Early June in Eastern Pennsylvania
The first picture below is of the AWON group at the Brew Works in Bethlehem, PA
on Saturday, June 1st -- the day before Terry's son Erich graduated from Lehigh,
and two days before Terry started his week at the War College in Carlisle, PA.
Here's the story, told by Maggie Fenstermacher . . .
"This past weekend Terry Boettcher was in the Lehigh Valley for
his youngest son's graduation from Lehigh University and e-mailed me
to meet them for lunch. I contacted the other 2 AWON members in the
area who are not on the ListServ and one of them, Joyce Decker, was
able to come. Joyce was one of the members who attended the PA
Gathering in March. This time she brought her friend, John
Left to right are Joyce Decker, John Viennazalia,
Maggie Fenstermacher, Terry Boettcher, and Erich Boettcher,
on the day before receiving his degree in Finance from Lehigh.
John was born in Italy and when he was 6 yr. old (1943)
his Dad, a farmer, went to town on his mule to do some shopping. That
day American bombs dropped on the town and John's Dad was killed in
the store's rubble. The mule came back home alone the next day with
the partial list of items bought still in the mule pack. John came to
the USA by himself at age 14 to stay with an uncle until his mother
and 2 other siblings came 1-2 years later. He certainly had some
stories to tell of growing up with the war in his backyard! It
broadened the understanding of AWON for me."
Then there was the other reason for the trip, as Terry Beottcher was about to
sign in for his week at the National Security Seminar (June 3-7) at the U. S. Army
War College, at Carlisle Barracks, PA. Terry's story is below.
Here's proof: Terry's Certificate of Participation.
War College faculty and students. Terry Boettcher is at front right.
On the left is Lt. Col. Dick Pedersen, West Point and Masters Degree, Master Parachutist,
and Ranger, of the 82nd Airborne Division. In the middle is Terry's sponsor at the War College,
Lt. Col. Ron Ison, Masters Degree and Parachutist, who's headed for an overseas assignment to
command 2,000 troops.
These men are all qualified Airborne Troopers from the 82nd Airborne Division,
but their job is to sing.
Here's the story, in Terry's words . . .
"I have talked to a few of you lately, but have not officially told my friends on line about my attendance at the National Security Seminar
at the War College. This was held at Carlisle Barracks, PA from June 3 to 8. During the year, "middle management" officers, go to school
for 10 months to receive what is a masters in strategic planning degree. This is needed on their resume's to make General in the future.
These are the next wave of leaders.
The last week of the school year, civilians are invited from across the country to attend morning lectures and then to participate in the
"small group" discussion classes. These small classes have had the same membership the entire school term. We are invited in as the military
wants to avoid isolation from the citizens and wants the students to hear our viewpoint on critical issues. It was like going back to college
In the morning the entire student body and guests (about 400 in total) attended lectures and then after lunch, spent the afternoons discussing
the A.M. topics and whatever else the instructor desired.
The lecture speakers were as follows:
If that isn't enough, there was an extra hour over lunch that you could attend short presentations. Look at this list: International Law and
New World Order, Taiwan Strait Update, Peacekeeping... Is It A Mission For U.S. Forces?, Strategic Planning in the Military, Missile Defense of
the U.S. Homeland: A Status and Issues Update, Civil-Military Relations for Civilians, Ethical Issues in the War Against Terrorism, Colombia's
Hobbesaian Trinity, Developing Strategic Leaders.
Monday - Defense Issues/ LTG J.P. Abizaid
Tuesday - Global Security Environment/Dr. A. Bacevich
Wednesday - Geopolitics of Security/ R. Kaplan (author)
Thursday - International Security Issues/ HON J. Dempsey (3rd in command of CIA)
Friday - America's Future Role in the World- HON J. Davidow (Ambassador to Mexico)
The civilians in my small group were a judge (from Iowa), an owner of a small New Hampshire utility company, an economist from Brooklyn, a female
violin instructor with a degree in medieval law from PA, a martial arts instructor from North Carolina, an archivist for the National Archives,
the security director for the University of Georgia, and a consultant from Philly. The consultant instructs people to present themselves well
before the public and in debates. His client list includes President Reagan, Don Rumsfelt, Tom Ridge and some others you would know. He coached
Reagan against Carter. And yes, "There you go again" was actually Reagan's own thought.
The officers in my group were all Army but for 2 Air Force, 1 Navy and 1 Marine. There were two international officers. We had 3 West Point
graduates, one Ph.D., 12 Masters Degrees, two rangers, five separate languages spoken, and six with combat experience.
The instructor was one intelligent man, who had done two tours in Vietnam. He was a great facilitator. He also took us to Gettysburg
and spoke for 2 straight hours. I have been there 3 out of the past 5 years, but never like this. He could even recite monument dedication speeches.
It was incredible his amount of knowledge.
We discussed other classroom topics such as: American Imperialism, The Bombing of Dresden, Are Terrorists Soldiers?, Multiculturalism and Geopolitical
Issues. On Tuesday I had to do a 10-minute presentation on who I was, what I do, what issues are important to the people back home and what do the public
think of the military. The classroom has a computer hooked to the Internet and a large screen. I pulled my father's picture up and spoke a minute on him,
5 minutes on my trip to Europe last year (along with a handout of an article I wrote) and the rest on the other two topics. I was an instant brother with
the officers after the first 6 minutes.
On Tuesday, we also discussed the defense of the country against terrorism and the current government program on home security. The students drew on
the board each pertinent governmental agency, who was in charge and determined any interplay between agencies. We came to the conclusion that no one was
in charge under the current model. That Thursday, Bush announced his change of the structure of the Homeland Security Agency and lines of authority and
reporting. We were pretty smug that day about ourselves.
We were entertained at a dinner one night by the choir of the 82nd Airborne. They make you proud, but they look like junior high kids to me. I was so
impressed with the level of intelligence of these young officers, their understanding of their duty under the constitution, and their commitment to
being responsible for the lives of our sons and daughters in their custody. They are the best. They only ask that we support them and their troops in
the long battle that is ahead of us. They need us.
Terry Boettcher, Son of Staff Sgt. Donald E. Boettcher -- 15th Air Force,
485th Grp, 828 Squad Ball-turret, B-24 "Black Swan", Venosa, Italy DFC, AM with 4OLC,
7 Bronze Battle Stars, Presidential Unit Citation, 52 missions, 2 confirmed/2 probables
Buried Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island Arsenal"
Thanks to Terry Boettcher for sending the digital pictures,
and to Maggie Fenstermacher and Terry both for supplying the commentary.