Category Archives: “Main Area”

Happy Veteran’s Day

Happy Veteran’s Day to all!
Tom Zicarelli
Robert A. Calandra
Attorney at Law
4 Henning  Drive
Fairfield, NJ 07004

Bob Calandra

Back at you, you crusty old crew chief!
A hearty salute!
Lee Stacey
A co 1/75 Rangers
Happy Veteran’s Day to you dad. Love ya.
Happy Veteran’s Day to all of you as well
Pat Stanton
1LT(P), FA

On Nov 10, 2011, at 23:30, Lee Stacey <> wrote:

Back at you, you crusty old crew chief!
A hearty salute!
Lee Stacey
A co 1/75 Rangers
—–Original Message—–
From: Keith Stanton <>
Sent: Thu, Nov 10, 2011 6:59 pm
Subject: Happy Veterans Day
To those of you who have served this great nation in uniform and to those that stood by them and supported them, thank you for your sacrafice, honor, dedication, and service to your unit, your country and to the Constitution of the United States.
May your deeds never be forgotten, and your hearts ever lightened by a grateful nation.

Warmest Regards,



Support our Troops!

VF Roster

One of the things that I always found difficult since leaving VF was
trying to find friends who had gone to the Forge with me. There were and are
many times that I would like to reach out to some of these guys with a phone
call or an email, just to say Hi or to bust their chops in some other way.

If this Baker’s Boys site continues, I was thinking this could be a place where VF alum could find some of their friends or classmates and a way  to contact them. Today, almost everybody has an email address and the  technology is easy enough that if you would rather not hear from someone, a specific address can be blocked.

So one of the things I wanted to try was to create a contact list  of Academy and College email addresses. The intent here is to provide VF Alum  with a way to contact their friends, without divulging too much personal  information. Therefore, I created a spreadsheet containing the following  information for each person:

  • Name
  • Class year
  • City and State of Current Residence
  • Email Address

This spreadsheet should now be accessible on the Baker’s BoyZ Links page.  It will contain a link to the Roster which is on Google docs. You should be able to view or download the document.   The first page is a Title page only.

I am not sure if this will work or if it will become too painful and difficult to manage. Currently, only my information appears in the document.  If you want your name included in this list,  please send me an email to either or There is a calculated risk that none of our Brethern VF Alum wil misuse this info. Therefore, I will not add anyone’s information without receiving such an  email. Again, if the information is used improperly or this becomes too much of  a time drain, I can stop the list and delete it.

Please let me know what you think. All responses will be held in confidence.


Tom Zicarelli, 71C

Home 703.441.0317
Mobile 703.362.0896

9/11 Pictures Possibly Never Seen Before

From Rick Bruno, 71C




God Bless America!!  Please click on the following link:  911_Jour-1

Academy & College Plebe Inprocessing AUG 2011

From Tom Zicarelli, 71C


Not sure how often you visit the VFMA web site, but there is a
page that contains pictures of the Plebe Classes for both the Academy and the
College.  The pictures have the large Xs,
which prevent you from copying the pics, but they are amusing to see
anyway.  Here is the link to the page and
then follow the next link to either the College or Academy Plebe Classes:

VF Grad in Time Magazine

From Tom Zicarelli, 71C

Not sure how many of you are subscribers to Time Magazine, but a VF Grad, Wes Moore, 96A / 98C is pictured on the cover of the 29 AUG 2011 copy.  Wes is also cited in the Time article caled The New Greatest Generation”    The cover and an excerpt of the article appear below (see underlined text):






(Wes is the 2nd Gentleman from the left)


The New Greatest Generation

By Joe KleinMonday, Aug. 29, 2011

Read more:,9171,2089337,00.html#ixzz1W3n23F76

John Gallina and Dale Beatty were best friends.

They joined the North Carolina National Guard while they were still in high school. They served in
Iraq together, and they nearly died together on Nov. 15, 2004, when their
humvee was blown up by an antitank mine. Beatty, a staff sergeant, was riding
shotgun; Gallina, a specialist, was driving. The humvee flew 200 ft. (60 km)
through the air and landed upside down. Beatty realized he was trapped,
crushed, the only one still inside. Gallina had been thrown from the vehicle
and was out cold. When he came to 45 minutes later, his first question was,
Where’s Dale? No one would tell him; he figured Beatty was dead.

He later learned that Beatty had been medevacked to Balad and then on to Walter Reed Medical Center, where his left leg was amputated just below the knee. “I woke up in Walter Reed,” Beatty recalled. “And they gave me a choice: I could spend the next two years in therapy, trying to save my other leg — but I’d never walk without pain again — or they could amputate it. I told them to cut it off the same place they’d cut the other one.”

Beatty’s wounds were obvious; Gallina’s, less so. “When I wear shorts, it gets people’s attention,” Beatty told me recently. “People are more aware of me
than of John. He just got off the airplane and was out of the National Guard,
with not much support.” Gallina had suffered a traumatic brain injury,
multiple cuts and bruises, a damaged back and severe posttraumatic stress

The local homebuilders association in Statesville, N.C., offered to build Beatty a house on his family’s land. It wasn’t a fancy house, but it was designed with a double amputee in mind. Beatty helped build it, and he found that the days he spent hammering nails were better than the days he didn’t. He called Gallina and
asked him to join in — and Gallina, who had a background in construction,
experienced a tremendous satisfaction, a sense of peace, building the home.
When the construction was done, their next step seemed obvious. “We were
trained in the military never to leave a fallen comrade in the field,”
Gallina says. “But do we bring them home just to leave them alone? That
didn’t seem right.”

The two men decided to form an organization to do handicapped-access projects for other veterans. They called it Purple Heart Homes. Their first project was to build an extension and wheelchair ramp for a Vietnam veteran named Kevin Smith. “He had been crawling in and out of the house for 40 years, relying on the help of a neighbor to go shopping,” Gallina says. “Those Vietnam guys represent
around 32% of all veterans, and they didn’t get anything like the support we
get. You know, for someone like me to have something to focus on, to have a
reason to be here, makes all the difference, and there are so many people who
need help.”

The story of purple heart homes is extraordinary but not unique. It may not even be unusual, even though most of the news we seem to hear about the veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan is pretty bad. It is all about suicides, domestic violence and posttraumatic stress disorder. It is about veterans who are jobless and homeless. All of which is true, but there is another side of their story that has not been told: the veterans like John Gallina and Dale Beatty, who have
come back and decided to continue to serve their country. They are a tiny
proportion of the population, and probably a small proportion of returning
veterans, but they are beginning to make a real difference. A pair of Marine
sergeants named Jake Wood and William McNulty started Team Rubicon, which sends elite teams of former noncoms to organize logistics in areas like Haiti after
the earthquake and Joplin, Mo., after the tornado. An Army captain named Wes Moore has started a mentoring program for first-time offenders between the ages of 8 and 12 in Baltimore and travels the country giving motivational speeches to high school kids. A Silver Star recipient and former Marine captain named Brian Stann has become an ultimate-fighting champion and, in his spare time, runs an employment agency for veterans. Iraq and Afghanistan war vets have gone to work in other parts of the government, like the State Department, where they’re having a major impact on the field-level conduct of foreign-aid programs. Some are running for office, as Republicans and as Democrats; others are getting graduate degrees at places like Yale Law School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and will likely enter politics or public service before long. “They’re incredible, some of my best students,” says Dr. Elaine
Kamarck of the Kennedy School. “Two things set them apart: they’ve very
disciplined, and they’re really, really serious about their work.”

Read more:,9171,2089337,00.html#ixzz1W3nALFKo



To General Medenbach

From Dick Leister  1949, 1951 C

Jul 27

 I found this letter stashed away with other treasures in a folder long forgotten, and after some thought, I thought that some of you may enjoy reading it. I wrote it to him on the occasion of his 90th birthday. 

 I know the private thoughts we had for General Medenbach during our cadet days when he seemed much like a dictator imposing impossible discipline upon us but when I got to know him with some intimacy as an adult my opinions began to change.  I saw him as the true backbone of Valley Forge….He had the vision as did General Baker of exactly what the institution should look like and what kind of man it should produce…If I had not had the privilege of attending Valley Forge, God only knows what would have happened to me….

 So here you have it…like it or not it is the way I will always remember the man who shaped  my life.

 Dick Leister….God Bless the Band.  7/2011

 25 January 1998

 I have known you for fifty of your ninety years.

 You were an absolutely awesome figure of a man when I first saw you in September of 1947. My early years were an experience of small town Pennsylvania. There were no individuals there that rivaled the magnitude and magnificence of men like John Black, Frank Kobes, Bill Koons, Al Sanelli, Mate Blank, Anthony Flores and the rest. All shinning with perfection from sunrise to sunset. I could not reason how these men could look so perfect every day. I will never forget the first words my Commandant uttered to me while crossing the main area in those hateful “Plebe skins”. You said, “stand up mister, shoulders back, and be proud of yourself.”  No one had ever spoken those words to me before and the thought of being proud of myself had never crossed my mind.

 In November of that year, on the day of recognition when we officially joined the Corps, my diary tells me that you informed us that we had just joined a lofty tradition established by former cadets that had fought their way through a great world war and that we would forever be part of the Valley Forge heritage. These were indeed words that should be tucked away in memory. It is my belief that thousands of cadets have tucked away those words that you uttered to us over many years and those words have caused many of us follow the continuing climb to succeed in life. In those days as a cadet, I knew you as 1 strict administrator of discipline and I thank you for it.

 In 1968, I had just returned from Vietnam and was stationed at Aberdeen Proving Ground MD. I flew a Cobra to Valley Forge, landed on the parade field and had a cup of coffee with the PMS. The next fall, 1969, I arrived at Valley Forge as the PMS. These years were truly a dismal period for Valley Forge. General Baker retired, you retired and General Strong appeared on the scene as Superintendent. Enrollment was at a minimum, Vietnam raged on, the hippies were burning the flag, bills continued to arrive and Johnny Mauk our comptroller confided with me that things were indeed at a panic situation. We constantly heard about the old prestigious military schools around the country disappearing in bankruptcy. Every week, General Strong would meet with Al Sanelli, Ralph Jones and myself to game innovational scenarios that would build enrollment. Organize a Boy Scout troop (we named the troop 171 because it was established in September of 1971) admit women on a limited basis, relax the military standards. There was even guarded talk of going to blue blazers and grey flannel slacks-things were really tough. Through all of this you steadfastly held to the established tradition of Valley Forge. You told me in your office, just before you retired, “We must not trade off our heritage”. “We must keep the Corps in tact”. “We have come too far to turn back or give up”. As an instructor of Aerospace Science, working for Al Sanelli, I spent time in the faculty lounge with the instructors between classes. The moral there was unmistakably in the doldrums. But remember, these were all men who had been through a war and witnessed appalling times before. They were always innovative with their classroom activities and constantly strived to provide an excellent education-never a thought of doom or failure.

 I look in my chapel book and see that you delivered a sermon on the eleventh of May 1971 in which you stated that the “Traits which are the backbone of the Valley Forge Military Academy are six in number:

 1. Integrity – a total acceptance of your actions.

2. Concern for ones elders, peers and subordinates. Loyalty is a two way street.

3. Professionalism – help others to generate confidence in themselves.

4. Involvement in life. Don’t be afraid to step up and take a chance.

5. Moral Courage- stick to tough decisions.

6. Initiative- be aggressive and self reliant.

 It seems to me that these traits that you so effectively outlined in 1971 are the ideals that the founder, General Baker envisioned in 1929 and still are totally creditable for the institution  in 1998. In these days as an adult, I knew you as a man who would not give up the vision of the future and we all thank you for it.

 On this, the occasion of a grand celebration of your ninetieth birthday, our best wishes are with you, but I would be remiss with this writing if I did not mention Jean’s and my thoughts of a wonderful woman who touched our lives deeply, your wife Helen. She is a lady of impeccable character, impressive intelligence and most of all a dear, dear friend. I dusted off my Guidon and therein found two things, a Valley Forge football schedule for 1949 and an invitation to attend tea at the Commandants Quarters on Fariston Road at 4 P.M. hosted by Mrs. Medenbach. The date was May of 1951. This is the house that I would occupy 18 years later with my family.

 I saw you last in 1996 at our 45th reunion. When I shook your hand and we had a brief time together, you still had that sparkle in the eye. I could instantly tell you were so proud of all those who attended, all those men who you had helped to mold. Well Milton, we somehow made it through the depressing years of the early 70’s and we have a Corps and an institution that you have always envisioned. We are all members of that lofty tradition and are part of the Valley Forge heritage that you talked about back in 1947. We are all proud of it and we thank you for it.

 I will see you next in the first year of our new century, 2001. It will be my fiftieth class reunion and I know as well as God made little green apples you will still have that sparkle in the eye. It will always be there. We will sit in the parade field stands and watch a sparkling Corps pass in review with the cadency of the best band ever. We will have our class pictures taken and I will wonder why so and so looks a little older and I don’t. We will watch Bert South try to organize the alumni classes for a pass in review without resembling the last dregs of the Civil War. Lastly, we will again sit in that beautiful chapel and become inspired, yea with a tear or two as we together sing our Alma Mater. “Hail, Alma Mater, dear. High wave thy colors clear”;

 Milton there is one thing that I never confided in with you. I timed everyone of the sermons delivered by those speakers for the four years that Jean and I attended chapel and here are the numbers:

       1969-70    6 hours 35 minutes.

      1970-71   7 hours. 16 minutes.

      1971-72    6 hours 17 minutes.

      1972-73    7 hours 42 minutes.

 Have a very happy birthday and I will see you in the next century.

 Ltc. Dick Leister   1949

JC 1951

PMS 1969-1973



Where our military headstones come from

From Rick Bruno, 71C

A great story. I found this to be very interesting and I think you might