Congratulations to Chaplain (MG) Paul K. Hurley as the 24th Chief of Chaplains, US Army!

It was a rare privilege to attend the Promotion and Installation Ceremony for my fellow F-4 ’84 Classmate Fr. Paul K. Hurley as he was promoted to Major General and installed as the 24th Chief of Chaplains of the US Army.

The ceremony was fantastic, and it was great to be in attendance with nearly 200 fellow USMA 1984 grads, dozens of Army personnel and Fr. Paul’s family & friends.  The chapel was packed!

The outgoing Chief of Chaplains, Chaplain (MG) Donald Rutherford spoke, and ribbed Fr. Paul of the Red Sox/Yankees etc. rivalries (he of course is from NY).  The history of the Chaplain Corps was read, to include the recent losses of Chaplains in the War on Terror.  There was a scripture reading from Ephesians.

LTG H.R. McMaster (another ’84 classmate!) was the senior officer, and presented inspiring remarks and performed the swearing in ceremony.  His passion and love for Our Army was on display, as was his immense respect for Fr. Paul.  It was great to see Fr. Paul’s parents and family take part in the promotion as well.

LTG H.R. McMaster and Chaplain Hurley at the beginning of the ceremony
LTG H.R. McMaster and Chaplain Hurley at the beginning of the ceremony
LTG McMaster making his remarks
LTG McMaster making his remarks
Chaplain Hurley's parents help him put on his General's Stars
Chaplain Hurley’s parents help him put on his General’s Stars
Chaplain Hurley is Sworn In
Chaplain Hurley is Sworn In

I had not seen Fr. Paul since graduation, although we spoke once when he had a parish near Boston.   He was the only other Massachusetts native around F-4, and it was great to have someone there besides myself with a proper accent!

He looked great, and gave a tremendous speech.  I will always remember that he said the Chaplain needs to go “where it sucks most”.  He has been living this mantra for 20 years, most of which while we have been at war.  I am proud that such an inspiring man of God will be in a place of leadership where he can do so much good for so many.  I PROMISE, I will be praying for Fr. Paul to succeed!  The Chaplain Corps motto is “Pro Deo Et Patria” – for God and Country, and Fr. Paul has been a wonderful exemplar of this.

Here is the beautiful program from the ceremony: (in order of pages)

Page 1Page 2Page 3a

Page 3Page 4Page 5

There was a reception at the Chapel at Ft. Myer, and I got to see many, many classmates whom I had not seen in 31 years (our graduation anniversary was the next day, May 23rd).  I had many great conversations and along with Dave Wood (who was gracious to help me get there and to the party in Arlington afterwards – THANKS DAVE YOU ARE AWESOME) we had a great time.  There is a photo of all from USMA ’84 who attended, and I will add it to this blog when available.  From F-4, we had Fr. Paul, Dave Wood, Larry Carroll and his wife, and Jim Kelly and his wife.

The conversations and the celebration continued at Ireland’s Four Corners pub in Arlington.  (fitting for a son of Hibernia!).  The celebration and the night was great.  Fr. Paul’s mother asked for us to sing the “Alma Mater” and I think that it was heard all the way to Annapolis! (BEAT NAVY!)

Here is the awesome cake that says it all:

THIS SAYS IT ALL!
THIS SAYS IT ALL!

Much credit goes to Steve Epling for organizing this after party and more – and Mike Kwinn too.  I have only recently been made aware of all the class activities through Steve’s efforts and I appreciate them greatly.

God Bless you Fr. Paul and I will keep you in my prayers!

Old West Point ’84 Classmates Get in First Miniatures Battle in Decades in Arlington, VA

As I write this it is Memorial Day, and this weekend was spectacular in it’s breadth and depth of experience.  I traveled from Albany, NY on the evening of Thursday the 21st after working at Albany Medical Center.  I drove to Arlington, VA for the promotion of my fellow F-4 classmate Chaplain (COL) Paul Hurley, to Major General as the new Chief of Chaplains of the US Army (more to blog on that later as Fr. Paul’s ceremony and after party were indeed epic!).

The drive was going well until I hit an accident-induced traffic jam at the Baltimore tolls that lasted over two hours with ZERO movement.  Finally, it cleared, and after five aggravated lanes of traffic merged into two, I made my way to our class hotel in Arlington, arriving at 2 AM.  Got a key, went to the room, only to find that someone was in there.  I felt badly that I woke whoever it was up at 2:15 AM – and made a hasty exit back to the front desk for a new key to an unoccupied room.  This is why I ALWAYS bolt the doors at hotels.  At least I knew what was going on – the poor guy in the first room only knew someone opened his door and said “sorry!”.  I then crashed and slept until 7.

As backstory, the previous Saturday, Dave Wood, my classmate and old roommate from USMA swung through East Brookfield, MA on his way back from the Huzzah historical miniatures convention in Portland, ME with his wife Brenda.  Lynn and I were happy to see then and really enjoyed spending some time with them and had a great lunch (thanks to Lynn and not me!).

Lynn Morin, Dave Wood, Mark Morin, Brenda Wood
Lynn Morin, Dave Wood, Mark Morin, Brenda Wood
Dave & Mark get together for the first time in 16 years!
Dave & Mark get together for the first time in 16 years!

While in East Brookfield, Dave and I made final plans to go to Fr. Paul’s promotion (at Ft. Meyer by the Pentagon) on Friday afternoon, which left us some time to plan to have a quick miniatures game using the Buck Surdu “Look Sarge No Charts”/Bear Yourself Valiantly system.  Flash forward to Friday the 22nd – so Dave drove down to Arlington and met me at the hotel.  After we grabbed a quick breakfast, it was on to the battle!

Dave set up everything and did a great job.  He brought a drop cloth and that went right on the king-sized bed for a nice battlefield.  The battle was between an attacking force of Elves (me) and a defending group of Ratlings (Dave).  He also had a few orc/goblin ballistae, and I had an Ent.  I do believe that Dave gave me plenty of forces and did a nice job teaching me the game mechanics as we went along.

The Battle Set Up, Elves attacking from Right to Left
The Battle Set Up, Elves attacking from Right to Left
Elven Left Flank
Elven Left Flank
Better Detail of Elven Left Flank and Center
Better Detail of Elven Left Flank and Center

I focused on maneuver and less on frontal assault.  This allowed me time to marshal forces for multiple attacks on units.  Dave of course accommodated by advancing his forces into woods that I could hit on three sides.

Elves attack into Woods and go after Wounded Ratling Leader
Elves attack into Woods and go after Wounded Ratling Leader
The Woods become a Rat Trap!
The Woods become a Rat Trap!

The Ratling defensive position on the Elven left flank became untenable, and they quickly scurried away to the next wood line.  On the Elven right flank, casualties were higher, and progress was slower.

Despite Greater Casualties, the Elves push forward on the Right Flank
Despite Suffering Higher Casualties, the Elves Push Forward on the Right Flank

Ratling morale began to falter and their leaders faced multiple morale checks as shown by the red gaming stones.  Dave’s Morale Check rolls led to retreats.

Ratling Leader Losing His Nerve
Ratling Leader Losing His Nerve
At the Second Wood Line, Fleeing Ratlings Crowd the Forest
At the Second Wood Line, Fleeing Ratlings Crowd the Forest

At this point, the end was near, and we called it over.  Dave was gracious – really he set me up for a win.  Back in the day, we kept records of all the games we played, and he held a commanding lead over me in victories.  He did concede that now I am ahead in the 21st Century!

The End is Near
The End is Near
Elven Casualties at Top (1 Unit), Ratling Casualties at Bottom
Elven Casualties at Top (1 Unit), Ratling Casualties at Bottom

I was impressed with Buck’s system (no surprise).  I was also impressed with Dave’s ability to teach me the system.  I will be incorporating some of the mechanics and concepts into the version of fantasy rules that I am updating.  I was also able to catch up with Buck on the way home to discuss them (again much thanks to Dave & Buck)!

And after the game, the promotion ceremony for Fr. Paul and the After Party! (my next post!)

SUNDAY SWEEPS ARE BACK AT BAY PATH GOLF COURSE!

The Sunday Sweeps are back at Bay Path Golf Course! Great news!!

There was a little snow behind 3 that is now GONE!

This was a last week (April 26th) on 6 – no, my ball really did not end up here.

Bunker on 6th Hole
Bunker on 6th Hole

My game is rusty but I have spring, summer, and part of fall ahead to fix, or at least try to do so.  Then this white stuff comes again.  As the Starks say, WINTER IS COMING.

Jeff did a great job with all the tree removal!  Thanks Jeff!

Iron Wind Metals Bringing Back Ral Partha’s Chaos Wars with a Great Kickstarter Campaign

Great Goblins!
Great Goblins!

This is some great news – Iron Wind Metals has a really interesting Kickstarter Campaign going for bringing back the Ral Partha Chaos Wars and figures.   I really like the Goblin/Orc Battalion and will get that.  Go to:

It looks like my re-entry into the hobby was timely!