My College Reunion

My College Reunion

In writing these columns for The Edgefield Advertiser, I have tried not to make them too personal – and therefore, I hope, not too boring for people who care about national, state, and county issues but not so much about any columnist’s personal issues. I’ll make an exception this week and talk about one aspect of my life: my upcoming College Reunion.

There were 1350 of us who left home as I did the Merriwether section of Edgefield County in 1964, headed to Annapolis to become Midshipmen. Four short years later, 818 of us graduated and were commissioned Ensigns in the Navy or Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps. Most of us were in Vietnam within a year or two, and most of us (but not all of us) came home again. This month many of us who survived the wartime and peacetime pitfalls of military and civilian careers are gathering in Annapolis for our 50thU. S. Naval Academy Reunion.

In contrast to a rather obscure young man who later completed a Navy career and now teaches Math in Augusta, there are several USNA ’68 classmates whose names are known to a much wider audience. Among those who have known each other since we were all teenage plebes are the following. Mike Mullen, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and was in the White House Situation Room when Osama Bin Laden was captured. Ollie North, who after gaining notoriety in a number of ways, is now President of the National Rifle Association. Jim Webb, who became famous as an author and a genuine USMC hero, served as Secretary of the Navy and later as a U.S. Senator, and was a Presidential aspirant in 2016. (Ollie beat Jim in our intramural Brigade Heavyweight Boxing Championship match back in 1968.) Charlie Bolden, who as a black South Carolinian could not get any SC Senator or Congressman to appoint him but secured an appointment from Illinois. Charlie was elected as our Class President. He became the first black Astronaut, retired as a two-star Marine General, and served as President Obama’s head of NASA. Mike Hagee served as Commandant of the Maine Corps and Jay Johnson as Chief of Naval Operations. Denny Blair, a Rhodes Scholar contemporary of young Bill Clinton from Arkansas, was one of the first to serve as the Director of National Intelligence, the unified agency established following the intelligence failures of 9/11. And many more who served their country quietly and are now gathering to reminisce about the past and to talk together about their future, our future.

There should be a number of interesting conversations among that group, and I will very likely be doing much more listening than talking. As fascinating as it is to me to be surrounded every day by 19-year-old math students, most will have even more interesting tales to tell, especially after a beer or two. I hope to share with our Edgefield Advertiserreadership what I am allowed to share, regarding the most interesting of those tales.

Beat Army!

In writing these columns for The Edgefield Advertiser, I have tried not to make them too personal – and therefore, I hope, not too boring for people who care about national, state, and county issues but not so much about any columnist’s personal issues. I’ll make an exception this week and talk about one aspect of my life: my upcoming College Reunion.

There were 1350 of us who left home as I did the Merriwether section of Edgefield County in 1964, headed to Annapolis to become Midshipmen. Four short years later, 818 of us graduated and were commissioned Ensigns in the Navy or Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps. Most of us were in Vietnam within a year or two, and most of us (but not all of us) came home again. This month many of us who survived the wartime and peacetime pitfalls of military and civilian careers are gathering in Annapolis for our 50thU. S. Naval Academy Reunion.

In contrast to a rather obscure young man who later completed a Navy career and now teaches Math in Augusta, there are several USNA ’68 classmates whose names are known to a much wider audience. Among those who have known each other since we were all teenage plebes are the following. Mike Mullen, who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and was in the White House Situation Room when Osama Bin Laden was captured. Ollie North, who after gaining notoriety in a number of ways, is now President of the National Rifle Association. Jim Webb, who became famous as an author and a genuine USMC hero, served as Secretary of the Navy and later as a U.S. Senator, and was a Presidential aspirant in 2016. (Ollie beat Jim in our intramural Brigade Heavyweight Boxing Championship match back in 1968.) Charlie Bolden, who as a black South Carolinian could not get any SC Senator or Congressman to appoint him but secured an appointment from Illinois. Charlie was elected as our Class President. He became the first black Astronaut, retired as a two-star Marine General, and served as President Obama’s head of NASA. Mike Hagee served as Commandant of the Maine Corps and Jay Johnson as Chief of Naval Operations. Denny Blair, a Rhodes Scholar contemporary of young Bill Clinton from Arkansas, was one of the first to serve as the Director of National Intelligence, the unified agency established following the intelligence failures of 9/11. And many more who served their country quietly and are now gathering to reminisce about the past and to talk together about their future, our future.

There should be a number of interesting conversations among that group, and I will very likely be doing much more listening than talking. As fascinating as it is to me to be surrounded every day by 19-year-old math students, most will have even more interesting tales to tell, especially after a beer or two. I hope to share with our Edgefield Advertiserreadership what I am allowed to share, regarding the most interesting of those tales.

Beat Army!

One Response to "My College Reunion"

  1. Clayton Trowbridge   October 9, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    I look forward to your after-action report. In advance, thanks

    Reply

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