A Salute and a Wave of the Hat

30 10 2012

This past weekend the WP-ORG Board of Advisors met in Austin, Texas, home of WP-ORG. This happens every three years or so to ensure that no one’s body has been taken over by alien invaders. A considerable number of topics were addressed and the meeting minutes will be published soon.

The meeting coincided with the end of my second three-year term as WP-ORG CEO. It’s time for me to move on to other endeavors so I have stepped down and the scepter, crown, and throne have been passed to Paul Werner, West Point class of 1983. It’s been my pleasure to have known Paul for several years. He is fully capable and his ethics and integrity are unimpeachable. You are in good hands.

It would be remiss of me to not mention my gratitude for the support I’ve received from the WP-ORG moderators through the years, years long preceding my tenure as CEO. The moderators are the backbone of the organization, they make it run. A heartfelt thank you goes to the Board of Advisors as well for their support and guidance during the sunny and the dark days that we’ve encountered on this journey. Together we’ve made a formidable team.

I extend a sincere thank you to West Point itself, WP-ORG’s reason for existing. Specifically, I thank the Superintendent, LTG David Huntoon, the Chief of Staff, COL Charles Stafford, and STRATCOM, Ms. Maureen Fitzgerald, for their support and spirit of cooperation and teamwork. As LTG Huntoon says, “One team; one common purpose.”

Also, a thank you (and a kiss) to my patient wife, Mary, who endured my occasional rants to interject reason and calm when they were needed most.

WP-ORG remains the preeminent organization providing electronic networking for the extended West Point community. We are a small group of volunteers running a non-profit entity. If you haven’t done so lately, you owe it to yourself to visit our home page and poke around a little.

The time has now come for me to mount up.

I bid you fair days, fair dealings, and farewell.

~ Dempsey

Al Haig, ’47

21 02 2010

We lost Al Haig on Saturday. Fittingly, the persistent sunshine here in Phoenix gave way to rain.

Much has been written of the man and I won’t repeat the accolades or criticisms of others here except to emphasize that the most meaningful judgement comes from one’s peers. In 1996 the West Point Association of Graduates presented Al Haig with the Distinguished Graduate award.

I was watching the news when Secretary of State Haig made his now infamous “..I’m in control here…” remark at the White House in the wake of the Reagan assassination attempt. Had the media done more than simply exploit this remark for sensationalism – had they performed even a modicum of investigation – they would have discovered that West Point trains its cadets to take charge in moments of crisis and that responsibility always falls upon the shoulders of the highest ranking individual present. There, on that day, at that moment, Al Haig was the highest ranking individual present. He was indeed, “in control here”.

It is widely believed that this incident alone was the reason for the failure of Haig’s 1988 bid for the Republican presidential nomination. We are all the poorer for it because we can do – and have done – much worse than having an Al Haig as this nation’s leader.

A major tenet of West Point’s mission is to educate and train leaders of character committed to the values of “Duty, Honor, Country”. Al Haig internalized these values, he lived them.

General Haig: warrior, statesman, patriot. In the term most meaningful to a fellow West Point graduate: Well Done.

~ Dempsey

West Point R-Day, 2009

2 07 2009

Thanks to the West Point Commandant of Cadets, Brigadier General Michael Linnington, WP-ORG was accorded a table at this year’s R-Day. We had WP-ORG’s Dian Welle, her husband Dan, WP-ORG moderator Megan Hostler, her husband Dutch, ’68, and Bob Totten, ’60, steering new cadets’ parents to the sign-up sheets. My wife, Mary, also pitched in.

Many thanks to Dian for the hard work she put into the WP-ORG sign, the brochures and nametags; thanks also to Megan for the goodies (invariably the candy would be spotted by some kids and they’d come over with their parents in tow). Some of those who stopped by the table were already on Plebe-net and were thrilled to meet their moderator, Megan.

We signed up close to 400 individuals in a single day and afforded them and others who were familiar with WP-ORG the chance to put some faces to the names.

Thanks to all involved, especially BG Linnington, for their efforts and for making this possible. A special thanks to spouses Dutch, Dan, and Mary for their involvement.

From a WP-ORG standpoint, R-Day was quite a success!

Mary and I took a few pictures while we were there.

~ Dempsey

Random Ramblings

26 10 2008

One of the difficult things about a BLOG is keeping it current, writing something from time to time. Since WP-ORG is a non-profit organization I’m somewhat limited in what I can put here. Also, when I started this BLOG, I didn’t want to just post generic, sanitized information that’s of no interest to anyone.

So, on that note, I happened to be watching the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of my favorite football teams, on TV today and I noticed that the end zone at Heinz Field has the word “Pittsburgh” painted on the field. No news flash there. But then there’s this, recently taken over Michie Stadium at West Point by Lee Ross. That symbol you see after the words “West Point” is ®; the name has been registered as a trademark by the Academy. Memorabilia bought at the Academy will carry this tag as well. Makes me wonder why the Pittsburgh Steelers football organization, a commercial entity, hasn’t done the same thing, and it makes me wonder when I’ll get a recall notice for my class ring so the symbol can be added there as well.

Past readers will notice that the banner on the BLOG has been replaced. That’s because it contained the words “West Point” and we (WP-ORG) were told by the Academy’s lawyers that we didn’t have permission to use the words. West-Point.Org is OK, but “West Point” is not, not without specific permission. Many thanks to Lee Ross and his skill with a camera for the current banner; it’s a shot of West Point, Hudson River view, taken from above Constitution Island.

On a bright note we’ve successfully completed fund drive 24 and achieved our operating budget for the next six months. Here’s hoping everyone’s week starts on a good note.

~ Dempsey

Trademarks, Threats, and Failure

21 07 2008

It’s been almost a week since the letter of clarification (see my previous BLOG entry) was disseminated to limited distribution by the Superintendent of West Point. The damage caused by the Academy’s re-branding and trademarking campaign remains. Hopefully there has been additional and personal back channel communication with parents whose graduates are fighting and continue to die for their country. That they have been profoundly hurt and offended by the Cease and Desist letters they’ve received is a matter of record. 

The USMA Association of Graduates (AOG) is attempting to distance itself from this entire affair and who can blame them? They’re poised to kick off a fund raising campaign in the near future and it’s in their best interest to let the furor die and hope that people will forget. Or, with enough time having passed, at least forgive. This distancing, stating that the Cease and Desist campaign is a unilateral move on the part of the Academy, takes on a pronounced pallor when viewed in light of the fact that the AOG is a beneficiary by contract of a percentage of the income stream generated by the USMA trademarks.

To the extent that his or her staff determines a commander’s effectiveness, the Superintendent’s staff failed him. From the poorly planned and even more poorly executed campaign against graduates and parents by the USMA Office of the Staff Judge Advocate (OSJA – the lawyers), to the lack of effective direction provided by the Academy’s Dr. Seuss quoting Public Affairs Officer, the trademarking and re-branding effort continues to plow along with all the finesse of a drunk at High Tea.

~ Dempsey