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More On Liddy: The following letter appeared in the Washington Post fairly recently. It was authored by Scott Reid '98. Considerable debate continues to rage among alumni regarding Mr. Liddy's upcoming commencement address. If you;d like to get a flavor of the debate, visit the Electronic Turnouts. By the way, graduation will be held on May 15 and New Market ceremony will be held on May 14.

A Blot On Our Standard Of Honor
By Scott Reid

"The present crisis---that dense and tangled forest of controversy we call Watergate---seems to me, in its nature and portent, the most serious in two hundred years’ history of our Republic."

This was what Josiah Bunting had to say about Watergate when he gave the commencement address at the Virginia Military Institute in the summer of 1974.

Now, 25 years later, Bunting is Superintendent of VMI, and the scheduled graduation speaker is Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy. The selection of Liddy as speaker has been criticized recently by some in the VMI community, and rightly so. Liddy orchestrated the Watergate burglary, in an effort to subvert the most basic and fundamental part of our democracy---the election process. VMI prides itself on its strict standard of honor. If someone of such moral flexibility is allowed to speak at graduation, that standard no longer exists.

"If Liddy were a cadet, he’d be dismissed from VMI for violating our honor system," says Honor Court president and graduating senior Joel Britt. The graduation speaker should be a positive example for graduates, not a convicted felon.

The Watergate break-in was not Liddy’s first involvement in an illegal act either. It was the culmination of a slew of shady activities he took part in, dating back to the Pentagon Papers. Liddy joined a special White House team (later dubbed the Plumbers) formed to discredit Daniel Ellsberg, who had leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press. He helped plan and supervise the burglary of the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. At one point, Liddy suggested wiretapping The New York Times to find out what Ellsberg had told them. Liddy even supported drugging Ellsberg with LSD before he spoke at a fundraiser, to make him look like a burned out drug addict.

Over the next year, the Plumbers performed a number of "Dirty Tricks" to ensure Nixon’s reelection. Liddy actually had a plan to silence any protesters at the Republican convention by snatching protest leaders, drugging them, and holding them hostage until after the convention.

He called the proposed kidnappings "Night and Fog", a reference to the German "Nacht und Nebel", in which people would suddenly disappear in the night, taken away by the Gestapo as suspected dissidents. Liddy said it "would strike fear into the hearts of the leftist guerrillas."

In a recent Washington Post article, Liddy said, "One of the things that cadets will do when they are commissioned will be to fight to protect the First Amendment, which entitles everyone to have an opinion of me and protects my opinion. I respect their opinion, and I hope they will respect my right to express mine." This is almost comical coming from Liddy, who repeatedly tried to suppress the First Amendment rights of those whose opinions differed from his own.

Liddy is now the host of a syndicated radio talk show outside of Washington D.C. It is a right-wing version of the sort of gonzo journalism that has swept the country in recent years. Would cadets have chosen Howard Stern or Jerry Springer to speak at graduation? Actually, yes, they just might have. Most cadets don’t take the selection of graduation speaker too seriously. In the early 80's, one VMI class voted for John Wayne to speak at graduation, who had been dead for a number of years. Many of the seniors I know are indifferent about who the speaker is. They’re busy enough worrying about graduating. Supporters of Liddy's selection have told me, although they dont condone what he did, they think he’ll give a good speech. Well, Hitler gave a good speech, but I wouldn’t want him as graduation speaker.

The majority of cadets I’ve spoken with admitted they didn’t even know who Liddy was before his selection. Most of those who did know of him, only knew him for his radio show. Watergate happened before many of them were even born. Over the years, the term "Watergate" has come to include all of the criminal activities that led up to the burglary. So, it is not surprising that the few cadets who knew about Liddy’s involvement in Watergate, including myself, were ignorant of his actions aside from the break-in.

Liddy’s selection was a fluke. He became a candidate for speaker because of his popularity among some seniors who listened to his radio show. Seniors were given a ballot, in which they rated the seven candidates from their most favorite to their least favorite. So, a senior’s first choice received more weight than his second choice, and so on. Anthony Scalia, the only Supreme Court Justice to vote against VMI going co-ed, was senior’s first choice by this method of calculation. Former astronaut Senator John Glenn came in second. Chuck Yeager, the man that broke the sound barrier, placed third. . . .Convicted Watergate burglar, G. Gordon Liddy, was fourth. When Scalia declined, Liddy was the next person asked for two reasons. First, he was the easiest to contact. Also, despite ranking fourth overall, Liddy actually received the most votes as senior’s first choice. His selection by a small following of cadets who listen his show, gave him a plurality of votes that no other candidate had. He accepted the invitation, waiving his standard lecturing fee of $15000. Since Liddy had already been invited, school administrators said rescinding the invitation would reflect badly on VMI.

Allowing Liddy to speak will damage VMI’s image more than removing him possibly could. In fact, Liddy’s removal as speaker is all we can do, at this point, to repair the damage already done to VMI’s reputation by his selection. We made a mistake in choosing Liddy as speaker. We make a bigger mistake in not admitting our error and correcting it. If Liddy gives this year’s commencement address, we appear to be advocating every illegal action he has ever committed, and every offensive comment he has ever made.

In his speech to the Class of 1974, Bunting described the kind of men, and now women, VMI strives to produce. "Men who tell the truth, men who do not hate or despise those whose opinions differ from their own, men of charity and pride and integrity. . . . These standards are needed more desperately now than they have been at any time in the history of the Republic. They must be the standards of us all."

In letting Liddy speak at graduation, we are abandoning these standards as irrelevant and impractical in today’s society.

Scott Reid 98'

Dyke Etiquette: I've learned that there have been concerns raised about how the First Class is treating their dykes. So, an eight pamphlet has been put together (Dyke's Guidelines" that addresses such topics as expectations, responsibilities of the First Class, responsibilities of rats, procedure for changing dykes, etc. Apparently this booklet has been around for a number of years. In addition on April 22 about 17 alumni were invited to attend a half-day orientation presentation on the dyke system. These alumni will return during the first week of the fall semester to meet with groups of cadets to discuss the dyke system. I think this is something akin to a dyke school.

Employment Opportunity:

Paul Van Doren '74 at SAIC has two telecommunications jobs open. One is for immediate hire and the other is for 'recruit only'. The immediate hire is for a Communication Engineer. The other is a network engineer/administrator. Both positions work out of the office (Skyline complex) in the vicinity of Baileys Crossroads, VA, a part of the Washington DC metro area. This work is primarily associated with a DoD healthcare data warehouse & data mart system that is already nationwide and about to go OCONUS. This work is being accomplished in an Integrated Contractor Team environment - nothing that a VMI couldn't handle. I will steer anyone who is interested to the official HR channels that supervise the SAIC hiring actions. paul.h.van.doren@cpmx.saic.com or 703.824.5933.

Resume' of the Week: Please see the attached resume' from Mike McDaniel '87. Mike is presently with Intel and looking to get back east. Thanks.

The Premier Service: The following appeared in the Electronic Turnouts. I thought everyone would get a good laugh from it.

For all those who've sometimes been unclear which Service is best . .

Gene Rice '74.

A soldier, a sailor, and an airman got into a fight about which Service was the best. The fight was so heated that they killed each other.

Soon they found themselves in Heaven. They were still arguing about which Service was best when all of a sudden they see St. Peter walk by. They all turn to Peter and ask him the question, "Which branch of Service is the best?" Peter replied, "I can't answer that but I'll ask God what He thinks the next time I see him."

Some time later the three see Peter again and ask him if he was able to find out the answer. Suddenly a dove landed on Peter's shoulder. The dove was carrying a note in its beak. Peter opened the note and read it out loud to the three fellows.


All the branches of the Service are honorable and noble.
Each one of you served your country well.

Be proud of that.

God, USMC retired

Update on VMI Sports:


1999 VMI FOOTBALL SIGNEES (As of 4/20/99)

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown, VA/ High School
Brent Barth QB/P 6-1 190 Scottsdale, AZ/ Hargrave Military
Skip Carleton DL 6-4 275 Powatan, VA/ Fork Union Military
Ian Dyche LB 6-1 230 Reston, VA/ Bishop O'Connell
Craig Howard DL 6-3 275 Farmville, VA/ Fork Union
Brendan Kearney OL 6-2 250 Williamsburg, VA/ Lafayette
Matthew Kluk DL 6-2 230 Darnestown, MD/ Quince Orchard
Robert Mittelstadt RB 6-2 225 Garden City, SC/ Socastee
Deangelo Plather DB 6-0 175 Augusta, GA/ Hephzibah
Andy Reel TE/WR 6-3 200 Lexington, VA/ Virginia Episcopal
Eric Satterfield RB 5-11 205 Pennington Gap, VA/ Lee County
Justin Sayko DB 6-0 195 Virginia Beach, VA/ Hargrave Military
Kevin Solomon RB/DB 6-0 175 Hopewell, VA/ Hopewell
Edward Vaughns DB 5-10 160 Winston Salem, NC/ North Forsyth
Chris Walsh LB 6-3 215 Lima, OH/ Bath
Matt Van Wie OL 6-2 260 Myrtle Beach, SC/ Myrtle Beach


April 25, 1999

LEXINGTON, Va. -- A pair of runs in both the sixth and seventh innings propelled Western Carolina to a 7-4 victory over VMI, in baseball action Sunday afternoon at VMI's Patchin Field, giving the Catamounts a sweep of the Keydets in the three-game Southern Conference series.

WCU (27-15-1, 13-6 Southern) won Saturday's game 18-5, and 10-4.

The Catamounts took a two-run lead in the first inning, when Chris Moore's sac fly to centerfield scored Eric Johnson from third, and a VMI fielding error getting the ball back into the infield allowed Charles Thomas to score from second.

VMI (20-21, 12-14) posted one run in the bottom of the first, and took the lead in the second when Eric East (Salem, Va./Glenvar) scored on a wild pitch, and Stephen Johnson (Marshall, Va./Fauquier) was plated on Ed Pearson's (Hampton, Va./Bethel) sacrifice fly to short. The Keydets expanded their lead to 4-2 in the fifth inning, when Eric Walker (Union Hall, Va./Franklin Co.) was scored on Michael Goldman's sacrifice to right field.

However Western Carolina tied the game with two runs in the sixth the first coming on a solo shot on by Moore to leadoff the inning. Morgan Frazier reached on a single, and was later driven home by Steve Harris.

The go-ahead runs for WCU were posted in the seventh, when Eric Johnson and Thomas reached on an HBP and single respectively, and came around to score on consecutive walks issued to Frazier, Charlie Wands, and Harris.

WCU starter Brad House was chased in the second inning, but Catamount reliever Aaron Kirby scattered six hits and fanned four Keydets to pick up the win. VMI starter Chris Riley (Poquoson, Va./Poquoson) took the loss for the Keydets.

VMI concludes its Southern Conference slate of games next Friday, April 30, and Saturday, May 1, with games against UNC Greensboro, in Greensboro, N.C.



Quez Smith wins long jump and triple jump events for VMI

April 26, 1999
LEXINGTON, Va. -- Freshman Quez Smith (Virginia Beach, Va./Salem) won two events, and nine other Keydet track and field performers garnered all-conference honors at the 1999 Southern Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, held Friday, April 23, and Saturday, April 24, in Johnson City, Tenn.

Smith won the men's long jump with a jump of 24' 4-1/2", and also took top honors in the triple jump behind and effort of 49' 2-1/4".

Sophomore Phil Weismiller (Newport News, Va./Warwick) was the only other VMI performer to take first place in an event. Weismiller won the javelin with a throw of 187' 6".

Sophomore Kenny Carmichael (Richmond, Va./Prince George) took All-Southern Conference honors in the 400m dash and the 400m intermediate hurdles. Carmichael was second in the 400m dash with a time of 48.17 seconds, while his time in the hurdles was 53.06 seconds.

In the field events, senior Jordan Brandon (Chesapeake, Va./Great Bridge) earned all-conference distinction in two events the shot put and the hammer throw. Brandon's longest throw in the shot was 49' 3", while his best effort in the hammer was 165' 6". Junior Jason White (John's Island, S.C./St. John's) was also named All-SC in two events; White finished third in the discus with a throw of 146' 5", and third in the hammer with 160' 1".

The VMI team in the 4 x 100m relay finished with all-conference distinction, after finishing second with a time of 41.64 seconds. Running in the 4 x 100m for the Keydets were Smith, Jeff McKelvin (Randallstown, Md./Randallstown), James Yarborough (Hampton, Va./Hampton), and Ken White (Asheville, N.C./A.C. Reynolds).

Freshman Martin Dickson (Salem, Va./Salem) took third place in the decathlon competition, with 5332 points, to also be named All-Southern Conference.

Overall, the men finished third out of 10 teams with 121 points. Western Carolina won the meet with 213 pts., followed by Appalachian State in second with 154 pts.

In the women's competition, sophomore Angela Myers (Virginia Beach, Va./Princess Anne) became only the second female athlete at VMI to earn All-SC honors, with her third place finish in the hammer throw. Myers' best throw in the competition was 130' 4".

The women's team finished seventh overall out of 10 teams, with 29 points. Western Carolina won with 275.5 pts., followed by Appalachian State (1919), East Tennessee State (102.5), Chattanooga (94), Furman (50), Davidson (32), and VMI (29).

April 19, 1999

LEXINGTON, Va. -- Senior tennis player Jae Kwon (Midlothian, Va./Midlothian) was presented with the Southern Conference's Buddy Hartzell Sportsmanship Award, at the league's honors dinner on Thursday, April 15, 1999 in Spartanburg, S.C.

The honors dinner was held in conjunction with the start of the Southern Conference Tennis Tournament, which began Wednesday, April 14, at Wofford College.

"I don't think they could've picked a more outstanding and worthy young man," said Head Coach Bruce Harrison. "Jae was certainly at the top of the Southern Conference in class. He'll certainly be missed next year, not only as a player, but as a leader and friend to us all."

Kwon completed the season with a 7-21 overall record, with a 6-17 mark at #1 singles. Kwon teamed up with Tom Huffman (Richmond, Va./St. Christopher's) and Chris Lowrance (Lexington, Ind./Silver Creek) to post a 15-12 overall mark in doubles play, with a 10-7 record at #2 doubles.

Renovations At The Institute: Seems that Scott Ship Hall is undergoing a major renovation. Nichols Engineering Building is next on the list.

That's it for this week.

RB Lane '75

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