Over the past week or so I've been dialoging with Harold 'Hess' Hester, owner of the Defense Mapping School alumni site. What drew me to Harold's site was an interest in locating an old Army buddy, CW3 Ralph Ruetze, who had served as an instructor at the school.
I learned from the website that, sadly, Ralph passed away in 2010. However, Harold was eager to incorporate my memories of Ralph into his site. Thanks Harold. Ralph was quite a character and deserves to be remembered.
The Defense Mapping School (DMS) had the mission of training service members of all services, Department of Defense civilians and foreign students in the topographic arts and sciences - survey, cartography, graphics, press operations, terrain analysis, instrument and equipment repair and much more. And they did an outstanding job. The entire DMS organization - from the school registrar to the division chiefs to the individual instructors - went to extraordinary lengths to make sure our soldiers were well trained and well cared for while they were in the school's care.
DMS was one of several agencies that included the Defense Mapping Agency, the Topographic Engineering Center, the Waterways Experiment Station and the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory that provided unstinting support to the field topographic units. The sad truth is that these agencies often provided more support to Army topographic units than their own local Engineer commands did.
So my thanks to 'Hess' (and Jack Batt) for standing up a much needed home on the web for Defense Mapping School alumni.