Saturday, April 19, 2008

Black Hawk Up - History Made at Harvard

If you were near Harvard Square yesterday afternoon, you may have seen and heard the unusual presence of two Army Black Hawk helicopters as they landed in the Harvard University soccer field just off of the aptly named Soldiers' Field Road. As far as anyone involved in the airlift is aware, it may have been the first landing by an Army helicopter on the campus in the university's rich history.

The occasion was a training activity being held by the Paul Revere Batallion - the ROTC unit that is composed of cadets from a consortium of Boston area schools - Harvard, MIT, Wellesley, Tufts, Salem State, Gordon and Endicott.

I am a friend of several of the members of the faculty of the Paul Revere Batallion, so I was pleased when Captain David Gowel gave me advance notice of the event. I was part of a small cadre of civilians who were present to watch the cadets of the Batallion airlifted to their training destination at Ft. Devens. Also present for the auspicious occasion were founding members of a new organization - Harvard Veterans Alumni Organization. One does not typically associate Harvard University with the military. In fact, those of us who lived through the era of the Viet Nam War recall military recruiters being banned from campus. There is a continuing imbroglio at the Law School about giving military recruiters access to Career Services facilities. But, despite the arms-length attitude of some of the university community to the presence of military on campus, there is a long and storied tradition of Harvard graduates serving with distinction in the military. It is the desire of this new organization to bring together those who stand in that tradition. According the the founding document, the purposes will be, in part to . . .

"Initiate programs to honor and perpetuate the memory ofHarvard Veterans; Develop and maintain a network of living Harvard Veterans, to promote a sense of community, friendship, and mutual activities."

If you are aware of anyone with Harvard connections who is also a veteran of the military, please help to pass the word to him or her about the formation of this new umbrella organization.


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