Monthly Archives: March 2017

Class Gift Fundraising Update

We are just seven months away from celebrating our 40th Class Reunion at West Point! 
As we’re closing in on this milestone event, I wanted to present you with a status update on our Class Gift fundraising campaign.
As of 3/1/2017, we have $582,783 committed to our class gift campaign, or 58% of our gift goal.  If you have already pledged, THANK YOU for your support!  However, there is still $132,483 in outstanding pledges.  Please be sure to pay off your pledge prior to our reunion in October 2017.  If you have not contributed yet, please consider giving generously or adding to your existing gift today.  CLICK HERE to see a list of all who have donated to our Class Gift as of 3/1/2017.  You will note that only 28% of our classmates have donated so far and we are aiming for maximum class participation.  It’s not too late to add your name to the list.  Please visit to make your gift.
As a reminder, our gift will support the Center for Oral History: Class of 1977 Honor and Ethics Archive.  Please contact me if you have any questions regarding the impact of this gift.
We know that West Point has changed our lives.  This is our chance to give back to the Academy and to show our appreciation for the values and standards we learned forty years ago.
Thanks for your generous support, and I look forward to seeing you in October at West Point!
Rich Trotter
Class Fundraising Chair

Hotel Thayer and Reservation Issues

Classmates, this is a letter sent to me from Carlys Lemler, a manager at the Thayer Hotel in response to the complaint placed on our class’s behalf Tuesday. esprit de corps

Hi Rich,

Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. I am sorry that some of your classmates were inconvenienced by the wait times, busy signals and phone lag when they called in to make reservations for the Class of 1977 reunion. As a graduate and a Class Officer who also volunteers as the Class Reunion Co-Chair for my class, I know just how excited everyone is to get a room at The Thayer Hotel for a West Point Reunion. Unfortunately, when a Class chooses to hold off on opening the Class block until a specific date and time, and makes that public, building anticipation for that date, more classmates call than the number of rooms in the Class block and that high demand can result in the phone lines being busy, tied up, and folks being placed on hold while we answer the questions and take the reservation details down for your classmates that have gotten through to a reservations agent. We were prepared with 10 staff members working to ensure that the the reservations went smoothly, and had over 20 phone lines open. We also have a hold system with a que, but when the call que is full, someone won’t be able to get through. Therefore, similar to when people call in to buy tickets for a high demand concert, there may still be hold times, busy signals and disconnections due to the high volume of calls of having everyone call at the same start time.

After our call this morning, I took a deep dive into the calls from your classmates to further answer the questions about the reservations process for your class. The average length of call for your classmates, once on the phone with a reservationist, was approximately 6 minutes, the longest calls taking over 25 minutes. Since coming back to West Point and staying at the Thayer is such a special experience, your classmates and our reservationists spent time making sure that every detail was correct on the reservation. Our friendly and professional reservationists took the time to answer the questions of each person they spoke with: check-in times, check-out times, questions on parking, security and access to West Point, descriptions of each room type available with their respective prices, why the room block wasn’t opened earlier, why there weren’t more regular rooms in the block, why there isn’t a football game on the weekend any longer, and many more questions. Additionally, during this time, we also had people calling in for the second Class of 1977 room block, which was opened before your official class room block, by Mr. Engstrom. Folks who were on a waiting list for that room block were also calling in, and some folks who already had reservations within that block were calling in to confirm that they still did have reservations and to make additional reservations. We also had two of your classmates walk in to the hotel to make reservations in person.

I also noted the comments by your classmates in your email below regarding the room types available. The least expensive rooms were sold-out first, leaving the more expensive suites in your block for callers that got through later.

I am sorry that we did not have enough rooms to accommodate all of your classmates, we truly would be delighted and honored to host everyone from the great Class of 1977. I am also sorry that some of your classmates had to wait on hold longer than they would have liked, or had to call back to due to getting a busy signal or no answer, while we were making reservations for other classmates.

Again, I am sincerely sorry that some of your classmates were inconvenienced with the reservations process and that we could not accommodate all of the reservations requests for specific room types.

We are looking forward to hosting your class in the fall. Please feel free to call me anytime if I can be of assistance to you: 480-221-4941.


Draft Itinerary for our 40th Reunion

Draft itinerary for our 40th reunion October 5 – 8, 2017.   We hope you’ll join us.

Greetings USMA77 Classmates!   

There have been several requests for a Reunion Agenda. Please find below a rough (say again, rough) draft itinerary of the weekend.  This will be finalized in the May/June time frame so there is plenty of time for your input and suggestions.

Know that the fall/winter Corps Squad schedules are months away from being announced.  We will ask for consideration to schedule home Rugby, Sprint and Hockey games if at all possible, with our commitment to support these events by our attendance.  Thanks for your support and your suggestions!
Esprit de Corps!

rich trotter
usma77, F-1/G-1

Preliminary itinerary in progress (very rough draft)

Thursday  5 October

  • Golf outing
  • Thayer Award Parade (tentatively scheduled pending the awardee’s availability)
  • Reception at the Thayer Hotel

Friday 6 October– Activities centered around entire class gatherings

  • Morning – Memorial Service
  • Ike Hall luncheon
  • Academy and Class updates
  • Banquet at Ike Hall

Saturday 7 October

  • Morning Class Picture around the Class Tree (see pic below of our tree surrounded by Jim & Diane Malcolm’s children)
  • Meetings with Center of Oral History; Tours of Barracks
  • 3 Meals at the Mess Hall
  • Possible River Boat Cruise option
  • Tailgate at Corps Squad events in the afternoon pending schedules; hopeful for Rugby and Sprint during the day, hockey at night followed by walk down the hill to the Thayer for late night beers and fellowship, then rack.
  • Company centric opportunities on and off post.

Sunday 8 October

  • Final farewells
  • Breakfast Buffet in the Mess Hall (I have been assured the meals are slightly better at Sunday morning buffets…).  
  • Hotel Thayer Champagne Breakfast by reservation.

Click here to view and download updated available lodging opportunities and information.

Looking forward to a great Legacy Reunion!
Esprit de Corps!

Thayer Hotel is full!


Thank you for your quick response this afternoon – the Thayer Hotel room block is full! If the Thayer is still your first choice, please contact them to have your name added to the wait list, then call one of our other blocks to make a reservation. Most of the other hotels need a 24 hour notice to cancel without penalty if you do get called on the Thayer’s wait list, but the cancellation policy (and reservation information) is listed for each block on our reunion website:

In my last email, I listed the dates for the reunion incorrectly. Our 40th Reunion will take place at West Point on October 5-8, 2017.

If you have reunion questions, please contact the WPAOG Alumni Events team: or 845.446.1649.

Esprit de Corps,
Rich Trotter
Vice President, Class Gift & Reunion Chair

USMA77 Company Class Rep Legacy Reunion Update 020217

Greetings Classmates!

Esprit de Corps!  There is much to report.  Firstly, please keep in your prayers our great classmate, Greg Gorzelnik.  Greg, suffered a stroke several weeks ago [Jan 12 or 19?].  Here is a note from his wife, Monica.

Greg had a basal ganglia hemmoragic stroke at 4:30 Thursday morning.   He was doing his usual emails when he saw he couldn’t move his mouse.  He must have called out because I woke and from then on we were very lucky with timing.   EMTs arrived w/i 15 min,, firestation is less than half a mile away so the firemen could help move Greg.  Roads to stroke center were clear, ambulance did 70-80 the whole way.    (45 + miles) You have to come here to appreciate that!  The normal fog around the Poconos held off so he was able to be stabilized and put on the air ambulance to one of the top 10 Neorosurgical centers on the east coast.
The stroke caused him to lose motor functions on his left side (he’s a lefty) and a bit of vision.  He is fully cognizant He’s fighting brain swelling and inflammation.

Right now  Greg is very weak after a hard night. They gave him a drug  to control hiccups caused by stroke blood irritating his hypothalamus and it is having other reactions.  His BP is starting to stabilize Heparin is being given and I hope to get out of ICU soon.  Maybe this week.  Then he’ll be on a regular hospital ward until the blood is reabsorbed or there is no more danger of stroke, then to an acute rehab hospital near home in Scranton. Full recovery is possible ….the next 18 months will tell.  He’s strong, smart and determined. As to your offer,  I will probably need your help keeping him in good spirits and around tailgates and 40th reunion.
Thanks for your note and prayers.


God bless the Gorzelniks.



After weeks working thru our AOG rep, Lexie Davis, a phonecon took place last Friday to meet with the Thayer management to discuss our contract.  The Thayer will not move on their rates.  Their position is they have already reduced rates by $50 from their standard fall wknd rate.  They are a private entity now and they fight to be in the black.  The goal was to reduce the wknd rate from $309 to $279 and asked what it would take to make that happen.  They offered a plethora of cocktail, appetizer & meal options over the wknd(again pricey).  My recommendation to our class committee was not to pressure or obligate our class in smaller groups and instead sign the contract as is with the only contracted Thayer event is the Thursday nite reception.  Know that a month long best effort was made, however, it is time to sign a contract so reservations could be made.

The class committee will either approve the request or ask that more due diligence be executed.  In either case a contract will be signed by the end of next week and a day and time will be established to begin accepting Thayer Hotel reunion reservations.  Look for that date to be between the 15th and the 28th of Feb.  We asked that the Thayer be adequately staffed to accept the calls as the rooms will probably book out within hours if not less than an hour.  Know that you will be the first group to be notified of the reservation acceptance date/time and a best effort will be made to insure all our classmates have equal opportunity to make that call.


Through the good efforts of AOG’s Lexie Davis, and my aide, Deb Reast, we have secured 180 rooms within a ten minute drive to post.  There are another 80 rooms between ten and twenty minutes from post not counting the opportunities which may offer the best value and flexibility for our classmates’ dollar.  Here is the latest updated accommodations spreadsheet.   Again, the recommendation is to book plan ‘B’ room now in the event the Thayer rooms cannot be secured then cancel the plan B room if successful with the Thayer booking.


Rick Lynch offered to reach out to the Supe and share our class wish for a parade.  Here is Rick’s note on his conversation with LTG Caslen.


Spoke with LTG Caslen.  Parade on Saturday 7 October is not an option for several reasons:
1)  It is a long weekend for the cadets.  Most will be gone
2)  No precedent for doing this….and AOG doesn’t want to set a precedent.  They want to encourage reunions to be held on football weekends
Bob did advocate attendance at the Thayer Award parade for those interested in seeing a parade.  Tentatively scheduled for Thursday, 5 October.  He also reminded me that all of the academy leadership will be gone that weekend…..attending the away football game.  Won’t be anyone available to give our class an academy update.
Take care and God bless.

rick lynch

Should the Thayer Award Parade take place on the 5th, AOG will arrange for our class to have our own section in the stands.  Please note that the 5th is a tentative date based on the availability of the recipient.


Classmate Scott Anders suggested the possibility of eating in the Mess Hall Thursday nite for the Thayer Award Ceremony.  Scott’s idea was run up the flagpole.  Here is the AOG note after doing some homework.

On Jan 30, 2017, at 10:08 AM, Lexie Davis <> wrote:

 Hi, Rich –
 I’ve forwarded the inquiry about the Class attending the Thayer Award dinner in the Mess Hall to Vince McDermott.  He’ll speak with the Academy and WPAOG’s President about it, but he and I did speak this morning and your Class would be able to attend the parade (you would all be seated in a section in the bleachers), but we’d recommend that after the parade the Class would return to the Thayer Hotel for your Welcome Reception.  October 5 is still a tentative date for the Thayer Award until the recipient is announced and confirms that he or she is able to receive the award on that date, and we really don’t know how long that process will take – all depends on the recipient.  Also, we expect 300 of your classmates and guests to attend the Thursday evening event, and I think it is unlikely that they’d offer 300 seats in the Mess Hall for your Class since that would displace 300 cadets.  Again, I think it is unlikely, but you never know unless you ask, so again, I did forward that info to Vince and he’ll talk to the right people, but he and I both think you should continue efforts with the Thayer Hotel and having your mixer there.  I will check with the Thayer Hotel to see if the Thayer Award is presented on October 5, could they broadcast the dinner/speech at your mixer.
 Please let me know how you would like to proceed with the Thayer Hotel.
 Thank you!

My response-

Hi Lexie and Marc,

 Thanks for your note.  This is perfect due diligence and it is appreciated.  You are right, pls ask!  I spoke with Marc as I was getting on the plane and he felt that in the Mess Hall we most likely would be viewing the ceremonies on a big screen anyway.  The Thayer would offer a better set up and we could possibly arrange to view the ceremony on a screen there as well.


My best guess as of now is that the better option is to have the Thursday nite reception at the Thayer unless we are assured of a close front view of the poop deck in the Mess Hall.  will keep you posted.


On a football wknd reunion, options are limited but the day’s events are well scripted and it makes for easy planning.  This reunion’s Saturday’s offerings will be varied and many.  The only class centric offerings to date will be corps squad events.  Unlike football, all other fall sports schedules do not come out till late spring.  Several of our classmates have suggested rally points, tailgate parties and reception rooms secured for gatherings around rugby and/or sprint football in the afternoon and hockey at nite(near the Thayer).  The intent is to do just that so long as the schedule gods look kindly on us.

Greg Gorzelnik, a few weeks back, approached the hockey and rugby coaches to see if they could request home dates for their teams that day.  Pls know that should we be fortunate with these corps squad games/matches, we will arrange for tailgates for sprint or rugby and do our best to secure a good size reception room at the Kinsey Center for hockey.

Thanks to all for sharing your support for these ideas.


Pls go to this link to see the latest protocol for on post entry.  Important.  thanks


Pat Linehan has offered to be the point person to gather a list of works by our class authors.  If you or anyone classmate you know has written anything that was published pls let Pat know at  Our hope is to have a Friday table with copies of our class authors’ books to be purchased and put on our class book shelves at home.  thanks, Pat, for taking this on!


Please visit to see the advantages of utilizing stocks as opportunities for our class gift.  If you haven’t made your gift, pls consider doing so early and often.  THANK YOU if you have already given and, if possible, pls send more our way.  It is greatly appreciated.

Appreciate you taking on the role of company class rep.  It is so important to reach out to our classmates regularly and encourage the best attendance possible for our Legacy 40th.  Esprit de Corps!


USMA77, F-1/G-1