ASU Alumni September 2011 : Page 61
1940s Willis Peterson ‘49 B.A., renowned wildlife photographer, showcased his work at Phoenix College’s Eric Fischl Gallery in March. The images from the Southwestern deserts and Arctic region were a portion of a larger exhibit that premiered at the Heard Museum in 1973 and that has appeared since then in museums and galleries nationwide, including the Museum of Natural History in New York, the National Wildlife Gallery in Washington, D.C., and the Wildlife Experience Museum in Colorado. Peterson has photographed nature and wildlife around the world and his work has appeared in National Geographic, National Wildlife, Audubon Magazine, Natural History and Arizona Highways. He is known also for his work as an author and teacher. 1930s Hugh West ‘39 B.A.E. welcomed the publication of his book (with John Scura), “Recon Trooper: A Memoir of Combat with the 14th Armored Division in Europe, 1944-1945,” with a signing party in Sherman Oaks, Calif. The book was released in 2010 by McFarland & Company Publishers, and provides a gripping, first-hand look at the stateside training and wartime experiences of U.S. armor and infantry soldiers in Europe during World War II. For his efforts with U.S. Forces in Germany during World War II, West received two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, a French Liberator decoration and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge. A life-long educator, West is also the recipient of the Freedom’s Foundation at Valley Forge: 1967 American Educators Medal and the 1998 George Washington Medal. He celebrated his 95th birthday in April in Sherman Oaks. Flying high Marcy Steinke ’94 M.H.S.A. Col. Marcy Steinke was attired in a fitted black formal dress with a touch of satin. But on her way out to the Marine Corps Ball, she heard the familiar ring of her classified phone. So she slipped off her heels and went to work coordinating the logistics of responding to an international crisis. As director of the Operations Directorate for the White House Military Office, relinquishing nights and weekends— and 12-14 hours of your work day—is a matter of routine. “That’s the detriment but truly the fun of it,” said Steinke. Steinke held the post from 2008 to 2011, helping to coordinate all equipment and personnel for the president’s travel—Secret Service, communications, potential hazards at destinations.“In essence, (we) provide a traveling White House for the president and vice president,” explained Steinke, who also partnered with Air Force One, the official presidential helicopter, Marine One, and military organizations around the world to complete her assignments. She orchestrated more than 3,600 missions on six continents, and was part of the White House leadership that guided the changeover between the Bush and Obama administrations. Steinke said directives from then-President George W. Bush indicated that he considered the handoff to be the most important changeover between presidential administrations in history, and he expected it to be handled smoothly. Steinke retired in June, ending a 25-year defense career in the White House, Congressional Legislative Affairs and the U. S. Air Force, where she was the first pilot to land in Tuzla, Bosnia, for NATO's 1996 Joint Endeavor peacekeeping operation. Originally commissioned to active duty through ROTC as a nurse, Steinke graduated from ASU in 1994 with a Master of Health Service Administration degree from the W. P. Carey School of Business. Pursued originally because candidates for the rank of major are required to have a master’s degree, the experience gave Steinke a broad love of learning that she’s carrying with her into the next part of her life. She wants to learn sign language and is interested in sustainability and renewable energy. “I don’t want to just do what’s expected of an Air Force pilot colonel who’s retiring. It’s time to go figure out something new and exciting to do,” she said. By Tracy Mueller, a freelance writer based in Tucson, Ariz.