In support of service

Admiral Stansfield Turner ’45 (“An Officer and a Gentleman,” Spring 2006) is absolutely correct that Amherst should not divorce itself from the military….My tenure as a flying officer via ROTC in the U.S. Air Force for two years was an invaluable experience, albeit in peacetime, that furthered my education, decision-making and understanding of people.

More than ever, young people should serve their country for whatever time they choose, be it [through] the military, government agency or Peace Corps. Amherst should not be fearful of a military presence, be it ROTC or just coursework, as it is all part of a liberal arts education in which knowledge and intellectual dialogue should not be selective.

Forget Wall Street for a few years and serve your country. You and your country will be better for it.

Encino, Calif.

Yes, but…

Admiral Stansfield Turner makes an engaging subject for a profile. Thoughtful, articulate and often humorous, he is a long way from anybody’s stereotypical career military officer….When, however, I hear Turner saying that we need to “get a way of getting Harvard and Amherst people into the military again,” and suggesting that it would be good for Amherst to have ROTC on campus, I must respectfully demur. To be sure, there is in theory some merit to his argument that the military needs “leavening” from the intellectual community. In Canada, where I have lived for the past 23 years, the intellectual community has over the years provided the military with a good deal of this kind of “leavening.” But Canada is not the United States. Here (though things are now, unfortunately, starting to change) the military has for the most part played a peacekeeping role. Such has definitely not been the case with the American military….

With respect to ROTC, I suspect that this program would find few takers on the Amherst campus. But bringing the program onto the campus would be sending altogether the wrong message. It would signal the college’s approval of today’s military and the ventures it is currently engaged in….

In his very moving Commencement address (“In Support of the Commons,” Spring 2006), President Anthony Marx concludes by telling graduating seniors, “We look for you to change the world.” This is as it should be….Regrettably, today’s American military is not the place for those wishing to change the world—not unless “changing the world” is construed to mean pillaging, plundering and destroying the less developed parts of it in ways that would do Attila the Hun proud.

Admiral Turner is certainly a remarkable man in many ways. Unfortunately, he appears to view the military through glasses that are more than a little rose-colored.

Ottawa, Ontario

Checking some facts

The interview with Stan Turner issue was both entertaining and informative. Also, the accompanying wartime photos on campus helped bring back memories of Amherst during that era. I was especially interested to read Stan’s comments in the “Military Intelligence” sidebar. I believe he made a solid case for greater understanding of the military by Amherst students and those from other liberal arts colleges. My own experience with Army service during World War II is a factor in this belief. Among other things, it took me around the world, literally, and enabled me to appreciate a diversity of cultures in several countries, as well as to associate with other Americans from all parts of the United States.

I trust Stan will permit me to offer nitpicks on some of his facts.

Regarding his memory of walking on campus on Sunday morning, Dec. 7, 1941, and hearing the news of the Japanese
attack at Pearl Harbor: because of the time difference that news of the morning attack in Hawaii did not come to us until mid-afternoon. In speaking of Dick McMeekin’s fire brigade, Stan mentioned a fire at the DKE House. Actually the fire was across Lessey Street at the Phi Gam house (now Marsh House). Also, Stan could have mentioned that the Navy had a “90-Day Wonder” program at Notre Dame, in which several Amherst men earned their naval commissions.

But these points I mention are minor and did not diminish the excellence of Stan’s commentary as presented by authors Dick Hubert ’60 and Rob Longsworth II ’99.

Pelham, Mass.

Honoring service

The interview with Admiral Stansfield Turner was terrific…. The interview concluded with a note on the two authors of the article and a reference to their prior article about Army Lt. Paul Rieckhoff ’98, “the first Amherst graduate to earn the Combat Infantry Badge since World War II.”

The record needs to be corrected. I suspect that a number of Jeffs have served in uniform during Korea, Vietnam and Operation Desert Storm, some of them in harm’s way in various combat roles. Among that group there are at least two recipients of the CIB, yours truly and classmate Bruce Grean ’67.

While serving in Vietnam was not a natural segue from my years at Amherst, serve I did, thanks to the draft. I recall the
Amherst Club in Cu Chi being small, intimate, even solitary. While serving in Vietnam certainly lacked the glory of World War II, it was just as deadly. And survival was just as capricious. Through this note I’d like to honor the select group of combat veterans who might have both a Combat Infantry Badge and an Amherst diploma on their den walls. Nice work.

Phoenix, Ariz.

Inspired to visit

I have just finished Rebecca Binder’s interesting article abut the Quabbin Reservoir (“Quabbin: Land of Many Waters,” Spring 2006). It made for wonderful reading. It was very informative, and it stimulated many thoughts and questions—so much so that I plan to visit there this fall.

Weston, Vt.

A “House” close to home

The Woods and Lacey families were preeminent in the Swift River Valley and among the largest landowners in Enfield, Mass. Both families have a long and rich Amherst College heritage. Including me. My father, Norman Lacey ’39, attended the Fireman’s Ball when the town ceased to exist in 1938, while a junior at Amherst. I heard the story a thousand times…. Also, the Woods family owned the top of Quabbin Mountain, including a compound of seven houses, which was also ceded to the state by eminent domain at that time. The footprints are still there, though not easily accessible; I have been there a hundred times. The ice pond/swimming hole is very close to the road by the Lookout, the one golf hole can still be made out, one small barn has been rebuilt and remains, and several foundations are still in evidence, though they have withered through the years since I was a young boy….There are, I think, 16 Woods and Laceys buried in Quabbin Cemetery, several of whom were moved up from Enfield before the reservoir was filled. I am the trustee of record with the Massachusetts District Commission on the remaining plots.

Darien, Conn.

Remembering Lucius

Sincere thanks for the memorial article about Lucius Weathersby (College Row, Spring 2006). The piece was extremely well written, sympathetic and succinct. I am sure that those of us who knew and loved him derived a measure of solace from the knowledge that Amherst College acted magnificently from the very beginning of its relationship with Lucius. The college hit a home run when it rescued him from the ravages that beset Dillard University during Hurricane Katrina, and it continued to show its true mettle throughout Lucius’s short tenure. Finally, enough staff and faculty members of the college attended Lucius’s memorial service to convince us that he had become a valued and much loved member of the Lord Jeff scene in barely half a year.

I am deeply appreciative of your collective efforts to memorialize him in Amherst. No wonder I have valued and cared deeply for my alma mater since I first set foot there in 1957!

Smallwood, N.Y.

Correction: Due to an editing error, the Spring 2006 issue misstated the class years of former CIA directors William Webster ’45 and John Deutch ’60. We apologize for the error.