Checkpoints 1990               Jeff Hackett

Winter 1990

What A Great Idea…If Only It Had Worked! I thought I’d close out the decade in grand style; pysch myself up watching Air Force win the Liberty Bowl and bang out the class letter in the afterglow. Of course you all know that the Falcons didn’t exactly play their greatest game of the year, what you didn’t know was during the game the kitchen sink backed up and (during one of Phoenix’s three rainstorms of the entire year) we discovered a leak in our roof…and now, you know part of the rest of the story. Rest of the rest of the story to follow.

Even in my rotten state of mind I’ll remember to say thanks to Chris Glaeser for sitting in on the last article; not only did he write the article, he even sent me a little note to say “it’s sure not as easy as it looks.” Does this look easy to anyone?!?

Long Distance. As in telephone, Barbara Johnson called me from her and Mike’s new home in Atlanta. I think she was just desperate for any diversion from unpacking boxes! Mike has said goodbye to the JAG in the Air Force and is now a labor litigations attorney for the firm there in Atlanta (yes I checked, he argues for misunderstood management). Their son Josh was adapting rapidly, as six-year-olds do, to his new surroundings.

As in far away, Kent Traylor came through with a little news from Germany. He's doing fine, weathering the hubbub associated with all these political changes, even slipped into an F-16 for all too rare flight recently. I think it’s fair to say Carole’s in awe of how the Army runs things but continues to move up the ladder in her work. Jack Barton works in the same area with Kent and I guess Don Snelgrove is somewhere nearby in something called the USAFE Warrior Preparation Center. (Is this European campus of USAFA)?

As in far, far away; got a Christmas card from Ollie Lorenz who is on a tour with 7AF at Osan AB, Korea. Since he’s bought everything he didn’t need and is now seeing if he’ll last out the last six months. Still not married, “no one will put up with me.”

How Late Was It? The last Checkpoints was sooo late in getting mailed that I actually got a copy of the Cadet Wing Dodo first. But that’s okay, even without the inspiration y’all did pretty good job in getting the word to me. Let’s start with the pictures; like this one of Jim Mahoney and his September bride, Cyndy. They obviously have lots to smile about not the least of which is their Caribbean honeymoon that ended one week before Hugo went whistling through. Jim’s with the 4477th at Nellis.

Ugh, no good-looking ladies in this one! Just five Armed Forces Staff college graduates (circa June 1989). In standard military left-to-right fashion we have Dave Beatty who was bound for HQ NORAD via an on-the-scene vacation to celebrate the French Revolution (must have been planning a rough go at it, I heard he took a nurse along). Charlie Heald may just now be getting used to stateside life after six years in Europe (F-111s at Lakenheath and HQ USAFE at Ramstein). By now he’s down home at Seymour-Johnson AFB in the F-15E. That’s Willy Drow front and center on his way to JCS/J-3 duty in Washington. In a black-and-white photo you can imagine that Butch Byrd’s leaves are silver (Lt Col selectee at the time of the photo), going off to USAF/XO. I imagine he’ll need the rank to qualify for snack bar officer. Credit for the photo and insights goes to Mike Dehart (far right) who I’m sure just didn’t have enough to do having just gotten married (Liz) and “got three boys in the deal...” Mike was off to Special Ops command (J6)…wonder what interesting stories he has to tell these days? One other note came in the letter: seems Jerry Manthei (USN) was seen on his way out of Oceana (A-6s) and headed for a tour at the Pentagon.

No More Pictures, Put Your Crayons Up. Steve Farnham put together a fill-in-the-blank letter for some of the guys up in Alaska. Good initiative Steve! He was rather modest and only included sparsest info on himself; working for Alaskan Air Command in DOOT. Wife Sherry. Jim Burling recently visited… went fishing…”caught the big one” (didn’t that used to mean something else)? Pat Ash was chief of Stan/Eval for the 962 AWACS up North but is now in C-12s out of Andrews. He didn’t say anything positive or negative about joint spouse so we’ll have to assume it worked out for his wife, Maj. Cindy Leas (USAF nurse), to get to D.C also. Pat was able to pass on word that 1) Gary Janelli, wife and two daughters are residing in Panama City, (FL?); Gary’s now a FedEx 747 second officer and, 2) Mark Shope was (at that time) about to leave Elmendorf AFB and the Air Force to go practice (OB/GYN) in/around Seattle. Rudy Roth was staying on at the Elmendorf Hospital where he’s the chief of Dermatology although he said that he, Virginia and the two boys were going to spend most of the summer on leave.

Bob Lynn conveyed only that he is in Stan/Eval (what unit?), that he has a wife and three children, that he is alive and has no further comment. OK. Stan Collins is chief of Safety for the 616 Military Airlift Group. On the line for “Wife/Kids” information, Stan noted that he had “1/2…respectively” no ambiguity there. It was also able to say that he had seen Dr. Bill Clark up at the Elmendorf hospital. If I interpret it correctly, Hoss Erving also has one wife and two children; he’s the chief of Combat Plans (for AAK?) and is counting minutes until he’ll be back in the cockpit (Summer ’91).

Hoss dropped a lot of names on the "Classmates-You've-Seen-Lately" line but gave no details. Hoss, this is a first cousin to the dreaded change-of-address cards and grounds for keeping you at a desk for the next 3,000 years. The last of the Alaskan crowd to respond to Steve’s prompt was Mark Risi who is an assistant ops officer with the 17th TAS. He’s also married with two children (do they issue you a wife and two children when you go to Alaska)? He informs us that Bruce Mitchell is now with Ford Aerospace in Colorado Springs but is somehow associated with the Air Force Reserves in Alaska.

Two Cards Worth Mentioning. The first was an informative change-of-address card (yes there is such a thing if you take the time) from Jim McBride. He’s working on his eighth year in Michigan and says he’s still not used to the winter but enjoys work as the Director of Strategic Planning for Comerica (Bank holding Company). Youngest of three children started kindergarten this year. The second card was a birth announcement from Dave and Barb Commons.

Your Most Important New Decade’s Resolution was of course to call/visit with the Class Scribe on a regular basis (and if you do just half as well with that as you do some of your other resolutions, I’m set). Just remember if you don’t straighten up your act now you’ll be looking at a New Century’s resolution… it’s later than you think!

 


 

Spring 1990

Putting the Scribe on Spring Break. You guys (wives, live-ins, and parents included) have outdone yourselves this time…one letter, one stinking letter! But the weather’s beautiful and the baseball lockout is over so I’ll take a hint and make very brief.

Deja ‘Vu. (And my 3° German instructor thought I wouldn’t learn a thing)! Hasn’t it been the case once or twice before that the only faithful correspondent I’ve been able to reference is Jim Carlson? Nonetheless, Jim and daughter Jennifer have relocated to the (San Francisco) Bay area. Says he’s been busy with Naval Reserve flying, moving, engagement, job change, etc. All that and he still had time to write the scribe; imagine that!

Close Encounter of the 75th Kind. I’m not sure if Rich and Mary Chanick get credit for searching me out or if we all just had a telepathic urge for Mexican food/Margaritas and gravitated to the same spot. They’re doing great, their business is still thriving (including the “tough” duties like being sent to Spain for consulting); but, to them, the really big news was that they’re getting a new dog!

The Change-of-Address Card Novelette. Don Henney saved the price of mailing a whole letter by jotting down his life’s history in the margin of the COA card! Don and six other classmates (Scott Arnott, George Cook, Mike Goyden, Rod Gunther, Steve Pitotti, and Tom Skillman) are in the last six-month (PCS w/families) Armed Forces Staff College. Don indicates that, based on the good time they’re having this is not going to be a change for the better. Other things I picked up on the COA cards: Craig Matt and Nancy are on their way to England for an RAF Exchange Tour; Bob Eaton’s moved down I-25 (from Colorado springs) to Albuquerque (Kirtland?); Rick Douglas has returned from the Pacific – now in Newport News (Langley?); Marvin Cox is on his way overseas (FPO NY); Jim Schuman’s outa’ Tacoma – into Eagle River, AK; Randy Chapman headed west to Henderson, NV (Nellis?); and Randy Mason has moved to Valrico, FL (?)

Let’s Validate the Optimist in Me. Pull out that old typewriter, PC, pen or Crayola and jot me a note about what’s happening…I have to believe that if I’m bored writing about a handful of folks, you’re probably on the verge of tears reading about ‘em! For now, thanks for the spring break; it’s been a hectic time for Debby, Tiff and I, so a two-page article was a bit of a relief. Come summer in Phoenix though and I’ll be ready for a deluge of information; come on, give it a shot, it’s later than you think.

 


 

Summer 1990

Exactly What Was It I Said? After crawling by with your basic next-to-nothing input for a couple of columns I now find myself swimming in a sea of info from a number of the faithful. I looked for the pattern of motivation amongst those who wrote/called but couldn’t find one. WAIT! By chance do all you guys have leather flying jackets?

Unfinished Business. Don Henney found a stamp, sent me a whole letter and gave me the expanded word on those face-less, news-less Armed Forces Staff College names from the last article. Left to right and their post graduation (July ’90) assignments: Don Henney: commander, Comptroller Sqd (Whiteman AFB); Steve Pitotti: HQ USAF/XOXWP (Pentagon); Rod Gunther: NATO Staff, Tactical Leadership Program (Belgium); Tom Skillman: NATO Staff, Allied Air Forces Central Europe (Germany); George Cook: stock broker, Merrill Lynch in Oklahoma City (George was attending school as a Reservist); Scott Arnott: NATO AWACS (Germany); and Mike Goyden: Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff (Offutt AFB).

Denny Brooks wrote to advise us that we’d look for a long time trying to find Rick Douglas at Langley AFB as I had guessed from last quarter’s change-of-address cards. Rick’s actually involved with the Coast Guard’s Search and Rescue School in Virginia. Denny also passes along a little family (brother-in-law) news: Greg and Renee Sheridan have returned to Dover AFB where Greg is back in the C-5. Denny sent some uncaptioned photos from a late 1989 Class of ‘75 Colorado Springs mini-reunion. Most of the 35 or so faces look (oddly) familiar but I'll leave them out as the pictures were a little too dark. If any of the rest of those who attended have any clear, bright photos or dark, sordid stories about this event please forward them at once.

(Some of Our) Tax Dollars Well Spent! Remembering my mech degree and my vocation, Denny included a note about how one of the EM-492 classes this year designed, fabricated and tested some “high-tech next-generation” walking sticks (canes) for Denny. He didn’t say if they include any of the “James Bond” extras, but you won’t catch me giving Denny any lip while he’s got it in hand!

Long Distance Calling. Talked on the phone with three classmates recently; Jon and Diane Turner were getting ready for a “business” trip to Hawaii (I’m working for the wrong company). Jon noted that he, Mike Witherspoon, and Dave Haugen were recently crewed together on a (Reserve) C-130 mission out of Pete Field. Jon also mentioned running into J.T. Wolter in Dallas where J.T. was doing some 747 2nd officer training for United Airlines. My corporate-brother Ken Smith called from McAir a couple of weeks ago. He’s working on the A-12 electronics package and looking forward to a new baby (is he younger than the rest of us)? Ken passed along the word that Clint Waltman is/was at Naval War College. Kent and Carole Traylor are in their final year in Germany, seeing history firsthand… not the Wall, all the things Meagan’s getting into. Still don’t know exactly where they’re going but did know that Ollie Lorenz was inbound to the office where Kent’s working at Allied Air Forces Central Europe.

When There’s Absolutely Nothing Better To Do – Write the Scribe! While pulling an all night tour as the senior controller at US TRANSCOM Command Center, Mark Volcheff got bored enough to write me a letter. Whatever time it was written, it contained really great news! As of July, Mark will take the reins as squadron commander of the 52nd Military Airlift Squadron (C-141) at Norton AFB. Mark noted that he and Chip Diehl will be somewhat “passing ships” at Norton as Chip will be leaving an ops officer job to go to Air War college. Speaking of school. Mark knew that Dan Burkettt was just about to finish National War College; bound for a stint with USSPACECOM or the Joint Staff. Mark lets us know that Tom Finn is toughing it out as the ops officer for Det 1, 89th MAW at Hickam AFB, flying DVs around the Pacific and keeping countless golf course and beaches safe for the Free World. While at home, Tom and wife Gail are watching after newly-arrived son, Brian. Mark’s final insight is on Spence Roberts who has left active duty for the skies of Federal Express. I should say “skies and computer screens” as Spence has been heavily involved in the software fusing FedEx’s system with those of Flying Tigers.

The Scribe Stuff Gets In Your Blood (Kind of Like The Plague). Guest Scribe Chris Glaeser couldn’t help himself, he had to pass on some more news. He knows he’ll be upgrading to copilot with Northwest this summer but at the time he wrote wasn’t sure about which aircraft. In his part-time blue suit (green bag) job with the New York ANG he knows he’ll be upgrading from the F-4D to the F-16. Chris advises that astronaut Brian Duffy has been assigned as the pilot on STS-45 (Atlas-1 atmospheric science mission) scheduled for mid ’91. Dick Webber took over as commander of the 508 SMS at Whiteman AFB last fall. “Foster” and Debbie Bitton are settled in England by now where he’ll be returning to the A-10 cockpit. In that same general part of the world, Mike and Cindy Roznovsky are in Germany doing duty as executive officer to the 4th Allied Tactical Air Force chief of Staff; a busy life of traveling and keeping the U.S trade balance out of whack. Chris passed on the good news that Rod Kallman successfully negotiated an ACES II ejection seat ride out of an F-16 just before Christmas last year. Airline pilot news (a.k.a. “bar talk”): Mike Gudmundson has opted for civilian flying world and is a DC-9 copilot with Northwest. While Mike’s getting settled in, Kay and the four little Gudmundsons are living in Shreveport. Art Billingslea is flying right seat on the Airbus A-320 for Northwest (from Chris’ glowing words it’s easy to see that this is a job to be envied in the world of airline pilots – “fly-by-wire, side-stick controller, glass cockpit, etc”). Art and Wendy live in Ann Arbor with their three children. Larry Bottomley was hired by American Airlines this spring. Finally, Chris pointed out that I’m the only ‘75er to be quoted in Aviation Week this year.  Mike McClendon (American airlines copilot) has been involved in developing and testing new types of ILS-Flight Management System coupled approaches (see the May ’90 AWST).

Got a short note passed through the AOG office advising Jim Heald is now the director of Student Training at USAF Test Pilot’s School.

Parting Shots. Scott Hente: by your own admission, we’ve waited years for a letter from you…you’ll have to wait three more months to see it published. It was a great letter folks (bits and pieces on 21 classmates) but if I put it all in we may get chopped altogether for violating editor’s rules on length (Do NOT stop writing; this is a problem I can deal with)!

As for now, the high temperature here in Phoenix hasn’t been less than 115 degrees in a week, I’ve got a killer day at the office tomorrow, Tiffany’s first orthodontics appointment is next week, the family went off to bed hours ago, and I’m suddenly aware that it’s much, much later than we think.

 


 

Fall 1990

Road Show. Mister/Major (USAFR) Hackett coming to you from Hill AFB, UT; for now this is simply my annual tour but who knows where the winter column may originate from! Mobility bags and sunscreen are packed. I could start out by telling you how your scribe is sparing no expense to bring you news of our classmates (but you’d probably find out that, like a bonehead, I left my folder of notes and letters at home and had to have Deb FedEx them to me). Or I could make a point of telling you how I’m searching out classmates at every turn (but you’d probably figure out that means I’m hanging out in the O-Club bar a lot).

Perseverance Is (Occasionally) Rewarded! Steve Duresky hailed me down in the O’Club bar last Friday. Only had a few moments to talk before Steve had to catch the red-eye back to Washington, DC but he did have time to update me on his job at the Pentagon where he’s responsible for “everything that can be dropped (or shot) from an airplane toward the ground.” I didn’t take notes, but I’m sure he told me that he and his wife have three children. Actually clearing that up will probably help motivate Steve to follow-up on his promise to send me a letter with news and pictures of “several dozen” ‘75ers that are at the Pentagon. Last tidbit from Steve: Dale Meyerrose made O-6. Congratulations Dale!

It’s Like Waiting For The Continuation of “Twin Peaks.” I promised you and Scott Hente that I’d get to his letter in this issue. Scott’s letter was dated 12 June and was postmarked “Offutt AFB” where he’s spent 10 of the 15 years since graduation! He’s currently tending to computer/ADP/mission planning matters within the Bomber Operations office at HQ SAC (although zero of his 4000 flying hours are in bomber aircraft)! The logistics snafu I cited in the first paragraph prevents me from including Scott, Lyn and their two kids. Is this another “hook” for a follow-up letter, or what!

It must be time for those of you still in blue to gravitate to the various and sundry places called “Headquarters;” Scott mentioned seven classmates there at Offutt with him. Chuck Molzon and Greg Berlan are in the same office (they with the bomber backgrounds, Chuck in FB-111s, Greg in Buffs). Gary Shugart is the king of the “talking heads” (briefers) within the ops organization at HQ. I’ll admit to not having the slightest idea what SIOP planning is but we can hope that Rich Wilson will write and tell us what it is his office does. Dean Spraggins and the Air Force can’t agree about his medical qualifications to fly (following his B-1 ejection); in the meantime he’s working in SAC’s Test Directorate. The only one to still smell of JP-4 is Collin Flynn who is ops officer for the RC-135 squadron at Offutt.

Over Here…Over There…Oughta There. Scott updates us on Dick and Kim Webber (missile squadron commander at Whiteman) and Dave Herlong (fresh out of F-16s to teach psychology at the Zoo). On the other side of the Atlantic – Sandy Terry is on the 7th Air Division (SAC) Staff in Europe. Frank and Jan Dressel are also in Germany (Zweibrucken) where he’s flying the Sherpa, “world’s ugliest airplane.” Finally, Scott reports on two who have moved into the world of commercial aviation: Frank Dubuisson with FedEx and Jeff Krumeich with USAIr.

The Long-Term Effects Of Carpeted Dorm Rooms. My guess is that, because they weren’t subjected to buffers and pastewax on a regular basis, the guys in CWDS-37 had time to sit around and plan a 15-year reunion while we were still at school. The letter and picture documenting this week-long June event came from Joe and Marcia Facenda in Norcross, GA. Bob and Sandy Lynn won the “longest distance traveled” award as they came from Elmendorf on their way to D.C. for a housing hunt (PCS in August). Ed and Jenny Wilcock placed second, arriving from Travis AFB where he is flying C-130s. Bronze medal goes to Ken and Kris Finn who came in on the company plane (Delta Airlines) from Monument, CO. Texas was represented by American Airlines pilot Jim Gridley and his wife, Stevie, who winged in from Dallas. The East coast contingent was represented by Greg and Jennifer Frick who came down from the Pentagon. Mike and Cindy Coman provided the Southern charm, straight from Charleston AFB where Mike’s flying C-141s. The hosts (Joe and Marcia) report that a very good time was had by all and that life has returned to normal in and around Atlanta (where Joe works for a software company).

There Definitely Is A Doctor In The House! Got a news release from Jefferson Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University (PA) announcing the graduation of Jim Rorabaugh, MD. Jim, wife Angela, and their son Nathan are headed off to residency (general surgery) at Wilford Hall. Also heard from the chief of Aeromedical Services at RAF Alconbury, Mike Lischak. Mike has a year left in his current assignment and then it’s off to…he says he’s not sure; maybe he’ll put his status as a NASA-certified flight surgeon to use.

It’s Never Too Late To Start A Bad Habit. Make Matte waited 15 years to write his first letter to the scribe! He and his wife, Dana, live in New Jersey (the nice part?) with their two daughters. Mike keeps busy as corporate VP for ADT Security Systems and as an accomplished marathon runner (talk about B-A-D habits)! He passes on word that Bill “Howie” Hughes is a very successful corporate attorney in Milwaukee. Bill and wife, Peggy have four children including a set of twins. Mike has recently seen Terry and Peggy Young (at the Liberty Bowl), Russ Trinter (in Allentown, PA), and Dave Schmitz (pilot for Northwest out of Detroit).

4000 Ft. BRKN, 12,000 Ft. OVRCST And Lots Of Hot Wind. Dave Commons scrawled a pretty lengthy letter on the back of his weather briefing sheet while enroute from Detroit to Orlando (727 2nd officer with Delta). Barb and the boys are doing well in Cincinnati; Dave can be found there, in the air with Delta, or at Rickenbacker ANGB flying A-7s. His updates: Tom and Vicki Popp (w/1 girl) are in D.C. where he’s on the XO Command Briefing team, Butch Byrd and Rick Layman also at the Pentagon “somewhere in the XO community.” Bob and Pam Walden (w/2 girls) have left active duty to take a job flying with Delta. Doug Williams is a partner in a Columbus, OH law firm and a part-timer (ANG/Reserve) in the JAG Office at Rickenbacker (knowing Dave, this could come in handy)! Charlie Simmons is an MD-88 1st Officer with Delta, living in Montgomery, AL where he also flies F-16s in the ANG.

Sometimes You Win, Sometime I Lose. You’ve done another masterful job and we’ve avoided the dreaded COS cards (not a single note in the margins in this stack either). As for me, it’s off to the “slab” (VOQ room bed). I swear the bodies in Salt Lake City Morgue are laying on something softer! Then tomorrow, it’s the once-a-year good deal aerobics run and I’m guessing that on the last lap I’ll be huffing and puffing and thinking that it’s much, much later than I thought!


Unit Insignia

     
496th Tactical Fighter Squadron    
Hahn AB, Germany    

1990 Album

     
   
 

1. Bill Estelle at the stepped Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara, Egypt while on temporary duty with the Egyptian Air Force.  2. Jim Blissit (Rear, Third from Left) with the 496th Tactical Fighter Squadron “Cave Canem” Big Dogs C Flight, Hahn AB, Germany.


Checkpoints