College 1961-65

  1.  Graduated in Jan 65 (3 1/2 years). Commissioned with 12 others in February 65.
  2.  Fellow Cadets Killed in VN
    1. Felix King Graduated with me in Jan. From Bham. Saw article in Bham News while in first year of law school. Headline was “All American Lieutenant.” Wife was Judy Kunkle from Florida.
    2. Larry Evans Graduated with me in Jan. From outside of Florence in the Central community.
    3. Chad Barber – From Florence, played touch football with us occasionally.
    4. Bobby LeCates – From Florence. Brother later committed suicide I believe.
    5. Dick Glenn – From Florence, family on my paper route. Mother worked at the college.
    6. Don Childers
  3. Bill Johnson at Tulane Change in major
    1. BJ was a math major and was in all of the honors classes in math, which meant they focused on theory. He took a “math marathon” final at the end of his sophomore year and had to actually integrate an equation. He knew the theory but could not actually do it
    2.  The math professor called him in and gave him an option: Remain a math major and have a grade of F or change majors and get a C.
    3. BJ took the C, and graduated a year ahead with a degree in economics (major) and Russian (minor).
  4. Bill Johnson at Tulane Biology professor
    1. BJ had an oriental biology professor who did experiments with rats and was insistent that students came to his classes.
    2. On the exam he would ask questions such as “When I discussed my rats and their behavior in my 1980 experiments, I appeared to be A. Very disappointed B. Pleased C. Devastated D. Hopeful of a better result in my next variation of the experiments.
  5. Bill Johnson at Vanderbilt  
    1. Had a friend who kept carbon copies of all letters he wrote people. Would refer back to them in later letters.
    2. Had a friend who was fascinated with trains. Memorized timetables and bought rail passes just to ride around the country.
    3.  Knew a student there who was named Throckmorton P. Muckinfust lll.
  6. Ron Presley
    1. Cousin of Elvis. Looked very much like him but very small. TV newscaster on WOWL TV
    2. Killed in car wreck
  7. David Sizemore (Ross and Taybee)
    1. On rifle team with me.
    2. Family ran store in Leighton where Percy Sledge worked as a boy.
    3. His father came back from coon hunting all night and forgot to let dogs out of the trunk of the hunting car. Noticed their absence and a strong odor several days later. Dead in the trunk.
    4. In German class, Dr. Schuckman said something is heavily accented English. S said please say that in English for me. Dr. S repeated what he had said. S said I asked you to say it in English.
  8.  Rifle Team
    1. Used to carry my rifle around the campus between my father’s office (where I kept it) and the rifle range
    2.  Left for Oxford MS to shoot match with Ole Miss on day JFK was assassinated, listened to coverage all the way there. Upon arrival, found evidence of celebration. JFK had sent troops, including MAJ Yawn, onto the campus to support integration. When JFK was assassinated, the students at Ole Miss celebrated with a parade, streamers, etc.
    3. CPT Moody, later COL Moody, who was later also at USMA when I was there, was rifle team coach
    4. SSG Grady Long, Stephenson, AL, was his assistant. Long was offered a warrant but refused saying he would prefer to be a real sergeant rather than being a half-ass officer
    5. About 3 of us on the rifle team were recruited by the 491st MP Reserve Company for its rifle team. Jimmy Johnson of the Muscle Shoals Sound who played guitar on Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” and recorded the Rolling Stones in “Gimme Shelter” was in that unit with me.
  9. ROTC
    1. Was cadet brigade commander
    2. I was the only brigade commander I know of to have bde sponsor elected by the cadets rather than appting girl friend, etc. Tim Scott was my Brigade Sergeant Major and ran the election.
    3. Was outstanding ROTC Cadet for Fourth Corps
  10. Wreck on Brush Creek Road
    1. Almost kept me from going to ROTC summer camp
    2. Riding in Corvair Monza driven by Bill Johnson which met Roadmaster Buick head on in a curve. I do not recall seeing the Buick coming, Totalled the Monza knocking us 20 feet or so backwards. $50 damage to fender of the Buick. Those seeing the Monza asked how many died in the wreck. Smashed dash to the windshield with knees and chest, popped lenses out of my glasses, then knocked back of seat off hinges. Came to lying on my back looking up at the roof of the car with sound of gasoline dripping. Heard Hiway Patrol office (former ROTC classmate Harold Hammonds) ask how I was doing. Bill Johnson said he did not know as I had not moved lately but that I did say something earlier about summer camp. HH then said “You boys were on your side of the road, right?”
    3. while we were waiting for the ambulance, BJ’s mother drove up. She took us to the hospital. We met the ambulance coming to pick us up and waved. In shock at the time and felt no pain.
    4. At hospital became very cold. No room so had to sleep on cot in hall first night. Sore all over. Only my hooded sweatshirt would pad me enough to sleep.
    5. B J died on a heart attack while playing frisbee with his brother Leslie in 1984 as we were leaving for Korea.
  11. Zeke McKee
    1. Older student. Had played on Kentucky’s football and basketball teams before going into the Army during WWII.
    2. Parachuted in behind the lines before D-Day
    3.  Was about 6’6″ 260 or so. Had huge hands about twice the size of mine.
    4. John Moon and some others on the football team kept daring McKee to suit up and participate in a football team scrimmage. He finally got tired of them, put on pads and wiped them out one afternoon.
  12. Ray? Carpenter
    1. Student who shot in smallbore outdoor rifle matches in Bham. I road to matches with him a few times.
    2. He was all but impossible to waken. One time he did not show up to pick me up, so we called and got no answer. We then drove to his house where we heard his alarm going off but he was still asleep. Beating of the window of his room woke him up.
  13. Joseph? Lunati
    1. Baptist preacher who took English lessons from my father. Lunati was first or second generation immigrant from Italy.
    2. Lunati’s family was said to have patented the hydralic lift used in gas stations. Probably true.
    3. The Rotary Lift story began in 1925, when auto mechanic Peter Lunati invented the world’s first hydraulic vehicle lift (inspired by observing the hydraulic operation of a barber’s chair.)
  14. Sergeant Wadsworth
    1. Member of the cadre. Worked with the Pershing Rifles. Had Ranger, Special Forces background. Very insecure about teaching classes. Would rehearse classes in an empty classroom. Started out class by saying “Gaffanoon men, how your weekend was?” He and Charlie Ball would fight one another using judo.
  15. CPT John D. Smith
    1. Decided he needed to start ROTC classes on the hour instead of 10 minutes after the hour. As class leader it was my job to call the class to attention and report absences to him.
    2. I told him the college catalog said classes started at 10 minutes after the hour. If he entered the room before then, I would call the class to attention but I would not give him the attendance report until 10 minutes after. He backed down.
    3. On a rainy day, COL Reece, the Professor of Military Science and Tactics, told me to just march the brigade to the football field and come straight back. As I was telling the Adjutant to order brigade back to the ROTC building, CPT Smith said that I was to have a pass in review instead.
    4. I told him those were not my orders and we went ahead with what COL Reece had told me to do. Smith was furious but found that COL Reece backed me.
  16. Jimmy Johnson
    1. Played guitar on Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”
    2. Musician, producer
    3. In classes and 491st MP Company with me
    4. Saw him in Atlanta Airport with musician types when flying back to WP once.
  17. John King Moon
    1. Virtually legally blind. Bribed his way into the Army by paying NCO to give him passing vision
    2. The birth of his daughter, Star King Moon, made the Army Times.
    3. He retired to Huntsville around 1991. Wife, Sandra, serves on City Council
  18. Charles A. “Charlie” or “CB” Ball
    1. Was heir to multimillions held in trust until he was 55 or so.
    2. Flunked out of Alabama and Sewanee. Served in the Air Force in Japan where he learned judo. Was a band leader of a local dance band. Had Nikon camera and devleloped his own film, made his own prints. Tied his own flies, reloaded his own ammuntion. Hunted and fished. Shot in competitive rifle, pistol, skeet and trap events. Had the first HiFi set I heard about. Was an amateur radio operator. Could sing along with operatic arias is various languages. Was well read in the classics and philosophy. Was a judo practitioner and would work out with MSgt Wadsworth of the ROTC Dept.
    3.  Eventually finished law school and passed the bar. Spent his time at Smokehouse Billiards, pool hall that was known for its chilly, and seldom practiced law in fact.
    4. He called my mother and father from Florida (where he had been running a copy shop like Kinko’s) and announced that the money had arrived from his trust and that he would not work again.
    5. Had a Ford Falcon with a V8 engine, vastly overpowered. It hydroplaned (with me in it as passenger) on the highway on the road to Birmingham. Had there been on-coming traffic we would have been hit.
  19. Ralph “Ugly Face” Ferguson
    1. Was from Bear Creek
    2. Later a very successful football coach
    3. Hunting buddy of my father’s
  20. Punchy Gildart
    1. Very small but a Golden Gloves boxing champion
    2. John King Moon decided he had to fight Gildart. Gildart danced around and punched Moon at will with no damage.
    3. Moon later served as aide to Gildart’s father who was an Army general.
  21.  Ronnie Russell
    1. Jr Mr. America bodybuilder champion in the early 1960s
    2. Weightlifting champion as well
    3. Walked away from fights saying “I might bruise my muscles.”4. Was into acting
  22. Goober Lindsay
    1. Quarterback on FSTC football team. In one or more of my father’s classes. Had nightmares.
  23.  Harlon Hill
    1. End on FSTC football team. NFL rookie of the year. Ran every long pattern to the end zone
    2. Had radio show with mechanical sounding introduction This is Harlon Hill of the Chicago Bears, pronouncing each syllable
  24. Sen. Fred Thompson
    1. Was at FSU one year with me. Did not know him or know of him at the time
  25. T.S. Stribling
    1. Writer of The Store, The Unfinished Cathedral, and The Forge. Studied in Eniglish classes along with Faulkner in the 40s
    2. Spoke at FSU
    3. Used to come to Kroger’s where I worked to buy groceries
    4. His Aunt’s maiden last name had been his middle name. She told him she was ashamed that anyone with her last name would throw corncobs at pigs so he dropped her name and went with S.
  26. Bill Johnson at Tulane
    1. He and buddies stole clapper from TU victory bell. When finally won a game it would not ring.
    2. Was math major with all As till junior year when had to actually integrate an equation. Could not do so. Professor gave choice. F you deserve if you stay in math, C you don’t deserve if you leave math. He left and majored in economics with a Russion minor in two years. Went on to Vanderbilt Law School and Bham firm of Bradley, Aarant, Rose and White. The BAR W.
    3. Died of heart attack in 1984 while playing frisbee with his brother Leslie
  27. Boy from Stevenson
    1. Did not own a coat
    2. Walked through snow in t shirt, burmudas, and tennis shoes with no socks.
  28. Softball Pitching
    1.  Pitched for First Methodist in the church league
    2. Lost a no-nit game once due to errors and walks
    3. Very few batters would stay in the batters box as I wound up. Very fast, but somewhat wild. Made the ball sizzle,
    4. Was offered a job by one of the big teams in the industrial softball league, Reynolds Metals I believe.
    5. Threw change-up knuckle ball to all state baseball player who was so far ahead of the pitch that he fell forward out of the batter’s boxa.
  29. Dr. Tamburo
    1. Later killed a car wreck going to see ???? Ledbetter, an artist type, who divorced her husband, a hunting partner of my father.
    2. Started class by writing his name, BS, MS, PhD. The said: That’s Tamburo, not Farm Bureau. The PhD stands for Pile Higher and Deeper, the MS stands for More So and you all know what the BS stands for.
  30. Dr. Gaisser
    1. Started class by writing name on board. The said: It’s a fine old aristocratic German name that means goat herder. I guess you know what that makes all of you.
    2. Once Betsy Brìglia wore a jangling bracelet to class. Everytime he started his lecture she would start writing notes and make noise. He would stop and wait for quiet, then start again. This went back and forth about 6 times. Gaisser then said he could not compete with the noise and cancelled the rest of the class.
    3. I answered all of his questions in class, to include giving translations of Latin phrases. When he gave back our first exam, he said my paper was much better than the grade indicated.
  31. Dr. Johnston
    1. English teacher. On the final exam he gave us a poem to critique. I said it was a perfect example of arrogance with the author mistakenly assuming he was unique in what he saw and experienced. In a later class, I learned that the poem he gave us was his favorite poem.
    2. Claimed that the most beautiful phrase in the English language is “cellar door.”
    3. Related to Gen. Albert Sydney Johnston, Civil War general.
    4. Was on my paper route on Jackson Rd, next door to Dean Turner Allen.
  32. Gladys Shephard
    1. Speech teacher. Had everyone say their name and where they were from into tape recorder. She then played the recording of each student back and said “Don’t you want to change the way you sound?”
    2. I was the only one to say “No, I like the way I sound.”
    3. She was heavily into “round sounds.”
    4. Linda Dobbs, who was engaged to the Cherokee, AL, policeman, was the only person in the class who seemed to laugh with me at the pretense of Ms. Shepard.
    5. Ms. Shephard was the director of many/most plays produced in her day at the college and had a large following who greatly admired her.
  33.  Dr. Bernarr Cresap
    1. History teacher. Very nice man.
    2. Later wrote a history Appomattox Commander: The Story of General E.O.C. Ord that was very well received critically


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