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View a eulogy for John Alexander Hottell, USMA '64, who passed away on July 7, 1970.

John Alexander Hottell

West Point, 1964

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by BG RM Ong (Ret) on October 3, 2013:

I was one year ahead of Al at West Point and we were together for three years. Not only in Company E-2 but also in the Corps Squad Swimming Team where he was a diver and I was the Team Manager. Everyone knew he had an exceptional mind because they saw the stars on his uniform. And they saw his athletic prowess on the diving board during our Saturday swimming meets.

What I can confirm in Al, was his tremendous desire to do only his best in establishing his goals. He studied hard at night because he wanted to get the most out of his education. He tutored his classmates and underclassmen, so they too could accomplish more. However, it was at the swimming pool, where I observed him at his finest, working on his dives, perfecting every detail, no matter what the cost. And the price he paid was the pain he endured.

He was the only diver in our Team who dared to do the Reverse 2-1/2 Somersault on the 3-meter diving board. I bear witness to his slow but determined learning process, wherein he climbed repeatedly those steps to the high board, only to slam his back into the water many times before he finally achieved the proper control of his body and could hit the water correctly. Only he felt the pain, but we, his teammates, also felt his thrill when he finally succeeded. That was Al the man, Al the athlete, Al the perfectionist.

We parted ways when I graduated, and I returned to the Philippines to serve in my Army. I was stationed in Vietnam before Al's tour thereat, so our paths never did cross again, and I learned about his death only many, many years later. I lost only a friend and a teammate, but America lost a great officer and a true hero.

Brigadier General Ramon M. Ong (Retired)
Armed Forces of the Philippines
USMA 1963

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