1LT Al Woltz, Commander Retan Rifles
Al had a very troubled childhood, throwing rocks at the local roller coaster, tying cats to streetcar tracks, and shooting other neighborhood children with his BB Gun from the roof of his home. At the age of 13, he was already stealing cars and had formed a juvenile gang not to mention the fact that he was labeled as an underachiever in school (for obvious reasons). He was about to be sent to a Juvenile Detention Center, when his parents suggested sending him to a boarding-type Military Academy. After considering a number of academies such as Staunton, Hargraves, Massanutten, Greenbriar, and Augusta, the decision was made to send Al to Fork Union for his 8th grade and thereafter throughout his entire high school years. To coin a phrase, “that’s just what the doctor ordered,” or in his case, the judge. Fork Union literally saved him from himself and laid the foundation for proper adulthood.
After graduation from FUMA, Al went to Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) with the primary intent to become a teacher of mathematics. FUMA’s One-Subject Plan did so well at preparing him for college, he was immediately placed in a Calculus II class, and it became quickly obvious to him that he could never make teaching calculus interesting. So he changed his major to Physical Education (anyone can make gym interesting), but aside from teaching, coaching, and/or physical therapy, he didn’t see too much value in a PE degree; so he added Biology as a 2nd Major. Consequently, Al lost his student deferment, and with a very low draft number, he was very susceptible to being drafted into the Viet Nam War. Therefore he “joined” the Army to stay out of Viet Nam – he enrolled in the 2-year ROTC program. Again his training at FUMA came in handy. Boot Camp was a cinch, and he was awarded a 2-year ROTC Scholarship.
While in college, Al met his soulmate, Margaret (Peg), and on the same day that he graduated, and was sworn in the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant, he also married his college sweetheart. This June, Al & Peg will celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary.
As luck would have it, his 1st assignment in the Army placed him in the hometown of his new bride, and his new assignment was at the Biomedical Laboratory where he worked as a Research Applied Physiologist, a dream job for a Bio/PE Major. Al & Peg moved 14 times over the next 24 years where they saw all parts of the world including Korea, Hawaii (twice) San Francisco, Johnston Atoll (only Al during this tour), Washington, DC (twice), Ft. Bragg (home of the Airborne), Northern Germany, and the deserts of Southwest Asia (again Al left Peg home to take care of their children). Speaking of children, they were blessed with three (all of whom shared the same birthdate, January 11), 2 boys and a young lady.
In 1995, Al & Peg were relocated once again to her hometown, and three years later they decided that Al would retire from active duty and continue to support the US Army as an Army contractor. Al retired as a contractor in 2013, and they moved to the sunshine state of Florida. That retirement was somewhat short-lived as fate would call them back to Peg’s hometown where they both took up the mantle as consultants. As empty-nesters, Al & Peg became avid cruisers, and they amassed nearly 40 cruises traveling to most parts of the Caribbean, England, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Norway, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Canada, and of course, Alaska and Hawaii among many other ports of call.
Now Peg & Al are simply relaxing and enjoying as much time as they can with their grandchildren. Al has taken up the hobby of geocaching, and he spends as much time as he can on the trail of the elusive geocache. Beware – if you don’t know what geocaching is and you ask him about it, he’ll talk your ear off.