Alumni and Friends of VMI:
Cyber Corps Numbers: 588
Cyber Gear: At long last we're ready to offer the sale of Cyber Corps stuff (i.e., polo shirts, hats and t-shirts). If everyone remembers, the Cyber Corps gear logo is the VMI spider with a lightning bolt through the middle. The word Cyber is centered above the logo and the word Corps is centered below. I've received a sample polo shirt and a couple hats and they look great. The hats will be khaki and the t-shirts and polo shirts will be white. Here are the prices:
s - xl $30
t-shirts $10 (for all sizes)
Add 4.5% for sales tax and $7 for shipping per item. Actually the $7 is an estimate. If it doesn't cost this much I'll donate any overage to the VMI Cadet newspaper staff.
I'll be taking orders until October 15 so we can just place one order. Send your orders with checks (I won't deposit the checks until the actual order is placed with the distributor) made out to me at:
564 Trotwood Ridge Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
The Cyber gear looks pretty darn good. I'll try to get a digital camera, take a picture and send it out for all to view. Be the first on your block (time zone?) to own the fashion statement of the next millenium.
Articulating the VMI Experience: If you're like me you oftentimes struggle to articulate the VMI experience. The following recent posting to the Electronic Turnouts sums up the VMI experience nicely. A must read for all those involved in recruiting.
Sun Aug 22 15:05:49 1999
The old saw so often quoted about Boot Camp and the Rat Line about "breaking men down in order to build them up" is, and always has been, poppycock. It never happened and it never will. I ask those of you who have been through the processes, either one or both of them, to review what you know from your own experiences. At what point did this breakdown occur? Were YOU broken? What were the outward and visible signs? Where were these masses of sniveling broken rats or recruits, devoid of will or motivation; helpless, blank slates, just waiting for Phase 2 of the process to start when they would be "Built Again?" Some amateur pop psychologist years ago (probably with a "wild horse" analogy in mind) described the process as "breaking down and building up" to the vast majority of observers who, looking at it from the outside and not understanding a thing, accepted it as an accurate description of what was going on, and institutionalized the description to the point that we accept it without analysis.
That brings us to the discussion between George and Roy. The later, seeing potential parental law suits looming at the slightest whisper of a suggestion that VMI might be "breaking down" anybody's son or daughter, but still unconsciously accepting the pop description as valid for what the Marines do, has constructed an elaborate apologia for the Rat Line, assuring us that it isn't "Parris Island with books," simply because the VMI mission is not "Kill, kill, kill!" Thus the inaccurate pop terminology leads him to emphasize the differences between the rat line and boot camp, thereby missing a very salient fact: Marine Corps boot camp and the rat line are cut from the same bolt of cloth.
I believe the following statements can be made interchangeably about either process -- if their wording is awkward, it is because I have deliberately chosen neutral words which could be applied to either. The word "Brotherhood," for example, is to be used interchangeably, as both VMI men and Marines consider themselves as being members of a Band of Brothers. Similarly, "The Process" is intended to be either the Rat Line or Boot Camp, interchangeably. The Process is a means of passing on to new blood a culture unique to the Brotherhood, and alien to their former life outside. The Process, to be effective, must be conducted in total isolation from that former life. The process is absolutely essential to the preservation of the culture of the Brotherhood, and therefore to the preservation of the Brotherhood itself, over time. If it is dilluted, the Brotherhood will suffer. If it is abandoned, the Brotherhood, losing its unique culture, will die. It is, therefore, the very life spring of the Brotherhood itself, and must be preserved.
Almost without exception, those who have been through the Process consider it a valuable and significant step in their development for the rest of their lives. They will never forget it. Though from the outside, the Process appears brutal, degrading, and destructive of self identity, those who have experienced it know that none of these perceptions is correct. Instead, they attribute to it the building of their self confidence and self esteem, and with an unmatched sense of belonging to something larger than themselves. For the rest of their lives they will feel challenged to live up to the ideals they acquired undergoing this Process, ideals steeped in old fashioned virtues, such as a deep sense of honor and personal responsibility.
Those who administer the Process are frequently hated by their subjects until the Process runs to completion, at which time animosities and resentments magically melt away, often to be replaced by feelings of respect and even gratitude, and frequently resolving into long term friendships.
Though the Process is genuinely difficult, stressful and challenging, it appears to the outside observer to be even more so. It therefore confers great "bragging rights" upon its participants. However, those who have been through it know now that the Process contains no insurmountable hurdles even if they didn't know that up front. Those who failed to finish were neither destroyed nor beaten into submission; they merely quit. But by quitting they excluded themselves from the Brotherhood. By refusing to quit, those who stayed on demonstrated to themselves that they possessed a quality which would sustain them through tough times for the rest of their lives. The Process did not bestow this quality upon them - it merely put them in touch with it, so that forever thereafter they knew it existed as a personal resource.
One surprising but ever present by-product of the Process is the bond it creates between and among those who experience it. This bond is in many ways strongest for those who underwent the process at the same place and time, but it reaches and extends to all who have ever made the passage. While not apparently the prime objective of the Process, it is the force which isresponsible for the existence of the Brotherhood.
The Process is not degrading, because it is built upon the premise that those who are suffering its indignities will rise to the level of full acceptance and leave the indignities behind. In that sense, it is totally democratic, and its subjects are all equal in their opportunities for success. Nevertheless, those who have experienced the Process despair of ever explaining it to those who have not. Even the articulate find that adequate words are just not there. The excuse they use to cover this deficiency, the "you would have had to be there" explanation, is easily misinterpreted by the uninitiated as arrogance. It is not. But because the Process is so easy for a non participant to misunderstand, the Process itself will always be under attack. It will always have its well meaning but very wrong opponents who seek to destroy it, not realizing that were they to do so, they would destroy the Brotherhood.
The Marines, at last, have an antidote to the difficulty that outsiders experience in understanding Boot Camp, and it comes, amazingly, from an individual who never stood on the yellow footbrints at Parris Island or San Diego. Thomas E. Ricks, Pentagon Correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, found himself in Mogadishu accompanying a Marine patrol on a night mission soon after landing, and before the evening was over he realized that his life was comfortably in the hands of the competent 22 year old corporal leading the patrol, a fact which astounded him when he reflected that back home they don't let 22 year olds run the copy machine without adult supervision. As he encountered more Marines, he determined to learn the source of their competence and sense of self. He rightly zeroed in on Boot Camp. His book, "Making the Corps," is the story of Recruit Platoon 3086 at Parris Island, from the yellow footprints to Graduation Parade and beyond. Somehow, this uninitiate manages, for the first time I have seen anywhere, to tell what it was like for the 63 members of that platoon, and he does it in a riveting story that you won't be able to put down. I was mesmerized.
I first heard of that book while attending a Marine Corps reunion last year in San Diego. A highlight of the reunion was a Boot Camp Graduation Parade on the parade deck (where it really IS a parade deck) at MCRD. (My recollection is that my Brother Rat Roy spent some time in that neighborhood in an earlier life.) Incidentally, there was exactly one female in the parade. She was the reviewing officer. (Male recruits east of the Mississippi go to Parris Island; Those west go to San Diego. For all females, it is Parris Island).
On the bus going to that parade, "Making the Corps" was a hot topic of conversation, and those who had read it spoke so glowingly of it, that at a latter stop at the PX, we cleaned the shelves of the title. They were well stocked, for the book has become a handbook for parents who want to know what their Marine recruits are experiencing.
Later, while reading it, I was amazed at its ability to rekindle in me the long dormant emotions of a Rat on the fourth stoop in the Fall of 1953. No two things about the Rat Line and Boot Camp are the same. Yet I defy any VMI man to read that book, not experience an affinity for what is going on there, and not identify with the statement I started with, that the two "Processes" are cut from the same cloth.
I wish VMI had as articulate an interpreter of the Rat Line as Thomas Ricks. In its absence, "Making the Corps" will do. It should be required reading for VMI men everywhere. Those whose service loyalties lie elsewhere will have to swallow hard as Ricks talks about the Marines, and perhaps seethe a little as he compares recruit training in other Services, but if you read it and don't see, at a very fundamental level, a "Process" you recognize, then you never went to VMI.
And as for breaking men down, you will learn that the few men who DO break find themselves on a bus home, long before that Graduation Parade. The Marine Corps does not break men and rebuild them. (Nor does VMI.) The last words in the book put the lie to that concept:
"My name is Staff Sergeant Zwayer, and I am your senior drill instructor. We will make every effort to train you, even after some of you have given up on yourself. Every recruit here, whether he is fat or skiny, tall, or short, fast or slow, has the ability to become a United States Marine..."
Rod McCormack, `57
Reaction to the Investigation:
Sunday, August 22, 1999
VMI's woes may hurt fund raising
"There's no sense in giving it to them if they're going to blow it," an alumnus said.
By MATT CHITTUM
THE ROANOKE TIMES
Leon Cock is considering cutting Virginia Military Institute out of his will.
The 1955 VMI graduate was going to leave his alma mater everything he had to endow scholarships for needy students from Floyd, Carroll and Patrick counties.
He wouldn't disclose the exact amount, but the ultimate payoff could have eight figures.
But if Superintendent Josiah Bunting III is wasting alumni money on high living, Cock said VMI won't get any of his money.
Until now, Cock believed VMI would be a good steward of his money, but press reports have raised doubts for him.
He won't change anything in his will until a state investigation of Bunting's spending is complete, he said, but "there's no sense in giving it to them if they're going to blow it."
Cock, a retired sales manager for Alcan Aluminum who lives in Las Vegas, is not the only VMI alumnus to consider swearing off further giving, at least until Bunting is no longer superintendent.
Whatever the outcome of the investigation by the state auditor of public accounts and state police, the college may be punished most severely by its typically generous alumni. VMI is about to embark on a $150 million to $200 million fund-raising campaign with Bunting as the front man.
Some alumni donors perceive a strong sense of entitlement on Bunting's part. They believe he's been using his $100,000-plus discretionary account not only to wine and dine friends and alumni of VMI, but to enhance his lifestyle in the process.
Bunting has traveled widely to establish exchange programs with foreign colleges and to raise money, spending about $60,000 a year. He flies first class and stays in finer hotels, his travel records show.
Bunting also keeps his quarters, where he entertains frequently, well-stocked with top-shelf liquor. Since 1997, h e's spent about $12,000 on books , most of them for his own reading. He's sent flowers and magazine subscriptions to people in the VMI family and out of it with cards that make no mention of VMI, leading some to suggest they looked like personal gifts.
"It seems to me proper judgment was not used," said Bill Hallett , a former president of VMI's alumni association from Richmond. "The VMI foundation and the VMI Board of Visitors should establish and rigidly enforce guidelines for use of the superintendent's discretionary funds, guidelines which can be understood by all VMI alumni. After all, they gave the money."
Hallett said he was concerned about "the 98 percent of alumni who don't know what's going on."
Bunting's attitude is, "he's worth anything he can get," said Laurence Adams of Lancaster, Pa., a 1948 graduate who sent two sons to VMI. He's been a regular donor over the years, including a gift of $25,000 at his 50th anniversary reunion.
"I gave every time they ever asked for money, which is all the time," he said. "I thought I was helping the cadets."
In fact, Bunting hasn't been spending Adams' money on gifts, because Adams earmarked his donations for the library and the chemistry department. Bunting's account is made up mostly of unrestricted donations -- money given with no specific directions for spending.
VMI Foundation Director Jim Adams, who isn't related to Laurence Adams, said he's heard from a few alumni who said they were stopping their donations. "But I've heard from the vast majority that these are the things that a college does."
That defense doesn't wash with some VMI graduates, including Dave Parker of Lexington. He's proud that VMI distinguishes itself from other colleges by holding itself to an honor code, and a higher moral standard in general.
Parker said it doesn't make sense to defend Bunting's spending by saying everyone else does it this way.
"We talk about being unique," the 1984 graduate said, "but on this, we're just one of the crowd."
Lavish spending is too far removed from what cadets are taught, Parker said. VMI teaches that real character doesn't come from the trappings of life -- clothes, hair, material wealth.
The defense of Bunting's spending begs the question, "Do we live what we preach?" Parker said. "We should be concerned about substance, not show."
Parker quit giving to VMI when it went coed, but VMI frequently boasts that alumni giving has increased since women were admitted. Some people credit Bunting with that.
Jim Adams said it's too early to tell if the upcoming fund drive will be hurt.
VMI spokesman Mike Strickler says he believes VMI's donation base will weather the bad publicity.
"The bigger picture is the school," he said. "It's still your alma mater, it's still the school that you love. ... Are you going to be mad over one particular aspect, or are you going to continue to support the school that you love?"
In the end, Strickler said, "I don't think that will be a choice for most of them. They're going to choose VMI."
Gilmore makes VMI appointments
Saturday, August 21, 1999
Gov. Jim Gilmore has appointed two newcomers and reappointed two others to the board of visitors of the Virginia Military Institute. Three of the four are alumni.
New to the board will be Darryl K. Horne of Vienna and Donald M. Wilkinson of New York. Horne, an African-American, is the founder of Horne Engineering Services Inc., an environmental engineering firm based in Vienna. An alumnus, he has served on the board of governors of VMI's athletic association.
Wilkinson has been chairman of Wilkinson O'Grady & Co., an investment advisory firm, since 1972. He graduated from VMI in 1961.
Neither Robert B. Crotty of Dallas nor W. Thomas Hudson of Richmond asked to be reappointed, a spokesman for Gilmore said.
Gilmore reappointed Anita K. Blair of Arlington and Bruce C. Gottwald Sr. of Richmond to the board. Blair is the co-founder of Welty & Blair, a law firm. Gottwald is chairman of Ethyl Corp. in Richmond and is the current head of the visitors' board.
Gilmore appointed three new members to the George Mason University board of visitors. They are Sidney O. Dewberry of Arlington, managing partner of Dewberry & Davis, an architectural, engineering, planning and surveying firm; John F. "Jack" Herrity, president of a government relations firm and former chairman of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors; and Dr. Manuel H. Johnson of McLean, an economist and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. He also is a former federal deputy assistant secretary of the treasury.
Gilmore reappointed W. Scott McGeary of Arlington, who is vice rector of the GMU board and a public affairs manager for Washington Gas Light Co., a public utility.
Dewberry replaces Janice S. Golec of Arlington, who was eligible for reappointment, and Herrity replaces Marvin R. Murray of Alexandria, who also was eligible for reappointment. Johnson replaced M. Constance Bedell of Springfield, whose two terms had expired.
Keydets Prepare For Upcoming Season
By David Grimes
With only three seniors on this year's roster, one may guess right off the top that VMI will be young this season.
However, first-year head coach Cal McCombs feels differently about this year's version of Keydet football.
"We may be young, but our kids are really hungry and they have a lot of enthusiasm," McCombs said. "Their desire to win and gain respect may overcome their lack of experience," he added.
McCombs, who was hired last year after Ted Cain was fired with one game remaining in the 1998 season, will inherit a team that went 1-10 last season and has not posted a winning mark since 1981, when VMI went 6-3-1.
This year's team will return 29 lettermen, 18 on defense, 10 on offense and one from special teams.
The squad will consist of three seniors, Tom Boyer (tightend) , a three-year letterman; Darius Parker (fullback), another three-year letterman, and Leslie Apedoe, an All-American wrestler, who is out for the very first time.
During the school's annual media day last Thursday McCombs said, "if we can go up to Richmond and play well, we will have a successfull season ahead of us. However, if we stink the place up, we will have a long season."
McCombs noted that his goal for the season was "to get better with each practice and to gain more experience with every game." The likeable coach added, "Each week something good will happen to this team and to this program."
This season under McCombs, VMI will use the Air Force's option-oriented flexbone offense and a 3-4 defense. The offensive look will include a fullback, two slotbacks, one receiver and a tight end.
VMI opens its season on Saturday, Sept. 4 at Richmomd, a team that went 9-3 last year. The Keydets will host Concord College on Saturday, September 11.
* * *
Friday, August 20, 1999
McCombs fits VMI as well as any could
By JACK BOGACZYK
THE ROANOKE TIMES
LEXINGTON -- Georgia Southern? Richmond? Appalachian State?
Don't look on VMI's football schedule for the Keydets' toughest opponent.
"Skepticism is what we're fighting most," said Cal McCombs, the latest first-year coach on the post. "When you're going on 18 years and you haven't won, it's only natural for people to ask if we can really do it."
This season, the Keydets have a handful of juniors, next to no seniors and more change. If McCombs can coax three wins from a new attitude and an offense that makes sense, he should be the Southern Conference coach of the year.
"I'm an idealist," McCombs said, brushing drips of sweat from his red hair. "I'm also a realist. I'd like to think I fit this job, but this has got to fit me, too. I made a tremendous commitment to VMI."
The Rat Line rambunctiousness has begun for another year, and McCombs has been anxious to see what all of the hollering from his doomed-early predecessors was about. VMI's biggest problem, more than losing games, has been losing players.
McCombs has shown a willingness to work within the system and hopes the system will return the favor. His freshmen are running with their corps classmates, rather than with teammates. McCombs isn't asking for anything special for his players except support.
The first good move VMI made was to let athletic director Donny White hire the coach. VMI didn't need a search committee as much as it needed a search party. McCombs, a Citadel alumnus and longtime assistant at Air Force, is a perfect fit.
That said, if even he can't make the program at least competitive, what then? Does it hire Bill Parcells, or turn Alumni Memorial Field into a Parade Ground?
At VMI, a 5-6 season is like 9-2 elsewhere. Football is numbers, but Air Force won with fewer and lesser athletes than its foes in the Western Athletic Conference. McCombs doesn't expect VMI to win SC titles on a perennial basis, but he does expect to be competitive.
The mistaken notion is that Air Force won a bunch of WAC titles before it moved to the new Mountain West Conference. Not so. In McCombs' 15 seasons at the academy, the Falcons won one WAC title and shared two others.
The standard there was beating Army and Navy for the Commander in Chief's Trophy and going to a bowl. It's been so long since VMI won, McCombs asks, "Just what is the standard?"
McCombs' flexbone offense pushes execution and smarts over strength. It's the right stuff for the Keydets. It's easy to forget, through the losing, that with former Army aide Jim Shuck in charge in 1991, VMI used the option to lead Division I-AA in rushing. The defense was dreadful, however.
McCombs is positive without being rah-rah. He's also going to try to survive close to home. McCombs is intent on recruiting in Virginia, finding players that UVa and Tech and even some I-AA state peers may snub. On the job only seven months, McCombs already has been into 70 high schools in the state.
He's returned VMI to the gold pants worn by the unbeaten, John McKenna-coached 1957 team. Those Keydets actually turned down invitations to the Gator and Sun bowls because they didn't want miss holidays at home.
VMI doesn't have such decisions these days, but there is an urgency to the situation.
On the post, a bugle is blown two minutes before cadets must assemble in formation. It's called "shake-a-leg."
That's VMI football now: at the two-minute warning, last call. On the post, it's going to take more than McCombs to pump some air into this thing.
1999 VMI Soccer Outlook
Take a glance down the starting lineup for the 1999 Keydet soccer team and you'll notice one salient fact - it doesn't feature a proven, marquee scorer.
What Head Coach Stephen Rosss lineup does boast, among its 15 returning letterwinners and eight veteran starters, is a nucleus that has developed as a group and has become very comfortable playing together.
"Our junior class is our strongest class," said Ross. "They have progressed as starters together, and have a good working relationship."
That ability to work together and create goals will be a key to VMI's fortunes on the soccer pitch.
The Keydets plan to attack out of a two-forward set, with senior Kenny Sykes and junior Jason Seagle leading the charge. Sykes gives VMI a fast and physical player who knows how to create his own opportunities, while Seagle showed signs during spring off-season games that he is developing a scorer's touch.
"Seagle is a player who can finish, and he reads the game extremely well," said Ross.
Senior Keane Jones, who sees most of his playing time in the midfield, may also get some minutes at forward. Freshman Michael Gengler joins the squad as a forward, and will see action in a relief role.
The priority element in the Keydet offense in 1999, according to Ross, will be working the ball through the midfield and rapidly forcing the ball into the final third of the field - almost a soccer equivalent of the "fast break" offense.
It's a task that calls upon VMI midfielders to become mindreaders, anticipating the flow of the game and the movement of the Keydet strikers. Ross believes his middies are up to the challenge.
Ross plans on lining up either four or five across at the midfield, with junior Zach Johnson at center headlining the returnees. Johnson, who tallied two goals and three assists in 98, became quite proficient at connecting with Seagle during spring competition, and Ross hopes the tandem continues to flourish in the fall.
Joining Johnson in the midfield will be senior Paul DeRose, who has been a consistently solid performer over his first three years at VMI, and Jones.
Freshman Jonathan Rios should crack the starting lineup in his freshman year, with Michael Gengler also a strong candidate to start in the five midfielder set.
The Keydet backline, which will use either three or four players depending on the situation, is led by senior captain Stephen Fern. Arguably one of the most capable sweepers to ever don the red and white for VMI, Fern provides a calming influence in front of the Keydet goal and excels at cleaning out the VMI box.
Junior Tony Conway, largely unproven when he earned his first few starts a year ago, has established himself as a dependable back. He has developed physically, and, said Ross, "he's adapted what he can do well, to what we as a team do well."
Junior Adam Maneen, another unknown entity last season when he joined the squad as a walk-on, has emerged as an on-the-field leader for the Keydets and will start on the back line.
The remaining backfield slot is up for grabs, with junior B.J. Lafon and senior Ian Doyle strong candidates to earn the starting nod.
In goal, the Keydets will have the services of two quality keepers. Sophomore John Simmons, who played 412 minutes in five contests during his freshman campaign, will begin the season with the starter's job secured. Fellow sophomore Steve Swann, who saw action in 527 minutes in eight games, will serve as backup. Each brings something different to the keepers position; Simmons is the more physically capable and has a 30"+ vertical leap, while Swann is a solid stopper with outstanding distribution skills.
The Keydets' schedule features a full slate of games in the increasingly challenging Southern Conference, with UNCG, Appalachian State, Davidson, and Georgia Southern all making the trek to Patchin Field in 1999.
The non-conference portion of the schedule features early home games against Shenandoah and Southern Virginia, road contests against Belmont, Western Kentucky, and Elon College, and mid-season home tilts with UNC Asheville and Lynchburg College. The Keydets face cross-town rival Washington & Lee in late-September at Liberty Hall Field.
Job Opportunity: I received the following e-mail from Gerry Bingeman '93.
My "organization" is seeking qualified individuals who are interested in pursuing careers in law enforcement. The description and contact numbers are also listed. If you are able to include this in one of your upcoming cyber letters, I would greatly appreciate it. Many thanks.
ROANOKE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT
POLICE OFFICER POLICE DEPARTMENT $25,794/YR
Salary Effective December 1, 1999 - $27,611/YR
Performs responsible Police protective service work in the City of Roanoke; duty involves an element of personal danger. On an assigned shift, operates a motor vehicle or walks to observe for violation of traffic laws, suspicious activities or persons and disturbances of law and order; responds to communication dispatcher to answer calls and complaints; assists persons in distress; makes arrests following service of warrants, personal observation of offenses, and individual investigation; participates in criminal Investigations; testifies in court; directs traffic as required and reports unsafe conditions in streets or other public facilities; prepares detailed reports for permanent record or interdepartmental use; recovers stolen and lost property; some knowledge of police methods, and practices and procedures; some knowledge of the geography of the City and location of important buildings; general knowledge of the rules and regulations of the Police Department; ability to understand and carry out oral and written instructions to prepare clear comprehensive reports; Ability to cope with stressful conditions of the work. Any combination of education or experience equivalent to graduation of high school. Graduation from a community college in social or police science is desirable. Possession of a valid driver's permit issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia on a biennial basis. Vision requirements
standard is 20/30 in the better eye corrected, 20/40 in the worse eye corrected. Worse than 20/60 uncorrected, must correct with contact lenses or corrected goggles to 30/30 or greater in the better eye; or to 20/40 or greater in the worse eye. Disqualified if uncorrected vision is 20/200 or greater in both eyes. Applicants must submit to a drug screening test and Polygraph.
Contact Police Academy: 1-540-853-2649
541 Luck Ave, SW
Roanoke, VA 24011
Contact Gerry Bingeman: 1-540-853-2711
That's it for this week.
Yours in the Spirit,
RB Lane '75
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