Your Letters – Spring 2016
“Looking Back” photo (fall 2015)
In the “Looking Back” photo on the inside back cover of the fall Norwich Record, I was the left rifleman in the color guard. In the 1980s, we had Ceremonial Company, which included the Drill Team, which I was part of from 1984 to 1988. Besides Precision Drill and Trick Drill, we also provided Honor Details to include the Color Guard and Rifle Squad for the three-volley salute (I served on all of these). I was on Honor Detail the day Norwich sent the Color Guard to meet the marching cadets one mile out from Fort Ticonderoga.
The day was cool and damp, as it had been raining earlier. The cadets that made the long trek were very tired, but upon meeting up with us their spirits lifted. We marched in unison, the drummer keeping the pace. It was a neat feeling, because we were all in uniform, we knew the history behind the march, and the cadets were wearing period clothing. As we got closer, you could see the old fort, and it truly felt like we had traveled back in time. With each step, everyone’s spirits lifted more and more, filling the cadets with even more energy and pride. The many visitors that day were treated to an unexpected ceremony as we marched through the main gate in formation, performed a re-creation of the troops arriving at the fort, and fired a volley. The visitors froze in awe as they watched history being reenacted in front of them. We were joined by guest speakers, including then-president Major General W. Russell Todd. Once the ceremony was complete, the onlookers approached us. Some asked questions, some were intrigued with Norwich and what we were doing, and others familiar with the history loved what we did. After enjoying the moment, we boarded a Norwich bus and headed back to Northfield. The marchers were tired, but we all felt a sense of pride at being able to relive a special moment in U.S. and Norwich history.
Shawn LoPorto ’88 & P’18
More on the March to Fort Ticonderoga
In the photo, I am the drummer in the second rank. Who would have thought a young rook would actually volunteer to carry that drum all the way from Northfield, Vt., to Fort Ticonderoga, N.Y.
I remember the barn we slept in the first night; I thought as I fell asleep, “What have I gotten myself into now?” The march throughout the rural Vermont countryside was amazing; the wonderful autumn colors motivated me to keep going. Along with my MP Company rook buddy and several upperclassmen, we acknowledged along the way the incredible journey our predecessors must have had.
I am proud of representing Norwich, and looking back all these years later I realize how much I grew over those four days, not just physically and mentally, but as a cadet and future Army leader. Only once, on the bus back to the ’Wich, did it occur to me how wonderful my rack would feel when we got back to the Hill. I am grateful for my time at Norwich and the tremendous experiences it offered.
Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Renea
Curfman Yates ’89
More on Don Wallace
Don Wallace’s unique persona was recently called upon to aid the Norwich Fund 2019 celebration.
I received a call here at the house, and a voice at the other end claiming to be a cadet engineer raising money for the Norwich Fund opens the conversation with, “Do you have any Wallace stories?” I think to myself, Heh! What Norwich engineer doesn’t have a Wallace story?! And off we went, for like an hour. Don this and Wally that, each regaling the other with our own student engineer “worst nightmares.” By the time we were done, I was feeling a little guilty about having burned the young man’s ear, and found myself hooked into giving the Norwich Fund a modest $50. Afterwards, I thought, “There is no better way to establish a rapport between a fundraising student engineer and an alumnus than by establishing a common challenge.” In fact, I might even call this “sneaky.” The cadet engineer knew the outcome before it occurred. I might add, this is what’s called an “engineered” outcome. But it is for a good cause. I call this “collateral advantage.” Don Wallace’s effect in this world has gone beyond mere engineering—certainly to character building—but as the tribute says, ultimately to responsibility. Not just engineering responsibility, but human responsibility. Someone willing to step up to the plate.
I count Professor Wallace among the two most influential teachers in my life. A belated tribute, well deserved.
Joe Keith ’77
Stratham, New Hampshire
When I was a sophomore, I had an offer for a great engineering summer job if I could make it to Providence, R.I., at 7:00 p.m. one Friday night. I had a class with Professor Wallace from 2:00 to 3:00 on Fridays, and I asked to be excused. Of course, the answer was, “No. If you want the job bad enough you’ll figure it out.” I bummed a ride down with someone in the flying club and was back in class on Monday. As some of the other people commented, he made you understand work deadlines and commitments, and encouraged you to be resourceful.
He was our host on a couple of class trips, and we attended a couple of conferences together. I was a bit surprised to find that his manner outside of class did not change a bit when he left campus. None of the stories is repeatable, but all were classic Don.
My fondest memory, and the one that sets him above all other teachers, was our kinematics class. He used a teaching method that was new to him, and the results were dismal. He had the same group of 13 students for a class the next semester, and when he came into class he apologized. He then offered to spend the next two weeks re-teaching kinematics. He would give us a new exam and move on to the next class. We would not miss anything, but would have a chance to really learn the material. We all agreed, he redid the class, and we all did well on the exam.
You did not just learn the material from Dr. Wallace, you learned how you were supposed to act in industry, you learned how to work with others, and most important, you learned how to think. Greatest teacher ever.
Bill Clark ’71
Endicott, New York
Class of 1960 Memories
I read with amusement and interest classmate Roger Franklin’s article on Jackman Hall (aka the Zoo) in the summer Record. It brought to mind a few other incidents that took place during our four years. I believe it was our freshman year when the Corps marched down to the Northfield railroad station for the trip to Middlebury, via Burlington, for the football game. Remember when Middlebury’s ROTC tried to perform in front of us as we sat in the bleachers in uniform? What an unmitigated disaster. We probably should have felt sorry for them, but were laughing uncontrollably.
Many of us kept personal firearms in our rooms for hunting and just plinking. One evening, one of our classmates in the Zoo shot himself in the leg while cleaning his Colt .45. Word of the accident spread through the barracks like wildfire, and there was a mad scramble to hide our firearms in someone’s car, the fraternity houses, or with a friendly professor. Our classmate made it just fine.
Remember: Mooca, Craven-Odd, Dog, C-Pig, Wacky Mackey, Poo, and Winkey? Johnny Norris being awarded four varsity letters, four years in a row—a feat unlikely achieved prior, or since. The time when the entire Corps “rioted,” and no one appeared for morning formation except a Boston Globe reporter! I do not even remember what we were protesting.
And last, but not least, the morning, junior year, while marching to breakfast, you could not help but notice the statue of Captain Alden Partridge with his “privates” painted bright red. We lost a couple of terrific classmates over that one.
David B. Connor ’60
Johnson City, Texas