New West Point plaque honors MVD engineer

Published 12:09 pm Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Graduation at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., earlier this month included unveiling a permanent plaque in Thayer Hall that will be inscribed with the names of all cadets earning the Pentathlete award, which has now been renamed the Maj. Gen. William E. Read Pentathlete Award.

Read, whose last duty station before retirement was as division engineer of the Mississippi Valley Division and president of the Mississippi River Commission, both based in Vicksburg, died in March 2009.

His family attended the unveiling of the plaque, which will identify one student each semester who has received no grade lower than A- in any academic course and excelled in athletic, military science and military development areas.

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Read was a native of Morganton, N.C., who graduated in the West Point Class of 1950. He later obtained graduate degrees in engineering and business management.

In his career, he served in Korea and three tours in Vietnam. Other duty stations included diplomatic service in Israel, district engineer in Tulsa, Okla., and assistant chief of engineers in Washington, D.C. His 35-year Army career also included assignments as staff officer in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and with the Joint Chiefs of Staff Office, both also in Washington.

After retirement, he moved to Gulfport and worked for a New Orleans-based engineering firm. In 2002, he and his wife, Mary Ann Gregory Read, moved back to his native Morganton.