Sunday, November 8, 2015

Class of 65 We Honor our Veterans

Over fifty years ago, 260 Miami Wardogs proudly wore their caps and gowns crossing the Civic Center stage in alphabetical order and graduating as members of the MHS Class of 1965.  In reflection, how innocent and young we were.  We couldn't vote, but we could go to war and serve our country in the Armed Forces.

In high school, I often looked forward to ABC order, because that placed me near some cute but ornery boys.  What lighthearted trouble Bill Smiley, Richard Spencer, and Johnny Stansell caused me over the years. Looking back at our
graduation rows, I now see men and women, who went on to serve our country. One classmate, a quiet boy by whom I often sat next to in class, Mike Standeford, lost his life in Vietnam. Within one year of graduation President Lyndon B. Johnson sent 400,000 US Troops to Vietnam, among them were our classmates along with older Wardogs who joined the service.  
In September 2015, our class reunited for our 50th graduation reunion.  On the last night together our gaiety turned somber, as we began the evening with a tribute to our classmates who had died. Outside under the blue Oklahoma
skies, we stood together, held hands, and cried as the names of fifty-four deceased classmates were read and balloons lifted in their memory.

Phil Chambers, Tony Palmer, Roy Underwood

Our Gala banquet followed with a tribute to our Veterans.  Bill Smith and Roy Underwood took the helm to guide us through
Letty and Bill Smith, "H" street memories :-)
a time in history: a time when we were each living apart, searching for meaning in life, asking "why" and "how" questions, attending college, beginning careers, starting a new life with a family, and committing to serve our country. We proudly honor our Veterans, not only today, but every time we vote, we speak, we write, we applaud, we Pledge, we sing...We say Thank You. Nearly 23% of our class or 59 of us, who tossed their caps that night in May, served in a branch of the Armed Forces.

Four women advanced their careers and lives with service and honor to our country:  Judy Delozier served in the Navy; Cheryl Storey served in the Air Force; Janice Hannebon Sprinkle joined the Navy; Andrea Anderson Juricic and her husband David both served in the Coast Guard.  Andrea became the first female cook in the Coast Guard

Thirty-one of our classmates served in Vietnam.  We honor all of you who served, who gave those years of your youth to keep us safe, and we respect your commitment to keep our country free:  
Arnold Able, Army, (deceased)
Glen Beauchamp, Army
Duane Benbrook, Army
Jim Bridgeman, Marine, Vietnam
Danny Burkhart, Navy, Vietnam (deceased)
Alan Campbell, Navy, Vietnam, Desert Storm  (deceased)

Phil Chambers, Army, Vietnam
George Cooper, Navy, Vietnam (deceased)
John Finley, Army
Clay Finnell, Army, Vietnam (deceased)
Jim Fraizer, Marine
Clark French, Navy
Bill Garvin, Army (deceased)
Doug Gosney, Army
Steve Gwartney, Army, Vietnam
Danny Harrison, Navy, Vietnam
Tom Haskins, Army
Steve Helmey, Army
Don Hilderbrand, Army, Vietnam
Mike Holt, Army, Vietnam  (deceased)
Richard Hopkins, Air Force
David Hunt, Air Force
James Johnson, Army
Jim (Eddie) Johnston, Army, Vietnam
Bradley Karnes, Marine, Vietnam
Fred Lemons, Army
Randy Loehr, Army, Vietnam
Danny McClure, Navy, Vietnam
Tony Miller, Navy, Vietnam
Dale Milliser, Air Force
George Newman, Navy, Vietnam
Dennis Nichols, Navy
Cody Nidiffer, Army, Vietnam
Terry O'Laughlin, Navy
Rex Oliver, Marine, Vietnam (deceased)
Tony Palmer, Army, Vietnam
John Parcell, Navy
Tom Perry, Army, Vietnam (deceased)
Doug Phillips, Navy, Vietnam
Randy Ransom, Army, Korea
Mike Rundell, Army, Vietnam  (deceased)
Mike Schmidt, Army, Vietnam (deceased)
Gene Shelton, Army, Vietnam
Bill Smiley, Army (deceased)
Bill Smith, Army, Vietnam
Jackie Smith, Army/Navy Vietnam (deceased)
Richard Spencer, Army
Mike Standeford, Army, Vietnam (KIA)
John Stansell, Navy, Vietnam
Jack Trask, Army, Vietnam
Roy Underwood, Army, Vietnam
Jay Dee Whitlock, Army, Vietnam
Pat Wilson, Navy
Darrel Wooldrige, Army (deceased)
Ron Wyrick, Army

Recently, the University of Oklahoma honored, Captain Cody Nidiffer as the Patriot of the Game during the OU vs West Virginia football game. (10/3/15)

Rita and Cody Nidiffer, Sheri Coale

Thank you ALL Wardogs from every generation who have served our great nation.

MHS Class of 65

Thank you Roy Underwood for this photo. 


  1. I read your blog and it was lovely, moving and soulful. Thank you for your commitment to sharing your talent and your love.
    Just a little correction for my entry, I was a Navy Gal not Airforce, but I wanted to be an air traffic control person. Could have be dangerous. jd

  2. Thank you for your blog honoring our classmates who served our country in the US military.The recognition and presentation at our class reunion from Roy Underwood and Bill Smith made me very proud to be a Wardog and a Vietnam veteran! sg

  3. Great blog Letty! Thanks for saying what we proudly feel for our servicemen and women. jm

  4. Very nice tribute to the Veterans of MHS. jr

  5. Awesome job. Very moving. jw

  6. I did not get to attend the reunion due to illness, but really enjoyed your blog honoring not only our class veterans but all who have served our great USA. sbg

  7. Wonderful tribute. nv

  8. One of the most beautiful that you have written..........

  9. As always Letty, you did an excellent job. Thank you so much for insight on this time in our lives. Thank you for honoring us old vets. We all served with honor.

    Sp/5 Roy A. Underwood

    HHC 4th PSYOP Group

    III Corps

    Siagon, South Vietnam

  10. Same scenario from Wichita north class of 65, bit we did not show them the respect your class did. pf