See more photos from Homecoming 2011 on MMA’s Flickr page and order professional photos shot by Steve Biggers at http://ksb1987.zenfolio.com/.
Home is where the heart is. That was the feeling expressed by nearly 100 MMA alumni who returned to Mexico for the school’s Homecoming celebration Sept. 30- Oct. 2. Alumni from as far back as the 1940s came from near and far to visit the school that was once – and possibly still is - a home away from home.
Homecoming events kicked off Friday morning at the Mexico Country Club. About 15 alums took an early weekend and enjoyed a four-man scramble golf tournament accompanied by a luncheon. Once the alums finished up the golf tournament, several headed to MMA’s new paintball field for an alumni-cadet paintball match. Brothers Jesus Soriano ’82 of O’Fallon, Mo. and Jorge Soriano ’86 of Brentwood, Mo. gave it a shot, but fell to the senior cadets.
The competitive atmosphere continued to the soccer field Friday afternoon, as a handful of alums challenged the varsity soccer team on the pitch but fell 6-0 to the cadets.
After a busy afternoon of athletics and competition, alumni were treated to a special Homecoming Review. Alums were invited to inspect the cadets along with MMA President, MajGen Robert M. Flanagan, USMC (Ret.). The long line of alumni spanned Colonels Field as they trooped the line. The alums were also invited to take part in the presentation of senior rings to 23 MMA senior cadets. Many of the alums said they were honored to be a part of this significant moment. The day concluded with some socializing at the Mexico Country Club for the Alumni Barbeque.
Saturday was a day of recognition and appreciation for many of MMA’s alums. The day began with the fourth annual donor breakfast, held in Barnard Hall. After updating the donors on the progress MMA has seen in the last year, MajGen Flanagan presented donors with awards to thank them for their generous contributions.
During the donor breakfast, MajGen Flanagan announced his retirement as of June 30, 2012. He remarked that a national search is underway for the selection of the new president. MajGen Flanagan will retire to Georgia with his wife Debbie.
Many of Saturday’s events brought everyone to Colonels Field, beginning with a performance by the MMA Fusileers. Following the Fusileers was the alumni drilldown, during which alums headed to the field to see just how much they remember from their time at MMA. Chris Free ’01 of Virginia Beach, Va. won the drilldown. The ten best alums then squared off against current cadets in the sweepstakes drill, with Marco Scherer ’94 of Chicago, Ill. winning the sweepstakes award.
Perhaps the most special moment from Saturday’s events was a surprise. During the Alumni Awards Convocation in the Gymtorium, Colonel Charles R. Stribling, III ’44 was presented with the LTC Paul Gillette ’70 Distinguished Alumnus Award, recognizing him for his past contributions and dedication to MMA. Colonel Stribling did not know he was receiving the award, and said after the presentation that he was very appreciative of the honor.
Alumni then joined cadets by falling into formation and marching to noon mess, with several former band members picking up instruments and playing alongside members of the MMA band. This was yet another chance to relive their MMA experience. After sharing more memories about the mess hall from their days at MMA, the alums made their way back to Colonels Field for the Homecoming football game against Confluence Academy of St. Louis. Despite a defeat on the football field, many alums recalled their athletic days during the game. During halftime of the football game, Charlie Company accepted the plaque for the Barracks Decorating Contest, as judged by the alumni wives.
Hats, t-shirts, and jackets flew off the shelves at the Quartermaster’s souvenir tent as alums were eager to show their support once again. The cool, crisp fall weather made for a very pleasant afternoon of football.
Saturday concluded with a dinner and dance at the Mexico Elks Lodge. Former MMA Alumni Association President Dan Davis ’71, of Grand Rapids, Mich., installed Dave Telford ’65, of Omaha, Neb. as the 2011-2012 president of the association for the next year. As a token of their appreciation for his service to MMA, the alumni board presented MajGen Flanagan with a rare pistol, his wife Debbie received a framed photo of Stribling Hall, and the class of 1991 gave them a throw blanket from the 319th Special Operations Squadron of the Air Force based at Hurlburt Field, Fla.
The Class of 1971 proudly accepted the Class of ’55 plaque for attendance and philanthropy, raising $7,000 in contributions during Homecoming weekend.
On Sunday, Dave Telford ’65 was honored as the new MMA Alumni Association President during Review. Todd Helm ’80 of Springfield, Ill. was the alumni speaker at evening Vespers.
Many alums stayed for the duration of Homecoming and took part in events that jogged their memories of their days at MMA. Some came from nearby Mexico, Mo., and others came from as far as Thailand. They shared laughs, their MMA pride, took time to honor other alums, and even had a few tears. But perhaps most importantly, they were able to return to a place many still consider a second home.