Current News

Show Only "Messages From the President"

Recent Cadet Passings


It has recently been brought to our attention the following cadets have passed away. At this moment we have no further particulars. If any of you have any information on these alumni, could you forward those details to me at:

Fred F. McIntosh III, Class of ’45
Old Tappan, NJ
March 10, 2022

Dr. Robert Bell , Class of '52
San Antonio, TX
July 12, 2022

Robert Nelson, Class of '53
Lady Lake, FL
No Date Available

Barham Parker, Class of '57
Black Diamond WA
February7, 2021

Mike Amling, Class of ’69
London, OH
June 2022

Recent Cadet Passings



Sadly, we have recently been informed of the passing of the following Alumni. No other details have been included.

Walter Beauvais: Freshman Class of 1949
Passed 2020

Albert Anson III: Senior Class of 1954
Passed September, 2021

Thomas R. Farrington: Freshman Class of 1957
Passed 12/19/2020

Joe McGlothlin: Senior Class of 1956
Passed Date Unknown

David Lewis Manzo: PG Class of 1956
Passed July 28, 2020

Daniel Wykoff: PG Class of 1967
Passed September, 2020

Nathaniel David Helmick: Senior Class of 1953
Passed 2018



April 20, 2022
Greetings from Eden Prairie, MN.

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 alumni. The Free Spirit: free to learn, to accomplish, to compete, to get together, and to make friends. That is who we were then and who we are now.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the closing of Greenbrier Military School. A while back Bob Boles (’70) asked if I would write a little something about why one should come back to Lewisburg for a reunion. My original intent was to compare leaving GMS after 3 years to my retirement in 2014 from Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM).

You know, it is really impossible to compare the two, GMS and MSUM. My 28 years teaching at MSUM pales against the short span of the 3 years spent in Lewisburg. While making strong connections at MSUM over those years, none will hold the bonds made years ago with you guys, the school and community. So why go back to this particular reunion, the 50th Anniversary of the closing of GMS? Here is why I keep going back.

Angelo Damante (’69) once wrote to me: “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…”

In 1977, I made it back to Lewisburg while heading to Snowshoe on a ski trip. After that I attended a reunion probably around 1994 and then another, then maybe another, etc. Since 2004, 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 and cadets who actually remembered me, and some that stare thinking, “Mike Who?”.

Why this attachment after all these years, why attend this particular reunion? Let me be clear, this is NOT the last reunion. But 50 years ago GMS closed and I believe we have been doing organized reunions since the mid 80s. 50 years is a milestone year, 5 decades, 50 trips around the sun, ONE HALF OF A CENTURY! We are not getting younger, our ranks are diminishing each time a reunion rolls around and there are no new cadets to take our place.

Where are those guys in those yearbooks we had so much in common with? We are in such a small club anyway that it is a shame we have not stayed in closer contact. Where are you guys? What’s become of you? Share with us your trials and tribulations.

Think about the community 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 our friends back home would never understand. Think of the close camaraderie amongst all of us no matter what our age, social strata or school rank. One would never have seen that outside the walls of an institution such as ours.

Knowing that each of us had different feelings and emotions regarding GMS back then, one thing is clear to me. When I reflect on my time at GMS, I think mainly of good friends and good times we had together. We received a dang strong education that led many of us to be valuable and creative members of this great country. I think back on 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 really tough times and major homesickness, being away from home, family and friends, maybe away from your girl. But we made it through. And, let us particularly not forget the girls from “GCW”. Friendships that have endured to today and whose presence helped us get through our years at GMS. Remember, they were in a similar boat.

GMS Alums such as Bob Boles (’70), Terry Byrnes (’68), Beaman Cummings (’63), John Byrnes (’65), Bill Deck (’64), Jim Dodway (’69), Jim Downer (’71), Frank Frashier (’69), Dan Pennington (‘69), Tony Sadler (’70), Sam Sardis (’70), Perry Woodside (’64), with faculty Herb Pearis (’56), Ellsworth Buck and Ed Rock have been instrumental to my returning time and again to Lewisburg each Fall. And many of these listed have taken an active role in the GMSAA organization, trying to keep our memory alive in some small but important way.

October will quickly be upon us. So come back to Lewisburg this fall 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!”

Mike Ruth, GMS Class of ‘69

Prepare for GMS Reunion 2022!


More details to follow shortly! Online Registration will open soon; check back in early April.

Hotel rooms go fast so BOOK EARLY!

Click here to see the Reunion Schedule

GMS 'Brier Patch' Yearbooks NOW AVAILABLE FOR VIEW!


Hello to all GMS Alumni & Friends,

I am happy to announce as of today (May 24th, 2020) that 50 years of GMS yearbooks are now available for FREE VIEW on our website!

I hope many of you find pleasure in viewing these archives of history as I certainly did in the process of optimizing, stabilizing & cropping all 4,289 total pages from a dark microfilm state. Each yearbook has been carefully lightened with level & curve adjustments for easier visibility. As seen in this photo, the PDF reader allows for the PDF to be downloaded if you'd like to keep a copy for yourself. Also, to view the yearbook in full screen, click the "Presentation Mode" button above the reader.

A huge thanks also goes to Mike Ruth '69 and our museum curator, Mary Essig, for making this yearbook project possible!

Ready to check it out? View them under the Cadets dropdown, select "'Brier Patch' Yearbooks!"


Matt Winans
GMSAA Webmaster

Read James "Deak" Roberts Jr.'s New "Passing in Review" Article


Read the Newest and Final Edition of James "Deak" Roberts Jr.'s "Passing in Review" series!

This is a Tribute to Herb Pearis, The Force that brought GMS alumni together and The Glue that held them together for over 30 years. Two years as a Student, 10 years as an Instructor / Counselor, and 30+ years as the GMSAA Secretary, Creator / Editor / Publisher of the Alumni Record, Herb has been an integral element of Greenbrier Military School and its alumni for over 42 years.

Read it all here!

August 2019 Alumni Record / 2018 Reunion Photos


Head on over to the Alumni Record page to see the newest August 2019 edition, honoring the Class of '69!

Also please feel free to browse photos of the latest 2018 GMS Reunion.

New GMSAA Website!


Hey GMS Alumni!

I am Matt Winans, the GMSAA Webmaster, here bringing you all a fun little present... just in time for Christmas 2018: a Brand New AMAZING Website!!!!!! I know, right!? This is the BEST CHRISTMAS EVER!!!!

As some of you might know from my visit to the 2016 Reunion, my Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) "Graphic Communications" Professor Mike Ruth, GMS Class of '69 initially got me on board as a graduating student freelance intern to do this website back in 2011. He was our Interactive Multimedia expert who actually named my own degree... and I guess knew how to pick out great talent! ;) HA! I hadn't worked with Content Management Systems much before getting into this job, but I knew it would be a necessity for your association and found Drupal - though having a bit steeper of a learning curve than WordPress or Joomla - to be the best route for the job... and thankfully I was right. It has worked fantastic for our use! Drupal is regularly maintained and kept secure by the open-source community. Since the initial launch in 2011, we have continuously implemented upgrades, utilizing over 130 modules in an effort to make this website as useful as possible for all of you GMS alumni.

The biggest breakthrough from the onset was to make as Herb calls "The Lifeblood of the Association" a.k.a. the Cadet Database of over 6k records finally available to YOU, the public, in a secure state. Then of course came the Cadet Store, Reunion Registration implementation, Donation Form, Official Board of Directors, News / Newsletter integration, ability to create the Name Tags everyone wears around their necks at the reunions, the generation of the CASS Certified Mailing Labels that provide the association a discount through the Postal Service on every mailing...... and I'm not sure why I started listing features because this is going to get long, but my point is... it's been quite the fun and exciting journey.

This new version of the website is definitely my finest to date and it is one I am truly proud of. It is a responsive, device compatible theme with cool graphics and a hand full of new/upgraded features. Please take some time to click around! I would like to know what you think, and will continue to work on updating minor things until I am completely 100% satisfied-- a hard goal for me to achieve. I'd like to thank Mike, Herb Pearis, Tony Sadler, Bob Boles, and Perry Woodside for being a part of the GMSAA Web Committee. You guys have been awesome! Also I'd like to say Thank You to WVSOM for providing this association awesome dedicated hosting for our filesystem and database (right on the campus of GMS)-- especially Wes Ward in their IT department for being there for me at all times, even in the evening! Wes is an incredibly hard worker and one of the smartest people I've ever interacted with. There are so many others in this association I have begun to consider friends over partners. The GMS Alumni Association has been a really fun group for me to get to know, work with and I appreciate all of you. Thank you for the opportunity to let me help you guys out and please... enjoy the New Website and Merry Christmas!


Matt Winans

Message From the GMSAA President


Dear GMS Alumni and Friends,

Based on recent Facebook posts, it appears that some people are getting spammed from someone posing as Bob Blair regarding a possible refund and asking to “friend” him on Facebook. As many of you know Bob passed away some time ago. Please do not respond to this email as it likely is an attempt to extract money/information from you. Our IT consultant has already requested Bob’s Facebook account be memorialized, but be cautious if something like this appears.


Perry Woodside
Greenbrier Military Alumni Association

2017 GMSAA Reunion Online Registration Open


Get your membership fees and/or event fees paid for in advance!

Registration is open on the 2017 Online Registration Form.



JUNE 18, 2017

Attached is Charles Shea Smith's Class ring. Some good hearted souls found it in Eastern Long Island recently and are trying to get it back to Mr. Smith. They have contacted and our FB Group. The class ring says 1961 but records show Charles graduated in 1962 and was in Band Co.

If any of you know where Charles is, could you contact Herb or me (or have Charles contact one of us directly) and we will forward to Charles their contact information. I have a gmail address for Charles, but he has not responded. His last known address on file is in southern AZ.

I lost mine about 25 years ago and would love to get it back. You can have them remade, but (ask Sam Sardis) the cost is prohibitive for many of us.

Mike Ruth GMS '69

A Poetic Tribute to Bob Blair '56 - by Deak Roberts


It happened again a couple of days ago. I lost another old friend. I suppose I am of the age that I should expect these things. This may be true, but I damned sure can’t get used to it. Regardless, it stimulated the artist (as you may know, my art is poetry) in me, and I wrote this:










Jim Roberts (Deak)



FROM TERRY BYRNES Regarding May Trip to Aruba:

Please post to all on GMSAA. Thanks.

I have had Amex Group Desk quote current airfares from several cities. Also they have special rates at the RIU Palace Antillas as shown. The great thing here is that you can pay with any credit card and the hotel deposits can be just $100 to start.

The issue direct with was that they require all payments with wire transfer only, no credit cards. The hotel is booking well so we need to reserve soon. Kelvin Farrar is completely familiar with the property and can answer any questions. See his contact information below.

When you do make a reservation, send me an email so I maintain a count. Thanks all!

---------- Original Message ----------
From: Kelvin D Farrar
To: ""
Date: October 26, 2016 at 5:05 PM
Subject: Quote for Riu Anitlles

Riu Palace Antilles
All- Inclusive Room only:

Junior Suite Oceanview $1947.00 total for two
Junior Suite Superior Oceanview $2116.80 total for two
Jr Suite Oceanfront $2284.80 total for two

Air quotes
AA #1208 Departs Miami at 11:15ma arrives in Aruba 2:11pm
AA #1028 Departs Aruba at 3:05pm arrives in Miami 6:08pm $690.46 total for two


Jet Blue #1411 Departs Ft. Lauderdale at 11:04am to Aruba 2:08pm
Jet Blue #1412 Departs Aruba at 3:04pm arrives Ft. Lauderdale at 6:08pm $523.32 total for two

Delta #655 Departs Atlanta at 10:30am arrives Aruba at 2:224pm
Delta #654 Departs Aruba at 3:25pm arrives Atlanta 7:48pm $897.57 total for two

AA #2407 Departs Tampa at 7:30am arrives Miami at 8:36am
AA# 1028 Departs Miami at 11:15am arrives Aruba 2:11pm
AA#1028 Departs Aruba at 3:05pm arrives Miami 6:08pm
AA#2709 Departs Miami at 8:23pm arrives Tampa 9:32pm $879.15 for two

JetBlue #1589 Departs Detroit at 7:24am arrives Ft. Lauderdale at 10:19am
JetBlue# 1411 Departs Ft Lauderdale at 11:04am arrives Aruba 2:08pm
JetBlue #1414 Departs Aruba at 3:04pm arrives Ft Lauderdale 6:08pm
JetBlue #1590 Departs Ft Lauderdale at 7:56pm arrives Detroit 10:58pm $796.57 for two

Charleston WV
Delta #899 Departs Charleston WV at 6:45am arrives Atlanta at 8:14am
Delta #655 Departs Atlanta at 10:30am arrives Aruba 2:24pm
Delta #654 Departs Aruba at 3:35pm arrives Atlanta 7:48pm
Delta #1731 Departs Atlanta at 8:50pm arrives Charleston 10:14pm $917.23 for two

Los Angeles
JetBlue #1124 Departs LAX at 8:50pm arrives JFK at 5:10am
JetBlue# 557 Departs JFK at 6:54am arrives Aruba 11:32am
JetBlue #1412 Departs Aruba at 3:04pm arrives Ft Lauderdale 6:08pm
JetBlue #101 Departs Ft Lauderdale at 8:10pm arrives LAX 10:49pm $1002.57 for two

AA #1532 Departs Chicago at 6:00am arrives Miami at 10:05am
AA# 1028 Departs Miami at 11:15am arrives Aruba 2:11pm
AA#877 Departs Aruba at 4:40pm arrives Charlotte 8:50pm
AA#1272 Departs Charlotte at 10:46pm arrives Chicago 11:47pm $935.75 for two

Recommend flying on the 2nd via jetblue to Ft Lauderdale. Flight one way are about $140 per person on Southwest. Too far out to book them though.
Jetblue #1411 Depart Ft Lauderdale at 11:04am arrive Aruba 2:08pm
Jetblue #958 Departs Aruba12:20pm arrives JFK at 5:20pm
Jetblue #65 Departs JFK 7:44pm arrives into Albuquerque 11:04pm Cost is $1224.22 for two

Kelvin D Farrar Tour Travel Counselor
American Express Travel & Lifestyle Services
' 800-443-7672 ext 63027 *

Rev. P. Roger Bowen's Closing Prayer on 10/16/16


We pray for children
who put chocolate fingers everywhere
who like to be tickled
who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
who sneak popsickles before supper
who erase holes in math workbooks
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never "counted potatoes,"
who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead in,
who never go to the circus
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistsfull of dandelions,
who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
who cover themselves with Band-Aids and sing off key,
who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,
who slurp their soup.

And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw temper tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the car pool,
who squirm in church and scream on the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything.
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move but have no being.

We pray for children
who want to be carried and those who must,
for those we never give up on and for those who don't get a second chance,
for those we smother...and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

We pray for the least of these – we pray for children.


Written by Ina J. Hughs, for the Children's Defense Fund



2016 GMSAA Reunion Online Registration Open


HEY all of you GMS Alumni! Ready for the 2016 Reunion?

Registration is open on the 2016 Online Registration Form!

Hope to see you soon!

Update from Jim Klosterman


Today the Record arrived and scarcely do I find a recognized name, save the obituaries. In September 1945 I arrived, 14 years young. Graduated 1948, returning September 1949 and finished as C Company commander in 1951. A boy came - a man left...thanks Colonel Joe! Now nearing 86, residing in Arkansas after 84 years a Buckeye. Anyone still out there? Let's have a "mini-reunion"!

Would enjoy hearing from you: Mink.

Current News Second Annual Spring Get Together to be held at Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix, AZ. June 8-12, 2016



Join GMSAA this June 8-12, 2016 at the Arizona Biltmore for the 2nd Annual Summer Get Away. Contact Terry Byrnes for more info:


The room rate would be $223.42 inclusive of tax, service charges and resort fee. (Resort base rate is $179.00 per night)

The airport transfers, via taxi would be $50 roundtrip. We are 7 mi / 15 min from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

Day: Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Date: 6/8/16 6/9/16 6/10/16 6/11/16 6/12/16

Sleeping room rates as noted in the “Room Block” above are net, non-commissionable and are quoted exclusive of applicable state and local taxes, fees and assessments.

Check-in time is 4:00 pm; check-out time is 12:00 pm. Early check-in & late check-out are subject to availability and our approval. There will be a $20.00 additional per adult charge per night, above double occupancy. Guests arriving before or departing after the above dates will be confirmed on a space available basis

Sleeping room rates as noted in the “Room Block” are quoted net, non-commissionable.

Room and tax will be paid by individuals.

Taxes: You agree to pay any and all applicable federal, state, municipal or other taxes, fees, or assessments imposed on or applicable to your Event. In the State of Arizona, currently the sales tax rate is 8.3%, and the hotel occupancy tax rate is 12.27%.


Arrival Night Cocktail/Hors d’oeuvres Reception: Wed, 6/8/16, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Cost per person TBD.

Saturday Night PM, Dinner in Frank & Alberts Restaurant Dining Room

Other available activities: Golf, Hiking, Shopping, Hot Air Ballooning, Glider Flying, etc.


The Resort Charge is reduced to $14.00 per room per night and offers:  Guestroom high-speed Internet access. Unlimited local telephone calls, Long-distance access fees -- no charge for credit card, toll free & collect calls, Biltmore Spa & Fitness Center admittance  Biltmore Fashion Park shuttle  Unlimited use of the putting course

Service charges will be posted to the Individual Guest Room Portfolio. These charges are subject to change without notice. Currently the fees are as follows:

Porterage: $12.00 per person (includes both check-in and check-out). Room Attendant: $ 3.00 per room, per day.


To make your reservation, call Erika Goldbrandsen, your Group Reservations Coordinator at (800) 950-0086 to reserve your room. Reservations can also be made via our website at Please enter the code GMS under the Group/Convention Code section of our reservations screen. It is helpful to mention this code to the reservation agent, as well, if calling your reservations in. All rooms must be guaranteed by a credit card and one night’s deposit, which is fully refundable up to 3 days prior to arrival, after which it is non-refundable.

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!

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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

Charles Edward Stokes Elected to GMSAA Hall of FAme


Charles Edward Stokes, Jr., Colonel United States Army (Retired). Greenbrier Military School (GMS) Class of 1956. He came to GMS from Buffalo, WV and sent four year at GMS. He served as Executive Officer of Band Company, playing football on the Junior Varsity (High School) Team. He played trumpet and a very distinguishable revile and taps. He currently resides at Holden Beach, NC.
Charles has a Bachelor’s Degree from West Virginia State (WVSU) and a Master’s from Louisiana State University in Political Science. He is also a graduate of Senior Services College (War College with less that 2% selection from all services) and the Foreign Service Institute
His teaching experience includes International Relation and African Affairs, Campbell University, Military Science, WVSU, Comparative Political Systems and Government & Politics of Latin America at the United States Military Academy (West Point), and University of Maryland (Overseas Program, Korea).
Charles military career spans over 25 years. He is a Viet Nam Veteran. His Awards and Decorations include Master Parachute Badge, Ranger Tab, Bronze Star with V device, Air Medal. Legion of Merit, and two Purple Hearts. Most of Charles’ service was as a Tactical Strategic Intelligence Officer (TSIO) which includes Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs (PSYOPOS-CA). The standards for the Branch assignment are very high and include Combat Arms Basic and Advance Course, Airborne, Masters Degree, Language skills (reading, writing, and speaking). Advancement in the Branch includes service as a Detachment Commander, Staff Officer at the Battalion level, Instructor in a Service School, Staff Officer at a Brigade or higher organization. Officer in a Special Forces Group, Headquarters Company Commander, and Political Military Affairs Officer in a Psychological Operations Command, and Propaganda Officer .
Charles’ last active duty command was Deputy Commander of the Special Warfare Center and School, FT. Bragg, NC his duties included overseeing curricula directed toward engaging Special Operations in the Global War on Terror. He was responsible for the entire Special Warfare Center and not just the Special Forces School.
To truly appreciate and understand Charles’ contribution to our national interest, one must look at the dates of his service, locations, political and historical significance, and the state of world affairs. 1964-65: Commander of the 681st Intelligence Corps Detachment, Dominican Republic: 1967-68: Commander, 181 MI Company, 101st Airborne Division, Republic of South Vietnam, and operational control of the 2nd South Vietnam Military Intelligence Company; 1978-80: Commander, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion Of which there is only one active duty Battalion in the entire United States Army; 1980-82: Commander, Recruiting Battalion, WV achieveing a successful rating of 8th out of 56 (previously the rate was 52 out of 56); 1982-85: Defense Attache, Guatemala, during a time when Nicaragua was near collapse and falling under communist control, Honduras was in conflict with the Contras and El Salvador was having civil strife, and the Northern half of Guatemala was being overrun by communist guerillas.; 1985-86: Director of International studies at John F. Kennedy Center, Ft. Bragg, NC; 1990-93: 1st Gulf War, Charles was selected as support manager, wrote execution , alert, defense plans for expatriates, and evacuation plans for the Saudi families, Support Manager for Saudi Naval Base, Jubail, Saudi, Arabia; 2000-2002: Republic of Nigeria, source of 17% of the United States’ crude oil , recognizing the need for a stable and civilian government. Charles provided consultation to reform Nigerian Armed Forces and wrote their National Security Strategy and Defense Policy; 2003-07: Lead seventy monitors and support staff investigating allegations of abuse and atrocities against civilian in Sudan and Kenya. Charles considers his assignment as Deputy and later Project Manager of the Civilian Protection Monitoring Team his most noble position ever held; 2006-2007: Ethiopia, neighboring Somalia and considered one of the most dangerous areas of the world. Somalia was previously controlled by warlords and is best known for the incident of “Blackhawk Down”. Somalia is now controlled by Ethiopia, and Charles was charged with Curriculum and Coordinator and Principal Instructor in the Ethiopean Defense and Staff College; 2008-09: Charles was hired by the Department of Defense as Program Manager, Special Operations in Zamboanga, Philippines. The area is an Al Qaeda stronghold on the Sullu Sea which is considered by many as the second most dangerous region in the world for piracy and second only to the Horn of Africa/Somalia.
Charles has had a most interesting career and has brought credit to GMS, his country and himself. We are proud to name him to the GMS Wall of Honor.

President’s Message for August Record


As this will be my last President's Message for the Alumni Record, I’d like to write about one of my favorites subjects: History.

Last year we celebrated 200 years of education in Lewisburg but more importantly from our perspective, the 200th anniversary of the founding of what would eventually become Greenbrier Military School. This year West Virginia celebrates their 150th year of statehood. Both anniversaries are connected and are the reason we all share this common identity, namely Greenbrier Military School. When Dr. John McElhenney made his way north from South Carolina to the small village of Lewisburg in what was then Western Virginia, he had no way of knowing the long lasting consequences of his actions. Often the greatest and most important exploits tend to go unnoticed at the time. To be sure Dr. McElhenney could not have envisioned the thousands of young men who would be directly influenced by his commitment to eduction. Even today his legacy transcends history and directly influence medical students at WVSOM.

Men and women make history everyday although the significance of their endeavors will not be known or appreciated for some time. I’m reminded of that humble but well crafted line from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address: “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” History has an elegant way of filtering out the important from the mere inconsequential.

As is often quoted in these pages: “Something important happened here.” Certainly to those of us who attended GMS, this place is special. These grounds may not be hallowed, but for those of us who experienced Greenbrier, they come close. We lived here, we learned here and we gained a sense of self here. The institution’s original mission itself may have changed, but young people continue to live here, learn here and by all means gain a sense of self here. Life continues and history will record it, great or small; good or bad.

In the span of our lifetime we’ve witnessed a transformation not only in our selves but in the very institution that provided that history. Our school’s history will endure as long as we honor it. Change is inevitable and how we deal with it affects us directly.

History is about our yearning to identify with the past. It is about our desire to hold on to some stability and the perception of continuity. We arrive here in Lewisburg every October desiring to find a source to our present identity. We live again in the 1950s or 60s searching for fading echoes of our beloved Greenbrier. In many ways they were never lost, only hidden away in a long forgotten memory that springs to life on the Front Formation Court during Retreat or at Old Stone Presbyterian Church on Sunday morning.

However you define history, Greenbrier Military School played an important role by endowing our country with men of truth, duty and honor. Our Hall of Fame comprises only a small sample of those men. From our halls came future leaders in the Armed Forces, the professions, business and industry spreading the character, discipline and leadership that was forged here. When we gather again this October we can stand tall knowing that we are indeed part of history.

And now, like so many other chapters in our lives, our Association is about to turn the page on yet one more. I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve GMSAA, an honor well above my pay grade. To borrow from the Hippocratic Oath, my first duty was to do no harm. Your Association will be in excellent hands with President Bill Isbister. He brings a wealth of experience to the office and will lead our Association as we tread into uncharted waters. Our future is bright as our history is secure.

- Grey Webb

Alumni Record Article for Spring Edition


Our reunion this past October celebrating the founding of our beloved Greenbrier Military School was a huge success. Record numbers were in attendance and the weather cooperated to make it a perfect weekend.

The reunion kicked off for many on Thursday evening at the Greenbrier Visitor’s Center. Herb over the years has always tried to add events to attract and entertain early arrivals and the Visitor’s Center proved to be a great venue for reuniting, socializing and making plans for the weekend.

The weekend officially began on Friday evening at our Retreat Formation. We were again entertained with a wonderful rendition of Greenbrier Forever played for us by the Greenbrier East High School Band. Special thanks to Beaman Cummings and his committee for organizing our Retreat Formations. It’s a perfect way to kick off our reunions. A wonderful dinner of prime rib followed and set the tone for what was to come.

Saturday morning’s special event was of course the appearance of Jim Justice,’70, owner of the Greenbrier Hotel and Resort, with his oversized check matching our own successful efforts in fundraising for our Greenbrier Leadership Institute. A special thanks to each one of you who contributed to this great effort. Because of you and Jim Justice, GLI now has the financial resources to implement new strategies and to reach more students.

The festivities continued Saturday evening at the Greenbrier Hotel with a wonderful dinner dance accompanied by the musical talents of Bobby Nicholas and his band. More than one person mentioned to me that we should try to plan another dinner dance at the Greenbrier in the near future. I’m sure memories of Final Balls long past circulated the banquet room.

Sunday morning’s church service at the Old Stone Presbyterian church topped what was the most anticipated and certainly the most attended reunion weekends in our thirty year history. The brass ensemble playing New Orleans style gospel jazz, singing the Recessional and listening to some great preaching, all made for a memorable service and a conclusion to an unforgettable reunion weekend.

Thanks to Herb and Phil for organizing and pulling off the big event. Let me assure you we’re not done. Several alumni asked me if this reunion was our “Final, Final Ball”. Absolutely not! We are going to continue to hold our reunion weekends the third weekend in October as long as there are able bodied alumni to attend. Certainly we want to provide the opportunity for all classes to celebrate their 50th Class Reunion. I’ve been told the Class of ’63 has already begun their plans for a weekend that will rival last years. It’s not too early to make plans for this year’s reunion. Mark your calendars now for October 17-20.

If you haven’t ordered the DVD History of GMS, please do so by visiting our website and going to the ‘Store’ tab. Bob Boles and his committee have produced an outstanding presentation describing the history of Greenbrier Military School. We now have a definitive documented record, one that will provide a source for additional chapters in the future. Once you view it you will see it was a labor of love

Congratulations to our new board members: Jorge’ Martinez, C.J. Richardson and Terry Byrnes. We’re looking forward to their input and counsel to help direct your Association for the next five years. Also, I would like to thank our outgoing directors, Jim Anderson, Gene Beard, Robert Gamba and Duff Smith. Their service to GMSAA has been exemplary and I know they will continue to provide advice and guidance to the board of directors. If you have an interest in serving on the board of directors, please contact Herb or myself. Your Association is only as good as the direction we receive from our membership.

I would like to extend my special thanks to our Vice President, Bill Isbister, for his tireless work in researching, coordinating and ultimately writing several grant requests for GLI. Grant writing is a new avenue for us in regards to fundraising. Bill is putting his professional background to work for our benefit, and we’re grateful for his expertise.

Board member Jose’ Acosta, working with Phil McLaughlin and our accountant, Courtney Smith, has worked diligently to prepare our annual operating budget and in so doing, has given us a clearer picture of where we are fiscally. Let me assure you, your board of directors takes our financial operations very seriously. We understand and appreciate the fiduciary responsibility you have placed in us and we will continue to maintain the finances of your Association in the most conservative and transparent manner possible.

Let me close by thanking all of you who attended our special reunion: Celebrating 200 years of Education in Lewisburg. We know Greenbrier Military School played the most significant role in that history.

- Grey Webb

The Greenbrier Military School Story DVD


The Greenbrier Military School Story DVD is now available for purchase in the Cadet Store.

Go back in time and enjoy this 45 minute documentary that presents the Greenbrier Military School Story: Celebrating 200 Years of Education in Lewisburg, WV.

Greenbrier Military School was part of the educational landscape of Lewisburg for many years. In 1812, Dr. John McElhenney established a school known as "The Old Brick Academy". This school was the foundational institution from which Greenbrier Military School was born. Young men were educated at Greenbrier in a structured, discipline environment living by the standards of Truth, Duty and Honor until it closed in 1972. Greenbrier changed the lives of many who attended the school over the years. This program tells the story of the school, the staff, and the cadets.

The DVD was produced by GMS alumni Phil McLaughlin ('58), Bob Boles ('70) and Mike Ruth ('69) with generous support from the GMSAA.

Reconnect, Reminisce, Celebrate


The long hot summer is quickly coming to an end and our annual GMSAA reunion, believe it or not, is just around the corner. As you know this October, we will be celebrating Two Hundred Years of Education in Lewisburg. In my opinion Greenbrier Military School played the most significant chapter in that 200 year history. We gather this year to celebrate that role. As Herb Pearis is apt to say: “Something important happened here.”

The fact that so many of us return every year to reconnect, reminisce and celebrate our shared experiences is proof that Greenbrier Military School played a very significant part in our early lives. Those few minutes every October on the front formation court at Retreat seems to set the stage for another great weekend. Stories retold of mischievous pranks, memories of football games played on a cool crisp Saturday afternoon, or just seeing an old friend for the first time in 40 years, are just a few of the things that make the third weekend of October in Lewisburg special.

Our common experience at GMS bonds us and we recall those memories in a blink of an eye. Mention Kiwi shoe polish and we quickly bring to mind that peculiar combination of aromas with Brasso; think demerits and we all recall the beat; hear gig line and we instantly arrange our belts. So much of our life as cadets at Greenbrier was the same as those who came before and after us, making it easy to relate with others at our reunions.

For those attending our GMSAA reunion this October for the first time, you will notice changes to the old ‘Brier Campus. Of course the main building stands with it’s dignified entrance as it has for over nighty years. However, the upper drill field is now the site of new and modern multi-use buildings that have been built to facilitate the ever growing student body of The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM). Where once young uniformed GMS Cadets formed for Retreat or stood at attention for Sunday Dress Parades, now young energetic medical students stroll the campus. Education in Lewisburg, WV continues it’s 200 year tradition.

Our old campus may have changed, but not the memories. The term “Greenbrier Spirit” is often heard at our reunions. I’m not sure what that means exactly. If you ask, I’m sure you will not receive the same answer from any two alumni. As with most alumni, it’s a personal thing. After these many years, the connections we make are more important to us; they seem more meaningful. GMSAA reunions provide that connection to our shared past. Please use this special occasion to attend and find out for yourself what the “Greenbrier Spirit” means to you.

One last thing. Herb always says that, “We do church the best.” Let me personally invite you to attend the Sunday morning church service at the Old Stone Presbyterian Church. Without a doubt, it will lift your Spirit and send you off wanting to return the following year. Can I get an Amen?

- Grey Webb, August 2012

Holiday Greetings from Grey Webb


As this is my first President’s Message I would like to thank, first, the Board of Directors for placing their confidence in me and allowing me to serve this great Association. Second, I would like to acknowledge the outstanding accomplishments of Duke Schneider. His stewardship and leadership has secured the future for our Association. His steady hand and vision for GMSAA has given me a positive example to follow. I’m sure all will agree with me that Duke truly represents the Greenbrier Military School Spirit.

Congratulations to our new Board of Directors: Calvin Garvin ’65, Ken Lewis ’57, Lee Martin ’64, and Perry Woodside ’64. They join our board for a five year term and I look forward to their support, advice and counsel. Leaving the board after serving their five year term are: Barney Burks, Jim Downer ’71, James “Deak” Roberts. We are grateful to these gentlemen for their valuable time and experience. If you are interested in serving on our Board, please contact Herb. We’re continually looking for those alumni who want to help oversee and guide the work of GMSAA.

This coming October will mark a milestone in the history of GMSAA. From the founding of the Brick Academy by Dr. John McElhenney, the forerunner of Greenbrier Military School in 1812, there has been an institution of learning in Lewisburg for 200 years. Although it has been 40 years since that sad day when Greenbrier closed, the fact that there still exists an active and committed alumni association is remarkable. The hard work of those alumni members in reviving our group should not be overlooked. Like Phoenix rising from the ashes, our Association has not only grown but flourished.

Our accomplishments are many. We’ve grown from a small group of alumni meeting in October to rekindle old friendships and recount stories (and possibly a few fibs) to a well structured association with over 2000 alumni and family on our mailing list. Our museum is furnished with memorabilia that defines our experience at the ‘Brier. The memorial park provides a fitting and sanctified place for those alumni who lost their lives defending our nation. We’ve funded thousands of dollars in scholarships to well deserving medical students at WVSOM. Our new web site has been recently updated and made more user-friendly and our biannual Alumni Record provides that personal connection that keeps us informed.

The future of GMSAA is bright. Our Greenbrier Leadership Institute is in its fourth year and is expanding to other venues in West Virginia. (Please read about our matching grant elsewhere in this issue of the Alumni Record) The GLI Program is truly becoming the living legacy we had envisioned, providing the youth of West Virginia with resources which promote character and leadership development, established on the GMS values of truth, duty and honor.

As I mentioned, our web site is new and improved. If you haven’t had the chance to visit, please do so. The sort capabilities have been greatly enhanced allowing you to find old classmates much easier. Let me also remind you while visiting the web site, to click on ‘The Cadet Store’ tab. If you haven’t seen the great selection of GMS items available, I think you’ll be surprised. Jim Downer has done an outstanding job of maintaining the store and now with the convenience of PayPAL, shopping is much more convenient. All profits help offset our operating costs and shipping is FREE.

We are looking forward to seeing you for this year’s special reunion. Plans are in the works for a great weekend. If you haven’t been to a GMSAA reunion or haven’t been back for several years, make sure you plan to attend this October, 18-21. From what I hear, rooms are going fast in Lewisburg. Phil McLaughlin has set aside a number of rooms at a special rate at the Greenbrier Hotel. Make sure you mention GMSAA when making your reservation.

Grey Webb

Greenbrier Leadership Institute Challenge 2011-2012


During the past four years, your Greenbrier Leadership Institute (GLI) of the Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association achieved considerable growth in its mission to pass on the leadership qualities and traits we learned as cadets. When the last retreat formation is held for our alumni, the only thing remaining with real staying power will be the legacy of leadership, we leave behind for future generations of young people.

Our goal is to build and expand the GLI to a point, which will put it on a path to sustainability and growth. When we were in Lewisburg this past October, we were invited to have lunch with Jim Justice, owner of The Greenbrier Hotel and GMS Alumnus, to discuss the GLI and the benefits it provides to the students of Greenbrier County. He recognized the value of our principle based leadership program and wanted us to expand it within Greenbrier County . He issued a challenge to the alumni of our GMSAA. He will provide $75,000 a yeart for three years to expand the GLI program within the Greenbrier County School System if the GMS Alumni will match his offer.

This is a unique opportunity to permamently establish and expand our leadership program as a lasting tribute to Greenbrier Military School, while providing a needed sevice to the youth of West Virginia. Please contribute as much as possible. so we can reach our goal of $75,000 for each of the next three years. Our first year campaigh begins now and will end on 1 September 2012

Beaman Cummings '63
Executive Director GLI

GMS Reunion Article in WVSOM Newsletter



Posted in: Oct. 19, 2011 - Vol 18, Issue 34
WVSOM Newscenter Campus and Community News

Greenbrier Military School alumni returned to Lewisburg Oct. 13-16 for an annual reunion. Some weekend events included leadership classes for students in Greenbrier County schools, a flag ceremony in front of the main building, dinner/dance at the alumni center and a Sunday service at Old Stone Presbyterian Church.
About 125 alumni and their guests attended the reunion activities throughout the weekend.
Soham Dave and Adele Plazak were recognized during the reunion for scholarships they received from the Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association.

Images Needed for Photo Gallery!


GMSAA is in need of your photographic skills, well maybe your parent's photographic skills. We are adding a new photographic gallery to the website and need you to send us your photographs. The gallery will be broken down into the following categories:

• Reunions,
• Formal Balls and Informal Dances,
• Athletics: Varsity and Intramural Sports,
• Parades, Drills and Military Events,
• General Cadet Life and Goofing Around (not that we ever did that),
• Miscellaneous,
• Plus, we need some pictures of Cadets with Family and Friends at and around GMS.

If you have photographs you would like to share and have access to a scanner, scan your photographs at high quality, full resolution JPEGs, original size, or you can scan at 300 dpi, TIFFs, also original size. Email them, with the information noted below, to:

Please add a brief caption of what the photo is about and most importantly who is in the photo.

When you send these include your name and a note stating these are your photographs and you give permission to the GMSAA to use these photos on the website.

Or, if you would rather send us the original photographs (but will take an extremely long time to post on the website), please send those to:

GMS Alumni Association
P.O.Box 922
Lewisburg, West Virginia 24901

Thank you for your help,
Mike Ruth, Class of '69

Cadet Store Now Online!


As of last week, the GMSAA Cadet Store is now online, which you will see a link above in the MAIN menu bar. Select that link to go to the store. The Cadet Store is very easy to navigate and there are many search options available using the menu on the left side of the store's main screen.

For example: if you enter the word GOLF in the search field above the Store's main window and press 'GO' your search will retrieve only items that relate to golf. If you select "Apparel and Fabrics" under the Categories menu of the left side of the window, and then enter GOLF in the search field, only apparel relating to GOLF will be displayed.

After selecting items from the store and adding them to your cart (you can continue shopping after each selection) you can view your cart in two ways, 1) in the upper left corner of the Cadet Store Menu click on the words 'Shopping cart' or 2) select 'View cart' in the same window. Your items and a description of your items will be displayed.

You can proceed and checkout by selecting the 'Checkout' link. Please note that you will be prompted and required to sign in to continue to purchase. Which means you need to be a registered user of the GMSAA.ORG website. So if you have not registered yet, this would be a good time to do so.

After signing in, you will be forwarded to the Checkout Screen where you complete the Billing and Mailing information. You will see that there is a choice of paying by credit card using our secured PayPal site, or by check. If you choose the pay by check option, place your order then send a check to the GMS Alumni Association at the address provided at the bottom of that screen. If you choose PayPal, follow instructions when prompted after reviewing your order.

Review your order and if it suits your approval, press the 'Submit Order' button on the lower right corner of the screen, and there you go, your order has been placed. If paying by check, orders will not be sent until check is received.

Also, it would be a good idea to print the Review Order page for your records. The Store will be demonstrated at the reunion.

Can you identify anyone in this picture?

We have so many pictures as this one-- a good picture, but we don't know who is in it.
Could anyone identify individuals in the picture L to R in the Front row or Back row?

The only person I can think of in the attached is Ruben, longtime black cook, middle of back row.
If you haven't yet, Register to leave a comment about this picture.

Feel free to also click the image if you want a bit bigger view.
Click to enlarge

Welcome to the NEW Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association Website!


September 14, 2011
Fargo, North Dakota

As temperatures drop and the fall colors begin to appear across the upper mid-west, I begin to reminisce about this beautiful time of the year in Lewisburg as a cadet and as alumn. When I joined the GMSAA Board last October, one task I was asked to oversee was the redesign and development of our Association's website. As coordinator of the Graphic Communications Program at Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM), I provide instruction in web design, and thought this would be a good project for some student involvement. Not only would they get some real-life experience working for a client, we, the association, would be able to teach some young adults about GMS and the history of military schools in the U.S.

The original idea was to have a contest to come up with an interface design and award the winner(s) the job of developing the site. What really happened was I interviewed a number of graduating seniors who would have the programming background needed to develop the searchable database. Not only would this person need to have a good eye for web aesthetics, but also be knowledgeable in a number of web-based applications, such as CSS, Drupal, SQL and so on. The task was to develop a very intense database, an online store, reunion information, newsroom, Greenbrier Leadership Institute information, almost everything we had on the old GMSAA.ORG site, but more user friendly and with smaller-faster digital space.

Since the end of May 2011, Matt Winans of Fargo, ND, a brand new graduate of MSUM has worked diligently and professionally on developing our new look and the entire back end programming of the site. Matt spent hours on the phone with Tony Sadler, Phil McLaughlin, Jim Downer and Herb Pearis. Matt has spent close to 30 hours meeting personally with myself and has even had a meeting with Mary Essig, our Museum's Curator.

One new innovation is the Online Reunion Registration form. Where you can register for the all the Reunion activities, pay dues and will soon have a section for making donations. You are also able to pay by check if you do not want to use PayPal. This is very user-friendly. I registered this way and now JoAnn doesn't have to worry about rubber checks and the association has my money right away. The Cadet Store will operate in a similar fashion once it is up and running.

Try the new Cadet Database by looking for lost and not-so-lost friends. Type in any of the following: last name, last year or year graduated and company to find information on a cadet. There are two levels, one level is open to the general public and will retrieve a limited amount of information on any cadet. As a registered user, which we hope you will become, you will retrieve more in-depth statistics and information about a cadet as well as faculty and friends. This is an excellent tool.

So, welcome to the new GMSAA.ORG site. There is more to do, like an archive of Alumni Records and our Museum page, but I am sure you will find this enjoyable and easy to use.

I want to thank Tony Sadler, Herb Pearis and Phil McLaughlin for all their guidance and patience working with Matt and myself. And I especially think we all need to offer a big round of applause to Matt Winans for a bang up job on this project. His professionalism and technical ability to do this has saved our Association thousands of dollars.

Dr. Mike Ruth, GMS '69

Department of Cinema Arts and Digital Technologies
Minnesota State University Moorhead
Moorhead, MN

Leadership Program Extends GMS Legacy


At a dinner party several weeks ago, the conversation turned to what event or circumstance made the biggest difference in your life. The dinner guests represented a variety of professions and careers and as you could imagine, the stories ran the gamut. When the discussion reached me I recounted my three years at Greenbrier Military School.

I can’t tell you if it was the drill and ceremony, the weekly inspections, the beat, or the many other activities I endured that eventually formed my character. Certainly for many of you, it was all those things and more. They say we are the sum of our experiences over time. If that’s true, that may explain how our time at Greenbrier contributed to our success as productive citizens.

Although we have graduated our last Cadet and the Battalion is growing smaller, there is a program that is offering today’s youth those values and principles that we have always held in high regard. The Greenbrier Leadership Institute, (GLI) through the guidance and direction of your Alumni Association, provides programs and resources that promote the core values of truth, duty and honor that we learned as Greenbrier cadets. Along with live leadership programs, GLI will be offering online instruction and packaged educational materials including DVDs available to schools and libraries throughout West Virginia.

I encourage you to attend the next leadership session during our upcoming reunion on Friday, October 14 in the old GMS auditorium on the campus of WVSOM. I’m sure after seeing the interaction and enthusiasm of the students you will believe as I do, that The Greenbrier Spirit is still alive. You will see first hand, why this program has received high praise from educators throughout West Virginia and why GLI is quickly expanding to new venues in 2012.

The future success of The Greenbrier Leadership Institute will depend directly on the financial support of our alumni and friends. For the last three years GLI has operated totally with alumni volunteers. To continue the good work and reach more youth, we’ll need to replicate the program using all forms of technology as well as conventional resources.

That’s why we need your help. When writing your check for the upcoming reunion weekend, consider adding an additional amount in support of GLI. You can be assured your generous financial gift will be used to extend the legacy of Greenbrier Military School for generations to come.

Grey Webb, Vice President, GMSAA

Greenbrier Leadership Institute Continues to Grow


The Greenbrier Leadership Institute of the Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association is making tremendous progress providing leadership development services as well as gaining attention statewide. In April we completed our third annual program with selected high school students from the Greenbrier County School System. In June, we made two presentations to West Virginia school administrators. On
June 3 we presented to the Region 6 meeting of the school administrators and June 29 to the statewide meeting of administrators. Both presentations resulted in our developing important liaisons in schools statewide.

As a result of the June presentations we were invited to conduct a staff and teacher leadership development program this fall and next spring for the Barbour County School System located just south of
Morgantown. Also as a result of the June presentations we were engaged by the West Virginia Department of Education to provide a leadership development program this fall to school counselors across the state at three locations including Beckley, Morgantown and Charleston.

Additionally, we are pleased to report that the development of our DVD supported programmed learning program last year was profitable. It boosted contributions from our alumni that yielded support significantly beyond the program cost. The DVD supported program has been used with students and staff in West Virginia that could not attend our live programs and even in a school district in Bourbon County, Kentucky. We will continue to provide it free of charge to school districts within and outside West Virginia as requests occur.

We will conduct our fourth annual Leadership Program for Greenbrier County Schools during our GMSAA Reunion this October. The staff and teacher program will start at 8:30a on Thursday, October 13 and the student program will begin at 8:15a on Friday, October 14. If interested in attending either program, please be seated prior to the start of the program, which will last approximately four hours.

The Greenbrier Leadership Institute is timely, gaining momentum and gives the GMSAA a chance to produce a lasting legacy for Greenbrier Military School. However, the Greenbrier Leadership Institute receives only minimal funding from the GMSAA Board of Directors and is in great need of additional support if we are to capitalize upon the current high interest statewide to build a true legacy for GMS well into the 21st century.

We are well on the way to preserving the legacy of GMS for years to come if we receive adequate support. Leadership development through the Greenbrier Leadership Institute is our path and our gift to the youth of West Virginia and beyond. Please make contributions to the GMSAA Leadership Fund to ensure our legacy.

Beaman Cummings ‘63
Executive Director, Greenbrier Leadership Institute

Dr. John McElhenney Society


Nearly two hundred years ago, Dr. John McElhenney began The Lewisburg Academy, the school that would eventually become Greenbrier Military School. Who could have imagined in 1812, the potential significance of this young Presbyterian minister’s commitment to education? Because of one man, thousands of young men have benefited from his determination and foresight.

It is fitting then, that as we approach the two-hundredth anniversary of the founding of our school, your Board of Directors has established the Dr. John McElhenney Society to honor those alumni and family members who have, over the years, contributed considerable financial support to the Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association. The upcoming bi-centennial celebration of our school offers us a chance to honor those who have given generously without fanfare or previous acknowledgment.

At this year’s reunion we will be awarding memberships into the Dr. John McElhenney Society to those alumni and family members who have, over the years, contributed $10,000 or more to GMSAA. At time of publication, I am proud to say that there are at least ten individuals who will become charter members in the Society.

If you are near the $10,000 threshold in your giving and wish to be included as a founding member of the Dr. John McElhenney Society, please contact Herb to complete the balance so that we may acknowledge your generosity in October.

Grey Webb, Chairman, Greenbrier Forever 3000