In the fall of 1973, our commandant is Hoyt S. Vandenberg Jr., a ’51 West Point grad. The AF-Army game is 3 Nov. The class of ’75, CS31 GrimReapers takes on an unprecedented spirit mission. We will “break” into his office and move his desk to the terrazzo between the Wright brothers. Lock-picking is crucial, but we have Otto Dieffenbach III. On the Sunday evening of Army week, Otto, with Brad Mandeville (1953-2017) as lookout, "pre-picks" the rear library doors. After taps, Otto gets us into the library, and leads us to the office. Otto picks the final lock. We strip his office down to the bare carpet. The elevators are locked so we hand carry his furniture to the terrazzo down two flights of stairs. We hang a wall-sized poster that says, “Once a Grunt, Always a Grunt”. No Army mule is available, so we get a bale of hay and spread it all over his carpet. Finally, we find the official USAFA visitor’s sign-in book and leave our initials for posterity sake. We pull it off without a hitch! We also place the toilet seat from his private bathroom on the center of his desk and put a cardboard star in the center, replicating a cadet badge. The next day the commandant briefly sits at his desk with a working phone in a great show of sportsmanship. (Photos 1-4 Below)
Post script: Before we break for Christmas 1974, we again break into the library to leave him a small Christmas tree for being a good sport. This time there’s a new unpickable lock, so we leave the tree in his foyer, spray a snowflake Santa on his door, and leave him a McDonalds gift coupon. (Photos 5-8 Below). We hope that spirit missions will always be part of the USAFA experience! (Checkpoints, March 2019) (Complete article, via the link, right).