they are at VMI,” she said. This was in evidence during the match versus The Citadel Sept. 21, 2019: Coaches of arguably one of NCAA Division I’s biggest rivalries, quietly discussing results – during the competition. A factor in the rifle team atmosphere is the athletes’ preparation prior to matches, Doehler noted. “Coach Bither absolutely keeps his shooters’ noses to the grindstone. He knows exactly what each shooter needs from him as a coach to be successful,” she said. “It is quite something to watch him adapt his coaching style from shooter to shooter. Some shooters might simply need a hand signal – maybe a thumbs up. Others might need verbal reinforcement. In any case, Coach Bither knows what coaching style each of his shooters needs in order to be successful.” One of the tools he uses to monitor progress is an electronic targeting system called Megalink, which provides precision results. Following each shot, each athlete sees near-instant results on an individual video monitor system. There is also a large-screen version for coaches and spectators behind the firing line. “Once the round pierces the bullseye it will give exact shot placement based on sound systems on the monitor. It’s almost like a video game where you’re actually shooting live ammunition,” Bither explained. Piercing the bullseye means sending a round 50 feet downrange into a 4-centimeter black bullseye for smallbore, and from 10 meters for the air rifle. “The target won’t register unless you’re inside that black ring,” Bither said. “It takes an incredible amount of precision and concentration to put a round inside that black bullseye.” For scoring, a 10.9 on the Megalink screen indicates a perfect shot.

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Decimals are not included in final match scores, meaning 600 is a perfect match score. Each team needs five athletes to compete, and the top four scores count toward the team score. Bither tries to keep 22-24 cadet-athletes on the team roster. The women’s team is required by Title IX, and the other team can be either men’s or coed. While some athletes come to Bither already experienced in the discipline, he also heavily scouts the rat classes for potential rifle team members. “I really start recruiting during STP [Summer Transition Program],” he said. The hours Bither spends on Corps marksmanship instruction pay dividends to the rifle team, since he often spots – and recruits – potential rifle athletes during this instruction. Per NCAA regulations, VMI’s rifle program is allowed 3.6 grants, or scholarship equivalencies, per team. The teams are supported through the VMI Keydet Club. Though the program is not yet fully funded, Bither is “grateful for every penny and dime we get.” He uses a merit-based system to award available funds to athletes who are competitive, are earning good grades and have longevity on the team. Many rifle athletes are also ROTC scholarship cadets who go on to commission into the military following graduation. ROTC brought Bither to VMI initially as an Army ROTC instructor from 1996-99. He then served a repeat tour in Army ROTC as the executive officer from 2001-05. Following his retirement, he worked as a government contractor until his current position opened.

Corps Marksmanship Program Benefits Cadets Aside from serving as the NCAA rifle coach, Bither is a key figure in barracks. There, he works on the commandant’s staff as the director of Corps marksmanship. In this role, he ensures 3rd Class cadets are exposed to basic marksmanship skills. In cooperation with the ROTC programs, he teaches preliminary marksmanship instruction during the ROTC-designated physical training time. During the following week, cadets put the PMI into practice during basic rifle marksmanship. For 1st Class cadets, Bither teaches pistol familiarization. While open to every 1st Class cadet, the training is particularly valuable to commissioning cadets who may be assigned a pistol as their service weapon. Bither’s dedication to the Corps marksmanship program has directly impacted VMI’s Army ROTC cadets. Army ROTC is the largest ROTC component at VMI, and these cadets consistently earn top spots in national rankings. In both 2017 and 2019, VMI cadets were the No. 1 cadets among all Army ROTC programs. “Lieutenant Colonel Bither has done a great job of complementing what the Army does in preparing cadets for summer training, and for being leaders in the Army,” said Col. Mike Warwryzniak, VMI Army ROTC professor of military science. “The Army as a whole is trying to increase core competency of marksmanship and cadets benefit from his work in the Corps Marksmanship Program.”



Four Football Players Named Preseason All-SoCon Martin ’20

Udinski ’21 Four VMI football players were named to the Preseason All-Southern Conference teams announced by the league at the 2019 SoCon Football Media Day in Spartanburg, South Carolina, held in late July. Senior wide receiver Javeon Lara ’20 was named to the first team offense while junior quarterback Reece Udinski ’21 was named to the second team offense. On the defensive side, junior A.J. Smith ’21 was named to the first team defense and on special teams senior Rohan Martin ’20 was named a second team return specialist. Lara is a three-year letterman and returning starter. He had an excellent 2018 season in which he accumulated the second-most catches and yards among receivers with 53 catches for 825 yards. He led the team in touchdown receptions with seven and earned the team’s longest reception of the year with a 72-yard touchdown catch against Samford. He produced four 100+ yard receiving games as a junior. Smith is a two-year letterman and returning starter who earned 2018 All-SoCon second team defense honors last year. The Academic All-American started all 11 games at safety in 2018, extending his start streak to 18. He co-led the team in tackles with 90 for sixth in the league standing with 8.2 tackles per game. He led the Keydet


Lara ’20

Smith ’21 defense with 55 solo stops last season and broke up three passes during the season. Udinski rewrote the season passing record book in 2018 by throwing for over 3,000 yards and became the first quarterback in school history to surpass the 3,000 yard threshold for a single season. He set season marks for completions (302), attempts (523), total plays (570) and tied the season mark for most touchdown passes in a season with 20. Udinski established VMI single game records for passing yards when he threw for 491 yards in VMI’s 52-50 loss at Western Carolina Sept. 22, 2018, which also stood as the second most yards by a SoCon quarterback during the year. Martin was a 2018 second team All-SoCon specialist, despite only playing in eight games due to injury. He tied for third on the team for the most receptions on the year with 30 to go with 252 yards and a touchdown. On special teams he averaged 15.9 yards per return in seven tries. Western Carolina quarterback Tyrie Adams was named the preseason Offensive Player of the Year and defensive lineman Nasir Player of East Tennesse was named the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

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Keydet Athletes Volunteer During Summer YMCA Sports Week

Keydet hoops guard Garrett Gilkeson ’20 talks with a YMCA camper at Waddell Elementary School in Lexington, Virginia. Gilkeson was part of a contingent of cadet-athletes who taught their respective sports to YMCA day campers in July 2019. Big Red athletes from across the sports spectrum participated: Basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, wrestling, and track and field. Photo by Jamie Severns, VMI Keydets.

Always willing to serve the community, several VMI cadet-athletes and coaches participated in the annual YMCA Sports Week over the summer in Lexington. The local Rockbridge Area YMCA hosts several camps throughout the summer ranging from sports and outdoor recreation to science and nature. The week of July 22-25, 2019, was tabbed as “Sports Week” and cadet-athletes and coaches from VMI’s basketball, baseball, track and field, wrestling, and men’s and women’s soccer participated. “We loved having the coaches and athletes visit this week!” said Annie LePere, childcare director at the Rockbridge Area YMCA. “Our campers had fun learning new skills. At the end of the week, they

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couldn’t wait to talk about the sports during our Friday afternoon parent presentation. I appreciate that it was another group of role models for our campers to look up to.” On the morning of July 23, the basketball team held a clinic at Waddell Elementary before the baseball team had an afternoon session with the kids. The track and field athletes and coaches held a clinic the afternoon of July 24. July 25 saw the men’s and women’s soccer teams put on an event before the wrestling team filled the afternoon. Editor’s Note: More photos of the activities, YMCA and VMI cadetathletes are available on



Keydets Earn Academic Honors The Keydets pulled down numerous academic honors in 2018-19. A total of 14 VMI Keydets were named to the Southern Conference Spring Academic All-Conference Team and 155 Keydets were selected to the 2018-19 Southern Conference Academic Honor Roll. Additionally five Keydets were named to the 2018-19 Virginia Sports Information Directors Academic All-State Team. One Keydet, lacrosse’s John O’Donnell ’19, carried a perfect 4.0 GPA. To be eligible for the academic all-conference team, student-athletes must carry at least a 3.3 cumulative grade point average at the conclusion of the spring semester and were required to compete in at least one-half of their teams’ competitions. In addition, the student-athletes must have successfully completed at least three semesters at their institutions, making true freshmen and first-year transfers ineligible for inclusion. Keydets earning SoCon spring All-Conference honors: Kelia Aardema ’20, rifle Justin Adams ’20, men’s track and field Anna Armfield ’21, women’s track and field Max Gallahan ’20, wrestling Corey Johnston ’19, baseball Walter Kitson ’21, men’s track and field Jake Mazziotta ’21, men’s track and field Isabela Melendez ’20, women’s track and field Chris Milliken ’20, rifle John O’Donnell ’19, lacrosse Sarju Patel ’21, basketball Nick Reynolds ’21, rifle John Schmank ’20, lacrosse Daniel Usher ’21, men’s track and field

Four hundred and eighty-eight student-athletes earned a league-record 580 spots on the Spring 2019 Academic All-Southern Conference Team. The 580 selections are the most for any academic all-conference team in the history of the SoCon, which began selecting teams in the winter of 2002-03 and selected fall, winter and spring teams through 2014-15. Beginning in 2015-16, the winter and spring teams were combined, with those studentathletes honored after the spring semester. The previous record was 571 selections in the spring of 2018. VMI cadet-athletes John O’Donnell ’19, A.J. Smith ’21, Corey Johnston ’19, Anna Armfield ’21, Sarah Dolitsky ’19 and Kelia Aardema ’20 earned spots on the 2018-19 Virginia Sports Information Directors Academic All-State Team. Every commonwealth college and university, including NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA and independents, had the opportunity to submit student-athletes to be honored. To be eligible, student-athletes were required to have a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or better. The student must have achieved sophomore status, and he or she could not have been in the first season of competition at their current school. Below are Keydets who earned VaISD honors: John O’Donnell ’19, Goshen, New York, 4.00, economics and business, men’s lacrosse A.J. Smith ’21, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 3.75, mechanical engineering, football Corey Johnston ’19, South Chesterfield, Virginia, 3.59, biology, baseball Anna Armfield ’21, Franklin, North Carolina, 3.40, civil engineering, women’s cross country/track and field Sarah Dolitsky ’19, Orland Park, Illinois, 3.80, psychology, women’s water polo Kelia Aardema ’20, Alexandria, Virginia, 3.79, applied mathematics, women’s rifle

2019-2020 Wrestling Schedule * Denotes Home Match Nov. 9 Nov. 9 Nov. 16 Nov. 16 Nov. 24 Dec. 6 Dec. 6 Dec. 22 Dec. 22 Dec. 22 Jan. 1-2 Jan. 10 Jan. 10


Maryland American Franklin & Marshall* Davidson* Keystone Classic LIU Post George Mason Hofstra Edinboro West Virginia Southern Scuffle California Baptist* Clarion*

Jan. 10 Jan. 12 Jan. 18 Jan. 19 Jan. 25 Feb. 7 Feb. 14 Feb. 15 Feb. 22 Feb. 22 Feb. 23 March 8 March 19-21

Cleveland State* Sacred Heart University of Virginia Chattanooga* All-Academy Championships Bloomsberg University Gardner-Webb* Campbell* The Citadel Presbyterian Appalachian State SoCon Championship NCAA Division I Championships

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Fiscal Responsibility in NCAA Athletics: Maintaining a Sustainable Program An early objective in the Institute’s plan to rejuvenate its athletics program was to put its athletic budget on a firm footing. Under Gen. Peay’s direction and with the approval of the Board of Visitors, Dr. Diles spearheaded a five-year plan to put VMI’s NCAA sports program “back in the black.” The goal was reached two years early – despite the expenses related to changing athletic conferences, Title IX guidelines and new NCAA requirements – and the Institute’s athletic revenues now consistently pay for current operations expenses. This was a particularly herculean effort – one that many college programs struggle to accomplish. Scholarships: First and foremost, it is important that we enable our coaches to compete at the highest level of scholarship support allowed, not simply what we can afford. We must raise scholarships to the maximum limit allowed by the NCAA, a distinctively important component of the plan to build competitiveness. The NCAA caps the number of scholarship equivalencies for VMI at 203.8 across all sports. Thanks to truly outstanding private support, VMI currently provides 144 scholarship equivalencies. SoCon members with significantly lower tuition rates can spread their scholarship dollars across more equivalencies. We are competing for talented students who would thrive in the VMI system, but their decision is largely based on finances. Due to VMI’s tuition rates and available aid, VMI ranks last in the SoCon in our ability to fund NCAA scholarship equivalencies.

Coaches’ Compensation: Secondly, we must enhance coaches’ compensation. Due to the complexities of fully funding a Division I NCAA Program each year, VMI loses coaches to colleges with larger payrolls. The athlete-coach relationship directly influences the stability of the team, team loyalty and trust. Continuity in coaching is also a critical component of a successful recruiting program. The VMI athletic program operates at a smaller financial capacity than peer institutions. With the second-lowest annual expenses in the SoCon, it is difficult to pay competitive salaries. Currently, VMI coaches’ salaries are the lowest in the Southern Conference. Recruiting Budgets: A third focus and commitment by the Institute is to provide our coaches with recruiting support to locate, scout and secure the very best candidates across the nation. With 14 NCAA Division I schools within the commonwealth of Virginia, knowing that VMI is not for everyone, our limited ability to travel beyond state borders to recruit athletes who will thrive in this environment is significant. The recruiting budget level is also an additional influencer when recruiting coaches. VMI has the lowest budget in the Southern Conference for recruiting. The new NCAA Portal process does not benefit VMI due to transfer policies and the Rat Line experience.

In three of four funding streams, VMI is at the bottom or second to the bottom in the SoCon. $8 Million Although we celebrate VMI leading the SoCon in private funding, it is simply not yet enough to offset the deficit in revenue from the funding streams that are limited by enrollment size and location.

$5 Million

Student Fees

$2.5 Million


$1 Million

Private Funding

$250K Ticket Sales


Corporate Sponsorships

SoCon athletic program revenue generation comparison for schools with football programs that report. (USA Today 2017-2018 NCAA Finances)

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The Business of NCAA Athletic Expenses: A Comparison of Capacity Annual Athletic Program Expenses for the SoCon: 2018-19 Annual operations and scholarship capacity to include coaches’ salaries, recruiting travel and expenses, staff size and team travel and lodging. $28,513,624

$29M $28M


Competition begins with the planning and allocation of the annual budget. Largely based on revenues, VMI establishes a responsible plan that maximizes available resources while remaining fiscally responsible. The budget annually sets the course for the resources available in securing top athletes, recruiting experienced coaches, setting appropriate schedules, and supporting team travel. VMI hosts the third-highest number of NCAA Division I programs in the SoCon with the second-lowest operating budget.

$22M $20,654,279



$20,262,843 $19,994,718






$14M $13M


Number of NCAA Programs


18 VMI








Equity in Athletics Data Analysis Sept. 17, 2019 Only schools with football programs are included for comparison.


VMI Alumni Review

JOB ONE We must first provide for the scholarships necessary to attract the very best athletes who will thrive in the VMI experience. Our singular focus to improve the competitiveness of our teams and level the playing field when building our rosters is this: Secure the funding to provide the maximum capacity of VMI scholarship equivalencies allowed by the NCAA. WHICH IS ...


WHOLE DAMN TEAM Learn more at

Compete. Learn. Lead.

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Events Alaska Chapter Gathers for New Market Day Present at the Alaska Chapter gathering for New Market Day in Eagle River, Alaska, were Chuck Cubbison ’86; Karl Powers ’90; Dennis Dupras ’90; Shane Perry ’12; John White ’63; Tom McGinnis ’86; and Brian Duffy ’89, chapter president.

Augusta Chapter Gathers for New Market Day Seven VMI classes from 1968-2018 gathered to celebrate New Market Day at the home of Jed Knick ’00. The event was sponsored by Knick and his father, Joseph Henry Knick ’72. Some alumni were able to visit the graves of New Market cadets buried in Augusta, Georgia: William S. Carmichael ’867 is buried at Cottage Cemetery and John F. Bransford ’867 is buried at Summerville Cemetery. Present were, from left, Becky and Tim Mecredy ’80, Ray and Gale Lawson ’81, Joe and Kathy Knick ’72, Jed Knick ’00, Roi Pineda ’18, Joyce and Terry Bowers ’68, and Leon Peng ’14. Bowers is the chapter president.

Cape Fear/Fayetteville Chapter Gathers for New Market Day

Present at the Cape Fear/Fayetteville Chapter New Market Day gathering were, from left, front row, Capt. Carrera, Cadet Alexandria Carrera ’21 and Maj. Heather Guidry ’06. Middle row: Ted Kientz ’79; Bill Kern ’75; Lane Toomey ’74, chapter representative; Chip Davis ’77; Margaret Davis; and John White ’74. Back row: Mike Ceroli ’85, chapter president.


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Coastal Georgia-South Carolina Chapter Gathers

The Coastal Georgia-South Carolina Chapter gathered for New Market Day.

Central Keystone Chapter Rat Send-Off

The Central Keystone Chapter hosted the annual rat send-off at the home of Corris Atkins ’18 and Cadet Jack Atkins ’22 in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, July 27, 2019. The event was wellattended, drawing more than 50 individuals, including eight rats, five alumni and two cadets.

Hampton Roads Region Old Corps Lunch Lush and Bob Heely ’69 hosted an Old Corps lunch for the Hampton Roads Region at Bravo in Virginia Beach June 20, 2019. Heely is a past president of the VMI Alumni Association. Attending the event were Hunter Clark ’58, Sal Vitale ’61, Bill Gibbings ’61, Larry Wetsel ’61, Alan Bamforth ’62, Warren Channel ’66, Mike Holloman ’67, Bogie Holland ’68, Hal and Brenda Hostetler ’68, Nick Psimas ’69, Dick Hamlet ’70, Terry Berglund ’71, Tip Palmer ’72, Tim and Kerri Hughey ’73, Chip Beaman ’74, Easy Ryder ’75 and David Gibbings ’88.

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Central North Carolina-Raleigh Chapter Events

Present at the Central North Carolina-Raleigh Chapter monthly senior alumni breakfast in April were, from left, front row, Dixie Walker ’70, Bill Gibson ’65, Paul Johnston ’61, Rick Hening ’75 and John Kuchnia ’57. Back row: Don Brown ’71; Parky Parkman ’66; Larry Wilson ’62, chapter president; Drew Turner ’72; and Pete Shelley ’74.

Present at the Central North Carolina-Raleigh Chapter monthly senior alumni breakfast in May were, from left, front row, Rick Hening ’75, Bill Murchison ’70, Dixie Walker ’70, Bill Gibson ’65, Pete Shelley ’74 and Bruce McCreedy ’56. Back row: Ed Roney ’60; John Kuchnia ’57; Paul Johnston ’61; Larry Wilson ’62, chapter president; and Mike Kelly ’73, Carolinas regional director.


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Pat and Mike Kelly ’73 hosted members of the VMI family in an event remembering New Market Day. Mike is the Carolinas regional director.

Charlie Upshaw was invited to join the June monthly breakfast. Both he and his wife, Connie, are active in the chapter. Their son, Andrew Upshaw ’06, is an active duty Army major.

Present at the Central North Carolina-Raleigh Chapter monthly senior alumni breakfast in June were, from left, front row, Ed Roney ’60; Dixie Walker ’70; Ed Andrews ’70; Bill Gibson ’65; Paul Johnston ’61; Mike Kelly ’73, Carolinas regional director; and Bill Murchison ’70. Back row: Charlie Ramsburg ’66; Don Brown ’71, Roger Rosenfield ’47; Larry Wilson ’62, chapter president; Rick Hening ’75; John Kuchnia ’57; and Bruce McCreedy ’56.

Present at the Central North Carolina-Raleigh Chapter senior alumni breakfast in July were, from left, front row, Ed Andrews ’70, Roger Rosenfield ’47, Bill Gibson ’65, Bill Murchison ’70, Henry Shirley ’60 and Sam Hening. Sam is the son of Rick Hening ’75. Back row: Turtle Frank ’74; Bucky Carney ’67; Bruce McCreedy ’56; Snookie Parker ’74; Pete Shelley ’74; John Irby ’44; Larry Wilson ’62, chapter president; Paul Johnston ’61; John Kuchnia ’57; Rick Hening ’75; and Dixie Walker ’70.

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Hawaii Chapter Holds Rat Send-Off The Hawaii Chapter held a rat send-off at the Kona Brewing Company in Honolulu, Hawaii, June 12, 2019. Incoming cadet Nathan Miller, along with his parents, Gary and Carrie Miller, plus five alumni and wives attended. Pictured were, from left, front row, Gary Miller, Nathan Miller and Carrie Miller. Back row: Russ Takata ’74, U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Mike Griffin ’17, Julie Carter, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Matt Carter ’85, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Adametz ’89, Karen Adametz, Dick Rankin ’68 and Cyndy Rankin. Photo courtesy of Karen Adametz.

Northeast Florida-Jacksonville Chapter Holds New Market Gathering The Northeast Florida-Jacksonville Chapter held a New Market gathering. Sam Sorrells from the Alumni Association brought an update from VMI. Those present included Kathy Karr-Garcia; Adrian Garcia ’87; Sam Sorrells, VMI Alumni Association representative; Jim Chalkley ’73; Sharon Chalkley; Adam Hopkins; Hugh Hopkins ’69; Adrianne Hopkins; Blake Thomas ’73; Sandy Thomas; Abigail Goldstein; Blaine Goldstein; Jason Goldstein ’02, chapter president; Allison Goldstein; Jake Ammon ’09; Scott Hurst ’88; Caroline Hurst; Scampi, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp mascot; Jackson Todd ’06; Samantha Amador; George Robbins ’62; Betsy Robbins; Carter Bostwick ’92; Anne Witt; Dennis Witt ’69; Paul Clare ’63; John DeVault; Sam Nicholson; Nick Nicholson ’62; and Mia DeVault.

EastTennessee-Knoxville Chapter Gathers for New Market

The East Tennessee-Knoxville Chapter held a New Market gathering. The group is pictured in front of the brewery business expansion of Brad Pruitt ’07. Those pictured included John Sterrett ’73; Chris Jones ’96, chapter president; Hiske Jones; Cyndi Turner; Brett Turner ’90; Pruitt; Bill Noell ’53; Judy Noell; Kayla Murphy; Nathanael Murphy ’07; and Hugh Daughtry ’83. Eric East ’00 was present but is not pictured.


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East Tennessee-Knoxville Chapter Holds Rat Send-Off

The East Tennessee-Knoxville Chapter held a rat send-off at the Gettysvue Country Club July 27, 2019. Twenty-seven people attended the event, including three incoming rats, Ridge Clark, Dylan Jacobvik and Conner Taylor, above right.

Middle Tennessee Chapter Holds New Market Gathering The Middle Tennessee Chapter held a gathering on New Market Day, May 15, 2019. Present were Zach Bugalla ’17, Charles Sanger ’82, Steve Chapin ’75, Richard T. “Dick” Spencer Jr. ’47, David Pitts ’88, Victor Sredl ’88, David Miller ’70 and Mark Bristol ’88.

New River Valley Chapter Sends Off Rats

Present at the New River Valley Chapter rat send-off July 27, 2019, were, from left, Will Hale ’03; Harrison Williams ’15; Mike Kelly ’73, Carolinas regional director; Ramon Williams ’90, Alumni Agencies representative; Bob Underwood ’81; Gary Eifried ’63; Paul Mele ’89; Joe Levine ’91; Greg Hurst ’91; Brad Burrus ’96, chapter president; Cadet Isaak Halkidis ’21; Charlie Straub ’63; Cadet Grayson Hurst ’22; Barry Helms ’76; Cadet Gage Levine ’21; incoming cadet Mitchell Branscome ’20+3; incoming cadet Cody Talbert ’20+3; incoming cadet Cade Compton ’20+3; Cadet Olivia Smoot ’22; Jim Kelly ’71; incoming cadet Elise Levine ’20+3; and Barry O'Donnell ’71. Cadet Mollie Straub ’22 was present but is not pictured.

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Northern California Chapter Gathers The Northern California Chapter gathered July 18, 2019. Steve Maconi, Alumni Agencies chief executive officer, and Joe Irby ’85, Alumni Agencies major gift officer, were guests of the chapter and spoke at the meeting.

Oregon Chapter Rat Send-Off The Oregon Chapter held its first-ever rat send-off July 30, 2019. Attendees included, from left, Cadet Daniel Sanford ’20; Christian Tujo ’94, chapter president; Christian Richardson ’13; Walt Witschard ’60; Thom Brashears ’95, Alumni Association chief operating officer; and Richard Griffith ’12.


Graduate School Partnerships

Jonathan M. Daniels 1961 Seminary Scholarship

Virginia Military Institute has forged relationships with some of the best graduate and professional schools in Virginia and across the United States. These agreements offer a range of opportunities, including admissions concessions, internships, guaranteed interviews and, in some cases, guaranteed admissions. Partnership institutions include Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, College of William & Mary, Florida State University, Norwich University, Arizona State and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. Programs vary but include law, medicine, business, engineering, communications and other fields. If interested in learning more about the available partnerships, please contact Bri Holland at

Dr. G. Lee Southard ’59 and his family established the Jonathan M. Daniels 1961 Seminary Scholarship in 1985. The purpose of the scholarship is to assist VMI graduates pursuing an advanced degree leading to Protestant Christian ministry. The scholarship is named in honor of Jonathan M. Daniels ’61, who, after graduating from VMI, followed a call to ministry and entered seminary. For more information, applications and instructions, please contact Mary Cannon, administrative assistant in the VMI Chaplains’ Office, at The degree pursued must lead to service as a pastor or military chaplain in Protestant ministry. The deadline for submitting the application is June 15 of each year. Scholarships are awarded in July.

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North Jersey Chapter Rat Send-Off

The North Jersey Chapter held a rat send-off for six incoming cadets July 26, 2019. In addition to the incoming cadets, three current cadets as well as members of the parents’ council attended the event.

Pacific Northwest Chapter Events The Pacific Northwest Chapter held a New Market luncheon at Ivar’s Salmon House in Seattle, Washington, March 19, 2019. Present were, from left, front row, Monica Chun, Diana Pierro, Patty Farmer, Roy Palmer ’58, George Coulbourn ’60 and Judy Olson. Back row: Ken Chun ’67; Ken Pierro ’81; Richard Wilson ’72; Pete Farmer ’68, chapter president; Patrick Khattak ’02; and Tom Appleton ’82.

The Pacific Northwest Chapter held a family picnic July 28, 2019. 29 alumni and guests plus one cadet attended. Present were, from left, kneeling, Cadet Carisa Kunkle ’20. Front row: Ken Chun ’67, Clayton Gant ’14, Larry Miller ’56, Tamara Ferguson ’04, Ben Bird ’95, Roy Palmer ’58 and David Pitkethly ’58. Back row: Patrick Khattak ’02; Pete Farmer ’68, chapter president; Tom Appleton ’82; Brian Albro ’90; Chris Muller ’05; Matt Kenkel ’18; Joe Girlando ’70; Travis Russell ’55; Ken Jambor ’95; and Thom Brashears ’95, Alumni Association chief operating officer.

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Panama City/Tallahassee Chapter Joint Cadet Send-Off

The Panama City/Tallahassee Chapter held a joint cadet send-off along with alumni from The Citadel, Texas A&M and Norwich University at the Firefly Restaurant in Panama City Beach June 6, 2019. Present were, from left, Wayland Patterson ’80, chapter representative; Fred Walker ’72; Noah Patterson; Chuck Stem, Norwich ’79; Debbie Stem; Aliona Cudievschi; Anisa Tarigan; Barbara Wells; Bob Wells, The Citadel ’72; Neil Rodenbeck; Kelli Mellerski; Glenn Connally, Texas A&M ’55; Craig Mellerski, The Citadel ’78; Ted Roberts, Texas A&M ’86; Ted Roberts, Texas A&M ’86; Maxine Mann, honorary World War II veteran; Jim Pappas, The Citadel ’66; Mei-Ling Frishkorn; Renee Pappas; Jim Frishkorn ’81, chapter president; Don Baughn, The Citadel ’68; Becky Baughn; Jeffrey Durham ’05; and Renee Reeves ’15. Not pictured are Martha Action and Jerry Walker, The Citadel ’71.

Richmond Chapter Rat Send-Off

The Richmond Chapter had a large turnout for their rat send-off, held July 24, 2019. The guest speaker for the event was Bob Louthan ’82.

Wilmington Chapter Old Corps Breakfast Present at the Wilmington Chapter Old Corps breakfast at the Boathouse Restaurant May 14, 2019, were Dick Stone ’61; Tom Tolbert ’66; Ed Powers ’46; Fred Ayers ’61; Bill Corr ’58; Andy Young ’74; George Myers ’79; Henry Brown ’60; Tom Peyton ’44; Carolyn Ayers; and John Gangemi ’61, chapter president.


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Southern Florida Chapter Meets

The Southern Florida Chapter met for dinner at Batch Gastropub in Miami, Florida, June 22, 2019. Present were Richard Pell ’89; Jonathan Schwerer ’07; Jarrett Brown ’04; Seth Parker ’05; Scott Houser ’98, chapter president; Steve Hunter ’93; and family members.

Treasure Coast Chapter Rat Send-Off

The Treasure Coast Chapter held a rat send-off for four new rats at the home of Margaret and Don Carson ’64. Twenty-one people attended, including parents, new cadets, alumni and friends of the Institute.

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Valley Chapter Rat Send-Off

The Valley Chapter gathered at the Cracked Pillar in Bridgewater, Virginia, to send off four area rats July 24, 2019. Present were, from left, Don Crawford ’70; Rick Hess ’74; Cameron Seay ’70, chapter president; Dustin Kanney ’19; Cadet Jonathan Krauss ’21; Jerry VanLear ’70; Steve Hively ’72; Stephen Hanley, incoming cadet; Don Bowers ’90, chapter representative; Matthew Copeland, incoming cadet; Kayleigh Allen, incoming cadet; T.J. Lighton ’15, Alumni Association director of alumni outreach; Ryan Fix, incoming cadet; Cadet Patrick Nott ’20; Lee Clark ’93; Dickie Sedwick ’71; Stephen King ’88; and Bill Stickley ’55.

Tampa Chapter Celebrates, Honors New Market

The Tampa Krewe returned to the Hula Bay Club Restaurant to celebrate and honor New Market Day. Present were from left, front row, Nancy Scott, Bronnie Polk, Lynne Andersen, Grace Bailey, Nate Salatin ’09, Bob Keller ’75 and Dave Stronko ’11. Back row: John Scott ’69; Mel Anderson ’59; Bob Polk ’61; Ted Davis ’08; Martin Andersen ’57; Bob Bailey ’72, chapter president; John Freiermuth ’72; Jim Heine ’73, and Vernie Reichling ’87. Jean Anderson also attended but was not pictured.


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Alumni Participate in 20th Allen Stone ’92 Memorial Race The 20th Annual Dephinius Engineering Allen Stone [’92] – Braveheart Memorial Races were held July 13, 2019, in Virginia Beach. The race, initially called Braveheart, began in 1999. Stone competed in the event and won his age group. Stone died Sept. 3, 1999, during a Navy SEAL training exercise. As a memorial, the race committee renamed the event, adding Stone’s name. VMI alumni participating in the 2019 event included Dave Alexander ’73; Asa Page ’79, VMI Alumni Association president; Tom Christman ’92; Neil Hennigan ’92; Bob Mason ’92; Chris Zaleski ’92; Mike Starling ’92; Thom Brashears ’95, VMI Alumni Association chief operating officer; and Chris Ratchford ’94. Zaleski, Mason, Christman, Starling and Henningan finished the race together.

Commissioning Information for Classes of 1990-2009 To more accurately reflect commissioning percentages at VMI, the Institute is seeking to uncover those alumni who have commissioned in any branch of service following their graduation through an officer candidate program or other commissioning avenue. VMI believes that there may be a sizeable

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number of alumni in this category. If you commissioned after graduation, by some means other than direct commission through VMI ROTC, please contact Col. Gary Bissell ’89, deputy chief of staff and operations, by email at or by phone at 540/464-7104.

Post-Graduate Scholarships Available Graduates from VMI may apply for post-graduate scholarships to support their graduate and professional study. These scholarships are for those pursuing a graduate degree in any field, including law, business or engineering. Application materials and instructions are available from Lt. Col. Meagan Herald, chair of the Graduate Education Subcommittee ( The deadline for the receipt of all application materials is March 15, 2020.


Progress Nanette and Tom Watjen ’76: “Grateful to be able to do this” By Scott Belliveau ’83, Communications Officer

Tom Watjen ’76 often associates the word “gratitude” with VMI. He was grateful to be recruited as a basketball player and to receive a full scholarship. He is grateful for the education he received and, more specifically, the insights into the world of business from longtime head of the economics department, Col. Alexander H. Morrison ’39. “They helped me build on what I learned at home and through my early life experiences.” He is grateful, as well, for two important lessons that VMI’s structure and discipline taught him. The first is the importance of teamwork.

“I got that team orientation not only through sports, but also through the class system. When you think about it, every class is taught to be a team, to work together, from the first moments in barracks.” The second is “dealing with adversity,” according to Watjen. “VMI presents every cadet with challenges throughout their cadetship. So, they learn how to deal with them, and don’t allow them to impede their ability to succeed. These lessons aren’t just for barracks or business,” Watjen added, “they are life lessons.” Watjen took all he learned at VMI and, over the next several decades,

Tom and Nanette Watjen ’76


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Progress built a successful business career. After some early work experience, he attended the University of Virginia’s Colgate W. Darden School of Business Administration, graduating in 1981. There, he received financial assistance from the Institute’s James C. Wheat ’41 Scholarship, which was established to help alumni attend the Darden School. After graduating from the Darden School, he worked in the investment and corporate finance areas of Aetna Life and Casualty and then was a partner with Conning & Co., a venture capital firm. From 1987-94, he was a managing director at the investment banking firm of Morgan Stanley and Co. He moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1994 to take up the position of executive vice president and chief financial officer for The Provident, Inc. When the company merged with the Unum Group in 1999, Watjen became executive vice president-finance and risk management for the new UnumProvident Corporation. Three years later, he became its vice chairman and chief operating officer and joined its board of directors. In 2003, he was named president and chief executive officer. In 2015, he retired as chief executive officer from what was then known as the Unum Group. He remained on the board of directors until stepping down in May 2017.

who are willing to lend their experiences – not just financial support – to help these organizations fulfill their purposes.” The Watjens have given generously to many charities, including VMI. In 2017, they established the Nanette and Thomas Watjen 1976 Chair in Economics and Business and, one year later, the Nanette and Thomas Watjen 1976 Academic Excellence Endowment for Economics and Business. The common goal of the chair and the endowment are, Nanette explained, to strengthen VMI’s ability to continue to produce strong business leaders. “Thanks to its strong academic curriculum, the military and barracks orientation, and honor code, VMI is well-equipped to produce future leaders in any field.” Watjen continued, “The business world presents tremendous opportunities for our next generation of leaders, but it’s not without its challenges. We want to ensure our graduates have an education that prepares them to adapt to today’s challenges – and ones in the future.” Such an education is founded, according to the Watjens, “on high-quality teaching,” and that means, as Watjen puts it, “attracting and retaining very high quality faculty.” This past May, Lt. Col. Valentina DimitrovaGrajzl, Ph.D., of the department of economics and business – and a 2019 recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for

“The business world presents tremendous opportunities for our next generation of leaders, but it’s not without its challenges. We want to ensure our graduates have an education that prepares them to adapt to today’s challenges – and ones in the future.” – Watjen ’76 Watjen also has served on a number of corporate boards, such as Prudential plc (UK) and SunTrust Banks, as well as subsidiary and industry boards, including the Financial Services Roundtable. About the same time as he moved to Tennessee, Watjen began his service to VMI as a member of the VMI Keydet Club Board of Governors. In 2002, two years after his term of service with the Keydet Club ended, he became a trustee of the VMI Foundation and served on that governing board for eight years. In 2017, he joined the VMI Board of Visitors. Asked what sustained his desire to serve VMI, he said, “When I left VMI, I was like many alumni in that I didn’t fully appreciate my time at the Institute. Over time, I came to realize that VMI helped further develop my core skills and values, among them the importance of honor and service, and I wanted to be sure that current and future cadets had that same experience.” Such involvement is not new to Watjen or his wife, Nanette. Both have been and are involved with many philanthropic activities. “Being fortunate to be in the position we were,” said Watjen, “has allowed us to give more of ourselves.” Nanette added, “All nonprofit organizations need volunteer leaders

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Higher Education in Virginia – became the first recipient of the chair. “We couldn’t be happier with the choice,” said Watjen. “It’s exactly how we hoped the chair would be utilized, rewarding a high achieving professor regardless of how long he or she has been at VMI.” As to the academic excellence endowment, the Watjens see it providing financial support for timely and relevant programs that allow cadets in the department of economics and business to be better prepared to contribute to the business world – either after commissioning or directly out of school. While they have some general thoughts on how the chair and the endowment may be used, and want to be kept informed about their progress, Watjen said, “Nanette and I have great confidence in VMI’s leadership, from the superintendent to the dean to the head of the department, to be able to put our support to work in a manner that adds to the VMI experience.” Summing up their thoughts about their philanthropy, Nanette said, “We’re happy to support VMI any way we can.” For Watjen, it again came down to gratitude. “We’re just grateful to be able to do this.”



Woulfe ’06: Making It Happen By Molly Rolon, Associate Editor

Justin Woulfe ’06 says he “owes everything he has” to VMI. That’s a good-sized compliment, coming from Woulfe, who – along with his VMI roommate, Jim Woodard ’06 – started and runs Systecon, a multimillion dollar software company. Woulfe’s first exposure to VMI was during a middle school soccer camp at the Institute. While in Quantico, Virginia, for a rugby tournament as a high-schooler, a VMI alumnus told him to look at VMI. When he expressed uncertainty about VMI’s military aspect, the alumnus mentioned that VMI offers many scholarship options. With that, Woulfe knew he needed to look closer at the small college in Virginia’s mountains. Woulfe, who was a distinguished graduate in the demanding study of electrical engineering, came to VMI as both an Institute Scholar and with a Naval ROTC scholarship. The Institute Scholars covered any remaining costs not covered by the ROTC scholarship. The Institute Scholars program – including speakers, round tables and a subscription to The Economist magazine – contributed to Woulfe’s education in a way that regular classes – be they engineering or English – could not. Through these opportunities, Woulfe, who grew up in the “cows and cornfields” countryside of Fauquier County, Virginia, was exposed to “a whole big, wide world” that he was not aware of before VMI. The Institute brings highly accomplished speakers from a variety of fields to post. Institute Scholars – about 30 in number – are often able to meet with presenters in small group settings. Two standouts in Woulfe’s memory are Holocaust survivor and author of “Night,” Eli Weisel, and the husband-and-wife political opposite tag team of “Ragin’ Cajun” Democrat James Carville and his staunchly conservative wife, Mary Matalin. “It was pretty amazing to have that level of intimate discussion,” Woulfe remembered.


Justin Woulfe ’06 is the chief technology officer at Systecon – the company he began with his VMI roommate, Jim Woodard ’06 – and says he “owes everything he has” to VMI. Woulfe came to VMI on a scholarship and recently began the process to endow the Justin H. Woulfe 2006 Merit Scholarship to give others the same opportunity.

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Progress Even outside of the Institute Scholars, VMI’s small size was instrumental in Woulfe’s development and education. His 4th Class year classes were small, Woulfe said. Interacting with engineering majors from other universities – like the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech – he learned that many of their freshman year classes had hundreds of students. During his junior and senior years, there were never more than 11 people in Woulfe’s electrical engineering classes. Beyond the obvious military structure of VMI, it is “one hell of an engineering college,” he said. “Everybody who has been there understands that.” Woulfe spent his cadet summers doing various Naval ROTC training, preparing to commission in the Navy and had also been granted a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information clearance. During the spring semester of his 1st Class year, Woulfe’s carefully designed blueprint for his future took a sharp detour when he injured his knee during a rugby game. The injury meant he was unable to commission in the Navy. “I had it all planned out,” he remembered. About to graduate, he needed a job. The VMI alumni network came through with flying colors. “I had a couple of job offers from VMI alumni immediately,” Woulfe remembered. “If you have an engineering degree and a TS/SCI clearance, you’re pretty employable.”

Once in the workforce, Woulfe’s preparation at VMI distinguished him from his peers – in ways he had not previously imagined. As an entrylevel engineer, he said he was able to “put two sentences together logically and actually explain what I meant when I was doing projects,” he said, noting that this skill was “largely because of [VMI’s] liberal arts education.” “At VMI, you’re juggling labs and these crazy complex classes, and oh, by the way, you have all these ‘ridiculous’ writing assignments to do for liberal arts classes and you don’t really appreciate them,” he said, recalling his speech and writing classes. “Once you get away from it, you realize just how much the ... classes that you had to take actually help.” Using his engineering skills combined with the foundation of poise and multifaceted communications skills gained at VMI “made it easy” for him to rise quickly to a senior level, Woulfe said. “[VMI] is really an amazing experience that prepares you for the corporate world in a better way than engineering at a traditional school does.” In 2012, Woulfe was talking to Woodard, who was considering leaving the Air Force. Woulfe – who had risen through the ranks at Lockheed Martin – was ready to work in a smaller company. The two made the leap to entrepreneurship – bankrolled initially by a loan from Woodard’s father-in-law – and

began a software business together. “We have grown that to be about a $10 million a year company, employing 27 people. We support 21 different countries’ defense departments,” Woulfe said, noting that Systecon recently “turned that corner from start-up to fully functional, profitable business.” Meanwhile, Woulfe had also kept in touch with his former VMI rugby coach, Joe Irby ’85, who is currently a major gifts officer at the VMI Alumni Agencies. “Joe does a good job of keeping up with everybody. He’s seen us since the very beginning when we were struggling and sleeping on BRs’ couches ... to where we are today.” The subject of endowing scholarships came up, and Woulfe asked Irby how much it cost to endow a scholarship. When he heard the number, Woulfe said, “I think I can make that happen. So I am.” Working with Irby, Woulfe is in the process of endowing the Justin H. Woulfe 2006 Merit Scholarship, which will provide merit-based awards to cadets who are majoring in a STEM subject and who are Institute Scholars. “I certainly wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go there if it wasn’t for scholarship money.” Woulfe said. “Given that I practically owe everything I have to that experience at VMI, I think it’s pretty important to give other people that same opportunity.”

Reflections on a Gift: Irby ’85 Joe Irby ’85 is part of the major gift officer team in the VMI Foundation and recently worked with Justin Woulfe ’06 in endowing a scholarship. A 20-year active duty Army veteran, Irby’s last assignment was at VMI Army ROTC. Irby met Woulfe through the rugby team: Irby was the assistant coach, and Woulfe was the team’s captain. “I’m really excited about this gift. It means a lot to Justin to give back to VMI for another deserving and high performing cadet like him. It is also exciting for me as an alumnus, former coach and fundraiser to be part of Justin making such an impactful gift to VMI,” Irby said.

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Irby and Woulfe kept in touch following Woulfe’s graduation. “It has been great to watch his progression and success after graduation,” Irby said. “I went to visit Justin a year or so ago just to start talking about giving to VMI. We got on the subject of need- and merit-based aid. Justin emphatically said that he would not be where he is now without VMI – and that he wanted to start a scholarship. Justin, like so many of our supporters, understands the importance of private funding for the Institute and its cadets. These dollars allow cadets to compete in the classroom, on the playing fields and after graduation – whether on battlefields or in boardrooms.”

Irby ’85



Fiorini Field Receives New Turf Thanks to two generous donations through the Keydet Club, the Big Red launched the 2019 season’s practices on brand-new turf at Fiorini Field. “The new field turf on Fiorini Field has given VMI football the opportunity to prepare on a state-of-the-art surface,” said head Keydet football coach Scott Wachenheim. “The turf provides a game-like experience for our athletes, as well as aiding in injury prevention and providing recruiting benefits.”

The $500,000 project commenced following spring ball and was completed before the team’s Aug. 1 return. Before the returf, the field was uneven in many areas. “All of us at VMI football are very thankful for the generous donations that led to the upgrade of this mission essential practice facility,” said Wachenheim.

Fiorini Field during the returfing process, above, and the field with completed new turf, below. Photos by Micalyn Miller, VMI Alumni Agencies.


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Staff News Ayers ’19, Ferris Join Alumni Agencies Megan Ayers ’19 joined the VMI Alumni Association in June 2019 as a program outreach officer. She matriculated from Mechanicsville, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from VMI. While a cadet at VMI, Ayers participated in the female fellowship Bible study group and continues to serve with the group as an alumna. She also performed in the Glee Club and served as a career ambassador in the Institute’s Office of Career Services. Ayers '19 Ayers is currently pursuing a master’s degree in crisis response and trauma therapy at Liberty University. “We’re happy to have Meg join the team. She will work closely with our alumni chapters, our volunteers in support of admissions and our alumni who are either transitioning or looking to support with career networking initiatives,” said T.J. Lighton ’15, Alumni Association director of alumni outreach. “Meg’s experience working

in the Office of Career Services as a cadet and her time with the Glee Club, which regularly performs at alumni functions, provided her with valuable perspective on how having an engaged alumni body can directly impact cadets and other alumni.” Victoria Ferris joined the Alumni Association as assistant director of reunions in August 2019. She graduated from James Madison University in 2015, where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in communication studies. “Victoria brings energy and a Ferris wealth of programming experience to the reunion effort,” said Patti Cook, Alumni Agencies director of Annual Giving and reunions. “She is a self-starter who will expand the abilities of our team.” Before joining the VMI Alumni Agencies, Victoria worked as a news producer at WDBJ7 in her hometown of Roanoke, where she launched the station’s 4 p.m. lifestyle show, “7@four,” in September 2017. Victoria is excited to be part of the reunions team at VMI.

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Stuart Seaton Jr. ’73

Having missed the May 15 submission deadline for the summer 2019-Issue 3 of the VMI Alumni Review, I first want to apologize to the three surviving members of the VMI Class of 1941 for missing that check formation. My Brother Rat Bob Maling ’73 called and gave me a quick update on his father, Col. Robert C. Maling. On Aug. 16, Col. Maling celebrated his 100th birthday in San Antonio, Texas. At his birthday celebration, there were four generations present: Col. Robert C. Maling, Robert C. “Bob” Maling Jr. ’73 (son), Robert C. Maling III (grandson) and Matthew Maling (great-grandson). I’m sure there were plenty of stories told and that this was a very exciting and meaningful day for VMI’s oldest living alumnus. Having turned 99 years of age May 25, Col. Chuck Abbitt is the second oldest living VMI alumnus and continues to stay active and healthy. After 10 years of organizing the weekly vesper services at his retirement home, he has turned over responsibility to another resident and continues to attend services each Sunday. When asked if there were any major changes in his life, he said he was seriously thinking about selling his car and using Uber to get around. He also stated that it was about time he thought about moving into assisted living before it becomes absolutely necessary. During our conversation, Col. Abbitt was called for dinner, so we had to end our conversation rather quickly. After all, meals are very much a social event at 99 years of age, and a meal he was not going to miss. Brother Rat Jack Williams says there’s not much new in his life except that he turned 99 Sept. 8, and he continues to stay busy reading, mowing grass and delivering meals for the local Meals On Wheels program. We did speak rather extensively about his grandson, Ryan Allan Williams ’10, who passed away in 2011 as a result of a tragic motorcycle accident. Ryan was only at VMI for a few months, but reason enough for Mr. Williams to make his annual contribution to the VMI Foundation in memory of his grandson. On Aug. 1, I had the pleasure of sitting down

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and spending time with Mrs. Marilyn Louthan, wife of Brother Rat Frank G. Louthan Jr., who passed away April 12, 2016, the week before his 75th VMI reunion. Mrs. Louthan was in excellent spirits and told me just how much VMI meant to her husband, as well as her sons, Frank Louthan III ’66, Chip Louthan ’75 and Bob Louthan ’82, and her grandsons, Frank Louthan IV ’91, Michael Louthan ’10, Blake Louthan ’14 and

Mason Louthan ’18. Being the matriarch of the Louthan family, Mrs. Louthan stated, “When you marry a VMI man, you’re also married to VMI.” In addition to talking about VMI, Mrs. Louthan also spoke about her daughter, Lynn (Louthan) Slabaugh, and her fourth son, Reaves Louthan, who passed away in 2017. Lynn was previously married to Rick Hill ’68 until his untimely death in 1990. It’s indeed an honor to be able to stay in touch with three of VMI’s most senior alumni and the surviving wives of members of the VMI Class of 1941. It’s something I look forward throughout the year. May God bless each one of them. Respectfully submitted, Stuart M. Seaton Jr. ’73

1942 There is currently no class agent for the Class of 1942. If you would like to be the class agent, please contact Norma Robinson at 800/444-1839.

1943 Class of 1941: VMI’s oldest alumnus, Col. Robert C Maling, as he celebrated his 100th birthday, Aug. 9, 2019. Helping him celebrate were his son, Robert C. “Bob” Maling Jr. ’73; grandson, Robert C. Maling III; and three of his great-grandsons.

Class of 1941: Stuart Seaton ’73, class agent, with Mrs. Marilyn Louthan, wife of the late Frank G. Louthan Jr.

William B. Garber ’64

Greetings, Class of ’43! It’s that time again. We just received Issue 3 of the Alumni Review for this year with my first try at your class notes; here comes number two! I had a nice phone call with Jeff Smith, who reports he’s in good health and enjoying living at The Fairfax at Belvoir Woods, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. We discussed a broad spectrum of topics, including the good meals he was enjoying there. His son, Jeff ’79, is a full professor on the VMI faculty. I received an email from David Ellington ’71 that merits inclusion in its entirety (except for minor reformatting to conform more to notes guidelines): “I read with interest your first class notes for ’43. One further sad note. Betty Haskins, wife of ’43 BR Guy Haskins, recently passed away here in Lexington. She was still living at home with help. Betty was a real go getter and was instrumental in


Class Notes helping with ’43 reunion planning. At the 50th Reunion, she had Bob Pickral ’71, son of BR George [Pickral], and me as ‘guest’ bartenders at a reception the Haskinses hosted at their home. And at the 70th, she and Gen. Smith combined for a wonderful luncheon. Lexington, not surprisingly, is full of ’43 associations. My father, ‘Duke,’ was AD at the Institute, and I moved back in 1984 after nine years in the Army to join Bob Pickral ... in a family medicine practice. My across the street neighbor is Gen. Jeff Smith ’79, our previous dean. Buddy Bryan ’71, long time stalwart of the Foundation, had an uncle, Ralph Scott Bryan, in ’43. And last but not least, Susan Evans, daughter of Fritz Heller, also lives in town. Thanks for taking on the task. I always read ’43 before ’71 to see how my dad’s BRs are doing.” I also received a note from James Eng, who advised that his father, George Eng, passed away in September 2018. George had been living in Missouri City, Texas. Many in the class are veterans of World War II. As you know, in June 2019 – two months ago as of this writing – the nation observed the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. An article in the 2013-Issue 4 Alumni Review caught my attention. The author stated that of the 183 VMI alumni who died in World War II, six are buried in France at the National Cemetery in Normandy. Of note, one of those six is Lt. Benjamin R. Kearfott of Martinsville, Virginia, who as a member of Company A, 116th Regiment, Virginia Army National Guard, was to be among the first to land early on the morning of June 6. Their landing craft grounded in water waist deep or worse, lowered the ramp and Lt. Kearfott and 29 other men began disembarking. Unfortunately, none made it ashore. So, on that sad but respectful note, that’s all the news I have. The 2019 football season will probably be all but over by the time you read this. Hopefully, with four players on the preseason all-conference team, the Big Red enjoyed some success this year. If not, there are always VMI’s 17 other women’s and men’s NCAA sports teams to root for! According to my (and the Institute’s) records, eight brother rats in the class remain and a larger number of widows; I welcome input from all quarters. If you prefer, ask a family member to call or write me with an update on your activities, family news or at least a report on how


you’re getting along. I want to hear from you, as do your brother rats and, as evidenced by the note from David Ellington ’71, above, many others do, too!


Lionel T. Wolford


Tom L. Peyton Jr.

Editor’s Note: The Class of 1944 is no longer submitting notes. Tom Peyton remains the point of contact for the class.

1945 There is currently no class agent for the Class of 1945. If you would like to be the class agent, please contact Norma Robinson at 800/444-1839.


William A. Eliason

Editor’s Note: We did not receive notes for the Class of 1946.

1947 There is currently no class agent for the Class of 1947. If you would like to be the class agent, please contact Norma Robinson at 800/444-1839.


Dale E. Wykoff

Editor’s Note: The Class of 1948A is no longer submitting notes. Dale Wykoff remains the point of contact for the class.

Brother Rats, Football season is approaching as I write this report. By the time you read this, football season will be almost over. In 2017 Air Force and in 2018 Toledo routed VMI in season openers. In the 2019 opener, Coach Scott Wachenheim’s VMI Keydets of SoCon face coach Doc Halliday’s Marshall University Thundering Herd of Conference USA, another tough one. VMI’s Lexington opener against Mars Hill offers a better chance of victory. Further down the schedule, VMI has a game against Army in November. One of my most memorable VMI experiences was attending the VMI versus Army game in 1977. My wife, Marion; my daughter, Ann; and I drove from our New Jersey home to West Point. At the pregame cocktail party in the Officer’s Club, we ran into Lou Castellano. After a very competitive game we visited with several brother rats including Chi Mills at the Thayer Hotel. Very recently, I learned from Doug Hamner that Chi’s grandson, Malachi Mills IV, plans to enroll at VMI. He is 6’4” tall and weighs in at 258 pounds. He expects to add more weight before playing college football. Doug confirmed this report by speaking with Chi’s son, Malachi Mills III ’83. Early in this report period, George Ramsey called and reported that he received a “life history” from Lou Castellano. George also reported that he had tried to contact Sonny Laine and Jim Warrington but was unsuccessful. George asked me to request a current ’48B roster from the alumni office. Before doing this, I called my old roommate, Billy Guin. Billy and Sonny were also roommates at VMI, and I thought they would be in touch with each other. Billy has recovered from many problems over the last few years but seemed in good health. I believe he drives his car. Because of his 2017 stroke, a “sitter” comes to his house to help out. Billy reported no contact with Sonny Laine. As some might remember, in the Alumni Review 2018-Issue 4, I suggested that we had 18 ’48B survivors. John Boyd, who was not on my list, called to say that he was also a survivor. So,

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Class Notes at George Ramsey’s instigation, I requested of Norma Robinson at the alumni office a current ’48B roster including address, phone number and email. She did an outstanding job. Norma listed 29 ’48B survivors. Subtracting Bunn Rhea who passed away in June and Louis Schwartz ’48A who was not a brother rat, that leaves us with 27 ’48B survivors. Among the 27, three – Julian Adkins, Ed Perkins and Garett Sherman – were at VMI for only three months and have not been heard from in a long, long while. I immediately sent a copy of Norma’s ’48B roster to George Ramsey. George in turn gave Doug Hamner a copy, and they divided the list in half and together would try to contact everyone. George did make email contact with Al Stupulsky, who we have not heard from in a long while. Al was not talkative but said that he communicated with his family and had very fond memories of VMI. Doug contacted Dick Ayres, Charles Brown and Al Loth and had great talks with all three. I recently examined our class picture from 1944, and I believe that Doug Hamner and Dick Ayres were standing side by side in the front row. For my part, I will try to contact all 27 survivors by phone. My first call was to Julian Adkins of Glen Allen, Virginia. I left a message but got no response. Next was Dick Ayres of Alexandria, Louisiana. We last talked about 15 months ago. Since then, Dick had a stroke on his right side and is somewhat limited. He said his wife, Jo Anne, was a wonderful nurse. He asked me to summarize my life since I left VMI. This wonderful brother rat listened to my spiel. Dick celebrated his 92nd birthday July 22, 2019. It was great talking, Dick; hang in there. I called Dick Blackwell of Kingsport, Tennessee, and left a message. A short time later, I received a call from Marcella Roberts, Dick’s caregiver. She reported that Dick was well and had fond memories of VMI. His wife, Patsy, passed away two years ago. They had two children. I remember Dick quite well from our rat year. He left VMI to attend the Naval Academy and is a retired naval officer. I called former roommate Charles Brown of Shreveport, Louisiana. Charles sounded great. He still goes to work every day at the Bayou State Oil Company. He reported that the company wells are producing a lot of water and a little oil which they skim off the top. He is one of the few brother rats who would like to see an oil price increase. Charles said the only reason I caught him at home

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was that a housekeeper was there preparing for a visit from his daughter and son-in-law. They will be in Shreveport to help Charles celebrate his 92nd birthday July 21, 2019. Charles also reported that his grandson-in-law, a Marine major, completed his tour in Beijing, China, and is now stateside as a battalion executive officer in a Marine line regiment. Charles inquired about my health. I told him that I had two surgeries since we last talked. He replied, “Sounds like you are falling apart.” Charles, you keep going like you are going; I’ll try to hang in there. My next phone call was to Ed Cortwright of Madison, Mississippi. When I got no answer, I left a message. A few days later, Ed called, and we had a great talk. He spent three semesters at VMI and left to join the Army Air Force. We both remembered each other at VMI but could not come up with any specifics. The only roommate that Ed remembered was J.L. Sharit from Port St. Joe, Florida. After military service, Ed earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Ole Miss. He later graduated from University of Virginia with an LLB degree. Ed returned to Mississippi where he practiced law for 20 years. He became a judge and served in that capacity for 29 years. At 92, Ed and his wife, Mary Ann, are in good health. Macular degeneration limits Ed’s activity somewhat. Two daughters live nearby and help a lot. We didn’t discuss this, but I believe Ed and Mary Ann attended the ’48B 50th Reunion in 1998. My next and last contact for this report period was Dr. Angus Crook of Nashville, Tennessee. Angus finished his rat year at VMI before leaving for military service (Navy). After leaving the service, he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of the South. He then earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Virginia. He served again in the Navy as a lieutenant before starting his medical practice as an OBGYN physician in Nashville. My daughter, Ann, and I joined Angus, his wife and others at the all class dinner for the ’48B 50th Reunion in 1998. At VMI, Angus roomed with Bunn Rhea and Webster Parker. He recalled Willie Dick Parker as being very frail and thin. He previously heard that Willie Dick actually graduated from VMI. To Angus, this didn’t seem possible. I told Angus that I roomed with Willie Dick Parker our 1st Class year, and he indeed graduated in 1947. I reported some of my memories of Willie Dick in Alumni Review 2018-Issue 4. I sent a copy to Angus Crook. Angus reported that Bunn Rhea passed

away June 18, 2019. Bunn came to VMI a day or so after graduating from Culver Military Academy in June 1944. He left after three months to join the Navy. His Navy tour included both World War II and Korean War service. He later graduated from Colgate University and was a banker for most of his life. He is survived by his wife, M.E.; three children; six grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Farewell, Bunn. Angus Crook’s full name is Angus McDonald Green Crook. His great-grandfather, Angus McDonald Green ’876 of Culpepper, Virginia, was 17 years old when he graduated from VMI. He is one of the youngest cadets ever to graduate from VMI. Brother rats, have a great late summer and fall season. If anyone wants a copy of Norma Robinson’s current ’48B roster, let me know. I will send you a copy.


James Harrington

There is not much to report, but then there are not many to make reports. Absent any news to the contrary, all three of us are still above ground. Harrison Whitten moves between Chesapeake Bay and Florida seasonally and is looking forward to the 100th anniversary of his family business. Allen Penniman submitted an unusually short note: “As I look back at my calendar for the past several months, I find there has not been a lot happening since I last wrote. Our lives revolve around our family. With summer vacations and schools out, we have had a steady stream of visits from the children and grandchildren. All are doing well, and it is a thrill to me to see them develop and become active members of their communities. I am sure these visits will continue when I dangle a pair of LSU football tickets and a parking pass in front of their faces. With LSU ranking sixth in preseason polls, expectations are high. In fact, predictions are that LSU will win all games except for Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide. One can only hope. Once again, I am happy to say both Joanie and I are in good health. We are very fortunate and are blessed. I wish to extend this to all of you.” As for me, I just want to say how much I have


Class Notes enjoyed my lengthy tour as class agent. Now with not many left in the class, I’ll just say thank you for all the VMI has meant to me over the years and sign off. Jim Harrington

1949B Dan Smaw

I (Ding Patton) am substituting for Dan Smaw, class agent, with these class notes. I don’t have much to bring to your attention, but I hope that July 11 didn’t pass without noting that “day in infamy” when we matriculated 74 years ago at the Institute. I spoke with Dan Smaw recently, and he said that his son, Danny – who brought Dan to our 70th Reunion in April – is in the hospital and has been there, or in nursing facilities, for many weeks. Danny has been attending our class and other VMI functions for several years, and we hope that he recovers in time for the Institute Society Dinner in November. Tommy Altizer, Braxton Green ’50B and I had our annual lunch recently. There was no news of interest to the class, but we had a good time telling the same old lies about our time at VMI. Jim Enochs called with news from Lanny Gault ’71, Ronnie’s son, that Ronnie passed away Aug. 13 after a long illness. I hope that you received the email from the Alumni Association regarding his death, as well as that of Hotz Lardon, who passed away in January. I don’t know any details about Hotz except that his son, Bob, was with him in California when he died. You may recall that Bob had written previously that Hotz had dementia problems but was happy in his retirement home. Greg Nelson communicates frequently, and he and Kitty are very happy in their new home at the Westminster Canterbury retirement home in Richmond. Greg still enjoys creating things in the woodworking shop there. Tommy Bowers reports that his wife, Pam, is making progress in her recovery from the stroke that prevented their attendance at our recent reunion. Keep Tommy and Pam in your prayers for a full and speedy recovery. Jim Enochs called and said that William Shelly,


the grandson of our Brother Rat Bill Shelly, is entering the new rat class. William is the son of Marty Shelly. After all expenses for the reunion, we are solvent and have enough seed money left to cover initial expenses if we want to have a mini reunion in the next two years. If you would like to attend a reunion before our 75th, please let Jim Enochs or me know with suggested dates so we can determine if there is sufficient interest to proceed with plans. God Bless America, VMI and ’49B.


Haywood France

Editor’s Note: The Class of 1949C is no longer submitting notes. Haywood France remains the point of contact for the class.

1950A There is currently no class agent for the Class of 1950A. If you would like to be the class agent, please contact Norma Robinson at 800/444-1839.


Joseph B. Kohen Jr.

It was most rewarding to receive notes from our diminishing class. The widows, sister rats, are especially good at communicating. Jan Burnham sent a nice note, Lola Shepherd praised the improvements at the Institute, Marilyn Berlin stated Norm passed away after a long illness and Jane Smallwood sent a glamour photo of her swimming with the ray fish. Julia Woodman, silversmith, created another one of a kind beautiful silver bracelet for my Ring Figure date. Bill Moorman of Gloucester wrote that he has recovered from 20 years of Lyme disease. Randolph Trappey’s note was written on a lovely card

depicting the barracks in all three stages, and Bill Lewis said hello. Mitchell Lawrence brought us up to date with his activities since graduation. He served with the CIA for 30 years with assignments in the U.S. and Laos (1968-70). He was with the U.S. Air Force on active duty for two years and retired after 27 years in the reserve as a lieutenant colonel. William Kelly sent a note containing his new address in Atlanta, Georgia. Forrest Getzen and his wife, Evangeline, attended a talk by VMI’s superintendent while he was on a tour through North Carolina and Atlanta speaking about the advances made at the Institute. The Getzens attended the activity in Atlanta. He said: “It was a very pleasant meeting. We enjoyed the superintendent’s update on what was going on at VMI. We don’t get back to VMI for reunions very much anymore, but we would like to.” He is looking forward to seeing the photo in the Review. At graduation, Forrest earned some honors, including being a distinguished graduate of VMI and also earned the Second Jackson-Hope medal. While writing these notes, I am listening to the Kingston Trio singing, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” A most suitable accompaniment. I received a nice note from Ann Witt who asked about Mary Buchanan. Mary is living at Patriot’s Colony in Williamsburg, Virginia, on the Springhill ward. I received some news from Jones Felvey, who had just returned from visiting Lu Lunsford’s widow in South Carolina. Lu Lunsford was a cardiologist, and following his demise, she has remarried. Jones is quite remarkable and works out three

Class of 1950B: Dr. Forrest and Mrs. Evangeline Getzen heard Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, superintendent, speak in Atlanta, Georgia, last spring. Photo by Christian Heilman, VMI Alumni Agencies. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes statesman of the Class of ’51, Sam days a week with a personal trainer, Scott, who just turned 93. He mendrives his car alone for long distanctioned that, in addition to his vision es, has taken up painting and is an problems, he has developed some heart active member of the Rappahannock problems. None of the above has affectpaint club. Despite his battle with ed his Parade Ground voice, however. leukemia and the loss of sight in one He also mentioned that George Coeye, Jones is doing well. hen, our valedictorian, has had some John Lyons sent a wonderful note balance problems. (Don’t we all!) plus an article from his local paper Later conversations with Sam suggest on Norwich University in Vermont. that George is pretty much dependent Norwich is a school with a cadet upon a walker because of balance corps and ROTC similar to VMI. I problems and may have some cogniam including John’s letter, which I tion difficulties. (Again, don’t we all!) take pleasure in sharing. This prompted me to call George “Dear Joe, it has been a long time only to find out that his balance probsince I provided an update. lems have caused him to move into an “After graduation, I stayed on at the Class of 1950B: Joseph Kohen attended the Northern California assisted living facility on Hilton Head Institute for a year teaching physics Chapter gathering in July. Island. Sam has visited with George and then went on to study medicine and graduated from Harvard Medical School in he was there. I was duly impressed by the won- and sent some pictures of that visit. Hopefully derful physical condition of these recent male and one of those pictures will be printed with these 1955. “Following that, I began a surgical residency female graduates, their strong solid bodies and notes. Other pictures were sent to the alumni office by Mary Louise Hopson, a niece of Bounce program at Vanderbilt, spent two years in the splendid posture. Steve Abramedies is suffering from severe Carstens. Jim, Bounce and Pete Philp got toArmy at the 130th Station Hospital in Heidelberg, gether at some point recently, and the pictures Germany, and returned to complete my residency painful spondylosis and is taking strong opioids. I heard from David Marble, who states he is in were a record of the event. I am quite confident at the Hitchcock Clinic (now Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center) in Hanover, New Hamp- good health and living in Santa Fe. Unfortunately, that golf was involved and that the Institute was shire. After retiring from the practice of surgery, circumstances prevent him from attending the again heard from in the conversations. Does anyone out there need a copy of The I ran a commercial raspberry plantation up here 70th Reunion. “God bless America, the Institute and ’50B classmates.” Bomb for 1948, 1949, 1950 or, most imporfor about 10 years and then returned to Dartmouth On the fiduciary side, by the first quarter end of tantly, 1951? If so, let me know; I have a source to teach anatomy to medical students for about 15 years more. I finally retired completely about five FY 2018, 3.08% of our solicitable class of 65 have for these. contributed to Annual Giving. The recent death of Doris Day prompted years ago. Dick Cole to send an email remembering her “Teresa (Terry) and I married in 1955 and today performances while we were cadets. This, in still live happily together in Norwich, Vermont. We have four grown children (Jack, Bill, Tracy and Robert). We are blessed that none of them live Jacob H. Wamsley II more than about two hours from us. “I thought the enclosed article might be interesting for you. Norwich University was founded about 20 years before VMI. The barracks was latShortly after submitting the last class notes, I reer burned (not by students) and the school transferred to Northfield, Vermont. About two-thirds of ceived an email from Dick Cole. He had just dug the students are still in the cadet corps. Norwich himself out of the last snow in Minneapolis and University has a nationally known program in had completed his first round of golf in 2019. He mentioned that he had been in touch with a young cybersecurity and related topics. “Hope you and your family are well and that man who was to matriculate at the Institute in fall 2019. He was attempting to explain what the young the years have treated you kindly.” On July 18, I attended a meeting in San Lean- man is in for, prompting me to think again what a change it is for today’s rats. The change for them is dro of VMI graduates in the northern California area. Also present were two representatives from much more pronounced than it was in 1947, when Class of 1951: George Cohen and Sam the Institute. One attendee recalled our Brother we thought it was drastic enough. Scott. At this writing, I have just talked with the elder Rat Buchanan, who was the commandant while


2019-Issue 4


Class Notes There, Pete taught physics and math turn, recalled trying to find our covand coached at Kents Hill School, a ers after a movie in the State Theater. boarding college prep school in ReadThere were scores of them left in the field, Maine. He continued his service lobby during the movie. in the U.S. Army Reserve, retiring as A notice from the alumni office ada colonel. vised us of the death of Julie Martin In 1980, they embarked on a new June 10 – most of us remember her as chapter in their lives by dedicating a true friend in the administration who themselves to serving as full-time volwould always lend an attentive ear and unteers. They traveled the world, asa word of encouragement when they sisting with research that benefited the were needed. environment, wildlife and people from Bob Nolley reports that he has not found his ring and recalls a much ear- Class of 1951: Former roommates Carl Carstens and Jim Enochs, all walks of life. Their service took along with Jim’s wife, Jean, enjoyed dinner in Dallas, Texas, them to all seven continents, includlier exchange of correspondence be- during Memorial Day weekend. ing four trips to Antarctica collecting tween Jim Connolly and Jack Ross, which included the following wording: “Over the advice” by giving a formula for daily breakfasts data from volcanoes, tagging bears in their dens and diving with gray whales to conduct benthic years, a number of our brother rats have experi- which he has followed by the last 35 years – a Coke and a Baby Ruth bar. His advice: Start this studies, as well as other unique research projects. enced the loss of their class ring. Unfortunately, a As the sailing master for the reenactment of the replacement is not available, since the die for it at age 35, or it won’t work – too bad that none of 1607 voyage of the Godspeed from England to is missing. Although a generic substitute is avail- us can qualify. In late July, I talked with Jack Ross and his Jamestown, Pete trained the crew and was responable, it is nothing like the original designed by daughter. Jack sounded fine, but his daughter says sible for sailing the ship. Pete was as comfortable Bill McCallum and cast by Herff-Jones. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of family members of de- that his short-term memory problems have not in the sky as he was on the ocean. He was an acceased BRs, several class members now enjoy improved. His daughter says that Marie has some complished pilot as well as a skydiver. In the early wearing an original ’51 class ring in replacement serious problems with arthritis, though Jack did 2000s, he volunteered his plane and his skills as a pilot with Angel Flight, an organization which of a lost one. Such thoughtfulness is an example not mention it. That’s it for now. Send me some news for the transports patients needing specialized medical of the link that binds us together.” If you are aware next issue! care, to and from treatment. of such a possibility, please let me or Bob know. Pete was a longtime patron and supporter of In late July, we heard from Jim Close, who both the Mariner’s Museum and the Jamestown turned 89 in May. He and his 19-member exYorktown Foundation. tended family celebrated by traveling to Bermuda A man of humility, humor, grace and integrity, for a few days. He provided some “undoctorly James M. Mecredy Pete was deeply loved by his family and friends. He profoundly and permanently touched everyone who knew him. We mourn his passing and celebrate his legacy of service and leadership. As we approach age 90 or beyond, more often He is survived by his wife, Caddy R. Meekins; class notes report our leaving this world for a granddaughter, Katherine Cluxton; son-in-law, better one. David Cluxton; and sister-in-law, Laurel Crooks, Pete Meekins died peacefully May 4, 2019, in as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins. his home in Williamsburg after a prolonged battle Bill Ruffin called to give me an update. He was with cancer. He was 90. Pete met and married his on a plane to the Ozarks for fly fishing with his beloved wife, Caddy, while they were both stason. There is no other news from Tidewater. tioned in Germany on active duty with the U.S. Sharon Piper called to tell me and the Class of Army. Pete and Caddy recently celebrated their ’52 that Charlie Piper died June 20 of kidney 65th wedding anniversary. failure after a short illness. Charlie led a full and After returning stateside, they both left active active life. Here are some of the highlights. Afduty but remained in the U.S. Army Reserve. Pete ter graduating from VMI, he entered the U.S. Air resumed his education and received his bachelor Force, was accepted into pilot training and beClass of 1951: Carl Carstens, Alexandria, of civil engineering degree from Virginia Tech came a Fighter Pilot flying the F86D. Lousiana; Jim Enochs, Jackson, Mississippi; and Pete Philp, Dallas, Texas; gathand joined his family’s business, Warwick PlumbSince the Korean War was just ending, he was ered and performed an Old Yell in Dallas, ing and Heating in Newport News, Virginia. sent to Ellsworth Air Force Base, arriving in FebTexas, during Memorial Day weekend. In 1969, Pete and his wife moved to Maine. ruary 1954. He often joked that he fought the



VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes “Battle of Box Elder.” While in the Air Force, his airplane in which he had spent many hours of he met and married Mary Vasquez. Six children enjoyable flight – much of it on business trips. He placed it for sale in 1995, as his flying days are were born of this union. He left the Air Force in 1956 and obtained employment as an area engi- over. It was built in 1968 and was his chariot for neer for the South Dakota Department of Trans- 10,000-plus flying hours and years of enjoyment. portation. He advanced to other positions within It is now decertified and decommissioned, Joe the department and retired in March 1993 as the adds, “Just like me.” Chris Holland died July 5 at 5:30 a.m., after a region engineer. While employed by the SDDOT, Charlie was very involved with the clean-up and year and a half of illness. Sugar is at peace now road restoration after the 1972 flood. He built the that his suffering has ended. Chris’ body will be Jamie Johnson Memorial Field. He was also in- interred at the Jackson memorial gardens in Lexstrumental in the design and location of many of ington. Chris was a very active BR and always upthe highways in western South Dakota, including beat. Chris died with his wife, Sugar, and daughter by his side. Chris attended Episcopal High School the resurfacing of Main Street and construction of in Alexandria with Weir Goodwin and Tommy the truck route in Hill City. In 1999, Charlie was Birge, where Chris lettered in baseball and footinducted into the South Dakota Hall of Honor. He joined the Air Force Reserve after complet- ball as a member of the undefeated 1947 varsity ing his active duty time. He was the liaison officer football team. Chris continued at VMI and letfor the Air Force Academy for several years. After tered again in baseball and football and wrestling. he finished that duty, and with the encouragement In 1952 he married “Sugar” Hunley in Stamford, Connecticut, and was employed at the Savannah of friends, he joined the South Dakota National Guard. His intention was to stay four years, but River Plant in Barnwell, South Carolina. In 1956, after he was offered opportunities to go to Japan he joined Ethyl Corporation as area sales manager several times and Jamaica once, he stayed 12 for the Caribbean and Central and South America. He was a Korean War veteran serving in the years. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Upon returning, In 1975, Charlie married Sharon McCoy and acquired a step-daughter. Charlie and Sharon he served 28 years in the Army Reserve, retiring built their home just outside of Hill City in 1976. as a lieutenant colonel in civil affairs. In 1980, he They enjoyed traveling extensively, seeing every and “Sugar” moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carostate in the U.S., every Canadian province except lina, and continued to be active in real estate and Newfoundland, parts of Mexico, the Caribbean, formed American Custom Homes. Chris was a the South Pacific and took several trips to Europe. member of the VMI Alumni Agencies board and the Keydet Club Board of Governors from 2012Sharon took the pictures and Charlie kept the log. After retirement, Charlie needed something to 17. We will all miss him. Christian is survived by his devoted wife of 67 occupy his time, so in 1994, he went to work as a fireman on the 1880 Train in Hill City. He gave years, two daughters, three grandchildren and two that up in 2011 and started working as a volun- great-grandchildren. Interment will be in Lexingteer at the South Dakota State Railroad Museum ton, Virginia, at a later date (to be announced). Lou Delisio called to thank me for his birthday where he stayed until shortly before his death. Charlie was a past master of Tin City Masonic card. He is still hanging tough after three years Lodge #112 in Hill City. After serving as master, he served as secretary of the lodge for more than 17 years. Charlie was also a member of Naja Shrine Temple and was active in the color guard and the Legion of Honor. Charlie is survived by his devoted wife, Sharon, married almost 44 years. They are the parents of five children, 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Class of 1952: Joe Webber’s chariot. Joe Webber sent me a photo of

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of pre-leukemia, surprising doctors. Lou is very limited in activities because of his health and risk of illness. Charlie Hogge sent me a letter about handling pain, of which I am reminded because I have to have a tooth replaced soon. Charlie writes: “My dental surgery couldn’t have gone better! Thanks for your prayers! I had the two remaining lower teeth, plus three ‘stumps’ removed, followed by two implants. I already have one implant I’ve had for a number of years. I call what was left below my gum line when a tooth breaks off (is left alone because its root canal eliminated all pain) my ‘stumps.’ The entire work was completed in about one-and-a-half hours. Since the ‘stumps’ were below the gum line, Doctor Coke had to do a lot of suturing. “Since I specified only local anesthesia, I was able to drive home within a few minutes after completion (Joan was with me as my co-pilot). I used a technique I learned many years ago, so the total numbing of my lower mouth was no big deal, which I’ll describe for the benefit of anyone who has not yet heard it. “Imagine the pain that is about to occur as an object. Put it on a table and admire it as, ‘What an interesting pain!’ Keep doing that until the injections are finished. Since our brains can only process one thought at a time – even thoughts that are fractions of a second long – the thought dominates our brain. This can even become a game. “Next, I’ll describe how I turned an ordeal into a period of worship. For a number of years, I have used the following as a stress reliever – a form of meditation. Having memorized the choruses of six gospel hymns, I imagine singing each one solo – tune and all – and rotate through all six repeatedly. I was doing that for the better part of the oneand-a-half hours. Near the end, Doctor Coke’s assistant remarked on how relaxed I was and that my blood pressure hadn’t budged from its low beginning level and, ‘What a good patient you are!’ That was when it dawned on me that I had succeeded in transforming an ordeal into a period of worship. “Before Doctor Coke left, I announced, ‘I have three things I want to say.’ “Turning toward her assistant, I said, ‘I’ve complimented Doctor Coke frequently, but I haven’t commented on how special you


Class Notes are.’ That comment immediately resulted in Doctor Coke’s full endorsement. “Then I said to Doctor Coke, ‘In addition to your M.D. and D.D.S., you are qualified as a licensed mechanic.’ She laughed and fully agreed as she picked up several tools that replicate those of an auto mechanic. “Then came my testimony. I described how I’d succeeded in transforming an ordeal into a time of worship. Both Doctor Coke and her assistant fully endorsed what I described, and I left with a feeling of elation, after reminding Doctor Coke one more time what a blessing it is to have her as my oral surgeon. Blessings, Charlie Hogge.” Henry Nanninga just read the new Alumni Review and called to ask if I had recovered from the fall and injury to back muscles that I reported in the last Review. Also, Rich Fallwell sent me an email with the same message and a prayer, which I still appreciate. I am having the mixed honor of presiding over reporting the deaths of many of our brother rats, especially in this issue of class notes. Your Brother Rat, Jim

Class of 1953: “The joy of keeping grandchildren,” said class agent Bill Noell about this photo of his 8-year-old granddaughter, Mary Jude Beacham.


William C. Noell Jr.

Well, BRs here on the East Coast, we have really had a hot July. Here at Norris Lake, it has been in the 90s quite a lot, but also very stifling humidity – some days, even too hot for us senior people to go out in the boat. However, Judy and I are looking forward to cooler fall weather with Tennessee football season. However, despite the heat, we hope that all have had a good and healthy summer, and will have a great fall. Although we have not lost a BR recently, Jeff Bane lost his wife, Jane, in July in Richmond. Warren Koontz and Ellen Hofheimer were at the funeral. Warren said that Jeff looked good, and they met his son and daughter. Jeff and Jane were married for 67 years. I did write a note to Jeff on behalf of the class. Parker Cross in a conversation with Ronnie Howard


Class of 1953: Bill and Judy Noell with Knoxville-area incoming cadets Ridge Clark, Dylan Jacobik and Conner Taylor. Clark, Jacobik and Taylor matriculated Aug. 17, 2019.

and learned that Ronnie’s wife died back in June, but he said he seemed to be in remarkable good spirits. Ronnie and Jane lived in Newport News, but Parker got the impression that Ronnie is getting ready to move in with his sister. I received an email from Paul LaForce’s eldest son, Glen (West Point ’76), in July saying that when he and his wife visited Paul in Bevard back in June, he found my note and email to him in a stack of mail, so he wanted to correspond with me. Glen says his father is still in very good health physically, but he sadly does have dementia and no longer has any short-term memory, but he is in good spirits. He can converse with people but does not remember the conversation later. Paul now has around the clock caregivers, which allows him to remain in his home, and he still loves to talk to people and have visitors: (828) 8858408. Frank Spencer sent in a photo of his grandson’s wedding in May 2018 with his growing family of about 18 in the photo. Since I am in Tennessee now, I cannot give it to the alumni office for these notes. I believe I previously mentioned Reed Johnson is coordinating the Richmond first Wednesday lunch these days. For all alumni in the area and beyond who would like to attend, just give him your contact info,, and he will put you on the announcement list/reminder for each month. I have not been able to make it this summer, as I have been in Tennessee on those Wednesdays. Reed would like to have more of our BRs attend, as well as other classes. Judy and I have attended two Knoxville Chapter meetings recently, as the chapter has kind of been reactivated after not much activity in recent years. The first one was a New Market Day pizza evening gathering at the Bearden Beer Garden hosted by Brad Pruitt ’07, who is one of the owners. Although the group was small, 12 people, it was nice to connect with some Knoxville area alumni. The second gathering was a rat send-off dinner the last of July at the Gettysvue Country Club organized by Chris Jones ’96. This was a very nice outing with an excellent dinner. This was a much larger group at this initial rat send-off dinner for the Knoxville area, with three new rats and their families present. Judy and I plan to adopt these young men

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes continued working until the last year and take them to dinners, tailgates and of his life. He was an accomplished our house through the year – Ridge tenor singer and was active in several Clark, Conner Taylor and Dylan Jacocivic organizations. He is survived by bik for the Class of 2023. Interesting his wife of nearly 60 years, Carolyn that Dr. Asa Bishop ’59 and his wife Turner Martenstein; three sons; and were at this dinner. They were also at three grandchildren. I urge you all to our alumni outing at our lake house Google his obituary to see a wealth of back in 1997 when we had about 35 photographs of Tommy and Carolyn in attendance. We had not seen Asa and their beautiful family. since that gathering. Photos of the You have all seen the unique artistry two gatherings will appear elsewhere of Don Howard that I have sent bein this issue of the Alumni Review. Of Class of 1953: End of the summer music gathering near Bill and fore. Now, I am sending pictures of course, your class agent was the senior Judy Noell’s lake house in Norris Lake, Tennessee, in August 2019. a sculpture by Tom Wallace and two alumnus present at both gatherings. Well, the summer has ended for our grandkids provided each year by friends who make up a by me. I have sent Wendle Snapp art before, usuin Lexington, who started back to school Aug. group named Nostalgia that plays/sings a collec- ally of Christmas or toy soldier productions. I also 12. This is the earliest that Lexington/county tion of our age music. This year, our granddaugh- contacted the widow of George Hardy, because George was one of us who worked with art history schools have ever started. Thus, our daughter and ter, Addie Jay, sang a few songs and closed out grandkids had to, regretfully, leave the lake here. the music with “Amazing Grace.” The excellent professor and sculptor William Simpson at VMI Our granddaughter, Addie Jay, from Lexington, dining is provided by each couple bringing their in 1954, but I have not heard back from her. The started her college career at Christopher Newport favorite hors d’oeuvres, and most sit out in the same goes for John LeDeaux; he did sculpture University in Newport News Saturday, Aug. 17. yard to listen (some on the screen porch) while the as well back then with Simpson. No word back. The rat class at VMI matriculated Aug. 17, and music is performed from our front deck overlook- I think the absolute best work, which I classify as the Old Corps registered for class Aug. 26. Fam- ing Norris Lake. Regretfully, no alumni live in the sculpture by LeDeaux, is our class ring. It is the best I have ever seen of Institute rings, as I have ily Weekend (no longer called Parents Weekend) area – that is, within 50 miles – and none attended, previously written. I don’t know about anyone is Oct. 12. although some were invited. else, but many times strangers have noticed and Our annual lake “end of the summer” music asked to examine my ring. We are all very proud gathering was held with 50 or more of our lake of it, needless to say. Tom works with copper, friends and beyond in attendance. The music is concrete and aluminum and welds armatures for J.M. Perry Archer metal sculpture. I just work with clay usually and finish with bronze. Tom also did some cartoons for the VMI Turnout magazine. Al Mattox and I reminisced about certain childhood adventures and misadventures. He recently Greetings, Brother Rats, went back to Salem, Virginia, and visited a home Today, July 26, 2019, Houston swelters in and neighborhood his family lived in in the 1940s, 96-degree heat, but it has ever been so. And yet folks groan as usual today about the heat – but it a horseshoe court with about eight houses on it. All are still there and in good shape. He walked is just as usual. Just look at July 26, 1954. The around and rang the bell of the house next door Houston high that day was 104 degrees. On Aug. to his. A young lady came to the door and let him 25, 1924, the high here was 103 degrees. I don’t look around. They talked about the history of the know about other places, but this is Houston and the Gulf Coast, and it does wear on you. So, we area, and Al told her that around 1942, he had blown the mailbox off the front porch of the house naturally complain. with a cherry bomb. Laughs. If a 9-year-old kid Sad news concerning the passing of Tommy did that now, says he, there would be hell to pay. Martenstein. Tommy passed away April 21, Billy Kingery wrote. He heard from Peggy 2019, at home in Mobile, Alabama. He was the son of Gen. Austin Martenstein, who com- Trumbo about the Trumbo Run and Walk, put on by the Aerospace Medical Association each year manded Brookley Air Force Base. After VMI, Class of 1953: Addie Jay Beacham, Bill at its annual meeting. The run was sponsored by Tommy went into the Air Force and became a and Judy Noell’s granddaughter and pilot. After military service, he began a career in Dick Trumbo for about 20 years. Now, it is given 2019 graduate of Rockbridge County engineering. Tommy was the former president of perennially in Dick’s memory. What a tribute to High School. Dick and to the Trumbo family. This year, it was Smith Kelly Supply and of Prestess Concrete. He


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Class Notes held in Las Vegas. Billy wrote to Peggy about what he terms “quiet energy” and “quiet joy.” He described quiet joy as our remembrance of those we love who have passed on, and quiet energy as theirs, which is changed but not destroyed. Beautiful and much appreciated by Peggy. I have learned, as some of you have or already know, certain current VMI things, some of which were extant when we were there but are no longer, and some existing now. The Honor Code is enforced the same as always, but bloody Sunday and step offs are a thing of the past. Getting out of the Rat Line has become Breakout. It is very carefully planned, involves multiple tests and events and is ceremonial at the end. Breakout: The rats are rousted out at 0500 and Little John fired off. They dress for gym. Then they are taken to Cocke Hall for a sweat party, after which they go to mess hall to eat. Following this, they change clothes and report to North Post for a 10-station workout. These stations are strung across North Post and conducted at a run. This takes the time until lunch. Six hours have been spent, 0500-1100. Then the poor devils are taken to their rooms and are laden with sandbagweighted assault packs and marched off to a place called McKethan Park, but only after they pick up about six logs to be carried along the Chessie Trail to the park. Rat Bible knowledge is yelled by the rats the entire way. When they arrive at the park, there is another 10-station workout. When that is completed, they march back to Post. All that goes on from 1100 to 1525. Once the rats are back to post, they go to J.M. Hall for a speech, after which they march to the far side of the Parade Ground by Moody Hall and begin a low crawl toward barracks. While they crawl, the evening gun is firing, smoke grenades are deployed and cadets fire blanks and artillery. After a certain distance is reached, the rats move to a high crawl. Finally, the order is given to sprint toward barracks, with the rats having to scale a barrier in front of Jackson’s statue. When they get back into barracks, they report to their dykes’ room and strain outside. The 3rds and 2nds conduct sweat parties before the dykes provide the last one. This runs from 1525-1630. After all that, the rats are ordered to remove the sandbags from their packs and throw them into a number formed in front of the old barracks sentinel box (one number being the class number of the dykes, the other the now-earned class number of the rats). The rats fill in the numbers with their


Class of 1954: “Travis” by Perry Archer.

Class of 1954: “Something Fishy” sculpture by Tom Wallace.

Class of 1954: “Cadet” bust by Perry Archer.

sandbags, and a Corps picture is taken. The rats then report to fourth stoop to shower and prepare for the rat-dyke dinner held in the mess hall. While rats and dykes eat, cadre prepares to do another “march-in” in New Barracks while members of the RDC prepare to be relieved of duty around the Old Barracks sentinel box. The cadre corporals pick up the rats from the mess hall and form up in platoons and march them through New Barracks arch. Once they are all formed up, cadre begins the march-in, and rats are given the order, “Meet your cadre.” Once this has concluded, which consists of handshakes and verbal congratulations, the cadre teams are relieved of duty and the rats are ordered to report to the old barracks sentinel box where the RDC are waiting at ceremonial parade rest in a circle around the paved portion around the sentinel box. The RDC president makes a speech and relieves the RDC of duty, after which they drop their belts off from outside of their gray blouses and march through the amassed rats. Then the rats are ordered to release their strains. Finally, they conduct their first Old Yell as a class. (I am worn out just considering all this. If anyone thinks today’s Corps has it easier than we had it, I have to disagree.) Until next time. As usual, I ask that all and sundry send personal news or other items of interest to VMI graduates who will read our submissions to the Review.


Read Hanmer

These class notes will be short, due to my continuing disabilities and few reports from classmates. Parkinson’s has me in a firm grip, which makes everything I do quite difficult. What follows are gleanings from my inbox and from classmates’ notes: Tom Williamson was able to attend the Charlotte Chapter of the VMI Alumni Association. He fills us in: “Read, Bill Greig joined me in Charlotte at the VMI meeting with General Peay [’62]. Bill retired from Duke Power and lives in the mountains west of Charlotte and is healthy. I have been to a couple of regional VMI meetings thanks to rides with local alumni who drive. Hope

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes to see you at one soon. Life is still good for me in a retirement village where I have an active social and physical life. Still able to play golf a couple of times a week and recently had an 18-hole score lower than my age – something I thought would never happen. It helps to move up to the forward tees and is more fun there. Looking forward to a reunion next year.” Dr. Norman S. Harris died peacefully Dec. 12, 2018, surrounded by numerous relatives. At VMI, Norm served as president of the Honor Court and chairman of the Ring Committee. As a member of the VMI Glee Club, he participated in a pageant presented to President Eisenhower. Based on academic standing, character and achievement, Norm became valedictorian for the Class of 1955. He was awarded VMI’s Society of the Cincinnati Medal. During his self-described “checkered career” Norm taught civil engineering at VMI and Drexel University, worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Oregon and earned a Rockefeller Fellowship to study at Yale Divinity School. Norm discovered his true calling: Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and served as class president. A more compete rendering of Norm’s career will appear in the Taps section of the next Alumni Review. Retired Col. Charles Gordon “Don” Kulp of Beavercreek, Ohio, passed away June 12, 2019, at the age of 86. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Harryette Weeks Kulp; daughter, Linda K. Arnhart (Tommy Lee); son, Charles Gordon Kulp III (Laura); and daughter, Kimberly Kulp Hensley (Michael). Also his beloved grandchildren, Alaina A. Wilson (Matthew), Amy Arnhart, Shealy Kulp Register (Kyle), William Harrison Kulp, Kenneth Austin Kulp, Thomas Weeks Hensley (Adrienn) and Janet Michaela Hensley, and his brother, Hon. James Ellsworth Kulp (Twyla “Tudy”). Don was a proud graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, Class of ’55, and received his master’s degree from the University of Southern California. He had a 30-year career with the United States Air Force, where he received numerous medals and commendations including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross. Don was a member of Kirkmont Presbyterian Church and spent many years volunteering at St. Vincent DePaul. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend to everyone. Donald C. Pierson Jr., 86, of Prescott, Arizona, was born to Mr. and Mrs. Donald C. Pierson on Feb. 15, 1933, in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and he

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passed away June 21, 2019, in Prescott, Arizona. A retired civil engineer, he graduated from Humboldt High School, Humboldt, Iowa; attended the Virginia Military Institute; graduated from Iowa State University; and served in the United States Air Force. Donald worked for the city of Tempe for 20 years and continued to work for a private engineering corporation before his retirement. He enjoyed being involved with various civic organizations, traveling, music (especially jazz) and sports, including baseball, basketball football, and watching his family members play various other sporting events. A devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, he is survived by his wife, Patricia P. Pierson; his children, Jane and Steve Doyle, Lori Pierson, Gene and Mitchalene McFarland and Jerry McFarland; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Donald C. Pierson; brother, William Pierson; son, Donald C. Pierson III; and daughter-in-law, Mary Catherine Mintk-Pierson. I probably have missed some. I’ll try to catch up next time. Yours in the bonds, Read Hanmer


Richard M. Smith

I received the following email from Pete Jennett: “Sue and I had dinner with Tony Waring at his club, the Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club. We were there on our power boat with a group of powerboat folks. Are we smooth or what? As you probably know, he moved into Westminster Canterbury near Irvington. He claims it’s like the BOQ. Tony looks good; I think much [better] than when he was living alone in that big old house. We had a great time; what worries me is the payback.” A nice reply came from Bruce McCreedy. He and Shirley moved into a Del Webb over-55 community in Raleigh, North Carolina. “It is like living on a military base full of vets. Our Vets Club has been to Fort Bragg and has a trip planned to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. We are treated like royalty. A little different from when I was at Fort Bragg in ’57. God has blessed us, because

we are still walking upright without walking aids. Our Raleigh Old Corps club is always something to look forward to each month.” Pete McCrary writes, “Our grandson, Sam McCrary of Norfolk, has a four-year Marine Corps scholarship to VMI starting next month. He is son of Pete Mason McCrary ’88. He has deep VMI heritage, as his uncle, James Kernan McCrary ’82; and great-grandfather, Sam E. McCrary ’930; and great-uncle, John Adger McCrary Jr. ’934. His younger brother, Max, may have a baseball scholarship to VMI. On July 11, Annie and I celebrated our 60th anniversary. I met Annie Jagiello on a blind date at Madison the year I taught physics at VMI in 1957. I’ve been busy in retirement building boats. The most challenging project was construction of a Core Sound 20 MK III. It was designed by Graham Byrnes of North Carolina. It is named Chessie, my ninth boat. I did a nesting dinghy for her, Catnip. I recognize the need to downsize my sailing activities, so I’ll sell Chessie next year and start on my 11th boat, a 10-foot sailing dinghy only weighing 90 pounds. I talk with Bob Webster every month, and he seems to be doing OK. We are both avid Trumpsters. Have just received my Betsy Ross tee shirt for Russ (Limbaugh). Lots of compliments on my red MAGA hat.” I had a phone call from Fred Farthing. He sees Chuck Jundt frequently around Williamsburg. They have had a lot of family visits at their place this summer. They attended a funeral at the National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., for his good friend, Bill Wainwright ’55. Jimmy Thurman called to check on the class. He still lives in San Antonio, Texas, and has been retired since the early 2000s. Our 50th Reunion was the last contact he had with the class, although he has talked with Jim Brawner. His wife, Melissa, has been confined to a facility nearby due to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years. Although she doesn’t recognize him, he goes there every day to comfort and walk with her. I relayed information to him about a number of BRs so he could get in touch with them. We recalled incidents with various ones in the class we fondly remembered. He has his 85th birthday coming up, and he said he is still feeling pretty good. I told him I still enjoy seeing the reunion picture taken of him, Pannill Jones and Eddie Thompson frequently in the Alumni Review. Alan “Tiger” Jackson writes: “I’ve been visiting ‘Procrastinaction,’ lately and am now ready


Class Notes

Class of 1956: Paul Gronroos sent photos from the beach.

Class of 1956: Pete and Sue Jennett had dinner with Tony Waring at his club, the Indian Creek Yacht and Country Club.


George Sydnor Jr. Howard Lawrence

Class of 1956: Paul Gronroos sent Florida beach photos, including the results of shark and fish encounters. to leave it. It is a hard thing to do, because it is such a perfect place. Presently I find myself in ‘Malfunction Junction;’ at this age, it seems I am often here, and people there are all my age group. Perhaps some of our classmates are in the same place. Old age is not easy. I still have my daily walking (shuffling), mountain and road biking in the summer, and Nordic and downhill skiing in the winter. I keep trying to avoid a visit to ‘Falling,’ but it seems to come with the territory. I’m more or less in ‘stiff upper lip’ category. Thanks, Dick, for what you do for us.” Paul Gronroos writes: “We had a very active weekend on my beach. Millions of baitfish schooling along shore – jacks and tarpon feeding on the bait, and sharks everywhere. It was amazing! All of this within 15 yards of shore. Ocean was flat and the water clear. Here is what happened to a 7- or 8-foot tarpon. We saw a 6-foot lemon and a few smaller reef sharks.” I wish I had a few more war stories to pass on to you all. However, I feel fortunate to be able to give you the best I have received from the faithful. Take care, and I’ll keep on as long as possible. Yours in the spirit, Dick


We always begin with our dutiful reminder: “All the news that is fit to print.” Our news depends on your input. We value your news, photos, suggestions and constructive criticisms. Let us hear from you; we want everyone in the class to be a contributing member. We need everyone to be on board. Virginia Military Institute. An Uncommon Purpose! Thanks for your great support of our class campaign to assist cadets via the 2018-19 Annual Fund. The drive ended June 30, 2019. In terms of participation, we achieved second place, just behind the Class of ’47 where seven of eight remaining brother rats contributed. George said first place in his email blast, noting that the reason he did that was based on consideration of a critical mass in that the lower the base, the higher the percentage. It is hard to make a reasonable comparison against classes before ’50. So, based on that line of reasoning, the Class of ’57 was No. 1. As Howard said, “The ‘No. 1 thing’ is about semantics only. We could debate that, being No. 2 behind a class population of eight would actually enhance the image of our performance with a total population of 103. Let’s move on; the class is doing great.” And so, great work by all. Our Class of ’57 had a participation increase of 15.3%, going from

58.97% to 68%. Pretty remarkable when you think about it. Howard and George want you to know that your financial support means a great deal to your class agents, as we continue to endeavor to serve the class, the Corps and VMI. In December, we will have completed our third year as your ’57 class agents. Recognizing the numbers of those “falling from ranks,” we want to continue to build a strong class agent team that will carry on in future years and be able to withstand the inevitable casualties along the way. We hope you will join our strong team and add to our bench strength to serve the class, cadets and VMI. Give it some thought. Many of you are already participating in our work, and we thank you – particularly Ben Elmore for leading our telephone contact team and Dick Collier for his direction of the Taps Memorial Fund to honor the fallen with donations to the Foundation. And many more of you have helped by sending us notes, photos and good advice. We plan to attach a follow-up feedback postcard to future birthday greetings. Please return the postcards with your suggestions and comments. We are searching for ways to serve the class and VMI better. In the meantime, we are trying to develop a group of contributors to our notes work. We would like to have one VMI story written by a BR or SR featured in each issue of Alumni Review. Would you be willing to write up a memorable story from your VMI days, all in about two paragraphs, that we can publish in future notes? So, how about giving us a hand? Ayres, Diuguid, Whittle, Woodward, Warner, Huffcut, Levine, Glover, Andersen – somebody? Contribute to our notes with your well-written but relatively brief VMI stories – if only the walls of barracks could talk – taken from your memory cells (information files contained within the brain).

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes to “feel them out” in order to get the ball rolling. We had about 150 photos made from Class of and to take extra special care of ourselves. She plans to give us a report in time for 2020-IsPatti Hammond and Sharon “Shay” Peters 1957 scenes and subjects from our 1957 Bomb and will begin to use them with our birthday cards recently took a trip together to Colorado to visit sue 1, with class notes due in this fall by Nov. 15. beginning in September. The pictures as sent will family. Sharon is doing well and still works a day Welcome aboard, gals. We have reported the sad May 11 loss from ranks include/be of the individual whose birthday it is a week for her longtime orthopedic surgeon embeing recognized. An example: “It’s An Outrage,” ployer. She and Patti live at Kendal and await the of Ben Wiggins, following a brief bout with pulthe winter 1957 issue and the picture of the Owl arrival of Sis and Harry Warner and Ann and Joe monary fibrosis, when he “crossed over the river to rest under the shade of the trees.” Ben had conSociety with the great white owl Ronnie Kaye Spivey. Patti liked the idea of a SR telephone reach-out tinued his dental practice for years after most of us hovering over his flight squadron of raptors, Bill Gay, Drewry Fox, Greg Taylor, B.D. Ayres and program for our widows and is willing to make had retired. And as confident as ever, at our 60th some phone calls to Betty Mixson and others just Reunion, he challenged all BR golfers to a match George Sydnor. with his Tidewater Team. He and wife Who could ever forget that fireLynn had enjoyed a trip to Europe with breathing Kaye, appearing at your John and Betty St. George in recent barracks door at 2230, spewing lighter months. Ben will be missed, but he fluid from his mouth over the flame of will always be remembered for his onhis lighter – aka the Kaye version of a going smile and enthusiasm. flame-thrower. The class was represented at Ben’s At the time, the Owl Society was memorial service at Centenary United more of a figment of our imagination Methodist Church in Portsmouth, Virthan anything else; it ceased to exist ginia, by Lionel Hancock and wife following graduation in June that year. Carole Lee, Bill Moore and wife FloThe image was that of a secret society, rine, John St. George, Kirk Hubbard the members sworn to secrecy, which and Dick Collier. created a buzz in the air in barracks. Lynn Avis has recently battled a bout Note The Turnout tucked under the with pneumonia, to include a hospital arm of Drummond. The Turnout was stay and recovery at Friendship Manor, the Corps magazine at the time; I bea local rehab facility here in Roanoke. lieve it ceased publication in the early We are happy to report that he is on the 1960s. mend, doing well and heading home But back to the subject at hand – as of this writing. Don Coombs and birthday cards. When sending the Howard Lawrence paid visits to him, cards, we will include/attach a post- Class of 1957: John and Carole Whittle visited Dot and Bob Wood at their John Knox Village retirement complex in Orgiving regular reports on his progress: card questionnaire with the card, the ange City, Florida, last spring. “In good spirits, doing regular physical purpose of which, hopefully, is to therapy and enjoying the wonderful increase feedback, both pro and con, food there.” about what we are doing. But don’t Lynn is looking forward to a getwait for your birthday card to let us together with his roommates, Harry know we are doing, what you like, Warner, John Whittle and Kirk Hubwhat you don’t like and what we bard at the Whittles’ Myrtle Beach should be doing to better serve the property in a few weeks. We are glad class and our cadets. to see him “back in the saddle again.” In class notes Alumni Review We received several nice emails of 2019-Issue 2, we reported news congratulations on the Class of ’57’s about classmates and widows as participation in the Annual Fund. gained by/from Ben’s call team. It Olive Long: “Thank you so much was good to have news from and for including me in the sister rat listabout so many of you. And we were ing, and bravo for the Class of ’57’s pleased to learn that several of you participation record. Jay (Long) would are recovering nicely from falls and be proud.” other untimely accidents. Our new Curly Mason: “Good job, guys! class strategy for the preservation of Class of 1957: The Owl Society in the winter of 1957 were, front Pardon the brevity, but we’re off to life and good health is for all of us to row, from left, Bill Gay, Drewry Fox, Greg Taylor, B.D. Ayres and George Sydnor. Back row: Ronnie Kaye. make a Mint Julep!” pay more attention to our movements

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Class Notes Charlie Jeckell: “You two guys must be making Dixie (Thomas) proud; he set the standard and you are raising the bar! Enjoyed your class notes; the reach-out is a great program, where did the idea germinate? (Class agent’s note: Give that credit to Howard Lawrence and Ben Elmore, the facilitator behind the scenes was George Sydnor) The Mint Julep bit of history was great, but for those of us in a hurry, we just pull the cork, take

Class of 1957: K.K. Dickinson with Dr. Terry Emerson ’68 in Merritt Island, Florida, in December.

Class of 1957: K.K. Dickinson and John Poffenbarger during Poffenbarger’s December visit to Merritt Island, Florida. 60

a drink and have a peppermint Lifesaver for a chaser. Keep up the good work.” G.E. Murray sent congrats as well and had a long conversation with George, during which he issued a standing invitation to all BRs to visit he and Roe at their farm on the shore of Smith Mountain Lake. “We have a pontoon boat there large enough to hold a host of us, along with a plentiful cache of Class VI supplies on board; class party of old, anyone? We need to drink up our aging inventories that are left over from past reunions, drink up before they all evaporate.” (Class agent’s note: Understood G.E.; that would have been easy to do 50 years ago, but likely problematic at this moment in time). We could not help but notice and appreciate that our dykes’ Class of 1954 celebrated its 65th Reunion at VMI in April, with 17 of them joining in on the celebration. Howard recalled that his dyke, George Washington Hardy III ’54 (English major), was chosen as a Rhodes Scholar. Etched in Howard’s memory was seeing George’s final term paper graded by “DoDo” Dillard ’934 with a 10.0 (Class agent’s note: Equivalent to 100) grade and the comment to the effect: “In all my years of teaching, I have not seen another paper to match this one.” (Class agent’s note: VMI has had 11 Rhodes Scholars, second only in Virginia colleges and universities to UVa which has had 53). The Class of 1954 produced many achievers including our 12th superintendent, Lt. Gen. John Knapp ’54. Our BR Joseph Spivey, chairman of the VMI Board of Visitors at the time, is quoted in the VMI 1989 issue of Roster of Former Cadets, “He (General Knapp) brings all the credentials we could ask for ...” John Knapp ’54, along with Gen. Jim Morgan ’45 (former dean) attended Phil Peters’ memorial service this past February and were “youthful” reflections of lives well lived in Lexington. The Class of ’57 was well represented at the service, which was held at Grace (formerly R.E. Lee) Episcopal Church in Lexington Monday, March 18. Present were Ron McManus, Jim Piggott, Harry Warner, Joe Spivey, Howard Lawrence, Jack Trant, G.E. Murray and George Sydnor. As of our count today, the Class Of ’57 has 100 BRs who finished our Rat Line on the “known” roster and 90 of which were graduates. Four have been lost, all graduates, this calendar year 2019, as of this Aug. 15 writing. It is poignant to note that in the last issue of the Alumni Review, 2019-Issue 3, that the ’57 class notes begin on page 73, 13

pages from the oldest classes beginning on page 60, and that the class notes go on for 106 pages thereafter – kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? Talking about 65th Reunions – mark your April 2022 calendar for another memorable Class of ’57 Reunion that April. Now in the planning stage, chairman Jim Piggott and wife Toni, our 65th Reunion leaders, are organizing the reunion team and developing plans, taking into consideration the realities of accommodating senior citizens. More details, including the exact dates, will be forthcoming. Recently a class email blast asked for support for BR Bob Rader, who is hospitalized battling a serious health issue. Please keep the cards and letters of support going to Bob. Bob is in the rehab wing of Maple Ridge Care Center, 22 Maple Ridge Drive, Room 409, Cartersville, GA 30121. How about sending him a card, letter or email: I know he would appreciate hearing from as many of us as possible. As you may remember, Bob stayed an “extra year” at VMI and was a “hard as nails” lineman on the famous, never to be forgotten, undefeated 1957 football team. Don Coombs and wife Judy have completed their long trek from Texas to join our depleted ranks in Roanoke. They have moved into our premier retirement facility, Brandon Oaks, 3804 Brandon Avenue, SW, Apt. 236, Roanoke, VA 24018, telephone (540) 776-2236. We look forward to seeing them and reintroducing them to our vintage VMI alums in the area. And reporting further on the Roanoke folks, John Whittle and wife Carole have just returned from an enjoyable trip to Ireland. They are constantly on the go and leave the rest of us in the dust when it comes to moving out. (Class agent’s note: They have properties around the globe; was this a write-off perk, by chance?) Wiley Clapp, field editor for American Rifleman, had an excellent article in the July issue with the subject titled, “Big Guns from Big Green,” see pages 59-63. The article features the Remington RP9 and RP45 full-size polymer, semi-automatic service pistols with striker-fired trigger systems. The article includes shooting results of both models using rounds from manufacturers such as Luger, ACP, Black Hills, Federal and SIG Sauer. Now, if you want to know what is going on these days at VMI, please read the Superintendent’s Newsletter dated August 2019. If you do not have

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes a copy, we will get you one. The superintendent’s report is a detailed story of why VMI has never been better. Recently, a leading business leader, philanthropist and UVa graduate and UVa Board of Visitors member stopped us to ask: “Do you realize what a great school you have at VMI?” This was high praise, but of course, (silently) we know VMI is the best anywhere. We all have fond memories of House Mountain, that ever-present guardian overlooking the VMI post and the panoramic views as it changed with the seasons. Harry Warner has written a really nice book, “House Mountain Affair,” a worthy read per those who have been able to procure a copy. The book was a very limited edition, but check with Harry to see if a copy may be available. Treat yourselves to the real-life story of VMI early days as described in the biography of John Thomas Lewis Preston, our founder and author of the inscription on the Parapet. For a copy, call 540-464-7334, ask for the VMI Museum and then request the J.T.L Preston biography. So, let’s complete these Issue 4 notes with a question about Class of 1957 history. Our source is “Drawing out the Man – The VMI Story,” authored by Henry A. Wise ’927. Do you remember that in March, spring 1957, our class engaged in a serious standoff with then-superintendent Gen. Wm. H. Milton ’920 over his “demanded”

changes to the policy guiding the administration of the Rat Line? The ultimatum: There were to be no more “resurrections” or “running the stoops” in barracks by rats. Our class, with the collective support of the 2nd and 3rd Classes, responded by shutting down the Rat Line and the class system for two weeks. Our class president, Russell Davis, accompanied by Class of ’57 officers, requested a hearing before the Board of Visitors and presented our case. (Class agent’s note: Nat Pendleton’s uncle, Edmund Pendleton ’926, was a member of the BOV at that time). The Rat Line and class system were ultimately restored, but our class had courageously made its stand. Russell, a quiet but strong-willed man, personally took a big risk to lead the effort so valiantly. And as Shakespeare nobly wrote: “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time. And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” Or perhaps you might prefer Confucius (551479 B.C.): “The way of the superior man is threefold: Virtuous, he is free from anxieties; wise, he is free from perplexities; bold, he is free from fear.” OK, you English majors, how is that for a couple of slide rule carrying civils? Enjoy your holidays, brother rats; spend time with family and each other. Time is a precious but precarious element; life comes with no guarantees for anyone. So, stand tall and close ranks. Proud to be your proud class agents, George and Howard


Lee McCown

Class of 1957: Joe Spivey and his Washington and Lee Law School classmate, Macon Putney. See note on page 75 of the 2019-Issue 3 Alumni Review. 2019-Issue 4

Greetings, BRs. Here’s hoping your summer has been an enjoyable one. It’s almost back-toschool time here in our college campus neighborhood, which has its occasional challenges but is mostly entertaining. When the students are away,

we entertain ourselves by watching all of Laura’s many vines grow. This year, for the first time, the hyacinth bean vine is a favorite, and its purple flowers have finally appeared. And a nearby first in the vine department, down the street is a long-parked car with morning glories growing all around the wheel and into a door. These notes contain information about two BR memorial services we’ve attended since the last notes, but never fear. They were great experiences, well attended by members of the Class of ’58. I’ll keep the first one brief, as I have already reported on the November funeral for Jan Woodman in Delaware. There was a second service for him in July at Arlington National Cemetery, where he had understandably asked that his ashes be interred. His parents, whom I knew and loved, are buried there, and most of his family lives in northern Virginia. Paul Royer drove our car up there, and Laura has declared that old transportation engineer to be the best interstate highway chauffeur she’s ever had. Jean Woodman and daughters Deborah, Courtnay, Jessica, Eve and Alexandra, along with their husbands and children, were all there, as were BRs Howell Bowen, Bill Dunn, Jerry Paull, Jack Payne, Paul Royer, Stirling Williamson and Warren Yaun, plus Jane Williamson, Laura and me. The service, simple and dignified, was followed by a reception at a hotel in Alexandria. Seeing Bill Wood for the first time in years at the reception was a delight. He looked dashing and healthy and seemed happy to see his old BRs. Bill lives in an apartment on Mount Eagle in Alexandria, the site of an 18th century mansion torn down in 1968. Ben Johnson, Jan’s grandson whom many of you met at our 60th Reunion, was at the service, of course, and is enjoying Gettysburg College very much. He has joined the U.S. Army ROTC program, and I know Jan would be proud. With his strong interest in Civil War history, he has the perfect summer job: Giving tours at the Manassas National Battlefield Park. Paul Royer, who grew up across the street from the battlefield, told Ben that he played taps at Stonewall Jackson’s statue every Memorial Day for many years. Although there was often no one else there to appreciate it, Paul said he was OK with that, as the United Daughters of the Confederacy paid for it, anyway. Our friend, Andrew Baxter, the metal conservator who has worked on many of VMI’s statues, makes an annual trip to Evergreen Cemetery at


Class Notes Gettysburg to maintain the Gettysburg Women’s with Joe, when he said, “We have helped improve about all things, always spoke the truth and questioned everything. Well before coeducation, he Memorial, dedicated in 2002. Pardon this di- this old worn-out world, that’s our legacy.” gression, but it’s very interesting. The cemetery Joe’s brother, Dick Parker ’61, spoke for all told her that she could be the first woman at VMI. After the service, Trish told us about going with website describes the statue as follows: The me- four siblings when he called his older brother morial “is a tribute to the women of Gettysburg “the leader,” a man who set a fine example for his Joe to tell Doc Carroll that they had gotten enwho served and suffered because of the battle. brothers and sisters. I assume Joe set the example gaged down by the Maury River. Doc told her not It depicts Elizabeth Thorn, wife of the caretaker that sent Dick to VMI, where he says he had a to obstruct Joe’s medical training and not to have any children until it was complete. They ignored of Evergreen Cemetery. At the time of the battle great rat year, thanks to our ’57 football team’s she was six months pregnant and caring for three victories, which got him out of the Rat Line often. the second admonition. The family has set up the unrestricted Joseph C. sons and her elderly parents. Her husband was Son John said among his father’s last words away serving with the 138th Pennsylvania Infan- were, “Keep your powder dry,” which John took Parker Jr., M.D., scholarship in Joe’s name. RIP, try, which was in Virginia during the Gettysburg to mean always be prepared educationally, physi- old friend. In addition, Gary Harris, one of our colorful Campaign. cally and morally. In the Parker household, John “During the battle, Thorn and her family were said, being prepared morally meant, don’t lie, and memorable characters, left us June 28. Gary served in the Air Force and is best remembered forced to flee their home in the cemetery’s gate- cheat or steal. house, which overlooked hand-to-hand fighting Daughter Nancy said her father wanted to learn for wearing his pilot’s helmet at the Mayflower Hotel as he took our change in exJuly 2. She returned to find her food change for permitting us to hit his old and possessions stolen and dead bodrattletrap car with a sledgehammer. ies lying unburied everywhere. Our sympathy goes out to his wife, “As caretaker of the cemetery, she E.J. Kessler-Harris. was ordered to begin burying casualTony Lash reports that VMI Alumni ties. Men were detailed to help, but Association chief operating offione by one they slipped away, unable cer, Thom Brashears ’95, came to to bear the work. The statue depicts a Seattle for the rat send-off, which weary Thorn leaning on a shovel as Roy Palmer and Dave Pitkethly atshe rests from burying 91 casualties tended. Brashears also attended the from the battle. first meeting of the VMIAA Oregon “Elizabeth gave birth to a daughter, Chapter, which Tony had a role in esRose Meade, that month. The child tablishing. Tony spent some time with was never healthy, though, and died at the age of 14. Elizabeth always be- Class of 1958: Present for Jan Woodman’s service at Arlington Brashears in Portland and says the lieved the stress of the battle and her National Cemetery were Stirling Williamson, Bill Dunn, Jerry VMIAA is obviously “working hard Paull, Jack Payne, Warren Yaun, Lee McCown, Paul Royer and to engage alumni around the world.” work burying its victims affected her Howell Bowen. One more time, Laura and I found unborn daughter. the names of Jordan and Tom Saunders as we “Elizabeth’s husband returned safely after Apwalked around a museum. In our last notes, it was pomattox, and the couple stayed at the cemetery the American Civil War Museum. This time, it until 1874.” was the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, with its At the Virginia Museum of History and Culvery beautiful Jordan and Thomas A. Saunders ture, the family of Joe Parker held a very nice III Galleries. We have also spotted their names at Richmond service for Joe, who grew up here. His the George C. Marshall Museum at VMI and the wife, Trish; son, John; and daughter, Nancy, were National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in all very grateful for the turnout, which included Saratoga Springs, New York. Brooke Doggett, Joe Gray, Charlie Hayes, LanWe were in Saratoga Springs after time spent da and Bill Holt, Becky and Onza Hyatt, Moon in the Hudson River Valley, primarily for a jazz Menefee, Susie and John Peters, Bill Walker, concert in Cortlandt performed by pianist Greg and Laura and me. Reitan, the son-in-law of our neighbors, Linda Seven speakers made it clear that Joe was a man and Michael Drake. Greg was the first jazz artist of great accomplishment and a devoted husband, to be chosen by the Aaron Copland Fund for Mufather, grandfather and brother. Joe Gray spoke on sic’s composer-in-residence award, which began behalf of our class and noted that Joe Parker was Class of 1958: Another example of the philanthropy of Jordan and Tom Saunin 1998. The monthlong residency, which Greg’s the recipient of the First Jackson-Hope Medal and ders, shown above this Virginia Musewife Meredith Drake enjoyed with him, is in Coa man who took pride in mentoring future doctors. um of Fine Arts gallery doorway. pland’s home. Greg composed on the same grand Sister Kate described one of her last conversations


VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes piano used by Copland, of “Appalachian Spring,” “Rodeo” and “Fanfare for the Common Man” fame. The concert was terrific as was our proximity to other great places, including the United States Military Academy at West Point, aka the VMI of the North. It was a hot day, but the USMA post has lots of trees, and its position on the Hudson River is awe inspiring. We’ve been there several times, but always in miserable weather. I had the pleasure of raising my hand when our tour guide asked, “Who was the only five-star general who did not go to USMA?” As we all know, the answer was the same as it would have been had she asked who was the only military man to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Gen. George Catlett Marshall ’901. We really enjoyed seeing the statue of their mascot, Hannibal the Army mule, named for the longest serving academy mule – 1947-1964 – and a gift of the Class of 1954. My dad, Albert Sidney “Mac” McCown ’931, used mules in his artillery unit in the South Pacific during World War II and always said they were way smarter than horses. Laura gave the hosts in the school’s two nice gift shops a jokingly hard time because their only representation of the mule was a stuffed toy for babies, whereas the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis has countless examples of its mascot, the goat, usually with “Fear the Goat” written on it somewhere. (While the mule mascot tradition started in 1899, the first mule mascot name recorded, during the 1930s, was Mr. Jackson, yes, for Stonewall, maybe because the mule came from Front Royal, Virginia. There was a later one

Class of 1958: The Army mule statue and Lee McCown at the U.S. Military Academy. The statue was a gift from the USMA Class of 1954.

Class of 1958: The Gettysburg Women’s Memorial in Evergreen Cemetery, honoring the pregnant woman who dug 91 graves for those killed in battle.

Class of 1958: Brother rats gathered to honor the life of Joe Parker were, from left, seated, Bill Walker, Joe Gray, Charlie Hayes, Moon Menefee, Brooke Doggett, and Bill and Landa Holt. Standing: Paul Royer, John and Susie Peters, Lee McCown, and Onza and Becky Hyatt. 2019-Issue 4

named Traveler.) (Google “History of the Army Mules,” an official USMA production.) Back home, Laura finally found a small mule statuette that she considers “cute enough” to display with my dad’s war trophies. Walmart, it appears, has everything. Regarding West Point, Bob Beale, who was with us for rat year then got accepted into the USMA and transferred there, reports that he attended his 60th Reunion in May and says, “I am proud to have graduated from West Point and equally proud to be a BR of the VMI Class of 1958.” I heard from Ron Eger, after he received my VMI birthday card, who said, “I just learned that I’m too old to continue to play the game of softball. I’ve been quite active until recently when I realized that as we age, we do not heal so quickly. The last injury affirmed that it was time to quit. “My wife has been working and keeping me active in other ways. She works for the State of Arizona Department of Corrections Juvenile Division. She is the superintendent of the facility and only makes me wish they would reinstitute the draft. Some of these kids need a lot of discipline. Because they have no supervision at home, they usually end up in her care. Nevertheless, she seems to enjoy the job. “We’ve been out in Arizona for almost 20 years now. Aside from the hot summers, it’s a great place to live. I have been personally active in the real estate business since I got out of the Army. Building shopping centers, leasing for tenants, etc., I usually run into someone who recognizes VMI when I wear some of the hats or shirts emblazoned with the school letters. “Recently, a woman ran up to me and asked if I went to ‘that school.’ When I said yes, she could not stop telling me what a great place it is and how she wished more parents would encourage their kids to go there. If you are ever out this way, please call and we can get together.” Thanks for the invitation, Ron, and keep on showing the colors. We had dinner with Lee Camp (Hon.) and her friend, Jim Shield, recently, and she accepted our invitation to join the ’58 table at the Institute Society dinner Nov. 11. Lee served on the VMI Board of Visitors for two terms (right after our own Sam Witt) and appears to have loved every minute of it. The men in her late husband Paul Camp’s family (not Paul himself) attended VMI for several generations and have a history of generosity to the Institute. Lee is now on the VMI Foundation Board of Trustees and calls me after every Alumni


Class Notes Review arrives at her home to discuss its contents. I hope you BRs who can will join us at the dinner. Ewing Best, who has moved to Charlotte where her son lives, is recovering from a fall and says she still hopes to move back to Virginia Beach. “I miss my friends, church, etc. Take care and give my regards to the ‘Boys from VMI,’” she said. Annette Johnston says she is doing OK, well enough to visit an old friend in Delaware. She’s preparing for her third hip operation in the fall and hoping they get it right this time. Roy Palmer visited her while he was in Texas for a funeral. When I spoke with her, she said she was sending a check that day to the Keydet Club for the Class of ’58 Football Scholarship Fund because Duke wanted others to have the same opportunity he had. Becky Tomaso, mother of Cadet Michael Tomaso ’21, the current recipient of the ’58 scholarship, updated me on her family’s summer. “It has been a very busy summer for the Tomaso family. My dad had shoulder replacement surgery the last day of school. He is a young chicken, and the surgery went well. However, he is also a stubborn mule and tried doing too much too early and fell and busted his head, requiring eight stitches and also broke his good hand tearing tendons and ligaments. Needless to say, it was a rough start to the summer. “I stepped in to help with the restaurant, and Michael was my dad’s right hand man doing all the chores needed. Michael worked so hard this summer. He would get up early and work out, then go to physical therapy, working on getting his knees stronger for the season. Then he would come home and work with my dad, then leave for another afternoon workout. Oftentimes, he would come home and shower again, then work the evening at the restaurant. Needless to say, there was a lot of laundry at the Tomaso house. “Don’t get me wrong, he managed to have fun as well and, of course, squeeze some fishing trips in. We were so excited to host one of his dykes this summer for a long weekend. They loaded up on snapper. Hunter Starner ’18 was a fifth year senior this year and graduated in May. He was a wonderful guest. Michael’s big sister, Maddie, was able to come home one weekend from medical school.” In addition, Michael’s paternal grandmother died this summer at age 90. Becky said, “I am so grateful that Michael was able to be home all summer to spend every day with her. She was so proud of her youngest grandson and would always brag


on him to the doctors and nurses. “We dropped him off at VMI last week. My hope and prayers are that the boys stay healthy and have a winning season. I know Michael wants that so bad. I hope to see you at a game!” Becky, you know I’ll be there! In the spirit, Lee


Shep Shepard

This quarter has not been kind to the Stonewall Class, as we lost two stalwarts in our class; both were loyal brother rats, outstanding soldiers and just plain old good guys. Mike Vargosko passed away just following our 60th Reunion. About a year ago, Mike was diagnosed with stomach cancer and has been undergoing chemotherapy to reduce the tumor. Like many of us, he was also a victim of Agent Orange from his tours in Vietnam. No arrangements have been made as yet, other than he will be buried in Arlington Cemetery, but I will let you know as soon as they are published. I was a battalion commander at Fort Hood in 1976 at the same time Mike commanded the 1/66th Armored Battalion. Since we were both battalion commanders with very little outside life, we did not see much of each other but I heard about him and he had a reputation of being an outstanding soldier and battalion commander. We also lost my dear and loyal friend Ron Marley. What a shock that was. One day he is telling me he is not feeling good and the next he is diagnosed with a mass in his colon and in a coma. I can’t tell you how much I will miss my friend Ron. We entered the Army together and spent the first few months making our way through Infantry Officer’s Basic Course and Ranger School at Fort Benning. Since we were both in Airborne Divisions, he in the 82nd and me in the 101st, we ran into one another every now and then. Ron was highly decorated for his two tours of duty in Vietnam and wounded twice. Ron’s memorial service was held in Green Cove Springs, Florida, with the interment at the National Cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida. The services were well attended by his brother rats. Besides Ann and me, present were Lee and Nancy Southard, Bill and Connie Nebraska, Bud and Denyse

Kramer, and Tex and Emily Carr. As we always do, we sent Ron on his way by singing the Doxology and giving a rousing Old Yell for Ron. It was good that both Mike and Ron made it to our 60th Reunion where they were able to kibitz with their brother rats one last time. Both Julie and Mary Alice are doing well, and each has family helping them through this traumatic time. Mary Alice was most appreciative of the beautiful bouquet of flowers sent to her from our class. She said it was difficult to tell who they were from since the colors of the flowers were red, white and yellow as was the matching ribbon. Please continue to keep the Vargosko and Marley families in your daily thoughts and prayers. Carl Kasko has been suffering with prostate cancer for the past few years. He was detected with a non-aggressive, low-risk prostate cancer in 2017. The recommendations from the doctors at that time were not to do anything, because studies showed that for men 72 years or older, 95% would not need treatment for 10 years before anything would have to be done. They all agreed that something else would “get” him before the cancer and put him on “watchful waiting” with PSA tests every six months. Unfortunately, Carl’s last PSA jumped beyond the limits, and after going through a few tests, it was found that the cancer was elevated to high risk and very aggressive. He began chemo. There will be a series of six chemo treatments every three weeks and then a series of radiation treatments. I will keep you posted, but keep Carl in your prayers to help him and Phyllis get through this. John and Chris Patane are doing well. John’s golf game still needs lots of help, but he still has fun playing. They recently returned from a great cruise along the coast of Maine. Yvonne Traylor is taking good care of Bill and visits him often. Yvonne said Bill does not know and she has not told him that they missed the 60th Reunion. She feels it would break his heart if he knew. Dave Goode visited Bill not long ago, and Yvonne said it felt like Christmas. I plan to visit Bill soon and will take the photo albums to reminisce. Jim Edmunds and his lady, Miki Paul, got married in August in a beautiful park setting in the Berkeley Hills. They live in Benicia, California, a town of about 27,000, located in the north San Francisco Bay area. Jim and Miki say that “Life is good!” Congratulations. Rusty Loth made every effort to make it to the

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes 60th Reunion but circumstances just got in the way. Weather was a factor, and by the time Rusty could find a plane flying to Roanoke, it was too late. He is so disappointed, but there was a serendipitous event that took place at the airport. While trying to exit the building, Rusty came in contact with a man who mentioned he was from Wilmington, North Carolina. Rusty told him he was quite familiar with the Wilmington area, having spent many summer vacations on Bald Island with his family and several brother rats and their families. Rusty mentioned that he had a very good friend who used to live there by the name of Donnie Coupland. He mentioned that Donnie’s widow, Sue, was also a friend. The gentleman said he was quite familiar with Sue Coupland, since she was about to marry his best friend. It’s a small world after all. Kurt Gloeckner wants to thank everyone for making our 60th Reunion a joyous event. Compliments to Billy Kornegay and the Reunion Committee, who he says did an outstanding job putting it all together. Kurt just returned from hiking the Red River Canyon and Wild River area of New Mexico. He said the scenery was fabulous in the Big Sky Country, and he got to see up close and personal elk, mule deer and Rocky Mountain sheep. His big find was a beautiful red obsidian arrowhead, almost palm size. Kurt’s next stop on his dwindling bucket list is Dolly Sod Wilderness in West Virginia. Following our 60th Reunion, Dick and Linda Phillippi took a quick trip to Texas and found that traveling at our age gets more difficult each year. It can’t be that bad because he and Linda will be attending the Florida group mini reunion in Crystal River, Florida, in September. Dick and Linda plan to stay over and spend a few days with his old roomie and his wife, Bill and Connie Nebraska, in Hernando. While in Texas, Dick contacted Nowell Loop and had him

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Class of 1959: Bud and Susan Mease, their family members and Shep and Ann Shepard were at the Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida.

Class of 1959: The Florida group at Ron Marley’s interment ceremony at the Jacksonville National Cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida. From left were Bud Kramer, Shep Shepard, Mary Alice Marley, Lee and Nancy Southard, Ann Shepard, Bill and Connie Nebraska, and Tex and Emily Carr.

Class of 1959: Class members and spouses met to coordinate lastminute arrangements for the Florida group mini reunion at the Plantation on the Crystal River in Florida. From left were Starla Hayes, sales manager; Shep and Ann Shepard; Tracey Montesanto, leisure sales manager; and Bill and Connie Nebraska.

deliver a VMI shirt to his grandson, Wyatt Jones VMI Class of 2031, in celebration of his 10th birthday. Wyatt lives in Fort Worth. Dick talked to Art Brandriff not long ago to begin planning with Jim Sam Gillespie for their annual southwest Virginia mini reunion which includes Pounding Mill, Wytheville and Tide Water. Rogers McCall was very sorry he missed the big reunion, but he was having some health issues that prevented him from attending. Rogers wants to thank Billy Kornegay, the Reunion Committee and all brother rats for their good wishes during his recovery which, by the way, has been excellent. He is working and hitting tennis balls now and then. As I write these class notes, Mel and Jean Anderson are on the high seas visiting Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Iceland and Greenland. We will look forward to some pictures and exciting input for the next class notes. While they are basking in the sunshine and being spoiled onboard the good ship Lollypop, their daughter, Bonnie, is walking the Pacific Coast Trail which runs from Mexico to Canada. She hopes to complete the trek in six months. As of this writing, Bonnie is making her way through snow in Oregon. Because of extremely high snowfall and high stream flow, she has to get off and on the trail at different places. Bonnie’s daughter will join her for a month of walking while in California then will join her Navy husband for a four-year tour of duty in Hawaii. Sounds like just another excuse for Mel and Jean to travel to exotic places. Tex and Emily Carr are doing fine, all things considered. Tex had his pacemaker replaced with one that is Bluetooth enabled and received his third shock treatment on the table due to atrial fibrillation. Later, he received an injection of umbilical cord stem cells in his right knee to reduce pain and, hopefully, regenerate the cartilage. He is doing pretty good as far as pain is concerned – just needs


Class Notes to stop limping from habit. Tex is in the process of fixing up his lake cabin in Alabama in hopes of selling it before Labor Day. Tex and Emily took a nice trip up to Sea Isle City, New Jersey, to visit with Emily’s family. Tex was amazed that the crowd of beachgoers on the 67-degree ocean beach was 200 times more crowded than our 82-degree ocean beach in Florida. Here’s to keeping it that way. Mac and Terry MacGregor’s grandson, Brock MacGregor, will be matriculating at VMI this fall as third generation VMI. His dad is their son, Lee MacGregor ’92. Lee is retiring from the Army soon as a full colonel. Ann and I remember a serendipitous meeting of Lee and his family on a trolley at Disney World some 15 years ago when Lee probably was a young major. Where does the time go? Terry’s cousin’s grandson, Cameron Boxley, will also matriculate this fall, so these distant cousins will be BRs. John and Pat Van Kesteren were so impressed with the quality of young people matriculating at VMI these days. While waiting for the parade to begin, they stopped a female cadet and asked if she wanted to get in a picture with them. They regret that they did not get her name, but what a pleasant and polite cadet she was. Everywhere they went on post was the same – cadets smiled, spoke and tipped their hats to the ladies. John was even more proud to be an alumnus from such an institution that produced such honorable young men and women. He sent Gen. Peay ’62 her picture and asked if he had someone on his staff with nothing better to do to track her down and tell her how impressed they were with her bearing. Long ago when John was a TAC at VMI, all he gave out were special reports and the cadets called him Capt. Wouldn’t: Wouldn’t smile if he had to. Spence and Beverly Tucker are beginning to get things back in order after the great 60th Reunion. Spence’s writing is winding down with a four-volume encyclopedia that treats warfare in the Middle East from ancient times to the present coming out soon and three more in the works that will appear in 2020 and 2021, but that should be it. He has been trying to keep ahead of two arthritic shoulders and a bad knee by doing daily exercises and working in the yard and a small vegetable garden. Beverly stays very busy with her painting and a variety of community activities, especially the Historic Lexington Foundation. She has just shepherded an exhibit in the Campbell House in Lexington on the barns of Rockbridge County, for


which she did some two dozen paintings. She has also begun work on a new book of oral histories of African Americans living in Lexington that will take the story to a new generation, building on her early work, “The House on Fuller Street.” Spence and Beverly count themselves fortunate to be living in Lexington. Spence recently got a call from his old roommate, Ricardo Santos. It was his first contact with him since graduation. Rich lives in Ecuador but has a condo in Florida and hopes to visit Lexington sometime soon. Spence gave him his email address, but their conversation ended before he got his. This is the first time I have heard about Rich since we graduated, and hopefully we will be able to get together in Florida. Noland and Mary Pipes and their daughter, Sarah, had a wonderful time at the 60th Reunion. They want to thank everyone for making it one of the best they have attended. Shortly

Class of 1959: Nowell Loop with Wyatt Jones, VMI Class of 2031, who is the grandson of Dick and Linda Phillippi.

Class of 1959: Bill Nebraska caught a 7-pound steelhead trout while on a fishing trip with his sons, Todd and Paul, and grandson, Mark.

after the reunion, Noland and Mary took their whole family to Montana. Their destination was Glacier National Park, where they spent a few days at Many Glacier Hotel, a hotel located inside the park. The six grandchildren plus the six adults hiked and hiked and ooh-ed and aahed at the spectacular views. It was cold and even snowed heavily June 8. It was a great treat for all of them. Noland’s major emergency surgery in March could have derailed this trip, but he persevered and was strong enough to not only handle the airports and TSA but the hikes, as well. He is doing great now. During the past two years, Noland underwent an abdominal lymphatic fluid drain every month. He was producing many liters each drain – over 10 – but is now down to a little over half a liter. Agnes Inge Carter writes that son, George Inge ’91, hosted an alumni rat send-off party at his home in Charlottesville. Agnes was the only ’59er there but held our flag high and represented the class with honor and distinction. Thanks for your devotion to our class. Bill Kessler wrote to say that Edwin Sledge White Jr. ’63 passed away in August. His caregivers said that they pursued eye surgery for him that probably would have restored his eyesight in one eye. Unfortunately, each time the surgery was deferred because of one serious health issue after another. Like many of us, Edwin was an Agent Orange victim from his time in Vietnam, and that took a widespread toll on many of his body’s organs. Bill does not have a date from his eye surgeon for removal of the synthetic oil he implanted behind his restored right eye retina but hopes it will happen soon. Until recently, Bill made good use of the VMI ’59 walking cane we received at our 50th Reunion. His reduced vision has exacerbated his balance problem and required that he replace his VMI ’59 cane with crutches to ensure balance and movement stability. He hopes that his vision gets restored so he can safely return to his VMI ’59 cane. Many strangers have complimented him on the beauty of his cane. Bill thanks everyone for the nice award plaque he received and appreciates those responsible for making it happen. Ned and Bunny Addison are doing great, and Ned sees Lee Wilkinson every time he goes to their club’s fitness center. Lee rides the stationary bike at a leisurely pace and must log 10 miles every day. Their grandsons are both rising 1st Class cadets, both wear stars and both are cadet officers.

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes It’s obvious to all that the genes come from Bunny and Linda. Ned saw Brooke Doggett ’58 and Stuart Whitehurst ’58 at a Richmond “old timers” luncheon at which Howard Moss ’60 was the featured speaker. Howard has written an entertaining book about his flying experiences in Vietnam, donating the proceeds to a scholarship at VMI in memory of his Brother Rat Paul “Eagle” Bayliss ’60, who was killed in Vietnam. Herb Vaughan ’60, Howard’s roommate, was also at the luncheon. Herb also flew in Vietnam and barely escaped getting shot down. Ned and Howard were classmates in junior high and high school, so his presentation was of special interest to Ned. He did a wonderful job, so Ned was delighted that his influence on Howard yielded such dividends. Marvin Myers, John Martin and Ned, the remaining members of the LAME Group, will be having lunch again soon. Their ranks are thinning. Bill Nebraska is getting ready for his annual Steelhead fishing trip with his sons, Paul and Todd, and grandson, Mark. The accompanying picture is last year’s prize, and he expects bigger and better things this year. Bill admits that this is one of the best traditions he has ever started and wished he had started it many years ago. Bring in the big one, Bill. Ann and I have had a busy but rewarding quarter with golf, neighborhood dining club, theater and dinner group, preparing for the Florida group mini reunion, visits from relatives and grandchildren, and doctor appointments. The passing of our dear friend, Ron Marley, was a terrible shock and put us in a state of depression for weeks. Unfortunately, when we went to visit Ron, he was in a coma and we missed the opportunity to say farewell. We will miss him dearly. Our daughter, Colleen, came to visit from Missouri, as did my sister and brother-in-law, Bud and Susan Mease, who visited from Utah. Bud and Susan have downsized and are now living in much smaller and more manageable house. When they visited us, they brought along one set of their two sets of twin daughters with their husbands and children. We spent a few days in Melbourne and then packed up and went to Weston, Florida, located just outside of Fort Lauderdale. While the kids enjoyed the beach, the old folks enjoyed driving around Miami and Key Biscayne. We also visited the Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida, an engineering marvel that has been compared with Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Egypt. It is the story of a 5-foot-tall, 100-pound Latvian immigrant who, without help

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and using only simple tools, excavated, carved and moved tons of coral rock. We also took a trip over to Hernando, Florida, where we joined Bill and Connie Nebraska to put the finishing touches on our Florida group mini reunion scheduled for late September. Bill and Connie have done yeoman service in putting this reunion together; it was such a pleasure to just say, “That sounds good to me,” when reviewing the agenda with the resort staff. Thanks, Bill and Connie. We have a great turnout with some 23 people attending and looking forward to a great mini. Bill Kornegay informed me that the bronze plaque presented to me at the 60th Reunion has been installed on a bench outside of Scott Shipp Hall. I am tempted to drive to the Institute just to have a picture of Ann and me sitting on the bench. Thanks again for such a great honor. Keep those cards, emails and letters coming in. Yours in the spirit, Shep


James A. Smith III

I bring you greetings from St. James Plantation, North Carolina. Since our last notes, New Market Day has come and gone, and our lives are underway for another three months. I look forward to hearing from and about each of you. Please get off your respective fannies and let me hear from you. Your brother rats want learn what’s going on in your lives. I want to begin this session with a recent set of emails from Bolling Williamson and Hap Miller. Hap was unable to attend the recent Bayliss Scholarship award because he was tutoring a cadet in math, which Hap has done for years. Bolling wrote: “Hap, how did the cadet you were trying to get through calculus wind up? Did he make it? Bolling.” Hap responded: “Bolling, He did. With a C. I took him to the airport in Roanoke yesterday after graduation. He was one very happy camper. He now gets to go on his ‘summer cruise’ out of California later this month. I am happy for him, as he wants that naval commission more than life itself. And he is a very hard working young man. He earned what he got. No ‘gifts’ there! He and I

put in 23 hours together getting ready for his final exam. He put in more than that! Always good to see such happy endings! Hope you are doing well!” Bolling wrote Hap back: “You’re a good man. There’s a special corner in heaven waiting for you.” To which Hap responded, “Bolling, I can only hope there may be a place there for me, as the way I feel today, I may want to claim it sooner than later! Seriously, it is always a pleasure to work with these young men and women. They always express their thanks to me, but I thank them. I get as much out of our association as they do – and maybe more! Our country is so lucky to have so many who are willing to make the special commitment to serve, especially in today’s worldwide political environment. As you watch what is taking place on campuses around the country today, you can’t help but acknowledge what a special place VMI is! Take care. Hap.” The spirit of the Class of 1960 is alive and well! On May 24, on John “Seagull” Coughlin’s birthday, I spoke with his wife, Joyce. Seagull has been having some health issues and is receiving wonderful care from Joyce.

Class of 1960: Tidewater brother rats and wives gathered. Present were Howard and Susan Moss, Mike and Alice Shoemaker, Dave and Imelda Bisset, Mike Pitt and Betty Hudgins, Angela Leary, Lucy Clay, and Bill and Sue Knowles. 67

Class Notes On June 3, I spoke with Jim O’Dell while he was enjoying his birthday breakfast. He and Suzie are back on Lake Ontario for the summer. He was feeling well. On June 12, Tom Beavers celebrated his birthday. I was unable to speak to Tom, but he did get an email wish. On June 14, Hap Miller sent out the following email: “BRs: Well, it was exactly 59 years ago this morning that the Class of 1960 officially joined the ranks of VMI alumni. Hard to believe. Seems like just yesterday! Or at least, that is what I keep telling this very tired, old body! May just stop by the ‘Big I’ later today and just reminisce! So if your ears start to burn, it will just be me thinking about you! Hope you are all doing well. Plans are already in the making for our 60th Reunion next spring! I am already looking forward to seeing everyone, so please take good care of yourselves! Love and best wishes to all. Hap.” We are grateful for all you do for us, Hap! On June 14, all class agents received the notice of the passing of Julie Martin, an assistant in the Public Relations Office and friend of many cadets – many in our class. The announcement is in this issue of the Review and was sent to our class. On June 18, Gary Kramer had his latest birthday. I spoke with Gary the next day. He reported good health and was doing well. On June 22, I spoke with Phil Shiner. He reported that he was no longer 80 years old. He also said his wife loves being married to a VMI man, as he knows how to take orders well. I tried to speak with Bill King to give him birthday wishes but only got a voicemail. We wish him many more birthdays. On July 3, I had birthday email communication with Gerry Hermann. Gerry pointed out how blessed we all are at this stage of our lives. On July 6, I caught top with Carlton “Doc” Mallory and gave him birthday wishes. Doc is well and looks forward to each day with gratitude. On July 17, I called John Moore in Naples, Florida, only to get his voicemail box. John got well wishes.


Class of 1960: Linda and Phil Shiner with Jimbo and Ruth Smith at Holden Beach, North Carolina.

Class of 1960: Ruth and Jimbo Smith with Linda and Henry Brown at the Wilmington rat send-off party.

Class of 1960: Henry and Linda Brown, Carolyn and Fred Ayers ’61, and Jimbo and Ruth Smith at Circa 1922 in Wilmington, North Carolina.

On July 18, Ruth and I went down to Holden Beach to visit Phil and Linda Shiner. They vacation there every year with family. They had a wonderful beach house for their four children and nine grandchildren. Phil has been retired from his very active cardiology practice in Roanoke, Virginia, for five years. As you all may remember, Phil was the First Jackson Hope medalist for our class. On July 23, I received the following email from Bill Knowles regarding a Tidewater get-together: “Hi, Jimbo. Pardon me if you have already received this note from me. Our computer was hacked by a virus and old age has caught up with us. The Tidewater BR wives, BR widows and BRs recently met for lunch. As usual, we had a grand time getting together. Those present were Howard and Susan Moss, Mike and Alice Shoemaker, Dave and Imelda Bisset, Mike Pitt and Betty Hudgins, Angela Leary, Lucy Clay, and Bill and Sue Knowles. We plan to meet again in September at the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach. Hope all is well with you and yours and are having a nice summer. Yours in the spirit, Bill.” It’s always good to hear from and about you all. On July 31, I caught up with Toot Barr in Tyler, Texas. Birthday wishes were given. Other than the usual infirmities we all have with being 80-plus years old, he is well and very active. Some sad news, the following notice came from the alumni office regarding the passing of Nick Delaplane: “Nicholas Ray Delaplane of Surfside Beach, South Carolina, died in July 2019. He was 81. Delaplane matriculated from Front Royal, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from VMI.” On Aug. 1, I caught up with Ed Smith, who was headed to a craft show to display his woodworking. Ed is healthy and busy and got birthday wishes. I had several unsuccessful birthday calls to the following brother rats: Bill Enniss (Aug. 5), Frank Fox (Aug. 6), Mike Pitt (Aug. 7) and Henry Shirley (Aug. 11). On Aug. 12, I missed Walt Witschard, but he sent the following email in response

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes to my birthday phone call: “Sorry I missed your calls. All is well in the great northwest. I did not see George Coulbourn at the Seattle alumni meeting, as Oregon now has our own alumni chapter. I am healthy and keep busy. My son, Kevin, and I will make our fifth trip to Scotland to visit distilleries. We have been to 145 distilleries in 10 countries. Whiskey is a great hobby for father and son! I’ll see you all in April. Your BR, Walter Witschard.” My dear brother rats, these are the shortest class notes of my career. Please send me news about you, along with any photographs you might like to share. As I close, I remind you to please be generous to VMI with your donations. Remember our class Bayliss Scholarship, as well. Our 60th Reunion dates are April 19-22, 2020. G.G. Phillips, Henry Brown and Bill “Peanuts” Elliott are making our plans. We look forward to seeing each other again. Please stay in touch. Also know that it is an honor and privilege for me to serve as your class agent. In the spirit, Jimbo

Class of 1961: The class gathered for a spring lunch at the Waypoint Seafood & Grill in Williamsburg, Virginia, May 22, 2019. From left, front row were Sue Vitale, Karen Nicholas Moore, Frankie Ring, Jan Clarkson and Caroline Mabry. Second row: Barbara Jean LeFon, Kim Wise, Beverly Austin Hanlin, Norma Phillips, Joann Respess, Gaylia Hudgins, Sylvia Woodcock, Judy Youngblood and Jeri Wetsel.

to the “almost hurricane” forecast for Virginia Beach last fall, Bill and Connie Nelms’ timeshare vacation in Virginia Beach was ended and management gave them an extra week in May, so Sue and I enjoyed having dinner with them while they were here. The Respesses are doing well as are the Clarksons, Mabrys, Phillipses and Bev Scott. Several times this spring, Larry Respess made it to beer and cookies but with the summer traffic, we will not see him until fall. Sal Vitale Jr. Jim and Blair Bickford spent time in Paris and enjoyed it very much. Jim is still painting, and if you’re interested in one of his works of art, let him know. Blair says no more painting until you sell some of what you have. (Smile.) Mid-May to mid-August has been a very busy I hear that Sylvia and Stu Woodcock will soon time for the class. I hope I have enough space in have new neighbors, the Wetsels. Jerri’s house on the Review to communicate all that has gone on. Arctic Street in Virginia Beach is currently on the Bev Scott, Stu and Sylvia Woodcock, market. With all the traveling that Larry Sal and Sue Vitale, Larry and Geri Wetdoes, Jerri only needs a one-bedroom. sel, Dick and Judy Youngblood, Rus(Smile.) Our widows look young, healthy sell R. Stone, Alison Drescher, Kenny and are feisty. Barbara Jean LeFon is still Legum, Irv Wells, Oscar and Caroline selling real estate; Gaylia Hudgins volunMabry, Wyatt Durrette, Larry and Joann teers for Operation Smile and at Jackson Respess, Bill Daniels, Jim and Frankie Hole, Wyoming, caring for elk. Karen Ring, Rhett and Jan Clarkson, Bill and Nicholas said that when Dennis’ body Norma Phillips, Bill Nelms, Robert Wilwas brought back to the USA from Vietliamson, Kim Wise, Gaylia Hudgins, nam, a brother rat met the casket at Dover Karen Nicholas Moore and Barbara Jean Air Force Base. Karen thinks it was Bill LeFon met for a spring lunch at the WayPowell, but she is not sure. Does anyone point Restaurant in Williamsburg and have any information that would help her again had a great time with wonderful Class of 1961: Class members at Stonewall Jackson Cem- and especially her daughter, Karen, bring service and food. It was nice to finally etery in Lexington, Virginia, for Mike Carmichael’s funeral, this to closure? The next Williamsburg meet Beverly Austin Hanlin, the wife of May 29, 2019, were, from left, Larry Wetsel, Dick Weede, event will be in December. Tom Bradshaw, David Harbach and Barry Orndorff. Sal Viour redheaded Brother Rat Gerry. Beverly Larry Wetsel, Tom Bradshaw, Dick tale was the photographer. retired from Fork Union Military AcadWeede, David Harbach, Barry and Betty


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emy after 40 years of service and is living in Yorktown, Virginia. It turns out she and Karen Nicholas Moore were old friends who lost touch, and it was nice to see them reunited. Sylvia Woodcock created beautiful flower centerpieces for the tables and they were given to Kenny Legum for his daughter, Beth, who just graduated from college, and Beverly Hanlin. Jim and Frankie Ring are living in Virginia Beach and doing well. Frankie was able to get her brother, Robert Williamson, out of hibernation. Robert is getting better. It was also nice to see Irv Wells out and about. Irv comes by the Gibbingses’ beer and cookies, and we have some spirited conversations. Russell Stone and Bill Daniels have been regulars at our Williamsburg events, and they both look healthy. Same for Alison Drescher and Kim Wise, who drove from Harbor Point, North Carolina, to be with us. Due


Class Notes Orndorff, and Sal Vitale, along with more than 100 other people, were in Lexington May 29, 2019, at the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery to attend the memorial service and burial of Harry Saint George Tucker Carmichael III. Son Tucker and daughter Anne spoke on recollections, and Mike’s grandchildren recited scripture. The homily was quite long but abruptly ended when one of the guests passed out. Suzanne Carmichael said the reverend was asked to limit his remarks to no longer than five minutes, but he forgot. (Smile.) At the conclusion of the ceremony, John Brodie (Hon.) played taps and then we all attended the reception at the Carmichael home. Tom Bradshaw is now using crutches and a wheelchair to get around, and he goes to his office in Lexington every day. Tom says Faye is keeping him straight. Dick Weede is doing well and has joined the ranks of those using a pacemaker. David Harbach looks great and walks between 4 and 5 miles every day. Dave said Charlotte completed her heart rehabilitation program and has regained her spirit. Barry and Betty Orndorff look well and do a lot of short trips to see their grandson play football. A few weeks later, June 19, Barbara and Tom Phlegar, along with Barry and Betty Orndorff, attended Roger Suiter’s funeral in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a reception following the service. Bud Alligood remembers that, during our first week at VMI, a corporal had a squad of us out on the Parade Ground learning drill commands. The corporal would yell, “Right face,” and Roger, who was so nervous, would turn left. The corporal would yell at Roger and then continue, “Left face,” and Roger, now more nervous than ever, would turn right. This happened several times until finally the corporal approached Roger and put a big rock in Roger’s right hand and said, “Rat, when I say right face, you turn toward the rock!” From then on, Roger was fine. Roger never was a quitter. I received a note from Sherrill that it was lovely to see the brother rats, and the flowers the class sent were beautiful and greatly appreciated. Sherrill still can’t believe Roger is gone. Eight days later, June 27, 2019, Mike Bissell was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. The night before, several of us gathered at the Landing Brothers Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia, for dinner. It was so nice to see John and Linda Moore. John was in a wheelchair and, as we all know, has difficulty getting around, but he


was hell bent on attending his roommate’s funeral, so he flew from Florida to Washington. John said special thanks go to George and Edna Henning for all their assistance in getting him around for two days. Attendees included the Phlegars, Hennings, Wetsels, Harbachs, D. Stones, H. Smiths, Clarksons, Bickfords (Bissell’s roommate), Tharrington and friend Lois, Williamson, Hanlein, Vitale, Jan Bissell and Gary Bissell ’89. Holmes and Jeanette Smith were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and we all had Champagne. The next day, Ashby and Sandra Taylor, Jim and Johanna Needham, Carl and Becky Hirsch with grandson Jonathan, and Spike and Mary Callendar arrived at Arlington Cemetery at 0800 hours and joined us. My guess is that in addition to the Bissell family of seven children and their spouses, 18 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, more than 200 people had arrived by the time the ceremony started. (The temperature was 98 degrees.) They included Gen. and Mrs. Peay ’62; Mike Strickler ’71; several VMI staff members; and a large contingent of VMI graduates from Mike’s time as commandant, including the Secretary of the Army, Ryan D. McCarthy ’96. Mike served 18 years as commandant for the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership at Mary Baldwin College, the nation’s only all-female corps of cadets. It was great to see 75 alumni cadets, as well as retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Djuric, the VWIL commandant, and Ms. Pamela Fox, MBC president, there. Sue and I attended many events at VWIL and had met many of the ladies. One in particular is Mei-Ling (now Guarino). Mike had pegged her as a leader, and she is now a U.S. Army

major working for Secretary McCarthy ’96. Also at the funeral was Maj. Meghan Ederle, Ken’s daughter. Megan is in the U.S. Army assigned to the Military District of Washington. Megan said, “I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to spend some time with the brother rats of 1961. You all make me feel like I’m right back home with family every time I see you! I know dad was there with us in spirit celebrating the life of a very accomplished brother.” She is a “running rat.” Following the ceremony, most people returned to the Fort Myer Officers’ Club and enjoyed a wonderful brunch. Before J.C., Robert and I left Arlington, we spent a few minutes visiting the graves of Max Haydon and my sister, Jean. Then we took a trip to Alexandria, where we visited with Paul Myatt who is at a senior living facility. Paul is in fair shape, and we enjoyed the visit. The next day, June 28, we laid Brother Rat John W. Butler to rest in Raleigh, North Carolina. The closeness of the Bissell and Butler funerals made it very difficult for me to attend both. Sue had undergone foot surgery and was home recuperating when our daughter, Barbara, came to visit and offered to drive Sue to Raleigh for the funeral. Attending the funeral were Dick and Judy Youngblood, Mike and Betty Pitt, Rhett and Jan Clarkson, Paul Johnston, Sue Vitale, Fred and Carolyn Ayers, Alison Drescher, Kim Wise, Kim’s two daughters and Larry Wilson ’62. The eulogy was delivered by Sam Crutchfield, John’s son-in-law. A reception was held at the Bent Tree Clubhouse, where an Old Yell was done. Linda said the flowers from the class were breathtaking. Saturday, June 29, was the annual Shuba pig roast in Gettysburg. It was a very warm day with

Class of 1961: Several class members attended the reception following Mike Bissell’s funeral at the Fort Myer Officers’ Club in Fort Myer, Virginia, June 27, 2019. Those present included Carl Hirsch, Sal Vitale, Tom Phlegar, John Moore, Dave Harbach, Jim Bickford, Mike Curley ’63, Ray Hanlein, John Tharrington, Robert Williamson, George Henning, Larry Wetsel, Spike Callander, Jim Needham, Mike Strickler ’71 and Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62. Photo courtesy Deanne Nezas, wife of Steve Nezas ’89. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes

Class of 1961: Class members attended Lou Shuba’s annual pig roast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, June 29, 2019. From left, front row, were Jim McFalls ’59; Lola Tornabene; Ken Legum; Pris Shuba; Lou Shuba; Charlotte Harbach; Becky Hirsch; Sandra Fout; Jeri Wetsel; Barbara Haeberlein Hogan, Bill Haeberlain’s sister; and Bill Haeberlein. Second row: Bill Tornabene ’64, Shuba’s rat dyke; Harry Shepherd ’58, Shuba’s dyke; J.C. Tharrington; Larry Williams; Barbara Phlegar; Carl Hirsch; Tom Phlegar; George Henning; Edna Henning; Sylvia Woodcock; Stu Woodcock; Robert Williamson; Mary Callander; Ray Hanlein; Spike Callander; Jim Needham; Larry Wetsel; Johanna Needham; Bill Fout; Ed Fox; Dave Harbach; and Sal Vitale. showers threatening. This year, there were two tents: One for the people and one for the pig roasting crew. It was nice seeing Pris Shuba getting around after having to be off her feet for almost six months. In addition to a wonderful feast, a little excitement occurred when Tom Phlegar fell down a flight of stairs and Ken Legum slipped on a rocket, fell, broke his finger and lost his class ring in the process. Phlegar had no broken bones and no serious damage of any kind, only bruises and the nightmare associated with the experience, but most importantly, Tom was cleared to skydive on his birthday. Ken Legum’s ring was found, but it will be a while until he is able to wear it. Those enjoying the day were Jim McFalls ’59; Bill and Lola Tornabene ’64 (Lou’s rat dyke); Bill Haeberlein; Haeberlein’s sister, Barbara Haeberlein Hogan; Carl and Becky Hirsch; Larry and Jeri Wetsel; Ray Hanlein; Stu and Sylvia Woodcock; Harry Shepherd ’58 (Lou’s dyke); Spike and Mary Callander; Bill and Sandra Fout; Ed Fox; Dave and Charlotte Harbach; J.C. Tharrington; Robert Williamson; Tom and Barbara Phlegar; George and Edna Henning; Jim and Johanna Needham; Ashby and Sandra Taylor; Larry Williams; and Sal Vitale. The picture at the event was taken just before the skies opened up and tons of rain fell. The Fouts look in great shape, Jim Needham is still working, Ray Hanlein is making great wine, Haeberlein looks OK but has some challenges facing him, Carl Hirsch is doing great and Ed Fox says the business is a

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little slow this year. Lou Shuba did a wonderful job putting things together, and he had the help from Ashby Taylor, who arrived early and stoked the fire and helped set up tables. Lou said they got over 6 inches of rain for the week, and he wondered how reenactors that were in Gettysburg were coping with their wool uniforms. Remember those June days on the Parade Ground in this type of weather? Sue and I were invited by David Harbach’s son to a birthday dinner in Richmond for his dad. As you may remember, young David is a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice in Richmond, Virginia. He has recently accepted a position in The Hague, the Netherlands, to be part of an international legal team that will investigate and possibly prosecute war crimes that occurred in Kosovo from 1998-2000 during the war that led to the country’s secession from Serbia. David will be leaving the Department of Justice in August to take this appointment. The associated court is also in The Hague, and he is expected to be there two years. Wow! Charlotte and Dave are already planning visits. At the party were Dave’s daughter, Missy Harbach; George and Melou Piegari (Hon.), retired VMI professor; Maj. Gen. David Furness ’87; and all the grandchildren. Before leaving Richmond, I visited with my dyke, Ancher Lee Madison ’64. Ancher has been through a lot of health issues and was not able to attend either his 50th or his 55th Reunions, as he doesn’t drive. It was nice to be with him and his wife, Jeri.

July is a big birthday month for the class, and some of the comments I received from several of you were cute. Holmes Smith said, “I’ve decided not to try to think much about anymore birthdays at this point since we are a point in life that is being diminished at an alarming rate by time passing. It seems like yesterday that we were young; now 80 sounds very old, even though my mind has not accepted old!” Melissa Maurer Castagneand planned a special 80th birthday gift for Brother Rat Bill Maurer, a memory book, and I was able to send her several old pictures from Bill’s cadet days and several reunions. Bill’s birthday was celebrated at a family outing at the Crystal Spring Grand Lodge and Resort, New Jersey, and was the first time they have all been together. The event included Jim Maurer ’65, Bob Maurer ’69 and son Adam Maurer ’95. Bill is feeling fine; he got rid of all diabetic “drugs.” His weight is down to 160, and his cadet uniform is too big. Paul Johnston celebrated his birthday on a Bermuda-flagged vessel circumnavigating Iceland and had a cake and lots of little flags, but no anthem or fireworks. Ben Cleveland is 80, and says, “My mind is still young, but I am having a hard time convincing my body.” The news from the class is as follows: As you may have noticed Bill and Joyce Gibbings did not attend the Williamsburg lunch or funerals. Bill had severe nerves pinching in his back and was finally operated on in June. The operation was a success, and he is currently in therapy. His legs are weak and he has balance challenges, so skippering his Wednesday night boat races is now left up to his son, David Gibbings ’88. The Gibbingses celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary, and it happened to coincide on beer and cookies night, so we substituted and enjoyed a Champagne and cake night. Bill and I, along with Larry Wetsel, attended the VMI old timers’ lunch in Virginia Beach, and watching Bill using his “Cadillac walker” to maneuver was a hoot. Lee Badgett says, “Things go well here.” Lee is back on the computer, so email him. I know several of you call him, and he enjoys hearing from us. Dave Elliott is coping with bladder cancer, and Robert Williamson has started proton treatments for his prostate cancer. Linda Butler’s recent PET scan was clear, amen! J.C. Tharrington’s shoulder replacement is doing great, and he was cleared to drive. Charlie Finnegan’s esophagus cancer operation and treatment was a success. Dennis Curtis is coping with


Class Notes heart issues and thinking of relocation to an assisted living facility. Bill and Danya Redd both use canes now to keep any fierce-looking antagonists at bay. Irene Gangemi is holding her own using Xeljanz. Two of the three grandchildren are in Wilmington, and they are a wonderful tonic for Irene. John’s Parkinson’s seems to be under control with medication. Balance is a concern. Bonnie Hurley is doing fine. Family and friends have helped. Bonnie is planning to travel to Australia to see her youngest daughter. Len Kasel is doing well, turning 80, but feels like 50 and will be celebrating his 57th wedding anniversary. Don Rishell has most of his strength back and is getting around pretty good without any help from any walker or other assistance. Bob Coltrane’s shoulder surgeons said see you in two years. Bob can now hold his .44 Magnum and hit the target. Loretta Coltrane is working with several candidates to help them get elected to local offices in November and is already working up plans to help reelect President Trump next year. Battle Haslam and Elisabeth endured the record breaking heat in Chapel Hill. Elisabeth is doing some consulting and has done a lot of work for nonprofits. Battle is doing well, feels good, his pacemaker is going strong! Gerry Mollock finally answered me. He has been a reading teacher with elementary students and adults, is treasurer of the local garden club, works at the local food bank and organized a salute to our veterans in November each year. Gerry works part time at a rest home to assure their care is adequate, drives their van to medical appointments, and is in a senior acting group and a member of the local barbershop chorus for 16 years. In his spare time, Gerry and his wife cross-country ski in the winter and bike in the summer, along with some climbing. Skip McDannald says retirement No. 8 is boring. Their house is on the market, but their next move to Fernandina Beach, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; or Virginia is still undecided. Henry and Brenda Huntsberry are both well and enjoying the later years in life. They finally sold their home in North Carolina. Dick Parker is keeping busy with his local family, especially his 7-year-old great-granddaughter who is a gymnast and ranks in the top 100 for her age group. L.T. “Troy” Jones is still trying to figure out what to do with retirement. He really misses working. Jim Harrison is doing cardiac rehab and hangs out with his kids at his lake house;


M.C. has balance issues. Tom Whalen’s left knee replacement went well, and now he can ski faster. Hill Browning shares his birthday with his son, Robert Browning ’94. Hill and Heather had lunch with Jack and Nancy Bell and Dave and Jude Elliott. Jack has lost a lot of weight and has gone through a rough time. Dave is having eye problems and no longer drives. Hirsch Murray has coffee with Elliott every week. Dave Thomas had some squamous cell carcinoma tissue excised from his big toe on his right foot, and that is keeping him from resuming his swimming routine. Joe Lisiecki’s foot finally healed. Complications from infections slowed the healing, but physical therapy to regain strength and flexibility is going well. After 11 years, Joe had a pacemaker battery replacement. (All the pacemaker wearers in the class should create a Facebook page.) I am saddened to inform you that Karin Weise Fang passed Nov. 21, 2018, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Karin was born in Germany, was a children’s librarian at the U.S. Department of Defense in the elementary school in Gelnhausen and met Don Fang at an Officer’s Club dance. They were married in Gelnhausen in 1966 before moving to the United States. The Army took the Fangs back to Germany half a dozen more times and at each new place Karin served as liaison between the German and American communities as a manager for medical offices. Karin was known for her culinary skills, spectacular birthday cakes, award-winning Bavarian tole painting (tole painting is the folk art of decorative painting on tin and wooden objects), playing the piano, singing in

community chorus and her unmatched ability to haggle. Karin was interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Brother Rat Roger Norman Suiter passed away June 12, 2019, after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease. Roger’s loyalty to the Institute was as fervent as it was the first day in 1957 when he stepped on that hallowed ground. Roger and I were recruited (by near force) by Mr. Swank to be in Band Company, where we both played clarinet. Rogers’s wife, Sherrill, said, “Until the very end of his life, we were playing VMI band music for him, and it brought him to tears.” After VMI, Roger served six years in the Virginia National Guard Artillery unit as a line control operator. Roger was a chemist for Dan River Mills in Danville, Virginia; Allied Chemical in Syracuse, New York; Virginia Chemicals in Charlotte; and Hoechst Celanese in Charlotte. Roger was the proud holder of several registered patents. After retirement, Roger began a second career of teaching chemistry labs to students at Appalachian State University and Winthrop University in Rock Hill. Brother Rat John W. Butler passed June 21, 2019, from heart failure. Linda said John never complained about his condition, and he died peacefully. John, a fellow civil engineer, went on to serve his country in the United States Air Force. After the Air Force, John had a successful business career with IBM. During that time, he developed a passion for technology and eventually formed his own company, BCA, and later Butler Commerce Solutions, which he ran for nearly 35 years. John proudly served on the board of the

Class of 1961: Several class members and wives attended John Butler’s funeral reception in Raleigh, North Carolina, June 28, 2019. From left, front row, were Betty Pitt, Rhett Clarkson, Linda Butler, Allison Drescher and Sue Vitale. Second row: Carolyn Ayers, Kim Wise, Jan Clarkson, Fred Ayers, Dick Youngblood and Judy Youngblood. Third row: Larry Wilson ’62, Mike Pitt ’60 and Paul Johnston. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes American Red Cross for many years. He was a masterful storyteller and the instigator of countless adventures with friends and family. John’s faith was always very important to him. He had a Bible study fellowship and served as a deacon, elder and Sunday school teacher at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Raleigh for many years. Next issue, you will hear about lunch with Bill Keech, our trip to Africa, the class golf outing in Williamsburg, cruise and all the news you send me. Please stay well, call a brother rat and ask God to bless our class, the USA, VMI and all those in the service of our country. Made it!


Monty Williams Jerry Burnett

I hope that all survived the summer heat wave we experienced in July. I have spent a lot of time indoors. In the last edition of the class notes, I reported that Dick Hoagland was having some medical issues. Dick says he is a very lucky man to have survived his recent illness. He had human respiratory syncytial virus, which is also known as RSV. The virus caused pneumonia, heart failure, renal failure, respiratory failure and sepsis. After being in critical care at VCU for eight weeks followed by home health care, he has made a complete recovery. He is on his own now to manage his diet. That is not an easy task, but it is going well with no setbacks. He appreciates all of the cards and calls from his brother rats. Bill Hoerter advised that BR James Winston Watts III passed away June 9, 2019. Winston was with us our rat year, and he was also Bill’s roommate, along with Pete Pettit and Bill Redden. Winston was at VMI because he got into trouble with the law in Washington, D.C., and his father got the judge to give Winston three choices: He could go to jail, he could go in the Army or he could go to VMI. Winston was no dummy, so of course, he chose VMI. Bill says

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Class of 1962: Buck and Carol Houston at the Crazy Horse Memorial in Custer County, South Dakota.

Class of 1962: Buck and Carol Houston at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota.

he beat the system. He had a car, and he had a wife who was an artist and painted pictures for clients and always had money from her picture sales. Winston ran the block almost every week that he could get away and never got caught. Of course, this caused them a lot of anxiety when they knew he was gone, and they had to check the board for their room number for the possibility of a stick check. Thankfully, they lucked out and never had to report him. Winston was one of the most interesting persons Bill had the good fortune to know. He loved the good life and was always up to entertaining them.

Ed Northrop received an email from a friend of his who lives in northern Virginia about a recent encounter he had. His friend, a retired Army officer, served in his infantry rifle company in Vietnam in 1966-67. He was the executive officer and was shopping at a COSTCO or Sam’s Club when a VMI graduate walked up and asked him, since his friend was wearing an Army hat, if he had served. His friend said yes, he had. The VMI graduate was Randy Campbell. His friend asked if, by chance, he knew a fellow VMI classmate, Ed Northrop. The odds of Randy remembering Ed and asking a complete stranger if he happened know him, out of the hundreds of thousands who served, is really improbable. John Anthony reports that the late President George H.W. Bush’s former secretary of state, James Baker, appointed him to the Desert Shield/ Desert Storm Memorial in April. Complimenting Gen. Peay’s military role, John, together with members of Congress and a leader in America’s Free Kuwait Campaign, was on the first plane allowed into the country after Kuwait’s liberation. The memorial will be situated between the World War II Memorial and the Korean and Vietnam War Memorials. In June, he delivered the graduation keynote address for the White House’s Middle East Strategic Counter-Terrorism Network. John also attended, as the only American officially invited guest, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council’s most recent Ministerial and Heads of State Summit in Riyadh (the GCC is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). He served as scholar

Class of 1962: John and Cynthia Anthony at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York.


Class Notes escort to Oman in February-March for a delega- reunion of his U.S. Air Force pilot training class health with virtually no limitations. They cruise tion of U.S. Central Command officers selected 65-C in Dayton, Ohio. Two weeks later, they will frequently and, other than that, live quietly in north by commanding Gen. Joseph Votel; served in the join another Air Force buddy and his wife for a Georgia near their children and grandchildren. same capacity to the State of Qatar, headquarters seven-day cruise on the Columbia River. They They also enjoy attending several plays performed base for all American forward deployed defense may go to Los Angeles for their granddaughter’s by the local drama group and walking and hiking forces in the region, reporting that the VMI del- birthday in November. Nothing else until Merritt when they can. He continues to remain active in egation of two cadets, accompanied by Maj. Ja- Island in late January. He has to decide by Dec. 31 the Naval Investigative Service Republic of Vietif he wants to run for reelection to the Genesee, nam group, an informal gaggle of guys who served son Schroepfer, new Arabic instructor, performed together in Vietnam with Office of Naval Intelliexceptionally well, with John adding that he was Wisconsin, town board in April. Arthur Swisher and Sallie still live on the little gence/NIS (now NCIS) during that war. In fact, pleased to have been able to secure the funding they were the first special agents to serve in a war island of Tierra Verde just south of St. Petersburg. for the all-expenses paid study visit for VMI’s and additional delegations of cadet participants They were there for the weather, but as fate would zone; although, since then, NCIS special agents from West Point and The Citadel. In addition, have it, they are staying for Sallie’s doctors. She have served in every active U.S. combat zone. As in a first for John, he chaired a major interfaith is struggling along with Parkinson’s disease and do most groups who have been or are associated gathering of priests, pastors, rabbis and imams in a compromised immune system which resulted with the military, they attend our group’s reunions the nation’s capital in March with Muslim World from a stem cell transplantation. He says he is a every two years, held in various areas within the U.S. Unfortunately, as is our class, the group is League Secretary-General Muhammad Al-Issa fairly healthy caregiver. Darden Nelms and Jackie remain in excellent gradually dwindling. He feels quite lucky to be as and U.S. Department of State religious freedom healthy as they are. He is also quite fortudirector, Sen. Sam Brownback. The purnate to still be married to his VMI sweetpose was to explore the strengthening of heart (57 years June 23 and still counting). common grounds not for mutual tolerBill Mizell attended the funeral of Ben ance alone but, as importantly, reciproHuger, Derby Huger’s brother, recently. cal respect among the three Abrahamic He attended the reception afterward and faiths of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. met Derby and his wife, Jackie, at the reA follow-up World Leaders Summit Conception, and they were able to talk for a ference, in which John also participated, little while. Derby and Jackie are living was held at the United Nations in April. at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, in the In July, he participated in the 10th Annual summer and in North Fort Myers, Florida, Gulf Research Meeting at Cambridge for the winter months. He says Derby University in the United Kingdom. John Class of 1962: Ted and Betty Cooley and Cal and Anne looked great, as did Jackie, and they spent and Cynthia attended the Northern VirLloyd. some time talking about the Institute. He ginia Alumni Foundation reception at told him that we had a good turnout at the the home of the late George C. Marshall 55th Reunion and hopefully will have a ’901 in mid-May, and then participated at good turnout at the 60th. Derby told him the Metropolitan Museum of New York in that all of the guys missed him and that the Centennial Celebration of the Ameriwe would love to see him at the 60th. He can University in Cairo, America’s largindicated he would consider it. Bill says est institution of higher education abroad, there’s not much activity on his house, where John studied Arabic, is an alumnus which went up for sale at the middle of and Cynthia is the university’s WashingJune. It seems to be a buyer’s market in ton office director. the 23451 zip code. His golf game is adThings are good with Buck Houston equate for now. At 79 years old, his goal is and Carol. They spent (with their Golden to “get worse slower.” Ted Cooley says he Retriever) February and March on Merritt and Betty frequently meet Cal and Anne Island, Florida. At the end of April, they Lloyd at Sandy Springs in northern Atlantook an eight-day driving tour to the Badta for a bite. They both have children and lands and Black Hills, South Dakota. He grandchildren in the Sandy Springs area. says it was a great time to visit with no In the last issue, I reported that Buck and one around. They are staying home this Louise Bradley had visited Roberto and summer to enjoy the Wisconsin weather. They have a cabin overlooking the Mis- Class of 1962: Buck and Louise Bradley, Roberto and Nel- Nellie Gorbea in Puerto Rico early this lie Gorbea, Col. John Brodie (Hon.), and Sarah Brodie on year, and they spent a day on Roberto’s sissippi River in DeSoto, Wisconsin. In Roberto’s yacht, Ocean Lord. yacht, Ocean Lord. For the name of every early September, they are attending a


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Class Notes boat, there is a history associated with it. In this case, the name of the company where Roberto worked for over 45 years was Lord Electric Company, founded in Boston in 1895 by Mr. Frederic Lord. Ed Vineratos has recuperated from last year’s two invasive surgeries (lower back in the USA and groin artery blood clot in Latvia), along with subsequent physical therapy. He is in the Ukraine searching for another Mrs. to bring back to the USA. If unsuccessful, he may take a cruise or two out of England. If successful, he may remain in Ukraine or Greece (have passport), waiting for her immigration visa. He hadn’t thought about Winston Watts until notification of his passing. Winston and he dyked together in a New Barracks 2nd Class room. In August 2019, Tom Meler and Karen attended a performance of “The Jersey Boys” at the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly, Massachusetts. He said the performance was fantastic, and the star sounded just like Frankie Valli. The highlight of the performance, however, came near the end of the first act when Frankie (Jonathan Mousset Alonso) Valli came off stage and went straight to Karen and sang to her, “My Eyes Adored You.” Karen, with her eyes wide-open, had her breath taken away. It was an experience she will never forget. Ran Hamner reports that life is sweet at Snake Acres. John and Kristine Candler invited Ran and Allison and Bob and Nancy Mitchell to a wonderful musical weekend at the Brevard Music Center. The BMC is now a nationally/internationally recognized music camp for young musicians from all over the world. The center achieved this reputation under the chief executive officer guidance of John Candler (who can’t read a note) for some 20 years. Now retired, John still hobnobs around and is still recognized at concerts. They had a marvelous time at concerts, parties, meals! Of course, they talked about old times at the Institute. He says it was as if someone rolled back the clock. John duped Ran into buying a ticket to the phony luxury car raffle he runs every year for the music center. It was business as usual. The Mitchells and Hamners are off to Greece on Labor Day for two weeks of self-styled travel. Kristine Candler has her first grandchild coming, so they are going to Italy to welcome the new addition. Her daughter lives there. I am sad to report that Jim Cox lost his wife of 56 years, Judy, in July. He says they lived a

2019-Issue 4

wonderful life and had been going on one lengthy cruise each of the last six years. Judy dedicated her life to caring for and maintaining their family and will be sorely missed. Bill and Terry Ritchie are doing fine on St. Pete Beach, Florida. He’s still teaching Spanish at St. Pete College, and she’s still painting and selling her work. They were great-grandparents for the first time recently. With 14 grandchildren, some have reached the marrying and childbearing age, so the family keeps growing. His oldest son, Bill, teaches at James Madison University, so he gets to Virginia periodically. He got a pacemaker July 4 and is doing fine. One of his bosses in the last few years was a graduate of Southern Seminary. Sydney Bradbury married Lucille Rivera Antega last year, and in May, they celebrated their first wedding anniversary. He says the only BR they have socialized with since the wedding is Sam Clement, his rat year and 1st Class roomie at the Institute. Sam and his wife, Deloris, met him and Lucille in Fredericksburg and, of course, shared some interesting conversations about world politics. Recently, Lucille returned to the Philippines to check on the progress of the house they are building there and to visit with her family and friends. In the meantime, he spent a week in Hawaii at the wedding of his daughter, Jennifer Bradbury. It was outside in a beautiful floral setting near the ocean. It rained during the recitation of vows. No matter; it is said there that rain on a wedding day is a sign the washing away of all cares and getting a fresh start. As the father of the bride, he gave her away while wearing a Hawaiian shirt instead of a suit. At any rate, it was a glorious week in a real paradise. He has been playing in a senior softball league for many years in Fairfax County. This year, he was privileged to be the regular second baseman playing with two senior females (shortstop and short fielder) who also play in tournaments across the nation as the Golden Girls. They found his fielding skills acceptable, and they became a friendly defensive trio. It is a great way to exercise his legs that have endured two knee replacements in the last three years. His health is good in spite of a coronary bypass and thyroid and blood pressure problems. He says his new wife makes it all OK. Joe Bateman submitted a follow-up to the cards and notes sent to 103-year-old World War II veteran Henry Naruszewicz. The members of Henry’s family and he would like to thank all those from VMI and his son-in-law’s bomber group for

their kindness and interest in showing support for Henry’s mail call and honor flight to D.C. Henry was the oldest of the 40 WWII veterans on the flight. It was an honor for him to meet veterans who were at Omaha Beach as young men. Henry was a tank mechanic in the 276th Armored Field Artillery with Gen. George Patton’s [’907] Army and drove more than 40 hours to what we recognize as the Battle of the Bulge. On June 6, 2019, we drove over to the Patton Homestead in Hamilton, Massachusetts, for an event marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Henry was greeted by Mrs. Joanne Patton, daughter-in-law of Gen. George Patton Jr., and widow of Gen. George Patton III, and a lengthy standing ovation from the 150 people present in the Homestead barn. He and other dignitaries were escorted to the ceremonial flag raising and gifted with a flag to accompany him to D.C. Sonny and Betsy Robbins recently returned from their annual family vacation in Sandbridge, Virginia, with their three children and four grandkids. Sandbridge was a deserted strip of beach south of Virginia Beach when he was growing up and now has vacation homes everywhere. On the way from the Norfolk airport, they went by the place where he grew up. Everything has been torn down, and 30-40 apartments are there now. Robbins Corner (named for his grandad’s grocery store) is also gone. They are in good health. A month or two ago, he had a piece of glass stuck in his thumb and went the doctor. When the doctor came in, he said that he’d forgotten to fill in the form listing his prescriptions. He told him he had none. The doctor said he couldn’t remember seeing a 78-year-old patient without any. The Northeast Florida Chapter participates in an annual event in Jacksonville versus alumni from other Virginia colleges playing trivia. They generally field the smallest team but last year won! This year, they came in fourth. He and Betsy are looking forward to seeing everyone in three years at our 60th. Jerry Burnett recently had a long conversation with Don Arey. Don’s health has changed since his aortic valve surgery in 2017. Ellen is not doing well with some lung issues. Their son, Donnie, is traveling all over the world teaching basketball lessons in association with the NBA. The two daughters continue to practice ophthalmology and pediatrics in Florida. Don still considers one of the highlights of his life when T.R. Bandy, Tony Curtis and Jerry joined him to climb Mount


Class Notes Washington about 10 years ago. He and Joy are doing well. They spend their winters in southern California; Arizona; and visiting friends and family in Atlanta, Auburn and Raleigh. They recently celebrated their wedding anniversary at the Martha Washington Hotel and Barter Theatre. He plays competitive golf in the Southern Seniors Golf Association and VSGA events. He has published a book for one of his friends and is in the process of publishing his own book. He was recently elected to the Society of Independent Southern Historians. He continues to manage his tree farms and this fall, is opening a private hunting preserve. They are divesting their real estate holdings so they can travel more. Bob Yearout noted that in the Alumni Review 2019-Issue 2, two dear friends of his were memorialized: Hon. Jack Marsh (Hon.) and Brig. Gen. Mike Bissell ’61. Jack Marsh was friend of his father, and he had never met him until Dec. 24, 1965. Bob was to be promoted to captain Dec. 26 with a date of rank on Christmas Day. His Company B commander, 7th Special Forces Group, called him in and said, “We have been requested to report to Group Headquarters.” There, he first met Jack Marsh. Jack had taken leave from Congress and was on active duty and had requested that he promote him. After his second tour in Vietnam, when he was the operations officer of the 3rd Infantry (TOG), they saw each other many different times. The most memorable meeting was on one of the nights of ‘Prelude to Taps.’ Congressman Marsh had just arrived with Gen. Elvey Roberts, who he served with in Vietnam. Gen. Roberts asked Bob if Jack had appointed to him West Point. Jack Marsh responded, “No, Major Yearout went to VMI; he wanted an education!” After his rat year, he and Mike Bissell became very good friends as they traveled back and forth to Southern Seminary. Mike was dating Polly Doll. After she graduated, they parted their ways and she married an Air Force provost. His first mission in Vietnam was an observer in Mike’s gunship. They were in the same class at the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth. There, he witnessed Mike’s integrity and compassion. In early May, George Collins drove to Lexington from Guilford, Connecticut, for the VMI BOV meetings. This is his last year on the board. For sure, he won’t miss the eight-hour drive, but it is always a pleasure to visit the post, be briefed by a very talented staff and join in the applause over the way Binnie has


managed the Institute. The ratings have soared as VMI succeeds in its most important mission. He is no longer sailboat racing offshore, as the risks are too high. His Farr 400 Invicta is undefeated on the Long Island Sound over the summer. In the next two to three weeks, he, Maureen and Sully (their dog) will cruise over to Manhasset, Sag Harbor, New York, Nantucket, Boston and a few points east. In October, they travel to London with the Perez Art Museum in Miami as Maureen sits on the buyer’s council committee that buys art for the museum. Being a Philistine according to the members of the council, he is only allowed to attend if he keeps his opinions to himself. Contemporary art is not his thing. If any brother rats can explain the merits of contemporary art, please call and educate him. If he behaves on the trip, he gets to play golf at his favorite course, Doonbeg, in County Clare, Ireland, after all the museum tours. Thanks for the response from all who submitted info as a result of my late call for input. Keep up the good work.


Michael J. Curley

Hottest day of the year so far here in Richmond (July 20), and I’m not going outside. It’s now 97 degrees and slated to rise to 100 degrees by this evening! Since I’m starting a cross-country trip July 24 with Pat Kelly, returning Aug. 6, and class notes are due Aug. 15, it’s a perfect time to start writing then, isn’t it? Again, I must begin with news of the passing of two of our Brother Rats, S. Strother Smith III and Bob Clark. Strother wasn’t with us long and is not remembered by many of his brother rats, and passed away May 19. After nine months at VMI, he finished his education at the University of Richmond and engaged in politics for many years before becoming an Anglican priest. Strother was an Eagle Scout, son of a VMI 1937 graduate, S. Strother Smith Jr. ’937, and leaves his wife of 52 years, Barbara, to mourn his loss. After Bob Clark’s graduation from VMI in 1963, he was employed by the U.S. Army and the CIA. He retired from the CIA in 2009 as a senior scientist/engineer. After retirement, he volunteered his time and expertise to Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ as systems administrator. As a fellow electrical engineering section

member, I remember Bob’s quirky sense of humor and the honor roll stars he wore for all four years of his cadetship. He proudly lived his life as a citizen-soldier of VMI. May he rest in peace! (Update Aug. 2, 2019: Just before departure and while on my cross-country trip, I was informed of the death of Jim Hickerson July 21, Charlie Amory Aug. 2 and Ed White Aug. 5.) Jim had just moved to Ocala, Florida, from North Carolina. After suffering a fall and a subsequent seizure, Jim spent about a week in the hospital and died peacefully on the following Friday. No obit is available currently. Now, as you can guess, Charlie Amory’s presence in the community of Hampton, Virginia, was enormous. I cannot begin to cover the magnanimous accomplishments of his presence in the VMI community as well as the city of Hampton, Virginia. Like most of you, we don’t really get to know many of our brother rats intimately while at school. I’ve come to realize that the bonds formed while at VMI are legendary but not so widespread and are usually limited to roommates, company, sports, church and so forth, yet I and many with whom I talk regularly are quick to acknowledge that it’s the activities post-graduation, football games, reunions, etc. that sometimes form the wider ranging friendships and bonds over the years. Such is the case with Charlie Amory, and if it weren’t for his generosity in providing the Hampton Yacht Club for the swamp rats bimonthly luncheons, I would never have realized Charlie’s sincere love of his fellow man, brother rats and other associates. His courage and positive attitude fighting cancer for 13 long years was admirable, as was his innate sense of humor. Sadly, I received word of Ed White’s passing by email from Bo Savage. Losing five brother rats in one month is a tremendous but not unexpected loss. May they all rest in peace! We shall miss them all. Now, let’s hear from the “Scribe.” The reporting period started out on a high note when Mike Curley emailed to say he had talked to Fausto Molinet on the phone and learned Fausto had been released from the hospital after a lengthy and worrisome stay. While he has a long convalescence ahead on the gim, his condition now is better than any of us thought possible not so long ago. Johnny Mills emailed me from Virginia Beach and said, “Judy and I just recently returned from another trip out west to see our beautiful national parks. One month after graduation I found myself in the Grand Tetons working on a bridge and roadway behind Jackson Lake Lodge, and before the snow got to be a problem, I was chief of survey for

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes Mike Smither passed on an email from Barbara the existing road out of Jackson toward the airport. Amerson, Bill Pearson’s lifetime partner for 32 So, the two of us spent a night in Jackson Hole reyears: “I am now settled into my new place (Williving the past before traveling north to the Tetons liamsburg, Virginia), and it’s just perfect for me. and Yellowstone. Following that we headed east to Not nearly as large as the other place and much the wonderful town of Cody, Wyoming, for severeasier to handle. All phone numbers, email adal days before returning through Deadwood, South dress, etc. stayed the same. Now that I’m settled, Dakota, and the Badlands. As we do regularly, we I’m headed to Texas to check on family and stopped in Lexington, Virginia, for lunch at The friends.” Palms. Judy went to a dress shop across the street Mike Curley gathered the Richmond clan that and ran into Pam Traugott Adams. Pam said she included Artie Phaup, Gil Minor, Bob Earle and was extremely happy, and Judy said she looks just Billy Bell in July for lunch at Wegman’s in honor great!” More recently in August, Johnny wrote, Class of 1963: Bunny and Judy Reynolds of the visiting Texas dude as guest of honor. Pat “Judy and I entertained a party of brother and sisenjoy a lovely view of the Basilica di Santa Croce and Brunelleschi’s dome from their Kelly, he calls himself, and he indeed does get ter rats for lodging in some cases and dinner for all rooftop bar in Florence during an early around. Pat accompanied Mike on the first leg of on a Saturday night at our beach house in Virginia summer trip to Italy. his 3,500-mile road trip, which Mike describes as Beach. Over the years we’ve made this a tradifollows: “First, why? That’s easy, Peg had tion as Bobby Spence, Dusty Custer and planned to visit her sister in Michigan for Jim Key have birthdays within two weeks 12 days on an island in the middle of Lake of each other (late July and early August). Michigan for the sole purpose of singing This was probably our eighth or ninth celin a music festival known as Baroque on ebration weekend, and it continues to be Beaver. Not for me! Can’t sit at home for a wonderful time. In advance this year, 12 days either, so let’s plan a trip to Texas, Bobby Walton came from Williamsburg Oklahoma and Kansas. Haven’t been to Thursday for a round of golf with Dusty, Texas for any length of time since underBeau Walker and me. For the first time, graduate pilot training in Del Rio in 1963. Bobby Spence couldn’t come due to other Diligent planning ensues; after all, I’m commitments, but Bob and Crellin Byrd a fighter pilot, I plan everything, RONs were able to be here for Saturday’s big din(Remain over Night), length of legs, etc., ner and cake cutting. Dinner also included right? Have I forgotten anything? Noththe local BRs, Jim and Carolyn Key and ing, except I’m not 23 years old anymore, Beau Walker.” I have serious breathing difficulties and my Billy and Khaki Wray sent in a picture of endurance stinks! Other than that, let’s roll. the two of them in Havana, Cuba, during a Somehow, I end up with Pat Kelly as cotrip over St. Patrick’s Day. Given the presiClass of 1963: Johnny and Judy Mills hosted birthday celdent’s subsequent thumbs-down on further ebrations at their Virginia Beach home for Jim Key and pilot on the Richmond to Hamilton, Texas, cruise ship visits to Cuba, Billy may have Dusty Custer. Front row, from left were Custer and Key. leg. Planned an RON with my cousin and Second row: John Mills, Beau Walker and Bobby Byrd. excellent host, Janet Benson, and husband timed the visit just about right. Johnnie Benson ’73 near Nashville, TenDennis and Linda Crowley went to nessee. Pat and I were referred to MarPortland in May to attend a Horror Festin’s BBQ Joint in Nashville for the best tival evening that their daughter, Gwen, barbecue on earth ... not! (Parking, only and her husband host annually. Linda said, $4/hour and then it’s only $12.50/hour, “Pat Kelly was there as a featured speaker second hour. That’s a sure recipe for indifor one of the horror films Pat and his gestion.) Great couple of nights there with brother-in-law did in the early ’70s. We pool overlooking a beautiful golf course all went to Powell’s Books then out to the with regular passes (strafing runs?) from Columbia River Gorge and Timberline the Good Year blimp whose maintenance Lodge.” They made a June visit to Mexico facility is nearby. Uh-oh, forgot a piece to City and sent a picture of them taken at my CPAP ... gotta find a Veterans Affairs the National Museum of Anthropology. sleep lab. Located a fabulous Veterans “Great museum and a great city. We’ll Affairs Hospital 6-and-a-half miles away keep going until our money and/or bodies Class of 1963: Mike Curley and Pat Kelly eating lunch at with a sleep lab and pieces-parts for my run out!” I guess the “Crows” will keep Martin’s barbecue Joint in Nashville, Tennessee. CPAP – saved! On to Hamilton, Texas, flying until their wings fold.

2019-Issue 4


Class Notes only to discover that Pat has wisely inserted an issues. All of us are only too familiar with the me! Bunny had some good news concerning the RON in Texarkana, Texas. Arrived in Hamilton for first two, so no elaboration is necessary. Judy growth of the Class Scholarship Fund as of the end an RON at the Kelly Ranch (never seen so many and I joined our Utah son and his family in Key of the fiscal year, June 30. “In 18 months, the fund man-toys in my life!) and Mass Saturday evening West for several days in April to escape the chilly has grown in value from $198,000 Dec. 31, 2017, with their new priest from India who delivered his early spring weather in Connecticut, then spent a to $375,500 while making scholarship awards sermon in English and Spanish, probably a bit of couple of weeks at home before heading to Italy along the way. This coming year, the Foundation Indian, too. Mexican dinner afterward with the and France for two more. A third of the time in will award one or more cadets a total of $10,390. Italy was spent at Lake Como (relaxing and eat- As we noted a year ago, the fund received a nice congregation ... great fun! “Sunday morning, it’s off to Mount Calm, Texas, ing), a third in Florence (fighting the crowds and increase in donations after the end of 2017 perhaps due in part to a 55th Reunion surge, but due with Pat Kelly to see Christi Weddington and help eating) and a third on the Sea Cloud II (sailing and her remove a fallen tree. Enjoyed watching every- eating). Despite the common thread – eating – the to one especially generous BR – one who stepped one work and play with Chuck’s farm toys. Pete venues were diverse and enjoyable. I know Bob up again in late June this year. These donations are Brunel, Jim and Tik Ellis joined the group – fas- and Tina Powell (and probably others) have sailed very much appreciated, especially by the cadets cinating watching them play ranchers! Tik broiled on the Sea Cloud, but I highly recommend it – a who, in many cases, would not be at VMI without this financial help. Thanks, and congratuThai chicken wings; she should patent lations to all who have participated.” And them! Next morning, it’s off to deposit thanks to you, Bunny, for your oversight my second co-pilot, Pete Brunel, at his and assistance! home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. RON in Tulsa Hobbs Goodwin with Ed Shield (his with a wonderful steak dinner prepped by rat roommate) and Bob Byrd went on a the lovely Dianna. Next leg, I drove solo three-week river cruise in late spring to to Oklahoma City to visit Jan Lacy, Mell Belgium, Amsterdam, France, LuxemLacy’s widow. Had a wonderful lunch bourg, Germany and Switzerland. He with her, met her mom (just celebrating also went to Truckee, California, “where I her 100th birthday) and headed for the visited a glass blower’s studio. I probably hotel to crash. Everything went downhill Class of 1963: Several class members helped Christi Wedfrom there. Decided to abort the leg to dington at her ranch in Mount Calm, Texas, in late July. From spent about 20 hours in his studio. This left were Pat Kelly, Jim Ellis, Weddington, Mike Curley and guy is incredibly talented. I bought eight Kansas City, even though I really wanted Pete Brunel. Tik Ellis took the photo. wineglasses with unique twisted stems to see my two long-term friends there. Sore that are red, white and yellow. I love them. throat started in Waco and persisted, sapI’m doing great and work out with a trainer ping whatever stamina I had. ‘Was this rethree times a week. Life’s been good and lated to some sort of lymph node problem, interesting for me.” Hobbs, when has life or was it possibly strep throat?’ I asked my not been “interesting” for you!? Veterans Affairs PCP here in Richmond In July, Ken and Bonnie Reeder were (Cancer patients always worry about that vacationing with their family on Kiawah sort of thing!). In any event, I didn’t need Island, South Carolina. “We’ve come here to share any of that with anyone. So, it was a number of times over the years and love off to Richmond, a two to three long days’ it. Lenny and Ruth Peters live on Daniel drive away. Let’s say that I arrived home Island, which is about 20 miles north of in Richmond late on the second night of driving after possibly the worst traffic jam Class of 1963: Mike Curley clearly demonstrates to Jan Kiawah. They picked us up Wednesday I’ve ever witnessed on I-81 south of RoaLacy how not to take a selfie at the Lacy home in Okla- so we could go out for lunch. Went to The homa City, Oklahoma, in early August. Salty Dog on Bohick Road and ate a delinoke, major thunderstorms, wind and rain cious meal outside in temperate weather around Lexington, and a near-disastrous 384-foot three-masted luxury vessel. Now that near a marina – wonderful catch-up time with fender-bender on I-40 coming into Nashville for the second time. Final word: Never again! Would we are back home, we are looking forward to a lots of laughs. The Peterses look fabulous and are I ever do it again? With a co-driver, yes! Did I visit from BR Dave Wade this week, and one of heading for Portugal in the fall. Joe Miller has a us is looking forward to another motorcycle ride home on Kiawah, but we don’t know where, but learn anything from the experience? You bet I did; Curleyrat isn’t 23 anymore – end of story! Thanks with Sleepy Moore in mid-June (the other will we’ll try reaching out to him.” Cliff Miller sent in an interesting report on BR to all for their support, encouragement, company, be at home thinking we must be nuts).” (Do I get an opinion? Chimes in Curleyrat?) By golly, the Michael Godfrey who “released a video-illustrathospitality and soft beds.” Bunny and Judy Reynolds were also mov- background in the photo of Bunny and Judy in a ed bird identification mobile app covering North ing around. “We had a busy April/early May rooftop bar in Florence sure doesn’t resemble the American birds. It only took him 30-plus years – a major conjunction of medical/dental/travel Florence, Arizona, 60 miles down the road from of traveling the country filming birds, but he says


VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes somebody had to do it. The name is FeatherFlix, it’s available in iOS and Android, and it’s rated five stars in the app stores. You get to watch the birds sing – best way to learn the songs – and see their unique behaviors in unprecedented video realism. I’ll mention that Lucile contributed substantially to the filming, and I was generous with advice on the project. Get FeatherFlix at” Cliff said it’s an amazing accomplishment Michael has done, and it just came out this spring. Many of us can find birding stimulating, and it will help keep us healthy. And maybe we can have some field trips with Dr. Godfrey. Cliff, I can barely hear Judy yelling at me, let alone bird calls. On a personal note, Judy and I had a special Fourth of July when “Max” arrived. Max is a fourpawed asylum-seeker from off the streets of Hermosillo, Mexico, courtesy of the Southern Arizona Golden Retriever Rescue. OK, he looks more like a yellow lab with a hint of retriever and Australian Shepard (blue eyes). We thought we were getting a Goldie, but then I’m reminded of the last line in the movie, “Some Like It Hot,” when Joe E. Brown responds to Jack Lemon’s confession that he’s a man by saying, “Nobody’s perfect.” Well, Max may not be perfect, but then Judy and I are all about “good enough” – we wouldn’t trade Max for anything! Everybody should have a dog in their life – or a cat, maybe a budgie, a goldfish, even a bonsai tree – or whatever gets your blood pressure down! Stay safe and in the bonds, Pres


John R. Cavedo

Some of you already know, but we were informed of the death of BR D.T. Reed. He died in late July. They lived in El Paso, Texas. Diane sent in the following: “Many of you knew Don had been battling cancer for a while. Don always seemed so healthy and vigorous; so many folks wonder what happened to cause him to die so quickly at age 76. He was diagnosed with bladder and prostate cancers barely four years before his passing. His primary care was at MD Anderson CC in Houston. He had major surgery for both cancers in March 2016. The bladder cancer went into remission, but

2019-Issue 4

the prostate cancer did not. Don’s prostate cancer was considered caused by Agent Orange exposure when he was in Vietnam. It began to metastasize to bone by October 2017 and slowly progressed. “Don received all possible treatments for his prostate cancer. Throughout the treatments, he was healthy, full of ‘spit and vinegar,’ as his grandmother, Gracie, would say. He was active at the fitness center and so on. Our life was going along as normal, including plans for another fishing trip to Mammoth Lakes, California, this summer. But mid-May 2019 tests showed evidence of further metastases, for which he received radiation treatment. By mid-June his condition was deteriorating rapidly. After eight days in hospital in El Paso and another 16 days in hospital at MD Anderson (with more radiation), he came home (July 10) and began Home Hospice Care. “Don died peacefully at home the morning of July 24. We are so thankful he was at home and that we were with him. “A memorial service for Don will be at Fort Bliss, Texas, National Cemetery Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. That is a very busy time of the year for traveling and being gone from family, so if you cannot be there we certainly understand. We know you will be keeping us close in your thoughts at that time. Don was a wonderful, husband, father and grandfather, always a loyal friend, and one awesome Marine!” After Hank Cronin got a call from her, I called Carol Gosnell. Gary, way back in the dead of winter, was working his Bobcat to remove snow. It overturned and he was pinned underneath. He was badly injured, hospitalized for over a month and has spent the last four months undergoing physical therapy. The last report I had was that he was transitioning from a walker to a cane. He had used a wheelchair for a long time. He’s just as tough now as he was at the Institute. I’m writing and submitting these notes from northern Scotland. Sherrel and I are finishing up a three week driving trip of the northern corner of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. The Ireland portion was spectacularily beautiful. We found a well-placed bed-andbreakfast and were able to stay in the same place for seven days, driving distance to every nook and cranny. Then a flight from Dublin to Inverness, where we participated in a four day “Clan Gathering.” One of my ancestors was a McIntosh who married a Munro. This particular gathering was of the

Munros, with history and a castle dating back to the 1400s. After that was a second rental car exploring the Highlands. With very few roads, all of which are narrow and winding all up and down, we weren’t

Class of 1964: Paula and Jan Rudinoff on their Alaska cruise in May 2019.

Class of 1964: Dick and Susan Atkinson at her family’s cabin in Maine in June 2019. 79

Class Notes you don’t call it Scotch there; it is able to stay in a central location. So it whiskey). I hope you will put up some was two days each in four separate Glenfiddich 16 year Solera the next towns and B&Bs. time I visit. For those who might consider rent“We just had the VMI Richmond ing a car in the United Kingdom, be Club golf tournament Friday. I was the ready. Being over 75, I had to produce a oldest guy there. There were three guys doctor’s certificate and a letter from my from Class of 1968, but it was mostly auto insurance company, both stating I young guys who could hit the ball a was perfectly able to drive an automomile. I was matched with Michael bile. You can’t imagine how hard it was Zirkle ’97 and Ernesto Sampson ’98, to find people willing to lie for me. and we ended up respectably – defiTom Myers: “We are leaving soon nitely not in first, but not in last either. on a driving trip from here to Ketchum, It was best ball and we actually used a Idaho, back to Estes Park, Colorado, few of my shots. A portion of the profor a Chaplin family reunion and back Class of 1964: Mike Murphy, Gerald Hempt ’19 and Gen. J.H. Binceeds from the match are given to the home with stops and visits going west ford Peay ’62, superintendent, at the awards ceremony May 14, and returning east.” 2019. Murphy presented Hempt with the Class of 1964 Cadet Excel to Excellence charity foundation W.J. and Lauranne Kitchen: “We’re New Market Legacy Award. Photo courtesy VMI Communica- led by Johnathan Mayo ’95, so a very worthy cause for a bunch of weekend in western Italy (Rome) as we speak, tions and Marketing. athletes to sweat around the course.” having jumped on a last minute deal. So Yvonne Myers: “Tom just returned different being on a trip where we don’t from the doctor who informed him know a single person! So much more that he has to have rotator cuff surgery. fun traveling with beloved friends.” He had his right shoulder done years Dick Atkinson: “I am not sure where ago, so he knows what agony he faces you stand on news, but a bit from us. with the left! Bummer. Susan and I went on a tour of Scotland “I’ve had a persistent cough ever after I had a conference in Glasgow since we were in Scotland. Three antiin May. We toured northern Scotland biotics, inhaler, cough syrup and methand Skye – beautiful country, although ylprednisolone. I’m better but still get it was a bit cold for Susan.The lochs into coughing spasms. Very annoying are impressive, and the wilderness of but minor compared to problems my the area is amazing. We could drive for long distances and not see any- Class of 1964: Sherrel and John Cavedo, at a lighthouse on the friends are having. It’s really tough northernmost point of the main island of Britain (Scotland) in getting old.” one. Highlights of the trip were the August 2019. Jan and Paula Rudinoff: “The class Culloden battlefield, not so much beknows more about the Rudinoffs than most would cause it was lovely (just a field), but the implicawish. Anyhow, there was an NYT article about the tions for Scotland and England were momentous Venice Biennale Golden Lion award in which we (England finally beat the Jacobites and severely were extras. Venice has become a second home suppressed the Highland Clans). We saw some (we rent). At present we are on Kauai, returning to of the areas where the TV series ‘Outlander’ was Venice in August for the International Film Festifilmed. We like the books and the TV series very val Aug. 21. The International Film Festival Aug. much. Edinburgh is also very impressive – a huge 28-Sept. 2 is one of my favorite events. Ten movamount of history. We have a friend and scienies will be premiered and one will win the Golden tific colleague who invited us to stay a couple of Lion as best. Many other films will be shown. I nights at his house, Hatton Castle, near Dundee. saw 25 last year during those 10 days. Lots of fun Turns out Hatton Castle wasn’t the town, but his in Venice on Lido Island.” house, a castle built in 1680. Staying in a castle Don Stickles: “I have finally completed my is nice and a fun adventure, but things like elecsentence in California. Those of us sent there tricity are dicey and there is no such thing as elfrom the northeast are transitioning out. I spent evators, just spiral staircases. In something that Class of 1964: Millie and Bill McVey with a week prepping those who took over my redefinitely would appeal to VMI guys, the tour of their grandson, Andy Boehling, at his sponsibilities, another packing up my stuff and the Glenfiddich distillery was fascinating. I may graduation in June 2019. then drove across the northern side of the U.S. (I have finally acquired a taste for Scotch (except


VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes wanted to visit Mount Rushmore), visited three friends, my brother and sister and parked here in Bar Harbor, Maine, where I will spend the next one to three years working on a project for Jackson Medical Laboratories. Jackson Laboratories; the original space was founded on Mount Desert Island (Bar Harbor and several “lesser” villages) many years ago and has become the single premier source of specially bred, genetically tailored lab mice for medical research in 65 countries around the world. It is also known for biomedical and genetic research for cancer, diabetes and God knows what else.” Jane Roberts brought me up to date on Gil’s grandson, who will start 3rd Class year next month. He finished his rat year with a 4.0 GPA, an accomplishment not achieved by many. Bill McVey: “We have two daughters, the older one is a North Carolina State grad, a speech pathologist, who lives close to us here. She has one son, 27. He just graduated from Concordia University in Austin in March this year with a degree in elementary education and begins his teaching career here in San Antonio today. The other graduated from Wake Forest University with an elementary education degree, taught for a few years in North Carolina, married a great guy from Wilmington, and they have lived there ever since. They have four children and they decided she would homeschool them from day one, which she has done. As it turns out, the area where they are has a huge number of homeschoolers and they have sports teams, group dances, doctors teach science courses, etc. Not what you tend to think of when you think homeschool. “We went to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in early June to attend the graduation of our first of four North Carolina grandchildren, 18-year-old Andy Boehling. Andy’s family lives in Wilmington, North Carolina. Of course, the state tests all home-schooled children to ensure they meet state standards. “There are a growing number of Christian parents of homeschoolers who have grouped together to form a consortium in North Carolina and also in several other states. Their goal is to share experiences, learning tools and resources, provide support for one another, and to present a voice in state government on homeschooling legislation. One of the results of this consortium is a combined graduation in a central location. This year, there were 220 students in the graduating class.” “The graduation was preceded by three full

2019-Issue 4

days of conference sessions. There were more than 30 different topics taught/discussed – students and parents selected the ones that interest them most. Kids often went to different ones than their parents in a given class period! One of my favorites was, ‘Teaching young men to be gentlemen!’ “On the fourth morning, the 220 grads were split into two groups for the graduation ceremony, which was then held simultaneously in two different rooms. They paraded in in caps and gowns and took their seats. After a brief speech by the head of the consortium, the certificates were awarded. One by one, a student’s name was called, he/she climbed the stage from one side with a rose in hand while at the same time the parents climbed it from the opposite side. They met in the middle where mom was given the rose and a hug, dad handed the grad his certificate and received a handshake or hug, then they faced front, had their photo taken and then descended steps at the front of the stage.” Cliff Crittsinger: “The landscape is changing quickly these days. I first want to thank Colonel Gibson ’77 for his continued support of the CNMLA. Working together, we have finally managed to move the statue from a remote part of Preston Library to the greeting area of Lejeune Hall – a six-year quest! Now cadets, alumni, parents and visitors can view one of VMI’s most prestigious graduation awards! Please be sure to make it one of the stops on your next visit to VMI! Next, I have decided to sell my current home in Denver and downsize into something more manageable. For those who ask where I will move next, my best answer is that it will be no further east than where I currently reside. Hopefully, by the time you read this issue, I will have relocated.” Bill Garber: “Marion and I spent several days in late July with Susan and Dick Atkinson at their summer home in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. We ate and drank well – no shortage of lobster up there – and explored the cape all the way to Provincetown at the very tip. Susan’s family has a lot of history in Woods Hole, having helped establish the town as well as some of its businesses and institutions. “In June, we rolled north up the coast and visited Dyan and Bill Crone at their home on the Outer Banks in Corolla, North Carolina. In addition to time on the beach and in their pool, we had to help supervise their two teenage granddaughters

who were staying with them and working at the local ice cream parlor. Actually, they were lovely young ladies who ably took care of themselves. But Bill needed help, anyway.” We also learned of the death of Phil Tucker. This is an extract from his obituary, “Colonel Phillip E. Tucker, U.S. Marine Corps (retired) was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Sept. 29, 1942, and grew up in northern Virginia. He was a longtime Nevada resident who most recently resided in Daphne, Alabama. He passed away July 23, 2019, in Pensacola, Florida, after a brief illness. “He was the first captain of the [Corps] of Cadets at the Virginia Military Institute, where he graduated with highest academic honors. Subsequently, Duke University selected him as the 1964 recipient of the British Commonwealth Fellowship in Political Theory. “Colonel Tucker was commissioned a second lieutenant of Marine infantry. He participated in combat operations as an infantry commander in the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Vietnam. He later served in the Republic of Korea on the DMZ and at the U.N. forces. “He graduated in 1977 from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College with a Master of Science degree in military science. In 1985, he graduated from the National War College with a master’s degree in international security affairs. “Colonel Tucker also served in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the Marine headquarters in Washington, D.C., and as the senior Marine officer, Headquarters, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. “Colonel Tucker’s last assignment was as the Commanding Officer, Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, Bridgeport, California. “After retiring from the Marine Corps, Colonel Tucker taught American history and western civilization for the Barstow Community College extension in Coleville, California. He coached football and baseball at Coleville and Smith Valley high schools for 16 years. He also served at Douglas High School as an assistant baseball coach and as an umpire for Carson Valley girls’ softball. “Nothing gave him more pleasure than seeing the young people with whom he had worked and their families.” As a wrap up to these notes, let me make an appeal, once again, to keep in touch. I depend upon emails, photos and calls in order to do this joyous duty.


Class Notes “I’m really having trouble getting disability from the VA. I’ve been diagnosed with PLS which is like ALS, but slower moving, so I’m told. I’m on a Mickey Finn walker now so mobility is difficult, but I will make the next reunion.” Class agent note: Holly died. Carr Hyatt mentioned, “I had lunch today in Birmingham with BR Bill Cather. We had a good time catching up. My best to you.” Pulling these notes together during the vacation Bill Cather writes, “My big news is that I was time of the year often shows how busy we all are. able to attend the World Scout Jamboree outside of Input to the column slows down in midsummer, Beckley, West Virginia. There were 40,000 scouts but as you read this column, we are only five (40% of them female) and 7,000 leaders from 167 months from our 55th Reunion! I’m excited and countries. I flew up for a long day (my son, Heath; looking forward to seeing so many of you again! me; my friend, Merrill Stewart; and my other son, Johnny Mac Marshall was first with his notes. Robbie) of walking around the complex, tasting “The summer has not been terribly busy, but that native foods, learning about assorted religions, does not mean that things have not been happenviewing performances and observing today’s ing. First, of course, we have been able to travel to youth interacting with each other. Galveston twice, once for Jamie’s birthday in June “I had lunch with Carr Hyatt who was in Birand once for a legal education seminar in July (tax mingham for a veterinary seminar. We spent two deductible, of course), so that contributed to ‘tan hours catching up with mutual friends and BRs. maintenance’ for us. This is all over and above the Mia is now on home dialysis after three weeks of opportunity to eat good seafood. training. We hope that it will let us lead a some“In October, the University of Texas at Dallas what normal life. We had a great trip to Charleston will be publishing a paper I wrote called, ‘The last month, a place we had always wanted to go. Modern Memory Hole,’ with apologies to George As always, most of our time is spent with our three Orwell. It is concerned with, among other things, children and eight grandchildren. I do plan to be in the ability of revisions in computer software proLexington for the Institute dinner Nov. 11. I hope grams to eliminate access to prior digitally stored to see a lot of you there.” information, such as personal medical records or A wonderful and informative note from Jeff criminal background information. In effect, this Gausepohl reads, “About three years ago, Vicki detaches the present culture from what has haphad promised my grandson, Aidan Leo, a tall pened in the past. In addition, I completed a book soon-to-be teenager, a trip to Korea if he got his to be published in October in Poland dealing with Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. With Vicki’s battle the importance of legal precedent from the perwith cancer, the trip was put on hold. In late July, Class of 1965: Jeff Gausepohl and his spective of the judge in the Anglo-American legal my daughter, Jeffra; sister-in-law (Ed); and Aidan grandson, Aidan Leo, visited the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South system. My co-author is a Polish judge who advomade the trip to Korea. We visited the DMZ and Korea, Aug. 1, 2019. cates the addition of precedent to the continental Seoul. Besides the normal sites, we had dinner legal structure, so in order to have maxiwith four members of the 1968 Olympic mum effect, the book will be written in Korean National men’s basketball team, both Polish and English with translations. which I coached. Great memories! It sounds rather technical (and is), but it “The picture is Aidan and I at the Korean has been fun to write it, even if it does not War Memorial Museum entrance. Korea hit The New York Times bestseller list. was where Vicki and I met in 1966 at an “I ran into BR Norman Radford at Officers Club, RC 1. Only fitting to leave breakfast a month ago, and he looked just behind some of Vic’s ashes at the DMZ as ready to run track as always. That, to and at the Gyeongnokgung Palace Lake me, is reassuring that we aren’t getting old in Seoul. I kept Vicki’s promise to Aidan!” ... just getting gray. Sadly, James Ronald Workman passed “Also, I want to thank you personally for away Thursday, May 23, 2019. In attenClass of 1965: Mike McBride leads his visitor, Karl Zeller, on dance at Clements Funeral Home in Durall that you do to keep us BRs in touch.” Bill Ryan lives a block away and was a ride in his 1929 canoe on Loonsong Lake, Alaska, June ham, North Carolina, to comfort his fam20, 2019. nice enough to explain why we both have ily were Bruce Herczough, Phil Shu, Bill



issues keeping us from getting together on a regular basis! “Carol and I are thinking about a cruise just to get out of here, but Holly, our dog, is very sick so we have huge vet bills and we cannot afford to get out of town. Troy and Kelly (Bill’s daughter) are really having problems on this building of a new house, so we (they) are looking at homes for sale north of Hamstead, toward Troy’s work. In the meantime our house is crazy.

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes wilderness complex (www.loonsonglakelodge. Loughridge, Joe Bush, Bill Gibson, Larry Wilcom) is deep within the renowned Kachemak Bay son ’62 and Charlie Smith. Please see the obituary Wilderness Area. Mike’s float plane sits dockside in the Taps section of this issue. in case of an emergency, and his cabin complex Lou Siegel has been busy on the plans for our ingeniously, unbelievable as it sounds, provides reunion. He reports: “Our 55th will be April 20-21, all the comforts of home without electric or run2020. That’s Monday and Tuesday. There is a dinning water. My favorite was the fashionable ner on Monday night at the Center for Leadership and meditative outhouse and Jill’s was Mike’s and Ethics (courtesy of the Institute, no charge to always-ready, log-cabin, wood-fired sauna. After us), and we have reserved Moody Hall for Tuesthe pontoon landing, dockside as we water taxied day night. The hotel chosen is the Best Western, toward shore, his gourmet chef, Bow, awaited us Hunt Ridge, just across Rt. 11 when you exit from with ‘No-name Glacier’ cooled glasses of white I-64. The committee is forming. Please let me or wine. How cool (pun intended) is it to have your Chuck Hough know of any requests or opinions own un-named, climate change resistant, glacier at: or chuck.hough@ Class of 1965: Bruce Herczough and Phil Shu attended the visitation for Jim in your own backyard. Mike hosted us on hikes The reservation app on the Institute Workman. through the wilderness, wildlife and flower viewsite will open in January or February. For those ing, toe-dipping in rivers carved by glacier outtraveling incognito so far as VMI goes, we will flow, fishing on Loonsong Lake, accept reservations, also. More etc. It was magical, and the still on this later. This will be a very quiet soaked into our souls as the special reunion. It has been five days flew by. Of course, Mike years since the special 50th, but and I relived the Old Corps days somehow this seems as relevant, well into the Alaskan summer as personal or more. Keep the day-night: We had forgotten that spirit. Do good things. ’65, ’65, we were both in the Keydet gym’65.” nastics club and we both claimed Chuck Hough reports, “Memto have won the same ‘bronze’ bers of the Class of ’65 celebratmedal for the parallel bar routine ed the 54th anniversary of our at the same gymnastics meet! In graduation by getting together the cabin’s great room, Mike’s for lunch in Tappahannock. We antique prize possession is an thank our photographer, Richard Old Town Wood Tripper Canoe Coke Marshall, for capturing the circa 1929 that he basically uses event. One photo is the standard array of reprobates. The second Class of 1965: Bill Loughridge, Bruce Herczough, Joe Bush, Bill Gibson, as a ceiling ornament. Well for sure he’s a Tripper BR-trooper, is a more candid moment! There Larry Wilson ’62 and Charlie Smith at the visitation for Jim Workman. as he consented to lowering it off are four more photos of individthe ceiling and letting me captain ual tables. Well done, Coke! By and paddle it across Loonsong. the way, Will and Sandy Scott Wow. are recognized for making the “What a real-life true pioneer. longest drive, but Mel Brennan Did you know that when we BRs won the door prize! Thanks, Jeff, graduated, Mike didn’t pass go for continuing that tradition. To but went directly to Alaska and those who couldn’t make it, we never left. He carved out a livesend best wishes. Know that you lihood and raised a family with were missed. Take the best of Diane, his ready and steady lovcare and see you soon!” ing wife. Loonsong Lake is his Karl Zeller has quite a story mountain family getaway that to share! “My wife, Jill, and I he also uses to provide teenaghad superlative spiritual and ers with authentic life-altering soul-renewing Alaskan wilderness experience this past June Class of 1965: Heath Cather, Bill Cather, Merrill Stewart and Robbie wilderness experiences which he at Mike McBride’s own private Cather on the way to the World Scout Jamboree in Beckley, West Vir- self-funds with the help of visitginia, July 29, 2019. ing BRs and other city slickers paradise: His Loonsong Lake

2019-Issue 4


Class Notes looking for a unique change of venue. For serious Alaskan tourists, outdoor adventurists, fishermen, fisherwomen, etc., he and Diane also created and ran a world class wilderness Lodge: Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge on the Kenai Peninsula They have hosted high-ranking guests from around the world, including folks who provide us with our social media. To highlight their success in life (i.e., offspring who grow the world), Mike and Diane’s children have taken over the day-to-day operation of the lodge. “Jill and I highly recommend spending a week with Mike either at his Loonsong Lake wilderness site or their Kachemak Bay Wilderness Lodge, depending on your taste, anytime you can possibly do it as it’s worth the time, effort and expense to get there. A bucket list item you didn’t know you had!” As I close these notes out, it is hot and humid here in Wilmington. As we read these notes, it is November and very different. I do like each season and therefore look ahead with anticipation to the changes, seldom wishing it was still some other season. So, enjoy your family gathering as you approach Thanksgiving! Oh, and give a loud Old Yell for our class, ’65! ’65! ’65! I hope to see all of you in April at our 55th Reunion and have an all-together ’65! ’65! ’65!


Taylor, Clark Reifsnider, Paul Robblee, Bill McClure, Cliff Martin, Bob Odom, Joe Dictor, Sam English, Knox McEwen, Hugh Adams, Woody Sadler, Dave Roberts, Julius Volgyi, Charlie Ramsburg, Jim Pauls and Al Carr. Jane Connor, Al Connor’s widow, also attended. Other VMI attendees included Chandler Williams ’68 (Randolph’s brother), Bob Earle ’63 (Bill’s dyke) and Richard Warren ’63. Later in June, after services for Julie Martin, several brother rats, some with their wives, went to lunch at the Palms in Lexington: Woody and Lori Sadler, Al and Gail Carr, and Paul and Joanne Robblee, along with Jim Szymanski and Charlie Woodruff. Charlie Ramsburg provided information about an “unplanned” event that happened in Lynchburg at the Lynchburg senior alumni monthly lunch, which Charlie decided to attend after learning about it on the VMI Alumni Association website. Three other BRs also went to that monthly lunch: Paul Robblee, Ray Melton and Hugh Jones. Paul had run across a rat year photo of the VMI Ranger group whose active duty adviser, William Stokes ’56, then a captain/TAC officer, now also lives in Lynchburg. Paul wanted to personally deliver the photo to retired Col. Stokes during the luncheon, during which the four ’66 BRs sat at one end of the table and enjoyed each other’s fellowship! Thanks, Charlie. (Capt. Stokes was severely wounded in Vietnam and today uses a cane for walking.) After lunch, Paul reflected about

the time that he and Syl Zahn visited with Capt. Stokes at Walter Reed Army Hospital. On June 30, in Richmond, Larry Boese, Hugh Adams, Herb Chittum and Chuck Johnson represented our class at a celebration of life ceremony for John Solomon. Family, friends and his brother rats celebrated John’s life with many fun stories and much laughter, as John would have wanted. His brother rats gave him an Old Yell to honor and remember him for the good times we had together. Ed Guida commented, “Besides being reminded of our own mortality, I have got to extend myself to see various BRs more often!” Thanks, Ed – great reminder and one which all of us should attempt to do. Miguel Monteverde’s retirement after 53 years of military/government service allowed him and his family the opportunity to do some traveling. He had the privilege of traveling to France in June to attend ceremonies at Normandy marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Traveling with them were his son, Miguel Jr., as well as his son-in-law, Jon Jackson, and his dad, retired Army Lt. Col. Jack Jackson. “It was an extremely moving experience knowing that so many VMI graduates were part of that historic effort, a significant number of whom gave their lives on that particular ‘field of honor.’ During the visit, I was approached by former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who spotted my VMI baseball cap. He just wanted to tell me how much he enjoyed visiting VMI during

Nick Hoskot

By the time you are reading these words the long, hot days of summer 2019 will have faded, and fall colors and cooler temperatures will prevail in most areas, bringing thoughts of the upcoming holiday season. So, a gentle reminder: Notes to let the class know what you have been up to recently should be forwarded to me (see above) no later than the 12th of November, February, May and August. Letters, calls, emails or texts accepted. Finally, with our 55th Reunion less than two years from now (late April 2021), please keep the Institute or me informed about your latest contact information. Now, news from the class. Services for Bill Gregory were held at St. James’s Episcopal Church in Richmond June 15. Brother rats in attendance included Marshall


Class of 1966: Several brother rats and spouses attended the services for Bill Gregory. From left are Jane Connor, Marshall and Kathleen Taylor, Knox and Delores McEwen, Bob and Natalie Odom, Hugh and Deane Adams, Joe and Kathleen Dictor, Paul and Joanne Robblee, Jim and Marvella Pauls, Charlie Ramsburg and Clark Reifsnider. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes Banff, Alberta. We continue our trip tomorrow his tenure and how proud he was to have served buried with his troops in this cemetery. to Jasper and then Lake Louise, followed by the At my request, Spence Wilkinson’s brother, as our commonwealth ‘commander in chief’ during those years.” In Paris, they visited the “very Bob, provided some information from the VA Prince of Wales in Waterton National Park.” Chuck Keblusek: “Here are two pictures that hard to find” Picpus Cemetery to visit the grave about the many diseases caused by exposure to of the Marquis de Lafayette, where an American Agent Orange. They include many cancers, dia- were taken on O’ahu in February just after our flag flies permanently. Miguel and Susie also vis- betes and Parkinson’s disease. If you served in visit to Pearl Harbor. We stayed at the famous ited Hawaii and that trip coincidentally fell on Vietnam, you are presumed to have been exposed. Royal Hawaiian Hotel during our stay there. Quite the 50th anniversary of his R&R from Vietnam Additionally, Blue Water Veterans who served off an experience and a very beautiful place. The last when Susie flew over to be with him. (As many the coast (out to 12 nautical miles) were recently picture was taken on the big island of Hawaii in of us did during those years.) This was a family added to the list, and surviving spouses may be front of the active volcano, Kilauea.” Allen DeSteiguer: “Bonnie and I had a fun evevacation with a week on Kauai with their son and also be eligible for compensation. The current ning with Larry Adams; his wife, Jane; and their his family and then five days with their daughter complete list is available on the website. son, Seth. They are visiting Seattle for the and her family on the Big Island. That trip first time. It was great to catch up after all was something of a family celebration of these years.” Monte’s retirement. Fred Smith: “I finally had my total hip Cliff Crittsinger provided the following replacement hip surgery this past Monupdate: “Working with Col. Gibson ’77, day, Aug.15, and today, Tuesday, I am director of VMI Museums, we have finally home recuperating. I wasn’t ‘hip’ in the managed to move the Cadet New Market early ’60s going to a military high school, Legacy Award statue from a remote part Benedictine, I wasn’t ‘hip’ in the late ’60s of Preston Library to the greeting area of going to VMI and I wasn’t ‘hip’ when I Lejeune Hall (PX)! Now cadets, alumni, entered the service in the late ’60s and parents and visitors can view one of VMI’s served in the early ’70s during the Vietmost prestigious graduation awards! nam War. I still wasn’t hip during my 37 Please be sure to stop by on your next years doing dentistry and often had to lisvisit to VMI!” Cliff is also in the process ten to my patients tell me they ‘hated to go of “downsizing” from his current home to the dentist.’ But now I’m finally ‘hip,’ in Denver “into something more manageand I’ve got the X-rays to prove it. Thanks able.” He is not sure exactly where he is to all my brother rats for their advice; it removing, “except to say that it will be no ally helped me get a more accurate picture further East than where I currently reside.” Charlie Woodward sent in a note from Class of 1966: Rick Kiernan poses with a few great young on what I was going to face and helped Arizona so that I wouldn’t “have to ramble folks from the United Services Organizations while cel- me to prepare for the surgery. Prior to surgery, I had been biking an hour a day on” in these notes. (Thanks a lot, Charlie; ebrating Vietnam Veterans Day, March 29, 2019. in the early morning, the coolest part of smile!) He attended the services for Julie Please keep those notes and letters coming! The the day, and pumping up these hills in Lynchburg Martin in June, and it “was a great celebration of really strengthened my leg muscles. My surgeon life for a lady who worked for the Institute for 40 next due date for submission to the Alumni Rewas great and said my joint was a mess with bone years.” Julie was, at 92, the oldest living member view is Tuesday, Nov. 12. I look forward to heargrowths on the femur ball, which was restrictof the Baptist Church in Lexington, and she was a ing from you. Take care and look for opportunities ing my movements. I was walking really badly “big fan of our great Class of 1966.” Woody and to get together with other brother rats. a week before surgery with a pretty good limp. Lori Sadler invited Jim Szymanski and I to their But all is well now, and Dr. Caprise even said that farm outside of town, followed later by dinner we could go on our/my wife, Judy’s, 70th birthwith Al and Gail Carr. After returning from LexLonnie Jan Abernathy day 42-day celebration cruise starting in England ington, Charlie and Sharon traveled on a Viking and ending in New York. Should be a wonderful River trip from Paris to Prague. “It was an outway for me to recuperate. Thanks again for all the standing trip, and I would recommend it to anyresponses I got.” one.” One of the big highlights of their European John May: “Hope all is well with you and trip was stop at the American Military Cemetery yours! Nothing too noteworthy on my end except Dave Neel: “Just a short note. Kathy and I spent in Luxembourg, where approximately 6,000 that both of my youngest boys have now graduAmerican soldiers are buried. They were casual- three days last week in Glacier National Park with ated (Lynchburg College, now Lynchburg Unities of the Battle of the Bulge, and belonged to the our son, Jeff, who lives in Denver. We sent him 3rd Army, under the command of Gen. George back and continued our trip up to the Canadian versity, and Salisbury University). One is working in Richmond for an investment firm and the Rockies. The attached photo is Kathy and I in S. Patton III ’901. Patton requested that he be


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Class Notes other is taking additional classes and working for some dermatologists building some hours to get into medical school.” Joe Stafford: “Joyce is doing well after surgery for her broken jaw and then dealing with melanoma on her cheek. I plan to have a knee replacement in early November. I had my other knee replaced in 2015. I decided to put it off so we can go on our Hawaiian vacation in the fall. We are going with friends who are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. It will be our 52nd next month. They still do not want to replace my aortic valve until I have symptoms. Could be months or years away. I am going to the annual golf outing at Pine Needles next month for the first time. Looking forward to it. Our daughter and our oldest grandchild, who just graduated from UMass, are currently on a 10-day trip through Scotland, Northern Ireland, London and Paris.” (Joe also reminded me it was knee replacement and not his hip. Forgive my error – too many joints in ’67 being changed with which to keep up.) Mel Wright: “We are taking a trip to the Pacific Northwest in September to go around Olympia National Park and then over to Glacier National Park. Otherwise SOS.” (Mel reminded me I spelled Lynn with an E – sorry. Sort of like too many joints above.) Allen Gwaltney: “Just a quick note that Wendy and I ran into Bob Gates and his wife at Sedona Taphouse in Fredericksburg this weekend. We didn’t have time to chat since the place was

Class of 1967: Dave and Kathy Neel at Glacier National Park.

Class of 1967: Chuck and Ginny Keblusek in Hawaii last spring.

Class of 1967: The class held the annual golf outing at Pinehurst, North Carolina. Present, from left, front row were Ken Chun, Robert Klink, Tex Young, Jim Phlegar, Kip Jones and Bruce Weiner. Back row: George Sanborn, John Vaughan, Bob Ward, Ruben Terry, Carter Melton, Kermit Quick, Ted Mervosh, Joe Stafford, Barry Hedquist, Tom Gillette, Dave Fink and David Wilkinson. 86

overflowing with Mother’s Day celebrations and Mary Washington University graduates. Enjoyed seeing you at Will Plentl’s services. “ Dan Wells: “Neck is as good as it will get, which is pretty good. Occasional imbalance, but I walk 5 to 6 miles most days, so it all helps.” Chuck Krebs: “Great report, although way too many medical issues. We continue to do well up here in Indian Land, although they are experiencing uncontrolled growth. We are headed toward the same gridlock as Charlotte. I have a buddy from the Springs facility in Fort Mill who just took delivery on a Jeanneau sailboat. Got to experience some racing on Lake Norman, northwest of Charlotte. Continue to stay busy with the six grandkids here locally. Our U.S. Marine Corps grandson is currently completing his tour at 29 Palms and will be getting out in October. We have Mya’s 50th high school reunion in September and will be doing a month of travel with the trailer; to the Outer Banks, Virginia Beach, Massachusetts and Vermont with a swing by in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Continue to attend the Charlotte Chapter meetings with Brian Malley and John Vaughn. Best wishes to all, Chuck and Mya.” J.B. Farley: “Nothing new to report. We are well and enjoying some travel throughout the West. Durango, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone were our trips in 2018. Our grandchildren are a real source of pleasure, fun and enjoyment for us. All is well with us. I can still buy shotgun ammo, although use of lead shot is banned for all hunting as of July 1. We now are required to register each time we buy ammo and pay a fee of $1.” In the middle of the dozens of responses as a result of my “Repairs and Recovery” email came some from BRs I thought I had lost track of. One gave me details about a semi-regular lunch with older grads (some are BRs) where copious amounts of bacon is served. I was forbidden to mention the sender or the state by name; the boys don’t want wives to know, as bacon is forbidden at home. Thanks for checking in, fellows. John Chiles: “Hi, guys. I visited my mother at Kendal at Lexington from Monday through yesterday. She was 102 in January and is eating less and less and sleeping more and more. I have to look at things differently with her now; meals are a ‘food fight’ and walks are ‘protest marches!’ But, she still knows I’m Johnny even though sometimes I’m her husband, brother or cousin. On Wednesday afternoon, I took a deep breath and went into barracks. I wanted to make sure of

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes a few minor details for my book. Taylor Jarvis from the Rappahannock. We got to visit with Bill around, we were camping in Nowhereville USA ’19, one of this year’s alumni was my guide (han- Brent and Lila. June and I also went with both and couldn’t even find a cupcake and candle to celebrate. Oh, well; if you plan the trips, you get dler). It’s the first time I’ve been in new barracks kids and grandchildren out to far northwest Missouri to visit my aunt who happens to be 100 years to go where you want to. We fly to England, board since the day you guys graduated. I was curious our ship and set sail for Dover then Wales, Belfast, to see how they tied new new barracks [Third old. She can run rings around all of us. She has Inverness, Edinburgh, Bergen, Orkney Islands, Barracks] into new barracks. I wondered how it reading glasses which she seldom uses.” Bert Burckard sent in a dozen photos of both Shetland Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundaffected Room 185. Room 185 is now a men’s restroom. Rusty Barr and G.T. Elmore’s room sets of the crowds – positive and negative – at the land, Quebec then back out to Halifax and on to next door to the north is a women’s restroom. The Trump visit to Jamestown but none of himself and Boston and New York and fly back to Richmond. We have only a few days at sea going to Iceland, room next door to the south has been completely no commentary. More from Fred Smith: “We definitely kept Greenland and Quebec. Other than those, we are removed to become a second hallway into new, new barracks. But you can still see the square out- an eye out for sharks at OBX, what with all the moored somewhere every day for touring. If I can lines of the asphalt/asbestos tiles on the concrete news about sharks reported along the East Coast just control the overeating, dining and wining, we floor. The courtyard of new barracks used to be waters. Fortunately, we didn’t see any fins cruis- should be fine.” Rob Gates: “A quick note. Beverly and I are a green plastic coating that was slick in the rain ing around. Did I forget to mention that Aug. 30, or snow. I guess it wore out or enough cadets fell we fly over to England to start our 42-day birth- preparing to celebrate our 50th anniversary. We’re and got hurt that they did something about it. Now day cruise that Judy picked out to celebrate her going on a cruise to New England and Canada the courtyard is loose laid, very coarse surfaced, 70th birthday? When my 70th birthday rolled (leaving Sept. 5 for nine days). Maybe I’ll have a picture for you for the November deadbrown, about 1 foot square, concrete cobline. Also, we’re proud of our son, Sean. blestones. All the door handles in barracks He has his first book out, ‘The Dark and are levers with locks. The rooms are all Lonely Road.’ It’s a mystery that takes locked during vacancies, furloughs, etc. place in King George, Virginia, in 1959.” I seem to remember keyholes in the old Barrett Graham: “Hurricane repairs are plates under our door handles, but we nevcompleted, and I’m back in my office. The er had a key. 1st Class cadets are allowed estimated time for our county to recover to have cars [by a lottery system]. Taylor is two-and-a-half to four – if we don’t get advised they try to have a car owner in hit by another significant storm. Sharyne each 1st Class room so everybody has a and I are OK, and we now have a ‘whole ride. I told him about the 1948 Pontiac house’ generator, including an automatic taxi with eight cadets in it and the frame transfer switch. We’ve already lost power banging on the axles. I told him about the twice since the system was installed, and four wall phones in the concourse and the it worked perfectly. It’s a nice thing to 13-inch black and white TV in the history building to serve all 1,250 guys. I told him Class of 1967: Terry Moore III with his grandson, Terry V, have if one lives in and area vulnerable to bad storms or really rotten weather.” that every piece of furniture in the rooms and son, Terry IV. The golf photo from George Sanborn was dark green enamel – except for our recounts some history of the regular gatherings of natural oak wicker chairs. He suddenly realized the ’67 duffers. His best recollection is that it behow good his class had it! I sketched out my gan around 1994 or 1995, so they are celebrating a glowing experience there and told him, ‘You’ve 25-year spread – like they need another reason to seen it. This place isn’t for everybody!’ I got the celebrate. In the photo, all are standing or kneelinformation I wanted, thanked Taylor and did ing, so it must be early in the day after a night of what now passes as a hustle to my car. John.” I good cheer but before the heat kicks in. add that much of what John saw for the first time Bob Poland sent a bad photocopy of his Wright many of us have seen happen slowly over years Brothers award from the Federal Aviation Adminof visits to barracks. But it is especially disturbing istration. “50 years of safe flying by snail mail. It’s to find your old room turned into a sinks. Let me a pretty big deal within the aviation community. also say that locks in barracks are to secure things Thought it would be worth a mention in the class from outside visitors, as barracks has easy access notes – especially for the guys who couldn’t befor many who are not cadets or VMI people. lieve I was trying to go to Army Flight Training. Robert Klink: “June and I went to the sumClass of 1967: Rev. John Horner and Air Cav BP.” mer meeting of our local VMI chapter. The Henry Dickerson at BR Will Plentl’s serBob Morin: “I moved to Kentucky when Rubie chapter invites the ‘rats to be’ that live near vice in May. and I got married. We just celebrated our second us. There are going to be three rats this year

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Class Notes anniversary July 11. We are in Crab Orchard, population of a whopping 300, and raise Boer goats and livestock guardian dogs. A far cry from my apartment living in Oak Ridge! Having a ball. Here’s a photo of my flagpole out front. Don’t know if it’s the right size for the Alumni Review, but I thought you’d get a kick out of it.” From Barry Hedquist: “Next month (August), the Class of ’67 golf group will convene in Midpines, North Carolina (Pinehurst country). The group is now headed up by Kermit Quick. Robert Klink used to head this gathering but passed it off to Kermit last year. Like Robert, Kermit is doing a great job. Participants are expected to include Bruce Weiner, Carter Melton, Dave Fink, David Wilkinson, George Sanborn, Jim Phlegar, John Vaughan, Kip Jones, Ken Chun, Reuben Terry, Tex Young, Tom Gillette, John Goode, Rick Irby, Bob Nablo, Mike Bagnulo, Dave Neel, Lane Kelly and yours truly.” Barry Hedquist and Tom Gillette, both living in Jacksonville, Florida, will head to Bandon Dunes, after the Midpines, North Carolina, trip, for four more days of golf in Oregon. J.I. Orrison has been appointed to the University of North Georgia Cadet Corps Advisory Council. He said he will gather bio information about the council and write a short blurb to share for the next notes. Joan and I attended the Atlanta rat send-off, along with a number of other local alumni, and met several of the rats who are entering this fall. One of the rats, a female, will be on the water polo team this fall. Another will be a legacy cadet, following in his dad’s footsteps. My July combined repaired and recovery email brought additional responses and some are in these notes. I close with two of my favorites. Wiley McIlrath: “Doing fine. Have five stints and a defibrillator installed. Play golf five times per week and have a hot girlfriend (Bambi). Life is good!” (I checked, and Bambi remains his “hottie.”) This message from Marie Waehler is one of heartfelt thanks and certainly belongs to all of us. “Please share my wonderful news with Joan and anyone else who might want to share in my joy. I have had three chemo treatments, and last Monday I had a PET scan to see where we are. We are already cancer free! I still need two more treatments to cement this therapy response, and indeed I’ve already had No. 4 this past Wednesday. I will have an echocardiogram this Wednesday to compare to


the one I had prior to beginning treatments, because one of the drugs, Adriamycin, can cause permanent heart damage. If this echo is good, they’ll schedule my fifth and final treatment. The treatments are pretty powerful and put me in the weeds for 10-12 days, but now that I know I’m cancer free, I know I can handle the rest of this struggle.” When compiling notes from hundreds of emails from three months of messages, it is for certain I will miss something someone sent. My apologies, if so, and please remind me by sending it again, if you remember what it was. Stay well and be safe. Respectfully, Jan


Tom Hickey

Terry Bowers (Martinez, Georgia): “Joyce and I went to the D-Day 75th anniversary ceremonies in Bedford at the National Memorial. It was pretty awesome. There were over 100 World War II veterans in attendance, and 19 of them were D-Day veterans. Many World War II aircraft flybys as well as a couple of F-35s. Saw a good number of VMI alumni, including Joe Knick ’72 from Augusta. While things were winding down after the program, Joyce spotted a group of Army officers with a VMI flag. Turned out to be Col. William Wanovich ’87, the commandant, and a group of young VMI officers. Talked with Wanovich for a bit and as we were leaving bumped into Kit Tyler (Midlothian, Virginia) and his two sons. All in all, it was a great experience and I’m glad we went. I don’t think I’ll be attending the 100th. For some reason, neither Kit nor I thought of snapping a picture.” John Augustine (St. Petersburg, Florida): “Rosemary and I are still busy running our own longterm care or assisted living operation for my 94-year-old mother and my sister with Parkinson’s. Therefore, we can’t relate any exciting stories about recent trips to Europe, the Cayman Islands or cruising to Alaska. But we are saving both ladies about $10,000 a month (a piece) from the cost (these days) of being in a decent facility – which is the alternative to living with

us. So, I guess we can say we’re providing about a $20,000 a month benefit. Nice to be needed, but at times we feel we are working harder than when we were both ‘working.’ Any of us without the ‘old style’ longterm care insurance (can’t get it anymore now) have to face a $10,000/month expense for these facilities once you break your hip or start leaving your car keys in the refrigerator.” Later John added this tidbit: “(Until our reunion) I had not seen my old roommate Irv Grodsky (Mobile, Alabama) in about 25 years – since he last met me at Arlington Cemetery to get a brief ‘refresher’ course on military tradition. We’d watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Irv actually had the nerve to tell his attractive girlfriend at the time. ‘That’s exactly how I used to march my penalty tours at VMI!’ She was quite impressed!” John Hince (Bryan, Texas): “Family is staying active. Gerry is Texas state chaplain for the American Legion. I am still active at various endeavors. Son Matthew (a U.S. Air Force Reserve major), along with his wife, April, are raising three wonderful grandchildren. Son Peter (a U.S. Air Force major) is still stationed in Germany with wife Jacque and three more grandchildren. Gerry and I are heading to Germany at the end of August/ beginning of September for a few weeks to visit. I was in New Braunfels, Texas, a couple of weeks ago and got together with BR Jim Fleming (New Braunfels, Texas) for coffee. Jim is doing well and sees BR Barry Archer (New Braunfels, Texas). At a graduation party at Texas A&M, I ran into a 1987 (as I recall) VMI grad. I schooled him on what it was like in the ‘Old Corps.’ By the way, 73 years old is great, and God bless each of you.” Steve Powers (Malvern, Pennsylvania): “I expect that most of our class is now 73 years old. I wonder who the youngest and oldest guys are? We are back out here in Sun Valley, Idaho, for the summer with three of our grandchildren, ages 19, 17 and 15. They all work for the Sun Valley Company as waiters and waitresses in their many fine restaurants. “My wife, Susie, had her double knee replacement out here back in April and is doing extremely well. She should be back on her bicycle soon and hiking these mountain trails with our grandchildren. “I had the privilege of visiting Coach Gary McPherson’s wife, Peggy; daughter, Missy; and daughter-in-law, Patty, several months ago in Morgantown, West Virginia. Gary and their son,

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes “Our children are now middle age: Mike, age ’71 and Carol, and roommates, Berry Wright Chris, both died within the last three years. Peg(and Patty) (Ashland, Virginia), Rick Buttergy does not quite know what to do with all the 48 (Ph.D.); Missy, age 47 (P.A.); and Jenny, age VMI and WVU memorabilia that coach collected 46 (O.T.); and we have seven grandchildren (ages worth (and Ivy) (Hingham, Massachusetts), and John C. Byrd (North Chesterfield, Virginia). 11-15). Jane and I celebrated our 50th wedding for the last 50 years. Most of it should go into a museum. His family loved VMI and all coaches, anniversary skiing in Breckenridge, Colorado, Margaret Byrd, Bill and Vicki Cobb (Pompano Beach, Florida) were unable to make players and fans back in the day. the monumental Margarita event! “We all remember Coach Lefty Hopefully, we can repeat the event in Driesell of Davidson. His team was 2020!” ranked in the top 10 of the NCAA Dave Avery (Lyme, New Hampwhen we played them in Lexington. I shire): “For the last two years, I’ve exchanged letters with Coach Lefty a been active in a local veterans’ reading while back, and he certainly rememgroup led by a Dartmouth professor bers playing at VMI and our VMI of classics. Many works from clasfight song. Now at 87 years old, Lefty sic literature deal with either war (the has mellowed a bit over the years.” ‘Iliad’) or the return from war to the John Andrews (Yorktown, Vircivil society (the ‘Odyssey’). Meetginia): “We have been busy! Most ing weekly, we have so far worked of it has been visiting grandchildren. through six books. It has been a rare Nate Brown ’08 and his wife, Becky, treat to study literature with a very just had their second child, Jacob, and experienced and nationally promiwe spent several weeks with them. In nent professor of classics. Her depth May, we went to the Cayman Islands of knowledge in literature, fluency in for a week, and I got to catch up on my Class of 1968: During the Viking river cruise they took celebratscuba diving! In September, we went ing their anniversary, George and Kay Sebren stopped at the ancient Greek and Latin and willingness to consider the perspective of on a river cruise from Amsterdam to village of Mondrogy, Russia, June 27, 2019. modern-day veterans was been truly Zurich and had a wonderful time! We educational in the best sense. Very difare now down at our condo in North ferent from reading the ‘Iliad’ at VMI Myrtle Beach hosting the kids and in rat English. grandchildren at the beach.” “On the family side, daughter has Joe Petitta (Safety Harbor, Florida): transferred from Bowdoin to the Uni“As time is passing, Diane and I took versity of Minnesota. A bit of irony the opportunity to go abroad in April in that she rejected the ‘I’ because it and May to spend time in Portugal, didn’t offer varsity women’s ice hockas well as a cruise of the Greek isles. ey; now at Minnesota she didn’t make Time well spent but for the 32 hours the hockey team but did make varsity strapped to the seat of an Airbus in rowing, so we gave her an Erg for four Atlantic crossings!” Christmas. Rowing is one tough comRick Brothers (Sedona, Arizona): petitive sport. Seventy-two strokes a “Jane and I are now eight years living minute over a 5,000-yard course. Of in Sedona, Arizona, and are active in the 340 women who came to selecthe community. I have given up flytion, only eight made the novice team. ing and enjoy doing part time medical The women in her boat all look like missionary work with FaithWorks in the female version of the incredible Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico. Also doing pro bono medicine for folks Class of 1968: Kathy and Joe Knick ’72 with Joyce and Terry hulk. Very different from skating a in need at our church and in Sedona. Bowers at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, for one-minute shift in ice hockey.” Because of a page constraint on the I guess my DNA has always been in the observation of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, June 6, 2019. notes, I’ve had to edit Dave’s submismedicine, so this helps feed my longings. I play tennis, golf and pool with my buddies, with the family over Christmas and were treated sion. His complete submission has been posted on plus like to hike the ruins in Grand Gulch, Utah, to a magnificent anniversary dinner on the 28th. the VMI68 Facebook page. Tom Coffey (Wytheville, Virginia): “The 50th and in Arizona. Jane is becoming an exceptional In 2018, we had a VMI roommate reunion at our Reunion was a reminder that we’re all living on artist, using watercolor mediums and additives, beach house on Hatteras Island, North Carolina, borrowed time, so another year is a blessing. In that included my dyke and his wife, Buddy Bryan plus she is also active in Sedona Women.

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Class Notes December, Ethan, our son, who works in his spare time as an engineer at the Oak Ridge National Lab, posted a 2:19:34 time in the California International Marathon, missing the qualifying time for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials by a mere 34 seconds. So near and yet so far! And then in April, he was inducted into the Knoxville Track Club Hall of Fame.” Harvey Sadow (Jupiter, Florida): “In 2011, I had a mild heart attack and decided to resign my position as director of Paducah School of Art and Design. Susan and I returned to our home in Jupiter, Florida, where I have renovated and expanded my studio space and made many other upgrades to the house and property. Our daughter, Katie, graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and lives in New York City. She is a senior designer and strategist at Sylvain Labs, which is a small branding house and strategy company with huge clients. Susan continues to work as a programmer/analyst for HBG Systems. I just keep making mud pies and playing golf. My back swing keeps getting shorter, so I can’t hit the ball far enough to get in trouble anymore, but fortunately my short game is solid, so I keep winning at least a few Florida state one-day events (supersenior division) each year. “Also, I received an Alumni Achievement Award last year from Knox College, where I finished my undergraduate education after leaving VMI. The only award I was ever going to win as a Keydet was ‘most penalty tours walked in one year’ – and I am proud of that. Sorry I had to miss the reunion last year. Life is what happens while you are making other plans.” Harvey provided me with a list of 21 distinguished collections in multiple countries including the U.S. and China. Because of the notes page constraint, I don’t have space to include it here but have posted his entire submission on the VMI68 Facebook page. Bill Flavin (Carlisle, Pennsylvania): “I retired from the Army War College as the assistant director of the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute after 19 years with that organization this August 2019. Now I am a distinguished fellow of the college and still assist with lectures and distance education. Patty and I are remaining in Carlisle and will spend more time visiting grandkids.” Bill Welsh (Ashburn, Virginia): “I’m now retired – taking trips/playing golf/fishing/messing with grandkids. We were going to relocate south, but one daughter has 1-year-old twins and one


more due in the next month, so those plans have been postponed.” Wayne Burton (Saint Marys, Georgia): “Sylvia and I spent a week in March in the beautiful hills of North Georgia. We have spent much of our summer with grandchildren in Denver; Athens, Georgia; and Bethesda. Took a week trip to Nashville and did the honkytonk bit along with the Grand Ole Opry. Will take a Viking Ocean Cruise in October to the New England area. Then to the Mercer game with Lew and Joyce Yeouze (Peachtree City, Georgia) followed by the West Point football game with George Buzzard (Waynesboro, Virginia), Lew Yeouze and wives.” Clay Thompson (Salisbury, Maryland): “Not much happening here in the ‘Bury’ since our older son is now living with us after a brain injury two years ago. He is doing well and back in school in an LPN program. Hoping and praying he does well. Our vacations are limited to taking him with us but have made rat parades and expect to be to the Williamsburg mini reunion. Donna and I are both well and hope to see a lot of BRs in New Market.” Wayne Spruell (Ashburn, Virginia): “Lan and I are doing well. We have four grandchildren now, ages 13, 6, 3 and 2. The last, but not least, is a granddaughter. All three of our kids live close by, so we help out with the grandchildren from time to time and they really keep us busy when we do. We go to our health club four to five times a week for classes (kickboxing, body step and Zone 4) and to socialize. We just got back from Costa Rica, where I went on a jungle water slide and seven zip lines, and we rode horses, hiked trails and soaked in a natural hot spring. Earlier, we toured Santa Fe, New Mexico, including Bandolier National Park, where we climbed cliff side ladders to old Native American caves. Our guide was an interesting fellow. He was Bulgarian, but raised in France and married a Burmese, who was raised in Malaysia. They met in Santa Fe and eventually started an adventure tour business there.” Jim Lambert: “Phyllis and I have been in Columbia, Missouri, full time since my retirement in 2007 from the chemical distribution industry. How a history major gets a job in the chemical business is still a mystery to me, but it was a great time, and some would say that I had a successful career. I have two daughters in Columbia with spouses and a total of six grandchildren, ages 13, 12 and 1. Four of them are the same age because my oldest daughter decided to have instant family (two girls,

two boys) at one time. I have done a few things since my retirement, working as a mentor for the University of Missouri athletic department for a few years, running a medical research nonprofit for a while and volunteering at our church, plus being the family Uber keeps me on the go. The grandkids are all very active in sports and on the go constantly. Phyllis and I love it.” Ron Stultz: “Moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, in February 2018 and house repairs, updates ever since. Like getting away from northern Virginia traffic and toxic political atmosphere. Continue to add to my website,, with ‘how to repair’ articles and also my writings. Section on there about VMI. VMI flag flies here every day outside garage.” Bill Carter (Raleigh, North Carolina): “Susan and I have three children; George Openshaw, Scott Openshaw and Kate Baker. George and wife Juli have two sons, John (12) and Wells (10). He is a financial adviser with Morgan Stanley in Raleigh, North Carolina. Scott and wife Jill live in Arlington, Virginia. He works with the American Chemical Association. Kate Carter Baker and husband John live in Norfolk, Virginia. She works for the Virginia Retail Federation in government affairs and John practices law in Norfolk. They have one son, Carter (5). Susan and I have enjoyed traveling and spending time with our grandsons. We also enjoyed attending our reunion and catching up with so many friends. Sons George, Scott, son-in-law John, and grandsons, Wells and Carter, and I attended the VMI versus The Citadel game last fall. We had great time! Also, I have enjoyed Kevin Henry’s (Winston Salem, North Carolina) annual golf outing and look forward to attending in the spring. Although Susan and I have had a few medical issues and procedures, we are still enjoying our family and life.” John Byrd: “I had serious back issues about eight months ago, but I have avoided having extensive back surgery. Thanks to steroid injections and physical therapy I have improved dramatically. After an eight-month hiatus, I started performing ventriloquist shows and playing in the Chesterfield Concert Band again. Margaret and I enjoy family time with our kids and our granddaughters, ages 3 and 6. I enjoy having lunch with Berry Wright from time to time.” Bob Fletcher (Edgewater, Maryland): “On Aug. 2, Kim and I conducted a leadership workshop for Federal Emergency Management Agency Headquarters with the three National Incident

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes Management Teams that FEMA uses to deploy to impacted states when there is a presidential disaster declaration. They marry up with the impacted state’s emergency operation and handle the state’s request for federal assistance. There is an IMAT East, IMAT West and IMAT Contingency team. There are also regional IMATs in each of the 10 federal regions. We are assisting them in psychological capital development and leadership psychometric instruments for better understanding of self, other individuals and the team as a unit. It’s very interesting stuff. My 55th Grandy High School reunion is Aug. 3 in Norfolk. I plan to attend that. Other than that, just doing some consulting gigs when they come along.” Mike Smythers (Chesapeake, Virginia): “Chips McCallum (Norfolk, Virginia) and I took two days recently to hike Sharp Top at Peaks of Otter and the High Bridge Trail near Farmville. I’m planning on going to Iceland in September to do some hiking and to see that beautiful country again. Next week, Carol and I are off to see our younger son, Jim ’97, his wife, Sarah, and our grandsons, Julian and Oliver, in Portland, Maine. As Jim is a Foreign Service officer and his family remained in Bucharest, Romania, while he does a one-year hardship tour in Islamabad, Pakistan, we are always thankful for opportunity to get together.” Jack Falzone (Crystal Lake, Illinois): “We have four grandsons, Jared, 19 years old; Caleb, 16 years old; Logan, 16 years old; and Magnus will be 7 years old in September. We have been spending our winters in Arizona since I retired in 2011 after 34 years working for Baxter International. Elaine and I are planning to attend the VMI versus The Citadel football game in Charleston, South Carolina, this year.” Howard Chapman (Mount Pleasant, South Carolina): “My birthday included state guard drill during which we did a mock Hurricane Hanna tabletop exercise. You would think after four years in a row of the real thing that we would have it down pat. However, we have a new commander and he wanted to make sure. I will be following the Gamecocks again this fall with the first game at Panthers stadium in Charlotte against University of North Carolina. Carolina fanatics will be there. Our last trip there was the Belk Bowl against UVa and we were terrible. Time to redeem ourselves! Sorry I won’t be in Williamsburg for the mini reunion, but I will be between the hedges in Athens, Georgia, on that Saturday.”

2019-Issue 4


Walter Judd

Greetings, Brother Rats and Friends of the Class of 1969. The class is still reveling in the good times enjoyed at our 50th Reunion at the end of April. More than a few days have passed since the event, but each has been filled with good vibes and tales of long-lost friendships rejuvenated and bolstered. Through the magic of online social media sites, many who were unable to attend in person participated in the activity via videos, pictures and tons of conversation. Unable to attend the reunion for various reasons: Dr. Chris Brothers (who broke a hip at the wrong time!) from New Mexico; Peyton and Gail Brown from Wilmington, North Carolina; Jim and Cathy Campbell from Oviedo, Florida; Dr. Nathan Christian from Lynchburg, Virginia; Jay Hoenig of Scottsdale, Arizona; Hugh Hopkins from Orange Park, Florida; Joe Howard from Los Alamos, New Mexico; Paul Kowalski from Lexington, Kentucky; Mike McCrary from Aiea, Hawaii; David Reid from Pawleys Island, South Carolina; Tom Ruffin from Palmyra, Virginia; Clint Spencer from Gainesville, Georgia; and Courtenay Welton from Richmond, Virginia. In most cases, the BR or his family member had a medical reason for not traveling, so we just had to make them comfortable with the vicarious experiences. Also, in my haste to prepare the notes from last time, I left out one important BR attendee to the reunion. Dr. John DuBose of Summerville, South Carolina, attended and helped us rally the chemistry majors for the reunion. Sorry, John, for overlooking your name in the long list of attendees. If I missed anyone else, please bring it to my attention and I will try to correct my error. Let’s move now to current news and then go back later to look closer at some reunion preparation thoughts. We lost two of our ladies of the class recently. In April, Courtenay Welton’s wife, Ellen, lost her battle with cancer, and in May, John Sebrell’s wife, Sallie, passed away after a heroic struggle with bone cancer. Both of these ladies were vital, active women and will be sorely

missed. Many of us will say goodbye to Sallie at her Aug. 18 service. On May 9, several BRs traveled to Arlington Cemetery to lay to rest Hugh Tompkins. John Ishon, Bruce Gregory, Bobby and Elizabeth Watts, Conor Ashby, Pat Branch, and Knox Hubard were there for the ceremony. Hugh married into a full family and got the privilege of helping to raise four daughters. His was a rich and full life. On May 31, 2019, at the VMI Keydet Club Leadership Golf Outing at Lexington Golf & Country Club, Tom Morris, John Sebrell, Walt Judd and good-to-me Jim Henry formed a team in the competition. The team finished at level par and did not win any prizes. John, however, had a super shot at one par 3 hole and won a prize for closest to the pin. Tom and I came over Thursday and enjoyed a meal at the Corps Physical Training Facility with other early arrivers. Then after golf we met Ron and Betsy Wall and Dave and Susan Prugh for supper and conversation at Moody Hall. As weather warmed in June, the senior VMI alumni of the Tidewater area met for lunch in Williamsburg on the fourth of June. From our class, Bob Flowers, T.O. Palmer, Chalk Hardy, Drew Brantley, Tom Morris, Dan Gibson and Wip Priest joined me for lunch. At the end of June, Bunny Paulette invited Charlie and Cammy Bryan to supper at the Commonwealth Club in Richmond. Little did Charlie know, but Bunny had planned a surprise party and

Class of 1969: Dr. Tom and Elizabeth Jones with Tom’s mother on her 100th birthday. 91

Class Notes ceremony with other BRs to honor him with a gift of money for research into Parkinson’s disease at the MCV Movement Center. Charlie helped start the center years ago and is now honored by a grant in his name. Several other classmates have since been diagnosed with the same problem, so the research is needed now to assist us. We who participated in the honor for Charlie were proud to be invited to his surprise party. John Ishon, with two daughters who have raised money for the VCU and MCV Foundations, was the master of ceremonies. He read to a “very surprised and pleased” Charlie a citation describing the new grant and how it began. The assembled BRs gave their roar of approval, and Charlie calmed down enough to thank all who were part of the party and the funds raised. I have a video taken by Dr. Tom Morris if anyone wishes to relive the moment. Charlie Bryan was so surprised, he would have dropped his wineglass if he had been holding one. At the party in Richmond were the following: Mike and Martha Santoro, K.C. and Connie Woodroof, Bobby and Elizabeth Watts, John Sebrell, Bunny and Carolyn Paulette, Tom and Gail Morris, David Hagan, Bob and Lush Heely, Sam and Lynette Higginbotham, Joe Flanz, Bruce and Sherry Gregory, Gary Mackey, John and Jane Ishon with their two daughters, and a host of MCV Foundation officials. On July 18, the Tidewater boys got together again. Gary Mackey invited all who wished to eat lunch to his house for burgers and beer. We

Class of 1969: Dr. Tom Jones and Mike and Martha Santoro, along with fellow VMI alumni, participated in the Jonathan Daniels ’61 pilgrimage in Hayneville, Alabama, Aug. 10, 2019. gathered in the backyard under some large shady trees and laughed and talked for a couple of hours. Meeting together that day were Gary, Bobby Watts from the Eastern Shore, Bob Waldo from the mountains west of D.C., Richie Daub from “the Fan” in Richmond, Webb Hatch from Sandbridge, Bill Jocelyn from Virginia Beach, Bob Flowers from Williamsburg, Bob Heely from Norfolk’s Ghent, T.O. Palmer and Chalk Hardy from the Outer Banks, Drew Brantley from Queens Lake area near Williamsburg, Glenn White and me from Yorktown. Joining us a bit later were Lee Barnes – carrying a big watermelon! – and John Krovic ’77. Lee and John work together at the beach and came together.

Class of 1969: Brother rats gathered at Gary and Peggy Mackey’s house July 18, 2019. The special guest was John Krovic ’77, former VMI basketball player. 92

On Aug. 9-10, Dr. Tom Jones welcomed Mike and Martha Santoro and Beverly and me to the 2019 Jonathan Daniels ’61 annual pilgrimage in Alabama. Bev and I got to the VMI reception Friday night in Montgomery but had to miss the actual visit to Hayneville. Tom, Mike and Martha were there for the whole thing. Tom even presented a prepared speech at the appropriate time in the Saturday activities. It is good to remember acts of valor no matter when or the occasion. On Aug. 12, Tom Morris invited Bob Heely, Jim Baker and me to his golf course for a round. We all enjoyed the company and talked more about the reunion and coming events. Bob also mentioned he had visited with Margy Judd, Amo Judd’s widow, on her recent visit to Norfolk. She is an unofficial “ambassador” to Cleveland and greets prospective families coming to the area. Now let’s get back to some reunion conversation. Bob Heely had meetings with VMI Alumni Association March 1 and then joined us for our last pre-reunion class meeting Saturday morning. Glenn White and I drove over Friday and attended the winter boards of directors’ dinner Friday night with Bob. On Saturday morning, Bob Waldo got reports from all the right persons and said we were ready to go. Several of us left that meeting in Preston Library and headed to the Third Barracks food court for lunch. Larry and Elizabeth Seekford, Bob and Ruth Waldo, Glenn White, and I sat together. We also spoke with Mike and Martha Santoro and Ron and Betsy Wall at the food court. Then, it was on to a terrific basketball game against The Citadel. Glenn and I met Jim and Beth Long and saw Mike Santoro and Knox Hubard sitting with John Sebrell. After falling behind in

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes the first half, the Keydets played catch-up most of the second half. With about five minutes left, the home team caught fire and closed the gap little by little. With the Corps in full roar, the young Keydets hit several big threes in the final 90 seconds and won the game at the end. What a fun game! The team headed into the Southern Conference tournament on a short winning streak and won their first game. Then the season ended against the first seed, Wofford, who went on to success in the big NCAA tournament. In the lead up to the reunion, some things worked well and others were just so-so. As to the online registration process, I take full responsibility for the long forms to fill in and the way the site was set up. I worked with knowledgeable people in the VMI Alumni Association to set up the site in a way best suited for producing all the data we needed to prepare for the reunion. I heard several reports about its shortcomings, but I must say overall it worked exactly as we had hoped. We collected the money needed to pay for various meals, beverages and gifts and had a running tally of who was planning on coming. From that list, we were able to see whose name was not on the list and allowed us to focus on contacting them. The process of passing refunds was also easier. Please say thank you to Patti Cook, Norma Robinson, Sam Sorrells, Corri Sensabaugh and Tammy Horn when you get the chance. And to their boss Thom Brashears ’95, the chief operating officer of the Alumni Association. They were our team of Alumni Association supporters, and they done good! In the last notes, we talked about Thursday’s welcoming activities and the Friday daytime events, so we will skip those now and continue to the events Friday night and Saturday. On Friday night, we piled into busses or drove to the new Marshall Hall for a reception and dinner sponsored by the VMI Alumni Agencies. At the door, men were greeted with a tricolored ribbon and VMI medallion and women with a special stick pin. Then we meandered into the great hall for conversation and a beverage from one of the bars in action. We were all seated downstairs and had to climb stairs to see part of our class’ representatives in the Hall of Valor. For many, it was like a family reunion with many greeting each other like the brothers they were. As people were staying in several locations in the area, this was the first opportunity to see everyone attending at the same venue. The evening flew by with welcome

2019-Issue 4

from Thom Brashears ’95, dinner invocation by our own Dr. Jim Boggs, and a meal served quickly and efficiently by the caterers on post. After dinner, Thom introduced VMI superintendent, Gen. Peay ’62, who spoke on the school and its impacts. When he completed his part and the Glee Club regaled us for a short time, Thom turned the podium to me, the class agent. I immediately called up Bob Heely and Jamie Totten, who each made a few comments. I have to say thank you to Bob and the class for my vacation coupon for the Greenbrier. It will be used later. For most people, the evening ended with a ride back to the motels and more time in the hospitality room. For the David Bush family, however, the evening ended differently. John Ishon and Gary Mackey led the family to the Memorial Garden near Cocke Hall for a short memorial service. Gail Bush said David wanted ashes left at VMI, and so they were. On to Saturday and much more activity. The first event of the day was a memorial service for our 62 deceased BRs in the Class of 1969 Memorial Room and the Turman Room in Preston Library. Pictures of the BRs were laid out on several tables and everyone was invited to “visit” with the BRs for a few moments. The service was more akin to a southern “visitation,” but it certainly allowed us all a chance to remember our departed friends. While one guest was a relative and one was not, we welcomed two crusty old first sergeants from the ’66 class. John Walters ’66, formerly of Company C, and “Moby Al” Carr ’66, formerly of Company D, joined in the activity Saturday. John lives in eastern Maryland, and Al, older brother to our Ward, lives in Lexington. I think they both wanted to see if their hard work in fall 1965 had made any difference to the rats back then. The first former cadet John Walters met was BR Brant Collins, who has gone by many names but earned the title of judge along the way. Immediately after the gathering in the library, the VMI Alumni Agencies staff called us out for our picture on the steps. BRs, mostly in our new black shirts and hats, somehow found room to stand for the photo taken by a photographer high above us from a ladder. We stood proudly for the photo and then gave an Old Yell. The wives then got into the act and had their picture taken. With over 100 persons in that second group, their picture took much of the room on the steps. When that activity was completed, we gathered in seats set for us near the reviewing stand and visited while waiting for the parade.

As part of the parade Jamie Totten, Bob Heely and I stood with Gen. Peay ’62 and VMI Alumni Agencies CEO Steve Maconi for the parade. We participated in the check presentation ceremony and other parts of the parade. After reviewing the Corps for a few minutes as they passed in review, the supe and Alumni Agencies staff told the three of us to get into it. We did! I grabbed the guidon and hustled to the front left. Bob Heely raced up front of the mass and started us forward. We tried to go slowly to savor the moment, but the band’s beat kept us moving smartly. As we left the Parade Ground and made a big sweeping left turn, we fell apart as a marching unit and entered the Old Barracks in our normal ways – in ones and twos. At this point, I have to say thank you to the 1st Class cadets in the archway. They met us with handshakes and welcomes! We loved it. Cheers to the Class of 2019! We then waited for our turn to make Old Yells for 1972, 1966 and 1969. Bob Waldo, Jamie Totten and Bob Heely climbed to the top of the sentinel box and led the yells. What a hoot! Then suddenly it was all over, and time to get back to greeting BRs and friends in an informal setting. Some of us headed downtown for lunch and the garden club tour while others went to lunch in the mess hall. The next scheduled event was Saturday’s supper and music back at the hospitality room and tent. Without too much exaggeration, I can say some talked and danced and partied for hours with friends from the past. The catered barbecue dinner was certainly well-received, and no one ran out of beverage choices for very long. Even though we did not find space for the live band, the evening progressed with recorded music provided by Dick Camp and Lee Barnes out in the tent. With only grass for a floor, people had no trouble dancing and singing along with the oldies. Others met inside the two big motel rooms and kept the conversation going. On Sunday morning, we had doughnuts and morning beverages available for anyone. When I visited the HR after breakfast, I found little clean up to do. Others had already stacked tables and chairs outside and cleared off tables inside. We had volunteers ready to clear inventory of leftovers and return to VMIAA any lost items. I can say clearly that cleanup was easy this time, as people policed up the area after partying. Thanks to all for being such good neighbors! My ears and email inbox continued to ring for several weeks after that special weekend.


Class Notes The redundant story was, “I talked to my friends from other schools and none of their reunions were anywhere close to ours.” Lee Barnes loved the music and dancing, Bob Ladd wanted to set up appointments so he could talk to everyone he wanted to, and Charlie Bryan wrote his Richmond newspaper op-ed piece on the reunion and the fact we remembered our departed BRs so carefully. Art Wilson and Tom Jones were enthusiastic in their praise of the committees’ work. I think we all did pretty well for the bunch of returning guys and their wives and lady friends. Did you notice the Moody Hall flags Saturday during all the festivities? There were 12 flags flying with “1969” shown clearly on the tricolored background. The Alumni Association gave me those flags later, and they were distributed to various BRs. Look for them at class functions. Just to be sure we had left no idea or angle unexplored, Bob Waldo, Glenn White, Charlie Bryan and I met with VMI Alumni Association rep, Patti Cook, in Charlie’s firm’s office in Richmond after the reunion. We discovered and discussed what had gone well and what had not gone as well. We made notes and passed them on to reps from the Classes of ’70 and ’71. As my military friends used to say, the exercise is not over until the after action meeting is complete. We met that requirement! In closing, your social and fundraising committees completed their tasks with skill and humor. Both groups met at various times over the past 18 months, and both did what they agreed to do. Our totals for participation stand at 86% and for giving at $10,262,515.50. With gifts from just another dozen additional BRs or families, we can top our goal of 90%. If you have not yet made a gift, think about it carefully, take action and help us meet our best thoughts and goals. Yours in the spirit, Walt


Warren Grasty

As you should already know, we lost Brother Rat Russ Parsons back in March. Russ was a physics major who was noted for being very smart even among physics majors. He left VMI after our 3rd


Class year due to excess demerits, the last of which were reportedly for being at L.A. Beach at the wrong time. Russ went on to graduate from North Carolina State and then decided to join Lew Reynolds for graduate school at UVa. I imagine the partying was pretty intense back then. After receiving his Ph.D. in materials science/biomaterials from the University of Pennsylvania, Russ went on to have an incredible career, including being named President of the Society for Biomaterials (USA), a Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He also served on numerous editorial and scientific advisory boards. As a lover of sailing, he served on the Raritan Yacht Club board of directors and was president of the Performance Handicap Racing Fleet - Middle Atlantic Region. A truly outstanding person, Russ will be missed, and I have extended to Janey the deepest sympathy from the Class of 1970. On a happier note, May 29, Liz and I had the pleasure of attending Judge Neil Steverson’s retirement ceremony and portrait presentation at the Henrico County Court complex in Richmond. There was an exceptional turnout of brother rats and wives, including Herb and Susan Braun, Jud Collier, Tommy and Jill Cooke, Ralph and Marsha Costen, Bill and Marilyn Huffman, Jim and Judy Mawyer, Bill O’Connor, Charles and Peggy Perry, Kent and Judy Schlussel, and Gary and Lynn Weishaar. I guess we’ll all just have to pay closer attention to the speed limits around Richmond from now on. Anyway, congratulations to De and Neil! The Keydet Club held its annual Leadership Outing in Lexington on the last Friday in May. It was a great event, as usual, with a killer buffet put on that evening by the Southern Inn at Moody Hall. Brother rats attending were A.C. Arnn, Herb Braun, Tommy Cooke, Ralph Costen, Steve Craddock, Peel Dillard, John and Carol Flemming, Bill Gearhart, Bill Huffman, Russ and Elaine Marshall, Bill O’Connor, Neil Steverson, Carl Strock, and Gordon Williams. In early June, Liz and I spent a very nice evening of dinner and a concert in the District with Chad and Caryn Lash. I hadn’t seen Chad since a New Market Day alumni dinner about 20 years ago, so it was great catching up with him and meeting Caryn. The concert afterward by John McEuen, one of the founders of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, was great. Since then, Chad and Caryn have caught the Avett Brothers, Lionel Ritchie and

Kacey Musgraves at Wolf Trap and have tickets to see Shawn Colvin with local talent Mary Chapin Carpenter and the Wailin’ Jennys at the Birchmere. They also are about to embark on a Viking Baltic cruise to Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Estonia and St. Petersburg. And as unlikely as it might seem, Chad said his nephew, Cadet Glen Lash ’22, is part of the cadre who will be extending a hearty welcome to the incoming rats later this week. Gotta be a generationskipping gene there. In mid-June, I trekked to the far southwest corner of Virginia to meet up with Tom and Sarah Massey at the annual Wayne C. Henderson guitar competition and music festival at Grayson Highlands State Park, which is west of Galax. It was a perfect day weather-wise and music-wise. While in the midst of what is known in music circles as the Crooked Road, I did a pretty full immersion into bluegrass and Americana music, attending a jam session at the Blue Ridge Music Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a Friday night live radio broadcast from the historic Rex Theater and a stop at the Floyd Country Store on the way home. I am already pondering a return trip next summer. A little closer to home, Don and Tucker McQueen recently celebrated their first anniversary living in Keswick, Virginia, where they moved to be closer to their families. In the middle of July, they visited with Paul and Lynn Munch at their river cabin near Woodstock, Virginia, and on the two nights there, they all went to the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival. On the Friday night, they heard the Coasters, the Drifters and the Platters. On Saturday night, the anniversary of the moon walk, the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra played Gustav Holst’s suite “The Planets,” while showing on a screen behind the orchestra was a video by The Goddard Space Flight Center of their depiction of the planets. Far out! Don also reported that he and Steve Friski play softball twice a week in Charlottesville in a 55-and-over league. As you may recall, Steve played baseball for VMI and is reportedly still a great hitter and fielder. Tucker’s uncle, Randy Pendleton ’57, who also played for VMI, and her brother, Frank Huger ’69, both play in the 55-and-over league. Staying with the music theme, Artie Pates checked in to say he spends most of his time on the road checking out music acts. He caught Willie Nelson’s granddaughter, Raelyn Nelson, in a show on his 71st birthday in Memphis. Artie says she sounds like a country girl with a ukulele backed up

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes by the Ramones, which is sort of what he thinks people used to call cowpunk. Artie, old pal, you gotta loosen up a bit! But wait. There’s more! From the hinterlands of Iowa, Tom Clingerman reported that he is once again taking up the bagpipe, having attended a “pipe camp” back in the late 90s, namely the North American Academy of Piping in Valle Crucis, North Carolina. It turns out the camp director at that time was also the band director at The Citadel, and he was working with people at VMI to get our pipe band set up. Tom says that for $10 each, he will be glad to play for us at our 50th Reunion. And for $20 each, he’ll stop. Anyway, Tom continues, “Most of my ‘outside’ activities involve scouting, so I did my four weeks as a rifle range instructor at Boy Scout camp. Its great fun, but even better is doing Cub Scout day camp on the BB gun range. They do the craziest things with the guns; little dangerous, but amusing, like looking down the barrel to see if there are any BBs in it, etc. I have accepted to become the next council commissioner, so I am working at a higher level now. Not as much fun, but I only serve for two years. By the time that’s done, I’ll be fading out from most of my scout positions (I wear seven hats right now).” While at the National BSA Meeting in Denver earlier this year, Tom ran into Rich Flowers ’72. Tom says he and Karen will be at our 50th and look forward in particular to catching up with Fred Phillips and Tom Massey. I always knew “squat butts” had to stick together, but I guess the “trees” do, too. OK, one more. Bob Hawthorne reported that his company, Martinair, recently transported their first face transplant. One could say that the business is looking up, but let’s face it, that would be cheeky. I could go on, but it’s getting late. Anyway, Bob is proud that he was able to organize four kidney and lung transplant transports from his hospital bed while he was fighting pneumonia earlier this year. He also said that on a recent visit to the local Heavenly Ham Store, he was so moved hearing Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs (with whom Hayroll played sax when they performed at VMI) singing “Wooly Bully” in the store that he immediately called Stix Chandler. You just can’t make this stuff up. In July, a gaggle of brother rats converged on Richmond for a couple of rounds of golf. Joining in on the fun were Herb Braun, Gray Chandler, Tommy Cooke, Ralph Costen, Bill Huffman, organizer Jim Mawyer, Charlie Walker and yours truly. The golf was underwhelming but the

2019-Issue 4

Class of 1970: Artie Pates celebrated his 71st birthday with Raelyn Nelson, Willie Nelson’s granddaughter, in Memphis.

Class of 1970: Rich Flowers ’72 and Tom Clingerman at the Boy Scouts of America annual meeting in Denver, Colorado.

Class of 1970: Diehl Jones and Ned Schowalter, son of Edwin Schowalter ’51, at the annual meeting of the original 13 colony militias in West Point, New York.

camaraderie was up to par, so to speak. Showing no sense of shame, Bill O’Connor sent in photos of this year’s version of the annual Ocean Isle Fourth of July parade. He also reported that in early August, Ralph and Marsha Costen hosted and an outing there that included Herb and Susan Braun, Tommy and Jill Cooke, Peel Dillard and his family, Dick Marshall, Bill and Marsha O’Connor, Lee and Connie Moon, Lew and Judy Reynolds, and Carl and Julie Strock. Retirement must be good for Big, because he says he is about 30 pounds less big since he left Essex Bank. He also reported that the Class of 1970 Scholarship cadet, Ty Cloyd ’21, did a super job interning over the summer at Essex Bank. Since Paula is having knee replacement surgery at the end of August, Bill’s fall trips will be limited to attending some VMI football games. Speaking of football, Phil Anderson wrote in to say that he and Carolyn have their tickets for the games at The Citadel and West Point and look forward to seeing a large brother rat contingent at both venues. Now that he has relinquished his homeowner association responsibilities, Phil has returned to volunteering as a tutor for students taking the math section of the GED at the local technical college. He and neighbor John Pinner ’73 have become regular crappie fishing partners. Bring on the butter and the skillet! Also continuing his volunteer activities was John Flemming, who was recently elected by the Virginia State Gideons as area director for Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach. There are 101 Gideon camps in Virginia who ensure a Gideon Bible is placed in Virginia hotels, motels, jails and prisons. Congratulations, John! From Taos, New Mexico, Jon Vordermark provided an update on the status of his book, which is due to be published this fall. He is in the throes of proofreading the galley proofs, which he says pretty much equates to going through the Rat Line again. With less colorful language, I assume. Anyway, he said he just returned from a weeklong fly fishing trip in Calgary, and invites any interested brother rats to visit and join him in chasing the elusive rainbow trout. As reported in my last class notes, Steve and Emily Talley are on an extended road trip out west and have been posting regular updates, including tidbits of history, geography, geology and biology, not to mention some amazing pictures, on Buck’s blog site, Tidbits include their overnight camping in Tensleep Canyon in Bighorn


Class Notes National Forest in Wyoming, which is composed of 500-million-year-old sedimentary rocks. The town of Tensleep was so named because there were 10 sleeps (i.e., days) between it and other Indian camps. Then there’s Esther Hobart Morris, who in 1868, hosted a tea party for Republican and Democratic candidates for the Wyoming Territorial Legislature. She made the candidates pledge that whoever won would support and work for women’s suffrage. The Republican candidate won and immediately introduced a bill that the legislature adopted, giving women full rights to vote and hold office, making Wyoming the first government unit in the world to do so. When Wyoming achieved statehood in 1890, its lawmakers included women’s suffrage in the Constitution, thus earning the early nickname of the “equality state.” And, boys and girls, there’s no extra charge for all this great information. Anyway, they just started their return trip but aren’t really rushing to get back to the heat we have had here lately. Ned Haley checked in during a break in his and Fricka’s constant travel activities to provide the following update. “This year we visited Fricka’s son and daughter-in-law in Dubai for three weeks (he’s now flying for Emirates). From Dubai, we went to Amsterdam where we stayed for three days with two couples we travel with before joining an eight-day Tulips Cruise around the Netherlands and Belgium. For me it was great being back in Amsterdam where I lived for over two years late 2000 to early 2003, and to show Fricka and our friends some of my favorite places, museums and restaurants from my time there.” The

next week, they went to Ocracoke on the Outer Banks for Fricka’s family reunion. After resting up for two weeks, they headed out on a six-week 7,000-plus mile journey cross-country to Oregon and Washington state visiting family and friends. On the way they stopped at several state and national parks, numerous arboretums and botanical gardens, and enjoyed the incredible landscapes of Wyoming and Montana. Somehow they also made it to the Michigan Upper Peninsula for the first time. In October they plan to drive to Niagara Falls (still on my bucket list), and then over to New England to visit family and do some “leaf peeping”

Class of 1970: Bill O’Connor and Ralph Costen, along with Costen’s Ocean Isle neighbors, celebrated the Fourth of July.

Class of 1970: Attending Neil Steverson’s retirement ceremony in Richmond, Virginia, were, from left, Tommy Cooke, Jim Mawyer, Ralph Costen, Gary Weishaar, Warren Grasty, Neil Steverson, Herb Braun, Jud Collier, Kent Schlussel, Charles Perry, Bill O’Connor and Bill Huffman. 96

before returning home. Their future travel plan wish list includes Portugal, Spain, Greece, New Zealand, Bali, eastern Canada and cross-country trips through the southern United States, plus return trips to Dubai. If they ever slow down, they plan to downsize, but I wouldn’t hold my breath for that to happen. In August, they were home long enough to meet up with Phil and Marsha Brandt and J.C. and Dana Hanks to go to Lynchburg for a high school reunion dinner and dance. Hopefully we will see that trio and their wives at our 50th. Also checking out national parks is David Payne, who soon heads out to Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California, which turned 103 years old in 2019 and features the largest plug dome volcano in the world. Also traveling internationally were Taze and Katherine Taylor, who went to Ireland with Katherine’s UVa roommate and her husband. “All BRs need to put it on their bucket list if they have not already been. The countryside and coast are just plain beautiful, and the people are the nicest on the planet. Played some golf, hiked, ate delicious food, loved the real Guinness beer, took in all the sights and somehow got the rental car back in one piece after spending 10 nail-biting days on the wrong side of the Ireland country roads. Plan to go back.” Having done a tour of Ireland last summer, I concur completely with Taze’s observances and his desire to return. The first week of August, Liz and I joined John and June Bailey, Gray and Nancy Chandler and Jim and Judy Mawyer at Charlie and Margaret Walker’s beach house in Corolla, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks. Unlike last summer, when we spent several days digging drainage ditches and placing sandbags around the lower level due to the heavy rains, the weather this year was great. On the walk to the beach the first day, someone spotted a VMI license plate on a vehicle at nearby house. Sure enough, they soon spotted a VMI hat on the beach, which belonged to none other than Jud Collier, who had spent the weekend with his daughter’s family there. Jud continues with his law practice in the Richmond area, which he still enjoys. The Baileys are having a banner year, with son John Jr. having gotten married in June, son Wes getting married in October and their first grandchild due Jan. 1, which, I am sure, someone out there will remind me is next year, but cut me some slack here. Also on the family front, the Mawyers welcomed their eighth (!) grandchild,

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes Luke Hugh Hipes, born to daughter Peyton and hubby Mark Hipes July 19 in Richmond. Preceding us on the Outer Banks by a week were A.C. and Beth Arnn, along with their four granddaughters. A.C. proudly advises that grandchild No. 5, which is on the way, will be a boy. They hope to make it back from Europe in time to make it to Wes Bailey’s October wedding. Recently joining the ranks of the retired, aka wards of the state, was Diehl Jones who retired after 40 years in the appraisal business in the Fayetteville, North Carolina, area. He says he plans to spend more time in the mountains and playing with his numerous antique automobiles, and he and Pat will definitely be at our 50th. If he’s like many of us, he’ll probably end up being busier in retirement than he was when he was employed. Diehl also mentioned an interesting tidbit: He is a member of the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry, a militia formed in 1793 under George Washington’s command. “We are the oldest in North Carolina, and one of the original militias of the 13 colonies. Every year, there is a meeting of these groups, and last year it was at West Point. The interesting thing is that I was with Ned Schowalter, whose father was Edwin Schowalter ’51 and the last alumnus to be awarded the Medal of Honor. Col. Schowalter was the speaker when we attended the New Market Museum dedication right before graduation. Ned was about 10 years old then.” Pretty amazing stuff. And finally, two medical updates. I recently traded emails with Mark Gold, who is pastor of a small church in western North Carolina, to follow up on his bout with cancer. He said that things are progressing well; he has completed his radiation treatments, started on a hormone regimen and still maintains his well-honed sense of humor. And Jay Tice has had to start dialysis treatments at home in Mississippi to deal with his failing kidneys while he awaits a donor. His old roommate, Joe Girlando, spoke with him recently and said that Jay remains upbeat through it all. Both brother rats would enjoy hearing from any of us, and I hope we will see them at our 50th in April. That’s about it. Be sure to check out the VMI’70 Facebook page for pictures and comments posted by our BRs. Also, if you are not on the brother rat email list, just send me an email at so you can keep up with BR and Institute related news, including information on our 50th Reunion. In the spirit!

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Jim Kelly

These notes will cover the period between May 15, 2019, and Aug. 15, 2019. August notes always remind me that in this part of Virginia fall is not far away. Just a few weeks ago, we had stifling heat and now, with the shorter days, the nights are getting pleasantly cool. Raking of leaves and policing up roughly 1 million black walnuts in the backyard are back. A combination of a small tornado and straight line winds last week (Aug. 9) added to the misery. Fortunately, no one was reported to have been seriously injured. Football will soon replace baseball as our focus and most teams in high school and college are well into their summer preparation. I hope that each of you had an enjoyable summer and were able to relax a little. I am saddened to report that we have lost another of our brother rats. Sam Adams Jr. died July 15, 2019. He matriculated at VMI from The Plains, Virginia, and resided there at the time of his death. Sam was a biology major at VMI and was a member of the varsity lacrosse and fencing teams, as well as the chief photographer for the Cadet newspaper. He is survived by his wife, Anne; son, Sam III; daughter, Marian; one brother; and a sister. Funeral mass was held Aug. 3, 2019, in The Plains with several brother rats and VMI friends attending. The Class of ’71 extends its sincere condolences to the Adams family. Toward the end of May 2019, a group of our brother rats and a “few extras” made what Steve Fogleman described as a semiannual Rock Fishing trip on the Bay Quest out of Lottsburg, Virginia, with Capt. Dave Rowe. Thornton Newton ’69, Tommy Sowers, Steve Fogleman, Jim Westbrook, Daniel Jones ’08, John Ronayne and Forrest McGee (friend of Ronayne) made up the group which caught “scores” of catfish and the limit of keepers in rockfish. Fogie sent a picture which unfortunately was too small for publication. Steve Sanetti, chief executive officer of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, was a presenter at a Veteran’s Administration event in May. The primary topic of the event was suicide prevention for service members, veterans and their

families. Steve described the NSSF’s ongoing suicide prevention efforts and collaboration with the Veteran’s Administration program to establish prevention programs throughout the United States. Information on the programs can be found at The Keydet Club Leadership Outing was held at VMI on the last weekend in May. Those attending included Strickler, Acuff, Gearhart, Wall, Bryan and Gault. Acuff has just assumed the position of president of the Keydet Club. Lanny reported that the “Cuffer” gave a brief but “fiery” speech about the need for our alumni to step up their level of giving to VMI athletics in order for us to actually give the number of scholarships that the NCAA allows us (204) versus the 144 that we can currently offer with our budget. Roughly 12% of alumni donate to the Keydet Club which is not nearly enough support for our athletes or our coaches. Lanny and T.S. Gault made a western vacation to Phoenix, Sedona, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam and Vegas. Phoenix homeowner Acuff provided restaurant suggestions which, according to Lanny, were all first class. The Gaults are planning a European trip later this year and John and Ollie Wall recently returned from Egypt. Jerry and Ellen Kelly also spent some time in Europe where Jerry revisited some of the places he served while in the Army. In this issue is a picture from 1974 of Lt. Kelly standing by a signpost location that

Class of 1971: A retired Jerry Kelly returned to Europe this past summer and revisited one of the areas where Lt. Kelly stood in 1974. 97

Class Notes he once again stopped by while on this recent trip. football season will be over for the most part. The the board. My thanks as always to our faithful supThe Class of ’71 and the New River Valley Keydet basketball team opens their season Nov. 5 porters for Annual Giving as well as endowments with a game at ECU and returns to Lexington for and scholarship funds. I hope those supporters will Chapter of the VMIAA are cosponsoring a baseball outing Aug. 16, 2019, at historic Calfee Park home games with Marist and Presbyterian. Dec. be joined my many others in FY20. Much of the in Pulaski, Virginia. The Pulaski Yankees have 21 we will be up against the Virginia Tech Hok- degree of success that VMI has achieved has been the result of alumni donations, so I encourage each been in first place in their division for almost the ies in Blacksburg. For several years, we have had entire season and attendance at home games tops a ’71 gathering at a Saturday basketball game at of you to step up to whatever level you can reach. all other teams in the Appalachian League. Calfee VMI. This year, we have a wide selection with More than 85% of today’s Corps depends on some home games Jan.18 and 25 and Feb. 15 and 25. type of financial assistance. Park, a rookie level venue, was recently named by The VMI Ranks database is being utilized to a Ballpark Digest as the “Best Ballpark in America.” Stay tuned for information concerning a get tomuch greater degree by the Alumni Association Each year, parks across the United States are re- gether for one or more of those Saturdays. I have just received from VMI the Annual Giv- than we have seen in the past. This makes it even viewed on attendance, amenities and other factors which make attending a game a positive experi- ing figures for FY19. Our class had a total of 83 more important that you get your profile posted. ence. As of this writing, those from ’71 scheduled donors and an alumni participation rate of 35.06%, You can go to for addiwhich is somewhat lower than FY18 when we had tional information. With a big reunion on the horito attend are Buz and Jan Booker, Buddy and Carol Bryan, Jim and Mary Gearhart, Jim and a participation rate of 42.02%. The average alumni zon, you don’t want to miss out on important bits Kathryn Kelly, Rick and Beverly Littleton, John participation for the decade of the ’70s was 29.13% of information. Speaking of the reunion, our 50th Reunion will for FY19 and 35.32% for FY18. Those numbers and Laura Metzger, Barry O’Donnell, Bill Genare a little disappointing not only for ’71 but across be held most likely in April 2021. Dates and try, and Herb and Patsy Whitley. other details will be forthcomThe NRV Chapter of the VMIing in the next several months. A AA held a rat send-off event at the great deal of coordination has to home of the parents of Will Hale take place between VMI, Wash’03. This year’s event drew more ington and Lee, and the Virginia than 40 participants to extend Horse Center to plan for any large best wishes to four prospective weekend event. The main thing cadets from the New River Valyou need to do right now is to ley. Several alumni from various make a plan to be there and then classes attended the event and are execute the plan. Some initial pictured in the Events section of ground work has already begun. this edition. Ramon Williams Buddy Bryan and I met back in ’90 was a special guest who now May with Patti Cook from the works with the VMI Foundation. VMIAA who will be our point of Mike Kelly ’73, Region VI direccontact and responsible for ensurtor for the Alumni Association also made the trip. Jim Kelly and Class of 1971: Class members at a Red Sox baseball outing mid-May in ing that we have a great reunion. Salem, Virginia. Lanny Gault and I will serve as Barry O’Donnell were present cochairmen of the Class of 1971 from ’71 and a picture is included Reunion Committee. Buddy will in this set of notes with the four be our ex-officio member and rats. A rat send-off was also readvise our committee from his cently held in Greensboro, North vantage point at VMI. The three Carolina, (Triad Chapter) where of us will meet in Lexington later Meredith Barkley is serving as this month (August) and get addia chapter director. This year’s rat tional guidance from VMI. There mass will be one of the largest will be a committee of 20 or so ever with more than 500 new caBRs who will be dividing up the dets, including 70 women. These tasks associated with such a moyoung people have great credenmentous occasion. Again, let me tials and are one of the strongest say put April 2021 on your “to classes academically in recent do” list and stay in touch. years. I am sure that will Class of 1971: Jim Kelly and Barry O’Donnell attended the New River Valley As most of you know at this publish the class profile on its Chapter rat send-off July 27, 2019. Pictured are incoming rats Cade Compton, point, Buddy Bryan retired July website when all is tallied up. Cody Talbert, Mitchell Branscome and Elise Levine with Kelly and O’Donnell. 1, 2019, as the chief operating When these notes arrive, our


VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes officer of the VMI Foundation. He has, however, “not left the building.” Buddy will continue to work (“part time”) at maintaining relationships with key major donors and will also be managing the Jackson Hope Fund and the General J.H. Binford Peay III 1962 Endowment for Academic Excellence. Issue 3 of the Alumni Review contains a history of Buddy’s work at VMI along with some much deserved accolades from the VMI community. Let me know about your travels and other things going on in your lives and with your families. Kathryn and I wish you in advance a happy holiday season. Be safe and take care of yourselves. Let the Institute be heard from today. Jim

got a kick out of my red-lined editing “expertise” with the last solicitation letter. Bob Bailey says he got a call from Jerry Higgins, his old three-year rat-2nd Class roommate and member of Grace and Bob’s 1973 wedding party. Jerry and Lee were visiting close by so they all got together for lunch on the anniversary of ’72’s graduation (Class agent note: May 21, for those who were a little foggy that day). Bob says, “Remember, Jerry made the bold move to switch curriculums from history to civil engineering for which he became a five-year man – changed roommates from history majors


Larry Houseworth

Attention in barracks: These notes cover midMay through mid-August and the hottest summer I can remember since 1968. By the time you read this, we should be wrapped in the warmth of the pre-holiday spirit. To our news. Pete Ramsey and company have the helm for our 50th Reunion Gift Committee. Co-chairs with Pete are Rick Hack, Walt Chalkley and John Fick. Committee members are Rich Flowers, Cam Fine, Gale Sommers, Bill Dunlap, Roger Hart, Tom Williamson, Dick Valentine, Hank Humphries, Bob Bailey and Jim Snead. Salutes to each for stepping up! John Pittenger sent a copy of MONEY Magazine’s latest “Best Colleges for Liberal Arts.” MONEY intensively correlates the “Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education” with its own rankings measuring each college’s affordability, quality and career outcomes (read aid availability, debt at graduation and earnings at midcareer). Little Lexington, Virginia, runs the table with Washington and Lee University in first place and VMI in ninth. VMI is on par with Barnard, Colgate and Amherst and ahead of Davidson, Bowdoin and Wellesley. Good information to share with language arts-leaning high schoolers and their parents. And speaking of the relevance of an LA education throughout life, Rick Bryan

2019-Issue 4

Class of 1972: Sal Spada holding the 82nd Airborne Division flag at Ponte Dirillo in Sicily.

Class of 1972: Norm and Joy Worrell with Joan and Jim Pagones indulged their inner Jimmy Buffets in Okatie, South Carolina.

to the more academically intense civil engineering BRs. He had to stay another year, graduating with the Class of ’73, but it paid off. Jerry is a respected civil engineer in Virginia, growing grapes, making wine and enjoying retired life.” (To which, our too-modest BR Higgins said, “Wait a minute, what about something about Col. Bailey?”) Too modest, each of you, BRs. Shortly after the last deadline, Sandy Edens said, “So I am now one year from the magical 70. Geez, when we were in formation listening to Bill blow that very last note of assembly, I never thought I would be saying I am one year away from 70. But I am, and thankfully, with a few minor adjustment surgeries to my spine, I am healthy. Interestingly I was in the local mega liquor store here in Castle Rock and wearing my VMI hat I ran into a guy from the Class of ’02. He ‘complimented me’ by saying I looked pretty good for being in the ‘Old Corps.’ Ouch! But we had a couple of minutes of memories and comparisons and parted ways. Unfortunately, I don’t remember his name – remember I mentioned I am one year away from 70?” And last week, Sandy wrote expressing his deep gratitude for those who offered their prayers and contacts during his daughter Becky’s chemo. His words: “I tell you what, the Class of ’72 was heard from. That is so incredibly meaningful I can’t put it in words. I really appreciate my friends and BRs! There is no group of people better! Rah Virginia Mil!” It’s the bonds, BR. Joe Knick was filled with news. First, he shared Charlie Bryan’s [’69] column entitled “Reflections on a Reunion – VMI Class of 1969” from the Richmond Times Dispatch (I can email you a copy if you’d like) with Bob Gore and me. Bob reminisced saying, “Jack Kennedy ’69 was my platoon leader. I still remember when they announced he was MIA. I thought of him often over the years and was glad when his remains were recovered. I looked up (his gravesite) when visiting my parents’ gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery.” In a later note, Joe said, “John Sayers and I caught up with our long lost brother rat, George Goodrow, at the Robert E. Lee High School 50th reunion in Staunton, Virginia. After leaving VMI, George worked as a state trooper for five years in the Shenandoah Valley. After three serious incidents in three months, Sharon redirected his career to something safer. George joined the Army and after Basic, Advanced and Jump School, he


Class Notes was supposed to go to the 82nd Airborne. He was surprised when he got orders reading Germany. George spent 22 years in the Army and got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. After the Army, George worked as an airport manager for 11 years. It is hard to believe, but George’s oldest son retired as a master sergeant with 23 years of service. He is now a curator with the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Georgia. His younger son is also an Army retiree with just 20 years. He is now working as an admin assistant to the chief of nursing at the base hospital at Fort Stewart, Georgia. George published a book about his mother-inlaw’s older brother who was killed during World War II as a crewmember on a B-24. Just Google George Goodrow or ‘One Airman’s Story.’ I got a copy and it is a great read. Here is the link: https://” Joe also said, “The Vietnam War Memorial initiative that Terry Bowers ’68 and I were supporting was dedicated March 29, 2019, in Augusta, Georgia (VMI Alumni Review 2018-Issue 3). On July 29, 2019, the benches, soldiers cross and pedestal with plaques were erected. The memorial is complete except for the ongoing laying of bricks around the monument. The Augusta VMI Chapter is planning on laying bricks for each of the 43 alumni who were casualties of the Vietnam War. I was able to start the process with the four members of our dykes’ class, ’69, and one member for the Class of ’71. If anyone wants to support this effort, let me know.” He said, “My wife and my son, Jed ’00, and I attended the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Bedford, Virginia. We met up with Terry Bowers ’68 and saw a lot of VMI hats there.” Thanks for the news, BR – keep it coming! Rich Flowers sent me and Tom Moncure the photo of him and Tom Clingerman ’70 at the 2019 Boy Scouts of America annual meeting in Denver. Rich reminded ’72 Tom that ’70 Tom had been an “Aardvark” (FB-111) jockey, too. Phil Clayton sent along a great note about a program with which I was unfamiliar. “For the last two years, I’ve sponsored a picnic on my farm for Gene Williams’ [’74] (Class of ’74 and outstanding VMI football player) young men in his College Orientation Workshop program. I am sure you know about it, but just in case, every summer he brings about 30 young, inner city fellows to VMI (which provides rooms in the barracks for them) and they spend 30 days of ‘tough love’ from Gene and his very capable staff! They endure a


very rigorous physical regime and a challenging array of classes on math, English (with emphasis on public speaking) and finance! They learn to swim, canoe, shoot bow and arrows, ride horses and all come away very enriched for the experience! As one of the young men stated in his graduation speech, ‘We came to VMI as boys and are leaving as men!’ Gene has had this program going now for 33 years! He’s unselfishly devoted his life for the benefit of these young men! Guys like me, Gerry Acuff ’71, Brian Crockett and others sponsor lunches and pep talks on our farms. Gene and I took all of them on a good hike up House Mountain. They had a blast! Many had never been out in the woods! Check out the information in this website (, and you’ll be amazed like I was! This program ought to be spread throughout the country. The transformation in this these young men is nothing short of extraordinary!” Salutes to all, BR! Rob “Flex” Murray chimed in with this: “Just a brief note to update you on the Murray clan’s current status. I and my lovely bride of well-nigh 40 years are currently occupying our new residence in sunny, sometimes sweltering Lake Wiley, South Carolina. It’s a spacious one level home with a guest room, screened in porch and is conveniently located just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. We are presently hosting daughter Amber, sonin-law Tony and their brute of an English bulldog, appropriately named Bettis! Both daughter and son-in-law are in telecommunications. They will be our guests for the next several months until their new home is completed just down the

road from us. Daughter Shannon (telecommunications also), husband Josh (land management) and grandson Trevor are about 12 minutes away in North Carolina. Son Ryan and girlfriend will visit at the end of the month. Someday we hope to coax both away from the University of Pittsburgh, where Ryan serves as curriculum manager for the medical school and girlfriend, Xiao Ting, is working on her Ph.D. Will welcome visitors to our home after our guests depart.” Standing by, BR. From Bob Patrick: “I was up in Rome, Georgia, today on business – a little city about 75 miles northwest of Atlanta so named because it also sits on seven hills. Anyway, went up into the cemetery after the meeting to put some flowers on the grave of Nicholas J. Bayard ’867, New Market cadet private, Company B, and Class of 1867. Sterling (Spencer) and I go up there from time to time; generally on or about New Market Day. Evidently he’s much forgotten, but not by us – fought at New Market at the tender age of 16. Died in 1882 at the tender age of 34.” You’re good men, BRs. Proud Sicilian, Sal Spada, says, “As you and others may or may not know, I was born in Floridia, Sicily, and immigrated to the United States in 1958 at the age of 8 years old. I always wanted to tour Sicily, and after many years I finally did. We visited many, many cities, and after the tour we stayed in my hometown for four days. The tour was fantastic – the food, scenery, architecture, history, nature (Mount Etna exploded while we were there), tour group! During the tour, I asked the tour guide if she could do a drive-by of the Gulf of Gela, scene of the

Class of 1972: Phil Clayton and Gene Williams ’74, former teammates, at Clayton’s farm. The two joined forces again to hike up House Mountain with the young men in Williams’ College Orientation Workshop. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes service as an auxiliary facility. Jim Roche started those times – well done, BR! allied Sicily landing of World War II. We did that Barry Bartley checked in after Danny and from afar, but she did better than that. She took and Jack Miller joined in to work on her. This is us to the site of Ponte (Bridge) Dirillo battle. A what she looks like today. Jack Miller, pictured Mark’s passings. “Larry, thanks for the note. in the middle, is the first coxswain to sail with her They’ll be missed, for sure. With the passing of battle was fought by elements of the 82nd Airmore BRs since the 45th, I regret even more havin USCG service in 40 years! This is our first ofborne Division, my old Army unit. I have attached some photos. One photo is me holding ficial patrol! In this picture, we are observing a ing had to miss it. The class doesn’t really have 35-foot sunken pleasure boat, and we are looking that many more ‘reunions on the 5s.’ My personal the 82nd Airborne Division flag, (Another) is all the American veterans in my 21 person tour for any oil that might be leaking from her hull. We goal, God willing and World War III doesn’t hapgroup with the caretaker of the site, Cristoforo are in the Banana River in Florida. We serve with pen, is to be able to attend the 200th Anniversary Ventura. (Another) is the plaque of the 39 82nd USCG Station Canaveral.” As the father-in-law of in 2039. It’s 20 years away or four reunions and one-half. troops who died and the fourth photo is a pillbox, a coastie WO, I salute you BR; Semper Paratus! “We saw the Murphys, Ed and Cindy, back Buzz Chacey sent a quick note with his picture: one of several overlooking the fields of fire and bridge. As we drove from city to city, pillboxes “The Ironman in Virginia was absolutely beauti- during Memorial Day weekend. We’re planning ful. I was a qualified finisher which is good for with the Wests and MacMeccans to rendezvous could be seen from on many ridges and hills from me! I am still doing some work for a small group at the Institute the weekend of Sept. 21 to do a the highways. I sent you this for sharing with our BRs, etc. Great, great trip!” And great, great trav- out of Los Alamos, New Mexico.” Check out mini reunion and cheer on the Big Red to victory. Saw Bill Collier at a local alumelogue, BR – thanks! ni function at the Marshall House Ed Mazzanti says, “This is my in Leesburg. I wasn’t aware unvirgin input to class agent notes. til then that he had actually met Only took 47 years – always was General Marshall ’901 in his a bit slow. Just retired at the end youth, or as Joe Pesci would say, of May with 23 years of service ‘Yute.’ as a Department of the Army ci“Anyway, not much from our vilian on top of 23 years active neck of the woods. One-and-aduty in the Army. Loving retirehalf years into retirement, and ment. Playing a lot of soccer we’re enjoying every minute.” with my men’s league in Virginia Amen, BR – I wish I could have Beach and just traveled to Massadone it 25 years ago. chusetts in July with my over-65 Lastly, a BR, who shall remain team for the Veterans Cup. Ellen Class of 1972: Jack Miller, center, as coxswain of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliaand I are getting to spend more ry 30587, patrolling the Banana River near U.S.C.G. Station Canaveral, Florida. anonymous, is ensuring that there are memorial bricks for time with our son, Brian, and his many of our deceased BRs. family. Brian is an Army recruiter in PhiladelPushing my page limit, but let me leave you with phia, so we get to spoil our two grandsons on a an inspiring story from the VMI website (https:// regular basis. Looking forward to some travel fall to the Netherlands where Ellen and I ing-to-go-the-extra-mile.php). It strikes me as a do bike hikes around the country, then later to very refreshing counterpoint to today’s “Me, me, Spain and Morocco by Space-A with our neighlook at me” social culture. bors. Hope to see the gang in Lexington in the “Nattachat ‘Nina’ Srikongyos ’15 recalled not too distant future.” There’s always some place that during her time at VMI, the Ranger Tab was in Lex-Vegas with the light on, BR. held in the highest regard. After watching the first Coast Guard Auxiliary-man extraordinaire, Jack women graduate from Ranger School in 2015, Miller, filled us in on his work as the past Divishe was inspired to join their ranks. Srikongyos sion 17 Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary graduated from Ranger School in November for Station Canaveral. “Back in 1968, remember 2018 to become the eighth woman and the first back that far? A sailboat manufacturer started on Thai-American woman to successfully complete this boat for the U.S. Coast Guard. They figured the training. that they better make it strong, because they were “‘It feels great to have completed Ranger school, building a 30-foot rescue boat, and it would get Class of 1972: Bob and Grace Bailey not because I was only one of a few women, but plenty of long, hard service in the roughest of with Lee and Jerry Higgins celebratbecause I set out a goal and I finally achieved it. seas. 30,587 went into service with the Coast ing the anniversary of their graduation It makes me proud because of what Rangers stand Guard in 1969. In 2018, it was purchased by Jim from VMI in Tampa, Florida. for, because of the men and women who have Roche with plans to restore it and get her back into

2019-Issue 4


Class Notes laid the path and paved the legacy of excellence in what they do and are willing to go that extra mile,’ she said.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to bottle this attitude and issue it across today’s college campuses? OK, that’s a wrap. Thank you so very much for all your news, and keep it coming! Take care of you and yours. Rah Virginia Mil! In the bonds, BRs, Larry

cocktails and dinner on the 21st. Unfortunately, Pat and I will miss that as we will be in Florida, but I hope to get Roland Tiso, Brent Shumate and Jim Heine together that day to celebrate. All three of them live in the Tampa area. Fifty years! Wow! I have been going through the Facebook page on a regular basis and see that Tommy Cates recently posted a picture of The Citadel Bulldog


Mike Kelly

I hope all of you are doing well and had a great summer! It will have cooled down by the time you get this set of notes, and everyone will be working on their holiday plans, shopping, decorating, planning parties and hopefully having some fun time off. Following our usual Fourth of July “mini” family reunion and festivities at the ranch in Virginia, Pat and I were fairly laid back until August rolled around. We attended five rat send-offs and got to meet several of the new cadets from North Carolina and Virginia who matriculated Aug. 17. In mid-August, we planned to travel to the Tampa, Florida, area to visit my son, Derek, and spend some time at Dunedin Beach and hopefully do some fishing, as well as visit my mom and sister and her husband in Tampa. On our way back to Raleigh, we plan to stop over in the Atlanta area for a couple of days with my other son, Scott, and his family. We have a leadership conference and board of directors meeting in Lexington the first weekend of September, then go to the ranch for a work weekend over Labor Day. The end of September, we will be back in Florida, as Derek and Katy are getting married in Daytona Beach, after which we plan to go to Walt Disney World with my two daughters’ families and four of the grandkids! That will be a busy couple of weeks but fun-filled, I’m sure. Aug. 21 was the 50th anniversary of our matriculation date. Tommy Cates was working hard on getting a mini reunion together to celebrate the occasion, and at last count, he had 22 folks signed up. They planned to meet at the Southern Inn for


Class of 1973: Jim Wrenn recently visited Hayneville, Alabama, to see the memorial for Jonathan Daniels ’61. He also visited other historical sites in the state, including the Brown Chapel AME Church and Edmund Pettus bridge.

Class of 1973: Doug Huthwaite recently got together with Brother Rat Jack Hayes and his wife, Sally, in Hillsboro, Virginia. They enjoyed telling old war stories during lunch.

wearing a VMI hat! Great photo, Tom! I also noticed that Mark Skupien posted a picture of his daughter’s wedding and was really happy with his new son-in-law and family addition. Ray Burton has been a faithful Facebook friend. One note of sadness for Ray, however, was that in May, his fiancée/girlfriend of 19 years, Debra Morrow, passed away after a heroic battle with cancer. Our prayers and best wishes go out to you, BR! Bonnie and Tom Clark are working on a holiday trip to Costa Rica and get away from camping for a while. Art Pendleton and Doug Huthwaite also posted some pictures of their recent activities. Doug sent me a picture of him with Jack and Sally Hayes in Hillsboro, Virginia, for lunch and said they enjoyed going down memory lane. Neil and Jennie Carlson have been on the move. In May, they were traveling through the southeast and met with Bill and Linda Spencer in Jacksonville to celebrate New Market Day. He sent me a picture of them having lunch; however, it didn’t come out very well and isn’t published. They also sent me a picture of them having lunch a few days later with M.B. and Mary Adelson in Tallahassee. I think all of them enjoyed being together and talking about the “Old Corps” days. They are still traveling and recently posted pictures of their trip to New York, where they went by the VMI of the north, West Point. Glad you all are having a good time. Roland Tiso is still active with his defense contracting/consulting business. He continues to go overseas on a regular basis and recently sent me a picture of him at a Tajik military compound where he was conducting a unit readiness and logistics requirements inspection for that unit. While Ro continues to work, he said that Judie is really enjoying her retirement, but she has been busy getting ready for the wedding of their daughter, Allie, in October in Pittsburgh. Although staying quite busy himself, Roland continues to train and is planning to be in a body building competition in St. Petersburg Sept. 24. He lives that “never say die” attitude! Way to go, Ro! Keep up the good work. P.X. English and Caroline also continue to stay busy in Greenville, South Carolina. P.X. is the chapter president for the local chapter, which includes western North Carolina/Asheville area. They recently had a rat send-off in Greenville and a get-together in Asheville for

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes the local cadets. Next up is the hosting of the VMI versus Furman game Nov. 9 in Greenville, South Carolina. Hope you all can attend! As a footnote, VMI also played The Citadel in Charleston Oct. 5. There were several Alumni Association activities, and it was a Corps trip. P.X. told me that he and Caroline met Bob and Sharon Bushnell in Danville, Virginia, June 1 for a pleasant lunch in the restored river district. They had a really nice time but came away with a question: What happened to your hay after four years of service at VMI? I hear from Bob occasionally and he and Sharon still live in the Martinsville, Virginia, area. Rick Gribling sent me an update on their summer activities. He and Rebekah spent two weeks in Israel and had an “amazing” trip. Rick said that they went with a group from their church and summed up his visit this way: “Reading the Bible is like watching a black and white movie; visiting Israel is being part of a 3D color panoramic movie!” They also visited their daughter in Scotland and did some hiking in the Loch Ness highlands. He said that next up was preparing their home for a visit from the Scottish inlaws! And he expects some VMI friends and Army buddies to come by, as well. James Wrenn officially retired from Cumming Diesel June 30. Jim lives in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, and wasted no time starting to travel. He recently visited New Orleans and drove through Alabama on the way back. He has always been a big fan of Jonathan Daniels ’61, a divinity student who was murdered during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Jonathan gave his life in the fight for integration and voter registration. Jim visited Jonathan’s memorial in Hayneville, Alabama, as well as the Brown Chapel AME church in Selma where Jonathan went to in 1965 to begin the march for rights. Jim also walked the Edmund Pettus Bridge, site of the “Bloody Sunday” attack Feb. 17, 1965. Thanks for sharing, Jim, and helping to keep Jonathan’s memory alive. The lost brother rat award for this issue goes to John Sterrett. I really can’t

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Class of 1973: While traveling through Florida in spring 2019, Neil and Jennie Carlson had lunch with M.B. and Mary Adelson in Tallahassee, Florida.

Class of 1973: John Sterrett and family prepared to go fishing this summer in the Isle of Palms.

Class of 1973: Roland Tiso continues to work as a defense contractor and consultant. He is pictured here at a Tajik military compound in July, where he was part of a team conducting an evaluation of the unit’s readiness and logistics requirements.

remember when I last heard from John, but he recently sent me a message to say that the VMI alumni have been active in Knoxville. They had an impromptu gathering at one of the favorite watering holes, and he attended the rat send-off at the Gettysvue Country Club. He thought it was a great event and a good way to bring the older and newer alumni together. John said they had been spending time at the beach this summer at the Isle of Palms outside of Charleston. Great hearing from you John, please stay in touch and it is nice to hear you are active with the local chapter. Klaus Worrell posted a Facebook picture of a group of folks getting together at the beach this summer. Looks like they were all having fun. I also had messages from Bill Stephens, who said he was doing well and having a great summer. Bill said he enjoys reading about our BRs and keeping up with folks. I have seen messages from Scott McCarthy and other BRs regarding the gathering Aug. 21. I hope that goes well! Wish I had heard from more of you this summer, and I’ll ask again for you to be sure your information is current in the VMI Ranks. I tried to reach out to some of you directly in the past few weeks to ask you to attend some of the rat send-offs we were having, but your email and phone numbers were wrong in the directory! The Alumni Association has launched a new website that is designed to be more user-friendly and which will allow folks like the class agents to reach out easier and more quickly to their brother rats. Like anything, though, it is only as good as the information it contains and how accurate it is. Please take the time to review your information. Also, I want to remind you that we are now at the end of the year, and VMI is still in need of funding for a variety of things. Please consider looking at the webpage and options you have for providing back to VMI. I’m sure there are areas you would feel comfortable supporting, and you have time to make a year-end tax donation. In fiscal year 2019, we dropped to a class participation rate of 32.5%


Class Notes from 42.1% in 2018. I am very pleased to say, however, that several of you became first time donors this past year and were very generous with your contributions. Thank you! And just a closing remark on funds – did you know that VMI only has enough funds for athletic scholarships to provide about 50% of what is allowed by the NCAA? Just think about that for a minute. There are a lot of great things going on at the Institute, and I hope you will continue to be supportive. The holidays are rapidly approaching. Pat and I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas. Please keep the cards, letters and email coming in. Stay safe out there. In the bonds, Mike


Snookie Parker

Greetings, Brother Rats, Family and Friends of the Class of 1974! The following notes are being composed for the Aug. 15 submission. By the time you are reading these notes, our 45th Reunion will be in our rearview mirror. Here goes: An aloha from Tom Patykula was sent from – of all places – Germany. Tom had linked up with some VMI grads while at the George C. Marshall Center – European Center for Strategic Studies in Germany. Tom was with Pat Schuler ’93 and Manuel Melendez ’87. Tom and Ida celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary in August. Obviously, Tom is still working and says he loves his job in Honolulu at the Asian-Pacific Center for Strategic Studies. Tom Patykula on the cutting edge for strategic studies – who would have thought! Thanks for the note Tom. Mahalo! Grace, Glenn Greene’s better half (and Gene Rice’s sister), received top billing for Savannah Evanoff’s recommended reads this past summer: “If you want to stick with a beach theme, consider Grace Greene’s Christian fiction trilogy composed of “Beach Rental: An Emerald Isle, NC Novel,” “Beach Winds: An Emerald Isle, NC Novel” and “Beach Wedding: An Emerald Isle, NC Novel.”


Grace was also pictured in the Aug. 12 Suffolk News-Harold’s coverage of the sixth annual Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival. Kudos for Grace! Graham “Red” Undercoffer was home in Lexington for a short time this summer but was headed back to the combat zone, the former French West Africa, at the end of June. Red did mention running into a VMI guy in the French Foreign Legion’s Cavalry Regiment in Mali, a young sergeant. Supposedly this young sergeant flunked out his 3rd Class year about the time his parents were going through an ugly divorce. I wonder which is tougher, the Rat Line or the French Foreign Legion? Well, it turns out Red never made it back to the 120-140 degree/no humidity/blowing sand of West Africa. A last-minute change sent Red to the mountain city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – 8,000feet in altitude, wet and cold – a change that has put Red’s attendance to our 45th Reunion in jeopardy. Also, this change in location comes with significant adaptation concerns. Fortunately for Red, our Dr. Andy Young was able to provide a short tutorial on effects to expect at high altitude and what to do if these effects set in. Thank you, Andy. Be safe, Red! I spoke with Donnie Cumberland regarding some memorable stories about his dyke, Jerry Acuff ’71, our 45th Reunion speaker. He quickly remembered a funny story or two; however, he thought that it might not appropriate for mixed company. Donnie agreed to ponder a while to find a story or two that would be fitting for the occasion. An interesting note: Donnie and Barb

are proud owners of the Stone House Mansion (otherwise known as the John Strode House) built in 1757 in Kearneysville, West Virginia, a historic home that is rich in pre-revolutionary war history and is open to the public as an Airbnb. The home is mentioned in the Hite versus Fairfax suit that addressed the question of who can grant land in the new world – Colonial or English governments. The house was purchased from John Strode by Maj. Gen. Adam Stephen (founder of Martinsburg, West Virginia) who fought with George Washington at Fort Necessity and Fort Duquesne and defeated George Washington for a seat in the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1761. Stephen’s daughter inherited the home. There is much more to the home’s history. It is well-appointed, well-managed and well worth a visit: https://www.airbnb. com/rooms/14756137?source_impression_ id=p3_1564155121_vEu7%2BYG3WC13n0yd. Donnie is quite the historian! Thanks, Donnie! Something is happening on the Outer Banks. Phil and Randy Parker have sold their house in Butler, Pennsylvania, and using Penny, local builder Dave Stormont’s better half, as their realtor, they purchased a home in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in June. In addition, Phil and Randy have acquired a new golden retriever puppy named – what else – Banks (not Outer, just Banks). Phil claims he is not retiring; he plans to continue his consulting work from Kitty Hawk. In addition, Pete and Susan Shelley’s house they were building at the Outer Banks is finished, and

Class of 1974: The class contingent on Omaha Beach included, from left, Kerri and T.J. Wilson, Wilson and Anne Johnson, Debbie and Charley Banning, Suzanne and John Pate, Marla and Snookie Parker, Susan and Pete Shelley, Clay and Mike Morrissett, Cherryl and Bert Graham, and Maria and Arnie Leonard. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes years to a wide range of destinaI understand John and Suzanne tions – high end, low end and no Pate have been down for an end. The trip to France this past inaugural housewarming visit. June (otherwise known as the I also understand that Gary and Class of 1974 invasion of NorAlison Trinkle have been splitmandy on the 75th anniversary ting their time between Virginia month of the D-Day) was by far Beach and their cottage on the one of the best ever for several Outer Banks. Marla and I will reasons. First, I can’t say enough have to make a trip to the Outer about how much fun it is to travel Banks and find out what is going with BRs and their wives. The inon at this Carolina coast. I susvading force: T.J. and Kerri Wilpect there is probably some front son, Mike and Clay Morrissett;, porch sittin’ with some amberJohn and Suzanne Pate, Charley colored liquid being consumed and Debbie Banning, Pete and as the sun comes up/goes down. Susan Shelley, Bert and CherI want some of that – some of ryl Graham, Wilson and Anne that good stuff. Johnson, Arnie and Maria LeonDuring the last Sunday in ard, and yours truly and Marla May, John Smithey was treated Class of 1974: During a cruise on the Seine River, less formal diners who gathto a musical phenomenon: BR ered upstairs were, from left, Mike and Clay Morrissett, T.J. and Kerri Wilson, Parker. Second, a river cruise is Bob Benninger was onstage John and Suzanne Pate, Pete and Susan Shelley, Bert and Cherryl Graham, the way to go. Once on board, unthat Sunday evening performing and Snookie and Marla Parker. Not pictured were Charley and Debbie Ban- pack your bags and enjoy. There ning, Arnie and Maria Leonard, and Wilson and Anne Johnson, who were in is no packing, bag drag, unpackwith the Voices of Appalachia, a the formal dining room downstairs. ing as you move from one destichoral music group for the Roanation to another. You tour a locanoke Valley and Southwest Virtion, return to the boat for a first ginia: www.voicesofappalachia. class dinner, have entertainment org. John says they were pretty for the evening, go to bed in some good – “Snaps” for Blockhead! well-appointed rooms and wake In May, Charley and Debbie up the next morning at a new Banning (and others) returned location to tour. There was so from a week on a 45-foot catamuch to do on this trip. Some of maran (sleeps eight) sailing the the highlights: The Eiffel Tower, Caribbean with a crew of two: the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, A crusty old French captain and Champs Élysées, Monet’s home, a 30-something French female Van Gogh’s home, Napoleon and as a first mate doing all the cookJosephine’s estate, and of course ing. The trip began and ended in Normandy (Omaha Beach and St. Martin. The weather dictated the route, which included stops Class of 1974: Brother rats after lunch at the Omaha Beach Golf and the cemetery). I have to tell you Country Club were, from left, T.J. Wilson, Mike Morrissett, Snookie – it is one thing to read about in in St. Kitts, Nevis and St. Barts – Parker, John Pate, Pete Shelley, Charley Banning, Bert Graham, Arnie the history books or see it in the sunrise, sunburn, sunset, repeat! Leonard and Wilson Johnson. movies, but it is quite something Tough life. I’m surprised they came back to the crowds of D.C. (road, ponds, power, water, septic tank), build a else, emotionally, to stand there at a German pill In July, I met Pete Shelley and Bob Frank at house, plant trees, etc., etc. How about a pavilion box, view Omaha Beach and imagine the carnage. It was a death sentence for most of the invading the monthly VMI Raleigh Chapter senior alumni with an outhouse – visions of one’s own version of breakfast. It was a healthy gathering, and ’74 was Zollman’s right there in your backyard, to include force. And you visit the cemetery where more the largest contingent. flashbacks of days gone by. Maybe not! Pat just than 10,000 young American soldiers lie at Also in July, after years of searching and assesscalled to get Russ Harlow’s number – he and Sue rest, one cannot help but be moved. It just grabs ing, Pat and Sue Flynn closed on 42 acres in Rock- are headed to Lexington to tend to some of that in- your heart. And what is pleasantly surprising is bridge County to be the Flynn’s Family Farm. I do frastructure associated with his family farm – and how Americans are so warmly welcomed by the not think they plan to leave their home on St. Au- wanted to check in with Lexington resident Russ French in Normandy – genuine, heartfelt warmth. Too much to talk about here regarding this trip. gustine Beach, Florida, anytime soon. Pat is now Harlow – maybe Russ and Mary Stuart’s Airbnb? in the planning process to establish infrastructure Marla and I have taken a number of trips over the You will no doubt have heard more about the trip

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Class Notes at the reunion. I have already had a number of BRs inquire about the next trip – some who attended this trip and several who had not but would like to go on the next one. We’ll have to think about where next! Shoot for 2021, stand by. The only downside for me personally was that a day or two before we boarded for the cruise, my left knee had swollen to a point I could barely walk. Fortunately for me, we were staying in a

Class of 1974: Charlie “Puna” Toler and Bob “Snowflake” Smith reconnecting in Denver, Colorado.

Class of 1974: Tom Patykula, Pat Schuler ’93 and Manuel Melendez ’87 linked up at the George C. Marshall [’901] European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch, Germany. 106

boutique hotel near the Latin Quarter in Paris with T.J. and Kerri Wilson. T.J. had packed a knee sleeve and walking sticks just in case he might need them – which he graciously allowed me use to get around until Marla could locally procure crutches, which she did just before boarding the boat. And then, seeing my predicament, Suzanne Pate and Clay Morrissett came to the rescue with a miracle cream they gave me to be rubbed on the swollen area. Voltaren – a prescription gel in the States, over-the-counter gel in France. Believe it or not – I boarded needing two crutches to move about, after two days with this miracle gel, I was down to one crutch and by cruise end, I could walk without crutches. I saw an orthopod upon return to the States – a torn meniscus – which several on the trip had predicted and some had actually experienced. Working to get it repaired as of this writing. We’ll let all know how successful the repair was at the reunion. Charlie “Puna” Toler and wife Tommie are on a quest to run a half-marathon in all 50 states. They have 36 to their credit with three more to add in August. They were in Denver, Colorado, to add No. 37 to their tally and remembered Bob Smith lived in the area. A chance call resulted in a rendezvous with the infamous “Snowflake” and a quick stroll down memory lane ... I suspect while consuming some frothy cool liquid – the breakfast of champions! Snowflake looked so much younger than Puna – what’s up with that? On Aug. 10, Marla and I participated in the Raleigh area rat send-off held at Five County Stadium, home of the Carolina Mudcats. It was a healthy crowd of alum, current Keydets, and incoming rats and their respective family members. Got to catch up with Kent and Brenda Wheeless. Kent is back on the refereeing circuit for high school volleyball and softball. Kent did mention a reunion schedule conflict in that a family wedding has been scheduled for that same weekend. He said he might come for a portion of the reunion. Brenda, an accountant for the hospital in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, has submitted her retirement papers and will be retired by the time you are reading these notes. She did mention the hospital was quick to entice her to stay on for a while – maybe in a part-time status. I sensed she had other things she wants to do, so I’m thinking Brenda working at the hospital, even part-time, is probably not an option. Even though the Cats lost 2-zip, a fun time was had by all. Kudos to Kent Wheeless for coordinating this All-American

hot dogs and hamburgers baseball rat send-off. You’re the man! Lost ring story. Some 30-plus years ago, Walt Wilson was teaching ROTC at Western Carolina University. One summer, the WCU ROTC faculty accompanied the ROTC students to Fort Bragg summer camp. While there, Walt dropped his ring and cracked the stone (been there, done that and got the T-shirt). He took the ring to a local jeweler in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to see if it could be repaired. Within a week, Walt received a call from the jeweler informing him that the store had been broken into and robbed, and his ring was among the items taken. Walt had figured his ring was gone for good – in some pawn shop or melted down and the gold sold. Years later, Walt inquired as to the cost of replacing the ring and, considering the expense (well over $1,000), he passed on getting a replacement. The last week in July 2019, a lady from Florida contacted the Institute regarding a 1974 class ring that was among the lady’s father’s personal items. Seems that the father supposedly found the ring on the beach in Florida. The father had passed away 10 years ago and the lady, with her aging mother, was going through some of the father’s things, found the ring and thought she should/could get the ring back to the rightful owner. Using what was still legible of the inscription on the inside of the ring, they narrowed down the likely owner to Walt. The Institute contacted Walt. Walt called the lady to discuss the mysterious ring. Walt described his ring with the cracked stone when it was last in his possession. Turns out the ring in question had a cracked stone just as Walt described. It was, in fact, Walt’s ring. He offered to pay for shipping, insurance and whatever expense was associated with getting the ring back. The lady insisted that nothing was required. Walt did get the father’s favorite charity and intends to send a donation. Walt got his ring back. The cracked stone was still in the ring. He is now working on getting a new stone and getting it resized – sems like the ring somehow shrunk over the years. Great story, Walt! Sad news – Continue to keep John McLaren in your prayers. In May, Diane McLaren passed after a long fight with three types of cancer. She was a courageous lady and will be missed. More sad news – Brother Rat Richard “Rick” Remensnyder passed away July 23, 2019. Rick was still working at the time and living in Boones Mill, Virginia. Bill “Misto” Shumate and Robert

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes “Kid” Fulks, Rick’s roommates, took charge of his final arrangements, as Rick did not have a lot of family left – an 80-year-old sister living in Florida. An effort to have a brick in his honor placed for reunion is ongoing as of this writing. The timing is a challenge; however, if it can be done, it will be done, thanks to Misto and Kid. I’ll end on a happy note hot off the presses: Pete and Susan Shelley just announced the arrival of their first grandchild. Are they happy and proud ... or what? Congrats! Email, Charley Banning or Kevin Nettrour (our webmaster) Check out the website. Send me a note. Yada, yada, yada and Yaba daba dooooo! Warm Regards, Snookie


Robert Keller

and his family. September saw the release of the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” and in October, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” first aired. Wendy’s opened in November, and December saw the first lottery draft to occur in the U.S. since World War II. The first date was Sept. 14. This event had some effect on my decision to attend the Institute. Well, enough of going down memory lane, so let’s see what’s happening today. In May of this year, the Keydet Club held their annual Jeff Morgan ’80 Leadership Outing, and our class was well represented. The Friday golf event at the Lexington Golf & Country Club had Oliver Way, Chip Louthan, Doug Harvey and Glenn Furr on one team; Mark Hall and Tom Mason were on another team with two members of the Class of ’02; and a third team included Steve Chapin, Mike Hunter, Billy Hunter and Allen Morgan. Later that evening at the dinner in Moody Hall, Art Nunn arrived to hear all the stories of outstanding golf shots. It was reported that Tom Mason’s team finished second and Steve Chapin’s team finished third. Each received prize money. Oliver Way’s team finished a distant fourth and received nothing, though I am sure all had a good time. Thanks BRs for representing your class. Getting second, third and fourth place finishes for the golf outing is quite respectable, as this was a pretty well-attended event. Sam Moultrie sent a note letting me know that he and Robin spent several weeks in Israel this past May. He said that it was a fantastic trip and that they both had a great time. I heard from Rick Law on the Fourth of July. He and Pario Lee had a great time on their visit to China. They traveled from Beijing in the east to Tibet in the west and back to Shanghai via planes, trains and boats down the Yangtze River. Dawg reports that China is quite a different place with the Chinese government building skyscraper condos

Class of 1975: Dean Armstrong was in Guadalcanal in mid-August, where he worked on the location of Sgt. John Basilone’s fox hole. Basilione was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Guadalcanal Campaign.

It seems that this past year has been filled with remembrances of events that happened 50 years ago in 1969. We all were somewhere between our sophomore and junior year in high school. And you know what? There was a lot of stuff going on then. I checked out Wikipedia and cherry picked several of the more notable items (at least for me) on the list. January saw the first Led Zeppelin alClass of 1975: Randy Frank and Doug Conbum released in the United States. February and te in front of the Yavapai Courthouse in March recorded the first flight of the Boeing 747 Prescott, Arizona, in July. and the Concorde. The Concorde no longer flies, everywhere. He observed definite signs of censorand the 747 is not far behind. In April, the Students ship and surveillance cameras everywhere. Next for a Democratic Society seized the administraplanned trip is out west to Salt Lake and Breckention building at Harvard. The movie “Midnight ridge and Denver, Colorado. Cowboy” was released in May, and the John and Cathy Maples recently reStonewall riots occurred in New York turned from a vacation in Spain and PortuCity in June. July was especially memogal, where they enjoyed the sights, sounds rable because of the “One small step for and tastes of both countries. John said that man and one giant leap for mankind” the two countries and the people were just moon landing that fulfilled Kennedy’s wonderful. They joined up with Dan and challenge. Unfortunately, it was the same Laura Schultz in Portugal to explore Pormonth of the Chappaquiddick incident. to, Lisbon and the surrounding countryAugust was graced with the Woodstock side. John and Cathy are looking forward Festival, which proved to be another out to seeing everyone at the next reunion. of this world event. I am curious; did anyClass of 1975: Dan Schultz and John Maples near Porto, Rick and Stella Davison are enjoying reone in our class attend? Also in August, Portugal, in May 2019. tirement and are traveling whenever they the world learned about Charlie Manson

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Class Notes Ollie and Bonnie Way are excited to welcome that month, they got to visit with Greg and Melody can. They particularly enjoyed the mini reunion in Williamsburg where Rick was able to reunite with their sixth grandchild into the family in November. Diamontopulos. They met in Fredericksburg, had his roommates, Ellett Smith and Scott Risser, and Barrett and Jessi Way ’08 are expecting their sixth lunch at the German restaurant in the old train statheir wives. Rick and Stella’s most recent adven- child, and the grandparents can’t wait. Oliver and tion and then walked the old town streets. Ellett ture was to spend time in the backcountry of the Bonnie are planning their next trip and are headed reports that his Ph.D. son now has a good job with Philmont Scout Ranch where Rick taught geology to one of their favorite destinations, Italy, with an- Kaiser and that things are looking up for him. He notes that his retirement is letting him do all of the other couple in September. to hikers as they toured an historic gold mine. Ellett Smith wrote to let me know that he and things he could never get around to when he was Our BR Glenn Garland sent one of his collectable homemade postcards and filled me in on Fran are keeping busy since he retired. They had a working. Good for you, BR. Bill Robson reports that this past quarter has not his most recent adventure. Glenn, along with Jim great time this past May at the class mini reunion Seitz and three other friends, signed up for and in Williamsburg and returned several months later been as good as it could be. Bill is caring for his mother, and he ended up getting a serious case of rode the Bon Ton Roulet, which is a seven-day with Scott and Barb Risser to see all the items of bicycle tour through the Finger Lakes Region of interest in Williamsburg they missed while they the flu as a result of accompanying her on a visit New York state. Typical distance for each day is were reminiscing with their BRs. They had a blast to the emergency room. It took him six weeks to between 45-50 miles. Glenn notes that the event even though the weather was considerably hotter. recover despite getting a yearly flu shot. He says Later in July, he met up with Ronnie Norman and that the only good thing out of this is that he lost 10 brochure did not mention much about the heat, the hills, the rain and the traffic that would be en- Tad MacGowan in Vienna for dinner, and later pounds. What a way to lose weight. Then May 8 and June 26, he had stents put in countered along this course. And both of his carotid arteries. With considering the advancing years the improved blood flow to his of the members of this team, this brain, he is forgetting less and was a challenge for these guys, physically doing better with his aka the Soggy Bonton Boyz. overall health. After all of this, But they all survived and had a he and Edith were finally able to good time. Glenn says the motto make their summer visit to their for their trip was, “Let the good place in The Villages in central times roll.” We can always count Florida. They had lunch with on an interesting update from Larry and Fran Groome, who Glenn. Thanks, BR. retired and moved to the area in Guy Conte checked in to let me April. Later in August, they had know that he and Mary escaped plans to meet up with Larry and the heat of Phoenix and enjoyed Fran and Larry and Kathy Henthe summer in Seattle. Since Guy dry for lunch. is now retired and has more free Robert Mills starred in the role time, he has agreed to return to of father of the bride in July as the VMI Alumni Association his daughter, Valerie, was marboard. He planned to attend the Class of 1975: Rick and Stella Davison join cast members at the Cypher’s Mine Camp located on the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. They ried to Chris Dales July 29 at the Sept. 7 board meeting in Lexare not in period costume. Cavalier Golf and Yacht Club in ington, which coincided with the Mars Hill versus VMI football game and looked forward to seeing other members of the class who attend that game. Later in September, he and Mary planned to travel to Germany to attend the change of command ceremony for son Chris Conte ’11 as he moves on from his Air Defense Artillery Patriot Missile battery commander position. Chris will be returning stateside after his three-year tour of duty in Germany. Guy and Mary are really looking forward to attending the Nov. 8-10 regional mini reunion in Houston. Guy says that it should be a great event and that Bill Turpin, Charlie Collins, Class of 1975: Ron Bongiovanni, Rob Taylor, Mike Hunter, Steve Strickler ’68, Andy T.P. Ridley, Rick Davison, Harley Myler, Mackie Dearman, Edward Mills’07, Robert Mills, Ben Vanderberry and Allen Morgan supShiflett and Danny Heiken are all doing a fantasporting bride Valerie Mills on her wedding day in Virginia Beach in July. tic job of putting this event together.


VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes Virginia Beach, Virginia. Valerie and Chris live in Oxford, England, where he works in Information Technology and she works in marketing for Oxfam. Those attending from VMI were, Ron Bongiovanni, Rob Taylor, Mike Hunter, Steve Strickler ’68, Edward Mills ’07 (Robert’s son), Andy Dearman, Ben Vanderberry and Allen Morgan. Robert reports that our BRs were tearing up the dance floor until almost midnight when they were kicked out and shut the place down. Sounds like a Zollman’s party. Robert’s next adventure will be for him and Babs to witness the U.S. Open in New York City over Labor Day and to spend Christmas in Australia. I got an anonymous tip that Ben Vanderberry took off on a cross-country road trip with his son Ben Vanderberry ’15. Ben (the pilot) has completed his flight duties at Naval Station Norfolk. His next assignment is on the West Coast, and Ben (our BR) is going to drive along. Heard that they may stop once or twice for a beer or martini. Sound like a great summer diversion and road trip. Baseball is what keeps Rick Hening on the go in spring and summer. Rick completed his first year as an usher for the Carolina Mudcats in August. Rick and Suzanne attended several Mudcat games on nights Rick has not been scheduled to work. He has also enticed Suzanne to go with him to Wilson, North Carolina, and see the Wilson Tobs, a college developmental league team which plays in the Coastal Plains baseball league. Rick balances baseball with Suzanne by attending concerts and plays. Rick and Suzanne went to Disney’s Mulan Jr. (Mulan Jr. is a part of the Music Theatre International’s Broadway Junior series which adapts larger musicals and Disney productions to shortened musicals), and they also attended “Annie.” Rick and Suzanne saw the band Parmalee in concert at the Nashville Blooming Festival where they had volunteered at their church’s booth earlier in the day. Most recently, Rick and Suzanne went and saw Eagle Wings, a tribute band that played all The Eagles’ songs. Rick and Suzanne have hosted their grandsons several times, plus Suzanne went and stayed with the three boys while their parents went to Florida for a conference. In late June, Rick and Suzanne and their son, Sam, traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the 2019 Down Syndrome Conference. The conference was great; however, a huge highlight was a tour of Heinz Field, home of the Steelers, which happen to be Rick’s favorite NFL team. No sooner had they returned from that trip, they were off again

2019-Issue 4

to Clarksville, Georgia, and the Apple Valley Resort. The Henings rendezvoused with some good friends from Texas, and visited Anna Ruby Falls, Toccoa Falls and Tallulah Gorge State Park. From Clarksville they made a stop in Royston, Georgia, to tour the Ty Cobb Baseball Museum on the way to Jones Creek, Georgia, and the Cochran family reunion (Suzanne’s side of the family). After the reunion, one would think the Henings would slow down. However, it was now time for the two oldest grandsons to come to Rocky Mount, North Carolina, for a week. Coltin (oldest) attended a Minecraft camp at Nash Community College, and Grandpa Rick took Ashton to the YMCA for private swimming lessons. In between camp and swimming lessons, Rick and Suzanne took the boys to see “The Secret Life of Pets 2” (Ashton only), “Toy Story 4” (both) and “Lion King” (both). Also, Rick took Ashton to a Carolina Mudcats versus Down East Wood Ducks baseball game in Kinston, North Carolina. The grand finale of the grandsons staying with Rick and Suzanne was a trip to western North Carolina and Weaverville, where they stayed in an Airbnb. Rick had learned about the Marshall Rodeo and wanted to expose the boys to something a little different from their Fortnite games. They all had a blast. Ashton was a participant in the sheepriding event and placed second. Ashton was also in the entry parade at the start of rodeo. Grandpa Rick and Grandmama Suz also took the boys to the birthplace of Zebulon Vance, a two time former governor of North Carolina, and then on to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Suzanne and Rick are getting ready for North Carolina Wesleyan to get back in full swing. Suzanne remains being the international student assistant coordinator, and Rick will be serving as a volunteer helping transport students when they arrive in Raleigh to the campus in Rocky Mount. Rick attended the Raleigh Chapter VMI rat send-off Aug. 10, and Rick and Sam attended the North Carolina state football victory night at Carter-Finley Stadium Aug. 13. Rick plans to attend the Summer Slam with guest speaker former Boston Red Sox player Trot Nixon and will fill his Friday nights starting Aug. 23 through Nov. 8 with regular season high school football games and hopefully on to the playoffs. Tom Dashiell connected with Rick in hopes they could connect; however, it was not possible. Tom thought Rick still lived in Hickory, North Carolina. However, Tom shared he’s up and down I-95, and a future hook-up in Rocky Mount could happen in the future. Rick has marked Saturday, Sept. 7, as a

potential trip to Lexington for the Mars Hill versus VMI football game. Thanks, Rick, for the update. Randy Frank sent a nice email telling me about the latest adventures and directions that he and Terry are headed. As you may remember, he, Terry and the dogs moved from the Pacific Northwest, where they had resided for some 16 years, to Roanoke to return to the East Coast and be nearer to Randy’s BRs and roommates thinking this would be their last move. Well, Randy says, life has a way of intervening. The Franks have a condo in Hilo, Hawaii, and they have made the decision to make their permanent home on the Big Island. They think that they are just not well adapted to living on the East Coast after spending the last 34 years west of the Mississippi or just maybe they are the proverbial rolling stones who are always looking over the next hill. He apologizes to his roommates Artie Nunn, Dave Schuyler and Mike Fleenor for his erratic behavior and moving after only a year in the Star City. Randy says that he is a restless soul in his 7 decade. He goes on to say that he really has never retired and that he still is working in the Bellingham area. He ended up working as a locum physician in Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri and Washington for the past 12 months. What helped seal the deal was an offer from Hawaii Permanente Medical Group in Hilo. He has only agreed to a six-month contract, as he is uncertain if he wants to return to full time employment. He adds that if you have to ponder a decision like that what better place to do it than Hawaii. Terry and he will certainly miss the hospitality all of his roommates have shown over the past year. He has attended more VMI athletic events with the guys then he ever had post cadetship. They really loved getting together for dinner with Art, Judy, Dave and Tana throughout the year. Mike was even able to make the three-hour trip up from Bristol for some of the socials. Mike also took care of his BR when Randy had work in Lebanon, Virginia, by putting him up, sharing a meal or two and having him as his guest at a medical staff dinner where Randy says he had some of the best hospital fare that he has ever had. Randy was also able to pay a visit to Doug Conte and Monica in July after Doug moved earlier this year from Oceanside, California, to Prescott Valley, Arizona. He reports that Doug has outdone himself this time, having a ranch in the Old West with spectacular views in a roomy, comfortable home. Doug, who is quite the gourmet cook, now has the kitchen of his dreams. Best of luck to you and Terry, and never


Class Notes an MBA in investments and will probstop looking over the next hill. ably get a job outside the Richmond area. Finally, I received a short text and picNick said, “Roanoke ... is a much slower ture from Dean Armstrong who, at the pace, cooler than Richmond, especially time (early August), was on the island of at night, and tucked between beautiful Guadalcanal doing what appeared to be mountains and seems for a corporate some archeological work on the foxhole gypsy like me a good place to retire.” site that was manned by U.S. Marine Mack Curle has been busy this sumCorps Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone durmer. Mack said, “Vacation Bible school ing the Battle for Henderson Field in the at church, mission trip to Kentucky, Guadalcanal Campaign. Basilone was some vacation trips to various places awarded the Medal of Honor for his ac(always including a battlefield or two tions here and later received the Navy for me) and so forth. We did go down Cross posthumously for extraordinary heroism during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Class of 1976: In Company F rat run in 1972 were Tom Watjen, to Columbia, South Carolina [in July] ... Dino adds that Basilone was under the 1st rank; Bill Neal and Jim Dittrich, 2nd rank; Rich Hayes, Jim to see our son’s promotion ceremony to command of then-Lt. Col. Chesty Puller Brown and John Dorsey, 3rd rank; Kavie Thrift, Bill Brown, Bill major.” Jeff Ratliff recently moved to Wil’921, who attended VMI for one year in Favier and Rocky Glass, 4th rank; and Duff Joseph, 6th rank. liamsport, Maryland, on the Potomac 1917. Hats off to Dino who just underRiver where he works at the Amazon fulfillment went knee surgery this year, and here he is digcenter. ging foxholes in Guadelcanal. Congratulations to Ray Brooks! In June, Ray Well, my brothers, the box is empty. I do want reported the birth of his first grandchild – Jaxon to add one more thing. When you read this, our Ray Brooks – 6 pounds, 0 ounces, at 18 inches. Houston mini reunion will be a thing of the past. Carson (Ray’s younger son), mom and baby are At this time, though, it is well into the planning doing fine. stages. I just wanted to echo Guy’s comments Andre Koneczny reported his nephew, Cadet above. The Houston team is doing a fantastic William Koneczny ’20, will begin his 1st Class job, and I am sure this event will take up space year Aug. 27. Andre said, “I think [William] in my next write-up. said he is the 1st Battalion S-3. I am not sure as Take care, my brothers. they had a shuffle right at the end of last semesIn the spirit, ter. Even though we are super busy here, I’m Bob


William Bhatta

Hi, Brother Rats! These notes were written Aug. 15. Mark Sculley checked in from Utah. Mark said, “You wouldn’t believe all the RVs out here. Finding a house with a two-car garage is tough, they all have three, one for the RV.” Mark stays in touch with Jake Berberich and J.R. Mott frequently. At the time of Mark’s communication, he had started a 2,700-mile road trip to British Colombia (Vancouver and Vancouver Island), planned to cross back into Washington at Port Angeles, then travel through Oregon and Idaho before returning home to Salt Lake City, Utah. Nick and Shelia Tarzia bought a home in


Class of 1976: Keith Dickson playing for the Navy alumni team at this year’s lacrosse tournament in Vail, Colorado. Daleville, Virginia (north of Roanoke). By the time you read these notes, they’ll be moved and settled into their new home. The move from Ashland to Daleville is a good fit for the Tarzias: Sheila’s parents live in Natural Bridge and need their assistance; Sheila’s cousins live in the Roanoke area; their daughter, Brittany, relocated to the area and works as a case counselor while pursuing a master’s degree at Liberty University; and Nick Jr. just completed

Class of 1976: Dexter Gilliam, class president, with the president of the Class of 1946, Dr. M.B. “Mac” Lacy, at Lacy’s 95th birthday party. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes sure we will find time in the fall to head down to VMI to see him.” An update from Ares Koumis. Last summer Ares was waiting for a table at a Village Inn (a family restaurant located throughout Colorado). He was wearing a VMI shirt. Ares said, “Guy comes up and says, ‘Todd Patnesky [’89]. New in town, reserve Army O6, looking for work.’ I just happened to be a government overseer of a contract that had an opening we had trouble filling. After a few weeks of back and forth, I convinced my boss to give ‘oh God, another VMI grad colonel’ a chance. In the past year, Todd made such a good name for himself that when this contract expired, he was hired by one of the more prestigious national names in military support contracts to continue working in space systems cybersecurity at Headquarters, Air Force Space Command ... right down the cube aisle from me. There is a network, and it works.” By the time you read these notes, Ares’ younger son, Greg, will have started his three-year master’s of fine arts – film, at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. His oldest son, Andrew, is at home in Colorado, working at a local Catholic parish. Andrew hopes to start a graduate degree in counseling early next year. Dave Heatwole visited the Richmond area in July – Dave lives in Washington. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, he was unable to meet his BR welcoming committee: Michelle and I, Rocky and Betsy Glass, Lee Godsey and Jim Mallon at a local eatery for drinks and supper one evening. So, we met anyway, had a great time and told war stories. In a previous class note, I reported Jim Mallon retired from Dominion Energy. Well, he did, then changed his mind. Jim now works for Raymond Engineering – “Raymond,” as in Ray Ramos, president of the company! As for myself, I am enjoying my retirement from Altria, staying busy at home and in Colorado. I executed several short-range RV trips in Virginia and North Carolina this past spring and summer to work out RV living kinks. In October, Michelle and I will RV to Kentucky and visit all of the distilleries along the Bourbon Trail. So, if there are no class notes in the next issue of the Alumni Review – I must submit them in November – please start searching for me along the Bourbon Trail. Until the next time, enjoy all your holidays. Wish you the best for the remainder of 2019!

2019-Issue 4


Mark Bryant

Greetings, Brother Rats! Once again, I write these notes for you all a few months before you see them. It is mid-August here in Lexington, and we have been preparing to receive the new intake of rats on Matriculation Day, the 17th. Always a busy time around here as the staff and faculty gear up for another fall semester, and we also have been in a considerable amount of construction activity on post. As I write this, there are still quite a few construction fences, cranes, excavators and so on everywhere you look. The city of Lexington has been replacing ancient water and sewer mains all over town this summer, and the work has reached VMI, where you can see considerable digging and trenching in front of barracks and all around the Parade Ground. Complicating all this is the effort to do scheduled and emergency maintenance and renovations. The boilers in the steam plant are being replaced, a portion of the stoops and stairwells in Old Barracks needed repairs, and there is extensive activity at Scott Shipp Hall and Preston Library as those buildings are now in the midst of scheduled renovations, which will continue for quite some time. So there are a lot of construction trailers and fenced off zones around those buildings. In addition, you may have seen, the old BOQ building right by Letcher Avenue limits gates was torn down. It had been used as the VMI police building but had become structurally unsound. A new building is planned for that site to house the VMI police in a more modern facility for their operations. The Corps and faculty/staff are all receiving new utility/camouflage uniforms this year to replace the old Army combat uniforms that the Army discontinued. You will see them in the new Operational Camouflage Pattern that the Army and Air Force now wear – with VMI insignia, of course. I have had some communications from BRs over the summer. I got word through the prayer group that Chip Davis was recovering from some health issues and was grateful for the prayers on his behalf. Tim Mitchell has also been getting stronger

and recovering from his challenging esophageal surgery. Thankfully, I have not heard of any other serious health issues among our class. Steve Billingsley retired from civilian service at the Pentagon recently and has removed himself for retirement to Missouri. He has located right outside of Fort Leonard Wood. I am sure we will still see him in Lexington on a regular basis. Mike and Debbie Davis posted some great pictures of themselves touring in London and Ireland. Rich and Diane Howell were traveling in that area about the same time. Steve and Denise Neas continued some very impressive backpack hikes in

Class of 1977: Mark Bryant gave his new grandson, James, his first inspection.

Class of 1977: Mark Bryant and Steve Kelly in North Carolina. 111

Class Notes status from around the class. the mountains out west. Wish I could post Mikey McCarthy: “The plane is still some of the pictures from Facebook, but sliding but not spinning any longer. I have they just do not have enough data to use in moved up to Aberdeen Proving Grounds the Review here. and taken over as the chief of plans and Steve and Mauri Kelly were kind operations (in the ancient days we called enough to host me and my wife, Caryl, it the G-3/5/7) for the network cross funcat their lake house in North Carolina for tional team. Leave it to the Army to put a few days. Lots of fun in the water and a gunner in as the plans and ops guy for great time to catch up. Tick seems to have modernizing tactical comms, networks gotten the whole retirement thing right. and mission command systems and comBy the time you see this, we should be mand posts. I did have a bit of excitement. about to play football at West Point. AlMy sergeant major came into the vault to ways a good time. BR Bob Gutjahr was pull me out of a meeting. A police officer making arrangements for game tickets and asked for my aide and to follow him. As a ’77 tailgate for the game day. I know we are walking out of the office, he says many BRs were making plans for the trek to the Hudson. Let us hope we see a good Class of 1977: Retired U.S. Army Col. Mark Bryant presented there has been an accident. Not a happy game! a retirement certificate to his former student, U.S. Army thing to ever hear. Turns out, a FedEx tracLee Foresman was apparently cleaning Col. Matt MacNeilly ’94, for 25 years of service to the nation. tor trailer had decided to cut through the parking lot and had managed to run over out his house in August, and he sent me the original artwork that Jostens sent us in 1974 of his cadetship. I departed in 1994 after commis- my truck parked in front of my building. The estimated repair cost was about $9,200. No one depicting the design of our class ring. I am looking sioning him and several of his BRs. to see if the VMI Archives or the Alumni AssociaMatt decided to come back to VMI after 25 years except my Avalanche was injured. I then asked if tion are collecting this sort of thing, but I will keep of active duty to do his retirement ceremony with I was going to get a ticket because my truck was it safe at any rate. It might even appear somewhere his family and the help of his BRs. He asked me to sprawled out across two and a half parking places at our next reunion. help him end what I helped him start. Matt had an with truck bits scattered every direct within 15 meI enjoyed the summer mostly off post here in the exceptional career as an Army infantry officer, and ters. On the plus side, nothing was broken this time valley. Welcomed two new grandchildren in May it was truly my pleasure to be a part of the journey. when I moved.” Bil Greg reported back in May, “So far, curand June, so of course also got two more proviI hope by the time you get these notes in Norently golf week at Massanutten, Virginia, then sional appointments in the works! vember, everyone is still thriving. I appreciate any I also had the great privilege of presiding at the notes or communications you can send, even a San Diego to visit mom for her 85th, then a niece’s Army retirement ceremony of one my former stushort one to let me know you are still reading these wedding in Oregon, then a trip to St. John U.S. Virgin Islands with the family!” dents in June. Col. Matt MacNeilly ’94 was one of notes. Photos are always good, too. Tim Fredrickson: “Here in Charlottesville, all the cadets I taught as an instructor/TAC during my All my best to you, BRs! right!” Army ROTC tour here at VMI for the four years Mark Bob Jenvey: “All right in Richmond. This past Aug. 1, I retired after 32 years in fixed income investment sales, most recently with Royal Bank Tom Brown of Canada Capital Markets. Plan is to take a few months off for R&R, then start a retirement job of an undetermined nature.” Mark McKissick: “Room 161 is having its annual Smith Mountain Lake at Tom and Ginger Tanner’s house. Greg and Judy Gearhart and Salutations, Brother Rats! I hope all had a pleasant summer and were able with Mark and Ann-Ashby McKissick will repto avoid the heat. I realize as you read this it is resent 161. Dave Lucado is currently living in fall, and the heat is hopefully a fond memory. Cortona, Italy, for most of the year and won’t With a bit of luck, some of you have been able to be able to make it. Allen and Susan Moore will make it to a sporting event this fall, go Big Red! also join the group. We’ve all been getting toIt is difficult to believe 45 years ago we were gether for at least 15 years. Our time together is Class of 1977: BRs gathered for a merats longing for Thanksgiving break to get here. always the highlight of our summer. The Tanmorial golf event in Lexington to celI greatly appreciate your status reports thereby ners always have lots for us to do, especially ebrate the life of BR Ralph George. making these notes easier to convey, now for the with activities on the lake.”



VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes Scott Brewster: “Just checking in. Laura and I were married 43 years in July. We are two-and-ahalf years into a four year master’s in marriage and family therapy at Bethel Seminary, San Diego. We will practice together after graduation. Our oldest son, Chris, turns 42 tomorrow! Our youngest son, Michael, turned 37 this year! What? Our four grandkids live nearby. Laura and I have been taking trips in our Cessna 182 turbo-RG (retractable gear) across the west. I have two years left at Southwest Airlines before the feds time me out. Based in LAX, I have been doing a bunch of our new Hawaii flying lately. So far, we have successfully found the island chain every time.” Tom Sliwoski: “All present and accounted for. While downsizing, I came across my old slide rule. Was thinking of what to do with it besides throw it in the trash then looked at eBay. Advertised it and got $28. Both shocked and pleasantly surprised.” Tony Pileggi: “All is well with the Pileggi family. Spent last Saturday with the Kays and the McCampbells at a pool party hosted by the Kays. A good time was had by all. I may have had a bit more bourbon than I should have. I bought an airplane. I am going to change the registration number to 78VM. (78 Virginia Mil), can’t do 78VMI the number can’t end in more than two letters.” Leland Horn: “All right here in rainy Florida.” Scot Singletary: “All well here in Greenville, South Carolina. We have a second home at Folly Beach, just south of Charleston, South Carolina, and see quite a bit of Bruce and Johnsie Mason there. We just got back from a couple of weeks on the island of Nevis in the West Indies, where Bruce and Johnsie joined us for four days. A fun time was had by all and much rum was consumed. We had invited Pat and Laura Wilson to join us, but they couldn’t make it. In retrospect, that was probably a good thing. You know how Pat tends to get out of hand around rum; or any other alcoholic beverage for that matter.” Garry Brumback: “All is well in Treasure Island. Jennifer and I are happy to be back in Florida and close to my dad. We had an additional pleasant surprise when my sister moved here from Buffalo; all is good!” Mike Eaton: “All OK in Augusta, Georgia. Retirement is great. My golf game is suffering because I am consulting in North Carolina but hope to change that soon. Cold Steel Charlie!” John Tucker: “All right and recently retired after a 41-year career!” Jay Hutt: “Yo, all good here. We had a ball with

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son John’s wedding in May. Lots of family and friends together for a really great weekend. The newlyweds are doing just fine in Raleigh. This past Saturday, I played a (lousy but fun) round of golf with seven buddies from Franklin High School, all guys I have known since I was 6 years old, literally from the first grade. Of course, we told lots of lies and old stories, had a few beers and way, way many more laughs. Don Robey, a classmate from both the hometown and VMI, came down, played and spent the night with us at my dad’s house, and we had a really good visit. Also along was old friend Barky Wright, father of Jack Wright ’10. Next up: On Friday, Oct. 4, at noon, Paula will finish another summer spent on the Randolph College finance audit, and we will be in the wind by 1 p.m. to dad’s Potomac River cottage for the following week. Hope to be joined by kids and spouses there.” Steve Powers: “All Right in the Granite State. Retired after 34 years in the transportation industry. Downsized and moved to a retirement community less than 30 minutes from our grandson. Donna and I are enjoying being part of his life.” Nelson Curtis: “All right!” Alec Earle: “We’re ‘all right’ and doing well. Sheila and I are currently on a three-week safari adventure in South Africa. We are traveling with a group in RVs. It’s been a great trip so far, with lots of animal sightings.” Jay Branscome: “Thumbs-up. Back is healing, getting a new hip Sept. 16 and just had two skin pre-cancers removed. Now I’m just waiting for a meteor to take me out! Otherwise, all is well on ‘Green Acres.’” Tim Berkhimer: “‘All right’ from Virginia Beach!” Vagel Keller: “All right. Nothing new to report.” Bob Magnan: “I just discovered last night that our BR Dave Kahle lives nearby. I haven’t seen or talked to him since graduation, but I’ll be making an effort to rectify that matter. On a happy note, son Chris’ schedule somehow placed him in Aqaba, Jordan. He took advantage and enjoyed a 36-hour R&R at a beachfront resort in the middle of a deployment. Again I ask: ‘Where were those deals back when we were kids?’ I was thankful for Easter Sunday lunch at the Gitmo Officers’ Club.” Joe Cafarella: “Retired life is pretty boring. Just babysitting five grandsons each week, playing in an American Legion golf league and taking care of the garden on the ole Cafarella homestead. “I did survive a couple incidents in Dayton

that made national news. First, we had 15 tornadoes go through the Dayton area on Memorial Day Monday after 11 p.m. We lost power at my house for four days but missed the main destruction of a Cat 3 tornado in Beavercreek by only two blocks. We got lucky! Second was the mass shooting in the Oregon District in Dayton just after 1 a.m. Aug. 4. Fortunately, all my family and friends were safe. Scary moments, for sure. So, until the next big scare, I just keep enjoying retired life as I hope you will!” Bob Eagle: “All up!” Joe Bright: “Checking in ‘all right.’ Still living in Salt Lake City flying for Delta Air Lines. Wife Ursula and I are in great health and immensely grateful for that. Enjoy sharing in our grandson’s growth, 5 years old now. Recently completed conversion to captain’s seat and piloting Delta’s new A220 (a Canadian built Bombardier jet which Airbus purchased the rights to). Great to fly a brand-new airplane fresh from the factory! Federal Aviation Administration mandated retirement age is fast approaching so we are beginning our search for a retirement place. Hello to all.” Rick Wetherill: “Present!” Scott LaCagnin: “Everything is going well in the Dallas area. I’ve moved from reserve status with Prosper Police Department to Prosper town marshal. I suppose I should be thinking about retirement, but what the hell.” Jimmy Leech: “All is well here in the Coastal Bend of Texas. Paul Campbell: “NSTR (Nothing significant to report).” Donald McGinnis: “All right. Still working on this estate. Sheesh.” Clyde Long: “Susan and I send greetings from Bristol, the official birthplace of country music and world’s fastest half mile!” Bob Fricke: “All right. Planning a VMIAA excursion to Fort Robinson, Nebraska, July 2224, 2020. Hopefully BRs will come. Check with Alumni Association for details.” Rob Traver: “Doing well, went hiking in Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier. Enjoying the Army Reserve retirement checks, but still working. I enjoy reading what everyone is doing. Need VMI civil engineering graduate students at Villanova.” David Colonna: “Still here!” Cliff Seibel: “Not much news from the north land. Did make it back to VMI in July, to show my grandson around. Haven’t been back in 30 years. Almost didn’t recognize Lexington! Lots


Class Notes of changes. Nice trip though. Getting the camper ready to go. Moose season opens in a few more weeks, and will be out in the woods. If I get anything, I’ll let you know. If I don’t, then never mind. That’s about it from here. Getting the homestead ready for winter. Best to all.” Rob Parker: “Finishing up getting through the dog days of summer in Muscat; the temps are brutal. Assignment is coming to an end soon; not sure what the next adventure has in store. It’s all good with Chops these days.” Tim Pishdad: “Cynthia and I are good. We are planning a trip to Israel in February 2020 with Gov. Mike Huckabee. Should be a trip of a lifetime for us. Also in January 2020 I should be inducted as the president of the military officers’ association Cape Canaveral chapter, one of the largest and most active chapters in the United States.” Kevin Callanan: “All right here, sir. Got the consulting firm up and running with great success (so far); we hit our two year goal in the first 90 days, and I have had to contract two additional team members. Lisa asked me what the business goal for the company was. Something to keep me busy in my ‘senior’ years or, my response, ‘world domination.’ Just took over as the chapter president for the Virginia North Shenandoah Valley Chapter, and we closed out the summer with our first rat send-off. We had about 45 guests including six incoming rats, and I think all had a great time! Looking forward to football season and at least two trips down to Lexington this fall.” Mark Lambert: “All right here, no new news. Hope to get back to a football game this fall. Go Keydets!” Bil Greg: “Everything going good here.” Bruce Kay: “All is well here in Maryland. Marcia and I recently hosted Tony and Monica Pileggi and Bill and Ann McCampbell for a day at our community pool followed by a great barbecue dinner.” Bill Atwill: “Alright (or all right); can’t remember which.” Blaine Vorgang: “My status check remains the same at this time: Wendy and I are doing well. Even up here in northern Illinois, the ‘dog days of August’ have made their presence known.” Rex Wiggins: “I attached a photo from this past weekend at Moody Hall of Stan Walchock, Anthony Moore, me and Bernie Riebeck. We were there to celebrate the 75th birthday of Wade Williams, our track coach who started our rat year and led the program to several state and Southern


Conference championships. (Yes, Stan ran crosscountry as a rat and a 3rd, and I think track as a rat, too.) The event was hosted by Coach Williams’ children. Many of his grandchildren were there as well as about 45 former athletes from a variety of classes and even a couple from Clemson, where he subsequently coached. This is the ’78 contingent. We spoke with Andre Gibson by phone from California. Andre was a great sprinter and long jumper as well as a Hall of Fame running back.” Harry Seipp: “All is well in Raleigh.” Jack Barnhill: “I will be headed to Tokyo in November/December for an exhibition of three of my paintings at Japan’s National Art Center.” Jim Mackin: “We are alright here in OBX.” I failed to pass along in the last set of notes of a sighting of one of my rats by BR Rick Wolffe. Rick was at his daughter’s vet tech graduation ceremony and met up with John Keene ’81. John was there doing some work at the campus. Another chance alum encounter was while Pat and I were out for some P.T. Struck up a conversation with Cindy Worsham, wife of Tucker Worsham ’93. They were in town visiting and we shared stories about our experience at the Institute. The more things change the more they stay the same.” That concludes the news from around the class. Challenge: Check in with a BR who has not filed a status and tell us what they are up to or at least that they are “All right!” As always, time to send a new status!

everyone posted on the class Facebook page during the trip, and of course, the “shirt” will play a prominent role! Thanks again, BRs! Let’s start off with Pete Alvarez, who writes in, “Charlotte and I have been quite busy of late. We are on the road soon (Aug. 17) to visit our daughter (Gabriela) for her bridal shower in Leesburg, Virginia. (Gabriela gets married in Herndon, Virginia, Oct. 12.) In between, Charlotte and I will be visiting Spain for 10 days in early September to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and birthdays, since we both were born in September. I’ll look to take a few pics of our visit and send along for the next issue. I had a nice chat with Bill Albro recently, and he caught me up on his nearterm retirement plans, as well as contacts he has with several BRs (including roomies we shared). I tried to visit one (Bill Smithson) in Charleston last week, but Smitty was recovering from an ankle injection; we plan to connect on my next visit to South Carolina.” Speaking of Albro, Bro wins this Review for “most informative notes contribution.” He said, “So, it was indeed it was great seeing everyone at the reunion and the recap of the event in the last issue was great as well. Since I didn’t get much in to Odie as fodder for the consumption, I will endeavor a little more this time. Here goes: Danny Sheahan and Deano Smith just completed a multiday hike around some mountain in the Tetons – both looked well from the pictures, and Deano


Michael Ogden

I hope this finds everyone well. I have my annual physical scheduled for the end of September (cough, cough ... hint, hint). Renee and I would like to once again thank everyone for our gift. Still taken aback and humbled. So, no we have not yet taken our vacation. With thanks to Dan Kornaki and his help with scheduling, we are booked to spend a week in March next year at the Sandals in Grenada! Roomie Jim LaRose and his wife, Kathie, who annually do a Caribbean Sandals scuba diving trip, rescheduled and will be joining us! We will be meeting up in Atlanta and fly – why, yes – first class, into Grenada together. We. Are. Excited. We will keep

Class of 1979: BRs Mory Wood, Eric Nost and John Arthur met up at a veteran small businesses function in Richmond during summer 2019. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes said it was a ‘stair stepper on steroids.’ Deano told me that he wants to do the Appalachian Trail starting next spring – the AT – I asked him if he read Bryson’s book, and he said he did. Barbara and I hope to see Danny and Bridget in September for a little hiking as well – but not on that scale. I have been following the trail of our BRs Parke Smith and Doug Doerr as they bike the Lewis and Clark route. They are almost done as I write – I am very proud of them and look forward to their exploits of sights, adventure, plunder and conquest at the next BR breakfast. I called/texted some BR roommates the other day. Brad and Maria Jones are proud grandparents and have moved from the far west end to the near west end. I hope to do dinner with them sometime in our visits south. Reggie and Linda Sadler are enjoying the summer and will begin the planning of their daughter’s wedding soon. Charlotte and Pete Alvarez have completed the plans for their daughter’s wedding and are taking dancing lessons so they are ‘up to snuff.’ Pete and I remarked that the dancing thing ... it’s a lot harder than it looks, especially since our ‘leisure suit’ days are long past. Smitty (Bill Smithson) sent a note that he is retired and working with the Social Security Administration to finalize and recently did a visit to Williamsburg for the weekend. “I was at Langley Air Force Base for a meeting the other day and called Tom Herbert to see if he could do lunch the next day. We almost got to do it, but plans changed and I went back early but talked to him on the phone as I crossed the 17 bridge into Gloucester. He and Donna are fine, and I promised to give more advanced notice for when I was in the area – and I asked him to say, ‘Hi,’ to all the BRs in the peninsula area that he encounters (and there are a few). Yes, Stosh Morris, I didn’t call you but do need to work on that wine tasting day thing ... call me a BRF as you should ... looks like you have the whiskey thing for the 45th and 50th well underway by the last class notes – I’m in. Sput (Jim Leadbetter) and Pup are on post and observing the bay as the sentinels of anti-poison point until the end of Labor Day. I told him I would work a visit and bring any provisions/resupply needed. Also told Meade Spotts I would visit and engage in tractor therapy at some point – told that to Brad Jones and Noel Harris, as well. My ham handed way of lining up Zen maintenance after I retire. Barbara and I (mostly Barb) continue to skinny down the house and get rid of ‘stuff’ in the George Carlin sense, as we plan on a smaller place when we move south. It is amazing what

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Class of 1979: Doug Doerr and Parke Smith made a pit stop at BR Jeff Vordermark’s house during the early stages of their epic bike ride commemorating the “voyage of discovery” by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. you collect and do not use over the decades.” “That is all – return to what you were doing.” WILCO. Returning. Jeff Vordermark sends greetings from “the Heartland!” Susan and Jeff were able to host Parke Smith and Doug Doerr during the initial stages of their epic bike ride commemorating the “voyage of discovery” by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. During the short visit they got some bike maintenance accomplished, a tour of the local museum at Fort Leavenworth plus a side trip to the Amelia Earhart home in Atchison, Kansas. Jeff says, “Always enjoy hosting BRs

out here in flyover country!” Jeff also managed a personal best muskie in Canada this year. Add to both of those the awesome trip back for the 40th Reunion, and Jeff said it was the perfect “trifecta” and added up to a most memorable summer. Susan added, “We were just at a rat send-off in Manhattan, Kansas. There was a 3rd Class cadet there. We had been talking and hearing stories for about two hours. I was showing him pictures from the reunion when suddenly he said, ‘Oh, no! You guys aren’t the class of the Hawaiian shirts, are you!?’” World famous. The shirts are world famous! Ray Duffet mentions how the northeast Ohio VMI group is getting bigger. He writes that he has attended the last two mixers having so much fun no one wanted to leave! Several different generations of classes with every person “kicking a@#!” as only Ray can put it! Ray adds, “My youngest graduated from Furman in May. Applying to med school now, so I get a bit of a break for a year.” Phyllis Higginbotham writes in (have I told you how much I enjoy notes from BRs’ “much better halves?”), “The past year has been a busy one for our family – two weddings and an engagement! Our daughter, Meg, was married to Bryan Flaherty in Snidow Chapel in Lynchburg Aug. 4, 2018, which would have been my parents’ 75th wedding anniversary. It was a lovely wedding! Meg’s brothers, Hunter, Win and Sumner, were all groomsmen, and Meg wore my bridal veil, which was another special touch to a wonderful day! They recently bought a house in Fairfax and are busy settling in! Son Win ’14 was married to Elizabeth Stahl in a beautiful ceremony in the Chapel of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio Jan. 12, 2019! His brothers and Elizabeth’s brother, Will,

Class of 1979: The third rendition of the “Minnix mingle” was hosted by Jeff and Linda Minnix in August. 115

Class Notes were groomsmen, along with Win’s BRs, Jack September at Hilton Head with the grand girls, the awesome hosts and just general overall fun, we are so looking forward to the next visit! Jane and Hadley!” DiCiero ’14, Dylan Kelly ’14 and Justin VietingBob Sievert checks in: “Our long time planned Don Zimmer catches up with, “I retired as a hoff ’14! There was a great turnout of other BRs, move from Virginia to Colorado is finally underwhich made for a very lively time at the reception! U.S. Army infantry colonel in 2009 after 30 years. Win and Elizabeth honeymooned on Kauai and I then worked for the United Nations in Kenya as way. We have completed upgrades to our home in a worldwide chief security adviser, then I worked Virginia and have it on the market. As soon as it then returned to Anchorage where they live on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Jay and I had a for Military Professional Resources Inc./ENGIL- sells, we will be moving into an apartment in Colowonderful visit with them in July, enjoying lots of ITY, based in Alexandria, Virginia, and PAE, rado to oversee the construction of our new home, hiking, ATVing and Elizabeth’s delicious cooking based in Arlington, Virginia, as a country manager which is well underway. At the time of these notes, and baking! Our youngest son, Sumner, proposed training various African militaries in peacekeeping the framing is nearing completion. We should be able to move into our new place in early Decemto Erin in May, and they are planning a wedding in missions. I just started my Social Security. My oldlate 2020! She is in a doctoral program in neurosci- est daughter spent two years in college, changing ber. So 2020 will be all about settling into a new ence in Atlanta, and he recently moved to Atlanta, majors four times and spending dad’s money free- lifestyle in Colorado City, Colorado, and enjoying continuing with the same CPA firm. Atlanta will be ly. She just enlisted in the U.S. Army taking Basic the scenery. Workwise, all things are the same with my role as chief information officer with National another interesting place for us to visit! Oldest son Combat Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Hunter and his wife, Charity, recently celebrated When she graduates from basic in July, she will Association of State Procurement Officials. Lots their fourth anniversary. They live in Lynchburg go to Fort Lee, Virginia, for her advanced training of travel and the privilege of getting to work with in logistics. My middle child, my son, will start at many states on their efforts to automate procure(25 miles from us) and both stay busy with their careers, but we get to see them quite often. Jay and the Community College of Baltimore County in ment. Challenging and very, very rewarding! On I are so happy the children are doing so well, and September studying computer programming. My the family side, Angela is all about keeping us we are crazy about Charity, Bryan, Elizabeth and youngest, my daughter, Amy, is with me in Af- ready to show our Virginia home at a moment’s rica in school. As a result, I missed the reunion.” notice and getting ready for our pending move. Erin! We are very blessed.” Amazingly, she was able to secure us a monthMarc Withers sends, “It was great going to the Thanks, Don, and great hearing from you! BRs, if you ever get an invite to visit the John and to-month rental in Colorado from Mr. Lou, the 90 reunion and seeing folks again. Hard to believe it has been 40 years. Where does time go? Nothing Jessie Arthur “villa” on Lake Gaston in Virginia, year old former postmaster of our new town. I am much to report for me. I’m staying in touch with a go! Do not think, do not hesitate, just go! John and fully expecting to leverage Mr. Lou’s connections few BRs. My wife and I enjoyed a short vacation Jessie have been trying to host some of us local in the community to get us settled in quickly!” at the Biltmore estate. We’re enjoying the summer BRs for years, and Renee and I finally were able Thanks Bob ... pencil Renee and me in for a visit! to commit. Dan Kornacki and Lee Anne Hold- John Kailey says he enjoyed seeing all BRs at the and working hard on our small farm.” Steve Lyon pens, “Beth and I spent a long sworth visited earlier in the week, and Jeff and reunion. Since the reunion he has hopefully had his weekend in Richmond last month to visit fam- Betsy Curtis stayed overnight on Friday, head- last eye surgery! Reports his oldest boy graduated ily and friends. We got to catch up with Howard ing back to Florida before we arrived on Saturday from college and wants to go in the Marines. Rah! Jeff and Linda Minnix held their annual “Minand Marcie Adams over a nice breakfast. It was followed shortly by Jim and Sarah Harrington great fun hearing how their daughters, Shannon with their two dogs. (Pet friendly villa!) We had nix Mingle” which, as has been the, now, tradition, and Meaghan, were doing so well! Later on, my a blast! Between the lake, the house, storytelling, was an absolute stupendous affair! Linda knows how to host a party is all I’m saying! (Jeff, roommate, Joe Tudor, and I took a trip up we all know you are just labor!) In attento Hanover County on what was the hotdance were Asa and Karen Page, Jim and test day of the year to locate an 1863 Civil Sarah Harrington, Chappy Lucas, John War battle site. Joe is quite the expert on and Jessie Arthur, Stafford and Teresa Virginia history and he knew exactly Taylor, Jeff and Betsy Curtis, John and where to locate the battle site. My direct Teresa Colonna, Jim and Sherry Owens, ancestor, Capt. E.E. Lyon, was at that John and Nancy Brown, Mark Byrd, Tom location, fought bravely, was wounded, and Donna Herbert, Pete and Anita Unsurvived and the rest is history, as they derwood, Frank and Becky Jester, Randy say! After beating the bushes of Hanover, and Debbie Young and of course me and Joe and I made the quick trip up to Carothe ever charming and stunning Renee! line County and found Fil Truitt workCannot wait for next year’s edition! ing hard at his home. It was reunion of rat Finishing up is a note from John DuBose room 441! To complete a full day, Beth ’69 (Honorary ’79) “I received the magaand I had a great dinner with Joe’s wife, Kathleen, and daughter, Sarah. A perfect Class of 1979: BRs Bill Drury, Steve Powers, Steve Heat- zine today and the first thing I did was to wole and Dave Choplinski meet up in Nashville for some check your class picture. Very relieved to combo of VMI friends, roommates and libations. see my carcass had been removed from family. Looking forward to our week in


VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes your picture successfully. At the next reunion (if I live that long) I certify I will make every effort to get into the correct picture only. If you want to post guards, however, I would not blame you, since I will be more senile then than I am now.” I suspect, John, that ’79 might insist that you join us for our picture next time around! Annual physical! It’s the “in” thing to do! Stay well, brother rats, –M


John Gibney Jr.

Hello, Brother Rats, These notes cover the period May 16, 2019, through Aug. 15, 2019, and contain the sad news of the passing of V. Dunn June 4. On a lighter note, as reported in the last set of notes, our 40th Reunion dates have been announced – April 24-26, 2020. Pat Griffin has again been volunteered to run the show – thank you, Pat! The period began with an email message from Walt Wood. Walt and Mary Lynne were in Virginia for the funeral of Walt’s mother, and they made a small circuit around Virginia visiting with our BRs. Upon his return to Peru, Walt sent a second message containing story No. 17, the latest in his chronicles – not really. In a third message, Walt expanded on his U.S. trip, including a visit to Roanoke and dinner with Craig and Leslie Cox, Ed Elliott, Tim and Vicki Hodges, Jay and Trudy Melvin, and Rob and Elizabeth Quarles. Walt and Mary Lynne then traveled to Lexington, where they stayed with Scott Sayre and had lunch with John Alerding, visited with Dan and Cindy Sweeney in Lynchburg and saw Rick Fowler and Josh Priest in Williamsburg. Mark McLean sent a text message with a photo taken at the wedding of Chal and Robin Glenn’s son, Josh, that included Rick Gilbert and Doug Conyers. A similar photo appeared in the last set of notes. Wayland Patterson included me on his email announcing the quarterly gathering that he organizes in the Panama City, Florida, area for alumni of VMI, The Citadel, Texas A&M and Norwich. May ended with an email from Ivan Pupulidy

2019-Issue 4

Class of 1980: Rick Fowler, Josh Priest and Walt Wood in Williamsburg, Virginia, in May 2019.

Class of 1980: Jeff Washington and Bill Bigdely retired from Dominion Energy in June 2019.

Class of 1980: Bob and Traci White celebrating Bob’s birthday in Norfolk, Virginia, in August 2019.

that included a photo of his new home in Santa Fe. Ivan retired from both the U.S. Air Force Reserve and the U.S. Forest Service. He is now working as a professor for an online master’s degree program through the University of Alabama. June began with the email from Jay McConnell about V’s passing. We then spoke and a blast email message and a postcard were separately sent to our BRs. Thank you to Jay McConnell who was close to V and who followed up with details about funeral arrangements. Our BRs who forwarded condolences were: Phil Altizer, Steve Andrews, Ken Baybutt, Joe Belkoski, John Blankenship, Don Bradshaw, Dan Conn, Kevin Davis, Sean Gallagher, Dave Hagemann, Frank Hilton, Larry Hupertz, Ray Joinson, Tom Kelly, Kent Lovejoy, Andy Ludlum, Mike Luning, Ali Mahan, Tolar Nolley, Bob Osler, Josh Priest, Bert Schneider, Dan Sweeney, Dixon Tucker, Preston Vock, Bill Wallace, Bob White, Tracy Wilson and Walt Wood. A funeral service was held June 21. Our BRs who attended were Ken Baybutt, Tom Bersson, Paul Burkholder, Mickey Cole, George Condyles, Dan Conn, Dennis Hackemeyer, Steve Ikenberry, Ray Johnson, Dennis Loba, Jay McConnell, Josh Priest, Rob Robinson, Dixon Tucker and Tony Zoetis. Thanks to Paul, Dan and Rob for forwarding a photo and providing the list of names. Paul also wrote that while attending V’s funeral was sad, it was also uplifting because of our class presence. Dan Conn wrote that he had supper with Jeff Bassilota when Jeff was in Maryland for a conference. Dan has relocated from Woodbridge, Virginia, to a new house in Smith Mountain Lake but will maintain an apartment in Alexandria for another year until retirement. Andy Ludlum included in his email message that he and Nicki visited with Rob and Ginger Gearhart in Fredericksburg on their way to a vacation on the Outer Banks. Jeff Washington sent an email with a photo taken at the celebration held in honor of those retiring from Dominion Energy. Juice retired after 38 years of service. Farhad Bigdely also retired from Dominion. Tracy Wilson sent an email with an attached photo taken after a dinner that he arranged in Alexandria, Virginia. Attendees were: Joe Belkoski, Marty Bernet, Dan Conn, Tom Kelly, Mike Knapp and John Lillard. Jack Keane commented on the photo as he was unable to attend. Jack also


Class Notes wrote that he was retiring Aug. 30 and is booked for the next eight months with travel and skiing. Walt Wood sent two photos of the sentinel box in old barracks taken in 1979 (thanks Dwight Pearson for the clarification) – one while it was burning and the other after it was reduced to rubble. In what is now an annual tradition, snail mail arrived from Robby Jones in response to the receipt of his birthday card reporting all well with Robby, Beth and their daughters. June ended with an email from George Condyles with links to eBay showing that the class ring of one of our BRs was for sale and the SSN was visible on the site. A further concern was that the ring had been lost or stolen. I contacted the Alumni Association and reached out to our BR. Unfortunately, the contact information contained only a home phone number and messages were not returned. Also, we tried to purchase the ring, but it had already been sold. I had separate July calls with John Alerding and Gary Levenson. John’s son, Johnny ’12, is a captain in the Air Force and is engaged to be married. John was retired but he is returning to work as an avionics software engineering analyst, working primarily from home in Lexington but also commuting to Oklahoma. Gary, VMI’s deputy commandant for nearly 20 years, was working summer school and preparing for another academic year. He did reserve my apartment in New York City for Thanksgiving. Walt Wood sent an email with story No. 18 about an experience he had in the jungle of Peru and also confirmed that he and Mary Lynne will attend our 40th. Bert Schneider sent an email with attached photos and links to videos of Bert, who lives in Arizona, playing the part of Darth Vader at Star Wars Night at a Diamondbacks baseball game.

Bert also won another award from Raytheon. A write up will appear in the 2020-1 issue of the Alumni Review. Andy Ludlum sent an email following a dinner he and Nicki hosted at their home in Maryland for Dave and Carol Gleason, Patrick and Roni McCarthy, Paul and Jean Perry and Hal and Kathy Snyder. Pat McCarthy sent an email to 75 of our BRs in advance of the Peru mission trip he and Roni were taking at the end of July. Craig Jones and Alex Woelper copied me on their responses. Rick Penn sent an email saying that he retired April 1 after 21 years at General Electric. He is now consulting on a part-time basis. Rick and Therese plan to remain in Erie, Pennsylvania, where their children and five grandchildren reside.

Class of 1980: Ed Baker and his newborn granddaughter, Juniper Dee, in August 2019.

Class of 1980: Mike Knapp, Dan Conn, Marty Bernet, John Lillard, Tracy Wilson, Tom Kelly and Joe Belkoski had dinner in Alexandria, Virginia, in July 2019. 118

They plan to attend our 40th. Rick also had his knee replaced and is on the mend. Jack Keane followed up on his retirement plans, listing his itinerary from Aug. 31 through our 40th Reunion in April, including attending the Institute Society Dinner in November and three months of skiing. I communicated several times with Wade Stinnette (we compare medical ailments) who lives and works in Columbia, South Carolina. I sent him an email containing a link to a New York Times article about the conversion of a former lunatic asylum in Columbia into condos. Wade suggested that Patti and I consider retiring there. July closed with an email from Wayland Patterson containing a photo of the gathering referenced above and from Mike Luning. Mike is coordinating an annual get-together the weekend of Nov. 1-3 in Lexington – he called it a warmup for our 40th. The itinerary includes dinners, golf, attending the football game and partying on the lawn of Gary Levenson’s quarters on the Parade Ground. August began with an email from Bob White containing a photo taken with Traci at an America/Firefall concert in Norfolk to celebrate Bob’s birthday. Walt Wood sent an email with a photo taken outside one of three churches he helped build in the Peruvian jungle. George Condyles sent an email noting that he and Harriet hosted Walt and Mary Lynne Wood for 10 days over the summer and that he often sees and speaks with Dennis Hackemeyer. George also reported that Yves Pollart is retired and volunteering with an organ donation company. George plans to attend several VMI football games this fall. Throughout the period I exchanged text messages with Ed Baker, beginning in May as he is a Carolina Hurricanes season ticket holder and the ’canes made a deep run in the Stanley Cup playoffs. In August, Ed sent a text announcing the birth of his first grandchild, Juniper Dee Mullins. Congrats to Ed and Dianna on the new addition to their family. In closing, with our 40th Reunion now less than six months, I again ask that you confirm that your contact information is accurate in the Alumni Association database. You can do so on the VMI Ranks website. Thank you for your continued support.

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes


Jerry Manley

BRs, it is mid-August as I write these notes. A lot has transpired since our Review submission in mid-May. By the time these notes are published in November, I pray everyone will have had a blessed summer and that we have all had the opportunity to enjoy a mini reunion or two. Regretfully, these notes start once again with the sadness of loss in our ranks. Along with the sadness, though, is a proud recognition of our class bonds and the support we have shown BRs in need and their families. We lost our dear Brother Rat Charles “Chip” Chipley May 23, 2019, after a very long battle, one that was truly a testament to his courage and strength. Our BR’s accomplishments were many. He was a retired Navy commander who served during the Gulf War, Desert Storm and Grenada. He earned a master’s degree from Georgia Tech and a Ph.D. from Capella University. He worked for 30 years as a medical physicist. His memberships included the American Association of Physicists in Medicine Mensa International and, of course, the Tall Clubs International. Chip was very family-oriented; his wife, Lisa, and his three

Class of 1981: Chip Chipley with his loving wife, Lisa Lynn Lightner. daughters – Gia, Vivia and Lilia – were the center of his universe. Without question, Chip was larger than life in every respect and remains sorely missed. BRs who were able to attend services for BR Chipley were Jeff Adler, Billy Bird, Andy Lauzier, Jerry Manley, Corky Mitchell, Dan Pere and Clay Wommack. Special recognition for class support goes to Jeff, Billy, Andy, Corky, Dan and Clay, as these BRs truly rallied when needed, representing the class through home, hospital and family visits during Chip’s illness. (For Lisa, our collective hearts and prayers shall always be with you and your beautiful girls. We are but a phone call away should you need anything at all.) We also lost our Brother Rat Wayne Suggs unexpectedly June 27, 2019. While many may have lost contact with Wayne since graduation, he was

Class of 1981: Attending the service for Grover C. Outland Jr. ’49B were, from left, Mike Denton, Jim Frishkorn, Bill Stamm, Jerry Manley, Mark Gonsalves, Clarkson Meredith, Grover Outland, Pete Tranchik, Ed Brown, John Ferry, Gene Loving, Ken Herbert, Kurt Owermohle and Reg Ridgely. Rob “Cos” Costello is not pictured. 2019-Issue 4

well-known and well-loved back in barracks. He was yet another unmistakable BR. Much like Chip, he was very accomplished. After VMI, Wayne worked as a civil servant and contractor for the Navy as an intelligence analyst, software userinterface designer, shipboard computer systems specialist and network administrator/engineer. He also served in the Navy Reserve. He initially lived and worked in the Washington, D.C., area and later moved to San Diego where he enjoyed scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. In 2003, he moved to Boise, Idaho, to be near his parents and brother’s family (Don Suggs ’84), and worked for General Dynamics as a system administrator for the Army National Guard at Gowen Field until 2011. He was then hired by Rhino Metals, Inc., and worked for them in a variety of roles. While it was a shock to lose Wayne so suddenly, we were blessed that BR Jamie Byron, also living in Boise, could represent us at Wayne’s service. Jamie attended along with Joe Irby ’85. While Wayne’s service was well-attended, his parents and brother were especially happy to see that a brother rat was there for Wayne. Jamie wore a VMI shirt, which immediately caught the eye of Wayne’s loving mother. Wayne lived a good life; he loved the outdoors (hunting, fishing and flying), and he was loved and respected by many. As Jamie put it so very well, “I wish I knew him better, but I am very grateful for the bond we have as brother rats. Wayne’s life may be over, but his spirit now lives for eternity. I know that he is in a special place with our Lord and Savior.” (Very well said, Jamie!) During this reporting period, we also lost beloved parents to several BRs. Grover C. Outland Jr. ’49B, father to our BR Grover C. Outland III, passed on May 23, 2019. Don Frishkorn, father of our BR Jim Frishkorn, passed June 14, 2019. Harry Lee ’47, father of our BR Hank Lee, passed June 27, 2019. Richard “Dick” Lauzier, father of our BR Andy Lauzier, passed Aug. 9, 2019. These were all loving and devoted fathers; role models in the truest sense. We could undoubtedly write a novel about each of these great men and all that they meant to their sons and families. Suffice to say that for BRs Grover, Jim, Hank and Andy, you have the deepest love, sympathies and condolences from the class. Prayers of comfort remain with each of you and your families. Now, on to the direct Class inputs. The 40th annual ski bash sponsored by BR Jim Hart and his brother, Derek Hart ’94, was nothing short of fantastic! The improvements that Jim and


Class Notes Derek made to the property were amazing. (No line for showers!) The food, each meal on each day, was beyond compare. (Special thanks to the sons of Jeff White ’84, Perry and Mitchell (both Class of ’21) for the rockfish bites!) We had nearly 150 people total, including family and friends, with an incredible number of 1981 BRs and other alum in attendance. From ’81, and hopefully I don’t miss anyone, were: Jeff Adler, Tom Albro, Mark “Brummie” Brumenshenkel, Rob “Cos” Costello, John Ditillo, John Ferry, Jeff Gill, Jim Hart, Dave Hinchee, Geoff Hinshelwood, Bill Leftwich, John Locher, Jerry Manley, Gary Morgan, Clinker Moss, Tim Nitz, Dave Openshaw, Mackay Spears, Bill Stamm and Pete Tranchik. It was truly great having our rats from ’84, Jeff White ’84 and Barry Coceano ’84 there, as well. (After all, we needed properly trained individuals to roll up our hays each morning!) Marc Barthello wrote to share that he and wife, Laura, are looking for opportunities to host or support mini reunions in Lexington. They have a great place in the neighborhood above the football stadium and have/continue to put a lot of work into the place, which has not stopped them from already opening doors to many. Unique to their home is a “VMI signature wall” where many have already left their name with a Sharpie. Marc shared that Laura is ready to do some cooking and entertaining, as soon as they get some more furniture moved in. They also plan to have two outside tables with seating for about 14 when the weather is nice. (Careful, Marc, your house could turn into mini reunion headquarters!) Rich Bartholomew shared a quick update. He and Nancy are doing well and still living in San Antonio, Texas. They plan to be there indefinitely given that they are within 15 minutes of both of their kids and grandkids. They have two grandkids (5 and 3 years old) with another on the way in September. Rich is working for Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, Inc., the same company he started with when he retired from the Air Force back in 2007, though they went through a name change. He manages their San Antonio operations doing architectural and engineering design work mostly for government clients. They are looking forward to having their last house payment in December 2024, and Rich does not plan to be working January 2025! Mike Denton chimed in and shared that he teamed up with John Locher to convert a “roof dripping storage room” into a classic chapel for


less fortunate residents of St. Francis Home in Richmond. As a Knight of Malta, Mike ran the long-term project, and John joined in out of pure brother rat spirit. John engaged his employees and key subcontractors to provide exceptional craftsmanship, materials and equipment – all of which were free to the St. Francis Home. They dedicated the beautiful chapel in July to rave reviews by staff and residents of all faiths who truly needed something beautiful in their lives. Almost exclusively, the BRs of VMI ’81 made it happen! Mike shared that he cannot wait for a special VMI service there sometime soon. (God bless you, Mike and John! Incredible and selfless service, sirs!) Cris Timmons shared a quick update on his wife, Carol. She was finally released from her Wichita, Kansas, doctors July 13 and made it back home to Florida to rest more comfortably; well, as comfortably as she can be with Cris as her caregiver! Per Cris, it looks like the two operations to rebuild her elbow did the trick. It was a terrible accident for Carol, and she will remain in a non-weight bearing status on both the right elbow and knee through September when she will have to start more aggressive physical therapy to prevent, as Cris again put it, Carol from getting “John McCain elbows (no disrespect intended, just a reference point).” Best news for Carol is that it looks like further surgery will not be required; the poor dear has gone through the wringer but is healing well as of this writing. (Carol, we hope you will be all the better once you heal up! Expect to see you dancing with Cris at the 40th!) Steve Tennant happily reported that his son, Jonathan, is a new dad! Steve’s grandson, Jasper Wolf, was born May 17 in Liberty, Missouri, and is doing well. Additionally, Steve’s other son, Joseph, returned from three years in England and is staying with Steve and Marianne while he continues his academic job search. Joseph was doing research as part of a study at Cambridge University. Steve added that Joseph appeared on the National Geographic Channel show “The Story of God” with Morgan Freeman and one of the study subjects. Johnny Dixon shared that he and Patti Dixon are enjoying the summer and are subsisting on crabs and fish! All of their children are doing well. They were blessed with the arrival of a new grandson, Crew Jeffery Schuchart, VMI Class of 2041, which corresponds with our 60th Reunion! Young Crew already has his provisional appointment. Patti is doing well at Atlantic Union Bank in Gloucester, and John will be teaching math and

science at Hargrave Military Academy beginning in the fall. John had a wonderful mini reunion with BR Bill Leftwich, who has been chairman of the English department at Hargrave for many years. John’s former school, Carson Long Military Academy, closed sadly after a long run from 1836. Declining enrollment and increasing tuition costs forced the closure of a great school with an honorable history. One of the more recent graduates from CLMA is Louis Lu ’16. (Since John provided his inputs, he and BR Mike Denton connected on the Rappahannock River when Katherine and Mike boated over to visit Patti and John.) Jim Frishkorn sent a few kind words. He also shared that Mei-Ling hosted the house painters earlier in August, which allowed them to complete the last of their home repairs from Hurricane Michael. Jim shared that, sadly, one does not have to look very far to see how many other people and businesses across Panama City are still struggling over nine months after that category 5 storm. True to her loving and Christian form, Mei-Ling has donated to the fund that the Lynn Haven Mayor established to provide small grants to struggling families. Jim and Mei-Ling see themselves as supremely blessed to have found a reputable builder whose crews abided by the aggressive construction schedule and worked well with the subcontractors. As I write this, Jim is spending a couple of weeks in Homer, Alaska, assisting an Air Force friend build his fishing camp. When not swinging a hammer, they will be filling a cooler with halibut and sockeye salmon by day, downing a few beers around the fire pit by evening. Jim suspects that his summer fishing trip to Alaska might become an annual event, perhaps followed by an occasional fall moose and caribou hunt. Jim is also looking forward to spending more time this fall chasing wild pigs on his Florida hunting lease. John Cawthorne joined him last year and harvested a nice hog using his father’s 30-30 rifle. Jim’s father enjoyed viewing a trail camera photo featuring John with his first hog. Trip Lloyd reports that all is well. He and his family spent a week in July on a short vacation through Long Island and Boston. He has been more active than he anticipated with theater being cast in three productions and being called to act in two other productions when some actors dropped out at the last minute and he had to step into roles. He has been in rehearsal or production since the first weekend in April. In his weekday job, he is getting ready to wind up the fiscal year with the

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes U.S. Agency for International Development. His daughter is preparing to return to Virginia Commonwealth University for her sophomore year and his son is preparing for his junior year in high school. His bride, Anne, is now working with the George Washington Foundation. Ray Lawson shared that his daughter, Savannah, was awarded a very prestigious internship with NASA at the Kennedy Space Center, working on the fracture mechanics team. He has just reason to brag on that young professional with her being a rising senior with a 3.98 GPA in engineering. Before relocating Savannah to Port Canaveral, Florida, Ray was able to make contact with Bryan Glynn ’82 and Linda. Bryan and Linda live in Merritt Island, Florida, and have “adopted” Savannah for the summer! They have been a great resource for Savannah and reach out to her frequently! Ray’s oldest son accepted a job at the Savannah River National Laboratory and will be relocating to Aiken, South Carolina, with his family. This will put Ray and Gale just 20 minutes away from their grandkids! Ray is waiting for the right academic position to open and then he is going to “semi-retire” by going into full time teaching in college. Greg and Ann Wolven have been very busy! They traveled through Virginia July 6-11 seeing VMI BRs. It was a great trip and made them even more desirous to retire back to the Shenandoah Valley! On July 7, just at the end of Smith Mountain Lake ski bash, Greg and Ann were fortunate to have brunch with BRs Bob Underwood, Kenneth Morris, Brian Quisenberry, and Marc and Laura Barthello. They caught up and shared a number of great memories and many laughs. They were able to spend more time with Marc and Laura at their home that afternoon. On the following Monday, they had a great visit with Thomas Brashears ’95, VMI Alumni Association chief operating officer, when they were on post. With the demolition of the old VMI post police building, they entered VMI from the northern entrance and were amazed at all of the new buildings, equipment and facility changes! They also visited the museum in Jackson

2019-Issue 4

Class of 1981: Gathered for a class brunch in Lexington from left were Laura and Marc Barthello, Brian Quisenberry, Greg Wolven, Bob “Gator” Underwood and Ken “Catman” Morris.

Class of 1981: From the class photo archive: Jake Jaks, Ron McCullough, Wayne Suggs, Scot Marsh and Bob Morris hiking the Peaks of Otter near the Blue Ridge Parkway circa 1981.

Class of 1981: Celebrating the life of their BR Chip Chipley were Andy Lauzier, Jerry Manley, Corky Mitchell, Clay Wommack, Dan Pere and Bill Bird.

Memorial Hall and the bookstore for some much-needed VMI paraphernalia! They then moved to Harrisonburg, Virginia, and met with Rick Hess ’74 for dinner. Next on their itinerary was hitting wineries with Greg’s dyke, Stan Walchock ’78, and his wife, Pam, who drove up to spend time in the valley. They rounded out that day with dinner with the Walchocks and Rick Hess ’74 in Harrisonburg. The next morning, their VMI group headed to the Virginia Museum of the Civil War at New Market where they toured the museum and then had the pleasure of meeting Cadet Drew Jefferson ’21 of Detroit, Michigan, who is working at the museum this summer and living in the Bushong house. (Without air conditioning!) Drew spent a couple of hours with them sharing his VMI story and taking them on a tour of the Bushong house, which was closed to the public due to renovations! His knowledge of the Battle of New Market and the Bushong property was insightful and fascinating. As if the trip was not yet complete, Greg and Ann headed up to Warrenton, Virginia, to have dinner with BR Gene and Susan Loving and their children, Grace and Lucas. They ended up at the Manassas Battlefield Park the next morning. Greg and Ann were both surprised to learn that a VMI cadet, Charles R. Norris ’864, drilled inexperienced troops for Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson and then was captain of Company B, 27th Virginia Infantry, whom he lead into battle at the age of 17 in the First Battle of Manassas. Norris was killed shortly after encouraging his men to take Henry Hill. His coatee is displayed in the museum there. Their last night in Virginia, they caught up with Valerie and me for dinner in Centreville. (Clearly, the highlight of their travels!) What a tremendous trip! In other news, Greg was named as a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a national engineering society. In addition, his name appears in the 2022 National Electric Safety Code (preprint) book published by the IEEE as secretary and as one of the principal members of the Electric Supply Stations (Sections 10-19, for those that happen to keep a copy handy). Greg has


Class Notes traveled with work, as well, dealing with power outages from storms, while he and Ann continue renovation projects at home. Bob Munno threw a quick note my way. All seems to be good with him and Agnieszka. They spent Independence Day on Montserrat in the Lesser Antilles chain. Bob shared he had 14 dives, stayed in Sir George Martin’s guesthouse and toured Plymouth – the Pompeii of the Caribbean. As for me, I have been busy with work travels and continue my efforts to find time with family and BRs. I was blessed to be with Clay Wommack and Corky Mitchell for a visit with Chip Chipley in his final days. Both Clay and Corky, the stories they were sharing, brought some wellneeded laughter to Chip. Adding to the blessings of the summer, Val and I spent an incredible weekend with Jen and Rob “Cos” Costello at their “chateau” on Roanoke Rapids Lake. It was phenomenal. It has been many years since I have seen such a beautiful and peaceful lake. There was virtually no boat traffic; virtually no sounds but those of nature. Rob and Jen truly have a slice of heaven! What made it even more special was seeing one of BR Corky Mitchell’s paintings prominently displayed in their lake home. In closing, I pray November brings us positive news for those brother rats, and some in our extended class family, who are currently dealing with health challenges. BRs Keith Baron, Dan Pere and Jeff White remain at the top of our prayer lists. Each one of them has expressed immense gratitude for the showing of support, comfort and love from their BRs. The visits, and heartfelt calls, cards, emails and texts all make a tremendous and positive difference. We truly share a bond like no other. I am very proud to be associated with this “Band of Brothers” we call the Class of 1981! That is all for this writing, BRs. Please keep in touch! I hope to see many of you this fall in Lexington. Cheers and may God bless! Jerry


Will Council

Hello, Brother Rats! I hope everyone has been enjoying the summer


and getting out on some vacation adventures. This was an eventful summer for my household, as my whole family went to the World Scouting Jamboree in West Virginia the last part of July. It is held every four years, but this is the first time back in North America since the ’60s. Canada, Mexico and the USA co-hosted this one. It was truly an incredible event with nearly 45,000 scouts attending from more than 50 countries. We were the second largest city in West Virginia for 10 days. I was an instructor for mountain biking, my kids worked the ropes challenge course and Susan helped in medical. We were so busy doing our own thing and making new friends that we failed to take a family photo of the event! Now I can count world scouting friends from almost all the corners of the world: Japan, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile. More on that later. I heard from Bill Jennings as he reported in about a motorcycle trip he and Cindy took down to North Carolina to catch up with Robert Rambo for some good eats at a local barbecue hangout. Rob had just recently returned from Sweden, where he was doing some kind of reality TV show. Because of a confidentiality agreement, Rob could not say too much about the show except that it will be airing this fall and we should be able to download the episodes once they air. (How about the name of the show?!) Rob is retired from the Army and keeping himself busy with three jobs. He is still doing the living history reenacting, of which we will have to catch a live performance sometime. I found an older note from Bill that should have been in the last section of notes. He bumped into Steve Dobler at the YMCA after doing some laps in the pool. Steve lives in Evington and works at the Framatome Nuclear power plant. Bill hopes to run into Steve again and reestablish the bonds of brotherhood. Andy Balding is a very proud papa! His youngest child, Meagan, now goes by the title Doctor of Pharmacy and is now a pediatric resident at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. Way to go Meagan! If you follow Andy on Facebook, you will see he also does a very nice job of being in charge of power naps with the grandbabies. Someone has to do the heavy lifting! Bob Louthan sent in a nice photo and report on some BRs who attended his VeteranCrowd event in Richmond in early August. Jeff Modisett, Scott Crumpler, Dale Davis and David Gallalee were able to jump into a picture with Bob. The Veteran-

Crowd Network is a national network bringing together veteran-led businesses with each other and the resources they need to prosper. Bob says there are over 2.5 million veteran-led companies in the USA, but the problem is they just can’t find each other. Unless you are a government contractor, most citizen soldiers do not make their veteran status known. (True.) But when they do get together, the stories get shared, the rivalry insults between branches start flying and good times are had by all. Sounds like a class reunion. So it’s a great place to find people to work with. They are planning more events in Atlanta, Florida, Texas and California. Reach out to Bob if you want more info. Kevin Snell confessed to being a lurker – as in one who reads all these wonderful class notes, but just never, until now, submitted his own. Honestly, he was just looking for contact info to reach out to J.J. Nau and felt guilty enough to give up some news. Kevin lives just up the road from me outside of Knoxville in Oakridge, Tennessee, going on nine years now. He’s retired now, and he and Bonnie celebrated their 25th anniversary back in January. Their son, Jackson Stuart (love the name!), leaves the nest for Carson Newman University this fall. Full ride scholarship as a music education major, trumpet player and drum major. OK, I am desperate, so I’ll list them all: Honors scholar, black belt martial artist, travel hockey player, rugby player, freshman footballer but loved marching and playing trumpet more on Friday nights. Between family and friends at Carson Newman, young Mr. Jackson will not be able to run late to class without the family knowing about it. Kevin says he had a health scare this past year. He spent some time in the hospital for an

Class of 1982: Dr. Meagan Balding is now a pediatric resident at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, Florida. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes season affecting BRs. I believe for the infection, meds shut down his kidneys. first time ever, Gray Carter was added Almost lost more of his right leg above to the gim. While mountain biking in the knee, but he recovered and was reTennessee where he lives, Gray fell and leased after diagnoses of diabetes, hyperbroke a femur. The latest situation retension and high cholesterol. Then for an port stated, “Recovery going fairly well, unknown reason, he started losing weight off crutches for the most part, will go to fast – 10 pounds a week fast. After all physical therapy next week to work on tests came back negative for the scary bad strength and flexibility. Been doing it on stuff, nobody can figure out what caused my own, up to 50 minutes on the stationit. Good news out of all this? He can fit in ary bike, and have recently added elliphis gray blouse again, although he does not tical trainer.” Your sheer determination recommend this as a dietary plan. will have you fully recovered soon, Gray. So, let me tell you all about a fun little Class of 1982: Jeff Modisett, Scott Crumpler, Dale Davis, I received a great Memorial Day upevent that happened to me while at World David Gallalee and Bob Louthan at VeteranCrowd netdate from Mike Wong. Mike was in the Scouting Jamboree. As I said, I worked as working event in Richmond, Virginia, Aug. 6, 2019. Air Force ROTC Detachment 880 with a volunteer in the mountain bike program many of us. Mike’s comments are that he “comas an instructor. Days started early with a 4:30 a.m. missioned in the Air Force and did the Titan II Inwake up, breakfast, bus waiting and ride to get to tercontinental ballistic missile duty for five years the trails by 7 a.m. The first morning of active proSteve Amato and left as a captain. But then, I transferred to the gram while waiting for the scouts to show up, I had Navy Reserve which deployed me a lot as an intelto answer the call of nature to get rid of the two ligence officer and I actually retired from the Navy cups of coffee for that early hour. As I was heading in 2008. Also, I live in Houston, Texas, area, where toward the port-a-potty, I saw trash on the ground, I am now. Joe Leonard lives nearby and we see which I absolutely hate! It was aluminum can, and Hello, Brother Rats, each other frequently.” Mike sent me an update I figured I would throw away as soon as I finished. The following class notes cover from mid-May while he was visiting his son, a former Army capWhen I picked it up, I was surprised to see that it was actually a beer can! What the heck?! Not at a to mid-August 2019. I hope summer 2019 was tain, who lives in South Carolina and also saw his scouting event! No alcohol allowed; no, sir. Then great for all of you. By the time you read these new 6-month-old granddaughter. Mike informed it dawned on me that this was where the National class notes, the Class of 2020+3 will have matricu- me his wife passed away several years ago. Mike, Guard had been parking their hummers for medi- lated into the Institute. Believe it or not 40 years your BRs are sorry to hear of the news of your cal evacs (that’s the type of mountain biking we do ago, we began our cadetship journey on Matricula- wife, and our thoughts are with you. We sure hope to see you at our 40th Reunion in April 2023. there!), so I figured they must have been partying tion Day Aug. 22, 1979. Bill Cornett checked in with me and brought in the back the previous night. Jerks! Closer examination revealed a blue liquid around the rim of the to my attention that we had four BRs whose sons can. My brain was then trying to figure out what graduated in the Class of 2019. The BRs are Derthe guards must have been trying to transfer fluids ek Paterson, Jim Outland, Brick Gorman and for their vehicle, but I had not seen that fluid be- Chris Hair. Bill states, “That is not bad for a sinfore. About that time, a paramedic from the medi- gular class.” If there were other BRs whose son or cal tent came around the corner and I showed him daughter graduated in May 2019 as an alum of the my find, rather indignantly. Those medical guys Class of 2019, please let me know. A situation report on Jamie MacDonald reports are pretty sharp. He quickly pointed out that the potty pumper truck had come by the previous eve- great news regarding his knee replacement. “It’s ning, and the beer can had probably been retrieved been four months since surgery, and I am progressfrom the toilet. Well, that explained the blue liquid ing well. Toured Ireland in May; lots of walking and no big issues. Moved my daughter into her ... but can I please get my arm amputated now?! That’s all the excitement for me to report. Hope apartment this weekend, and the knee held up very everyone gets through to the football season. Let’s well. Still working strengthening the tissue, but the hear about the tailgate parties! If you find yourself new knee is great. Heading to New Hampshire suffering from cabin fever, remember you can al- next week for some lake time. No water skiing ways reach out to a certain class agent and share (a good thing, as I’m awful anyway) but lots of Class of 1983: Anthony “Snake” Arnold swimming and walking.” It is safe to say Jamie is some news. As always, Rah Virginia Mil! and Bruce “Bubba” Hazelgrove in July just about off the gim. Sincerely, 2019. This past spring was either surgery or injury Will Council


2019-Issue 4


Class Notes Barry Smith emailed me and said, “I am writ- our first grandchild born last Dec. 15! I must say wants to hang out at our home or on our pontoon ing you with my first-ever update for the Alumni my little guy, Connor Tudor, is a bruiser already! on Lake Norman, Cari and I would love to have Review. I recently celebrated my birthday May 9 Almost eight months old and I already bought him you. The door is always open, steaks will be on the with an eight-day trip to the Dominican Repub- a battery operated convertible; a weight set is next! grill and the beer is cold!” John Dodge responded lic. After I returned, I received a text from my With that, we married off the last of our children, to Todd’s email on our class Yahoo email group rat roommate Malachi Mills asking if I would be Chad, July 5 in great Pittsburgh style – even the with, “Great to hear from you big guy! Don’t be a available to meet for dinner on the way to Blacks- Steelers drum corps showed up for a performance stranger. Come to Lexington for a game, and let’s burg for business. We met in Roanoke and had a at the reception! So, Chad now joins Drew and catch up. Lots of people would love to see you. great dinner and time catching up. Thanks, Mala- Allyssa in having married great partners. Bill Congrats on the grandson!” One evening while at home, I received a text upchi, for the birthday meal.” Barry, thanks for drop- Cornett stopped by and hung out for a bit and made me realize how important our friends are, so date from none other than Dr. Marty Curry. Needping me a message. I received a nice note from Dan Martin. He anybody passing through the Charlotte area who less to say I practically fell off my chair. Dr. Curry typed, “Steve, heard you need BRs to bail writes, “Hope you’re doing well! Just a give info/updates. Not sure if I made it in quick note, I had the good fortune to actime, but here’s an update on me. I retired company my 18-year-old daughter and from the U.S. Army after 28 years August four of the other members of Future Busi2015 and got a job at the Audie Murphy ness Leaders of America from her high Veterans Affairs hospital in San Antonio, school to the FBLA National Convention Texas, as chief of head and neck surgical in San Antonio this week. While in San oncology, but also still working at Brooke Antonio, I learned that our BR Brett AlArmy Medical Center (where I retired len lives close by, and we had the opporfrom) doing head and neck cancer (same tunity to catch an early breakfast yesterday job I did before) surgeries, staff to train morning. It was great to see Brett; it may residents (always fun) and academics/rehave been the first time I’ve seen him in search stuff (started the robotic head and 35 years! We spent some time catching up, neck surgery program at BAMC when on and Brett shared that he is very active in active duty). Granddaughter now 2-plus, the prison ministry with his church. I was Class of 1983: Room 121 roomies Stephen Ross, Stephan impressed with his commitment to that Melitz, Lionel Urquhart, Steve Godwin and Steve Amato en- daughter Maggie expecting in January with No. 2. They live in Austin (one-andcalling. He made me laugh when he said joyed a seven-day reunion at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. a-half hours north); son is a creative adthat when asked by the prisoners if he ever vertiser/copy writer in Manhattan, New York City, did time, his response is, ‘No, but it wasn’t from Cynthia involved in church choir, driving to Austin lack of trying.’ Anyway, it was good to catch up to babysit and wait – yes, we are ballroom dancers with a BR. If anyone is ever in San Antonio, give (i.e., she is a ballroom dancer, and I try to lead on Brett a call and if in the Columbia, South Carolina, occasion). The temps as usual are greater than 100 area, call me!” Dan, glad you discovered a BR in with humidity to match. We recently did a cruise the Texas area and you reached out to him. to Cuba (fascinating from a historical, political and Dan Mason provides the following, “Steve, cultural perspective). We are still trying to get to good day. Just a quick update from me, I changed Alaska like you two did; probably will die here in jobs recently I was working for a plumbing wholenorthern occupied Mexico (Texan speak).” Marty, saler in Newport News, Virginia, for 26 years or at our 40th Reunion, please bring Cynthia so we so. I’m now handling the credit function for a can witness firsthand your ballroom dancing, and building material wholesaler in Toano, Virginia. yeah, I’ll treat you to the first round. Builders First Source is the business name. Hope In July, I received a quick note from John Manall is well.” I appreciate your message, Dan, and ning saying, “I have become a grandfather for the our BRs now know you are in the Tidewater area. fourth time. Joseph Daniel Manning was born in From Steel City to Charlotte, North Carolina, May 2019. I now have three in line for the InstiTodd Tudor now calls North Carolina home. In tute: Luke (2037), Jack (2039) and Joseph (2041). his email, Todd wrote, “Hope all is well with you Their provisional appointments hang on my office and all of our BRs. I love hearing from all of our wall. Hope all is well with you and your family.” friends and what is going on. I believe this may be Congrats to you and your family, John, and best my first time ever making a submission, so hang Class of 1983: Cal Murray with Cadet Chi wishes on the provisional appointments. I hint to in there with me. Hard to believe how time has Mills 2020+3 and his father, Malachi Mills. my four grandkids that they will go to VMI, and passed by. Cari and I are proud grandparents of


VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes I receive some strange looks. It doesn’t hurt to try the particular combination of alloying metals used he missed his beach bum calling, as this part of Soby Jostens. It’s the only explanation that makes any Cal suits him perfectly. Oh, and whatever he may and indoctrinate them early. Lynn Seldon dropped a note to announce, “After sense to us. I am (finally, hopefully) wrapping up say about freeway high speeds and my Vespa can’t more than two years permanently traveling (#mid- the four-year restoration of my ’61 Ranchero and be verified. Ignore him. As always, a standing inwill then be able to get back to the project car, a ’62 vite remains for any of our BRs and their friends fiftiesgypsies), Lynn and Cele Seldon have landed in Beaufort, South Carolina, (home of Lynn’s Lincoln Continental convertible. I am still working and families.” Will, thanks for always extending mentor, the late Pat Conroy). They recently co- for SAIC (formerly Engility and formerly TASC) an invite to our BRs who may be visiting the “Left wrote the bestseller ‘100 Things to Do in Charles- at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, managing a team of sub- Coast.” Our racing BR Charlie Luck had time to “race” ton Before You Die,’ and they’re currently work- ject matter experts (scientists) and program analysts as contractors supporting the Defense Threat an email update saying, “Hated to miss the reing on ‘100 Things to Do in Savannah Before You Reduction Agency. We assist the government in union. This is my third year racing on the InterDie.’ Lynn also continues to work on ‘Carolina’s selecting, funding and monitoring research proj- national Motor Sports Association Porsche GT3 Ring,’ the sequel to ‘Virginia’s Ring’ which takes place at VMI and The Citadel (the VMI guy gets ects for the science and technology (early develop- Cup Series and unfortunately we had a race that the girl).” Lynn, your BRs are anxiously awaiting ment stages, BA1-BA4) stages of therapeutics and weekend. Life is good with Lisa and me, and our prophylaxes (e.g., vaccines) against a wide array son, Richard ’12, is working in sales in northern the release of the sequel. Mark Benvenuto sent an interesting note saying, of viruses, bacteria and toxins that cause the De- Virginia and expecting his first child (our first grandchild) in December. I caught up with “After 18 years, I get to hand over the title Steve Goddard and Gene Warren recentdepartment chairman to a friend and colly in Virginia Beach and regularly connect league. Heck, the chairman’s office right with Ben Cottrell and Teddy Gottwald, now looks like the Grinch went through as well.” it – nothing but hooks and some wire, and Teddy Gottwald, dropped a quick upa crumb too small for a mouse. He needs date, reporting, “Fifth grandchild born in a little time to move in. Truth be told, I’m March (boy). Fifth and final son getting looking forward to it. I can focus on my married in September. As a friend told teaching, my research and a few books me, it’ll be good to no longer be ‘first that my editor wants written.” Apparently, responder’ for this one. Ann Parker has Brad Norwood and Matt Waring were opened The Patton Room at The Georges. able to rendezvous for an evening of a litNice banquet space on Main Street in Lextle drinking and dinner while Mark was in Virginia for a conference. I asked Mark if Class of 1983: Thomas Mednikov, Bob Mednikov and Will ington, and hopefully we’ll use it properly for a future reunion; it was designed with he had any future book projects, to which Creekmur met for lunch in La Jolla, California, in July 2019. carrier landings in mind. That’s about it for he responded, “Steve, neat you should now. Hope all’s well with y’all.” OK, Teddy, the partment of Defense/services concern.” Dr. Norask. My editor tells me my next book, ‘Industrial wood, we appreciate your thorough analysis of the challenge is on at our 40th Reunion: You have to Biotechnology,’ should be out soon. OK, not the lead the class and demonstrate a carrier landing! page turner like a follow-up to ‘Twisted Tales from “shrinking ring syndrome” as a result of those alDo you remember which one of our class reunions VMI’ might be, but I’m working on that one, too.” loy metals in our class ring; yeah, right. Will Creekmur reported in saying, “Earlier this ritual was performed, where and who led it Soon, an email discussion ensued between Mark in July, Makena, my daughter, and I spent time off? The answer at our next class notes update. and Brad regarding their recent evening reminiscAn email I received from Steve Hodak: “After back in Richmond for a family reunion and the ing in which Mark stated, “Brad’s right, the stories were good and suitably embellished. Importantly, Northern Neck. Was able to meet up with Southall five years of working with the Green Team (U.S. Bowles at Fuel Pump Coffee on Cary Street for an Marine Corps) at Quantico, Virginia, as an embedMatt finally confessed after 35 years to clobbering Sergeant Major Crowley in the ear with a snowball early morning java and to talk story. The following ded system engineer in the tactical service oriented when we were at Fort Pickett on an FTX and let- day, he made a special trip to my father’s home in architecture program, it is time to go back to Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren. I am joining ting me take the blame! But we both got stuck on the Fan in order to meet Makena. She thinks he’s funny. Now 13 and a rising eighth grader, you may a team being stood up called the technology and guard duty.” Well, Brad stated they had “dinner, drink and wonder about the possibility or need for a Class of protection program, or maybe the security system demonstrably exaggerated story-telling June 12. 2028 provisional appointment. I can still hear the, engineers. Anywho, it is headed by Neil Holloran ’98, so I should be in good company. The group is Mark and a coworker were in town for a Green ‘Dad, no way!’ Can you? In late July, Bob MedChemistry Institute meeting which at that point nikov and his son, Thomas, were in San Diego made up of program security experts, and we have had just concluded (so they were in wind-down visiting. Thomas has been on a cross country road access to other SMEs at Dahlgren as well. I am a mode). Great conversation, but we all noted that trip, and Bob flew out. We met in La Jolla, Califor- ‘generalist engineer’ and have experience writing nia, at Pannikin for a coffee and then showed them cybersecurity and program protection documents. all of our rings have strangely shrunk (most likely owing to a previously undocumented property of around the various beach towns. Bob now realizes Should make for some fascinating work in the next

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Class Notes seven years before I retire.” Thanks for the email, Steve. OK, hold on tight now, as Hugh Daughtry wrote a very interesting update summarizing his recent telephone call to Anne Manley. “Greetings from Rocky Top! Coming in as usual at shake-a-leg with an update, and I’m glad I’m late. Had a great call last evening with Jack Manley’s widow, Anne. She has recently relocated to live near her parents in Jacksonville, Florida, and had a great story to tell me. Robin and Anne were classmates at Randolph-Macon Women’s College, so we have remained close, and as Robin is the class agent for her class, this was a two-fer. You may not know this, but Anne comes from quite the military family. Her father, Captain Peter Schoeffel, U.S. Naval Academy ’54, is probably one of the oldest surviving prisoners of war from Vietnam, having been shot down over Haiphong in 1967. Her grandfather, Rear Admiral Malcolm Schoeffel, was valedictorian of his class at Annapolis in 1918, and commanded the USS Cabot, an escort aircraft carrier, in World War II. We will not hold all those Annapolis connections against her, as she obviously wised up and married a VMI man. No doubt with memorabilia from her father and grandfather; Jack; and their son, Miles ’16, her house in Richmond probably looked like a war museum. The mover she contracted with noticed this and contacted a producer for an upcoming Public Broadcasting Service series, ‘Legacy List.’ The premise of this show is to follow movers as they pack the belongings of a family and uncover items of great sentimental value. The producer contacted Anne, and she was quickly set up to be the subject of one of their episodes. Anne says they were with her almost continuously for five days, and among the things she shared with the crew were Jack’s and Miles’ shakos, and the Bible Jack received upon graduation at VMI. Also, if you view the episode, you’ll probably see a picture of Jack in his Moe outfit as he served as our intrepid mascot. She said there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Anne says they are planning for this to be their third episode to air in January 2020 – so stay tuned.” Tony “Snake” Arnold provided a recent selfie picture taken with none other than Bubba Hazelgrove. The only note Snake said was, “Bubba doesn’t call.” Snake, again I’m not the telephone operator just your class agent. While on an Army temporary duty to Oahu, Hawaii, Mark Sykes texted a thoughtful message saying, “Aloha, Steve.


First week was long hours of work so no real sightseeing. This weekend, I went to Waikiki and tried surfing. I only got up for a few good rides after four hours of exhausting effort. Also snorkeled in a great spot on North Shore close to where we are staying.” Now wait a minute, Mark; the Army sent you to Hawaii? A garden spot, not some desert or woods where the only meals to eat are meals ready to eat? Have you taken lessons from the great Air Force when it comes to TDYs? I should know. Thanks for sending a text, Mark, while you were busy with your testing in Hawaii. For our BRs who don’t know, Mark is an engineer in the U.S. Army and has more than 30 years’ experience serving as a federal civil service employee assigned to Fort Belvoir, Virginia. In June, my roommates, their significant others and Mary and I held a mini reunion in which we spent seven days at Virginia’s manmade Smith Mountain Lake. Room 121’s week together was a wonderful time. Our wives and fiancées (yes, we have wonderful women who will soon marry our roomies) heard numerous stories about our cadetship; played many games; boated a lot; relaxed in the lake; visited the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia; ate wonderful meals; and drank a little – well, it depends on your definition of a little. The room 121 reunion consisted of Steven “Bambi” and Lori Godwin, Stephan and Linda Melitz, Stephen Ross and fiancée Kerry Kearney Torres, Lionel Urquhart and fiancée Tracy Burkes, and Mary and I. We rented two houses adjacent to each other. The get-together was years overdue, and we plan to vacation together in the future. Stephan and Linda live in Tewksbury, Massachusetts; Lionel and Tracy live in Akron, Ohio; Bambi and Lori live in O’Fallon, Illinois, but will relocate to Punta Gorda, Florida, in late fall; Stephen and Kerry live in Richmond, Virginia; and we are in Woodbridge, Virginia. Lesson learned, BRs; if you want to get together with your roomies, don’t wait 35 years, do it soon. As a reminder, BRs, by the time you read these class notes, we will be 41 months from our next reunion (April 2023). While we transition from summer to fall, I wish you all and your families a blessed and safe remaining 2019. Our next class notes are due Nov. 15, 2019. It’s never too early, so please send me updates and pictures well before the due date. Regards, Steve


Andy Protogyrou

Brother Rats, Where have five years gone? By the time you receive this Alumni Review, our 35th Reunion will either be underway or just completed. In May, my daughter, Demetra ’19, graduated with honors in applied mathematics and a minor in physics. She was editor of The Bomb as a 2nd and 1st and will begin her graduate work at North Carolina State in operations research. I believe Chris Caplice may know a thing or two about this interesting field that is at the crossroads of logistics, engineering, computers and mathematics. My son, Tony ’16, spent most of his summer on active duty in the Virginia National Guard. Though he graduated as an artillery officer, he has transferred to the infantry (go figure) and is a first lieutenant platoon leader in the 116th, drilling with his platoon out of the Lexington armory. He is in his last year of law school at West Virginia University. I recently heard from Bill Seaver. He and his wife, Jenny, were about to head out on a cruise from Fort Lauderdale but found Bill Hemingway and got a great tour of the town and Miami Beach. They really enjoyed Hemingway’s company and said he was a great host. Seaver has also kept up with one of his rat roommates, Rob Waddell, over the years. Rob left VMI when it appeared his vision would prohibit his ability to be a Navy pilot. He and his wife live in Houston and hopefully will be at our reunion. Seaver saw Richard Poff’s nephew and niece around the anniversary of his passing, and they seemed to be doing well. Bill, I cannot thank you enough for the update. I know in the age of Facebook and email we take for granted our ability to update one another instantly. Please make sure to update my successor. Over the last five years, I would be remiss not to thank three brother rats for always sending me updates or bailing me out with information. First is Bill Janis. Bill, whenever I called, always fed me with some of the most recent information and funny stories. Wherever he was, whether Richmond or Florida, he took his time and we seemed to laugh for hours. The state of Virginia is a little less bright and intelligent without Bill. Please

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes come back and serve as you have before. You are needed. Second is Frank Kollmansperger. Frank, you are terrific, and I so have appreciated your help over the years. One day several years ago, I was really tired and down and saw you at an intersection in Norfolk. I was running between court and political engagements and was just ragged. We pulled over into a parking lot and hugged. A hug I will never forget. Thank you, I needed that, at that time, at that moment. Only a brother rat would do. Third is the Cav. You have been a part of history at VMI. The VMI we see today would not be what it is without your hand and involvement for 35 years. You have always been gracious with filling me in with information, but more so, your help in all that our class does goes understated. Your help with the reunion and doing just about everything will never be forgotten. Thank you. Speaking of a hug, I have one last note. We came out as a class in great numbers when Mark Morgan lost his wife. After the service, we had a chance to be with Mark. Each of us had a chance to give words of support to Mark; instead, we got hugged. We did not hug Mark. He hugged us. It felt good and comforting to me. I will never forget it. I needed that, at that time, at that moment. I look forward to a lot of hugs in November. I love my brother rats. Andy

Inc., in Purcellville, Virginia. Owen “Bush” McIntyre has been with Chief of Naval Installation Command, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., for 15 years as engineering manager (May 2004-present). In May, Jake and Suzanne Spivey attended a graduation party hosted by Breck and Cabell Gorman ’83 in honor of the graduation of their son, Jack Gorman ’19, from the Institute. Ralph and Monica Tremaglio were there bending elbows with the Spivey and Gorman clans. Glenn Hoffman departed Verizon after almost

Class of 1985: Vic Bernet and Kelly Raber ’84 in Jax posing by somebody’s car.


Matt Daniel

As usual, help received by Jake Spivey (and others). Before we know it, we will be descending on Lexington for our 35th Reunion (fall 2020). In order to guide us in making this the best and most rewarding reunion yet, the New Lexingtonian Troupe has been enlisted as our ace in hole. The NLT partners are fan favorites: Dave Tingley and Pat McGuire. The NLT has agreed to serve as our 35th Reunion chair team. We have accomplishments, milestones and points of order and interest to share – short and sweet and in no particular order: Jeff Rickard is celebrating three years as design-build sales engineer at GeoStructures,

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Class of 1985: Owen “Bush” McIntyre with his trophy, which he caught while using the Spivey-spinner golf safari lure on the Maury River during the annual Charlie Company Golf Safari in August 2019.

22 years and now works for Raytheon. Glenn resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ken Hirtz is back in contact after leaving CNA in January 2019. After that adjustment he lost contacts and connections and finally found Jake as a solid point of contact. Thank you, Jake, for sending me Ken’s information. Welcome back, Ken! Eric Olsen has become a volunteer for Team Rubicon. Team Rubicon’s primary mission is providing disaster relief to people affected by natural disasters. They pair the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders, medical professionals and technology solutions. Team Rubicon’s aim is to provide the greatest service and impact possible. Kevin “Native Tan” Flynn started a new position as vice president portfolio management, Catalyst Healthcare Real Estate in Pensacola, Florida. He had been with Lincoln Property Management in San Diego. As director of George C. Marshall’s house, Dodona Manor, Tom Greenspon oversaw installation of a new flagpole and other landscaping improvements. The flagpole now displays our national ensign and General Marshall’s General of the Army 5-star flag. An ensuing dedication event is planned for September 2019. David Wood had his short essay “Imagine” put on the shortlist for The New Philosopher Writers’ Award XXIII: BEING HUMAN. The New Philosopher Writers’ Award is open for submissions by New Philosopher or Womankind magazine subscribers. George “Georgous” Halages is the 2019 executive champion of the American Heart Association’s Heart and Stroke Walk for the WinstonSalem, North Carolina, chapter. Chris Balderson completed 10 years with Harris Corporation as senior proposal and capture manager. Matt Nolen completed 12 years with Aerojet as a senior safety engineer. Greg Bond reports that life is grand. Greg works for Penn State University. He finished an Ironman triathlon in spring 2019. Greg is still married to bride Rachel of 28 years, and is a new grandfather as of May 2019! In July, Scott Pearson assumed the position of president of the VMI Alumni Association Potomac River Chapter. Well done, Scotty. Matt “Sanka” Carter (RADM, U.S. Navy, VMI


Class Notes nine year mark as senior commissioning engineer ’85, one each) retired from the Navy in late July. at Fluor Enterprises Inc. in Norfolk, Virginia. Matt had one heck of a career (34 years), which Ken “Ted” Nugent is living in Riyadh, KingI suspect is being mentioned in another section of dom of Saudi Arabia, and working for Booz Allen this publication. Joining Matt at the Washington Hamilton. Sam Moffat ’18 is also part of the same Navy Yard for this ceremony were VMI alumni BAH team. Jack Keane ’80 and Walt Kreitler ’80, along with William “Marty” Sargeant is the chief operatBrother Rats Father Kevin Fimian, Owen Mcing officer for Keck Hospital. Keck Hospital of the Intyre, John Parente and Dave Hunter. University of Southern California and USC’s NorDave Hunter passed the 30-year anniversary ris Cancer Hospital were recognized as the No. 16 with Merck. hospital in the nation by U.S News & World report Adam Babcock started a new position as course in its “Best Hospitals Honor Roll.” manager and advanced academics instructor at the Hayden Bayer sends that he and Joan are in 705th Training Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Florida. Class of 1985: Hayden Bayer skipped Norfolk, Virginia, enjoying their three grandkids. Dave Ames now has more than 15 years with golf during the annual Charlie ComHayden reached out to volunteer time and ideas Energy Systems Group in Mechanicsville, Virpany Golf Safari to visit Crabtree Falls. to the 35th reunion committee, specifically to find ginia. and invite a speaker for our event. If there John Pollock is in the planning are others who would be willing to help phases of renovating his family home with reunion planning please contact Dave in Glasgow, Virginia. John brought a Tingley, Mags McGuire, Jake Spivey or lovely lady friend to Lexington for the myself. second anyel danyel summer shindig in Some (selectively edited) notes contriblate June where we had time to catch up, uted by Jake Spivey and a variety of memlisten to live music, drink some Uranus bers of the Annual Charlie Company Golf and Suns Small Batch Brew and test Safari crew: some clear juice from a Mason jar. Also Early birds: Despite the fact that the attending the funfest were Steve and Class of ’85 (best d@#$ class ever) annual Sirrah Medeiros, Joe and Cindy Irby, Charlie Company Golf Safari weekend Dave and Jennifer Tingley, Pat “Mags” officially begins on a Friday (this year it and Lisa McGuire, Russ and Laura Orwas Aug. 9), heretofore known as “safari rison, J.J. and Cathy Wranek, Mark Friday,” more than a few BRs show up Bornhorst, Jack Daniel ’77, Ed and Lisa Daniel ’82, Joey and Carol Keyes Class of 1985: Rob McIntire, Jeff Hill, Kevin “McPink” Jenkins early (safari Tuesday or safari Wednesday, ’82, Greg and Marlene Cavallaro ’84, and Jerry Brooks at the Vista Links Golf Course in Buena Vista, Aug. 6-7). This year’s safari was no excepVirginia, during the annual Charlie Company Golf Safari. tion. Hugh “Huge” Hill flew into town on Barry and Dawn Coceano ’84, and Casafari Tuesday and was joined Wednesdet Johnny Daniel ’20. I hope I am not day morning by fishing compadre Bush forgetting anyone, but I am sure that I McIntyre. Bush’s favorite pastime motto am. This is an annual event held in late must surely be, “Fishing is like a toy train June in Lexington. Plan on coming for set, even the small ones are fun to play anyel danyel No. 3 in 2020! with,” because that’s all he caught (agent: John Pollock and Rich Williams visAnd he didn’t say toy trains). However, ited Jay Malik in San Diego, California, Bush and Huge did make several catches in July. using the custom, handmade Class of ’85 Vic Bernet and Kelly Raber got togethlures made by Jake (ACCGS organizer er in Jacksonville, Florida, for dinner and and leader) Spivey. some yuks. Jake also arrived in Lex Vegas on safari Rob Gardner passed the eight year Wednesday but spent the morning and afmark at the Naval War College. ternoon helping his parents Joe and Ann Siratep Yuktasevi earned the CPP cerSpivey ’57 with their Rockbridge County tification/designation, General Electric in Bangkok, Thailand. CPP means “certified Class of 1985: Present at U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Matt Carter’s place. Later that Wednesday evening, protection professional.” Think Chuck retirement ceremony at the Navy Yard in July were, from this early crew visited Moody Hall with left, Walt Kreitler ’80, Father Kevin Fimian, Owen McIntyre, friends “Flat Dave Campbell” and “Flat Norris crossed with Liam Neeson. Carter, John Parente, Dave Hunter and Jack Keane ’80. Mike Adkins” (cardboard cut-outs). Flat C.D. “Chuck, Charlie” Nixon passed the


VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes Mike had with him the seven of diamonds playing card, long lost from safari 2018. On safari Thursday, anglers Hill and McIntyre went upstream on the Maury River to a put-in at Alone Mill in search of hungry fish. The remainder of the early birds visited with Joe Irby and Meade King, then joined up with Steve Hagan, Rich Williams, Mike Johnson, Neb Neblett and W.G. Rowlett to brave the newly created, raging rapids at Jordan’s Point, floating and fishing the Maury River down to the takeout at Mill Creek. Steve Marsh hiked the Chessie Trail. Still on safari Thursday, the early birds met Woo Kirtley at Moody Hall. After getting cleaned up, they headed out to Salerno’s for dinner and were joined by Kevin Jenkins, Ralph Tremaglio, Ken Hirlinger, Steve Mederios, Pat McGuire, Dave Tingley, Mark Carroll, Jeff Norris, John Henry Jordan and Bill Bowman. Mike Johnson and Dave Tingley also joined this crowd and played paddleboard with the restaurant’s pizza spatulas. End result: Broken restaurant equipment. The men had a great time on safari Thursday night as Hugh Hill, George Halages, Owen McIntyre, John Henry Jordan and General Jim Begley threw back bourbon and talked into the wee hours. The golf: Safari Friday started early with the Moody Hall crowd enjoying coffee and cleaning up the Moody Hall balcony before heading to Hardees to carb-load for the weekend’s golf event. Golf participation has expanded and this year; Jake did his best to provide pairings and foursomes that would accommodate individual golf skills (none) and cadet background (rugby club, football, etc.). Rounding out safarians were former Pinehurst alum Greg Renner, VDOTers Jeff Hill and Ken Walus and counselor Ken Hirtz, plus Scott Vaughn, Chuck McCarthy, Mark Bornhorst, Kelly Raber, Tab Warlitner, Jerry Brooks, Rob McIntire and local duffer Russ Orrison. New to the safari were Mark Boswell and Hayden Bayer. With a whistle, Chuck McCarthy gained the attention of the crowd so the safari leader (Spivey) could explain the rules of play (white tees, best ball, etc.), and Kevin Jenkins was awarded a special prize: Pink golf attire. The award was for a previous friendly exchange between Spivey and Jenkins. Kevin wore his pink proudly and loudly all that day. While out on the course (BV Links), cart queens George Halages and Ken Hurst kept everyone well provisioned and were joined by the BR and

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endocrinologist Victor “Big Vick” Bernet. The barbecue: After finishing golf everyone headed to the Joe and Cindy Irby house. Surviving the Virginia state trooper speed trap, the crew enjoyed a fine barbecue meal (with beans, slaw and iced tea) followed by the obligatory group photograph. Meeting the golfers at the barbecue were Jim Spellman, Kerry Kirk, Pete Mangerian, Todd Thornes and Bush McIntyre. Mark Bornhorst brought his own barbecue contributions, demonstrating why he should be a contestant on the Food Network’s “BBQ Blitz” with Eddie Jackson. After the barbecue, the gaggle straggled off, changing into river dyke and cooled off in the Maury River at the Jordan’s Point Park takeout ramp. That night, the safarians went out into town in a couple of groups to enjoy some local Lexington fare. After dinner, most returned to the balcony at Moody Hall. J.J. Wranek, fresh off a family vacation with hall pass in hand, stopped by to socialize for a while. Borny, Vee-man, Neb and a few others scrounged together a small poker game while others watched preseason football or continued the great work of prior safaris by solving the problems of world hunger, world peace and traffic around the D.C. beltway. The party went on until about 0200. The float: Safarians awoke on safari Saturday morning to Jack Emerson, Bob Neal, Matt Hadley, Dave Ames and fresh New York City bagels courtesy of Jim Spellman. The flotilla armada began its inflation process around 11, and at noon, after getting all blown up, several BRs placed their vehicles at the drop-off point. The rest of the fleet moved upstream to Bean’s Bottom, placing their particular means of floating on the river. Thus, the flotilla began the slow, carefree descent down the Maury River to Jordan’s Point. Thirty-eight BRs made the trip with coolers, fishing poles and a big bobber, floating on a menagerie of ducks, swans, double-doughnuts, inner tubes, kayaks, canoes and one Barcalounger. The only emergency (not) of the float was Pete Mangerian’s failure to negotiate passage around the water treatment plant’s dam, where Pete was upended while Tab Warlitner came to the rescue and a fish was snagged on his line in the process. Magical. Of course, Joe Irby was nearby and facilitated both the rescue and reeling in the fish. Overall, the float was faster without the river pool caused by the dam. A major portion of the old beach had washed away, but a

new swimming hole was discovered on Whistle Creek. Rather than float the river, Mark “Boz” Boswell and Hayden Bayer hiked Crabtree Falls. Meeting the fleet at Jordan’s Point, chicken plucker and goat wrangler Meade King informed the crew that their party gear and handles were now in the rear of Moody Hall due to a prescheduled surprise birthday party for former VMI track coaching great Wade Williams. When the party finished, the safarians grabbed their snacks and drinks and moved back up to the balcony to continue the revelry. That evening, safari Saturday, the party continued. One conversation was with Neb Neblett about his newly acquired farm in Amherst, Virginia. Self-admittingly, Neb really doesn’t know much about farming or geography. Validating the latter, while playing golf at the Vista Links Wednesday, Rich Williams and Steve Hagan asked Neb where his new farm was (physically, as in “on the map” or “on the horizon”). Neb pointed to a particular mountain and stated, “It’s over that mountain.” Then, he pointed to another mountain and said, “Wait, it might be that one over there.” Then, he pointed to a third. He will be awarded a marked up homestead map next year. On safari Sunday, the crowd cleaned up Moody, had breakfast and hit the road. The 2019 chapter of the VMI ’85 annual Charlie Company Golf Safari is in the books and closed. This was another fantastic safari event. The class owes a debt of gratitude to Jake Spivey for continuing to lead this charge. Until next time, in the spirit and RVM ’85, Matt Daniel


Clint Hubbard

Well, in three days, it will be just a scant 37 years ago that we all got together for the first time. Thirty-seven freakin’ years! Jiminy Christmas, can you believe it?! At the time, I couldn’t even imagine the next week, much less the next month or year; not to mention 37 years. Thirty-seven years was as surreal to me as the thought of Ranger Carl Gitchell making a career


Class Notes in the Army Rangers, or Stew Barnes actually and “used-to-bes,” as well as a few “never weres” University of North Carolina Daily Tarheel working for a living, or Tony Hirtz becoming a blended in for good measure. Probably a busy circa 1985, “The Keydets may have lost on the real doctor instead of a witch doctor. I think you week for the Key West Police Department as our high seas, but they ultimately won the parties.” heroes had to check in to advise they were in town. BR Keilty’s great quote was they “left a wake get my drift. This quarter commences with the sad news we I do wonder who of all of the attendees was the on Duval Street that only the Richmond Hyatt have lost another brother rat. BR Rob Ramos voice of reason on this trip. I don’t know about would understand.” Evidently, BR Pancham distinguished himself at Irish Kevin’s with record passed away in June after a lengthy battle with you, but I’m having a hard time thinking of one. The details were a little murky about the “fish- setting Guinness chug that was the talk of the evean aggressive cancer. I spoke with Rob’s brother, Ray Ramos ’76, who shared the information. Rob ing,” but to repurpose an old quote from the ning, and Louis Rucker showed his all-Patchin (Field) prowess and established his ability lived in Columbia, South Carolina, and to still suit it up today with a performance had practiced medicine until recently. Jim at a local gym of bench-pressing 32 reps Agostini tells me Rob has three children of 225 pounds. You read that correctly, our and they are “great kids.” Our condolences stud muffin may not have his once legendto BR Ramos’ family and loved ones in his ary speed, but he still has the power and then loss. May God rest him and give him eternal some. I’m impressed just hearing about it. peace. All kidding aside, it sounded like a great With news of some ’86 progeny gradutime and may work its way into an annual ating from college, Remy Thompson event. Thanks for the update and picture, checked in to let us know his daughter (one T.K. Of course, in the “he wasn’t there, but of them) graduated this spring from Hokie he should have been” category is our beHigh in Blacksburg, Virginia, with a deloved Glen Ralston and equally esteemed gree in architecture. Pretty cool considering Jim Radle. We wish those gents continued her old man designed and manufactured Class of 1986: From left, Stew Barnes, Wayne Fuller, Ben success in the Witness Protection Program some wild times over the years. Young Ms. Walker, Jay Ball, Clint Hubbard, Jon Moody and Al Comer Thompson is working for an architecture gathered after a stellar performance on the links at the with Tim Young. Speaking of BRs formerly in the Witness firm in Williamsburg while old BR Thomp- Frankie Challenge. Protection Program, we had a Ben Walker son is still holding things down in Virginia sighting and actually captured Bigfoot, er, Benny Beach. Walker on film. I know we have at least one other graduate. That As an aside, the occasion was the Frankie Chalis Tom Buckley’s daughter who graduated from lenge Golf Tournament. The Frankie Challenge is Cal-Berkley in the spring. When Tom was out for the graduation, he managed to connect with Sean “The Dude” Poremba. Sean says they hadn’t been together in over 34 years. Surely the statute of limitations has run out by now! Congrats to these young ladies (and their dads)! Do we have any other graduates out there? From the Fawn Lake community in central Virginia, Tim Keilty checked in with a great update of an “epic” (his words) BR junket to Key West. A group of 12 BRs (we can call them the over-thehill gang II) ably led and organized by Stu Heishman, Frank Ladson and Dave Moore descended upon Key West, Florida, in late July under the guise of a deep-sea fishing trip. The after-action report sounded more like a group of old drunks Class of 1986: Several class members aimlessly meandering through the streets of south went fishing in Key West. From left, Florida. The over-the-hill gang II included these front row were Frank Ladson, Roy Woolmiscreants: Stew Barnes, Al Comer, Mike Colwine, Jim Jenkins and Louis Rucker. Secletti, Stu Heishman, Tim Keilty, Jim Jenkins, ond row: Dave Moore, Mike Colletti, Tim Class of 1986: Tom Buckley and Sean Keilty, Mike Necessary and Stu HeishPoremba met up when Buckley’s daughFrank Ladson, Dave Moore, Mike Necessary, man. Back row: Dan Monahan, Stew ter graduated from the University of Steve Pancham, Louis Rucker and Roy WoolBarnes and Steve Pancham. California, Berkley. wine. That is a nice collection of “ne’er-do-wells”


VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes Just a few months earlier, Terry Sutheran annual golf tournament fundraiser for land was being knighted D.C. style. He Roy Woolwine’s nonprofit in his son’s writes, “If you need filler for class notes/ memory. More details are available at pictures I was promoted from GS-15 to the In the Senior Executive Service this past June. local Richmond area, the kids all know The other guy in the pic is Small Business Frank’s story and Roy’s message of “think Administration acting administrator Chris – just for one second” resonates with Pilkerton as he presents my SBA appointyoungsters. We should all admire our BR ment certificate.” Congratulations, Terry. Woolwine for enduring a personal tragedy Another BR advanced to a lofty power and turning it into a positive message for position inside D.C. We could probably the common good of youngsters and their plot and succeed at a coup or some other parents. sort of takeover of something given all the This year’s golf tournament players connected BRs we have now. We ought to included: Jay Ball, Stew Barnes, Mike Colletti, Al Comer, Wayne Fuller, Clint Class of 1987: Curt Schoonmaker, Andy Anderson ’84 and act soon as these times are fleeting. It’s always a happy occasion when an Hubbard, Jon Moody, Roy Woolwine Dennis Curtis ’61. undercover BR surfaces, so when I heard and the one and only Ben Walker. It was great afternoon of fun with the fellas and sure was very nice wedding, and the reception was a great the name Charley Early at a recent morning meeting, I had to ask. I described him as “about this tall great to see Walker, B.D., on the links. We have party. Pictured from left to right is my son, Jona(imagine my hand up about as high as an A Comheard a significant number of guys interested in than ’14; yours truly; my other son, Matthew ’14; playing next year – the tourney will probably be my brother, Stephen ’84, and father of the groom; pany nametag), dark hair, reasonably handsome, in July, so get ready if you’d like to join the fun. his son the groom, Gregory ’14; Greg’s daughter, engineer type. Went to VMI.” The co-worker I was describing him to kept nodding, and said (he’s Perhaps we can get enough BRs to field four four- Sinclair; Greg Scott; and his son, Brice ’15; fola Hokie), “I don’t know if he went to VMI, but he somes. lowed by the last three – all from ’14 – are Greg’s acts like someone who did.” That, Hokie boy, is OK, boys, I hate to cut this short, but we are alroommates, Daniel Kitchen [’14] and Drew Abmost out of time and about out of material, too. sher [’14]. I am sure Greg has something to add.” the highest compliment we can receive. I checked Time flies when you’re having fun. Let’s en- He did not as of this submission and shall be regu- the directory and sent an inquiring text. Jackpot. We’re both in Richmond and in related fields. deavor to keep those bonds tight. Pick up the larly reminded. phone and check in with BR you haven’t talked As a result of this joyous event, local BRs are He sent a text submission for class notes spontaneously. He writes, “All right, Schoonmaker; I to in a while. Try to make it to a football game this requested to bring BR Greg food and beer for the fall and look up the chief of staff to say hello when next year or two as his pockets are turned inside was going to call no joy on this one but my wife you’re on post. out. He was seen wandering aimlessly locally and twisted my arm. Back in Richmond for my second round. Kim and I have two girls, a VCU junior and Take care, brother rats, and best wishes to you muttering, “We’ll have the shicken, Frahnk!” a high school senior, both smarter than me, but and your families for the holidays and new year. We wish the kids great success and happithat’s not hard to do. As you already know, I’m a ness. Happy, happy days ahead for both houseKellogg Brown and Root construction manager, holds. Well done fellas.


Curt Schoonmaker

Guten Tag, Good things come in small packages, as this issue of class notes will demonstrate. Major news from Richmond. Last issue contained news of the pending Reardon/Scott nuptials, and this issue has photo confirmation. Saturday, Aug. 10, it became official. Our BRs Reardon and Scott have intermarried. Kevin sent the photo and wrote, “The photo was taken Friday night at the rehearsal dinner for my nephew and Sinclair Scott’s wedding that took place yesterday. It was a

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Class of 1987: At the wedding of Gregory Reardon ’14 to Sinclair Scott were Jonathan Reardon ’14; Kevin Reardon; Matthew Reardon ’14; Stephen Reardon ’84, father of the groom; Gregory Reardon ’14; Sinclair Scott; Greg Scott, father of the bride; Brice Scott ’15; Daniel Kitchen ’14; and Drew Absher ’14. 131

Class Notes to get the rest. Probably Kevin Barker and Craig Covert would make good delivery men as they constantly roam the States.


Ed Wetherell

Class of 1987: Terry Sutherland was promoted from GS-15 to the Senior Executive Service in June. overseeing capital projects for a local chemical company. Hope you’re settling in well in Chester and with work. As I’m on vacation, I’ll get back to my bloody mary. Take care, BR.” I know the local boys will want to get together with you soon. I have a plan. My news is grand for me. I started as a project engineer with Atlantic Constructors in June, and my regular hang out is at a chemical plant in Hopewell. They don’t let me touch much, but it’s an incredible environment and quite friendly. Go figure. Andy Anderson ’84 (Jeff Temple’s dyke), Hal Hamner ’84 (Mike Dawson’s dyke) and Terrence Kerner ’90 (Kevin Reardon’s rat) are all there. Terrence is president. I’ve never worked at a better place, and our dykes are always around checking on me. It’s a real honor to be there. These bonds are powerful. I’m in the industrial construction division, and that’s how I came across Charley Early. Just this evening I was at Andy Anderson’s [’84] home for dinner with honored guest Dennis Curtis ’61 and wives Amy and Mrs. Curtis. The flag/shrine is that which Mr. Curtis sets up each month at a local restaurant for breakfast with his brother rats. He tells great stories, and was also in a VMI movie, “Mardi Gras,” with Pat Boone, Christine Carere, Tommy Sands, Sheree North, Gary Crosby, Fred Clark and the guy who played Darren Stevens on “Bewitched.” It is reported to be better than “Brother Rat.” I have it now but haven’t watched yet. Mr. Curtis also introduced the idea (and practice) of a class flag. It’s a VMI flag, embroidered with his class year, and signed by members of ’61. They have begun the practice of photographing BRs as they sign. It’s currently with his class agent in Virginia Beach. I’ll be happy to start this. We can get most signatures at our next reunion, and then see who will carry it around


I hope that everyone had a nice summer and is enjoying the fall. I am happy to report that there have been a number of brother rat gatherings both large and small since the last issue. The lunch gatherings continue to grow. We now have regularly scheduled meetings occurring in Quantico/NOVA, Richmond and now Hampton Roads/Norfolk. You can receive updates on future gatherings from each group by reaching out to the following BRs: For Quantico/northern Virginia, John “Rock” Keppeler at john.keppeler@usmc. mil; for Richmond, Sean “Red” Cantrell at or Frank de Venoge; and for Hampton Roads/ Norfolk, Don Calder at or Al Cuellar at At the July gathering in Fredericksburg, we had Kirk Dewyea; Sam Tate; Ray Simmons; Ray’s son, Dustin (he was not in the picture); Jim Florio; myself; Mike Beyer; Drew McKone; Cadet Adam Mahn ’20; Cadet Sumner Griffith ’20; and John “Rock” Keppeler. We have at least two more brother rats with legacies that matriculated Aug. 17 as members of the mass of 2020+3 this year. Don Calder’s son, Don Calder III, and Guy Gormley’s son, Guy Robert Gormley, both signed the book and are now enjoying the Rat Line. Guy refers to his son as “Guy the Younger,” in case you were wondering. Be sure and check in on them if you are in Lexington. Also, please let me know of any other BRs’ kids who matriculated this year. Sam Russell checked in from The Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Sam retired from active duty a couple of years ago and now works as a Department of the Army civilian at the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute. He recently welcomed his first grandchild, Polly Jo Russell. Sam assured me he would soon be working on her provisional appointment to VMI for the Class of 2041. He bought a house in Carlisle and has two extra bedrooms if anyone is visiting

Class of 1988: Sam Tate with Rob Gowan and Frank Musarra.

Class of 1988: John MacMichael and Sam Russell.

Class of 1988: Mike “Ace” Leeney was promoted to brigadier general Aug. 10. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes

Class of 1988: Class members gathered at the Fredericksburg, Virginia, lunch in July. the War College or traveling through the area. Sam recently attended the funeral for Capt. John Lee MacMichael (USNA ’65) father of Brother Rat John MacMichael. BR MacMichael and his wife, Marinez, are living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sam included a nice picture of he and John. Sam Tate checked in from a trip to San Antonio, Texas, the week of Memorial Day. He was able to link up with BRs Frank Musarra and Rob Gowan who are both living in the area. Dan Riley sent me a note from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base where he had lunch with Brian Demers. Brian says, “Hello,” and was happy to hear about the Quantico/Fredericksburg lunch meetings. In late July, I had lunch with Rucker Slater. Rucker is doing well, living in western Loudoun County and working in Fauquier County. I hope to get him to a group lunch gathering in the near future. Derek McFarland, Wayne Sinclair and Hugh Brien recently got together for some firearms training, shooting and sharing stories at Derek’s place. In late July, Bill Cronenberg had BRs John Keppeler and John Scarpino up to his place in Pennsylvania for some shooting and kayaking. Congratulations are in order for Brother Rat Mike “Ace” Leeney. Ace was promoted to the rank of brigadier general as the assistant division commander of the 40th Infantry Division, California Army National Guard, at the division headquarters in Los Alamitos, California, Aug. 10. As always, whenever you run into a BR or have an update, please send me a picture and drop me a line. It is always good to catch up and hear how everyone is doing. I am happy to provide contact information for anyone in the class you would like to get in touch in with, just call, text or email me. Please encourage BRs to join the VMI 88

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Facebook page as well. It is a good way to stay in the loop on what everyone is up to. The VMI App is available on the App Store. It is a great way to locate alumni in your area or brother rats around the world. All you have to do is make sure your information is up-to-date with the Alumni Association to use it. I look forward to seeing you many of you in Lexington. Until then, all the best to you and your families and Rah Virginia Mil! Ed


Steve Chiles David A. Martin

I hope everyone is enjoying what appears to be a rapidly passing summer. When one sees their first pumpkin beer in the middle of August, fall is clearly just around the corner. It was great to receive an email update from Wuzzer Rader, who has just a few minor little things going on in his world. He reports: “Sorry that I have been remiss about updating you on my status. Big things have happened so I figure I would let you all know. “First and foremost, I have left federal service after 28 years of service, both in uniform and coat and tie. I retired from the Air Force in 2010 and continued at the Pentagon in a civilian capacity until January of this year. There was no time off

as I jumped right into pilot training with Mesa Airlines in Phoenix, and finished in mid-June. Now I sit reserve in Houston, with the occasional flight in the ERJ-175, and hope to hold a line in the next couple of months. “This change in career was based on our youngest of three graduating from high school this past June. Making sure our kids got through high school in Virginia was the only thing keeping us in the D.C. area. Seventeen years was a great run in Stafford, but we definitely wanted to move to Avery Island, Louisiana, to be close to Edith’s family. So close, we built a house in my in-law’s front yard. It took about 15 months to get the house ready for occupancy, but there was no big rush because we had the time, knowing we wouldn’t be moving until this month. “I wish that I had been able to make the reunion this past spring. My training schedule had me in a place where I had to be able to jump into training events and did not allow for me to run away to Lexington for the weekend. “I have been able to keep up with a few BRs over the year. Dan Fitzgerald: Fitz is still alive and well in San Antonio. We were able to get together in Austin when we attended my brother-in-law’s wedding. It was great getting both of our families together again, which hasn’t happened for some time with kids growing up and starting careers of their own. “Gary Bissell is still holding down the fort in Lexington. It was a great loss with his father passing ... a great man with a fantastic legacy! Gary’s

Class of 1989: Retired Col. Rob White met up with former NBA player Reggie Williams ’08 in Jena, Germany, after Williams’ game May 10, 2019. Pictured are White’s children, Jakob and Hannah, with Williams. 133

Class Notes daughter graduated from Longwood this year and we were able to host his son, Josh Bissell ’18 (he graduated in three years), for Thanksgiving in Louisiana last November. Hopefully Marti will complete her overseas tour soon and will be back in Lexington making sure Gary stays out of trouble. “A lot of my training was done in Dallas, so I was able to hang with the Banigan brothers quite a bit. John Banigan is adapting to retired Navy life and is setting up a company that works logistical analysis. Mike Banigan is still running his businesses and trying to keep up with family events. I was able to attend his daughter’s high school graduation where I also saw his son, Jake Banigan ’18, who is in the Air Force in Florida. When I wasn’t in training events, I was hanging with them drinking good wine, and better bourbon. “My clan is doing great! Edith is keeping me in check and setting up the new household. Kate, our oldest, graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016 and picked up a full ride to the University of Texas Austin to get her Ph.D. in material science, and should be finishing up in the next year. Will is working hard at the local high school as a para-professional with the special needs students, as well as teaching swim lessons on the side. Our youngest, Sarah, has started her journey as a college freshman at Louisiana State University, which adds pressure for me to have to root for a Southeastern Conference team.” Amazing update, Wuzzer – thanks! We also heard from Bob Bradford who writes: “I’m still here at Fort Lee along with Scott Stables, Darrin Galleo and Kent “Clown” Doane. We all had lunch together catching up on who’s

Class of 1989: “Fitz” and John Osborn. 134

doing what and who in ’89 we’ve seen. Scott is now part of the Army Futures Command where he’s the capabilities branch chief. Darrin came to Fort Lee about a year ago, working as a numbers cruncher to do cost-benefit analysis on a number of sustainment programs. Clown retired from the National Guard here in Virginia and is working for the Defense Commissary Agency. I’m still working as the transportation force development division chief. Oddly enough, Clown was a commander of one of the units that we are the proponent of. “Ned Cox hold his monthly ’89 breakfasts to which I go when I can. I go when my days off are scheduled. The usual suspects that attend are Ned, Nat Cross, Eric Ames, George “Mutt” Armbruster, Dave Brow and Tom Hamner. Once in a while, Gary Sibayan and Tom “Buzzard” Spivey are there.” Thanks for the great update, Bob. Glad to hear you’re doing well! Dave Martin just missed grabbing a beverage with Mike Murray at Fort Lee. Mike is a teacher for the U.S. Marine Corps and was there as a student for a Defense Security Cooperation University course Dave was teaching called Programs, Oversight and Evaluation. Dave also spoke with Van Trumpore for about an hour recently. Van is helping Dave’s son, Declan, decide if he should go to school in Colorado; I think Dave could be swayed if Van decides to foot the tuition, but alas, I don’t think that’s in the cards. I’m sure Dave would be happy to field other tuition assistance from the class – wouldn’t we all! I heard from Fitz and John Osborn, as well. John was down in San Antonio for a conference, and with Fitz on home turf, it sounds like they had a great catch-up. Scary selfie included for full effect. I also heard from Steve Peyton who shared the 1987 news article from Washington and Lee University reporting on our little forced march to pay the Phi Psi fraternity house a visit back in the day. I posted in the class Facebook page for those who want to enjoy a little time capsule. Memories! Things are well in the Chiles house. Our granddaughter, Sawyer, turns three this weekend (am I even allowed to be a grandfather?), and we’re hopefully gearing-up for some good fall sports with the Indians on a late season push and the Browns actually looking competitive for the first time in – well, forever. Until next time, keep the updates coming!


Daren Payne

Unfortunately, I have to begin these notes again by reporting the death of one of our BRs, Ross Fitzhugh. Ross passed away after a long illness in Champaign, Illinois. Ross was an academically distinguished cadet all four years and part of the RDC and House Mountain cadre. After leaving VMI during our 1st Class year, he went to the University of Virginia. He remained living and working in the Charlottesville area for most of the next 25 years. He roomed with Gordy Byrne and Mark Cheadle. Cheadle recalled Ross as “one of the most brilliant and headstrong persons I ever met. I’ll have a toast of Irish whiskey on his behalf tonight. He helped me through some extremely difficult times at school, and I have always looked up to him for his courage and values. ” His rat roommate, Tim Feagans, recalled, “I last saw Ross at our 15th Reunion, I believe. Ross was one of my rat roommates. India Company had the not so pleasurable experience of living on the third stoop. Ross was on a U.S. Marine Corps scholly, very bright, motivated.” We started off this reporting period with great news from Mike Mullori that our very own BR Tommy Pugh was selected for major general in the Army. By the time you read this, the second star will be pinned on as he becomes the first in our class to reach this level. Big congrats to Tom and the family on such a great accomplishment, and best of luck as they move on to their next posting. I also had a visit from Mark Dick who was in town for the annual Kappa Alpha induction and initiation ceremony. Mark is getting bored with the life of leisure and looking to get back to work soon. Around the same time, Chuck Smith was in town to watch his son graduate with the Class of 2019. I think Chuck may have dressed up and marched in the New Market parade, but I’m not positive. Barry Johnson was also in town to see his son, Carter, graduate but I am positive he was not in the parade. Around the greater Lexington metro area, I frequently run into the usual suspects such as Chris Larlee (most recently at a Kappa Alpha function), Neil Whitmore (who is running once again for

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes the county school board seat), Ramon Williams who was helping Andy Conville with his annual giving, Joey Jones, Keith Kornegay and John Burleson. In fact, Ramon reported to me that none other than our own Jim Cox is the president of the board of the Boy’s Home of Virginia in Covington, Virginia, and Ramon is also a board member. Awesome to see guys like these and so many others giving back and serving our communities. Speaking of Andy Conville, he and Dan Caine both checked with me on the same day in June. Dan redeployed from Iraq in April and is moving to be the deputy commanding general of Special Operations Command for Central Command and will be remaining on active duty for the time being. Congrats on the new position BR, and thanks for your service and making it home safely. I also heard from that anchor of our O-line, Beau Quattrone. Beau is a principal in a Catholic high school in Pennsylvania, and he and his wife became empty nesters in August as their youngest is heading off to college. From the looks of Facebook, Beau’s been pretty busy with two in college the past few years, including one playing football at Washington and Jefferson in Pennsylvania. About the same time, Hunter Trumbo was in town for a baseball camp with his son, and Weedon Gallagher stopped by the “I” a couple of times while passing through on business. Also in town were the dynamic duo of Pete Finnan and Sal Bora. Sal flew out from his home in California to visit with Pete for a couple of weeks, and they made the trek down to VMI for a visit. Pete remains on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps stationed inside the beltway. Speaking of the U.S. Marine Corps, I also see that Mike Manning is now the chief of staff of Marine Corps Systems Command stationed at Quantico. I heard from Dave Kaulfers in June, as he is also still on active duty and is deployed to Afghanistan with the Army Corps of Engineers. Dave reported that Louis Del Valle of the USMC is also deployed to Afghanistan in Kabul not far from where he is stationed. Dave also passed along a Stars and Stripes article featuring none other than our own USMC Brig. Gen. Bill Bowers. The article showed Bill taking over as command of Marine Corps Installations Pacific in Okinawa, Japan. In this role, our BR will be responsible for the care, maintenance and operation of all the installation support functions at all Marine camps, bases and facilities throughout the Pacific theater. Thanks for all the great updates,

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Dave, and everyone stay safe over there! At about the same time Lenny Carson stopped by the office for a visit. Lenny was en route to Colorado where he was doing his annual meet up with Tim Haynie. Lenny continues his work as a teacher when he’s not busy with the timber framers guild. Our reunion planning committee is in full swing as we are less than a year away from our 30th. I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank publicly here BRs Jim Hubbard, in charge of finances; Dusty Crone, our swag bag chairman; Lee Havird and Bill Ator, in charge of registration; Mark Hennigan and Kenny Robinson, who are planning our golf outing; Rob Gudz, who’s heading up the sporting clays shooting event; Keith Kornegay and John Burleson, who are planning our Friday and Saturday night social events; and Chris Larlee, who is working the early arrival event for Thursday night. We have an outreach committee that has been hard at work as well focused on tracking down the MIA BRs. One of those MIA BRs was Brian McCarthy, whom BR Chris Schinstock helped us locate. It seems Brian has a nephew who will be in the rat mass this year. Brian wrote, “My brother Dave’s (’86) oldest son, Conor, matriculates. I’m in Korea on 19 days of Army Reserve duty. My last big mission (let’s all hope) before my mandatory retirement date in June next year. On the civilian side I’m just over 18-and-a-half years of federal law enforcement service, the last 16 with the FBI. Not sure if I will retire in 18 months, but it will be nice to have options. Life keeps us moving at 100 mph. We have a 15-year-old daughter starting her sophomore year and a 10-year-old son starting sixth grade. Both with enough activities that it takes a movement matrix to keep it all straight.” Also having rats in the house this year will be Buddy Garbett, whose son was recruited for football. The second long lost BR was Charles Greene. Chilton Morris tracked down Chuck in Barnardsville, North Carolina, and passed along the following: “I was able to get Charles Greene’s email address. He lives in Barnardsville, North Carolina. He is even a grandfather now. Wow! He sends his best. I am working on him to get him to come to the reunion in April. Fingers crossed! We were at the rat send-off this past Sunday here in Greenville, South Carolina. Matt Neely ’00 was the host. A great time was had by all. Three new rats attended. They all seemed to be solid young men and should do well. One of the rats was the son of Dudar ’91. We had a great time talking about the old days.”

Another long lost BR checking in was Lee Griffith from southern North Carolina. Lee passed along the following note: “I am reading the recent alumni news and enjoying the pictures and stories from our BRs. I don’t keep in touch as I should, but at the same time I am so very proud of all the accomplishments for the Class of ’90! Many may not remember, but I was the one who was ‘injured’ at breakout when I gashed my head open when I was inverted and shoved into the pit after the low crawl. Dr. Old put seven stitches in my old melon, and I still keep that and all the wonderful memories I have of the ‘I.’ I tell stories of the many things we endured through that Rat Line and why I have scars on my head from Breakout and from play boxing with Monty Craft. Pablo Martinez probably remembers! I pray blessings to you all as you are to celebrate 30 years!” Now if I can get some other of our lost BRs to check in like Lee just did ... I received an email from Dave McGraw following the memorial services for his mother and father in June 2019 in Pennsylvania. Dave reported that Jamie Setze and Brian Woodford were there along with his dyke, Owen Curley ’87. Dave actually emailed looking for information on hotels for our reunion. Mark Cheadle also contacted me from Fort Sam Houston, Texas, inquiring about our reunion plans while up in Fort Worth, Texas. Sean Hoover admitted he placed his “save the date” magnet on his beer fridge, as he visits that one more often. I hope everyone else is being just as proactive in planning to attend as these guys are. Chris Callahan got in touch with me to inquire about plans for the football game at Army. It’s not often the Big Red football team plays in that neck of the woods, so I’m hoping we have a great turn out of Northeast located BRs to support. Laurence Farrell called from California in late July to check in. BR Farrell has been in Oakland in the Bay Area working for Bay Area Rapid Transit, where he supervises a 1,000-person workforce overseeing construction and engineering for the transit system. The move was a homecoming of sorts as Laurence formerly commanded the San Francisco District of the Army Corps of Engineers. Doug Harper also stopped by VMI with his family in August on the way to a conference in Northern Virginia. Doug is in business development for Gilbane and spends a great deal of time on the road these days and during a recent trip to California met up with Barry Maxon for a tour of the Napa Valley area. Barry Johnson contacted me in search of Tom


Class Notes Slater’s contact information as he, Hal Moore and Mike Doczi were in the process of heading to Cincinnati to see the Reds take on Tom’s New York Mets. I promptly reached out to Tom so he could be on the lookout and alert team security of potential trouble in the cheap seats. As for Payne family, we are busier than the proverbial one legged man in the butt kicking contest. Building a house, nine projects going on around post and all the other things life throws at you provide no rest for the wicked.

watering hole for a few beers when I got off duty. If any of you come to southeastern North Carolina, please contact me. I have loads of free time and would love to catch up, take you fishing or just sit by the fire pit. Ken Draper continues to rock the engineering world of Richmond, and I visited his beautiful home in Hanover a couple of times recently. Bonfires, firearms and four wheelers are always a good combination. I was also able to visit his river house on the Rappahannock where it appears he Class of 1991: Roger Jarrell and his fiwill have a new neighbor, hopefully soon, by the ancée, Jenifer Brown, during a cross name of Marshall Bridges. Closing issues are horcountry motorcycle journey. rible, but hopefully by the time this is published, Chuck Story it will all be worked out. I can’t wait to visit them both there for questionable fun and games. Chris Wyatt writes that he recently quit workBuck Sessoms ing as the police chief of Piedmont Virginia Community College to begin a new career as a professional fireman/emergency medical technician. Alas, he was injured in training and had to have surgery on his back which prevented him continuing in that line of work. He still volunteers as an EMT in Waynesboro; after a lifetime of service, it is hard to stop doing so. Thanks for your continBrother Rats! ued service, Chris. Nick Alten was able to make For those of you who are not frequent visitors it down to the valley from D.C. to go bar hopping to the class Facebook page, we’re making some with Chris recently. Just like old times. These two changes around here. Buck Sessoms is joining me luminaries were my roommates, in the concourse, at the helm of the class agent job. We’re looking during our extended stay at the Institute, and I can forward to teaming up together for you. I’m going only imagine the terror wrought on the greater to let him take it from here on his inaugural crack Charlottesville area during that evening. at the notes. Class of 1991: Greg Booth and Steve DuLee Bewley says that he and Stacy are doing It is an honor to write my first class notes, and I dar at Booth’s retirement from the U.S. well and that he may be personally responsible for appreciate Chuck Story for bringing me on board. Navy after 28 years of active duty service. keeping the bourbon industry booming. Lee, hate This summer marks my one-year anniversary as a to tell ya, many of us are aiding retired Marine, and I couldn’t be you in that endeavor; you’re just happier with my beard and man closer to the source. His eldest bun. I know many of you are daughter was recently inducted less pleased with my grooming into the U.S. Naval Academy choices, and I couldn’t care less; class of 2023 and matriculated that being said, I love you all. in June. Best of luck to her! Lee Speaking of y’all, I have recently recently started in a new faculty run into many brother rats both position at the University of Louintentionally and by accident. isville as the director of health Steve Kostoff and his wife care management programs. were vacationing this summer on Congratulations, Lee! Topsail Island, North Carolina, Speaking of congratulations, where, as he was exiting the cigar Frank Louthan gets a big one store, he saw me land to pick up from us for his May engagement. an injured person. He sent me Didn’t get the wedding date yet, a message to find out if it was but I’m sure there will be more in fact me, which it was, and Class of 1991: Greg Booth and family at his retirement ceremony. to follow. Frank lives in Atlanta, we were able to go to my local



VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes and I’m sure many of us saw him on the television recently waxing philosophic about finances and big money. Pretty cool indeed seeing your brother rat on the news as the expert commentator. Mike Jeffries was able to make it down to Georgia to hunt wild boar with Frank last winter. Mike continues as a senior project manager with the engineering firm Thompson & Litton. Mike recently returned from vacation in Avon, North Carolina, where he remarked that the fishing was slow but the revelry was on point. I did get to visit Mike in his new home in Troutville, Virginia, this summer and his vistas are spectacular. Lots of grass to mow, but trust Mike, he bought the right tool for that job. Due to proximity, Mike and I were lucky enough to catch up at my place in Rockbridge Baths (Goshen Pass, outside Lexington) a

Class of 1991: Steve Kostoff and Buck Sessoms met up in Surf City, North Carolina.

Class of 1991: Michael Milner at the beginning of a Georgia to Alaska motorcycle trip. 2019-Issue 4

few times this summer as well. I also ran into part time Lexington denizen Pat Warner a few times in Rockbridge County. He continues his service to Richmond as a police officer and is doing a tremendous job running the Carytown Farmers Market. If you have the chance while in Richmond, check it out; local produce, crafts, art and music abound. We plan on many more such meetups and I promise to be much better about contacting our Lexington BRs Joe Sokolowski, Craig Streeter, Charlie Cathcart, Dave Peters and Roger Jarrell about getting together more often. Roger, it just so happens, recently finished an epic adventure with his fiancée, Jennifer. They doubled on Roger’s Harley Davidson across country through all manner of terrain, weather, mechanical issues and such, to visit places where Roger spent time in his youth. Now men, this is a feat in itself, but what you may not realize it that Roger just finished rehabilitation from total hip replacement surgery, which he had in December. One of the best highlights of this adventure was a VIP tour of Graceland, music on Beal Street and Sun Studios. Roger being a huge fan of the King and all. They visited Denver and Glenwood Springs, Colorado, Utah and Nevada on Route 50 (the loneliest highway in America), Roger’s childhood home in Reno, Death Valley at a balmy 115 degrees, Las Vegas, Arizona along Route 66, Amarillo and back to Tennessee for a visit to the Loretta Lynn ranch. Epic to say the least; now I have to go get a motorcycle, thanks. All in all, they covered 12 states in 18 days totaling 5,500 miles, and Roger reports that this 50th birthday wish was awesome but he doubts he will be doing another trip like it again soon. And oh, by the way, Roger wasn’t the only one to undertake such a mind-blowing 50th birthday trek on the back of an iron horse. Mike Milner just completed a Georgia to Alaska motorcycle trip on his BMW R1200GS Adventure series. His trip totaled 6,185 miles. Unbelievable. Mike undertook this trip as a 50th birthday celebration and to celebrate his pending retirement from federal service. Thank you, Mike, for such a dedicated career! What made this trip special for the rest of us couch potatoes is that Mike took the time to record the entire trip in incredible detail, both in words and photographs. The portrait style photographs in particular that he snapped of the people he encountered along the way are incredible. There is too much to write about here and way too many photos to show, but lucky for us, you may view Mike’s

trip on his blog at His blog is titled, “North by Northwest: A Solo Motorcycle Adventure from Georgia to Alaska.” Check it out, it’s incredible. Congrats, Michael and Roger, on such cool accomplishments. Another BR with a large, expensive, motorcycle, Bill McClary, was blessed to have some of his family out in Japan with him recently. The Facebook pictures of their travels around the island nation are darn cool, and I am glad Bill got to experience them with the girls. He also posts some cool videos of his Goldwing motorcycle rides around and near the base where he is stationed. So, boys, who makes the coolest two-wheel toys: Harley Davidson, Bavarian Motor Works or Honda? Enquiring minds want to know. Another Facebook win: I saw that Greg Booth recently retired from the Navy, and I reached out to get a quick update. Greg writes, “My retirement ceremony was held May 17, 2019, 28 years to the day after my commissioning as a United States Navy Supply Corps officer. It was held on Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut. I was blessed that my parents, L.C. and Linda, were there at both the beginning and the end of my Navy career. BR and roommate Steve Dudar also joined me and my family for the celebration. Ann-Marie and I plan to stay in Ledyard, Connecticut, at least until our youngest daughter, Paige, graduates from high school in 2021. Ann-Marie is a physician liaison with the Yale New Haven Health System at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, Connecticut. Our oldest daughter, Abby, starts UConn Law School on a full threeyear scholarship in August. Our son, Paul, is contemplating a tour in the military. He is unsure of which service. Retirement was short-lived, as the next journey has started at East Greenwich (Rhode Island) Public Schools as their director of finance, administration and operations. I was honored to serve America for 28 years. Now I get to serve the community of East Greenwich, Rhode Island. God has blessed me so much! Life is good!” Congratulations, Greg, and thank you for such long and dedicated service to our country! Oh, by the way, if your son still hasn’t decided on a branch, plenty of us Marine Corps BRs around to chat with to ensure he chooses wisely. So, that’s about all I have for this quarter, turning it back over to Chuck for a wrap up. Glad to have Buck along for the ride; as you can see, two of us can cover a lot more ground. The summer for us was pretty busy, more


Class Notes lacrosse and got time in for a beach trip. It is getting real and getting surreal very quickly. As many of you have already experienced, Vicky and I are about to begin the new cadet application process with Ian. He has VMI at the top of his list. He and a couple of classmates are planning to attend an admissions open house (didn’t we call them pre-strain weekends?) this fall. We’ll see how he feels about it when he gets back from that. I had a chance to run into Tom Spivey ’89 one weekend; we refereed a lacrosse tournament together. Rob Sayegh and I had a great time catching up over dinner and beer(s) at the Capital Ale House in Richmond. Nick Alten and I savored some of the distillery offerings on Virginia’s version of the bourbon trail. We’re teaming up with Buck, Steve Dudar and a couple of other guys for a reunion project (yep, another one is around the corner) that we shared with you a few weeks ago. Hopefully by the time you’re reading this, we have the details firmed up. Take care, be well, keep in touch – that one in particular, keep in touch. Our contact info is right up top. Use them, frequently, and please come visit Buck when you are in the Wilmington, North Carolina, area. He offers free helicopter rides while you’re there. Just have health insurance.

Class of 1992: Doug Robinson and Anhtuan Nguyen, in Alexandria, Virginia, in April 2019.


William Woodward

BRs, Here are the latest updates from our classmates: Tom Christman sent me an update on the 20th Annual Allen Stone Memorial Run-Swim-Run in Virginia Beach, Virginia, July 13, 2019. The class was well represented by Tom, Neil Hennigan, Bob Mason, Chris Zaleski and Mike Starling. Additionally, Asa Page ’79 (VMI Alumni Association president) and Thom Brashears ’95 (VMI Alumni Association chief operating officer) attended among other alumni. Please look at the Events section of this Alumni Review for a picture of alumni at the race. Chris Bergen sent in a note detailing a vacation to Hawaii in which he and his wife, Heather, along with Joe McClung and family attended Col. David Womack’s promotion to deputy commander


Class of 1992: Kevin Williams in Normandy, France, in May 2019.

Class of 1992: Taylor Holt and Byron Crowell.

– support of the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks on Oahu in July 2019. Chris said that they “had a great visit to Hawaii to see BR David Womack with BR Joe McClung and his wife, Angela. David put us up at his expansive estate located on scenic Schofield Barracks which is centrally located on the island of Oahu. David’s daughters (Ella, Maggie and Anna Kate) were out for the summer and made for a great addition as they would often provide tour guide services to us while David was busy with 25th Infantry Division business. While there we managed to hit every coast and hike nearly every day seeing the sights, including Waimea Falls. It was great to connect with David and Joe and pick up where we last let off.” Please see the Alumni Serving section of this Alumni Review for a picture of the promotion ceremony including Chris and Joe’s matching outfits. Nice job guys! My rat roommate, Lt. Col. Carl Engstrom, sent me one of his legendary email updates (and enclosed picture) in which he said, “James Cherry hosted a poker game at his place in Norfolk Aug. 9. Dick Richardson, Dave Wiesenberger and I attended. We had a wonderful time talking smack and abusing each other and our livers. Dave is still a vice president at James River Insurance. He and James are taking a trip to Scotland to sample and purchase scotch at the end of August. Dave’s giddy as a school girl about it. Who wouldn’t want to spend a week drinking scotch and eating haggis and blood pudding with James? Dick bought the industrial HVAC company for which he was working. He spends his week kicking butt in the industrial HVAC business and his weekends as a Hanover County, Virginia, auxiliary deputy sheriff patrolling the mean streets with nothing but a pistol, pepper spray and a night stick. He demands respect for the law, the flag and his authority! James is planning on retiring from the Marine Corps in 2020. He has no plans beyond hiking the Application Trail. I expect East Coast Yeti and Sasquatch sightings to increase next summer. “I spoke with Scott Price, as well. He just graduated from his master’s in poetry program and is getting ready to follow that up with a poetry fellowship. Despite his literary acumen, the guy still can’t rhyme and has lost multiple rap competitions; he maintains that, though he had trouble with the beats, he had the best diction. I was TDY [temporary duty] to Denver back in May and got the opportunity to shoot out to Colorado Springs and see Chris Bergen and his awesome family. Capt.

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes

Class of 1992: Mike Kirkmire, Jim Maiocco and Kevin Bourke in Boulder, Colorado, in June 2019. Bergen, U.S. Navy, is working for North American Aerospace Defense Command keeping our country safe. I saw Derrick Lapp and Rob Schonberger over the Fourth of July weekend. Both are unchanged and we had a great time. Oh, and my buddy Woody Woodward lives in Northern Virginia and never comes to see me in Purcellville, Virginia.” Sorry Carl, guilty as charged. These days I barely see my family as I am commuting back and forth to San Diego monthly for the Navy Reserve; only two-and-a-half years left until retirement and I get my free time back! Following up from last publication, Kevin Williams did make it to Paris, France, in May for a trip to Normandy just ahead of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings June 6, 1944. Kevin and family toured Normandy for three days. See enclosed picture of Kevin overlooking the Normandy beach in May 2019. Mike Kirkmire sent me an email and picture of him, Jim Maiocco and Kevin Bourke in Boulder, Colorado, from June 2019. He was able to have a couple drinks with them before his running (and ultimate finish) of the Boulder Ironman. The triathlon team Mike raced on (Wattie Ink. Hit Squad) had members from all across the country. One was Kim Herbert ’01 who is actually a member of our dyke line. Mike tried to hook up with Dan Lyle the day after the race but could never get their schedules in sync. Mike is still doing the geographic bachelor thing in San Jose living apart from his family and flying back to Boise every few weeks to see them. As a reminder, Mike says he has been living in San Jose since early March heading up his company’s (Rogers Machinery) efforts there. His family should move with him to San Jose once daughter Chaney finishes high school in 2020. Mike said he has not seen Matt Lough since May

2019-Issue 4

Class of 1992: Dave Weisenberger, Dick Richardson, Carl Engstrom and James Cherry at Cherry’s home in Norfolk, Virginia, in August 2019.

when he ran into him at the San Jose airport but hopes to see him soon. Anhtuan Nguyen and his wife, Linda, met up with Doug Robinson for dinner April 24 in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, when Doug was in town on a business trip. Anhtuan said it was the first time they had seen each other since graduation. Anhtuan reports that Doug retired from the Air Force in 2018 and now works as a consultant for an engineering firm. He is married with four kids living in San Antonio, Texas. Doug promised he would make our 30th Reunion in April 2022. Doug said he “missed all BRs and gave a shoutout to Andy Tate.” Dan Gaskell sent me an update in which he said, “he and wife Debbie left the slow pace of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and moved to the muchfaster paced Northern Virginia. I’ll be a student at the Marine Corps War College in Quantico for the next year. Looking forward to affiliating with local alumni chapters and may even make it back to Lexington for a game this fall.” Colin Whitehouse sent me an update in which he said, “I have been extremely busy finishing up a Master of Divinity in pastoral ministry from Whitefield Theological Seminary. I received a recommendation from the president of the Seminary to continue my education through a Doctorate of Theology in pastoral counseling. I attend Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, and head The Foundation of Christ as a minister to the incarcerated. “I still keep my day job at Extrema Cables in Ruckersville, Virginia, as floor supervisor. We manufacture wiring harnesses mainly for the military. My fiancée, Chang Chee Yi from Malaysia, and I are hoping to spend our first Christmas together this year with hopes of marrying next year.”

Last but not least, got a quick update from Byron Crowell in which he reported while on a recent family vacation, they stopped in Raleigh, North Carolina, and hung out with Taylor Holt for a bit. Byron said they are living in Tampa, Florida, now and have also had a chance to spend time with Keith Peloquin. Please let me know of any major life events such as marriages (including for our children), births, deaths and advanced degrees so that I can inform the Alumni Review. If you have a change of address, let the Alumni Association and I know so that we can make sure you get all VMI correspondence. In the bonds, Woody


Lincoln Swineford

Brother Rats: I hope all is going well with all of you and yours. As I type this, we’re heading into August and the end of summer, so I hope all of you had a great summer. By the way, if you read these notes but you haven’t received any emails from me, please drop me a line at the email listed so I can get you added to our list. And please, everyone, keep those updates coming. We’ll start off with Hemi Zamalis’ update regarding Dave Grave’s RoadRunner campaign. As you may know, Hemi had been working with Dave to restore Dave’s 69 RoadRunner. A call went out to the brotherhood to maybe pitch in to


Class Notes buy parts for the renovation and upgrade, and our class and others from VMI responded as only we can. In total, we raised just over $7,500. Hemi is religiously tracking all the money and went to the Carlisle Mopar show to buy parts for a new suspension, brakes, tires, interior and exterior cosmetic items, like seat covers and head rests, and ignition, exhaust, cooling, electrical and fuel systems. In late June, the car made its first movement under its own power in 26 years! I know we’re all looking forward to the final product, Hemi, and thanks for all the hard work! David Hoy reported in: “I represented Primal Brewery & NC Craft Brewing at the Imbibe Live 2019 in London conference in July. While there I was able to coordinate with Mike and Sandy Zamalis for dinner. On the same trip, I met up with Kevin Morris for dinner and then in a quick hop over to Amsterdam, ran into Sean Farley. Just goes to show how global our class can be.” Dave also met up with Kevin Roop in Vail for lunch and a great visit and a reminder that if you ask Roop for hiking recommendations, be very specific about the elevation gains that will be encountered. Mark Schroeder checked in with a job update: “I have accepted the job of the chief enrollment officer for the American University of Malta. I will be moving there Aug. 9 with duties starting the 12th. As you may already know, BR Morris has recently moved to the U.K. for work so we have a good FOB starting in Europe. David Hoy is already making plans for a visit and I hope you might well consider it yourself.” Scott Eanes sent in the following: “I left my position as the operations officer at the National Airborne Operations Center last October and have since been working at the U.S. Strategic Command joint cyber center managing cyber protection teams. This will be my last tour in the Navy, and I’m expecting to retire in spring 2021. Haven’t really decided what I want to do when I grow up, but I’ve got some time to think about it.” Kelly Holbert checked in: “I’ve been retired from the Air Force for a full year now and have been living in North Carolina and flying for United Airlines out of Dulles. I see Brad Briller in the IAD flight office periodically and Jon Pardew, and I have gotten together on a few occasions when I’ve been in Denver. Bobbi and I are contemplating a move to Virginia after our youngest graduates high school next summer, and if anyone knows any good realtors in the northern


Shenandoah Valley let me know. Recently met a childhood hero, Herschel Walker, while waiting for a flight and he is a helluva nice man! I’m optimistic the Keydet football team is the most talented we’ve had in a long, long time and we might surprise the SoCon this year! Hope to make multiple games this fall. Rah Virginia Mil!” Brian Jordan was recently recognized on Capitol Hill at the 2019 Legislative Client Showcase and Reception. Eleven entrepreneurs were selected to present their business concepts to members of Congress and the Senate. Brian invented the DigiTouch prosthetic finger. After Brian lost the tips of his thumb, index and middle fingers during a machine shop accident, he noticed during rehab that there did not seem to be a functional

Class of 1993: Dave Hoy with Kevin Roop.

Class of 1993: Lincoln Swineford representing the Institute.

fingertip prosthetic available, so Brian invented one and was recognized as an innovator and entrepreneur! Brian Southard checked in from an elevation of 14,206 feet above sea level on Mount Democrat, which is part of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. A picture of Brian and his new bestie, Billy the Goat, was too small for publication. Matt Gill also dropped a note: “I married Rory Tufaro July 23 at a family-only wedding at Veritas Vineyards. I am still with Virginia Information Technologies Agency in Richmond, and she is a librarian with Hanover County Public Schools. We have had an active summer with our combined eight children, and spent time as a couple traveling to California and Oregon.” Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, I saw that U.S. Navy Capt. Greg Vinci recently took command of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command in Washington, D.C. Congratulations, BR! And I also see that Dom Ford is back on the East Coast, having transferred from 29 Palms to the Pentagon, where he is the deputy commandant for information, C4 Division. Steve Grim sent me a Facebook message saying he “got to see Kevin Morris, Matt Williams and Raleigh Trumbo before Kevin and Helen shipped out to London. A good time was had by all.” Donnie Holloway dropped a note from the D.C. area as he heads into retirement from the Air Force: “I will retire from the Air Force after 25 years of service. I finished as a national security professor at National War College in D.C. I plan to stay in the D.C. area as my son, Camden, will be going to Virginia Tech for the next four years. I was blessed with an exceptional military career and served with the best people in the world.” Congratulations on a great career, Donnie and good luck on the next step! Bill Cox also checked in at the last moment, as is his way: “Not a lot to report. Was a good summer. Took a trip with the family to Fenwick Island, Delaware, for vacation. Really enjoyed it and put it on the list of places to go. New job is great, some travel but not near as bad as my last job. Got to go to Niagara Falls on business, so crossed that off the list and may or may not have done some gambling while there. Currently in the middle of a major tear down and rebuild on my jeep. Beth is great and kids are all excited to get back to school (not so much). Addison’s first choice is University of Virginia for college. She’s applying early decision. First time UVa has offered that in a while. Dacie

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes

Class of 1993: Matt Gill married Rory Tufaro. just found out she made JV volleyball at Freeman. I had no doubts, though. William is good as well. They both start new schools this year, so should be interesting. Other than that all is well.” Neil Osbon also updated: “I climbed Mount Fuji with two friends (Cole Smith of Canada and Grace MacPherson of Scotland) July 17. As we arrived back at the station after our long day, a red, eclipsed moon was just rising. Then I came back to the States for a month in the southeast. On the way up from Georgia, I spotted Bill Cox in rush hour traffic on northbound I-95 and we yelled to each other. Troy Spencer’s 50th birthday was a blast, with BR Andrew Joyner in attendance, as well as Dave Jordan’s dyke, Anthony Martin ’96, Ed Bowers ’80 and Christian Larlee ’90. The next day, I had a great evening with BR Rusty Smith and his wife, Scottie, at their horse farm in Hanover County. So the trip continues. Hope you are well.” The summer treated the Swinefords pretty good. April and I celebrated our 25th anniversary by going to Vegas and having fat Elvis renew our vows in front of the iconic Las Vegas sign, which was exactly as tacky and awesome as it sounds. We also took the girls on vacation this summer to Charleston and Savannah, as we’d never been to either place as a family. While in Charleston, we swung by The Citadel. First time I’ve ever been there. Despite being our sworn enemy, it’s a

2019-Issue 4

beautiful campus, and everyone I talked with was really friendly. I was rocking a VMI shirt, just so there was no doubt that they knew who walked among them. In particular, some Marine TAC officers talked to us for about 20 minutes about rats and knobs and the Honor Code and how things had changed and how things had stayed the same. Another pretty cool thing that happened was that Coach Duggar Baucom, late of VMI basketball and now The Citadel basketball coach, was giving a prospect a tour of the campus and saw my VMI shirt and stopped to talk to us for a while. He’s a good guy, and I was sorry to see him leave VMI. While in Charleston, I missed the chance to meet up with Alex DeVarona, who is fully retired from the Army and now lives there with his wife, Lorna, because he was working, but I did get a chance to have a few beers with John Aydlette ’90. Good to catch up with him. Before our vacation, I had a chance to attend a send-off dinner for with Kevin Morris and his wife, Helen, before them moving to England for his job. Darin Ramsey and his wife, Gray, hosted, and Don and Stephanie Spears and Vic and Susan Kane were also there, as well as a few other friends. It was a really great time with a lot of laughs and storytelling. Good luck in England, Kev and Helen. And thanks again to Darin and Gray for hosting. As I submit this Aug. 14, I’ll note that it’s the eve of our 30th anniversary of matriculation. Thirty years ago tonight, I was pulled over by a cop while speeding home from April’s house. When I told him I was going to VMI the next day, he laughed at me and sent me on my way. John Harper was in a room in the Comfort Inn with his family and Van Hardenbergh had breakfast in the Waynesboro Shoney’s where he met Rusty Smith for the first time. Bob Matson met Nick Martinson at the VMI Museum and apparently there wasn’t a clue between the two of them because neither had much of an idea of what they were getting into. I don’t think that was unique to them. I can say for a fact I had no idea what was coming. Erik Nilsson went to the Palms that day (way to represent) and his dad introduced him to some upperclassmen, who re-introduced themselves a few days later. Erik is continuing the cycle of pain by dropping his son off in Cameron Hall Aug. 17 for his rat year. Thirty years is a hell of a long time, even though it doesn’t always seem like it (at least to me). It’s been a long, winding and sometimes very rough

road less traveled, brother rats, but hopefully, it’s led all of us to good things and has been a positive influence on our lives and who we are as men. And because I think it’s awesome, well written and encapsulates what I think is the BR Spirit, I’ve included a part of Bob Matson’s Matriculation Day tribute from Facebook: “Over the last three decades we’ve lost some to sickness, accidents, war and their own demons. We’ve all experienced great joy, and great sorrow. No matter the circumstances, we’re there for each other – to celebrate the good times and offer support in the bad times.” As you’ll read this in book form as we head into the holidays, I’ll finish it out by saying that I hope your summers and falls were great and that the holidays treat you and yours very well. As always, feel free to drop me a note either by text, email or Facebook. Take care. ’93, ’93, ’93.


Clay Campbell

I will start out this brief summary of class notes by letting you all know that I am writing these on behalf of Pig. Pig asked me to help out this time as he is currently being pulled in too many directions to devote the time necessary to complete this aspect of the class agent duties. If you all are not aware, Pig is very generous with his time and resources. He is currently heavily involved with renovations at the local Boys and Girls Club facility close to his home. He even recruited his son, Mason, to help out with that. In his spare time, Pig is building a house for his mom, building a barn, raising a son, oh and very successfully working a full-time job. I really appreciate all he has done for our class to date in addition to his support for his family and community. On to other topics. Jeremy Schlussel sent in a note to let us know that he was recently promoted to senior vice president at the company he works for. He oversees the Bridge Engineering Group in Virginia. Congratulations, Jeremy! His son, Ethan ’22, completed his rat year and traveled to Spain for the summer where he caught up with BR Steve Kavanaugh. Steve had all of the students from VMI over at his house for dinner one evening.


Class Notes send-offs as possible. Thanks for doing Matt MacNeilly recently retired from what you do! Thom said, “A good many the Army as a colonel. He had a retireof us were down in Charleston for the ment ceremony and small gathering back weekend’s festivities against The Citadel. at VMI. Matt thought it would be fitting Great times were had by all; many stoto end his Army career where it began. ries of which should not be repeated in BR Ryan Croley emceed the ceremony polite company. Seriously, it was great to and Col. Mark Bryant ’77 was a part of be around so many of our BRs, some of it as well. I was fortunate enough to attend which had come out from under a rock!” along with BR Charlie Evans. Matt is I was able to attend the burial of Brig. now working for ZRODelta (firearms and Gen. N. Michael Bissell ’61. It was an optics manufacturer) in North Carolina. honor to be there and celebrate the life Check them out. They have some pretty of a great man and hero. There were nice stuff. many VMI alumni there including a A few weeks later, my son, Cadet Grant good size group from the Class of 1995: Goldsmith ’20, and I were able to spend a weekend with Ryan Croley at his house Class of 1994: Present at U.S. Army Col. Matt MacNeil- Dave Fleck, Ed Randall, Rich Pitchly’s retirement were Grant Goldsmith ’20, Charlie Evans, ford, John Miller, Noel Gorospe, Rod in Virginia Beach. Ryan is a captain in Sean Goldsmith, MacNeilly and Ryan Croley. Thompson and Drew Bissell. the Navy, but since they did not give him I want to send out a big congratulations to command of one of their ships, he went out and to see that Jason’s health has improved enough purchased his own boat. We enjoyed time wake- to allow him to enjoy yet another trip to Disney Rich Pitchford on his promotion to colonel. We boarding and riding in said boat on one of the hot- recently. You continue to be in our thoughts and are proud of you BR. prayers Jason. Keep fighting the good fight. I know most everyone knows also, but contest weekends of the summer. Last but not least – a small group of use met grats to Col. David Doss on becoming the new I have touched base with Dan Price a little bit this summer. When Dan isn’t busy with the car earlier this year regarding our 25th Reunion plan- Wing Commander of the 28th Bomb Wing at dealership or living the life of luxury on the beach- ning. There is a significant amount of effort being Ellsworth Air Force Base. Keep the emails and messages coming in, es of Hawaii, he is spending his free time making put into that weekend. I hope that everyone takes improvements to the very rustic cabin and land he advantage of the opportunity to give back to the brother rats. Also keep using our Facebook Institute and attend. I look forward to seeing and page. It is a great way for us all to stay in the recently purchased near Wintergreen. loop with all the happenings and exploits of I also talk with Danny Felty fairly regularly. catching up with more of you very soon. In the bonds, each other. Danny and his family are doing well. The sports Sean Goldsmith Our 25th Reunion is just over a year away, and extracurricular activities schedule of his two Sept. 18-19, 2020. I think we are going to have teenage sons keeps Danny and Heather very busy a great time. Updates and announcements will as does the medical group that Danny is a part of. be coming in the next few months as we plan. I’m not sure how many of you keep up with Jason That’s it for now. Take care, guys! Nichols on Facebook, but I was personally elated Joseph W. Doyle Rah Virginia Mil! ’95, ’95, ’95.


Class of 1994: Ethan Schlussel ’22 and Steve Kavanaugh. 142

Brother Rats, Twenty-eight years ago, we set foot onto post as a rat mass, and in just a couple of days, the new rat mass will matriculate. Hard to believe it has been that long, and sometimes it feels like it was just a few days ago. I hope everyone has made it through the heat and in some places, the monsoons, of the summer. I know everyone is trying to get in last minute summer vacations in, and in some cases, our kids are already back in school. Thom Brashears is gearing up for a spectacular football season. I hope a lot of you are able to make it to some games this year. Thom has also been on the road hitting as many rat

Class of 1995: Tom Hoskins and Damian Wilbourne with Brian Ucciardi. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes from the sea to the Demilitarized Zone. It’s really humbling to have this opportunity to serve our nation and the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance. Tom Danielsen It’s crazy to think that nearly three decades ago I was a scared rat with no idea my journey would lead here. There are also four other alumni in the brigade including one who was born the year we graduated (makes me feel super old).” I unintentionally left this update out of my last I hope everyone had a great summer. As I write edition, Karl Renne checked in for the first time these notes, I’m in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, in a very long time with the following: “It’s been a enjoying great weather, fishing and time with long time; things have been a blur over the last 20+ family, and yes, Frank Dingle and Vern Wilkens, years. I haven’t written in with any updates Maryland is actually pretty cool. since about 2001 for a number of reasons. I’ll start these notes with an update to I initially went to 3rd Marines out of The our colonel count. We’re now at 15. Spike Basic School and then to Marine Corps Solovey is the latest BR selected for prosecurity forces in Georgia. I got out of the motion. I caught up with him recently as Marine Corps just after 9/11 and went to he’s actually stateside in Virginia Beach. work for CIA. I spent the next 15 years as Even Spike was surprised by the selection a paramilitary operations officer. That life as he’s had anything but a traditional Army change kept me moving around the world career, spending most of his time overseas on an adventure I never would have imageither in Iraq, Afghanistan or Europe supined beforehand. I retired from CIA in late porting special operations units. He’s cur2016 and moved to Portland, Oregon, for rently chief of staff for a NATO German my wife’s job. We have two daughters, general officer in Virginia Beach, and is ages 4 and 11 now. I started a technology awaiting his O-6 assignment, most likely company after retiring and have a patented overseas again. I recommend connecttechnology platform that does different ing with Spike on LinkedIn as he is still government and business solutions within an avid artist and posts his latest pieces on his profile; you can also check him out at Class of 1996: Jon Dano hosted a gathering of brother rats intelligence, security and cybersecurity. I One his latest pieces is as- near Philadelphia in July. In attendance, from left, were still make it back to Virginia to see famJosh Lewis, Phil Alicia, Dano, Jim Warf and Nick Latsios. ily and friends and seem to be pulled back sociated with this addition of our notes. there more and more for business. We’re Col. J.J. Rivera has yet another update: moving to Bozeman, Montana, in a few He is now the commandant of cadets at months and will likely settle there for a Valley Forge Military Academy. I’m sure while. After moving frequently for the last he’s applying all he learned from his time 23 years, we’re ready to stay put in one as regimental S-1 working closely with place for a while. Please look me up if you Col. Ron Williams ’64 in his new role make it to Bozeman.” shaping future military leaders. Chris Gorman checked in with a quick Lt. Col. Corrie Brice checked in recently update: “Had a great Fourth of July celand sent the following update: “Dianna, ebration with John Adams and Charles the children and I PCS’d from Hawaii after Schnurman! Really fun getting our famionly 11 months on station to take battalion lies together. Fireworks were in full effect command of 3rd Battalion 13th Field Arand no one lost any fingers!” The last part tillery Regiment (Multiple Launch Rocket is pretty amazing knowing this crew! System), 75th Field Artillery Brigade at I also heard from Brad Burrus who Fort Sill, Oklahoma. I assumed command recently opened a new insurance office from Brendan Toolan ’98 July 25. Though Class of 1996: Spike Solovey’s latest work of art is titled in Roanoke, Virginia. He writes: “I have our time with the Tropic Lighting Division “America’s First Responders” and is a gesture of thanks was short, we loved every minute of be- and acknowledgement to modern first responders, while expanded my insurance business and now ing part of the 25th ID. Now, the Army has recognizing the nation’s original first responders, including can provide auto, home and business ingiven us the privilege of battalion com- George Washington, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin and surance. It is an independent agency and members of the colonial militia. we represent multiple companies. If I mand of a unit with a long history in the


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most lethal brigade in our Army. Our daughter has started her senior year of high school (it’s her third high school) and our son is a freshman at his first. We also had the chance to catch up with Chuck Reinhold ’99 while he was at Sill for Field Artillery Pre Command Course. I also heard from Col. Chris Noe, who also took command recently and sent me this update: “Things are well here with Noes here in Korea. I took command of Materiel Support CommandKorea at Camp Carroll in July. It is a brigade that is responsible for sustainment across the peninsula


Class Notes can run a comparison on anyone’s auto, home or business/general liability insurance please let me know.” It would not be another edition of class notes without a shoutout to Matt Bogusky, who recently added a Jeep to the household. Congrats, Matt, and happy four-wheeling to you and your wife! Finally, Jon Dano has been active this summer linking up with BRs: “It’s been a great year thus far connecting with BRs. We got a visit from Dave Hall who is spending a lot of time in Philly these days with his daughter, Charlotte, who is competing at a high level in rowing. Nick Latsios came over for a barbecue and all three of us had some good laughs catching up. Nick doing well building skyscrapers across the Northeast while living it up in his hometown of Philly. I then had the opportunity in June to attend Jim Warf’s Air Force retirement ceremony after 23 years of service, nine moves and seven deployments. Matt Creech, Chris Jones and John McElroy joined the event as well. John was decked out in his colonel battle dress uniform, which was awesome to see. Chris is still flying planes, now commercially, and Matt is a lawyer who is serving part time as a lumberjack after a giant tree fell on his house back in June. Everyone is OK. It was so great to hear about everything Jim has done in his Air Force career. Truly exceptional service. Finally, we had impromptu BR gathering back in south Jersey where Phil Alicea, who is doing quite well as a lieutenant in the Jacksonville Police Department; Josh Lewis, who is running a whole region in pharma sales;

Class of 1996: Lt. Col. Jim Warf retired from the U.S. Air Force after 23 years of service, nine moves and seven deployments. From left were Col. John McElroy, Matt Creech, Warf, Jon Dano and Chris Jones. 144

Jim Warf, fresh off retirement sporting a beard; and Nick Latsios hung out all day cruising on Nick’s boat through Philly and having some good laughs.” As a final note, Jon is calling all BRs to a gathering at VMI Saturday, Nov. 23, on the parade deck before the football game. Hopefully these notes arrive in time or you’ve already seen the Facebook or email message. That’s all for this edition. All the best to you and your families. Tom


David M. Hudock Class of 1997: Will Tong and one of 1997’s rats, Paul Belmont ’00. Gentlemen of the increasingly Older Corps! I will pause here while you don your readers and ask Siri to play “Boomin’ System” so you can transport yourself through this edition of class fake news – er, I mean class notes – right back to 1993 and a world in which Han Kao wasn’t just a rallying cry for Stagg and Lisa wasn’t just a name for an arch to the mailroom ... it was a simpler, Kardashian-free life absent of hashtags and poop emojis. And what a time it was. At least there was Slemp. Our first entry in this intrepid travelogue through time can be filed in the “who says we are old?” folder and is submitted from a small, not-quiteforgotten corner of Louisiana called “Shreveport.” Have you ever been? No, neither has anyone else you know except Steve “Squirrel” Strain, his lovely wife Holly and – as of July 24 – their newly arrived first-born daughter, Aubrey Grace! Steve said the 23rd was a long and rough night/morning for them, though he does concede Holly did most of the work. Yes, not only is Squirrel a new father and the latest member of the Old-as-F-new-dadclub, he is a model of magnanimousness! We are truly happy to know you Squirrel but super happy for you, Holly and baby Aubrey. Congratulations to you guys! Speaking of small worlds, Will Tong checked in with his own story of randomness. As an extreme history buff and legendary children’s “fun sponge,” Will took advantage of slightly less humid weekend weather recently and brought his kids to visit the battlefield at Gettysburg,

Class of 1997: Paul Bickford and Dan Evilsizer displaying sub-aquatic class pride in Thailand.

Class of 1997: Steve and Holly Strain welcomed their first child, Aubrey, July 24, 2019. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes or six this week on Solomon’s Island just Pennsylvania. As he commenced his across the Patuxent River from the air staroute planning at the visitor’s center, he tion. Jeff’s at Pax for the next week to attend positioned himself amongst a group of the Navy’s test pilot school “short course” to military-looking cadets – likely to give support his duties as an aviation life support them some land navigation pointers– systems engineer in Pensacola, Florida. The when they started staring oddly at his good news is the “short course” gets him VMI ball cap. Just as things started to back in the cockpit flying for a few hours; get weird, Lt. Col. Paul Belmont ’00 innot a bad deal. After vacationing for two tervened and ensured Will the wayward weeks in lovely southern Maryland, Jeff cadets were in his charge as a professor will return to kite boarding, his teenaged at the United States Military Academy at children and work in Florida’s panhandle. West Point. Will’s comment was simply, You will be pleased to know that on your “another fine example of VMI leading Class of 1997: U.S. Army Col. Mike Belenky passed the behalf, Jeff levied the appropriate grief upon everyone else.” Well put, Will! 212th Combat Support Hospital colors to Command Sgt. me for still having a “Hotmail” account and Yet another example of “VMI leading Maj. Charles Robinson. not using cloud-based technology. Thanks, everyone else” was honored at a recent Jeff! It’s always good seeing you. Army change of command where U.S. Army Col. Dan Evilsizer, Esq., from somewhere in Thailand. And that’s going to wrap it up for this quarter’s Michael Belenky assumed command of the 212th Or was it the Philippines? Hard to say and harder Combat Support Hospital at Rhine Ordnance Bar- to keep up with Paul but give it a shot; his photos notes entry. I appreciate all of your time and your updates. I could not make this Pulitzer-prize winracks, Germany. Pay attention history buffs: The are worth it! Thanks, Paul and travel safe, brother. Baltimore has received its fair share of news latening write-up a possibility without your support 212th is the oldest and most decorated combat and I very much appreciate your time to offer support hospital on active duty and can date its ly and, fortunately, we have no reason to thank U.S. your thoughts. Enjoy the rest of your summers history back to World War I and the Saint-Mihiel! Navy Reserve Cmdr. Jason Stracqualursi for any of it. Strack is the commanding officer of a Na- and the beginning of fall, football season and Mike took command July 26 with Blythe and his val Reserve unit in Baltimore called “SurgeMain” pumpkin lattes! kids by his side. If you’re ever in the Kaiserslaut(no, this is not another Bickford reference) which ern area make sure you let Mike know; not only is he offering you a place to hang your hat but he is serves to augment civilian shipyards in Baltimore offering you free – not just any – beer. And it will with a small labor force consisting of about 60 likely be German. Thanks, Mike and congratula- welders, mechanics, electricians and such. He has Joseph Bates Jr. been in command since December and will remain tions to you on your new assignment! there until November 2020. Strack flies down to Jim Rogers popped up from Down Under where his reserve duty in Baltimore every other month he’s still wrangling ’roos and throwing shrimps on from his home in Boston, where his “real” job is the barbie in the Australian Army. He just returned the deputy director of Naval History and Heritage Happy Matriculation Day, Brother Rats, from TALISMAN SABRE which, to be clear, is I am just getting back from a work fishing trip I a military exercise, not an implement of boudoir Command, Detachment Boston (USS Constitution maintenance and repair facility). You are have been fortunate enough to do annually for the owned by Paul Bickford. Jim and his wife, Betsy, are getting ready to move to Sydney toward the correct if you immediately deduced that our man last six years, but this year it came with some reStrack is maintaining the Navy’s single remaining grets as I missed the matriculation party that Chrisend of the year for his next assignment. He wants to make it clear that BRs – sans sabres – are wel- active, tall, wooden ship. If you have ever wanted tian Craft and crew put together in Richmond. It is convenient that the week before I went on come to stop by his humble abode for barley pops to be on a wooden ship while it is underway and when in that part of the world. Thanks, Jim, and not fear plunder by Barbary Pirates, you’re in luck my trip, I had the opportunity to spend the day with best of luck to you and Betsy during your forth- because the USS Constitution is towed around my dyke, Randy Agee ’95, and his family who Boston harbor seven times per year in complete, spent the week at Lake Norman for vacation. Rancoming transfer! powerless safety. What’s next for Strack after No- dy is doing well in law enforcement and is actually And since you’re no doubt in a Paul Bickford staring at retirement in three years while spending frame of mind, I can assure you that life for Se- vember 2020? Not even he knows for certain but he says he has had enough of the military at this time power lifting, hunting and fishing when he is nior “Happy Pants” Bickford is what many of us point and is considering retiring. No shame in that, not working. We sat on the dock and fished with can only dream about. As the globe-trotting bon brother, and it sounds like your gig in Boston is a my son and his friend (who had never fished) and vivant stops over in the world’s playgrounds for good one. Thanks for sharing with us! within 10 minutes Randy had my son’s buddy fishwhat I can only assume is “business,” he drops me Keeping the adage, “all roads in naval aviation ing like a pro which allowed us to sit and catch the occasional photo, the majority of which can’t be published here. However, he did send me a pass through Naval Air Station Patuxent River” up for hours while they scooped small perch out picture of his sub-aquatic visit with International alive and well (that’s not really an adage), Jeff one after another. It was great seeing Randy and it Henderson is in town and we met for an oat soda made me realize just how lucky we were to attend Man of Mystery and F-Troop legend, The Hon.


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Class Notes

Class of 1998: Brother rats and their families celebrated the matriculation anniversary. the photos that are in the Review. Thanks, VMI and contrary to what my Delta BRs Christian, for taking the time and also for are saying right now, how lucky I was to staying in regular touch – let’s keep it up. have Randy as my dyke. “On Aug. 10, the Class of 1998 celebratDetails to follow, but I really hope you ed our 25th anniversary matriculation parall are seriously looking ahead at how we ty at the Hanover Golf Club. For my first can blow out our 25th Reunion. Christian attempt at throwing a function like this, and I have already been in contact with with Jon Gonzales’ help, we both think it Thomas Brashears ’95 and are going to was a total success. Thank you to Gonzo work on putting together a bash with feedand Travers Clemmons for allowing us back from the class, so please send me to invade their pool and club. To all of notes or messages on Facebook, email, or my BRs who helped financially, I cannot text the number above and I will get back thank you enough for your support, friendto you. I received this update and the photos Class of 1998: Joey Bates and Randy Agee ’95 with Bates’ ship and contribution! son, Cole, and Cole’s friend. “First and foremost, we are husbands with this submission from Sal Vitale ’61, and fathers who are busy with careers and the 1961 class agent, regarding Brandon families, going here and there, and everyBissell and his brothers. Sal writes: “At where leading our families! I am amazed the Bissell officer’s club reception, many at how fast 25 years has gone by, but I look pictures were taken and included with this back with absolute fondness and pride, essubmission are the Bissell boys’ picture pecially after spending the day with you that you may want to use in the Review.” Saturday. For our journey to this point, Thanks for the update and photos, Sal; started Aug. 15, 1994, when we matricuI did not see a reply and could not answer lated to the Institute. Where we were then your question regarding photos from the and where we are now may have changed, event. Brandon, I hope you are well and but the one consistent thread is the bond check in when you have a minute. that we all share: VMI Class of 1998. GenHamel Reinmiller checked in on subtlemen, it was a pleasure to see all of you, mission eve and shared some photos from meet your wives and children and share an the American Association of Professional Landman’s National Meeting, which was Class of 1998: Hamel Reinmiller was recognized as Land- afternoon of fellowship! The lessons that in Pittsburgh in June. I am happy to share man of the Year by the American Association of Profes- we learned at the ‘I’ have endured and I sasional Landmen. lute you all. Thank you to all of our brother that Hamel was named the National Landrats who are serving, have served and one that paid man of the Year at this event and continues to rep- Corps. He is assigned to the Fort Hood Dental resent VMI and our class very well in his industry! Health Activity as an Individual Mobilization the ultimate sacrifice!” “Fifteen brother rats saw familiar faces and introThanks for checking in, Ham, and congratulations! Augmentee. Thanks for checking in, Joe, and I duced wives and children to each other, and some Joe Seiler checked in and shared that he was selook forward to more notes for the next submisnotes follow. Greg Ellen and his wife, Denise, lected for promotion to colonel in the U.S. Army sion! have three girls and live in Richmond. Greg is a Reserve where he continues to serve in the Dental Christian Craft submitted the notes below and


VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes structural engineer, and they are busy with soccer, volleyball and their church. Bobby Heely and his wife, Johnanna, drove down from Arlington, Virginia, with their two girls for the weekend, and Sunday they hit Kings Dominion. Bobby is working at the Pentagon with the Navy and may have one more move back to West Coast before he signs off from active duty. Jason Fye and his wife drove up from Durham, North Carolina, with their 12-month-old son – man, what a road trip! Thanks for making the trip, Fye; it was great seeing you. Paul Sakellariou lives in Glen Allen, Virginia, with his wife, Dawn, and they have two children. Paul is currently working as a fi- Class of 1998: The Bissell family. nancial planner. Brad Cooke and his wife recently left the city and moved to the Midlothian as more frequent family gatherings and dinners.” I hope this all finds you well. When you read suburbs, and they have a daughter. Brad is teachit, we will be close to Nov. 15 and another ediing at the Collegiate School. Jon Gonzales and his wife, Karen, live in Ashland, Virginia, and have tion will be due. Please send in some updates via email, text, Facebook, Messenger, etc. With that, four children. Jon works for Reel Time Power I leave you all in the bonds. Rah Virginia Mil – and is even busier as a dad and husband. Gardner Mundy and his wife, Stinson, have two children ’98, ’98, ’98! and live in Richmond, Virginia. Gardner works and teaches at The Steward School. Josh Brown and his wife, Cheryl, drove up from Chesapeake. Josh is currently a surface warfare officer, and he Jay Witt has two years left in the Navy before he plans to retire. He and his wife have the children and managed to have a Richmond weekend alone. Ernesto Sampson and his wife, Savon, have two girls and Brother Rats, live in Richmond, Virginia. Ernesto is a financial I hope these notes find you well and prospering. planner as well. Thierry Lemercier emailed me several weeks ago to reconnect. Thierry has trav- It was a pleasure to reconnect with many of you eled the world and settled in northern Virginia during the spring reunion and through the process with his wife, and they have a 12-month-old of creating class notes. Our classmates continue in daughter. It was wonderful to see Thierry and the great tradition of VMI providing impactful sertalk with him about all of his travels. Glad you vice in their churches, families, communities, military branches and companies all over the globe. made the drive to attend. Travers Clemons and Andy Kratt recently relocated from Luanda, his wife, Kristina, have three children and they live in Hanover, Virginia. Travers is busy running Angola, to London, United Kingdom. Andy is still his company, Orbit Logistics, with his wife’s working for Chevron and recently started a new help and chasing after three busy children. Tim position with Chevron’s future growth project beTrant and his wife, Molly, live in Poquoson, and ing constructed in Tengiz, Kazakhstan. Andy will have two children. Tim works for Kaufman and be in London until approximately June 2020 and will subsequently begin his rotational assignment Canoles. As for Chasity and I, we just recently moved down the street in Bon Air. I am working to Kazakhstan. While in Kazakhstan, Andy’s famat VCU Health System as a rapid response nurse. ily will relocate to Houston, Texas. Andy’s son Our two children, Carter and Cate, are 12 and 10. will be 15 in October, and his daughter turns We find ourselves needing more hours in the day 12 in September. Rounding out the Kratt family are two dogs, a 4-year-old English mastiff and a just like everyone else. I look forward to continuing 5-year-old lab/boxer mix. Andy notes it was a bit our conversations about our 25th Reunion as well


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of a challenge relocating his canine kids from Angola during the last move, but it all worked out in the end. Andy recently met up with Steve Lucas in the U.K. and had some good laughs over a few pints and dinner at one of the local pubs. Andy extends an open invitation to anyone in the area to get together, noting it was a great time seeing everyone at the reunion, catching up and reminiscing! Barry Williams writes: “I hope all is going well for you and your family, and thanks for reaching out! As for me, all is well. I just finished my first year of battalion command. Being that I am now an acquisitions officer for the Army, I’m about to get really busy as we approach the fiscal year-end. My wife, Fatina, and two kids, Bryce and Morgan, are doing well and enjoying their summer.” Thanks for staying in touch, Barry! Something tells me the snuff-rubbing, cat fisherman from Botetourt is a competitor in the race for 1999’s first flag officer. Patrick Meyer reached out with the following email: “I’ve been able to get together with Brannon Howle on occasion to play guitar and just catch up. Brannon has an amazing voice and has been out playing gigs at Kindred Spirit here in Richmond, a brewery owned by a VMI guy. “Every once in a while, Jeff Golden and I touch base. He is a financial adviser/wealth manager like me, and it is nice to have somebody to talk shop with, even if Jeff is in Chicago area. Jeff has been steadily building his business working through William Blair. Pat Geoghegan sounds like he is doing well with his wonderful wife, Virginia, in

Class of 1999: U.S. Navy Cmdr. Carl Trask, captain of the USS Connecticut, on a stop in the North Pole during his last tour.


Class Notes “Great to hear from you; here is a summary of our Roanoke. He recently got to move back to a posievents from 2019! The Payne family is doing well tion which Patrick really enjoys and has a quality and enjoying life! Three boys – Jack (13), Gabriel of life upgrade with the change. Travis Quesen(11) and Cooper (5) – keep us busy. My wife, berry is still wearing dual hats as a lieutenant McKenzie, recently finished up her yoga teacher colonel in the reserve and as a partner with his certification and also owns a skin care company company. Travis is a great guy and wouldn’t toot (Macs Smack). Widespread Solutions stays busy his own horn, but he was recently promoted to a painting residential or commercial buildings. We partner type position within his company. Travis will be celebrating 15 years in business come was running a training battalion on active duty March! We recently took a trip out west and trafor a while and is now home with his family in versed Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado for Roanoke. My hat is off to all our BRs who are still a couple of weeks. I recently had the fortune of serving. Brent Harms has been a commander of a Class of 1999: Daniel Payne and famspending time with Dave Budlong and am grateunit for a while and is in the middle of a duty staily on a pit stop during their recent trek ful for his time at Widespread.” tion change. Steve Lucas, John Deem and I all got through Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado. Matt Hart delivered the following: “As the sumtogether a couple of months back to catch up over mer draws to a close, my daughter is preparing a beer and had a great time. John Deem looks like for her junior year of high school, which is pretty a GQ man stallion these days. Steve Lucas is quite hard to believe (time flies). She has grown into a a talented individual and has been a key player in wonderful young woman. I am quite proud of who the development of his company and their acquisishe is! My son is going into fourth grade this year. tion recently. Steve and I managed to get Michael He is maturing into a great young man, as well. Condon to come out for a couple of beers several He hopes to play some more upward flag football months back, and that was a great night out catchthis year. He is a natural with defense! I am still ing up. They had many stories which I will not cycling, and I hope to get 5,000 miles this year. mention here that made me feel like a stick in the I am over halfway there. A co-worker sponsored mud.” Great update, Patrick. Sounds like you’re me for a charity ride and we ended up working staying in touch with quite a few of our BRs. together to raise over $500 for Samaritan minisIt was fun to catch up with Company G rat Ricco tries, a group who works with the homeless in our Espinoza at the reunion. Ricco and family just recounty. Would you believe only $500 provides a located to Quantico, Virginia, where he will serve great many meals and 20 nights in the shelter! We, as the Marine Corps Base G-4. Ricco is excited Class of 1999: Andy Kratt and his family as a family, have visited Jamestown and Yorktown to be back in the Commonwealth and is looking on a recent trip to Budapest, Hungary. this summer. We really enjoyed both. Thankful forward to catching up with those in the area, so for many people’s sacrifices for our freebe sure to reach out to Ricco and welcome doms.” Matt, thank you for serving “the him back to the Old Dominion. least of these” and for the thoughtful upConor Powell checked in to note he date. has transitioned out of his position with Jason Berg punched out the following Fox News this past fall after nine years situation report: “Just graduated from the of covering the wars and other news in National War College and now assigned to the Middle East. Conor’s wife, Atia, and the Joint Staff J-4.” Roger that, hard charson, Arian, moved back to the U.S. in ger. It’s great to hear you’re doing well September and are living in Los Angeles. Jason! In January, the Powell family welcomed Our favorite submariner, Cmdr. Carl baby girl Elin. Both mother and daughter Trask, sent the following exciting update: are healthy and happy. Conor says they “Tomorrow, I will finish my tour as capare still trying to sort out their lives after tain of the USS Connecticut (SSN 22). I nearly a decade overseas, but he is enjoyhad the honor of taking her all around the ing freelancing with CNN and pitching a world from my home port in Bremerton, political podcast about failed presidential Washington, to the North Pole, Singapore, campaigns that lost but still impacted our political system. Conor, we’ll be watching Class of 1999: John Bolt, Brad Coleman ’95 and VMI his- Japan and Guam. I’ll be moving back to for your podcast to drop. If anyone is in tory professor Lt. Col. Houston Johnson in front of the Hawaii to join the staff of Commander, US HMS Victory, Lord Nelson’s flagship in the Portsmouth Pacific Fleet.” Congratulations, Carl, and L.A., be sure to give Conor a call. Historic Dockyard, England. thanks for the great photo. Daniel Payne sent the following update:


VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes

Class of 1999: Matt Hart and his family during their trip to Jamestown, Virginia, in summer 2019. I was able to briefly catch Keith Webster via telephone on his way to an orthodontist appointment with his three sons. Keith has been working at Hilti for about eight years. He and his family are doing well and living in Fort Mill, South Carolina. It was good to hear from John Bolt, who writes the following: “I am living these days in Portsmouth, U.K., since 2013. I am in the final weeks of completing my Ph.D. in history at the University of Portsmouth. A few weeks ago in July, I attended a conference on Normandy 75 which examined the legacy of the Normandy campaign. I was pleased to have given a paper about George C. Marshall [’901] along with other attendees, Houston Johnson and Brad Coleman ’95, who are both history professors at VMI. Also with us was John Long, director of education at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. In other news, my wife, Sacha, and I have four children – Elisabeth (10), Charlotte (7), Eric (5) and Helena (2). My wife, Sacha, is a Royal Navy officer working here in Portsmouth. Besides the ongoing history studies, I managed to pick up lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve and expect to be promoted in the spring next year, along with what I hope will be a new job with the reserves that will see me back in Quantico a few times a year. Regrettably, I missed the 20-year reunion this year due to work commitments and my children’s school overlapping. That being said, I am visiting VMI for 2-3 days the week of Sept. 16 and will be

2019-Issue 4

staying on post at Moody Hall. I will be attending a conference at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, later in the week.” John, we missed you at the reunion and appreciate you keeping us up to date on your recent achievements. Congratulations on your promotion and best of luck with the completion of your Ph.D.! I was fortunate to have an email exchange with Kevin Black, who has successfully transitioned from an Army infantry officer, where Kevin was able to work across the tactical, operational and strategic levels of national defense during his Army career, to a sought-after business consultant. Kevin is one of those intrepid spirits who owns a business. He uses his VMI and Army experiences to train rising corporate leaders as well as facilitate the development and execution of business, strategic and operational plans for an array of clients. Congratulations Kevin and well done! John Deem reports he, Pat Myers, Steve Lucas and Mike Condon met for a reunion recap at Sedona Taphouse and enjoyed discussing all the great things our BRs have accomplished in the short 20 years since graduation. John is planning another gathering at Sedona and invites all our BRs who can make it. John is also slated to whitewater raft in West “by God” Virginia with Company G Brother Rats Andy Fox and Matt Matheny this fall. Thanks for the update, John! Brother rats, during the course of reaching out to you for our class notes, it became apparent that many of your email addresses were outdated. Please keep the Alumni Association informed of your updated contact information so we can ensure everyone has the opportunity to share what’s new in their lives and careers. Changes/updates can be sent to Norma Robinson,, or to me. I look forward to speaking with each of you soon, but until then, all the best to you and your families and Rah Virginia Mil! Jay


Jim Boatright

Brother Rats, I hope everyone is doing well and had a great summer. As I write these notes, it was the first day of school here in Georgia, and I sent a sixth-grader

and seventh-grader off to school. I hope everyone is enjoying health and happiness (and a little college and pro football). Please remember you can email updates to Leading off the notes for this edition was a latenight FaceTime call at the end of May from Pat Haddock. When I answered the call, it was clear I was missing out on a party, as several of our BRs were at Moody Hall for a VMI event. The phone was passed around, and I spoke with Jay Kearney, Andrew Bowen, Don Ferguson, Greg Fedor and Mike McDaniel. It was great to catch up with these guys for a few minutes. Everyone looked good and was having a great time. I received a note from fellow Company A BR Tim Catalano. Tim let me know he appreciated his annual birthday card and says he is doing well. It is always great to hear from BRs we have not heard from in a while, and John Jackson provided a great update. John says he is alive and well and currently living in Baltimore with his wife, Lisa, and their two boys, Hunter (7) and Emmett (5). John has been working with the Maryland Department of Transportation in the State Highway Administration’s Plats and Surveys Division. He stays in touch with Justin Pusczykowski, Pat McDowell, Tony Esteve, Carlisle Bean, Dave Hoffman, Jeff Neal and Keane Jones. John included a photo of the “Club 419” reunion from 2014. John says if anyone is in the Baltimore region to be sure to reach out, and he will be there. Matt Guerin checked in and said he recently visited Jason Crabtree and his family under unfortunate circumstances. Jason’s dad, Leonard, recently passed away, and Matt was able to be in attendance with the family for the service. Matt says he plans to be at the 20th Reunion and is looking forward to seeing everyone. In closing, I would like to update that your class is already making significant plans for the 20th Reunion next year. I have been included on many emails, and it is great to see a group of dedicated brother rats working hard already to ensure we all have a great experience. I would like to recognize Shawn Segreti, Christian Arllen, Don Ferguson, Tony Esteve, Matt McComas and Justin Wood for all that they are doing. If anyone would like to help these guys, please send me an email, and I can get you connected. This has been a brief set of notes. Summer always seems to be the shortest set of class notes as travel and kids returning to school take center stage. If you have not sent in class notes ever or


Class Notes in a while, please send me an email and let me know how you are doing. Finally, and most importantly, to all our brother rats who have served or are currently serving our great country, be safe and thank you!


Rich Groen

Brother Rats of the Class of 2001! I hope you are all well this summer! Things are great in the Groen household – 1-7 Cavalry just completed gunnery with our tanks and Bradleys and is posturing for platoon collective training. Desiree and Gemma are great and really enjoying Fort Hood, Texas! If you ever make it to central Texas, let me know – you can check out our tanks! It’s great to catch up and hear from you all! Derek Bogdon writes, “I hope all is well with you and your family. I had the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to VMI while visiting the in-laws in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. I think I enjoyed the visit way more than my girls did in tropical 90plus degree heat. When asked what they enjoyed most, they said air conditioning in J.M. Hall. Obviously, their mother is raising them soft. Hope you are doing well; if you ever find yourself up in the New England area, feel free to reach out.” Great

Class of 2001: Brandon Farris and congressman Dan Crenshaw.



Salmaan Khawaja

Brother Rats, I hope that this edition of the Review finds you and yours well. Unfortunately, there were no submissions this time around. Thus, these notes are highly limited. In fact, there are no notes this time around! So, I look forward to hearing from any of you in the near future! Best wishes to all of you. In the spirit, Salmaan

Class of 2001: U.S. Army Lt. Col. Angela Scott with her family after taking command of Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, I Corps, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, in June 2019.

Class of 2001: Derek Bogdon’s family made a pilgrimage to VMI.

testing found a tumor on one of my kidneys! I got DQ’ed from the process and had my own surgery instead. Prognosis for me is just fine, and Silke was transplanted a few months later, so it is behind us now and we are happy and grateful.” John, wow! I’m glad that you and your wife are well. Please let me know if you need anything! Lastly, congratulations to Lt. Col. Angela Scott (Winters), who recently took command of Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion 1st Corps at Fort Lewis, Washington! What a tremendous honor! It’s amazing to see the strong bonds that our class displays despite distances. It was great to hear from all of you and please stay connected! ’01, ’01, ’01!

hearing from you, Derek, and will definitely take you up on that offer! Josh Harman gave a quick shoutout: “Rich, thank you for collecting the class notes. Hope that you’re doing well.” Thanks, Josh! Things are great and hope all is well with you and your family. John Niederhaus reached out: “I was very surprised and sad to read in the last Alumni Review about Lee Harrison. Haven’t been in touch much, so I am out of the loop. We had a little adventure here; my wife, Silke, discovered she needed a new kidney. I hoped to be her kidney donor, but the


William Talley V

Editor’s Note: We did not receive notes for the Class of 2003.


Scott E. Campbell

If you have never been in France for a D-Day Anniversary, you are missing out and you need to

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes go! I was there this year for the 75th anniversary with a group from 29th ID and the experience was incredible! I have come home from deployments and the reception for people outside of my family wasn’t as warm and genuine as it was from perfect strangers all over the Normandy region. There were reenactors everywhere in World War II era uniforms and jeeps galore! We were treated as if we had landed on Omaha beach! Congratulations are in order: Winston Harrell and Whitney Diane Minter were married June 29, 2019. John Casper checked in, and I’m happy to say he’s doing well. “I am doing OK. As you know, I recently had a heart attack due to a rare viral heart disease called myocarditis. Being otherwise healthy and fit, it was a big surprise to me (and the doctors)! But, I am on the road to recovery now and am taking it easy. Things at VMI are going very well and I continue to love my job ministering to cadets. Whether it is helping a rat struggling through the Rat Line, talking through a tough breakup or counseling a cadet in the wake of the loss of friends or loved ones, I find the job extraordinary meaningful. I am so grateful to have an impact on the Corps.” Matt Sharpe is relocating to Richmond! Matt said, “I’m leaving NASA after 12 years. It was a difficult decision to leave a team I’ve helped grow

into a leading data organization but the time has come. Suffice it to say that it was a family and financial decision as well as professional. Further reasons can be discussed over beer. “I’ve accepted a position as a senior product design manager at Capital One in ... Richmond, Virginia. Wasn’t looking there but couldn’t say no. I start there in September and will immediately be harassing other Richmonders. We arrive and start house hunting next week.” We’re looking forward to seeing you in Richmond and at the reunion. And congratulations on the birth of Adelaide Merritt Sharpe! She was born Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 22, 2018! Jason Quash will be tied up with a new job working for the Central Command commanding general and can’t make the reunion. It has been a pleasure serving as your class agent for the past five years. Thank you all for the opportunity. I am planning to resign as class agent after the reunion. Take care! Be safe, and keep in touch! Scott Campbell

Class of 2005: Logan Manning and Nate Johnson swim together with their daughters, Ivy and Ayaka.


Tom Hardinge Timothy Johnson

Class of 2005: Derek Rankin poses with RG3 at Baltimore Ravens training camp in early August.

Class of 2004: In Carentan, France, marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day were, clockwise from bottom left, CW2 Justin Wasno ’13, Capt. Philip Parker ’11, Maj. Scott Campbell and Capt. Will Splees ’13. 2019-Issue 4

Hello, brother rats! After a brief hiatus last quarter, I’m happy to write in once again to report news and updates from the class. Logan Manning made the trip up to Richmond, Virginia, from Chesapeake, Virginia, where he met up with one of his best friends for life, Nate Johnson. They keep in touch regularly but always try to meet up whenever Nate comes back to the East Coast from his beautiful life in Hawaii. Nate was accompanied by his wife lovely wife, Tomoko, and best of all, they were able to let their girls enjoy some quality time in the pool! Logan’s daughter, Ivy, and Nate’s daughter, Ayaka, make any 5,000 mile trip well worth it. Logan also includes: “As I write this, it has been 18 years to the day that I met this dude in the hospital of ole ‘Mother I.’ Crazy to think it was exactly half our life ago, and

Class of 2005: Chris Perry with his wife, Ashley. 151

Class Notes

Class of 2005: VMI alumni participants in F3RVA, were, from left, Ted Henderson, Greg Ellen ’98, Mike Goldman ’00, Elliott Warren ’17, Alex Bruster ’06, Jack Woodfin ’91, David Perry ’11, Christian Craft ’98 and Nick Mazzenga ’06. it feels like only yesterday. Special shoutout to all our ’05 soccer teammates and friends. Every last one of us is doing well for ourselves and families. No coincidence!” Ryan Clemens is still in Rochester, New York, teaching chemistry at the local community college. Ryan has recently gotten involved with helping restart the Western New York alumni group. So far, they’ve had a couple of get-togethers and he reports that it has been fun getting to know fellow New York alumni. In early summer, members of the great Class of 2005 convened in Pinehurst, North Carolina, for the fourth annual Keydet Invitational. Highlights of the trip included Duke Acors extending his all-time pop-a-shot record at Pinehurst Pizza, John Baber barely edging out Will Paulette in the 100-yard dash and Ben King graciously treating everyone to dinner. The red team channeled their superior mental toughness to complete a rousing come from behind victory over the white team. The vicious rivalry continues over group text message as the crew eagerly awaits the 2020 trip. In June, Danny Fields acquired Holland Supply Company, an Ohio-based business that sells products and services to the natural gas utilities market. He and his Citadel-alum business partner were able to do this by raising a private equity fund in 2017, then spending more than two years searching for the perfect business and sourcing Holland Supply. Jessie Stewart and Derek Rankin graduated from their master’s program at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst this past June. Each


Class of 2005: At the Pinehurst Golf Resort were, from left, Ryan King, Lawton Way, Will Paulette, Jimmer Kingsley, Jeff Smith, John Baber, Andy Karnes, Henry Lynch, Duke Acors, Ben King, Tom Innes and Dick Litwin.

received master’s degrees in operations management from the Air Force Institute of Technology as part of the Advanced Study of Air Mobility program. Derek also ran into Steven Raveia ’04 at the Ravens training camp in early August. They took pictures with Coach Harbaugh and got to meet a ton of the players. Chris and Ashley Perry welcomed their baby girl, Arabella Moriah Perry, into the world May 3, 2019, at 0817 in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Arabella is joy and a handful of energy already. Chris is stationed at Fort Bragg attached to 3rd Special Forces Group. Gabriela Arraiz was deployed over the spring but was able to visit with Chris and his wife during their baby shower. Ted Henderson remains in Richmond, Virginia, and has become an enthusiastic member of “F3RVA,” a boot camp-style fitness group where he’s met a lot of other VMI alum. The F3 group (Fitness, Fellowship, Faith) is free, peer-led, outdoors year-round, open to all men and you-versus-you. The team-building style promotes excellent camaraderie, and the zero-dark-30 timeframe doesn’t interfere with family/work obligations. If you live around Richmond, consider this your formal invite to join up! Follow this link for more info: Thanks again to all of you for writing in; it’s great to keep everyone informed and updated on all the happenings in our lives since leaving the “I” all those years ago. I hope you all have a fun and joyous holiday season and as always, stay safe and be well. Rah Virginia Mil, Tom Hardinge

2006 Andrew Upshaw

Hey, Brother Rats! I hope all is well and you’re having a great fall! I’m here in Germany at the 2nd Cavalry Regiment next to Mark Searles who’s at the 173rd Airborne Brigade. We have been able to catch up a lot and recently saw Gen. and Mrs. Peay ’62 at their son’s change of command in Grafenwöhr. He gave us an awesome update to everything that’s going on at VMI.

Class of 2006: Mark Searles and Andrew Upshaw with Gen. and Mrs. Peay ’62 in Grafenwöhr, Germany. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes It sounds like the Institute keeps getting better and better in terms of facilities, academics and the state of the Corps, so I wanted to pass that along to everyone. Keep in touch and let me know if you need anything or if you’re coming to Europe for a visit! Rah Virginia Mil!


Maury Denton

Editor’s Note: We did not receive notes for the Class of 2007.


Robert Hill

and measured 19.5 inches. Matt Walker and wife Kelly welcomed Charlotte Jean to the family July 8, 2019. She tipped the scales at 8 pounds, 4 ounces. Finally, Nicholas Cutting and wife Cristina welcomed their third child and first boy, Andrew Nicholas, July 21, 2019. Andrew was a big boy, tipping the scales at 10 pounds, 4 ounces. Congratulations to the Kuc, Walker and Cutting families! Andrew Stiles is now working for a horizontal drilling firm as a project manager. He is working for his former battery commander, a West Point guy! Andrew and family are relocating to the Houston area. Good luck on the new job! Will Flathers and wife Sara welcomed a

daughter, Junia Kallan, to the family June 17, 2019. Liam (2) is adjusting to being a big brother. The Flathers family has recently relocated to Washington where, Will is starting a full-time flying position with the National Guard at Joint Base Lewis McChord. Will is hoping his new position allows for more time with the family. Congrats to the Flathers family! Lauren and I have had a busy summer chasing Addyson around. We were able to attend the VMI Central Keystone Chapter rat send-off held in late July and meet eight of the 10 rats from the area. Hopefully next year we get a better turnout from cadets and alumni as the rats outnumbered us! We are looking forward to several upcoming VMI sporting events, to include several wrestling matches in the Metro D.C. area, as well as across Pennsylvania. If you haven’t followed the wrestling team, we have a new coach, Jim Gibson, and in his first year at VMI, he successfully turned Cadet Neal Richards ’19 into an NCAA qualifier. Neal has one year left at the Institute.


Brother Rats, Bradley Simpson First, my apologies for sending my latest email to everyone without a blind carbon copy. Mr. Tishman reminded me of the email bandit days while we were cadets. Cheers, Jon! These notes are short and sweet. In my haste of Brother Rats: I hope this edition this of the Rebeing on vacation, planning a rat send-off and the view finds you and your families well. I have had reunion, notice went out late and responses were Class of 2008: Bert Williams and Mike Vinacco both recently relocated to the a great time catching up with all of you from the minimal. I know several of you have had children Washington, D.C., area for fellowships. emails and messages I have gotten. from what is posted on Facebook, but sometimes I Andrew Morse let me know that he forget to write it down or take a screenshot and his wife had their second child May for these times. Feel free to drop me a line 13, 2019. Andrew said his name is Nawith the info and a picture, even if it’s a than, and he is a big boy weighing in at 10 few months later. pounds, 1 ounce. Mike Vinacco, wife Lisa and family reRhys Keller and his wife, Sarah, also cently relocated from Wright Patterson Air welcomed a new addition to their family Force Base in Ohio to Washington, D.C. May 5, 2019. Rhys told me that this is their Mike was picked up in the Air Force’s third child and first daughter. Isla Joy and legislative fellowship program and will family are happy and healthy, and they are be working in Congress for the next 18 still residing in Virginia Beach, Virginia. months. Similarly, Bert Williams has reKyle Johnson and wife Courtney wellocated to Washington, D.C., and is in the comed their first child, Barrett Samuel strategic policy fellowship. The two were Johnson, into their family July 25, 2019, able to recently meet for lunch. weighing in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces and Katie (Bopp) Kuc and husband Nick welcomed a little girl, Penelope Anne, Class of 2008: Will Flathers with his wife, Sara, and son, 20.5 inches long. Both Barrett and mom Liam (2), welcomed the newest family member, Junia are doing well. to the family July 31, 2019. Penelope Kallan, June 17, 2019. Trent Blackman is out in Kansas with tipped the scales at 7 pounds, 14 ounces

2019-Issue 4


Class Notes

Class of 2009: Andrew Morse’s newest addition to his family.

the Army and told me that there is a very strong contingent of Keydets in the school. He said that Andrew Krumm, Dave Schlaseman, Dave Radke and John Collier are out there with him. Jackie Briski in June moved to Morgantown, West Virginia. She is part of a small team of people who moved to Morgantown from Athens, Ohio, to help start a new church. It’s called Mountain Heights Church and services began in August. Since she worked for Kroger before, she was able to stay with the company and just transfer to a store in Morgantown where she is an assistant store manager. Barrett Luxhoj and his wife, Caroline, will be expecting baby No. 3 in February 2020. Well, that is all I have for this issue of notes. If you are reading this, by this time we have already had our 10th Reunion. I am going to assume we all had a great time and can’t wait to see you all at the 15th. Keep doing what you’re doing, 2009.


Cody Hennelly Garland Gray III

Class of 2009: Rhys Keller’s baby girl, Isla Joy.

Class of 2009: Kyle Johnson and his wife, Courtney, with their new baby boy.


Happy holidays Brother Rats! I am happy to report Jess, Wyatt and I have finally settled down in the Alexandria, Virginia, area. The house search was exhausting, but we are happy to finally plant our roots and call a home ours! Rest assured, many house parties will be taking place if y’all come visit! I recently went to Corey Morgan’s bachelor party. I think it is best I don’t talk about the specifics! Laugh out loud. As I write this, though, Corey will be getting married in two weeks. I know most of you didn’t think it possible, but he did in fact find a young lady who puts up with his s@#*! Good luck, brother. I got a lovely message from Steve and Danielle Cauley. They wrote in to say the visited VMI recently and that their daughter had a blast “practicing her strain” in the cadet room in the museum. Laugh out loud.

Class of 2010: Three-year-old Reese Cauley practiced her straining in the cadet room at the VMI Museum during her first trip to VMI July 29, 2019. She is the daughter of Stephen and Danielle Cauley. Evan Aguirre harasses me constantly. He recently wrote in to say he is still protecting our freedom. Thanks, bud ... Lastly, it saddens me to say that over the summer we lost our Brother Rat Fabio Amarillo. He and I were co-dykes, but we were friends above all else. Most of my rat year memories have Fabio attached to them (for better or worse)! Fabio had a largerthan-life personality and is someone I think many of us will never forget. RIP, brother. That is it for this time around. I wish you all the best through the holidays, and I look forward to catching up soon. Mizpah, Cody


Allen McCown

Editor’s Note: We did not receive notes for the Class of 2011.

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes


Bruce Howard

I hope this edition of the Review finds you and your families well. Lindsey Santos has been a police officer since 2015 and currently works as a vice and narcotics detective. She married Jesus Santos in 2018 and the happy couple welcomed their son, Mateo Louis Santos, into the world March 9, 2019. Congratulations, Lindsey, on your beautiful family! Hank Rhodenizer is living in Houston and working in the oil, gas and energy sector. Hank is getting married in October, and of course, my codyke is marrying a hometown girl from the great town of Lexington! Wishing the two of you the best wedding day. Hank also told me he recently completed a 150-mile bike ride from Houston to Austin in honor of his sister who is battling multiple sclerosis, as well as his fiancée’s grandmother. I appreciate the update, Hank, as it was great to hear from you, and I’m excited to see the next chapter of your life! Josh Sneed wanted to make sure those in the Atlanta area know he is now the VMI Atlanta Chapter president as of this past April. I know he will do a great job in that role, so I look forward to seeing the success that chapter will have. Also, Josh mentioned that he and Rob Bailey are neighbors, as the two live only six doors down from each other. Our prayers are with that neighborhood!

Class of 2012: Andrew Deal and his wife, Carly, with their daughter, Cameron. Class of 2012: Jesus and Lindsay (Parkman) Santos’ son, Mateo.

Class of 2012: Hank Rhodenizer riding his bike in Texas.

Alex Hufnagel became engaged to Madelyn Levansseur this past August. Alex also begins his new job as a high school math teacher in Maryland for the new school year. Congratulations, Alex, on your engagement! Kippur Taylor and his wife, Mary Katherine, are starting the next chapter of their life in Los Angeles. The couple moved to California in August and will be there for at least a year – or until I can convince them to move back. My wife and I were lucky enough to spend a weekend with Kippur and M.K. in New Orleans this spring. We had planned a quick weekend vacation together before they packed up from Charlottesville to head for the West Coast. I look forward to visiting you both and taking in a game at the Staples Center! Thank you to everyone who sent in updates. I look forward to hearing from you all before the next edition. Take care and until next time! In the bonds, Bruce


John Wilson

Charles Jones

Class of 2012: Linsday (Parkman) Santos with her husband, Jesus. 2019-Issue 4

Class of 2012: Bruce Howard and Kippur Taylor with their wives, Alissa Howard and Mary Katherine Taylor.

Brother Rats, I hope this note finds you well. By the time you’re reading this (pending another hurricane),


Class Notes was supporting Saber Guardian ’19 our 5(+1) reunion will have passed. I hope in Romania, she had the pleasure of everyone had a good time and enjoyed meeting and working with Capt. Brian themselves. This round of notes is going to Lennon ’06. She claimed it was quite a be brief, but hopefully Charlie and I have coincidence to bump into a VMI grad an opportunity to catch up with you all at in Romania. the reunion so we can let the class know Kristen (Voss) Walter married Thorwhat everyone is up to. sten Walter June 1 in Missouri. They There have been two weddings this sumClass of 2013: Pat Leet, Justin Dalton, Sean Rogers, Tim live in Sterling, Virginia. Madeleine mer. Quinn, Brian Bullock, John Wilson, Nate Beck, Patrick Coor, (Julienne) Nemeth came to her wedDustin Shelley married Brijet Mall in Micheal Spickard and Jackson Sain attended Quinn’s wedding, as well as the VMI rifle coach, Maui, Hawaii, June 23, 2019. The wed- ding in July 2019. Col. Bither. ding was attended by Brian Bullock, Donnie Martin, Thomas McConnell and MiJackson Sain, Ben Waterbury, Abigail Dawson ’14, John Wilson, Sean Rogers, Kevin Curran cheal Spickard. It was a hot and humid Virginia and James Wiltshire ’14. Pictures from the wed- night that involved stealing drinks from a closed ding to follow in the next notes if Dustin’s busy open bar during dinner and dancing to Tim and schedule allows him to send them. All Keydets in Caroline’s great taste in music. In other news, Sean Rogers is out of the Army attendance made sure to show the folks from that school in Annapolis what it means to have a good and will be pursuing his MBA at the University time (even though one or two of us may have been of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. If you’re in the asked to leave the reception by the bride). Shoutout area, look him up. As always, if you have any updates, please feel to Dustin’s brother for passing out at the rehearsal free to send them to Charlie or me. dinner and to Dustin’s grandfather for showing a Naval Academy man how to shotgun a beer. Tim Quinn married Caroline Schieber July 6, 2019. The wedding was attended by Pat Leet, Justin Dalton, Sean Rogers, Brian Bullock, John Samuel Guidry Class of 2015: Kristen (Voss) Walter, MadWilson, Nate Beck, Jackson Sain, Patrick Coor,


Taylor Floyd

eleine Nemeth and Lt. Col. Bill Bither at Walter’s wedding.

Editor’s Note: We did not receive notes for the Class of 2014.


Henry Meredith Johnny McDonald

Class of 2013: John Dommert, Sean Noll, Dustin Shelley and James Wiltshire ’14 backpacked through Yosemite National Park. 156

Brother Rats, In June, while Chantal (Stark) Bryant’s unit

Class of 2015: Gregory Oldland and John Hatgas ’19 both attended Navy Officer Development School in Newport, Rhode Island, in July 2019. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes

Class of 2015: Katheryne Ruck’s son, Ethan Alexander Ruck.

Class of 2015: T.J. Lighton with his son, Camden.

Class of 2015: Capt. Chantal Bryant and Capt. Brian Lennon ’06 during the Saber Guardian ’19 exercise in Romania. 2019-Issue 4

Matt Nobile pinned captain July 1 and is heading to Fort Hood as his next duty station. Charles Gough and Brian Boyle graduated Cavalry Leaders Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, and are both headed to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Travis Hawkins transitioned from the Army and moved to Athens, Georgia, to start his MBA at the University of Georgia. With a school choice like that, I am guessing the University of Florida wasn’t taking applications (at least it’s a Southeastern Conference team!). James Crowley just completed Officer Candidate School with the Massachusetts Army National Guard. Gregory Oldland and John Hatgas ’19 both attended Navy Officer Development School in Newport, Rhode Island, during the month of July. Greg is starting his second year at Midwestern University dental school in Arizona, while John is starting medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda. Both were able to march in the Bristol, Rhode Island, Fourth of July parade in America which is the oldest Fourth parade in America. Colin Wilson is ETS’ed out of Fort Hood Aug. 1 and is beginning a new job as a field engineer in Northern Virginia at Hensel Phelps Construction Company and also moved up to Centreville, Virginia, with his fiancée, Julia Kron. Tessa and Mitchell White got notification that they are going to Joint Base San AntonioLackland this winter. They are super excited and are wondering if there is anyone else in the area. Katheryne Ruck didn’t have a baby – she had a man child. Heavyweight Ethan Alexander Ruck came in at 9 pounds, 12 ounces and 22 inches of solid chunk. Ethan made his grand entrance July 8, 2019. Tyler Lighton and his wife, Shelby, welcomed their son, Camden Joseph Lighton, to the family April 30, 2019. Things are well for the whole family! Tyler wants to relay that if anyone is ever in Lexington, feel free to stop by Moody Hall and say hello! Jarid Watson is on level 552 of Candy Crush. If anyone wants to put some numbers up that can compete with that, bring it on. Otherwise, strain! This rat is a rat, Johnny


Jacob Norris Patrick Hine

BRs, hello again for another edition of the class notes. A quick congratulations to all those who made the captain’s list for the Army, I was glad to see a lot of familiar names on the list. I was fortunate enough to attend a little alumni dinner in Watertown, New York, in August hosted by Dick Wise ’68. It was great to see David and Philip Harpen ’18, Eric Inman ’17 and Mhairi Terra. Nic Ortiz and his wife, Sami, welcomed their second child, baby Mateo, July 26. Congratulations to you both; we wish you all the best. Morgan Thomas is celebrating three years of being a police officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C. She tied the knot last October to her husband, Adam Moore, and they recently became homeowners in Woodbridge, Virginia. Mark Armstrong is living in Austin, Texas,

Class of 2016: Tad and Victoria Kieser with baby Cecilia Joy, who was born in February. 157

Class Notes send in some updates! It doesn’t even have to be an update, if you’ve gotten married or simply moved to a new state and want to get in touch with some BRs. I’ll happily put in the next issue. Thank you to everyone who reached out this quarter. As always, stay safe and keep in touch! Ben


Carlee Anderson Matt Esnardo

Class of 2016: Giustino Iuliano attended Michael Ahlgrim’s wedding in Seattle, Washington. with his girlfriend, Constance, and two cats. He works in risk management at a large global social media company’s Austin headquarters. Michael Ahlgrim was married in Seattle, with Giustino Iuliano in attendance. Congratulations to Michael, and good luck to you and your wife. Max LaBrague finished his Master of Science degree in forensic psychology. Congratulations, that is quite an accomplishment. Tad Kieser got married Dec. 3 to his wife, Victoria, (Washington and Lee ’15) and they welcomed their daughter, Cecilia Joy, Feb. 5, 2019.


Benjamin Stewart

17, 17, 17! BRs! I hope this finds you well. I feel like I say this every time, but time is just flying by. I can hardly believe our rats are about to kick off their final year. Below, you’ll see an update from a few from our class; check them out! Bryan Wade is currently working as a field engineer with Kiewit while living in Baltimore, Maryland. He recently wrapped up a project there and plans to continue with Kiewit into the future. Morgan Menaker is currently a Stryker mobile


gun system platoon leader with the 4th Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment. His unit recently completed Troop STX and CALFEX and will deploy to the National Training Center in October. They are preparing for a deployment to the Central Command area of operations late next spring. Morgan also moved to Texas and got married in the past year. Congratulations, Morgan! Thomas Moriarty moved to Harrisonburg, Virginia, last October and has been working for the Rockingham County Fire/Rescue since then. He is also a platoon leader with the 343rd Medical Company (Ground Ambulance). In his spare time he has been going to flight school on and off in Weyers Cave, Virginia. Malcolm Thomas has been working as a mechanical supervisor for the Norfolk Southern Corporation in the Conway Engine House in Pennsylvania since a few months after we graduated. Garrett Hendershott has completed Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course, plus Ranger and Airborne schools with the Army and since then has been assigned to 1st Stryker Brigade at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Garrett finished up his platoon leader time in April and is currently an executive officer. Within the next few months he’ll be deploying overseas. I know there are a few of us deployed so please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Lastly, as I mention every time, I have been doing every other issue. If you would like me to change that and do every one, let me know and

2018, I hope this note finds you all healthy and happy. It is crazy to think it’s been well over a year now since we have left the Institute. Even Cole Taggart prepares to say his goodbyes to Lexington as he prepares to start a new journey – good luck, Cole; we’re happy for you! While many of us have moved to far corners of the Earth and have started big jobs and busy careers, 2018 has stayed connected. Here’s what the rest

Class of 2018: Eddie Stawowczyk and D.J. Eleazar pictured with Col. Doug Vincent ’92 in Fort Benning, Georgia, following their graduation from Ranger School. VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes

Class of 2018: Caleb and Haley Baldwin with their wedding party. Caleb’s groomsmen were Travis Arnold, Daniel Sloss, Donovan Walton and Trevor Durbin. of 2018 was up to this summer: Bethany King started her second year of dental school at West Virginia University. Bethany stayed busy with her schoolwork while also running for their club track team. Vincent SmithDiLeo graduated from Navy Nuclear Power School in June. He is currently stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. Eddie Stawowczyk and D.J. Eleazar graduated from Ranger

Class of 2018: Bethany King in her first year of dental school at the University of West Virginia. 2019-Issue 4

School this summer. Eddie resides in sunny Georgia where he manages a budding comedy career while raising his one and only child, Scotty. As for weddings, two of our brother rats said “I do” this summer. Caleb Baldwin married his awesome wife, Haley, June 1. Caleb’s groomsmen were Travis Arnold, Daniel Sloss, Donovan Walton and Trevor Durbin. Haley and

Class of 2018: Eddie Stawowczyk and his dog, Scotty, in Georgia. Caleb are in the process of moving to Alabama where Caleb will start his flight career with the Army. Congrats, Baldwins! Matt Kenkel married his wife this summer, as well. May we never forget their most famous introduction – 2019’s Ring Figure. Cadets Will Neikirk ’20, Anthony Sicari ’21, Lance Von Rinteln ’21, Jake Saunders ’21 and Charles McElroy ’22 were in the saber arch.

Class of 2018: Matt Kenkel was married in summer 2019. Will Neikirk ’20, Anthony Sicari ’21, Lance Von Rinteln ’21, Jake Saunders ’20 and Charles McElroy ’22 were in the saber arch. 159

Class Notes We are so happy for you guys! On another note, Corris Atkins’ and Cadet Jack Atkins’ [’22] mom, Amy, hosted their third annual Central Keystone Chapter rat send-off at their home in Hershey, Pennsylvania. More than 50 alumni, cadets, rats and their families attended. Thanks to Maj. Sam Sorrells of the VMI Alumni Association for making the trip up from Lexington. Hours of advice, stories and laughs were shared. The chapter president is Mr. Robbie Hill ’08. Mrs. Atkins left the incoming rats with succinct words of advice, “VMI has been doing this since 1839; trust the process.” Nothing could be truer! Keep it up, 2018! We are looking forward to seeing where you all go next. Until next time, Carlee and Matt


Nathan D.A. Mumford Annika K. Tice

1-9, Nate Mumford and I have had our first class agent meet-up in none other than beautiful

Lexington, Virginia, on a day that is so familiar to us: Early return. As we sat in the window seat of Pronto, we reflected, laughed, talked and tried to piece together many of our post-graduation realities. This new journey of life has been quite interesting to say the least. I finally am getting ready to fly to the Ivory Coast at the end of September to start my Fulbright scholarship. In the meantime, I have been working at the VMI Miller Academic Center, joining the many people who can’t seem to leave VMI. Nate has started Quartermaster Basic Officer Leaders Course and is getting ready to move to Fort Hood, Texas, in October. Listening to his stories of living in Richmond and starting his Army career has been exciting, but my favorite moment was when he talked about the feeling of being back in Lexington for this visit. “I got the pit in my stomach. The one that all the alumni always talk about.” This pit of VMI might actually just be the pit of emerging into the real world, but as we have seen thus far, 1-9 is killing it. So, let’s begin. We have a big group of gold bar recruiters and others who don’t want to leave VMI quite yet: Charles Remig in information technology, Nick Van Leer and Johnathan Tran are in Navy ROTC, Jay Townsend and Jay Forehand are at the CLE, Nathaniel Bailey is with Army ROTC, Mac Chapman is with the history department, Meg Ayers is with the VMI Alumni Agencies

Class of 2019: James Seal with his wife, Dixie.

Class of 2019: Brigitta (Hendren) Borinstein with her husband, Drew Borinstein ’17, and her roommates, Quinn Conrad and Blake Cashin. 160

VMI Alumni Review

Class Notes

Class of 2019: Taylor Callahan with her wife, Anna. and Taylor Ayers as “that” guy on comm staff! We’ve got a few fifth-year cadets this year, and we are thrilled to cheer for them as they finish up. Weddings: James Seal, Jonathan Murray, Justin Moore, Brody Taylor, Jeremiah Norman, Maddy (Curran) O’Neill, Andrew Rundquist, Nathaniel Bailey, Rives Worsham, Corey Taylor, Jameson Donahue, Steven Midkiff, Kori (Hadinger) Gehman, Taylor Callahan, Brigitta (Hendren) Borinstein, Emily (Kirk) Pody and Collin Rice. If I missed anyone, sorry! So much love! Engagements: Ricky Wilson, Angela Mullins, Roger Causey, Spencer Geiss, Zack McBride and Joshua Stacy. Looking forward to seeing the celebrations unfold in the near future. Colin Smith, acclaimed VMI writer, just began his journey as the most swole dentist at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Zachary Sockwell, Josiah Womack, Henry Boulter, Trevor Smith, Tim Barile, Ty Topping, Patrick Fowler and Jack Pitman are our newly commissioned Army officers. Joe Phillips and Logan Amico finished advanced camp at Fort Knox, Kentucky, as well. Peyton Bembry, Jordon Bennett and Mike Meier finished Officer Candidate School at Quantico. Craig

2019-Issue 4

Miranda is newly commissioned Air Force after his long years of VMI ROTC. There are plenty of folks loving their respective officer training: Jordan Farmer making love eyes at tanks every day, Seamus O’Connell, Hannah Gillan, Ryan Uzzell, Devin Newton, Andrew Rundquist, Sarah Dolitsky, Colton Curry (finished SERE school!), Adam Crum, Nate Kirk, Bryan Munoz, Yun Park, Max Horowitz, Carter Butt, Tyler Hamilton, Ryan Edsall, Adam Josephson, Cole Hylton, Kyle Hylton, Zachary Herring, Jack Langkafa, Mu-Chi Lu and so many more that I probably missed ... Jake Drake met Wild Bill’s nephew. Matthew Zwiren is working at Turner Construction in Reston, Virginia. Eli Facemire is studying military chaplaincy at Liberty University. Jessi Slakman and Merry Jaroneski are on the way to becoming engineering company chief executive officers in northern Virginia. Joel Thomas is continuing to be the world’s most accomplished dual scholar in Oxford, England. Jamie Lindsay is a software developer for CarMax. Emily Kirk is becoming one with the animals as she works and travels with Environmental Solutions and Innovations. Keniya Lee joined the Wells Fargo Bank team in Charlotte, North Carolina. Juliet Esnardo is tackling the many facets of PNC Bank in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Manny Ocampo spent the summer teaching in Oman. Caroline Nguyen is awaiting Marine Corps OCS and working at a Mexican restaurant. Virginia Villani is working with Midlothian Physical Therapy. Anthony Sposato made the VMI school calendar. Luke Patterson and Kevin Bromberger spent summer days at the beach. And congratulations to Henry Boulter for finally passing organic chemistry. In our class account, we have money set aside specifically for your use should you come into any sort of unforeseen circumstances and need financial support. Our General Committee wanted to make sure that you are taken care of even after graduation. If you find yourself in need of this, please do not hesitate to reach

Class of 2019: Jeremiah Norman with his wife, Natalie.

Class of 2019: Angela Mullins with her fiancé, Cadet Colin Kearney ’20. out to any of the GC members or Quinn Conrad. They will make arrangements right away. The money in the emergency fund will remain untouched in regard to any sort of dues or reunion activities. In the coming years, if you feel inclined to contribute to the fund, it will take voluntary donations separately from any class fundraising. Mizpah, Annika and Nate


Class Notes

Baby Keydets DEAL – A daughter, Cameron Taylor, to Carly and Andrew Deal ’12, May 4, 2019. LIGHTON – A son, Camden Joseph, to Shelby and Tyler Lighton ’15, April 30, 2019. KIESER – A daughter, Cecilia Joy, to Victoria and Tad Kieser ’16, Feb. 5, 2019. ORTIZ – A son, Mateo, to Sami and Nic Ortiz ’16, July 26, 2019.

VMI’s 10 Most Senior Alumni According to the records of the VMI Alumni Agencies, the people listed below constitute the 10 senior alumni of the Institute. Please contact the Alumni Review staff if any errors are noted.

Robert C. Maling ’41

Aug. 16, 1919

C.W. Abbitt ’41

May 25, 1920

B.W. Baker ’42 Jack N. Williams ’41

Sept. 8, 1920

W. Settle Frank ’43

Jan. 20, 1921

Gunyon M. Harrison Jr. ’43

March 6, 1921

Charles H. Beckham ’43

June 1, 1921

Bruce H. Suter ’43

July 7, 1921

Robert W. Goodman Jr. ’42 John M. Patton ’42


July 1, 1920

Sept. 3, 1921 Sept. 14, 1921

VMI Alumni Review

Provisional Appointments APPOINTEE’S NAME






2036 (cont.)

2024 Stevie K. Gary

Teray M. Frost ’01


Sophia A. Parson

John C. Parson ’01


Maximus E.A. Tiska

Robert E. Wright ’78


Charlotte A. Thompson

Joseph J. Thompson III ’86


David O. Cooper II ’97


Gary S. Gulliksen III

Gary S. Gulliksen Jr. ’94


Caroline E. Price

David G. Price ’02


William W. Thompson

Joseph J. Thompson III ’86


Thierry R. Lemercier ’98



2025 Gavin Cooper 2026 Madison M. Rosario

Sean R. Swineford ’95


Lincoln K. Swineford ’93


2039 Hanalei A. Lemercier

2027 William S. Johnson Jr.

Jacqueline M. Lee

William S. Johnson ’00



Garrett R. Smith ’08


Cannon R. Berry

Robert L. McIntire III ’85


Michael T. Burnett ’13


Miller T. Desch

Edward J. Desch III ’10


Dustin D. Desch ’13


Caleb A. Lee III ’04


Kevin J. Keilty ’83


Timothy M. Keilty ’86


John P. Keilty III ’10


2028 Lucas O. Johnson

Mason C. Rosario

William S. Johnson ’00


Theodore J. Perry

Shane M. Perry ’12


Garrett R. Smith ’08


Abigail J. Robertson

James A. Robertson ’67


Michael T. Burnett ’13


Elliott S. Swineford

Sean R. Swineford ’95


Sean R. Swineford ’95


Lincoln K. Swineford ’93


Lincoln K. Swineford ’93


John I. Williamson ’13


Daniel C. Williamson ’73


William E. McMann ’930


Ella P. Beirne

Edward B. Beirne ’62


Ava C. Bugg

Wadsworth Bugg IV ’07


Esther R. Williamson

2029 Jaden A. Lee

Caleb A. Lee III ’04

Father 2041

2030 John W. Cranford II

William M. Cranford ’65


James R. Cranford ’935


Wadsworth Bugg III ’78


James S. Cranford ’61


Wadsworth Bugg Jr. ’43


John R. Cranford ’72


James E. Burton ’79


James M. Cranford ’87


Louis J. Burton ’78


Thomas B. Stauffer ’09


Owen R. DeFrank

Robert G. Rainer ’86


Joseph D. Manning

2031 Reagan R. Johnson

William S. Johnson ’00


John C. Manning Jr. ’11


Garrett R. Smith ’08


Wymer W. Manning Jr. ’54


Michael T. Burnett ’13


Wymer W. Manning III ’79


John C. Manning Sr. ’83


James A. Manning ’90


Zachary R. Morgan ’11


M. Jeff Morgan ’86


Hunter A. Morgan ’16


Ethan C. Parson

John C. Parson ’01


Levi J. Phillips

Robert E. Phillips ’87


Lennon W. Tatum

Jon W. Tatum ’02


Henry A. Tonnies

Justin L. Tonnies ’13


2032 John R.B. Floyd

Jay D. Patton Jr. ’62


Arden R. Morgan

2033 Jasmine B. Lee

Caleb A. Lee III ’04


2036 Avery Harman

2019-Issue 4

Robert J. Harman ’01



Taps Richard H. Catlett Jr. ’43 Richard Henry Catlett Jr. ’43 of Richmond, Virginia, died May 3, 2019. He was 98. Catlett matriculated from Richmond. He was a distinguished graduate of VMI, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. He received a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Richmond. He is survived by his wife, Barbara L’Orange Catlett; children, Ross C. Rose (Tanner), Richard H. Catlett III (Terri), Thomas Y. Catlett (Lief) and Maria C. Eldredge (Coe); grandchildren, Charles T. Rose Jr. (Nicki), Maria R. Puntereri (Bailey), Elizabeth B. Eldredge, Emily D. Eldredge, Charlotte A. Eldredge, Beverley M. Catlett, Lucy H. Catlett, Mary Cooke Catlett, William S. Catlett, Glenn T. Catlett and Richard H. Catlett IV; four greatgrandchildren; and former daughter-in-law, Mary M. Catlett. He was preceded in death by his brother, John Baldwin Catlett; sister, Jane C. Ballard; and first wife, Marion Buckey Catlett.

George Eng ’43 George Eng ’43 of Missouri City, Texas, died in September 2018. He was 98. Eng matriculated from Chicago, Illinois, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from VMI.

Robert W. Allen ’45 Robert William Allen ’45 of Ardmore, Oklahoma, died April 29, 2019. He was 96. Allen matriculated from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and spent two years at VMI. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oklahoma. He is survived by his wife, Frances Graffham; children, Katherine Carr, Robert W. Allen Jr. and Diane Fuller; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Barbara, and brother, Phil.

grandchildren, Dabney Saunders Ferguson (Ryan), Barrett Saunders Divina (Ryan), Corie Saunders Hovis (Jimmy), Betsy Downey, Meri Page Downey Melson (Drew), Clay Downey, Sarah Fortune, Caroline Fortune, Campbell Fortune, Dana Arthur (Chris), David Staton (Nicole); and great-grandchildren, Calder Ferguson, Matthew and Ali Gray Divina, Jack and Lucy Hovis, Tyler and Meri Grace Melson, Ayden Arthur and Lily Staton. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Julia Gray Saunders Michaux, Rosalie Saunders Rawlings and Mildred Saunders McGill.

John F. Ewell ’47 Hon. John Francis Ewell ’47 of Bentonville, Virginia, died July 27, 2019. He was 92. Ewell matriculated from Charlottesville, Virginia. He was a distinguished graduate of VMI, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He earned a Bachelor of Laws degree from George Washington University. He is survived by his wife, Josephine “Jo” Ewell; children, John F. Ewell Jr. (Sharon), Douglas W. Ewell (Terry) and Ellen Ewell Innes (Jeff); grandchildren, Lauren Ewell Nelson (Matt), Thomas Ewell and Ashley Haines (Stephen); great-grandchildren, Ben, John Ewell Jr. and Landon (Douglas); and sisters, Jane Ewell Metz and Jessie Jerdone Ewell Mendez. He was preceded in death by his brother, Nathaniel M. Ewell Jr., M.D.; and sisters, Louise Camper Ewell Pugh and Helen Ewell McGehee.

Harry G. Lee ’47

Junius M. Saunders Jr. ’46

Harry Gravely Lee ’47 of Richmond, Virginia, died June 27, 2019. He was 93. Lee matriculated from Richmond and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from VMI. He also attended the U.S. Navy officer training program at Columbia University. (Editor’s Note: An extended obituary for Mr. Lee appears in the In Memory section of this issue.)

Junius Morris Saunders Jr. ’46 of Richmond, Virginia, died April 22, 2019. He was 94. Saunders matriculated from Richmond and spent more than one year at VMI. He earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Virginia. He is survived by his wife, Betsy Brock Saunders; children, Gray Summerfield Saunders (Dee), Beth Saunders Downey (Norman) and Jane Meriwether Saunders Fortune (Ryan);

Risque Lindgren Benedict ’49B of Edgewater, Maryland, died March 1, 2019. He was 90. Benedict matriculated from Lynchburg, Virginia, and spent two years at VMI. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is survived by his wife, Mary Felice Benedict; daughters, Kathy Jameson Dageforde


Risque L. Benedict ’49B

(Jim), Ann Middleton McCarthy (Justin), Nicole Langhorne Benedict and Nadine Gibbes Chambers; step-daughters, Kay Weller, Susan Weller (Jeffrey), Karen Bolinsky (Eugene) and Carolyn Stoebner (Ben); 11 grandchildren; and brother.

Grover C. Outland Jr. ’49B Grover Cleveland Outland Jr. ’49B of Arnold, Maryland, died May 23, 2019. He was 91. Outland matriculated from Norfolk, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from VMI. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Washington and Lee University. (Editor’s Note: An extended obituary for Mr. Outland appears in the In Memory section of this issue.)

Christian V. Holland Jr. ’52 Christian Vandegrift Holland Jr. ’52 of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, died July 5, 2019. He was 89. Holland matriculated from Short Hills, New Jersey, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from VMI. He is survived by his wife, Hunley “Sugar” Holland; daughters, Catherine Slattum (Kenneth) and Patricia Verones (John); grandchildren, Lindsay Johnson (Keith), Lauren Tamburri (Jason) and William White; greatgrandchildren, Asher Pullen and Bram Tamburri; and sister, Barbara Robertson.

Eugene B. P. Meekins Jr. ’52 Eugene Beverly Peter Meekins Jr. ’52 of Williamsburg, Virginia, died May 4, 2019. He was 90. Meekins matriculated from Hilton Village, Virginia, and spent more than one year at VMI. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He is survived by his wife, Caddy R. Meekins; granddaughter, Katherine Cluxton; son-inlaw, David Cluxton; and sister-in-law, Laurel Crooks.

Charles A. Piper Jr. ’52 Charles Arthur Piper Jr. ’52 of Hill City, South Dakota, died June 20, 2019. He was 88. Piper matriculated from Cumberland, Maryland, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from VMI. He is survived by his wife, Sharon; sons, John Piper (Vicki), C.A. Piper (Christine) and

VMI Alumni Review

Taps Marshall Piper (Lynne); daughters, Marian Alexander (Craig) and Louise Piper; grandchildren, Morgan Piper, Teryn Piper, Logan Piper, Matt Alexander, Ross Alexander, Callie Piper, Candice Sano, Piper Ferrell, Alex Piper and Alicia Piper; step-grandson, Jeff Turman; and 14 great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his son, Richard, and step-daughter, Shannon Wright.

Thomas A. Sokol ’52 Thomas Andrew Sokol ’52 of Ithaca, New York, died April 28, 2019. He was 89. Sokol matriculated from Sewickley, Pennsylvania, and spent almost five months at VMI. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory and Henry College. He earned a Master of Arts degree from George Peabody College. He is survived by his wife, Donna; children, Stephanie Ducamp (Michel), Rolfe Sokol, Maria Jannetto (Phillip), Anne Ledbetter (Michael), Julia Sokol (Wendy Creese), Jason Sokoloff and Claudia Sokoloff; grandchildren, Gabriella (Morgan), Alex (Courtney), Marcella, Phillip (Audra), Jeremiah, Josephina, Geoffrey, Alex (Kelsey), Emma and Jillian; great-grandchildren, Ava Luna, Annabelle, Lillian, Piper and Finley; and former wife, Nancy.

Thomas B. Martenstein ’54 Thomas Brackett Martenstein ’54 of Mobile, Alabama, died April 21, 2019. He was 86. Martenstein matriculated from Mobile and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from VMI. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Turner Martenstein; sons, Thomas Brackett Martenstein Jr. (Keith Jay Bowers), Austin Martenstein (Traci Borah Redmond) and Eric Turner Martenstein (Amber Hobbs Martenstein); and grandchildren, Thomas Brackett Martenstein III, John Tyler Martenstein and Mamie Lee Martenstein. He was preceded in death by his brother, Austin Walrath Martenstein Jr., and sister, Lucy Martenstein Young.

Charles G. Kulp Jr. ’55 Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Charles Gordon Kulp Jr. ’55 of Bellbrook, Ohio, died June 12, 2019. He was 86. Kulp matriculated from Roanoke, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from VMI. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Southern California.

2019-Issue 4

He is survived by his wife, Harryette Weeks Kulp; daughters, Linda K. Arnhart (Tommy Lee) and Kimberly Kulp Hensley (Michael); son, Charles Gordon Kulp III (Laura); grandchildren, Alaina A. Wilson (Matthew), Amy Arnhart, Shealy Kulp Register (Kyle), William Harrison Kulp, Kenneth Austin Kulp, Thomas Weeks Hensley (Adrienn) and Janet Michaela Hensley; and brother, Hon. James Ellsworth Kulp (Twyla).

Howard W. Mizell Jr. ’55 Howard Wilton Mizell Jr. ’55 of Eden, North Carolina, died July 11, 2019. He was 87. Mizell matriculated from St. Augustine, Florida, and spent three years at VMI. He is survived by his daughters, Cindy Yarberry (Don Jacques) and Leslie Mizell; grandchildren, Ellen Yarberry Garcia (Nole) and Cameron Yarberry; great-grandchildren, Ava, Paisley and Jackson; and sister-in-law, Judy Z. Allen.

Donald C. Pierson Jr. ’55 Donald Charles Pierson Jr. ’55 of Prescott, Arizona, died June 21, 2019. He was 86. Pierson matriculated from Humboldt, Iowa, and spent two years at VMI. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State University. He is survived by his wife, Patricia P. Pierson; children, Jane Doyle (Steve), Lori Pierson, Gene McFarland (Mitchalene) and Jerry McFarland; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his brother, William Pierson; son, Donald C. Pierson III; and daughter-in-law, Mary Catherine MintkPierson.

Benjamin Huger II ’56 Benjamin Huger II ’56 of Colorado Springs, Colorado, died June 19, 2019. He was 85. Huger matriculated from Lexington, Virginia, and spent over four months at VMI. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Virginia. He is survived by his wife, Judy; children, Carroll Griffin (George), Ben Huger (Laurie) and Scott Huger (Marni); grandchildren, Tucker, Dean, Ben, Lane, Scott and Nicholas; brother, Derby Huger (Jackie); and sister-inlaw, Jackie Limerick (Dick).

Ralph W. Holsinger III ’56 Ralph Waldo Holsinger III ’56 of Salem,

Virginia, died May 19, 2019. He was 85. Holsinger matriculated from Charlottesville, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from VMI. He is survived by his wife, Sallie Holsinger; sons, Aric Holsinger (Laura) and Gregory Holsinger; step-children, Liat Westerman (Bill) and Tyler Zindorf; granddaughters, Sophie, Anna Beth and Samantha; step-grandchildren, Brittany Zindorf, Ashlie Walker (Anthony) and Miles Westerman; and step great-grandsons, Noah and Bennett Walker.

William L. Rossie Jr. ’56 William Louis Rossie Jr. ’56 of Roanoke, Virginia, died July 19, 2019. He was 86. Rossie matriculated from Alexandria, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from VMI. He earned a Master of Science degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth “Libby”; son, Louis ’82 (Mindy); grandchildren, Margaret, Will, Nick, Alex (Brittney), Abbey Howlett and Jaime Redcay; seven great-grandchildren; and sister, Jeanne Barrett (Tommy). He was preceded in death by his son, Britt.

Benjamin E. Wiggins Jr. ’57 Benjamin Ewing Wiggins Jr. ’57, D.D.S., of Portsmouth, Virginia, died May 11, 2019. He was 84. Wiggins matriculated from Portsmouth and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from VMI. He earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Medical College of Virginia. He is survived by his wife, Lynn Mapp Wiggins; daughters, Susan Wiggins Moore (Jeffrey Lee Moore), Elizabeth Wiggins Schinto (Dr. John J. Schinto III) and Sallie Mapp Wiggins; and grandchildren, John Schinto IV, Taylor Schinto, Benjamin Ewing Schinto, Sallie Bell Moore, Mary Cooper Moore, Lee Moore and Duke Moore.

Gordon E. Bloom ’58 Gordon Emerson Bloom ’58 of Castle Rock, Colorado, died April 25, 2019. He was 82. Bloom matriculated from Falls Church, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from VMI. He is survived by his wife, Judy Bloom; sons, Gordon, Phil, Fred and Pete; grandchildren, Nicholas, Ryan, Jeremy, Racheal, Rebecca, Ross and Eva; great-granddaughter, Olivia;


Taps step-children, Jennifer and Brad; and daughters-in-law, Lourdes and Alejandra.

Gary A. Harris ’58 Gary Allan Harris ’58 of Memphis, Tennessee, died June 28, 2019. He was 83. Harris matriculated from Houston, Texas, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from VMI. He is survived by his children, Steven (Gisele) and Vanessa; five grandchildren; step-children, Tommy Person (Ann Marie) and Gina Moore (Cliff); and four step-grandchildren.

Joseph C. Parker Jr. ’58 Joseph Corbin Parker Jr. ’58, M.D., of Louisville, Kentucky, died May 3, 2019. He was 81. Parker matriculated from Richmond, Virginia. He was a distinguished graduate of VMI, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology. He earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Minnesota and a Doctor of Medicine degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Parker; children, John Parker, M.D. (Lynn Parker, M.D.) and Nancy Cooper (Arthur Cooper); grandchildren, Taylor Parker and Riley Cooper; and siblings, Richard Parker, Melinda Skinner, Henry Parker and Kate Parker. He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph C. Parker ’935, M.D., who died May 25, 2004.

Ronald W. Marley ’59 Retired U.S. Army Col. Ronald West Marley ’59 of Orange Park, Florida, died June 26, 2019. He was 81. Marley matriculated from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from VMI. He earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Missouri. He is survived by his wife, Mary Alice Lawson; daughters, Mary Theresa Watts (Wayne Watts) and Christine Marley-Frederick (Bryan Frederick); grandsons, Alexander, Samuel, Parker and Lucas; brothers, William and David; granddaughter-in-law, Jessica; and sisters-in-law, Juanita and Susan. He was preceded in death by his brother, Philip Marley.

Nicholas R. Delaplane ’60 Nicholas Ray Delaplane ’60 of Surfside Beach, South Carolina, died in July 2019. He was 81.


Delaplane matriculated from Front Royal, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from VMI.

John W. Butler ’61 John Willard Butler ’61 of Raleigh, North Carolina, died June 21, 2019. He was 79. Butler matriculated from Portsmouth, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from VMI. He is survived by his wife, Linda Argo Butler; daughters, Stephenie Butler Kovac (Brent), Ashley Butler Crutchfield (Sam) and Benita Butler Rogers (Ed); sons, John Butler (Cindy) and Michael Butler; grandchildren, Carrington and Ryker Kovac, Jake, Beau and Molly Crutchfield, Ed and Brittany Rogers, Chris, Tara, Hannah, Andrew, Brandon and Connor Butler; sister, Patricia Butler Stevens (Steve); and mother-in-law, Helen Argo.

Clifton S. Harrison ’61 Clifton Stone Harrison ’61 of New York, New York, died Jan. 26, 2019. He was 80. Harrison matriculated from Amarillo, Texas, and spent over four months at VMI. He is survived by his step-daughter, Joy Blicker; and sister, Ann Tankersly. He was preceded in death by his sister, Janet Kolb.

Roger N. Suiter ’61 Roger Norman Suiter ’61 of Charlotte, North Carolina, died June 12, 2019. He was 80. Suiter matriculated from Roanoke, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from VMI. He is survived by his wife, Sherrill; son, Steven (Brad Bowles); daughter, Sarah Fligel (Scott); and grandchildren, Sam and Katsye.

Robert L. Clark ’63 Robert Louis Clark ’63 of McLean, Virginia, died June 11, 2019. He was 76. Clark matriculated from Havana, Cuba, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from VMI. He is survived by his wife, Bettie Ferrell, and sisters, Anne and Edith Clark.

Medicine degree from the Medical College of Virginia. He is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Roberts (Webb); grandchildren, Chloe and Penelope Roberts, Augusta Harris (Tyler) and Lyle Kiesau; and daughter-in-law, Star Kiesau. He was preceded in death by his wife, Ann Kiseau; son, Christian Kiseau; and brother, Keith Kiesau.

Sydney S. Smith III ’63 Sydney Strother Smith III ’63 of Abingdon, Virginia, died May 19, 2019. He was 77. Smith matriculated from Richmond, Virginia, and spent nine months at VMI. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Richmond and a Juris Doctor degree from the College of William and Mary. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Beville Smith; daughters, Jacqueline Ambler Dumler (John), U.S. Army Col. Sydney Anne Smith (Timothy Gilhool) and Nancy Elizabeth “Beth” Stockner (Andrew); grandchildren; sister, Rev. Caroline Smith Parkinson; and brother, Richard Smith (Sara Larch).

James Q. Marchant Jr. ’64 James Quentin Marchant Jr. ’64 of Midlothian, Virginia, died May 9, 2019. He was 77. Marchant matriculated from Richmond, Virginia, and spent one year at VMI. He is survived by his wife, Frances; children, Clai Piascik (Brian), Quen Marchant (Daryl), Morgan Johnson (Christian) and Carter Marchant (Betsy); nine grandchildren; and sisters, Elizabeth George (Vern) and Mary Josephine Marchant.

Phillip E. Tucker ’64 U.S. Marine Corps Col. Phillip E. Tucker ’64 of Daphne, Alabama, died July 23, 2019. He was 76. Tucker matriculated from Falls Church, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from VMI. He is survived by his wife, Cissy; daughter, Lora Kaasch (Jake); brother, Thomas Cleveland Tucker (Carrie); and brother-in-law, Noah Hinton (Bonnie).

Kyle F. Kiesau ’63

John C. Watts Jr. ’65

Kyle Frank Kiesau’63, M.D., of Mill Spring, North Carolina, died May 12, 2019. He was 77. Kiesau matriculated from Kingsport, Tennessee, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from VMI. He earned a Doctor of

John Clifford Watts Jr. ’65 of Bolckow, Missouri, died May 4, 2019. He was 75. Watts matriculated from Smithfield, Virginia, and spent a year and five months at VMI. He is survived by his children, J.C. Watts

VMI Alumni Review

Taps and Jenny Burhoop (Phil); grandchildren, Will and Brooke; and brother, Willis Watts (Terry).

James R. Workman ’65 James Ronald Workman ’65 of Raleigh, North Carolina, died May 23, 2019. He was 76. Workman matriculated from Newport News, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from VMI. He is survived by his wife, Lu Anne Workman; son, Michael Workman; daughter, Sarah Workman; step-daughter, Amanda Ridge (Ryan); grandson, Owen Ridge; and brother, Robert Workman Jr. (Dorothy).

William A. Gregory ’66 William Allen Gregory ’66 of Richmond, Virginia, died June 8, 2019. He was 75. Gregory matriculated from Burkeville, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from VMI. He earned a Master of Health Administration degree from the Medical College of Virginia. He is survived by his brother, Richard F. Gregory Jr., and sister-in-law, Mary. He was preceded in death by his uncle, Robert L. Wallace ’924, who died July 15, 1988.

John O. Solomon ’66 John Owen Solomon ’66 of Richmond, Virginia, died May 10, 2019. He was 74. Solomon matriculated from Arlington, Virginia, and spent three years at VMI. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Emory and Henry College. He is survived by his wife, Elyse Schoenig; children, John (Rachel Smith), Michael (Mary), Mark (Katie) and Haley; step-son, Michael Pinkerton; and grandchildren, Savannah, Vivian, Owen, Cora and Kiara Cox. He was preceded in death by his brother, Edward.

Spencer W. Wilkinson ’66 Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Spencer Winn Wilkinson ’66 of Winter Spring, Florida, died June 30, 2019. He was 73. Wilkinson matriculated from Arrington, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from VMI. He earned a Master of Science degree from Troy State University. He is survived by his wife, Dorcas Goodwin Wilkinson; son, Spencer Jr; and brothers, Robert A. Wilkinson ’65 (Mary Lee) and Thomas G. Wilkinson ’73.

2019-Issue 4

John R. Parsons II ’70

Mark H. Pieklik ’72

John Russell Parsons II ’70 of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, died March 27, 2019. He was 71. Parsons matriculated from Cape Charles, Virginia, and spent over two years at VMI. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from North Carolina State University, a Master of Science degree from the University of Virginia and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is survived by his wife, Janey Nottingham Parsons, and sister, Elizabeth Parsons Noble (Steve). He was preceded in death by his father, Samuel Willis Parsons ’935, who died March 10, 1984.

Retired U.S. Army Col. Mark Howard Pieklik ’72 of Somerset, New Jersey, died July 27, 2019. He was 69. Pieklik matriculated from Tinton Falls, New Jersey, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from VMI. He earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Seaton Hall University. He is survived by his siblings, Douglas M. Pieklik, William R. Pieklik (Hunter), Stuart K. Pieklik (Sandra), John T. Pieklik, Paul V. Pieklik (Milena) and Janet L. Lowin (Michael).

Samuel T. Adams Jr. ’71 Samuel Thompson Adams Jr. ’71 of White Post, Virginia, died July 15, 2019. He was 70. Adams matriculated from The Plains, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from VMI. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental engineering from George Washington University and a Master of Science degree from the University of Mississippi. He is survived by his wife, Anne Brady Adams; children, Samuel Thompson Adams III and Marian Alexander Adams; brother, Harbert Lee Rice Adams; and sister, Celeste Adams Wheelwright.

Thomas W. Hall ’71

Karl D. Liebrich ’74 Karl Derlyn Liebrich ’74 of Virginia Beach, Virginia, died April 30, 2018. He was 66. Liebrich matriculated from Dix Hills, New York, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from VMI. He is survived by his sister, Liz A. Liebrich, and brother, Geoff Liebrich (Bonnie).

Richard R. Remensnyder ’74 Richard Robert Remensnyder ’74 of Boones Mill, Virginia, died July 23, 2019. He was 66. Remensnyder matriculated from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from VMI. He is survived by his sister, Carol R. Green.

Larry W. Dickerson ’79

William D. Andrews ’72

Larry Wayne Dickerson ’79 of Chester, Virginia, died Feb. 14, 2019. He was 61. Dickerson matriculated from Richmond, Virginia, and spent over three years at VMI. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in math from Christopher Newport College. He is survived by his sons, Josh Dickerson (Kari) and Kyle Wayne Dickerson; grandchildren, Braylen, Braxton and Elena Dickerson; and the mother of his children, Novalee Dickerson.

William Daniel Andrews ’72 of Farmville, Virginia, died July 17, 2019. He was 69. Andrews matriculated from Farmville and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from VMI. He is survived by his wife, Kathy; daughters, Annie Minix, Liz, Lauren McCarty (Matt) and Meghan Orr (Rob); grandsons, James and Sam Minix and Carter McCarty; brother, Andy (Diane); sister-in-law, Betsy Cochran; and brother-in-law, Monty Hargrove (Ashley). He was preceded in death by his grandson, T.J.

William David Stacy III ’79 of Hampton, Virginia, died May 5, 2019. He was 62. Stacy matriculated from Hampton and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from VMI. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Delk Stacy; children, Kathryn Stacy Bernal and Stephen David Stacy; grandsons, August and Béla Bernal; and sisters, Jean Lien (Phil), Gail Barrow (Allen) and Kathy Stacy (Luat Nguyen).

Thomas Wood Hall ’71 of Baltimore, Maryland, died April 30, 2019. He was 69. Hall matriculated from Ladysmith, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from VMI. He earned a Master of Science degree in jurisprudence from Ohio University. He is survived by his sisters, Lorraine Miller and Denise Wendle.

William D. Stacy III ’79


Taps Weldon V. Dunn ’80 Weldon V. Dunn ’80 of Alexandria, Virginia, died June 4, 2019. He was 61. Dunn matriculated from Richmond, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from VMI. He earned a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. He is survived by his sister, Lindeve Dunn Hostvedt (Don).

Charles L. Chipley III ’81 Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Charles Lawrence “Chip” Chipley III ’81 of Nokomis, Florida, died May 23, 2019. He was 59. Chipley matriculated from Frederick, Maryland. He was a distinguished graduate of VMI, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in math. He earned a Master of Science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Capella University. He is survived by his wife, Lisa Lightner; daughters, Gia Georgia, Vivia Belle and Lilia Sailor; parents, Charles and Ruth Chipley; sisters, Kathy Lynn (Mickey) and Loris Burch (Dave); brother, Michael Chipley; and inlaws, Ed and Rachel Rucker.

Wayne J. Suggs ’81 Wayne Jeffrey Suggs ’81 of Boise, Idaho, died June 27, 2019. He was 60. Suggs matriculated from Alexandria, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from VMI. He is survived by his parents, Robert and Rachel; and brother, Don. He was preceded in death by his sister, Jennifer.

Dennis E. Roller II ’87 Dennis Earl Roller II ’87 of Youngstown, Ohio, died July 3, 2019. He was 54. Roller matriculated from Campbell, Ohio, and spent more than two months at VMI. He is survived by his father, Dennis Roller (Marie S.); sisters, Tracy Williams-White (Tom), Dineen Kempe (Michael) and Denice Bennett (Barbara); and brothers, Richard Mazza (Mary Ann) and Dean Mazza (Joyce). He was preceded in death by his mother.

Jeffrey C. Barnes ’90 Jeffrey Clay Barnes ’90 of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, died May 2, 2019. He was 51. Barnes matriculated from Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from VMI.


He is survived by his mother, Mary Elizabeth Barnes; daughters, Ariana and Alexa Barnes; son, Dorian Barnes; sisters, Angela Jordan (Matthew) and Amillia Smith (Ed); and brother, Gregory Barnes (Rene).

Tyson D. Williams ’02 Tyson Dolan Williams ’02 of Greensboro, North Carolina, died May 18, 2019. He was 39. Williams matriculated from Lexington, North Carolina. He was a distinguished graduate of VMI, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He is survived by his wife, Erin Johnson Williams; son, Beckett; parents, Twinkle Scott and Michael Williams; step-parents, Kathy Williams and Fritz Austin; sister, Lara Ashley Williams; and brothers, John Scott and Austin Briggs.

Fabio M. Amarillo ’10 Fabio Mauricio Amarillo ’10 of Chester, Virginia, died June 2, 2019. He was 31. Amarillo matriculated from Yorktown, Virginia, and spent two years at VMI. He is survived by his sons, Anthony, Fabio and Cooper; parents, Mauricio and Lucy; sister, Adrianna Kyle; brothers, William and Christian; and mothers of his children, Ori Amarillo and Kristen Baxley.

VMI Family Mary K. Clark Mary Kathleen Clark of Lexington, Virginia, died June 26, 2019. She was 90. Clark previously served in the housekeeping department at VMI. She is survived by her children, Beverly Ann Reid (Garry), Billy W. Brads (Mary) and Deborah Faught (Fred); siblings, John Tolbert Brads and Jesse Velt Brads; nine grandchildren; greatgrandchildren; and great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Bobby Wallace Clark.

Ed V. Daley Ed V. “Iceman” Daley of Lexington, Virginia, died June 3, 2019. He was 79. Daley previously served as a professor of economics and business at VMI. He is survived by his wife, Camille Wright

Miller; son, Matthew Miller; grandchildren, Morgan and Matthew Paul; great-grandsons, Crowley and Cyrus; and sister, Anne (Ben).

Julia L. Martin Julia Lewis Smith “Julie” Martin of Lexington, Virginia, died June 10, 2019. Martin served for over 40 years as the assistant public information officer at VMI. She is survived by her daughter, Blair Martin Williams (Preston), and grandchildren, Macron Blair Williams Worsley (Mark) and Maury Lyle Williams (Georgina K. Doyle).

John J. Reilly John J. Reilly of Weatogue, Connecticut, died May 13, 2019. He was 82. Reilly previously taught at VMI. He is survived by his wife, Maria Buonfiglio Reilly; daughter, Michel Vejar; son, John L. Reilly (Dr. Kellie Ploeger Cox); and grandchildren, Kaitlyn Reilly, Isabella Vejar, Reilly Vejar, Kenley Cox and Raina Cox. He was preceded in death by his brother, Joseph W. Reilly.

Robert H. Saylor Robert H. Saylor of Windber, Pennsylvania, died May 7, 2019. He was 96. Saylor previously served as an assistant professor in psychology at VMI. He is survived by his wife, Delores M. Saylor; son, Linford T. (Diana); daughters, Elizabeth Jane and Joan Patton Robinson (Dennis); step-children, Douglas W. Crouse (Debbie) and Jacalyn R. Galuska; five grandchildren; six greatgrandchildren; five step-grandchildren; and five step-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his sister, Barbara Alice Kagarise (Ronald); brother, Donald S. Saylor (Eleanor); half-brother, Dr. H. Dean McAuliffe (Mary); and son-in law, George Holland.

Winston B. Tolley Winston Brownlee Tolley of Natural Bridge Station, Virginia, died June 18, 2019. He was 78. Tolley previously served as a warranty manager and maintenance reserve technician at VMI. He is survived by his wife, Gayle Figgers Tolley; son, Justin Brownlee Tolley; daughter, Suzanne Tolley; brothers, Edward Tolley and Stephen Tolley (Kim); and sisters, Nancy Hostetter and Doris Trussell (Bill). He was preceded in death by his sisters, Jeanne Tolley Bourne and Susan Tolley, and brothers, Charles Preston Tolley and Carl Tolley.

VMI Alumni Review

After Taps Harry G. Lee ’47 By Thomas G. Slater Jr. ’66

I first came to know Harry G. Lee ’47 when I came to Richmond as a newly-minted attorney in the late ’60s. He was keen to help younger alumni get acquainted with Richmond and get started on their careers. Through the years, I got to know him better through my involvement with the VMI Club of Richmond as well as my legal work. It was in 1988 that he and I forged a closer relationship – and I saw firsthand why he was one of the most respected businessmen and engineers in Virginia. That year, as a member of the executive committee of my firm Hunton & Williams, I was facing a new assignment. Along with the investment firm, Wheat First Securities, led by the extraordinary James C. Wheat ’41, my firm had decided to move from their downtown headquarters to a new development on the banks of the James River, Riverfront Plaza. It was an ambitious project to say the least – building two 21-story office buildings – and the high profile of the prospective tenants garnered the project a lot of attention. In fact, it was dubbed by the local press as “The Towers of Power.” For some reason, the executive committee determined that I would be the firm’s representative on the project. As a history major, I knew I needed expert help. In 1986, Harry had sold his company Kjellstrom & Lee and retired. Happily, though,


he was willing to take on consulting projects. He agreed to act as a paid consultant for Hunton & Williams on the project, essentially the representative of its representative – me. In this role, he would visit the site once a week, check on the progress of the work and review any problems, and report back to me. He was wonderful in this role. His practiced eye missed nothing, and the other people on the project had nothing but respect for him and were forthcoming about any challenges. No one could blow anything past him, and believe me, such was his reputation that few ever tried. One moment stands out for me. One day, I heard that the soil samples had revealed what geologists call “friable rock” – that is, rock that easily crumbles – where the buildings’ foundations were to be placed. This was not good news. I turned to Harry for advice, and so did everyone else. In short order, he examined the problem and came up with the solution, probably saving the project millions of dollars – and maybe altogether. Throughout the project, Harry was courteous but forthright, confident without being arrogant and a great source of support for me. I cherished every moment I spent with Harry Lee, but because they gave me the opportunity to get to know him better, those years on the Riverfront Plaza project are especially valuable to me.

his section provides you with the opportunity to share a memory or information about a deceased member of the VMI family. Submit remembrances in writing to your class agent, who will coordinate input and forward it to the Alumni Review staff. After Taps entries are due from class agents at the same time as Class Notes input.

2019-Issue 4


Alumni News Marquis Who’s Who presented G. Marshall Bryan was diagnosed with Parkinson’s dis- to the fund and are listed on a proclamation Mundy ’56 with the Albert Nelson Marquis ease more than a decade ago and has supported from VCU are Frank Easterly, Joe Flanz, Lifetime Achievement Award. The award Parkinson’s research at both VCU and at the Bruce Gregory, David Hagan, Bob Heely, was given to Mundy in recognition of his Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Sammy Higginbotham, John Cabot Ishon, leadership in the legal profession. The Marquis Medical Center Parkinson’s Disease Research, Dick Jeter, T.C. Jones, Walt Judd, Gary Who’s Who is the world’s leading publisher Education and Clinical Center in many ways. Mackey, Doug Marks, Kirk Materne, John of biographical profiles and selects Bryan has participated in more than Mitchell, Tom Morris, Chuck Neale, Bruce awardees based on many factors, $5 million in fundraising activities, a Noel, Bunny Paulette, Scott Rhodes, Mike including visibility and prominence life-changing effort for central Virgin- Santoro, John Sebrell, Bob Sparks, Tommy in the awardee’s field of expertise and ians battling the disease. Thompson and Jamie Totten. noteworthy accomplishments. “The way the Parkinson’s and Mundy matriculated from RoaMovement Disorders Center here at The Nashville Bar Foundation presented noke, Virginia, and earned a BachVCU Health was formed, and really the David Rutherford Award to John C. elor of Arts degree in English from the core of what’s happening in neu- McLemore ’70 March 9, 2019. Annually, VMI. While at VMI, he played roscience at VCU Health, came from this award is presented a to a fellow of the basketball and was a distinguished Charlie,” said Gordon Smith, M.D., Nashville Bar Foundation who contributes to military graduate. Following graduMundy ’56 professor and chair of the depart- the legal field and the community as a whole, ation from VMI, Mundy was comment of neurology at VCU School displays professionalism in his or her practice missioned into the U.S. Army and served in of Medicine. “The advanced level of care and and enhances the spirit of collegiality among Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Fulda, Germany. resources that people have access to today at the bar and bench. Following his honorable discharge, he attended VCU Health and the McGuire Veterans AfMcLemore was the founding editor of The the University of Virginia Law School, where fairs Medical Center was not always Nashville Bar Journal, the Nashville he was the executive editor of the Virginia Law available in Central Virginia.” Bar Association newsletter, and made Review. Mundy practiced law in Roanoke, Through the new fund, the same many other efforts on behalf of the Virginia, for 54 years and retired in June 2016. brother rats who helped Bryan association, including assembling Mundy is a member of the American College survive the Rat Line came together an online photo archive of middle of Trial Lawyers, an organization that limits 50 years later to help him fight ParTennessee lawyers that includes more memberships to the top 1% of attorneys in kinson’s disease. The fund supports than 10,000 images and is searchable the U.S. He is an advocate in the American cutting edge research at VCU Health, by name. He has also been a leader Board of Trial Attorneys and served as the including addressing Parkinson’s within the NBA’s historical commitpresident of the Roanoke Bar Association, symptoms. Members of the Class of tee in multiple areas, including develwhich presented him with a lifetime achieve- 1969 who made initial contributions McLemore ’70 oping an annual historical continuing ment award in 2014. He is a fellow in both the Virginia Bar Foundation and the American Bar Foundation. He has been listed multiple times in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the South and Southwest and Who’s Who in American Law. For 29 consecutive years before his retirement, Mundy was listed in the Best Lawyers in America. Mundy has served VMI in many capacities, including on the Keydet Club Board of Governors, the VMI Alumni Association Board of Directors and on VMI Board of Visitors, the latter from 2005 until 2013. In 2005, he established the Mundy Family Scholarship, which funds a basketball scholarship each year. Recipients include Stan Okoye ’13, who spent the summer playing for the Boston Celtics summer league. Members of the Class of 1969 announced the Dr. Charles F. Bryan Jr. Parkinson’s Research Fund in honor of Charles F. Bryan Jr. ’69, Ph.D., during a surprise reception at Virginia Commonwealth University June 26, 2019.


Members of the Class of 1969 announced the Dr. Charles F. Bryan Jr. Parkinson’s Research Fund in honor of Charles F. Bryan Jr. ’69, Ph.D., during a surprise reception at Virginia Commonwealth University June 26, 2019. Twenty-seven of Bryan’s brother rats initiated the fund.

VMI Alumni Review

Alumni News legal education program, scanning over 100 years of NBA memorial resolutions and taking over 70 oral histories that were indexed by subject. McLemore matriculated from Nashville, Tennessee, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from VMI. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Nashville YMCA Night Law School.

Sanetti ’71

Stephen L. Sanetti ’71, chief executive officer of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, was a presenting speaker at the Veterans Affairs Governor’s Challenge Implementation Academy to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and their Families in Washington, D.C., from May 15-17, 2019. Sanetti spoke about the NSSF’s promotion of safe firearms storage, the organization’s ongoing suicide prevention efforts within the firearmsowning community and its recent collaboration with the Veterans Affairs’ program to foster statewide partnerships across the country to help prevent suicides among veterans and their families. Details of industry suicide prevention programs can be found at suicide-prevention. Sanetti has served in his role with the NSSF since 2008. He worked for Sturm, Ruger and Company for 28 years and served as the president, chief operating officer and vice chairman of the board. He has served as a board member for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the Federal Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources and the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities. He is a professional member of the Board of Firearms Advisors for the Cody Firearms Museum and the Boone & Crockett Club and is the chairman of Project ChildSafe, Inc. He is a technical adviser to the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners, is a National Rifle Association certified rifle, pistol

2019-Issue 4

and home firearms safety instructor and is a lifelong hunter, target shooter and firearms collector. In 2004, Sanetti received the 2004 Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence Award, along with the NSSF Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. Sanetti matriculated from Hicksville, New York, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from VMI. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Washington and Lee University.

Long & Foster Real Estate announced Jeffrey W. Reynolds ’77 as managing broker of the Roanoke, Botetourt and Oak Grove offices in southern Virginia June 13, 2019. A consistent top producer since entering the field in 1985, Reynolds has sold nearly 1,000 houses. Reynolds began working for Long & Foster in 2004 and managed the Roanoke office for nearly 13 years. Reynolds worked for a different real estate broker for several years before making the move back to Long & Foster. Reynolds matriculated from Roanoke, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from VMI.

Edmonston matriculated from Edgewater, Maryland, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from VMI. He is currently the vice president of Boat Owners Association of the United States. Liebherr announced that Joseph E. Blanks ’94 was promoted from regional customer support manager (Euraisa) to customer support manager. He has held different positions at Liebherr, including engineering-specific roles. Before working at Liebherr, Blanks worked in the defense industry in various roles and had experience in qualifying, designing, testing and prototyping combat vehicles and components. Blanks matriculated from Woodbridge, Virginia, and was a distinguished graduate of VMI, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. He also earned a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Montgomery McCracken announced in July that Marc J. Phillips ’94 joined the firm as a partner in the Wilmington, Delaware, office. Reynolds ’77 Phillips brings over a decade of exChristopher N. Edmonston ’91 was recently perience representing a breadth of clients in elected chairman of the Sport Fishing and Boatcomplex Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy ing Partnership Council. The 18-member body proceedings. This includes lenders, landlords, consists of representatives from recreational equipment lessors, unsecured creditors, trade boating groups, conservation organizations, creditors, debtors, intellectual property licensaltwater and freshwater fishing sors and licensees, municipal taxing organizations, the tourism industry, authorities, asset purchasers, notetribal representatives, federal and holders, municipal taxing authorities, state wildlife agency representatives noteholders and bondholders. In adand recreational boating and fishing dition, he represents unsecured and industries. The council provides advice secured creditors in fraudulent transfer to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior litigation and bankruptcy preference. about boating, recreational fishing and Phillips’ practice also represents comaquatic resource conservation issues. panies in complex commercial and Edmonston will lead the council in a civil litigation. variety of work, including conserving Phillips ’94 Phillips matriculated from Waynesfisheries and waterways, improving access to boro, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Arts recreational activities on America’s waters and degree in economics. He earned a Juris Doctor combating invasive species. degree from Widener University School of Law.


Alumni News ... Book Announcements ... Book Announcements ... Book Announcements ... Book Announcements ... Book Announcements ... Book Announcements ... Book Announcements ... Historical Infrastructure of the Virginia Military Institute and Related Biographies by Danny A. Hogan ’65. Dementi-Milestone Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781732517974. Book available via the publisher or Amazon. “Historical Infrastructure of the Virginia Military Institute and Related Biographies” gives the reader a detailed, in-depth volume of information about the Institute’s infrastructure while linking the infrastructure to the men for whom each item was named. The book explains the purpose of many facilities, monuments and memorials on the VMI post and includes brief biographies of the men for whom they were named. The book details the history of 65 structures on the VMI post – including buildings, houses, athletic facilities, statues, monuments and memorials – and explains the details of each item. A large part of the Institute’s history is told through the buildings that housed cadets, staff and faculty through the years, including buildings that have been demolished. Points of particular interest include the construction history of barracks; the original Smith Hall, built in 1900 and later torn down; the Williamson House, built for early faculty member Thomas Williamson in 1852 and torn down in 1965; plus details about the “Virginia Mourning Her Dead” statue and the Alpha Tau Omega and Sigma Nu fraternity monuments. History of buildings for VMI’s alumni body is also covered. The current alumni building, Moody Hall, was dedicated in 1969 and was made possible through the generosity of Mary Moody Northen, daughter of William L. Moody Jr. ’886. Before the construction of Moody Hall, alumni operations were housed in the Anderson House, which was built by William Alexander Anderson. The Anderson House was demolished in 1968 to make way for the construction of Moody Hall. Significant biographies include: John Jordan, who built what is now called the Turman House in 1818; William Gilham, a VMI contributor in the 1800s who, in 1852, was the first occupant of what is now called the Maury House; Thomas Williamson, the third VMI faculty member and


roommate of Francis H. Smith at West Point; Maggie Freeland, who led the plan for the “Virginia Mourning Her Dead” statue in memory of the 10 cadets who died as a result of the New Market Battle in 1864; and Beresford Hope, an Englishman included in the Jackson-Hope Medal Monument, who had contributed extra money for the Stonewall Jackson statue in Richmond, Virginia. The book also includes an extensive history of Gen. George C. Marshall ’901. The author presented several copies of the book to both VMI and fellow alumni, free of charge. Thirty books were sent to Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III ’62, superintendent, which were distributed across post and displayed on coffee tables throughout 10 areas. Seven books were also sent to living VMI alumni for whom various items of infrastructure are named. These alumni include Maj. Gen. James Morgan ’45, Gil Minor ’63, Bill Paulette ’69, P. Wesley Foster ’56, Al Fiorini ’64, Ralph Costen ’70 and Charles Luck III ’55. Free books were also sent to four alumni who provided comments on the back of the book: Conrad Hall ’65, Gregory Robertson ’65, Warren “Buddy” Bryan ’71 and Col. Keith Gibson ’77. Substantial research support for the book came from Gibson, director of the VMI Museum System; Col. Diane Jacob, library director and head of archives and records management at Preston Library; and Anna Logan Lawson, anthropologist and editor of publications at Hollins University. Although neither an employee nor an alumna of the Institute, Lawson was inspired to assist in the project through other connections: Her greatgrandfather was Anderson, whose house was an early home to the VMI Alumni Association. About the Author: Danny A. Hogan matriculated from his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from VMI. He earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Southern California, as well as degrees from the Army War College, the Industrial College of Armed Forces

and the National Defense University. Hogan earned his pilot’s license in the U.S. Air Force and transitioned to the U.S. Air Force Reserve in 1975. He joined the U.S. Commerce Department in 1975, becoming a “citizen-soldier.” Hogan spent much of his time as a federal employee in the U.S. Department of Energy, serving as deputy chief financial officer, deputy director of the Naval Petroleum and Oil Shale Reserves, and managing the DOE-owned Elk Hills oil field in California. He began at the Pentagon in 1973 and retired as a major general in 2003 after working at the Pentagon for 30 years. How to be Successful at the Virginia Military Institute: The Keys to Success Written by a Cadet for Future Cadets by Colin D. Smith ’19. ISBN: 9781096242857. Book available via Amazon. The author, a Class of 2019 graduate, reveals everything that played into his successes at VMI, identifying the big issues cadets encounter and providing insight on how to work through those tough situations. He specifically addresses mentality, time management, organization, academics, physical fitness, nutrition, sleep, leadership and finding a balance. The intention of publishing the book was to provide an opportunity for incoming rats to get ahead of the game and hopefully prevent them from developing toxic habits. The value in this book lies in the fact that it comes from someone who was still enrolled during its publication. It’s succinct by avoiding long explanations of the intricacies of VMI. The author envisioned incoming rats being able to reference it quickly when faced with various hardships. About the Author: Colin D. Smith matriculated from Midlothian, Virginia. He was the class vice president while a cadet, as well as holding other leadership positions. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from VMI and was commissioned in the U.S. Army. He is currently attending the Virginia Commonwealth School of Dentistry in Richmond, Virginia, through the Army Health Professions Scholarship Program.

VMI Alumni Review

Alumni Agencies Staff Directory P.O. Box 932 Lexington, VA 24450 1-800-444-1839

Chief Executive Officer

Chief Financial Officer

Stephen M. Maconi

David Prasnicki

Chief Communications Officer Amy F. Goetz

Chief Operating Officer


Meade B. King ’85

Stephen E. Hupp ’84

Vice President - Fundraising Thomas H. Zarges ’70

Vice President - Administration John D. Adams ’96

Chief Operating Officer Meade B. King ’85


Ralph L. Costen Jr. ’70

Danny Thornton ’78

Chief Operating Officer


Thomas A. Brashears ’95

Asa H. Page III ’79

Second Vice President Anthony U. Moore ’78

2019-Issue 4

Jim Joustra ’76 E. Sean Lanier ’94

Bland Massie Jr. ’77


Second Vice President

Directors at Large

First Vice President

Gerald J. Acuff Jr. ’71

First Vice President Samuel N. Stocks ’90

Historian James F. Dittrich ’76

Kelly Holbert ’93 Guy Conte ’75

Grant Harris ’06


VMI Alumni Chapter Directory Region I – Southwest Chapter Arizona Greater Los Angeles Inland Empire Nevada Northern California San Diego

Director: Matthew R. Hemenez ’90 Chapter President

Richard C. Coupland III ’91 Alexander J. Rawling ’07 Kenny T. Stigler ’00 Bradley J. Maak ’87 Brian K. Andrew ’03 Max H. Hopkins ’97

Andrew D. Washbish ’09 Daniel C. Young ’88 Paul K. Tallat-Kelpsa ’90 David C. Hagemann ’80 Mark K. Johnson ’87 Jeffrey D. Vordermark ’79 J. Brent Schaufert ’15 J. Micah North ’00 David P. Loduca ’81 Ronald G. Hull ’02

John R. Robb ’69 A. Bruno Loefstedt III ’80 R. Conor Evans ’02 Richard C. Wolffe ’78

Region IV – Mid Atlantic Appalachian Central Keystone Maryland Southeastern PA – Delaware Valley Stonewall Jackson Western PA – Pittsburgh

Terence L. Bowers ’68 Joshua R. Sneed ’12 William H. Cather Jr. ’65 Ryan W. Benson ’07 Christopher R. Jones ’96 Charles M. Rogers IV ’83 Christopher W. Simpson ’01


Director: Michael A. Kelly ’73 Director: Abigail L. Dawson ’14

Stephen L. Skakandy ’01 Michael A. Ceroli ’85 Laurence B. Wilson Jr. ’62 Michael S. Anderson ’88 Charles L. Ramsburg ’66 Jerome M. Brinkley ’84 Robert M. Kirby ’78 Carl B. Hammond ’00 Michael M. Smith ’73 Paul X. English III ’73 John P. Gangemi ’61

Region VII – Florida Central Florida Northeast Florida – Jacksonville Panama City/Tallahassee Pensacola Southern Florida Southwest Florida – Fort Meyer The Villages – Florida Treasure Coast West Coast Florida – Tampa

Director: C. Patrick Haddock ’00

Region VI – Carolinas Crystal Coast/Jacksonville Cape Fear/Fayetteville Central North Carolina – Raleigh Charlotte Club of the Triad Charleston Eastern North Carolina Midlands SC/Palmetto Myrtle Beach Upsate SC/Pisgah NC Wilmington, North Carolina

Director: H. Larry Mays Jr. ’73

Robert P. Hill ’08 David R. Gleason ’80 John T. Pace ’77 Jason K. Gruse ’97 J. Mark Hennigan ’90

Region V – Southeast Augusta Atlanta Birmingham Coastal GA – South Carolina East TN – Knoxville Mobile Tennessee Valley

Director: Patrick J. Griffin ’80

Region III – Northeast Buffalo New England New York City – Long Island North Jersey

Director: David P. Loduca ’81

Region II – Midwest Bluegrass Chicago Cleveland Detroit Indianapolis Kansas City, Missouri Minnesota Southwest Ohio St. Louis Wisconsin

President’s Email

Director: Blake W. Thomas ’73

John C. Nagle IV ’87 Jason M. Goldstein ’02 James D. Friskhorn ’81 David B. Tillar Jr. ’95 Scott A. Houser ’98

Alan H. Vicory Jr. ’74 Donald D. Carson ’64 Robert M. Bailey ’72

Email: Chapter Representative Christoph Lohr ’08 Stephen A. Breheny ’89 Andre J. Gibson ’78 Lawrence M. Wood ’59 Todd E. Arris ’87 William R. Creekmur ’83

Email: G. Michael Montgomery ’84 Donald A. Noschese Jr. ’92 Stephen M. Chiles ’89 Mark A. Benvenuto ’83 Todd J. Jacobs ’90 Robert C. Polk ’61


John R. Gibney Jr. ’80 Kevin P. Sincavage ’87

Email: Campbell C. Hyatt III ’65 H. Larry Mays Jr. ’73 Thomas M. Wirth ’98 Albert J. Graham III ’74 Phillip L. Harris ’03

Email: Raymond R. Lawson ’81 Charles F. McCallum III ’94 Kevin L. Snell ’82 John H. Friend III ’82 Raymond J. Pietruszka ’77

Email: Email: Charles L. Toomey ’74 Ronald R. Wall ’69 James A. Sharp ’93 Eric L. Duncan ’99 George H. Ritko ’70 F. Grey Farthing III ’79 E.D. Woomer Jr. ’73 David L. Pouleris ’98

Email: John C. Nagle IV ’87 Grafton D. Addison III ’82 Wayland H. Patterson ’80 Brett R. Martin ’00

VMI Alumni Review

VMI Alumni Chapter Directory Region VIII – Southwest VA/Shenandoah Valley Chapter Lynchburg New River Valley Roanoke Allegheny Highlands Blue Ridge Charlottesville North Shenandoah Valley Rockbridge County Valley

Chapter President Matthew T. Vordermark ’00 Gerald B. Burrus ’96 Andrew D. Fuller ’99 T. Troy Barbour ’89 G. Wayne Eastham ’76 James E. Duncan ’98 Kevin J. Callanan ’78 Scott O. Risser ’75 D. Cameron Seay ’70

Region X – South

James F. Dittrich ’76 Stephen J. Barcik III ’85 Michael M. Wallace ’93 David A. Pitts ’88 Philip J. Altizer Jr. ’80 Dakota W. Nicely ’15 Hamel B. Reinmiller ’98 Daniel J. Fitzgerald ’89 Steven P. Weiss ’86 Murray F. Hudson ’82

Brian P. Duffy ’89 Russell Shun Takata ’74 Christian F. Tujo ’94 James R. Farmer ’68 Todd M. Baldwin ’06 James P. Smith ’79

Region XII – Central Virginia Richmond Tri Cities

Region XIII – Hampton Roads Eastern Shore Norfolk Peninsula Rappahannock Virginia Beach Western Tidewater Williamsburg

Region XIV – Metro D.C. Fredericksburg – Quantico George C. Marshall Potomac River

Director: Jim E. Henry ’68 Director: Sean P. Hingley ’07

Matthew J. Outland ’17 M. Andrew Stone ’05 Thomas F. Morehouse III ’70 Richard A. Duke ’90 Alvaro F. Cuellar ’88 John L. Rowe Jr. ’66 John J. Kokolis ’96

Director: A. James MacDonald ’83 Director: John D. Kearney Jr. ’00

Carl J. DeBernard Jr. ’94 Matthew R. Keller ’00 R. Scott Pearson ’85

Joseph W. Hutt III ’78 Alan G. Soltis ’79 Harrison L. Fridley Jr. ’61 R. Edward Duncan ’60 Lewis V. Graybill ’62 Thomas C. Sliwoski ’78


Director: William R. Charlet ’01

Chad A. Lawson ’11

Chapter Representative

Director: Clifford A. Crittsinger ’64/’66

Region XI – Northwest


President’s Email


Arkansas Centex Greater New Orleans Middle TN – Nashville Midsouth/Memphis North Texas – Dallas Oklahoma San Antonio Southeast Texas – Houston Third Coast (Corpus Christi)

Alaska Hawaii Oregon Pacific Northwest Pikes Peak Rocky Mountain

Director: Dennis A. Hackemeyer ’80

David W. Walsh ’90 Christopher J. Whittaker ’90 Charles S. Sanger ’82 Garry C. Varney ’76 Thomas R. Shaw ’78 M. Douglass Payne ’73


Robert L. Fricke ’78

Email: Matthew T. Mikula ’04 Augustus Robbins III ’47

Email: Email: Thomas F. Wilson ’80 Joshua P. Priest ’80 David J. Trenholm ’70 William F. Brent ’67 Christopher M. McCallum ’96 Oliver D. Creekmore ’66 Jim E. Henry ’68

Email: Email: R.C. Thompson III ’74 L. Randolph Williams Jr. ’66 L. Randolph Williams Jr. ’66

Region XV – Pacific Rim Guam Korea Taiwan Thailand

2019-Issue 4

Michael K. Scaplehorn ’13 Christopher D. Noe ’96 Ching-Pu Chen ’85 Vaipot Srinual ’72



VMI Alumni Review

2019-Issue 4


Profile for VMI Alumni Agencies

VMI Alumni Review 2019-Issue 4