Nicholas Joseph Tessino
West Point, 1978
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Dave Cripps on April 20, 2012:
I was in B-3 with Nick for Beanhead and Yuck years. Two amusing anecdotes from that time:
A classic movie was released the summer we were in Beast Barracks - "Blazing Saddles". Nick's quiet easy-going personality combined with his size quickly earned him the moniker "Mongo" (for somewhat obvious reasons). Of course Nick had been a wrestler in high school, and when winter intramurals rolled around he anchored the B-3 Bandit grapplers at the unlimited weight class. I was nearly on the opposite end of the spectrum, weighing in at about 140 as my all-time high as a Cadet. Occasionally, when I needed puttin' in my place, Mongo would grab me, twist me into some sort of a knot and pin me to whatever the closest flat surface (e.g. wall, desktop, floor, etc.). It became great sport thereafter for me to catch him unaware from behind, wrap my arms around him and lock hands in front, trapping his arms and hands, and hang on for dear life - sort of a human version of "Eight Seconds". More often than not, I'd get "thrown" and then immediately captured, twisted into another knot and pinned to the nearest flat surface. But occasionally I'd "ride" Mongo to the point where he was too exhausted to catch me.
Yearling year Nick got a message from the Supe's office that he had been by-name requested to escort Senator Jacob Javits to a Retreat Review and to dinner afterward on the Poop Deck in Washington Hall. As he prepared himself, ensuring his Dress Gray uniform was in pristine condition, he hurriedly grabbed his "good" (as opposed to the daily use) gray cap from his wall locker and rushed out to greet the Senator. Throughout the entire review, the OC kept giving him "the look" as he stood beside Senator Javits. Immediately after the review and before dinner, Senator Javits and the Supe stepped to the side for a few moments of personal conversation, at which time the OC strode over to Nick, grabbed his cap, and demanded to know why Nick had his academy crest upside down. Like a good Cadet, he responded with his third answer, "No excuse, Sir" and properly affixed the crest, thereby avoiding further inopportune attention. And he never said anything about it until over a year later. I returned from class one afternoon to find Nick had brought me a treat from lunch at the mess hall and left it on my desk all afternoon. It was an entire half-gallon of chocolate ice cream, neatly opened and placed on the middle of my desk in the 90 degree weather approaching June Week of our Cow year. Accompanying it was a handwritten note thanking me for making his visit with Senator Javits so memorable.
I will always remember Nick as a kind, thoughtful person with a heart as big as the world. I will miss him greatly.
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