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View a eulogy for Richard Allen Chilcoat, USMA '64, who passed away on March 16, 2010.

Richard Allen Chilcoat

West Point, 1964

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by Karl W. Robinson on March 25, 2010:

The Class of 1964 has lost a great classmate and class leader. Being a 2nd Regiment file I didn't have alot of personal contact with Dick while we were at the Academy, but his example of leadership was apparent to us all. His previous military experience prior to July 1960 stood him well, and his experiences at West Point obviously contributed to the leadership abilities and positive personal attributes that he possessed prior to his entrance into the Class of 1964. I had the good fortune to share three assignments with Dick and Dixie at different points in our military careers. What a great man and what an exemplary couple they were!

My first shared experience was at the Infantry Officers Career Course at Ft. Benning in 1969-1970. We were both part of a Class that did great damage to each and every one of the 36 holes on the Ft. Benning golf course. Dick was a much better golfer than I and thus his contributions to the damage were significantly less. We also prepared ourselves morally and physically for the academic rigors of the course by staying up all night on several occasions playing quarter limit poker, and then staring at the platform all day in a sleep-deprived stupor. Dick was also a better poker player than I, but the limits on the game prevented him from depriving me of the entire Robinson fortune.

Our second encounter was when we shared an assignment at the esteemed Department of Social Sciences, USMA in the mid-70's. When I arrived at the Academy in 1974 Dick was assigned to the Dean's Office and it fell upon the shoulders of the Department XO, Barry McCaffrey, and his successor in that position, me, to rescue him from the Dean. We were ultimately successful and Dick joined me in the Department where we shared many lengthy discussions about the woes of Army athletics in general and the football team in particular.

I remember one year Dick went out right before the Army-Navy game and bought a new TV so as to get a really clear look at the game. It did not go well for Army. In fact, it went so badly that Dick became incensed to the point that he launched his nearly full can of adult beverage at the brand new TV screen! Fortunately his level of rage disrupted his normal basketball-honed accuracy to the point that the missile bounced harmlessly off of the side edge of the TV. It was events like this that generated some interest in Dick in becoming the Academy Athletic Director, and the fact that he never filled that position, in my mind, led to the continued unhappiness we have suffered through in recent years (like the last 40!). If anyone could have straightened out Army athletics I am certain that it would have been Dick.

My last period of shared contact with Dick was while he was the Commandant of the US Army War College. By then I was retired from the Army but still living in Carlisle and teaching High School down the road a ways, but we had many opportunities to share social events. During his stay in Carlisle, every December Dick, Jim McCallum (USMA Class of '66 and fellow Social Sciences Alum) and I gathered together to watch the Army-Navy games at one or another of our homes. I am happy to report that this period coincided with the string of 5 straight Army wins, most of them very close, last-minute victories that drove stakes through the evil hearts of the Middies. After Dick left Carlisle, Jim and I would call him on game day in unfortunately unsuccessful efforts to try to recreate the mojo of those glory years.

We have lost a great man, but hopefully you all have as fond of memories as I of your associations with Dick over the years. I look forward to our renewed association when I also depart the Area and we can once again watch Army beat Navy on the Big Screen in the Sky (the reception should be terrific!).

Karl Robinson

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