Harold Gilmore, '53, Oral History Interview
January 22nd, 2017
Home of Harold Gilmore
Interviewed by Joseph Cates
JOSEPH CATES: Let's record and we can get started.
HAROLD GILMORE: All right. Very good.
JC: All right. This is Joseph Cates. Today is January 22nd, 2017. I'minterviewing Harold Gilmore at his home. This interview is sponsored by the Sullivan Museum and History Center and is part of the Norwich Voices Oral History Project. To start off, can you tell me your full name?
HG: Harold Lawrence Gilmore.
JC: And, when and where were you born?
HG: Born in Whitinsville, Massachusetts in 1931.
HG: April 30th.
JC: April 30th. What is your Norwich class?
HG: Class of 1953.
JC: Okay. Tell me about where you grew up and what it was like as a child?
HG: I grew up in a very unique town. The town of Whitinsville, a village ofWhitinsville, in the town of Northbridge, Massachusetts. It was what you'd call a company town. It was a town that was operated fundamentally by the Whitin Machine Works, which was a textile manufacturing company. My father worked there his whole life. My mother worked there part-time at times. It was a town that was written up by the Harvard Business School at one point in time as sort of a socialistic environment.
HG: It was a town that ran the library. It had its own housing for its people.The rents were subsidized so to speak. They maintained those properties. So, it was a very unique environment, something that probably not many people in the United States have ever lived in but was very enjoyable. It was secure and stable employment, good schools. Other resources were all well-made, fire departments, police departments, many of it subsidized heavily by the corporation.
JC: And what corporation was it again?
HG: Whitin Machine Works.
JC: Oh. Okay.
HG: And it was a textile manufacturing company.
JC: Oh. Okay.
HG: Subsequently, it has disappeared. Went out of business. Textilemanufacturing moved elsewhere. Moves down South and then out of the country primarily. The remnants of it are over in New Bedford where I ended up retiring from the University of Massachusetts over there where the icon on the entrance of the school is a huge spindle, which is a representative of a device that runs a thread through looms, weaving machines.
JC: What made you decide to choose Norwich?
HG: Well, I was the first individual in my family to go on to college. It's alarge family. My mother was one of eight children. My father was one of four. They married. They lived within, almost a stone's throw of each other. We lived in the same place. I grew up in the same place and had many aunts and uncles in the neighborhood. So, I did not have any prior experience with Norwich. The only thing that was driving me at the time was my father said, "You've got to get a college education." He was a wood pattern maker and worked at Whitin Machine Works, as I noted, and he said, "This is not your lifestyle. You've got to upgrade yourself." I did not have the experience that current people have of visiting campuses. I never went to Norwich. I had an uncle that had gone to the University of Rhode Island. He had not graduated. So, I applied there. And then, Norwich had a high school visit team that came through and I got impressed with what that fellow had to say so I applied to Norwich. I did not get accepted to the University of Rhode Island. So, I had the choice of one school, Norwich. So, I went to Norwich. Unbeknownst to me about anything about Norwich. As a matter of fact, I had my high school yearbook signed by one of the teachers and he signed it, "Hup, one, two, three" and he signed his name. I said, "What's that all about?" He says, "You're going to a military school! You're going to be in the Army!" I says, "I am?" When I arrived at Norwich, it was like a new day in my life. I had no military experience. I'd never even been a Boy Scout. The regimentation was totally new to me. That probably was the beginning of what I consider a rather difficult period of adjustment for the four years. As you will probably know, I was a private in the Corps for four years.
JC: Oh. Okay.
HG: Never given rank. I had the one opportunity close to graduation, which Irefused. I thought it was a token gift which I did not appreciate receiving at that point in time. I didn't accept it. In fact, I applied to transfer out of Norwich my freshman year to start college at Georgia Tech. I got accepted to Georgia Tech, got a telephone call from my mother saying, "What is this acceptance notice we've received from Georgia Tech?" I said, "Well, I'm going to Georgia Tech next year, Ma. I'm not going to Norwich." She says, "Very well. Pay your own way." I stayed at Norwich for the rest of my life because I had no money at all!
JC: What was it like that first day showing up at Norwich?
HG: Well, it was a very memorable day. My father and mother drove me to schoolwith the necessary material that I had to have, clothing and I think we had to bring a mattress at the time. We arrived at Norwich in the morning. My father and mother dropped me off, dropped me off at Cabot Hall. Room 109 was my room. My roommate, Ron Bartlett, at the time, had arrived about the same time so I met his father and mother. We met each other, of course. My father, immediately after dropping me off, jumped in the car and drove back to Whitinsville. They had to get home before dark I think. We started out very early in the morning. In fact, had to turn back because he discovered on the way that we probably didn't have enough gas to make it all the way to Vermont. We went back to get an open gas station because we started out so early in the morning. But no, they dropped me off and left. I remember a conversation I had with Ron's mother and father and she said, "Would you take care of Ron? He hasn't been away from home before." I said, "Yes, I will, Mrs. Bartlett, but neither have I been away from home before." (Laughs.) That was an interesting first day. And then, in contrast to the first day my second year, where I arrived on campus and used to ship a lot of my stuff up in a big, overseas container by train so that my shipment had arrived at the mailroom on campus. I went to the dormitory and I was back in Cabot the second year too. I said, "Rooks! Rooks! I need a rook to go down and get my suitcase and bring it up to the room." "Sorry, Sir. We don't do that anymore."
HG: The harassment rules had changed over the summertime and I hadn't gottenword of it. Plus, I arrived too late, I guess, because I recall having to do that very same thing for upperclassmen that first year.
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: So, anyway, that was my first day at Norwich.
JC: What was your major?
HG Electrical engineering.
JC: And why'd you choose that?
HG: Well, my uncle was sort of involved with the electrical work and not that hehad a great influence on me but I observed that and I thought, "Well." He was working for General Electric at the time and I said, "Well, I think that maybe I would do the same thing." So, I sort of went into that field not for any other particular reason than he was successful in what he was doing and I thought it would be of interest to me.
HG: Fortunately for me, in the long run, there were only nine matriculateddouble Es in '49, which got depleted very quickly, either through people who didn't continue at Norwich or transferred to some other major. I graduated with one other very close friend of mine to this day, Al Gardner, who lives out in the southern part of Vermont on the western edge of Massachusetts. We were the two electrical engineers that graduated in '53. We had tutorials. It was a very fortunate thing for me because probably the school where I had to fend more for myself, I might not have done as well as I did in the curriculum. It was a good experience.
JC: Which fraternity did you belong to?
HG: I joined Lambda Chi Alpha, which is off-campus, up on the hill. My primaryreason for joining them was at the pledge period, you were entertained at the fraternities. They had an excellent meal. At that time, they had a pastry chef with some sort of recognition and he put on a beautiful dessert and I was a fellow who had been plump my whole life, loved sweets, and said, "This is the place for me!" Joined the fraternity and wouldn't you know it, he terminated. He quit. The pastry guy was gone! But we still had good cooks, husband and wife team over the four years, and I ended up being steward of the fraternity. It was a large part of my college life was being in the fraternity. I had to be there at least every day, serving a meal, because I was in the kitchen. In fact, I got rewarded for doing that type of job with half my food bill was being paid by labor so that worked out very nicely for me.
JC: Well, what else do you remember about being in the fraternity?
HG: Great social environment. I thought that we had, as any organization you endup with some cliques and I had three or four fellows that I chummed closely with and carried on to this day until both of them have now deceased. We had a life-long bonding there so the fraternity life to me was probably my sole social environment on the campus other than some of the things I did with the intramural sports and whatnot. I really was sorry to see the fraternities go but I understood the reason for it and, of course, I was long out of the school at that time anyway so I didn't react one way or the other. It was just a little bit of self-disappointment in the whole thing. I've kept my affiliation with Lambda Chi Alpha for over the years. I still am a donor to the fraternity. I've had representatives from Indiana come up and visit me at the house here asking me for more money. The Lambda Chi, at the time, had sort of reputation of being an academically-oriented fraternity and scholarly environment. Probably didn't pan out as scholarly as I had thought it would but I think the fraternity still holds to that sort of criteria. They like to have their fraternities be scholastically oriented, not just a place to go and drink beer or mess around with the ladies, you know.
HG: So, yeah. I heard there might rumors that the fraternities with the civilianpopulation at Norwich might come back.
HG: Yeah. I heard a rumor about that but just a rumor. I'm sure that it'd be ahard sell to get them back on campus.
JC: Yeah. I know Theta Chi would like to be back.
HG: Theta Chi was the Alpha Chapter so, and Lambda Chi, we were the ZetaChapter, the Zeta Chapter of Lambda Chi so we were not new in the world of fraternities as Theta Chi was.
JC: What intramural sports did you play?
HG: I got involved in softball, a little bit of tag football and basketball. AsI recall, I managed, I guess you'd say, our company basketball team for a while, not that I was any expert in the sport itself but I knew enough about it to try to get the boys organized and spur them on at the games with the other companies. I was in Company B, I think, most of the time. We did okay but it gave you something to do as well as sit in your room and study, that sort of thing. Then, I was on the rifle team for a while.
JC: Oh. Okay.
HG: When I discovered that my scores were not counted because they have a systemof counting only the top five or six scorers and I was always one or two below. I figured I never was good enough. I shot for the team and I gave it up. Tom Atwood, a classmate of mine, was an Olympic sharp shooter so he's --
JC: Oh. Really?
HG: Oh, yeah. Tom was on the team and he spent a lot of time during his days inthe military doing just that, representing the United States on the Olympic rifle team. Tom and I keep in touch to this day.
JC: He would be a good one to interview.
HG: Yeah. Tom is down in Florida in the winter and out in the Chicago area, Ithink, in the summer.
HG: They know, the school, where he's located. So, if you want to hook up withhim, it'd be nice to get him because he was a cadet colonel too, I believe.
JC: Oh. Okay.
HG: I think Tom was. I know he was high rank in our corp. Getting old here. Iforget some of the facts.
JC: I understand. Besides intramural sports, what other activities did youparticipate in?
HG: Oh. Let's see. University activities, you mean?
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: I don't think I, I didn't get involved in any of the other, oh, the IEEE,they had a professional chapter, student chapter. I was involved in that and became an officer in it. Of course, there weren't too many electrical engineers but we did have some younger grads, classmates coming in to it. We did field trips for that. And I was involved with the administration of it, so to speak. But that was probably it, the IEEE.
JC: What does IEEE stand for?
HG: Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
JC: Oh. Okay.
HG: Yeah. It's still an ongoing organization. I still belong to them. I'm a lifemember in that organization now, because of my age primarily and being a member for so many years. But yeah, it was a good organization.
JC: What'd you do to relax when you were at Norwich?
HG: Sleep! (Laughs.) We would go to the movies. Go to Montpelier. Perhaps go outto eat in Barre maybe once a week. One of the difficulties of my being a student at Norwich was I didn't have any money and I didn't have a car. So, I was dependent upon a very tight budget and it didn't loosen up at all until I became a junior and senior where we were getting the ROTC ninety cents a day supplement, twenty-seven dollars a month. That helped a lot for spending money. My mother used to say, "The only time you call home, Harold, is when you want money. We don't have any to give you." So, I used to spread my money pretty thinly. So, I didn't do a lot of relaxing that cost anything. There is an incident. One time, Garry Moushegian, Al Gardner, my buddy, the electrical engineer, and I decided to go horseback riding and thought that'd be nice Saturday afternoon entertainment. So, we went out and, funny thing, we rented the horses and got saddled up, got on the horses, and started our trip. Well, none of us knew how to ride a horse. None of us had been on a horse before. The horses turned around and went back to the barn. Garry's a tall guy. Well, the barn door was so low, he got scraped off the saddle. Laughs. Finally, we get them back outside and get them on the way. We did our tour and we're coming back home and, of course, the horses wanted to get back in the barn again. So, they started trotted along and we're bumping along behind them in the saddles and so forth. We got back to Norwich and Garry came over to my room. He says, "Look at what happened!" It wore holes in his underwear! Laughs. So, we had some laughs, you know. Different things like that happened. That's the biggest recollection I can of the things that we did. We had fraternity parties. We had to get involved in that, preparing for them and that kind of thing was an activity that I did as extracurricular.
JC: Did you do anything else for entertainment other than what you mentioned?
HG: Not that I can think of. I wasn't in any outside of the school activities. Idid join the Masonic Order when I was a senior. I joined that and that involves some off-campus activity. I got involved in the Northfield Church. Even as a freshman, I would walk down to church. So, I got involved in church activities. And to this day, I support the Christian Fellowship Organization financially on campus each year to help them along so they can have programs that they want to put on. They have a little bit of money to work with.
HG: So, yeah, that sort of thing I got involved in.
JC: Okay. Do you remember any particular songs from when you were at Norwich?
HG: Well, there's "Norwich Forever," of course, the school song. There used tobe a song we used to sing, "On the steps of Jackman, crying like hell! There's a newborn baby. La da da." Laughs. That song we used to sing. The other words they escape me and they don't escape me. They better escape me. They were choice words.
JC: I understand. I know the words too.
HG: Do you know the words!? Laughs. No. That's about all I remember.
JC: I've got it in an oral history, "The Indecipherable Song."
HG: Have you really?
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: I'll have to read that because I'd like to find out what the rest of thesong is. It's something like, "A bastard's son of old NU." Awful song.
JC: Yeah. It's an awful song. Any other songs?
HG: I don't think so. Not that I can remember.
JC: Who were the instructors who were most influential during your time there?
HG: Well, the electrical department certainly was. Professor Marsh and ProfessorMaxfield and Professor Spencer, those three. There's an F.A. Spencer award in electrical engineering on campus, I believe. And I have contributed financially to that several times. I don't necessarily do it every year. Those gentleman were very influential. They were almost like tutors to Al and I. We'd be in class. It was just the two of us. You got to know the people and they got to know us. That was a very unique college relationship, I think, that we had.
JC: Mm hmm. What was your favorite class?
HG: My favorite class? I don't know what that would have been. I know my mostunfavorable class was.
JC: What was that?
HG: Thermodynamics! I flunked that one. I had to take that as a, in order tograduate, I had to pass that course my final semester. So, I was taking an overload. I like Public Speaking. That was an interesting class. I did that the freshman year. I recall we all had to give a talk and I think the fellow's name was Fisk that was the professor. After I got through, I was critiqued, of course, by the student population, including classmates and they criticized me for having my Boston accent. Fortunately, for me, Professor Fisk was from Braintree, I believe. He says, "Mr. Gilmore is going to be fine with his language. I understood him perfectly." Laughs. So, that was a favorable thing out of that class. I remember that so I'd call it a favorite class. I enjoyed it.
JC: What do you remember about being a rook?
HG: The harassment. A lot of harassment and the fact that we had these duties toperform like opening of windows and preparing the latrines and shining upperclassmen's brass and shoes and that sort of thing. As a person unfamiliar with that, having been the oldest in a family of four, and the only male in that family, I was fairly independent and having to be subjugated to these requirements was demanding in terms of my having to conform to the practices that were being expected of me. That was the worst part that I knew of. Probably another thing would be being out where I was without an automobile. I grew up, as I say, in Whitinsville where I lived out of town about three miles. So, I was used to being in a remote area but I could drive. My folks had a car they would let me use and I could get into town fairly easily and, once there, there was always other transportation you could get as well. At Northfield, there was just absolutely nothing and the closest town was Montpelier, twelve miles away. And also, getting back and forth to school, my folks did not have the resources, the time, or the ability to bring me back and forth to school. There were no commercial transportation convenient. The only way I could get back would be to get a ride from somebody else. And so, that was always at the top of your mind. When you come home, how am I going to get to school? How was I going to get to summer camp, which was down in Georgia? I had no car. I didn't have an automobile until I had started, after graduation, when I started working for Westinghouse, without a car. I had to save up enough money for a down payment to buy one. So, my first few months at work were devoted to saving as much money as I received from my Westinghouse pay to build up enough money to make a down payment on a car, which I finally did. I bought a used car in Whitinsville. I remember it cost $1350. It was a 1949 two-door Ford sedan. I ended up taking it to Japan with me and selling it off over there. Didn't bring it back. Yeah. So, those were the hard parts of school at Norwich. You know, I can recall when I'd get back from Norwich from a vacation, it be in the evening, you'd see the lights up on the hill and I would breathe a sigh of relief, "I'm back home and I'll be safe here when I get home." It ended up sort of like a security blanket. The school prepared me for, it gave me the keys to success. I'm forever pleased and blessed that I ended up going and staying at Norwich actually. It's created a great deal of enjoyment for me over my life. I've had a great post-graduate career and one of the things it taught me was perseverance, life-long education. I wasn't necessarily a brilliant scholar but I ended up getting three master's degrees and a Ph.D. post-Norwich experience and I think Norwich had to have something to do with that motivation to do that.
JC: What are your master's degrees in?
HG: I have a master's degree, an M.B.A., and I have a master of science and amaster of arts, one in human resources and one in labor relations.
JC: Okay and where are they from?
HG: One is from Shippensburg and one is from Loretto. That's awful. Can you giveme a minute?
HG: I have a B.S.E.E. from Norwich, and M.B.A., a Ph.D. from Syracuse, amaster's degree from St. Francis College, and a master's degree from Shippensburg University.
HG: The most important degrees for me, of course, was the B.S. in E.E. and theM.B.A. Ph.D. from Syracuse because those influenced what I did with my life more importantly. The other two degrees were done because of what I felt I needed to be effective in the classroom that I subsequently taught and administered the programs in at both Penn State and at UMASS Dartmouth.
JC: Oh. Okay. Let's see. What was your favorite part of Norwich?
HG: Favorite what? Part?
HG: Part of Norwich?
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: What do you mean by part?
JC: What did you like most about it?
HG: Well, I would like the day I graduated was the most favorite part for me. Ihad my entire family there, extended family. We rented a whole motel. I was the keystone person that ever graduated in Johnson and Gilmore family. As I mentioned, the size is extensive and I remember quite a few relatives to follow, cousins and so forth. That was an occasion that I really, it was a success for me because I went there thinking, "I've got to graduate. I cannot fail." And I hadn't even though that last semester I had to take that extra course to make it through. I did it. And then the fact that it prepared me. I left the place with a job. I had a commission. I got a deferment for ten months so I could go to work for Westinghouse and get some industrial experience before I went in the military. Stayed in the military for my, well I went in for two years but I extended because I got special weapons training with atomic weapons and I was there for close to three years total. Could have stayed longer. I was asked to stay longer but for family purposes I, stayed in the Reserve though. I retired from the military and I made it well up to the rank of colonel which I felt was something I never expected either and I think Norwich prepared me for that sort of experience, knowing how to behave and accept responsibility and perform the duties that I was required up to a successful level, satisfactory level. So, the best day at Norwich was indeed the day I graduated because it marked a major milestone in my life. Just as the first day I went there marked a major milestone.
JC: What was the most important thing that Norwich taught you?
HG: I think to be respectful of others and to take life-long learning seriouslyand to be persevering in what you're trying to accomplish. Norwich's motto is "I Will Try." So, any opportunity that came along for me, I seized upon. I was outwardly looking, several Fulbrights, quite a bit of overseas experience, along with my family, and I think Norwich prepared me for that by having an overseas assignment that was one of my first, the only one I had as a lieutenant was in Japan. And I got to like other cultures and so forth. I pursued that in Africa, Europe, and other places. As a matter of fact, I was contemplating a trip to China this year.
JC: Oh. Really?
HG: Yeah. I think I may go to China. I got the quotation and everything. One ofthe things I have to clarify is that both my wife and I's status health-wise to make sure that we're fit to go. I think we both will be allowed to do that from a medical perspective. The only thing remaining is making the commitment.
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: So, yeah. We're looking forward to that. We've gone on a number of cruisesin the meantime to Alaska, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Alaska. So, we engaged travel, so I think the military and the Norwich environment has cultivated that sort of orientation to our lifestyle.
JC: You mentioned "I Will Try." What did it mean to you as a student?
HG: What did it mean to me when?
JC: As a student.
HG: As a student? Probably not much. I don't think you really appreciate that. Iappreciate it more now that I've graduated and look back on things. I think, one of the things, it's not "I Will Try" so much but "I Will Stick to It!"
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: I will not quit! I was amazed at the number of freshman, matriculatedfreshman that left Norwich the day they had to get a short haircut.
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: I, fortunately, grew up every summer having my head sheared off with what weused to call a Harvard clip. So, it didn't bother me to have to have it cut another eighth of an inch off. But these fellows that came up with the golden curls that had to get sheared said no and left. I wasn't going to give up. If Norwich's moral had been "I Won't Give Up," it would have been more appropriate than "I Will Try" in my case. "I Will Not Give Up."
JC: What does Partridge's idea of a citizen soldier mean to you?
HG: Well, it means to me that I'd like to see conscription come back. That's howmuch meaning it has to me. I think everyone should have a requirement to do some public service of some sort, not necessarily military but some kind of public service to build a concept of patriotism and to embed the value systems that our country stands for in their lives, personal lives. And so, the citizen soldier concept, I thought that Partridge had was just that. A person has a responsibility for his country, his family, and the two can coexist.
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: So, that's what that means to me, to be part of the process as an individual.
JC: Mm hmm. Do you remember any funny stories from when you were at Norwich?
HG: I'm sure Fred told you a funny story, the time I came up and down on thedumbwaiter at his surprise. He wondered, "Where was Harry?" And I said, "Here I am!" And I was inside the dumbwaiter cage! Laughs. That was a comedy. The other thing was the, not so much of a story but incident, was the time I repeated earlier about the horseback riding incident. That was a humorous event. I don't recall any other thing comes to mind at the moment. I'm sure there probably were numerous other events that happened that created some humor but I don't recall any right now.
JC: So, what did you do after graduation? I know you went to work at Westinghouse.
HG: Yeah. I went to work for Westinghouse immediately upon graduation. Had a jobbefore I graduated. And then, I took a deferment from, Westinghouse gave me a deferment for about ten months because I did have the two-year obligation as a commissioned officer. So, then I went in the military and got asked if I were interested in taking a special weapons training. That's the atomic weapons training. I got a Q clearance and so forth. And I went to Sandia Base. While there, a unit, 261st ordinance detachment was formed. I became the first commanding officer for, until such time as the captain showed up to take over the reins. I was in individual training. Didn't finish that. Went in to unit training, the 261st trained with the 5th field artillery battalion for deployment to Japan which, incidentally, at that time was against the peace treaty that we had signed with Japan. We're not supposed to bring any new armament into the country but we did. We brought in nuclear weapons. We used to have a little difficulty, the artillery did, going out to the range and firing it off. I went there and did some field exercises in Iwo Jima in Okinawa. While there, got to talking to a gentleman at KU Ammunition Depot Bar one evening and he was leaving for Syracuse University for the comptrollers' program there. And he says, "Harold, you ought to think about getting your M.B.A." And I said, "Well, what's that?" He says, "It's a master's degree in business administration. It's a great topping off of your electrical engineering degree and it's highly sought after people." Now, this was back in 1957, '57, '58. So, I put in for an early release. It was like eight months early. They weren't going to let me go until I got some congressional involvement by Saltonstall and he facilitated my departure from the military. I didn't give up my commission. I just went in the Reserve. And so, I went to Syracuse at that time. Got my master's degree. Went back to work for Westinghouse. Worked for AVCO in the reentry vehicle business, the Apollo program. And from there, I decided to go on to Syracuse. I got a three-year fellowship for a Ph.D. program in organizational behavior and operations management. So, I took that, went there, gave up my work, sold my home, took my family to Syracuse. Again, very, in retrospect, very risky situation. A lot of people start out looking for a Ph.D. and they never get it. I was told when I arrived, I had a very good advisor, a fellow who I had as an M.B.A. faculty member, Dr. Seimer. He said, "Harold, you do not leave this campus without that Ph.D. because you'll never get it if you do." So, I says, "All right, Dr. Seimer. I will not leave." So, I stayed there and I got the doctorate and left them. In my first job, I was planning to go back to work for AVCO because I was in a research and development division where higher degree were, of course, very prominent.
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: Well, and they had said, "Well, maybe there might be an opening for you whenyou get through." Well, three years is a long time and everybody changed chairs there. There didn't seem to be anything open for me so I took a job with the University of North Dakota at Minot Air Force Base in the Air Force Institute of Technology program. The AFIT program. We transferred their master of engineering degree to an M.B.A. degree while I was there and I was there for a couple of years. And from there, I transferred to Penn State University and I was at the Middletown campus. My office overlooked Three Mile Island. I was there for sixteen years, I believe. I did teach up at State College one semester. Then, for family reasons, I left Penn State. I was tenured and everything but I left Penn State and came to UMASS Dartmouth here for family reasons, health reasons. And I did ten years over here. At that point in time, I retired from UMASS but, in the meantime, had picked up some work for the University of South Pacific at Fiji. So, I worked off and on during a five-year period in the year 2000 over there.
HG: Currently, I am volunteering at the National Graduate School of QualityManagement here in Falmouth, which is an online type program. I am the director of the alumni program, which they've never had before. So, it's an experiment and it may be a futile activity but I'm giving it the best go I can give it as a Norwich guy. I'm not alumni but I'm their director. I'm modelling it after the Norwich Alumni Association. As a matter of fact, I used Norwich's bylaws in modifying to try to make them fit this school's program. So, that's where I am to this moment and I don't know how much longer that'll last. I've been doing it for a couple years now and probably give it another, 2017 may be my last year of doing that. Depends upon what my success is this year.
JC: Well, you've had a lot of schooling. How did your training at Norwichprepare you for life, specifically?
HG: Very well. Very well. In retrospect, I wouldn't have it any other way. Ittaught me to roll with the punches. You can't have everything your way all the time. To get along, you've got to go along and cooperate and you graduate. I think, probably, the teamwork idea was imbedded, not so much in a pointed way but in an overall way of existing and finishing up your, what you started. We had to work with other people. I started out as an individual and I think I came out as a person who understood that to get along in this world, you're going to have to work with other people and depend upon other people. Now, I probably, even to this day, I'm a volunteer and I know that I have, I have no resources. I have no budget. I don't have even office space, so to speak, except out of the house. Working with some adult people over here and I know that I depend upon them for everything I get done and I acknowledge that very, very fully to the best extent I can. Because I know that their cooperation, my success depends upon them. Without them, I'll die on the vine. I think Norwich has taught me that concept. Oh! I think I didn't mention to you. You probably were aware of this. I created, for the bicentennial, a puzzle.
JC: Yes! You did.
HG: You're aware of that? So, I put that together.
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: And, you know, the thing is, the way that transpired, nobody seemed to wantme to do it. Sometimes, that rubs me the wrong way. So, I says, "I don't care if you don't want me to do it. I'm going to do it anyway!"
HG: So, I did it and quite amazed at how it turned out! There's a gentleman nextdoor who's a graphic artist and he's good on the computer. That's what he does for a living. I got the university photographer, they let me access the photographs. I picked and chose some photographs, brought them over to Sean. I said, "Sean, what can you do for me?" He says, "Let me see those." So, we looked. He says, "I'll have something for you tomorrow." He brought over the thing. "What do you think of that?" Well, we made some adjustments and so forth. My wife has a friend who does puzzles and she brought over to our house a wooden puzzle that she had bought for the Lilly family, the big drug people here in Falmouth, a lot of property and donor, a very big benefactor. I said, "Maybe we could have a wooden puzzle for what I've created for Norwich." So, I contacted a guy in Connecticut and he says, "Yeah. If you're willing to pay the price, I can make that for you. No problem." So, I says, "Okay. Let's go with that." I've even gone down there and I've even worked the puzzle thing myself. My wife and I watched him make, it's an example of his work. Got that done. Made a contact overseas. Got somebody to stamp out those puzzles. I bought four dozen of them. Gave them to the school and said, "Use them at will." Then, I gave Sullivan, no, I gave Schneider a wooden one and I think he turned it over to the, the wooden one I gave him because I didn't want it. What was it going to do with me? So, I gave to him and he put it in the museum, I think.
JC: It's at the museum.
HG: It was a labor of love. That's all. I just did it because I didn't find thesupport that I thought I might have gotten from the bicentennial committee but they had bigger items on their agenda. This was not going to fit into the program, I guess. And then, I was involved, at one time, with a committee on postage stamps and I had done a lot of work and I was really disappointed. I got mixed messages from U.S. Postal Service as to whether the images that I submitted weren't, "They're fine. We're going to submit them for postmaster consideration." Then, I get a message from somebody else on the committee saying, "No. We're not." And you can't reach anybody on that committee because they're, you just don't have any contact information for them except maybe names. But now I understand that they did release, or rerelease of the Alden Partridge stamp for the ROTC commemorative. They said that now Schneider's got himself behind the request for a Norwich postcard set which is what they usually do. I think if they don't do something for Norwich for the bicentennial, there's got to be something wrong in Washington. I hope they follow through. I sort of dropped out of the picture because it's now gone beyond my involvement. But I filed all the paperwork and everything else necessary for that. Hopefully, we'll see something come to pass.
JC: Hopefully so.
HG: Yeah. I was told that one the things, they said, "Well, you've got to getthe postmaster in Northfield involved. And I said, "Well, I'm not in a position to do that. You're right there in town." The bicentennial committee itself could just go to the postmaster and say, "We want to issue the stamp." And if he supports it, I guess, or postcards, they don't, the stamps are a little more dicey to get through. But the postcards are pretty easy to do, I guess. So, maybe, we'll see what happens. I don't know. I've lost touch with that group. The last I heard was that they upgraded the applications or something by getting Schneider's support and some other people supporting it too. That'll be good.
JC: Yeah. Hopefully, that'll work out.
JC: Well, that's about your involvement with Norwich.
HG: Mm hmm.
JC: How do you think your professional life would have been different had younot been a Norwich graduate?
HG: Oh, dear. Tremendously different because Norwich set me on a militarycareer. It set me up for a military lifestyle, in a way, although I didn't go there with that idea at all nor did I graduate with that but it just sort of grew on you. I can recall, being a reservist, I would say, "Well, maybe I'll just stop going. I'll just give up." One year led to another year and before I knew it I had thirty years and six months and I was boarded out. I got considered for general officer and I didn't make it. I understood why. My competitor, I knew who that person was and a lot of stuff on his chest that I, ribbons on his chest that I didn't have and I figured he was more entitled to it or earned it more than I did. He had combat time. I didn't have any combat time at all. I was in a war zone, Korean War, but that was over practically. So, I think Norwich set me up for that whole aspect of my life. The academic part of it came about, my industrial area was focused on my engineering experience and math and science and so forth. And then, my academic life, all the way from doing some consulting work and so forth and having the idea of a continuous learning environment. I just kept on going to school, both militarily and civilian-wise. I took many, many a correspondence program. I went to Fort Leavenworth to the Command and General Staff School. I taught Command and General Staff School. I taught at the Army War College in Carlisle, both as a military faculty member and as an academic Penn State, because we had a program with them.
HG: You know, I'm amazed at the kinds of things I got involved in and Iattribute it all to Norwich. If I had gone to URI like I wanted to heavens knows what I would have become, if I ever graduated. Or if I'd gone on to Georgia Tech, I might have failed out! Who knows? Norwich kept me going. I did hit the dean's list a couple times while at Norwich but I was no stellar student. Sullivan and I share one common thread. We both were privates for four years.
HG: And, you know, I'm not proud of that but we survived. He did very wellmilitarily, obviously. Much better than I did! He got, what, four stars. I got the eagle but, nevertheless, I think that Norwich did us both very well.
JC: I think so too. Has being a Norwich graduate opened doors for you that mightnot have been opened otherwise?
HG: I thought, militarily, yes. Yeah. I can clearly recall early on in mycareer, when I was living up in North Andover. I was in the Reserve unit in Boston. The fellow that was in command of that unit, he loved Norwich guys. So, I got signed to his unit. Having somebody who was favorably disposed to where you're from certainly is helpful in the image that you are going to create if you live up to the person's perception of the school.
HG: And I did very well. So, I think that opened me up for captain and majorlevel of consideration. From then on, it was, an interesting little thing was when I worked for Penn State, I had a student by the name of Emmett Page. He was one of the Army War College students that were taking the master's program at Penn State. I was a faculty member, teaching him a course and I was over at the graduate program over there, teaching in their program, the military. Came time for me to have an assignment, as a colonel. Guess who I ended up being assigned to?
JC: Emmett Page?
HG: General Page. Laughs. He was in charge of the electronic research anddevelopment command in Adelphi, Maryland. I was his assistant.
JC: Oh. Wow.
HG: So, I got an assistant commander position with him as a colonel. I'd go downthere and he'd say, "Harold," because I was in quality, he says, "I got some contracts out there. I want you to go to these contractors and see what they're doing and jack them up if they need jacking up." Laughs.) I had a great relationship with Emmett. I followed up with him a little bit afterwards. He was my former student, was now my boss. I was grading him and now he was grading me! It's a small world.
JC: Yes. It is!
HG: Another interesting situation too was, we're in Japan, my wife and Itogether, concurrent travel. We'd had a major social event in Tokyo. I don't know what level it was, battalion, it wasn't a battalion party. It had to be higher up than that, maybe a Sullivan Theater type thing. Anyway, we went to it and who do we run in to? Colonel Burkle. Burkle was on campus at the time and his greeting to me and my wife when we got together, "Lieutenant Gilmore, your brass is shiny." Laughs. I says, "You can thank Mrs. Gilmore for that." See, most of my fun happened after I got out of Norwich. Yeah, Colonel Burkle. I think he was a colonel at the time. "Your brass is shiny." I said, "Yep. Thank Mrs. Gilmore for that." Oh, dear. I could go on and on and on, I guess. Been a long time.
JC: Mm hmm. Do you think Norwich graduates have a special bond that other people don't?
HG: Oh! Definitely! Definitely! Oh, yes. I see it in my children who graduatedfrom Penn State. There's nothing like, these online programs, there's no bonding at all!
HG: It's like dealing with particles in the air, dust particles, but Norwich,that experience there puts you into close proximity with other people. It served me so well. Al Gardner, I talked with on the phone all the time. Up until Garry Moushegian's demise, he died up in Norwood, MA, with him all the time. Fred Maier, Jack Gillis passed away. My roommate, Bartlett, Jack Gillis, Garry Mousehegian, they all died within a matter of months of each other. I lost all my, so now there's just Fred left and Al Gardner. So, I've got two very close friends. Other people I know but not quite as, as I said, we socially went everywhere with each other, cruises and all that stuff, you know. Families knew each other. Kids knew each other and stuff of that nature. So, yes. Norwich does create a separate, a special relationship, I think, amongst us graduates.
JC: Mm hmm. Um, let me see. We've already answered that question.
HG: Mm hmm.
JC: Um, you've just answered that question. What advice would you give a rookabout how to survive and thrive at Norwich?
HG: Go with the flow. Join the program full heartedly. Don't fight it. Join it.And see what you can do to excel in it.
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: I probably chose, I wouldn't say the opposite path but I resisted. Iresisted the program and suffered for it, without getting any rank and you don't get ahead in the world that way. You're going to participate in the program and probably if you can't do that full heartedly, you might do better elsewhere. It's not a place for everybody, the military part of it anyway, the Corp. Now that Norwich has a civilian component, you know, Norwich is a nice school and it's a nice environment and Vermont's a pleasant place to enjoy the winter months and so forth. Can't complain about the environment. If you like a rural environment, it's fine. And I grew up in a rural environment so I didn't really rail at that sort of thing. Although, I sent my granddaughter up there for a campus visit and she came back, "Gramp, the place is not for me." She says, "I'm going to be a minority." I said, "What do you mean?" She says, "Well, I'm not going to join the Corp. I'm going to be a civilian. Right now, I detect that they're a minority up there."
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: I says, "Well, it's a wise maneuver not to go there. You've got to be happywhere you are to do the best you can do." My advice to a rook is you've got to decide whether you're going to be happy in this environment or not. If you are, you'll do well. If not, you're not going to do as well. You might get through, but you won't be the success that you could be maybe someplace else. I have two grandsons. I've got three grandsons but two older ones. I tried to talk them into going to Norwich. Mother was not military-oriented and things were not so, we were at war. We've been at war for so long they don't know what it's like to be without it but she didn't think that was the thing to do. I do have a grandson here locally but he's going to Mass Maritime Academy.
JC: Oh. Okay.
HG: So, he's quasi-military, in a way. I think that he'll finish that program upin two or three years. He didn't want to go to Norwich either. I don't know why. I don't think he gave it a chance, because he likes to ski. He's an outdoors boy. He would do well. He's got the military bearing and so forth, but he chose the Maritime as a place to go. He did hear that employment opportunities were greatest at Mass Maritime and they are. You graduate from that place, you get a job.
JC: Mm hmm.
HG: If you've got anything going for you at all. Norwich used to be able to say,"You're going to get a commission." But that's not true anymore either.
JC: No. It's not.
HG: The place is not going to sell itself with providing a vocation after you'rethrough. Where this place practically does. So, he was encouraged to go. It's local and so forth.
JC: Yeah. So, you didn't have any relatives that attended Norwich?
JC: You didn't have any relatives that attended Norwich?
HG: No. I didn't. I don't have anybody that went to Norwich. No. None of them.
JC: Well, is there anything else?
HG: No. By golly, we've had quite an enjoyable interview. I've had some funtalking to you. I can't think of much more.
JC: Well, I thank you very much.
HG: I enjoyed it. Thank you, too.
End of recording.