Distinguished military career, significant academic achievements, and continued community service
Gerry Mansell ’72
Gerry enjoyed reminiscing about his time in the SCASD. He spent most of his time on and around the auditorium stage. He was active in all technical aspects of theatre: lighting and set design and construction. He did some acting in his Sophomore and Junior years. He was the Technical Director, Set and Lighting Designer, and Stage Manager for the 1972 school musical, “Annie Get Your Gun.”
Mr. Glenn Shaffer had a remarkable impact on his life. He said that Mr. Shaffer treated him as an adult, respected his aspirations, and allowed and encouraged him to grow and learn both as a theater technician and as a person.
After graduation, Gerry enlisted in the US Air Force and later attended Northern Virginia Community College. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with an Associate’s Degree in Business Management and was named to the 1979 “Who’s Who Among American Junior College Students.”
He said that even though he was not an exemplary student in high school, primarily because he did not apply himself, he graduated Suma Cum Laude with an AAS at Northern Virginia Community College and Cum Laude with a BS from Penn State.
In 1981 he enlisted in US Army and was then assigned to the 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard). During his military career, he participated in ceremonies at the White House, and Pentagon and funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.
His time in the US Military was one of honor and high regard:
May 1982 – September 1983: Volunteered for duty as Sentinel, Tomb of the Unknowns. Assigned to 3rd Relief as Sentinel, then Assistant Relief Commander. Awarded Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge #259. One of the least awarded decorations in the military—only about 700 have been awarded since 1959.
1983 – 1984: Transferred to 9th Infantry Regiment, Camp Greaves, Republic of Korea as an infantry team leader and assistant patrol leader and patrolled Korean Demilitarized Zone against North Korean infiltrators.
1985 – 1989: Assigned to Fort Knox, KY as a marksmanship instructor and Drill Sergeant.
1989 – 1993: Assigned to 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard). Served as squad leader, platoon sergeant, and senior instructor for newly assigned personnel. Served as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Security Detail for the Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney.
1993 – 1995: Assigned to 4th Infantry Regiment Hohensfel, Germany as a platoon sergeant.
2 Meritorious Service Medals – highest peacetime award for enlisted personnel
4 Army Commendation Medals
1 Joint Service Achievement Medal
3 Army Achievement Medals
5 Good Conduct Medals
2 National Defense Service Medals Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge – Badge # 259
Expert Infantry Badge
Drill Sergeant Identification Badge
After retiring from the Army in 1995, Gerry attended Penn State University and graduated Cum Laude from Smeal College of Business with a major in Finance and a minor in Economics.
Gerry retired as a Portfolio Analyst from Aris Corporation. Even in retirement, he is still serving. He volunteers as an instructor giving presentations about The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Arlington National Cemetery several times a month. He said that the audiences are various organizations, including DAR, SAR, Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute chapters (OLLI). The presentations are in person, throughout PA, and nationwide for OLLI via Zoom.
In October 2019, he met the woman he had been looking for all his life, the former Julie Mamett, State High ’78. They were married on May 2, 2022. Julie is also retired, and they live in Park Forest Village.
Gerry shared a full-circle memory. “Throughout the year, we had numerous “Greaser Days.” Everyone would dress in 1950s-style clothing; guys in denim jackets and greased hair, the girls in poodle skirts and saddle shoes. This inspired a group of us to create a 1950s cover band called “Little Davey and the Drylcremes.” We started small, but Drylcremes continued and performed at numerous venues in the Centre Region until we split up in January 1974,” he said. “My wife, Julie, was a bit of a Drylcreme groupie and followed the band to various performances. I was unaware of this at the time and learned about it after I met her 47 years later.”
Gerry is honored to receive this induction into the Maroon & Gray Society. “It is an incredible honor and very humbling. This is a high point in my life because it acknowledges academic, professional, and personal achievements,” he said.
His plans are simple: spend as much time as possible with his amazing wife Julie, spend time with his dear family and friends, lower his golf handicap to 15, play his guitar, and continue giving presentations about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Arlington National Cemetery.
There is so much to see and experience in life, he said. To that end, Gerry shared this advice for today’s students— “Continually seek new and unique life experiences, steadfastly make efforts to improve yourself and your situation, and zealously dismiss all of the naysayers who tell you that you cannot or should not pursue your goals or aspirations.”