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Remembering & Honoring the Vietnam War 50 Years Later

Category: Grad News
Class Years:

This episode of the WPAOG Podcast features a conversation with COL (R) Berry Morton M.D. ’66 and LTC (R) Alan Nason ’66.

In this episode, COL (R) Morton and LTC (R) Nason talk about their highlights from attending West Point, their experiences serving in the Vietnam War, and how the West Point Class Ring Memorial Program contributes to the continued legacy of the Long Gray Line.

After graduating from the United States Military Academy, COL (R) Morton commissioned in the Corps of Engineers, completed Airborne and Ranger training, and had a succession of overseas assignments in Germany, Vietnam, and Cambodia. He earned his Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Purdue University and attended Medical School at Indiana University, graduating with his Doctorate of Medicine. He trained at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, becoming the Plastic Surgery Department Chairman and Residency Program Director. Currently, COL (R) Morton serves on several Boards, including the West Point Class of ’66 Board of Directors.

“West Point becomes a crucible where you all, similar to the gold of the rings, you all kind of get melted down and rebuilt, in a sense. You come in with values and those values are strong. You come in with your brains operational and your brain gets enhanced, I’m sure, while you’re there. But, you all still get, in a sense, melted down and rebuilt in a particular mold with your own personality showing through here and there. And you all share the same trials and tribulations. You went through plebe chemistry together, and you survived. You lived through it. It wasn’t going to kill you, although you thought it would when you’re doing it. And so, you come out with, I think, similar values. Some may be stronger to some folks than others, and certain values may have different weight to different people. But I think as a whole we came out, not remolded, but enhanced, maybe would be a better word. We came out enhanced for the opportunity and the experience that we all went through.”

—LTC (R) Alan Nason

LTC (R) Nason also went to Airborne and Ranger School after graduating from West Point. In Vietnam, he served as the American Advisor to the 43rd Vietnamese Ranger Battalion in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. He received a Master of Science degree from Akron University and a Doctor of Education degree from Virginia Tech.

Episode Timestamps

(02:29) The West Point Class Ring Memorial Program
(09:06) The idea of the Ring Melt
(18:52) The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
(20:11) Attending West Point in 1962
(23:23) Highlights from the academy
(26:33) Experiences in Vietnam
(35:44) How service shaped their lives
(38:14) Lessons learned from West Point
(47:10) The legacy of the Long Gray Line

Links

Class of ’66 Legacy video
Class of ’24 Ring Melt video
Learn more about the Class Ring Memorial Program
LTC (R) Dave Siry’s LinkedIn

“I credit the academy with really preparing me to make life decisions in an effective way and to be an effective person and citizen. And, that’s a pretty satisfying thing. So, you know, I could go on but I don’t think I need to. I believe that’s it. I think it’s an incredible school. I will add one thing and that is, there is a propensity by people who had a difficult time in the thirties, forties, fifties, sixties and seventies, maybe eighties, to somehow feel that it’s not adequately rigorous at this point. I would actually posit the other way. I think it’s harder. I’m not sure, if I was finishing high school today, that I’d be able to get an appointment. And the cadets that I’ve met are very impressive. The faculty that I’ve met is very skilled and very knowledgeable, and the leadership is first class as well, and that’s right across the board.”

—COL (R) Berry Morton M.D.

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The WPAOG Podcast is a strategic initiative focused on tailored audible communications to further inform Graduates on current AOG projects, events, and USMA updates. This customized content is mainly for USMA Alumni and the West Point Community solely produced by the West Point Association of Graduates. The Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Audible, Google Podcasts, and iHeartRadio.

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