Update Your Profile

Stay up to date with all West Point news and stay connected with fellow grads


Update your Register Entry

Cullum Files

historical records

Class Notes

login required, available to graduates & widows

Class of 2016 Ring Melt

The Golden Gift

Traditionally, crystal is the gift associated with a 15-year anniversary, but at the 15th annual West Point Association of Graduate’s West Point Class Ring Memorial Melt ceremony, held on Monday at Pease & Curren, Inc., in Warwick, RI, the gift was gold. It has always been gold.

Since 2001, gold from West Point class rings has been donated, melted and later added to the rings of next year’s First Class cadets. This year, the Class of 2016 received gold from 34 West Point class rings, the oldest belonging to LTC (R) Reeve Douglas Keiler from the Class of 1924. In addition, they received a class ring belonging to LTC (R) John Hamilton Boyd III from the Class of 1966, which is the Class of 2016’s 50-Year Affiliation Class. View Photos on Flickr | View Photos on Facebook

LTC (R) Ron Turner ’58 developed the idea for the Ring Melt in 1999, believing that such a program would provide a tangible as well as symbolic link between the members of the Long Gray Line. “Hopefully, this program will make West Point class rings of the future more meaningful than those of the past,” Turner wrote in the May/June 1999 issue of ASSEMBLY, “because all the new rings will contain traces of the rings of West Pointers who have gone before.” Click here to watch the video.

These traces come from gold shavings that are added to the crucible at the end of the ceremony. The shavings are drilled from the ingot formed at last year’s Ring Melt and include gold dating back to the inaugural one. Because of this annual process, the rings for the Class of 2016 will have gold once belonging to Colonel Percy Myers Kessler, Class of 1896, who fought in the Philippine Insurrection; gold from the ring of 1LT Frank S. Reasoner ’62, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam; gold that was taken into space by Astronaut (Colonel) Bill McArthur ’73 on NASA’s 100th mission, and gold worn by eight 4-star generals—in total, gold representing 356 West Point Graduates.

All the rings and shavings were melted in a 2,300-degree-Fahrenheit furnace to create a single gold bar, representing the service and sacrifice of all the graduates who once wore the gold. In presenting this gold bar to 2016’s class officers (who then turned it over to a representative of Jostens, which will manufacturer their class rings), WPAOG and all the ring donors ensured that the tradition of “Duty, Honor, Country” will remain in the gold of the next generation of the Long Gray Line. There’s a feat that crystal could have never pulled off.

 

Class of 2016 Ring Memorial Donor Listing

 

Memorial Ring Program Archive by Class Year

Program Founder | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020