C. John Roberts
West Point, 1970
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Terry L. Johnson on July 13, 2010:
This is very sad news indeed. Johnny was a fellow Minnesotan and a far better hockey player than I would ever be. He even tried out for the US Olympic Team. We were together both on the West Point Hockey team as well as several trips home to Minnesota as cadets. John was from Warroad, one of the northernmost cities in the Continental US. After graduation and completion of Airborne and Ranger Schools, and the Field Artillery Basic Course John was posted to Alaska. I was fortunate to visit him up there in early 1975. He'd been a forward observer and battery officer and had managed to stay there into his captaincy. I was up for a reconnaissance from the 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington, in preparation for Operation Jack Frost. Johnny invited me to Anchorage from our visit to Fairbanks and Fort Wainwright.
I stayed with him at a friend's house in the city that Johnny was housesitting. He introduced me to Yukon, his incredible Golden Retriever. Yukon impressed me by bringing his huge bowl and setting it at Johnny's feet to inform him of his hunger. The next day we visited Johnny's 37th Field Artillery Battalion headquarters at Fort Richardson (a unit I would later join and command A Battery in three years later). On our way up the shoveled walk with snow piled to armpit height, Johnny said, "Watch this Terry." He had Yukon with him. He commanded "Yukon, right!" and the big beautiful animal bounded up through the snow on a perfect 45 degree path. "Yukon, back!" brought the Golden Retriever to our heels and a "Yukon, left!" started him up the other side of the walk. By the time we reached the steps and turned back to look at our canine friend's work there was a perfect Christmas tree of paths carved in the snow.
We stayed loosely in touch after that as John moved on to the Interior Telephone Company in Alaska and then similar work in Colorado. I know he played some mean golf and had married and lost a wife, but I, regretfully lost touch with him back in the eighties. I seem to recall seeing him at our 15th reunion where I was a Major on the faculty, but it's not a clear recollection.
Johnny brightened every room with his smile and ebullient cheerfulness. He was one of those friends that you long to brag about and never forget.
Ginny and I extend our deepest sympathies to John's widow, Dona, and to all his family and friends.
Terry and Ginny Johnson, USMA 1970 classmate and friends.
4 Nelson Court
Poquoson, VA 23662
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