West Point Center for Oral History '61 Classmates Interviews Available
the next few weeks the West Point Center for Oral History (COH) will be posting
interviews made with some of our classmates (and wives) who attended the mini
reunion in Orlando at the end of January. Two of those are posted now,
and another with
Jerry and Cathy White.
You can also see pictures that they provided on the
COH Facebook page.
interviews were conducted in Orlando by the COH director, Dave Siry and Rick
Black, Siry’s classmate (’94) who is also in the History Department at West
Point. Scott Granger, the COH Archivist, also made the trip to coordinate the
year when most of us were staying at home during the pandemic, I began
conducting Zoom meetings with some of my I-2 classmates. Tom Stone suggested we
pick a topic for discussion and since West Point honor violations had been in
the news and Stone was our company honor rep, we held a zoom meeting on the
Honor System. We invited Bob Glass, our Honor Committee Chairman, and a few
others outside of I-2 to join the discussion and it seemed successful.
next month I proposed a session on the Center of Oral History as our topic. I
had spent some time watching several of the interviews that were posted and was
impressed. I contacted Dave Siry and he agreed to join the zoom. Thinking this
might be of interest to more of the class than just our I-2 classmates, I asked
Ed Brown to send an invitation to join to the entire class. As best I recall
the resulting zoom session included Art Downey, Jack McLaughlin, Pete
Gleichenhaus, Dave Teal, Bob Glass, Mike Underwood, Tom Stone, Corky Rittgers,
Dale Shipley, Jim Mathison, Pierre Titard, Neil Grigg, Jim Struve, Terry
Kirkpatrick, Mike Eiland, Al Hokins and Bill Williamson. Most admitted that
they had not known much about the COH since we had made our class donation of
one million dollars at our 50th reunion.
class should note that although our donation came at a critical time as the COH
was starting, subsequent classes have also donated generously to the COH
endowment. The Class of ’65 gave more than three million, the Classes of ’77
and ’94 each gave a million and the Class of ’67 gave $764,000. Other
significant contributors (Vincent Viola and the Don Ackerman trust) had the COH
Endowment balance at 11.4 million in 2018, according to the AOG’s Oral History
Brochure published that year. (Brochure attached.)
fall my wife Ann and I made the trip to West Point to attend the burial service
of Dick Buckner and while there had an extra day to spend on post. I contacted
Dave Siry to see if we might visit him at the COH and he graciously agreed.
While touring the office/studio in Thayer Hall I mentioned the fact that our
class had scheduled our “makeup” reunion in Orlando in January, 2022 and he said
there was a possibility of his team also attending to conduct interviews. A
couple of weeks later I confirmed with Siry that the trip was approved and I
reached out to Ed Brown and Bob Glass to suggest potential interviewees from
those who had registered to attend the Orlando reunion. Siry initially
suggested nine interviews over Friday and Saturday at the reunion.
Bob suggested Pat Carroll, Mike Eiland, Pat Hillier, George Joulwan, Bob Kee,
Hank Kenny, Phil Mallory, Jim Nicholson and Bill Reno. I then contacted these
nine to see if they were willing and Gary Hyde scheduled the interview times to
avoid conflict with activities these individuals had planned at the reunion. A
few weeks later Siry informed me that he could bring another interviewer if we
wanted to double the number of interviews.
going into details of the subsequent travel cancellations, schedule conflicts
that Gary reconciled, and medical emergencies (Pat Carroll) we ended the week
with 22 interviews. They were conducted with Jerry White, Hank Kenny, Mike
Hale, Jim Connolly, Ed Jones, Charlie Hansell, Gene Witherspoon, Phil Mallory,
Hans Wagner, Paul Vallely, Mike and Chan Eiland, Mick Maus, Bill Williamson,
George Kopscak, Al Hokins, Todd Counts, Gary Lord, Jack Veatch, Bob Chelberg,
Pat Hoy and Trish Buckner.
these are posted I encourage you to view them. You may learn some things about
members of the Class of 1961 that you never expected. Also, take time to watch
others interviews that are posted. There are many by people other than West
Point graduates that you will find inspiring.