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GMSAA Facebook Group, Fr. Mike Kallock's Sermon of October 18, plus other new items


See our newly posted 2015 Reunion Photos.


Ask to join our brand new and official Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association Facebook Group.

This group has been created as requested by the GMSAA Board of Directors, October 16, 2015.
The purpose of this group is to network, communicate, share photos and stories, post news and promote activities that pertain to the Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association, its activities and its family of cadets, as another added resource to help us stay in touch. Please keep our group positive, kind in spirit and with respect to all, politically impartial. Posts not adhering to these simple guidelines will be deleted and if ongoing the poster will be banned.
{No spam or advertising obviously.}

Father Michael Kallock Sermon of October 2015

Fr. Kallock, GMS '63, delivered a thought provoking sermon on what it means to serve. His sermon was the final event of the 2015 Reunion Weekend and has been posted on the GMSAA Facebook Group.

PASSING IN REVIEW ARTICLE on Col. Robert J. Fullerton

See Deak Roberts' new Passing In Review article in honor of Col. Robert J. Fullerton. One of the finest articles he has posted. Amazing life he had.


I posted some of my photographs of the recent 2015 reunion on the GMSAA website. They are located at,

Also the 2014 reunion photos taken by official GMSAA photo guy are now up online.

Regarding the 'Official' Facebook page, I like 2 people to act as co-administrators who will also have access. Contact me if you want this honorable honor. I also recommend that this (Facebook) gets passed on to others as we progress with it.

If anyone else has photos of this recent reunion, please send them to me at my email address, not through the submit button on GMSAA.ORG. Just email them to me, my email address is found in the cadet database.

If I have posted a photo that you think should not be up, please let me know and I will remove it.


As Posted in Fall 2014 Alumni Record

President’s Message

Greetings to my fellow alumni as well as the many family and friends who read this Alumni Record. The officers and directors of your Association have been in active communication this past winter and spring as we anticipate our upcoming reunion and the issues of interest and priority to be discussed and decided at the Board Meeting and the General Meeting. Foremost in our Board discussions will be decisions to find a path to ensure that our signature legacy GLI leadership programs live on after our Association is no longer in existence. We are also working on marketing improved awareness and knowledge about our wonderful museum to the general public.

Elsewhere in this issue you will read the fascinating story about our two cannons. A special thank you to Tony Sadler for his part in researching the history of these guns. We hope to have plaques on each of the cannons to tell their story in time for the upcoming reunion.

It is not something we want to dwell on, but we need to remind ourselves that in just eight years we will be presenting 50 Year Pins to our last graduating class. The positive side of that is an ever increasing percentage of our alumni are now retired and have the available time to come back to Lewisburg each October. So, fill out that reunion form you just received and make your reservations. Plan now to join your fellow alumni as we all gather to re-connect, remember and reminisce in Lewisburg, October 16 – 19, 2014.

Greenbrier Forever,
Bill Isbister

2014 GMSAA Reunion Online Registration Open

Is everybody ready for the 2014 Reunion?

Registration is now open on the 2014 Online Registration Form!

Alternatively, feel free to use our Mail-In Registration Form PDF.

Hope to see you soon!

Passing In Review Article for Richard Cedric Barker


One of the most talented individuals to ever come out of Greenbrier Military School, Dick Barker commanded Company “A” during his senior year of 1955. He started his career as a musician at GMS playing the guitar and singing Western songs. He would later impact on the career of the great singer/songwriter Judy Collins. They met at Colorado State and he taught her how to play the guitar. Dick pioneered rafting on the Snake River and created the famous “Hootenanny”, his musical legacy, at Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Follow the link below to see the newest “PASSING IN REVIEW" article written by Deak Roberts. You will enjoy reading about Dick, a true Legend in his own time.

Class of 1969 45th Year Class Reunion

Bob Boles called me a while ago and asked if I would write a little something about why one should come back to Lewisburg for a reunion. This October is the class of 1969’s 45th anniversary of our graduation from GMS. My original intent was to compare leaving GMS after 3 years to my retirement this past May from Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), where I taught for 28 years.

But it is really impossible to compare the two, GMS and MSUM. Though I have successfully enjoyed my time here, it pales against the 3 years spent in Lewisburg. I have made strong connections with MSUM and Fargo-Moorhead over these years, but none will hold the bonds made 45 years ago with you guys, the school and community. So why go back to this 45th reunion?

In 2008 Angelo Damante and I had a brief email exchange after Dave Ritchie received the GMS Hall of Fame Award. Angelo made a telephone appearance during Captain Ritchie’s presentation and I wanted to let him know how much it meant to everyone in the audience.

I wrote, “Angelo, you hit it spot on in addressing what all those men had done for us during our stay in Lewisburg, even those moments when we couldn't stand being there. Just think of the enormous responsibility they assumed while being our teachers, our leaders and our guides through those years! Responsibility we, as cadets, were too young and immature to recognize.”

Angelo wrote back: “The years go by so fast, and we tend to forget so much, due to the fact that we are tending to our daily existence…”

He spoke of the faculty members at GMS and of what … “many of us went through, but maybe didn’t appreciate at the time. ... I really attribute any success that I have had in this life to the years at the Brier. They truly made me who I am…” I feel sincerely lucky that I (and my son Greg who resides in DC) were in the audience that day to hear Angelo’s call and watch Dave Ritchie receive his award.

To mirror Angelo: What we did there at GMS molded us into who we are today and in many ways our success.

About 8 years after our graduation in 1969, I made it back to Lewisburg while on a ski trip to Snowshoe. After that I attended another reunion probably around 1994. And I think that was it … until 2008. Since then, I have been back at every reunion that I could attend. I have rekindled friendships and I have made new ones. I have connected with faculty members who actually remembered me, and some that look at me in puzzlement. Maybe they were looking at me with the same look that long time ago.

GMS Alums such as Bob Boles (’70), Jim Dodway (’69), Jim Downer (’71), Chuck ‘Bruce’ Hartman (’70), Dan Pennington (‘69), Tony Sadler (’70), Sam Sardis (’70), Pat Smith (’68), Butch Wingo (’70) and faculty such as Herb Pearis (’56) all have been instrumental on my returning time and again to Lewisburg each Fall, some years more than that. And many of us have taken an active role in the GMSAA organization, trying to keep GMS alive in some small but important way.

So, why this attachment after 45 years?

Though closed in 1972, GMS lives on physically in the front yard and the main structure of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. A drive past the mess hall and D stoop will bring back a host of memories. And while the dorms and auditorium are not so recognizable, one stroll down the main or the upper hallways or through the Tower will bring a on a flood of recollections.

If you still have your yearbook, take some time and flip through it. There is a heading on page 5 of the 1969 “Brier Patch” that reads, “It is a Spirit That Frees Us and Enables Us To Believe in the Future, To Live with Zest—The Free Spirit”. Truly this is a statement describing our generation. The Free Spirit: free to learn, to accomplish, to compete, to get together, and to make friends. That is who we were then and are now.

So, where are all those guys in that yearbook we had so much in common with? We were and are in such a small club, that it is a shame we have not stayed in closer contact. Where are you Raymundo Rodriguez, Ed Dillabaugh, Pete Zuhars, Roy Taylor, Ralph Gallo, Lacinio Pichardo and Quentin Bullock?

Think about the bonding we went through. What our daily regiment meant to us: reveille, retreat and taps that ruled our day; eating breakfast, lunch and dinner with 300 of your closest friends; daily bathroom routines that other’s not in our boots would ever understand. Think of the close camaraderie amongst all of us no matter what our age, social strata or school rank. One would never see that outside the walls of an institution such as ours. Remember the Final Dress Parade and Silent Drill?

When I think of GMS, I think mainly of good friends and good times we had together. GMS football with fall colors and smells that will never be matched anywhere else; cold walks to the basketball games and snows that coated our campus in a winter splendor. The rebirth of the hills each spring is something I miss even today and will always cherish. Yet, we all experienced some tough times and major homesickness, being away from home, family and friends, maybe away from your girl. But we made it through.

October will quickly be upon us. So come back to Lewisburg this fall October 16-19 and maybe find out what happened to your roommates and friends, see what GMS has evolved into, chat with some of the faculty members and coaches. Come and share some good food and stories. And OH YES, those stories get longer, bigger and better every year!

Hey, Pennington remember when Dodway….


A memorial service for Samuel Stanley Combs, Cadet Major 1956, will be held on Saturday, May 17th, 2014 at the Calvary Methodist Church in Richlands, WV. Richlands is located outside of Lewisburg, rt. 60 west. The service will commence at 11 AM with Stan’s ashes buried in the church cemetery. Following the service a reception will be held in Church basement. Stan’s children will be here for the service and to meet as many of their fathers remaining friends as possible.

Please assist in helping get the word out to any and all that might have an interest in the service. I am concerned those members of the band in ’53, ’54 & 57 be notified. Please as you can.

The service is in keeping with Stan’s wishes.

President’s Message, March, 2014

It is an honor to greet my fellow alumni for the first time in these pages as your new President. I begin by thanking our Board of Directors for their dedicated service in leading our Association and for the confidence they have expressed in me by electing me to this responsibility. Thanks to Larry Springer, Charlie Duncan and Fred Woitscheck for their five years of service as Directors as we welcome new Directors Bill Deck, Denton Staley and Sam Woods. Very special thanks to Grey Webb, who has lead our Association as President for the past two years. Grey has successfully initiated several important changes in the governance and operation of our organization. He has kept the officers and directors involved and informed these past two years, which has insured a smooth transition of leadership. We are grateful for his service to our organization.

I am sure many of you have had the same experience as I when you try to explain to non-GMS friends about our Association. They marvel at the facts that the alumni of a school that closed 41 years ago: (1) continue to return to the site of their unique common experience each October, (2) have a vibrant organization with a museum and memorial plaza and (3) are actively sharing our values with new generations of West Virginia youth through our GLI Program. We are truly a very special organization that has a great deal to be proud of and to celebrate.

Change is inevitable, and this year is no exception. After more than 20 years as our Association Secretary, Herb Pearis has retired from that position. Herb has been so much more than that title would suggest. He has been the face and voice of the organization, the one that answers the phone, the institutional memory, the editor of the Alumni Record and the magic hand behind the scenes that insured that everything went smoothly throughout the year and especially at our reunions. For those who were not with us at the reunion, Herb and Joann were recognized and honored with the gift of a trip to the Canadian Rockies. If you are interested in participating in this gift, details are provided elsewhere in this Alumni Record. Herb will continue to help us with responsibilities that require a Lewisburg presence, but will give up major responsibilities of the position.

Bob Boles, ‘70 has been elected as the new Secretary of our Association and we have a new telephone number. The new number is (304) 520-3214. The phone will be answered by a voice which will identify the GMSAA and offer you the options of connecting to myself, Bob Boles, Herb Pearis or Beaman Cummings, Executive Director of GLI. The call will then be automatically transferred to each of our designated numbers (home, office or mobile). Please make a note of this number.
Bob Boles, I and others have begun working on the 2014 Reunion and look forward to another successful gathering in Lewisburg October 16 – 19, 2014. So, mark your calendars now and “Come Back to the Brier”. We look forward to seeing you in Lewisburg October 16 – 19, 2014.

Greenbrier Forever,

Bill Isbister ‘52

Principle-Based Leadership by Jim Anderson

Principle-Based Leadership by Jim Anderson is now available for purchase in the Cadet Store in Hard Cover.

“In ‘Principle-Based Leadership’ Jim Anderson speaks eloquently to the most important qualities and actions that result in the creation of outstanding leaders… This book provides a complete practical program for enhancing the leadership abilities of individuals as well as organizations.” – Jack Box Regional Chairman Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

About the Author:

Jim Anderson has coached and developed hundreds of leaders and professionals in Fortune 500 Companies and public sector organizations since 1980. He has conducted countless seminars and professional development programs on leadership, management, professional success and related topics as well as served on the faculty within the Michigan State University Graduate School of Business and the University of Colorado in Boulder. Jim is co-founder of the Greenbrier Leadership Institute,, in Lewisburg, West Virginia. He also founded MSR Corporation, an executive managementconsulting business in 1980 operating in Colorado. Jim and his family reside in the Denver area.

Bob Keene, KMI & GMS Connection


Major Bob Keene:
Kentucky Military Institute & the Greenbrier Military School Connection

Among my GMS memories are the hours spent in the, always entertaining, Public Speaking/Speech classes taught by the late, beloved Major Bob Keene. Maj. Keene was affectionately referred to, by many of us scurrilous, misguided cadets, as “B.S. Bob” because of his many “engaging” chronicles. Classes always began with the Major asking a cadet to come to the podium and present a speech, based on a Reader’s Digest article, read the night before.

Invariably, at some point during each class, Major Keene would interrupt the speaker with his patented “That reminds me of the time....”, quickly digressing into a soliloquy based on a “flashback” from the good Major’s earlier days.

A few examples of these chronicles were: “The Louisville Flood of 1937” when he reputedly cruised through the flooded streets of Louisville, Ky. in a PT Boat with the Kentucky National Guard; or, the one about “The Great Okeechobee Hurricane” disaster of the late 1920’s in which the Major recounted a friend’s recollection having visited the area around the destroyed Hoover Dike in the days following the storm, which killed over 2,000 laborers and farm families; and, a particularly interesting story, more to the point of this writing, a “moving account” from his days, during the late 1920’s, at KMI (Kentucky Military Institute), during which time he befriended a young KMI cadet named Victor Mature. Victor, the son of an Italian immigrant, was being mistreated by other cadets due to his Italian, immigrant heritage. As you will surely recall, Victor Mature later became a famous Hollywood actor, who starred in such movies as “The Robe”, “Demetrius and the Gladiators”, “Samson and Delilah” and many others.

Recently I checked the bio on Victor Mature and found that he had, in fact, at-
tended KMI, from 1928-29, along with another actor, Jim Backus of “Mr. Magoo” and “Gillingan’s Island” fame. After reading the bio, I emailed the KMI Alumni Association
asking if they had any information about a former KMI cadet or teacher with the name, Bob Keene. I received responses from a couple of former KMI alumni, corroborating the Major’s story, told to us back in that 1965 GMS classroom.

So, to the late Major Bob Keene, I hope he will “look down” and except my apol-ogy for having referred, to him, in absentia, of course, as “B.S. Bob”; and, I know, now, that all his other fascin-ating accounts were, I’m absolutely, positively, TRUE, as well. And I thoroughly enjoyed everyone one of those stories and the time spent in his class.

Check out the following website for other interesting and famous KMI Alumni.

I’m indebted to former KMI cadets, Tommy Young and Jim Flora for responding to my emails and providing the history on Maj. Bob Keene’s early days at KMI.
Tommy Young
KMI History Project
P.O. Box 338
Mt. Carmel, IL 62863

Jim Flora
Class of 1962
P.O. Box 605
Hiawassee, GA 30546
770-883-4493 Cell
Webmaster at

1930 Photo of Cadets including Jim Backus & Victor Mature

Bob Keene at KMI info emailed by former KMI cadet Tommy Young.:

Information on Bob Keene is limited - he entered KMI as a cadet in Sept 1925 and graduated in June 1926. Records indicate that he remained at KMI for a few years - Victure Mature entered KMI in Sept 1928. I have a note that Keene was pictured in the 1928-29 yearbook - that would indicate that they were there at the sametime. I quess it is possible that he taught Mature while he was a cadet - Mature was only there one year.

KMI President formerly at GMS: Information provided by KMI alumnus, Tommy Young.

Incidentially - the president of KMI and the Commandant had both been on the faculty at Greenbrier before being KMI in the 1920s. Four members of the faculty made the move to Lyndon, Ky. in 1925-1926. The people who made the move From Greenbrier were Charles B. Richmond, Charles E. Hodgin, Samuel Marshall, and Willis Groseclose. KMI was purchased in 1924 by Richmond, Hodgin and Marshall. Marshall would sell his interest at some point but all four men remained connected to the school until the late 1960s.

Victor Mature at KMI:
Victure Mature entered KMI in Sept 1928 and Mature was only there one year..

Jim Backus at KMI:
His bio indicates he attended KMI in the late 1920’s and a photo of KMI cadets includes
both Victor Mature and Jim Backus.

Thank’s, Herb, for all you do for the GMS Alumni Association.

Mark Wellman