John Alvin Viney
West Point, 1955
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Marlowe D Viney on September 23, 2010:
John Alvin Viney, Cullum # 20517, USMA Class of 1955
John Alvin Viney was born 7 December 1932, at Letterman Hospital in San Francisco, the son of Alvin G Viney '29 and Allene S Viney. His Dad was career Army, and home was where the Corps of Engineers sent the Viney family. When the war broke out, Alvin was sent to Europe and Allene moved the family back to her home in Pasadena, California. Jack and his brother climbed trees with a kid by the name of Marlowe Delphey. When the war ended, the Vineys had several assignments at West Point. By the time Jack entered Episcopal High in Alexandria, Virginia, he had spent more than half of his life at the Academy. Between school and post life, Jack was well prepared for the presidential appointment competition. In June, 1951, he joined the ranks of the Class of 1955.
A congratulatory note on his appointment was sent by Marlowe, along with a photo. They became pen pals until she gave up trying to read his handwriting. While at the Academy, he "dueled with the German Department, and both survived." One of his favorite stories was about try outs for the Glee Club. Like his dad, it was strongly suggested the "he not even sing in the shower." The rifle team was a great love, and competition won him a variety of awards. Jack's branch assignment upon graduation was Air Defense Artillery, the BIG guns.
Following completion of Ranger, Airborne and Jump Master Schools, Jack's first duty assignment was at Fort Lewis, Washington. On reassignment to Fort Bliss, Texas, he paid a visit to Dr and Mrs Delphey. Marlowe, no longer a kid, captured his heart. He asked her to "tag along on the road of life." On 1 April 1958, they were married in Pasadena, California and returned to Fort Bliss to honeymoon. There, Jack was assigned to a Nike battery in preparation for deployment of the system to Okinawa. In October 1958, they departed for the tiny Pacific island. During the three year tour, two daughters, Patricia and Jacquallene were born.
Upon return to the states, Jack was assigned to the Career Course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. A short tour at the Fort Bragg Language School was followed by a tour in Vietnam. There Jack volunteered for and obtained a Branch Detail to Infantry to serve as senior advisor to an ARVN Ranger Battalion. He wore the CIB (Combat Infantry Badge) with pride.
Upon return to the states in December 1964, he served as an instructor at the Air Defense School, Fort Bliss, Texas. He submitted his resignation from the Army in 1969. At that time he was the only instructor to be fully qualified to teach virtually any subject taught by his branch to both US and foreign officer students. He also presented many special briefings to visiting dignitaries. Before completion of the tour in Texas, a third daughter, Diane, was born. When his resignation was accepted in 1969, he was honorably discharged as a major, Artillery.
The Vineys returned to the Southern California area, where civilian employment at Rockwell assisted Jack in completing his master's at USC in Systems Engineering. The Army Reserves kept him occupied as a weekend warrior. As he moved along in industry, he also made changes in the military sector by a transfer to the Army National Guard. Assignment to the 2nd Battalion, 144th Field Artillery as battalion commander was a "challenge and opportunity" that brought commendations. When he joined Hughes Aircraft Company in 1984, he had returned to the Reserves, completed the Command and General Staff School and served ODCSOPS (your guess is as good as mine what that stands for) for Operations and Plans at the Pentagon as a staff officer. He then began to plan a third career in Law. Paralegal studies were the starting point. He maintained a GPA of 4.0 and hoped to graduate with high honors. As this is written, Jack will be graduated posthumously. The final classes have been waived because of his outstanding papers and thesis, Gays in the Military. These will be used as models for future students.
On 7 December 1992, Jack was officially retired from the service as a full colonel with 35 years of service. The Bronze Star, Air Medal, Order of St Barbara, and several Vietnamese commendations are included in his military awards.
The 30th Class reunion at West Point brought Jack to the realization that many of his classmates were on the West Coast, and he delighted in planning California, West get togethers. He also became involved in the West Point Society of Orange County and subsequently, in 1994, served as president of the Inland Empire West Point Society. He resigned from an active role in the association because he had volunteered to be sent by Hughes to Saudi Arabia to teach the Saudi Air Force, Peace Shield a radar system. Surgical intervention prevented a January 1995, departure to Saudi. On 14 February 1995, Jack received "special travel orders" and departed to join the Long Gray Line.
His strong faith sustained him through a variety of situations in his adult life. He lived his life according to Joshua 1:9 "This is my command: Be strong, be resolute, do not be fearful or dismayed, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." He loved to teach and opened the study of the Bible to mobile home friends. Throughout his military and civilian careers, Jack believed in setting the highest standards. His life was exemplified by, "Duty, Honor, Country." He ran the good race, fought the good fight and is now at peace. Final resting place is West Point. His daughters, their husbands, three grandchildren and his wife look forward to the day when they are reunited with him.
Marlowe D Viney,
wife and teammate
Assembly, September/October 1995