In the summer of 1961, Carmen Cavezza and his bride, Joyce, pulled into Columbus for the aboriginal time.
The contempo alum of The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., was commissioned as a additional abettor in the U.S. Army and was advertisement to Fort Benning for the Infantry Administrator Basic Course.
Columbus, which did not accept a artery artery advancing in or out of the burghal at the time, fabricated a bad aboriginal consequence on Cavezza — and Joyce.
“When we were active into Columbus and my wife said, ‘Where are you demography me?’” Cavezza recalled.
He was demography her on the aboriginal footfall of their adventure — one that has now survived 58 years of marriage, a acclaimed 33-year Army career and three wars. And, time and time again, that adventure would advance them aback to Fort Benning and Columbus.
But their aboriginal night actuality was one Joyce won’t forget. They had agitation award a abode to alive because they had a cat. So they acclimatized on a bivouac esplanade at the end of South Lumpkin Alley a the Fort Benning gate.
“Something blew up that night,” Joyce said.
It was the stove.
They were out of there the aing morning, award an accommodation on Benning Drive.
But it wasn’t aloof a bouldered aboriginal night that acquired apropos for Carmen, a New Yorker, and Joyce, a Charleston, S.C., built-in whom he had met and affiliated while accessory The Citadel.
“After we got actuality and I abstruse more, I was anxious about crime. Burghal did not accept a acceptable reputation, and my wife was a shopper,” he said. “I told her if she capital to go burghal and shop, ‘You go with me.’ We had a lot of apprehension, not about Benning, but about Columbus.”
That alarm eventually achromatic into adoration.
Columbus grew on Cavezza and he grew on Columbus. Over the aing 57 years, he became one of the city’s best affecting leaders beyond military, government, educational and advance lines.
Columbus has afflicted aback the aboriginal 1960s and Cavezza is one of those bodies who helped drive that change. Today, he’s about 81 years old, walks with a slight anticipation and has adversity hearing. But he stands as one of abounding aggressive leaders brought actuality through the acumen of the Army, but concluded up authoritative Columbus their home.
Cavezza, a Vietnam action adept who was actively blood-soaked during a January 1966 battle, rose to the rank of three-star accepted afore backward in 1994. His administration appearance transcended the military. He led Columbus 96, the nonprofit alignment that ran the softball allocation of the Atlanta Olympic Games. He confused from that role to burghal administrator in 1997 and afresh into a administration position with Columbus State University afterwards he larboard the burghal in 2004.
And he acclimated the aforementioned administration appearance through it all.
Cavezza wasn’t one to case or scream orders in the Army and that served him able-bodied in the alteration to the noncombatant workforce, said Chuck Walls, who served beneath Cavezza’s command at Fort Benning and formed carefully with him in a noncombatant role during the Olympic Games.
“He is consistently calm, abstinent and able — and that was as a accepted administrator or as a burghal manager,” Walls said. “That’s a abundant administration affection and for that acumen you had a lot of bodies who capital to appointment for him. And a lot of those bodies did not appetite to let him down.
“I adulation the guy.”
Falling in adulation with Columbus did not appear abrupt for the Cavezzas.
As he confused through the ranks as an Infantry officer, the Home of the Infantry was a common destination.
After actuality blood-soaked in Vietnam and beginning out of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Cavezza activate himself aback at Fort Benning area he formed on the agents for a year at Architecture 4 afore activity to the Advance Course as a captain. He came aback in 1981 to command the 197th Infantry Brigade on a attenuate three-year assignment. He tacked on a fourth year to the Fort Benning appointment as arch of staff.
“That block absolutely endured me to Columbus because I got to apperceive a lot of people,” Cavezza said. “I got to acknowledge what Columbus was all about.”
Joyce was additionally award a home.
“Not knowingly, we are putting bottomward some roots here,” she said.
And a big allotment of those roots were the relationships they were building. Gen. David Grange about ordered Cavezza to appear the North Columbus Rotary Club diplomacy every Tuesday in town.
“I would be in the acreage and I would say, ‘Oh, God, I got to go change my compatible and go to Rotary,’” Cavezza recalled. “It was affectionate of a pain, but what it did was authorize relationships. With Rotary you accommodated a lot of people, the movers and the shakers. I anon abstruse there were some appealing nice bodies bottomward here.”
Soon, Cavezza, aloft in Elmira, N.Y., activate to feel at affluence in Columbus.
“Benning has consistently been captivated in aerial attention and bodies in compatible accept consistently been able-bodied accustomed in Columbus,” Cavezza said. “At Rotary I was authoritative added friends.”
Then during his administration as arch of agents the ancestors actively began attractive to retire in Columbus. He accomplished it aback he got a alarm from the Pentagon about a accessible job in the nation’s Capitol.
“I hated Washington,” Cavezza said.
They capital him to appear up for an interview.
“I said, ‘I aloof as anon not. I like it actuality and I would like to break area I am,’” he remembered. “We were actual comfortable. It was four years in one abode and I was allurement for more. That was crazy. But at that point, it was: Do I get out of the Army now or do I go up for this interview?”
There was article that adeptness attract him to retire and break in the Chattahoochee Valley.
“The canton manager’s job of Harris Canton came open,” Cavezza said. “I alleged them and said, ‘I adeptness be absorbed in that.’ I don’t alike bethink who I talked to, but he said, ‘You apperceive we are a baby canton and we don’t pay abundant — maybe about $20,000.’ I said, ‘Never mind, I am activity to Washington.’”
As a colonel, who fabricated the accommodation to ride his aggressive career as far as it would booty him, Cavezza larboard Fort Benning in 1985 for Washington. Afterwards that assignment, which included assorted jobs and a abrupt appointment in Korea, he became abettor administrator of the 82d Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. He afresh became advantageous accepted of the 7th Infantry Division and Fort Ord, Calif.
As Cavezza was affective into aerial commands, Joyce was acceptable added adequate in her role — admitting she was not as adequate in her role as an Army officer’s wife aboriginal in her husband’s career.
She was alive as a secretary aback she met Carmen as a 19-year-old and did not like the actuality that wives were acerb encouraged not to appointment alfresco the home.
She bidding her apropos about the rules apropos binding amusing gatherings and added orders to the wives that came from on-high.
Joyce was advanced of her time in that role, Cavezza said, added like a aggressive apron of today than one of the 1960s.
“She was allotment of that transition,” Cavezza said. “She went through that, ‘You got to do this, you got abrasion a hat to this, you got to do that.’ I basically said, ‘Joyce, if you don’t appetite to do it, don’t do it. If I can’t accomplish it on my own, I am not activity to accomplish it.’”
There was no allegation to try to burden his wife into accomplishing things she didn’t appetite to do, Cavezza said.
There is a appointment in that, Joyce said.
“When you try and burden somebody into accomplishing article that they don’t feel is right, your alliance is not activity to last,” she said.
In 1989, the Army beatific Cavezza back, this time with two stars and the appointment as the post’s advantageous general. It was a connected way from the additional abettor who appear to Fort Benning aloof afore Independence Day 28 years earlier.
Riverside, advantageous general’s abode at Fort Benning, was a brace of afar from the South Lumpkin Alley bivouac esplanade area they spent their aboriginal night in Columbus, but it was now home.
The alley the Cavezzas had catholic was not absent at that point.
“It is absolutely an account to be the administrator of Fort Benning,” Cavezza said.
Cavezza’s Army administration appearance and his acceptability were able-bodied accustomed by the time he allowable Fort Benning.
“You alarm it assistant administration here, but it’s a little altered in the Army,” Cavezza said. “But it’s demography affliction of people, absolution them appearance what they can do, prove themselves. You drive them and drive them. Some bodies abatement afar aback they get apprenticed too hard. I am not abiding my administration appearance changed.”
Joyce’s appearance was advancing through, too. She threw the parties that are accepted of a advantageous general’s wife, but she did them her way. None of them were binding and she didn’t accompany in a agents to handle the affable or pre-party abode cleaning. And there were not academic functions.
“I don’t like formality,” she said.
Joyce was accomplishing the appointment by choice.
“That’s me,” she said. “It’s got to be done my way. I didn’t appetite anybody bluffing with aliment but myself.”
And it acclimated to drive her bedmate crazy, at times
“She would cull out the compound book and it was article she had never made, and she would say, ‘I anticipate I am activity to try this,’” Cavezza said. “I would say, ‘We got 50 bodies advancing in, Joyce. What if it doesn’t work?’ She would say, ‘It’ll work.’”
And it did.
But there was a acclimation to what she was doing.
“We approved to get bodies to relax and be themselves,” Joyce said.
As the Fort Benning administration came to close, the roots in Columbus were accepting deeper. The brace had purchased a berth on the Backwaters.
When he got orders to leave Fort Benning in 1991 and become advantageous accepted of I Band and Fort Lewis, Wash., Cavezza faced accession difficult accommodation — retire or advance advanced and booty the third brilliant and the celebrated command in the Pacific-Northwest.
“My aboriginal affair was, ‘How is my ancestors activity to acclimatize to this?’” Cavezza said. “When I anticipation Fort Lewis, ‘I anticipation cold, windy, miserable.’ It’s not that way at all, but it abiding get marketed poorly. I said, ‘Joy, we are activity there for a brace of years.’”
They arranged and confused and two years angry into three. And that angry into retirement.
If the Cavezzas’ adventure ends at Fort Lewis, it is an amazing adventure of a kid from upstate New York who admired to chase hot rods acceptable a baton in the U.S. Army.
But the adventure does not end there. In abounding means the catastrophe of the aggressive affiliate is area the absolute adventure starts.
And, like abundant of the Army story, it is set in Columbus.
Cavezza came aback to Columbus with three stars on his resume and a closet abounding of university degrees.
He had a master’s in government from the University of Miami — one that he acquire while he was an ROTC adviser still convalescent his Vietnam wounds. He best up a additional master’s in all-embracing diplomacy from George Washington University during one of his D.C. assignments and completed a doctorate of aesthetics from George Washington while advantageous I Band at Fort Lewis.
“He was consistently working, but if there were little spaces of time, he was activity to school,” she said. “He’s got all these degrees on the wall.
“Here is he, activity to Florida appropriate afterwards actuality blood-soaked in Vietnam, he’s accomplishing ROTC, and yet he’s activity aback to academy to become a burghal manager,” Joyce added.
But continuing his apprenticeship was about added than the degrees, Joyce said.
“It wasn’t accepting the degrees, it was aloof blockage up on things,” she said. “When he went to the college, he was belief every night. He was account and studying. Aback he was accomplishing the Olympics from the arena up, he was teaching at night. There’s no chargeless time.”
But alike with all that there was ambiguity as he confused aback to Columbus afterwards a job.
As the boxes were actuality brought into a home in Brookstone that was purchased a few years earlier, Cavezza got a buzz alarm from Mat Swift, who at the time was an controlling at the W.C. Bradley Co.
“It was poor timing, actuality the affective barter was actuality and all that chaos, and I looked at Joyce and said, ‘You are in charge. I got a affair downtown,’” he remembered. “She was like, ‘What, not again.’ I went to see Mat and we talked to about the Olympics job. My aboriginal anticipation was, ‘This is too acceptable to be true.’”
Joyce was acclimated to abrupt changes of plan.
“That was aloof affectionate of the way aggregate consistently went,” she said.
Her husband’s advance in the association while still in compatible was starting to pay dividends.
“Once you get into Columbus, you get to apperceive bodies and amusement them right, acceptable things alpha to happen,” Cavezza said.
His aboriginal job in Columbus could not accept been any altered from his command posts in the Army. His new aAmy was mostly volunteers acquisitive to accomplish Columbus attending acceptable in advanced of the world, while at the aforementioned time affairs off the Olympic softball antagonism for the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Columbus was a backward accession to area lineup, was 100 afar removed from the affection of the amateur and had a lot of appointment to do.
“He was the absolute man for the absolute time,” Walls said.
And it formed for a cardinal of affidavit — because Cavezza knew how to body consensus, said above agent burghal administrator Richard Bishop.
“He invests a lot of accomplishment and time into his people,” Bishop said. “That served him able-bodied aback it came time to accomplish those decisions.”
Retired Columbus State University President Frank Brown was one of those bodies in Columbus who knew Cavezza aback he was a colonel authoritative himself accepted in the community. Brown was still aggressive the ladder at CSU, at the time.
“The aboriginal affair that I see aback I see Carmen Cavezza is he’s such a animal being,” Brown said. “For so abounding bodies the acclimation from the aggressive to noncombatant activity is difficult. And it may accept been difficult for Carmen, but he never showed that.”
Brown said he admired Cavezza’s adeptness to agent the most.
“He is acutely bright in his expectations,” he said. “And if you accept those expectations and are accomplishing your job, he’s activity to break out of your business.”
Throughout his retirement, the jobs connected to come, abundant like an Army administrator activity from base to base on assignment.
“He didn’t get out of that job afore they are allurement him to be burghal manager,” Joyce said. “And he’s not alike out of that job afore they capital him over at the academy and afresh they capital him bottomward at the museum.”
Once the Olympics were over and the softball area had been one of the best acknowledged efforts of the Atlanta Amateur and the Sports Board had been established, Cavezza got a appointment from then-Mayor Bobby Peters.
“He came over and said, ‘I would like for you to be my burghal manager,’” Cavezza said. “I said, ‘Bobby, you got a burghal manager.’ And he said, ‘Not for long.’ He clearly had a plan.”
Peters calls it the “the best accommodation I anytime made.”
“And I never had to accomplish accession accommodation for seven years,” he joked.
Cavezza talked to the board and told them it was an account to be considered.
“I told them I don’t accept any acquaintance in that, but it all boils about leadership,” he said,
Peters and Cavezza fabricated a acceptable aggregation for about two terms.
“We never had a problem,” Peters said. “He acclimated to say that one of the affidavit we got forth so able-bodied was he couldn’t apprehend bisected of what I said.”
Bu the burghal manager’s job was still demanding.
“Somebody came to me and said, ‘How does it analyze with actuality the burghal administrator to advantageous a corps?” he recalled. “I said, ‘Well, advantageous a corps, I say advanced advance and bags of soldiers footfall off with their larboard foot. Here, I say, advanced advance and you get three nays and a motion for denial.’ So, it’s absolutely altered administration you accept to use.”
For about 25 years afterwards abrogation the Army, Cavezza served in key roles. Now 80 with his bloom in abatement and his best canicule in the past, ask Cavezza if there is annihilation he would change and he takes a connected pause.
“I abiding wouldn’t go aback to New York,” he said. “Nah. Probably not. Joyce and I allocution a lot about this. … Things aloof affectionate of fell into place. One acceptable affair led to accession acceptable thing.”
And abounding of those things led to Fort Benning and Columbus, Cavezza said.
“It’s a nice abode to be.”
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