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Editor:Tommy Towery                                              
Class of 1964                           Page Hits This Issue     e-mail
Staff Writers :
        Barbara Wilkerson Donnelly , Joy Rubins Morris, Paula Spencer Kephart,
        Rainer Klauss, Bobby Cochran, Collins (CE) Wynn, Eddie Sykes, Cherri Polly
Staff Photographers:  Fred & Lynn Sanders
Contributers: The Members of Lee High School Classes of 64-65-66
Welcome to the Annual Veteran's Day Issue of Lee's Traveller.  This week we have postponed the normal Mystery Photos and answers and other non-veteran mail to allow room to pay our greatest respects to the Veterans and spouses of those that served our country. This is a big issue and I hope you will all read every word from every veteran.

It has been a great honor to receive and read the e-mails from our classmates who put their own lives on hold to serve our country. Not all fought in battle, but all served with honor and can proudly be called Veterans.

I salute each of my comrades and wish all of you could join me in my annual march down the streets of Memphis on Veteran's Day. Perhaps someday we should all join up and march through the streets of Huntsville in celebration and thanksgiving for those who served.

Check out other Military Info by clicking here:

Our Military Classmates

T. Tommy
The Lee General That
Became A Real General -

Brigadier General
John R. Scales,
Class of '66

Taken at Bagram in Afghanistan in May 2002. Brigadier Lane (British Royal Marines), GEN Tommy Franks, and MG Buster Hagenbeck, right BG John Scales, Class of '66.
Not A War Story
by Jim Bannister
Class of '66

This is not a war story. It was 1975, the war was over and everyone was still waiting for their “Peace With Honor Medal” to be issued. Gerald Ford was President and the Navy was struggling with the transition from wartime to peace. Elmo Zumwalt was the new CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) and under his direction the Navy had embarked on a program of social engineering. The ranks of well-educated, highly motivated sailors were very quickly being replaced by less desirable shipmates. For the first time in decades the Navy was being forced to accept a large quota of “Group 4” recruits. These factors coupled with an overall reduction in manpower and increased operational commitments had an extreme negative effect on morale. Racial strife was rampant. Senior Petty Officers, both black and white, were struggling to maintain good order and discipline. The mandates imposed by the new “Social Engineering” had made it most difficult to keep the ships in a state of operational readiness.

I was a Petty Officer 1st Class serving aboard the USS Oriskany CVA-34 and was in charge of the largest work center in the Operations Electronics Division. Needless to say at this point in time I was not a happy camper. An aircraft carrier is one of the most dangerous places on Earth to live and work, without all these other distractions. We were on a Pineapple Cruise (Hawaiian Islands Operations) doing carrier quals for the Marine Air Wing out of Kaneohe, flight ops day and night. I was going over maintenance schedules and equipment status one morning when Harbert our work center clown yelled “Attention on deck” since he frequently did this when HE came into the compartment, I yelled “Harbert, knock that #@%& off “ I turned around and was face to face with Adm. James Stockdale.

Adm. Stockdale was ComReadPac (Readiness Command Pacific Fleet) and was on an inspection tour. This was the first time that he had been back aboard the Oriskany since the day he launched off and was shot down over North Viet Nam. As I came out of shock, we discussed equipment, training, manpower, and all the operational stuff. Then he pulled up a chair, sat down and just started to talk. He had to lean in close and sometimes turn his head because a North Vietnamese guard had punctured one of his eardrums with a pencil and he couldn’t hear very well. We talked about my family, my goals, my problems, the Navy, and me. He was so sincere and his eyes appeared to look right into your soul. He also wanted to know if we still held the poker games in the work center and if we still had the large porn library. His squadron’s ready room had been just across the passageway from the work center and Naval aviators are different from other officers in their relationships with enlisted crewmembers. Many had participated in the poker games and had borrowed a “good” book to read. We had a good laugh about that and I admitted that the traditions were still intact.

As he left he shook my hand and told me something that I will never forget, “People MAKE things happen and GOOD people make good things happen”. I watched him walk down the passage way with a noticeable limp, he had shattered his leg when he ejected from his plane, and my morale was soaring. If this guy can still be that positive after all that he had been through, then I should get myself back in line and make good things happen.

Years later James Stockdale was asked to run for Vice President of the United States by Ross Perot. He was humiliated, and made fun of by the other candidates, late night TV hosts and others. All this made my blood boil. This man, an American hero, who had been through so much adversity yet could show so much concern for the morale and motivation of a young sailor, should not be treated this way. I should not have been surprised, for this was the treatment most of us received when we returned from the Viet Nam War.

Sometimes You Just Play
The Cards You Are Dealt
by Rainer Klauss
Class of '64

Greetings, fellow veterans. Like many of our fathers, we early graduates of Lee faced the crucible of military service during a period of war. I know that several of my classmates (and others in the classes that followed) went in harm’s way and performed admirably, if not also heroically. Some went on to have long and accomplished military careers. Others, like me, rendered unremarkable but nonetheless honorable service. Whatever your tours of duty, I salute you. I offer this brief account of my Army days purely for its limited entertainment value.

When I graduated from Auburn in June, 1968, Admiral Thomas Moorer, a famous son of Alabama, gave the commencement address. At that time he was the Chief of Naval Operations, and a few years later he reached the pinnacle of his career by being appointed Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff. Underlying the  pride and joy of my accomplishment that day was the sober realization that my draft deferment ended the instant I accepted the diploma. Although I have no recollection of Admiral Moorer’s speech, his message must have been of the times, the necessity of supporting our country during those difficult days. Whatever he said, his very presence as a representative of the establishment drove home the inescapable fact that for the next few years my life would have a strong military flavor.

In an attempt to take my future into my own hands, I tried to become an Air Force officer a few weeks after graduation. I drove down to Maxwell AFB in Montgomery for the qualifying tests and physical examination, but my fly-boy career never got off the ground. It was revealed very quickly that I was partially color-blind, and since the Air Force could afford to be choosy in those days, taking only pilot candidates and college graduates who had been smart enough to complete four years of Air Force ROTC (like the young lieutenants Thomas Towery and Mike Jett), the wild blue yonder was closed to me.  I would not dance the skies on laughter-silvered wings (not until many years later, that is, when I did the Bulldog Boogaloo over Athens, Georgia with Woody Beck and his bright and shiny Cessna 170).

Once the Air Force dismissed me, I ran out of options. I wasn’t interested in a regular enlistment in the Air Force and the four-year (five?) obligation it entailed. I wanted to get back to graduate school as quickly as possible. I never really considered the Navy at all. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think they were more exclusive than the Air Force. I hadn’t gotten a chance to bond with Admiral Moorer that afternoon, so I had no one to pull strings for me at Naval Operations.

Although I took my chances by waiting for the draft to come get me, my Army days turned out lucky, though they didn’t start off that way. I began my service on October 3, 1968 and went through Basic at Ft. Benning. Halfway into the course, I was chosen to train with the M-16. “Don’t mean a thing,” the drill sergeants told us. “They just choose a random group out of each company for that stuff. It don’t mean you’re headed for ‘Nam. Don’t worry about it. ” A couple of weeks later I had orders for Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. McClellan. Hmmm. I guess that don’t mean anything either, huh?

Just a couple of days before everyone was due to be shipped out to their new training stations, I was told that I was a hold-over, that I wouldn’t be heading for McClellan right away. I’ll never know for sure, but I think my status as a naturalized citizen made it harder to get a security clearance for me (or made it necessary to get one for me in the first place). Anyway, no trip on the AIT Express for Private Klauss. On the day that most of the company was going through the graduation ceremony, I was pulling KP. I probably swiped a couple of pieces of graduation cake that day to make up for missing the military rites of passage.

In limbo for a few days, we hold-overs lounged around our almost deserted training barracks, cramming in as much sleep as possible, but soon enough the Army snatched us up again into the Big Green Machine.  We were shuttled over to our new temporary home, the hold-over barracks of the Army Training Center HQ. There every morning after breakfast we climbed into trucks and were hauled around to perform various character-building activities around the post.

One morning we stopped at the HQ buildings complex. A sergeant walked out and asked: “Does anybody here know how to type?” I threw up my hand. I don’t think I hopped up and down in the truck, though, hollering “Take me, take me.”  That would have been exceedingly un-military.

I took a typing course my last quarter at Auburn, thinking: you never know what might come in handy. I made a C.  At Ft. Benning, our intelligence and job skills were assessed on the second day of our short stay at the Reception Center at Harmony Church. On the first day, we all started looking alike: shorn of our hair and abandoning our civilian clothes for the brotherhood of new uniforms. We all started acting alike, too: herded around by the screaming drill sergeants, we were one hopeless slimy green layer of something lower than whale do-do. We were being broken down before our lengthy re-constitution as soldiers. I was so sleep-deprived and numb by the time of the typing test that it’s a wonder I could crank out 25 words/minute.

The theme song during this interlude of estrangement from civilian life was Johnny Taylor’s “Who’s Makin’ Love” (to your old lady while you’re out makin’ love?)  Anybody else remember that funky tune? I remember it playing out back of the mess hall as we trudged around the Reception Center. In our case it was doubly-derisory: none of us was makin’ love, that’s for sure, but who knew what was happening back at the homefront? In the weeks to come we would often sing about that snake, Jody, as we marched in cadence.

So there I was in the truck, raising my hand, VOLUNTEERING for God’s sake—a potentially dumb move in anyone’s army. But, hey, I was a champeen typist, the newly-strack master of any Underwood or Royal. “You da man,” the others murmured admiringly.

“Jump down, Private, and follow me,” the sergeant said. We walked to the Public Information Office, and he introduced me to the Public Information Officer, a first lieutenant. “This guy’s here to sweep and clean up, sir.”

Even then I found it damn funny that they wanted someone who with typing skills for their janitor, but I kept the joke to myself. Maybe the last guy that swept up for them had a nervous breakdown and ended up getting a medical discharge because he wasn’t a qualified typist. I got to work with my broom, visions of Beetle Bailey in my head. It sure beat the hell out of doing KP somewhere.

After awhile, the PIO and I started talking. He asked me where I was from and where I’d gone to school. “Huntsville, Alabama, sir. I’ve got a degree in English from Auburn University, and I can type, sir.”

“Really? Well, that’s interesting and maybe good timing. Here’s the situation, Private. One of my reporters is shipping out to ‘Nam soon. Would you be interested in taking over his job? With your credentials, I’m assuming you can write an understandable sentence. Is that right?”

“No problem, sir” Thank God he wasn’t a ‘Bama grad, ready to unload a dozen cow college jokes.

“Okay, one of the things we do is send out news stories on the soldiers who train here to their hometown newspapers. Stuff like ‘Private Johnny Jones, the son of Merle and Ethel Jones, has completed Basic Training at Ft. Benning and will be reporting to Ft. Leonard Wood for further training as a Chaplain’s Assistant.’ Think you can handle that sort of thing?”

You can understand that I was stunned by the possible change of fortune. Here I was fresh off the turnip truck, so to speak, a man with a very uncertain future, and someone was dangling quite a prize in front of me. Actually, I wasn’t totally sure I could do the job. I had no journalistic training or experience, but I also realized that I wasn’t trying out for The New York Times. With some OJT and a determination to do my best, I knew I could give Johnny Jones and his family their moment in the spotlight.

“Yes, I would like that job, sir. You can do that for me?”

“Well, I can give it a try. You’re a hold-over, right? Give me your full name and service number and we’ll see.”

For the rest of the day I cleaned up in high spirits, already planning my career in military journalism. As I left that afternoon, the lieutenant told me he had already started making inquiries, and that I would be hearing from him.

I don’t think I went back to sweeping up at the PIO in the next couple of days, but all this took place just a few days before Christmas, and I had a chance to take leave. Before I left for H’ville, I got in touch with the lieutenant, but he had no news for me.

I went home, had a fine leave, and had hopes for an interesting future. I probably wasn’t going to get to fire the M-60, but I could live with that. Maybe I’d even get to write my own little newspaper notice for the Huntsville Times: “Private Rainer Klauss has completed Basic Training at Ft. Benning and is now a highly-regarded journalist with the Public Information Office at Ft. Benning, Georgia.”

Well, things didn’t work out that way. When I got back to the post, I was asked to report to the ATC Personnel Dept. There I found out I wasn’t going to be a cub reporter after all; that job had fallen through. However, Personnel had noticed the phenomenal typing speed posted on my record, and they offered me a job there. I thought it over for about two seconds, and then said: “I’m your man, Sergeant.”

The next day I reported to the Personnel Dept., and I was assigned to be the understudy of a guy who was very short (military slang for someone who’s about to get out) and was handling the records of the senior sergeants (E7-9) of the Training Center, 40-some career soldiers.  (A couple of those records were of sergeants that had bossed me around at my old training company.)  I picked up the job OJT. While I was still learning how to do things the Army way, I somehow started the retirement process for one of the E-8s (it wasn’t his intent to retire). The CWO3 who ran the shop took most of the heat for me when the sergeant came in to see what kind of doofus had screwed with his records.

The second bit of luck occurred a few months later. In those days, the Army offered an “early-out” option. If you finished a tour in ‘Nam and only had four months or less left before your service was over, you could get out early.

I found that an attractive proposition and had one of my fellow personnel specialists type up the voluntary service in Vietnam papers for me. All I had to do was take them to the company commander and get his signature. Soon I would be on my way overseas.

Well, with the papers in my hand I gave the matter some more thought and decided there was too much uncertainty in the proposition after all. Yeah, I chickened-out. I decided to just take my chances, and I ripped the papers up.

I came down on orders for Germany about two months later. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and he had an early present for his relative so far from the North Pole. I left Ft. Dix on New Year’s Eve and landed in Frankfurt on January 1, 1970. I remember how I chafed in my confinement through the early stages of in-country processing in Frankfurt and Worms. “Hey, that’s my homeland out there. Let me out of here!”

I ended up in Panzer Kaserne in Kaiserslautern, part of USF SupDist Rheinland-Pfalz. I’m not sure what our particular mission was. There was a Gasthaus (tavern) right outside our gate, the trolley to downtown K-town stopped across the street, and Massimo’s Pizza delivered to the barracks. Half a mile down the road there was another Kaserne (Kleber) with a good snackbar and library. Across town at Vogelweh there was a huge PX complex with snackbars, a bookstore, and all sorts of other amenities. Can you say paradise?

I became an Administrative Specialist (71L).  The duty was easy. We never had to work on the weekends, and there was no irritating make-work like guarding the motor-pool at Benning. On Friday evenings I would often hop on a train and visit my relatives in Munich and Nuremburg.

Sp5 Klauss officially ended his active service as he waited to board a ferry to cross the English Channel. (OK, so the Company Clerk gave me a bit of a headstart.) As the sun came up that morning I was on a train speeding to London.

Now wait one damn minute here! You mean to tell me that this guy gets to swill beer and wine, gorge on Schnitzel, and romance Frauleins (with his charming Southern-accented German) for a year on what’s essentially a paid vacation, and then he gets a European sight-seeing trip on top of that, too? Yep!  That’s what happened. I saw London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Florence, Venice, and Vienna on a Eurail Pass, and I didn’t get back to Huntsville until late November, 1970. Did I mention that Admiral Moorer gave me a conspiratorial wink the afternoon of the graduation? Just kidding, but you have to admit that I was one lucky SOB.

Recentely the editor contacted John and asked for his side of the story about how he became a general.  Below is his answer:

"Tommy, I have to tell you my rank was reached by being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and having the right people around me who made me look good.  I didn't think I was ever going to make major!

After graduating from Lee in 1966 I went to Alabama, majored in physics (and ROTC).  I was commissioned a 2LT of infantry in 1970, went to airborne and Ranger schools, then the 82nd Airborne Division, and then to Vietnam.  I was an infantry platoon leader there 1971-2.  I came back and joined the 101st Airborne Division, eventually making captain and becoming a company commander.  I saw Dennis Overcash (Lee 1966) in 1973 at Fort Stewart, GA and Phil Stewart (Lee 1966) in 1975 at Fort Campbell.  I got out of the Army in 1975, went back to graduate school at Alabama, and joined the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) of the Alabama National Guard.  Others in the Group from Lee included David Bess, C.E. Wynn, and John Fulda.  I became Special Forces qualified and rose through the ranks in the 20th, eventually commanding it during 1994-7.  The 20th is spread over seven states!  In 1997 I was picked to be the deputy commanding general of Special Forces Command, which commands all Army Special Forces (called Green Berets by civilians).  I spent four years there half time (other half working at SAIC in Huntsville), including six months as acting commanding general.  I moved to the standby reserve in 2001, only to get called up after 9/11 to be the deputy commanding general of the Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg.  Later I commanded a combined joint special operations task force for four months in Afghanistan.  I reached mandatory retirement (five years time in grade) in 2002, so now I am fully employed back at SAIC in Huntsville, where I get to see many of my Lee friends often."

Here is the official list of his MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS from the National Guard Website. You can see all his info by clicking on this link:

Legion of Merit
Bronze Star
Meritorious Service Medal (2)
Army Commendation Medal (2)
Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (4)
National Defense Service Medal (2)
National Defense Service Medal (2)
Armed Forces Reserve Medal (w/Silver Hour Glass)
Army Service Ribbon
Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon (5)
Vietnam Campaign Medal w/60 Device
RVN Cross of Gallantry (unit)
Combat Infantryman's Badge
Special Forces Tab
Ranger Tab
Master Parachutist's Badge

Left to right - unknown person, Tommy Towery, E.G. Marshall 

Playing Army
by Tommy Towery
Class of '64

Even though I served 20 years in the United States Air Force, I still remember the one day that I spent as a member of the United States Army. While stationed in England with the USAF, a friend told me that a movie company was looking for extras to film a pre D-Day sequence at a nearby airfield. They needed several hundred bodies - no acting experience necessary, so several of us went. Our parts were to be members of the 101st Airborne as they prepared for the European invasion, for the TV mini-series that followed "Winds of War." We showed up, were assigned uniforms and weapons, and sat around for a long period while the "set" was set up. It took several takes before the director Dan Curtis got the action he wanted. Our hours of work and waiting ended up being about 20 seconds of action in the movie and very few people could even be recognized in the large crowd scene that was selected to be used.

"This TV mini-series was an action drama of World War II events and is the continuation of the "Winds of War (1983)" mini-series which was about the build-up to the war. The fictional characters' lives are intertwined with real historical figures including Eisenhower, Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and Mussolini. This 23 hours of entertainment leave the viewer wanting even more. This turbulent time in history comes alive as you follow the effects that World War II has on the "Henry" families' personal lives. Perhaps the most exciting part of the mini-series is that which follows Natalie Henry, her son and her Uncle Aaron Jastrow as they struggle to survive (and hopefully escape) as Jews under Nazi occupation."

E.G. Marshall played Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the photo above was taken of me and him as he visited the paratrooper troops just prior to the D-Day invasion.

I got about $100 for the day, and did not have to either jump out of an airplane or fight in a real war.

Our Serving Classmate
Mike Storm, Class of '65

On this Veteran's Day, let's not forget our classmate who will celebrate it on active duty in the Gulf. Major Mike Storm is perhaps the sole classmate who is currently on active duty and fighting for our freedom.
Bob Alverson
Class of '65

Add me to the list of veterans.  I was a Viet Nam Era veteran but did not serve in Nam.  I did do direct support in communications from the Philippines and then went to Hawaii  directly supporting four Apollo landings.

I have always been a history buff, particularly World War II.  My four years in the Navy was all in the Pacific area, which is my main interest in World War II.

My last duty station was Fleet Weather Center, Pearl Harbor.  While stationed there Mary and I made several trips to the Arizona Memorial.  One trip stands out more in my mind than any other.

December 7, 1969 was an overcast Sunday.  I had duty that day.  When Mary picked me up we were already at Pearl so we decided to go out to the memorial.  Since it was the last launch of the day making the trip there were very few people aboard.  There had been the normal ceremony on the Arizona that morning and all the flowers were still in place.  As I stood before the wall with all the names of those who died aboard the Arizona on that faithful morning I had a sense of reverence for all who had served before me and a sense of pride that I was able to serve my country in some fashion.

Rodney Vandiver
Class of '65

I served in the US Navy from 66-70 got out as a 2nd Class Aviation Fire Control Radar Technician.

Rick Edmonds
Class of '65

Here is my info:
1965-1969  U.S. Army Reserves
I attended the University of North Alabama (then Florence State University) and was enrolled in the Army ROTC program and enlisted in the Army Reserves. Four months away from graduation, I was asked to leave school (I had discovered beer and decided it was more fun to go drinking than attend classes). Since I was no longer in ROTC, I received my Honorable Discharge and my draft notice in the same day's mail!! I then decided it was time for the next stage of my life......

1969-1973  U.S. Navy
While in the Navy, I attended boot camp at Orlando Florida, Radioman "A" School at Bainbridge, MD and High Speed Morse Code "C" School at Newport, RI. I was then assigned (did not volunteer) to a submarine (USS James Madison). Since I was not a volunteer, they then assigned me to the USS Guam (LPH-9), homeported out of Norfolk, VA, where I happily spent the last three years of my enlistment. I had two three-month cruises to the Caribbean, and two six-month cruises to the Mediterannean, including one where we did not see land for 60 days (during the Jordanian civil war) along with numerous other, shorter cruises. The Guam was the first ship in the world to deploy the Harrier jump jets (AV-8A's) assigned to the Marine Corps and I was fortunate enough to be aboard during the time when the ship was performing the testing and then for three cruise deployments. Following my four yeaars active duty, I remained in the Naval Reserves for two more years and got my second Honorable Discharge in 1975.

John Scales
Class of '66

Just to add a few I know about:

Bob McIlveen (1965), a dentist, was in the Army Reserve or National Guard (I think Washington State) for many years.  He still lives up there.

Frank Sliz (1966) was on active duty 1970-72 as an ordnance officer, mainly at White Sands Missile Range.  He is now in a suburb of Portland, OR working for HP.

Lance Wood (1967, but he started in the class of 1966 and fell a little behind) was an Army machine gunner in Vietnam.  I saw him last just after he returned and just before I left to go there.

Skip Cook
Class of '64

I served in the Army 69 through 71. Was not stationed in Viet Nam.

Nancy Taylor Sherrod
Class of  '64

Tommy--My brother, Lamar Taylor, would have been class of ' 65served in the Marine Corps from August '64 until July '68.  He served in Viet Nam from Sept. 67 until June 68.  He represented the state of Alabama at the dedication of the WALL in Washington D.C.  Just wanted to give you this information.

Larry M. Seaver U.S.Army 65-68
Viet Nam 66-67 5/27 Artillery A Battery 1st Field Forces

Harry Renfroe U.S. Army 65-68
Viet Nam 66-67 Signal Battalion

Richard (Ricky) Simmons
Class of  '64

Note: A synopsis of my military experience follows:

USMC 1968-1974
Gruman A6A Intruder
Nuclear Weapons Courier
Embarkation Officer, VMA (AW) 121
Group Adjutant, Mag 14
Career/Retention Officer, MAG 41
Embarkation Officer, H&MS 41

Mike Boggs 
Class of '64

I was in the Air Force from '67 to '71. I was in communications security and was a Staff Sgt. my last year. Got to see a lot of the world on Uncle Sugar's dime.

Paula Spencer Kephart
Class of '65

Dwight Kephart, Class of '64 was in the Army Reserve for six years-six months active duty , then six years weekend warrior.  He was the only one in the 543rd Signal Corps. who could type, so he was the company clerkl.  When he left he was an E5.  He never went overseas, but was in many bases-Ft. Dix, Ft. Bragg, the one in Columbus, Ga., Fort Gordon, and Hattiesburg.  I am sure there were others, but I just don't remember them.  Dwight enjoyed the military, according to many of the stories I have heard.  I don't know if you would consider this a veteran or not, but he did serve the full six years.

Wayne Deason
Class of '64

I enlisted in the Navy in 1965 and earned a commission in 1970.  I served aboard the destroyer Craig and carrier Lexington.  Also served shore duty in Key West, Keflavik Iceland, Lock Striven Scotland and Norfolk Va.  I retired in 1995 at the rank of Commander, USNR

I noticed Mike Chism and Wayne Turrentine were not listed and I feel sure both served, Mike in the Army and I don't know about Wayne.

Butch Adcock
Class of '64

I'm a veteran.  Got drafted in October, 1966 and served two years in the army. Did basic at Ft. Benning (Sand Hill), AIT at Ft. McClellan (Chemical) and most of the rest at Ft. Bragg.  Spent a few weeks in Dugway, Utah right after all those sheep were killed.

Elbert Balch
Class of '65

I was drafted into the Army in December 1967.  I boarded a bus, at the building which housed the offices of the local draft board on Clinton Avenue, and wound up at Fort Benning , Georgia some time late one night in mid-December.  After spending weeks of basic training at Sand Hill, I was supposed to ship out to Leesville, LA for AIT.

It didn't happen.  Instead,  I was offered the option of going to an eight month missile electronics school at Redstone Arsenal (of all places!!!) in exchange for one additional year of active duty.  It was too good to resist! ( I didn't know it at the time, but,  the systems I would be trained on were never deployed in Vietnam and kept me from being sent there.)

I completed my training at  Redstone in 1968 and then was assigned as a PFC to the US Army Armored Engineering Board at Ft. Knox, KY.    It was great duty working on electronic sub-systems with Army and civilian personnel.  I made E-5 pretty quickly and settled in to having a lot of fun as a GI stationed at Ft. Knox until I was discharged from active duty in December of 1970.

Although I was drafted and served three years active duty in the US Army, I do not consider myself a veteran.  My friends and countless other individuals who went voluntarily or were drafted and sent to foreign places to serve and fight for us are the veterans.  They deserve all the respect and honor that can be given to them!!!

Veterans Continued

Randy Sherrill
Classof '65

I was commission a 2LT in Field Artillery out of the Auburn ROTC Program in August 1970.  I completed  the Officer Basic Course at Ft. Sill, OK and was assigned to the 2nd BCT BDE at Ft. Dix, NJ.  My active duty was during the Vietnam demobilization so I spent my tour of duty at Ft. Dix.  I was realeased from active duty  in 1972 and remained in the active Army Reserve until I retired in 1992. as a LTC.

Harold Shepard
Class of '67

I see you have included the Class of  '67 so count me in I spent four years with the Navy Seabees from 68-70 and 73-75. Just a note to add, the class of '67 lost four who gave their all in Vietnam. Their names are below:

1. Jimmy Kiger (USMC)
Casualty was on Sep 17, 1966

2. Frankie Acton (US Army)
His tour of duty began on May 20, 1965
Casualty was on Apr 11, 1966

3. David Mallory (USMC)
His tour of duty began on Jan 17, 1969
Casualty was on Feb 25, 1969

4. Sam Smith (US Army)
His tour of duty began on Feb 06, 1968
Casualty was on Jul 14, 1968

Also add Ronald Steel to your list. He passed away this spring with a massive heart attact. He was highly decorated US Army Vietnam Vet. and a close friend. I will miss him. Glad I got the chance to get out to the football game. I really enjoyed setting up there telling lies with Larry Seavers and Jerry Brewer. Tommy, you do one hell of a job keeping all of this together.

J. Whitt Singleton
Class of '67

I read Harold Shepard's letter detailing the members of the class of '67 that died and want to add two more names to that list. One that joined the Marines before graduating was Ed Huff.  The other was Ronnie Smith, a Marine that did graduate in '67.  Let us never forget these and all the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Ronnie Smith (USMC)
His tour of duty began on Dec 19, 1967
Casualty was on May 28, 1968

Ed Huff (USMC)
His tour of duty began on Dec 23, 1966
Casualty was on Oct 27, 1967

Subject:             Re: Lee High School Veterans
Micheal J. Coleman
Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired)
Senior Army Instructor
Lee High School

Mr Towery:

Thank you so very much for the advance notice to your website.  We will
certainly inform our Cadets of this site.  For your info, our Cadets are
currently practicing each afternoon for participation in the City of
Huntsville's Veterans Day parade on 11 Nov 03.  We too are looking forward to honoring our veterans for their great service to our nation.
Those of you who have a high speed internet connection or have a few minute for a download will be inspired by the following website:
Capt. Dennis Faber,Class of '65

Dennis was killed in an Air Force C-130 plane crash and is the only member of the classes of '64-'65-'66 we know of that was killed while on active duty in the military serving his country.
Fred Sanders and A-7 Corsair   
Four Acres Of Steel
by Fred Sanders
Class of '66

I did four years in the USAF on active duty one year out of high school after a year at UAH.  Then when I got out of the USAF, I went back to UAH and got an engineering degree in 12 straight quarters. While still in school, I had applied for pilot training in the USAF and was accepted, then when the Arab oil embargo hit in '74, the AF sent me a letter saying that they could not use any more pilots but would love to have me as a navigator.  So I immediately contacted the Navy and signed on the dotted line. 

I went through Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola for 16
weeks, under the watchful eye of a charming and soft spoken Marine Drill
Instructor.  After primary flight training at Pensacola, I got selected to
fly jets, then on to Meridian Mississippi.  I flew the T2-C and the TA-4J
and got my wings, then was selected to fly the A-7.  I went to the RAG
(Replacement Air Group) to learn the A-7, where my Exec. Officer was John McCain. (He has mellowed a little in 25 years, but not much!)  When I got checked out in the A-7, I flew out to join my squadron at sea, and saw my new home for the first time from the air. It was the biggest flight deck I had ever seen in my life - four acres of steel.  (The ship we landed on in the training command was the Lexington, the smallest deck in the fleet.)  The AirBoss on the Kennedy gave me two hook-up passes to let me get acclimated to the new ship then ordered me hook-down. So, that was my welcome into the 6th Fleet. 

I did two cruises in VA-46 (Attack Squadron 46) on the Kennedy and the workups on the new carrier, Eisenhower.  Then just before another cruise, I was given orders back to the Pensacola area to Whiting field as an instructor pilot. I taught there for 2 years, then got out of the Navy.

Altogether, I had 10 years active duty.  I affiliated with the Naval Reserve and finally retired at the rank of Commander (O-5) in 1991 with 21 years of
service. When I was all finished, I had about 2,500 hours of flight time and
248 arrested landings ("traps") at sea.  Looking back, I am glad I did it,
and REALLY glad I survived.  So many who were better pilots that I who did not survive, and I saw more good men and close friends perish.  Its a risky business and the exhilaration sometimes comes with a cost.
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