Mar 12, 2024

50-YAP: R-Day -- Billy Harner Update #3

Billy Harner Update #3 - March 12th, 2024


Greetings.  Just back from Breckenridge, Colorado at a mini-class ski reunion. We gathered together over twenty of us.  It was the 3rd Annual Ski Reunion for ‘78.  It was a blast. We stayed across several rentals, “broke bread” together for lunch everyday up on the mountain, and had two dining outs.  Jack Cronin came up with the idea over three years ago. Hope more will join us for the fun, frolic, and downhill racing.

Wanted to provide you with another quick update to Class of 1978’s support for the Class of 2028’s R-Day.  I can feel the excitement building across our entire class for our role in the 50-Year Affiliation Program.  On February 23rd, we had over 120 classmates participate in the lottery for the Class of 2028’s fourteen mile Grad March Back.  Also, I received numerous emails from classmates who want to join in with the fun on R-Day after Tony sent out my note to the entire Class via the Listserv.  We are nearing forty classmates joining in the fun.  It is still not too late to join us.

Just think about it!  On July 1st, it will be exactly 50 years to the month from our R-Day, when the Class of 2028 joins the ranks of The Long Gray Line.  I think the barbers collected over 54 lbs of our hair on that day.  And yes!  Today, we are fit and trim, and ready to go! Just like we were on July 8th, 1974! Not!  

So here is the latest after speaking this week with Katie at AOG - 50th Affiliation Support, Kevin - the new Director of Retail Operations at AOG (think Gift Shop), and Melissa at Thayer Hotel Sales and Catering.  

Almost everyone who has signed up to work at the Ice Cream Social and R-Day - June 30th and July 1st, has let me know that they have made hotel arrangements for the weekend.  Thank you! Most of us are staying close by West Point at the Holiday Inn Express, while a couple are staying at Thayer Hotel, with a few others at local hotels.  We got most of our reservations early, so we won't have to stay in Peekskill.  Great job!  You beat the families of the Class of 2028.  My CP will be at the Holiday Inn Express for two nights - June 29th and 30th.

The first event is the Ice Cream Social on June 30th.  The Social will begin at 1200 hours at Herbert Hall and go until 1500 hrs.  Members of the Class of 2028 and their families will be assigned to one hour blocks of time to attend the Social. With parking limited around Herbert Hall, buses will be transporting all guests - including us, up from Buffalo Soldiers Field.  AOG’s plan is to have a tent set up outside the Hall, with an ice cream truck outside on location.  Our Task is to mingle and our Purpose is to make connections with new cadet candidates and their families. The AOG Gift Shop will also be open throughout the Social.  We will rotate our Class of ‘78 Support Team members in and out over the three hour period.  If I don't get your ‘78 jersey to you before at the Holiday Inn Express, I will provide one to you when you first get to the Social.  We will be wearing the jersey for the Ice Cream Social, dinner at the Thayer Hotel,  and R-Day at Ike Hall.

All of you that responded to Update #2 about breaking bread together for dinner at Thayer Hotel on June 30th said yes.  We have the Bradley Room reserved for the Class of 1978 for a reception and dinner, 1800-2200 hours.  The seating capacity is for over 120 people. So, we have plenty of room for more classmates to join us.  Right now, we have almost forty classmates and fifteen wives signed up for R-Day support.  After speaking with Melissa in Thayer Hotel Sales and Catering office and reviewing the reception and dinner packages, we will have a buffet dinner for $75 per person. Other dinner options are significantly more expensive.  This cost includes tax and service gratuity.  I will provide more info later so that I can zero in on your (our) food preferences.  

We have a time blocked off for a reception - from 1800-1930 hours.  I wanted to provide a concept of what the reception will look like.  First off, the bar will be “pay as you go” for everybody.  Next, remembering our Task & Purpose, we will open the reception up to members of the Class of 2028 and their families.  Scores will be staying in the Thayer Hotel. We will spread the word to the Class of 2028 and their families via multiple means of commo.  Many will be having dinner in the MacArthur Dining Room, or just passing through the Hotel and post.  By having a banner outside the door welcoming in our new affiliates, wearing our ‘78 jerseys during the reception, and freely talking with the new cadets candidates and their families, we will be setting the bar high for our Class and our relationship with the Class of 2028.  Like previous 50-Year Affiliation Classes, the Class of 1978 has already committed to spending $90-100K supporting the 50-Year Affiliation Program.  Anything that directly supports our interaction with members of the Class of 2028 is supported by this fund.

Next is R-Day!  On July 1st, we will begin our work around 0500 hr-ish. This will give us plenty of time to set up our stations in and outside Ike Hall.  Parking will be provided for us near the Athletic Office.  Ike Hall doors will open to the first wave of new cadets and their families at 0600 hrs.  We expect those to come early will be from USMAPS.  In Update #1, I failed to mention our support for being present and mingling downstairs Ike Hall in the Boodlers, after parents have said their goodbye to their new cadets upstairs in the auditorium.  This is a Class of 1978 hosted breakfast.  Again, we will break down our work stations and cease work on or about 1300 hrs.  

On the evening of R-Day, the Class of 2028 will have the Oath Ceremony.  Our class is currently provided with four four seats in the Superintendent’s Box. Naturally, I asked for more! Having served as the Aide to the Superintendent back in the day, and having escorted many folks (including BG Bard) to their seats in the Box to watch parades, I guarantee the view of the parade from there is spectacular.  Please let me know if you would like to represent our Class in the Superintendent’s Box.  I plan to be enroute home by then.

Thanks for reading.  It is still not too late to have more of you join our R-Day Support Team and/or the Dinner. Just let me know.

BEAT NAVY!  Can't wait to see you once again!


6 Farmhouse Lane

Carlisle PA 17013

(864) 322-3279

PS.  For those that don't know, we have a private Facebook page for our class at West Point 1978 Alum. Almost half of us are linked onto this page.

PPS. Reminder: May 21st is the date for the Alumni Exercises, Review and Luncheon honoring this year's Distinguished Graduates event. Our own LTG (R) Thomas P. Bostick ’78 is one of this year's recipients! Click here to learn more and register!