West Point, June 7, 1967 …


West Point 1967 Crest on whiteOne 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.

West Point Crest enamel

Company I-2, Class of 1967 Plebes

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

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.

Co I-2, Class of 1967 Yearlings

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

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

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 …

USMA 1967 Intramural Football D-2 Card… and wrestling …

Brigade Open Intramural Wrestling, March 8, 1966

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

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

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

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

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"

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

Mrs. Marshall I. Groff presenting Colonial Daughters of the 17 Century Award

.. the night before graduation, we had our graduation hop …

Graduation Hop photo with my date Jessica Poulson

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

Being Sworn in by US Navy LCDR C. A. Sorenson

With Mom & Dad After Swearing In  --  GMCM Lawrence J. Reilly, USN (Ret) and Marion Thomas Reilly

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

USMA Class of 1967 Standing for National Anthem, Graduation Ceremony, June 7, 1967

… and liberation!

———-ooo———-

Ring Hop Photo September 10, 1966

Ring Hop Photo September 10, 1966

USMA Class of 1967 Senior Portrait

USMA Class of 1967 Senior Portrait

USMA 1967 Howitzer (Yearbook) Photo

USMA 1967 Howitzer (Yearbook) Photo


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“In the Meets” — Lindenhurst High School Track & Field


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Early June is a busy time of the year for personal remembrances and I’m a tad behind here, so going to catch up with a few of them today.

June 2nd was a time for reliving high school glory days … lol … it was the 51st anniversary of the day on which I ran a Lindenhurst High School record 2:05.7 for the 880 yard run. I was a junior at the time and missed most of my senior track season due to an ankle injury, so it was the highlight of my high school outdoor track career. My record lasted just one year, as my friend and teammate Dan Meehan broke it during the 1963 track season. Unfortunately, I have no photos of myself running track in high school, but do have a picture of the track record board that was published in the 1963 Bulldog, our yearbook. And one of myself and two of my teammates, Dave Polland and Jim Clark, who was my best friend in high school, also from the yearbook (check out the skinny tie!).

Lindenhurst Track Records 1963

Lindenhurst High School Bulldog 1963 Yearbook with Dave Polland

Actually, as I think about it now, it may have been Dave Polland’s record that I broke.  As I recall, the record was broken at least three times that season — once by Dave and once by Paul Busick, who was a senior that year.  Since I did it in the last meet of the season (the State Qualifiers meet), my name and time went on the record board.

My high school track and cross country coach, Carl Greenhut, was one of the most influential people in my life. Two of the primary lessons I learned from him: “Never Give Up” and “In the Meets”, his way of saying do your best when it counts the most. “The Hut”, as we called him, was also largely responsible for my going to West Point. I had given that possibility no thought whatsoever until after we ran in an invitational cross-country meet my senior year at which the then West Point plebe track and cross-county coach was the honorary starter. While we were running, Coach Greenhut spoke with him about me and set in motion the process by which I ultimately received my appointment to the academy.

Lindenhurst High School Track & Field and Cross Country Coach Carl Greenhut (early 1960's)

Lindenhurst High School Track & Field and Cross Country Coach Carl Greenhut (early 1960’s)

In 2011, Coach Greenhut was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California.  His entry on their website reads:

Carl Greenhut – 2011 — Our most senior inductee to date, Carl Greenhut is 88 years young. His life in sports reads like a how to make a contribution text. From Stanford and Navy baseball in the 1940’s to migrating to the east coast, where he coached high school teams in football, basketball, track and field, cross country to local and state championships. Carl served as head coach at State University at Farmingdale before returning to the west coast to begin a coaching career at Northern California’s Foothill, De Anza, Diablo Valley and Granada Colleges where his instruction to over 3,000 adult students earned him the title of Bay Area’s best golf instructor. Carl is author of numerous articles on fitness and golf. Carl received the Johnny Walker International Hole in One Award on the 175 yard 18th hole.

There is also a video of an interview with him on the Hall of Fame site here:

http://www.jshofnc.org/pages/bios/carlgreenhut.html