Checkpoints 1989               Jeff Hackett

Winter 1989

The Checkpoints Anti-Couch Potato Bowl. Here I am, in the midst of college football bowl fever, stuck in front of the PC instead of the TV; banging out words instead of beers. Trust me, this is a labor of (unexplained) love. But how can I complain? Whether it was due to my constant sniveling or the Holiday Spirit working on y’all, I have received more correspondence for this article than any other…14 cards and letters! Start getting yourself up for the next article (St. Patrick’s Day?).

Wearing the Mailman Out. Jim Carlson has set some type of record by sending three informative letters since the last time I did my “Scribe-thing.” It must be his Naval Reserve Intel background that allows him to sleuth out classmates everywhere he goes. During two weeks of school at Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington, DC this summer he “found” or “found out about” a group of ‘75ers. Some of the news has previously been reported here but there was some new stuff: Tom Popp is at the Pentagon in XOOTT (A-10 Program Element Monitor?). Hugo Posey’s made it to the point where the government has printed his official biography; such is the assistant air attaché to Venezuela. It’s impressive stuff. Brian Allison is tending to “baby C-141 pilots” (IP) at Altus while wife, Ardis, is taking care of real babies (pediatrician). Rick Sarver is a JAG trial judge in San Antonio. Jim shared a pizza with Chris Budinsky who was also TDY in the D.C. area. Chris is an E-3 flight commander at Tinker. He and Penny are expecting their fourth child in April. The last package from Jim was his Christmas card with the very big news that he’s been selected for naval aircrew training as a bombardier navigator in the A-6. Congratulations Jim!

Family Fotos. The Checkpoints editor has asked the scribe to include more pictures (apparently he’s nodded off while reading too many “inspired” words). And, since we got ‘em, we’ll flaunt ‘em! Notice the little mind game Jon Turner’s family played with their Christmas card picture: their first winter back in Colorado and they’re all in shorts and T-shirts. Right! You’ll recall that Jon went back to take a position with Hewlitt-Packard as a marketing engineer (a term that angers all “real” engineers as much as it does the born-and-bred marketing guys). Not only is his civilian work going great, Jon’s landed a flying slot with the Reserve C-130 unit there at Pete. Diane is working as director of a preschool in the Springs and the kids are into lots of activities including racing past mom and dad on the ski slopes. The family keeps a thumb in the Academy pie by sponsoring a couple of cadets.

The next proud bunch is the Donnelly family. They’re about to pack up their bags at Scott AFB and move east to Andrews where Mark will be suffering through a tour flying the C-20. Lucy mentioned in their letter that they were preparing for this hardship tour by playing golf at every opportunity. The little ones, Scott and Ann, have been breezing along in preschool; Scott’s psyching up for kindergarten next fall.

Not much to tell you about the Wayne Willis family. The attached note was short and to the point, “Not much has changed. We’ll be in New Mexico three more years – have a job with AFOTEC – fly the Eagle, shoot missiles, and get credit for a staff tour!”

Just Kids. The long-lost and previously shameless Dave Commons finally broke down and sent me a card/letter. Seems he has more time on his hands now that he’s flying for Delta; he, Barb and Chris will be domiciled in Cincinatti. Dave’s also hoping to get on with the reserve unit at Wright-Pat when they get their F-16s later this year. Dave Fleming also broke then ice and wrote the scribe. (Deep in my heart, I know it was Ann who wrote the letter so all we should really give Flamer credit for is having the sense to marry her)! With ACSC and a master’s degree in fresh in hand, Dave has taken up station at the Pentagon as the F-111 Program Element monitor. It’s going well. However, in Ann’s words, “he misses the cockpit but his sentence should be commuted in three and a half more years.” They like the D.C. area and found a nice house in Virginia that’s “within easy check-writing distance of numerous shopping malls!” Since Checkpoints prints the class articles in black and white only, you’ll have to use your long-term memory to fill in the color of Katie’s hair (remember we didn’t call Dave “Flamer” just because he was a little hard on underclassmen).

Dale Meyerrose’s girls are as blonde as Katie Fleming is red-headed! They’re also in Virginia where Dale is working with the Joint Staff and acting as our class secretary in the D.C. AOG Chapter. His promise to write me a long letter is hereby made a matter of public record.

Here’s the 1,000 Words There Was No Picture For. Mike and Diane Buckley included a long letter with their Christmas card. Mike has added duties as secretary/treasurer for the local (Anchorage, AK) Air Line Pilot’s Association to his Alaska air co-pilot and Reserve C-130 aircraft commander “work.” Diane is squadron commander for an ANG unit. They still run a bed-and-breakfast during the summer months. I can’t do it all justice here but suffice it to say they do a hell of a lot of traveling and havin’ fun! Mike passed on the following: Stan Collins is chief of Safety at Elmendorf, Steve Brown and Rick McGraw are also there in F-15s, as is E-3 driver Pat Ash. Bruce Fritzsche runs F-15 operations at King Salmon, AK. Larry Richter is chief of Training for the KC-135s at Barksdale AFB.

Mark Wells wrote what I consider to be a long letter, but for a guy getting ready to write a 400-page doctoral thesis on the “Human Dimension of Air Combat During the Combined Bomber Offensive of World War II” it was probably just a note. Mark has taken Donna and the two kids to England to accomplish this feat. It’s one of those things that sounds like a mixed blessing to me (but then I have trouble writing this measly article every three months)!

Got a hotel stationary letter from Al Krukowski who was on an overnight in Detroit. Al’s a first officer on 757s for Northwest, living in Minneapolis with wife, Ann and three children. If I said he is fanatically, maniacally in love with what he’s doing, I’d be grossly understating the facts! He likes it…a lot! The list of ‘75ers at Northwest is probably long enough to make the Pentagon cringe but I checked my records, they’ve all been mentioned here previously.

See Your Honor Rep…wait a minute, he was my honor rep! Kent Traylor did not come through with lots of words on ’75 grads in Central Europe as he promised. But I am forced to forgive him (temporarily) since from the pen of his four-year-old daughter I get my closing:

How to Fix a Turkey
I’d make a snow turkey. First cut it and put raisins and peanut butter in it. Then boil it. When it’s done I’ll cut it and put it on a plate. Then I’d put mashed potatoes in it and put it on the table.

It’s the latest rage at Mitchell Hall! “Mister Sanchez, more snow turkey and mashed potatoes! And hurry up, it’s later than you think!”

 


 

Spring 1989

Now You Know Why You Slept So Much Better Those Last Two Weeks of March. As the altered byline suggests, this product is the product of a lean, mean, military fighting machine and not some sniveling overpaid contract weenie; I’m on my annual tour. But if you note a greater sense of order/discipline in my writing this time, do not attribute anything other than the fact that I’m working on this in the AFIT computer lab and not a home (no “inspirational” beverages served here).

The “Total Force Didn’t Have It’s Act Together on This One. I was pretty charged up when I saw in the Register of Graduates that 14 of our classmates have addresses here in the Dayton area; thought this would be a perfect chance to get the first-hand word. But nooooo, because of TDYs, vacations, and the fat that the editor needs this the middle of my first week here I haven’t spoken to any of the boys yet. Actually, Greg Sheridan’s TDY may have increased my efficiency; in talking with his wife, Renee, I was also talking to Denny Brooks’ sister (two updates for the price of one), Renee said that Greg was TDY because Greg is always TDY! He’s the SPACECOM liaison guy here at Wright-Pat and apparently spends a lot of time meeting with his SPACECOM brethren in other locations. A more normal (whatever that is) life should return this summer as Greg heads on the ACSC at Maxwell; from there they expect to return to the C-5 world (and more TDY)! The bad news is that Denny was medically retired about two years ago due to complications from a childhood back injury. The good news is that he and Leslie are back in Colorado Springs and that Denny’s been able to pursue one of his deep interests as an artificial intelligence consultant to some companies out in California. Leslie’s a major in the Air Force Reserve (I don’t know exactly what she does, but trust me, all USAFR majors are serving in pivotal positions at the razor’s edge of democracy). Hopefully there will be more on the WPAFB gang in the next edition. If I have to I’ll go to every bar in the Dayton area to search them out.

My Mailman Has Applied For Unemployment Benefits: Two late Christmas cards, one letter, and the change-of-address cards from the AOG. You guys (which is not to exclude wives, as we occasionally need to hear the unembellished truth from a reliable source) aren’t exactly knocking yourselves out. And we may as well disconnect the phone while we’re at it; nobody’s called.

John and Jill Charlton’s Christmas card arrived the day I mailed out the last article so they get top billing. They’re in Newport at the water-proof version of Command and Staff School; happy, nice break, lots of history, kids doing well. John told me they’re ready to move back “West” but it looks like he’ll wind up in the Far East (unaccompanied: Osan AB, Korea) and Jill will head back to Midwest (Saginaw) with the kids. The guys at MPC must not be geography majors. John went to Newport from TAC IG and was able to pass on a few updates: Tug McGraw has left Langley for Alaska (F-15), Rick Odegard did likewise to Okinawa, and poor Don Cunningham was left to uphold what I’m sure was a very fine ‘75er standard.

I’m not really certain that Brian Gomes’ letter was related to the Christmas holiday, it came a little closer to Valentine’s Day. But we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since he had such a good reason; he and Sandi were a little busy with the arrival of their third child in November. That, and Brian’s job with Piedmont/USAir, and his flying KC-10s with the Reserves, and the other two kids. All of this on top of Charlotte getting an NBA franchise! I mean how’s Brian supposed to keep up?

Can You Pick Out The ’74 Grad in This Picture? Scott Smith mentioned that the individual “front and center” in the photo below is a derelict ’74 grad who’s on the staff at ACSC. Of course we all knew from the posture, the “hairs” and the finger in the nose; I mean, hey, those guys trained us! Scott, Jan and the kids came to Maxwell from USAFA where Scott was teaching four different courses including everyone’s all-time favorite, “Waldo F. Dumbsquat 101 World History.” They’ll be off to McChord and back to ‘141s when school’s over in June. Just to reinforce the idea that he is a “fuzzy-studies” academician, Scott then gave me the following 16 capsules on “the other guys in the picture;” please note that, unless one of you grew an extra head, there are 17 other people in the picture! Mr. “X” please write me soon.

 

 

In no particular order: Rick Lewallen, his wife Alice and two children, came from SOF C2 at Scott AFB, but didn’t have a clear vision of where he’ll be going in June. Lee Colburn came from a remote at Kunsan AB, Korea (F-16s). He, his wife, Jeanine, and son will be staying on ACS faculty. The Gradys (Kevin, Carolyn and Lauren) arrived from Fort Hood (ALO) but will happily be getting back to the F-15 upon graduation. It may have something to do with the PCS costs involved in moving a family with five children, but whatever, Jim Dill, Joette and “the group” will be staying on in Alabama where Jim will be on the ACS faculty. They just came from SPACECOM at Colorado Springs.

The faculty will also include Jim Heald, ex-F-15E Flight Test WSO (Edwards). Jim’s married (Pat) and has two boys. Dave Kovach and his two boys arrived from Randolph (MPC) but don’t know where they’ll be going yet. Doug Miller, like Scott, came to ACSC from the faculty at USAFA. (Doug probably knew how many people were in the picture; he taught Mech!) It’ll be overseas for the Millers (Doug, Allison and two children); C-130s at Clark AB, PI. Larry Fariss will also be returning to the “drone zone” (C-130s at Dyess). He and Michelle and three sons came to ACSC from Randolph (MPC). And more cotton in the ears for Ed Wilcock who came from an exchange tour in Aussie C-130s and will be staying with the airplane (stateside) following ACSC. Ed’s married (Jennifer) with two little ones.

Jerry Levesque, his wife Sylvia, and their boys came in from A-10s at Bentwaters but don’t know exactly what their fate will be. It’ll be off to the Pentagon for Steve and Sharon Duresky, and their three kids after ACSC. They arrived from Misawa AB where Steve flew F-16s. Marlo Mellum, his wife Kim, and kids Briana, Brittany, Bethany and Brackin (is his name really Barlo Bellum?) came in from flying Tornados at RAF Honington and they’re probably headed for F-111s here in the states. Pete Losi, wife (Eileen) plus two kids: in from HQ MAC…out to C-141s at McGuire. John Loucks will be another ACSC faculty member come June. He, Susan and their two boys recently escaped McConnell AFB, KS.

Because Phil Gronseth came from the Department of Physics at USAFA, I’m sure he not only knows how many people are in the picture, he could probably calculate the groups total gravitational mass increase as a function of diminishing follicle activity and plot it over the period of time since June 4th, 1975. Knowing all that (and whatever he learns at ACSC) will no doubt help Phil, Holly and their two kids get through their upcoming B-52 assignment to Guam. TAC is keeping Kevin and Dorothy Smith guessing about where they and their two girls will be after ACSC; they were previously at Luke (F-16s).

Heard But Not Seen. Scott couldn’t get the following folks in front of the camera (or is one of them “Mr. X”?). Neither Buzz Masters not Ron Bean know what lies in store for them after ACSC. Buzz, Gere, and their kids came from Shaw; while Ron, Alice and their daughter came from Charleston AFB. Al Van Epps is preparing the way for all the guys coming to the ACSC faculty. By the way Al, all these guys noted in their letters that they thought it was way too easy and that there wasn’t enough homework! Ralph Rhye is also making it easy on the ACSC crew by keeping the water hot and the streets smooth; he’s in CE at Maxwell.

To Use The Air Force Term, I’m FIGMO! And besides, it would up with pretty good bulk. “Thank you” to those illustrious few who contributed! I’ll once again spare you/me the pain of the C-O-A cards. And so, with a steely look, a chiseled jaw, and major’s leaves a-gleamin’, I’ll return to the defense of our nation (for the next nine days anyway). Let me check this out…”Attention,” “At Ease,” “Write Yourself Up” (and mail it to me), “Carry On,” “It’s Later Than You Think,” and all that. How’d I do? Of yea, “Dismissed.”

 


 

Summer 1989

Talk About a Summer Drought! I guess y’all are off on vacation…vacation from writing to your class scribe! The grim statistics: four letters, three calls, and a face-to-face visit. Sooo, like the say, “you reap what you sow;” here comes a very short article.

WPAFB – The Sequel. In our last episode we left our intrepid scribe (disguised as an Air Force Major) part way through a two-week adventure to AFIT. What we didn’t get to share was my visit with Bob Walden. Got to tell you, it sure made me feel old to visit a classmate wearing Lt. Colonel leaves and with his name on the “squadron commander’s” shingle. Bob’s running the show I the 4453rd Flight Test Squadron at Wright-Pat, defying the odds a bit, as he’s been there since 1985 and expects to hang around for two more years. You won’t be surprised to hear Bob’s very active with the aero club nor that he, Pam and the (two) girls like the Dayton area.

Bob gave me the update on Steve Marino and Gene Schemp who work across the ramp from Bob in the 4952nd. Gene’s worked a number of programs in the Air Force’s procurement of commercial aircraft, most notably with the new Air Force One. Steve’s involved with some pretty cosmic test and test-support stuff (a lot of this was over my head). Commenting on the challenge of one mission he’s associated with (maneuvering a ‘135 into position to get photographs of SDI weapons-target intercepts), Steve is credited with one of the most graphic analogies I’ve ever heard: “It’s a little like trying to get the mail out of your mailbox while driving by at a hundred miles an hour.” That boy’s got serious class-scribe potential!

And That’s…The Rest of the Story. I told you in the last article that Dennis Brooks was medically retired and working in artificial intelligence software. After a phone call and a package/letter from Dennis I can tell you that’s the subplot; the real story is that Dennis has discovered the latent artist in himself! Until we work out the mechanics of how to get one of his pen-and-inks into the magazine you’ll have to trust me on this one; for now, the scribe gets to keep the spoils (three limited-edition 11x14s).

Another long-lost soul turned up since the last article; Dan Burda gave me an unexpected call last week and got me caught up on things. Dan’s big into garbage these days. Actually he’s designed and markets (through his own company) garbage shredders. He and his wife, Usula, and their two children are located in the Portland, OR area and doing great. As Dan pointed out, in good times and in bad…there’ll always be garbage (take this article for example)!

Helping Out Your Classmate. Reverend John Santner is shown here with happy newlyweds, Paul and Sheri Kent, who he helped to unite in Marriage last December. Paul sent the picture, and advised that, with thoughts of his classmates, the reception was held on the 75th floor of Seattle’s tallest building. I ask you, does the man standing next to the beautiful bride look like he’s thinking of his “college” buddies? The Kents are living in Seattle where Paul flies for Northwest. John is located in Kansas City…he works for God but I’m not sure exactly what he’s doing.

Speaking of Northwest airlines, two more ‘75ers are in that fold. Locally, Pete Strunk “heard the call” and left Allied-Signal (senior development engineer) here in Phoenix to domicile in Minneapolis this spring. I don’t care how much they pay, leaving Arizona for Minnesota during spring training is dumb! Actually the plan if for Pete, Kathe and the kids to keep their residence here in Mesa. Chris Glaeser has also been added to the roles of NWA in the Twin cities. You’ll recall that Chris had been at Edwards in F-16 LANTIRN testing; opted not to take the “opportunity” for more PME at Fort Leavenworth. He passed on word that Spence Roberts has also slipped the Air Force’s “surely bonds” and gone to work for Federal Express.

The Fundamentals of Cause and Effect. Have you noticed that we are kept very up-to-date on the comings and goings of Jim Carlson’s life. That’s because Jim writes the Scribe, Jim calls the Scribe, Jim sends pictures! And you…what have you done lately? Besides, this is newsworthy. Fifteen years after the ’75 rush, Jim will take a matrimonial trip to the Cadet Chapel next June! He and Katie met at Defense Intelligence school last year and have carried on a long distance (California to Germany) romance since. Also remember that, by the time you read this, Jim will be a fully-qualified naval A-6E aviator. He says the novelty of having a window seat is “too much” for an ex B-52 nav.

When You Care to Send the Very Best. Gary Siefert sent the AOG one of those new/improved Change-of-Address cards which allows us all to know not only that he’s just relocated to Wurtsmith AFB but also be aware that he’s the new chief, Tactics Division, 379th BMW. Also found one from Steve Powers. He’s hung up the blue suit and is in St. Louis training with TWA. All the rest of you toads sent the cheapo Post Office COA cards and therefore don’t warrant any mention at all.

There’s No Accounting for Judgment. That’ll about do it for now boys and girls; it’s been a (very thin) slice of heaven. I’ll leave you with the standard “get off your buns and write/call” plea with extra emphasis this time. Because I can foresee a rather nasty time-crunch in y life this fall. I’ve taken Chris Glaeser up on his offer to pen an article for y’all. I’ll be back for the Winter issue. That half of the class that isn’t employed by Northwest Airlines should get your inputs into me right away so I can pass them on the Chris. For the seven or eight dozen of you who do “work” for Northwest, look for Chris “out on the line” (read “next to the hotel pool’) and help him out. And all of you be careful what you let go undone, it’s late than you think.

 


 

Fall 1989

[Guest Columnist Chris Glaeser]

Unlike this airline bum, some people have to work for a living! Jeff Hackett asked me to guest write this column for him, as he was reaching a critical phase in the development of the LHX engineering simulation program I his work at the McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company in Mesa, AZ. As usual in complex development programs, everything slips except the delivery schedule, keeping Jeff busy around the clock this fall. Don’t worry, he’s promised to be back for the spring issue, so keep sending your class news to Jeff in Tempe.

Congrats: To the 22 new BTZ Lt Cols listed in the last issue of Checkpoints! The Class of ’75 has also had a number of recent nominees for various awards including Alvin Bready, who was the PACAF finalist for the ’89 Jabara Award, recognizing his superior work with the F-4G Wild Weasel program. Michael Straight was nominated for the Lt Gen Claire Lee Chennault award for his work ad chief of F-15 academics at the F-15 Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB, and Bentley Rayburn is one of four USAF finalists for the 1990 “10 Outstanding Young Americans” program.

Around the Conus: Bob and Elizabeth Herring are settling in Norfolk, VA, where Bob is serving his requisite HQ TAC/DRPS tour, working with aircrew chemical warfare equipment. In September, Bob went on a two-week TDY to Bahrain, of all places, to participate in a one-day conference. I thought boondoggle TDYs were supposed to go to nice places, Bob! Bob recently ran into Al Green at HQ TAC/DOSB, where Al works airspace issues. Mark and Cathy Holmes arrived at Minot AFB, ND in June where he is a B-52 pilot and flight commander along with Michael and Ann Reese at the 23rd Bomb Squadron. Mark was medically grounded after flying F-15s at Langley and has finally gotten back into the cockpit after six years and a tour at HQ MPC. Even though the Buff has as many engines as a four-ship of F-15s, Mark is enjoying being back in the air. Charles and Donna Molzon are at Offutt AFB, NE, where Charles is wearing two hats, working both FB-111 and B-2 programs when not on the golf course. Larry Bottomley had decided to hang up his blue suit and leave the active A.F. next spring after four years at Wright-Pat, where he worked logistics for the new LANTIRN program. James Heriot, MD has completed his studies at the University of Texas in San Antonio and is enroute to his residency at Scott Hospital in Temple, TX.

Now I know why class scribes hate change-of-address cards. Here is my best guess as to what those new addresses actually mean. Mark and Donna Wells are enroute to OSACEUR/MA in Belgium, where he will be one of SACEUR’s military assistants. Dan and Robin McCorry are at Ft. Belvoir, VA where he is a student at the Defense Systems Management Course, after finishing his year at the Army Command and General Staff College in June. Two schools in a row must be tough, Dan – better you than me!

Tim O’Connell moved from Sacramento, CA to Stafford, VA. John Caraway moved from Bedford, TX to Norman, OK. Marlo Mellum moved from Montgomery to San Antonio. Mark Donnelly moved fro Cheltenham, MD to Andrews AFB. Michael and Christy Marro moved from Montgomery to Luke AFB, AZ. Mike Dehart moved from Norfolk, VA to MacDill AFB, FL. Craig Christen moved from Edwards AFB, CA to Gunter AFB, AL while Larry and Michelle Fariss moved fro Gunter AFB to Abilene, TX. Donald Langford moved fro Vacaville, CA to Gunter AFB.

Charles Byrd moved to the Pentagon where he is an action officer for the Air Staff. Jeffrey Prater completed the Army Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, KS in June and moved to Woodbridge, VA.

Since joining Northwest Airlines last year, I have run into a surprising number of ’75 grads. A few of those names not seen in this column recently include James and Diane Osteen, who also flies F-4s in the Ellington ANG; Scott and Becky Hammond, a part-time F-15 pilot at Dobbins ANG, GA; and three of the remaining bachelors: Todd Zedjlik, living in Minneapolis and playing hockey for the NWA team; John Wissman, living near Sacramento; and Bob Thompson, last seen skiing at Lake Tahoe. I also recently talked with Tom Gravelle, who instructs for United Airlines in Denver and flies C-141s out of Norton, CA. Next time you fly, come on up to the cockpit – you will probably run into a classmate!


1989 Album

     

 

1. Bill Estelle in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park. (Bill Estelle)


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