30 Years Since I-Day

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About J. Eric Smith
Writer, Speaker, Trainer, Planner, Manager.

14 Responses to 30 Years Since I-Day

  1. Greg Goth says:

    Lord love ya, son. I participated in R-Day rehearsal twice to help the First Classmen at West Point prepare to terrorize the incoming plebes. That was enough for me.

    • Rick Fresquez says:

      Very well put Eric. I look at pictures of myself on I-Day and the look on my face is “What have I gotten myself into?” Luckily for me my Dad (Marine LtCol) was able to be there for Plebe Weekend. He retired at the end of ’82 and presented his sword to me. That definitely ranks up there as one of those “dates”.

      Eric – You served our Class well. I won’t forget the many times you went “above the call of duty”. Thank you for everything.

      USNA ’86

      p.s. “Rehearsal” for R-day”?!? Must be nice to have all that extra time.

    • What’s amazing is that I knew better than most what was coming, since I’d actually spent a lot of time on and around the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot at Parris Island (I was born there, and my Dad later ended his career as the Chief of Staff there), but it was STILL a shock when the full force of plebe terrorizing kicked in!!!

      • Rick Fresquez says:

        I agree 100%. We probably had a little edge over some of our classmates. The “mental” aspect and perseverance that is needed. I’ll ask my Dad if you knew your Dad. It is a small world.

    • If I’d rehearsed, I might have skipped the play . . .

  2. David Hostetler says:

    Well done, Eric. I watched Game of Honor yesterday and it was as if I was a plebe again. Those four formative years along the Severn have served me well, also. My hat’s off to the Class of ’16. A daunting task is ahead of them. I look forward to welcoming them to the evrlasting group called “USNA alumni.”

  3. stephkish says:

    Very nice! I enjoyed reading this, Eric…

    • Thanks, Stephanie! Shortly after I wrote this, one of our fellow Astral cruiser popped up out of the online ether and sent me some pics of that summer one year later, including a full crew shot, that I had never seen before . . . it boggles the mind how young we were when we took the oath, and even more so how green we looked when sent out into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a sailboat!!!

  4. Patty Halvorsen says:


    I have recently found your blog, and have enjoyed reading where life has taken you in the last 30 years. Though I fall into the category of those that left the Academy, your writing has reminded me of many times in 23rd company on 4-0. And I had forgotten we share the same rare birthdate!

    Keep up the wonderful writing!

    • Thanks Patty! Great to see you posting here, and glad you enjoy the writing. And, yeah, we did have some fun times there in 4-0 (or late night studying in Steerage or elsewhere)(not to mention “Astral”) in between the military angst, hard studying and whatnot. I missed you when you left . . . but glad to have heard that things have gone so well for you over the years, as a fellow member in good standing of the May 22 Anomaly Club!

  5. Chris Kowald says:

    I’m probably one of the few in our class who knows exactly where that big scupture is in Des Moines and just how many incredible cars are across the street. Chris Kowald here – I live in Jacksonville, FL, but am an engineer for Kemin, based in Des Moines, and geobatched there from 2010-2011 living on 39th street and University. I kind of favor the civil war monument with the young maiden welcoming returning soldiers home from the war (across the street from the capitol). I travel to Des Moines almost monthly, so perhaps we can meet at the Royal Mile and throw back a few pints later this month. P.S. Waveland is a cross-country ski resort – sometimes it doubles as a golf course.

    • Hey Chris,

      Yeah, definitely shoot me a note next time you are at Kemin HQ . . . they are a corporate sponsor of the nonprofit where I work, so I am glad to know they have good ’86 folks working for ‘em!


    • P.S. I probably drive past your geobach pad twice daily on my way to/from work . . . there is a FANTASTIC new wine bar/restaurant in the shopping plaza at 42nd and University, that makes a nice complement to the University Library at 35th and University. We live in Beaverdale, just north of Beaver and Urbandale . . . a great neighborhood!

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