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Vol 12, Issue 7
The Quill
November 2016
         In This Issue

Army - Navy 2016 Warno


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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Mark Saturday, December 10th on your calendars.
Do it now. Why? Because the 2016 Army-Navy Party is shaping up, that's why!

MoMo's Pizza - 1410 Market Street, Tallahassee / 850-412-0222) - will be the HQ.


Standby for more news and a request for RSVP from the planners....watch your email.

Date: Saturday, 12/12. Time: Doors open at 2:30pm; we should have Momo's BIG party room for our exclusive use.

Kickoff: 3:00pm. Chow: ready at kickoff -- "ish"

Cost: $10 for adults & kids over 13; under 13 is $8; includes venue, pizza variety, soft drinks, taxes/tip

Items from the bar are an individual responsibility

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FSU - Veterans' Day Game Flyer

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A Message from the President of WPST

Rich '78 Steps Down as WPST Secretary

It is with regret that I inform members of WPST and other readers of this newsletter that David Rich, USMA '78, has tendered his resignation as Secretary of the West Point Society of Tallahassee. David has rendered tremendous service to WPST for the past 13 years. During that period of time, he contributed tireless leadership in support of many initiatives that have helped WPST earn recognition as an Association of Graduates Distinguished Society for each of his 13 years as Secretary. In addition, David was responsible, along with Kevin Wood, USMA '81, for writing and publishing this monthly WPST Newsletter for almost 12 years now. David's passion for WPST and the Societies' support of our alma mater encompassed numerous other initiatives not noted herein. It goes without saying that his resignation as our Secretary leaves us with some big shoes to fill. WPST is most grateful for David's faithful service all of these years and wishes him the very best in his future endeavors. We hope to continue to see David and Jennifer at future WPST events as he is and always will be very close to the heart of this Society. In the meantime, God speed our good and faithful servant. We love you.

H. Steven Hammond, Ph.D.
Colonel, USA (Ret.)
President, WPST

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Our Cadets - Brianna Lord '20

Finishes Boxing, Now Required for all Female Cadets

Brianna Lord '20 is a survivor! She successfully completed the first female boxing class at West Point.

That's the good news.

The not-so-good was that, along the way, she took a blow or blows to the head. Initial diagnosis was "head trauma".

But with two classes to go, Brianna was not about to forego her final box (meaning she'd get an 'incomplete' and have to take the class again!).

Mom and Dad report that Brianna did well, but extra hits have now caused a concussion. She was placed on "profile" for about three weeks. (Editor's Note: at least Boxing 101 is completed!!)

In other (good) news, Brianna was able to travel home for a weekend in early October where her family kept her well fed and provided plenty of respite/rest.

Fortunately, all had either the foresight or luck to route her flight into Atlanta, out of the footprint of Hurricane Matthew that was terrorizing must of the southeast at that time.

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Our Cadets - Sean Patterson '20

Army - North Texas State Football Game Find

Every so often, it's fun to watch an Army Football game. No, not for the outcome because the team lately has been trending down, not up. The fun is actually in scanning through the crowd of look-alike cadets, all the same save from the neck up, seeking that one familiar face. Think of it as trying to find a pearl in a truckload of oysters. .......every so often, just enough to keep you looking, that pearl is found.

Case in point, the television cameras panning the sea of cadets, all of whom are jumbling and jiving, trying either to get on camera or just having the fun that is natural to teens and 20- somethings on a beautiful fall day.

Imagine the surprise and delight in seeing this...............Cadet Sean Patterson '20, in the crowd, looking happy and engaged in the moment! (thank goodness for DVR, rewind, and slow-scan!!)

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Our Cadets - David Santos '19

Surprise, Surprise!

Sometimes, you just get lucky. Fate, chance, the cosmos, or whatever just happen to draw YOUR name out of the ether and give you five seconds of notice for no apparent reason.

Such is the case this month, one of our members flipping through West Point's 2015 Report of Gifts. Turning to page 66 in that list of who gave what to which fund, imagine the happy surprise in seeing a familiar WPST face......

.........Cadet David Santos, Class of 2019!

He looks good with mud on his face, having no doubt just completed some 'fun task' in Beast or Buckner. Might be early yet, but it seems to the editorial staff of The Quill that David has INFANTRY written all over him!


Foncon with Raulie on 12.13.16 - David is doing "really well"....all highs, no real lows to report. The photo was taken on the first day of Air Assualt school thta David attended this past summer. It was for a time also the lead photo on the Army's Faceook page - Raulie and Christine got calls from friends and family for weeks about it.

David has tried out for and made the West Point Obstacle Course Racing Team - think "BattleFrog" competitions on television (which Army dominates). See his acceptance letter, below. He is one of 23 - 17 men and 6 women on the team. Never been in better shape. Runs the Stairway to Heaven in Arvin Gym 4x, with calisthenics at the top and bottom between reps. They have traveled to Maryland to compete and plans are in the works for competitions in Canada and Chile

He worked out with the Super, LTG Caslen '75 recently.

He reports academics are difficult - he has to burn the midnight oil and study hard.

The Comm is concerned about WP's lack of victory in the annual Sandhurst competition and put the OCR on it to bring home the trophy.


The West Point Obstacle Course Racing Team has assessed your performance at tryouts and your individual character traits and is pleased to extend to you acceptance onto this year's team. Congratulations are in order, you've earned them. If you choose to accept our invitation, please report to the north end of Hayes Gymnasium tomorrow at 1615 wearing PTs. Practice runs daily from 1615-1810. Monday mornings (such as tomorrow morning if you receive this email in time) we have Yoga in the basketball courts at 0530 in PTs. Friday morning's we swim.

If you come tomorrow, you will be rostered on the WP OCRT and receive full-authos. We have a full schedule this semester and a lot to prepare for.

Again, congratulations.

Very Respectfully,

-CDT Eric Zenger
Captain WP Obstacle Course Racing Team


Tomorrow's Afternoon Workout: David Santos's Workout Please meet in Hayes Gym NLT 1615 for our normal warm up and stretch Uniform: APFU

Warm-up With Pushups/Jumping jacks:
-Jumping jacks 10
-Pushups 10
* Repeat 5-10 times

Run 1 mile, 100 pushups, 100 crunches
Run 1 mile, 75 pushups, 75 crunches
Run 1 mile, 50 pushups, 50 crunches

Sprint 100m
Pushups - 10-30 reps
Pullups - 5-10 reps
Repeat 5-10 times

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Our Cadets / Our GradsTouchton '17

Spanning 60 Years -- Cadet Trevor Touchton '17 & BrigGen(Ret) Bill Webb '57

From an email received from General Webb:

Montse and I took the American Cruise Line up the Hudson from New Yor's Pier 36 on the East River, with the specific intent of spending time with our Cadets at West Point.

In the advertising brochure for the cruise only the shore stops were shown, among them: West Point; Sleepy Hollow, Catskill, Kingston, Poughkeepsie and Albany. There were no docking and departure times, nor was the sequence shown. The result? We were at the Academy from 0900 to 1300 (actually docked in the dark at South Dock at 0600).

To top it off this was on Friday, an academic day. We were disappointed and informed several of our Cadets that unfortunately we would not ask them to skip Class to meet us. (One offered to paraglide from the Academic Building to South Dock for a short meeting...I declined the offer.)

The evening prior to the USMA visit on a cruise arranged short tour I was asked to be the "Program" on West Point. (Note photo #3911, and blue blazer with '57 Crest) It was a joy. Fellow passengers included many retired military of various services. I took the microphone and gave my all for The Corps, speaking of our history, traditions, recruiting, and current Cadets. I had intended to be brief 30 minutes with Q & A. After one hour and 15 minutes, I was allowed to retire!

The following morning prior to boarding the cruise bus for the tour I took the photo east side of our Academy from South Dock. It is impressive. And so the tour began: the Cadet Chapel; the Plain; Trophy Point and the off Post Museum. I stood in discussion with fellow passengers at Trophy Point, then eased down the grassy slope toward the bus. A strong voice challenged me: "General Webb, what are you doing here?" Literally, I was only paces away from a Cadet in BDUs doing the traditional "Survey". It was Cadet Trevor Touchton. He grabbed me for a bear hug while asking, "Why didn't you let us know you were coming?" What a wonderful moment for Montse and I! We spoke for a few moments and I moved on with the tour. So great!

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Our Grads - Morrell '74

Ironman Maryland - 2016 Race Report

Editor's Note ~ Below is a race report provided by WPST Life Member LTC(Ret) Ron Morrell, Class of 1974. Though Ron has moved to Arizona, he continues to be 'tied in' to all things WPST and active as distance allows. Ron's report:

First, I am very fortunate that my coach, Jeff Bowman, and his wife Annie supported me during the race. I am also grateful my twin brother Rene' and his son Jonathan, could see me finish. It was also good to have Jonathan's kids Braydon and Sophie there to enjoy the spectacle of Ironman

   An IRONMAN is not made in 140.6 miles.
   An IRONMAN is forged through countless early morning wake-ups,
   Gallons of sweat,
   Hundreds of miles of focus,
   And many months of self-discipline.
   Like steel an Ironman enters the fire
   Is softened beat down shaped and molded
   And in the end is solid and strong.

Every Ironman starts with the same distance, and then the unique circumstances of race day come into play. Every race is different for that reason and stands apart from the other races.

Prerace/Swim Leg: Being fortunate to stay in a house halfway between transition and the finish line, it made it easy to get my stuff ready for the race. I knew sunrise was later then the posted start time, and we needed to wait for sunrise. The grey cloudy overcast was not helping as well as the wind coming from the northeast. A thirty minute race delay was announced at start time for better visibility for both athletes and safety crews. Having seen what happened in IM Florida 2014, things were not looking good to have the swim. After 30 minutes the swim was called off and a time trial bike start was announced for 7:50 AM. An athlete asked what a time trial start was and it had to be explained by the announcer.

Bike Leg: After changing to my cycling gear, I waited about two hours before starting. I had a high race number and was at the back of the group. That is a whole other story. I got out on the course about 9:45 AM, about an hour and 55 minutes after the first cyclists left. This was slightly better than the 2 hours+ at IM Florida in 2014. My goal was to maintain 15 mph or better during the bike leg.

The wind blew the entire time on the course. Sometimes I had great tail winds (hit speeds of 17 to 20 mph), less than beneficial cross winds (able to keep my speed at 15 mph or better) and very difficult head winds (speed dropped to 10 to 12 mph or less). Since cycling is my weakest discipline, I know that during the latter part of race I'm going to be on the course mostly by myself. When I see someone in the distance, I work to reel them in and pass them after a short friendly chat. Many times they are happy to see someone else still on the course. This still makes for a lonely time until I get back to transition. The day before the race, the race director announced a major change in the bike route due to road flooding on Maple Dam road in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. He announced the course would be shorten by eight miles, but actually was shortened by 12 miles. Oh well!

During the last 10 miles I stopped to refill my hydration system from a spare bottle. In doing so I had a fall which caused the left handle bar to jam into my left thigh. I was mad at myself for a dumb mistake and pushed on to complete the bike leg.

When I arrived at transition I found the river tide and wind caused flooding on the road into transition. Videos have been posted showing participants running and walking through the water. It was necessary to wade through 100 feet or more of 6 to 8 inches of water to get to the bike racks and get my run bag for the next leg. Not happy!!!

Run Leg: To start the run I had to exit through the same flooded area, meaning running shoes and socks are soaking wet. The run is through residential areas and downtown, 2 1/2 loops to complete the marathon. In the downtown area along Water Street, it was also flooded (about 400 yds or more). In some locations it was deep enough kids where playing in the water and be completely covered. I ended up running through the two water sections at least seven times combined. Somehow I did not get any blisters.

The city threw a party during the run. High fives along the route and getting kissed by women watching the runners! What a way to suffer through a run!

My run plan was to run three minutes and walk for one. This worked very well until the bruise on my quad started acting up about mile 20. It forced me to reverse the plan and walk more often. Plan to get the run done in 6 to 6.5 hours was shot, went to plan B: finish before the cutoff. I ended up finishing the last three or four miles walking. These were painful miles, but I was determined to get them done.

The race was supposed to be 140.6 miles, instead the race was 126.2 miles. Each Ironman race is different, no question this was very different!

Yes, at the conclusion of the race I got to hear the words, "YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" for the 4th time!

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WPST Field Force Visits Local High School

Admission Team Member Visit Wakulla HS

BrigGen (USAF-Ret) Bill Webb, West Point Class of 1957, visited Wakulla High School for a courtesy call on Senior Instructor CAPT Brad Martin on October 12, 2016.

During the, General Webb was asked to return to address the unit one week later, On October 19th. The message below reports on the second visit.

The purpose of the October 19th visit was specifically to address the entire JROTC Unit on West Point. Webb began promptly at 0800, the appointed time, and spoke to consecutive JROTC classes until 1100 hours.

Main Points of each session

  • Interaction with Cadets was in four separate groups with 40 min contact time each.
  • Material used: USMA video "Leaders for a Lifetime" video and USMA Admissions Briefing
  • The final 5 minutes of each session were devoted to Q & A.
  • Students were very attentive and raised questions.
  • Presenter stressed "grit" and "focus" as success determinants, at any Academies -- and in life.
  • Cadets were in JROTC Uniforms and inspection preceded each Field Force session
  • Invitations extended to USMA Admissions Office (MAJ Bulls) candidate briefing in Tallahassee (11/08)
(Left photo) General Webb is shown below (right), with JROTC Senior Instructor CAPT Brad Martin

Right Photo: a portion of the WHS JROTC contingent in rank for pre-session inspection.

Conclusion: FF Admissions is a welcome partner with the Wakulla HS JROTC unit. Bill Webb - '57

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Operation Boodle

USSAPC Event 10.22.16; WPST Community Action Program Assists

There was a solid turnout Saturday morning October 22nd for the first Operation Boodle event of AY2016-17. Twenty-eight intrepid souls showed up for this special boodle event and fellowship, many of them traveling long distances and waking up at oh-dark to make the 0800 start time.

Thirty-eight (38) flat rate boodle boxes were packed and mailed to our young Cadets, Mids, Zoomies, and Prepsters - the most ever! A wonderful potluck breakfast satisfied early morning appetites and each parent updated those gathered on the activities of their son or daughter. What a fun, enjoyable, and encouraging Saturday morning! All boxes were mailed the same morning and received the following week.

As always, some of the things that went into individual boxes included:

  • Messages - WPST greetings; others that were funny, inspirational, encouraging, all heartfelt
  • Snacks - chips, pretzels, nuts, goldfish, jerky, Cracker Jacks, etc.
  • Candy - chocolate, hard candy, gum, twizzlers, bars, gummy bears, etc.
  • Healthy - granola, peanuts, fruit rollups, dried fruit, raisins, peanuts, etc.
  • Packaged--cookies, crackers, Oreos, Twinkies, Ding-Dongs, etc.
  • Drinks--hot chocolate, teas, flavored coffees, beverage mixes, etc.
  • Games--cards, silly string, squirt guns, balloons, games, etc.
Most of all, it is important to think small. At only 5x8x11 inches, the boxes get stuffed quickly!

For the first time in memory, it seemed that the numbers of this all-Academy event favored Navy. Usually, West Point parents lead the way. But, it was Parents Weekend at West Point so those representing the black, gray, and gold were down in numbers.

Of note and just like each previous event, goodwill generated by Operation Boodle goes well beyond our own kids. Every mailing is followed by after-action comments received from company mates and friends who enjoyed sharing in the bounty, envious of the support rendered to our kids through the ongoing partnership of USSAPC and WPST. This one will be no exception.

For readers who haven't previously participated in an Operation Boodle, consider joining the fun next time, on Saturday December 3rd. If that date is free on your calendar, please plan to attend. You won't be sorry! Meet the parents and see WPST/USSAPC in action, working for our kids. If not free that particular morning, please support with a drop-off of goodies or a small check to the North Florida Christian School office to help defray the ever increasing costs (e.g. each box costs nearly $14 just to mail!).

And, just in case you're wondering. . .no, you do not have to have a child at a service academy in order to participate or join. Several WPST members without kids, parents of grads, and parents of candidates, hold membership in USSAPC. Come on, the more the merrier!

Scott and Hope Grant, co-presidents of USSAPC, send their thanks to all who were able to join us. And as special thank you to families and friends of USSAPC, those who could not attend but dropped off or sent boodle and/or checks to help our mission. Additionally, Scott and Hope wanted to say that they are always encouraged by the support received from families whose Cadets and Mids graduated many years ago. Thank you!

Hope to see all of you on Saturday, December 3rd !!!

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Veterans Day Salute


Your attention is invited to the link above from a YouTube video of the University of West Virginia marching band honoring United States armed forces -- fitting in this Veterans Day month. Many readers have probably seen it previously....but it's so darn good that seeing it again will be a plus to your day.

(From the YouTube narrative) ...No celebration of our freedom can be complete without a tribute to the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much to preserve and protect our country. The WVU Band presents our "Armed Forces Salute," which features a medley of the songs from all branches of our great military.

This selection will close with a stirring rendition of "America, The Beautiful."

  • The United States Army!
  • The United States Coast Guard!
  • The United States Marines!
  • The United States Air Force!
  • The United States Navy! No one can argue the great service that the men and women of the armed services have provided to our nation over the centuries. By serving in two World Wars, the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, and in the war on Terror, as well as continually providing support and aid to those in need when all types of disasters strike, our American service men and women have made us all swell with pride.

    Therefore, we pay honor to all the brave men and women who helped to make, and continue to make this country, the greatest nation on earth!

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    2016 Nininger Award: MAJ Matt Chaney '01

    For Heroism in Iraq

    On September 22nd, in apprpriate ceremonies at the Academy, the 2016 Alexander R. Nininger Award for Valor of Arms was awarded to MAJ Matt Chaney, Class of 2001. The Nininger Award is named after Lieutenant Alexander R. Nininger and is bestowed on the grad who demonstrated heroism in battle.

    Lieutenant Nininger was KIA during in early 1942, during actions of the Battle of Bataan, his death less than a year following his West Point graduation. Nininger was the first soldier recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor in WWII.

    In September 2007, then-Capt. Chaney was detachment CO for Operational Detachment-Alpha 083, 10SFG, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Chaney and his team were stationed in Samarra.

    During battlefield prep to hit a particular target, CPT Chaney aand team members were exposed to heavy machine gun fire. He was severely wounded but carried on with the mission. Despite early discovery and his wounds, Chaney and his unit took their objective.

    "...actions under fire were directly responsible for the killing of 11 enemy personnel including a high value foreign fighter that coalition forces had been chasing for more than a year," West Point Superintendent LTG Robert Caslen noted. "For his gallantry and leadership in action against the enemy....awarded the Silver Star as well as a Purple Heart for his wounds received in action...."

    General Caslen and the CEO of the West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG), Todd Brown, presented Chaney with the Nininger Award medallion.

    MAJ Chaney said in his address to The Corps: "Back then I kept a note on my desk. It read, 'It's not just about me.' That thought, it's not just about me, often reminded me that I had volunteered, along with my classmates, to be placed in this crucible that is West Point. To prepare for something greater than our own individual ambitions,"

    Halbisengibbs, also wounded, exchanged fire with an attacker and shot him down. As they checked on each other, their teammates from the other helicopter arrived and laid down suppressive fire and a medic came to treat them. "After less than 15 minutes of fighting, all 18 enemy fighters were eliminated, including our primary target, and we rescued two Iraqi kidnap victims," Chaney revealed.

    Halbisengibbs was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and Lindsay received the Silver Star. "Looking back....I realized that we are all trained to size up a fluid situation and make the best decision available with little communication and complete focus on the mission. Our individual and collective preparation to that point in our careers had developed in us a mental toughness. In my case, this preparation began on the Army rugby fields, in the patrols at Camp Buckner and the classrooms here at West Point."

    For more information on LT Alexander Nininger, see:

    See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_R._Nininger

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    West Point Leaders Conference Info

    Just Click on the Name of the Group or Song

    Editor's Note: A big WPST thanks for this info to WPST Life Member and WPSociety of NW Florida officer, Chris Beam '79. H

    Here's couple bits of information from the annual leaders conference this past August. While you can review all the briefings and slides online at www.westpointaog.org (you will have to sign in on the website), let's highlight a couple briefings.

    First, the purpose of the leaders conference is to bring West Point Class and Society Leaders together to receive updates on the Academy, learn about new initiatives, and refine their outreach skills to engage members of the Long Gray Line. This year, the August conference was held in conjunction with the Parent Group Leaders Conference and USMA Regional Admission Officers (MALO) conference. Approximately 250 Class & Society Leaders, 65 Parent Group Leaders, and 50 MALOs attended.

    Here's the slides and video from LTG Caslen's presentation. He gave a remarkably thorough briefing and brought the group up to date on various USMA initiatives. The introductory video was an events timeline of AY 2015-2016 (https://vimeo.com/179366552)

    The other presentation, with embedded video, is a very interesting assessment of the need for an officer corps strategy, based on talent. It's thought provoking, and made my head ache. Can anyone say, "Sosh Paper"!! Yes, the briefing was produced by the Dept. of Social Sciences. You'll have to sign into WPAOG's website for this one: http://www.westpointaog.org/document.doc?id=7809

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    Origins of Veterans Day

    Those Pivotal Queries About Life Itself....


    Veterans Day is an opportunity to publicly commemorate the contributions of living veterans.

    In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This site, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the city of Washington, became the focal point of reverence for America's veterans.

    Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation's highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Trimphe). These memorial gestures all took place on November 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). The day became known as "Armistice Day."

    Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through a Congressional resolution. It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar Congressional action. If the idealist hope had been realized that World War I was "the War to end all Wars"; November 11 might still be called Armistice Day.

    Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of World War II and Korea, Congress decided to make the day an occasion to honor all those who have served America. In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day. (Historically, the first Veterans Day parade was held in 1953 in Emporia, Kansas.)

    On Memorial Day 1958, two more unidentified American war dead were brought from overseas and interred in the plaza beside the unknown soldier of World War I. One was killed in World War II, the other in the Korean War.

    A law passed in 1968 changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

    In 1973, a law passed providing interment of an unknown American from the Vietnam War, but none was found for several years. In 1984, an unknown serviceman from that conflict was placed alongside the others. To honor these men, symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars, an Army honor guard, the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), keeps day and night vigil.

    Above information provided by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars

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    Veterans Brick Pavers

    Project at the Capitol Plaza in Tallahassee

    We've reported on this in the past, the Veterans project involving placement of veterans' pavers in a special area of the plaza behind the Old Capitol in Tallahassee.

    We're pleased to report this month, however, and to share with you the addition of two of the newest bricks to be placed at the site.

    Email from WPST Member (and proud USMA parent), Dave Busch indicated that he had purchased commemorative bricks for himself and his son, former Army Captain and USMA '07 graduate, Andrew. Dave was there for the laying of the pavers, chucking in telling the editor of The Quill that he had to contend with workmen trying to do their job and wet mortar in order to get a good shot of the newest bricks in the Project!

    Dave and Andrew join about two dozen others from WPST who have made the plunge, honored loved ones, or placed a brick for themselves. We know of at least two father-son combos and a couple of brother-brother pairs as well.

    Think about having buying your own brick or one for a loved one. If you want more information about the project or cost, please contact WPST's Board of Directors, COL(Ret) Claude Shipley '75, or the WPST Secretary.

    WPST receives 20% of each brick purchased if the buyer indicates that it is done under the auspices of WPST. That's a great deal that just got even better, folks. Please consider it.

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    Things in The Quill

    This is a PUSH System, Folks!

    Here in the spacious, palatial offices of The Quill, we try each month to include a variety of pieces about our cadets, recent grads, and old grads. Our hope is that readers enjoy each and every one. Actually, our hope is that Hollywood will see our writing, like it, think we have something to say, hiring us at astronomically high salaries to write the crap that's on television and in the movies.....but we digress.....

    This is just a friendly reminder that the ability to share stories about all the interesting goings on of WPST members, USMA parents, West Point cadets, and grads whether new or old is a PUSH system, not a PULL . Get it? Got it? Good

    The editorial staff of The Quill doesn't have the 'bandwidth' to seek these stories and, instead, relies on readers to push them to us. Remember? . . . . .P-U-S-H

    That's a hint.

    So, if you don't see something in a particular issue about your class, your kid, yourself, or your favorite activity......there's really no one to blame but, uh, YOU. OK...you really CAN blame us, (and sometimes do!) but we'd rather you don't. It gets tedious and even for double our current pay (naught times naught = you guessed it.....naught) it just would work better if you....that's right..... PUSHED things to us that you'd like to see in print.

    Send items you'd like to see published to the WPST secretary. Include digital photos (jpeg preferred). If possible, provide a draft of the piece answering the simple 5W's and H. It is also a big (huge, actually) help if things submitted are put into something close to the format used. Look at pieces in this issue of the newsletter; each story's format follows a template whose code is easily broken.

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    November 2016 - Wacky, Weird, Inspiring..and Just Plain Fun!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aL_GnyTEpU - The future of personal flight? Cool "FlyBoard"!!

    http://www.mudraa.com/trading/171347/0/old-photos-of-late-1800s-and-early-1900s.html - from CSM(Ret) Blaine Goin in Germany. Thanks amigo!

    That's right, folks............it's SLIM PICKINS this month! Y'all didn't send 'em, so we can't print 'em.

    REMINDER: When you run across an interesting website, please SHARE IT with us so that we can SHARE IT with the group. Appreciate it.

    Let's do way, way, WAY better in the Decmember issue, OK? New YOU to do that, amigos y amigas!

    Usually, this space is FULL of website addresses that are interesting, informative, funny, or just plain weird. But, not this month. So, we'll leave y'all with a bunch of white space and one of the usual clipart pieces that accompanies the website list. Enjoy!

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    Veterans Day 2014

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    Veterans Day Editorial Cartoons

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    Who Serves in the US Military?

    Demographics of Enlisted Troops and Officers - By Shanea Watkins, Ph.D. and James Sherk

    Who serves in the active-duty ranks of the U.S. all-volunteer military? Conventional wisdom holds that military service disproportionately attracts minorities and men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds. Many believe that troops enlist because they have few options, not because they want to serve their country. Others believe that the war in Iraq has forced the military to lower its recruiting standards.

    Previous Heritage Foundation studies that examined the backgrounds of enlisted personnel refute this interpretation.[1] This report expands on those studies by using an improved methodology to study the demographic characteristics of newly commissioned officers and personnel who enlisted in 2006 and 2007.

    Any discussion of troop quality must take place in context. A soldier's demographic characteristics are of little importance in the military, which values honor, leadership, self-sacrifice, courage, and integrity-qualities that cannot be quantified. Nonetheless, any assessment of the quality of recruits can take place only on the basis of objective criteria. Demographic characteristics are a poor proxy for the quality of those who serve in the armed forces, but they can help to explain which Americans volunteer for military service and why.

    Based on an understanding of the limitations of any objective definition of quality, this report compares military volunteers to the civilian population on four demographic characteristics: household income, education level, racial and ethnic background, and regional origin. This report finds that:

    1. U.S. military service disproportionately attracts enlisted personnel and officerswho do not come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Previous Heritage Foundation research demonstrated that the quality of enlisted troops has increased since the start of the Iraq war. This report demonstrates that the same is true of the officer corps.
    2. Members of the all-volunteer military are significantly more likely to come from high-income neighborhoods than from low-income neighborhoods. Only 11 percent of enlisted recruits in 2007 came from the poorest one-fifth (quintile) of neighborhoods, while 25 percent came from the wealthiest quintile. These trends are even more pronounced in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program, in which 40 percent of enrollees come from the wealthiest neighborhoods-a number that has increased substantially over the past four years.
    3. American soldiers are more educated than their peers. A little more than 1 percent of enlisted personnel lack a high school degree, compared to 21 percent of men 18-24 years old, and 95 percent of officer accessions have at least a bachelor's degree.
    4. Contrary to conventional wisdom, minorities are not overrepresented in military service. Enlisted troops are somewhat more likely to be white or black than their non-military peers. Whites are proportionately represented in the officer corps, and blacks are overrepresented, but their rate of overrepresentation has declined each year from 2004 to 2007. New recruits are also disproportionately likely to come from the South, which is in line with the history of Southern military tradition.
    The facts do not support the belief that many American soldiers volunteer because society offers them few other opportunities. The average enlisted person or officer could have had lucrative career opportunities in the private sector. Those who argue that American soldiers risk their lives because they have no other opportunities belittle the personal sacrifices of those who serve out of love for their country.

    This report proceeds in two parts.

    First, it examines the demographic characteristics of the enlisted personnel in 2006 and 2007, using new data from the Defense Manpower Data Center.

    Second, it examines the same demographic characteristics for 2007 graduates from the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point[2] and for members of the Army ROTC who were commissioned between 2004 and 2007 or enrolled in the Army ROTC as of March 2007. Officers who were commissioned in 2004 would have enrolled before the start of the war on terrorism, while those enrolled in 2007 were well aware that they were signing up during wartime. This makes it possible to assess whether the war in Iraq has degraded the officer corps' standards.

    Enlisted Personnel

    The Defense Manpower Data Center provided The Heritage Foundation with data on enlisted recruits for all branches of the military in 2006 and 2007.[3] These data included the recruits' racial and ethnic background, their educational attainment when they enlisted, and information connecting recruits to their home census tracts. Using census tracts enables a more precise analysis of the recruits' family income than previous Heritage Foundation reports, which had data available only at the three-digit and five-digit Zip code tabulation area level. Household Income

    Enlisted recruits in 2006 and 2007 came primarily from middle-class and upper-middle-class backgrounds. Low-income neighborhoods were underrepresented among enlisted troops, while middle-class and high-income neighborhoods were overrepresented.

    Individual or family income data on enlistees do not exist. The Defense Department does not maintain records on the household income of recruits or officers. Examining the earnings of most recruits before they joined the military is not possible because, for most of them, their first full-time job is in the military.

    Instead, we approximated the recruits' household incomes by assigning each recruit the median household income of the census tract in which they lived. This approximates their parents' economic status. For example, 10 recruits in 2006 came from census tract 013306 in San Diego. Accordingly, we assigned to each of these 10 recruits a median household income of $57,380 per year (in 2008 dollars), the median income of that tract in the 2000 Census.

    Census tracts are far smaller and more homogenous than five-digit Zip code tabulation areas. While the average five-digit Zip code tabulation area contains almost 10,000 residents, census tracts average approximately 4,000 residents.[4] Using census tract data consequently allows for a more precise imputation of household income than was possible in previous reports and, correspondingly, a more accurate analysis of how the recruits differ from the civilian population.

    Using the median household incomes in their census tracts, the average household income for all 2006 recruits was $54,834 per year (in 2008 dollars).[5] The average enlisted recruit in 2007 had a household income of $54,768. This is modestly above the national average of $50,428. Chart 1 shows the distribution among enlisted recruits and the population as a whole by household income quintile.

    As Chart 1 shows, low-income families are underrepresented in the military, and high-income families are overrepresented. Individuals from the bottom household income quintile make up 20.0 percent of the population of those who are 18-24 years old but only 10.6 percent of the 2006 recruits and 10.7 percent of the 2007 recruits. Individuals in the top two quintiles make up 40.0 percent of the population, but 49.3 percent of the recruits in both years.

    Chart 2 shows the household income distribution of enlisted recruits for 2006 and 2007 in more detail. It also shows the difference in income distribution between enlisted forces and the overall civilian population.

    Every income category above $40,000 per year is overrepresented in the active-duty enlisted force, while every income category below $40,000 a year is underrepresented. Low-income families are significantly underrepresented in the military. U.S. military enlistees disproportionately come from upper-middle-class families.

    Members of America's volunteer Army are not enlisting because they have no other economic opportunities. Most recruits come from relatively affluent families and would likely earn above-average wages if they did not join the military.


    Contrary to popular perceptions, America's enlisted troops are not poorly educated. Previous Heritage Foundation studies found that enlisted troops were significantly more likely to have a high school education than their peers. This is still the case. Only 1.4 percent of enlisted recruits in 2007 had not graduated from high school or completed a high school equivalency degree, compared to 20.8 percent of men ages 18 to 24. America's soldiers are less likely than civilians to be high school dropouts.

    The military requires at least 90 percent of enlisted recruits to have high school diplomas.[6] Most enlisted recruits do not have a college degree because they enlist before they would attend college. However, many recruits use the educational benefits offered by the military to attend college after they leave the armed forces.

    More evidence of the quality of America's enlisted forces comes from the standardized Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) that the military administers to all recruits. Over two-thirds of enlisted recruits scored above the 50th percentile on the AFQT. The military tightly restricts how many recruits it accepts with scores below the 30th percentile, and only 2.3 percent of recruits in 2007 scored between the 21st and 30th percentiles (Category IVA; see Chart 3). The military does not accept any recruits in the bottom 20 percent.


    The all-volunteer force was instituted in 1973 amid concerns over whether the military could maintain race representation proportional to the overall population. In a time of war, people and policymakers would be even more concerned if the burden of war fell disproportionately on certain sections of the population.[7]

    As reported in Table 2, below, the percentage of white active-duty recruits with no prior service was 65.3 percent in 2006 and 65.5 percent in 2007. Based on calculations from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS), almost 62 percent of the U.S. male population ages 18 to 24 classified themselves as white in 2006.[8] The troop-to-population ratio in these years was 1.05, indicating that the representation of whites in the military is similar to, although slightly above, their representation in the overall population.[9]

    The representation of blacks in the military is also above their population representation, with recruit-to-population ratios of 1.03 in 2006 and 1.08 in 2007. The percentage of Asian and Pacific Islander recruits is smaller than their population representation, with recruit-to-population ratios of 0.94 in 2006 and 0.93 in 2007.

    American Indian and Alaskan natives are largely overrepresented in the military compared to their representation in the overall population. In 2006, the IPUMS reported that less than 1 percent of males ages 18 to 24 characterized themselves as American Indian or Alaskan. Yet this group accounted for 2.16 percent of new enlisted recruits in 2006 and 1.96 percent in 2007. This group is the most overrepresented among new recruits, with troop-to-population ratios of 2.96 in 2006 and 2.68 in 2007.

    The population percentages and ratios for Hispanics are presented in Table 3. Hispanics are largely underrepresented among new recruits, with troop-to-population ratios of 0.64 in 2006 and 0.65 in 2007. Compared to the previous versions of this paper,[10] the Hispanic indicator variable had more complete responses, with many fewer recruits declining to indicate Hispanic ethnicity. However, the nonresponse rates for the Hispanic ethnicity indicator variable were still large enough that they may confound the results of the Hispanic analysis. If only recruits who responded to the Hispanic ethnicity question are considered, we still find that this group is underrepresented in the military.


    Representation by census region and division for recent active-duty military enlistees is found in Map 1. Similar to previous Heritage Foundation reports on the regional representation of troops, we find that the strong Southern military tradition continues with the 2006 and 2007 enlisted recruits. The South accounts for more than 40 percent of new enlistees-a proportional overrepresentation.

    The Northeast is underrepresented in the enlisted population, while the Midwest and West are roughly proportionally represented. Below, Map 2 shows the enlisted representation ratios for each state for 2007 enlistees with no prior military service. The figures for 2006 are in Table A1 in the Appendix.

    Editor's Note ~ Though the study may be somewhat dated (2008), it is insightful and thought provoking, worthy of consideration. Thanks to WPST member COL(Ret) Bruce Grant, PhD, Class of 1974, for bringing it to our attention.

    [1] Tim Kane, "Who Bears the Burden? Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Recruits Before and After 9/11," Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis Report No. CDA05-08, November 7, 2005, at http://www.heritage.org/research/nationalsecurity/cda05-08.cfm, and "Who Are the Recruits? The Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Enlistment, 2003-2005," Heritage FoundationCenter for Data Analysis Report No. CDA06-09, October 26, 2006, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/NationalSecurity/cda06-09.cfm.
    [2] This report does not cover the demographic characteristics of the graduates from other military academies or senior military colleges. The Heritage Foundation was given data only on recent West Point graduates.
    [3] The data used in this analysis may be requested from The Heritage Foundation, but due to privacy concerns, any release of the data must be approved by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.
    [4] U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder Glossary, s.v. "Census tract," at http://factfinder.census.gov/home/en/epss/glossary_c.html(July 25, 2008).
    [5] For details of these calculations, see the Technical Appendix. All figures are adjusted for inflation using the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) deflator and expressed in 2008 dollars.
    [6] A General Education Development (GED) credential does not count toward this requirement.
    [7] See David J. Armor and Curtis L. Gilroy, "Changing Minority Representation in the U.S. Military," paper presented at Biennial Conference of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society, Chicago, October 26, 2007.
    [8] This does not include people who classify themselves as white in combination with any other race. All race categories in both military and census data are reported in this manner.
    [9] A troop-to-population ratio of 1.00 would be exact proportional representation.
    [10] Kane, "Who Bears the Burden?" and "Who Are the Recruits?"
    [11] U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, Personnel, and Readiness, 2005 Population Representation in the Military Services, Table B-40, at http://www.defenselink.mil/prhome/poprep2005/download/download.html (July 25, 2008).
    [12] U.S. Military Academy at West Point, "About the Academy," at http://www.usma.edu/about.asp (July 25, 2008).
    [13] U.S. Department of Defense, 2005 Population Representation in the Military Services, Table B-34.
    [14] Heritage Foundation calculations using American Community Survey data for 2006.
    [15] Kane, "Who are the Recruits?"
    [16] With the exception of the ROTC race analyses, which use data from the 2004, 2005, and 2006 American Community Surveys.
    [17] The Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness reports that 87 percent of new recruits are between these ages. U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness,2006 Population Representation in the Military Services, at http://www.defenselink.mil/prhome/PopRep_FY06/download.html (June 10, 2008).
    [18] Kane, "Who Bears the Burden?" and "Who Are the Recruits?"

    Shanea Watkins, Ph.D.Policy Analyst in Empirical Studies

    James SherkSenior Policy Analyst in Labor Economics

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    Veterans Day Images.....

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    Want Some Music?

    Just Click on the Name of the Group or Song

    Editor's Note: A big WPST thanks for this interesting and enjoyable piece, to Mr. Sam Weller in Fremont, OH


    Artists available

    1. Elvis Presley 2. Roy Orbison 3. Beatles 4. Abba 5. Bee Gees 6. Michael Jackson 7. John Lennon 8. Celine Dion 9. Frank Sinatra 10. Creedence Clearwater Revival 11. Julio Iglesias 12. Queen 13. Neil Diamond 14. Paul McCartney 15. Rolling Stones 16. Pink Floyd 17. Bruce Springsteen 18. Elton John 19. U2 20. George Harrison 21. Cliff Richard 22. Tina Turner 23. Bob Marley 24. Andrea Bocelli 25. Dire Straits 26. Barbra Streisand 27. Eagles 28. Madonna 29. Simon & Garfunkel 30. Ac/Dc 31. Bob Dylan 32. Dean Martin 33. Andr? Hazes 34. Tom Jones 35. Eric Clapton 36. John Denver 37. Eros Ramazzotti 38. Deep Purple 39. Led Zeppelin 40. Rod Stewart 41. Status Quo 42. Louis Armstrong 43. Fleetwood Mac 44. Bryan Adams 45. Jimi Hendrix 46. Barry White 47. Nat King Cole 48. Santana 49. Michael Buble 50. Gipsy Kings 51. David Bowie 52. Adriano Celentano 53. Robbie Williams 54. Charles Aznavour 55. Metallica 56. Doors 57. Shakira 58. Beach Boys 59. Cat Stevens 60. Bon Jovi 61. Ub40 62. Joe Cocker 63. Whitney Houston 64. Phil Collins 65. Enrique Iglesias 66. Ricky Martin 67. Ray Charles 68. K3 69. Zz Top 70. Van Morrison 71. Ringo Starr 72. Stevie Wonder 73. Gloria Estefan 74. Supertramp 75. Jethro Tull 76. Black Sabbath 77. Marco Borsato 78. Guns N? Roses 79. Neil Young 80. Chuck Berry 81. Billy Joel 82. Sting 83. Kinks 84. R.e.m. 85. Laura Pausini 86. Genesis 87. Who 88. Monkees 89. Animals 90. Simple Minds 91. Prince 92. Aretha Franklin 93. B.b. King 94. Iron Maiden 95. Pearl Jam 96. Christina Aguilera 97. Alice Cooper 98. Depeche Mode 99. Nirvana100.

    Top 70 Songs:

    1. Always On My Mind- Elvis Presley
    2. Fernando- Abba
    3. Dancing Queen- Abba
    4. Oh Pretty Woman- Roy Orbison
    5. Spanish Eyes- Elvis Presley
    6. Are You Lonesome Tonight?- Elvis Presley
    7. Chiquitita- Abba
    8. Massachusetts- Bee Gees
    9. Love Me Tender- Elvis Presley
    10. Imagine- John Len non
    11. Suspicious Minds- Elvis Presley
    12. California Blue- Roy Orbison
    13. My Way- Elvis Presley
    14. Billie Jean- Michael Jackson
    15. In Dreams- Roy Orbison
    16. Blue Bayou- Roy Orbison
    17. Only The Lonely- Roy Orbison
    18. I Have A Dream- Abba
    19. Yesterday- Beatles
    20. Mamma Mia- Abba
    21. Thriller- Michael Jackson
    22. Amazing Grace- Elvis Presley
    23. Unchained Melody- Roy Orbison
    24. Can?t Help Falling In Love- Elvis Presley
    25. Jailhouse Rock- Elvis Presley
    26. Ave Maria- Celine Dion
    27. And I Love You So- Elvis Presley
    28. Blue Moon- Elvis Presley
    29. Hey Jude- Beatles
    30. I Started A Joke- Bee Gees
    31. My Way- Frank Sinatra
    32. Hotel California- Eagles
    33. A Big Hunk O? Love- Elvis Presley
    34. Bridge Over Troubled Water Elvis Presley
    35. The Winner Takes It All- Abba
    36. Bad Moon Rising- Creedence Clearwater Revival
    37. Ben- Michael Jackson
    38. Waterloo- Abba
    39. Stayin? Alive- Bee Gees
    40. Words- Bee Gees
    41. How Deep Is Your Love- Bee Gees
    42. Crying- Roy Orbison
    43. Blue Suede Shoes- Elvis Presley
    44. Blue Christmas- Elvis Presley
    45. Beat It- Michael Jackson
    46. A Day In The Life- Beatles
    47. Bohemian Rhapsody- Queen
    48. Let It Be- Beatles
    49. Only You- Roy Orbison
    50. Sweet Caroline- Roy Orbison
    51. A Hard Day?s Night- Beatles
    52. Bad- Michael Jackson
    53. Earth Song- Michael Jackson
    54. Woman- John Len non
    55. Imagine (live. - John Lennon
    56. Heal The World- Michael Jackson
    57. Stand By Me- John Len non
    58. Sweet Caroline- Neil Diamond
    59. O Sole Mio- Andrea Bocelli
    60. Bridge Over Troubled Water- Simon & Garfunkel
    61. Man In The Mirror- Michael Jackson
    62. Strangers In The Night- Frank Sinatra
    63. Black Or White- Michael Jackson
    64. Only You- John Len non
    65. My Sweet Lord- George Harrison
    66. What A Wonderful World- Louis Armstrong
    67. 24 Horas- Julio Iglesias
    68. Everybody Loves Somebody- Dean Martin
    69. I Just Can't Stop Lovin You- Michael Jackson
    70. Smooth Criminal- Michael Jackson

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    New Hand Grenade in Development

    Great News for Lefties - It's Ambidextrous!

    Excerpted from GunsAmerica News & Reviews, by Max Slowik

    Picatinny Arsenal is developing a new kind of hand grenade. The current M67 hand grenade design is more than 40 years old, in service since 1968 and the Army thinks it is time for a new one.

    The new hand grenade will be a variable-effect weapon. With the flip of a switch, it ccan be set to function as either a fragmentation grenade or a concussion grenade.

    The next-generation grenade is called the Enhanced Tactical Multi-Purpose (ET-MP) hand grenade.

    A fragmentation grenade works by using an explosion to throw metal shards outward in all directions from the point of detonation. While concussion grenade may still be lethal, they do not fragment - making them less dangerous for close-quarters situations. The Army stopped issuing concussion grenades over asbestos concerns in 1975.

    The new grenade in development will have an electronic fuse and an ignition system allowing soldiers to pick either fragmentation or concussion modes by flipping of a switch. The Army also wanted the controls to be more ambidextrous with the same manual of arms for left- and right-handed users.

    The decision to incorporate an electronic fuse may raise eyebrows in the Army but the electronic ignition system will be more predictable and reliable. The electronic fuse is accurate to a millisecond. These new weapons will also feather a longer shelf life. Development has been ongoing for the last five years.

    The use of an electronic fuse adds an extra layer of safety to the system as well. "With these upgrades in the ET-MP, not only is the fuze timing completely electronic, but the detonation train is also out-of-line," Hall explained. "Until armed, the hand grenade will not be able to detonate."

    See: https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/the-armys-developing-a-hand-grenade-for-the-21st-century/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=20160930_FridayDigest_89g&utm_campaign=/blog/the-armys-developing-a-hand-grenade-for-the-21st-century/

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    Life is Like a Box of C-Rations

    Speech by MG (USA-Ret) Robert Scales at the Truman Library

    Mr. Skelton, Mr. Cleaver, distinguished guests and, most importantly, fellow veterans. What a great thrill it is see my comrades in arms assembled here so many years after we shared our experiences in war.

    Let me give you the bottom line up front: I'm proud I served in Vietnam. Like you I didn't kill innocents, I killed the enemy; I didn't fight for big oil or for some lame conspiracy. I fought for a country I believed in and for the buddies who kept me alive. Like you I was troubled that, unlike my father, I didn't come back to a grateful nation. It took a generation and another war, Desert Storm, for the nation to come back to me.

    Also like you I remember the war being 99 percent boredom and one percent pure abject terror. But not all my memories of Vietnam are terrible. There were times when I enjoyed my service in combat. Such sentiment must seem strange to a society today that has, thanks to our superb volunteer military, been completely insulated from war. If they thought about Vietnam at all our fellow citizens would imagine that fifty years would have been sufficient to erase this unpleasant war from our conscientiousness. Looking over this assembly it's obvious that the memory lingers, and those of us who fought in that war remember.

    The question is why? If this war was so terrible why are we here? It's my privilege today to try to answer that question not only for you, brother veterans, but maybe for a wider audience for whom, fifty years on; Vietnam is as strangely distant as World War One was to our generation.

    Vietnam is seared in our memory for the same reason that wars have lingered in the minds of soldiers for as long as wars have been fought. From Marathon to Mosul young men and now women have marched off to war to learn that the cold fear of violent death and the prospects of killing another human being heighten the senses and sear these experiences deeply and irrevocably into our souls and linger in the back recesses of our minds.

    After Vietnam we may have gone on to thrilling lives or dull; we might have found love or loneliness, success or failure. But our experiences have stayed with us in brilliant Technicolor and with a clarity undiminished by time. For whatever primal reason, war heightens the senses. When in combat we see sharper, hear more clearly and develop a sixth sense about everything around us.

    Remember the sights? I recall sitting in the jungle one bright moonlit night marveling on the beauty of Vietnam. How lush and green it was; how attractive and gentle the people, how stoic and unmoved they were amid the chaos that surrounded them..

    Do you remember the sounds? Where else could you stand outside a bunker and listen to the cacophonous mix of Jimmy Hendrix, Merle Haggard and Jefferson Airplane? Or how about the sounds of incoming? Remember it wasn't a boom like in the movies but a horrifying noise like a passing train followed by a crack and the whistle of flying fragments.

    Remember the smells? The sharpness of cordite, the choking stench of rotting jungle and the tragic sweet smell of enemy dead.

    I remember the touch, the wet, sticky sensation when I touched one of my wounded soldiers one last time before the MEDEVAC rushed him forever from our presence but not from my memory, and the guilt I felt realizing that his pain was caused by my inattention and my lack of experience. Even taste is a sense that brings back memories. Remember the end of the day after the log bird flew away leaving mail, C rations and warm beer? Only the first sergeant had sufficient gravitas to be allowed to turn the C ration cases over so that all of us could reach in and pull out a box on the unlabeled side hoping that it wasn't going to be ham and lima beans again.

    Look, forty years on I can forgive the guy who put powder in our ammunition so foul that it caused our M-16s to jam. I'm OK with helicopters that arrived late. I'm over artillery landing too close and the occasional canceled air strike. But I will never forgive the Pentagon bureaucrat who in an incredibly lame moment thought that a soldier would open a can of that green, greasy, gelatinous goo called ham and lima beans and actually eat it

    But to paraphrase that iconic war hero of our generation, Forrest Gump, life is like a case of C Rations, you never know what you're going to get because for every box of ham and lima beans there was that rapturous moment when you would turn over the box and discover the bacchanalian joy of peaches and pound cake. It's all a metaphor for the surreal nature of that war and its small pleasures...Those who have never known war cannot believe that anyone can find joy in hot beer and cold pound cake. But we can.

    Another reason why Vietnam remains in our consciousness is that the experience has made us better. Don't get me wrong. I'm not arguing for war as a self-improvement course. And I realize that war's trauma has damaged many of our fellow veterans physically, psychologically and morally. But recent research on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder by behavioral scientists has unearthed a phenomenon familiar to most veterans: that the trauma of war strengthens rather than weakens us (They call it Post Traumatic Growth). We know that a near death experience makes us better leaders by increasing our self-reliance, resilience, self-image, confidence and ability to deal with adversity.

    Combat veterans tend to approach the future wiser, more spiritual and content with an amplified appreciation for life. We know this is true. It's nice to see that the human scientists now agree. I'm proud that our service left a legacy that has made today's military better. Sadly Americans too often prefer to fight wars with technology

    Our experience in Vietnam taught the nation the lesson that war is inherently a human not a technological endeavor. Our experience is a distant whisper in the ear of today's technology wizards that firepower is not sufficient to win, that the enemy has a vote, that the object of war should not be to kill the enemy but to win the trust and allegiance of the people and that the ultimate weapon in this kind or war is a superbly trained, motivated, and equipped soldier who is tightly bonded to his buddies and who trusts his leaders. I've visited our young men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan several times. On each visit I've seen firsthand the strong connection between our war and theirs. These are worthy warriors who operate in a manner remarkably reminiscent of the way we fought so many years ago. The similarities are surreal.

    Close your eyes for a moment and it all comes rushing back. In Afghanistan I watched soldiers from my old unit, the 101st Airborne Division, as they conducted daily patrols from firebases constructed and manned in a manner virtually the same as those we occupied and fought from so many years ago. Every day these sky soldiers trudge outside the wire and climb across impossible terrain with the purpose as one sergeant put it - to kill the bad guys, protect the good guys and bring home as many of my soldiers as I can. Your legacy is alive and well. You should be proud.

    The timeless connection between our generation and theirs can be seen in the unity and fighting spirit of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Again and again, I get asked the same old question from folks who watch soldiers in action on television: why is their morale so high? Don't they know the American people are getting fed up with these wars? Don't they know Afghanistan is going badly? Often they come to me incredulous about what they perceive as a misspent sense of patriotism and loyalty.

    I tell them time and again what every one of you sitting here today, those of you who have seen the face of war, understand: it's not really about loyalty. It's not about a belief in some abstract notion concerning war aims or national strategy. It's not even about winning or losing. On those lonely firebases as we dug through C ration boxes and drank hot beer we didn't argue the righteousness of our cause or ponder the latest pronouncements from McNamara or Nixon or Ho Chi Minh for that matter. Some of us might have trusted our leaders or maybe not. We might have been well informed and passionate about the protests at home or maybe not. We might have groused about the rich and privileged, who found a way to avoid service but we probably didn't. We might have volunteered for the war to stop the spread of global communism or maybe we just had a failing semester and got swept up in the draft.

    In war, young soldiers think about their buddies. They talk about families, wives and girlfriends and relate to each other through very personal confessions. For the most part the military we served with in Vietnam did not come from the social elite. We didn't have Harvard degrees or the pedigree of political bluebloods. We were in large measure volunteers and draftees from middle and lower class America. Just as in Iraq today, we came from every corner of our country to meet in a beautiful yet harsh and forbidding place, a place that we've seen and experienced but can never explain adequately to those who were never there.

    Soldiers suffer, fight and occasionally die for each other. It's as simple as that. What brought us to fight in the jungle was no different than the motive force that compels young soldiers today to kick open a door in Ramadi with the expectation that what lies on the other side is either an innocent huddling with a child in her arms or a fanatic insurgent yearning to buy his ticket to eternity by killing the infidel. No difference. Patriotism and a paycheck may get a soldier into the military but fear of letting his buddies down gets a soldier to do something that might just as well get him killed.

    What makes a person successful in America today is a far cry from what would have made him a successin the minds of those assembled here today. Big bucks gained in law or real estate, or big deals closed on the stock market made some of our countrymen rich. But as they have grown older they now realize that they have no buddies. There is no one who they are willing to die for or who is willing to die for them. William Manchester served as a Marine in the Pacific during World War II and put the sentiment precisely right when he wrote: "Any man in combat who lacks comrades who will die for him, or for whom he is willing to die is not a man at all. He is truly damned."

    The Anglo Saxon heritage of buddy loyalty is long and frightfully won. Almost six hundred years ago the English king, Henry V, waited on a cold and muddy battlefield to face a French army many times his size. Shakespeare captured the ethos of that moment in his play Henry V. To be sure Shakespeare wasn't there but he was there in spirit because he understood the emotions that gripped and the bonds that brought together both king and soldier. Henry didn't talk about national strategy. He didn't try to justify faulty intelligence or ill formed command decisions that put his soldiers at such a terrible disadvantage. Instead, he talked about what made English soldiers fight and what in all probably would allow them to prevail the next day against terrible odds. Remember this is a monarch talking to his men:

    This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin,
    Crispin shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remembered-
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    or he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother;
    be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition;
    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
    And hold their manhood's cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

    You all here assembled inherit the spirit of St Crispin's day. You know and understand the strength of comfort that those whom you protect, those in America now abed, will never know. You have lived a life of self-awareness and personal satisfaction that those who watched you from afar in this country who hold their manhood cheap can only envy.

    I don't care whether America honors or even remembers the good service we performed in Vietnam. It doesn't bother me that war is an image that America would rather ignore. It's enough for me to have the privilege to be among you. It's sufficient to talk to each of you about things we have seen and kinships we have shared in the tough and heartless crucible of war.

    Some day we will all join those who are serving so gallantly now and have preceded us on battlefields from Gettysburg to Wanat. We will gather inside a firebase to open a case of C rations with every box "peaches and pound cake". We will join with a band of brothers to recount the experience of serving something greater than ourselves. I believe in my very soul that the almightily reserves a corner of heaven, probably around a perpetual campfire where some day we can meet and embrace all of the band of brothers throughout the ages to tell our stories while envious standers-by watch and wonder how horrific and incendiary the crucible of violence must have been to bring such a disparate assemblage so close to the hand of God.

    For background on MG Scales, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_H._Scales

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    M3A1 Grease Gun

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    Bumper Stickers Seen on Military Bases

    You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up, Folks! (....or can you?!)

    When in Doubt, Empty The Magazine

    Sniper: You can run, but you'll just die tired!

    Machine Gunners: Accuracy By Volume

    Except For Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism, WAR has Never Solved Anything.

    U.S. Marines: Certified Counselors to the 72 Virgins Dating Club.

    U.S. Air Force: Travel Agents To Allah

    The Marine Corps: When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be Destroyed Overnight

    Death Smiles At Everyone: Marines Smile Back

    What Do I Feel When I Kill A Terrorist? A Little Recoil

    Marines: Providing Enemies of America an Opportunity To Die For their Country Since 1775?

    Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It

    Happiness Is A Belt-Fed Weapon

    It's God's Job to Forgive Bin Laden. It was Our Job To Arrange The Meeting

    Artillery Brings Dignity to What Would Otherwise Be Just A Vulgar Brawl

    One Shot, Twelve Kills: U.S. Naval Gun Fire Support

    My Kid Fought In Iraq So Your Kid Can Party In College

    A Dead Enemy Is A Peaceful Enemy; Blessed Be The Peacemakers

    Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The US military doesn't have that problem.

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    Puns for High(er) IQ's

    Star Men Stand By to Explain Them to Others!

    Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine.
       A man's home is his castle, in a manor of speaking.
          Dijon vu - the same mustard as before.
            Practice safe eating - always use condiments.

    Shotgun wedding - A case of wife or death.
        A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.
          A hangover is the wrath of grapes.
            Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.

    Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?
        Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.
          Reading while sunbathing makes you well red.
            When two egotists meet, it's an I for an I.

    A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two tired.
        A will is a dead giveaway.
          Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
            In democracy your vote counts. In feudalism your count votes.

    She was engaged to a boyfriend with a wooden leg but broke it off.
        A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.
          If you don't pay your exorcist, you get repossessed
            With her marriage,, she got a new name and a dress.

    The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.
        You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.
          Local Area Network in Australia - the LAN down under.
            Every calendar's days are numbered.

    A lot of money is tainted - taint yours and taint mine.
        A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.
          He had a photographic memory that was never developed.
            A midget fortune-teller who escapes from prison is a small medium at large.

    Once you've seen one shopping center, you've seen a mall.
        Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis..
          Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.
            Acupuncture is a jab well done.

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    The Sandpiper

    By Robert Peterson.

    She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

    "Hello," she said.

    I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

    "I'm building," she said.

    "I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring. "Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."

    That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes.

    A sandpiper glided by.

    "That's a joy," the child said.

    "It's a what?"

    "It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."

    The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself, hello pain, and turned to walk on. I was depressed, my life seemed completely out of balance.

    "What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.

    "Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."

    "Mine's Wendy... I'm six."

    "Hi, Wendy."

    She giggled. "You're funny," she said.

    In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on.

    Her musical giggle followed me.

    "Come again, Mr.. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."

    The next few days consisted of a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and an ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me.. The breeze was chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed.

    "Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"

    "What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

    "I don't know. You say."

    "How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.

    The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."

    "Then let's just walk."

    Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. "Where do you live?" I asked.

    "Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.

    Strange, I thought, in winter.

    "Where do you go to school?"

    "I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation"

    She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

    Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home. "Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today." She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.

    "Why?" she asked.

    I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought, My God, why was I saying this to a little child?"

    "Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."

    "Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and -- oh, go away!"

    "Did it hurt?" she inquired.

    "Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.

    "When she died?"

    "Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

    A month or so later, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed, and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

    "Hello," I said, "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."

    "Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies."

    "Not at all! she's a delightful child." I said, suddenly realizing that I meant what I had just said.

    "Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn't tell you."

    Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

    "She loved this beach, so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." Her voice faltered, "She left something for you, if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"

    I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope with "MR. P" printed in bold childish letters.. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues -- a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed:


    Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry," I uttered over and over, and we wept together. The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words -- one for each year of her life -- that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love.

    A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the color of sand-- who taught me the gift of love.

    NOTE: This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It happened over 20 years ago and the incident changed his life forever. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other. The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less. Life is so complicated, the hustle and bustle of everyday traumas can make us lose focus about what is truly important or what is only a momentary setback or crisis..

    This week, be sure to give your loved ones an extra hug, and by all means, take a moment... even if it is only ten seconds, to stop and smell the roses.

    There are NO coincidences! Everything that happens to us happens for a reason. Never brush aside anyone as insignificant. Who knows what they can teach us? We wish for all of you, a sandpiper.

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    M82A1 .50cal Rifle

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    Ol' Abe Has Something to Say

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    Army Echoes

    Retired Soldier Newsletter - You Should Read It, Retired or Not!

    The newest edition of Army Echoes is now available. Download your preferred version by clicking on the link below:

    Full Color: http://soldierforlife.army.mil/retirement/echoes/latest.pdf

    Black and White: http://soldierforlife.army.mil/retirement/echoes/latest-pf.pdf

    Army Echoes is the Army's official newsletter for Retired Soldiers and surviving spouses. It updates the retired Army community about changes to laws, policies, programs, and benefits that affect them.

    All Retired Soldiers and surviving spouses with active myPay accounts now receive Army Echoes electronically at their email address in myPay. Update your email address in myPay by visiting https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx.

    Having trouble viewing the Army Echoes SmartDoc links?

    Recent security updates may have changed the way you view SmartDocs and emailed links. Here are possible solutions for viewing the recent Army Echoes distribution email sent by DFAS.

    Disabled Links

    DoD disables website links in email for security reasons. In this case, the Army Echoes website is preceded by "Caution-". You might see "Caution-http://soldierforlife.army.mil/retirement/echoes/latest.pdf." If this happens, copy the website's entire name starting with "http://" and ending with "latest.pdf". Be sure not to copy "Caution-". Then paste this address into your web browser's internet address window and press "enter."

    Security Certificate Warning

    If you received a website security certificate warning when attempting to open the Army Echoes link, it may be due to the Department of Defense not posting its security certificates in internet "trust centers" as commercial websites do. The Army Echoes website is a secure, Department of Defense website. You must select "ignore" to advance past this security certificate warning.

    To download the Army Echoes newsletter:

    1. Copy the link
      Full Color: http://soldierforlife.army.mil/retirement/echoes/latest.pdf
      Black and White: http://soldierforlife.army.mil/retirement/echoes/latest-pf.pdf
    2. Do not to copy the word "Caution-" if it's placed at the beginning of the address.
    3. When you see the security certificate warning appear, click on "ignore"to proceed to the website. (The exact text varies from browser to browser.)
    4. When prompted to accept or install the security certificate, click yes. This will load the DoD website security certificate in your web browser and you will not see this warning message again.
    5. Then select your preferred edition: "high resolution" (color) or "printer friendly" (black and white).
    6. Use your internet browser to save the edition to your computer or to print it.
    If you still have concerns, send the editor an email at ArmyEchoes@mail.mil.

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    "Stuff" - November 2016

    Received from Readers in the Last Month

    Every month, your crack(ed) WPST editorial staff, ensconced in the palatial offices of The Quill, receives things from readers. Each piece is valued and valuable, but not complete stories. We call this "stuff" - well, actually "stuff" is the nicest word we can print. Remember, we're just aging infantry and armor guys, so a lot are over our heads, or insane (flip a coin). Here's some we liked this month. And keep 'em coming, folks!

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    Hooah! Mother Nature can't deny it; cooler weather is here to stay and 2016 is rapidly dwindling, too. Army - Navy party is on the horizon.

    GO ARMY!!

    Stay tuned to email and the website for details about our Army-Navy party on 12/10.

    Heartfelt birthday wishes for those celebrating a special day this month. Many happy returns. These members* have November birthdays:

    * Note: No information is on file in WPST records for spouses or children...and we'd like to include everyone! Please provide such info and/ or corrections to any info shown above to the secretary The intent is to acknowledge a special day for our members, spouses, significant others, and children. No birth year or USMA Class info will be shown. . And, if you'd rather not be listed, please let the Secretary know that as well. Thanks.

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    Give to the Long Gray Line Endowment Give to the Long Gray Line Endowment Give to the Long Gray Line Endowment
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