With waves of song, laughter and cheers, soldiers of the ASTU unit gave spontaneous demonstrations of their respect, admiration and affection for their commanding officer at a party in the Leverett House dining hall Sunday night.
Men from many corners of the world and many branches of this far-flung army felt closely integrated into a single comradely group when their voices burst forth into "He's A Jolly Good Fellow" at the sight of Major Bernard A. Merriam and his wife catering the hall. They rose to their feet and stood proudly in the position of the soldier at attention.
The greatest moment of the even came when Staff Sergt. Saul Seigle, on behalf of Company A, presented Major Merriam a small token of the esteem with which his men looked up to him. The token was simply tangible evidence of the happiness the company experienced when the major was recently promoted from a captaincy.
"As captain of this unit, our commander has made us feel that nay of us would come to him at any time on any problem in our lives, military or otherwise," Sergt. Seigle said. "He is a leader we all respect."
Major Merriam expressed his appreciation, and declared that "a commanding officer is judged by his unit. If the unit is good, it means the officer is good. If anything has come to me, it has come through the unit."
The men cheered until the room was ringing with applause. It was a memorable moment for every man present, and seldom before had nay of the soldiers realized so keenly what good army spirit meant.
First Sergt. Morris Isacowitz, who served as master of ceremonies and was described by Sergt. Seigle as "the best ` first sergeant in the army," introduce Lieut. Nelson T. Headley and member of the faculty, who were guests, include Dean Fox and Professors Pratt, Estor Langmuir, and R. H. Matthewson.
The first sergeant the turned the floor over to members of the company. The ASTU chorus, under the direction of Cpl. Presly Weherell, and the "Dartmouth Winter Song" and Back's "Now Let Every Tongue Adore Thee." Excellent accompaniment was furnished by Cpl. Lee Schumor.
A startling comic effect was achieved by Cpl. Henry S. Leff, who was solemnly hailed as a man who would sing a very ancient Russian song, and abruptly exploded into "The Music Goes Round and Round" with gestures--and what gestures! His expansive smile and wild and swings set the company rocking will laughter.
Songs by Geis
Cpl. Robert Geis, who has appeared with European opera companies, following Leff with a series of moving songs, "One Alone," a Negro spiritual called "Were You There?" and "Without A Song," he was called upon for several encores, to tumultuous cheers.
Cpl. Stanley Page wound up the entertainment with a fast-moving rediction of a "Schnitzelbank," in which he was jointed by many of the men. He worked in the ferocious Cambridge mosquitoes, the Normal Curve and the Standard Error (statistical concepts which have haunted the psychology students), and a sketch relating to Major Merriam's "eagle eye" at inspections.
The whole group harmonized on "I've Got Six Pence" and then fervently sang the national anthem, and a night that no one will forget came to an end.