William Beaver enclosed a rare photo of the 1963 battalion staff, taken only a couple of weeks before graduation. He said, looking at the photograph, “I would boldly say you could call it The Boys from the Golden Era. Of course, I am sure that until recently all class years felt the same, but this photograph was taken when cadet life was becoming more focused, demanding, and purposeful as we became recognizably part of the Army. In so many ways, the battalion led by Jonathan Pratt in 1963 was very different than the Air Group of Francis Tipton Bowers a scant four years before.”

“Now that I think back on it, all this change and our roles to help bring it about had to go on whilst maintaining, indeed enhancing, Colonel Clem and Colonel Duckers’ goal of a calm, well-governed, yet extraordinary school. To that end, I thought, and still think, the teaching was great (take a bow, Captain Browning). We were under no illusion that it was up to us senior cadets to create and maintain an atmosphere in the barracks that encouraged morale, stomped on inequity in discipline, and instilled an atmosphere in which learning could take place. To that end, we sought to give our fellow cadets a steady, predictable routine, which would be more or less the same week after week. We rarely achieved it, but that is what we aimed for.”

“Now, I hope this is not too rose-tinted. Yet when we later learned, post-graduation, that the number of returning cadets was particularly high, we thought we had done a pretty good job of it. In summation, I can say without peradventure that in our day, as no doubt in yours, each of us was dreadfully sad to leave SJMS, but so we were ready to take on the world.” — William Beaver 1963

The SJMS Cadet Staff 1963

Back row standing L-R: 1st Lt. W Thomas Guerrant, S-4 Quartermaster; Maj. John A Hjorth, S-1 Adjutant; Maj. Eugene J. Guerrant, Executive Officer; Capt. Eric W. Adams, S-3 Operations. Front row seated L-R: Maj. Gregory J. Albertons, Assistant to the Commandant; Lt. Col. H. Johnathan Pratt, Battalion Commander; Maj. William C. Beaver II, Assistant to the Commandant.