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.
(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