One more anniversary this week … 47 years ago today … 6-7-67 … my West Point class graduated … and went off to make its mark in the world.
There is good reason to conclude that the class lived up to its motto … “None Will Surpass” … with ’67 grads excelling in their military careers and civilian endeavors after leaving the Army … or, for three of us, the Navy!
For today, though, I just want to remember … through representative photos … what an experience it was for me to be a West Point cadet from July 1, 1963, until June 7, 1967.
Company I-2, Class of 1967 Plebes
Among my I-2 classmates were my two best friends, Jim Vance (3rd row, 2nd from left), who nearly four years later introduced me to my wife-to-be, Sandy Douglas, and Dick Waterman (upper left corner).
With Candy Sayes at the Thayer Hotel, Christmas 1963
On October 19, 1963, another classmate and good friend, Tom “Trey” Sayes, introduced me to his younger sister, Candy. We dated throughout the rest of plebe year … and, after her family moved to Oklahoma the following year, saw each other rarely … and finally drifted apart. We saw each other one last time in July 1967, while I was on graduation leave … then not again until exactly 43 years to the day of our first meeting … October 19, 2006 … when I drove to Colorado to see her again … as they say, the rest is history … and we have been back together ever since.
Company I-2, Class of 1967 Yearlings
By yearling (sophomore) year, we were more relaxed … and a smaller group, several of our company mates having departed.
Door to My Room 5243, November 28, 1964
I was a rabid Army football fan and festooned the door to my room … and the surrounding walls … with support for the team … and, along with the rest of the Corps of Cadets, enjoyed Army’s 11-8 win over Navy in the 1964 game … the winning margin of which came by way of a field goal by my classmate Barry Nickerson.
In April of 1965, near the end of Yearling year, my family visited West Point … and my Mom took this picture of me … my favorite of all of my West Point photos …
Photo after Parade, April 17, 1965
As a plebe, I had run on the plebe cross-country, indoor track and track & field teams … but was not good enough to compete intercollegiately as an upperclassman. As a result, I participated in intramural athletics … including football …
… and wrestling …
Scoring 2 points in a Brigade Open Intramural Wrestling match, March 8, 1966
Eventually, as a first classman (senior), I was the coach of the company intramural football and wrestling teams … and finally was designated Athletic Sergeant for the company … my official rank upon graduation.
Company D-2, Class of 1967 Cows
Between our yearling and “cow” (junior) years, the corps was re-organized from two regiments to four … and we were re-assigned to new companies. I was assigned to Company D-2 and housed in the old Central Barracks (which were later demolished to make room for new cadet barracks). Among my D-2 classmates were my roommates our last 2 years as cadets … Bob Unterbrink (front row, third from left, next to me) … and Rob Walker (4th row, right end).
Company D-2, Class of 1967 Firsties
Two of my D-2 company mates went on to become Army generals … Chuck Sutten, (front row, 4th from right, directly in front of me) … and Ed Smith (2nd row, 4th from left). Note in this picture Arnie Cano (from Panama) … holding in his right hand a small lizard!
First class (senior) year marked the beginning of our transition from cadets to officers … starting with receipt of our rings …
Ring Hop, September 10, 1966, with my date Gail McGahren
During the 1966 football season, Army played the California Golden Bears in Berkeley … providing me with the opportunity to visit for the first time Cal’s Memorial Stadium …
California Golden Bears, Memorial Stadium, Student Section
… a place I would later visit many times and grow to love as a fan of the Cal Bears myself (after #1 son attended Cal and worked as a student manager for the football team). Army beat the Bears 6-3 in the 1966 game!
Another major milestone came in March of 1967, when we were allowed to receive delivery of our new cars … mine a maroon with white top 1967 Corvette convertible …
My 1967 Corvette — “So Rare, Too”
Then came June Week … the traditional celebration of a graduating class of West Point cadets. The day before graduation, we had an academic award ceremony … at which I received the “Colonial Daughters of the 17th Century Award” as Honor Graduate (First in Class) for the Department of English …
Mrs. Marshall I. Groff presenting Colonial Daughters of the 17 Century Award
.. the night before graduation, we had our graduation hop …
Graduation Hop, June 6, 1967, with my date Jessica Poulson
… and then graduation day itself … and my swearing in as a newly commissioned United States Navy ensign … a whole other story for another time!
Being Sworn in by US Navy LCDR C. A. Sorenson
With Dad (GMCM Lawrence J. Reilly, USN (Ret)) and Mom (Marion Thomas Reilly) After Swearing In
And … finally … graduation …
USMA Class of 1967 Standing for National Anthem, Graduation Ceremony, June 7, 1967
… and liberation!
Ring Hop Photo September 10, 1966
USMA Class of 1967 Senior Portrait
USMA 1967 Howitzer (Yearbook) Photo