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Fall-Winter 2010: Letters to the Editor

Remembering Jim

I wish to express my appreciation to the IUP administration, the ROTC program, and IUP Magazine for recognizing the fortieth anniversary of Lt. James K. Flannery’s death in service to his country in Vietnam.

Jim was my roommate, frat brother, and best friend during our years at IUP from 1964 to 1968. I had the pleasure of being in his wedding in 1969 and the sadness of being a pallbearer at his funeral in April of 1970. He has been in my thoughts often over the past forty years. Jim was very proud of his commitment to the ROTC program and his service to his country. I am very proud of our alma mater for paying this tribute to him and memorializing his name at IUP. Thank you for remembering and honoring Jim.

Bruce Smith ’68, M’81
Cranberry Township, Pa.

Earlier Commissions

Brigadier General Bryan Owens '83

In August, Bryan Owens ’83 was promoted to brigadier general at Fort Benning, Ga., where he is commandant of the U.S. Army Infantry School. He is an alumnus of the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology.

Thank you for the interesting and informative article in IUP Magazine covering the ROTC program. The growth and changes which have taken place are far beyond anything I could have imagined when I enrolled in the program in 1950.

The article refers to 1954 as the date that the first officers were commissioned. This is incorrect. I and a number of my classmates were commissioned in 1952. I believe we were the first group. Additional officers were commissioned in 1953. I don’t know how many officers were in the 1952 and 1953 groups, but I believe that it was more than the five which were reportedly in the 1954 group.

Charles Pauley ’52
Erie, Pa.

Even Earlier Commissions

When the [ISTC] Corps was first established in 1950, a number of seniors and juniors with prior military experience were invited to participate. We were promised a commission at the end of our summer camp experience in 1951. I don’t know how many applied, but I think that there were seven seniors. Along with myself, I remember Bob Walters and Joe Magnone. I know there were others, but I cannot remember (along with a lot of other things) their names. Juniors were to be commissioned upon their graduation in 1952. At the time, it was strictly a commission in the Quartermaster Corps. Our commissions were acknowledged by President Pratt at Commencement. He also visited us at Fort Lee, Va., during summer training. Upon receiving our commissions, we were offered the opportunity to go on active duty or reserve duty. As far as I know, Bob Walters was the only one who chose active duty, and I know he retired as a lieutenant colonel. There may be others still living who may have some knowledge.

We had no assigned training facilities and used whatever classrooms available. We used the Indiana Arsenal for what little firearms training that we received. There was no physical training program. In general, it was nothing like the program that your article described. To the best of my knowledge, ROTC was not mandatory. Since the Korean War had just begun, I would have to believe that every male at the college who was draft eligible joined.

I was sad to read of the passing of Olive Fornear. I remember her well from her days as the elementary music teacher during the years she taught at the Windber Schools. She often filled in at the high school for the music and instrumental classes. She liked to have us sing songs by the notes rather than words, and she was an excellent teacher.

While I’m bending your ear, often in the past I see references to the “ghosts of Elkin Hall [Breezedale].” I never heard of such a thing while at Indiana, and I lived at the Sig Tau house, which was just across the railroad tracks from Elkin Hall. We often played football on the lawn, and it was used by the newly formed soccer team as a practice field after the college purchased the property. I understand that the Sig Tau house along with others was demolished to make way for the Student Union.

Nicholas Ostrosky ’51
Florence, Ky.

Summer in Virginia

The Summer 2010 edition of the IUP Magazine articles about ROTC reminded me of my experiences as a cadet from 1958 to 1962. I enrolled at ISTC at the age of twenty-one and made the wise choice to continue in ROTC until commissioning in May 1962. Some of my best memories came from our ROTC camp training during the summer of 1961 at Fort Lee, Va., and Camp A.P. Hill, Va. Our unit from Indiana sent forty-nine cadets which made ours the second largest group. The training was much more rigorous than what I encountered when I went into active duty. Our training included lots of PT, long-distance runs, some quartermaster supply training, pre-jump and helicopter assault training, and weapons training, as well as leadership and tactics training. Our only real break during the six weeks was a Saturday afternoon and Sunday when many of us rushed off to Virginia Beach to relax.

After commissioning, I was stationed at Fort Lee, Va., for six months, then assigned to the 4th Armored Division Support Command in Germany for two years. I felt fortunate to have this assignment, which provided the opportunity to travel in Europe.

I also wanted to mention that one of my classmates from 1962, Harold “Rusty” Preisendefer, was killed in Vietnam. I am not sure of the year, but I have seen his name on the Vietnam War Memorial Wall.

I retired after thirty years of teaching, mostly in Montgomery County, Md., in 1994, then worked for USDA for twelve years. In September 2009, my wife, Sue (Hood) ’62, and I moved back to Pennsylvania.

Don Poling ’62
Chambersburg, Pa.

Colonel Martin’s Rank

As a 1957 IUP (ISTC) graduate very involved in the ROTC program while there, I enjoyed the feature article commemorating the ROTC program at IUP. There was one serious error in the listing of Professors of Military Science, 1950-2010. The second PMS, Talbert I. Martin, was a colonel, not a lieutenant colonel. Take a look at the 1957 Oak in the section Military Science and Tactics and you will see a great picture of him which shows his “eagle” rank on his shoulders.

Colonel Martin was a significant force in developing the infant ROTC program during his tenure. As a senior, I was the brigade commander (cadet colonel) during the first semester and had a lot of contact with him, and he was unequalled in my view. As a colonel, he also commanded the ROTC summer camp at Fort Lee, Va., which all IUP cadets attended.

Again, it was a great article, and pass my kudos to Randy Wells. I am confident the years of ROTC grads will appreciate the issue.

Eugene Manner ’57
Colonel, U.S. Army–Retired
Chesterfield, Va.

Stevenson’s Example

The feature on “Leaders Made Here” in the Summer 2010 issue catapulted me into a reverie of pleasant memories of my days as an IUP ROTC cadet, 1964-68. I was privileged to be the IUP ROTC brigade commander in 1968, one of the high points of my life. I often tell people that I owe my modest career success in civilian life to the many priceless lessons learned at IUP ROTC Brigade and to my time in the Army Reserve.

LTC Charles B. Stevenson was our beloved and highly respected Professor of Military Science in those halcyon days. The war in Vietnam was heating up, and Colonel Stevenson never sugar-coated the truth about what lay ahead for an Army officer in the late 1960s. He made it a point to have IUP alumni who returned from Vietnam visit our classes and tell us what they had just experienced.

He did an amazing job in setting an example of what it meant to be an officer in the United States Army, of what sacrifice meant, and we learned so much from him and his fine cadre of officers on the ROTC staff that proves useful even until this day, such as, “Never tell anyone to do something you are not willing to do yourself.”

I can still remember his quiet but intense manner, walking down the line as we were doing physical training one weekend: “You think this is hard? Wait till you get to the ‘Gap’ [Indiantown Gap Military Reservation]. You will sweat blood there!” He was not wrong.

Randy Wells and Keith Boyer did a great service to the university by capturing so vividly the history, lore, and contributions of the nearly 2,000 officers IUP has provided the nation to help to keep it free.

Michael Lambert ’68, M’69
Executive Director
Distance Education and Training Council
Washington, D.C.

The Ultimate Price

GI graduated from IUP in 1967. One of my classmates, a friend since first grade, Robert M. Young, also graduated in 1967 from IUP. He and I both are from the town of Saltsburg, about twenty miles from IUP.

In reading the article in the latest issue of the alumni magazine, I was very disappointed that no mention was made of the soldiers from the IUP ROTC who paid the ultimate price by dying for their country. Robert M. Young died in captivity in Vietnam. It would be a lasting tribute to honor him and the other IUP graduates who died while serving this great country.

Please consider doing an article for these soldiers. With Veterans Day coming up in a few months, it would be an appropriate time to honor these fine men.

God bless you, and God bless the USA.

Charla Catania Rots ’67
Spartanburg, S.C.

(Editor’s Note: On the IUP Magazine website is a Web Exclusive called Honoring, Remembering Our Own. It surveys memorials to IUP’s military heroes and talks about the sacrifice of Robert Young.)

Pioneer Ranger

The summer issue of IUPMagazine focused on ROTC’s history at IUP. It was great to hear the program is still going strong. ROTC and my military experiences have contributed in so many ways to my success in life. As the first cadet from IUP to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School (cadet program), I felt part of that history.

Dr. Thomas McFadden ’73
Newburyport, Mass.

Audie Murphy Thumb

I really enjoyed the summer edition of IUP Magazine. Excellent topics and writing. I appreciated the ROTC piece. About the only things I remember from my freshman sojourn with the Army was “Audie Murphy Thumb” (AMT) and trying not to snicker during the ROTC parade when the guy who was counting cadence had problems with his voice cracking. AMT was important, because that was the diagnosis if you got your thumb caught in your rifle while attempting to close it. Capt. Gracy had drawn a large, purple, throbbing thumb on the blackboard the day we first got hold of our rifles. One of the reasons I’m ex-Air Force was to avoid a case of AMT. I only had to be concerned about clearing my ears after a ten-hour B-52 training flight.

Bob Anderson ’67
Orem, Utah

What's My Line?

Virginia Paulone Donina ’74, North Huntingdon, sent the letter that accompanied this photo to IUP Magazine: “Can you guess the majors of these 1974 IUP grads? Doug Campbell ’94, a campus policeman, did it on his first try. When the women visited campus in May, they struck up a conversation with Doug while looking for a parking spot. He somehow knew immediately that (left to right) Bridget (Infantino) Mayak had majored in Art, Virginia was an Elementary Education major, and Diana (Kiscadden) Hromco was in Nursing. The women, who met forty years ago as IUP freshmen, have maintained their friendship through the years and try to get together as often as possible. This spring they decided to do so on campus so they could check out the changes they had read about in the “Then and Now” article published in the Winter 2010 issue of your magazine. Doug Campbell was kind enough to take them on a tour of campus, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks, Doug!”

Pink Dinks

The picture you featured in the Summer 2010 edition of IUP Magazine has a group of sisters from Phi Mu Fraternity (fraternity was the official name). Back then, each sorority had their own little hats called “dinks” that were made of felt in their colors with their Greek letters. They also wore blazers with their crest on the upper pocket. Phi Mu’s were distinguished by their pink dinks and white blazers. I have a very similar picture of this car from that day. So nice to see it featured in the magazine.

Cheryl Kirk Walro ’71
Northville, Mich.

That’s My Car!

The blue Karmann Ghia convertible was my first new car which I purchased in the summer of 1968 (the long hot summer) just after I graduated from IUP in May. The fall 1968 Homecoming was my first trip back to campus as an alum. A friend of mine asked if her sorority, Phi Mu, could use the car in the parade. I thought it was a good idea until I saw what a literal ton of girls could do to my shocks.

Three months later, January 1969, I went off to basic training in Fort Gordon, Ga., and gave the car to my brother and sister-in-law, who had a newborn baby and no money. I got it back two years later with hippie flowers pasted onto the fenders and doors.

Phil Franey ’68
Chalfont, Pa.

When Snow was Fun

Were you in this photo from the 1984 Oak? Do you know someone who was? Harrison Wick, IUP Special Collections librarian and university archivist, would like to hear your recollections and is also interested in acquiring IUP memorabilia, photographs, or scrapbooks. His e-mail is hwick@iup.edu. Find information about IUP Special Collections.

Fond Memories

The picture on p. 2 is of some members of the Beta Sigma Chapter of Phi Mu Sorority (regrettably now defunct at Indiana due to “lack of interest,” according to Phi Mu’s central business office). I believe the lady to the left of the picture in the Karmann Ghia is Arlene Soffa DeMauro ’70; the blonde in the back, Kathleen “Cookie” Kopchick Pawlowski ’69; and the one with the long dark hair in the middle front, my “Little Sister,” Carrol Atzeff Dymott ’71, who incidentally, was my own sister’s best friend in New Cumberland growing up.

After graduation, I taught at Union (N.J.) High School for four years, stopped to have two sons, graduated with a master’s from Rutgers in 1984, became a licensed professional planner in the state, and was the director of Building, Planning, Engineering, and Economic Development, as well as the township planner, in Piscataway, N.J., for fifteen years, then went on to hold the same jobs in the City of Rahway for another ten years. I received an award for Excellence in Planning from the New Jersey Planning Officials in 2004 and retired last year. Ironically, my father was the director of the Bureau of Engineering and Architecture for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for twenty-five years, a job on a much larger scale than mine, of course, but with the same basic duties. When he drove me to Indiana to school, I remember that he used to drop in to see Dr. Pratt, because they became friends through my dad’s work with the state schools.

Thank you so much for the wonderful “walk back in time” and allowing me to recall some of my fondest memories ever!

Lenore Domlesky Slothower ’69
Piscataway, N.J.

More from the Fall-Winter 2010 Issue of IUP Magazine

Double Vision

Double Vision

IUP’s University Museum hosted Paint & Pixels, an exhibition of identical twins Ron Donoughe’s oil paintings and Don Donoughe’s graphic design.

A Sense of Hope

A Sense of Hope

IUP’s Promise Plus program brings Pittsburgh students and their parents to campus for an exercise in imagination.

Above the Caption

Stephenson Hall, Pratt Plaza, Heritage Garden, and a view from the sky


Highlights about IUP faculty members, past and present


Athletic Hall of Fame inductions, sports update, and the Coal Bowl Trophy

IUP Magazine Web Exclusives

Pittsburgh’s Funny Guy

Pittsburgh’s Funny Guy

October 15, 2010
Jim Krenn ’83 talks about how he came to sit behind the microphone at WDVE.

Honoring, Remembering Our Own

Honoring, Remembering Our Own

August 21, 2010
IUP honors those lost in service to their country.

Professor Shari Robertson and her daughter Brianna Robertson ’09

Diphthongs and Dahntahn

June 30, 2010
What distinguishes our Western Pennsylvania dialect?