As I submit these class notes New Market Day celebrations are underway in Lexington, and the class of 2009 is getting ready to graduate. Not to say we’re getting old, but most of the graduating cadets were born when we were Rats and Reagan was in office . . . and yet sometimes it feels like it was yesterday.One addendum to the last set of notes – Tim Bosetti sent me some more detail about his Army assignment in Germany. Tim is the Chief of the Department of Environmental Sciences at the US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine - Europe. His group is responsible for providing military public health engineering garrison and deployment support to the Installation Management Command - Europe and US Army Europe, and Africa Command. I’m glad Tim’s over there to help keep things straight!
I was able to catch up with John Lanzillotta and his wife Stacey a few months ago when they met my wife Stacy and me for a grown-up dinner out. John’s been working for Bold Concepts, Inc. doing consulting work for the Federal government almost since graduation. He’s risen through the ranks, and is now an Executive VP helping run client programs. John still is as serious as ever, but always has a little smirk that makes me pretty sure that he’s mocking me with every word. Not allowing ourselves to be overly adult, we exchanged bald jokes throughout the evening and shared a good bottle of wine.
Jim Hynes and Chip Chenery met me for a beer one evening this spring, and somehow we ended up on the topic of “foods that make sense when you’re drinking”. We reminisced about the 2 a.m. draw of the “He-Man Special” from Lee High Truck Stop, Hynes and John Hahn eating puppy chow, Mike Morelock successfully daring Pete Mantz to eat a live crawfish at a Zolleman’s party, and Kelly Musick performing a cat food evaluation. Ah, those were the days.
While looking for some advice recently I had a chance to catch up with our BR Neil Whitmore who’s an Associate Director of Admissions at VMI and acts as the Alumni Liaison for the Admissions Office. Neil’s been working at VMI for 12 years now, and was talking to me about the challenges of creating a balanced class of incoming Rats each year. He feels lucky to be able to be an active part of the VMI family, and thinks we’d all be proud of what goes into the new cadet selection process. It seems like the office is lucky to have Neil as well. In his own words: “...VMI is unique in just about every way and that certainly extends to the work that we do in the admissions office and how we go about enrolling the best possible class of new cadets each year. Of course we care about their academic background, and VMI is tougher now to get accepted to then at basically anytime in our history, but as we all know so well, VMI is a lot more than just what is on paper. As an admissions office we conduct more face to face interviews and other personal meetings with students and their parents than any other college that I know of. When a prospective cadet walks on to Post for an admissions interview they will sit down with the very person that will ultimately read their application for admission and make a decision on them. That is very unique in the world of college admissions, and it is something that we feel is very important when it comes to finding the best new cadets to take on the challenges of VMI.” When Neil’s not on Post he’s often working on restoring an old Land Rover or two, or out bird hunting with his English Setter. He and his wife Gwen live about 12 miles outside of Lexington, and have plenty of room for guests. Neil’s extended an offer to put up anyone who needs a place to stay when they’re in town, but said he’d need to think about putting up delValle.
In the random connections category, Max Guggenheimer and I were reunited when a mutual acquaintance forwarded me his information asking: “Do you know this guy?” Max thanked me for tracking him down – he’s been able to avoid the class notes for most of our alumni years but he does get to Lexington regularly. His wife, Jessica and he live on a small farm in Bedford County, and they both work at Lynchburg College. Jessica is the Director of Learning Resources and Max is a member of the English Faculty. They’ve been there for about 12 years, and on March 18th they had their first child: Declan Wesley-Maximus Guggenheimer. Declan isn’t letting his parents sleep much, but they’re really having fun with him.
Ed Swanson passed over a quick update with what he’s been up to lately. After a tour as a TAC at the Air Force Academy he spent two years on an exchange tour as a cadet company commander at West Point. He said that it was a weird place for and Air Force guy to wind up but that he enjoyed it. Ed’s next stop was a promotion to Lt Col and a gig at Langley AFB at HQ Air Combat Command where he runs the ACC AEF Deployment branch. He’s currently deployed to Iraq and serving in the International Zone with the Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq (MNSTC-I) as the Chief of Strategic Effects. He said that life in Baghdad is a bit crazy but he works hard to find some sense of normalcy wherever he goes. His current favorite distraction is the Baghdad Cigar Aficionado Club where he meets twice a month to enjoy some good Cubans by one of Saddam's pools. Ed said that when he returns he’ll be back at Langley for a while before the Air Force decides his next stop.
Also in from Iraq, Tim Haynie emailed me a photo of him at a New Market Day Ceremony he had arranged for a group of VMI alumni. Tim is about 2 months into a year-long deployment and put together a full program for the ceremony. His commanding officer MG JD Johnson ’77 gave a New Market history lesson, the New Market roll call was re-enacted by the assembled alumni, a bugler played taps, and the ceremony concluded with the VMI Doxology and an old yell. Tim says things are going well and he really enjoys the work he does for MNC-I coordinating technical capabilities. Tim notes that things are generally better over there for the average Iraqi and the big push is to enable the Government of Iraq to maintain security. Nearly everything he does is "by, with, and through," his Iraqi counterparts, which poses some challenges but is going well. This is Tim’s third deployment, and with summer coming on he’s taking it a day at a time.
And last but not least, Elson Hin, sent over an email just under the wire that after just 25 years of golf he’s finally hit a hole-in-one. His money-shot was 124 yards with a pitching wedge – congrats sir.
That’s it for this set of notes guys. If you haven’t gotten anything in here lately please drop me an update. People really read these and want to know what’s new with you.
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