On Saturday, May 26th, the Marine Military Academy held it’s 36th commencement exercises in the Phil Yeckel Memorial Auditorium.
General Raymond G. Davis, USMC (Ret) was the Commencement Speaker for the morning ceremony which saw 60 proud cadets cross the stage to receive their diploma.
General Davis served as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and is the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
General Davis opened his commencement speech by stating that “ he was very glad to be here, to feel the great Marine spirit among all the cadets.”
He shared with the audience some of the experiences he had in WWII, the Korean Conflict and in Vietnam, noting that throughout his career in the military, the “Marine spirit” always prevailed. He remarked that his success in the Corps was due to that “Marine spirit” and that his outfits never reneged; never turned back. Davis stated that the “all for one and one for all spirit of the Marines has stuck with him all these years.” He noted that he finds the “spirit” flourishing here at MMA and likes the ideal adopted at the Academy of “one mind, one body, one spirit.”
General Davis challenged the graduating seniors to stand tall and to “let your spirit be felt by all you have contact with.”
Davis gave the seniors five points to ponder after graduating. The first point he made was “that freedom is not free;” second, that “strength brings peace through freedom;” third, that “readiness saves lives.” “Veterans rights are sacred,” was the fourth point General Davis made, and the fifth point was that “we must upgrade our culture.”
General Davis challenged the seniors one last time to “join together and let’s make America a better place for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren; and we must not fail.” He closed by congratulating the Senior Class of 2001 and stated that he “admired their accomplishments and wished them well.”
The first cadet to cross the stage was Valedictorian, Pedro Said-Nader, followed by the Salutatorian, Carlos Rene Dostal.
Nader, a five-year cadet from Mexico City, will be attending the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico, studying to become a corporate lawyer. Reflecting on what MMA has done for him, Nader stated that, “It made me a more responsible, disciplined leader.” He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Hilario Said of Mexico City.
The Salutatorian, Carlos Dostal, is a three-year cadet from Alice, Texas. He is the son of Drs. Federico and Edna Dostal. Dostal will be attending the University of Texas at Austin, where he will major in engineering and physics. Dostal would like to be a plasma physicist. “MMA has provided me with outstanding mathematics and science teachers. The small classrooms made for a great learning environment,” reflects Dostal about his experiences at MMA.
With his daughter, Garrison Good Card, present and assisting, a portrait of Lieutenant General G. Franklin Good, Jr., USMC, was unveiled in the Peacher Activity Center on Friday, 25 May 2001.
General Good retired from active duty in the Marine Corps on 1 July 1958 and moved to Harlingen, Texas in 1975. He became an Advisor to the Marine Military Academy in 1984 and was elevated to the position of Trustee of the Board in 1987. He served faithfully in these positions until his death in October of 1991.
A case containing memorabilia of General Good rests beneath his portrait. The items there tell of the illustrious career which General Good had in the Marine Corps.
After an invocation by Chaplain McDonald, the President of MMA, Major General Wayne Rollings, welcomed those in attendance and then introduced the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Jim Warren.
Mr. Warren spoke warmly of the life of General Good and what the Card family has meant to the Marine Military Academy. He then introduced Colonel H. Wm. Card, Jr. USMC (Ret), who made glowing remarks regarding his father-in-law, General Good.
Garrison Good Card, Colonel Card and their son, H. Wm. Card, III, a Trustee of the Board of the Academy, then unveiled the portrait.
Cadet Jared Grisham thought he was attending his last luncheon with the Harlingen Rotary Club on 15 May.
To his complete surprise, he was asked to come forward to the head table where Rotary President Eddie Bartnesky, Jr. presented him with a scholarship for $2,000.
Grisham served this past year as the Academy’s Interact Club President, which is sponsored by the Harlingen Rotary Club.
Interact is a service club for secondary-school aged students and serves as a partner with Rotarians in service to the community. Through Interact, young people develop initiative, leadership skills and lasting friendships. Today, there are 2,400 Interact clubs in 69 countries and geographical areas worldwide, with a membership of 53,000.
MMA alumnus Grisham will be attending Texas A&M in College Station this fall and plans on joining the Aggie Corps of Cadets.
May 24, 2001 was a proud moment for family and friends of six members of the Marine Military Academy’s Boy Scout Troop 22, as they received their Eagle Scout badges during a ceremony held in the Phil Yeckel Memorial Auditorium.
Cadets Anthony Aguilar, Patrick Allen, Daniel Evans, Evan Howington, Jacob Lambuth and Colin Scherr all completed rigorous and demanding requirements, as well as a community service project, in order to receive this most honored badge.
Mr. Steve Gerber, the troop’s scoutmaster, praised these six scouts on their dedication and committment to scouting, and noted that they were among the elite few who ever completed their Eagle Scout badge. He noted that only three percent of scouts ever reach this level.
Cadet Aguilar, son of GySgt and Mrs. Antonio Aguilar of Harlingen, renovated bleacher seating in two Harlingen city parks, the Sports Complex and Pendleton Park, for his project. He, along with several other scouts, put in close to 200 man hours.
Patrick Allen’s project consisted of priming and painting the Speed March Reaction Course, located on the grounds of MMA. His project required well over 200 man hours to complete.Allen is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Allen of Missouri City, Texas.
Jacob Lambuth’s Eagle Scout project, which was done in Mexico City, was the renovation of a church fellowship hall. He completed this project, with the aid of his home troop from Mexico City. This project required close to 200 man hours to finish He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. John J. Lambuth of Mexico.
Dixieland Park benefited from a project designed by Daniel Evans, V. Evans poured a 16 X 16 concrete slab, then erected a prefabricated steel shelter on top of the slab. Daniel is the son of Ms. Mitzi Jones and Mr. Danny Evans of Dallas, Texas.
Evan Howington, the son of Ms. Elizabeth LaRoe and Mr. Michael Howington of Alvin, Texas, also completed a 16 X 16 concrete slab, with a steel shelter on top of the slab, at Rangerville Park in Harlingen.
Colin Scherr, son of Ms. Sueann A. Shim and Mr. Harold Scherr of San Antonio, Texas, designed and built a duplicate structure at the same park, as well.
Evan’s, Howington’s and Scherr’s project required approximately 150 man hours to complete.
In March, selected cadets of the Marine Military Academy took the National French Exam. This is a test that is given nationwide to high school students at five different levels.
Freshman cadet Cesar Garza received the highest score on the French I exam in all of South Texas.
In recognition of this achievement and his ranking among the top students nationally, Cadet Garza was awarded the Bronze Medal of the American Association of Teachers of French. He will also receive a Laureate Certificate of Honor awarded by the Association and a French dictionary, which was donated by the publisher.
MMA is proud of cadet Garza and all of his accomplishments.
Each May, the Academy selects a Teacher of the Year, who is presented with a $1,000 check and has their name engraved on a plaque in Coleman Hall.
This year, the Corps of Cadets selected, by way of secret ballot, mathematics and physics teacher Michael Mahoney.
Mahoney, originally from Missouri, joined the Navy in 1975, and spent four years working on aircraft electronics. He also spent six years in the reserve.
Upon his discharge from active duty, Mahoney joined Ball Aerospace Systems Division in Colorado as an engineering technician. He later received a degree in mathematics education from Adams State College and has taught math and physics at both the secondary and college level.
Before Alumni Weekend began at the Marine Military Academy, students in Mrs. Sheila Figueroa’s English Composition class were asked to write about what advice they will give cadets when they return to MMA five or ten years from now for an alumni weekend. Two sophomore students, Euguene Hwang and Christopher Smith, submitted reponses they might make at that time.
How to Make Life at MMA Easier
Most cadets at the Marine Military Academy believe that life at the Academy is extremely hard. It is, but there are so many things one can do to make life at the school a little easier. Doing homework and handing it in on time is one thing a cadet can do to have an easier time. This way the cadet will not have to deal with Incentive Physical Training (IPT), loss of paycall and lectures from the Drill Instructor. In addition, one will also succeed academically. Another thing a cadet can do is keep his room clean and wear his uniform properly. This way he will not have to put up with anyone nagging him to “square himself away.” A cadet should always listen to his superiors. They have already gone through everything a new cadet has. They know what is going on, so do not think they had it easy. Follow this advice and you will succeed at the Academy.
The Best Advice at MMA
In ten years when I come back for the Marine Military Academy Alumni Reunion, I will give the cadets the advice to do the best they can. When I get up on the stage, I will say, “Success at MMA has everything to do with academic grades and attitude toward military responsibility.” Then I will tell the students that if they want to go anywhere in life, MMA can help them accomplish that goal. MMA lets students reach goals that they never thought were possible. Having an easy time at MMA has everything to do with attitude. I will tell them to never expect to make progress if they choose to break the rules. Never disobey drill instructors or teachers. I will explain to them that their time at the Academy will go by quickly and, in time, they will be rewarded for their effort. After telling the students this at the reunion, I will hope they will take my advice and be happy.
Michael Poindexter - email@example.com.
Since leaving the Academy, spent most of the time in the laboratory or some chemical plant or some oil field as a chemist trying to better understand how the Good Lord put the universe together. Still stands amazed at how atoms and molecules interact, let alone how they were created. Guess it was Richard (“Doc”) Hockaday that probably best brought out that side of his nature. After MMA, attended Rice University where completed a bachelor’s in Chemistry (cum laude), and then proceeded to New York City where he obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University. Feels in many, many ways MMA prepared him for both environments. Had plenty of good role models in high school. Still tries to model much of his life style like the cadet way of life - focused, keeping frills to a minimum, and looking forward to weekend liberty (i.e. a little less work)! In New York, married a wonderful lady named Debbie Leo, originally from Nebraska. Once he finished
graduate school, she went to school full-time and completed both her undergraduate and masters work with a perfect 4.0. She’s now an ordained Presbyterian minister and quite good at delivering the liturgy. They greatly enjoy traveling to the Southwest and West Coast. After lots of schooling and low pay, had to enter the work force. Joined Nalco Chemical Company in 1988 and started research on several different projects. Some of the work even led to a really nice company award called the Chairman’s Achievement Award in 1997. In 1994, the part of Nalco he worked for merged with a company within Exxon. For seven of the thirteen years with the company was manager; however, at his request, returned to the lab bench, with no regrets. Been working with a deaf technician for the past four years. Formed a good relationship, and after a year of evening classes, is pretty decent at sign language. Outside of work, the most engrossing hobby is playing guitar. Performs at church, nursing homes, and even a few
dinner parties. Classical, blues, and rock are all of interest. “I hope all is well with you. I heard you had returned to the Academy. Personally, I think they should promote you to Superintendent. I know that is not how the system works, but being a civilian, I can say those things and not lose my pips/stripes. I hope if you print any of this stuff, you will print what I have just said. It’s how I feel, and I think the voice of the alumni needs to be heard in its undiluted form. I know of no person with more passion for the Academy and Corps than you.”
Spyros Ticoras - 10606 Aero Vista Blvd
El Paso, Texas 79908. (915) 565-9144. Is married to wife, Alexandra. Received a BA from State Univ. of New York. Is presently serving as a US Army medic.
David Hitchcock - Graduated from the USNA ’88.
Married Katherine Burrows in July ’90. Visited MMA a couple of times while in flight training in Beeville, TX. Winged in July ’91, then sent to FA-18 training at Cecil Field, FL.; Then to Beaufort, SC. Daughter Sarah was born in April ’92. Served with VMFA-451 from ’92-96, deployed to Norway and WESTPAC twice. Son Jake was born October ’95. Served as an FA-18 Weapons and Tactics Instructor at Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron -1 in Yuma, AZ from ’96-99. Promoted to present rank of Major in June ’98. Transferred to MAG-12 in Iwakuni, Japan in the summer of ’99 and joined VMFA-212 in September ’00 as the Operations Officer, currently serving as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer. Due to rotate in Summer ’02, location to be determined. “Things could not be better, I have a great family, great job, bright future.....please, pat yourself on the back....you and the rest of the faculty and staff at MMA deserve much of the credit. MMA may not be for everyone, but it was perfect for me.” Running mate, Ken Zieleck is also doing well. Cross paths often, although not spoken to him in about a year. He flies KC-130s and is currently attending the Air Command and Staff Course at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL.
Marco Cordero -
Now living between Acapulco and Cuernavaca, Mexico. After working in the government for former President of Mexico, is working with his father in the construction business in Acapulco building apartments for retired Canadians. Is looking forward to a visit to MMA; hasn’t been back since ‘94.
James Parker - 5620 Brownfield Dr. Apt. B., Lubbock, Tx. 79419 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attending Texas Tech and working on a Masters degree in Petroleum Land Management. He’s an intern this summer for El Paso Energy, and they have him working in several cities here in the Valley. He’d like to hear from any of his classmates.
Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Miller
Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Royce
Mr. & Mrs. Mark Metzger
Mr. & Mrs. Scott Davis
Mrs. Mabel Yuen
Mr. & Mrs. Praxedis Solis-Lara
Mr. & Mrs. Jeffrey Bumb
Ms. Ching Man Shieh
Mr. & Mrs. Michael Freund
Mr. Harry Lennard
Mr.& Mrs. Paul Colflush
Mr. & Mrs. Buddy Pitcock
Dr. and Mrs. Lynn Rea
Dr. Lynn & Dr. Lura Harrison
Mr. Charles Green
The MMA Parent Club
TCBY - Mr. & Mrs. Binder