Alumni and Friends of VMI:
Cyber Corps Numbers: 575
FROM THE INSTITUTE WEB PAGE:
Tickets Limited & Required for VMI Commencement
With a near-capacity crowd expected for VMI Commencement Exercises at 11 a.m., May 15, tickets will be required for all planning to attend, and there are only 150 tickets available for the general public. Those tickets may be picked up, in person, on a first-come, first-served basis from the VMI Protocol Office at 303 Letcher Avenue. If any tickets remain the morning of commencement, they may be picked up from the Cameron Hall ticket window.
All remaining tickets have been reserved for the Corps of Cadets, parents & family members of the graduates, VMI faculty & staff, and VIP guests.
Sauder Physics Award Established
The VMI Department of Physics & Astronomy announces the establishment of the Sauder Physics Award, in recognition of the outstanding service William Conrad Sauder gave to the department over a 43-year period. His service to VMI began the year he graduated from VMI (1955) and extended until the time of his death, in October 1998.
The Sauder Physics Award will be presented to a graduating physics major who, in the judgement of the physics faculty, is a worthy recipient. It will be in recognition of outstanding achievement in physics and/or astronomy courses, as well as in research (senior thesis) within the department, and will carry a cash prize of $1,000.
Colonel Sauder had a positive influence on four decades of VMI cadets. He taught the most difficult courses the department offered and had a love for research in physics that drove him to excel as an experimental physicist. His understanding of what an undergraduate physics major should learn and his knowledge of and love for VMI motivated him during his academic career.
His research touched several areas while at VMI. In recent years, he concentrated on work in X-ray spectroscopy, making precision measurements of the copper Ka line, taking into account interatomic perturbations. His laboratory was a monument to the extreme care with which he believed to be an essential attribute of an experimental physicist. His work with the double-crystal spectrometer, which he designed and fabricated, received national acclaim. In earlier years, he conducted research in order to measure the gas constant more accurately, using the techniques of ultrasonic interferometry, with equipment he basically built himself.
Contributions to the Sauder Physics Award Fund should be made to the Sauder Physics Award Fund c/o VMI Foundation Office, Box 932, Lexington, VA 24450.
VMI, Marshall Foundation
to sponsor PBS Special
VMI and the George C. Marshall Foundation will co-sponsor a six-part series about the Vietnam conflict on Blue Ridge Public Television.
The series, entitled "Battlefield III: Vietnam," will air on six consecutive Fridays at 9 p.m. beginning April 30. The two-hour programs in order are: Dien Bien Phu-The Legacy/The Undeclared War; Search and Destroy/Showdown on the Iron Triangle; Countdown to Tet/The Tet Offensive; War on the DMZ/Siege at Khe Sahn; Air War in Vietnam/Rolling Thunder; and Peace with Honor/The Fall of Saigon. Blue Ridge Public TV covers the Roanoke area, New River Valley, Southwest Virginia and portions of West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Joseph D. Neikirk 1932 Hall Dedicated
Joseph D. Neikirk 1932 Hall was dedicated during ceremonies held on March 26. Neikirk Hall houses new offices for the VMI Foundation, the Keydet Club, Annual Giving, Alumni Accounting, and Alumni Information Services.
Speaking at the dedication were: G. Gilmer Minor III '63, president of the VMI Foundation Inc.; Alan G. Soltis '79, second vice president of the VMI Keydet Club; Major General Josiah Bunting, III '63, superintendent; and Dr. James L. Adams '71, executive vice president, VMI Foundation, Inc. Officiating at the ribbon cutting ceremony was Mrs. Joseph D. Neikirk.
A native of Lynchburg, Joseph D. Neikirk matriculated at VMI in 1928. During his cadetship, Neikirk served as editor of The Bomb, served on the staff of The Cadet and commanded F Company. He designed the class of 1932's crest and was inducted into Kappa Alpha. After graduation he taught at VMI for a year and then entered the fashion industry. With the exception of four years of wartime Army service from 1942 to 1946, he worked in the industry for almost two decades, eventually establishing his own company in New York City.
On November 24, 1954, he was selected to be the first executive vice president of the VMI Foundation by the Board of Trustees, assuming the position in late 1955. Almost immediately, he started reinvigorating the organization and increasing its support of VMI. He introduced the 50th and 25th Reunion Funds, the Parents Council, and Parents Weekend. He created the Memorial Gifts program, introduced estate giving and, by merging the VMI Alumni Association's Class Agents Fund and the Foundation's Annual Giving, initiated the Annual Fund. In 1973, he recommended the creation of The Institute Society in order to recognize VMI's most generous supporters and also was responsible for the establishment, in 1969, of the Distinguished Service Award, the recognition of remarkable service to the VMI Foundation. Through Neikirk's efforts, many academic chairs-including the Wachtmeister Chair in Science and Engineering, the Conquest Chair in Humanities, and Mary Moody Northen Chair in the Arts-were endowed.
He greatly aided the preservation of the New Market Battlefield and from 1961 to 1964 he headed fundraising activities for the George C. Marshall Research Foundation, work that culminated in the dedication of the library in 1964. He was instrumental as well in the placement of the statue of General Marshall at Marshall Arch, and after retiring from the Foundation in 1978, was heavily involved in the effort to erect the Citizen Soldier Cincinnatus Monument.Joseph D. Neikirk truly embodied the Foundation's motto - "Excellence in Service to the Virginia Military Institute." Because of his 24 years of complete and utter dedication to VMI, the Institute he loved is as strong as it is today. He died April 20, 1990.
Neikirk Hall's creation was made possible through the gifts of many individuals and organizations. Lead benefactors for the project were: James F. Allen '33, John C. Allen '62, Bruce B. Cameron '38, John M. Camp, Jr. '40, John D. Fosque '32, Bruce C. Gottwald '54, Floyd D. Gottwald, Jr. '43, E. Stuart James Grant Charitable Trust, Charles S. Luck III '55, Peter M. Meredith '50B, David B. Perrin '25, Vester J. Thompson, Jr. '40, and Edward C.A. Wachtmeister '71.
George C. Marshall ROTC Award Seminar
The 1999 Marshall ROTC Award Seminar took place in Lexington, April 13-16. Honorary chairman of this year's seminar was General Andrew J. Goodpaster, USA, (Ret.). Serving as co-chairmen were: General Jack N. Merritt, USA (Ret.) and General Edward C. Meyer, USA (Ret.). Among the speakers for the 1999 seminar were: Louis Caldera, Secretary of the Army; Major General James T. Hill, commanding general, 25th infantry division; General John M. Abrams, commanding general, TRADOC; and Major General Stewart W. Wallace, commanding general, Cadet Command.
The senior Army ROTC cadets participated in three days of extensive, in-depth discussions on issues which related to the national security of the United States. Each of the young men and women received the prestigious Marshall Award which is presented on the basis of outstanding achievement in the areas of academics, leadership, physical fitness and extracurricular activities. VMI's Marshall Award recipient is David J. Kaczmarek '99, of Aurora, Ohio.
Each award winner participated in two roundtable discussion groups from among the topics offered. Some of this year's topics included: "NATO's relevance in the Post Cold War era," "the Balkan Powder Keg," "China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan," "Democracy in Russia and other states of the former USSR," Northeast Asia: Japan and the Koreas," "Mexico and Central America: Partners in North American Security," and "Terrorism and National Security in the Trans-Millennial Era."
General Marshall, VMI class of 1901, served the nation as Chief of Staff of the Army during World War II and was Secretary of both State and Defense. The Marshall ROTC Award and Seminar are intended to be reflective of the values he portrayed continuously during his lifetime - professional excellence, calm leadership, personal integrity and selfless service to the nation. Ultimately, it was those values that earned him the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1953. The relatively short speech he presented at Harvard University in 1947 outlined a program of economic assistance to war-torn Europe and changed the face of the world. That program eventually became known as the Marshall Plan and provided more than $13 billion worth of assistance to European nations recovering from the destruction of World War II.
Since 1978, The George C. Marshall ROTC Award Seminar has provided a valuable training and educational experience.
Applications on Record Pace
Applications for next year's "Rat" class are over eight percent above last year and are headed for the highest total since the Class of 1992 when 1228 students applied.
As of April 12, VMI had received 1,111 applications compared with 1,026 at the same time last Spring. Since 1995, applications have risen approximately 25 percent with a high of 1,132 for the Class of 2001. That mark should be surpassed in the next few weeks.
The breakdown shows 1,031 men and 80 women have applied. The number of female applicants is already higher than a year ago when 75 applied.
VMI Office of Admissions
Cape Fear Chapter New Market Celebration: The Cape Fear Chapter will be celebrating New Market Day on May 15 at the home of LTC Lane and Karen Toomey. For info please contact Jeff Duncan '84. He's the chapter president and can be reached at JDuncan384@aol.com.
A Speech of Interest: I thought the Cyber Corps might find the following of some interest. While given by a Naval Academy grad, much would apply to VMI grads as well.
Draft Remarks for
The United States Naval Academy Alumni Association, Greater
21 April 1999
by Gen. Charles C. Krulak
I want each of you to take a trip with me back in time ... remember back ... you are nearing completion of three difficult years at the Academy and you are staring at a new ring as your date pulls it from the water of the seven seas? What did that ring mean to you then? Did it just symbolize the impending escape from Mother Bancroft? Or was it something more ...something that epitomized the naval heritage of a great Nation... the selfless commitment of some of the great leaders in the history of the world... Nimitz ... Lejeune ... Halsey ... Leftwich ... Stockdale?
What value do you place on that ring today? And far more importantly, what value is placed on that ring by our fellow Americans? What was the impact on the standards represented by the ring when a star athlete -- for the sake of my speech I will call him "Midshipman W. T. Door" - was not only commissioned, but awarded the NAAA trophy for leadership excellence after being involved in a sexual relationship, while UA, with a plebe?
Let me share a short story with you. A few months ago, my Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans, Policies, and Operations, Lieutenant General Marty Steele, went down to Pensacola, where his son was going through flight training. He took his son and one of his flight school classmates to dinner. During the course of the meal, Marty asked his son's friend how he obtained his commission. When the young officer responded that he was a Naval Academy graduate, Marty then asked him why he wasn't wearing his ring. The young man's reply was shocking. He said, "General, I'm a member of the Class of 1998 ... the class of W. T. Door ... and as long as he's wearing the uniform of a commissioned officer, I don't intend to wear my class ring!" Imagine that?!! Shame on us!
Certainly the problems of the last several years have tarnished our institutional reputation. The "Double E" cheating scandal ... the drug and car theft ring ... sexual misconduct ... all have taken their toll. Often, these incidents were made worse because they were revealed to the American public through so-called "investigative reporting" by the Baltimore Sun or Evening Capitol, instead of from the Academy's leadership. But beneath the tarnish remains a resplendent luster ... a luster that can readily be restored ... if we are willing to invest the "elbow grease."
Let there be no question that in some areas, the public confidence has been shaken ... to deny that is to stick our head in the sand ... but it has not been destroyed. The moment of truth, however, is just over the horizon. Now all officers ... Academy graduates along with their peers from other source programs ... must compete for augmentation to active commissions. How will we compete? Will the American public find its Naval Academy worth its continued investment?
General Cates, the 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps, once asked my father, "Brute, why does America need a Marine Corps?" His reply was insightful. He said that our Nation does not need a Marine Corps ... that everything the Marine Corps does could be replicated by the other services. America has a Marine Corps for one reason ... because it wants one. My father then went on to say, "We exist today -- we flourish today - not because of what we know we are, or what we know we can do, but because of what the grassroots of our country believes we are and believes we can do .... The American people believe that Marines are downright good for the country: that the Marines are masters of a form of unfailing alchemy which converts unoriented youths into proud, self-reliant stable citizens --citizens into whose hands the nation's affairs may safely be entrusted ....And, likewise, should the people ever lose that conviction -- as a result of our failure to meet their high -- almost spiritual standards, the Marine Corps will quickly disappear."
I am here to tell you that the same is true for the United States Naval Academy! Our Nation does not need a Naval Academy. NROTC and OCS can -- and do -- produce superb naval officers. If we want our ring to be more than an historic artifact, we had better realize that! This Nation has a Naval Academy because it wants one ... and we had better look hard at why they want one and how we can bolster the support of our fellow citizens and their elected representatives. Fortunately, this is far from an insurmountable challenge because the Naval Academy has a long and distinguished history of success that we can rely on as a guide. We must ensure that the Academy is focused on the two timeless qualities that make it unique and precious to our Nation. First, every graduate of the Naval Academy must be a person of character, a young officer that has been taught, held to, and exceeded the highest, uncompromising standards of honor and conduct. Second, every Naval Academy graduate must be a strong leader ...ready to lead Sailors and Marines in combat, through the most desperate crises that our Nation may face. The Naval Academy will never best MIT in the study of engineering or Harvard in the study of humanities.... And while we must continue to fight hard on the sports fields, we will never be recognized with Florida State, UCLA, and Nebraska as a national sports powerhouse. We must recognize, however, that the American public does not expect us to compete in these areas! They want their midshipmen to be immersed in a strong, competitive academic and sports program that supports a greater purpose ... that greater purpose is commissioning the highest quality professional naval officers ... leaders of integrity and character.
Much to the credit of the Academy's current leadership, I believe that they have recognized this fact and are doing everything they can to get us back on course. But there is a great deal left to do ... and those of us in this room today have an obligation to help get it done. We have a vested interest ... both as concerned American citizens and because we want that ring to be something more than a paperweight. The Academy's reputation is our reputation ... to borrow a phrase from our founding fathers, it is a matter of "our sacred honor."
Our institutional emphasis must be on character. We must actively seek out young men and women -- among American high school students ... in our enlisted ranks ... and at our preparatory school -- who have demonstrated the character to meet our high institutional standards ...character that can be counted on when our Nation entrusts them to lead young Americans into combat. Character must be the single most important criteria in our recruiting process ... more significant than academic or athletic credentials ... for it is the basic building block of a professional naval officer. We'd better know how to identify it!
And I did not mis-speak when I said "recruiting process." Recruiting is precisely what we must do. If we expect to get leaders for the 21st Century, we have to do more than sit back and judge applications ... we must promote those applications. If we cannot find enough qualified men and women of character to fill the Academy's seats then we would be wiser to suck it up and become smaller than to compromise our standards. But let me tell you, they are out there ... we just have to find them.
When I first became the 31st Commandant, a team of psychologists told me what to expect from Generation X and Generation Next. I expected to hear about broken homes and drugs and how they were bombarded with violence on TV almost from birth. And while some of those things are true, they told me a few other things that I found surprising. They told me that today's youth shared five characteristics: they were looking for standards -- something to be measured against ... they wanted to be held accountable ... they don't mind being followers if someday they have the opportunity to lead ... they want to be part of something bigger than themselves - something challenging ... and they have faith in a higher being -- not necessarily faith in God, but faith in something bigger than themselves. This is not a generation of self-interest and greed! And the military services ... along with the service academies ... have been letting them down. It's time to quit talking to them about "the benefits" and start challenging them!
As my father pointed out, standards are the key to maintaining the public confidence. While measures of public acceptability may waver, American respect for core values ... for honor, courage, and commitment ... never do. They are the American ideal ... the bedrock of our society. And our Nation will always demand that the officers it entrusts with its defense, and with the lives of its youth, have a character firmly based in those values. In the profession of arms, there is simply no room for situational ethics.
Midshipmen must see this as a part of their daily lives at the Academy. We must educate them on our institutional standards and hold them strictly and uniformly accountable for meeting them. Their company officers and instructors must demonstrate sound character through their own example. We cannot tolerate hypocrisy or a double standard. Similarly, we must look beyond methods of teaching ethics through sociology classes and leadership with a managerial approach. Leave that to Harvard and MIT. Our leadership and character courses must be based on the challenges that midshipmen will face in the Fleet and the Fleet Marine Force ... challenges with far greater consequences than those at General Motors or IBM. Midshipmen must be able to make the "hard calls" when they are commissioned, and the only way we will ensure they can is through a consistently positive example and with repeated exposure to actual case studies in naval leadership. Theory doesn't hack it when you are leading flight deck ops at 0200 in the middle of the Adriatic.
Having visited the Academy on several occasions recently, I must tell you that we aren't there yet. We are making progress. Midshipmen are noticing the standards being more rigidly enforced, and predictably ... they are responding positively. They have noticed the increase in emphasis on their leadership and ethics instruction. But both they ... and I ... question the form. The atmosphere for moral and professional development is full of theoretical classes and seminars ... mumbo jumbo about Freud, Kant, and utilitarianism ... but short on straight talk, responsibility, accountability, and example. More significantly, they are still somewhat demoralized ... and very cynical. The Academy, they feel, is "talking the talk," but in many cases still not walking the walk. They point to the inconsistent decisions in several misconduct cases -- such as the "Door" case -- as examples of the lack of integrity in the Academy's message.
Equally important, the Academy must demonstrate to midshipmen ... and to the American public ... that it is not paranoid. If you are consistently maintaining the standards of professional naval officers in training, there simply is no cause for paranoia. When the inevitable incident occurs, and it will, Academy leadership must demonstrate to the Brigade and to the public that they are willing to make the "hard calls." Having high standards is useless unless you are willing to enforce them. If a midshipman violates the Academy's standards, that midshipman must be held accountable. The punishment must be uniform and consistent. The proceedings, consistent with maintaining the midshipman's rights, must be open ... and Academy leadership must be able to enunciate clearly why the standard being violated is important to producing naval leaders of character ... leaders who merit their Nation's "special trust and confidence." And, finally, the Academy must make the news release-not wait for the Baltimore Sun to do it.
As alumni, our role is an important one. We have a responsibility to the American people ... and to one another ... to promote the Naval Academy and the naval services. We can begin by reexamining the priorities of our own Association. For example, during a critical time for the services ... a time when junior officer retention - particularly for surface warfare officers, SEALS, and both Navy and Marine Corps pilots -- is exceptionally difficult ... why does our Association commit a significant portion of its effort to career transition? If the Naval Academy's mission is "... to provide graduates who are dedicated to a career of naval service ..." are we really doing everything we can to support that mission? Read Shipmate... take a look at the Association's web page. What programs or resources do you see oriented at making a career in the naval services more appealing? Now I'm not suggesting that we eliminate the Career Transition Program ... but I certainly believe that ... at a minimum ... for every resource that goes toward career transition, our Association should be devoting an equal amount in an effort to keep our officers on active duty.
I would like to ask you to get involved at the Academy itself. Seek opportunities to share your experiences with the midshipmen ... to mentor them. You live here in the area ... become a sponsor family. Encourage fellow alumni in other areas to become Blue and Gold officers and to assist the Academy in finding qualified applicants. Offer your services to speak to the midshipmen in some capacity ... at a dining in, a mess night, in the company wardroom, or one of their integrity development seminars. Do it! Remember, Lieutenant General Marty Steele ... the officer I told you about earlier who visited his son in Pensacola? He recently shared his professional experiences with a small group of midshipmen ... just 10 to 20 ... and you should have seen their after action comments. Let me read a few:
--"He ... has remembered that officers should also be leaders and should genuinely care about their people, not just pretend so they can check off a box in their fitreps (an all too common trait around here)."
--"I would like to see more ... officers sharing their experiences with us instead of just droning on and on about something we really know nothing about."
--He "provided a unique perspective of life with a military career and how that relates to family. It is unfortunate more ... sessions cannot be this productive."
--"He makes it sound like what we are doing really makes a difference and I want to make a difference in people's lives."
--"The session with LtGen Steele was probably the most worthwhile hour and a half I've had while at the Academy ... that's what it's all about ... those sailors and Marines out there."
--"... it was a positive experience, which will ... motivate us to achieve our highest potential as leaders."
They want to hear you ... to learn of your leadership challenges and experiences. They crave it! You can help John Ryan and the leadership of the Academy immensely. You can help as they move to change the climate within the Brigade. It is vital to their development, to the health of the naval services, and ... in my estimation ... to the very existence of the Naval Academy.
We can restore the ring's luster if we take the inscription above the Chapel doors to heart: Non sibi sed patriae ... Not for self, but for country. Get involved ... and send the Academy leadership and our Alumni Association a loud and clear message: We will support you ... with our money ... with our service ... and with our time. But we will not tolerate situational ethics or mismanagement of public perception ... we will not tolerate anything less than the strict adherence to the mission of our Academy, "to develop midshipmen morally, mentally, and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor, and loyalty in order to provide graduates who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government" ... we will not tolerate these things because they are too important ... to the Academy, the naval services, and the nation.
Thank you, Semper Fidelis ... and BEAT ARMY!
Resume' of the Week: Attached is a resume'
for Tom Struckmeyer '87. Tom is currently in England on
sabbatical while his wife completes her studies at Cambridge.
I've noticed that when I attach resume's and such that I tend to get a greater number of e-mails kicked back to me as undelivered. I imagine that some of our participants may have systems which may not allow for e-mails with attachments. I'm not sure what to do about this. I suppose I could send out updates with no attachments and then send out resume's separately. I'll have to ponder this. If anyone has suggestions, let me know.
That's it for this week.
RB Lane '75
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