Checkpoints 1980              Rick Layman

Winter 1980

Things are really looking up for this column. By that you might think that I’ve found someone else to write it. Not so! The truth is that several of our classmates have tired of my constant nagging and have seen fit to write or call and inform your trusty scribe about your accomplishments and doings over the past few months. So, if you’ve made the news and are just too modest to let the rest of us know about it, chances are that you’ll have found your way into the newsletter this quarter anyway.

Letters: Jim Burling sent me a letter right after I sent in my last article. He was enjoying a three-month paid vacation in Montgomery, along with many others from the class. Names that he included in that group follow. Dave Janetta, Sam Ryals, Rob Stewart, Steve Farnham, John Ossiff, Bruce Linster, Duane Jones, Andy Dichter, Phil Piontek, Jeff Chappell, Joe Facenda, Ollie Lorenz, Kevin Grady, Mike Roznovsky, Rick Lewallen, Phil Bethards, Jim McBride, Chuck Hippler, Rick Oleksak, Pete Hennesey, Jeff Newman, Buck Rogers, Mark Modrich, and Mark Schoening. I might as well have printed a class roster. Other news from Jim includes such tidbits as Bill Hughes’ Law School at Creighton; Dave Pratt is in C-141s at McGuire; John Gaughan is a Stan Board co-pilot at Barksdale.

Bill Lyerly, his wife Syl, and their daughter Heather are all in Kenya as I reported last time. Bill is doing research on tropical diseases and is working part time with the East African Flying Doctors Service. He extends an invitation to all of you to visit with him and his family, and promises the best safari in Kenya, expense free.

Steve Farnham and Sherry pass on some news about the folks recently at Reese. Jim Michelini will be going to F-106s at Castle; Art Leiker got an A-10; John Scherer will be in the Ace Program at Minot flying T-38s and J. J. Janson is in Stan Eval at Reese. Bruce Edstrom is remaining at Reese and Mike Perry will be going to Iceland in T-33s. Bob Lynn and Jamie Blissit are expecting assignments any time now. Chuck Riordan, Randy Caraway, Clay McFarland, Steve Lerum, Mark Wells, and Jim Arter have all arrived at Reese as T-38 IPs. Joe Dowdy, Ben Phillips and Kevin Grady all got F-15s; Bo Montgomery and Mike Narklewicz are going to Randolph in T-38s. Pat Moran got a C-141 and Rick Odegard will be flying F-4s. Charlie Simmons is in Stan Eval, T-38s, and John Dailey is doing the same at Laughlin.

Pete VanPelt, please drop Steve a line…He’s wondering where you are.

Randy Mason has the distinction of being the first to get off it and contribute to the Class Wall Project. Thanks, Randy, and the rest of you too. (More to follow on that later). Randy is at Ramstein where he reports that Butch Byrd celebrated his anniversary with his first wife, Mary; or maybe he celebrated his first anniversary with his wife, Mary. In either case, hope he had a great time. According to Randy, Dale Smith is doing fine in tanks at Pease and Gil Braun and Mike Peters are now at Sembach.

Speaking of Sembach, Dave Herlong, one of the old timers there, and one of those who tired of my complaining, passed on the names of Jim Scully, Dave Ruddock, Mike Ruth, Pete Strunk, and Mike Roznovsky, all at Sembach. Dave and Joyce Ruddock had a little girl several months ago, and Gil Braun was married. Gil and Dave will be attending SOS in January. Scully’s had a daughter also.

Mike Simpson is no longer a lost soul. He’s flying with the aggressors at Nellis and flies against you guys at RED FLAG. I’ll include more news from him in the next article.

Class Crest: Steve Pitotti has volunteered his time and efforts to helping us get the Class Crest done. Thus far we’ve amassed a small fortune, approximately $50. I hope Steve is able to work a miracle, or we’ll never get the thing done. Please send a check to Steve. Remember it’s tax deductible and supports a worthwhile project.

There’s more news to report, but I think I’ll save it for the next time. I’m late on this as it is. Don’t be disappointed if your letter or news didn’t get in this time.

 


 

Spring 1980

It seems like I no more than get one article written and it’s time to do the next one. Luckily, I’m no longer suffering from a lack of inputs. You are all doing a super job. All I have to do now is assemble the things you gave me. Thanks for the help.

Letters: The following inputs are from several sources. Unfortunately there is not enough room in the magazine to publish each letter in its entirety. Jim Carlson and Mike Reese wrote in from Fairchild to fill us in on the happenings in the Northwest. Mike and Doug Nelson are copilots in B-52s. Mike has received orders for D models at Anderson, Guam and will be going TDY enroute at Carswell. Doug is in standboard and is currently at SOS. Jim has decided to have himself installed as part of the woodwork as he doesn’t figure on going anywhere for a while. Bob Allen (copilot, KC-135), just got married. Mike Leuschen is also a copilot in KCs. Mark Wells, who recently upgraded to AC, will be going to ATC in the near future. Mark Holmes (the other one) is also a tanker copilot. Don Henney is up there too, apparently as resource manager. Jim says he’s a bit elusive and no one actually knows what he’s doing. Pete Krough is in residency at Travis with a baby girl newly added to his family. Mike Rosebush is flying OV-10s at Sembach. John Traxler is also in Germany and John Charlton is in England. Apparently he has three youngsters now. Jim wanted me to pass on that Lex Bakelite is on a secret mission under an assumed name and cannot be contacted until released therefrom. If you need to get hold of him for any reason, please contact Jim as he hers from Ol’ Lex now and again.

Bill Buchta, the first class member on the USAFA Faculty as a Behavioral Sciences type is getting out to attend medical school at the University of Wisconsin. He plans on coming back on active duty in 1984.

I got a letter from Brent Hall with a check for about one hundred dollars. I thought Brent had lost his mind until I found out that he’d been talking with fifty other guys and they all chipped in two bucks apiece. All contributions are sincerely welcome and sorely needed. Things are picking up a bit. Rich Chanick and Rich McIntosh are IPs in T-37s. Rich (figure this one out) will be going to PIT shortly and Mac is going off to fly the F-15. One of the new students down there at Williams is Kent Traylor. Kent was a Nav in RF-4s at Shaw. Good work, Kent. Tom Burns is flying T-41s at the Academy, Dan Chapman is going to PIT, and Mark Donnelly is off to fly C-141s at Norton. Steve Duresky will be flying F-16s out of Hill, while Julius Hargrove is off to PIT. Bob Heath and his wife Jackie have recently arrived from KC-135s at Wurtsmith, and Scott and Becky Hammond are off to the ACE detachment at March. Ed Kasl is going to F-16s, Bob Marr to T-33s at Langley, and Marlo Mellum to F-111s at Upper Heyford. Kerry Putt is in from F-4s at Spangdahlem while Jon Turner, Bob Walden, and John Woodward are off to F-15s somewhere. In addition to all of the moves, Marlo and Kim Mellum just had a little skater, Briana.

Chris Glaeser sent in a letter and a picture of all the guys over at Hahn at a winefest. Mike Weininger was one of the principals, as you might suspect. Mike has gotten himself MARRIED (probably five years ago) in violation of everything he said when we were roommates in the Dirty Dozen. He vowed then that he’d never get hooked. (If that doesn’t get him into trouble at the house, nothing will). Others in the group of revelers included John Traxler, Spence Roberts, Greg Schmitt, Bobby Thompson, and Chris. I’ve sent the picture in to the AOG to have it included with this article but it might not come out, as it was a color photo. (That’s a hint; if you send in photos, send black and white). Chris says he spent at least three months last year in zero-zero fog. Not a lot of good flying weather thereabouts, huh? Rich Dahlstrom and Dave McDaniel are at Torrejon, Doug Harrison is enroute to PIT, and Mark Holmes, the short one from Horny Eighteen, is at Bitburg, flying what Chris terms the Big Blue Strafe Rag. Mark and Cathy have a daughter, bonnie. Mike Gill flies the A-10 out of Bentwaters. John and Judy Traxler have two children, Amy and Ryan, and Chris has a son, Mathew. Apparently the population boom is due to the zero-zero conditions, or, as Chris says, the weather is too darn bad to do anything but have kids.

Adventures: Talk about your good time…Chumley Collins finally found the girl of his dreams and got married to Lieutenant Jackie Mitzner the end of March. . I flew down to Shreveport for the wedding because I was getting tired of the blizzards in Wyoming. What followed was a memorable weekend. Scott and Janet Smith drove in from Little Rock and Bruce Fritzsche flew over from Del Rio. The allotted space is not nearly enough to relate all of the good times, but we had a couple of drinks and some great conversation; you know, the usual batch of lies…I’ve got the greatest job; the war is abusing me, but I somehow managed to come out of it alive; and others. Mike Banker showed up, but I didn’t get to see much of him. . Stan and Jackie will be living at Dyess after Stan completes upgrade in the C-130s at Little Rock. Until then, he’s in Arkansas and she’s in Mass (you didn’t think I was going to try and spell out Massachusets, did you)? With a little luck, they’ll be together this Fall. Bruce Fritzsche was a wealth of knowledge. The following reflects what he gave me to pass on: From Laughlin, T-37s Wayne Willis and Hoss Erving to Pete field; Tom Popp to Myrtle Beach, T-38s; Walt Burns to F-15s; Ollie Lorenz to A-10s; and Mark Stickney and Gunner Ohgren to PIT. Rex Hoey, Randy Sheppard, Kelly Bishop, John Daly, and Jim Corrigan are all in Standboard at Laughlin. John Gaughan is upgrading to AC in the KC-135 at Barksdale. Jimmy Ray Scruggs is also at Barksdale in B-52s. Marlo Mellum is off to Mountain Home to fly F-111s. Dick McIntosh is going to get into F-15s. Jim Burling (you heard from him last month) is a Titan Toad at Davis-Monthan. Billy Stephan is flying F-4s out of MacDill and will be getting married to Kelly Bishop’s sister, Wendy, in May. Bruce, himself, is going to go to Castle to fly F-106s, and will be getting married in May in San Francisco.

Dale Hanner went to Fairchild for a little survival training this winter. I guess he didn’t get enough of it in SERE.

Keep those cards and letters coming.

By the way, if you feel generous, remember that the same fund that is to be used for the Class Wall project will also support our tenth-year reunion, a scant five years from now, so a little bit of overkill will not last for long. Also remember that inflation may take us to the cleaners if the coffers are not filled soon.

If you haven’t heard, Wyoming has had the worst winter ever, breaking snowfall records that have been standing for over seventy-five years. So if any of you have a little warmth or sunlight to send up here, please feel free. We can use it!

 


 

Summer 1980

It seems I have bad news to report about every second column or so. This time, I’m sorry to announce that Brad Logan was killed in an aircraft accident near Zaragoza, Spain on 13 March of this year. I do not know any of the particulars about the accident.

Tom Kocian has received the Meritorious Service Medal for work at Hill, Utah, and is presently at CSU where he is working on his graduate degree. Ben Phillips was married to Nancy O’Brien in Honolulu in the Chapel at Lolani School, Ben’s Alma Mater. Rick Odegard was Best Man, and Joe Dowdy was an usher at the formal double-ring ceremony. All three of the 75 graduates were flying training instructors at Reese AFB in Texas. Ben is now flying F-15s at Holloman. In November he will be off for a three-year tour in Okinawa. Nancy graduated from Punahou High School and University of Hawaii and has been teaching English and coaching Drama and Debate at Ascension Academy in Alexandria, Virginia.

Joe Bryant and his wife Barbara, had a little girl on February 12, six weeks early. Joe sent in a lengthy letter, which will serve as the meat for this article. Jim Dearien flew in to Pope AFB to do some HALO drops. He obviously gets around and has seen classmates all over the world. Jim Hamilton and his wife Sharon went from Clark to Hahn in the F-4 and Sam Hollins is at Holloman as an F-4 IP. Mick Clemons, Jeanine, and son are at Vandenberg (they probably got enough of the winter weather last year in Cheyenne and decided to head for warmer shores).

Ed McCollum, as you might remember, took his commission in the Navy upon graduation. He spent 22 of the first 40 months at sea and decided to call it quits. Due to circumstances that are not entirely explained, he came back on active duty and is now at the Naval Air Station at Jacksonville on extended active duty as a reservist. Kurt (Carol) Buck recently completed SOS where he encountered Charlie Beadling. Charlie has finally realized his goal of going to medical school. He has also broken a long time conviction of his…he has gotten married. Steve Watson is a Nav on RC-135s at Offutt.

Bud Crist’s wife, Val, wrote that they had moved into their new house in Tacoma. Bud flies C-141s out of McChord. He has expressed some concerns that if Mount St. Helens erupted, it would ruin the fishing. As I understand it, it ruined more than the fishing up there. Mark Risi was flying a C-130 back from Europe about the time of the eruption and had to wait several days at Elmendorf Air Force Base waiting for the dust to settle. Jim and Judy Gridley are expecting their first child shortly. Jim had been on rotation to Mildenhall flying C-130s. Gary Oreshoski is at Ellsworth where he flies B-52s and runs marathons. John Charlton and his wife Jill have three boys and are at Bentwaters. Greg Collier has two of the little rats and is at Seymour Johnson.

Dan McCorry and Don Snelgrove got tired of the weather at Torrejon and decided to go to Keflavik for some fun in the cold. Both transitioned to F-4Es. He, Dan that is, asked about Bob Forbes. In case any of you don’t know, Bob was our classmate until about mid-way into our second class year. He got out, did his enlisted time, then went to ROTC at Purdue. He is now in my squadron where he has just returned from SOS and has upgraded to a crew commander. That does it for the news this time around. I’m hoping to see some of you at the Homecoming game and festivities.

 


 

Fall 1980

Dateline Warren Air Force Base…The news has been pouring in from all corners of the globe. A veritable plethora of info seems to arrive daily from all members of this illustrious gathering of young officers and their wives. I have nearly been overcome with biographies and renditions of fait accompli that I’ve scarce had time to sort them out and edit them for this article.

You’d think there was nothing to complain about, wouldn’t you? Well, the whole first paragraph was a lie. In fact not much at all has happened this quarter. Apparently the Air Force News Service has had no luck either, because when I received my package of news releases and data cards for this article, there were no releases. Come on you guys, achieve!!! Make news!!!

Steve Pitotti has really been busting his chops to get this Class Crest paid for and up on the Class Wall. Unfortunately, the response has been less than stellar. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that to date we have collected less than $325. That leaves us well over $1500 short. Steve is nearing a PCS and will be caught up in trying to get everything in order for his move, so how about doing right now what you’ve been planning for the last six months? Just sit down and send Steve a check from the bottom of your wallet, er, ah, heart, and help get this load off his shoulders. Steve has just finished up at Nellis and is on his way back to Davis-Monthan to fly the A-10. Send your checks to him or to me, either way, they’ll go straight to the Class account. At least help us get the balance of the account up high enough so we don’t have to pay a service charge every month.

Donna Molzon, Chuck’s wife, wrote in from either Sheppard or Grand Forks. Too bad about the Molzons, having to go from one edge of civilization to another. Can’t tell which is worse, Dakota or Texas. Anyway, Chuck had recently upgraded to Aircraft Commander in the KC-135 and is now an IP in Tweets. Donna extends an invitation to all who may be stricken with a TDY to Texas, and also advises that she’s always got a few spare Persian, Iranian, Iraqi, or whatever, cats (it’s easier to raise cats you know…no diapers, no 2 A.M. feeding, etc). Dennis Brooks wrote a letter that just missed the last issue, then called in plenty of time for this one. He’s flying helicopters out of Patrick and pursuing his hobby of collecting and rebuilding cars. Fred Tasker should be arriving at Bentwaters in November as an A-10 pilot. Mike Anderson, ever on the lookout for a good deal, went from Ellsworth to Hawaii. Kevin Grady is at Holloman as an F-15 pilot and Bob Miglin writes that he’s been at Upper Heyford for the past two years. Has anyone out there been looking for Bob? Bob is an F-111 pilot as is Chuck Nystrom (Cannon). Al (B-52 Nav from Grand Forks) Morrison and Linda just had a baby boy around the first of October, and, believe it or not, the McCutchinville Terror, Mike Weininger, sent us a birth announcement: a boy born in July! By now Bentley Rayburn is probably in Washington tearing up the Pentagon on his tour as an ASTRA. I saw where Dave Kovach was also selected, but don’t know if any others from ’75 have been so honored.

So much for the news of the world…Now, for the good part. For those of you who might be afraid of getting too much of a good thing, and for you who are just getting too much, it is my pleasure to announce that Jeff Hackett will be appearing as a guest writer in the next issue. Don’t get confused; you can still send your submissions to me and I’ll get them to Jeff.

By the way, if anyone out there finds a little red-headed orphan claiming to be Dave Fleming, please let me know.

Cheers!


1980 Album

     
 

1. Dink Yurko navigating his C-130 on another successful mission. 

2. Jeff Hackett (Front Row, Second From Left) with A Flight Tac Recce Squadron, Osan AB, ROK.  

3. Jeff Hackett (Second From Left) at Clark AB, Phillipines.

4. Willi Cosby & friends, New Year's Eve, Times Square. (Anne Hart)


Checkpoints