July 2014 Class Notes

Col. William B. DeGraf


Here it is the Fourth of July, another Happy Birthday for our great Nation. Hope all of you have a grand holiday!

Win Skelton and I and the rest of your Board of Governors are deep into the planning for our 65th Reunion next May. Actually we have been planning since 2011, but we are getting down to the point where we need your inputs. A class letter will be out shortly asking your intent and requesting a deposit so we have funds to use in planning.

We recently added a new member to our Board: Dick Newton's son Dick III, a recent AF LTG retiree and a graduate of the Air Force Academy. He will be representing our children and grandchildren.


If you have not read the article on Chuck Friedlander in the NASA magazine Quest, you should do so on our web site. Read it now (PDF). Chuck not only holds a Combat Infantryman Badge from the Korean War, but he played several key roles in the NASA space programs.

His class ring is in the West Point museum. It was a replacement for the original one that was stolen when he had a stroke. Several astronauts who had been to the moon or out in space shaved some gold from their rings for a new one for Chuck. In place of the stone there is the Gemini crest.

In June Fran Pick Dillard and her son Charles were among the honored guests at the ribbon cutting for a new museum dedicated to the building of the Fort Randall Dam in South Dakota. Pickstown was built by General Louis Andrew Pick, Andy's father, to house the workers building the dam. It was the last of six big dams planned to control the Missouri River.

In her letter to me Fran wrote "It is amazing that my 82-year old mind could learn so much and that my 82-year old body could walk that many miles in a three day span."

Fran and Charles were joined as guests by Tom Brokaw, who lived for eight years as a young boy in Pickstown. Fran, Charles, and Tom Brokaw, plus Lt. Gov. Michels all helped in the ribbon cutting. The picture shows Fran with Tom.

Gwyn Groseclose recently was the recipient of two prestigious bridge awards from her unit. She got the Katie McAlhany Award and the Maxine McCammon Life Master Award. Bridge has become a great part of her life there, playing several days each week.

In June Olivia Nicole Elliot, the granddaughter of Charles & June Elliot, graduated from the University of San Francisco School of Nursing. She is joining the Army Nurse Corps after her graduation.

Marge Ritter Hopkins sent a message that her granddaughter Julia is a resident in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Univ.

Al Romaneski's grandson Jonathan, having read a myriad of Military History books and having passed his oral examination, got his MA in Military History and has five years to write his PhD thesis. Meantime he is now teaching at West Point, with a home in Grey Ghosts.

The 2014 football season is about upon us. Charlie Kuyk did a nice summary of the football players in our class. While there were many who contributed their sweat and blood, he summarized the highlights. For the 1949 team, captained by John Trent, the record was no losses or ties. In the four years we were there the teams had 22 wins, 2 losses (back to back, if I remember correctly), and three ties. Five of the members were cadet captains. Two were killed in Korea and one in Viet Nam. Two made four stars, three made three. Two were distinguished grads: Borman and Gabriel. Quite a record for the Class of '50.

John Vanston left home at the age of seventeen and never returned. He and Angelafinished a trip to South Dakota recently that marked his visiting all 50 states. In addition he has visited fifty one foreign countries, including China, Japan, Russia, India, Australia, Brazil, Egypt and most of Europe plus some side trips to SE Asia. Angela accompanied him on most of the trips.

Meantime they are planning a Caribbean cruise to celebrate their sixty third anniversary.

Mary Pharr Love had a big family reunion at Lake Lanier, GA followed by a spa trip with her girls to Amelia Island, and then a cruise with her youngest daughter Lee to celebrate her 50th birthday. Add to that several trips to VA for grandmother fixes and you have a fun year.

Robin & I had dinner with Walt & Shirley Adams and Eddie & Ming Ramos at West Point in May. Walt is a fellow Company I-1 member as well as a good friend of long standing. He and Shirley drove up from their retirement home in Williamsburg just to join us. None of them show any signs of their ages: all of them had a lot of stories to tell and it was a great time.

The Ramoses were great fun. Ming had a delightful sense of humor, while Eddie was a dynamo. He at near ninety is still going strong. His interests mostly involve The Philippines and South East Asia. He has recently written several books and has a regular column in the Manila Bulletin, one of their leading newspapers. Moreover he has given a large number of speeches over the past few years, including one entitled "West Point's Role in the Philippines".

Not quite so much fun a few days later, when Robin & I were back at West Point for the burial of my friend and bridge partner Bob Werner. All his children were there along with grandchildren and a few others. One special couple was Russ & Pris Glenn, who had flown up from Atlanta, GA just for the service. Lee Werner, Pris Glenn, and Robin lived together for a year 1950-1951 in San Francisco, while the three men were in Korea. It was great to have a good visit with the Glenns over dinner.

Over 20 years ago Dave Hughes wrote about his youngest son Edward, in China during the Tienanmen Square troubles in 1989, marrying Haning Zhou. Her mother and father are retired Red Army Doctor Colonels whom our class opposed near the Yalu River in November 1950. Haning went on to teach Chinese at the Air Force Academy, and has done so well there that she now supervises all four Strategic Languages - Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Arabic.

Grandson David Zhou Hughes, just graduated from high school in Colorado Springs with both Harvard and Stanford offering him scholarships.

Uzal & Joan Ent are now living in a Retirement Community in Mechanicsburg, PA. He is an ex-classmate who retired as a BG. He has painted in oils since 1949. Recently he tried a few water colors, but he says they look more like oils. He continues to write professionally. His latest book was finally published a few days after December 31 on his 86th birthday. The book "The Pennsylvania Reserves in the Civil War" is about an all-Pennsylvania Infantry Division that fought in the Civil War from about June 1861 to June 1864.

After many years in Highland Falls, just a few miles south of West Point, Morris & Faith Herbert have moved to Knollwood in DC, to be near their two daughters and grandchildren. Several of us were invited to a welcoming cocktail party for them. L to R areFaith, Betty Nibley, Herb, Robin, and Ed & Judy Reidy. I'm the guy standing.

It was a treat for Robin and me to be part of the group, which included "Crit" Crittenberger, brother of our classmate Jack.

In June, Jake Jacobson gathered with several of his children, grandchildren and other family members to dedicate the monument on Ann's grave site. The picture shows Jake with his children Marie, Gretchen, and Paul.

Jake is selling his Revolutionary home and farm to move to a gated community that includes Redskin QB RGIII and the new coach. Jake says he will still be a Viking fan.


This is a group that gathered for Founders Day at IRCC in FL. Seated are Ruth & Sam Stapleton and Bill Ward. Standing from the left are Dick & Carol Steuart, Malvene & Ben Lewis, Bev Mackmull, Trudy Kuckhahn, Hooper Adams (hidden behind his wife Helen), Col Davis, and Marie Claire Ward.


Nice picture of Martha & Bob Morrison. Bob is still a sailor at heart.


This picture was taken at the burial for Ruth NewtonDick is on the left beside the chaplain. Harriet & Roy Lounsbury are on the right.



Got word that Joyce Cannon died in November 2011.

Lin Mather died 24 Feb in Gainesville, VA. He is survived by his second wife Mae. She lives in Gainesville, VA.

Marty Small died 28 Feb.in Valencia, CA.

Nels Thompson died 7 March in Portland, ME.

Fred Hoham died 15 March in Portage, IN. He is survived by his wife Hilda, who lives in Portage, IN.

Ed Batchelor died 7 April in Spring TX. He is survived by his wife Jan, who lives in Spring, TX.

Bob Werner died 6 May in Tampa FL. He is survived by his wife Lee.

Rufe Smith died 1 June in Fort Belvoir, VA.

Our sympathies go out to all these families.

I hope that all of you have a good summer. BEAT NAVY!!