West Point Magazine Spring 2024

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In This Issue: USMA Digital History Center Ring Memorial Program for the Class of 2025 SPRING 2024 A Publication of the West Point Association of Graduates WEST POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S What do you think? Click here to answer 3 questions
Savings are o total premium. Not available in all states or in all situations. To qualify, auto policy must be active prior to property issue. Subject to change. Restrictions apply. Membership eligibility and product restrictions apply and are subject to change. Property and casualty insurance provided by United Services Automobile Association (USAA), USAA Casualty Insurance Company, USAA General Indemnity Company, Garrison Property and Casualty Insurance Company, based in San Antonio, Texas; USAA Limited (UK) and USAA S.A. (Europe) and is available only to persons eligible for property and casualty group membership. Each company has sole financial responsibility for its own products. © 2022 USAA. 287873-0822 NOT HOW YOU WOULD’VE DONE IT YOU BUNDLE THINGS RIGHT Like when you bundle your home and auto insurance with USAA and save up to 10%.1 Visit usaa.com/bundleright to learn more.

Career Navigator’s Industry Advisor Program: Assisting Grads with Career Transition

Over 550 industry advisors representing more than 45 industries have made a difference to more than 1,500 graduates in career transition. WPAOG Career Services is actively seeking industry advisors with eight or more years of professional experience. Join our growing network at: alumni.westpointaog.org/IndustryAdvisorRegistration

“I wanted to thank you for the help over the past year as I made the transition after 21 years on active duty. It has been more of a challenge than I thought it would be and I can't thank you enough for the connections, advice, and resources provided.” —Graduate from the Class of 2002

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 1 For more information about WPAOG Career Services: WestPointAOG.org/career-services | 845.446.1618 careers@wpaog.org CAREER SERVICES WEST POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S

Taking Off: How Cadets Are Visualizing the Past

The West Point Digital History Center is using the latest technology involving drones, GIS imagery, and 3D models to create visual, interactive projects involving battles of the American Revolution in order to form a deeper understanding of the nation’s history.

26 “Relentless” National Champions and Future Officers

Thanks to plebe boxing and its members’ high-profile positions within the Corps, all cadets are familiar with the West Point Boxing Team; thanks to the team’s motto and its captains’ vision, the Long Gray Line should soon be familiar with the graduates of the Boxing Team for what they will be doing in the Army.

34 The Fable of the Goat Gift

The class goat, bag of money aside, is just like every other cadet in a graduating class, commissioned as a second lieutenant who has gone on to serve his or her country in admirable ways.

38 An Enduring Friendship and the Mystery of Izzy’s Ring

A plan of remembrance turns into a mystery when a member of the Class of 1940 tries to present a replacement class ring to the family of a classmate who died as a POW in the Philippines during World War II.

2 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photo: Submitted
IN THIS ISSUE On the cover: The Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, won by the Army West Point Black Knights Football Team, and the NHL Stanley Cup, won by the Bill Foley ’67-owned Vegas Golden Knights hockey team, positioned side by side on the steps of Battle Monument. Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG.
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VOLUME 14, ISSUE 2 • SPRING 2024

The mission of West Point magazine is to tell the West Point story and strengthen the grip of the Long Gray Line.

Publisher

West Point Association of Graduates

Colonel Mark D. Bieger ’91 (Retired) President & CEO

A position generously endowed by the Honorable & Mrs. Robert A. McDonald ’75

Editor in Chief Jaye Donaldson | editor@wpaog.org

Managing Editor

Keith J. Hamel

Editorial Advisory Group

Desrae Gibby ’ 91 Terence Sinkfield ’ 99

Patrick Ortland ’ 82 Samantha Soper

Creative Director/Design

Marguerite Smith

Content

Desrae Gibby ’91, WPAOG Staff

Keith Hamel, WPAOG Staff

Erika Norton, WPAOG Staff

Jerome Kleiman, Guest Author

Tom Lough ’64, Guest Author

Advertising 845.446.1582 | ads@wpaog.org

Address Updates

West Point Association of Graduates ATTN: Data Services Team

698 Mills Road, West Point, NY 10996-1607

845.446.1644 | address@wpaog.org

Memorial Article Manager

Marilee Meyer HON ’ 55, ’ 56, ’62, ’66 and ’ 70 845.446.1545 | memorials@wpaog.org

WPAOG programs, including communications, are made possible by William D. Mounger, Class of 1948.

Postmaster

West Point is published quarterly in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Send address changes to: West Point magazine, West Point Association of Graduates, 698 Mills Road, West Point, NY 10996-1607.

West Point is printed by Sheridan NH.

Subscriptions

Subscriptions may be ordered for $25 (domestic mail) online at WestPointAOG.org; by calling 800.BE.A.GRAD; or by sending a check to WPAOG, West Point magazine, 698 Mills Road, West Point, NY 10996-1607.

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 3 Photos: John Pellino/USMA PAO; U.S. Army Photo by CDT Connor Faherty ’26
4 From the President 5 Attention! Troop the Line Adjutant’s Call Core of the Corps The Four Pillars 32 Poster 43 Forward March WPAOG News Eyes Right Serving the Nation We Serve You Gripping Hands (R) Recognition 58 Class “Quotes” 60 Mailbox 61 Bookshelf 62 Be Thou at Peace 63 Past in Review View West Point magazine online and complete a three-question reader survey. Email us at editor@wpaog.org. Follow us on WPAOG social media. 26 34
expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, policy, or attitude of the U.S. Army, United States Military Academy, West Point Association of Graduates, its officers, or the editorial staff. The appearance of advertisements in this publication does not necessarily constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Army, United States Military Academy, West Point Association of Graduates, its officers, or the editorial staff for the products or services advertised.
Opinions

FROM THE PRESIDENT

Dear Fellow Graduates:

On May 22, 1869, fifteen of our graduates gathered in the office of Dr. Horace Webster (Class of 1818), President of the College of the City of New York, to establish the Association of the Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy, forerunner to today’s West Point Association of Graduates. Since that day, your Association has worked to serve, connect and strengthen West Point and the Long Gray Line. Almost 155 years later, we continue to do so, through a wide variety of programs and services. One of these very important traditions is Founders Day. These gatherings, all over the world and across 129 West Point Societies, are a very real demonstration of the strength of the Long Gray Line. And they are a lot of fun!

This Founders Day season was no different. We estimate that 6,000 graduates were able to gather, and those numbers drew closer to 10,000 in attendance when counting families and friends. We were honored to have senior leadership from the Academy serve as guest speakers and share all the great work being done to develop leaders of character for our nation’s defense. We were also very fortunate to have distinguished graduates serve as guest speakers in meaningful gatherings from Washington, DC to Seattle, Washington.

Recently, we shared in a special moment at an event that has come to symbolize the link that connects the generations of the Long Gray Line, the Ring Melt. In this very special ceremony, held in Eisenhower Hall on January 19, 2024, more than 300 guests gathered as 88 class rings were donated. This special moment was all at once symbolic, meaningful and impactful for the guests gathered and for the Class of 2025. Class President Cadet Katherine LaReau said it best:

I wish I could shake the hand of Lieutenant Colonel Ron Turner, Class of 1958, who came up with the incredible idea of melting down graduates’ donated rings to incorporate that gold into the rings of new firstie classes at West Point. … Thanks to Lieutenant Colonel Turner’s great idea, we will look down at our rings and recognize that its gold contains the same gold that was worn by astronauts,

Medal of Honor recipients, prisoners of war, four-star generals, and several brave soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving this nation, all graduates of this Academy … We will look at our ring and be reminded of our connection to our affiliate class, the Class of 1975, whose graduates have been cheering on and supporting our class since R-Day, and the nine whose rings have been donated today and will be with our class throughout our service … A class ring from the United States Military Academy already means so much … But now, with the gold of our rings containing the gold worn by 895 graduates before us, our rings will mean so much more.

The Vision of your Association is to be the most highly connected alumni body in the world. Those connections can take many forms and can appear in different ways. We are fully committed to supporting the connections between graduates; although many exist naturally, we look for opportunities to make those connections more easily. Several programs support this effort, including Grads Helping Grads, Veterans Services, Class Reunion Services, Memorial Support, Career Navigator, Sallyport, and others. We are also equally committed to connecting our graduates to the Academy. These programs include Rockbound Highland Home, Grad Pass, and Grad Insider Tours. We constantly assess these programs, listen to your feedback, and examine ways to improve and strengthen these connections.

This edition of West Point magazine is loaded with stories and examples of the Long Gray Line in action. It provides a valuable portal into the lives of our Corps of Cadets and how, with Duty-Honor-Country as their bedrock, they’re being developed across every pillar and prepared to take their place in that Line. It also provides multiple examples of the strength of that Line, in and out of uniform. As always, please send your thoughts, recommendations, and suggestions on how we can do better for all of us and for our Academy.

West Point Association of Graduates

A position generously supported by the Honorable & Mrs. Robert A. McDonald ’75

Our Mission: To serve West Point and the Long Gray Line.

Our Vision: For the Long Gray Line to be the most highly connected alumni body in the world.

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POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S
WEST
WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 5 Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG ATTENTION! Troop the Line Adjutant's Call Core of the Corps The Four Pillars Foley ’67 Brings Cup to Corps Story on page 10

Long Gray Line Teammates:

On behalf of the entire USMA Team, thank you for hosting us this spring at the many Founders Day events around the world. We were honored to meet with so many of you and share the goodness taking place at our Academy.

Founders Day is not only a time of celebration but also of inspiration. The phenomenal legacy of excellence and selfless service continues to grow and flourish across the Long Gray Line, as well as our Corps of Cadets, our nation’s next generation of leaders of character.

More importantly, Founders Day is a time of appreciation, an opportunity for us to say “thank you” for all you do for our Academy. Developing leaders of character takes a village of excellence, and each of you is an important part of our village, through your continued and generous support, as well as your example of honorable leadership and service to our nation.

Over the past several weeks, many of you expressed concerns about our revised mission statement and our motto. Founders Day gave us the opportunity to meet with many of you to provide the facts and address your concerns.

First and foremost, our cherished motto—Duty, Honor, Country—remains steadfast as the cornerstone of Academy culture. Since it was adopted as West Point’s motto in 1898, these “three hallowed words” have been the hallmark of the West Point experience, binding graduates together across our nation’s history. Our motto defines us, both as an institution and as West Point graduates. It is literally carved in granite across West Point, adorns our cadets’ uniforms, and is on your West Point ring. It remains our motto, and always will.

The revised mission statement is the result of a deliberate, comprehensive, and collaborative strategic review process. I initiated the process shortly after assuming duties as your Superintendent. These reviews are common and typically occur every few years. Several internal and external review participants provided input, including West Point graduates from a variety of experiences and backgrounds.

Changes to the mission statement also aren’t unusual: Since our first formal mission statement in 1925, we have

revised it nine times. The words “Duty, Honor, Country” were added to the mission statement in 1998.

Our updated mission statement codifies our missionessential tasks: to build, educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character. We added the word “build” to underscore the importance of recruiting talented young men and women who desire to serve their nation as Army officers. It also reinforces that our graduates will continue to serve the nation, in and out of uniform. Our commitment to excellence and service is a lifelong obligation.

In better aligning our mission statement with the Army, we make clear that we expect our cadets to know and live by Army Values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.

The Army Values are not new. Generations of soldiers have learned and lived by these seven values, which were introduced in 1997. They serve as the foundation of the Army profession, reinforcing the expectation for us to honorably serve with integrity as defenders of our nation.

When our graduates take their place in the Army as leaders of character, they must know and demonstrate that they live by the same seven values as the soldiers they lead.

Our mission statement defines what we do. Our motto— Duty, Honor, Country—is who we are.

Behind this mission statement are the Corps of Cadets, the faculty, staff, coaches, and teammates who are responsible for their character and leader development— the most important thing we do here at the United States Military Academy. Time and again, we find that visitors to West Point, whether newcomers or old grads, are impressed by the quality of our young men and women and their commitment to serve our nation and lead as our Army’s next generation of leaders of character.

As always, we invite you to visit your alma mater anytime and see this for yourself. We know you will be inspired.

Duty, Honor, Country!

Thank you and Go Army!

Steven W. Gilland ’90 Lieutenant General, U.S. Army 61st Superintendent, U.S. Military Academy

“ To build, educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character committed to the Army Values and ready for a lifetime of service to the Army and Nation.” —USMA’s Mission

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U.S. Army Troop the Line
Photo:
ATTENTION!

Troop the Line

Academic Update from the Dean

The U.S. Military Academy’s academic program has fully delved into the Academy’s intellectual theme, “Innovation, Technology, and the Future of National Defense,” for the 2023-24

academic year

Brigadier General Shane Reeves ’96 kicked off the annual theme during the Superintendent’s Convocation by hosting Mr. Anthony Noto ’91 for a fireside chat. They discussed Noto’s experience as a West Point cadet and Army officer, as well as his experiences as SoFi CEO, Twitter COO and CEO, Goldman Sachs executive, and NFL CFO. Noto detailed how those experiences provided him lessons in navigating innovation challenges and overcoming setbacks.

West Point also hosted the 74th Annual Class of 1971 Student Conference on U.S. Affairs (SCUSA), which brought together more than 200 students from nearly 100 institutions to engage in 15 roundtable discussions on how the United States can innovate to tackle the pressing challenges of domestic and foreign policy and how the presence or absence of change will affect American values and interests in the coming decades.

Lastly, USMA’s academic departments came together to host the Army Tactical Innovation Symposium. Ninety-six

cadets across nine research centers and 25 representatives from 12 Army organizations explored projects from a wide range of challenges such as “Engineer Lane Marking,” “Improved Smoke Grenade Launchers,” and more. 

For more information and event highlights, visit USMA’s “Annual Intellectual Theme” web page.

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 7 Photos: Submitted; U.S. Army photo by Christopher Hennen, USMA ATTENTION!
Anthony Noto ’91 shakes hands with BG Shane Reeves ’96, Dean, at the Superintendent’s Convocation in August 2023.

ATTENTION!

Flipper’s 147-Year Legacy Continues

On February 15, during a ceremony in the Cadet Mess Hall, the United States Military Academy hosted the annual Henry O. Flipper Award dinner, which highlights the trials and triumphs of Flipper, Class of 1877, the first African American to graduate from West Point. During the dinner, the Academy presented the 2024 Henry O. Flipper Award to Cadet Teryon Lowery ’24.

Since 1977, the Flipper Award has been presented to a First Class cadet who demonstrates “the highest qualities of leadership, self-discipline, and perseverance in the face of unusual adversity.” It recalls the profound sense of isolation that Flipper endured during his four years at the Academy when his peers refused to recognize or speak to him because of the color of his skin. It also recalls the systemic racism Flipper suffered during his Army career.

Lowery displayed the virtues of the Flipper Award while caring for his two younger brothers, both of whom are on the autism spectrum, after his mother was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. At the time, Lowery was attending Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. When he took on the responsibility of providing for his family, Lowery dropped out of school and enlisted in the U.S. Army as a practical nursing specialist. While stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas for three years, Lowery not only

managed to provide for his family but also was awarded two Army Achievement Medals. During this time, Lowery’s mother overcame her cancer, but he was not ready to leave the Army. Lowery transitioned to West Point, where his selfless service continued as a cadet. He joined with others and aimed to create a safe haven for cadets at the Academy. He has also served as a source of inspiration for participants in the ACT program.

The keynote speaker for the Flipper dinner was Master Sergeant Cedric King (Retired), who discussed his own journey of overcoming despair with resilience and determination. In July 2012, King lost both his legs to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan but has since scaled mountains and completed marathons, demonstrating the conviction in the face of adversity that’s reminiscent of Flipper.

“This is what life is about; this is what Cadet Flipper went through his entire life,” King told cadets after pulling a pencil and sharpener from his pocket, noting that the former represents a cadet and the latter is the West Point experience. “At some point in time, because you didn’t jump out when things got difficult, you will be sharpened to a razor’s edge and far better than you could ever imagine.” 

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Photo: U.S. Army
Adjutant ’ s Call
photo by Christopher Hennen, USMA CDT Teryon Lowery, Class of 2024, is awarded the Henry O. Flipper Award. MSG (R) Cedric King was the guest speaker at the Henry O. Flipper Dinner held on February 15.

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WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 9 For more information about WPAOG Career Services: WestPointAOG.org/career-services | 845.446.1618 careers@wpaog.org CAREER SERVICES WEST POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S

Adjutant ’ s Call

Foley ’67 Brings Cup to Corps

NHL Vegas Golden Knights owner and 2016 West Point Associaiton of Graduates Distinguished Graduate Award recipient William “Bill” Foley ’67 fulfilled a bucket list wish and brought his team, along with the prestigious Stanley Cup trophy, to his Rockbound Highland Home in mid-January. The Golden Knights won the Stanley Cup by beating the Florida Panthers, another NHL team owned by a West Point graduate (Vincent “Vinnie” Viola ’77), five games to one in June 2023.

Their visit started at Tate Rink inside the Holleder Center, where they met with Lieutenant General Steve Gilland ’90, the

61st USMA Superintendent, along with other members of the USMA leadership team and Army West Point Hockey Head Coach Brian Riley. After photos with the Stanley Cup on center ice, Foley and the Golden Knights brought the NHL’s prized trophy to the Mess Hall, where team captain Mark Stone, standing on the Poop Deck, lifted it high for the whole Corps to see.

“I just think it’s great to have our team come in and see what West Point is all about—to experience the history and the aura of West Point, the buildings, and especially the cadets,” Foley said in an interview with Army West Point Athletics. “The cadets went crazy at lunch, raising chairs and hollering—it was an amazing and really fun experience.”

The team and the Cup then made their way to Trophy Point, where another trophy, the Commander-in-Chief ’s Trophy, which the West Point Army Football Team brought home after beating Navy in December, was positioned on Battle Monument. Photographers took photos of Foley and the Golden Knights with the two iconic trophies.

The last stop on the team’s trip was to the Old Cadet Chapel in the West Point Cemetery, where the NHL players heard from Foley’s classmate Freed Lowrey ’67 and reflected on the sacrifices West Point graduates have made throughout history and continue to make today.

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Erika Norton/WPAOG
Photo:
ATTENTION!
Members of the Army West Point Hockey Team pose with the NHL's Stanley Cup and with members of the Vegas Golden Knights (back row) in the Cadet Mess Hall's Regimental Room.

“We want to thank Mr. Foley for making it possible for your team to come here,” Riley said to the Golden Knights while sharing his experience as a coach at the Academy and what a special place West Point is for developing leaders of character both on and off the ice. “You have no idea the impact this has had on our players and the cadets in the Mess Hall,” he said. “Sometimes this can be a gray place, but you guys brought some sunshine today.”

Bill Foley is an Honorary West Point Ready Campaign Cabinet member, and both Foley and his wife, Carol, are among the top-five donors to West Point and members of the Sylvanus Thayer Lifetime Giving Society. Notably, the Foleys’ philanthropy in support of Army West Point Athletics has revolutionized facilities for cadet-athletes, thanks to the Foley Indoor Athletic Complex and the Foley-Enners-Nathe Lacrosse Center, named in memory of classmates Lieutenants Ray Enners ’67 and Michael Nathe ’67. Most recently, the Foleys helped fund the Michie Stadium Preservation Project, expected to break ground later this year.

“I just want Army to win,” Foley said. “I want them to win every game—every football game, every hockey game, every lacrosse game—and if I can do a little part in that and help out with some facilities and so on, that’s all I want to do.” 

“I just think it’s great to have our team come in and see what West Point is all about—to experience the history and the aura of West Point, the buildings, and especially the cadets. The cadets went crazy at lunch, raising chairs and hollering—it was an amazing and really fun experience.”

— Bill Foley ’67

NHL Vegas Golden Knights owner and 2016 WPAOG DGA recipient

View more photos from the Vegas Golden Knights’ visit to USMA.

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 11 Photo: Erika Norton/WPAOG Adjutant ’ s Call ATTENTION!
Mark Stone, team captain of the Vegas Golden Knights (winners of the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Championship), stands on the Poop Deck of the Cadet Mess Hall with team owner Bill Foley '67 and shows off the famous Stanley Cup trophy to the Corps during lunch.

USMA Ranks 4th in Alumni Giving

At a time when most schools are seeing considerable declines in the percentage of their alumni giving rate, the United States Military Academy is one of only six colleges and universities to top 30 percent in alumni giving, coming in fourth in U.S. News & World Report ’s list of “15 Colleges Where the Most Alumni Donate.” Only Princeton University, Dartmouth College, and the College of Holy Cross excceeded USMA’s 34 percent average of alumni who donated in 2022-23.

“This is an incredible measure of the generosity and engagement of our graduates,” says Colonel Mark Bieger ’91 (Retired), President and CEO of the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG).

USMA is the No. 1-ranked public university in alumni giving and one of only two public universities in the top 15 (Virginia Tech, at No. 15, is the other). Its alumni giving ranking has been moving steadily up the last few years: among National

Liberal Arts Colleges it was ranked No. 19 in 2021, No. 9 in 2022, and No. 8 in the last ranking before the current U.S. News & World Report list. The national average for alumni giving hovers at around eight percent, a number that hasn’t moved much in recent years.

“Being fourth in the nation in any category is exceptional, but this particular ranking is reflective of an institution that is proud, connected, and desiring to support those that follow,” says Bieger. “We will work very hard over the next few years to remain in the top 10 in this category and, more importantly, become the most highly connected alumni body in the world.”

WPAOG internal numbers suggest that USMA’s alumni giving rate will be even higher next year, especially with a successful turnout from the Long Gray Line for the annual West Point Challenge, being held May 5-9, 2024. 

Wellesley College (MA)

Rice University (TX)

Source: U.S. News 2024 Best Colleges

12 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Adjutant ’ s Call ATTENTION!
School Average Percentage of Alumni Who Donated in 2022-23 Rank and Category Princeton University (NJ) 46% 1, National Universities Dartmouth College (NH) 36% 18 (tie), National
College of the
(MA) 35% 27 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
34% 8, National Liberal
Colleges University
Notre
(IN) 33% 20, National Universities
32% 9 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges Middlebury College (VT) 29% 11 (tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges Duke University (NC) 28% 7 (tie), National Universities Mount Holyoke College (MA) 28% 34, National Liberal
Colleges
25% 21
Universities
Holy Cross
United States Military Academy at West Point (NY)
Arts
of
Dame
Carleton College (MN)
Arts
Colgate University (NY)
(tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
25% 4
(tie), National Liberal Arts Colleges
24%
23%
17, National Universities Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2, National Universities
23% 39 (tie), National
Tech 22% 47 (tie), National Universities
Trinity College (CT)
Liberal Arts Colleges Virginia

Historic Expansion for Historic Cemetery

In 1890 the West Point Cemetery expanded into the cadet vegetable garden. In 1900 Egbert Viele, Class of 1847, “considerably improved and beautified” the cemetery. In the 1990s the columbarium wall in the Old Cadet Chapel opened. In 2014, thanks to generous graduate donations, a columbarium wall circling the cemetery was constructed, adding 5,832 cremation niches. In 2017 section XI added 311 vaults for caskets. On April 30, 2024, the West Point Cemetery, which spent months expanding the land available from 11 acres to 13 acres for burial purposes, will release 3,492 resting places (3,024 in-ground). This $20 million expansion has been the cemetery’s biggest and most scientific development project to date.

With helpful guidance from West Point Leadership, the Corps of Engineers, the Directorate of Public Works, and the Office of Army Cemeteries have researched extensively to safeguard this historic ground. They created a scientifically formulated soil to ensure proper drainage, completed complex slope mitigation, and analyzed data. Given that 75 percent of dispositions at West Point are of cremated remains and that, according to the National Funeral Directors Association, the cremation rate will increase to 81.4 percent by 2045, the new

section will have 2,156 burial crypts with government headstones for cremated remains, and there will be 468 niches in the new wall. Additionally, there will be 868 casketed burial crypts.

The Director of West Point Cemetery says buried cremains will mainly be in the new section starting in April 2025. Casketed burials will continue for about 10 years in the main cemetery with government headstones, and wall inurnments will be in the 2014 columbarium and the Old Cadet Chapel columbarium until they are full. She also explained that graduates and those eligible will continue to have more options to be laid to rest in their Rockbound Highland Home, surrounded by the Long Gray Line, with personal funeral support by the West Point Cemetery staff, honor guard, band, chaplains, and military police. Of course, your West Point Association of Graduates Memorial Support team will help lead the procession and provide resources. 

—Desrae Gibby ’91

Scan the QR code to learn more about West Point Cemetery’s policies and procedures.

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 13 Photos: Erika Norton/WPAOG Adjutant ’ s Call ATTENTION!
The columbarium wall in the cemetery’s new section has 468 niches for cremated remains.

ATTENTION!

Core of the Corps

100th Night/500th Night

The classes of 2024 and 2025 marked pivotal milestones in their countdown until graduation. On January 20, the Class of 2025 celebrated their 500th Night Banquet. Lieutenant General Mark Hertling ’75 (Retired), a member of the Class of 2025’s 50-Year Affiliate Class, served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker and offered the Second Class cadets pertinent advice. “Real leaders don’t count the days,” he said. “Real leaders make the days count.” Hertling also encouraged the cadets to take time to reflect on the people around them and the skills they are learning during the next 500 days. “Learn and grow every day,” he said. “Take advantage of the opportunities you have.”

Cadet Katherine LaReau ’25, Class President, addressed her classmates about the donated 88 West Point class rings that were melted the day before (see page 43), the gold of which will be used to make the Class of 2025’s class rings, and reminded them to stay together to meet future challenges. “We are at the beginning of plenty of new changes affecting the military, the country, and the world,” she said. “The world lacks togetherness, but the Class of 2025 does not…Together we will change this world for the better.”

A little less than a month later, the Class of 2024 celebrated their 100th Night, marking the number of days until their graduation from the U.S. Military Academy. General Martin Dempsey ’74 (Retired), a member of the Class of 2024’s 50-Year Affiliate Class, served as the guest speaker for the banquet and compared West Point’s three-word motto to the three-word motto for the Class of 2024. “In 1962, MacArthur stood here for his Thayer Award speech and told the cadets assembled that West Point’s three hallowed words—Duty, Honor, and Country—would reverently dictate what ‘they ought to be, what they can be, and what they will be,’” Dempsey said. “Today, I say to you that the three words of your class motto, ‘Like None Before,’ reverently dictate what we want you to be; what we need you to be; what we believe you will be.”

Earlier, members of the Class of 2024, adorned in their formal best, gathered along the apron at Washington Hall with family, friends, and special guests on this momentous occasion to reflect on their thus far three-and-a-half-year journey together. 

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Photos: U.S. Army Photo by John Pellino/USMA Cadets from the Class of 2025 celebrate with LTG (R) Mark P. Hertling ’75 during the 500th Night Banquet in the Cadet Mess Hall on January 20, 2024. GEN (R) Martin E. Dempsey ’74, the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, poses with CDT Gary Ward, the president of the Class of 2024, during 100th Night festivities on February 10, 2024.

Core of the Corps

Golden Knight to Black Knight

Army West Point’s 17-11 victory over the Midshipmen was not the first Army-Navy Game that Fourth Class Cadet Daniel McKeon ’27 saw while in uniform. Then Sergeant McKeon jumped into the stadium before the 2022 Army-Navy Game as a member of the Army Golden Knights. McKeon enlisted in the Army in 2017, three weeks after his 17th birthday, and competed for an Airborne School slot after he had completed his medical training. As a basic parachutist at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, he received an email from a USMA Soldier Admissions officer who informed McKeon that he had “great potential to gain admittance” to West Point. McKeon then serendipitously met a USMA cadet at one of Fort Liberty’s dining facilities and asked him a lot of questions about being a cadet at the Academy.

Armed with answers, McKeon made it a goal to attend USMA and become a Black Knight—but not before he became a Golden Knight, a member of the U.S. Army Parachute Team. “I was cut from my first try out, as they wanted to see a bit more maturity,” says McKeon. “So, I volunteered to go early on a deployment with the 82nd Airborne Division to Iraq, making the team after I returned home and tried out again.” He made about 860 jumps as a Golden Knight, including the one for the 2022 Army-Navy Game, before which he told his teammates that he would be attending the 2023 Army-Navy Game as a cadet, having been accepted earlier in the year. “Letting my teammates know that I was accepted to West Point was the proudest moment of my life,” McKeon says. “From the moment I told them of my intentions, I received their support and encouragement.”

McKeon says that watching the game as a cadet was “a lot warmer and less stressful” than jumping into the game and that participating in the March On before the game was an “honor.” While McKeon misses the close-knit family environment that the Parachute Team provided, he is trying to bring a modicum of this camaraderie to his cadet company, A-3. “While on the Golden Knights, I was fortunate enough to be taught how to sew, and I’ve made it my goal to sew one thing onto every cadet’s uniform in my company,” he says. “I’m pleased to say that I’m about 80 percent into completing this goal.” 

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 15 Photos: USMA PAO
ATTENTION!
Above: CDT Daniel McKeon ’27. Left: Then-Sergeant Daniel McKeon completing one of his approximately 860 jumps as a member of the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights.

Challenge Trophy Back Home

On January 28, 2024, for the first time in four years, the Army West Point Hockey Team took on its international rival, the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC), for the rights to the Challenge Trophy. The more than 100-year-old tradition, for which Army held a 48-30 advantage with seven ties through 84 contests, had been put “on ice” since January 18, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time these two teams played each other, the Paladins of RMC defeated the Black Knights 3-2 in sudden death overtime. Played at West Point’s Tate Rink, the 85th meeting between USMA and RMC had a markedly different result.

Army West Point dominated the first period, firing 18 shots and outscoring RMC 3-0 while holding the Paladins to zero shots on goal through the opening 20 minutes. Cadet John Driscoll ’26 started the scoring with a power-play goal. Cadet Vincent Salice ’27 soon followed with another power-play goal. While Army West Point was on its third power-play later in the period, RMC took yet another penalty while on the kill, giving the Black Knights over a minute with a five-on-three advantage. With just a few seconds left two-men up, Cadet Ricky Lyle ’24 redirected Cadet Mac Gadowsky’s ’27 shot in close to give the Black Knights its third special teams goal of the period.

RMC got on the board in the first minute of the second period, but the Black Knights scored three more goals to win the match, 6-1, and reclaim the Challenge Trophy, the rivalry’s version of football’s Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. Army West Point Hockey goalkeeper Cadet Gavin Abric ’24 was stellar throughout the contest, ending the game with 22 straight saves.

The Black Knights are now 10-1-1 in the series under Army West Point Hockey Head Coach Brian Riley. 

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Photos: U.S. Army
The Four Pillars ATTENTION!
Photos by Cadet Matthew Griffin s
2024 ARMY–
RMC
Members of the Army West Point Hockey Team pose with LTG Steve Gilland ’90, the 61st USMA Superintendent (wearing the white jersey), and with the Challenge Trophy, the prize given to the winner of the USMA-RMC hockey match.
6
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13 Cadets Receive Stamps Scholarship

Two cadets from the Class of 2025 and 11 from the Class of 2026 have been selected as 2024 Stamps Scholarship recipients.

The Stamps Scholars Program was founded in 2006 to enable extraordinary educational experiences for extraordinary students. Each year, approximately 360 Stamps Scholarship recipients, through partnerships with institutions across the nation, receive grants for enrichment activities such as study abroad, academic conferences, and leadership training.

“Congratulations to our newest Stamps Scholars, a cohort that already has an impressive record of impact,” said Brigadier General Shane Reeves ’96, Dean of the Academic Board. “From nanomaterials to unmanned aerial vehicles to international affairs, I look forward to seeing how this opportunity will elevate these cadets’ work.”

• Cadet Catherine Brodsky ’26, a Life Science major from Millburn, New Jersey

• Cadet Benjamin Evans ’26, a Mechanical Engineering major from Vero Beach, Florida

• Cadet Mason Harris 26, a Law and Legal Studies major and American Foundations minor from Heber Springs, Arkansas

• Cadet Qinglang Lao ’26, a Space Science major from Superior, Colorado

• Cadet Garret Longstaff ’25, a Chemical Engineering major from Ocean City, New Jersey

• Cadet Miles Manney ’26, a Law and Legal Studies major with a minor in Terrorism Studies from Kansas City, Missouri

• Cadet Benjamin Nguyen ’25, an Electrical Engineering major from Fountain Valley, California

• Cadet Michael Nguyen ’26, a Life Science major from Fort Bend County, Texas

• Cadet Johnathan Pinc ’26, a Chemistry major from Medina, Ohio

• Cadet Supria Shroff ’26 a Life Science major from Acton, Massachusetts

• Cadet Brandon Tran ’26, an International Affairs and Chinese double major from Fountain Valley, California

• Cadet Maximilian Walsh ’26, an Applied Psychology major from San Antonio, Texas

• Cadet Elizabeth Wu ’26, a Chinese major from Bethesda, Maryland 

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 17 Photo: USMA PAO The Four Pillars ATTENTION!
The 2024 cohort of USMA Stamps Scholars gather in the Thayer Award Room of Taylor Hall (CDT Miles Manney ’26 does not appear in the photo).

Marathon Team Runs “Authentic” Marathon

Last fall, the USMA Marathon Team traveled to Athens, Greece for the Athens Marathon, nicknamed “The Authentic” because it is the same course Pheidippides ran from Marathon, Greece in 490 B.C. to report the Greeks victory over the Persians. The 26.2-mile event has been run annually since 1972 (with the exception of 2020, when The Authentic was cancelled due to COVID-19). Eighteen USMA Marathon Team members competed on the notoriously difficult course, approximately half of which is run uphill. Six of 11 men placed within the top 10 American male finishers, and six of seven women placed within the top 10 American female finishers.

While in Greece, the Marathon Team was hosted by the Hellenic Army Academy, which coordinated several cultural visits for the cadets: the lighting of the Olympic Torch as part of the Athens Marathon ceremony, a guided tour of the Acropolis, and a visit to the Acropolis Museum. Cadets also saw Panathinaiko Stadium, the finishing point for The Authentic as well as for both the 1896 and 2004 Olympic marathons. Additionally, the team attended breakfast with the Honorable George Tsunis, U.S. Ambassador to Greece, at his residence.

18 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photos: Submitted The Four Pillars ATTENTION!
Top: Men and Women runners for the USMA Marathon Team pose at the finish line after running The Authentic in November 2023. Bottom: The USMA Marathon Team with their medals for running The Authentic.

CST for SFC

Last June, while hundreds of cadets were conducting various Cadet Summer Training (CST) events, 19 West Point staff, faculty, and coaches (SFC) from 12 organizations across Post volunteered to spend three days and two nights out at Camp Buckner to take part in the Simon Center for the Professional Military Ethic’s (SCPME) Civilian-Military Experience, or CivMX. Launched in 2022, CivMX is designed to increase participants’ understanding of cadet life, as well as to cultivate a stronger connection to the Army profession and forge cohesive bonds across the installation.

After being stripped of titles such as “doctor” or “coach,” participants were assigned roster numbers (e.g., C08). They then donned themselves in camouflage uniforms and face paint and completed basic CST events: equipment layouts, Leader Reaction Course, weapons familiarization, land navigation, tactical movements, and Water Confidence Course. They were also required to pull overnight security for their patrol base,

waiting for the enemy in the early morning light during “Stand-To.”

Throughout CivMX, SCPME instructors of MX400: Officership held discussions with these Army civilians about the Army profession and helped them internalize their Army Civilian Oath of Office. Closing out their experience, the group toured the West Point Cemetery so they could appreciate the inherent risks and sacrifices within the Profession of Arms. Shared hardship created cohesive bonds that turned to laughter during a “Victory Social,” where they recounted stories with 2022 CivMX graduates.

All CivMX alumni are now better able to contribute to USMA’s mission of developing leaders of character. One 2023 participant, who has worked at West Point for three years, reflected on his experience stating, “CivMX has been, without question, the best three days of my time [at West Point].” 

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 19 Photo: LTC Jon Kent and LTC Tom Dull/SCPME
ATTENTION!
The Four Pillars The West Point staff, faculty, and coaches who took part in the inaugural CivMX during 2022 CST.

Taking Off: How Cadets are Visualizing the Past

20 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG TAKING OFF: HOW CADETS ARE VISUALIZING THE PAST

Today, drones with high resolution cameras are becoming standard learning tools across academic fields. It may be surprising to learn that, of all the departments at the U.S. Military Academy, the one that is making waves for its creative use of these small, unmanned aircrafts is the West Point History Department, more specifically its Digital History Center (DHC). It’s true: DHC is using drone technology to help cadets visualize the past.

By taking aerial photos and video of landscapes using drones, cadets who are History majors are now able to create accurate geographic information system (GIS) maps, 3D-printed topographic models, videos, and other digital presentations to better visualize the history of different landscapes. Last year, firsties were able to use the department’s drone imagery to create GIS maps of what West Point and the greater Hudson Valley region used to be like and how the terrain impacted key battles during the American Revolution.

With the DHC drone program fully in place, cadets have only begun to scratch the surface of how they can use not only drone data collection but other digital technologies to create visual, interactive projects and form a deeper understanding of the nation’s history.

“We are trying to make the door as open as possible for cadets to run with this,” said History instructor Major Tom McShea ’10, who has been instrumental in advancing the program.

Major Jacob Henry ’12 and Captain Cameron Colby, also History faculty members, joined the effort in the fall of 2023, with Colby capturing drone footage that explores the fortifications on and around West Point dating back to the founding of the original fortress. Then, in the summer of 2023, Henry and Colby led six cadets on an Academic Individual Advanced Development (AIAD) assignment, a Margin of Excellence initiative, to study the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776, which featured the largest amphibious assault in history prior to the D-Day Normandy landings in 1944.

Collectively, cadets and faculty developed an assortment of StoryMaps, each one explaining a different aspect of the battle. Using research from the AIAD, as well as original maps, they worked with a digital artist to develop a fully interactive map of the battle location as it appeared in 1776, which was a first for this

Using drone photography, history cadets are now able to create accurate geographic information system (GIS) maps, 3D-printed topographic models, videos, and other digital presentations to better visualize the history of different landscapes.

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 21 TAKING OFF: HOW CADETS ARE VISUALIZING THE PAST

area, as it has been extensively terraformed into the city landscape of today.

For his part in the project, Cadet Matt Knutson ’25 focused on how General Henry Clinton maneuvered throughout the battle. Using the StoryMap technology, Knutson guides the viewer through the historic map, which, according to Colby, is a rare map and not commonly used to talk about the 1776 battle. Knutson was even able to use the old maps to contend that the historically significant Rising Sun Tavern in Brooklyn is in a different place than is often cited.

“The project really brings something to life that is impossible to see in Brooklyn today,” Colby said. “At the locations around West Point, we can stand on the ground and kind of sense the past. Brooklyn, you cannot. So, these re-creations become amazing tools for visualizing American history.”

Another benefit of this technology is that it allows cadets, and anyone in the Army, to go on “staff rides,” which are trips to historical sites, virtually. Doing so saves money and allows cadets to visit locations that sometimes don’t exist anymore.

In June 2022, then-Cadet Max Kohmetscher ’23 walked all 12 miles of General Anthony Wayne’s attack route during the 1779 Battle of Stony Point while carrying a GPS, collecting footage and photographs of key points of the battlefield. He went on to create a digital staff ride, allowing Stony Point to come to life for researchers, educators, and students who do not have the means or opportunity to travel to the Hudson Valley to see it for themselves.

“There’s nothing that can quite replicate standing on the ground and trying to visualize how the battle transpired on the actual battlefield,” McShea said. “Well, this technology shows that you can do a staff ride without traveling. You can do everything short of standing on the ground, and still get a really firm understanding of how that battle was fought and why it transpired the way that it did.”

According to History professor Colonel Seanegan Sculley, these digital history resources can really help a student, whether a cadet or a graduate student, better visualize what occurred, especially when dealing with complex military history, which is often influenced by the surrounding environment and topography. Often, students rely on written documents as historical resources. A student might read an account from a soldier at one end of an American defensive line, an account from a British

22 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photos: Submitted TAKING OFF: HOW CADETS ARE VISUALIZING THE PAST
CDT Matt Knutson ’25 mapped the flanking maneuver executed by Generals Howe and Clinton during the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776 with the help of the Digital History Center. Then-CDT Max Kohmetscher ’23 was able to create a digital staff ride, allowing the 1779 Battle of Stony Point to come to life for researchers, educators, and students. CPT Cameron Colby and Jeff Goldberg operate the History Department drone over Redoubt 3, collecting imagery and footage that will allow audiences to understand why Redoubt 3 was built and what its fields of fire and observation were when there was less vegetation in the area in the 1770s.

junior officer who was an aide to one of the generals sitting more towards the rear, and then perhaps an account from an American company commander at night.

“These accounts are coming from different perspectives, and the history student is trying to stitch them all together,”

Sculley said. “Maps have always been the way we receive a visualization from that past, but now we can take every written record, as well as the work from cartographers and engineers, and use digital techniques to mash all the data together to determine if it makes sense. And, if it does make sense, now I can really visualize it; now, I can understand why the British made the decision that they made at this point or why the Americans chose to do X, Y or Z.”

Helping cadets and faculty create these digital mapping projects is cartographer Jeff Goldberg, another key individual involved in the advancement of DHC. Dating back to its earliest days, the U.S. Military Academy has always had a cartographer on staff and has recognized the importance of drafting maps for military instruction.

“The project really brings something to life that is impossible to see in Brooklyn today. At the locations around West Point, we can stand on the ground and kind of sense the past. Brooklyn, you cannot. So, these re-creations become amazing tools for visualizing American history.”
— CPT Cameron Colby, Department of History Faculty

As technology continues to advance, a cartographer’s job continues to advance as well. Given that previous cartographers have already converted the department’s maps into digital formats, Goldberg’s focus has mainly been to take those digital maps and implement them into their online textbook, West Point History of Warfare. His work includes animation, terrain visualization, and customizing maps to focus on not just specific battles but on individual units within those battles, depending on the instructor's requirements.

“While creating a new map in the past required using a pre-drawn basemap, which is somewhat limiting in scale, or starting a new map from scratch, which is time intensive, we can very quickly swap out entire battles and time periods in a matter of minutes,” Goldberg said. “There was no way to animate our books in the past, and now on one screen we can show the progression of entire armies moving across a field and possibly use interactive elements to dive deeper into the story.”

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 23 Photos: Submitted TAKING OFF: HOW CADETS ARE VISUALIZING THE PAST
Top: CDT William Eicher ’25 was able to digitally overlay a map, allowing him to compare present-day Staten Island to a 1776 map of Staten Island during the Battle of Brooklyn. Middle: Fort Putnam (Brooklyn) was located on a hill with an optimal view of the British advance and was star-shaped along the terrain. It was the major stronghold for the defense of Brooklyn. Bottom: CDT Allen Pilate ’25 was able to digitally overlay maps of the Battle of Brooklyn fortifications, including Fort Putnam.

With the introduction of drones, 3D scanners, printers, and other tools, Goldberg said the department is looking forward to introducing new elements into its repertoire. In the future, DHC, which is a West Point Ready Campaign need, is looking to add virtual reality and augmented reality, particularly with the fortifications at West Point. The department has already started experimenting with Unreal Engine, a video game-like software that creates 3D photoreal visuals and immersive experiences. With the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution coming up, there’s a lot of interest in using this technology, not just among cadets but among faculty as well.

“We’re starting to work on all of this so that we can build up our capacity,” Sculley said, “When cadets or graduate students are interested in, say, the Seminole Wars or the Trail of Tears or the Harlem Hellfighters in World War I, we’re ready to show them all of the different things we can do right now.” 

View cadet projects at the Digital History Center web page.

“There’s nothing that can quite replicate standing on the ground and trying to visualize how the battle transpired on the actual battlefield. Well, this technology shows that you can do a staff ride without traveling. You can do everything short of standing on the ground, and still get a really firm understanding of how that battle was fought and why it transpired the way that it did.”
— MAJ Tom McShea ’10, Department of History Faculty
24 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photos: Submitted TAKING OFF: HOW CADETS ARE VISUALIZING THE PAST
AIAD cadets brief their StoryMap of the Battle of Brooklyn to West Point history professor and American Division Chief, LTC Rory McGovern (right). The Digital History Center captures drone photography of the present-day Fort Putnam at West Point. Constructed and rebuilt over several years, it is much sturdier than the forts at Brooklyn, but the design compares to similar plans from Brooklyn 1776. Although this fort was improved in the 1790s, the elevated firing positions dominating the slopes remain indicative of Revolutionary era forts.
It’s all about participation. Donations of any size, to any fund, count! For more information, call 845.446.1657 or email westpointchallenge@wpaog.org. #WestPointChallenge Roll Call! Sound O ! May 5 – May 9, 2024 WestPointChallenge.com WEST POINT CHALLENGE

“Relentless” National Champions and Future Officers

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Welcome ladies and gentlemen, cadets and graduates, to the Class of 1972 South Boxing Room of Arvin Gymnasium! In the “gray” corner, wearing workout shirts with the motto “Relentless” on the reverse, is your 16-time National Champion, 84-member strong Army West Point Boxing Team!

For nearly 120 years, boxing has been a part of the curriculum for West Point cadets, thanks to a mandate by President Theodore Roosevelt, and since 2016 that mandate has included both male and female cadets. Today, every cadet who graduates from the U.S. Military Academy knows what it means to go toe-to-toe with a peer adversary and to take a punch, maintain their composure, and keep on fighting.

At first, there was no boxing team at West Point. The best boxers in the Corps competed against one another as part of the annual Indoor Meet (a competition between classes featuring gymnastics, fencing, wrestling, boxing and “team” events, such as a tug-of-war and a medicine ball race). A Boxing Squad formed in 1921 and won the Intercollegiate Boxing Championship in its second year of existence, with cadets claiming victory in 23 of the 27 bouts they fought that season. “So finished one of the most successful athletic seasons any Army team has ever enjoyed,” noted the 1922 Howitzer

Later in the decade, the West Point Boxing Squad began competing against fighters from other colleges and universities as part of the NCAA-sponsored Eastern Collegiate Boxing Association and continued

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 27
“RELENTLESS” NATIONAL CHAMPIONS AND FUTURE OFFICERS
Photos: U.S. Army photo by CDT Daisy Terrones ’26; WPAOG archives Left: CDT Aaron Li ’24 lands a cross to the body during his victorious semi-final bout at the Western New England Golden Gloves in Springfield, Massachusetts. Above: The 1938 Boxing Squad, referred to as “Billy and the boys” (for Coach Billy Cavanaugh—2nd row, right), went undefeated with a 6-0 record over the competition, winning 35 of 48 bouts (with one tie) that season.

to prove itself as one of the Academy’s most successful teams. The 1938 Boxing Squad, for example, ended its season undefeated. Competition grew in the 1950s, with more than 200 schools offering an NCAA-level boxing program. The NCAA dropped boxing in 1960 when a University of Wisconsin boxer died after fighting in the NCAA championships. It wasn’t until 1976 that a new organization, the National Collegiate Boxing Association (NCBA), was formed. The Academy continued to produce great boxers during this time: Paul Christiani ’78 won a Golden Glove title in New York City, and Dave Addams ’98 became an All-American, winning the NCBA Championship in the 165-pound weight class.

A new era for West Point boxing began in 1997, when the team was granted authorizations and became a Directorate of Cadet Activities competitive club sport. In just a couple of years, the West Point Boxing Club became one of the top-10 competitive collegiate boxing teams in the nation, competing in both NCBA tournaments and invitational boxing expositions. Then, in 2008, West Point won its first national title, with four boxers— Steve Solaja ’08, Matt Longo ’10, Ryle Stous ’10, and Danilo Garcia ’11—earning gold medals at the NCBA tournament. The team repeated as national champs in 2009, 2010, and again in 2011, when five cadets won individual titles. Since the 2007-08 season, Army West Point has won five women’s championships and 11 men’s national titles (in comparison, the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy have each won two).

Perhaps because every cadet needs to take boxing in order to graduate, the entire Corps is familiar with the Boxing Team.

“We fight how we train, which means that our boxers are not special because of their talent; they are special because they are relentlessly working.”
— CDT Ryan Chi ’24, Boxing Team co-captain

“Plebes are intrigued to try out for the Boxing Team because of plebe boxing,” notes Cadet Sharnae Harmon ’24, one of three captains of the 2023-24 squad and a National Champion in 2022. Yet, she also notes that there are big differences between taking plebe boxing and fighting on the Boxing Team (beyond just the former’s two one-minute rounds and the latter’s three two-minute rounds). “Plebe boxing teaches cadets the basics of boxing and how to fight safely; the Boxing Team teaches more defensive techniques, more punch combinations, and more teamwork,” Harmon says. “Furthermore, we’re more brutal when fighting one another than the matches in plebe boxing, and our two athletic trainers are often cleaning up blood.”

According to Cadet Dylan Sheriff ’24, a member of the team who designs all the team’s workouts (colloquially called “Camp Pain”), nearly 200 plebes try to join the Boxing Team each year. “Just getting on the Boxing Team as a plebe was one of my biggest accomplishments at West Point,” says Sheriff, who has gone on to win a national championship in the 119-pound

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“RELENTLESS” NATIONAL CHAMPIONS AND FUTURE OFFICERS
Photo: Rebecca Rose/WPAOG
of West Point Boxing
spar during practice in the Class of 1972 North Boxing
Members
Team
Room.

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WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 29 OFFICIAL CLASS RING SUPPLIER OF THE UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY 2003 20042005200620102011201220142013 2020 194319441945194619471948195019521951 195419531955 195619581960196119621963196419661965 196919681970 197119751976197719791981198219851984 198819861999
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weight class. “We look for heart and coachability during tryouts,” he says. “We can build up skill but not heart; so, if a plebe is willing to work really hard and can take instruction, he or she is a good match for the Boxing Team.” Of course, coming from the cadet who runs “Camp Pain,” his work really hard should be understood as a euphemism. “Oh yeah, I got beat up all the time as a plebe,” Sheriff says, “but it was a good learning experience.”

The Boxing Team is also known among the Corps for its intense workouts. “Being on the Boxing Team is a huge time commitment,” says Sheriff. “We are training for at least two hours each day.” The team spends Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays working on conditioning, and Tuesdays and Thursdays are dedicated to sparring. Cadets are familiar with seeing members of the Boxing Team always running around Post or running up (almost Rocky like) the indoor, six-flight steps of Arvin. It goes back to the motto on the back of their workout shirts, “Relentless.” “It’s a work-ethic thing, not a how-we-fight thing,” says Cadet Ryan Chi ’24, a two-time National Champion and co-captain of the Boxing Team. “We fight how we train, which means that our boxers are not special because of their talent; they are special because they are relentlessly working.”

Finally, members of the Boxing Team are in visible positions among the Corps, which contributes to the team’s prestige and overall positive reputation at the Academy. “Our team has first sergeants, company commanders, platoon sergeants, and platoon leaders; we are very invested in the Corps,” says Chi. The Boxing Team also boasts a regimental commander, Cadet Fahad Abdulrazzaq ’24 (Third Regiment), and a battalion commander, Cadet Megan Nkamwa ’24 (Third Battalion, Third Regiment). Abdulrazzaq also earned a Rhodes Scholarship in November 2023, and Nkamwa also brought distinction to the Boxing Team by being named one of two cadets in the Corps to receive the 2023 Lt. Gen. Harold “Hal” G. Moore Warrior Athlete of Excellence Award last fall. “The Army Boxing Team is an

30 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG
“RELENTLESS” NATIONAL CHAMPIONS AND FUTURE OFFICERS
Photo: Eric S. Bartelt/ Pointer View; submitted The seven cadets of the West point Boxing Team who won national championships at the 2023 Nationals event in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Note the tall trophy at the bottom of the frame for the 2023 Women’s Team NCBA Championship title, and the smaller trophy for Men’s Team second place finish. CDT Megan Nkamwa ’24, a member of the West Point Boxing Team, was one of two cadets to receive the 2023 Lt. Gen. Harold “Hal” G. Moore Warrior Athlete of Excellence Award for best exemplifying the qualities of Moore and the tenets of the Army’s warrior ethos.

incredible team,” says Nkamwa. “We have the best boxing program in the country, and we have the best cadets at USMA.” Some say the reputation of the Boxing Team even precedes membership in the Corps. “I knew I wanted to box before I came to West Point,” says Cadet Caleb Lagestee ’24, the Boxing Team’s third co-captain and a 2022 All-American. “I heard there was a winning culture on the team and that it would prepare me to be a warrior for the Army.”

Despite the Boxing Team’s visibility among the Corps, there may be some things that cadets would be surprised to learn about those once nicknamed the “jabbers.” For example, there are likely few cadets outside of his company (C-1) that know that Sheriff recently beat Cyprus’s Olympian boxer, or that Chi recently defeated Bermuda’s Olympian (heck, Chi has taken on and beaten the 27th-ranked boxer in the world for his weight class!). An unknown yet interesting story on the 2023-24 Boxing Team involves Daisy Terrones ’26, one of 24 West Point women boxers, who joined the team already having amateur boxing experience under her belt (six fights). “I started boxing when I was 11 years old,” says Terrones. “I went to the gym with my older brother and fell in love with the sport, stepping into the ring for my first fight at age 12.” Terrones became a National Champion as a plebe, fighting in the 112-pound weight division. She was also recognized as one of four “Most Outstanding Boxers” of the 2023 NCBA Tournament. Given her extensive fighting experience, Terrones often helps Boxing Team Coach Jerry Hart ’93 demonstrate boxing techniques to her teammates during practices.

With such success in the ring, it wouldn’t be surprising if, once they graduate, Chi, Sheriff, and Terrones became as familiar among the Long Gray Line as they are among today’s Corps— yet, not necessarily for their boxing prowess.

“I’d be happy to serve the country through USA Boxing,” says Chi, “but I would be just as grateful being an Infantry lieutenant.”

“I want to keep my options for the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles open,” says Sheriff, “but right now I am focused on being the best platoon leader possible.”

“I am interested in the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program,” says Terrones, “but, with more than two years until graduation, I just want to keep being the best cadet I can be.”

With its emphasis on discipline and teamwork, the Boxing Team is teaching its cadets just as much about officership as it is about any jab-cross-hook punch combo. The captains’ vision for the Boxing Team is to create a team of national champions, and indeed they have. Even if they never win another boxing title, those who fight on the West Point Boxing Team will be champions for America’s team, the U.S. Army. 

“I knew I wanted to box before I came to West Point. I heard there was a winning culture on the team and that it would prepare me to be a warrior for the Army.”
— CDT Caleb Lagestee ’24, Boxing Team co-captain
WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 31 Photos: Rebecca Rose/WPAOG; submitted “RELENTLESS” NATIONAL CHAMPIONS AND FUTURE OFFICERS
CDT Leslie Thompson ’25 gets the victory over his Navy opponent, helping lead the West Point Boxing Team to a 5-4 victory over the USNA Boxing Club at Crest Hall on December 4, 2023. CDT Sharnae Harmon ’24 (center), one of the West Point Boxing Team’s three cadet captains and a National Champion, proudly shows off the branch assignment she received (Adjutant General) on Branch Night.
“Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth”
—George Washington
Photo: Rebecca Rose/WPAOG

The Fable of the Goat Gift

34 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG
Photo: John Pellino/USMA PAO
Richard Olson, who graduated as the Navy Goat’s goat (lowest rank at graduation) or “anchorman” in 1954, is the earliest documented service academy graduate to get one dollar from each classmate.

According to C.J. Hoppin’s book Same Date of Rank, Olson spent his $710 goat money on his honeymoon. Hunting for the origin of the goat money reveals another treasure—the Richardson legacy family. Major General John B. Richardson IV ’91 (Retired) is a third generation West Pointer. His grandfather, John B. Richardson Jr. ’34, was his class’s goat, and his great-grandfather, John B. Richardson, Class of 1904, a World War I Distinguished Service Cross recipient, was also a goat, making them the first legacy goat duo. Richardson ’34 said the U.S. Military Academy’s tradition of goat money must have started after 1934, as he only got “slaps on the back.” Colonel Herbert Stern ’41 (Retired), the Oldest Living Grad, said his class goat didn’t get money. USMA’s first confirmed goat fund was in 1968; however, it then skipped a few years. The origin of giving the goat something of value is a mystery. It might be connected to giving a silver dollar to the first person who salutes a graduate; it could have also been a facetious bet. What is known is that every goat story begins with classmates motivating a struggling cadet: “Keep fighting! We’ve got your back. No soldier left behind. Hooaaah!” And when that cadet graduates, counting it a team victory, these classmates cheer the loudest and give a gift to recognize the goat’s effort.

Richard “Rick” Hawley ’68, the first USMA goat to receive $1 from each of his classmates, likely saved his goat money, according to a family member. He fought to get into West Point (applying three times), fought to graduate, and fought to get into the 101st Airborne Division. Classmates like Michael Brennan ’68 helped him graduate. Brennan said, “When other cadets, under less stress, threw in the towel and resigned, Rick dug in.” Hawley made the most of his West Point experience by participating in nine clubs, including sky diving and scuba diving. He also found his inspiration by visiting the West Point Cemetery, where he is now buried behind “the pyramid.” He was a Vietnam War hero, killed in action in 1970.

Stephen Shone ’89 spent his $913 goat money on a cross-country trip through Canada. His favorite memory was Athabasca Falls in Alberta. When Shone received his diploma to thunderous applause, he had mixed emotions—a combination of shock, relief, and embarrassment. His story is one of perseverance and inspiration. Years after graduating as the goat Shone discovered he had dyslexia. He is grateful to two roommates, Neil Chapman and Neil Sullivan, who tutored and encouraged him. His struggle to graduate taught him some life lessons: “I’m thankful for the struggles that made me stronger…I don’t judge; I try not to label people, knowing that some people are late bloomers.” He left West Point with some unsettled feelings and a desire to prove himself. Which he did, obtaining a Master of Curriculum Design with a 4.0 and becoming a high school math teacher who is knowledgeable of learning differences and who is making an impact on his students’ lives. He often shows them his USMA transcript with his failing grades in calculus, inspiring his students and providing hope to those who may be struggling.

Three other goats took adventurous trips with their goat money, and their lives have been equally adventurous. One went to Pago Pago, the capital of American Samoa, spending his time scuba diving and exploring the jungle island of Tutuila wearing only a lavalava (native skirt). At West Point he was famous for plotting a course to goathood and trading hats with the Superintendent; today, as president and CEO of a properties management company, he is more engineer than goat. E.J. Pasteur ’91 backpacked through Europe with classmate Terry Rice. As a cadet, Pasteur saved money where he could, including not removing the plastic from textbooks so he could sell them back, a practice that likely contributed to him being the goat. “Not surprisingly, I struggled academically,” he said. “If it weren’t for the mentorship of my tactical officer (future Secretary of Defense General Lloyd J. Austin III ’75), I would not have graduated.” In 1993, as part of the Army World Class Athlete

Previous page: Then CDT Tyler Herring ’17 used his goat money for an exotic trip to Southeast Asia, visiting Vietnam, top to bottom, and Angkor Wat, the 12th century ruins of a temple complex in Cambodia.

Left: Now- MG (R) John B. Richardson IV ’91 (left) is a third generation West Pointer. His grandfather, John B. Richardson Jr. ’34, (middle) was his own class’s goat, and his great-grandfather, John B. Richardson, Class of 1904 (right) was also a goat, making them the first legacy goat duo.

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 35 Photos: WPAOG archives THE FABLE OF THE GOAT GIFT

Program, Pasteur won the Pan American gold medal in GrecoRoman wrestling. Finally, Tyler Herring ’17 traveled to Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Herring was deployed to Afghanistan as an enlisted soldier when he got accepted to West Point and was the first member of his family to go to college. On his graduation day General James Mattis (Retired), Secretary of Defense, challenged the Corps to “Hold the Line” and care for the “lives and destinies of valiant Americans.” Herring never got close to “opting out,” so he was surprised when he walked on the stage and received the goat money. After graduation, Herring deployed again to Afghanistan. As a captain, he commanded a basic training unit at Fort Jackson, South Carolina; he is now a business operations manager for an industrial supplier, overseeing 11 locations.

Lieutenant Colonel Paul McDowell ’70 (Retired) and JoTerrica (Williams) Cross ’11 bought practical things with their goat money; Jesse Owens ’76 and Thomas Gossweiler ’08 used theirs for wedding expenses.

McDowell ’s $740 helped him buy a small car, a VW Fastback, to navigate the roads in Germany. At West Point McDowell struggled, juggling academics and football. He was in the “ejector seat” three times, in front of his regimental tactical officer, future Secretary of State Alexander Haig ’47. The football academic advisor, then Major Pete Dawkins ’59, made him room with star cadets, and his squad leader, Augustus “Gus” Lee ex-’68, helped motivate him. McDowell’s classmates appreciated his efforts. According to his Howitzer bio: “[McDowell’s] sense of humor, spirit of cooperation, and overall friendly attitude put him at the top with everyone…Debbie caught herself one of the greatest guys to go through West Point.” Scheduled to marry Debbie three days after graduation, he didn’t know until the end that he would graduate. Being goat put him in the spotlight. One day, he was watching the game show Jeopardy and recognized his fame in one of the show’s clues: “Reverse academic distinction held by Paul McDowell.” His infamy made it challenging at his first duty station. He had to

36 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photos: WPAOG archives; Academy Photo Collection, Special Collections, United States Military Academy Library THE FABLE OF THE GOAT GIFT
Richard Hawley ’68—KIA Left: Then-CDT Eugene Shaw ’75, who later supervised 44 systems engineers in developing the Future Combat System, received his diploma from President Gerald Ford. Right: Then-CDT Michael D. Miller ’06, who deployed twice during his 11 years on active duty and once more with the Army Reserve (for which he still serves), received a presidential coin from President George W. Bush. Stephen Shone ’89—math teacher E.J. Pasteur ’91—gold medal wrestler Tyler Herring ’17— two deployments to Afghanistan

prove to his commander that he “wasn’t a complete idiot,” which he did by becoming a successful officer, West Point Inspector General and chief financial officer for the University of Connecticut.

Cross used her goat money to furnish a nursery. Busy as a cadet, she helped start the Women’s Boxing Team and participated in several clubs. As the Corps’ spirit officer, she spent hours mentoring plebes while designing spirit banners. When she struggled, she had help from classmates, instructors, and her sponsors. She credits them with sowing the seeds for her future career. At graduation, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and that year’s graduation speaker Admiral Michael Mullen admitted that because he was almost an anchorman, he’d worked harder in the Navy. When the Chairman gave Cross a Chief’s coin, he told her he expected “bigger and better things.” She took that to heart. Later, Cross found her passion and graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Social Work. She has a goal to finish her Ph.D. summa cum laude. Williams chose social work because she wants to be “a helping hand,” particularly to veterans.

Upgrading his Colorado Springs wedding is how Jesse Owens spent his $870. Owens had a five-year West Point experience. Despite being turned back, he got a job in Newburgh, New York, and waited to join 1976 and E-4. One of the captains of the Track Team, Owens was “the fastest man at West Point,” and two victories at the prestigious Penn Relays support that. While still in the Army, Owens suffered from heat stroke and almost died. He was medically retired but persevered, returning to the Army and serving until full retirement. Later, he retired from the Social Security Administration.

Thomas Gossweiler spent his $1,300 goat fund on a wedding gift for J.J. Griffin ’08 and a trip to San Diego for fellow lacrosse player and classmate Justin Bokmeyer’s wedding. Gossweiler had always wanted to attend a service academy, and West Point had the best lacrosse team. His firstie year, Army Lacrosse beat Navy for the first time in 11 years, earning their first regular season Patriot League title since 2003, and the team was sixth in the nation. Gossweiler is a former chief operations officer for Britten Lift and Installation Services, LLC, and a former strength and conditioning coach for UC Berkeley and the University of the Incarnate Word.

Exotic trips, cars, a nursery, weddings, gifts, household goods, and a watch that’s not what’s truly of value. It’s the lives well lived. Some goats, often driven by selflessness, were risk-takers who left their comfort zones to feed their hunger for knowledge and challenge. Some were focused on challenges other than academics. Most struggled. When they struggled, they found helping hands along the way. An old saying about the GoatEngineer Football Game—“As the Goats go, so goes Army”— could be the moral. The Long Gray Line should value all grads: star cadets to goats, First Captains to Century cadets, gray hogs to tie-ups. Besides, upon graduation, star cadet or goat, all are the same rank: second lieutenant. Accolades to all those who look for anyone struggling, give them something of value, and help them reach their potential. They have figured out that engineers are goats in somethings, and goats can become engineers and heroes. 

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 37 Photos: WPAOG archives; USMA PAO THE FABLE OF THE GOAT GIFT
Paul McDowell ’70 — CFO for UConn JoTerrica (Williams) Cross ’11 — pursuing Ph.D. Jesse Owens ’76 — retired Army and SSA Thomas Gossweiler ’08 — COO and strength coach Then-CDT Thomas Gossweiler ’08 received his goat money in a brown bomber notebook.

An Enduring Friendship and the Mystery of Izzy’s Ring

During their tenure at West Point, cadets Melvin H. Rosen, Israel Wald and John Joseph Murphy—known respectively by the monikers “Mel,” “Izzy” and “JJ” —struck up an enduring friendship.

38 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG
Photos: Rosemarie Mosteller/Shutterstock; submitted Above: Detail of the “Heroes of Bataan,” Bataan Death March memorial statue in Las Cruces Veterans Memorial Park, New Mexico by sculptor Kelley S. Hestir. ring from the USMA Library’s Ring Case.

West Point and Beyond

In 1936, when the trio first arrived as plebes, the world was largely at peace. By June 12, 1940, when they graduated, proudly wearing their class rings, war raged in Europe, Asia and Africa; the United States, still claiming neutrality, had not yet been drawn into what is known today as World War II.

The friends stuck together after graduation, all branching Field Artillery and reporting to Fort Sill, Oklahoma for their officer basic course. After 12 weeks of training, the three embarked in January 1941 from San Francisco, California to the Philippines aboard the USS U.S. Grant (AP-29), originally a luxurious German ocean liner named König Wilhelm II that was seized by the United States during World War I.

Although President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced a National Emergency on September 8, 1939, just days after Germany’s invasion of Poland, life in the Philippines was still quite relaxed in early 1941 and there was no sense of military urgency. Then Second Lieutenant Rosen was assigned to the Philippine Scouts (PS) and stationed on Luzon, the largest and most important island in the archipelago. He organized and commanded E Battery, 2d Battalion, 88th Field Artillery Regiment (PS). Murphy and Wald moved on to a different location, both accepting an assignment to a Philippine Army artillery unit situated in the Visayan sector, the central part of the Philippines.

After the December 7, 1941 Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, fighting began on the Bataan peninsula (near Manila) between Japanese and U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). Rosen and his PS artillery unit were in battles almost continuously, until April 9, 1942, when Filipino-American troops surrendered on Bataan. Murphy and Wald were part of a USAFFE contingent that was stationed on the central and southern Philippine islands. After forcing USAFFE surrender on Bataan and then the well-fortified nearby island of Corregidor, the Japanese intensified their attacks on the Cagayan sector, where Murphy and Wald were leading their units. On May 10, 1942, these USAFFE forces also surrendered.

When U.S. officers and soldiers became prisoners of war, the Japanese guards, using bayonets and rifle butts to bridge the language barrier, began robbing them of their money and valuables. Pens, watches, and rings were prime prizes, especially West Point class rings. Rosen, Murphy, and Wald quickly learned to hide these treasures any way and anywhere they could. Murphy and Wald were sent to a camp on the island of Mindanao called Malaybalay. The conditions there were tolerable, at least initially. Rosen, on the other hand, together with approximately 75,000 Filipino-American troops, took part in what has become known as the Bataan Death March. Under the blistering hot Philippine sun, where daytime temperatures often exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit, they were herded to a POW camp named O’Donnell, a trek of about 100 kilometers. To make a bad situation much worse, the Japanese guards often withheld water from the marchers. An estimated 600 Americans and thousands (some say as many as 10,000) of Filipinos died along the way. Rosen was one of the survivors.

More than 1,500 Americans and an estimated 26,000 Filipino USAFFE members died of disease and malnutrition at O’Donnell. After several months there, Rosen was sent to a nearby camp, Cabanatuan, where the conditions were also horrendous. Over 2,600 Americans would die there before war's end. When offered a chance to go to a third camp, Rosen didn’t hesitate. He was sent to the Davao Penal Colony, known as “DePeCol,” where he was pleasantly surprised to reunite with his West Point buddies, Murphy and Wald, who had already been sent there.

DaPeCol was their home for the next two years, until the Japanese decided to close it down and send the POWs to Japan to be a source of slave labor. Rosen was part of an early contingent that successfully made the trip to Manila, which was the first leg of the journey. From there he would be placed on a boat that would transport him to Japan. Murphy and Wald belonged to a group that left a bit later. Sadly, their ship, the Shinyo Maru , which was not carrying any POW markers, was torpedoed off the coast of Mindanao on September 7, 1944 by an American submarine, the USS Paddle, and Murphy and Wald were killed.

Gold for Water

In December 1944, after suffering more than 30 months as a prisoner of war, Rosen was one of 1,619 POWs placed on the Oryoku Maru , an infamous Japanese “Hell Ship,” for transport to Japan. Two days after it left Manila, the U.S. Navy bombed the ship, sinking it. Rosen was able to swim ashore, but 270 POWs perished. Recaptured by the Japanese, Rosen was put aboard the Enoura Maru , another Hell Ship, but it too was bombed by Navy planes. Again, Rosen survived and was placed aboard a third Hell Ship, the Brazil Maru , which made it to Japan on January 30, 1945 with approximately 550 of the original 1,619 POWs.

During the voyage, as he was lying in the darkness, cold, filth, and squalor of the coffin-like hold of the Brazil Maru , Rosen realized that his life was hanging by a thread. The guards had been depriving the POWs of water, usually limiting them to only a few tablespoons per day. Rosen’s organs were shutting down; he was literally dying of thirst. His only chance of survival was to do something that he truly dreaded. With his remaining strength, he motioned to a Japanese guard that he wanted to trade. He offered the guard his West Point class ring, which he had successfully been hiding throughout his captivity, in exchange for water. The deal was consummated. The guard, the new owner of Rosen’s class ring, brought him half a canteen of dirty, rancid water. Despite its condition, it was water, and it kept him alive. Yet parting with his class ring, which symbolized his membership in the Long Gray Line—a very exclusive brotherhood—was a painful blow to his sense of self and identity.

It is a testament to the human spirit and the will to live that any of the POWs survived the trip from Manila to Japan. Thanks to luck, Providence, and a half-canteen of dirty, rancid water, Captain Melvin Rosen, weighing just 88 pounds, was able to

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 39 AN ENDURING FRIENDSHIP AND THE MYSTERY OF IZZY’S RING

walk off the Brazil Maru under his own power. Still, his World War II odyssey was not yet over. From Moji, Japan he was sent to a POW camp in Inchon, Korea, where he continued to be subjected to starvation, oppressive physical labor, and attacks by sadistic guards. For seven more months at Inchon, death always lurked in the shadows. Following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan surrendered, bringing a close to the war. Rosen, who had evaded death in his unparallelled odyssey of pain and misery, was once again a free man.

A Plan of Remembrance Turns into a Mystery

While being nursed back to health, Rosen was repatriated to the states. After eating lots of meals to make up for his years of starvation and inhumane treatment, he was able to regain his health and move on with his life. He decided to remain in the military and was eventually promoted to the rank of colonel.

One of the first things Rosen did after arriving in the states was contact the jewelry company that produced the Class of 1940’s class rings and purchase a replica of the one he traded away on the Hell Ship. Yet rather than buying just one, he purchased three: one for himself and one each for the families of his now deceased friends, JJ and Izzy. Rosen believed that it would bring a modicum of closure and solace if he brought the still bereaved families what they believed to be their sons’ rings. It was also a way for Rosen to deal with his own grief.

In 1946, Rosen traveled to South Bend, Indiana and gave one class ring to JJ’s mother. He then flew to Florida and presented Izzy’s ring to the Walds. In both cases, Rosen told his classmates’ parents that, while still in DePeCol, their sons, having a premonition of their death, had given him their class rings. Each had stipulated that, if he survived the war, he should deliver the others’ class rings to their families. Nobody doubted Rosen’s veracity; instead, they graciously and warmly thanked him for their beloved sons’ cherished rings and went back to trying to put the pieces of their lives back together.

Nearly two decades later, in 1965, Izzy’s mother received a letter from a total stranger named William James Fossey, who had served on Bataan as a fighter pilot and had incidentally also been a POW on the same trip from Manila to Moji as Rosen. In

his letter, Fossey stated that Izzy’s class ring was given to him by Major Horace Greeley ’37, who was also transported on the same trip to Japan. Greeley expired in Japan on January 30, 1945, just hours after the Brazil Maru docked in Moji. Before his death, Greeley had given Izzy’s class ring to Fossey, along with instructions to return the ring to Izzy’s family.

Upon arriving back in the states, Fossey had written to several official military departments asking for the Walds’ address, only to be stonewalled. Life, being as it is, then got in the way, and the promise to deliver the ring got put on hold. It was forgotten about until, one day, Fossey again saw the ring in his mother’s house and decided to give locating the Walds another try.

Of course, none of Fossey’s story initially made any sense to the Walds since they already had their son’s ring, or at least they thought they did. However, when the packet that Fossey sent containing the ring was finally received, it became clear that the ring that Melvin Rosen brought them so long ago was not the original one.

Right before graduating from the Academy, Izzy had officially changed his name from Israel Wald to Walter Israel Wald. At the time that he had ordered his class ring, however, he was still a Second Classman and had not yet changed his given name. The class ring that he purchased, that he wore at graduation from the Academy, that he wore into battle in the Philippines, and that Fossey gave to the Walds had the inscription “Israel Wald.” Izzy’s full, new name, “Walter Israel Wald,” was inscribed inside the ring that Rosen gave them.

Fifteen years later, in 1980, Rosen met with one of Izzy’s sisters. She told him about the ring that Fossey sent them, and Rosen was dumbfounded. He had believed that Izzy was wearing it on that fateful day when the Shinyo Maru was torpedoed. With a sense of guilt, Rosen confessed that he made up the story that JJ and Izzy had given him their rings and that the rings he gave their families were replicas he had purchased in 1946. Rather than expressing anger towards Rosen, Izzy’s sister let him know that, in her estimation, what he had done 34 years earlier was truly a kind, thoughtful deed, one that gave solace to her parents. Indeed, she believed that his act was a wonderful

40 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photo: Wikimedia Commons AN ENDURING FRIENDSHIP AND THE MYSTERY OF IZZY’S RING
The Brazil Maru, an infamous Japanese “Hell Ship” was used as a POW transport during World War II..
WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 41 WEST POINT ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATE S Grads Helping Grads works to connect grads in need of assistance with information that may help or with grads who can assist. The program matches offers and requests based on need. Many of the individuals involved don't know each other but they are forever connected through the Long Gray Line. If you need assistance navigating the VA, connect with our Veterans Services Specialist. WestPointAOG.org/gradshelpinggrads GHG@wpaog.org | 845.446.1677 VETERANS CRISIS LINE : Call 988, Option 1 Offer or Find Help with the Grads Helping GradsTM Program

expression of the character, compassion, and values that West Point had imparted.

The Question Remains

So, how did Izzy’s ring come into the possession of Major Horace Greeley?

Greeley served on Bataan in a ground position in the Headquarters of the 24th Pursuit Group, the same unit that Fossey, the pilot, had also belonged to. When USAFFE troops surrendered on April 9, 1942, Greeley would have taken part in the Bataan Death March. Prior to being transported to Japan together with Rosen, Fossey and the others, he spent his time as a POW on Luzon.

In contrast, Murphy and Wald, from the time of their surrender, were both in the southern Philippine islands, never setting foot on Luzon. They were separated from Greeley by more than 1,000 kilometers. Based on this, from the time that they became POWs, it would have been impossible for Greeley and Wald to have been in physical contact with each other. There would have had to have been a go-between who had given Izzy’s class ring to Greeley. Who could that person have been, and when and how did he get possession of the ring in the first place, and why would that person give it to Greeley? If either actually had a premonition of death, the logical person for Murphy and Wald to have given their rings to would have been Rosen. Besides

being close friends, they had all been together in the same POW camp. Yet neither had given Rosen their ring, which is why he was certain that the rings were lost forever when JJ and Izzy were killed in the torpedo attack and why Rosen bought replacement rings for their families.

The only person who might have had answers is Fossey. Unfortunately, no one thought to ask him, or, if the question was indeed posed, he did not know the answer. Fossey passed away in 1999, and any knowledge that he had about how Greeley got Izzy’s ring died with him.

Izzy’s ring remains an unsolvable mystery. On the other hand, whether one calls it fate, kismet, or something that “was just meant to be,” in the end Izzy’s real class ring did finally wind up in the hands of those people who, in the whole world, were closest to him. That is all that matters! 

Jerome Kleiman is an insurance professional and an independent historian and photojournalist living in New City, New York. His articles have appeared in several periodicals, including the Washington Times , the Army Engineer Magazine , and the 2022 Spring issue of West Point magazine. His photos have been exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. He also maintains www.rememberbataan.org, a website that commemorates the Bataan Death March and includes access to several of his writings.

42 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photo: WIkimedia Commons WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 42 AN ENDURING FRIENDSHIP AND THE MYSTERY OF IZZY’S RING
American POWs conduct burial detail at Camp O'Donnell, the terminus of the Bataan Death March, using improvised litters to carry the bodies of other prisoners who died from a lack of food or water.

FORWARD MARCH

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 43 Photo: Rebecca Rose/WPAOG WPAOG Hosts 24th Annual Class Ring Memorial Program
WPAOG News Eyes Right Serving the Nation We Serve You Gripping Hands (R) Recognition

On January 19, 2024, the West Point Association of Graduates’ Class Ring Memorial Program hosted the Ring Melt for the Class of 2025 in the main theater of Eisenhower Hall, with family members and guests attending and many more watching the event through WPAOG’s livestream. This year’s event boasted the highest number of donated rings in the program’s history.

Eighty-eight West Point rings, the oldest being from the Class of 1913 and the newest being from the Class of 2005, were placed into a stone crucible and then melted down to form a gold bar. Cadet Katherine LaReau, President of the Class of 2025, then presented the bar to WPAOG President and CEO Colonel Mark Bieger ’91 (Retired). He then presented the gold bar to a representative of the Herff Jones Ring Company so that it can be mixed with new gold to form class rings for the Class of 2025.

Since the inaugural Ring Melt ceremony 23-plus years ago, which was done to make class rings for the Bicentennial Class of 2002, a small portion of each year’s gold has been preserved and added to the rings that are being melted the following year. Once the new ingot is made, shavings are taken to be used in the subsequent year’s Ring Melt. The gold shavings are known as the Legacy Gold, because it contains gold from every ring that has been donated to the Class Ring Memorial Program. The Class of 2025 will be receiving class rings this August that contain gold from 895 West Point class rings, spanning the classes of 1896 to 2006.

“When my classmates and I look down at our rings, we are going to feel connected with graduates of this Academy that achieved great things in their lives—people who became astronauts, who fought in the Vietnam War and World War II, became CEOs and generals, and other graduates who did amazing things during their lifetimes,” LaReau said. “These men and women served with great bravery and love for their country, and we're going to feel connected to them for our time and service.”

I n 2022, the Class of 1966 made a generous gift ensuring that the Class Ring Memorial Program will continue in perpetuity for future generations of the Long Gray Line. This significant legacy endowment, created in Memory of the Fallen Brothers of the Class of 1966, serves to honor their service, sacrifice and valor.

44 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG
Erika Norton/WPAOG FORWARD MARCH
Photo:
Members of the Class of 2025, Academy Leadership representatives, WPAOG Leadership, and a representative from each donor family pose for a 2024 Ring Melt photo. WPAOG News

When Ron Turner ’58 proposed the idea of a “Ring Memorial Program” in the May/June 1999 edition of ASSEMBLY magazine, he wrote, “Hopefully, this program will make West Point class rings of the future even more meaningful than those of the past.” Twenty-four years later, his vision is a reality, and the members of the Class of 2025 will don their “bold mold of [melted] gold” courtesy of WPAOG’s Class Ring Memorial Program.

“The things that those rings have seen are just phenomenal,” said Lieutenant General Mark Hertling ’75 (Retired), a member

of the Class of 2025’s 50-Year Affiliate Class. “I think this event really emphasizes to the Class of 2025 what they're getting into, the Profession of Arms, and all the people who have gone before them, whose shoulders they’re standing on.” 

Read stories and view more pictures from the 2024 Ring Melt ceremony

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 45 Photos: Erika Norton, Rebecca Rose/WPAOG FORWARD MARCH
A cadet from the Class of 2025 briefs ring donors on the ring they’ll be depositing into the crucible during the 2024 Ring Melt ceremony. Robert L. DeMont ’84 places the class ring of his father, COL (R) Robert W. DeMont ’59, into the crucible while his son, CDT Robert P. DeMont ’25, looks on.
WPAOG News
The Class of 2025 leadership team takes a selfie with the gold bar produced from the rings donated to the 2024 Ring Melt.

WPAOG News

WPAOG Employee Receives State Recognition

On March 23, New York State Assembly Member Christopher Eachus presented the 2024 Extraordinary Woman of the District Award to Christine McDonald, Director of WPAOG’s CONNECT Program. The award recognizes the extraordinary contribution of a local leader to the welfare of New York’s 99th Legislative District, West Point’s home district. Under McDonald’s leadership, the CONNECT after-school education program brings experimental and project-based learning to more than 100 low-income students for three hours per day at no charge, with many veterans in the Long Gray Line generously providing their time to the local community.

2024 WPAOG Election: Call for Nominations for Board and Advisory Council

All USMA graduates may apply for election to the WPAOG Board of Directors and/or for elections to the WPAOG Advisory Council. In 2024, the WPAOG Nominating Committee will nominate graduates for Chair, Vice Chair, five Director positions and six Advisor-at-Large positions. To apply, please see the instructions posted at WestPointAOG.org/NominatingPolicy. The deadline for graduates to submit their completed application is July 1, 2024. The 2024 nomination and election process will conclude on November 19, 2024, at 5:00pm EST, when the Annual Meeting of the West Point Association of Graduates will take place at the Herbert Alumni Center. Please contact Laurie Fontana (laurie.fontana@wpaog.org; 845-446-1523) if you have any questions.

Thank You!

In 2023, the Long Gray Line and friends and families of West Point gave $63.1 million in cash receipts and gifts in kind for the Academy and WPAOG. Your generosity and commitment strengthen the Academy’s Margin of Excellence programs for cadets, sustain the traditions that pay tribute to generations of West Point graduates, and make new opportunities possible.

Watch our Thank You video

46 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photos: USMA PAO/WPAOG archives
FORWARD MARCH

Eyes Right

Nachhaltiger Einfluss (Lasting Impact)

Twenty graduates from the Class of 1969 never forgot what they learned from “Herr Major” Paul Parks ’55 when he had them as students in his Advanced German class nearly 60 years ago.

On February 5, 2024, Colonel Paul Parks ’55 (Retired) was laid to rest in the West Point Cemetery. Four members of the Class of 1969, representing a larger cohort of their classmates, were on hand to bid Ruhe in Frieden to the officer who taught them in his Advanced German course when they were plebes and yearlings back in 1965-67.

Sometime during their first week of Beast Barracks, the new cadets from the Class of 1969 indicated their language preference. At that time, the Academy offered three levels of instruction—standard, intermediate, and advanced—for its three most prevalent languages: French, Spanish, and German. Come the start of the fall semester, a group of 20 cadets, most of whom had taken German in high school (though some, like Dr. Brian Owens ’69, hardly felt that they had mastered the skill set to think and converse in German), found themselves in LG151/2, then Major Parks’ Advanced German class.

“On the first day of class, Parks walked into the classroom, introduced himself, and congratulated us on being assigned to Advanced German,” says Colonel Keirn “KC” Brown ’69 (Retired). “He then announced with emphasis, ‘These are the

last words you will hear me speak in English.’” For the remainder of the course it was alles auf Deutsch (“everything in German”).

“I was somewhere between awe and shock during that first class,” says Gene Murphy ’69. “Parks came at us full bore speaking German at a fast pace.” Reportedly, the major never slowed down the rest of the course either, recognizing the difference in his students’ capabilities but not lowering his standards nor expectations, which had to do with both coursework and being a cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

“We learned quickly not to come into his presence unless our bearing and personal appearance were immaculate,” says Brown.

“He checked every one of us out every class session for proper shoeshine, tarnished belt buckles, gig line, dress off, the knots of our ties and, during plebe year, our shaves.”

Lieutenant Colonel Phil Clark ’69 (Retired) notes that Parks’ standards and expectations went both ways. “He was always well prepared himself, just as he expected us students to be well prepared for his class.”

According to Colonel Richard “Bob” Seitz ’69 (Retired), Parks’ lessons were not only about the German language and grammar but also included German literature (reading poetry from Goethe and Schiller) and German historical military readings, which Seitz says helped prepare his classmates for their later military careers.

“We began every session either singing a German marching song or reciting lines by a German poet from the Enlightenment period,” says Brown. “We recited every session, had a demanding

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Left: Then-MAJ Parks ’55 (left) quizzes CDT Mark Kannenberg ’69 during an Advanced German class during Kannenberg’s plebe year. Above: Paul Parks’ First Class picture in the 1955 Howitzer

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weekly writing assignment, and endured writs at least twice a week—and his writs always consisted of both oral and written portions.” Although Parks proved to be what Brown calls “a hard taskmaster,” Brown states that he and his classmates “came to appreciate him as an indelible example of what an Army officer should be: firm but fair, setting and demanding high standard of performance, and exuding confidence, competence, and caring leadership.” And given that Brown and his classmates had Parks as their instructor three days a week (being required to attend class on Saturdays in the sixties) for two solid years, spending more time with him than any other instructor or tactical officer during their entire four years as cadets, Parks’ example made a lasting impact, or nachhaltiger einfluss, on the cadets from the Class of 1969.

“A strong bond of trust and affection developed thanks to our unique circumstance,” Seitz says. “This did not happen in any other courses for me in four years at West Point.”

“Major Parks’ German class stood out among my classes because of his encouragement to learn, even within the strict military framework of the Academy,” says Lieutenant Colonel Peter Heesch ’69 (Retired). “The course was demanding but at the same time enjoyable.” Heesch also notes that Parks took an interest in the personal lives of his Class of 1969 cadets, tracking their activities in corps squad, club, or company intramural sports, often attending their competitions and commenting on their performance or success in other extracurricular activities.

“And it didn’t end with graduation,” says Heesch. “He followed our careers, and we wanted to stay in touch with him because of the interest he took in us as individuals.”

“Colonel Parks was proud to say that one of his students became American Ambassador to Germany,” says Ambassador Robert Kimmitt ’69, who received that appointment in September 1991. “I was even prouder to say that Paul Parks played a crucial role in my being appointed as the first American Ambassador to a united Germany in over six decades.”

Indeed, most of the “Best of the Line” group say that Parks’ Advanced German course had an impact on their career or their time in the Army. “It provided a very good foundation for my first assignment in Germany, and especially later with VII Corps in Stuttgart,” says Major George Albrecht ’69 (Retired). It also had a profound personal effect on a couple of them.

“Parks’ course was very influential in my selection as an Olmsted Scholar and my opportunity to study for two years at the University of Bonn,” says Clark. “That’s where I met and married my wife, a native of a small city near Bonn, and we brought up our children in a household speaking German.”

Over the decades, the 20 graduates from Parks’ Advanced German class have reminisced fondly (in German, of course) about what they learned from “Herr Major” Parks, often chuckling about the same stories over and over. “The one in which he wrote up my roommate, David Hayes, for not having properly shined shoes never gets old,” says Albrecht. What’s amusing (and, in fact, telling) is that some of them, like Brown, found themselves applying Parks’ exacting standards in their section room when they came back to teach at the Academy. Nachhaltiger Einfluss, indeed.

(L to R) Ambassador Robert “Bob” Kimmitt, LTC (R) Phil Clark, COL (R) Keirn “KC” Brown and Mark Kannenberg, representing a group of 20 graduates from the Class of 1969, attended the February 5, 2024 funeral of their beloved German instructor, COL (R) Paul Parks ’55.

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A TBIncredible Story of Service to Others

On March 27, 2009, then Cadet Jazmine Moore ’10 and a few of her classmates from Company B-2 were on their way back to the Academy from Camp Buckner when they heard a crash somewhere up on New York State Route 293.

Arriving at the scene, they saw a mangled mix of metal and broken glass. A smaller car was t-boned by a larger-size SUV. They reported the incident to Central Guard Room and watched as the jaws of life were used to cut the driver out of the car and as first-responders medevacked her to a hospital. Little did they know that the victim of this terrible accident was their own classmate, then Cadet Tanya Gauthier.

Gauthier entered West Point on June 26, 2006 with the Class of 2010. She remembers standing at a supply issue point in the Mess Hall on R-Day and looking up at the Poop Deck. “I stood in amazement at the sight,” she says. “I felt the history, the honor, and the sacrifice needed to come to the Academy and make it as a cadet.” And Gauthier did indeed make the most of it, participating in numerous clubs and activities and serving as one of the cadet managers for the Women’s Track and Field Team. She was also the first woman cadet to play on an intramural football team at West Point. “I was denied twice,” Gauthier says, “but I petitioned DPE and won.” Aside from cadet life, she also competed in the preliminary to the Miss New Jersey pageant, working with multiple officers to improve her interview skills and using her privileges to take ballet classes. On top of everything, she met Colonel Lynn Ray, the Engineer Branch Representative at the time and an Instructor of Military Science, who put Gauthier through brutal fitness training at Arvin Gym every morning. “Spring semester cow year, my plate was full,” she says. “I was enjoying my time at the Academy and living every minute of the day with purpose, stamina, and faith.”

When she arrived at the hospital after the accident, however, doctors only gave Gauthier hours to live. “Everything in my body

was injured,” she says. “I had a collapsed lung, spinal fluid leakage, broken chest bones, broken facial bones, an eye completely blown out of its socket, blood vessel damage in my brain and neck, blood clots in my heart, nerve damage to my right arm, and traumatic brain injury.” When her classmates learned about her accident, they rushed to Westchester Medical Center, where it was standing room only in the waiting area that night. Once Gauthier was stable in the ICU, her best friend, then Cadet Christopher Clark ’10, was allowed to see her. Clark remembers seeing Gauthier lying unconscious, her body fully in bandages and her head wrapped tightly in a dressing, with a rod protruding from her skull to relieve pressure. Clark told Gauthier later that he could barely see life under the coverings.

After spending two weeks in a coma, 30 days in the ICU, and “a lot of time” in the hospital, Gauthier was finally discharged. She then endured nine months of cognitive and physical therapy for eight hours a day. Despite every part of her aching and hurting,

“I felt the history, the honor, and the sacrifice needed to come to the Academy and make it as a cadet.”
Tanya Gauthier ’11
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Eyes Right
Tanya Gauthier ’11 founded TBI ncredible in 2020 to help other survivors of traumatic brain injury.

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Eyes RIght

she was determined to finish what she had started at West Point. She made an appointment with the Dean, then Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan ’71, and entered his office wearing her baggy PT uniform (the only thing that fit her less than 100pound body) and walking with a cane. Her face was lacerated with scars, her head was bald, and she had sores covering her body. As she did with DPE when she wanted to play intramural football, Gauthier passionately pleaded her case, requesting to return and complete her cadet career. When she finished, the Dean pointed to two folders on his desk and explained that they contained notes from meetings her course directors had had on her behalf while she was in the hospital. “The meetings detailed a game plan to help me upon my return,” Gauthier says. “Even when I was on my deathbed, my instructors continued to believe that I would come back with the same fight I had before I left.”

“I founded TBIncredible so that brain-injury survivors can recover without the fear of payments or the anxiety of meeting a deadline.”
Tanya Gauthier ’11

Her first step back was summer STAP for IT305. Fighting seizures, she “fell out twice.” After the second time, three of her professors encouraged her to take time off to heal. Gauthier left

the Class of 2010 and struggled to assimilate to the Class of 2011, scrambling into a company she was not a part of for 18 months. When she returned to the Academy for a second time, she sought mentorship from then Colonel Bernard Banks ’87, Head of the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership. She changed her major and resumed her academic career. She participated in class discussions and turned in assignments for high marks, but she struggled on tests, not being able to articulate her answers in the allotted time. Her instructors, in particular Colonel Donna Brazil ’83, worked with Gauthier individually. “Colonel Brazil showed patience, care, and Army values, boosting my esteem and helping me remember that I still had a fighting chance,” she says. Gauthier finished her course of studies and graduated with a degree in psychology and environmental engineering on January 17, 2012 during a ceremony that featured just her on the sixth floor terrace of the USMA Library. “I do not remember much of my time in the hospital after the accident, but one memory is the day I fought with the doctor who told me that I would never again go back to school, let alone return to West Point,” she says. “I lost contact with her, otherwise I would have invited her to my graduation!” Yet, while she graduated, she would not be commissioned. Gauthier, whose goal upon entering the Academy was to branch Aviation, was medically discharged from the Army. “This destroyed me,” she says, but Gauthier vowed to make use of her West Point education, training, and sacrifice. She went to work for the state of New Jersey, and in 2020 decided to further serve her community by founding the nonprofit TBIncredible, which she is now looking to expand nationally. “I had been attending two support groups from brain-injured survivors: one military and one civilian,” Gauthier says. “The military group was able to attend sessions when needed; the civilian group struggled with

50 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photos: Submitted
Left: Gauthier as a firstie, now with the Class of 2011. Right: Gauthier with her then-classmate CDT Christopher Clark ’10 after her accident .

Eyes RIght

insurance companies not paying for sessions, and I founded TBIncredible so that brain-injury survivors can recover without the fear of payments or the anxiety of meeting a deadline.”

According to the CDC, 2.8 million cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI) occur each year, or 5.3 per minute. Also, according to studies by Veterans Affairs, approximately 414,000 service members were diagnosed with TBI between 2000-19. The mission of TBIncredible is to provide free support and help TBI survivors through therapeutic photography.

“We hold photography workshops,” says Gauthier. “The premise behind this is to give survivors a new skill to learn, which helps rebuild synaptic connections.” Creating fellowship between TBI survivors in a judgement-free environment is an added bonus. The first TBIncredible event, which was held during the COVID pandemic, had 15 members. A virtual event reached 100 participants. Today, the goal is to gather 1,000-plus TBI survivors at an event.

“I have found my purpose with TBIncredible,” says Gauthier. “This is my baby, and I want it to be my legacy.” Through unwavering faith, love, and support, Tanya Gauthier has inspired countless others with her positive message of TBI awareness and recovery. “I applied to West Point to serve, wanting more than anything to proudly wear the uniform,” she says. By founding TBIncredible and executing its mission, Gauthier proves that “Duty, Honor, Country” is not the uniform one wears; it’s one’s heart (and brain, too!). 

—Keith
“I have found my purpose with TBIncredible. This is my baby, and I want it to be my legacy.””
Tanya Gauthier ’11
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Gauthier at the New Jersey Army National Guard base in Lawrenceville, New Jersey in September 2020, shortly after founding TBI ncredible. Gauthier with COL (R) Donna Brazil ’83 in Eisenhower Hall at the 2022 West Point Women’s Conference.

The Longest Day for the Long Gray Line

Eighty years ago, on June 6, 1944, approximately 100 West Point graduates from the classes 1912 to 1943 June made history as heroes among heroes as the Long Gray Line led and fought on D-Day during World War II. Many’s names were immortalized; all should be.

Paratroopers from the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions began to drop behind enemy lines around 12:30am local time. During the assault, the commander of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), a graduate from the Class of 1927, broke his leg. With a compound fracture he commanded from a wheelbarrow until a fellow West Pointer, Class of 1936, took command. In the 506th PIR, the Band of Brothers regiment, a 22-year-old from

the Class of 1943 January was KIA, while in the 82nd a glider field artillery lieutenant from the Class of 1942 was mortally wounded. At 6:30am troops landed on the beaches under heavy fire. Shortly after, a DD amphibious tank battalion commander from the Class of 1928 led his tanks to land on Omaha Beach, after seeing 27 other tanks sink. Simultaneously, two engineer battalion commanders, one from the Class of 1929 and the other from the Class of 1939, led their soldiers to demolish obstacles, making gaps. Later, a young captain saw a “crazy man” amid heavy fire, waving his arms and screaming out for him to identify himself. Seeing the star, the captain saluted, “Captain Raaen, 5th Rangers, sir.” “Raaen… Jack Raaen’s son?” “Yes, sir!” “…Rangers. I know you won’t let me down.” John Raaen ’43JAN then heard 51-year-old Brigadier General Norman Cota, Class of 1917 April, continue to praise the Rangers and, later, learned that Cota was the first to say, “Rangers! Lead the way!”

West Pointers fought side by side throughout that “longest day.” They all deserve to be honored. Scan the QR code below and read about unsung heroes like then Major Sidney Bingham ’40, a battalion commander in the 116th Infantry Regiment and Distinguished Service Cross recipient who gathered the handful of soldiers left in his command and, under intense enemy fire, personally led them up a cliff to seek out an enemy machine gun. 

Visit our web page where we honor members of the Long Gray Line who were in assault units in Normandy on D-Day. Contact Desrae.Gibby@wpaog.org to contribute names and stories.

52 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photos: National Archive Serving the Nation FORWARD MARCH
American soldiers landing off the coast of France on June 6, 1944. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Class of 1915, encourages soldiers of the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment with the message, “Full victory, nothing less.”

“Battle”-Ground Dedicated

On November 3, 2023, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, dedicated the Col. Battle Barksdale Parade Ground in the heart of its seven-pavilion campus, which includes its new capstone exhibit hall, Liberation Pavilion (which had its grand opening on the same day).

The new parade ground is named for Colonel Battle M. Barksdale ’37. Nicknamed “The Battler” as a cadet for his role as captain of the West Point Boxing Team, Barksdale commissioned as a Field Artillery second lieutenant upon graduation. His Army career spanned two decades and included combat in both World War II and the Korean War. Barksdale and his wife, Grace, were stationed in Hawaii with the 13th Field Artillery and witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. In 1944, he was sent to the European Theater with the 635th Field Artillery Battalion. During the Korean War, he commanded an American artillery battalion and was later an advisor to a South Korean artillery unit. “We are proud to honor Barksdale’s legacy of devoted service and dedication to his country,” noted the past and present board chairs of the National WWII Museum in the program for the dedication ceremony. Barkdale died in 2009 at age 93.

The Honorable John Bel Edwards ’88, then Governor of Louisiana, provided a tribute to the World War II generation during the dedication ceremony, and Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks similarly provided a reflection before the 24,000-sqaure-foot outdoor space and the three-story pavilion were dedicated. More than 40 World War II veterans, Holocaust survivors and Home Front workers were also in attendance for the ceremony. 

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The 1936 West Point Boxing Squad (then-CDT Battle Barkdale ’37 is seated in the first row, second from the right). Then-CDT Barkdale in the 1937 Howitzer.

Caring Connections: New Veterans Services Initiative

On November 11, 2023, the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) announced that it is launching a new enhancement to its Grads Helping Grads Program, one that is pertinent to every member of the Long Gray Line. The initiative? Veterans services.

“Every West Point graduate is by definition a veteran,” says Sue Irons ’89, WPAOG’s Veterans Services Specialist, “and, as such, is entitled to VA benefits.” Unfortunately, most do not know much about the benefits owed to them as a result of taking their commissioning oath; that’s where Irons and the WPAOG’s Veterans Services initiative come in.

While WPAOG’s Veterans Services initiative is now officially six months old, Irons had been working for approximately six years to get the initiative off the ground. Long before her time at WPAOG, Irons accepted a position as a veterans service officer (VSO) for a county in her home state of South Dakota. “Many grads would ask me questions about VA benefits when they learned that I was a VSO,” she says. Later Irons became a Class Advisor on the WPAOG Advisory Council and gained in-depth knowledge of all the ways in which WPAOG helps graduates. Finally, after taking a position on the Alumni Support Committee, she put together grads’ needs with WPAOG’s

willingness to assist and came up with the idea for a veterans services program for WPAOG. She shared her ideas with the then-Director of Class Services, who then brought them to WPAOG’s Vice President of Alumni Support, who then brought Irons on board in March 2023 as a member of the Alumni Services Team.

Nested within the Grads Helping Grads Program, WPAOG’s Veterans Services initiative aims to provide support to graduates and associate members during times of transition or need and to aid them in navigating the bureaucratic red tape sometimes found in the VA, the largest health care system in the world.

“Education is our main effort right now,” says Irons. “We want to develop a landing pad to which grads can come so that they can get all the information they need about VA benefits in one location.” One of Irons’ main educational goals is to reverse the “Well, I don’t need them…” mindset of some graduates. “The government needs to know the impact our service has had on us,” Irons says, “and if we don’t file claims for the benefits to which we are entitled, then we are not going to make serving better for future generations.” And speaking of future generations, Irons believes that it’s important to educate cadets on VA benefits before they set out on their military service journey. “They can then better help their own soldiers,” she says.

Presently, Irons is working with classes and West Point Societies to identify and develop subject matter experts who can assist their local network of graduates. “We’ve had about two dozen grads who have expressed interest or who already have experience

Key Elements of the Grads Helping Grads with Veterans Services Initiative:

 Provide an online resource portal that consolidates veterans services resources in one place

 Develop relationships with trusted partners who provide expert advice and advocacy

 Educate about VA benefits and how to access the benefits earned

 Integrate with other WPAOG programs such as Class Services, Career Services, Alumni Services, and Memorial Support

 Work with society and class leaders to identify veteran services liaisons or care coordinators who will share their expertise and are willing to assist local West Point Society members

54 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photo: Shutterstock FORWARD MARCH We Serve You
“Veterans Services Specialist is more than just a title to me. Helping veterans and their families is a passion of mine. This program will benefit so many and for some, it could change lives.”
— Sue Irons ’89

and expertise in the veterans services area,” she says. Irons is also busy developing partnerships with veterans organizations that have accredited VSOs. With this extensive network of alumni and community partners, WPAOG’s Veterans Service initiative ensures that no graduate walks alone, fostering a sense of camaraderie and belonging that echoes the spirit of their time in service.

“If we can help just one grad who is struggling by getting him or her access to VA benefits, we will have made a difference,” says Irons. “Furthermore, by encouraging and empowering alumni to actively engage with and care for each other, it strengthens the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood forged in the crucible of military service and makes the connections among the Long Gray Line meaningful.” Irons believes that WPAOG’s Veterans Services initiative, going forward with these caring connections, will spread and ultimately fulfill WPAOG’s Vision: “For the Long Gray Line to be the most highly connected alumni body in the world.” 

Listen to the Veterans Services podcast:

Gripping Hands

“Grip

hands—though it be from the shadows—while we swear as you did of yore, or living or dying, to honor the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.”

—Bishop Shipman, 1902

1975

McDonald ’75 Assumes Role as Board Chairman of Elizabeth Dole Foundation

The Honorable Robert A. McDonald ’75, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs; the past chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble; and current WPAOG Chairman, has been selected to chair the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, replacing the Honorable Elizabeth Dole, the 2023 Thayer Award recipient, who has chaired the board since she founded the organization in 2012. “I am honored to join an organization that has so markedly changed America’s awareness, appreciation, and support of the millions of hidden heroes caring for our service members and veterans,” McDonald said in a statement to mark his start as Chairman.

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 55 Photos: WPAOG archives; Rebecca Rose/WPAOG We Serve You FORWARD MARCH
The Hon. Robert A. McDonald ’75, Chairman of the West Point Association of Graduates (left), and LTG Steve W. Gilland ’90, the 61st Superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy (right), present the Hon. Elizabeth Dole with the 2023 Sylvanus Thayer Award.

Gripping Hands

2024 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients Announced

WPAOG’s annual Distinguished Graduate Award is bestowed upon those West Point graduates whose character, distinguished service, and stature draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives, in keeping with its motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.” The 2024 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients include a former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, one of the foremost experts on China in the United States today, the 53rd Chief of Engineers, a legendary West Point recruiter, the 40th Chief of Staff of the Army, and West Point’s most commercially successful woman graduate to date. Please join us in congratulating the 2024 Distinguished Graduate Award recipients:

Wesley K. Clark ’66

Karl W. Eikenberry ’73

Thomas P. Bostick ’78

Pat Locke ’80

Jim McConville ’81

Kathleen S. Hildreth ’83

The awards will be presented in a ceremony at West Point on May 21, 2024, with further coverage in the 2024 Summer issue of West Point magazine.

Learn more about the Distinguished Graduate Award and to read the bios of this year’s recipients.

White ’09 Confirmed as Deputy Director of United States Peace Corps

The United States Senate voted unanimously to confirm David E. White Jr. ’09 as Deputy Director of the United States Peace Corps. Prior to his confirmation, White served as special assistant to the president in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and on the National Security Council as senior advisor to the White House Coordinator for Operation Allies Welcome, where he facilitated whole-of-government efforts to provide housing, health care, education, employment, and other resources at scale for nearly 90,000 Afghan allies resettled in the United States. White began his career in public service as a Cavalry officer in the U.S. Army. He was wounded in combat while serving as a scout platoon leader in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

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1966 1973 1978 1980 1981 1983
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Wesley K. Clark ’66 Karl W. Eikenberry ’73 Thomas P. Bostick ’78 Pat Locke ’80 Jim McConville ’81 Kathleen S. Hildreth ’83
2009

General Officer Announcements

The following officers were promoted to the rank indicated below in December 2023:

LTG Heidi J. Hoyle ’94, currently serving as Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4, United States Army, Washington, DC

MG Garrick M. Harmon ’92, currently serving as Deputy Commanding General, Security Assistance Group-Ukraine, Operation Atlantic Resolve, Germany

MG Richard L. Zellman ’92, currently serving as Deputy Commander, Combined Joint Task Force Space Operations, United States Space Command, Peterson Space Force Base, CO

MG William A. Ryan III ’94, currently serving as Commanding General, First Army Division West, Fort Cavazos, TX

MG Curtis D. Taylor ’94, currently serving as Commanding General, National Training Center and Fort Irwin, Fort Irwin, CA

MG James P. Work ’95, currently serving as Commanding General, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Liberty, NC and Operation Atlantic Resolve, Romania

MG Mark C. Quander ’95, currently serving as Commanding General, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Cincinnati, OH

BG Beth A. Behn ’94, currently serving as Chief of Transportation and Commandant, United States Army Transportation School, United States Army Sustainment Center of Excellence, Fort Gregg-Adams, VA

BG David C. Phillips ’95, currently serving as Program Manager, Future Long Range Assault Aircraft, Program Executive Office Aviation, Redstone Arsenal, AL

The following officers were confirmed by the U.S. Senate:

BG Jason E. Kelly ’94 for promotion to the rank of major general

COL (USAR) Frederick A. Hockett Jr. ’95 for promotion to the rank of brigadier general

COL (USAR) Eero R. Keravuori ’97 for promotion to the rank of brigadier general

(R) Recognition

WPAOG Military Retiree Recognition Program

WPAOG’s Military Retiree Recognition Program honors our military retirees for their service and sacrifice. If you retired on October 1, 2018 or later, you and three guests are eligible for a free Grad Insider Tour, as well as a free night at The Thayer Hotel, subject to restrictions. We will also publish your name in West Point magazine, with your permission. If you wish to participate, please contact retiree@wpaog.org to learn more.

COL Kevin A. Bigelman 1993

LTC Leif A. Hansen 1997

LTC Elizabeth A. Callen 1999

LTC Jeffrey S. Jager 2000

LTC Jessica F. Hegenbart 2003 Name Class

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Deaths reported from June 16, 2023 – September 15, 2023

Q: What’s a prank that you pulled in the barracks that the Brigade Tactical Department never found out about?

A: “When I was a firstie, I lived in the Lost Fifties in Company D-4. As one can imagine, things were pretty loose being so far away from the prying eyes of the Tactical Department. About eight of my companymates took to gathering about once a week in a 4th floor room for a poker game. We would meet after dinner, clear the desk, and drape a blanket over the desk to create our card table. Even though we were rarely visited by the OD, we took no chances: we rigged up an empty Coke can under the radiator with a string going out the window down to a room on the 2nd floor so that, if a TAC were “visiting,” those on the 2nd floor room could pull the string, rattling the can on the radiator and giving us an early warning. The system worked like a charm, and by the time the TAC got to our room, all evidence of the poker game had been hastily wrapped up in the blanket and hidden, replaced by books, slide rules, and papers spread out over the desktop. The TAC couldn’t help but be impressed by our studious diligence.”

Says Mike Mewhinney ’66, who, after 27 years of intense work on Wall Street, is now playing golf with a vengeance. “I had always looked down my nose at recreational golfers,” he says, “but once I started playing, I realized what a great game it is.”

He reports that he has a few club championships under his belt and has, so far, shot his age 48 times.

A:

“In the fall of 1984, Doug Sena and I listed the Superintendent’s House for sale in the New York Times ‘Real Estate’ section and placed ‘FOR SALE’ signs on its front porch. Not knowing who posted the ad, the Superintendent responded with a spirit banner that week which included, ‘This house is not for sale.’”

Says Stuart Bastin ’85, who says that West Point cultivated in him a lifetime desire to serve his community. He is currently fulfilling that desire by running a volunteer program for his local police department, leading professionals, pastors, retirees, and others who support the efforts of local first responders..

A: “My companymates and I took all the plates out of the Mess Hall and used them to spell ‘Beat Navy’ on the roof of Washington Hall. The Corps ate on paper plates for three days until some captains planning a wedding in the Cadet Chapel spotted it in fall of 1986. This was done as part of an elite H-2 team—If you have a prank that no one else can pull off, and if you can find them, we’ll get the gang back

58 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photos:WPAOG archives; submitted
Class “Quotes”

together and do one again (of course next time we’ll have a lot more Special Forces and Ranger-trained grads).”

Says Major Spence Williams ’87 (Retired), who, after overseas tours in Korea and Afghanistan, lives in Portland, Oregon as a writer and historian and works as the pit crew chief for his still “really working” wife. His neighbors evaluate him as “mostly harmless.”

A: “The night before spring break in 1978, I borrowed my family sponsor’s Army “Greens” uniform (same last name) along with his major’s hat. I made an OIC band out of yellow paper and put it around my arm. My roommate dressed up in cadet grey as the Cadet in Charge with red sash and sword. Keeping our hats low over our eyes, we inspected the yearling’s and cow’s rooms at 3:00am, slamming doors, turning on lights, and calling the room to attention in a very loud voice. As cadets were dazed, we said to them in a loud voice, ‘Your room is a mess and you are written up: forget your spring break!’ before turning off the lights and slamming the door behind us. Next morning in formation, there was a buzz about what happened, with most cadets not knowing if they were going to be allowed to go on spring break in a few hours. Some went to the real OIC and cadets on guard and were told that there wasn’t a company inspection at 0300. Some cows saw my accomplice and I laughing and began to get the picture. We started running and hid in the Cadet Library. Cool thing though, the firsties took up for us and said to lay off as it was a good prank.”

Says Doug Lowrey ’80, who runs his own onsite coaching business after leading consulting practices at Arthur Andersen Consulting, Oracle, Microsoft, and Hewlett Packard. A former Army football player who spent five years in the Army, including time with U.S. Special Forces and as an assistant football coach under Coach Jim Young in 1984-85, he enjoys giving back and helping people get “Life Purpose” clarity. An avid mountain climber and hiker, he lives surrounded by majestic mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park.

A:“Our company (A-2) lived in old Central Area in the ’60s. At 0400 hours we turned off the circuit breakers, entered each upper classman’s room, turned on the overhead fluorescent lights and the record players, set the needle on a record, and turned the volume knob to the maximum loudness. When we turned on the circuit breakers, the overhead lights blinded the sleeping upper classmen and the loud record players lifted them out of bed.”

Says Roy Gogel ’71, who lives in a 55-plus community outside of Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoys travel, sports, and leading his “scotch, bourbon, and veterans’ clubs.”

A:“During my firstie year, my dad, a Class of 1975 grad, snuck into the barracks so he could put on white over gray and take a spot alongside me in that day’s parade. It was the most memorable parade of either of our ‘cadet’ careers, and we didn’t detect too many curious looks from the stands as to why a retired colonel was in the ranks.”

Says Lieutenant Colonel Dan Krueger Jr. ’06, who is currently serving as an Infantry officer at Fort Liberty, North Carolina. Colonel Dan Krueger ’75 (Retired) is based in Texas and frequently travels to the Tar Heel State to make sure his grandkids are still learning the Rocket. 

Class “Quotes” topic for the 2024 Summer issue:

What’s the nicest thing that a member of the Long Gray Line has done for you?

Send your answers in an email to editor@wpaog.org. When submitting an answer, please include an informative and interesting update regarding your life that the Long Gray Line would enjoy reading. This can either be professional (e.g., new job, promotion, retirement) or personal (e.g., new child/grandchild, marriage, hobby, etc.). You are welcome to attach pictures to your email to support your answer or your life-update.

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 59 Photos: Submitted

Deaths reported from June 16, 2023 – September 15, 2023

We regret that, because of limited space, we cannot publish all letters received. Letters may be edited and shortened for space. Submit comments or questions to editor@wpaog.org, or chat with us on one of our WPAOG social media channels.

FROM: COL (R) Dave Hardin ’71

I am writing on behalf of the “Professionally Done” Cycling Team. We read with interest and affinity the “Eyes Right” article on West Point Women (WPW) at RAGBRAI in the 2024 Winter issue of West Point magazine. We have ridden, as classmates, every RAGBRAI since 2011, culminating with our presence at the 2023 event. With more than a dozen RAGBRAIs under our collective belt, we have declared ourselves “validated” on this annual pilgrimage to the oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle ride in the world. We salute these brave and hardy WPW, who completed RAGBRAI in 2023, and regret that we did not pick them out of the 60,000 plus cyclists on the 50th anniversary ride. We will keep riding, together, at other opportunities, but have decided to forego additional RAGBRAIs.

RESPONSE:

The “Professionally Done” Cycling Team has been “validated,” indeed, and it is likely that the WPW who rode the 500 miles from Sioux City, Iowa to Davenport in the 2023 RAGBRAI would agree. It’s a shame these two groups didn’t meet for a Long Gray Line rally with the members of the West Point Society of Central Iowa. Thanks for your letter and picture, and West Point magazine wishes the “Professionally Done” Cycling Team all the best in its future rides.

FROM: COL (R) Kevin Kelley ’64

I found the article about MG Deb Kotulich ’90 timely and interesting, and you may be interested in my personal experience in Reserve Service. I resigned from active duty in January 1970, after serving with the 82d Airborne Division, including in the Dominican Republic, the First Infantry Division in Vietnam, ROTC duty at the Colorado School of Mines, and as an engineer company commander in Thailand. After returning to the U.S., I joined an Army Reserve unit in Brooklyn, New York, then attended graduate school at Brown University and joined the Rhode Island National Guard. Upon receiving my Ph.D. in economics, I continued in the Army Reserve while teaching at Providence College. Returning to active duty in the Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) program as a lieutenant colonel, I served five years at the Presidio of San Francisco on the Sixth Army staff, then three years at West Point as the USAR advisor as a colonel, working in the Office of Admissions. As my mandatory retirement date approached (June 1994), the Army offered me an immediate active duty retirement if I would retire in December 1993. I did so and then

the American Battle Monuments Commission recalled me to active duty as their project manager of the World War II Memorial. I spent four years in that position and, when nearly all the design was completed and with only finishing the fund raising left to do, I retired (again) in 1998. Altogether I was credited with 20 years of active duty and am receiving retirement pay as a colonel, commensurate with those 20 years. It was a great career, combining active duty with a civilian career. Other graduates, as the MG Kotulich article showed, should be aware of the opportunities in the Reserve and National Guard.

RESPONSE:

Great letter and great advice for the younger classes of the Long Gray Line. Thank you for sharing your story.

FROM: Dr. Harvey Fraser Jr. ’64

I am enjoying reading the 2024 Winter issue of West Point magazine. I found the article “Carving Paths and Paying it Forward” quite insightful and interesting. I hope the younger old grads found it insightful too. I would like to see more articles with short career capsules like this going forward. I do think it would be useful to include capsules for similar grads who are staying in the Army as well.

RESPONSE:

Thank you for your letter and thank you for noticing West Point magazine’s evolutionary turn to more capsulated writing in some of its articles. We’d love to publish more of these types of articles featuring the stories of active-duty graduates. If any member of the Long Gray Line has candidates for West Point magazine to highlight, especially in the “Serving the Nation” or the “Eyes Right” departments, please send an email to editor@wpaog.org .

60 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG Photo: Submitted
Mailbox

Deaths reported from June 16, 2023 – September 15, 2023

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Finnegan Begins Again

Finnegan’s adventures, from his last assignment in Kandahar, Afghanistan, leaving the Army and finding a “real” job, to his managing a key Army procurement program, are hilarious and improbable – but maybe not as improbable as you may think. It’s a great treatment of a difficult time in any veteran’s transition to civilian life. Ultimately, Finnegan faces the federal bureaucracy mountain. He may not be able to move the mountain, but his climb is uproariously funny.

— LTG (Ret) Robert Flowers

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Learn why two daring West Point Cadets stole the Navy goat from the USNA in 1972 and why it developed into the “Greatest of All Time” goat-napping’s! The cover photo depicts a group of West Point Cadets with the USNA goat and my grandfather, Joseph Walker, standing in the forefront. It was a moment of shared laughter and the mutual understanding of the unbreakable bond forged through spirited rivalry. The book captures the essence of this extraordinary event.

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 61
Bookshelf
Inclusion of these books in West Point magazine is a paid advertisement and is not an endorsement of the contents or values expressed in the books. Descriptions have been provided by authors or publishers and should not be considered a review of the book. A
supplement featuring books by West
graduates and faculty.
West Point magazine
Point
The Masters A to Z My 50-Day Pentecost in

Mr. Edward J. Dravo 1944

COL Milton H. Hamilton USA, Retired 1946

Lt Gen James D. Hughes USAF, Retired 1946

COL Raymond E. Thayer USA, Retired 1946

Lt Col Douglas C. Weaver USAF, Retired 1947

Col Morton C. Mumma III USAF, Retired 1948

CPT Adrian B. Brian USA, Retired 1949

COL George M. Crall USMCR, Retired 1949

COL William T. Moore USA, Retired 1949

Col Michael J. Steger USAF, Retired 1949

Col Carl L. Brunson USAF, Retired 1950

COL Florian O. Cornay USA, Retired 1950

LTC Roy W. Easley Jr. USA, Retired 1950

COL Gerhard L. Jacobson USA, Retired 1950

Mr. William R. Miller 1950

COL George T. Morris Jr. USA, Retired 1950

COL Clarence M. Watters USA, Retired 1950

BG William C. Louisell Jr. USA, Retired 1951

Mr. John J. Moroney Jr. 1951

LTC Gustave Villaret III USA, Retired 1951

Mr. Edward A. Brown 1952

Mr. Frank B. Smith 1952

Mr. Deane E. Welch 1952

MG Tom H. Brain USA, Retired 1953

Dr. James O. Dritt 1953

Mr. Thomas D. Mingledorff Jr. 1953

Mr. David L. Motycka 1953

Maj John A. Nave USAF, Retired 1953

Mr. Charles W. Carroll 1954

Mr. Ira Coron 1954

LTG Robert M. Elton USA, Retired 1954

Maj William L. Frier USAF, Retired 1954

Col James M.L. Karns USAF, Retired 1954

LTC Norman A. Mattmuller USA, Retired 1954

LTC Richard M. Renfro USA, Retired 1954

COL Douglas B. Stuart USA, Retired 1954

COL William J. Weafer USA, Retired 1954

Col Richard D. Youngflesh USAF, Retired 1954

Mr. Kenneth A. Dion 1955

COL Clifford Jones Jr. USA, Retired 1955

COL William B. Streett USA, Retired 1955

BG John C. Bahnsen Jr. USA, Retired 1956

Lt Col Alfred C. Bowman USAF, Retired 1956

LTC Conrad C. Ege USA, Retired 1956

Lt Col John M. Gromek USAF, Retired 1956

Mr. George D. Kannapel 1956

LTC Norman Levy USA, Retired 1956

LTC Ben P. Saxton USA, Retired 1956

Mr. Harold P. Southerland Jr. 1956

COL Lester E. Bennett USA, Retired 1957

Col John O. Hanford USAF, Retired 1957

Mr. Julio E. Heurtematte Jr. 1957

COL Raymond E.B. Ketchum II USA, Retired 1957

Col Lawrence J. Murphy USAF, Retired 1957

Col William F.H. Page USAF, Retired 1957

Mr. Joseph D. Preletz 1957

Col Thomas A. Rush USAF, Retired 1957

COL Ronald L. Bellows USA, Retired 1958

COL Bo F. Craddock USA, Retired 1958

LTC Joseph M. DeChant USA, Retired 1958

COL Norman L. Gustitis USA, Retired 1958

Mr. Kenneth A. Lohr 1958

LTC Frederick F. Mayer USA, Retired 1958

COL John L. Palmer USA, Retired 1958

LTC Max G. Pearsall USA, Retired 1958

Col Charles B. Porciello USAF, Retired 1958

Lt Col Robert W. Puff USAF, Retired 1958

Mr. Donald S. Baker 1959

COL Harold L. Briggs USA, Retired 1959

LTC William C. Buell V USA, Retired 1959

Mr. John T. Dannell III 1959

COL Robert W. DeMont USA, Retired 1959

BG William J. Mullen III USA, Retired 1959

Mr. Raymond R. Barrows Jr. 1960

Mr. William T. Blitch 1960

Mr. Harry C. Calvin 1960

Mr. William N. Myers Jr. 1960

LTC Michael T. Ryan USA, Retired 1960

MAJ William A. Vencill USA, Retired 1960

Mr. Gene A. Adams Jr. 1961

COL Donald H. Lewis USA, Retired 1961

COL Richard M. Chladek USA, Retired 1962

COL Arthur T. Fintel USA, Retired 1962

Lt Col Michael A. Guenther USAF, Retired 1962

Mr. Ed W. Hendren 1962

COL Fred R. LaRoque Jr. USA, Retired 1962

Mr. Robert E. Rintz 1962

COL Robert R. Rumph USA, Retired 1962

LTC George C. Sarran USA, Retired 1962

Maj Gary L. Seasholtz USAF, Retired 1962

LTC Frederick E. Sheaffer USA, Retired 1962

Maj Ronald P. Stock USAF, Retired 1962

LTC David O. Treadwell USA, Retired 1962

COL Richard B. Cole USA, Retired 1963

LTC Donald H. Conrad USA, Retired 1963

LTC Dean E. Dowling USA, Retired 1963

Mr. Donald J. Smith 1963

Mr. Daniel O. Struble 1963

Capt Jerry L. Shelton USAF, Retired 1964

Mr. Albert C. Williams Jr. 1964

Mr. Lorin C. Albright 1965

COL Walter S. Kulbacki USA, Retired 1965

Dr. Kermit D. Larson 1965

Be Thou at Peace

Mr. Thomas A. Ridenour 1965

Mr. Edward J. Sharkness 1965

LTC John W. Rantala Jr. USA, Retired 1966

MG Robert H. Scales Jr. USA, Retired 1966

Mr. Richard V. Gladstone 1967

LTC John R. Hall II USA, Retired 1967

Mr. Howard M. Harmless II 1967

COL Charles B. Giasson USA, Retired 1968

Mr. Alan M. Glazner 1969

Dr. Gregory A. Holton

LTC William F. Diehl Jr. USA, Retired

COL James A. Sansone USAR, Retired

MAJ Milton E. Koger II USAR, Retired

LTC Gregory T. McGuckin USA, Retired

L.

Mr. Robert R. Roe

MAJ Paul R. Clark USA, Retired

62 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG
1970
1970
LTC John Norton Jr. USA, Retired
1970
Mr. Richard W. Wise
1971
1971
Mr. Terrence J. McGuire
1971
1972
1972
1973 COL
1973
1973
1974 LTC Jerry W. Dixon USAR, Retired 1974 Mr. Darryl L. Harris 1975 LTC John N. Pruett USA, Retired 1977 Dr. Alan S. Black 1978 MAJ Steven A. Chester USAR, Retired 1978 MAJ David
Jennings USA, Retired 1978 COL Michael E. Krieger USA, Retired 1978 LTC Arild W. Olsen USA, Retired 1978 Mr. David R. Huff 1979 MAJ Thomas F. Underwood USA, Retired 1979 LTC Scott W. Tousley USA, Retired 1980 Mr. Charles R. Rich III 1981 Mr. Thomas M. Hurley 1982 Mr. Kevin P. O'Dwyer 1982 COL Robert S. Bridgford USA, Retired 1983 Mr. Craig D. Billman 1984 Mr. Kyle W. Ray 1984 Mr. Thomas R. Clarke 1985 LTC Robert G. Culberg USA 1985 Mr. Keith M. Rowand 1985 Mr. Thomas C. Malloy 1986 Mr. William Meehan 1986 Mr. Patrick A. Dwyer 1988 Mr. Kenneth W. Pollock 1988 LTC William B. Welsh Jr. USA, Retired 1989 Mr. John P. Rann 1991 Mr. Brad A. Rice 2004 Mr. Frank D. Turner IV 2006 Mr. Edward A. Anderson 2007 CPT John A. Schmidt USA, Retired 2014
LTC Dennis
Johnson USA, Retired
Patrick E. Logan Sr. USA, Retired
C.
– March 15, 2024
Deaths reported from December 16, 2023

The Olympic Modern Pentathlon Legacy of West Point Past in Review

The Games of the XXXIII Olympiad in Paris this summer mark the end of an era for the modern pentathlon. Since the inception of modern pentathlon at the 1912 Olympics, horseback riding over jumps has been one of the five disciplines of the sport (along with fencing, pistol shooting, swimming, and cross-country running). However, 28 quadrennials later, the 2024 Games will be the last time for horses in the modern pentathlon Olympic competition.

The ending of the “equestrian era” of modern pentathlon presents an opportunity to review West Point’s impressive Olympic modern pentathlon legacy.

The Background of Modern Pentathlon

When Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the modern-era Olympic Games, he had a competition in mind to determine the greatest all-around athlete, similar to the pentathlon of the original Olympic Games held in ancient Greece. He may have been inspired by Aristotle’s description: “…the athletes in the pentathlon are most beautiful, because they are naturally adapted for bodily exertion and for swiftness of foot.”

Coubertin’s proposal for a modern pentathlon for the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden, included pistol shooting at turning targets 25 meters distant, swimming 300 meters, épée fencing, horse riding over a 5,000-meter course, and running cross-country over a 4,000-meter course.

Most early Olympic modern pentathlon competitors were military, probably because many of the competitive skills were those required of a soldier. This military preponderance was consistent with the adventures of a courier of Napoleonic days

who had to deliver battle plans. This highly versatile messenger raced to the picket line, selected a horse at random, and dashed off with the plans. When the horse was spent, the courier continued on foot, fighting forward with pistol and sword. After swimming a river and running the remaining distance, the exhausted courier finally delivered the plans.

West Pointers and Olympic Modern Pentathlon

Of the almost 90 West Point Olympians in all sports, 25 have competed in modern pentathlon, beginning with Lieutenant George S. Patton Jr., Class of 1909.

At the 1912 Stockholm competition, Patton was a colorful and popular figure. In the pistol shooting event, he argued that two of his bullets had passed through the same hole. In view of his excellent marksmanship, this was not an outrageous claim. However, his protest was dismissed and he finished in fifth place overall.

From 1920 through 1952, West Point seemed the ideal place for the development of modern pentathlon athletes. Although opportunities for training in all five disciplines were readily available, the 1926 Athletic Board cautioned that the demanding daily schedule would not accommodate the necessary training for a cadet to be an Olympic modern pentathlon candidate. However, the Howitzer extracurricular activity listings of more than 60 cadets from 1928 through 1931 and 1936 through 1941

WEST POINT / SPRING 2024 63 Courtesy of Gretchen Braunschweiger; submitted
George S. Patton Jr., Class of 1909, rides a borrowed Swedish cavalry horse during the 5,000-meter steeplechase event in the Modern Pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics, held in Stockholm, Sweden. The Kirby Modern Pentathlon Trophy plaque, first awarded in 1935 to Cadet Ridgway P. Smith Jr. ‘36.

suggest that organized modern pentathlon training programs were run for cadets during those time periods. The recent discovery of the Augustus Kirby Modern Pentathlon Trophy in a stairwell of the south gymnasium (leading up to Hayes Gym), the first physical evidence found of a cadet modern pentathlon training program, supports this claim.

Through 1952, modern pentathlon Olympic teams from the United States were dominated by West Point graduates. The entire American team from the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam were members of the Long Gray Line. Twenty-two graduates in total competed in the modern pentathlon between 1912 and 1952. Strong riding and fencing programs at the Academy also produced a number of West Point Olympic riders and fencers, such as Earl F. Thompson, Class of 1922, who won five medals in riding over the course of three Olympics (1932, 1936, and 1948); and Gustave M. Heiss ’31 who won a team bronze medal in épée fencing in 1932.

One of the most notable Olympic modern pentathlon achievements by a West Pointer took place during the 1936 Games in Berlin. Charles F. Leonard Jr. ’35 shot a perfect score of 200 out of 200 possible points, something no other Olympian was ever able to do.

In 1952, Guy K. Troy ’46 was assigned the task of setting up a modern pentathlon training camp at West Point. During the Olympic trials, he performed well enough to be selected to compete in the 1952 Games in Helsinki, along with two graduates from the Class of 1951.

When the Academy’s riding and fencing programs were discontinued in the 1950s, the number of West Point modern pentathlon Olympians dropped off immediately. Since 1952, West Point has produced only three modern pentathlon Olympians: Maurice T. “Tom” Lough ’64, Robert G. “Greg” Losey ’72, and Anita F. Allen ’00.

Even though the Academy has had competitive clubs for equestrian, fencing, pistol, and triathlon for decades now, no additional modern pentathlon Olympians have been produced since 2004.

Of the six silver medals and three bronze medals won by United States athletes in modern pentathlon, three silver and one bronze were brought home by West Pointers. Richard Mayo, Class of 1926, began the harvest with a bronze medal in 1932, followed by Leonard with a silver in 1936 and George “Bis” Moore ’41 with an additional silver in 1948. It was not until 1984 that a West Pointer produced another Olympic modern pentathlon medal, when Losey won a team silver medal.

West Point and the Future of Modern Pentathlon

Starting in 2028 at the Los Angles Games, obstacle running will replace the equestrian event as the new fifth discipline, ushering in a new era for the Olympic modern pentathlon and a development opportunity for West Point cadets. Most cadets have basic running and swimming abilities, and the common experience of the Indoor Obstacle Course may relate closely to obstacle running in the new pentathlon, increasing the potential for the number of West Point modern pentathlon Olympians. If cadets could develop competence in these three events and pick up fencing and pistol shooting skills, they may be able to develop into modern pentathlon Olympic contenders after graduation. Upon completing an initial leadership tour of duty, graduates talented in modern pentathlon (or other sports) may apply for the World Class Athletes Program (WCAP) of their branch of military service. If they meet the stringent WCAP athletic standards, they may qualify for advanced training and competition opportunities in their sports, including the use of the facilities and programs of the U.S. Olympic/Paralympic Training Center.

By raising the awareness of the modern pentathlon among cadets (particularly among those already in triathlon, fencing, and pistol shooting) and perhaps by providing an outdoor obstacle training course for cadet use, West Point could produce even more modern pentathlon Olympians in the future. 

Tom Lough, a 1964 graduate of West Point, competed in the modern pentathlon at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. He served 10 years in the U.S. Army as a combat engineer, with tours in Korea, Vietnam, and Germany. With a Ph.D. in educational psychology, his academic interests include science education and sport history. He has coordinated a series of initiatives at West Point to increase awareness of the Academy’s Olympic legacy. He is the composer of “Ever Faithful to the Call” (www.everfaithfultothecall. com), a soldier’s hymn being widely sung for Veterans Day.

64 WESTPOINTAOG.ORG
PAST IN REVIEW
Photos: Courtesy of Gretchen Braunschweiger; submitted
Left: Tom Lough ’64 competed in modern pentathlon at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Top right : Greg Losey ’72 competed on the 1984 Olympic team, winning a team silver medal in Los Angeles. Bottom Right: Anita Allen ’00 competed in the modern pentathlon at the 2004 Athens Games.
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