Checkpoints 1987               Jeff Hackett

Winter 1987

The Ghost Of Christmas Past. If not for the holidays it would have been another session of Very-Creative Writing 101. Only got letters from three of y’all, a few phone calls, a couple of welcome visits, and oh yes, (like a piece of coal at the bottom of your Christmas stocking) the omni-present change-of-address cards. But, even though he wasn’t wearing a red suit and riding a big sleigh, this “scribe” got eight of his best presents (Christmas cards) from the guy in the blue suit driving a Post Office jeep! The other 734 of you should go add me to your Christmas card lists for next year.

Is It “Giving” Ir Is It “Receiving?” In the later part of October I received the extremely belated bad news that Al Nash had a very serious car accident six years ago this Christmas. The news came from Al Morrison who has recently reestablished contact with Al at his home in Georgia after recognizing him in an Atlanta AOG Chapter photo (summer issue of this magazine). I’m not aware of all of the specifics surrounding the accident or the details of Al’s current condition other than he’s confined to a wheelchair and has some residual speech impediment. I am aware, from what Al Morrison related and through my minor experience in a health crisis, that Al Nash would probably greatly appreciate a card, letter or call from a classmate. I’ll cut some kind of deal with Al to have the printable stuff passed on to me for the next issue!

Glad Tidings. Received holiday greetings and a letter from Mike and Diane Buckley who have had a heck of a year! They’re back in Anchorage where Mike’s flying 737s for Alaska Air and reentering the National Guard. Diane’s also working with the ANG. They’ll be opening “Bed and Breakfast” in Anchorage this winter. On a warmer front, we heard from Linda and (Lt Col-selectee) Dale Meyerose who are at Carswell AFB. The card included a picture of their two good-looking girls and the news that next year’s picture will include a new brother or sister. Brian and Sandy Gomes’ kid are equally good-looking. Their 1987 “addition” will come in the form of a new home they’re building in North Carolina where B.G. continues to fly 727s (Piedmont) and KC-10s (USAFR). We not only got to see a picture of Donnelly children, we got to meet them when Mark and Lucy came by over the holidays. They were in town from Scott AFB where Mark’s working for HQ MAC. No pictures of the Calhoun kids (could they be anything but good-looking?) in Tom and Candy’s card, which arrived from Southern California. They like being back in the U.S. after all the tension in the Philippines this past year. Tom’s in C.E. at Norton and Candy’s pursuing a master’s degree in addition to keeping things rolling along on the homefront.

Making Up For Lost Time. After not seeing Chuck Holland in over five years we saw him three times this fall! He came through on the way to/from B-52 requal academics. In exchange for Thanksgiving dinner we got some classic stories about Chuck’s leg surgery and the dynamics of PCS/TDYs in SAC. His leg is coming along nicely and he hopes to be back on flying status about the time he and Kim are reunited and move into their new house in Fort Worth (January).

McNuggets (Bits And Pieces) Of News. About the time the Hollands moved into their new house, David Commons will be getting his first look at the Kunsan BOQs and finding out if he can fly on the left wing! Barb and their son are going to spend a year back in Maryland. Dave Fleming wrote from Upper Heyford advising that he, and, and their daughter are looking forward to “a return to the land of Arby’s, Wendy’s, and Sears” next August when he’ll start ACSC. ACSC classmates will apparently include Mark Nobles, Wil Cason, Scott Hente, and Jed Vandendries. Kent Traylor will be starting at about the same time but up the road a bit, at Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk.

Honorable Mention. I’ll only take the time to mention three of the infamous change-of-address cards…strangely enough they’re the three that contain notes in the margin. (Catch my drift folks?) Stan Collins has departed Dayton, OH for Elmendorf AFB where he’ll be assigned to the 17 TAS flying C-130s. Rod Reay also left Dayton but he’s headed for a little more warmth at Tyndal AFB and something called HQ/AFESC/DEMP. Tom Finn should also be catching a little sun in Hawaii where he’s a C-135C special missions navigator.

Son Of Frankenstein. Jim Carlson unwittingly punished me with his very own version of the change-of-address cards. It was very clever of him to provide his ‘75er pals with a little pre-stamped and pre-addressed card that gave him a chance to tell me what a great class president they thought Jim would be. It was NOT very clever of him to leave off a spot for them to tell me something of their current condition; the result being I got 27 cards postmarked in 12 states that told me virtually nothing. Here again though there are two “notes-in-the-margins” exceptions. Duane Jones is at Andrews working Special Air Missions (AF 1 and the like) and Jon Noetzel advised me of his pending (June 87) PCS to Lakenheath to fly F-111s.

Would The Real Colt Mefford Please Stand Up? One of the “Jim-Carlson-mailback-cards” was from Colt Mefford of Colorado Springs and looked innocent enough but now I’m wondering. During his visit Mark Donnelly showed me the latest AOG Registry entry for Colt. Can anyone shed some light on this for us all?

But This Is The Way It Works In Washington. As I said, Jim Carlson was very original in his approach to getting the title of class president and, being the simpleton I am, it gives me a rationale for declaring a winner – anybody that expends this much energy must be good for something! Sincerely, I think Jim has the kind of attitude that will be a real asset in this loosely defined (and probably thankless) job. Take your complaints to the chaplain or the AOG. Jim asked that I include the following from his acceptance speech:

Uh…Gosh, I’m so surprised this happened…I had nooo idea…Gee…Ahem, I have really no choice but to accommodate your fevered desire for me to be your President. My first act will be to ask for the resignation of my personal cabinet (forty plus advisors are a little too unwieldy…) I also declare this day to be a national holiday, and am going off on a well-deserved vacation. Refer any questions to my answering machine.      –Jim

As for me, I’m off to make some New Year’s resolutions that, by the time we all read this, will have been long forgotten. Except, of course, the one to always keep in mind it’s later than you think!

 


 

Spring 1987

Poor Planning Pays Off! It’s another day after the day after the Class News deadline and, even though I’ve had a couple of cans of that stuff that normally makes me witty, intelligent and a real good dancer, I’m not exactly the picture of creativity. But wait! The mailman has just arrived to save me once again! Letters!... Pictures!... News Releases!... What’s this in the last package? Argghh…change-of-address cards! (Excuse me while I go ice down another sixpack)!

Citation To Accompany The Award Of Foreign Correspondent Of The Quarter. This goes (hands down) to Jim Burling. The package he put together and sent me was the nicest thing he’s done for me since he sang at our wedding. Apparently Jim made up some questionnaires, passed them around to other guys in the area, got everybody together for a quick picture, and then sent it all off to me. Such a great idea. And sooo easy to copy! (HINT)!

Here’s 11 of the 15 ‘75ers who were down at ASCS. That’s Jim standing at snappy attention on the left. He and his family arrived in Montgomery after a “remote” in Clear, AK and they’ll be off to San Antonio or Los Angeles after school. Jim says he’s having “a pretty good time, but there’s not as much golf as I’d imagined.” Ooookay. Rick Layman is standing (at an even snappier attention) to Jim’s left. Rick got to ACSC after a number of SICBM and Peacekeeper-related jobs at HQ SAC. He’ll be off to Upper Heyford and back into the aircraft maintenance business. Rumor has it that Rick had to move into the “over-35” softball league at Montgomery. Dale Waters was probably standing next to Rick to give him the word on life in England. He just returned from F-111s at Lakenheath. Dale will go to HQ TAC after ACSC. Baby pictures are the order of the day for Mark Wells (standing, forth from left) by now. Donna was due with their second child in March. Mark and family have been at USAFA (History Department, associate AOC CS-25) and will now be off to Randolph where he’ll be a T-37 PIT instructor. Steve Vreeland’s (second from right) input was very brief; came from USAFA (STOP) going to Clark AB, PI to fly C-130 (THAT IS ALL). Al Piotter also came from the Academy where he was a Comp Sci instructor and served as chief of the Alumni Programs Division. He and Mark Wells served the Montgomery-area alumni well by arranging to rent a satellite dish for every Falcon football game. Al may want to keep that dish to stay in touch with the civilized world after he moves onto Loring AFB, ME where he’ll be back in the BUFF as a radar nav.

The rather casual José Castro-Aguirre is kneeling, far left. I understand that as an international officer (El Salvador) at ACSC, José had some good stories to tell. I wonder if there about hot spots in Central America or “hot spots” in the States; he’s spent five of the last 12 years in the U.S. Speaking of being a long way from home, Mike Anderson (kneeling, second from left) will be going to McConnell AFB, KS after school. As I recall Kansas is only slightly different than Maui; nonetheless Mike’s looking forward to helping set up the 4th B-1B Wing as chief of the Defense Systems Branch. I’m not sure what happened with Mark Risi (center), but I assume Randy James and Phil Benjamin are holding broken wrists in the photo. Why else would they not have written? On the other hand Jim Corrigan wrote but didn’t make the picture. (Just washed his hair and couldn’t do a thing with it?) Jim was working on his F-16 pilotage and international flair at Hahn AB, Germany and Kunsan AB, South Korea before arriving at ACSC. This will be somewhat of a family reunion tour for him as his brother-in-law/ex-zoomie-roommate, Rick Sarver, is teaching at the JAG school and lives right down the street. For you ’74 grads reading this article to see how your trainees have done, note that Jim’s brother Pat is also at ACSC. And for those elite 10 L/C selectees listed in the last Checkpoints (and you too, Bentley), take note that Jim will be off to MPC to work colonel’s assignments after school!

There Are Easier Ways To Become Famous. Working with the swiftness that keeps the Commies at bay and lets us all sleep so soundly at night, SAC recently came to Plattsburgh AFB, NY to present Chuck Molzon with the Kalberer Outstanding Airmanship Award. Never mind that it was over two years ago that Chuck and his radar nav successfully restarted both engines of an FB-111 in IFR conditions at less than 4500 feet AGL after a lightning strike. Intrepid aviator and his wife Donna are on the left. For you ‘77 grads reading this article to see how your trainers are doing, note your classmate Scott Hutt (said radar nav) and wife Susan on the right.

Second Hand News. The Molzons and the ACSC crowd pass on the following: Steve Brown and Bruce Fritzsche are at Elmendorf flying F-15’s and loving the outdoor sports. Bruce also likes indoor sports. He and Nancy have three children. John and Becky Gaughan depart Castle AFB, CA for Armed Forces Staff College in July, hopefully on to Space Command from there. Larry Fariss and Julius Hargrove are at MPC putting “the big moves” on people, not unlike they did in their gridiron days. Bill Hughes and wife Peggy are at Wright-Pat where he’s in the JAG office. Chuck and Judy Demoisy are also at WPAFB. Chuck works in procurement. In the “one-garden-spot-after-another” category, Mark Skattum will be returning from Saudi Arabia this summer for intermediate service school with the Army at Fort Leavenworth. Gary Thaller is working in the command Post at Plattsburgh. Steve Palmer has said “adios” to the Marine Corps but not to Springfield, VA; staying there in the car business. Mike Roznovsky is flying F-16s at MacDill; he and wife, Cindy, are involved in running and competitive cycling. Dale Smith is flying KC-135s out of KI Sawyer.

Taking Charge. You could tell that the “Arizona (AOG) Chapter” items in the last magazine was not written by a ‘75 grad since it failed to mention that we were there in far greater numbers than any other class. And it would have really been great if Jon Turner had shown up (sorry folks, that’s inside slam). Rick Chanick and I were there along with Dave Keene, local car merchant, and Cary Niehans, local F-15 driver. Mike Lischak wrote to be sure I had heard about his election as a board member in the Alamo Area Chapter. Mike’s down at Brooks getting more aerospace medicine smarts. He’ll soon be off to John Hopkins for another residency program. I don’t think Alamogordo, NM has a chapter but I did want to mention that we saw Wayne and Amy Willis and all the little Willis’ in February. Wayne’s in the middle of F-15 tour at Holloman and are all loving it there.

You’ve Gotta Pick The Rules You’re Going To Follow. As I said at the beginning, I haven't been overly respectful of the deadline for this edition. Therefore it's only proper that I heed the rules on length and close for now; sure it means kissing off the change-of-address cards and that’ll torque off Jim Carlson, our new class president, by not putting his “message” in (but, what the heck, I appointed him, right?) I mean if worse comes to worst, what are they going to do – come to me and say, “Your days as a class scribe are numbered pal…it’s later than you think?!?”

 


 

Summer 1987

Let’s Hear It For The Mini-Article. As an ex-cadet and a man currently employed in the engineering profession I have, for some time, been sworn to be extremely conscious of what’s fashionable (not that I actually look fashionable, just that I know what it means). At any rate, this article will be patterned after the latest women’s hemlines… noticeably shorter. What’s more, it’s all because of you (and I do mean Y-O-U, not the guys over in the new dorm nor the stud with the P.E. locker next to you). Ya’ see, YOU didn’t write or call me and that means I’ve got next to nothing to say.

Road Show. In an act of desperation I traveled to Albuquerque, NM in search of a classmate willing to share a tip or two. All right, if you could have something to do with my new Reserve assignment to the Weapons Lab, but I did look through the Register before I left. For all good it did! Mark Nelson (Weapons Lab), Joe Dowdy and Chuck Schmelling (AFOTEC) were away from their phones for three days. Mark Nelson may or may not live in the New Mexico “Highlands”… he’s unlisted. I did talk with Mark Howes; he’s been in Albuquerque for 18 months with Sperry. The move (from Phoenix) has resulted in a promotion to Director of Operations for Mark and he confesses to really liking his job. Linda is contributing to the education of minors in the school system there and their son, Adam, is also doing well.

The Scribe Is Always The Last To Know. In the only other piece of news that I had a direct hand in obtaining I can tell you that Brian Duffy is in his second year with NASA. Doing well, waiting to “fly” and doing a damn fine job (along with Jan, Sean and Shannon) of representing the Irish community in Houston.

Son Of Road Show. This article is actually being put together/written/regurgitated back at the scene of the crimes; we are in Colorado Springs for an overdue vacation. Unfortunately the only ‘75 “Hot Leads” I have are change-of-address cards for Dick Dye and Rick Douglas. We came out so that Tiffany could attend the Academy’s Summer Gymnastics Camp (that’s the good parent reason; of equal importance is a desire to spend time with our old beer-drinking neighbors). I’ll do some snooping around but, due to headlines you’ll have to wait (with baited breath no doubt) until the next issue to see what we find out.

Any Port In A Storm. I regret to say that the highlight of this edition of Class News will be a run-off between the change-of-address cards and three-month-old words from Jim Carlson, our recently Appointed-For-Life class President.

Mark Rogers and Bill Davis are both inbound to Armed Forces Staff College. Bill did note that Bob Akers and Mark Jefferson are also there getting smarter in the Joint-Services sense. Tom Popp, Marvin Cox, and Allen Green have also moved to Virginia (Tom from Europe, Marvin from Mather AFB and Allen from God-knows-where). Closing out the East Coast update we have John Woodward leaving Williams AFB for Vestal, NY (don’t ask me) and Rich Finke moving to Belmont, NC. The southern border is covered east to west as Steve Wojcicki has moved to Merritt Island, FL; Mike Gill to San Antonio, TX; and Bill Carrothers to Tucson, AZ. Out west, Mark Schoning is now at Great Falls, NT; John Farnham is in Apple Valley, CA; and Don Byers (PSA pilot) is in Fresno. The good news is that Bill Ladd is still in Hawaii and (for you high rollers) Paul Butalla and Chris Soto are still in Las Vegas. They only made local moves. The bad news is that Don Langford and John Caraway both got new addresses but are still stuck in Vacaville, CA and Bedford, TX, respectively.

Good Clean Living Pays Off. You can look at that as a promise or a threat; the article went long enough. I got tired enough that I won't submit Mr. Carlson's March musings. Be warned however that this good deal cannot last unless Y-O-U write. For now, I moved through a time zone in the last 12 hours and it really is later than you think.

 


 

Fall 1987

Could This Be Your Conscious?...Naw! I’d like to think that my latest pleas and your personal character had something to do with the relative wealth of information I’ve received for this letter; but on further reflection I realize that it was really more directly tied to the threat of publishing further words from our Appointed-For-Life President, Jim Carlson. Speaking of Jim (in something other than abusive language), I’m truly pleased to pass along the good news that he was on the latest Lieutenant Commanders’ list (US Naval Reserve). But the really important news is that he was recently reappointed (promoted?) to the position of “Dad.” He and his daughter, Jennifer, have been getting reacquainted during trips around Southern California and expeditions down the Colorado River.

Mom, Apple Pie And Your Class Scribe. A little “Small World” fate has given me an idea that will guarantee your next letter! During my recent (Reserve) annual tour at Kirtland I attended a number of minor league baseball games; during one of these games Larry Bryant’s mom and dad said behind me, noticed my class ring and struck up a conversation. They’re just delightful people and Larry’s mom promised to get him to write me. (I’m in the process of having the AOG send me the name and address of every ‘75 mom). Larry, Melinda and the two boys have been in Las Vegas since June 1985. Larry’s apparently involved with some type of cosmic-classified work, but I’ll tell you more about that next time, after his letter arrives (would you let your mom down)? I also managed to chase Joe Dowdy down on this trip to Albuquerque. This was made easier as he was still in the euphoric fatigue of becoming a dad for the second time the week before (a daughter, Emily; she and Vonda did great)! Joe’s the test manager for Armament and Aircraft Branch at AFOTEC. He confirmed that Chuck Schmelling had recently left and was on his way back into C-130s at Davis-Monthan. Joe hesitated to pass on the “old” news that Rick and Donna Odegard had left Kenya (F-5s) early this year and were now at Langley (F-15s) with their daughter, Amanda; I assured him that, if it wasn’t printed here, it wasn’t official.

The O-F-F-I-C-I-A-L word came from Kenya about two weeks later. I got a letter from Mr. Bill Lyerly of the State Department! Bill left the army when he was offered a faculty appointment in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health. He received a fellowship that’s co-sponsored by the State Department and is now serving as the African Bureau AIDS Coordinator, traveling to numerous garden spots on the African continent. Bill has found what we’re all seeking, “a job where I can really make an impact” but doesn’t take himself so seriously that he can’t mockingly deny that he authored the “Make War, Not Love – It’s Safer” bumper sticker.  Bill lives in Maryland and babysits Pat Ash’s 24-foot sailboat (what a pal) while Pat’s in Alaska flying AWACS. Bob Dorsey is pulling his Pentagon stint as a “Red Team” member of the “Checkmate” Directorate of Warfighting Analysis at HQ USAF/XOC. (Ever noticed how guys with humongous, undecipherable titles hang around with each other)?

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About…Something Or Other. Bill also noted that Hugo Posey was at Armed Forces Staff College enroute to an air attaché job somewhere in Latin America. Hugo is in no small crowd as I say half of the real correspondence (letters) and 75% of the junk mail (change-of-address-cards) I received concern comings and goings at mid-level PME. Paul Williams wrote on his way to Montgomery where he’ll be taking a break from six years (2000 hours) of KC-10 flying. Kathy will be through with her CPA exam by the time this hits the streets and if I recall correctly he’ll be looking forward to his first Wealthy-CPA-s Husbands’ Club function.

Other changes of address to Montgomery/Prattville include: Randy Chapman (from Colorado Springs), Lamar Lewis (from Scott AFB), Jim Ruttler (from Fairfax, VA), Ben Phillips (from Honolulu) and Phil Romanowicz and Jed Vandendries (from the Far East). Apparently they never did teach these former residents of the greater Prattville metropolitan area to write (see the Spring Checkpoints). All I got was the stinking “C-o-A cards.” Randy James (to McChord AFB) and Mark Risi (to Springfield, IL). Bill Spencer and Felix Grieder will be getting smarter the Navy way (is there such a thing?) at Newport, RI. Bill and Kathleen are coming from Kadena AB, Felix from Dover. On the other hand John Owens was smart enough to write a little note on his “C-o-A” card saying there’s a “group of ‘75er here;” the card was from Army Command and Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. It’s the thought that counts.

A different kind of school, but John Gaughan will probably still be burning a little midnight oil as he goes through Undergraduate Space Operations training at Lowry. John was one of only 10 officers picked for the class.

“Somebody Left The Gate Open At Altus.” That's the word from Rick Benbow who's off active duty and now "double dipping" in the Reserves C-5 unit at Kelly. He draws pay as an Air Reserve Technician (GS-13, Chief of Stan/Eval) and as a captain in the Reserves. Notice that I said nothing about working, just drawing pay. Rick spoke about playing a lot of golf. He and Claire live in what used to be a country club. (I assume this has something to do with a “Frequent Duffer” program or a really awesome bet with the Club Pro). The comment about Altus has to do with the migration of other ‘75ers to the Reserves at Kelly. Dick Duesing is a part-timer with the Reserves and a full-time (captain, is there such a thing?) with Delta Airlines. He and his wife are about to release their sequel to “Child Raising – Part 1.” Steve Vargo is another Altus transplant; he’s full-time with the C-5 unit now but waiting for a call from the friendly skies.

Yes Sir! I’ll Write That Up Immediately, Sir! The award for first input to our class article from an O-5 selectee he goes to Mark Volcheff. I’m suddenly feeling very old. Mark has been bouncing around MAC for sometime now in C-130s, at HQ, and currently at Charleston in 141s (Special Ops Division). In October it’s back to Scott to take charge of the Colonel’s Group (A chance to extinguish yourself if I ever saw one)! Even with all his professional accomplishments Mark’s main thoughts are obviously elsewhere; he signed his letter “Mark A. Volcheff (Mary select).” He and Mary will consummate the ultimate blind date sometime in October. Mark had lots of other news; a summary quotation: “Dan Burkett (Liz) has to stay fairly tight-lipped about his job… at L.A. Air Station working Star Wars issues and putting in 16-hour days… one son and another potential grad in the chute. Jon Ball (Sharon) was working in the test group at Eglin… Now on his way to ACSC near beautiful Weeeeeetumka (for those SOS grads that were not asleep during that lecture). Spence Roberts found an absolutely terrific wife, Kelly…was hot-shot F-15 pilot at Eglin…recently moved to Yuma MCAS to fly F-4s and ‘some Israeli plane’ as an aggressor pilot with the Gyrenes and Israeli exchange pilots. Will be working with Mike Murdoch at HQ MAC. Been sharing airplanes with Ron Bean and Robert Lyons at Charleston. Tom Finn (Gail) is flying the DVs around in the 89th MAW Detachment at Hickam. Tom Fraley (Michelle) is in the C-130 unit down at Howard AB, CZ on missions sneaking around that part of the world. Bouncing off the walls, or room dividers if you’ve been there, making their mark and filling the HQ square while rapidly aging in a very short time are Jim Fellows in MAC/DOX; two children and Jay Wallace in MAC/AC.”

When you guys finally run me off from this job I be forced to point you towards Mark is a capable successor. Thanks for a great letter, Mark.

But You Don’t Get Off The Hook That Easily; I Said “When…” Other short notes and rumors; Steve Powers is chief of aircrew scheduling at Mather, Mark and Donna Wells have a new baby girl and are at Randolph, Dave DeFoliart is Chief of Operations for the 343 TFW/DEM at Eielson, AFB. Bob Morrison has taken his airline pilot skills to Georgia and is now with Delta, Bentley and Debbie Rayburn have yet another new address, at Holloman, and Colt Mefford has left the flock (active-duty).

Friends Don’t Let Your Friends Borrow Their Latest Checkpoints. Ever notice that ‘75 has the distinction of being one of the bucket classes when it comes to “Percent Members” in the AOG? This has either to do with their cheapness, my writing, or your genteel character when some bozo asks to read your latest magazine. Next time tell the guy to buy a frog and write a check to the AOG. (Frog biting not required if a letter is written to the scribe). Remember that neither annual dues nor life memberships have ever decreased so rush to get in on the good deals… it’s later than you think!


1987 Album

     
   
 

1. Tom Darner: Last test flight at Edwards AFB for me. Launched Shrike anti-radar missile upside down at 1.2 Mach to clear launch envelope. Went home to watch movers finishing loading up our Lancaster home and drove out to Colorado that afternoon.

2. Dave Williamson.


Checkpoints