Greetings Brother Rats,
I hope everyone had a great summer and is enjoying the fall. The flow of incoming information sometimes slows to a trickle while everyone is on vacation, but I did hear from a number of folks and got to see a few as they passed through D.C.
My roommate Brett Turner was in town for more than a month, going to training at Ft. Belvoir as he makes the shift from Army logistics to simulation operations. He dropped his family off in Fort Hood, TX, staying just long enough to get Cyndi & the kids set in an empty house and then jetting off to learn about playing computer games for the Army. (it sounds like that was part of his master plan) In celebration of Brett’s return to the states, John Lanzillotta, Mike Trahar, Chris Schinstock and I took Brett out for an evening of reminiscing and storytelling at a local watering hole.
Speaking of watering holes, I dropped an email to Garrett Peck because I had heard about a book he was having published: The Prohibition Hangover: Alcohol in America from Demon Rum to Cult Cabernet. Garrett said that it was a very fun, lengthy process and he’s excited about seeing the book in print. When he first saw his title listed on Amazon.com’s pre-order list, he said he felt like Steve Martin’s character in “The Jerk” running around yelling “the new phone book’s here!”. Garret talks a bit in the book about how we used to hang out at Estell's as cadets (until 3rd class year with the Virginia ABC raided it). So the book has been a lifetime in the making, and he started his initial research while we were at VMI…..I wish I had had that foresight! I’m looking forward to reading it sir.
I got a great update from Ley Havird at Travis AFB where he’s the Deputy Commander of the 60th Maintenance Group. His wife Jenn and his two girls: Avery (3) and Reese (18 mos.), are enjoying northern California. Ley’s job of keeping the C-5s, C-17s, and KC-10s flying is keeping him very busy, but he’s finding time to coach a little league baseball team to keep his mind in that game too.
Also in the Air Force, Gray Riddick sent in an update from Kirtland AFB in New Mexico, where he’s the Director of Operations and an instructor pilot in the CV-22 Osprey. He still can’t believe that Uncle Sam pays him to fly the Osprey, (don’t tell, but it’s so much fun he’d probably do it for free). Gray’s enjoying life in the southwest with his wife April and their three daughters (9, 7, and 5). He said that with their dog it makes 5 girls in the house that he’s happy to have running his life. He was able to make a quick connection with his fellow Delta company BR’s, Mike Roman and Paul Tallat-Kelpsa, prior to going over to the middle east. Mike is married and living in Alabama with his wife Heather and son Jake, where he’s a VP of an insurance brokerage firm. TK is also married, and he and Annette have a little girl named Ava. He was working as an engineer for Boeing in Washington state but has since relocated to Ohio to be closer to family.
Mint Ralston touched base from Ohio where he’s been on Inspector-Instructor duty for the USMC. He’s part of a small group that helps keep reserve units (in his case an infantry battalion) ready to go administratively & operationally, and helps set up their training. His group came up from North Carolina in 2007 and will rotate out in the summer of 2010. Mint said it has been a pretty big adjustment going from working on major Marine Corps installations for the past 17 years, then heading back out into "the real world", but that it's probably good preparation for when it comes time to retire.
Taylor Farmer checked in from Oklahoma, where he and some other self-starters have gotten an OKC Chapter of the VMI Alumni Association going. Taylor is the Treasurer and Dave Yockel is the Secretary. As one of their first events, they had a New Market Day celebration at a minor league baseball game with a pretty good turnout ranging in alumni from the class of 1945 to 2005. He also let me know that Dave was expecting his first child (boy) at the time, so my bet is that by now there’s a new little Yockel somewhere in OK.
From the left coast, Chuck Smith, Tim McLaughlin and Matt Hemenez got together for a pool party during Tim's visit to California over the summer. Tim was in California for his wife (Becky's) class reunion and met up with Chuck (who now lives in San Diego) and Matt (who lives in Mission Viejo). Tim currently lives in Spotsylvania, VA.
The Alumni Association let me know that our own Andy Beasley is being inducted into the VMI Sports Hall of Fame. For those of you that don’t know, he was a four-year letterman and starter at catcher, was named three times to All-Southern Conference squads, hit .288 with 10 homers and 43 RBI's, and was a big part of VMI's 1988 Southern Conference North Division title run. Andy was drafted by the Oakland A's at the end of our 2nd class year, but came back to VMI for his final year of eligibility and was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals after we graduated.
Last but certainly not least, Charles Plageman and I exchanged emails a few times over the summer. He let me know that he has accepted the position of President of the VMI Keydet Club. The Keydet Club is lucky to have someone so committed to VMI taking the helm, and I know we’ll all be here to support him.
That’s it for this round of class notes guys. Please keep in touch, and hope to see you in the spring at our reunion!
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Last Updated: December 20, 2009
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