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Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1956 | 1962 | 1966 | 1974 | 1984 | 1991 | 1994 | 1996 | 2000. Class Notes

MG Hoyle ’94 Officially Youngest 2-Star

MG Hoyle ’94 Officially Youngest 2-StarMajor General Heidi J. Hoyle ’94 was promoted to 2-star General April 9, 2021, officially making her the youngest 2-star in the United States Army. MG Hoyle is the commanding general of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command. Distinguished guests and family attended the promotion, including a dozen or so members from the Class of ’94.

“I can tell you that her leadership is authentic,” said General Stephen R. Lyons. “It’s clear she serves with a greater purpose, embracing discipline and sacrifice for others. She’s a straight-shooter that exemplifies mutual respect, which is the basis for empowerment of high-performing organizations.” Read more.

Great Hall Rental Program

Great Hall Rental Program

The Class of ’46 Great Hall in the Herbert Hall Alumni Center includes floor to ceiling windows, gleaming wood floors, brass balcony, and a majestic fireplace. The Great Hall can be used for wedding receptions, graduation parties, Class reunions, military promotion, or retirement ceremonies, and more. Find out more about the Great Hall. Contact us at Great-Hall@wpaog.org or visit our website WestPointAOG.org/HerbertHallRental for more information.

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1953 | 1962 | 1966 | 1970 | 1979 | 1996 | 2002 | 2007 | 2013. Class Notes

WISE Challenge Update

WISE Challenge Update

Join us on Wednesday, April 14th at 7:30pm EST for our 1st virtual West Point DEVCOM Warfighter Innovation in Science and Engineering (WISE) Challenge Semi-Finals. WISE is a new Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) competition sponsored by the Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Soldier Center and approved by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research & Technology. Nine cadet teams from across West Point will compete in a Shark Tank like event to be selected to represent the Academy at the upcoming DEVCOM WISE Finals.  The competition is managed by the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering’s Center for Innovation and Engineering, directed by LTC Jamie Bluman ’99, AVN. For more information on this event contact the Center for Innovation and Engineering at CMEcie_director@westpoint.edu

View Events on YouTube Channel

ROG Now Available For Pre-Orders

ROG Now Available For Pre-Orders

WPAOG’s most historic publication is currently being updated in a new 76th edition for 2020, now available for pre-orders. The "Register of Graduates & Former Cadets" is WPAOG’s oldest publication, dating back to 1850, when the first Register was compiled by George W. Cullum, Class of 1833, who devised the system of "Cullum numbers" assigned to every graduate. It is an indispensable treasury of military history.

The 2020 Register of Graduates will contain more than 77,000 individual entries recording the names, classes and service to the nation of every West Point graduate from 1802 to 2020.

The 2020 Edition will feature a premium “Red Sash” red cloth binding embossed with gold foil, suitable for display in your office or home library.

Order online from The Gift Shop - WPAOG online store. You can also order by phone Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm by calling us at 800.426.4725. https://www.wpaoggiftshop.com/register-of-graduates.

Learn more about this classic West Point reference book recording the history and achievements of the Long Gray Line: https://www.westpointaog.org/registerofgraduates

Travel Program

WPAOG Travel Program

The WPAOG Travel Program is proud to announce its 2022 trips. Sign up today to reserve your spot for the trip of a lifetime! Join fellow West Point alumni, family, and friends for exciting adventures all over the world. To learn more about all of our travel experiences, visit WestPointAOG.org/travel and explore our interactive travel map or email us at Travel@wpaog.org.

Savage ’13 Giving Back in His Hometown

Savage ’13 Giving Back in His Hometown

From Starkville to West Point Military Academy to deployment in Afghanistan, Captain Matt Savage ’13 never thought he would end up moving back to his hometown. But a motorcycle crash in 2018 changed everything for the former sharpshooter.

“I would have never thought that the human body could have lived through what mine went through,” he said. The body that was in a coma. And then I woke up.” Now retired, Savage may be a civilian, but the Army Ranger veteran is still finding ways to serve his country.

“There’s no giving up,” he said, describing the mindset that fueled his incredible recovery and continues to motivate him. “There’s no giving up on a flight and you have to be very dedicated to that and just keep fighting every single day.” Nowadays, he’s traded his rifle in for a hammer. “I’m the official rank of ‘Mr.’ instead of ‘Captain.’,” he said with a smile.

Savage partnered with Starkville’s Habitat for Humanity and Mississippi State to help build the 2020 Maroon Edition House for a local family in need. Monday, they held a ceremony to welcome the new family and dedicate the house in Savage’s honor. Read more.

Williams ’02 Increased Network Security Patents

Williams ’02 Increased Network Security Patents

Stuart Williams ’02 is the first-named inventor on two US patents, #10,887,218 & #10,951,654.  The patents increase network security and improve encryption and data obfuscation on routed networks and optical networks, respectfully.  Stuart is a Principal Solutions Architect supporting the Defense and National Security Business Unit for AT&T Corporation, and based in Annandale, VA.  Stuart architected the network as a service (NaaS) framework that Defense Departments are currently prototyping for their enterprise and mission networks.  Stuart is also driving technical strategy to support Defense migration to 5G.

Pepple ’07 Releases “Dodgebomb”

Pepple ’07 Releases “Dodgebomb”Darin Pepple ’07 has released Dodgebomb: Outside the Wire in the Second Iraq War. Dodgebomb is a gritty, unheroic war novel set in Iraq during the Troop Surge in 2008. Trying to break the Hollywood clichés of every soldier having PTSD and being Special Forces, the book focuses on the regular unassuming soldiers that fought Al Qaeda, broke bread with sheiks, and tried to understand why they were there.

During the height of the Global War on Terrorism, Lieutenant Eddie Fitzgerald is sent straight from school to Iraq as a casualty replacement. Immediately thrown into combat, he must quickly overcome his naivety and earn the trust of his unit in order to survive. However, if hunting Al Qaeda wasn’t enough, he’s quickly pulled into Arab tribal politics and Army officer rivalries that threaten to spoil any work that he accomplishes.

Available on Amazon in eBook or paperback.

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1958 | 1960 | 1962 | 1965 | 1966 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1987. Class Notes

Army West Point Pistol

On Target with Success

By Kim McDermott ’87, WPAOG staff
(West Point magazine fall 2019)

In the late summer of 1993, a Daily Bulletin item caught the attention of Lieutenant Colonel Duston Saunders ’72 (Retired) (then working at the West Point Association of Graduates). The Academy was seeking a volunteer coach for the Pistol Team. During an assignment at West Point in the 1980s, Saunders and his wife had sponsored four cadets from the Class of 1984 and found it to be a very rewarding experience. He hoped that coaching the Pistol Team would be equally so. He says, “I had no background in competitive shooting. Along with picking the brain of the outgoing coach, Jack McJunkin, I attended several NRA firearms instructor courses and coach certification courses.”

The leadership at AOG supported Saunders’ desire to coach, and he is now entering his 27th year. Prior to 1993, Army Pistol had been a Corps Squad, or varsity, sport. Budgetary cuts affecting the Academy at the time meant some things had to change, and downgrading the program to a club status was one of them. Despite the change, the team still competes against many of the same opponents each year. Primary competition includes: U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, The Citadel, Virginia Military Institute, Texas A&M, and Ohio State University. Full story.

Happy “Go Army Beat Navy” Day!

Happy “Go Army Beat Navy” Day!It's April Fool's Day and today we laugh and remember one of the most hilarious pranks pulled off by West Point Grad Mike Nemeth '04 that fooled many Midshipmen and Yahoo News!

On November 4, 2015, Nemeth put together a fake press release that claimed the City Council of Annapolis voted to enact a “Go Army Beat Navy” Day with a “7-1” vote. The bogus press release also included fake quotes from made-up residents and small business owners who were in support of the idea like “Sylvia Thayer” and “Fred Steuben.” One quote said, “Not everyone likes boats — It'll be great to support real soldiers for once.” If those names sound familiar, it's because Sylvanus Thayer was superintendent of West Point from 1817 to 1833. Frederick Von Steuben drafted a drill manual with Prussian techniques for soldiers during the Revolutionary War.

After a few clicks, the story was taken down later that day, but Nemeth says, “It was the best $250 I ever spent.”

Brick and Paver Program

Brick and Paver Program The WPAOG Brick and Paver Program allows graduates and friends of West Point the opportunity to etch a meaningful inscription on a brick or paver that will be placed on the historical grounds surrounding the James K. Herbert Alumni Center. This is a great way for graduates and their families to leave a legacy behind and commemorate their West Point experience. Visit WestPointAOG.org/brickandpaver for more information and to place your order or email us at Bricks@wpaog.org. Brick and Paver purchases are tax-deductible.

McNair ’84 Leads a Life Driven by Challenges, Learning Opportunities

McNair ’84 Leads a Life Driven by Challenges, Learning OpportunitiesWhen faced with challenges, CPT (R) Kerry McNair ’84 learned early on that if he gave his best efforts, even adversity could present opportunity. It was true when he attended West Point and it is true today, as he helps companies deal with the fallout of a global pandemic. McNair, who earned his MBA from Baylor University in 2002, is a consultant with The Partnering Group, where he advises clients in a variety of areas including supply chain network design and optimization, as well as performance improvement.

He grew up in El Paso, Texas, in a military family. “I come from a big family, and I had to figure out a way to pay for college, but I also knew I wanted to serve my country,” McNair said. “If you have been in IT your whole career, getting an MBA can potentially allow people to see you as something other than an IT person.” Read more.

Steptoe ’87 WCH Joins Microsoft for Startups Program

Steptoe ’87 WCH Joins Microsoft for Startups ProgramWarrior Centric Health (WCH), Ron Steptoe ’87 CEO and Co-Founder, has been selected to join Microsoft for Startups, a global program that helps B2B startups scale successfully. WCH now gains exclusive access to Microsoft technologies, including Azure, as well as a streamlined path to selling alongside Microsoft and its global partner ecosystem. WCH is a population health management company with an innovative digital platform giving healthcare institutions the tools to deliver essential care to the underserved Warrior community in the commercial sector. The Microsoft global program helps B2B startups scale their companies and accelerate growth.

Grad Link – Your Exclusive Networking Tool

Grad Link – Your Exclusive Networking Tool Check out recent updates to Grad Link – your exclusive networking tool. If you already have an activated profile, you will notice a more intuitive map and the ability to easily make and modify searches. As an added convenience, you will also be able to update your personal information on file with WPAOG within the app. Login from either a web browser of your choice or with our mobile app.

To access Grad Link, activate your Sallyport account. Download the APP for your Apple Device. Download the APP for your Android Device.

Bell ’82 Named BOD at Eckerd Connects

Oliver Bell ’82Oliver J. Bell ’82 has been added to the Board of Directors at Eckerd Connects. Eckerd Connects operates Job Corps, workforce development, child welfare, and juvenile justice services across 20 states and the District of Columbia.

Bell is founder and chief executive officer of Oliver Bell Inc., a boutique labor relations consulting firm that provides a variety of employee relations and organizational effectiveness services to publicly and privately held for-profit and nonprofit companies. He also currently serves as a commissioner on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and previously served as a member of the Texas Southern University Board of Regents. His public sector board service includes serving as chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, where he was responsible for the oversight of the $3.3 billion, 40,000-employee Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

“The sooner you can intervene in the lives of young people, the more positive and lasting impact you can have. We have the opportunity to help youth in our service areas realize there are opportunities in front of them and we are here to help them take advantage of those whenever possible,” Bell said. “I look forward to working with my fellow Board members to continue this important work.”

Finkenaur ’83 Granted Patent for Highly Visible Epoxy

Bob Finkenaur ’83 Bob Finkenaur ’83 has been granted US Patent #10,577,475 for a new and highly visible epoxy based safety formulation containing photoluminescent and slip resistant properties. Bob is the President and Founder of RGF Materials Company (LLC) based in Phoenixville, PA. The patented product is manufactured and sold under the Form-A-Tread GLOW registered trademark and is designed to increase personnel safety in emergency egress stairwells during emergency blackout situations. Product was recently selected by Madison Square Garden to be applied on all emergency egress stairwells in the facility. Before starting RGF Materials, Inc, Bob provided new product, packaging and business development for domestic and international adhesive and sealant manufactures and distributors. Bob currently has 2 Patent Pending stencil tape designs under development.

National Vietnam War Veterans Day

National Vietnam War Veterans DayIt was on March 29, 1973, when American combat and combat support units withdrew from South Vietnam. However, by the war’s end in 1975, more than three million American men and women would serve in Vietnam, including hundreds of members of the Long Gray Line. WPAOG would like to recognize that March 29 is National Vietnam War Veterans Day. In particular, we honor the members of the Long Gray Line who served our Nation during the conflict, especially the 334 who gave their lives.

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1952 | 1953 | 1956 | 1960 | 1962 | 1971 | 1974 | 1981 | 1988. Class Notes

Army Volleyball Dreams of Going Places

Army Volleyball Dreams of Going Places From Italy to the NCAA Tournament

By Kim McDermott ’87, WPAOG staff

Overseas trips for teams are a growing trend in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and current NCAA rules allow a team to travel once every four years. Over spring break this year, the Army West Point Volleyball Team traveled for the first time to Italy. Head Coach Alma Kovaci Lee says it has been a long-time dream to bring the team abroad. A native of Albania, she spent many pre-seasons training in Italy and knew a trip there would provide teambuilding and accelerated development opportunities for the players.

Kovaci Lee knew that the team would never have a chance to do something like this during the summers, when West Point cadets must participate in unit and individualized military training, so she planned for years to put together a trip over spring break. Offering a special thanks to families and alumni who support the program, she earmarked donations to the program over time to fund the trip, and credits team supporters for making it all possible. In fact, the entire trip became a reality due to Margin of Excellence gifts— donations from alumni, parents, and other friends of the Volleyball Team.

Some of the biggest supporters of the team are Susie and Henry Jordan, the mother and stepfather of team alumna Maureen Bannon ’10. Still supporting the program almost a decade after Bannon graduated, they say, “Maureen experienced a wonderful career at West Point largely due to her volleyball experiences. [Volleyball] provided her with leadership and perseverance skills and development crucial to her growth as an officer in the U.S. Army. We believe that international travel experiences provide unique growth and leadership opportunities for these young women athletes, in the tradition of the Long Gray Line.” Full story.

National Medal of Honor Day

National Medal of Honor DayToday we recognize National Medal of Honor Day to honor those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty. National Medal of Honor Day is celebrated every year on March 25, in honor of the first time it was awarded on March 25, 1863. The medal is the highest honor for military valor in action, and more than 3,500 people have been awarded the Medal of Honor.

West Point has had 76 Graduates that have received this honor.

West Point recently hosted Medal of Honor recipients Sergeant Major Thomas Payne and Sergeant Major Matthew Williams, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, who shared their experiences with cadets, staff, and faculty during their visit.

Photo by Tarnish Pride

Founders Day

Founders DayCadets and the Long Gray Line celebrated Founders Day together on March 16. The West Point Association of Graduates held a virtual Founders Days event for Old Grads while the Corps Founders Day Dinner was in Washington Hall. The two groups later merged together to watch this year’s guest speaker, CPT Kristen Griest ’11, who earned her Ranger Tab in 2015 – the same year the Army opened up Ranger School to women. Over 1,300 Graduates from more than 90 West Point Societies logged in to attend WPAOG’s Virtual Founders Day event. VideoPhotos. Remarks.

Class of 1952 Distinguished Guest Lecture Series

Class of 1952 Distinguished Guest Lecture SeriesJoin us virtually for the Class of 1952 Distinguished Guest Lecture Series, “A Conversation with Secretary Jane Holl Lute,” on Thursday, April 8, at 7:45pm ET. Click here to register. Registration closes on April 5. The virtual event link will be provided the week of the event. Questions contact developmentevents@wpaog.org.

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1952 | 1961 | 1962 | 1966 | 1974 | 1981 | 1986. Class Notes

Army West Point Water Polo

Army West Point Water PoloThe Army Water Polo Team grew out of West Point’s first swim team, which formed in the 1920-21 academic year. The new swim team had a perfect record in its first season—defeating “four of the strongest swimming teams in the East.” A civilian coach, Mr. Alexander Meffert, was reputed to be “the best swimming coach in the country,” and the team lauded the “untiring work of Capt. Pendleton.” Captain Alan Pendleton (University of Pennsylvania, Class of 1916) was an instructor in the Department of Law.

The following year, the Swim Team article in the 1922 Howitzer included a report on a newly formed Water Polo team, also coached by Meffert and Pendleton.

“When the call for water polo candidates was issued at the beginning of the season, it was evident that the building of a team must begin at rock bottom. A few men had seen the game played, and two or three had even participated. But the men were willing to drown learning if need be, the swimming squad itself contributed a number of men, and within a short time Capt. Pendleton and Coach Meffert were busy whipping the water polo squad into shape and forming the nucleus of a team. Submerging was made a painless process, and long before the first outside game was scheduled teams were selected and had mastered the fundamentals of the game.”

The very first game was played against the “veteran team” of the New York Athletic Club (NYAC), and the sport remains one of the longest-running competitive sports clubs at West Point. In the 1975-76 academic year the program became a Division I “corps squad” varsity sport, concluding its first season with a 13-5 record. In the 1994-95 year the program returned to club status. Full story.

WISE STEM Competition Sponsored by DEVCOM

WISE STEM Competition Sponsored by DEVCOMThe Warfighter Innovation in Science & Engineering (WISE) Challenge is a new Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) competition sponsored by the Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Soldier Center and approved by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research & Technology. This competition offers the opportunity for Cadets and Midshipmen from all four U.S. Service Academies to showcase their innovative science and engineering achievements aligned with Warfighter relevant problems. This challenge replaced the Soldier Design Competition held annually at MIT.

West Point will host a Semi-Finals to select cadet teams for the Finals as a live virtual event on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 from 7:30-9:00pm. Judges for the Semi-Finals include BG Buzzard, CSM Coffee, COL Howell, COL Hartke, CSM Killingsworth, and Mr. Dan Madden. At the semi-final competition, the cadet teams will present a 5-minute prerecorded video and answer judge questions for 5 minutes. The entire event will be broadcasted on USMA’s YouTube Channel.

The DEVCOM Finals are a live virtual event on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, from 10am – 9pm. Each Academy will send three teams.  Distinguished guests include Senator Joni Ernst and Senator Gary Peters. Questions.

Project Descriptions for DEVCOM WISE Challenge Semi Finalist Cadet Teams:

  • Carbon Composite Crew. The project seeks to design a biosensing, conductive textile material for military uniforms, synthesized using a carbon nanotube and cellulose nanofiber composite. Cadets Felita Zhang, Edward Tang, Paul Trackey, Danielle Lynch, Hunter Beauchamp, and Jeff Tantow. Advisor COL John Burpo, Dept. of Chemistry and Life Science.
  • Fire Team 6.8. This project seeks to create an effective means of heat dissipation for machine gun barrels to be effectively deployed by soldiers. Cadets Allan Jung, Iain Herring, Jonathan Carbonella, and Jerry Bastin. Advisor MAJ Briana Fisk, Dept. of Civil and Mechanical Engineering.
  • Quiet Reconnaissance Team. Provides a means to surveille the occupants of a vehicle and impose an effect on the vehicle. Cadets Jacob Ericksen, Patrick Shea, Mike McPherson, and Connor Fischer. Advisor Dr. Gunnar Tamm, Dept. of Civil and Mechanical Engineering.
  • SPARK 2.0. This project creates minimizes the time required to plug in and disconnect a Soldier worn battery in the field, allowing for rapid escape from a vehicle with a battery if needed. Cadets Kevin Guardino, Clayton Hanson, Joseph Drennan, Ryan Thistlewood, and Nolan Pearce. Advisor Dr. Becky Zifchock, Dept. of Civil and Mechanical Engineering.
  • Squads with Autonomous Teammates Challenge (SWAT-C). This project seeks to design, build, and test semi-autonomous air and ground-based vehicles to augment warfighter situational awareness and engagement capabilities. Cadets Andrew Mizell, Madison Teague, and Bryan Kim. Advisors COL Christopher Korpela, Dept. of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and LTC Steve Chetcuti Dept. of Civil and Mechanical Engineering.
  • Team Boron. This project seeks to characterize and analyze, novel boron compounds as burn rate modifiers for missile propellants and/or explosives to advance warfighters capabilities in combat. Cadet Jared Hudspeth. LTC Carl Lundell, Dept. of Chemistry and Life Science.
  • Team Catastrophic Kill. A large database of information collected at the National Training Center is analyzed to better understand and improve small unit performance. Cadets James Downey, Zach Ellis, Charlotte Spencer, and Ethan Nguyen. Advisor COL Paul Evangelista Dept. of Systems Engineering.  
  • Team Defenders. The project seeks to design, print and test a new structure for the armor plate of a combat vehicle against a buried blast while optimizing the plate to be as light as possible. Cadets Jarrett Justice, Courtney Loomis, Tyler Kim, and Jesus Carillo. Advisor Dr. Kevin McMullen Dept. of Civil and Mechanical Engineering.
  • UAS Swarm. To develop a multi-UAS system to assist in characterizing a chemical attack plume to aid in Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, or Explosive (CBRNE) response and identification. Cadets Dennis Kirby, Nick Finke, Karlee Scott, Matt Blejwas, and Bartlomiej Gryzbowski. Advisors Dr. Steve Henderson, Dept. of Systems Engineering, Mr. Pratheek Manjunath, Dept. of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, MAJ Mark Lesak, Dept. of Civil and Mechanical Engineering.
Happy Founders Day!

West Point's role in our nation's history dates back to the Revolutionary War, when both sides realized the strategic importance of the commanding plateau on the west bank of the Hudson River. General George Washington considered West Point to be the most important strategic position in America. Washington personally selected Thaddeus Kosciuszko, one of the heroes of Saratoga, to design the fortifications for West Point in 1778, and Washington transferred his headquarters to West Point in 1779. Continental soldiers built forts, batteries and redoubts and extended a 150-ton iron chain across the Hudson to control river traffic. Fortress West Point was never captured by the British, despite Benedict Arnold's treason. West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in America.

Several soldiers and legislators, including Washington, Knox, Hamilton, and John Adams, desiring to eliminate America's wartime reliance on foreign engineers and artillerists, urged the creation of an institution devoted to the arts and sciences of warfare. On 16 March 1802, Thomas Jefferson signed the document that founded the United States Military Academy. It read, “that the said corps, when so organized, shall be stationed at West Point in the state of New York and shall constitute a military academy.”

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1953 | 1962 | 1966 | 1968 | 1981 | 1987 | 1993. Class Notes

West Point Women Speaker Series

Join us on Wednesday, March 31 at 7:30pm EST for our 1st virtual West Point Women Speaker Series – West Point Women and the Covid-19 Pandemic Response. Featuring guest speakers: CDR Sara Jager ’00, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Chief of Pediatrics; MG Telita Crosland ’89, Deputy Surgeon General & Deputy Commanding General (Operations) DHHQ; Darlene “Cookie” Rojas Wilson ’85, PMHNP, MSN, RN, COVID-19 Emergency Department and ICU travel nurse. This presentation will be moderated by MAJ(P) Melody Nolan ’04, MD, FACOG, Brigade Surgeon, 2D Security Force Assistance Brigade. Visit our website for registration details.

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1953 | 1960 | 1961 | 1966 | 1971 | 1972 | 1979 | 1983 | 1984 | 1987 | 1988. Class Notes

Donaldson (Donnie) Preston Tillar III Celebration of Life

Donaldson (Donnie) Preston Tillar III Celebration of LifeThe life and sacrifice of West Point Grad 1LT Donaldson (Donnie) Preston Tillar III Class of 1988 was honored on February 26, 2021, at the United States Military Academy. The Class of 1988 donated a beautiful wreath for the event. The wreath-laying memorial ceremony was organized by his classmate MAJ Brian B. Mahoney ’88 who held the ceremony at Cullum Hall in front of a plaque that also honors Tillar’s service to our country.

February 27, 2021 was the 30th Anniversary of Tillar’s Death. He was born on May 13, 1965 and died at age 25 on February 27, 1991. Tillar was killed in action during Operation Desert Storm. Tillar and eight other brave soldiers were shot down in their Blackhawk helicopter during combat. He is buried at the Emporia Cemetery in Virginia.

Tillar is remembered at West Point in many ways. Tillar was the son of West Point Grad COL(R) Don Tillar ’59. When he attended USMA, Tillar played on the varsity lacrosse team and made the Dean’s List. After graduation, they commissioned him into Aviation. After flight school, Tillar was assigned to the “Big Red One” at Fort Riley in Kansas. Then a few years later in February of 1991, Tillar gave his life for his country during Operation Desert Storm. In honor of his memory, Tillar’s 1988 West Point class ring is on display at the USMA Library.

Shearin ’87 Named to “Forbes” List of Best-in-State Wealth Advisors

Michael Shearin ’87 has been named to Forbes Magazine’s 2021 list of Best-in-State Wealth Advisors. Forbes’ Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list comprises a select group of individuals who have a minimum of seven years of industry experience. The ranking, developed by Forbes’ partner SHOOK Research, is based on an algorithm of qualitative and quantitative data, rating thousands of wealth advisors and weighing factors like revenue trends, AUM, compliance records, industry experience and best practices learned through telephone and in-person interviews.

COL Weddle ’79 Releases “The Compleat Victory”

COL Weddle ’79 Releases “The Compleat Victory”COL Kevin Weddle ’79 has released The Compleat Victory - Saratoga and the American Revolution.

Summary: In the late summer and fall of 1777, after two years of indecisive fighting on both sides, the outcome of the American War of Independence hung in the balance. Having successfully expelled the Americans from Canada in 1776, the British were determined to end the rebellion the following year and devised what they believed a war-winning strategy, sending General John Burgoyne south to rout the Americans and take Albany. When British forces captured Fort Ticonderoga with unexpected ease in July of 1777, it looked as if it was a matter of time before they would break the rebellion in the North. Less than three and a half months later, however, a combination of the Continental Army and Militia forces, commanded by Major General Horatio Gates and inspired by the heroics of Benedict Arnold, forced Burgoyne to surrender his entire army. The American victory stunned the world and changed the course of the war.

Kevin J. Weddle offers the most authoritative history of the Battle of Saratoga to date, explaining with verve and clarity why events unfolded the way they did. In the end, British plans were undone by a combination of distance, geography, logistics, and an underestimation of American leadership and fighting ability. Taking Ticonderoga had misled Burgoyne and his army into thinking victory was assured. Saratoga, which began as a British foraging expedition, turned into a rout. The outcome forced the British to rethink their strategy, inflamed public opinion in England against the war, boosted Patriot morale, and, perhaps most critical of all, led directly to the Franco-American alliance. Weddle unravels the web of contingencies and the play of personalities that ultimately led to what one American general called “the Compleat Victory.” Available at Amazon.

Priatko ’84 Releases “A Noble Knight”

Priatko ’84 Releases “A Noble Knight”Dan Priatko has released A Noble Knight: Dan Priatko’s Story of Faith and Courage. “As the reality of my accident settled in, I faced a choice. I could become bitter and depressed, wondering, 'Why me?' Or I could live each day to the best of my ability, trusting in Jesus Christ to be my source of peace and strength.”-- Dan Priatko Anything seemed possible for Pittsburgh-area native Dan Priatko as his 23rd birthday approached. A graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, Dan had recently completed Army Ranger School. Those who knew Dan were convinced he was destined for great things -- and might one day become a general. Just before Dan's first army deployment, tragedy struck. Dan was in a catastrophic car accident, one that probably should have killed him. Even after he pulled through doctors didn't expect him to have much quality of life. Dan spent more than a year in a coma due to a traumatic brain injury, but his family never gave up hope. Their religious beliefs sustained them through the most trying of times and Dan made a miraculous recovery. He approached relearning such basics as walking and talking with the Army Ranger motto that has always resonated with him: All the way and then some. Dan made it easy for people to root for him with his can-do spirit, relentless positivity, and unwavering faith. He never dwelled on what might have been or what he had lost. Dan became an inspiration to many, including Duke men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, a fellow West Pointer, and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau. His remarkable journey is one of faith, family, and the power of perseverance. Most of all it is about someone who was robbed of so much but refused to let a tragedy take his essence. Available at Amazon.

Men’s Soccer Winning The Moments

Men’s Soccer Winning The MomentsIn December 2009, West Point named Russell Payne as the eleventh head coach of Men’s Soccer. “It is a tremendous honor,” said Payne. “West Point is our nation’s top institution and the traditions here run as deep as they come. Army has the ability to attract the highest caliber student-athletes, and I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to re-establish the Men’s Soccer program’s presence on the national scene and to develop a culture that reflects the prestige and rich tradition represented by all who have called West Point home.” Prior to his appointment, West Point was not on Payne’s radar. He was in his fifth season as an assistant coach at the University of Maryland, his alma mater, when Army contacted him during a national search for a new head coach. Payne’s brother had been an ROTC cadet, but he had very little familiarity with the military. He consulted a former teammate of his from Maryland (who was an Army officer) who told him he should consider it because the values emphasized at the Academy lined up with who he was. The rest, as they say, is history. He visited for an interview and discovered “amazing people and a beautiful campus.” He was excited that Army was committed to reinvesting in the program, and he did indeed think West Point was a good fit. He said, “My wife and I got a great feeling from all the people here and we are looking forward to becoming part of the West Point family.”

In fact, West Point seemed a lot like home. It reminded him very much of his roots in Columbia, Maryland—what he calls the “original planned community.” It was a suburban environment, a highly diverse neighborhood, where everyone had appreciation for community, and education was very important. “This is hard to find,” he says, but he found it at West Point. He especially loves that his family and his players are extremely close. His children come to practice as often as they can, and he says, “My kids have 25 big brothers!” Full story.

Grads Attend Virtual 30-Year Desert Storm Reunion

Grads Attend Virtual 30-Year Desert Storm ReunionOn Friday, February 26, 2021 four West Point Grads, McCausland ’72 (Battalion Commander), Lyons ’83 (Battery Commander), VanSant ’87 and Mance ’87 (Platoon Leaders), joined a 30-year virtual reunion of their Battery since being together in Desert Storm. There were about 40 soldiers from A Battery 3/17 that joined in on the call. Also on the call was the current Army Materiel Command, Command Sargent Major Alberto Delgado, who was a Private First Class (PFC) in the unit, as it was his first duty station as a solider.

Survey Says!

West Point Family Feud gameHelp WPAOG get answers for our West Point Family Feud game! Can you name a building at West Point that starts with a "T"? or name something that West Point is famous for? Take a survey to help us get answers for our West Point Family Feud game. Please submit your answers by March 15, 2021. Contact us if you have any questions at: Alumni-Services@wpaog.org. Follow the link to answer more interesting questions for Family Feud: http://bit.ly/FamilyFeudWestPointSurveyQuestions.

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1953 | 1960 | 1961 | 1965. Class Notes

LTC(R) Scott ’61 Enters Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame

The Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame, located on the capitol grounds, has inducted a 1961 graduate. LTC(R) James Armitt Scott entered on January 29, 2020 before a crowd of 500 well-wishers that included Governor Brian Kemp and other distinguished guests, family members, classmates, and several graduates whom LTC Scott mentored as a USCC tactical officer. The Hall of Fame selected Jim for distinguished valor and service. He is one of the most decorated combat leaders of the Vietnam era. His award citations and witness testimonies describe him as a courageous, yet calm, and humble hero.

Scott was one of 15 veteran finalists among many applicants who served during wartime and distinguished themselves for service or valor. Currently there are 115 veterans in the Hall of Fame.

Thank You!

Thank You!In 2020, the Long Gray Line and friends and families of West Point gave with loyalty, with generosity, and with unwavering support during a challenging year, raising $44.7 million in cash receipts for the Academy and WPAOG. Your gifts and participation strengthen the Academy’s #MarginOfExcellence programs for cadets, sustain the traditions that pay tribute to generations of West Point graduates, and allow for new opportunities that would not have been possible otherwise. Go Army!

Ring Melt: Classes Connecting Through Time

Ring Melt: Classes Connecting Through TimeCadet Valentina Vincent ’22 never met her grandfather, Harvey Jokinen, a Class of 1972 West Point graduate whose ring was a part of this year’s annual Ring Melt. Her mother was only three years old when he was killed in a helicopter crash while serving in Germany. Anytime Vincent asks her grandmother about Jokinen, she immediately cries. She says that he was a saint, and his sisters believe that he was the most amazing man to ever be placed on the earth.

“He had grit and determination to fight through adversity without complaint, the kind of guy you hope is on your team,” Vincent said. “I wish I could have met my grandfather, but I feel his presence alongside me at West Point daily.” Full story.

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1952 | 1953 | 1961 | 1962 | 1966 | 1969 | 1971 | 1984 | 1991 | 1993 | 2018. Class Notes

Pierce ’18 Patents Backward Swept Magazine

Pierce ’18 Patents Backward Swept Magazine2LT Bradley Pierce ’18 was issued a patent December 1, 2020 for inventing a Backward Swept Magazine for Pistol, US Patent 10,852,082. Pierce in currently in Med School. A pistol with a magazine angle swept backward in relation to the barrel increases the barrel length for a given pistol length without deviating from the grip ergonomics of conventional modern pistols. By angling the magazine in this manner, the muzzle velocity of a pistol may be increased for a given pistol length. Alternatively, the pistol length may be minimized for a given muzzle velocity.

COL(R) Talbot ’93 Releases “Patriotic Illusions”

Talbot ’93 Releases “Patriotic Illusions”COL(R) Mark Talbot ’93 has released the book Patriotic Illusions. Summary: While distracted by international terrorists and resurgent communism, the United States has failed to address urgent domestic matters. Enduring racism, COVID-19, social injustice, and out of control government spending threaten our existence. Colonel Talbot exposes the enemies in our ranks—corrupt leaders who wrap themselves in the flag, divide Americans for selfish purposes, and promote the status quo. Follow his powerful arguments and examples to learn how true patriots demand reform. A must read for all leaders! Available on Amazon.

Ring Melt of the Class of 2022

Ring Melt of the Class of 2022Watch the video of this year's Ring Melt and see the moment a legacy gold ingot was created for the Class of 2022 out of 52 donated class rings on February 12, 2021, at WPAOG's Class Ring Memorial Program. The program was also streamed live so that donors, friends and family could attend virtually.

The Ring Melt video was also shared with the entire Class of 2022 that same evening, during the 500th Night Banquet at the United States Military Academy. The Banquet is a milestone celebration for Cadets because they have 500 nights left until their graduation. The 500th Night Banquet was also streamed by USMA on YouTube. Ring Melt Live Stream: https://youtu.be/7Z7m7Qekzuw. 500th Night Live Stream: https://youtu.be/hab5q5qE90g.

Learn more about Class Ring Memorial Program and how West Point Grad LTC (R) Ron Turner ’58 came up with the idea for this program in 1999: https://www.westpointaog.org/RingMemorialProgram. For more information call 845.446.1614, or send an email to RingMemorialProgram@wpaog.org.

Army West Point Hockey

Army West Point HockeyLegacy and Family in Action

Army Hockey Head coach Brian Riley wears two steel bracelets, one on each wrist. They bear the names of two graduates who have left an indelible mark on Riley. Leaving legacies to the program, and to the nation, were Major Thomas Kennedy ’00 and First Lieutenant Derek Hines ’03. Both officers were killed in action in Afghanistan: Hines on September 1, 2005 and Kennedy on August 8, 2012. The mention of their names clearly touches a nerve and sets off a passionate response that Riley has repeated many times over. He says, “I would go to the top of any mountain to talk about them.”

“One of the most important jobs I have is to make sure the legacies of our former players live on. I wear these bracelets in honor of that, and I will never take them off. These guys were my guys. They were obviously good hockey players, but more importantly, they were great people, young men and great leaders.” Riley does all he can to make sure his current players understand who Kennedy and Hines were, holding them up as models to emulate. Cadet Trevin Kozlowski ’21 says, “I can only hope to try and accomplish some of the great things that these great men have done.” Full story.

Barbuto ’71 Releases “New York’s War of 1812”

Barbuto ’71 Releases “New York’s War of 1812”Richard Barbuto ’71 has released New York’s War of 1812. Popular memory of the War of 1812 caroms from the beleaguered Fort McHenry to the burning White House to an embattled New Orleans. But the critical action was elsewhere, as Richard V. Barbuto tells us in this clarifying work that puts the state of New York squarely at the center of America’s first foreign war.

Retrieving New York’s War of 1812 from the fog of military history, Barbuto describes the disproportionate cost paid by the state in loss of life and livelihood. The author draws on in-depth research of the state’s legislative, financial, and militia records, as well as on the governor’s extensive correspondence, to plot the conduct of the war regionally and chronologically and to tell the stories of numerous raids, skirmishes, and battles that touched civilians in their homes and communities.

Whether offering a clearer picture of the performance of the state militia, providing a more accurate account of the conflict’s impact on the state’s diverse population, or newly detailing New York’s decisive contribution, this deeply researched, closely observed work revises our view of the nation’s perhaps least understood war.

About the Author: Richard V. Barbuto is Professor Emeritus of Military History at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the author of Niagara 1814: America Invades Canada and Long Range Guns, Close Quarter Combat: The Third United States Artillery Regiment in the War of 1812.

2021 Founders Day

2021 Founders DayFounders Day may look different this year, but you can still enjoy all of the festivities around this popular West Point tradition. Join us on March 16 for the 2021 Virtual Founders Day presented by the West Point Association of Graduates. Charge your glasses, dust off the tux or spirit gear, and join us for updates, toasts, and some Army Spirit!

Space is limited so register to reserve your spot. Please contact us if you have questions: FoundersDay@wpaog.org.

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1945 | 1947 | 1962 | 1966 | 1978 | 1984 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989 | 2009 | 2015. Class Notes

Bulls ’78 Named to BOD at American Campus Communities, Inc.

Herman Bulls ’78Herman Bulls ’78 has been named to the Board of Directors at American Campus Communities, Inc. Mr. Bulls currently serves as Vice Chairman, Americas, at JLL, as well as an International Director and the founder of JLL's Public Institutions Business Unit. During over 31 years at JLL, Mr. Bulls has worked in the areas of development, investment management, asset management, facilities operations and business development/retention. Mr. Bulls previously co-founded and served as President and CEO of Bulls Capital Partners, a Fannie Mae multi-family financing company, and founded Bulls Advisory Group, LLC, a management and real estate advisory firm.

Andonie ’89 Promoted to Deputy Director of the Army National Guard

Major General John Andonie was recently promoted to the Deputy Director of the Army National Guard, which consists of 336,000 Soldiers in the 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia. In his new role, Andonie will serve in Washington D.C. as the chief assistant for Lt. General Jon Jensen in carrying out that mission.

Andonie was first assigned to the 194th Separate Armored Brigade at Fort Knox, Kentucky. His awards include the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Ribbon and the Parachutists Badge. He has been awarded the Order of St. George, which is presented to outstanding armor officer, and the Order of St. Maurice, which is awarded to infantry officers for distinguished service. Read more.

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1953 | 1966 | 1971 | 1973 | 1986 | 1988 | 1991 | 1994. Class Notes

Cannon ’86 Named NFL’s Salute to Service Award Recipient

Cannon ’86 Named NFL’s Salute to Service Award RecipientThe NFL and USAA, an official NFL Salute to Service partner, announced Steve Cannon ’86, CEO of AMB Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the Atlanta Falcons, as the recipient of the 2020 Salute to Serve Award presented by USAA. Cannon was selected for his countless efforts to honor and support members of the military community.

“It's not a coincidence the Atlanta Falcons have earned the Salute to Service Award four out of the last five years,” Cannon said. “That's just an incredible thing. Whenever you are selected for anything four out of the last five years, that means you're really committed to it. You're not paying lip service to it. To see all that we've done as an organization and then to pick up an award like that, that's just gravy. Couldn't be more thrilled about it.”

Since his arrival to Atlanta in 2016, Cannon has been committed to ensuring the Falcons' organization become the league's benchmark franchise for military outreach and appreciation. He has been recognized for his efforts for the last few years, including being the Falcons' nominee and a top three finalist for this award in 2019. Read more.

Salome ’94 Promoted to COO at Solutions 21

Salome ’94 Promoted to COO at Solutions 21Rob Salome has been promoted to the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Solutions 21. Salome’s military career and 27 years of leadership experience bring a unique perspective on what it takes to adapt to the information age, and he is not one to shy away from challenging situations. Salome has served in critical roles at the highest levels of government and is a decorated U.S. Army combat veteran. Story.

Selected DCA Clubs

Selected DCA ClubsThere are 138 Directorate of Cadet Activities Extracurricular Clubs, each contributing to leader development within the Corps of Cadets. Here are some highlighted clubs selected for us by the DCA Club team.


Sponsored by the Department of Social Sciences, the Debate Team is considered to be a “Dean’s Team.” In 1946, the team hosted the first National Debate Tournament, and has been an institution at West Point ever since. The team spends hours preparing arguments by researching supporting evidence from a multitude of resources, refining their rhetorical skills, and excelling within the Corps, with many members receiving both academic and military awards for their leadership. The Debate Team competes against other colleges and universities at tournaments across the country. Every member of the team understands that the policies they discuss will directly affect their lives as officers in the U.S. Army. Full story.

Don’t Miss Outstanding Career Opportunities

Virtual Service Academy Career ConferenceSACC is getting a makeover! While much is changing, you can count on the SACC to continue providing you with outstanding opportunities to connect with industry-leading employers as you navigate career transitions.

To enhance your virtual experience with employers during the SACC, we are excited to announce that we have partnered with Brazen - a leading online career fair platform for hosting virtual hiring events. Register now to join other grads online from February 22-26 for the first virtual SACC of the year. Click on the link to register: https://sacc-jobfair.com. If you have questions, email us at: careers@wpaog.org.

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1940 | 1953 | 1956 | 1958 | 1959 | 1960 | 1962 | 1968 | 1970 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1995 | 1998. Class Notes

General Officer Announcements

General Officer AnnouncementsThe following officers were confirmed by the Senate:

Major General Dennis S. McKean ’90 for appointment to the rank of Lieutenant General.

Brigadier General Sean C. Bernabe ’92 for promotion to the rank of Major General and assignment as Commanding General, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, Fort Bliss, TX.
Brigadier General Rodney J. Fischer ’92 to Commanding General (Troop Program Unit), 104th Training Division (Leader Training), Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA.

The Chief of Staff of the Army announces the following general officer assignment:

Major General Joseph P. McGee ’90 to Commanding General, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, Fort Campbell, KY.

Calling All Former DSE Faculty

Calling All Former DSE FacultyThe Department of Systems Engineering (DSE) is starting a Faculty Alumni Newsletter. They want to make sure that you can stay in the loop about, courses, research, and most importantly our outstanding cadets! If you worked in DSE at any point in your career, please fill out this form to be included in the Faculty Alumni Newsletter.

AOG Wins Four CASE District II Awards

AOG Wins Four CASE District II AwardsCongratulations to us! Our dedicated AOG team has earned four 2021 CASE District II Awards in the following categories:

GOLD: Special Events: Single Day - 2020 United States Military Academy Graduation Production and Video

GOLD: Communications Improvement - A Gateway to Engagement, WPAOG's Sallyport Platform

SILVER: Videos: General Information - Metals of Honor West Point Cadets Receive Their Class Rings

SILVER: Targeted Constituency Engagement - Long Gray Line Outreach Initiative

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) is the preeminent global non-profit association dedicated to educational advancement—alumni relations, communications, development, marketing, and advancement services—who share the goal of championing education to transform lives and society. District II is the largest CASE district.

BG Quander ’95 Named New Commandant of Cadets

BG Quander ’95 Named New Commandant of CadetsThe Chief of Staff of the Army announced that Brigadier General Mark C. Quander ’95 will be the next Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy. General Quander is an Engineer officer who has been a leader at the strategic and tactical levels. He has three combat deployments that include Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002 and 2011; Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007; and an earthquake humanitarian aid mission to Haiti as a part of Operation Unified Response in 2010.

He is currently serving as the Commandant of the U.S. Army Engineer School at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and will replace Brigadier General Curtis A. Buzzard later this year.

Joyce ’74 Releases “Postmarked West Point”

Joyce ’74 Releases “Postmarked West Point”Martin H. Joyce ’74 has released Postmarked West Point – A U.S. Postal History of West Point and its Graduates. This book is a comprehensive overview of how the Post Office Department and the U.S. Postal Service have told West Point’s story through postage stamps, postmarks, and Post Offices dedicated to West Point graduates.

It tells the history of West Point, illustrated with postage stamps, and shares the stories of the graduates featured on stamps. Postmarked West Point includes a brief history of the Post Office located on the Academy grounds since 1815, and how it has supported the Corps of Cadets for more than two hundred years. A section on the USS West Point, the fastest military transport ship during World War II, describes naval covers.

Postmarked West Point has been researched thoroughly and profusely illustrated in color. An extensive bibliography provides a starting point for future researchers. For history buffs, Postmarked West Point shows how stamps and the services provided by the Post Office at both the national and local levels honor the Academy and its graduates. For stamp collectors, it brings alive the stories behind the stamps, and how together they tell a much larger story exemplified by the West Point motto: Duty, Honor, Country. Available now on Amazon.

Ruther ’98 Featured in SIOR Quarterly Magazine

Ruther ’98 Featured in SIOR Quarterly MagazineBrad Ruther ’98 has been featured in the Winter 2020 edition of the SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office Realtors) Report. Each quarter SIOR goes beyond the transactions and the brokerage business to identify the true character and background that defines special members. Out of more than 3,460 members in 42 countries, SIOR Report highlights Ruther, the owner of Veterans Commercial Real Estate (VCRE).

Ruther was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Combat Infantry Badge in the Iraq War while commanding 150 soldiers, founded VCRE in 2013. Certified as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), VCRE also meets most major corporations’ supplier diversity requirements. VCRE is one of a handful of commercial-only brokerages in the United States to have earned the status from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Veterans Enterprise.

GEN(R) Austin III ’75 Sworn in as Defense Secretary

Austin ’75 Sworn in as Defense SecretaryGEN(R) Lloyd J. Austin III ’75 was confirmed by the Senate to be the 28th defense secretary.

“Secretary Austin is a trailblazer who has once again made history. His ability, integrity, and dynamic leadership earned him a place atop the Pentagon hierarchy. At every step of his career, he’s been a team builder and someone who focuses on the mission, leads by example, and gets the job done,” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said in a statement. Reed is the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Reed’s Republican counterpart on the committee, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, said he looks forward to working with Austin to support the Defense Department.

“Today’s vote to confirm Austin as secretary of defense sends a strong signal to all Americans, to our allies and partners, and, most significantly, to our potential adversaries that Congress is committed to strengthening national security,” Inhofe said. “We’ve got real work to do to make sure our military is properly resourced, trained, and equipped after doing too much with too little for too long.” Read more.

Buck ’71 Leading Community Disaster Relief

Buck ’71 Leading Community Disaster ReliefJim Buck ’71 has become involved in leading a community project in Clallam County, WA which would anticipate disaster relief community need requirements, in the case of a large earthquake. The project involves converting and pre-positioning MKT-99 Army surplus mobile kitchens into emergency feeding stations. Each of the 8 units procured could feed up to 600 people. Jim is chair of this Joyce Emergency Planning and Preparation project. Jim and his wife Maria visited Puerto Rico in 2017 to gather data with which to plan for this program. This pre-positioning would free up disaster aircraft to bring in more critical supplies when the emergency arises. Jim spent much of this last COVID summer working on and re-habbing the MKTs. The next step will be to identify local service groups that could operate the field kitchens so they can be set up as quickly as possible, and a final step will be to secure agreements with local food banks and stores to support the kitchen plan. Well done, Jim. Read more.

Sweetman ’73 Releases “The Loyal, True, and Brave”

Sweetman ’73 Releases “The Loyal, True, and Brave”Robert Sweetman ’73 has released the novel “The Loyal, True, and Brave” which covers the period between the battle of Chancellorsville and the culmination of the battle of Gettysburg as seen from the perspective of four Union soldiers. These four soldiers - General George Meade, General Winfield Hancock, General Daniel Sickles, and Sergeant Henry Taylor of the First Minnesota Infantry all contributed to the final outcome of the battle of Gettysburg. This novel is not your normal historical fiction. It sticks strictly to the facts and includes why things actually happened the way they did and not just what happened. It is more “historical” and less “fiction”.

COL (R) Renola ’40 - Oldest Living Grad

COL (R) Renola ’40 - Oldest Living GradCOL (R) Ray Renola ’40 is the oldest living graduate of West Point. There are 54,132 graduates of the academy still among us. Ray, at 104, is their elder statesman.

Ray Renola’s rise to West Point was a classic American tale. He was one of eight kids raised by Italian immigrant parents in a two-family in the West End of Providence, blocks from the Cranston Street Armory.

His dad, Antonio, laid city sidewalks, and then after hours changed out of his laborer clothes to run a tavern he opened off Atwells Avenue.

With that same work ethic, Ray performed well enough at Classical High to get into Brown.

But halfway through, in 1936, he left for West Point. That meant restarting four years of college, but Ray wanted to join its legendary “Long Gray Line.” Read more.

Happy Anniversary West Point Magazine!

Happy Anniversary West Point Magazine!This year marks the 10th Anniversary of West Point Magazine. The winter issue of 2021 celebrates years of history and stories about West Point and the connection to the Long Gray Line. The winter issue also covers - Fall Academics at West Point in the new COVID-19 safety environment, the 2020 Thayer Award Ceremony honoring Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, and Ring Weekend for the Class of 2021.

The West Point Magazine winter issue is in the mail.

Read the latest digital edition here: http://bit.ly/WPmagWinter21

WPAOG Announces 2021 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients

The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) has named the 2021 recipients of the

Distinguished Graduate Award. This annual 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 2021 Distinguished Graduate Award Recipients are:

Michael W. Wynne ’66
Randall M. Pais ’67
Thomas C. Shull ’73
Stanley A. McChrystal ’76
David M. Rodriguez ’76
Herbert Raymond (H.R.) McMaster Jr. ’84

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1959 | 1981 | 1986 | 1988 | 1995. Class Notes

Magness ’86, Fallin ’88, and Brennan ’88 Summit Mount Kilimanjaro

Magness ’86, Fallin ’88, and Brennan ’88 Summit Mount KilimanjaroJohn Magness ’86, Donald Fallin ’88, and James Brennan ’88 successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro in the early hours of January 15, 2021. The trio—known as “Team Johnny Mac”—undertook the expedition in conjunction with a crowdfunding effort to raise awareness and funds for the nonprofit Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund.

Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is one of the “Seven Summits” and the 4th highest in the world. It is Africa’s tallest peak, and the world’s highest single free-standing mountain. The summit, named Uhuru Peak, is 19,341 feet above sea level.

The three Old Grads traveled from various locations across the globe to Arusha, Tanzania where they met on January 8. After getting acquainted with their guide and making final packing and gear checks, they stepped off on January 10 on the 8-day Lemosho route to the summit.   Five days later—one day ahead of their schedule—they reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and posed for photos at the famous Uhuru Peak sign.

Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund is inspired by Colonel John “Johnny Mac” McHugh ’86 who was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan on May 18, 2010. Members of the Class of ’86 started the nonprofit in 2014 to honor military service and sacrifice by providing scholarships for military children of our nation’s fallen or combat disabled. The organization continues to be led and guided by ’86 classmates and has awarded over $20 million in scholarships and education programs since its 2014 founding.

Colonel (Retired) Don Fallin, the lead planner for the challenge, acknowledged supporters, including his West Point ’88 classmates, shortly before embarking on the Kilimanjaro trek.  “You can’t do anything by yourself; we have a great team behind us and we’re very fortunate to represent a great organization.”

Congratulations, Team Johnny Mac! Well done.

Hope ’81 New Leadership Executive Coach at ILEC

Hope ’81 New Leadership Executive Coach at ILECJohn Hope ’81 and wife Kristi are set to lead the new location Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching (ILEC) is opening in Nashville. The Hopes will provide leadership coaching and leadership development programs to build strong cultures in businesses of all sizes and types, from Fortune 500 companies to small and medium-sized businesses. They intend to Lead with Hope in 2021 and beyond by helping others evolve into strong leaders that organizations need to rebuild their teams and sustain their future.

The Hopes will assist businesses by aiding in the development of both their emerging and existing leaders, such as C-level executives, vice presidents, mid-level managers and emerging leaders, making Nashville a destination for leadership and cultural transformation retreats. They both bring with them extensive experience to their new business. John Hope is a retired Colonel, served four combat tours and two multi-national force peace keeping tours, also receiving a Purple Heart.

“John and I are excited to begin this next chapter in our lives by joining the ILEC family,” said Kristi Hope, co-owner of the new ILEC franchise, “ILEC offers us an opportunity to work together in our adopted hometown doing something we’re passionate about and enable us to pay forward the knowledge and lessons we’ve learned in our careers to the leaders that we’ll be coaching.”

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1945 | 1959 | 1962 | 1986 | 1995 | 1996. Class Notes

Cannon ’86 Named Finalist for NFL’s Salute to Service Award

Cannon ’86 Named Finalist for NFL’s Salute to Service AwardSteve Cannon ’86 is one of three finalists for the NFL’s 10th annual Salute to Service Award presented by USAA. The award recognizes exceptional efforts to honor and support members of the military community.

Cannon is the CEO of AMB Sports & Entertainment, which includes the Atlanta Falcons. He is co-founder of the nonprofit organization Johnny Mac Soldiers Fund, a Class of ’86 initiative to honor military service and sacrifice by providing scholarships to children of our nation's fallen or disabled. Steve’s leadership on the Johnny Mac board of directors has propelled the organization to award over $20 million in scholarships in less than 7 years.

He is involved in several other military support endeavors.

The Salute to Service Award recipient will be recognized at NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally the Saturday before Super Bowl LV. Read more.

WPAOG’s Class Ring Memorial Program

WPAOG’s Class Ring Memorial ProgramThis year is the 21st Anniversary of WPAOG’s Class Ring Memorial Program and 52 West Point class rings were donated. These 52 rings will be reconnected to the Long Gray Line as the metal from these rings is transformed into legacy gold next month for the Class of 2022. The Class Ring Memorial Program, also known as the Ring Melt, will take place virtually with a live stream broadcast from Ike Hall at West Point on YouTube. The link for the live stream will be posted at a later date.

WPAOG is sharing a few of the stories behind the rings and the West Point Grads who wore them as we get closer to the day of the Ring Melt program on February 12, 2021.

One of the 52 Rings was worn by Mr. Paul S. Ache Jr. Class of 1950. His son, Mr. Paul Ache III donated his father's ring to the program because “the only fitting place for the metal in my father’s ring is on the finger of someone who has earned it.” Ache was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He graduated from the Academy in 1950 with a commission in the Regular Army in the Armor Branch. Ache was an exceptional Army officer, as evidenced by his accelerated promotion to first lieutenant and his early appointment as commanding officer of Company C, 6th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Straubing, Germany.

After the Army, Ache received a Master of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and worked at several major oil companies. He continued to be an avid patriot his entire life. He was instrumental in the formation of the Korean War Memorial at the Presido in San Francisco, California. He wanted to ensure that the memory and sacrifices of his classmates and fellow soldiers would never be forgotten. Ache passed away on March 19, 2017.

Read more about West Point Grad Mr. Paul S. Ache Jr. on his memorial page.

Learn more about Class Ring Memorial Program and how West Point Grad, LTC (R) Ron Turner ’58 came up with the idea for this program in 1999: https://www.westpointaog.org/RingMemorialProgram.

Eisiminger ’84 Named President and CEO at Regenesis Biomedical

Mr. Tom Eisiminger, Jr. ’84Mr. Tom Eisiminger, Jr. has been unanimously elected as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Regenesis Biomedical, Inc. by their Board of Directors.

Tom Eisiminger has been with Regenesis Biomedical for 14 years leading the sales efforts. Tom served in successive leadership roles culminating in his most recent position as Vice President of Sales.  Tom served our country for 20+ years and is a decorated combat veteran. Tom is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and the Disabled American Veterans. He is a veteran’s advocate and serves as President of the Veterans Medical Leadership Council (VMLC) and is a member of the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) – Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah chapter.

“I look forward to leading Regenesis towards accelerated growth with our team of dedicated colleagues,” says CEO Tom Eisiminger. “To accomplish growth and market expansion, we will focus on these key value drivers: Clinical evidence, new FDA-cleared indications, intellectual property, and product development. I am pleased that the current senior management team will continue in the new leadership structure.”

Class Notes Updates This Week

Class Notes Updates This WeekThe following classes have added updates this week to their Class Notes pages. 1953 | 1959 | 1961 | 1969 | 1973 | 1974 | 1983 | 1993. Class Notes

Eggleston ’61 Publishes “The Irish Brigade and the Corcoran Legion in the Civil War”

Mike Eggleston ’61 has published a new book entitled The Irish Brigade and the Corcoran Legion in the Civil War. This history tells the story of two brigades that fought in the American Civil War: the Irish Brigade and the Corcoran Legion. Most of the soldiers in these units were Irish immigrants who left Ireland as a result of the Great Famine (1845-1849). This book covers the Civil War battles fought by these brigades where they served in the eastern theater of the war. Their campaigns are described in the Civil War battles (1861-1865). At  times the brigades served in different campaigns, but in the final years of the war they were together in the same corps. Each relevant Civil War battle is summarized including details of the specific participation of the Irish Brigade and the Corcoran Legion. The history also describes the participation of discharged Irish soldiers after the war from both the North and the South who participated in raids and uprising to free Ireland from British rule. The initial chapters also provide the history of earlier risings against the British such as the New Irelander Rebellion of 1848. Finally, biographies of key participants are included.

Happy New Year from WPAOG!

Happy New Year from WPAOG!Because of you, 2020 was another successful, resilient, and inspiring year supporting West Point and Margin of Excellence programs. It takes all of us to make this possible, and we thank you for your participation!