Class of 1974 50-Year Affiliates attend Class of 2024 Commencement Ceremony

Category: Grad News
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The purpose of the 50-Year Affiliation Program, which began with the Class of 1949 and 1999, is to strengthen the ties between the graduates of yesterday and the cadets of today as both groups work together to strengthen the Long Gray Line as it serves our nation.

The Class of 1974 started their journey with the Class of 2024 July 12-14, 2020 during a staggered R-Day due to Covid restrictions. Over the next four years, the grads accompanied their affiliated cadets at a multitude of significant Academy events such as Cow Affirmation Ceremony, Ring Weekend, Ring Memorial program, and Branch Night.

The two classes will “Grip Hands” for one last academy event during the Class of 2024 commencement ceremony on May 25, 2024 where the Class of 1974 will be in attendance to present graduates with their 2LT bars, each engraved with “74-24.”

LTC (R) Gary J. Anderson 74

COL (R) Greg Gardner 74

Greg, an alumnus of Company I-1, had two careers following his graduation from USMA with a BS in Electrical Engineering. His first was a career as an Infantry Officer, retiring in 2004 as a Colonel with 30 years of commissioned service. Greg’s military assignments included leadership positions in infantry, airborne, and ranger units and command of the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, and the 3rd United States Infantry (The Old Guard).  He continues to serve The Old Guard as Honorary Colonel. Greg’s military staff assignments included service as Operations Officer, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division (Light) during Operation JUST CAUSE in Panama, G3, 25th Infantry Division (Light) in Hawaii, Executive Officer to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Command, and Chief of Staff, Ministry of National Security and Defense, Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq. During his final military assignment, Greg was responsible for Joint Command and Control in the Command, Control, Communications, and Computers Directorate of the Joint Staff. There he developed the prototype of the Joint Protected Enterprise Network (JPEN) that enables force protection information to be securely shared amongst Defense Department organizations. Upon his retirement Greg began his second career at Oracle Corporation where for five years he was Vice President of Homeland Security Solutions & Public Sector Strategy while also serving as a consultant to the Defense Science Board. From 2009-2011, Greg entered the Senior National Intelligence Service as Deputy Chief Information Officer for the United States Intelligence Community. In that role, he assisted Community leadership in developing the information systems that enable our integrated, agile intelligence enterprise.  A portion of his time at DNI was spent in Afghanistan. In 2011, Greg returned to the private sector and for 10 years was NetApp’s Chief Architect for Defense and Intelligence.  During this period, Greg served on the Federal Government’s Big Data, Cloud, and Technology Convergence Commissions. He was appointed to the Army Science Board in 2019. Greg holds Master’s Degrees in Industrial Relations / Personnel Management from The Krannert School, Purdue University, Military Art and Science from the Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies, and Strategy and Policy from the Naval War College. Greg earned a PhD in IT Management from Capella University (Dissertation: The Lived Experience of Smartphones in a Unit of the U.S. Army). He served as an Adjunct Professor in the Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University for over a decade and is a Certified Information Security Systems Professional. COL Gardner retired for good and hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2021 (Trail Name: Wingnut) accompanied by his wife, Liz Cross, PhD (Trail Name: Fox Girl). Along with a number of his classmates, Greg participated in the Class of ’24 Affirmation Ceremony and committed his ring to the melt as a symbol of the bond between the 50-year classes of 1974 & 2024.

Stephen D. Marino 74

COL (R) John R. Martin 74

John R. Martin most recently worked as the Senior Advisor to the Army North Commanding General in Fort Sam Houston, TX, from June 2020 to June 2021.  Prior to that, he was Vice President of Security for Occidental Petroleum, working there from 2010 to 2014. John’s responsibility at Oxy was the security portfolio – including strategic analysis, operational planning and tactical oversight – which he executed from his base in Washington, DC. John served on active duty in the U.S. Army for almost 33 years, including the dubious distinction of being recalled from retirement to active duty three times, with the latest term of service in Army North (Fifth Army), the Army command that oversaw the military’s response to the COVID pandemic. John complemented his uniformed duties with service as an Army civilian employee with the Strategic Studies Institute in Carlisle, PA, and with the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction in Arlington, VA. John has written or edited numerous publications, including “Hard Lessons: The Iraq Reconstruction Experience.”  While in uniform, John served extensively in Korea and at the Pentagon.  His operational experience also includes deployments to Kosovo (1999), Bosnia (1999-2000), Afghanistan (2002) and Iraq (2003, 2005, 2007). John served both as an Infantry officer and as an Aviation officer for the Army. As a member of the great Class of 1974, John received a bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He also earned a master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1982 and master’s degrees in National Security Affairs from the Naval War College (with highest distinction, 1988) and the National War College (1996).  John is also a 1984 graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, MD. In what passes for retirement for him, Colonel Martin remains active unofficially helping Cadet Candidates navigate the application process for West Point. He also volunteers as the Fundraising Chair for his West Point Class’s 50th Reunion Gift Fund and as Chair of the 1974 Distinguished Graduate Award Nominating Committee. 

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