Adjutant General's Corps Regimental Association

Where in the World is COL (Ret) Monje (II)?

It’s time once again to figure out where in the world is COL (Ret) Nick Monje?  When we last saw COL (Ret) Monje he was traveling China with his wife Dianne.  Based on our feature photo, where is COL (Ret) Monje now?

Hint – COL (Ret) Monje is in the tunnels of Củ Chi.  The Củ Chi tunnels are an immense network of connecting tunnels located in the Củ Chi District of a famous city that’s part of American history.  The tunnels are also part of a much larger network of tunnels that underlie much of the country they are located in.

If you guessed Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam, then you guessed right!

The Củ Chi tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War and were the Viet Cong’s base of operations for the Tet Offensive in 1968.  The tunnels were used by Viet Cong as hiding spots during combat, as well as serving as communication and supply routes, hospitals, food and weapon caches and living quarters for numerous North Vietnamese fighters.  The tunnel systems were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces during the Vietnam War and helped to counter the growing American military effort.

Thanks again to COL (Ret) and Mrs. Monje for carrying the AGCRA logo to another unique location in the world.

COL (Ret) Nick Monje and his wife, Dianne, visiting the MeKong Delta in Vietnam.
COL (Ret) Monje visits the Ha Noi Hilton Prison in Vietnam where American pilots were held as POWs during the Vietnam War.
This photo depicts the final helicopter extraction point during the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975.
Here’s the same extraction point today, which also serves as a hotel.
The Monje’s visited the Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia. The Angkor Wat Temple is a Hindu temple complex and is the largest religious monument in the world on a site measuring 402 acres.
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In Memoriam – MG (Ret) Jack C. Wheeler

MG (Ret) Jack C. Wheeler, 80, of Fayetteville, GA passed away on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. He was born on February 2, 1939, in Canton, GA to the late Clinton Alfred Wheeler and Juanita Cox Wheeler. MG (Ret) Wheeler was buried with full military honors at The Georgia National Cemetery, 2025 Mount Carmel Church Lane, Canton, GA.

MG (Ret) Wheeler was also a graduate of Cherokee County High School, Canton, GA; North Georgia College, Dahlonega, GA; The US Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS; and The US Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, PA. He received a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, and The Senior Executives in Government Certificate from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

MG (Ret) Wheeler served his country as an Army Officer for 32 years. During his distinguished career, he served in Viet Nam, Korea and numerous state-side locations including The Pentagon. While at the Pentagon he was one of the primary architects of the Modern Volunteer Army which ended the draft and became today’s highly respected force. He was later a key leader in the development of the Special Forces Branch.

At his retirement, he was the Commanding General of the US Army Recruiting Command where he led a worldwide force of over 12,000 Soldiers and Civilians. After Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and during the downsizing of the Army, the accession requirement was actually increased by 10,000, from 65,000 to 75,000 new recruits annually. MG (Ret) Wheeler significantly increased the selection requirements for initial enlistments by raising the percentage of recruited Soldiers with high school diplomas and lowering test category IV acceptances. MG (Ret) Wheeler’s new requirements were more restrictive than any standing law or policy required at the time. Due to the higher recruiting standards implemented, USAREC enabled the manning of the “quality” all-volunteer Army with a continuous increase of higher class Soldiers. This new caliber of new recruits ultimately had a positive and lasting effect on the Army as a whole and as we know it today. His work in all these capacities earned him a long list of medals and honors. And, he was among the first to be inducted into the Army’s Adjutant General’s Corps Hall of Fame, Class of 2010, and was recently inducted into the Georgia Veteran’s Hall of Fame.

After his retirement, MG (Ret) Wheeler and his wife, Margie, moved to Fayetteville, GA where he began working with The Citizen Newspaper Group of Southside Atlanta. He soon rose from Advertising Sales Director to the position of General Manager.

Throughout his retirement years, his knowledge of manpower development led him into numerous roles as an advisor to high-level leaders in private industry, education and government who were involved with the education and future preparedness of America’s young people. His concern for young people was also evidenced by his years of work on the National Advisory Council of Mission Readiness (Military Leaders for Kids) and his extensive work with his beloved Corp of Cadets at North Georgia College and State University.

MG (Ret) Wheeler also made time to fill numerous volunteer leadership roles in the Fayette County Community in Georgia. He was an active member, supporter, and leader in the ministries of Fayetteville First United Methodist Church.

MG (Ret) Wheeler was respected and admired by all who knew and worked with him, because of his work ethic, knowledge, sense of humor and humble personality. In spite of his many achievements, honors, and awards, he never seemed to take himself too seriously and eagerly gave his respect to others. His life might best be described as one of service and devotion to God, Country, Family, and Community.

MG (Ret) Wheeler is survived by his wife of 58 years, Margie Gunn Wheeler, daughter Leigh Ann Wheeler Passon (Rick) of Salisbury, MD, son Clinton Alan Wheeler (Julie) of Macon, GA,  seven treasured and adoring grandchildren, and one treasured and adored great-grand-son. Also, surviving are sisters Mary Jane May of Spartanburg, SC, Cathy Rainer (Michael) of Watkinsville, GA, and brother-in-law Guy Gunn (Becky) of Macon, GA as well as six admiring nieces and nephews.

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LT James Reese Europe and the 369th “Harlem Hellfighters” Infantry Regiment Band

James Reese Europe was a leading composer and bandleader in New York City at the beginning of the 20th century. During this time, he was able to synthesize classical, ragtime, and march music to create a sound identity of the African-American community. He responded to criticism by saying, “We have developed a kind of symphony music that, no matter what else you think, is different and distinctive, and that lends itself to the playing of the peculiar compositions of our race … My success had come … from a realization of the advantages of sticking to the music of my own people.”

Europe originally enlisted in the New York National Guard, but was soon given a commission once his musical skill was discovered. He was charged with creating a band for the 369th Infantry Regiment which composed of African-American and Latino men. They were sent to France in December of 1917, eventually being assigned to the French Army, as American Soldiers refused to serve with the 369th troops. The French troops treated them fairly and were happy to have the help since they had already been fighting the Germans for many years. Unique to the 369th was their officers were also African-American, a first in the U.S. Army, of which Lieutenant Europe was one. The entire regiment was awarded the Croix de Guerre for their gallant service in the American Expeditionary Force.

The music of the 369th Band was an instant morale booster for their fellow troops and also connected French, British, and other European Allies to a uniquely American cultural creation. This identity of American culture persists to the present day, as European audiences are generally more accepting of ‘jazz’ music than the country where it was born. Upon the unit’s return in February of 1919, they led the parade through New York City, with many of the local black population in attendance. A proud moment to see their fellow countrymen marching in victory to music created and played by African-Americans.

The 369th Experience was organized for the centennial celebration of the end of World War I. The group carries on the tradition of James Reese Europe and educates its audiences about this important time in American History. Later in the 20th Century, the U.S. Government used the music of African-Americans to project a National Identity to the world. The world then responded back through the infusion of blues and jazz into their popular styles. Practically all popular music made today across the globe has traces of the rhythms and melodies created by the African-American community.

Check out the West Point Band performing some of James Reese Europe’s compositions.

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