Sully SENDS: Thanksgiving 2021 USMA1970 Update
Here are some bits of the life and operations of our class. We've had a tough couple of months, losing three more Brothers, but we keep rolling.
We had the quarterly meeting of the Class Leadership Team last Sunday, the14th, and there was nothing much new to shake the ground, but some things are noteworthy.
Our finances are good and stable, we are well-funded, all five of our endowments, and it's well in hand. Bill Cater keeps impeccable books.
John Connors is looking to tighten up and improve, maybe streamline and clarify, the class constitution, and when he gets done, we will put it before the entire leadership team if adjustments have to be made. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Charlie McGee and I are still looking for volunteers for the Birthday reps. We have 4, maybe 5 companies up and running now. I am asking for men to go along with this, at least on a trial basis, because it won't work at the entire class level. This little network of 25 or so birthdays, just in the company, requires a roster and a list of birthdays and a method of gathering the almanac-type stuff, and Charlie and I have a lot of that in the can. We can probably help take a lot of the fuss out of it.
So, please, Brothers, I ask that we step up and give this a whirl -- maybe it's too big of a pain in the ass. OK. But let's at least just give it a look. It led to two decades of mini-reunions, still ongoing, for E-4, so I know it is a good thing.
This is related to the fact that it doesn't look like we have enough momentum developed to initiate a class-level reunion attempt, off-site and off-cycle, such as DC or Ft. Campbell, tied in with the golf tour, but we do find that company-level mini-reunions are springing up: F2, F3, E4 and several others. At that level, company or regional, there seems to be a natural impetus and a robust amount of energy for getting together.
Kurt Reineke's team produced the excellent survey and consensus query, and I sent it out to all last month. If anyone wants to see it, that's easily produced. Kurt is developing a polished, rigorous machine for gaining and analyzing consensus from a highly analog environment. Amazing how running clandestine networks of murderous thugs for three decades can ultimately pay off in a peaceful way. Well Done, Brother.
In that vein, the minutes of the class leadership meeting and the cloud recording of the meeting are both available on request.
Tom Oettinger -- one of the mini- reunion instigators -- sent in a pamphlet about survivor benefits which John Van Vliet is incorporating into our class pamphlet, published soon. Thanks, Tommy. John will let us know about the final product. Donna Jackson, Billy's widow, has done yeoman's duty with the newly widowed sisters of the class. Thanks again, Donna. Big John has Steve Wilson and Crash Werner on the memorial article team, and they are getting good results. The goal is to have one in the can for everyone as a reference template when the time comes. Makes that final task easier.
Please pray for John Bickel, with early Parkinson's and Tommy Maertens with lung cancer. John Norris seems to have bounced back, though I still can't reach him. Also, please pray for Skip Clarkson's Douglas, in need of a kidney. Stev Strom is Army tough, but still can use our prayers.
Joe Reeder did a very nice job and gathered a group to receive the Cyber Warfare Institute briefing about the upcoming seminar at West Point. Tommy Rabaut gave an eloquent and moving reason why the Cyber Corps should be the choice of the young officer who is looking for high adventure in a field where we really don't know what the limits are, or what's going to happen. Tommy stirred the blood. We can be right proud of our part in funding that component -- the Institute-- and what it can mean for our defense of our Country.
As you know, Gil Harper and his crew, led by Billy Malkemes and Ted Shadid sent out info on awards. The SWI awards have been set for the first round of them. Well Done to that whole committee.
Frank Monaco is plugging away at everything--Sallyport is his new baby now (and of course peddling the remaining legacy yearbooks), and TJ looks to be in good shape, back healing slowly, and he's got all the minutes in good order, as always. Bill Taylor is taking a short breather until he has to fire up again-- he got Fred Lough's Distinguished Graduate submittal done.
Barney is smoothly running the monthly meeting of the NCEA committee and getting ready for the next one on 28-29 March next year.
One last note, a personal recommendation about our old friend, Brother, and consummate infantryman, John Vermillion. His books have got me fascinated, I can't stop reading them. If you look them up, the first nine are about his guy Simon Pack, who starts in book one as the Supe, and goes from there to Governor of Montana and eventually--- well, I'm not going to give it away. But then he invents a new guy, who might be better, Cade Chase. Four books, so far.
John and Larry White were in the Gimlets, 3-21 Infantry in the 196th Light Infantry Brigade together in Viet Nam. They took out the last patrol by a regular American army infantry unit in the Viet Nam War! Two full bulls and two very dear friends. Anyway, please check out John's books, and Whitey's sous vide cooking..
Love to all,
Serve With Integrity
And now, for Thanksgiving:
I know prayers are not always called for, but Thanksgiving seems an appropriate time. I respectfully request your indulgence for my offering this prayer, with those so inclined:
Shema Yisroel, Adonai Elohenu, Adonai Echod.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on us sinners.
Lord, Searcher of our hearts, our Great Friend, we offer you our best thanks today and each day.
Thank you for life and the love of those who have gone before us, family, friends and classmates, and laid down the offerings which make our lives so rich now.
Thank you for all the little ones we gained this year, and all the people we have lost, our ancestors and our ninety-six Brothers among them.
Thank you for our beloved Country and the chance we have to Serve it With Integrity until our last day.
Thank you for all our Country's beloved fallen, whose lives have been laid on the Altar of Freedom.
Thank you for our Alma Mater and the Long Gray Line, who have given us the silent power of the great words:
Duty, Honor, Country.
Serve With Integrity.
The harder right rather not the easier wrong.
Out of Many, One.
We offer You, as You Are, ourselves, as we are.
The West Point Class of 1970