WPAOG Hosts 24th Annual Class Ring Memorial Program

Categories: Ring Memorial Program, Cadet News, Grad News
Class Years:

The West Point Association of Graduates’ Class Ring Memorial Program, more commonly known as “the Ring Melt,” was held in Eisenhower Hall on Friday, January 19, 2024. This year’s event boasted the highest number of ring donors in the program’s history, with family members and guests attending and many more watching the event through WPAOG’s livestream

Eighty-eight West Point rings, with the oldest being from the Class of 1913 and the newest being from the Class of 2005, were placed into a stone crucible, then melted down to form a gold ingot bar. The bar was presented over from Class of 2025 Class President Cadet Katherine LaReau, to WPAOG President & CEO COL (R) Mark Bieger ’91. He presented the bar to a representative of the Herff Jones Ring Company so that the gold it contains can be mixed with new gold to form the class rings for the Class of 2025.

Since the inaugural Ring Melt ceremony 24 years ago, which began with the Bicentennial Class of 2002, 895 West Point class rings have been generously donated to be included in the “Legacy Gold.” After each melt, a small amount of gold, the “Legacy Gold,” has been preserved to be added to each subsequent year’s Ring Melt. The Class of 2025 will be receiving class rings this August that contain gold from all the donated rings dating back to 1896.

In 2022, the Class of 1966 made a generous gift ensuring that the Class Ring Memorial Program will continue in perpetuity for future generations of the Long Gray Line. This significant legacy endowment, created in Memory of the Fallen Brothers of the Class of 1966, serves to honor their service, sacrifice and valor.

When Ron Turner ’58 proposed the idea of a “Ring Memorial Program” in the May/June 1999 edition of ASSEMBLY magazine, he wrote, “Hopefully, this program will make West Point class rings of the future even more meaningful than those of the past.” Twenty-four years later, his vision is a reality, and the members of the Class of 2025 will don their “bold mold of [melted] gold” courtesy of WPAOG’s Class Ring Memorial Program.

List of Donors

Class of 2025 Ring Memorial Donor Listing

1913 MG Douglass T. Greene USA, Retired
1923 BG Glen C. Jamison USAF, Retired
1924 COL Harold J. Keeley USA, Retired
1927 MG Philip D. Ginder USA, Retired
1940 COL Francis J. Crown USA, Retired
1941 BG Lawrence V. Greene USA, Retired
1941 BG Michael J. L. Greene USA, Retired
1942 COL Edgar B. Colladay USA, Retired
1945 Col William B. Craig USAF, Retired
1945 COL Donald E. Fowler USA, Retired
1945 COL William R. Guthrie USA, Retired
1945 Mr. Dwight A. Riley Jr.
1946 COL James H. W. Inskeep USA, Retired
1946 COL Theodore J. Lepski USA, Retired
1946 LTC Malcolm E. MacDonald USA, Retired
1946 COL Joseph P. Pepe USA, Retired
1947 MG John C. Faith USA, Retired
1947 BG Tom J. Perkins USA
1948 Mr. George M. Edwards Jr.
1949 Col Lewis M. Jamison USAF, Retired
1949 LTC Stephens W. Nunnally USA, Retired
1950 Col Frank Borman USAF, Retired
1950 1LT Thomas P. Greene USA
1950 COL Richard G. Hoffman USA, Retired
1950 COL David S. Meredith III USA, Retired
1951 Mr. James A. Keeley
1951 LTC Robert W. Milburn USA, Retired
1951 Lt Col Thomas H. Williams USAFR, Retired
1952 COL Robert S. Holmes USA, Retired
1952 COL Herbert D. Vogel Jr. USA, Retired
1953 LTC Samuel H. Fisher Jr. USA, Retired
1954 Col Harry W. Emrick USAF, Retired
1954 Dr. Robert E. Fromm
1954 Mr. Paul R. Jenkins Jr.
1954 COL Jack R. Logan USA, Retired
1954 Mr. Andrew J. Maloney Jr.
1954 COL Edwin E. Passmore USA, Retired
1955 Mr. Kenneth L. Donaldson
1955 LTC Clifford J. Fralen USA, Retired
1955 Lt Col James E. Seay USAF, Retired
1956 Col Dennis L. Butler USAF, Retired
1956 Mr. Robert D. Randall
1957 Mr. Thomas W. Keeley
1957 COL William B. Seely USA, Retired



WPAOG Class Ring Memorial Program- Rebecca RoseRps-006

Keeping a Father’s Legacy Alive

Keeping a Father’s Legacy Alive

By Erika Norton, WPAOG Staff

2024 Ring Melt

Every West Point class ring allows the legacies of the Long Gray Line to live on, but for Cadet Dennis “Ricky” McMahon IV ’25, his ring will ensure his father’s legacy and memory are always close at hand.

Ricky’s father, West Point Class of 1985 graduate Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. McMahon, died in a plane crash in Afghanistan on November 27, 2004, where he was serving as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. After his passing, Michael’s class ring was donated to the Cadet Library Ring Display in 2014, but through WPAOG’s Class Ring Memorial Program, a chip of gold was carefully removed and added to the Legacy Gold, which will be used to make the Class of 2025’s rings, including Ricky’s ring.

A total of 88 donated West Point class rings were placed into a stone crucible during the 2024 Ring Melt ceremony earlier this year, where they were then melted down to be used to make the Class of 2025’s rings.

According to Ricky, the ceremony was not only an opportunity for him to connect with his father, but with his mother as well. Together, both Ricky and his mom, Colonel Retired Jeanette McMahon, a West Point Class of 1983 graduate and Gold Star spouse, placed the piece of Michael’s ring into the crucible during the ceremony.

2024 Ring Melt

“I think it’s kind of amazing that I’ll have that piece in my own ring,” Ricky said. “I really think the whole ceremony itself, the meaning behind it can’t be overemphasized. The connection these families have to that ring, it’s not just a piece of metal to them. Oftentimes it can be one of the last things they have of their loved one, and it’s everything that they hold dear. So their donation is incredibly impactful.”

Jeanette shared her thoughts after the Ring Melt ceremony:

“It was so meaningful,” she said. “Though his [Michael’s] piece was a little piece, when I sat and heard about the 87 other rings that were donated, it made me realize that all of the graduates, we all have our own unique stories and so many families have so many legacies. But to be a part of that bigger family, that’s huge. So it was great to be able to honor his memory and his piece of the bigger West Point story.”

Ricky and Jeanette have honored Michael during other milestone events along Ricky’s West Point journey.

2024 Fallen Comrades Half Marathon
Photo by Eric S. Bartelt, USMA PAO

This past summer, Ricky was involved in Taskforce McMahon for an Air Assault detail in honor and memory of his father.

“The main focus for us was that every day, you don’t want to go through the motions,” Ricky said. “You want to be focused on the details and care, because that eventually builds the habits that let you get people that you care about home. So for myself, the loss of my father is less of a pain, and now more of a support in helping me try and mentor others using that experience.”

Michael McMahon was also among the West Point graduates honored at the 2024 Fallen Comrades Half Marathon at West Point in March. Approximately 700 participants conquered the 13.1-mile course in remembrance of 13 fallen West Point graduates.

According to Jeanette, Michael was a superb runner himself, so she understands how much resilience and grit it takes to prepare for endurance events. She delivered an inspiring opening message to the runners before the start of the race.

“During your run, I encourage you all to think about how you will respond to the losses you will encounter as leaders in the Army, and how you will take the resilience you have for endurance races and channel that into life in general when times are tough,” Jeanette said. “Mike would expect you all to carry on his tradition of caring for Soldiers and Families in the manner taught to him during his time at West Point: to live the Army Values, to honor the fallen, and to keep ‘Duty, Honor, and Country’ close to your heart in everything you do.”

“Three, two, one, GO!”

The Legacy Greene Family Adds to the Legacy Gold

The Legacy Greene Family Adds to the Legacy Gold

By Desrae Gibby ’91, WPAOG Staff

During the Ring Melt for the Class of 2025, one family generously donated not one, not two, not three, but four rings, which, thanks to the West Point Association of Graduates Class Ring Memorial Program’s Legacy Gold, will continue to inspire future graduates for generations to come.

The Greene family’s legacy includes at least 12 West Point graduates and stretches across five generations, from Colonel Lewis D. Greene, Class of 1878, to Lieutenant Colonel Christian H. Fellows, Class of 1993. The oldest ring donated to this year’s Ring Melt belonged to Major General Douglass T. Greene, Class of 1913, the son of Colonel Lewis Greene. Gold from these rings was added to the Legacy Gold and will be used to make the Class of 2025’s class rings.

Douglass Greene (1913)

After graduation, Douglass Greene headed to Fort Shafter, Hawaii and the 2nd Infantry Division for his first assignment. From 1918 to 1922, he was a tactical officer at the United States Military Academy while Brigadier General MacArthur was Superintendent. In his nearly 33 years of military service, Douglass was a commanding general three times, for the 16th Armored Division (AD) from 1943 to 1944, for the 12th AD, and for the Infantry Replacement Training Center at Camp Gordon, Georgia from 1944 to 1945. He also served as the deputy commander of Second Army, located then in Memphis, Tennessee. After retiring from the military, he was director of athletics for Drexel Institute, but he continued to connect with fellow West Point graduates. He was president of the West Point Society of Philadelphia for four years (1946-50) and was active in it until his death. He was also vice president of the Class of 1913 (1953-58). Douglass valued his membership in the Long Gray Line and treasured his family’s legacy. He was the son and son-in-law of West Point graduates and the father of three West Point graduates. The other three Greene family rings melted down to be added to all future West Point rings were from his sons.

Lawrence Greene, Class of 1941, was a flanker (6 feet, 2 inches and 210 pounds) in A Company; Michael Joseph Lenihan Greene, his younger brother and classmate, was a runt (5 feet, 7 inches and 110 pounds) in G Company and became known as “the little man with a big name,” having been named after his maternal grandfather, Brigadier General Michael J. Lenihan, Class of 1887. During their plebe year, when Lawrence visited his brother’s company, the upperclassman would stand on a chair to haze him; when Michael went to Lawrence’s company, the upperclassman would put him on a chair to haze him. Lawrence played football, basketball, and lacrosse. In an era before women were admitted to West Point, Michael acted in the 100th Night Shows, often as a female lead (once as Cleopatra).

Lawrence Greene ’41

Lawrence Greene

Lawrence was born in Washington, DC in 1917. He lived the normal “Army brat” life, moving around the country from West Point to Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and then Camp Meade, Maryland; enjoying it all. After graduating from high school, Lawrence enlisted in the Pennsylvania National Guard in 1936. He served a year as a private in the 103rd Engineer Regiment before receiving an appointment to West Point. After graduation, the war took him to Northern Ireland, England, North Africa, and Italy—and his final assignment was as J-1 for the Military Assistance Command-Vietnam. At the weekly briefings for the MACV commander, he sat next to his younger brother, who also was stationed in Saigon. They were known as “Big Greene” and “Little Greene.” Lawrence retired as a brigadier general on August 1, 1971 after completing 30 years of distinguished service. His decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, two Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star, and Army Commendation Medal. He died in Atlantic Beach, Florida on November 15, 2006 after a brief illness.

Michael Greene ’41

Michael Greene

Michael was born at West Point in 1919 on the Fourth of July and is now laid to rest there next to his parents and brothers. During World War II, Michael was awarded the Silver Star (for his action in the Battle of the Bulge), the Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart. Michael was connected to many United States Military Academy graduates. He was the grandson of two, brother of two, son, son-in-law, father-in-law, and grandfather of a USMA graduate and had a son who is a Naval Academy graduate. His second tour in Vietnam he served as ADC, 25th Infantry Division. His final assignment was as CG HQ Area Command, Saigon. Michael always stayed connected to the Long Gray Line and served as president of the local West Point Society for one term. For many years, he served as executive secretary of the society. He also served as executive director of Army Distaff Hall in DC; a military retirement facility now known as Knollwood. For many years he was the president of his West Point Class of 1941 and served in that position until his death. He was also chairman of the West Point Centennials Program for over 15 years.

Thomas Patrick Greene ’50

Thomas “Pat” Patrick was born at Fort Leavenworth on January 10, 1929, the sixth son of then Major and Mrs. Douglass T. Greene. He graduated in 1950 and then served in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, covering the withdrawal through Hungnam, where Pat was the last officer off the beach. He was back into the line again in the drive up the peninsula during the middle of January. On February 10, 1951, while leading his platoon (part of the leading elements of the regiment) against the Walled City of Korea, Pat went to the assistance of his lead scouts who were pinned down by fire and, while covering their withdrawal, was instantly killed. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for his part in this action as he fearlessly drew enemy attention to him. Lieutenant Greene was mortally wounded by a sniper’s bullet. His citation reads: “For gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force while serving with Company C, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division, in action against the enemy in Korea in 1951. His gallant actions and dedicated devotion to duty, without regard for his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.”

Being a part of West Point’s highly connected alumni body is like being adopted into a legacy family like the Greene’s. Now, the Class of 2025 and future graduates will have a tangible reminder of this connectedness of the Long Gray Line and the generosity of the Greene family every time they look at their rings.

The other Greene family West Point graduates are on Michael’s in-law side: Colonel Leo Conner (Class of 1917), General Paul D. Harkins (Class of 1929), and Colonel Leslie Carter (Class of 1948). Michael’s sons-in-law are Colonel Michael H. Fellows (Class of 1968) and Lieutenant Colonel Stanley R. Gray (Class of 1972). Ten other descendants of Lewis Greene served during this same time but were not West Point graduates. From Lewis Greene’s entry as a plebe in 1874 until Major Lawrence Greene’s current service as a Marine officer represents 150 years of continuous active duty.

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Ring Memorial Program

In 1999, LTC(R) Ron Turner ’58 submitted an article with the suggestion that “We, as graduates of West Point, should establish a Memorial Class Ring Program… whereby graduates may bequeath (or graduates’ descendants may donate) West Point class rings for the specific purpose of incorporating the gold into the class rings of future graduates.” Turner’s idea became a reality as 31 rings were melted at the Herff Jones company, and the Class of 2002 became the first to receive the gold from this historic undertaking in their rings. A small portion of each year’s gold ingot is preserved and added to the rings that are being melted for the following year’s Ring Melt. The gold shavings are known as the Legacy Gold because it contains gold from every ring that has been donated over the years.

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