Randolph Kent Guenther
West Point, 1965
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Hank Kelley on May 12, 2013:
One of my favorite memories of Randy has to do with a project for the Civil Engineering course in the second semester of our Senior Year. As I recall, the requirement was to design a radar station in some awful place above the Arctic Circle where a nameless someone had determined there was a crying need for one. This project went on for several weeks (or months...or forever it seemed), and consisted of a series of requirements whose completion, step by step, would result in the completed radar station.
And so it went; one requirement after another: the foundation; the storage area; the living quarters; the dining area; the communications room, etc. Each requirement built on the one before. Naturally there was an "Approved Solution" handed out after each requirement was turned in. But since this was an individual project, as you can imagine, there were as many solutions (unapproved) as there were cadets working on them. And as the solutions for each requirement were submitted and graded, you were pretty much locked in by what you had developed in earlier requirements.
At long last, we came to the final requirement. Part of the final task of putting everything together was to show a diagram of the finished installation. Now as Randy worked his way thru the project, his solutions invariably received high grades although they were somewhat unusual. But still, isn't that what innovation and creativity is all about? Naturally we were all curious as to what his final product would look like.
We were not disappointed. When all the stages of Randy's radar station were assembled, the result was a giant snowman. Three hemispheres of different size made up the body. A radar dome was cleverly housed in a structure resembling a top hat. One arm extended to hold an antenna that bore a close resemblance to a broom. And there were circular windows placed in the top level in such a way as to suggest eyes. Another row of windows made up a mouth fixed in neither a smile or frown. This was not a happy snowman that glared out on a bleak Arctic landscape that made our Hudson Home in winter look cheery by comparison. An assignment to Randy's installation would count as a hardship tour.
Unorthodox to be sure. But it satisfied the requirement.
I didn't take to Civil Engineering with Randy's ease and competence. In fact we were locked in an adversarial relationship all that semester. Eventually Civil Engineering won and by semester's end I was "found" and "turned out" It was then that the architect of the Great Snowman of the Artic came to the rescue. Randy coached me as I prepared for that most final of final exams. And I give thanks to Randy that I can say I am
Hank Kelley, member the graduating class of '65.
Randy was a class act.
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