April 2018 Newsletter

April 2018 Newsletter


OCS Alumni,

Last month’s reunion was a great success from start to finish. Outstanding events like the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner with over 350 in attendance, the Memorial Walk ceremony, and the alumni dinner were our signature events. Hyrum Smith, branch artillery, and newly inducted into the Hall of Fame, was our Hall of Fame dinner speaker. You may know that Hyrum is well known for his leadership expertise and for the famous “Franklin Planner” he developed with Stephen Covey.

Medal of Honor recipient, retired Lt. Col. Mike Sprayberry, armor branch, and Dr. Nygen Van Hanh, the first Republic of Vietnam OCS graduate inducted into the Hall of Fame, were our speakers for the alumni dinner. In addition, we partnered with the Vietnam War Commemoration to honor our Vietnam veterans and their families for their service.

At each of our events, we hosted officer candidates who were either classing up, in class, or newly graduated so that these young people could take advantage of interacting with our alumni and gaining wisdom from our experiences. Involving the candidates in every aspect of our reunion is one of the best things we can do as an association. We are their living legacy as they begin their military career. This interaction allows the candidates to be up close and personal with combat heroes and legends as well as men and women who rose to the top of their profession whether in the military or after their service in their civilian life.

At our general membership meeting, we briefed our members on the state of the Association as well as elected seven board members to serve either two- or three-year terms. There are currently two open board member positions. If you are interested in being considered for one of these positions, please send your resume and a statement on why you want to serve on the board to Danny Leifel at dleifel@frontier.com.

Two significant briefings were given during the reunion. The first briefing was from Lt. Col. Chitty, OCS commandant, who discussed the upswing in classes this year. The second briefing concerns your OCS legacy. A few months ago, your Board of Directors began to investigate the feasibility of renovating Wigle Hall and making it into an OCS Heritage Center. We have hired Phyllis Aaron of Aaron and Clements to develop a feasibility plan to design the interior of Wigle Hall to showcase our combined history, regardless of branch or school location. Phyllis and her team are experts in their field. They have been involved with the National Infantry Museum for many years. Her team has been involved in every exhibit in the museum so we are in good hands with her company. You may have completed a survey a few months ago that Phyllis sent out regarding the impact of OCS on your life. Phyllis used your survey results to develop a plan to highlight our OCS heritage. Our next step is to develop a fundraising campaign to raise over $350,000 to make our vision a reality. Our vision is to make Wigle Hall a first-class tribute to the service and sacrifice of our graduates since 1941 regardless of branch or location. When asked, I ask you to be generous in your donation to this project which will honor your history and heritage.

We are ready to take the next step in the Association’s climb to be all it can be. Let’s take the enthusiasm we all felt at the reunion and put it to use to move the Association forward. It will take everyone’s effort to take the next steps.

Forward Ever,
John Ionoff


Greetings from Ft Benning!

We have had a busy and productive spring at OCS, mainly focused on our Hall of Fame Week. We inducted 36 new members into our Hall of Fame, including two Medal of Honor recipients and a Nobel Laurate and recognized two members from the 2017 Hall of Fame class. With the help of the National Infantry Museum, we honored 21 of our most notable graduates who attained national and/or international recognition. Additionally, ten OCS classes from the 1960s dedicated memorials on the Memorial Walk and toured the battalion’s footprint, including a squad tactics demonstration and a visit to the Armor and Cavalry Restoration Facility.

We are already hard at work planning for next year’s Hall of Fame week. Next year’s activities will occur April 28 to May 1, 2019 and will be similar to this year’s schedule. Hall of Fame submissions are due no later than October 15, 2018. We pushed the turn-in date back to allow a more thorough packet review prior to the selection board in early December. Please reference our website for packet specifics and point of contact information.

The battalion will activate Delta Company on May 7, 2018 as part of OCS’s expansion to meet the Army’s officer accession requirements. Once Delta Company stands-up the battalion will have five companies available to train officer candidates during our summer surge of June through early October (the Direct Commissioning Course company, which trains Army lawyers, will train one OCS class this summer).

Finally, you will see two articles in this newsletter from current and recently commissioned officer candidates. Officer Candidate Bradford Yates describes his time as a member of Charlie Company from late January through mid-April. 2nd Lt. Kelly Weigand, recently commissioned, writes about her experience as an officer cadet at the Royal Military Academy-Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. I think you will find both articles enjoyable.

Standards!! No Compromise!!

Matthew B. Chitty

Lieutenant Colonel, Armor


Young Soldiers Amazing Warriors: Inside One of the Most Highly Decorated Battalions of Vietnam

What was it like to be on the front lines in a controversial war thousands of miles away from home?

A powerful and moving account of a highly-decorated battalion’s journey through extraordinary times, Young Soldiers Amazing Warriors reads like an action/ adventure novel but portrays the unvarnished truth of Soldiers’ experiences in the jungles of Vietnam.

The winner of 21 book awards, Young Soldiers Amazing Warriors tells the dramatic story of the Vietnam War through the eyes of Col. Robert Sholly and the Soldiers under his command in his combat rifle battalion. Sholly’s troop served with distinction, earning four individual Medals of Honor and three Presidential Unit Citations.

This spellbinding book brings the war to vivid life through the use of eyewitness accounts, maps, pictures, and excerpts from letters home. Readers will experience the hostile natural environments and battles with North Vietnamese intent on killing as many Americans as possible and gain new appreciation for the Soldiers forming life-long bonds of brotherhood.

Young Soldiers Amazing Warriors chronicles the beginning of the famous “nine days in May” battles of the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam and the heroes who fought them. Personal accounts of boys becoming men reveal the riveting events of firefights, human wave attacks, hand-to-hand combat, overrun units, survivors, and sacrifice that combine to tell the story in action-packed detail.

This critically praised book was the Grand Prize Winner of the Great Southeast Book Festival, the winner of the Military Non-Fiction Award given by the National Indie Excellence Awards, and recipient of 19 other book awards.


Candidate Bradford Yates

My name is Bradford Yates and I am 28-years-old. I am from Marietta, Georgia. I attended Brigham Young University where I met my wife. We have a daughter. They are the reason I joined the Army as an 09S (college option). I want to provide a good life for my wife and a bright future for my daughter as an ordnance officer.

My experience at OCS has not been what I expected. Before joining the Army and completing basic combat training, I had researched the OCS program and saw that it was both a challenging and fulfilling course. I looked forward to the physical and mental rigors that accompany the stress placed on an Army officer and to being mentored and molded into the kind of leader the Army claimed it needs. I was not expecting the level at which I would be challenged.

I was challenged physically. Throughout the course, I have been put through discomfort through fatigue, soreness, and exposure to hot and cold weather that often accompany the environment of war. At the time, these physical challenges were difficult. Looking back, I can see how I am a better equipped Soldier and will be a more patient officer.

Mentally, I have been exposed to some of the most difficult situations I have ever faced. I have been made to perform under a lack of sleep, physical exhaustion, and other stressors that come with the course. The mental rigors I have been exposed to have shaped me into a more understanding individual. I am better able to recognize the bigger picture and pick out the most important information form the noise.

One of the most important things I have learned from this course is how to communicate with others, especially those who are vastly different from me. Integrity is one of the greatest attributes a Soldier can develop and keep with his or her Soldiers. Integrity is the foundation of trust and one’s reputation. If someone, especially an officer of the United States Army, is found without integrity, he or she cannot lead effectively. I look forward to applying what I have learned to better serve my Soldiers as a lieutenant in the Army.

Candidate Yates is now 2nd Lt. Yates. He was commissioned on April 16, 2018.


2nd Lt. Kelly Weigand


I am 2nd Lt. Weigand, born and raised outside of Chicago, Illinois. I joined the Army in May 2017. I completed Basic Training at Fort Jackson in August and graduated from OCS on October 31, 2017. I am branched Signal with a branch detail of Field Artillery. I left for the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in January 2018 to serve as the representative from the United States for their sole officer commissioning course which is 44 weeks long. The course is split into three terms: Juniors, Inters, and Seniors.

Pace sticks, heels driving in, accents from across the globe…these are just a few things that you will hear upon arriving at Sandhurst. The first five weeks of the commissioning course are spent learning basic soldiering skills and drills. This included staying up until 0200 ironing your kit and polishing your boots.

After just eight weeks in the course, we headed to the Black Mountains of Wales to complete Exercise Long Reach. The temperatures dipped to -27 and rose to -13 degrees Celsius. In teams of eight, we navigated over 70 kilometers carrying 20 kilos on our backs in under 36 hours. There were eight command tasks to be completed throughout the exercise that required teamwork and logistical thinking in harsh conditions with no sleep. This is where I heavily relied on my training from OCS to be able to adapt to and breakdown complex situations and delegate tasks accordingly.

I have just finished my final exercise of Junior Term which consisted of platoon-level attacks on increasingly more complex enemy objectives. Command and control was heavily emphasized throughout the exercise, and something I had a solid foundation in from my time at OCS.

While at Sandhurst, I have worked with cadets from Oman, Afghanistan, Pakistan, UAE, Ukraine, Singapore, Barbados, and Saudi Araba, just to name a few. I have spent hours studying and debating the rising powers of China and Russia and have been able to bring forth the United States’ views on the continued need for stability and foreign relations.

As I finish up my first term at Sandhurst, I have already seen how I have been able to build and improve upon what I learned from my training in the U.S. I will continue to utilize and prove the effectiveness of that training to my fellow British cadets as well as those from across the globe.


Donald Prell

Next year will mark the 75th anniversary of my graduation from Class 333-44 of the Officer Candidate School, Fort Benning, Georgia.  At age 93.5 and being the only remaining OCS Alumni Association member of my class, I thought I might celebrate our 75th year class reunion this year instead of waiting until 2019!

November 27, 1942, at the age of 18, I enlisted as a private in the Army Reserve Corps. In May 1943, I was sent to Camp Callan (just north of San Diego) for coast artillery basic training. Privates undergoing basic training were given an opportunity to take a competitive exam to attend West Point, through the West Point Prep School (USMAPS) at Amherst College in Massachusetts. I took the exam and on July 1 I was notified of my acceptance. Arriving at the USMAPS in August (now a corporal), I was given a physical exam where the doctor summarized the exam by stating, “Since you have flat-feet, you cannot attend West Point!”

I was back in the coast artillery, this time with about 29 others, bound for the Coast Artillery Officer Candidate School at Camp Davis, North Carolina. Before arriving at Camp Davis, we were informed the OCS was being closed as no more coast artillery officers were needed. We were now on our way to the Infantry School OCS at Fort Benning. Ninety days later, it came as a great surprise that only a third of us graduated in Class 333. I was given a new set of dog tags with a new serial number, 0551911, and orders to report to the 106th Infantry Division at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. Because I had 90mm gun training, I was assigned to lead the 2nd Platoon, Anti-Tank Company, 422nd Infantry Regiment.

Should you be aware of the history of the 106th Infantry Division, you understand what was to follow: The Battle of the Bulge and POW camps in Germany. In what General George Patton described as the only mistake he made in World War II, he sent a small armored task force in March 1945 to liberate his son-in-law from the German POW camp at Hammelburg, which turned into a disaster. I know. I was there. The fiasco is described in Raid! The Untold Story of Patton’s Secret Mission by Maj. Abe Baum (1981).

I was free for a few days before being recaptured and sent to a POW camp near Nuremburg. Then in April 1945, I awoke to find the guards had disappeared. An Australian doctor and I walked out the front gate to freedom.

Donald Prell on Veterans Day in 2008.

Editor’s note: It is truly humbling to read the experiences our fellow OCS graduates, our fellow Americans, have endured in battle. Sir, we salute you!


Paul Cook

There is poorly researched and written history about World War II because it ignores important details or because it fails to consider broader implications and consequences. When it comes to the history of the Golden Lions, the 106th Infantry Division, the division is portrayed poorly because a quick look at the facts show a division that lost more Soldiers as prisoners than any other division in Europe. Only the forces in the Philippines that surrendered in 1942 suffered more. Perhaps its most famous member was author Kurt Vonnegut, best known for his work Slaughterhouse Five, the title of which is based on his experiences while a prisoner of war. While the division Soldiers did suffer greatly, statistics, however, do not tell the tale.

One of the best historians of the war, Charles B. MacDonald, wrote an outstanding book on the Battle of the Bulge, A Time for Trumpets. MacDonald captured a great amount of detail. Among the details he captures is the ordeal of the 106th Infantry Division. It was one of the divisions bearing the brunt of the German Ardennes offensive. He skillfully describes the circumstances surrounding the division’s placement and subsequent battlefield performance.

Placed into the quiet sector of the Ardennes as part of the VIII (US) Corps to gain some experience, the division occupied positions astride the soon-to-be primary avenue of approach for the Wehrmacht’s Fifth Panzer Army as it moved to seize the critical road junctions of St. Vith. The German scheme of maneuver resulted in most of the division’s 422d and 423d Infantry’s isolation east of Schonberg and the Our River. As the German envelopment continued, Soldiers of the 422d and 423d Infantry slipped through German lines and filled positions with the 7th Armored Division’s Combat Command B.

For the German plan to succeed, their forces had to rapidly take St. Vith and then continue movement to the west and north to seize the ultimate objective of Antwerp. This action was designed to cleave the Allied armies in two. MacDonald notes the German plan called for St. Vith and its associated road network be taken by December 16, 1944. As a result of the 7th Armored Division’s efforts, with those including such attachments as the 106th’s 424th Infantry and 81st Engineer Combat Battalion, the Germans did not take St. Vith until December 21. Even after capturing the city, the Germans lacked the ability to utilize the neighboring roads until after December 23. While expensive for American forces, the delays imposed on the enemy were critical in buying the time the Allies needed to respond to the Ardennes offensive. For its efforts, the division received the Distinguished (now Presidential) Unit Citation while six Soldiers received the Distinguished Service Cross and another 77 were awarded the Silver Star.

Though effectively destroyed during the Battle of the Bulge, the 106th Infantry Division made definite contributions to the battle’s outcome in bolstering St. Vith’s defense and inflicting one of the critical delays that ultimately led to the German defeat. Its post-battle tasks oriented on securing German prisoners of war and occupation duty while rebuilding with the 3rd Infantry and the California National Guard’s 159th Infantry replacing the 422d and 423d Infantry.

Like all divisions, the 106th Infantry Division had soldiers of distinction. Among them was William Bainbridge. Bainbridge served with the 423d Infantry and was taken prisoner. Liberated in April 1945, he returned to the United States and after demobilization enlisted in the post-war Organized Reserve Corps. Recalled to active duty in 1951, Bainbridge stayed in the Regular Army and enjoyed a successful career culminating with his service as the Sergeant Major of the Army from 1975 through 1979.

106th Infantry Division, The Golden Lions. Activated March 15, 1943 at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Inactivated October 2, 1945 at Camp Shanks, New York. Campaign participation credit: Ardennes-Alsace, Rhineland, Central Europe. Killed in Action: 417. Died of Wounds: 53.  Wounded in Action: 1,278. Prisoners: 6,697.

Paul Cook is a retired colonel and doctoral student in military history at Temple University. He is also an ROTC graduate.

Editor’s Note: This is a new column that will highlight a U.S. Army division’s history. But this depends on you. The intent of this article is to tie in with an article from an OCS graduate writing about his or her experiences in a division. Tell us about your time serving with a division, peace or wartime. Send your articles to info@ocsalumni.org with Newsletter in the subject line.


Registration and Hospitality Room

Hall of Fame Induction and Reception

Memorial Walk

Reunion Dinner

Photo credit Mary Wright.

Mark your calendar for next year’s reunion! April 28 – May 2, 2019 at Fort Benning, Georgia


Phil Kearns and Grady Smith

OCS Class 6-65 pulled it off. After fifty-three years, 31 members of this unique company reunited under the umbrella of the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Alumni Association (USAOCSAA) annual reunion at Fort Benning, Georgia to honor their former classmates on March 27, 2018.

Why is this a unique company? You may recall an article in the USAOCSAA newsletter in October 2017 that described this unit. First, the company had two graduates, 2nd Lt. Robert Hibbs from Cedar Falls, Iowa and 1st Lt. George K. Sisler from Dexter, Missouri who both distinguished themselves in combat in the Republic of Vietnam and were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Secondly, the company experienced the loss of 17 members, including Hibbs and Sisler, between 1965 and 1972 in the Vietnam War.

Armed with a strong desire to honor their fallen brothers, 85 former members of the Fighting 51st were located via an exhaustive search led by “Super Sleuth” classmate Dave Schollman. All available electronic search tools were employed resulting in the reestablishment of the 1965 51st Company roster, including TAC officers. As former classmates were located and informed of our steadfast task to develop a memorial to honor our fallen brothers, a funding strategy to support a fitting plaque was developed with the assistance of retired Col. Frank Harman, Vice President of Administration for the USAOCSAA. When classmates learned of our intent, the desire to support was overwhelming. Forty-six classmates contributed to fund our class memorial, the Military Assistance Command Vietnam Memorial, and a reunion dinner for classmates and family members following the dedication. We were doubly honored to locate and invite family members of three of our fallen brothers who attended.

During the course of this effort, we surveyed fellow members to develop a profile of our class. We also solicited biographical data and published a 53rd anniversary booklet containing information on 40 members. Results indicated that we started OCS with 220 candidates and commissioned 156. We were able to account for 144 of which 92 percent served in Vietnam. Many who were college option candidates respectfully only served their two-year obligation, with 55 percent leaving the Army after this period of time. This trip to Fort Benning was the first time since 1965 that many of our classmates had entered a military installation. Of the 144 graduates, 59 are deceased, including our 17 brothers in arms who were killed in Vietnam. Thirty graduates attained field grade officer status, with seven promoted to colonel.

Civilian achievements ran equally as high. Careers in government service, including the Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the State Department, were prevalent. The fields of education, law, sales, marketing, and medicine were found in the corporate and civilian worlds. We have published authors, a Wimbledon and Davis Cup official, and a graduate who was a torch bearer in the Beijing Olympics.

So how was a reunion after 53 years? In that our purpose at Fort Benning was to honor our fallen brothers, the gathering had a balanced measure of laughter and reminiscing but permeated with a religious back drop. The 3-11 Infantry Regiment chaplain set the tone for “why we were here” with a Memorial Walk blessing. The blessing was followed by the reading of the 17 names and the date of those killed in Vietnam. A dinner was conducted with proper military salutes and traditional readings to the deceased.

A toast by classmate Jay Snyder summarized the two days we spent at Fort Benning:

“We have joined together to remember the time when we shed our sweat, tears and even, occasionally, blood together. Never forget that from that time in 1965, we are, and we will be forever, brothers. Ours is a bond that cannot be created, asked for, or rejected. Our bond was forged in the rigors and pain of OCS 6-65 and solidified by our mutual experiences and respect for each other. It has been further reinforced by these few but memorable days we have shared this week. Never forget, always remember! You are all very special warriors–the best I’ve ever met and I’m honored to have trained and served with you. I drink to my brothers.”

Phil Kearns, retired colonel, and Grady Smith, retired lieutenant colonel, are members of Class 6-65. Along with fellow classmate, Dave Schollman, they led the effort to create a plaque at the OCS Memorial Walk to recognize their classmates.


Joel K. Chase

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is the organization that obtained the land and funding for the construction of the Memorial Wall at the Mall in Washington D.C. The VVMF is currently working to fund construction of a museum to honor and remember the individuals listed on the Wall. The museum will be constructed underground due to lack of space in the park above ground.

One of the features of the new museum will be a wall that displays the picture of each casualty on the Wall on their birthday. There is also a plan to enable visitors to key in a specific name and display one or more pictures of an individual and enter a comment to their photo. Another feature of the museum will be a rotating display of the thousands of items left at the granite Wall by visitors that are presently stored by the Smithsonian and unable to be viewed by the public. One such item is a brand-new Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Gathering photos of those listed on the Wall is a daunting task, but we only lack about 5,000 currently. The remainder will be the most difficult to obtain, but perhaps you can help. If you know someone who was killed in Vietnam and have a photo of the individual, you can check the database of pictures by going to the Wall of Faces. Use the search function to key in a name and view the photo. If no photo exists, a helmeted silhouette will appear. If that happens, you have a winner to submit to the VVMF. Please contact joelchase07@Comcast.net if you believe you have an addition to make.

Thank you for supporting our heroes.

Joel K. Chase is a graduate of OCS class of 01-69.


Frank L. Harman III

The Memorial Walk is almost full. We have space for eight dedication blocks and about 500 pavers. Since August we have emplaced dedication blocks for the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal), 5th Field Artillery, 1st Engineers, 173rd Airborne -IBCT, 187th Infantry, 29th Infantry, 34th Armor, Signal Corps, Special Forces, Fort Knox OCS, Vietnamese OCS graduates, MACV, 2nd Armored Division, 3rd Armored Division, 1st Aviation Brigade, and all eight of the current Army National Guard divisions. We have also emplaced dedication monuments for Class 6-65, Class 36-67, Class 46-67, Class 47-67, Class 68-67, Class 19-69, Class 4A-63, Class 1-66, Class 24-69, and Class 518-68. We completed and emplaced all of the OCS Hall of Fame members. We emplaced a monument which consists of a dedication block and pavers accounting for the history of OCS (all branches, locations, and services) and a dedication block and monument for Judge Patterson and the Patterson award winners.

The Association is very pleased to sponsor a new tradition at the OCS Battalion. It was our original intent for the Memorial Walk that the northeast side of the walk would be for class and cadre bricks. The Association has purchased six bricks per class cycle for inclusion in the walk alongside the division and regimental dedication blocks on the northeast side of the walk. The bricks will memorialize: the graduating class, the distinguished honor graduate, the officer trainer of the cycle, the NCO trainer of the cycle, the company commander, and the first sergeant. On subsequent cycles, if a cadre member already has a brick in the walk they can nominate support cadre or staff for the honor. We are on our sixth class as of the graduation of class 2-18. This is as an opportunity for some team building at the battalion or company level with a small dedication ceremony.

While space is limited, you still have an opportunity to purchase a brick or paver to memorialize your graduation from OCS and subsequent service in the U.S. Army. Do it today. You will be glad you did.

Dedication Blocks
ERA                         Donor Status
75th Anniversary USAOCSAA Emplaced
George Marshall USAOCSAA Emplaced
WWII Pacific Partners in Nature Emplaced
WWII North Africa/Europe Evans Emplaced
Korea Boyer Emplaced
Cold War Cannon Sculpture Emplaced
Vietnam OC Class 509-68 Emplaced
VOLAR Harman Emplaced
GWOT Davis Emplaced
Distinguished Graduates HQ Nissan Emplaced
OCS HOF Donor Status
1958-1971 Gray Caton Emplaced
2001-2017-Gray Harman Emplaced
1992- 2001-Black Evans Emplaced
1972-1991-Black Ionoff Emplaced
HOF Monument- Black USAOCSAA Emplaced
2018 HOF- Black USAOCSAA Emplaced
Unit  Donor Status
1st Infantry Division Harman Emplaced
2nd Infantry Division USAOCSAA Emplaced
3rd Infantry Division Kessler Emplaced
4th Infantry Division AUSA Emplaced
9th Infantry Division Evans Emplaced
25th Infantry Division Rogan Emplaced
23rd Infantry Division (AMERICAL) Class 19-69 Emplaced
1st Cavalry Division Wright Emplaced
1st Armored Division Jung Emplaced
2nd Armored Division Leifel Emplaced
3rd Armored Division Leifel Emplaced
10th Mountain Division FBC-MOAA Emplaced
82nd Airborne Division Caton Emplaced
101st Airborne Division Kinzer Emplaced
28th Infantry Division USAOCSAA Emplaced
29th Infantry Division USAOCSAA Emplaced
34th Infantry Division USAOCSAA Emplaced
35th Infantry Division USAOCSAA Emplaced
36th Infantry Division USAOCSAA Emplaced
38th Infantry Division USAOCSAA Emplaced
40th Infantry Division USAOCSAA Emplaced
42nd Infantry Division USAOCSAA Emplaced
2nd Infantry Regiment Smith Emplaced
11th Infantry Regiment Jones Emplaced
16th Infantry Regiment Harman Emplaced
29th Infantry Regiment Harman Emplaced
47th Infantry Regiment Ionoff Emplaced
187th Infantry Regiment- Gray Webb Emplaced
75th Ranger Regiment Thompson Emplaced
2nd Cavalry Regiment Burroughs Emplaced
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Lockheed Emplaced
3rd Cavalry Regiment Peters Emplaced
173rd Airborne Brigade-Gray Stovall Emplaced
5th FA Regiment Harman Emplaced
34th AR Regiment-Gray Harman Emplaced
1st Engineers Harman Emplaced
1st Aviation Brigade Evans Emplaced
Signal Corps Rosenstein Emplaced
Special Forces Wright Emplaced
MACV Class 6-65 Emplaced
Memorials Donor Status
Harris Memorial Bowles Emplaced
Caton Memorial Caton Emplaced
Operation Attleboro Jancso Emplaced
Judge Patterson/Patterson Award USAOCSAA Emplaced
FT KNOX OCS Leifel Emplaced
All OCS History Leifel/Harman Emplaced
Vietnamese OCS Suarez Emplaced
2017 NETT Award USAOCSAA Emplaced
2018 NETT Award USAOCSAA Emplaced
2018 Patterson Award USAOCSAA Emplaced
PM Appreciation USAOCSAA Emplaced
OCS Class 19-69-Black Baker Emplaced
OCS Class 46-67-Gray Fox Emplaced
OCS Class 6-65-Gray Kearns Emplaced
OCS Class 47-67-Gray Kolman Emplaced
OCS Class 36-67-Gray Cooper Emplaced
OCS Class 68-67-Black Robinson Emplaced
OCS Class 4A-63- Black Bryce Emplaced
OCS Class 518-68- Black x 2 Lutz Emplaced
OCS Class 24- 69 Gray x 2 & Black x1 Davis Emplaced


Message from the President

Several years ago, discussion began about renovating Wigle Hall, making it into what we now have come to call the OCS Heritage Center. Those who attended the 2018 OCS reunion received a briefing on where we are with this project and what needs to be done to make it a reality.  Your Board of Directors enlisted a professional designer and project management team with experience in producing galleries at the National Infantry Museum. With input from many of our members who completed surveys from the Association, this team produced an exciting plan on making Wigle Hall a legacy for all our graduates: past, present, and future. Now, all we need is the money to make our legacy a reality. While the fundraising strategies are still being finalized, I wanted to give you a “warning order” because we will need your support to allow us to continue to accomplish our mission, “to serve and honor the OCS program and to preserve the legacy of OCS graduates” regardless of their program location, branch or component.

What will you do to preserve your legacy?

Floor Plan


July 1 is the 77th anniversary of the Officer Candidate School program. Celebrate this date with your fellow alumni. Local chapters will host events where the youngest and oldest alumni will cut the birthday cake.


Greetings from the Colorado Chapter. We are honored to be the first state and the second chapter of the Association.

On March 7, 2018, we gathered for our fourth meeting at Sarges’ Grill off of US-85 (Venetucci Road) in Fountain. Capt. Nate Hoekje picked the location due to its location and its military vibe. The owners are a retired sergeant major and master sergeant. Once you walk inside, you can see why this restaurant is a favorite among the military population here.

The members at the meeting were retired Col. Dennis Cripps, retried Lt. Col. Steve Alexander, Capt. Nate Hoekje, retired Capt. Joe Zmugg, and me. Steve is the president of the Colorado National Guard OCS.

During the luncheon we had a quick meeting to discuss the chapter’s focus and our way ahead. During the discussion, Steve brought up the idea for a float to be used at one of the future parades that we have in Colorado Springs. He said that he would come up with the trailer and Joe said he would supply the truck for the float. The float idea was approved by everyone making our meeting a success.

The next morning, I met retired Capt. John Ulbinsky at Black Bear Coffee & Tea Lounge. I told John what we discussed at the chapter meeting and he liked the idea of the float also. I asked John how he was doing since I last talked to him. John is very happy and remains active with skiing and going to trips around the area with friends and family. We had a good meeting.

I realized I needed to go to Denver to meet some of the chapter members in the Denver area after I noticed retired Capt. Joe Zmugg traveling to Colorado Springs for the last two meetings. On April 13, 2018, we had our first meeting in Denver. The location was picked by the Honorable Dennis Graham, who just retired as a judge after 35 years in February.

The members at the meeting were retired officers Bernard Thorn (Brig. Gen.), George Thomas (Col.), Joe Zmugg (Capt.), and me. Judge Graham called me prior to the meeting and told me that he could not attend because something came up. I look forward to meeting him at the next meeting we have in Denver.

The meeting went as scheduled. We had a quick discussion on the chapter’s focus and our way ahead. I also brought up the float that was being planned for an upcoming parade in Colorado Springs. Our meeting was a success.

After the meeting we socialized. George is an active voice with military organizations in Denver. One of the major focuses they lobbied for was making the former Fitzsimons Army Medical Center a VA hospital. (This plan has been ongoing since 2004.)

Bernard is the oldest member of the chapter at 88 years old (Signal Corps Class# 20-52) but does not act his age and is very active. He told us that he just returned from an Iwo Jima tour and was still trying to get over his jet lag. His tour included visiting Hawaii, Tinian, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Guam. He pointed out that the Iwo Jima is a Japanese military island and civilian access to the island is restricted to those attending memorial services for U.S. and Japanese fallen soldiers, construction workers for the naval air base, and meteorological agency officials. (I had forgotten that the U.S. military occupied Iwo Jima until 1968, when it was returned to Japan.)

Our Chapter has grown since our establishment last year. We are continually looking for new members and we continue to reach out to the Colorado community. Please help us spread the word and encourage your classmates and fellow alumni members to join the Association. It is amazing how many alumni live in Colorado. Even though we are spread out by generations, we still form a common bond.

Share your story with us at our upcoming chapter meetings. I am always amazed at how much new information I gather when I listen to other members.

If you would like to be added to the chapter contact roster, please email our chapter secretary, Samantha Shaffer at sschaffe12@gmail.com. We will keep you advised of our upcoming meeting dates.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

Standards!! No Compromise!!

James Earls
Major (USA Retired)
President, Colorado Chapter USAOCSAA


Noted historian and author Lewis Sorely spoke to the D.C. area chapter members on March 3, 2018.


The Florida Chapter met on February 9, 2018.


Interested in establishing an OCS Alumni Association chapter in your area?

Association chapters are established to coordinate and promote activities and camaraderie at the local level. The chapters encourage fellowship and goodwill among the OCS graduate community and promote the purposes of the Association.

The Association has an SOP that describes the process for establishing and operating a chapter. To establish a chapter, a minimum of 10 founding members are required. The requirements for operating a chapter are submission of an annual report on the activities of the chapter and reporting any change in its leadership.

If any member is interested in establishing a chapter or would like to receive a copy of the SOP, please contact Chris Bresko at panther06247@gmail.com.


Congratulations to the 2018 OCS Hall of Fame inductees! These esteemed individuals were inducted into the OCS Hall of Fame at the National Infantry Museum on March 26, 2018.

MG Tracy Thompson                              COL Michelle McLaughlin
MG William Whitworth                            COL George Milton
MG Richard Wightman                           COL Nathan Smith
COL Charles Alsup                                 COL Andrew Sullivan
COL Craig Anderson                              COL Ronald Taylor
COL William Bender                               LTC Lynn Baker
COL Robert Duckworth                          LTC Jon Hatfield
COL Clifford Fields                                 LTC James Sprayberry
COL David Francavilla                           LTC Joseph Stepp
COL James Griffith                                 LTC James Wright
COL John Grimes                                   MAJ Gerard Devlin
COL James Hill                                       CPT Alfred Lipphardt
COL Janet Holliday                                 CPT Edward Miles
COL Olen Kelley                                     CPT Gary Rose
COL Robert Landin                                 CPT Hyrum Smith
COL William Lane                                   CPT Lafe Smith
COL John MacGregor                             CPT Nguyen Van Hanh
COL Dennis McGowan                           1LT Phillip Spackman


  • The U.S. Army OCS Story is available for our members to use to educate our military and civilian friends and family about what OCS is and how it has impacted our military since it was founded in 1941. It is posted to our website and YouTube. If you prefer to have a DVD of the video to show to your civic and military organizations, please contact John Ionoff at jionoff@aol.com or call 813-505-8335.
  • The Association is accepting digitized yearbooks which will be placed on the website – (Membership Area – OCS Yearbooks). This project is the beginning of an ongoing preservation of historic documents from OCS. If you are interested in having your class yearbook placed on the website, please contact Dr. Patrick Smith at patocsaa@gmail.com or telephone him at 951-712-3240 for further information on how to participate. This will also help your fellow classmates who may not have purchased a yearbook or lost it since graduation.
  • If you have announcements you would like to have publicized on the USAOCSAA Facebook page or in the newsletter, please email the Social Media Director. Contact information is at the bottom of the Association’s website’s home page.