John Gregory Hoffman
West Point, 1966
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Rick Swain on May 6, 2013:
Greg was my first class roommate. At some point during the year, after we had roomed together for some months, the TAC decided to split us up. As neither of us was a power hitter in the chain of command, it seemed an unnecessary disruption that neither of us found attractive. I took it philosophically, figuring fighting the powers that be was a useless expenditure of effort. Greg was affronted, announced this would not do, and headed for the TAC's office He came back shortly and said the TAC had agreed and we would remain where we were. That was very likely the most significant validation I had during my four years at West Point.
Greg was a marvel as a roommate. He had trained for the Old Guard and could do the walk of the Guardians of the Tomb of the Unknown perfectly. To see him do it in his BVDs was extraordinary.
Greg did not suffer fools, gladly. His roommates, perhaps were the exception. He was chairman of the car committee first class year. He asked me to pick up some office supplies for him at Cadet Supply one day when I had to go up the hill on some other errand. Naturally, they turned me down. I reported back to Greg and he departed with fire in eyes. When he came back he had a laundry bag or two and a couple of plebes in tow. I did not inquire.
I last saw Greg at Fort Sill when I came back from Vietnam the second time. He was on the post staff, getting out at the end of his mandatory service to go ultimately to the CIA. (He was quite a linguist, actually.) I was not surprised. The war was about wound down and the drawdown stupidity was running rampant. LIke I said, Greg did not tolerate fools gladly, even when they outranked him. We did not stay in touch but I have never forgotten him. He was a good friend, and endless source of amusement and bewilderment, a talented officer, and a gentleman. He was unique and I value our friendship.
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