Anoka County history:Attending the military academies

Last year, Robert and Marilyn Douglass, two of my very best friends from the Anoka High class of 1944, were visiting from Connecticut.

“Mac,” as we still call him, was appointed to and attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis. He graduated in 1948 and became commander of one of the first atomic powered submarines.

I asked him if he knew any others from Anoka High that went on to attend any of the military service academies.

He named four right away. Pete Caswell in 1919, Clyde Roberts in 1929, Bob Donaldson in 1938 and Les Hagen, Jr. in 1960.

This prompted me to do some research and build a file for the Anoka County Historical Society for anyone to read.

Way back then, the only high schools in Anoka County were Anoka, St. Francis and Columbia Heights. Today, we also have Coon Rapids, Blaine, Fridley, Spring Lake Park, Andover, Centennial, Totino-Grace, Meadow Creek and other private or religious high schools that county residents attended.

In my research, so far, I have come across names like Lapham, Dominic, two Ward relatives of mine, and Thomas Talbot, all graduates of Anoka.

Talbot is the son of Warren and Dorothy Talbot. I spoke with Tom’s mother-in law, Lucille Ottenstroer, and she had him call and told him to write to me. He then sent the following information.

Thomas J. Talbot, Anoka High Class of 1975, attended the U.S. Air Force Academy and graduated in 1979. While at USAFA, Talbot played four years in goal for the Division 1 Falcons hockey team, continuing a tradition from his time with the Tornadoes in Anoka.

On graduation, he was awarded the Most Valuable Ice Hockey Player Award. In addition, because of his leadership as well as well his athletic abilities, Talbot was the first recipient of the USAFA Outstanding Athletic Achievement Award.

Talbot served as a missile launch officer at the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo. He was selected as the Missile Commander of the Wing and Wing Crew of the Month. In 1982, he received the Crew Member Excellence Award. He also was selected as crew evaluator and spent a year and half working in the planning and intelligence division.

In addition to his work with missiles, Talbot instructed ROTC students at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, and served as an assistant hockey coach.

“Being able to serve my country with my time at the academy and later with the Air Force is a tremendous honor,” Talbot stated.

After serving nine years in the Air Force, Talbot left for a career in the corporate world and is now retired.

He married LeAnn Ottenstroer, another 1975 Anoka High graduate. LeAnn is a senior vice president of Comcast Corporation and the Talbots now live in Philadelphia. They have two grown children, Megan and Jeff. LeAnn is the daughter of George and Lucille Ottenstroer of Coon Rapids.

In building this file at the History Center, I would appreciate it if you know anyone, male or female, from any of the Anoka County schools I mentioned who were appointed and attended any of the military academies, even if they did not finish, to write to me at the Anoka County Historical Society, 2135 Third Ave. N., Anoka, MN 55303.

Our email is mailto:achs@ac-hs.org.

This file would be available through the years to anyone interested.

Editor’s note: Tom Ward is a member of the Anoka County Historical Society board of directors.


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