Following a childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dennis Coll entered West Point with the Class of ’65. During his time at West Point, he was able to experience the Cold War in Germany while attached to an active unit along the Fulda Gap. Upon graduation, he branched Armor and was assigned to the 12th Cavalry in Büdingen, Germany after Airborne and Ranger School. He enjoyed his time in Germany, meeting the locals and patrolling the border. After departing Europe, he attended Jungle Expert School in Panama enroute to Vietnam, arriving a few days before Tet. He was then assigned to ACTIV (Army Concept Team in Vietnam), tasked with figuring out how to detect non-metallic mines. Eventually, he was reassigned as the Assistant S3 for the 11th Cavalry Regiment, the Blackhorse. He returned from Vietnam in January 1969, and was assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington, where he served until he left the Army in January 1970. After working for IBM, he transitioned to commercial real estate in 1976. While in the business world, he made it a priority to hire “people of character,” often providing a leg up for those who were struggling to get a job. He has remained close to West Point, participating in outreach efforts and serving with the West Point Society of Chicago. Currently, he is the Class Scribe for the Class of ’65, and a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army.
In this interview, he talks about his experiences at West Point, and the opportunities he had at the Academy. He describes his deployments to Germany and Vietnam, and talks in depth about his post-military career, including the ways he has been able to give back to West Point and his community. Finally, he talks about his class, and being the scribe for USMA ’65.