Chapter 21

Rededication of Center Church


      The historic First Church of Christ on-the-Green, known to generations of Foot Guardsmen as Center Church, had recently undergone major repairs and been restored to its original condition. The edifice, fourth of its kind to stand on, or near, the present site, was built in 1814. The Second Company was invited to attend the rededication ceremonies held on June 5, 1960. The pastor of this congregation had traditionally been the Chaplain of the Command since 1775. As Dr. David Beach, who had endeared himself to all ranks, was soon to retire, the entire Company turned out in full strength. Shortly thereafter Dr. Beach was made Honorary Chaplain on the Retired List.

      On April 7, 1060 the rifle team of the Second Company in competition with crack teams of the Army and Air National Guard and Organized Militia, handily won the State Small Arms firing matches. The Governor Ribicoff Trophy was presented with individual Gold Medals to the team consisting of Corporal Walter F. Lacy, Privates First Class John J. Lacy, Jack McNeil, Arthur S. Yeomans and Edgar J. Doyle. Again on May 2, the team under the leadership of Staff Captain William B. Pape, placed first in the National Vickers Trophy Match in New York.

      Field training was held in Niantic from August 3 to 6, 1960. Among other events in which the Company participated this year were: Old Guard Ball, at New York: Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company Drum Head Election at Boston; American Legion Parade in Wallingford; Colonial Day Services in Center Church; and attendance upon the Governor at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass.

      On January 20, 1961 John Fitzgerald Kennedy was inaugurated as the 35th President of the United States. Governor Ribicoff had earlier indicated his desire that the First and Second Foot Guard Companies act as his escort and represent Connecticut in the Inaugural Parade. Subsequently however, Connecticut's Governor was honored by appointment as the first Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, and a member of the President-Elect's Cabinet. Protocol dictated that the designees of the new President's Cabinet accompany the Commander-in-Chief during the ceremonies. Accordingly, Lieutenant Governor Dempsey led Connecticut's delegation in the Inaugural Parade.

      Due to a railroad strike, First and Second Companies had to go to Washington in motor busses. In the midst of a raging blizzard and freezing weather the busses left New Haven. Connecticut State Police Commissioner, Leo J. Mulcahy, had assigned a detail of his personnel, under Sergeant Walter Stecko, to accompany the busses and arrangements were made for State Police escort in each State through which the convoy passed. The Command arrived in Washington on schedule.

      In the Inaugural Parade, Lieutenant Governor Dempsey and a Color Guard of State Police headed the Connecticut delegation. Led by Major Fleming and a Joint Staff, the Second Company Band, directed by Captain Teta, preceded the combined Foot Guard Companies.

      Governor Ribicoff resigned as Chief Executive of Connecticut on January 21, 1960 to join the President's Cabinet. Lieutenant Governor Dempsey assumed the Office of Governor on January 24th in simple ceremonies at the State Capitol in Hartford. Major Fleming attended the new Governor as Military Aide, and a detail of the Second Company assisted in the ceremony.

      On March 19, 1961 the Command was the guest of Major Warren Whitney and the First Company in Hartford where it participated in a joint training assembly covering civil disorder and security of vital installations.

      The Powder House Day observance, held on April 24, 1961 was again forced indoors due to inclement weather. At a review held in the drill shed of the Goffe Street Armory, Governor Dempsey was awarded Honorary Membership.

      Colonel Carl A. Nelson, Commander of the 1st Battle Group, 102nd Infantry Regiment, a friend and associate of the Second Company for many years, retired from active military service of some 30 years, on May 1, 1961. Colonel Nelson had served in World War II and the Korean Emergency. For years he portrayed the part of "Colonel Wooster" on Powder House Day. The Second Company turned out in full strength to honor Colonel Nelson on his retirement and promotion to Brigadier General.

      During 1961, "Taps" were sounded for two former Line Officers and members of the Honorary Retired Staff. Major Earl R. Hocking died on June 19, 1961 after 37 years of service with the Company. Major William C. MacLauglin passed away on September 10 having recently qualified for the 45-year Company Service Medal.

Chapter 22