Chapter 25

Changing Times - The 1970's

      The first affair in 1970 following the annual New Year's Day reception to Major and Mrs. Hardy was on January 24 when a Victory Ball was given to honor Mayor Bartholomew Guida. A little less than a month later, on February20, Governor Dempsey was honored at the 170th Annual Military Ball. On April 13, the Second Company joined the First Company in a combined drill.

      May, 1970, was particularly busy. There was a Loyalty Day Parade in Danbury, the Putnam Phalanx Ball in Hartford, and in Hartford again to participate in Armed Forces Day. Then came Powder House Day, and finally participation in the Memorial Day ceremonies in New Haven.

      The annual visitation of the Guard to the Southbury Training School, was conducted on June 7. A week later, all members and their ladies attended a Farewell Party to Governor and Mrs. Dempsey.

      The Chief Executive, whose relationship to all his Guard Companies, had been congenial, had announced earlier in the year that he would not again be a candidate. A Farewell Review was planned by the four Companies at the conclusion of the First Company's Encampment in Niantic.

      The Guard's Parade was described by the press as "an unprecedented honor to a retiring Governor and marked the formal end of a close relationship of nearly a decade. The Governor had to wipe his eyes several times as the Guardsmen, flashing their silver braids, swords and full dress uniforms, passed in review, displaying both age-old military customs and the Guard's own traditions, of nearly 200 years."

      The Second Company went to Wallingford on June 27 to participate in the Parade in observance of the 300th Anniversary of the Town. This was a tremendous day in the lives of the Governor's Guards and their families. The Parade was viewed by thousands who had come from all sections of the State, and by the Mayor of Wallingford, England, and his Council of Eight, who had come to America at the invitation of the officials of Wallingford, Connecticut. Following the Parade, a family-type cookout was held across from Captain Sabo's residence, on Celestial Lane, and an abundance of food and refreshments was available.

      The Annual Encampment was conducted in Niantic, August 5 to 9. This was followed, on August 29, with participation in the Parade in Tiverton, R.I., in observance of the Battle of Tiverton.

      In October, sixty members attended the Football Hall of Fame which honored Major Louis Fusco, and in December, Major Teta and Major Davidson went to the Arena to accept the salute of the English Black Watch, who were on an American Tour.

      It had long been a source of wonder to the general population of greater New Haven as to how the personnel of the Foot Guard could greet New Year's Eve with a gala dance, lasting into the early morning hours, and then appear en masse, refreshed and shining at the Annual New Year's Day reception to the Commandant and his Lady. January 1, 1971 was no exception as the Command and their many guests assembled to honor Major and Mrs. Davidson.

      The Company attended the Inauguration of a new Chief Executive of the State, Thomas J. Meskill, on January 6, and the next day, the Command was represented at the Inauguration of Gov. Francis Sargeant of Massachusetts, in Boston. The Foot Guard Ball to honor Governor Meskill took place on Feb. 20.

      Ten members of the Company attended the memorial services for Major Harris Elwood Starr, in Pilgrim Congregational Church, Fair Haven, on February 28. Major Starr had been Chaplain of the Second Company for many years, and was also Historian, helping in the compilation of the 175th Anniversary History of the Second Company.

      In May, death also claimed Major Albertus K. Boardman who had been Medical Officer of the Second Company for many years. He had practiced medicine in New Haven for 65 years and had delivered more than 2,500 babies some of the males upon reaching manhood becoming members of the Second Company while Major Boardman was still on the Staff. Joining the Second Company in 1910, Major Boardman, on his 85th birthday, in January, 1960, was given a birthday party in Goffe Street Armory at which he was honored at a special review of the Company. And, in August, 1960, during the Summer Encampment in Niantic, he was given a 50-year Service Medal.

      Still prominent on the list of annual events in addition to Powder House Day, was the visit to the Southbury Training School. Michael J. Belmont, Director of Education and Training at the Southbury Training School, said: "You must be fully cognizant of the spontaneous reaction from 750 elated spectators of their appreciation for your pageantry, presentation, and delightful music. The members of the Southbury Training School Fife and Drum Corps were honored to be permitted to march and play with the members of your Field Music Unit."

      In 1971, as in years past, the Second Company went to several towns on Memorial Day. The troops marched in the Parade in Hamden, the Band marched in the Parade in Milford, and the Field Music Unit participated in the celebration of Fairfield.

      The Field Music Unit, which often went out of town to take part in parades, musters, patriotic gatherings, and the like, appeared in the Firemen's Parade in Naugatuck on September 25. As a result the Unit received two trophies, "Best Senior Musical Unit" and "Best Appearing Senior Unit."

      And, this year, during the Charleston Medal Drill, the Band was presented with a plaque by Mr. Michael Belmont, of the Southbury Training School, for their devoted attendance each year in Southbury.

      Governor Meskill's home town, New Britain, observed its Centennial on October 3, and his Guards were reviewed by the Chief Executive of the State as they proudly marched in the Hardware City.

      The Second Company sponsored the appearance of Her Majesty's Grenadier Guards Band at the New Haven Arena on October 9, and the Band of the Second Company also performed. On November 27, the Command went to the historic town of Plymouth, Mass., to participate in a parade.

      The year, 1972, began with a New Year's Reception honoring Major and Mrs. Davidson. This was followed, a few weeks later, by a Democratic Victory Ball honoring Mayor Guida. A Battalion Review was conducted on February 7 honoring Lieutenant Governor T. Clark Hull, and on February 18, the 197th Annual Ball honoring Governor Meskill was held.

      On February 14, Major Edward Schoeck was elected the 57th Commandant of the Second Company. He had joined the Command on May 1, 1940. He served as a private until entering the U.S. Army on April 21, 1942, serving as a Staff Sergeant in North Africa, Sicily and Italy for three years. He returned to Foot Guard service in October, 1945, and was promoted to Corporal in 1946 and subsequently moved to Sergeant, Master Sergeant, and Line Officer during the following 13 years. After serving as Commanding Officer of "C" Company for four years beginning in 1959, Major Schoeck was appointed Executive Officer under Major James Fleming. He spent the next eight years carrying out his new responsibilities, to the evening of February 14 when he was elected Commandant.

      Major Schoeck led the command in a battalion review at the annual Open House ceremonies at the Southbury Training School on May 7. The Field Music and Band participated again this year. This tour of duty was initiated by former Major Commandant Louis B. Hardy six years ago and has continued to be one of the rewarding events for the 1800 residents of the Training School and Foot Guarders. The school was opened on October, 1940, for the purpose of caring for the mentally retarded children and adults of Connecticut.

      On June 5, ten members, led by Major Schoeck, took part in the annual parade through Boston Commons of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. The Foot Guarders were well received by the spectators lining both sides of the line of march and by the Massachusetts State Military and political dignitaries during the review on the Commons.

      The Band had a very busy season. In addition to the New Haven Memorial Day Parade, the Naugatuck Parade, the Orange Sesquicentennial Parade, and the Annual Visitation at the Southbury Training School, the Band gave concerts at the Gaylord Hospital, Foote Park in Branford, West Haven Green, East Haven Green, Guilford Green, and at Strong Field in Madison. Also, the Band participated in the annual Camp Meskill encampment in August.

      It was during this period that the Command's news publication, THE SHAKO, was reactivated, and 12 current and former members were named to service on the paper. THE SHAKO, which is published quarterly, had its first issue in February, 1936. The format entails military and personal news about all the members of the Command.

Chapter 26