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Association of Graduates Vote               4 February – 18 March 2019





Does your Academy class have what it takes to lead the way? The class from each decade (FYI, the Class of 1959 will be included in the decade of the 1960s) with the highest percentage of voters during the upcoming election will receive a $500 donation to its Class Fund. So rally the troops — near and far — to vote in the upcoming AOG election. Bragging rights for your class are at stake!! 




Classmates, You’ve heard from a couple other of our classmates recently but I wanted to reach out to you personally and ask for your vote to elect me to the AOG Board to represent you and the best interests of our Academy and the graduate community. Ballots will be mailed to you Feb 4-5 for the election cycle that ends March 8.  The AOG will fill vacant Board seats and has an important by-law change being recommended for your approval.  The most important action is for you to vote and let your voice be heard.

As a means to let you know why I believe I am qualified, and my desires to be a Board Director, I offer the following:

- I have attended almost every AOG Board meeting for the last three years. I understand their mission, their governance, the personalities and will work to enhance openness and make the programs that support you and the USAFA the very best they can be. I would like to refill the shoes of Larry Fariss who served so admirably when he was a Board Director.
- I have had a number of years of working relationships with the USAFA leadership and the other six non-profit Foundations which support the USAFA. I know their priorities and will endeavor to solidify relations with them to best support the USAFA.
- The AOG and the USAFA Endowment must work together whether there is a single CEO or not. I served as President/CEO of the Endowment and understand each organization’s perspectives and can help guide a synergistic working relationship. Mike Gould (Endowment) and Marty Marcolongo (AOG) and I are good friends and already have good working relationships.
- I am your back-up Class of ’75 Senator to Bruce Mitchell and understand the Class Advisory Senate, how to improve its working role in support of the Board and how to enhance its mission to support the graduate community.
- My wife Mary and I have sponsored 17 cadets in the Cadet Sponsorship Program. These fine young men and women are an additional conduit to hearing what’s going on at USAFA and how they are being prepared to be leaders in our Air Force.
- I served on Congressional Selection Boards screening candidates for entry into the Academy. This provides insight to admission criteria and a voice to selecting the best candidates to be our future Air Force leaders
- I was Chairman of the Colorado Springs Military Affairs Council working closely with the USAFA to support its programs and I have continued involvement to support the USAFA mission
- I live in Colorado Springs, have limited time constraints, and can attend all AOG Board meetings.
- My priorities are to improve the outreach to the entire graduate and friends communities and making AOG membership a function of attending the USAFA; improving member understanding of AOG and Board actions; supporting programs with the greatest impact for graduates; advancing meaningful heritage events and projects that highlight the legacy of the Long Blue Line; and providing a strong voice to the USAFA and USAF leadership to best serve building leaders of character for our Air Force. 

Please vote! If you do not receive your ballot by Feb 6, call the AOG (719) 472-0300

I appreciate your support
Mark Volcheff

45th Reunion Class Gift Update               Restoration of the Air Gardens / Endowment of Contrails

Classmates, as many of you know, at our 40th Reunion the Class formed and charged a Gift Committee to select suitable gifting to the Academy for our 45th Reunion.

Accordingly, classmates Fariss, Beesley, Pyatt, Hennek, and Smith-Harrison initiated a “Quiet Phase” of a campaign by selecting two gifts that were endorsed by our class officers: Endowing Contrails and Restoring the Air Gardens.  We wanted gifts that would last for our lifetimes, are important to the Academy, and affects all past, present and future cadets. After considering over 20 candidate gifts, we unanimously selected these two iconic USAFA treasures.   

Contrails is still heavily used in fourth class training but the funding for publishing it has proven problematic for the Academy over the years. The class that gifts this publication not only helps the Academy but makes a lasting mark on every future cadet entering USAFA. The Class of 1975 will be recognized in each future edition with our class crest and an address to the new class on a cover page (see attached Class Address document & FAQ document).

The Air Gardens are not what we remember. Over the years they have suffered from lack of attention, with reduced water features, deteriorated vegetation and broken marble strips. The desire is to restore the Air Gardens with the fountains and landscape as close to the original design as possible. The Class of 1975 will be recognized for their contribution in this project with a permanent oblast mounted plaque placed on the grounds of the Air Garden (see Air Gardens Design Renderings, Gallery & FAQ document). 

The Quiet Phase Committee selected an overall "stretch goal" of $1.975M, with the first $200K funding the Contrails endowment and the balance applied to the Restoration of the Air Gardens. We intended to measure the success of our campaign by class participation, not a dollar amount but we wanted to know if we were at least in the right ball park. So we validated the stretch goal by contacting 30 classmates to gauge class interest. Their response for these two iconic gifts was overwhelming as this small sampling have already made pledges totaling $800,000! Many thanks to them and the Quiet Phase Committee members who worked so diligently on our behalf to this point!

With that great start, we are now entering the “Public Phase” of the campaign with a new committee consisting of classmates Larry Fariss, Rick Pyatt (1st Group), Mark Volcheff (2nd Group), Bentley Rayburn (3rd Group)  and Duane Jones (4th Group), who will conduct a class wide funding campaign commencing January 2019. This will be done with a squadron mate in direct contact with each classmate (see FAQ document). We are seeking to complete our pledges to the Class Gift Campaign by 4 June 2019. Both of our selected projects will be completed before the Class of 1975’s 45th Reunion in 2020 when we will be able to open a current Contrails, stroll through a restored Air Garden and be recognized together, as a class, in Falcon Stadium for providing one of the best gifts in Academy history!

Thanks for the opportunity to serve our class, respectfully yours,
The Class of 1975 45th Reunion Gift Committee:
Quiet Phase:  Mark Beesley / Rick Pyatt / Larry Fariss / Rod Hennek / Leon Smith-Harrison
Public Phase:  Larry Fariss / Rick Pyatt / Mark Volcheff / Bentley Rayburn / Duane Jones

What's New

25 January 2019

Expanded ZoomieNation Checkpoints columns from December 2006 – March 2010, including over 200 new photos, plus dozens of new Memories of... entries.

21 December 2018

Reorganized Nostalgia and History sections, renamed the Nostalgia Tab as Memories, expanded Memories section with additional subject areas and entries; refresh of Checkpoints and Memories page layouts.

13 December 2013

'75 Class Gift Public Phase Kickoff.

7 December 2018

December Checkpoints Column, several Extras, dozens of additional photos, plus hundreds of new photos througuout the site.

13 September 2018

September Checkpoints column, many Extras, plus nearly 100 additional photos.

28 July 2018

New section, Our Heritage under the History Tab, featuring thumbnail sketches of ancestors' military or other service to the country.

2 July 2018

Updated cemetary maps, completed addition of all available Talon magazines in digital form to the Ephemeratorium.

15 June 2018

June Checkpoints column, Extras, plus dozens of additional photos.

12 March 2018

March Checkpoints column, Extras, plus dozens of additional photos including a large gallery of grandchildren, in keeping with the column theme.

7 December 2017

December Checkpoints column, Extras, plus dozens of additional photos.

13 September 2017

September Checkpoints column plus dozens of additional photos.

8 June 2017

June Checkpoints column plus Extras.

10 March 2017

March Checkpoints column plus Extras and several hundred new photos distributed throughout the 41+ years of Checkpoints columns in new Albums and extant Galleries.

24 February 2017

Announcement of the 45th Reunion Class gift.

10 December 2016

December Checkpoints column plus Extras.

15 September 2016

September Checkpoints Column with a lot of Extras.

25 July 2016

Two new Galleries: Doolies and Firsties under the Galleries Tab.

17 June 2016

June Checkpoints Column with lots of Extras.

15 May 2016

Class Coin: Highlights and links to relevant supplemental material throughout the site.

17 March 2016

March Checkpoints Column.

15 December 2015

December Checkpoints Column.

28 November 2015

Tom Laurie's history of Waldo F. Dumbsquat.

17 October 2015

40th Reunion Gallery Posted.

7 October 2015

Special 40th Reunion Waldo F. Dumbsquat column by Tom Laurie.

18 September 2015

September Checkpoints Column, expansion of GBNF, two new photo galleries plus more photos across many Checkpoints columns, a few new Memories of... entries, additions to the Early Academy Concepts under the History Tab.

2 August 2015

Addition of a large number of photos to the Individual Awards Gallery under the Galleries tab.

11 June 2015

June Checkpoints Column including links to select Extras, complete Charley Baby and Waldo F. Dumbsquat columns from 1971-1975 and a Drum & Bugle Corps entry, both under the Nostalgia tab, additional photos in many Checkpoints columns, ongoing format standardization throughout.

1 May 2015

‘News’ tab changed to ‘Checkpoints’, Videos integrated into ‘Galleries’ page, ‘Video’ tab deleted, Coming Events button on Home Page, other minor changes.

17 March 2015

Home Page refresh, March Checkpoints Column, Reunion updates, two new galleries, Prep School and 1975 Campus, relocation of Class of 2015 Legacy events to relevant Checkpoints columns as Extras, plus several additional Checkpoints Extras throughout.

15 December 2014

December Checkpoints Column, addition of several Checkpoints Extras throughout; more as material becomes available.

12 September 2014

September Checkpoints Column, addition of a nascent Reunion Section, linked below, addition of Disqus comment feature on select pages, redesigned Home Page, ongoing minor format refresh and content update throughout.

15 June 2014

June Checkpoints Column, updated History entries on cadet uniforms and early Academy concepts, plus a new entry on Frank Lloyd Wright, refresh of Twitter and Facebook page formats, minor site-wide refresh and content update.

14 March 2014

March Checkpoints Column, minor redesign of individual GBNF pages, several new History entries, two new UPT galleries embedded in the 1976 Checkpoints archives.

13 December 2013

December Checkpoints Column and new Squadron Galleries.

10 September 2013

September Checkpoints Column, all new First Class galleries with nearly 200 new photos, new Falconews content, new Class Legacy Project content, new News links, numerous minor format updates.

12 June 2013

June Checkpoints Column, redesign of the GBNF Home Page and the addition of a chronological listing, a nascent Class History timeline, and a Class Pinterest page (linked below).

4 May 2013

Minor format refresh, consolidation of Class Business and News sections into Class News.

21 March 2013

March Checkpoints Column, Checkpoints archives for 1989-1999, completing the archiving of ALL Checkpoints columns from 1975-2013, updated format and expanded content in the Nostalgia and Class Business sections, the Exemplar Dinner from the 40-Year Class Legacy Project, eight new photo galleries covering the Second and Third Class years, and a gallery of old USAFA postcards.

7 February 2013

Streamlined Checkpoints column format to better accommodate more photos, commencing with the 2012 column.

8 December 2012

December Checkpoints Column, Checkpoints archives for 1987, 1988 and 2000-2004, new photo galleries, new content in Memories of... and History, new Facebook Page, general ongoing content update.

25 October 2012

Checkpoints archives for 1986 and 2005-2009, general ongoing content and format update.

12 September 2012

September Checkpoints Column, Checkpoints archives for 1985

23 August 2012

Refreshed 'look' of all icon directory pages, transition of all completed galleries to new format with many new photos and content, improved navigation features throughout.

21 July 2012

Completion of new and expanded gallery format for fourth class photo gallery, Checkpoints archives for 1984

18 June 2012

June 2012 Checkpoints column, Checkpoints archives for 1983.

19 May 2012

General site tune-up, minor design and layout changes, additional navigation bars, additional and enlarged photos in recent Checkpoints columns, miscellaneous additional content, additional history timeline content, new photo gallery, initial transition to a new photo gallery format, Checkpoints archives for 1980-1982.

26 April 2012

Redesigned Home Page, Checkpoints Extra.

21 April 2012

Checkpoints archives for 1978 & 1979.

15 April 2012

A site-linked Twitter account. . Checkpoints archives for 1976-1977, additional Falconews articles, including some for the Prep Schoolers, reorganized Nostalgia directory page, with a separate directory for the Dodo and Talon magazines, several new issues of Dodo and the first Talon, links (below) to neighboring class web sites.

27 March 2012

March 2012 Checkpoints column.

12 February 2012

Graduation photo gallery.

19 January 2012

December 2011 Checkpoints column.

16 January 2012

Graduation parade video.

15 January 2012

Falconews articles from the Graduation edition.

7 January 2012

Checkpoints archives, commencing with 1975.

22 December 2011

Alan Krukowski on Medal of Honor Recipient William Crawford.

4 December 2011

Site Debuts.

Checkpoints               Foster Bitton
Days Until Graduation
          Class of 2019
          Class of 2020
          Class of 2021
          Class of 2022
Days Since Graduation  
          Class of 1975
Days Since 5 July 1971

December 2018

If You Weren’t Feeling Old Enough: It’s official. We have our first great-grandparent in the class! Jim Dill claimed that honor when Dante, Class of 2040, touched down on terra firma on 18 July. Congratulations, great-grandpa Jim!

Retirements: Scott Smith retired in May from Delta Air Lines, leaving as a B767 Captain based in Detroit, but still living in the DC area where he retired from the AF in 1996. Scott reports he’s still married to his “first and only love, Janet,” and they’ve been married since 6 June 1975 so there’s a chance it might work out. The Smiths recently met up with former roommate Stan “Chumley” Collins and his wife, Mary, in a pub in Cork, Ireland, and spent the evening eating and swapping stories. If it was like most classmate reunions, Scott and Chumley swapped the stories while Janet and Mary rolled their eyes.

Mike Banker put in 30 years with Northwest/Delta before retiring in June as a B767 Captain based in Seattle. His account of his life after retirement is that he hasn’t done much of anything except keep the house and garden going since his wife, Joanie, is still working...

Twitter     75 Best Alive
Facebook     75 Best Alive
Twitter     Jim Carlson


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