Another year at MMA, another successful homecoming. Over 340 cadets, alumni, parents, and friends connected over the three day weekend. Members of 47 different graduating classes were in attendance, with
the most coming from the class of ’87 at 15 members strong.
Things kicked off Friday with the annual Alumni Association Golf Tournament at Arthur Hills Golf Course. This year the premier sponsor was the MMA class of 1977. Generous alumnus Jay Allen ’91 sponsored the beer cart, keeping players in high spirits. All in all, 19 alumni and their spouses hit the links on a beautiful, crisp Missouri morning.
At the end of the day, after the dust had settled and the divots were fixed, the winning group was Michael Federici ’91, Lee Merrill ’92, and Chris Ware ’92. Second place was claimed by Rex Rodenbaugh ’95, Mark Thomas ‘92, Jay Allen ’91, and Gregg Center ‘91. Bob Ernest ’77, David Daily ‘72, Buster Hall ’72, and Jeffrey Brummett ’71 represented the third place team.
A third of the funds raised via the tournament will go to the Mexico Help Center, with the remainder going towards cadet projects directed by the Alumni Association.
Hungry alumni retreated to the back steps of Stribling Hall Friday night for some BBQ and live music. The MaxFred Band is a Kansas City group headed by MMA’s own Maxwell Frederickson, class of 2001, provided the live entertainment.
After the sun had set, alumni headed to Colonels Field for a more somber occasion. The Sliver Taps ceremony honors MMA alumni, family, and friends who have recently passed away. Cadets marched on to Colonels Field in the darkness of night. As the names of loved ones were read, a cadet in formation illuminated a light-stick in their memory. After the names were read, Echo Taps was played and a prayer was offered for the school, the families, and all those in attendance.
Saturday morning started off right with the donor breakfast, honoring those who have generously given to the Academy. The cadet address was given by Thomas Huckins, class of 2020, the first recipient of the Flanagan Scholarship named for MMA’s ninth president, Maj. Gen. Robert M. Flanagan, USMC (Ret.). President McGeroge shared highlights of the past year and demonstrated some of the ways that philanthropy benefits the cadets at MMA by keeping tuition affordable.
One of the most memorable and cherished events during every homecoming is the Review of the Corps of Cadets. The Corps, resplendent in their 1889 parade uniforms, put on a dazzling display for the gathered Alumni. After trooping the line, alumni competed in a drill down. The winner of the alumni drilldown was John Schuchmann, Jr. ’86, while Steven McDavid ‘97 was the Sweepstakes Champion, beating out the 10 best-drilled alumni and cadets.
There is always a sense of strong brotherhood and camaraderie at MMA homecomings. This year, that feeling was amplified as MMA’s alumni and former faculty came together after the passing of fellow alumnus, teacher, mentor, coach, board chair, and president, Col. Stribling III ‘44. The memorial service saw remarks by Chaplain Kevin Quinn, eight MMA President Ron Kelly, board member Dean Davison ’78, and President Tony McGeorge. All spoke on the life lived and lives touched, allowing for reflection on the impact Col. Stribling III had during his lifelong involvement with MMA. Afterward, on front campus, the cadet honor guard fired three volleys in his honor, and Echo Taps was played.
The Athletic Hall of Fame gained new members when the champion swim teams from 1982-83, 1983-84, and 1984-85 were inducted and celebrated with a bronze plaque engraved with the names of the swim team members and their coach Ron Rosendahl. Rosendahl was present for the occasion and made remarks, praising his former swimmer Christopher Gentry ’88 for generously funding the purchase of the plaque.
During the alumni Convocation, Alejandro Torres ’67 was recognized by President McGeroge as being among MMA’s distinguished alumni by for his leadership in aviation. Torres is one of eleven aviators to hold all seven pilots FAA endorsements, and the only international holder of the seven FAA endorsements.
Jeff Kays ’84 received the Paul Gillette ’70 Award for Alumni Leadership. Jeff was a nine year cadet, battalion commander in ’84, and president of the Alumni Association from 2014-16.
Wayne Matthews ’62 was recognized as an outstanding Class Agent by outgoing Alumni Association President Todd Helm ‘80.
Guests were treated to back campus tours, including a stop to view the new Marine obstacle course, which has just been constructed thanks to a contribution from alumnus Oscar Cortada ’16 and his father Javier Cortada.
To cap off the day, Homecoming guests relaxed on the campus’s front law during the annual picnic. Music from the MMA jazz band and a band called SoulRoot filled the air as a slideshow featuring photos of MMA through the years played in the background throughout the evening.
Most importantly, at least for the cadets, was the results of the barracks decorating contest. Delta Company took first place, followed closely by Band/Charlie in second, and Bravo in third. For their amazing decorating skills, Delta will enjoy a pizza party.
“Each year Homecoming gets better and better, with live music on campus, great food, socials, and an event schedule that gives alumni and guests an experience of fond memories and appreciation of the strength of the Academy and value it brings to the cadets,” MMA Alumni Association Secretary Chris Schafer ’89 said. “The campus has never looked so beautiful, the cadets never so sharp, and the brotherhood never stronger.”