Mike Ponto Ltjg - Syracuse 1942 To Now
Mike Ponto Ltjg 1968
I was born in Syracuse, NY at the end of December 1942 when the USMC were fighting the Japs on Guadalcanal. I was the first of two boys born to Mike and Fanny Ponto (my brothers name is Ed - I have no sisters). I graduated from Syracuse University in January 1966. I spent the Summers of 1965 and 1966 in the ROC (Reserve Officer Candidate) program at the US Naval Base, Newport, RI and was commissioned as an Ensign, USNR.
I reported aboard the USS Bennington in September 1966 after spending 2 weeks at the Mk44 Torpedo School in SDiego. I was assigned to the Weps Dept. as a JO in 2nd Division working for Ltjg Frank Ruffo. The Gun Boss at the time was CDR Ulm. We left for WesPac in November 1966 and returned to Long Beach in June 1967 after visiting Sydney, Australia in May for the 25th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea. I married my first wife, Jean, in July 1967 and proceeded to have 4 daughters with her over the next 13 years (Theresa, Maria, Sara, and Diana - only girls). I became 2nd Division Officer in 1968 when CDR Green became the Gun Boss. I became the Weapons Department Admin Assistant about 8 months later while working for the infamous CDR Ausbrooks during my 2nd West Pac cruise.
I left the ship in July 1969 and joined the Reserves in October where I was promoted to O-3 ( that's LT for Tom Ganses' benefit). I was discharged from the Reserves in 1977. Jean and I divorced in 1989 and I married my current wife Roni in June 1996. Theresa is the mother of my 2 grandchildren, Matthew and Kristen. Theresa and her husband Christopher Furman are doing very well and live in Norwich, NY. He works as Chemical Engineer for Procter & Gamble (he created the formula for the Zest body wash that is advertised on TV by 'Ironhead' Haywood). I have 3 step-grandchildren - Allison, Kayla, and Kirsten Southworth - again all girls. At the end of 1971, I returned to Syracuse and went to work for my dad and my uncle Matt in the family business - M & M Ponto, Inc. and worked there for 14 years until the business closed in 1985.
I finished graduate school at SU again and entered the MIS (Management Information Systems) field where I am still working. I currently work for ConMed Corporation in Utica, NY as an EDI Coordinator (that's Electronic Data Interchange) doing electronic commerce (PO's, Invoices, Sales Catalogs, Sales Traces, etc).
I attended my first Bennington reunion in 1994 and have made them all since. These reunions have become a very important part of our lives and make for enjoyable vacations each year.