Homecoming: As I mentioned last issue, it won’t be too long until we get a chance to see how everyone in the class has been surviving the ravages of time. Unfortunately I forgot to clue you in on which weekend we’d be doing that. Naturally, that was just to keep your interest up over the last few months. For those of you who haven’t called yet, 21 September 1985 is the magic date. That also happens to be the weekend that the football team is playing rice. For real organizers in the class, now might be a good time to start spreading the word to all of the Best Alive brood you happen to be in contact with. The guys in ‘74 who came back seemed to really enjoy the trip. The best advice I have about planning for the reunion is to find a contact point for each of the 40 squadrons. That person would then be able to convince (beg, blackmail, or whatever) the rest of the guys from that squadron to return. Some groups even went to the trouble of setting up extra squadron parties while they were here and were able to visit their old haunts. So how about it – any volunteers?
Moving On: Almost all the news from the last few months came from the change-of-address cards. Heading that list were the two guys who won all-expense-paid vacations to England. They are none other than Dave Fleming, who is now driving aardvarks at Upper Heyford and Eugene Holley, who’s currently enjoying life Alconbury. And on the other side of the world, Bill and Annette Davis joined Bill and Kathleen Spencer at Kadena, that famous garden spot of the Far East.
You can contrast those long-distance travelers with the guys who just changed addresses in the same area. They include: Al Morrison was found a new place in St. Paul, MN (I think he’s working as a financial analyst for a local firm); Kevin Burns, who apparently is getting a “permanent” place so he can begin homesteading at Edwards; Max Della Pia who still practicing law in Milwaukee; Bob Morrison in Cannondale NJ; and Charles Buck, who’s alive and well Oak Park, IL.
Following that crowd come our schoolboys: John Venable, now is doctoral student at the State University of New York at Binghamton; Rich Webber attending the Naval Command and Staff college; Bran McAllister roughing it at ACSC in Montgomery; and Mark Donnelly joining the ranks of the very educated at AFIT. Bob Walden qualifies as a quasi-member of the last group. He’s currently going through Test Pilot School at Edwards. Incidentally, he and Pam should be celebrating their daughter’s birthday shortly after this issue hits the street.
Other interesting moves include out resident lawyer, Dave Ehrhart, fighting his courtroom battles in Fairborn, OH these days; Mike Dehart working as some sort of liaison for Hughes Aircraft in Torrance, CA; Scott Spring leaving McGuire for sunny San Antonio; and Tom Summers apparently setting up shop in Brielle, NJ. Rounding out this area, we have Al Green starting work as an instructor WSO at Holloman; John Loucks joining the 91 AREFS at McConnell; Bill and Judy Murray moving on to Cannon; and Bob Shappell enjoying the weather in Citrus Heights, CA
Wrap Up: As I stated earlier, there’s not a whole lot more to report. I did get a call from Randy Caraway, who must be a big wheel in the banking business in Dallas. He hung up his blue suit a few years back, but he and Melissa (and their daughter, Martha) are already planning to catch up on the latest Air Force news when they hit the reunion in a few months. I also received a card from Jed and Cam Vanden Dries. They’re having a warm and muggy Christmas season in Korea. That’s quite a contrast to the snow in Colorado. Well, until next time, enjoy whatever type of season you’re having, wherever you are, and whoever you are with. Hope to see you all at homecoming in a few months!
Manna From Heaven. For those of us writing these columns, letters are priceless treasures. I'm very lucky this month in that area, and I’ll share my wealth with you. The first gem came from Cindy and Mark Nobles. They just arrived at Kelly in San Antonio after completing a grueling AFIT tour at Wright-Pat. In case you haven’t heard from them in a while, they also spent three years at K.I. (brrrrr) Sawyer prior to that. Mark is starting on a tour with ESC, and he and Cindy have heard from several folks I haven’t heard about in a while.
First, John Ossiff is going to law school in Van Nuys, CA. I've got to believe that’s an ideal area for him. Others they've been keeping in touch with include Mike Marro who’s just left San Antonio for Alabama; Dave and Belle Wallace who had the rotten luck of being assigned to England on an exchange tour (please disregard my obvious envy); and Colt Mefford who was also at AFIT, but recently returned here to the Springs to join many others in the bowels of Space Command.
Gina Byers also took time to write recently. She and Don are currently stationed at Ramstein with a host of other folks. Don is working as the 86TFW safety officer and spends his spare time driving around in an F-4E. Gina and Don have been blessed with two lovely daughters, Jennifer Lee and Lindsey Ann. Those they rub elbows with at Ramstein include Chuck “Fast Eddie” Holland who works at the 7th Air division; Rick Sarver, the legal beagle of the bunch, who also acts as the Area Defense Counsel; Art Leiker at USAFE safety; and Rick Rosborg who’s in the market for a Pentagon slot.
You might wonder why Rick would want to do such a crazy thing. I think it has something to do with his wife, Mary Lynn, maxing out the dental school program at Georgetown (let’s hear it for the Hoyas!). Sounds like pretty good motivation to me. Gina and Don also passed on news of Randy and Cheryl James who gave up F-15s at Langley for a two-year exchange tour at the French Air Force Academy (ditto on the envy). Randy and Cheryl also have a daughter, Jessica. Finally, Rick and Alice Lewallen are part of the T-37 crowd at Columbus, and word has it they just had a new addition, Clayton, to join their daughter, Elizabeth. You can see for yourself how cute Elizabeth is just a little further along in the column.
My last letter came from Marv Cox who’s cruising along out at Mather. Marv liked the area so much at UNT, he returned as a flight commander for the 451 FTS. His big news centered on the recent wedding of Rudy Roth to his new bride Virginia. Rudy gave up the flight surgeon business at Langley to settle down with Virginia as a new member of the Walter Reed Medical Center. For those who didn’t get the chance to see the wedding, we’ve included (at no extra charge) a photo. Notice the four familiar mugs, three beautiful ladies, and one little angel.
More… I flashed back to the past just a few days ago when I ran into to Randy Davis (nice mustache, Randy!) at a conference here at the Academy. He’s in the C-5 business now at Travis, and his wife, Pat, is also blue-suiter, one each Air Force nurse. Randy may be joining our many who’ve returned to the nest, as he’s trying to get an AOC job out here. He’s kept some contact with USAFA as an Operation Air Force (translated as Third Lieutenant for we older types) project officer. For those interested, it’s a great way to pass on a few of the lessons you’ve learned to today’s cadets. Remember, it hasn’t been that long since you’ve been there.
Moving on, the top of our list of recent movers is owned by Glenn and Lisa Waltman. Glenn left the policy division of SAC HQ for the Pentagon fast life. He’s now working in the USAF Arms Control and International Negotiations Division. Bill O’Keefe also changed jobs recently. When he’s not flying F-4s with the ANG at Ellington, he acts as a tech specialist for McDonnell Douglas in Friendswood, TX.
Others who’ve moved on include Bob Lyons to Beavercreek, OH; Tom Finn to Suitland, MD; Phil Gronseth to the Physics Department here at Camp USAFA; Gary and Beth Jewell to Guam (in the medical business, I think); and Bill Kurey to Anchorage, AK. Rounding out that list were Rick Douglas returning to the Springs, Joe Carroll heading on to MacDill, Brian Barnes moving to Golden, TX, Chuck Molzon flying high at Plattsburgh, Jamie Blissit joining the intellectuals at MIT, and Jim Carlson who’s now working as a management consultant for Price Waterhouse in Los Angeles.
One Final Note. This will probably be the last column you get in time for the reunion in September. Please spread the word to all the old-timers from ‘75. If you’re debating about whether to come or not, believe me, it’s worth it. And as a last appeal, please give Tim O’Connell a call if you can lend a hand with the planning for the weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing you all this September.
Our top story for this quarter is the following: FLASH! Class of ‘75 keeps rolling along with the announcement of 36 new majors-to-be. As I scanned the list at the CBPO I picked off the following names: Mike Anderson, Bob Awtrey, Jon Ball, Phil Benjamin, Charlie Bergman, Kurt Bock, Gil Braun, Dan Burkett, Bob Craig, Mike Deloney, Andy Dichter, Jim Dill, Brian Duffy, Steve Duresky, Jim Heald, Bruce Hevey, Mark Jefferson, Randy Joslin, Dave Kovach, Perry Lamy, Jerry Levesque, Lamar Lewis, Phil Martin, Buzz Masters, Clarence McFarland, Mitch McVay, Kurt Osterheld, Wilhelm Percival, Al Piotter, Mark Risi, Mike Rosebush, Sam Ryals, John Saxman, Bob Shappell, Gary Shugart, and Dale Waters. By the numbers I’ve seen the past few years, it looks like ‘75 is getting a much greater number of early promotions than most classes. Congratulations to all!
Homecoming: By the time this reaches you, there will probably be less than one month to the big event. Before you do anything else, pull out a pencil, turn to the center pages in this issue of Checkpoints, and fill out the registration form for the reunion. This one is the one used for reservations to the main events. Tim O’Connell and the reunion committee will be mailing out another form for ’75-only events and souvenirs. Yes, you do need to fill out both. Don’t put this off, though, because you may show up and find there are no “last-minute” seats available for the Jabara banquet or some of the other main attractions. For those who might be thinking of passing up this gala affair (surely no one in ‘75 would be so foolish), please reconsider. From the planning I’ve seen, it’s definitely something you won’t want to miss. Who knows? You might be this year’s winner of the “who has the most gray hair (or least of any color hair?)”, or other equally prestigious awards.
The spring season brought forth several visitors to the Academy this year. The most impressive, as is usually the case, were the Thunderbirds performing at graduation. Only this year, we had two high flyers from ’75 in the show, Dave Commons and Buzz Masters. I think I can say (with absolutely no prejudice) that it was the best show I've seen them do. Dave stopped in while he was out here. He says he’s having a great time, and let me tell you–the blue Thunderbird flight suit seems to be made for him. I think we’ve got good representatives there for the class.
My other distinguished visitor is a man the Air Force has been after for a long time–Bentley Rayburn. Well, they finally caught him and (remember, you heard it here first) they’re sending him to Leavenworth. What’s that? Oh, it’s the school, not the big house. Well, dealing with the Army for nearly a year in Command and General Staff College might feel like prison anyway. The good part about the tour, though, is that it’s not too far to drive to the reunion. By the way, Bentley did pass on word of an effort to get all of the old sergeant majors out for the reunion. So if you live by any of them, how about passing on the word?
To start off the list of movers, I’ll give some credit to a few of the guys here at USAFA I don’t think I’ve mentioned before. Ken Finn, Bill Davis, and Doug Miller have all been around for a little bit, and they are becoming integral members of the reunion committee. Colt Mefford is also a new arrival in the Springs, but I don’t know where he’s working yet. Mike Rosebush (who I have talked about before), on the other hand, is leaving USAFA for a while. He’s off to get smart and pick up his PhD. Jon Turner is also leaving USAFA, only he’s venturing out into the civilian work force in Arizona.
A late-breaking item concerns Dave Lafave, who was off to a high-powered job at SAC Headquarters, but decided to stay for another year as an AOC. According to Dave, some of his cadets already burned the bridges when they heard he was leaving–won’t they be pleasantly surprised? Other guys on the move include Walt Schell, who has apparently made it to SAC HQ; Jack Storer, who moved within the limits of Burnsville, MN; Tom Summers who now calls Fullerton, CA home; Steve Powers, a new resident of Grand Forks; John Scherer in Altus; and Mark Volcheff living it up in Mount Pleasant, SC. I also received a card from Al Krukowski who I think is headed to Chicago for med school, and from Otto Dieffenbach who is now a regional manager for Martin Marietta. He’s now living in Huntington Beach, CA with his wife Susan and two children.
Some bad news that came in just before press time involves the death of Mike Cox in an aircraft accident. I don’t have a lot of the details, but I think he was flying in an F-4 from Homestead. Our condolences to all his loved ones–we’ll all miss him.
Finally, I’m about to answer the prayers of many of you out there. I think the time has come for me to pass on the reins as Class Scribe to someone else. Months back Jeff Hackett called and said he’d like to take over the column when I left, and I’m going to take him up on that (actually he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse). As for me, I’ll be heading on to ACSC with my wife, Patty and two kids. I’ve listed Jeff’s address below, and seriously, I can’t think of anyone better for the job. My sincere thanks go to all of you who took time to write, and I look forward to seeing everyone at the reunion and years to come. See ya!
One last footnote I couldn’t resist. Jeff is now working for Hughes Helicopter. Bye.
[Class Scribe Jeff Hackett]
Play Ball! Well, here I am in the big leagues, a small town BSer now in a position to really “sling it” in front of a large audience. Heady stuff for certain, but lest you labor under a misconception my predecessor may have created, I was more like a draftee than a free agent. Nonetheless, here we go, and may the best “team” win (more on that later).
Hard to believe but the folks that schedule Homecoming football games and the folks that schedule Checkpoints class news deadlines are not the same folks! I’m sitting here the weekend before reunion trying to cram a very little information into this seemingly long article and knowing full well that at this time next week I will be swimming in a sea of…well I will have heard a lot of good stories about ‘75’s accomplishments. Look elsewhere in this issue for another sampling of the “World According to Jeff” specifically aimed at what happened that weekend. Gee, two articles to write my first time up; this is a little like getting to take the PFT twice in one semester!
Things I Know Nothing About. Naw, you’re probably right, there’s not enough room to cover all that.
Things I Know A Little About. Hearsay and those inane change-of-address cards everyone seems to be so good at filling out have given me insight to the following: Maj. Dennis Carter (OB/GYN) has relocated from Anchorage to Malmstrom AFB, MT where we’re all confidence his hands will be warmer. I’ll have to assume that Dave Ehrhart just couldn’t handle the traffic around Dayton as he recently moved on base at Wright-Pat where he’s in the judge advocate field. Alan Krukowski relocated from Chicago to Burnsville, MN…that's all the card says folks, for all we know the man may be running from the law! Ron Reay left his helicopter in Florida and is going to Dayton (Wright-Pat?). Have a nice winter Rod. It appears that TAC wasn’t quite done with Brad McAllister as he’s back at Langley after ACSC. I don’t know any details but this can’t be anything like a good deal. Larry and Michelle Fariss have departed Hawaii for New Braunfels, TX (Randolph?). Bob Eaton has successfully withdrawn from the clutches of the SAC monster at Offutt and made it to Huber Heights, OH (Wright-Pat?). On the other hand, it would appear Pete Losi is being lured to MAC (Scott) from sunny California.
Marlo and Kim Mellum decided they liked Europe so much they stayed on as he picked up an assignment in RAF-exchange. In another “same song, different dance,” John Howard changed addresses at Edwards AFB, probably got a PCS job there after Test Pilots School…or maybe his old place got condemned. Mike DeHart has apparently concluded his Education with Industry in California (Hughes Aircraft) and gone on to Mary Esther, FL where I can only assume there is no industry at all. Mike Ruth left my favorite place on earth, Shaw AFB, and went on to Valrico, FL (MacDill). In the “wherever it is it can’t be much worse than here department,” Ed and Jenny Wilcox have left Dyess AFB for some type of exchange tour with an APO San Francisco address. My sources report that Larry Richter is amongst the famous faces you can see when visiting the Mount Rushmore (Ellsworth AFB) area of South Dakota. Larry’s in KC-135s.
Things I Know A Lot About. You only have to know one classmate-airline pilot to be abreast of all who share that fate. Mike Buckley called the other night on an Alaska airlines layover here. Bucks is a 727 1st officer domiciled in Seattle and is married now to an ex-Air Force officer. Besides the strange looking guy on the tail you may find these other classmates up-front with AKAir: Paul Lotakis, Bob Farr, and Brian Barnes. Also in the great Northwest are Charlie Sargent who’s out of the Air Force living in Tacoma, Ed Wall who flies for Horizon Airlines in Seattle, and John Wissman who’s sitting sideways with Northwest Orient. Over on the East Coast Brian and Sandy Gomes are in North Carolina where he is flying with Piedmont. BG sees Rich Finke "at the office" but neither one of them could give up the green bag totally. Rich flies F-16s with the South Carolina Guard and Brian goes to March Air Force Base (nice commute!) to fly KC-10s. Denny Mellum flies in that reserve unit when he’s not driving Jet America airplanes and Ken Hodge is another reserve squadron mate.
I saw Bob and Jane Awtry when I was back in Virginia on business. He's back in the Eagle after a couple of years of playing Army at Fort Bragg. Visited with Chuck Holland’s parents during another trip. Chuck and Kim are in Germany where Chuck is a general’s aide and Kim is heading up the OWC tour business. Sounds like they’re taking more junkets than a congressman! I wandered through the Luke O’Club bar recently and ran into numerous classmates but for some reason can only remember two by name (draw your own conclusions). Dave McCarthy is an F-15 instructor and Ed Kasl is down the street teaching Falcon fliers. A little further away, the Hackett family went to Alamogordo, NM this summer to visit Kent, Carol, and Meghan Traylor. Kent is teaching in the AT-38, Carol is teaching/managing in nursing, and Meghan is only the best one-year-old on the face of the earth.
Remember the one about “Brrrr, come on in the water is fine?” Right before I left Garrett here in Phoenix I played some role in recruiting (read enticing) Pete Strunk and Jon Turner to join the company. Pete’s working in missile systems engineering and Jon took a spot in marketing. Jon and Diane have bought a house just a few blocks from Debbie and me and their two kids will be going to school with Tiffany. It’s a small world!
It's Kinda Like Intramurals Only Different. In my never-ending quest to come up with goofy ways to trick people into doing the impossible I would like to pose the following challenge. Over the next year we’ll have two groups of classmates going head-to-head trying to tell the world how much they've accomplished. Oh, I’ll take mail/calls from anyone but we’re particularly putting the heat on those folks whose time in the barrel has come. No more putting off that letter you’ve been meaning to write. So for no particularly good reason here’s the schedule of competitors:
|Spring/5 March||TAC||Airline Pilots|
|Fall/5 September||Doctors & Lawyers||"Real" Civilians|
If you don't fall in one of those categories just pick out the folks you detest the most and write in behalf of their competitors. Save face, let the rest of us know you’re out there. Fly safe!
1. Julius Hargrove sporting the short-lived ceremonial whites. (Reggie Hargrove)