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Monte T. Sloan

 

Company B-1

 10 Jan 1937 - 10 Dec 1966

Remembrances:

Class Memorial Pages\B-1 Monte Sloan.pdf

Taps Tribute:

MONTE T. SLOAN 1961

Cullum No. 23730-1961 | December 10, 1966 | Died in Vietnam

Interred in West Point Cemetery, NY

Monte Thomas Sloan was born January 10, 1937 in Superior, WI to Gigi and Tom Sloan, a Great Northern Railroad executive. During his early years Monte was a standout athlete in high school in St. Cloud, MI. Importantly, as the oldest, he was greatly admired by his four younger brothers: Dan (Marine, police officer), Shannon (Navy Diver), Kevin (Army Ranger) and Brad (Great Northern Railroad engineer). Monte was admitted to the West Point Class of 1960 and joined the Class of 1961 during its yearling year. He immediately became one of its most popular members, respected for his easy manner and cheerful countenance. As the captain of the Wrestling Team, his tenacity and competitive nature were assets that branded him well for his career as an Infantry officer. He was a man among men, the first to stand up for what was right. His physical attributes and athletic skills disguised his soft-spoken demeanor and compassion for others. He loved to laugh and enjoyed life, sincere in his beliefs and his commitment to those he served.

Monte and his classmates received their initial training, variously known as New Cadet Barracks or “Beast Barracks,” under the leadership of the senior class. All positions, from squad leader on up, were held by First Class cadets.

The significance of the First Class being in charge was palpable. They were arguably the most mature cadets as a group, destined to receive commissions the following summer and depart on active duty in the Regular Army, Air Force and, in some cases, the Marine Corps. The age differential alone made the relationship between new cadets and the senior class formal and lasting. A well-known saying emerged: “Everything I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my Beast Barracks squad leader.”

Among the many activities in which Monte and his classmates were involved, athletics became supremely important. Every cadet received the equivalent of Basic Combat Training during Beast Barracks, so each was in top physical condition by the start of the academic year. Every new cadet, “plebe” as they are called once summer training is complete, learned to box, wrestle, swim and practice gymnastics.

All new cadets were given a detailed orientation on the importance of intercollegiate athletic programs as a part of developing a winning attitude. This was particularly true with major sports: football, basketball, track and field, and baseball.

In Monte’s yearling year, the West Point Football Team was undefeated. The atmosphere during the fall season was electric. The United States Corps of Cadets felt a sense of pride in their football team, seldom to be equaled ever. Army excelled in all sports, and Monte was an avid fan. Just to watch the Army team’s practice was thrilling to him and his classmates.

Upon graduation, Monte selected the Infantry branch of service and graduated from both Airborne and Ranger training at Fort Benning, GA. From the beginning of his career, Monte had a toughness in positions of leadership that set him apart from others.

Monte married the lovely Carolyn Pohl of Cornwall, NY. Carolyn’s dad was Class of ’33. Carolyn and Monte had their first assignment at Schofield Barracks, HI with the 25th Infantry Division. Typically, Monte wanted to be a part of the military conflict warming up in Southeast Asia and volunteered for a four-month “shotgun” rotation to Vietnam, his first “combat tour.”

Following their tour in Hawaii, Monte was selected to attend the Armor Captains Career Course at Fort Knox, KY. There he joined several ’61 classmates who helped make that assignment socially and professionally rewarding.

Monte loved to go big in everything he did. He valued the biggest and the best. While at Fort Knox, while others had average pets and automobiles, Monte bought a Saint Bernard puppy and a Lincoln Continental. He so enjoyed the looks those things provoked when he drove that car and trotted out Holly Go Lightly, endearing him to his many friends and classmates.

General Holly Hollingsworth (Texas A&M ’40) selected Monte to command an Infantry company in the 2nd of the 16th Infantry (Rangers) of the 1st Infantry Division (“The Big Red One”) in Vietnam. Monte’s selfless leadership was clear in the events surrounding his death on December 10, 1966.

When his rifle company encountered a command detonated explosive device that wounded him and several of his men seriously, Monte, as the commander, placed the wellbeing of his men above his own and refused evacuation until all the others had received treatment and had departed the area. This loyalty in command led to his death. He received the Silver Star posthumously for his bravery. The men in his command were devastated.

Monte is survived by his devoted wife, Carolyn; his two beautiful daughters, Erin, born in 1962 at West Point, and Tara, born in 1964 in Hawaii; and seven grandchildren and three greats.

Monte was buried with military honors at West Point. His service to our country and the example of his dedication are a constant reminder of the inspiration he gave us all to live our lives to the fullest.

Well Done, Monte; Rest in Peace.

— Written by his 1961 classmates and his family