Damien and West Point
Damien and West Point – A Real Success Story
By William McLaughlin
It is no secret that a very large number of Damien graduates have gone on to attend the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point and have had some very important achievements as a result. The first of these Damien graduates was John Spizer (Damien Class of 1980, USMA Class of 1984) and the most recent was Andrew Borer (USMA Class of 2016). Andrew was the second highest-ranking cadet of his Class of about 1,000. There are currently five Damien graduates at the Military Academy.
The average high school in the United States gets a graduate into West Point every 25 years. Damien has had 35 enter the Academy in the last 36 years. Nationally, on the average, fifteen apply for every successful applicant. It is believed that this is the best record of any school west of the Mississippi not next to an Army base. This is a real tribute to the staff of the school and the quality of the Damien education.
Each USMA offer of admission is worth about $440,000. So these offers of acceptance to graduation combined (1980-2017) brought in about $15.4 million for scholarships, room and board, uniforms, books, computers, fees and haircuts, etc., to the Damien family. Those who gain admission to West Point are scholars, athletes, student leaders, and those who care about their country. They are those with the potential to become leaders of our Nation. There is a saying: “At West Point, much of the history we teach was made by people we taught”. It really fits.
Damien and West Point Achievements
The first is John Spiszer, Damien Class of 1980 and West Point Class of 1984. He is a full colonel in the Infantry. He received his Master’s Degree from Central Michigan University. John served four tours in combat and two tours in Kosovo. He was recently Deputy Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army in Europe, overseeing the activities of 67,000 U.S. soldiers. He retired from the Army last year with five different job offers, is married with two sons.
The second is Dan Sauter, who retired from the Army a few months ago as a Colonel. Dan was a member of the Damien Class of 1982 and the West Point Class of 1986. He was an Air Defense officer and his first assignment was to shoot down Sadam Hussain’s SCUD missiles fired at Israeli cities. He did it very well. He had two tours teaching at West Point and during one of these, he coached the Rifle team to the NCAA championship. Dan helped build the Saudi Arabian missile defense system to protect that country from Iranian missiles. He also served in Korea, Japan, Iraq and Afghanistan. For a time, he was acting Mayor of Takrit, Iraq. Dan has a Master’s Degree from Long Island University, is married with four sons (three of which are attending academies, two at West Point and one at the Air Force Academy)., He is currently an executive with the Lockheed Martin Corporation.
William Walski, Damien Class of 1984 and West Point Class of 1989, is an Armor officer. His Master’s Degree is from Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovaki, where the classes are in Slovakian. He was a battalion commander, had two tours in Iraq and was an instructor at Air University in Montgomery, Alabama. (It is the Air Force analog to the Army War College). Bill is married with five children and is now a civilian executive with the U.S. Army. Bill graduated 4th in his Class of about 1,000.
Eugene Wilson, Damien Class of 1987 and West Point Class of 1991, started as an Aviation officer flying CH-47 helicopters. He then transferred to aviation maintenance in the 101st Airborne Division. Then he transferred to the Medical Corps and attended medical school at LETCOM Medical College in Pennsylvania. Eugene is now one of the top radiologists in the U.S. Army and received appointment head of the Radiology Department at Fort Benning, Georgia after completing a two-year fellowship at Stanford University in Palo Alto. He will receive promotion to full Colonel on 1 October of 2017. Eugene worked his way through Damien by being Tom Carroll’s assistant groundskeeper each summer.
Marius Greene, West Point Class of 2000 received his commission as an Air Defense Officer. In 2001, he was forced to leave the Army because of effects of earlier football injuries. Due to reapportionment and the absence of a locally known incumbent, he was immediately considered as a potential Republican candidate for Congress in California’s 32nd Congressional District. Congressman Dreier arranged for a part time job for support, but Exxon Mobile offered him a position at almost three times the money. In the last 16 years, Marius has rapidly moved up the oil company’s development ladder. It was recently announced that he will be appointed next month (April 2017) as the Operations Support Manager for all of the Exxon Mobil fuel operations in North America. He is married with three sons.
These graduates, along with those in other fields, are very important to both Damien High School and the Nation. We should all be very grateful to those contributing to the formation of these young people and their attitudes about honor, duty and country.