Forty-one class rings were donated this year to the West Point Association of Graduates 17th Annual Ring Melt Ceremony that will be held on February 27th beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Rhode Island refinery, Pease & Curren.
The rings, from classes ranging from 1924 to 1968, will be melted into a solid gold bar that will be incorporated into the gold used to create the rings for West Point’s Class of 2018. All of these new rings will contain not only part of this year’s donations, but a portion of all of the rings donated since this program’s inception with the Class of 2002. The annual Ring Melt is a tangible way to reaffirm the bond between The Long Gray Line of West Point graduates and the Academy’s current cadets.
Families who donated the rings are commemorating their husbands, fathers, brothers, cousins, friends, and classmates through the ceremony. Donors are attending this event from all over the country.
Many of the families of the donors will be on hand to present the rings for melting.
One of the rings donated this year belonged to Lieutenant General James M. Gavin, Class of 1929. “Jumpin’ Jim” was the third Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II. He was the only American general officer to make four combat jumps in the war. Another ring in the melt is that of Mr. Thomas H. Paprocki, USMA Class of 1954. Mr. Paprocki’s granddaughter, Cadet Amy Johnston, is a member of the Class of 2018.
A sample of gold from the 410 previously melted rings spanning the classes of 1896 to 1997 will be added to the melting of these 41 rings and will ensure that the tradition of “Duty, Honor, Country” and the Long Gray Line will remain physically and symbolically with the Class of 2018 as they proudly wear their class rings.
The February 27th event will be held at Pease & Curren, a Warwick, RI precious metals refinery that has hosted the event for the past 16 years. The company’s involvement first began with a suggestion from their Vice President of Sales, Keith Edwards, a USMA graduate from the Class of 1985 who will also be present at this year’s event.
See the video from last year’s event: