COL(R) Farrell G. Patrick grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, in a blue-collar family. As a boy, he enjoyed fishing, baseball, chess, and photography, and he served as the president of his high school class. He earned a scholarship to Columbia University, but chose to attend West Point, joining the Class of 1956 in the summer of 1952. Upon graduation, he commissioned as a Signal Corps Officer and his first assignment was in the 501st Signal Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, where he served as the Division Radio Officer, working for the Commanding General. In 1958, he was married. A posting to Cold War Germany followed, and he worked on a missile monitoring system from 1959 to 1962. In 1965, he earned a Masters’ Degree from The American University, and received his PhD in Computer Science and Information Systems the following year. He then worked for NASA, setting up communication sites around the globe. In 1966, he deployed to Vietnam, assigned to the 1st Signal Brigade. When he returned from overseas, he did a stint in the Pentagon before returning to West Point from 1968 to 1979 to teach in the Department of Earth, Space, and Graphic Sciences. After retiring from the Army in 1979, he and entered the business world and taught at Pace University from 1985 to 1998 before retiring for good.
In this interview, he talks about his childhood, his West Point experiences, and his Army career. He recalls seeing Vietnam War protestors at the gates of the Academy, and investigating the Class of ’77 cheating scandal in 1976. He discusses some of the courses he taught and the increasing importance of computers in academia. Finally, he reflects on what West Point means to him.