“It Really Wasn’t Like The Boy Scouts”: Attending West Point And Expanding Computer Usage At The Academy

Francis J. Monaco


Frank Monaco grew up in Derby, Connecticut, in a large family. As a boy, he was interested in outdoor activities such as fishing and scouting, and he eventually became an Eagle Scout. He chose West Point because, growing up in a large family, it was a prudent financial decision. He entered West Point during the height of the Vietnam War, but the ongoing conflict did not deter him. He remembers several events on R-Day, July 1, 1966, and the challenges of Beast Summer. His Uncle Lou, a Colonel of Engineers, convinced him to stay until December of his Plebe year. Once he entered the academic year, he enjoyed the sciences, math, and especially computers. He also found a mentor in Colonel Farrell Patrick. Additionally, he remained active in the Catholic Church on post. He commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer, and met his wife two weeks after graduation. His first assignment was with 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery in the 82nd Airborne Division. In October 1971, he returned to West Point to marry Paulette at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, with Monsignor McCormick presiding. Two years later, he was assigned to the 8th Army Headquarters in Korea. In 1980, he earned a Masters’ Degree at Georgia Tech and taught in the Department of Geography and Computer Science at the Military Academy. From that point, his career transitioned, and he spent the remainder of his time in the Army working with information management and computers. His final assignment in the Army was at West Point, where he served in a variety of positions, including the Assistant / Associate Dean for Academic Computing. Since retiring from the Army, he has continued his work in information and technology, serving at Pace University before starting his own company. He currently serves as the Chief Information Officer for the Class of 1970, and has set up several Zoom Calls to keep his classmates close during the pandemic. In this interview, he talks about his childhood and several of the important events that happened during that period. He recalls his Cadet experiences and some of the influential people in his life. He describes his Army career and his transition from serving as a Field Artillery officer to focusing on computers and information technology. He reflects on some of the changes that occurred while he was teaching at West Point, and his pride in seeing some of his students return as instructors. He discusses his career after retiring from the Army. Finally, he reflects on what West Point means to him, and the importance of his family and his Class (USMA 70).


topics West Point History Military Family Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie
interviewer David Siry
date 20 April 2021


name Francis J. Monaco
institution USMA
graduation year 1970
service Field Artillery
unit 1-320 Field Artillery; Headquarters 8th Army; 10th Mountain Division; USMA
specialty Directorate of Information Management
service dates 1970 1997