This Veterans Day, we pause to remember those among our numbers who have served our country in the military. Please join us in reflecting on our school’s and countries service members over the centuries. Included below is our known Honor Roll, a reflection on World War II in terms of our school and alumni, and a reprint of the Hamptonia 2011 article “Service and Sacrifice”.
Our World War II Veterans
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Members of our Greatest Generation served in this conflict in a number of capacities and all branches of the military. At the time of the war, our school’s primary publication was The Manitou—a monthly periodical containing many articles about student life, activities, sports, but notably, during this time it also served as an archive of service during the war. In its pages are stories of enlistments, officer promotions, class notes from the front lines, and contributions to the War Memorial Fund (a fund started by the Class of 1943). The spirited patriotism, dedication to education and country, celebration, and mourning all mix together in a potent snapshot of the time.
The July 1943 edition of Manitou opens with the headline “First Summer Session in 123 Years of Existence.” This story and many that follow highlight the school’s adaptability during this time period. An accelerated plan was instituted to help students achieve graduation, and in some cases a year of college, prior to military enlistment. New Hampton School offered summer sessions, and graduations took place in the winter, spring, and summer.
Faculty and staff, too, enlisted in the military. One such teacher was Donald Ellis, a world language instructor who was fluent in both French and German. He started in New Hampton in 1929 and remained until 1933 when he “left to pursue his studies at the Sorbonne in Paris.” Ellis returned again in the fall of 1940, departing in July of 1943 for service in the United States Army. Students gratefully welcomed his safe return to the classroom from Europe in the fall of 1945.
New Hampton School’s Honor Roll
Service and Sacrifice
Reprinted from Hamptonia 2011, Article by Will McCulloch. View the full issue and article on issu.com.
From its earliest days when it was known as the New Hampton Academy, this small school in Central New Hampshire has impacted the Armed Forces of the United States by preparing students for a commitment to service. Whether it was an alumnus fighting in the Civil War or a more recent graduate jumping out of planes in Afghanistan, New Hampton School has been well represented in wartime and in peace.
Perhaps Headmaster Emeritus T. Holmes Moore ’38 serves as an appropriate metaphor for what New Hampton has meant to the military and what the military has provided to graduates of the School. Almost twenty years before John F. Kennedy uttered the words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” Moore and so many other New Hampton men spent large chunks of their life not only serving their country but doing so with the pride that this institution hopes to instill in all graduates.
While the following pages include the stories of graduates who made the ultimate sacrifice, there also are the enriching stories of those who used the military as a springboard to other endeavors and those who continue to serve. For their efforts, military service has provided lasting values, enduring friendships, and a way of expressing their patriotism. These stories are those of only a small fraction of the New Hampton School graduates that have served, but they are offered as a way of thanking all the graduates who made the commitment to their country.
Eric Buer ’84
Eric Buer ’84 spent countless hours in attack helicopters, risked his life during innumerable missions in Iraq as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps, and found himself hunkered down in the Pentagon reporting to the joints staff in recent years. But Buer—who found his facility for intellectual engagement as a four-year student at New Hampton— might have discovered his true calling recently as an Associate Professor at the National Defense University. Buer traded the long hours of pondering strategy in hallowed offices of the Pentagon in 2010 for standing before a cast of future decision makers in his classes on Strategy and Policy and Ethics. The soldier turned strategist is now a professor, and life seems to be pretty good for the married father of four.
“Preparation for class for me is two or three times as much as it was as a student,” says the San Francisco native who received a Bachelor’s in economics from Ohio Wesleyan; an MBA from La Salle, and Master’s degrees in military studies and strategic studies from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the War College. “With teaching you need to put everything in context. You need to read things a couple of times and actually know what you’re talking about.”
Buer carries a sense of humor that was needed during the more challenging moments of his military career, which included three tours in Iraq. In 2004–05, he was based in Al Anbar province between the flashpoint cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. His command of 400 included pilots and aircrew, maintenance and healthcare workers, and administrative and logistics specialists. Buer carried incredible responsibility, which led to a bump to Colonel and a posting at the War College. After three years of traveling the world and helping to determine the policies of nato, he now spends his late hours reading for class. He is no less inspired by the rewards that come with military life.
“What keeps me going is the sense of service,” Buer explains. “The traveling is great; the three tours in Iraq were not so great. But fundamentally, the satisfaction I get from service is above all about the people. You meet the most incredible people. …As you get older, it’s a cool job because you’re with younger people—18- and 19-year-olds. It’s amazing what we put on those folks. And to lead them and mentor them, it was a big part of what I did.”
Buer believes that New Hampton School pushed him toward a career in service.
“I think you get exposed to a lot of opportunities there,” he explains. “You have a chance to go to Golden View Health Care Center and show prospective students around. With all the sports I played, there was camaraderie and teamwork. There is a sense of family there, and the Marine Corps are very similar. At New Hampton, I got exposed pretty quickly to a sense of volunteerism.”
After three years working for the Chairman of Joint Chief’s staff, Buer is settling into his new role, commuting to the nation’s capital from Fredericksburg, Virginia. His days of flying attack helicopters are over, but Buer carries with him all his experiences from Iraq, Somalia, Kuwait, and the former Yugoslavia, and is proud of the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor he earned with more than 35,000 flight hours and 370 combat missions, many aimed at rescuing wounded soldiers. As the United States of America tries to navigate through the treacherous global landscape and the conflicts in which it is involved, friends of New Hampton School can feel proud to have a soldier in their midst that has provided hands-on service, shaped policy, and is now molding the next generation of military leaders.
Alicia Burrows ’00
Alicia Burrows ’00 was sitting in her dorm room at Colby College in 2011, preparing for a French class when the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011 struck. It changed the way Americans think about homeland security and the career path of a freshman college student from Meredith, New Hampshire.
Four years later, Burrows was an Army platoon leader headed to Iraq, responsible for forty men and women and far away from the athletic fields, classrooms, and campus spaces that had been a far less turbulent setting for her maturation as a leader.
I’ve learned a great deal from my experiences in the military and what sticks out the most is leadership,” says Burrows, a Captain who has completed seven years in the service and endured two combat deployments to the Middle East. “Young Army officers are purposefully introduced to the military by a sort of ‘baptism by fire.’ My particular experience was taking charge of a platoon of 40 soldiers as a 22-year-old lieutenant and leading them through a yearlong deployment to Iraq.
Burrows believes she was ready for the challenge, though, with her experiences at nhs and Colby tucked away in her toolbox. A class president, standout athlete, and exemplary student during her time at New Hampton who won the Meservey Medal, Alicia tackled leadership roles and responsibility from a young age.
“Fortunately, my preparation for that moment began years ago right here at New Hampton School,” Burrows told New Hampton School graduates in May 2011.
Now a full-time student at the College of William & Mary’s Mason School of Business, pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration, Burrows appreciatively looks back on her service thus far. With all the challenges that come with a military life, there are also the opportunities for travel and exploration. Alicia calls living in Germany for five years and traveling throughout Europe her biggest thrill. Now she’s taking advantage of the educational benefits of the armed services.
For Burrows, military service began as something to keep her personal grade book filled, but morphed into something more holistic in its meaning.
“I initially joined the Army Reserves in college because I wanted a challenge,” says Burrows, who remains on active duty as a full-time student and will return to Army responsibilities next summer. “At the time I had no plans to serve on active duty, but then 9/11 happened shortly after I completed basic training. Unsure about my post-college career plans and with my country at war, I decided to pursue and accept an ROTC scholarship for active duty service.”
Yes, Alicia Burrows’ plans changed, and with it, so did the good fortune of the United States Army.
Robert Crum ’59
Robert Crum ’59 uttered revealing words to Private David Dolby as he passed away at the age of twenty-six from multiple bullet wounds in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam on May 21, 1966.
“How are my men? How are my men?” On that horrific day, Lieutenant Crum and his Army platoon walked into an ambush of almost insurmountable circumstances, and on that day Crum, with his final words, continued to exhibit the character that made him a respected student at New Hampton School, a caring family member, and an enigmatic college-educated officer among teenage soldiers.
In a detailed chapter of S.L.A Marshall’s Battles in the Monsoon: Campaigning in the Central Highlands, Vietnam, 1966, Crum’s final day is detailed, painting a picture of Dolby’s courage and Crum’s leadership under fire. Awarded the Purple Heart as well as the Silver Star and Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, posthumously, Crum was first shot in the shoulder on that day in Binh Dinh Province before suffering fatal wounds. According to firsthand accounts, “he continued to direct his men to cover the personnel in the area who had become casualties, demonstrating his fearlessness and courageous leadership to his men.”
While the chapter in Battles in the Monsoon chronicles the manner in which Dolby selflessly charged up a hill and tried to protect his platoon’s casualties from a barrage of gunfire, it also elucidates the magnitude of Crum’s leadership. Providing guidance to the end, Crum recognized that the unlikely position of machine gunner, Dolby, was the man who needed to make the strategic decisions for the platoon.
“Take control and get these men out,” Crum said to Dolby.
Crum’s nephew John Leonard was not even born yet when his uncle died in Vietnam, but he has made considerable effort as an adult uncovering what happened in Vietnam and honoring his uncle’s bravery. What resonates more than the details of the ambush, is the man Crum showed himself to be before and during his tour in Vietnam. Leonard recalls the story that Dolby told him about Crum. Dolby—a five-tour veteran who received the Congressional Medal of Honor and died last year—walked into Crum’s tent in the early days of his time in Vietnam and immediately recognized that Crum was not the classic officer. On his bunk was a book that was battered, highlighted, and tabbed. Crum, who loved consuming the poetry of Rudyard Kipling and Walt Whitman, was doing more practical reading. The book was about what it is like to be an infantryman. As Dolby recalled, he knew that Crum was “different. He wanted to know about us. I appreciated that.”
Long before he adorned his Army uniform, Crum distinguished himself as anything but an ordinary guy at New Hampton. A hockey and football player, Crum was also the business manager of the Belfry yearbook. Jason Pilalas ’58 recalls “a smiling happy-go-lucky kid. He had a huge streak of common sense and saw the humor in every situation.”
Olivia Thompson married Crum in 1965 in a “beautiful military wedding.” She had met him six years earlier when Crum was a college freshman at Wake Forest and she was a waitress in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
“He was a young man full of life, full of energy, and full of fun,” Thompson recalled during the dedication of the Crum Campus Center at New Hampton in 2004. “He had a curiosity, warmth and eagerness that drew you to him—charisma and a zest for life that endeared him to all. …I respected him as a person with a strong value system whose internal compass led him to embrace the military life as his duty.”
Thompson believes Crum’s time at New Hampton and the patience of T. Holmes Moore ’38, who called Crum into his office on occasion, had a profound effect on her late husband. “New Hampton molded him into becoming a young man of courage and principles,” said Olivia Thompson, who still lives in Crum’s home state of New Jersey. “His budding maturity was acknowledged and rewarded. He received and cherished the medal for the most improved student. He followed his Headmaster’s instruction to the end.”
Crum’s passion for his country and his duty was only surpassed by his commitment to his men. The military seemed to allow the once mischievous Crum to embrace his innate capacity to lead. “What I knew from my mother and from his pictures was that he was a fun-loving, wild guy, but in the military where he had a responsibility, he was a completely different Rob,” Leonard says. “…He wasn’t worried about this or that. I can’t think of a better example of accountability. He was accountable for his men until the end.”
Each day at New Hampton, hundreds of students walk beneath a plaque with Robert Crum’s likeness on it. The Crum Student Center remains a place for students to enjoy each other’s company, something Robert Crum, a hero, did so well.
Read more online
Please continue to read these stories online including among them: Donald R. Galletly ’41, Victor Lima-De Angelis ’03, T. Holmes Moore ’38, Jason Pilalas ’58, The Poh Family (Alexandra ’99, Tristan ’02, Brendan ’05), Nick Robillard ’05, Frederick Smith ’45, and William Stirrup ’61. Thank you to all of our Veterans, past and present, for your service to the United States.