WP-ORG Main Image
View a eulogy for Harold Paul Kindleberger, USMA '64, who passed away on May 11, 1966.

Harold Paul Kindleberger

West Point, 1964

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by Chris Bast on September 6, 2011:

Dear Ms Bowerman,

By way of background my name is Chris Bast and I am a proud West Point classmate of KB's

In the summer of 1960 KB and I were in the same squad of nine cadet candidates during the initial two months of intense training and weeding out at West Point known fondly and aptly as "Beast Barracks". Later for the ensuing two academic years KB and I were in the same company of 100 men, designated "K-2", . We were, however, in different companies for our final two terms, but we talked and visited often as we hurried too fast through those times of hard study, friendly athletic strife, promise of the future, and camaraderie born in our shared ordeal.

KB entered West Point after a stint in the Army as compared to others who may have entered immediately after high school or following a period in college. The soldier's background afforded him authority, maturity and experience that enhanced his native abilities so that he stood out as a leader among a group of young men already selected ,in part, for their own leadership. In other words KB was a leader among leaders right from the start.

I can personally vouch for the fact that he unselfishly helped those of us such as myself who were neither as able nor as experienced get through the very demanding tests of beast barracks and later plebe year. In addition to assisting with the unfamiliar military training KB was always there in our scarce free time with a good morale boosting yarn or joke holding court in the midst of four or five admiring classmates.

At the time we were upperclassmen I had family in NYC and arranged a blind double date for KB with a very pretty young lady of my family's acquaintance named Doreen. Doreen and KB continued with several more solo dates after the initially arranged get together. After graduation when we scattered to the winds of life and war, I lost track of Doreen, and I did not know if she and KB remained in touch or not after our departure from West Point. Years later while visiting my NY family I bumped into Doreen moving on with her life as a married women with children. In a private aside she asked of KB and I sadly told her of his hero's death . Despite the long interval of life and time since they were last together she quietly wept as did I.

Just recently I was visiting another classmate and his wife in Charleston, SC. As we are wont to do at this stage of our lives we spoke of old times. After all these years KB became one of the topics as if he hadn't died so long ago.This retired couple related the adventures and misadventures of their first army assignment along with several of our classmates in Hawaii before they all deployed to Vietnam. From the stories told that evening the lady of the house apparently served those many years ago as a young hostess, cook, sister, and feminine confidant to many of our bachelor classmates that gathered in Hawaii on the auspicious start of their Army careers. KB was a prominent, larger than life central character in these stories consistent with my own independent memories of him. Perhaps you would like to hear from this couple. Towards that end, I will copy them with this email.

I am glad that KB remains an interest to someone outside our shrinking group of classmates. To me as the rest of us grow old, KB will remain forever young -a dashing lieutenant leading his beloved infantry, a plumed cadet in full dress gray striding on to the plain, a popular buddy surrounded by laughing friends, an athlete in the full glory of youth competing in friendly strife.

The above happy reverie not with standing, KB's sacrifice and loss are unfathomably sad. He will never know the joy of shared life with the women he loves, he will never experienced the birth of his child, he will not participate into old age in that unique brotherhood of classmates except in their memories and hearts. His great promise and talent as a leader will not be realized and that is the greatest loss of all not only to his grieving family and classmates but to the nation he loved so much. Now as our class' shadows lengthen we can take great pride without conceit in the accomplishments of our brothers. Our members have led our Army to the victory in Iraq, served as federal judges, presided over large corporations, became successful entrepreneurs, and perform much public service. Though the individual success stories abound, none of us showed more promise than KB back in those glory days of our youth. "Those were the days, my friend", but these are the times of reward.

I wish KB were here to share them with us, his brothers.

Previous Eulogy   Next Eulogy

West-Point.Org (WP-ORG), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, provides an online communications infrastructure that enable graduates, parents, and friends of the military academy to maintain and strengthen the associations that bind us together. We will provide this community any requested support, consistent with this purpose, as quickly and efficiently as possible. WP-ORG is funded by the generosity of member contributions. Our communication services are provided in cooperation with the AOG (independent of USMA) and are operated by volunteers serving the Long Gray Line. For questions or comments, please email us at feedback@west-point.org.