A memory composed by Walter York in 1995
I arrived at St. John’s in the fall of 1933 and capped off eleven years of military experience in May 1944. In retrospect, St. John’s was my home and sufficed as a family. I can say that the eleven years passed in a big hurry. The school fostered my attitude of RMA (Right Mental Attitude) which took me through my service life in good shape. I wasn’t the best athlete, but I loved to compete in football, basketball, and track. We played softball between the clubs (Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines) where I was a good fielder. During those years, one had to complete his first year before becoming an “Old Boy”. I remember running the belt line at the end of the year—made me feel that I was now one of the gang. Had a few recognitions during my stay and felt lucky to be selected as Captain of the Army Club one year, President of the “S” Club my senior year, and Corps Commander. One other thing that I might mention (as Col. Clem related to me) and that is being the first officer commissioned in his junior year at St. John’s. During those eleven years, I was lucky enough to have won a few personal awards.
Over the years, the names of Al Hart, Mr. “T” (Tolbert), Hazel, Simpson, John Hughes, Bishop Mize, Col. Ganssele, and Col. Clem, are just a few people that left an impact on my life. They supported me when I needed it the most, and they kicked my behind when I deserved it.
One highlight during this time was the school taking us to see the original Harlem Globetrotters when they came to Salina. A few of us were lucky to get to go to Dodge City, KS for the premiere of a movie and got to see many movie stars. The Crack squad performed and St. John’s marched in the big parade. I remember talking with Buck Jones, the Lane Sisters, and several others. I can remember when Jack Dempsey and 3 cadets from his hometown in Colorado had their picture taken together. One other thing worth mentioning is the two-week Spring Encampment after our tests were complete. We went out around Junction City and pitched our tents for two weeks. After we struck the camp, we’d head for school, have our formal commencement dance on Saturday, graduation and field activities on Sunday, and the last formation on Monday morning.
I was the fourth “York” to attend St John’s. My two oldest brothers attended from around 1916 to 1918. My brother John went from 1932 through 1936 and was Corps Commander. I ordered a flagpole with the plate to read ”THE YORK’S” and listed John – 1936, and my name WALTER – 1944. There are a lot of highlights I could mention, however space forbids listing them all. I was exposed to some mighty fine and upstanding people in my St. John’s tenure. I won’t forget their input into my school life. I never met a cadet or teacher that I didn’t like. I believe that a St. John’s Cadet is a cut above the others. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at school and turned things over to the younger generation, which I have high regard for, and feel that they will carry the school tradition in fine fashion. I salute them.”
—Walter York 1944