Your Letters – Winter 2016

Remembering Harriet Seaver

I read in the Northfield News that Harriet Seaver passed away in Northfield at age 100. She and her husband, Hillard, ran the Norwich Bookstore for 39 years. Remember Harriet, the redhead who took such good care of thousands of Norwich cadets, especially homesick rooks? The Seavers ran the bookstore like a small family-owned business, and had a great team helping them: Earl and Gary at the snack bar, and Millie running the mailroom. Ever friendly and helpful, Harriet always had a smile and just the right word to perk you up. What great memories of some great people.

COL Tim Donovan, USA (Ret.) ’62
Lake Frederick, Virginia

More on the 1984 Commencement

Class of 1984, standing, from left: Peter Wallace, Kevin Lawrence, and Steven Bergholtz. Sitting, from left: Chris Cohen ’85, Mark Duffy, Ric Pirolli, Jack Lee, and Mark Ells. (Courtesy of Mark Ells ’84.)

Class of 1984, standing, from left: Peter Wallace, Kevin Lawrence, and Steven Bergholtz. Sitting, from left: Chris Cohen ’85, Mark Duffy, Ric Pirolli, Jack Lee, and Mark Ells. (Courtesy of Mark Ells ’84.)

I really had not thought about the weather until I read “Looking Back” in the summer 2015 issue of the Record. Norwich has had such a positive impact on my life that a little rain could not begin to have a dampening effect. Perhaps my feelings are reinforced by the fact that my oldest of six children recently started her sophomore year at Norwich (Elizabeth Ells, Class of 2018).

I do remember one of my classmates commenting during General Kelley’s remarks that it appeared no rain was falling on the general. I remember being glad we had secured Woodbury Hall for an after-graduation gathering open to any and all classmates needing a place to celebrate. I mostly remember the support that my family, friends, and classmates provided while I attended Norwich.

Mark S. Ells ’84
Barnstable, Massachusetts

More on Water

Rick (Vernon) Collins was my roommate senior year. As winter slowly disappeared during the spring of 1970, he got the brainstorm that we should travel down to the floating bridge in Brookfield. He pointed out that the ice had been off the pond for about a week and we should go down and “test the water!” I questioned his sanity, but hopped into his car along with a couple other guys. On a bright, sunny afternoon, one week after the ice disappeared, the four of us marched out onto the middle of the floating bridge and jumped in. As “refreshing” as the experience was, I wasted little time in swimming back and hoisting myself onto the deck of the bridge.

Rick was so inspired by the event that when we visited his hometown of Rangeley Lakes, Maine, a week later, he noted that the ice had been off the lake for about a week. Once again he suggested a plunge. This one occurred from a nearby dock at approximately 11 p.m. I don’t know for certain, but he may have been the originator of the modern-day “Penguin Plunges!”

Dave Zsido ’70
Rutland, Vermont

I really enjoyed the article, “Stories from the H2O Zone,” which brought back memories of the summer of ’52. During the Korean War, H2O was both a positive and a negative factor to those of us serving on the MLR (Main Line of Resistance).

Supporting the 27th IR (Infantry Regiment), my tank platoon straddled the Suip-Ch’on River running south through the Mundung-ni Valley. It was really a very nice stream with a beautiful swimming hole about 35 yards from our crummy underground bunker. It was very hot and buggy, showers were scarce, and the clear stream was tempting. One day we went for a swim and were joined by some infantrymen. The enemy was watching and decided we were a good target. Mortars rained on us, and an air mattress was the only casualty. But when we decided to dash back to our bunker one at a time, I ran first, then the others and, bringing up the rear, my gunner, Sgt. Stone, who was knocked down twice by mortars and spent the afternoon pulling small steel splinters out of his arms. After that I told my men they could only go swimming one at a time.

Happily, we were relieved on July 21 by the 35th IR. The rainy season began July 26. For five straight days it poured—a total of 16 inches. The average stream rise was 75 inches, with a maximum of 96 inches. The command report of the 35th IR stated, “… (102) bunkers caved in, (76) bunkers were condemned, (1,545) yards of communications trenches caved in, and (455) yards of trails were washed out.” It also stated that three bridges were washed out, and that the 2nd and 3rd Battalions were physically isolated from the remainder of the regiment. Listed as NBCs (Non-Battle-Casualties), there were many men killed and injured, some of whom drowned. And that was only one regiment. In those five days, water had done far more damage to UNC (UN Command) than the enemy.

COL Pete Cuthbert, AUS (Ret.) ’51
East Moriches, N.Y.

More on Howie Lewis

Both the Record’s Vietnam issue [winter 2015] and a letter in the summer 2015 Record made note of Howard Lewis, a great soldier. There is interest in both issues concerning Howard’s last days with us. I was Vermont’s adjutant general at that time, and Howard was a superb armor battalion commander-1ST 172 Armor. Howard was also the senior full-time supervisor of the Vermont Brigade.

One story many will enjoy: The Vermont Brigade was undergoing an IG (Inspector General) inspection by the active army, and the senior IG inspector was about to gig the brigade for not securing the historic tank in front of brigade headquarters. True to Howard’s cavalry heritage, he promptly drew a tent peg and rope from the supply room and secured the display tank.

Howard died of a brain tumor. His wife was a model of caring and love. His neurosurgeon was convinced that Howard’s tumor resulted from Agent Orange, as Howard’s identical twin brother [Hal, who could not serve due to a disqualifying medical issue] showed no symptoms. To honor Howard, we constructed and dedicated a chapel in his name at the Vermont National Guard training center.

MG Donald E. Edwards, USA (Ret.) ’59
South Bristol, Maine

Bravest of the Brave
Vietnam Memorial Walkway

At the Vietnam War Foundation Museum we have a memorial walkway where anyone can buy bricks to memorialize those who died in Vietnam, as well as anyone who served in the armed forces and has passed away. The gray bricks are reserved for those KIA, and the red ones for those who have passed.

Memorial bricks in the Vietnam Memorial Walkway. Learn more at

Memorial bricks in the Vietnam Memorial Walkway. Learn more at

I recently installed two bricks: The first is for one of the finest of the finest, Major George E. Hussey. Perhaps one of the best examples of a stern but proud officer who knew he was assigned to NU “to train these boys to become men and leaders.” Called back for a second tour, Maj Hussey gave his life so others would live.

The other brick is for a rook from the Class of ’71, WO2 David K. Erenstoft, who left after his rook year, leaving a lot of memories with those from Goodyear Hall and “F” Troop. He was always the one to try and divert the cadre from us to him, but also one who had a smile that usually had the cadre rolling in the halls. He joined the NYAR, trained as a helicopter pilot, and was activated to VN. He was KIA doing what he dreamed of doing—flying Hueys. RIP my ski partner and aviation enthusiast.

Skip Degan ’71
Ruckersville, Virginia

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