Thomas D. Scofield

NO. 17684  •  22 Dec 1962

Died in Montgomery, AL
Interred in Peaceful Acres, Opp, AL

Thomas David Scofield grew up in a small town in the heart of Dixie known as Opp, AL and was the only son of John Dewey Scofield and Julia Carroll Tyson Scofield. David was also big brother to sisters Monica, Harriet, and Deborah.

From an early age, David had high aspirations for himself: he planned to attend the United States Military Academy with the ultimate goal of becoming a pilot in the United States Air Force. When the family determined that it would be extremely difficult for him to obtain an appointment to West Point through traditional means, David’s parents moved heaven and earth to send him to Marion Military Institute in order to improve his chances of admission. Following graduation from the accelerated program at Marion, David enrolled in the U.S. Navy V-5 Training Program, jointly run at Emory University and Georgia Tech, while he continued to pursue an appointment to West Point.

While at Emory, David was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. In the summer after his freshman year at Emory, he attended Navy training in both Brooklyn, NY and Great Lakes, IL. When word came of the appointment to West Point, David was overjoyed and more than happy to put his Navy experiences behind him. It was with great joy that he enrolled as a plebe at West Point in the summer of 1946.

David graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point on June 1, 1950 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force. He completed pilot training in August of 1951 and was married shortly thereafter to the lovely Barbara Brooks Rushing of Samson, AL, who died in 2014. Three months into their marriage, David was deployed to a duty station in Korea. While in Korea, he shared his billet with best friend and classmate, William Slade.

During his short lifetime, David was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Commendation Medal, the American Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

David particularly enjoyed his assignment to England and RAF Chivener as squadron leader. In addition, General Thomas Gerrity was of significant influence on David and his family. David served as his aide de camp and was with General Gerrity in Oklahoma City, OK when Tinker Air Force Base opened. Following this assignment, David was transferred to Wright Patterson in order to pursue an MBA at Indiana University, Bloomington. During his time there, David began to experience seizures and was initially diagnosed with a seizure disorder. With this diagnosis David lost his flying privileges. This was one of the most difficult aspects of his illness since, other than family, flying was the great love of his life. David persevered through great physical challenges to obtain his MBA in management and to graduate with honors from IU. Shortly thereafter he achieved the rank of major.

Eventually, David was correctly diagnosed with a brain tumor and was retired from active duty in May of 1962 after being assigned to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, FL, where he worked on the Apollo Space Project. David’s hobbies included fly fishing and reading. Also, wherever they were stationed, he and his family were active in the Baptist Church. In his last posting, he enjoyed teaching young boys in the RA Program at Cocoa Baptist Church.

David underwent extensive treatment for his cancer at Walter Reed and Maxwell Air Force Base Hospitals, including surgery, and succumbed to his illness on December 22, 1962 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL. He was buried with full military honors at Peaceful Acres in his hometown of Opp, AL on December 24, 1962. He was survived by his three daughters: Bettye Kathryn Scofield, Cynthia Irene Scofield, and Julia Louise Scofield.

David’s legacy of love for Duty, Honor, Country has been a seminal influence in the lives of his daughters to this day.

Gail Francis Wilson

NO. 17807  •  21 May 1928 – 3 September 1967

Died 3 September 1967 in Vietnam, aged 39 years.
Interment: Forest Park West Cemetery, Houston, Texas

WEST OF PLEIKU near the Cambodian border, a helicopter crash on 1 September 1967 resulted in  the death of Lieutenant Colonel Gail Francis Wilson. Gail had been in Vietnam less than a  month on his second tour when the accident occurred. As his brigade commander wrote: "When I reached him (after the crash), he was standing in full control of himself and evidenced no concern for his own injuries. He explained very quickly where the other men were, for it was very difficult to find people in the tall grass. He must have spent much of his energy determining the conditions of the other men and may have assisted in dragging them free of the fire. None of the others could have done so… When we put him aboard the medical evacuation ship, he protested that he was less injured then the rest." Gail died two days later from burns received in the crash. Thus ended the life of a man so respected for his character, integrity, dedication, loyalty and selflessness.

Gail's life was full, exciting, and rewarding. Born at Fort Sam Houston 21 May 1928, Gail lived a happy childhood life as an Army Brat. As Gail accompanied his family from post to post, lifelong interests were building. Foremost was his love of the Army. He loved everything about it, mostly the people but also the customs, traditions, discipline and way of life. As an Army youngster he soon realized how important it was to make strong and lasting friendships. He cherished these friendships, and as he grew older, he appreciated the opportunity to form more and lasting friendships as he moved throughout the Army.

During the years of World War II, Gail lived in San Antonio, Texas, awaiting the return of his father, Colonel O. O. Wilson '24, who had been captured on Bataan. He graduated from Central Catholic High School where he distinguished himself as a cadet lieutenant colonel, a class officer and a budding athlete. After his graduation he attended Rice University in Houston, Texas, while preparing for his lifelong ambition, his admittance to West Point in July 1946.

Duty, Honor, and Country were no strangers to him. These were ideals learned as a child and nurtured during his four years at West Point. The HOWITZER notes ". . . his indomitable spirit, pleasing personality, and ... many friends." He excelled in track and cross country and later used these talents as a member of the U.S. Army's Modern Pentathalon Team. He participated in the Pan American games of 1951 and was manager of the team at the Olympics in 1952. Those who knew Gail knew that his athletic success was due more to his perseverance, and dedication, than to his athletic prowess.

Shortly after graduation Ardath Kersta came into Gail's life, and they were wed in May 1952 at West Point. This was the start of Gail's happy family life which was blessed with six wonderful children. As a husband and father Gail excelled. How proud he was, and how he enjoyed their closeness. His annual Christmas letters to friends were always full of humor relating to the Wilsons’ latest adventures.

It was the Army, though, around which the life of the G. F. Wilsons revolved. Gail was an Infantryman, a ranger, a master parachutist and a perfectionist in his career. His assignment included a previous tour in Vietnam as an advisor, an ROTC assignment at Wisconsin University and troop duty with four different infantry divisions. One of his most cherished assignments was with the 1st British Brigade in England where he and Ardath made so many close friends. His last assignment was commanding the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, of which he was justly proud.

Extracts from letters received since his death attest to his character. From a division commander: "Whenever I had a tough job to be done, I tossed it to Gail and forgot about it. I knew it would be done and done well. As well as being a competent soldier, Gail was a leader in the community and did many things to make the lives of others more pleasant." From a friend: " . . . in Kontum, Vietnam, in 1957-­58, he won the admiration, trust and respect of all his Vietnamese counterparts. He was a good American in the best possible meaning of that expression..." From his brigade commander: "He died in the manner in which he had lived, with the primary thought to his duty and with selfless attention to others."

The letters come from afar and pay tribute to this soldier. His family cherishes these letters and memories Gail has left them. They remember his devotion to God, his country and to them. They take comfort knowing Gail died doing what he loved, for something in which he believed. We'll miss him ...

WELL DONE, Be thou at Peace."

- J.C W.

George Frederick Vlisides

NO. 17635  •  

Died 27 Jan 1965, of Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, aged 40.
Interment: Greek Orthodox Cemetery, Ann Arbor, MI

GEORGE VLISIDES, The "Gorgeous One," was killed 30 years ago. His personality is still fresh: ambitious, eager, duty first, strong, help the underdog, proud, seek the adventure.

At hand is a letter from George of September 1956 with all abstract of events at West Point: socials in 1950; the Commandant’s party; TDY to the Air Ground School; tennis club's defeats; inquiries about the health of the children; touching all the bases; interested and interesting; balanced.

Detroit was the place of George's birth. His parents came from Greece and started successful restaurants in Detroit and Ann Arbor. He had a solid boyhood. The patriot sense was in place early.

After high school, George enlisted in the Air Corps and got his second lieutenant's bars and Bombardier Wings in 1944. During the rest of WWII, George flew in heavy bombers, but, to his chagrin, did not go overseas.

Michigan's Second District sent George to West Point in July 1946. Many of his classmates had prior service, including some 30 officers. The competition was stiff, and he liked that. In Beast Barracks, George could be seen, 3d rank, 2d file, hard, sweaty, angry, determined, a man to be reckoned with. Back at South Barracks, he was a man to help with the dress off, get the scratch out of the B-plate, and calm the storm. George went to C-1. From the first ranking he was our top plebe; and he stayed on top through our First Class year.

Math was tough; social sciences were a breeze. Soccer was a letter sport, but wrestling needed a little more time.

Many a Class of '50 wife later tried and failed to make a match for him. His ideal was a cross between Marilyn and a choir girl. George never married.

After graduation, George went to the Air Force and pilot training. He had a couple of bad days, got washed out, but he believed in himself. George took it to the Chief of Staff, re-entered the pilot program, and received his wings in March 1952. He fought with the 49th Fighter Bomber Wing in Korea, flying 84 missions in the F-84 and receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, and the Air Medal with two clusters.

During the summer of 1954, George became a TAC in the Office of Physical Education. He cut an impressive figure for the cadets; he was in magnificent shape, and went to parachute school at Ft. Benning and got his jump wings. By this time he had lost his hair. He simply shaved it all and became even more arresting. We called it "aplomb," albeit a more mature front and top.

He wasn't mean enough for the cadets to anoint him as being legendary.

By the mid-fifties, many of the class went back to Alma Mater as captains, mostly married, in our prime. We loved George. He was steady, predictable, and ready to do bachelor things. He was always available for filling the party table. He was great for helping along a joke, even by being the subject of them.

By June Week 1955, George had acquired a long 1949 Lincoln convertible, purple and expensive. George took a full load to Camp Buckner for a picnic supper. As we parked by the shores of Lake Popolopen, a clean Chevy pulled alongside. The doors of both cars opened, but the other driver, a gray-haired ranger with a '35 arm band, was quick and said, 'After you, Sir!" Tact prevailed then, but later all holds were off and no mercy was shown our senior classmate. No party with George for the next 10 years failed to hear that story, and no C-1 formation since.

George served a tour in Europe and then graduated from the Air Command and Staff College in 1961. Next came staff duty with HQ AirTraining Command at Randolf AFB, and promotion to major. Vietnam was heating up, George was a Regular, and he wanted more combat. He volunteered in 1964. In October, he made a quick swing to the DC area for adieus, a stop by the Pentagon's D-Ring for the latest, and a pause for gifts to the girls. He had a charming way with childrcn, shy and sincere, no talking down, a sure vote getter. George was now full of happiness, confidence, abilities: the kind of man America sends to war, a West Pointer.

The 1st Air Commando Squadron became George's home on 5 Nov. His duty was operations officer, but he flew close support missions in combat as the pilot of A1E aircraft. For almost 3 months he flew strikes against targets in the northwestern arc around Saigon. He was awarded another Distinguished Flying Cross and two more Air Medals. On 27 Jan 1965, George and his enlisted Vietnamese observer flew as part of an afternoon squadron strike. The mission was a success. At 1650 hours, with the sun dropping but the weather good, George made his landing approach. His left wing dropped, caught, the bird rolled, crashed, burned. That was it; both men were killed. Lindbergh has told us, "An airplane is like a rattlesnake; watch it every second for it is just waiting to bite you."

It was a quick bite of bad luck. George had 2,600 flying hours and 2,000 hours first pilot time. He had 154 hours in the A1E. It was a truly bad snake bite.

Funeral services were held for George in the Greek Orthodox Church in Ann Arbor on 5 Feb 1965. A memorial service for his many friends and classmates was held at the Ft. Myer Chapel in Arlington, VA, on 21 Mar. Mrs. Elena C. Vlisides, George's mother, was present. George also was survived by a brother and a sister.

And so passed another air warrior. Time too short; talents too little used; stopped in mid­flight. George was the epitome of the Academy motto. West Point was one of his icons, the ancient Greeks the other. He enjoyed telling of the glories of the Greeks and he thrived on tales of their courage. George had courage. Walpole, though not a Greek, had George in mind when he wrote, “Tisn’t life that matters. 'Tis the courage one brings to it." 

- JBL, C-1 classmate

Ralph Hadley Viskochil

NO. 17661  •  

Died 21 April 1967 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, aged 41 years.
Interment: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia


This letter is a labor of love that will never appear on paper exactly as it is etched in the minds and hearts of those who love you, admire you, and miss you. The two years since your passing have proven that you are one of those few truly great men who build so well in life that they live with even greater purpose after death.

We who had the joy and privilege of knowing you well are just beginning to really appreciate what an exceptional man you were. We knew you as father, son, brother, husband, pal, classmate, instructor, comrade-in-arms, community leader, patriot, soldier, officer, and professional engineer. We had the pleasure of participating with you and following your leadership in everything from wild schemes to rebuild the house and the country club, to Boy Scouts, investments, Little League, golf, bowling, squash, photography, art, music, camping, and yea ‑ even work. Your hobby must have been collecting hobbies, yet you did them all justice while maintaining excellence as an officer, engineer, and father.

When one works as hard as you did at so many worthwhile, difficult, and varied problems, one often does not see immediate results and wonders if any progress is being made. It occurred to us that you might appreciate a progress report on the results of your 4 1/2 short years of effective effort.

They are still talking at Leavenworth and Walter Reed about the great courage, good humor, and sheer guts you displayed during that last difficult year ‑ with the painful treatments, loss of voice, learning to talk all over again, and all the while keeping an even keel at home and at work.

The tremendous stack of condolence letters from friends and admirers all over the world shows what an indelible impression you made on so many people. The letters were from generals, contemporaries, junior officers, enlisted men, and civilians ‑ completely rounded just as your beautiful life.

Of course the most important monument a man can build is his family, Your performance here is proving every day to be your crowning achievement. Your brave wife, three handsome sons and darling daughter all reflect your example, the goals you set before them, and the love you lavished on them. I hope it is possible that you are able to see them from your new duty station and to share the pride and admiration we all feel for them as they go about the important business of maturing and contributing to the community by their actions. Joy, Stephen, David, Lani, and Larry will always shed credit on their beloved husband and father.

You will be happy to know that your Boy Scouts in Korea, Leavenworth, and Springfield, are flourishing because you built so well. The many contributions sent in on your behalf to the Springfield troop have resulted in a fitting and practical memorial to the things you stood for. The Springfield Country Club, whose inception received the benefit of your wise guidance and hard work,  has become one of the finest in the Northern Virginia area. The real estate work you did in DCSLOG still serves the Army well as do your many construction projects and the officers and men you trained and guided so effectively. Indeed Ralph, you left your mark. "When man departs from this world, neither silver nor gold accompany him; he is remembered only for his love of learning, love of his fellow men and his good deeds."

 Thus you are remembered, dear friend.

- E. C. West

Bobby Gene Vinson

NO. 17575  •  

Missing in action in Vietnam on 24 Apr 1968, declared dead on 12 Sep 1977. Body never recovered.


SHOULD WEST POINT begin retiring football jerseys, a good one to start with would be number 44. Bobby wore this number for 4 years, having made the 'A' squad in plebe year on a national championship team. A native son of Nederland, he grew up in the rough and ­ready world of Cajuns, oil field workers, and longshoremen in East Texas. He learned how to play and fight, when necessary, with the toughest and was the Outstanding High School Football Player in Texas in his senior year. Bobby turned down a full scholarship to Rice in order to compete in the last year of the Davis-Blanchard era. Probably his most notable football feats were a 98-yard intercepted pass return in 1948 and a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the 1949 Army-Navy game. He was number one in the plebe class in physical aptitude and could take on the best heavyweights in boxing and wrestling. Anyone would rue the day that he stood next to Bobby on "bloody Tuesday" in Bill Cavanaugh's boxing class.

Bobby also was an outstanding student, with particular talents in mathematics and science. It was amazing to see him return from a rough football practice and focus on academics with consistently outstanding results in the classroom the next day.

Bobby entered Air Force flight training just as the Korean War began and he quickly grasped the essentials of this new challenge. It came as no surprise when he was selected to be a jet fighter pilot. Combat skills were honed at the Fighter Gunnery School at Nellis AFB, NV, and he was soon on his way to Korea. Aircraft losses were heavy during the winter of 1951-­52, particularly for fighter-bomber pilots, but Bobby flew 100 combat missions in F­84s the same way he played football - with 100% commitment, 100% fearless. On one memorable mission, he spotted a North Korean tank. When his rockets failed to fire, Bobby recycled armament switches while continuing the attack. The tank was destroyed, but the F­84 kissed the ground during his pullout. A bushel basket of dirt, grass, and brush was retrieved from the F-84 after returning to home base.

In between flying 100 combat missions, Bobby learned skeet shooting. (In those days, the Air Force thought skeet shooting improved aerial gunnery skills.) Two years later he represented Tactical Air Command in the National Championships.

After the Korean War, Bobby was assigned to George AFB, CA, as a fighter pilot and met Joan McKinney while vacationing in Mexico. Bobby and Joan were married in September 1953 and raised 4 handsome and extremely bright children: ­Chuck, Robert, Victoria, and Laura.

The following years brought a series of tactical assignments interspersed with annual returns to West Point as assistant football coach. Later, while stationed at Wheelus AFB, Libya, Bobby learned scuba diving and water skiing - sports he pursued for the rest of his life. The Vinsons returned to Langley AFB, VA, where Bobby joined TAC Headquarters. Next came Armed Forces Staff College and the Pentagon.

Charlie Gabriel, classmate and retired Air Force Chief of Staff, remembers Bobby as a staff officer of unparalleled integrity who would challenge the system to provide absolutely objective staff studies. Charlie also notes that Bobby was the best fighter pilot he knew.

The years spent in Washington are remembered by their many friends for fun-­filled gatherings at their home in Northern Virginia, especially the "Vinson Backyard Olympics" where one and all tested aging skills in a variety of games and contests. In 1965, the Vietnam War intruded. Bobby became increasingly involved in staffing fighter operations for combat. In 1967, he returned to the cockpit.

After a brief training period in F- 4s, he joined the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing at DaNang. "Skipper" Scott, classmate, fellow football player, and later Superintendent at the Air Force Academy, recalls that in their earlier assignment to the same fighter wing, Bobby was the top fighter pilot, able to beat everyone, including a top Korean War ace, in "dog fights" -- simulated aerial combat. LTC Vinson was quickly checked out to lead combat missions; the most challenging being night attack missions under flares in North Vietnam.

The April afternoon before Bobby's last flight, he enjoyed his favorite sport - scuba diving for lobsters in the Gulf of Tonkin. He told Skip Scott that they would cook lobsters upon his return from a night attack mission against the Ho Chi Minh Trail in North Vietnam. His aircraft apparently was hit while making a second firing pass under flares. His wingman reported the aircraft explosion, and Bobby was never heard from again.

Defense policy was to list pilots lost in combat as MIA until their true status could be determined.  Joan Vinson became a national leader in the movement to account for MIA-POWs. She was and is a wonderful wife and mother who kept the family together after the loss of Bobby.

COL Bobby Gene Vinson was declared KIA on 12 Sep 1977. From the "fields of friendly strife" at West Point to the skies over North Vietnam, he served his country with  pride and distinction. Check Six, 44! 

- His roommates Rufus Smith and Dick Leavitt

John Hunt Truesdale

NO. 17809  •  

Died 28 January 1967 in a bus accident near Reno, Nevada, aged 40 years.
Interment:  Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

MY SON, JOHN TRUESDALE, and his beloved wife, Glory Dischert Truesdale, were killed in a bus accident with several others on 28 January 1967 while on a skiing holiday. He had returned from duty in Vietnam in November 1966 and was stationed at Fort Ord, California, at the time of his death.

A memorial service was held at Fort Ord and at Arlington National Cemetery where he and his wife were interred.

No greater tribute could be paid to John's memory than the thoughts expressed by his friend and fellow officer, Lieutenant Colonel Rex Beasley, in the words quoted below.

"John was thoroughly devoted to the highest ideals of his profession. Infantryman, paratrooper, special forces officer; these military speciaties which he held place him in the elite vanguard of those who serve in the defense of our country. His service in Vietnam in 1966 with the Special Forces (Green Beret) included duty in such now famous outposts as Khe Sanh and An Khe, for which service in action he received the Bronze Star Medal."

John's compassionate and unselfish interest in his fellow man constituted the primary motivating element in his life. Unbounded enthusiasm, a wonderful zestiness and spontaneity, charged the atmosphere of John's activities both at work and at play. John's versatility and natural leadership made him welcome in any endeavor. Whether on the drill field or the tennis court, his desire to express perfection gained and merited our admiration.

Another fundamental and significant aspect of John's experience was his devotion to his religion. A practicing Christian Scientist, he served his church wherever he was assigned. Appointed by The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, to serve as a Christian Science Representative in the Armed Services, John gave liberally of his off-‑duty hours in this important work. Counseling servicemen of his faith, assisting with denominational services where these were authorized, and giving prayerful assistance to those requesting it, John carried the banner of our Christian ethic no less effectively than he carried the shield and weapons of our country's defense. During a period of two years in Seoul, Korea, he made a significant contribution to the establishment and growth of a new church in that city, thus expanding the availability of Christianity in that important nation.

John's exuberance and conscious optimism are a continuing inspiration to those who knew him and served with him. His faith that right will prevail, his devotion to country and mankind, and his example of joyful perseverance are permanent contributions to the legacy of "The Long Gray Line."

John was one of those rare persons whose warmth, enthusiasm, and genuine interest in all good things made him a wonderful guy just to have around. Your interests were his interests; he was a thoroughly comfortable friend. He epitomized the words of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, wherein she writes: “To live and let live, without clamor for distinction of recognition; to wait on divine Love; to write truth first on the tablet of one's own heart ‑ this is the sanity and perfection of living, and my human ideal.”

John is survived by his father of Richmond, Virginia, two sisters and two brothers. Glory Truesdale is survived by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. George J. Dischert of Moorestown, New Jersey, and two brothers.

- Cavour L Truesdale

Howard F. Reinsch

NO. 17535  •  24 March 1927 - 2 June 1967

Died 24 March 1927 in San Antonio, TX 
Interred in Ashton, IA

HOWARD FRANK REINSCH was born in Ashton, IA, in 1927 to Dr. and Mrs. Frank Reinsch. "Home schooling" was an unknown entity during Howard's early life in Ashton, but his public school education was augmented by study with his father. Their basement served as a laboratory, where they pursued chemistry and biology, and their kitchen table is where he learned higher math. By age 16, Howard had enough schooling to be admitted to Morningside College in Sioux City, where he played semi­pro basketball in his spare time. He also developed from his father a lifelong love of fishing and golf. He returned to Ashton in 1944 and graduated from Ashton High School as valedictorian of his class.

After high school graduation, Howard joined the Merchant Marines, serving until 1945. He returned home and enrolled at the University of Minnesota to study chemical engineering.

I met my future husband on a blind date arranged by his Sigma Alpha Epsilon brother and my Alpha Gamma Delta sister. We dated until his acceptance to the Academy and entrance in July 1946 with the Class of '50.

One of Howard's roommates, John Ahearn, told me he was always impressed with Howard's great relationship with his dad. One time during Plebe year, Howard, not unlike many new cadets, became fed up with the system and considered resigning. His father's response to this news was essentially, "Son, if you have given your best and West Point decides you’re not good enough, you come home with your head high ... but you don’t quit!" As a true son of the "Corn Belt," Howard went on to enjoy cadet life and to inspire his G‑2 classmates with his basketball ability and his academic prowess. Another roommate, Jack Hendry, recalls that Howie was a good friend, well liked, easy to get along with, and an excellent student with a special liking for social sciences, tactics, law, and physical education.

Howard graduated on 6 Jun 1950, and we married on 17 June in Minneapolis, MN. Howard entered the Air Force with his first assignment at Randolph AFB, TX, for basic flight training. He then went to Vance AFB, Enid, OK, for advanced training, graduating on 4 Aug 1951, the very day our twin daughters, Janet and Joyce, were born. Training in B‑29s at Randolph AFB was next, followed by seven months at Kadena AFB, Okinawa, flying missions over Korea. He was then assigned to B‑47 training at Barksdale, Ellington, and Connally bases. During 1954‑58, he was at Schilling AFB, KS, and Castle AFB, CA, flying B‑52s. The years 1958‑62 found us at Altus AFB, OK, where daughter Suzanne was born in 1960.

A transfer to the Minuteman Missile program offered Howard the opportunity to study for his master's degree from the Armed Forces Institute of Technology. After training at Vandenberg AFB, CA, we were stationed at Malmstrom AFB, MT, during 1962‑66. Following promotion to lieutenant colonel, Howard trained as a Missile Safety Officer and was transferred to Little Rock AFB, AR.

Sadly, Howard became ill with cancer and died in San Antonio, TX, in June 1967, just 17 years after graduating from West Point. He is buried in Ashton, IA, and we feel his spirit still flies in the stars above us.

Myself, our three daughters - Janet, Joyce, and Suzanne; and our four grandchildren survive Howard.

-His Wife, Barbara

Carl Berg Mitchell

NO. 17450  •  

Died 14 January 1964 in Vietnam, aged 35 years
Headstone placed in his honor in the West Point Cemetery, West Point, New York.

CARL BERG MITCHELL, known as "Cully" to his family and "Mitch" to his friends, was from Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, where his mother had a farm originally homesteaded by his Anderson forebears. The farm, town and his family were the home of Cully's heart since he began life in 1928 as an Army brat. His father, Carl Berg, graduated from West Point in 1920. He married Mary English Anderson in 1922 and at the time of Cully's birth was teaching at Culver Military Academy in South Bend, Indiana. A younger brother, Corwin, arrived a few years after Carl and, until their father's suicide in 1938, the young family spent the majority of their time stationed in the South. Cully's boyhood loves included golf, swimming, riding horses and spending summers in Kentucky on the farm.

Carl's mother married Clark Mitchell, a family friend and fellow Army officer (USMA '19), and their son, John Clark Mitchell, was subsequently born. Clark adopted Cully and Corwin in 1941, the same year Cully left home to begin his high school years at Culver as a boarder. Cully thrived at Culver, both academically and at various intramural sports.

When he graduated, West Point appointments were hard to come by because of the war, but Clark facilitated Cully's placement by sending him to Sullivan's Prep in Washington, DC for a year. There Cully placed third out of a thousand examinees on the Presidential Appointment Exam.

Cully became a plebe in 1946 and was a little more prepared than many of his classmates for the discipline of military life. Although recognized for his intellect, he also was known for taking the time to explain or review an academic problem; to demonstrate a military procedure; or to sit down and listen to a problem and consider it with thoughtfulness. He was, however, a notorious teaser, to the extent that he mortified people at times. His roommate, just married and preparing to leave on his honeymoon, found a letter from a former girlfriend conspicuously planted amongst his belongings.

Cully did well at West Point and his desire to fly led to his commission into the Air Force. While attending Basic Pilot Training in Sherman, Texas, he and his cohorts often went to Dallas. During this time he began to date Colleen Hill, whose mother, Irene, was occasionally serenaded late in the evening with "Goodnight Irene" by Cully and his buddies. In August of 1951, with new  wings on his unifonn, he and Colleen were married.

By February of 1952 Cully was assigned as a B‑29 pilot to the 50th Bomb Squadron, 9th Bomb Wing, Travis Air Force Base, California, and became a part of Strategic Air Command (SAC) and its expanding nuclear deterrent. At the onset, he not only demonstrated that he was a fine pilot and a promising young officer but also showed tremendous dedication. He took advantage of opportunities to do more, volunteering to serve as the squadron ground training officer and as the squadron security officer. After he and his B‑29 crew achieved combat ready status, they began frequent overseas deployments for training and nuclear alert operations.

By the mid 50s, Cully and his young family were stationed at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho where Michael and Shelly were born. Mary Elizabeth, the eldest, had been born in Dallas while Cully was away on a mission. Cully was assigned to the 9th Bomb Wing, which was transitioning to the all‑jet B‑47 bomber, the centerpiece of SAC's nuclear deterrent force. Cully worked hard with his crew and they achieved the highest crew level within SAC Select Crew Status. Cully advanced from assistant squadron operations officer to squadron adjutant to aircraft commander, demonstrating his excellent abilities as a pilot and as a resourceful leader of men.

The nature of Cully's assignments and his inherent talents led to his interest in the acquisition process for both the advanced manned strategic aircraft and the advanced ballistic missile systems. When he became eligible for career diversification, he was selected to attend the University of Michigan where he received his masters, with honors, in astronautical and aeronautical engineering in 1961.

His next assignment was to Air Force Systems Command Ballistics Systems division in Los Angeles and then San Bernardino, California as a management systems officer. He was appointed by Headquarters, AFSC as a primary team member to define the AFSC management approach to systems definition, earning him the Air Force Commendation Medal and recognition by his commanding officer as "the most outstanding officer of his grade in the entire organization."

Cully's love of flying never diminished, however, and with the expansion of US involvement in Vietnam in 1963, he decided to volunteer as an Air Force advisor and B‑26 pilot. Cully was keenly aware that many of his classmates had served in the Korean War, and he felt that his military career would not be complete without combat experience.

Cully left his family on 14 November 1963 to join the Air Command Squadron at Bien Hoa, Vietnam where he began flying combat missions in support of friendly ground forces. His last mission. with his co­pilot, Vincent J. Hickman, and their Vietnamese observer, was on 14 January 1964. It was subsequently recorded by Lieutenant Lee Kaster in a letter dated June 1964 as follows:

"On 14 January 1964, Cully and Vince were scrambled at 1800 and instructed to rendezvous with their Forward Air Control for a strike on VC structures. At 1810, the FAC marked a target with smoke and told them to drop napalm on it. Cully dropped two cans squarely on it. During the pass, the FAC noticed groundfire about 100  meters north of the target. He told CulIy and Vince about it, and Cully answered. "Roger, we'll come around and hit it." As he started his final approach. the plane nosed in and crashed into the jungle."

Cully was posthumously awarded the nation's second highest medal for valor, the Air Force Cross, and the citation read:

"Major Carl B. Mitchell distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during low‑level flight operations against heavily defended enemy positions. Despite heavy machine gun fire, which repeatedly struck his aircraft, Major Mitchell aggressively continued his efforts to locate and destroy the machine gun installations until his badly damaged aircraft crashed and burned."

The death of a man in his prime is never easy to understand, and Cully had much to live for ‑ to see his children grow up, to return to his "old Kentucky home" and to farm. He was a dedicated and accomplished Air Force officer who gave his life for what he believed in, and that is a privilege. He has been loved and missed by many for the past 30 years.

-Prepared by classmates and family

Robert Paul Leary

NO. 17514  •  27 October 1927 – 20 March 1969

Died 20 March 1969 in Walter Reed General Hospital, Washington, D.C., aged 41 years.
Interment: Cataumet Cemetery, Cataumet, Massachusetts

0N 20 MARCH 1969, just a little over two months after receiving his promotion to Colonel and taking command of Signal Group 22 in Mannheim, Germany, Bob Leary died in Walter Reed Army Hospital at the age of 41, of acute leukemia.

As his wife Joan expressed it so well, "God wished for him to be part of His perfect existence." Everyone who knew Bob can realize how well be would fit in such a plan, for perfection was an inherent part of him. In everything he did, be applied his scholarly mind and all his energies to a perfect execution of any task or challenge, and undergirding his quest for excellence, and adding to it a higher dimension, was his strong Christian faith. Perhaps his family and friends can reconcile themselves to his premature death by remembering the words of St. Paul to the Romans: "All things work together for good with those who love God and are called according to His purpose."

Colonel Robert Paul Leary was born in Watertown, Massachusetts, on 27 October 1927, the son of Joseph and Mary Leary. He was graduated from Watertown High School in 1945, and from West Point in 1950. His graduation from West Point did not end his formal education or his association with the Academy. After three years in Germany as platoon and company commander of signal units, he attended Syracuse University and received a Master's Degree in Business Administration in 1955. From that time until 1957 he was Chief of the Automatic Data Processing Branch of the Signal Supply Agency in Philadelphia. He went next to the Advanced Signal Officers Course, and after graduating, he returned to West Point as an instructor in Economics, International Politics, and U. S. Government.

After the completion of his West Point tour, Bob went to the Command and General Staff College before assuming command of the 4th Signal Battalion in Korea in 1963. Then in 1965, he graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College, in Norfolk, Virginia, and in 1967, from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort McNair in Washington. His last assignments before he assumed command of Signal Group 22 were at the Pentagon as Capabilities Plans Officer of ODCS-Log, then as Chief of the Logistics System Design Branch of ODCX‑Log, Headquarters USAREUR, and finally Chief of the Systems Engineering Division, USACOMZ, EUR S&MA.

Bob was a two‑time recipient of the Army Commendation Medal, and a holder of the Legion of Merit (first oak leaf cluster). One of his fellow officers, Colonel S. A. Bush, Commandant of UASECOM in Philadelphia, said of him, "Bob always epitomized to me the perfect example of what a top notch regular Army officer should look like, sound like, think like, and be. He was a natural born leader and commander, as well as a deep feeling and thinking person."

Many of these qualities of "a deep feeling and thinking person" could be observed in his family life. His pride in his career was great, but his family was the most important thing in Bob’s life. He was happiest when with Joan and their four cbildren­ - Mark, Robin, Sarah Kate, and Michael. Bob was a father who was never too busy to join in his children's activities. His keen sense of humor and his many interests enabled him to enjoy each child in a special way.

It was fitting that Bob's funeral was held at Cape Cod. It was here that Bob experienced his happiest times. It was at Cape Cod that he spent his summers as a boy. It was here that he and Joan were married in July, 1950, and it was here that he came for family reunions and vacations between his assignments.

The simple and beautiful Requiem Mass in St. John's Church, Pocasset, and the burial in the lovely cemetery in Cataumet were a fitting tribute to a fine man, a good friend, a loving husband and father, and a life well lived.

-Tom Tullidge