03/9/19

Real Men

I have been fortunate in life. I have enjoyed the tutelage of extraordinary teachers and had the example of great men starting with my father.

Leonard C Minch, 97, Rest in Peace

One of those men was the boxing coach at my alma mater, Virginia Military Institute. Every cadet took Rat (freshman) boxing. I hate to admit I enjoyed it, though I did bleed more than a little. You will note that the boxers are not wearing headgear. Coach King did not fool around.

The man on the right is Coach Clark King. This picture was taken a few years before I matriculated at VMI, but it could have been my class. That’s exactly the way we looked.

Coach King taught you technique, how to land a punch, how to take a punch, but he taught us all something more — he taught us how to be men, to defend ourselves in a hard world. The Vietnam War was going on at the time.

What I did not know was that Colonel King was a World War II Marine and had been awarded the Silver Star for heroism at Iwo Jima as a Second Lieutenant, platoon commander. The attached citation tells the story.

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These are the kind of men who taught us back in the 1960s. The kind of men who formed us and fired us in a hot furnace called The Virginia Military Institute. I am happy to report that the same transformation is underway as we speak. One of my Brother Rats is the President of the Board of Visitors. The school is run by an incredibly competent leader, General Peay. It is an infinitely better school than when I matriculated.

I am eternally grateful to these men and to my father who nudged me in that direction. [Thanks to fellow alumnus Dee Shannon, for the Citation for Clark King’s Silver Star.]

Real men. I am proud to have been in their company.

 

 

 

02/5/19

The Curious Case of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam

Hello, dear readers. It is a gray, warm (70F) day in the ATX. Today, I speak to you of the curious case of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

If you don’t know who Governor Ralph Northam is, then you may stop reading right now, go to Sbux and contemplate the prospect of Howard Schultz as our next President.

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If you are acquainted with the subject, then read on. [BTW, you are looking very sharp today. Lost weight?]

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05/15/18

The Battle of New Market

Big Red Car here on the anniversary of the Battle of New Market on 15 May 1864. It is a touchstone of the Virginia Military Institute whose cadets stormed Yankee artillery batteries with bayonets across a muddy field which came to be known as the Field of Lost Shoes.

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A vignette from a painting which stands in Jackson Memorial Hall at VMI depicting the successful bayonet charge of the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets on 15 May 1864 in New Market, Virginia whereat they captured Union artillery batteries thereby driving the Union forces from the Shenandoah Valley.

The cadets lost 10 KIA and 47 WIA, but drove Yankee general Franz Siegel out of the Valley of Virginia. The Shenandoah Valley was the “breadbasket of the Confederacy” and its loss would have doomed the South.

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01/21/17

VMI — Inaugural Parade

Big Red Car here on a sunny Saturday in the ATX still enjoying the Inauguration, the Inaugural Parade, the Inaugural Balls. Talking VMI.

My favorite thing was the VMI (Virginia Military Institute) cadets, 1,500 strong, bringing up the rear of the parade. Saving the best for last in the their red caped overcoats with white crossed dykes, armed & dangerous.

This picture captures the Corps of Cadets waiting to be turned loose to march down the parade route toward the White House.

Imagine yourself amongst them. Waiting in anticipation having gotten up well before dawn and riding a bus to DC. Standing there with your M-14 and bayonet in your heavy overcoat with the blood red cape, talking to your classmates. Waiting to be a part of history you will remember for the rest of your life. Proud to be a VMI cadet and proud to be an American taking part in the peaceful transition of power which is America.

VMI cadets

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