By Connie and Lynn Baer | Foothiller Footsteps
As we celebrate Veterans Day on Nov. 12, we would like to honor the 25 Foothillers who graduated from military academies, to the best of our knowledge:
- Jack Abbott, Class of 1937, West Point (Army)
- Chuck Henry, Class of 1950, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- Bill Anders, Class of 1951, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- Frederick K. Fluegel, Class of 1957, US Naval Academy
- James Erik Wreiden, Class of 1961, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- Dave McKie, Class of 1962, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- Doug Dirks, Class of 1962, Merchant Marine Academy
- Charles E. Black, Class of 1966, Air Force Academy
- Carl Funke, Class of 1966, West Point
- Tim Karnowski, Class of 1966, Air Force Academy
- Chris Funke, Class of 1967, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- Thomas J. Underwood, Class of 1968, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- Bill Funke, Class of 1969, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- Andy Funke, 1974, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- James W. Brady, Class of 1975, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- Alex Funke, 1976, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- Gene Stitt, Class of 1977, US Air Force Academy
- Fred Miller, Class of 1986, West Point
- Tom Adams, Class of 1993, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- Paul Theriot, Class of 1994, US Air Force Academy
- Kevin Robinson, Class of 1995, West Point
- David van Dyne, Class of 1999, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- Michael Karnowski, Class of 2000, Coast Guard Academy
- Nicholas Ghosn, Class of 2018, US Naval Academy at Annapolis
- John Flaherty, Class of 2018, West Point
Please let us know if anyone has been omitted. In this column, due to space limitations, we will focus on only a few of these men.
Jack Abbott, Class of 1937, died in 1945 in France while serving with Patton’s Army in the 35th Infantry Division at the Battle of the Bulge as the commanding officer of Company K. According to Orval E. Faubus, who served with Jack and later served as governor of Arkansas for 12 years, “Captain Abbott’s men were so affected by his death that they ‘advanced as one’ and overcame the enemy opposition.” As a Foothiller, Abbott excelled in academics, was a star track athlete, as well as ASB president in his senior year.
Amazingly, the five Funke brothers attended military academies, beginning with Carl Funke in 1966 and ending with Alex Funke in 1976. At Grossmont, all of the Funke brothers were outstanding wrestlers.
“Not one of the five wrestling champion brothers ever lost a match while representing GHS,” according to retired teacher Bruce Davidson.
Tom Adams, Class of 1993, died in 2003 three days into the first Iraq War and was the first naval officer to die in the war after his helicopter collided with another helicopter over the Northern Arabian Gulf. During his Grossmont years, Adams distinguished himself with his academic excellence and his love of soccer. After his death, the field in Jack Mashin Stadium was dedicated to his memory. A bronze plaque commemorating his life simply says, “Lt. Thomas M. Adams, 1975-2003, Class of 1993, Honor, Courage, Commitment.”
The Karnowski family boasts two family members who attended service academies, Tim in 1966 and Mike in 2000. More amazingly, there are 12 members of the family who have served in the military, beginning with Dennis, a 1963 graduate, to Jeff, Class of 2006. On campus, three Foothiller Founder Endowment Fund tiles commemorate the family’s remarkable history by stating, “The Karnowski Family Service to Country” and listing all of their names and branches of the military.
Today, Class of 2018 graduate Nicholas Ghosn is attending the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and his lifelong friend John Flaherty is attending West Point.
“Both gentlemen had remarkable achievements at Grossmont, including success in football, wrestling, CA Boys State, and, of course, academics,” said NJROTC Commander Brent Lapp. “Their achievements culminated in four service academy appointments and three full ROTC scholarships!”
Among its more than 37,000 Grossmont graduates are many who served in the military over the past 97 years. On Veterans Day, we honor all of them.
Visit the Museum on Wednesdays: noon-3:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 or by appointment on other Wednesdays; and 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16. To learn more about Foothiller history, visit foothillermuseum.com, contact: email@example.com or call 619-668-6140.
—Connie and Lynn Baer write on behalf of the Grossmont History Museum.