Checkpoints 1991               Jeff Hackett

Winter 1991

Hangover Immunization. As a final “tune-up” for the pain and suffering associated with New Year’s morning I’m pulling this article together on New Year’s eve as my last official, conscious act of 1990. Although it’s somewhat dated by the publishing time delay, I’ll take this opportunity to send the Hackett family’s wishes for a peaceful, prosperous, and joyous New Year.

Deputy-Assistant Under-Secretary of Class News. I figure Chris Glaeser is deserving of some auspicious title since he’s been such a dedicated contributor during the past year! One of the two letters I got from him this time related the news from home: Karen is back into the books in pursuit of a degree in business, Chris is busy along with the rest of his ANG (NY) unit making the transition to the ADF F-16. But, apparently that’s not enough to completely fill his “free” time (after flying the line with Northwest), he’s also doing some consultation with Martin Marietta on the Block 60 F-16 (A-16). Leftover moments are consumed with three kids, the oldest of whom is looking forward to driving the car…to quote Chris – “Yipes!” Chris also passed updates on the happenings at:

Holloman AFB – Lance and Kathy Grace are at Holloman where Lance is commander of the 6586 Test Squadron. Lance indicated that this is a smoking deal since the wing commander is several thousand miles away at Eglin AFB…not hard to figure out! His family (three kids) likes the area a lot and Lance enjoys flying the F-15 and T-38. Bentley Rayburn put his eagles on in July and worked as the ADO for the F-15 wing until his recent departure for the National War College. Wayne Willis continues his extended stay in New Mexico as the AFOTEC F-15 pilot at Holloman. Walt Burns is also reported to be at Holloman in the Eagle-jet. Ben Phillips’ wife in in Alamogordo although Ben left in July for an ALO job in Korea. Don Lewis is in the running for most unusual duty as the commander of Det 1 of the Weapons Eval Group, where they fly F-100s before they turn them into drones.

Wright-Patterson AFB – Sam Ryals and wife, Ginger (married a year ago), are at WPAFB where Sam is a project manager/test pilot in the 4952nd Test Squadron flying the C-18 and the T-37. Craig Christen is down the street in the 4953rd, also working as a project manager/test pilot. Dan McCorry is the director of Systems Development for the National Aerospace Plane Joint Program Office located there at WPAFB. The job involves coordinating AF/NASA/Navy efforts on the NASP; loves the work with this advanced technology effort.

Elsewhere – Terry Markovich is a TPS instructor at Edwards, flying the C-130 and UV-18. Dave Dyche was last seen passing through Wright-Pat on his way to command a C-12 detachment in Korea.

Hey Senator, Can You Spare Me A B-52 Wing? According to Mark Posthumus, the decision to shut down B-52 operations at Anderson AB, Guam had to be born in a smoke-filled, back-alley, locked congressional meeting room – “being an overseas unit it didn’t have much priority (military necessity notwithstanding!)” With the Buffs gone, Mark’s job as commander of the radar tracking/scoring site ended and he’s now moved on to Ellsworth AFB, SD where he is the liaison between the 99th Strategic Wing and the 18 sites that provide ECM and weapon scoring to SAC’s bomber force. I won’t go into the details of how much Mark and his family liked Guam and all the really exciting things they did/saw; just consider his summary, “they practically had to blast me off the island!” Another classmate didn’t have a chance to grow such a deep roots. Phil Gronseth had the distinction of being the last B-52 guy to arrive at Anderson. He got the news that his squadron was deactivated during his flight to Guam! Phil wound up teaching at the Academy (wonder where his household goods wound up)! Mark and fellow Guam-ite (?) Chris Commeford landed in South Dakota. Also seen at Ellsworth: B-1 squadron commander, Joe Stein. Because the scribe doesn’t write to anyone (except the Checkpoints editor) I’ll use this paragraph to answer Mark’s question regarding Chuck Holland – Chuck’s an ACSC instructor at Maxwell these days.

From Mid-America To The Middle East, Check CNN For Updates. Anything I might say relating to potential Desert Shield duty will be hopelessly outdated by the time this gets to press, so I’ll stick to the historical. Marvin Cox sent me a letter in October covering a mini-reunion with Rick Lewallen (Gunter AFB), and Don Byers (US Air/ANG pilot). Marvin’s at Space Command following a one-year tour as a United Nations military observer in the Mid-East. As he wrote the letter he was about to leave for a TDY in support of Desert Shield. The Turner’s Christmas card was penned right after Jon’s return from a one-month rotation to Europe (Reserve C-130s) in support of Desert Shield. There were more enjoyable trips in 90; Jon and Diane went to Hawaii for their 15th anniversary.

Other Holiday Greetings. Mike and Diane Buckley’s Christmas letter made out suitcases run and hide! They’ve been up and down the Pacific Coast from Prudhoe Bay to Bolivia. Part of the travel related to Mike’s jobs as a captain with Alaska Air and a C-130 pilot in the Reserves. Part of it also had to do with the fact that Diane finally has the chance to get away now that she’s retired from the USAFR (LtCol). Not much moss growing under Mark Donnelly’s feet either! You may recall that Mark was flying C-20s out of Andrews AFB, taking trips to Paris, Prague, Warsaw, Olso, London, Tel Aviv, Cairo, Saudi Arabia…but now he’s moved up to “bigger” and “better” things; like the VC-25 (747, Air Force One). Mark let us know that John Tamkun and Steve Vreeland are “inbound” to the 99the MAS where they will join Pat Ash as C-20 pilots. Mark ran into Rex Hoey in Tel Aviv where he’s serving as air attaché. Selfishly, I’ll have to say we were real disappointed that Kent and Carole Traylor’s Christmas card contained the news that Kent will be going to the 1st TFW at Langley AFB on their return from Germany. We were hoping that they’d be PCSd to Luke AFB, but at least that’s where Kent will be going through F-15 requal training this Spring.

Last Call And Short Notes. Got a phone call from Pete Strunk just before the holidays. He’s still flying 727s with Northwest out of Detroit. He, Katie and the kids are still residing here in the Phoenix area where Katie has reentered the teaching profession (elementary school). Pete expects to be in a position to bid DC-9 first officer trips in the next couple of months. Last but not least was a very old (circa June 1990) note from Al Nash that’s been lost in my desk for several months. Al just wanted to assure me that not all ‘75ers are “deadbeats” (most have read one of my more terse columns). You’ll probably recall that Al was medically retired from the Navy (following a serious car accident 10 years ago this month) and is residing in Roswell, GA with a very nice lady he gets to call “Mom.” Can’t tell y’all how appropriate it’d be to add his address to your Christmas card (or your “hell, I feel like writing a letter to someone else other than the scribe” list).

Things To Do…Places To Go? Well, I gotta run out and see if the champagne is cold and/or if the mailman has delivered any Desert Shield USAFR call-up orders. In either case, you guessed it: it may be later than we think!

 


 

Spring 1991

In The Spring A Man’s Fancy Turns To… Something other than writing to/calling the Class Scribe! Hey, when the number of personal letters received and the number of (dreaded) change-of-address cards can be added together and still not reach double digits – things are sloooow. Actually, it may be a hidden blessing as life’s a little hectic now and there are spring training games that beckon. But do not count on this ambivalence to continue.

A Long-Lost Soul Has Resurfaced. Half of the correspondence I received came from Commander Mark Lenci, USN. Mark has recently (and literally) resurfaced after three years in San Francisco as exec officer on a nuclear fast-attack submarine. Let me correct that – Beverly and the three kids were in the Bay Area, Mark was in the bay (and beyond) quite a bit of the time. They’re now at the Naval War College, which gets a very glowing review from Mark. (Relative to being several hundred feet under water for weeks at a time, we ought not find that too surprising)! Mark admits to wearing the wrong color uniform to the USAFA-USNA game last Fall but his conscience made him put on “Once a Falcon, Always a Falcon” button. For those ‘75ers involved with the F-117 or B-2, Mark says he’d be glad to pass on some Stealth insights from “the folks who wrote the book on it starting over 80 years ago!”

The New-New Dorm. Chuck Schmeling dropped a note upon his return from DESERT STORM where he says his tent was like Vandenberg Hall east: six grads (’74-‘78). I’m betting that for old times’ sake they buffed the floor and hid stuff in the laundry bins! Chuck and Joe Bryant were flying with the 41st Electronic combat Squadron over there “putting ‘trons on target!” Chuck and family (Randi and two children) will be leaving Tucson for the Pentagon soon (geez, from one war to another).

Details To Follow (Maybe). I only have direct knowledge of three other classmates who were/are in the U.N. Resolution enforcement business. Brian Gomes (USAFR KC-10) was back and forth to the Mid-East, then quasi in place over there in Jan/Feb, and is now back in the back-and-forth mode. As I mentioned last article, Jon Turner (USAFR C-130) spent Thanksgiving hauling trash in that part of the world; he just (mid-March) went back for a six-week tour to reverse that process. Dave Haugen is in the same unit as Jon and is also helping in the mop-up. I should be able to get a detailed “debrief” from him as he will continue America West aircrew training here in Phoenix when his active-duty call-up concludes.

All I can say is that a ’76 grad McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company co-worker who went to the war told me as lunch today about the 45-minute phone call he made to his class scribe and showed me copies of the pictures he had sent him. What a novel idea…

Power Crowd. Used my AOG Board of Directors election material to chase down John and Jill Charlton while in Colorado o vacation last week (got to stay in touch with the people who are going to be at the decision-making level). John was about to get further into the decision-making level at NORAD when we talked; will be exec to the NORAD DO. John and Jill reported that there were many ’75 co-workers and neighbors; I won’t ruin the surprise or who or what they’re doing as I’m sure that, under John’s leadership, they’re in the process of sending me a detailed info package with pictures of everything!

At This Rate You’ll Never Get Rid Of Me! One of the ways I’m measuring my “success” as a scribe is by keeping track of how many of you have gotten your name published at least one during my tenure. We didn’t make a lot of progress this time. But I’m an optimist and expect the mailbox spider to get pushed to the back before the next deadline; yep, Mr. Spider…it’s late than you think!

 


 

Summer 1991

Helping The Scribe: This was to be the mother of all columns: two well-traveled classmates coming for a visit. I just knew there would be time to talk and get caught up on what they‘ve been doing and all the news of ’75ers they’ve seen. Unfortunately the weather’s been exceptionally nice, there was a pre-Fourth of July sale on beer, and when the editor’s deadline came in the midst of their visit – well, helping the scribe have fun is almost as good as helping him write the article. Now (what a surprise!) its the editor’s “drop dead" day plus a few and I’m jamming this together in the fashion of one of those “compose-as-you-type”

Next Time You Buy A Beer In California. Matt (Kip) Fong has left his job as a successful attorney to get into gas, alcohol, and hazardous waste…and it’s a good deal! Kip has accepted the appointment of California Governor Pete Wilson to become one of five members of the State Board of Equalization which deals with all those nasty-habit, non-income tax revenues. I received a number of Xerox copies of articles published in the California media; one with a picture of Kip, his wife, Paula, and Governor Wilson; one of Kip being sworn in by California secretary of state (who happens to be his mom); another of Kip taking a stroll through Chinatown with Vice President Quayle; and my favorite, Kip with his two children, Jade and Matthew II. I’m sure I speak for all in rendering our congratulations to Kip – it’s especially nice to see all the emphasis the governor and the media placed on his sense of integrity and duty.

The Long Of It. Kent Traylor’s visit was an extended one. He’s been out at Luke for the past couple of months getting back up to speed (of heat) in the F-15. He finished last week and headed off for Langley AFB where Carol and Meghan have already set up shop. Of course it’s always nice to see old friends, but it’s really something special when they make O-5 during their visit and have you out to the Club for the promotion party! That occasion brings a little more Class News as Kent was not the only ’75 grad wearing his hat in the bar that night – Tug McGraw, Mike Marro, and Ted Parker were also our hosts. Sorry to say I only got to speak with Tug, who is at Luke transitioning from the Eagle to the Beagle (Bomber-Eagle, F-l5E). The change will not involve a PCS however, as he is staying at Elmendorf and going into a new squadron that’s being formed there. I can tell you from hearsay that Ted is an F-16 IP at Luke; I’m clueless on Mike. (Maybe he should make a 25¢ local phone call?) Also spoke to Dave Wallace, who had just arrived from the NORAD desk-warrior world for F-16 training enroute to Hill AFB (more on ’75ers at NORAD later).

If A Picture Paints A Thousand Words, We’re 2,000 Words Short! Kent wanted us all to see a picture of him, Julius Hargrove, and Andy Dichter that was taken six months ago in Germany...only problem is it’s apparently still in Germany with Andy/ Julius (a case of withholding evidence of some crime)? l know these guys are still flying F-16s out of Ramstein AB as I got another eye-witness report from Jon Turner who saw them during a mass briefing for the first Kurdish airdrop relief efforts. Jon told me that he had a great picture of Dave Haugen, Mike Witherspoon and himself who were (recalled) on active duty in that area for over three months. As I said, their unit (C-130s out of Colorado Springs) was involved in a lot of post-Desert Storm trash hauling and in those very first humanitarian flights. Unfortunately, that photo is also MIA.

The Short Of It. Our shorter visitor (height and duration) was (LtCol selectee) Chuck Holland who was between assignments at Maxwell APB. Chuck’s been an ACSC instructor down there but will be returning to the other side of the instructor’s desk this summer as he was one of the first 25 accepted into a course of study called School of Advanced Aerospace Studies (SAAS). As l understand it, this will be a year or so of in-depth study regarding the historical applications of air power and is meant to facilitate placement of officers on (HQ-type) staffs who can help The Boss put the current situation in context of our past experiences. Chuck had only great things to say about ACSC and the last couple of years he’s spent in Alabama. Other news from the Heart of Dixie: John Noetzel will be one of Chuck’s SAAS classmates; John Loucks, Alan VanEpps, and Jim Foreman are also on the ACSC staff. One other tidbit from Chuck: Lee Colburn is headed for Cannon AFB and back into the F-111

Maybe He’ll Be Better Behaved Now That He’s The Groom. l’ll take the Fifth on any gory details, but warn anyone who becomes involved in Mike Lischak’s upcoming wedding that I’ve seen this man play the part of groomsmen, (One hint: ladies, leave your furs at home – the therapist couldn’t be sure when Mike may have another relapse)! Yes, the lady has been found (Lee Anne), the date and place (West Point!) have been set and all able-bodied men capable of swinging a saber are invited to join in the festivities. Seriously, Mike is looking for saber bearers; contact him at the Alconbury chief of Aeromedical Services office to volunteer (or to hear more about the fur coat “thing”).

They Love To Fly…But Writing The Scribe Is Another Thing. Ken Finn waited a mere 16 years and one day to jot a note to the scribe. Think of what the next stamp will cost him! I liked the way Ken phrased it, “…as we approach the no-longer thirty-something age, parenting teenage children, and seeing our broad minds swapping adjectives with our narrow waists." Ken seems to be weathering the storm O.K, Cris, (his wife of 14 years), and two girls, Jenny and Becky, have indulged his latent “need” for another sports car. When he’s not there in Monument (just north of USAFA), Ken is a senior 727 first officer with Delta out of Dallas. Also in and out of Dallas: Jeff Neumann and Jim Dearien (757/767 F.Os) and Fred Tasker (MD-88 F.O.). Ken corresponded routinely with Scott Hente during Desert Storm and advises that anything we may want to know about what a Patriot Battery launch looks like up close, Scott can fill us in! Scott got home in March (must be waiting for some pictures to get developed before he writes his Class Scribe).

Mistaken Identity. Kevin Donovan claims that the person he and his NORAD coworkers are huddled around is Nino Baldacci in drag; I say the smiles on our classmates’ faces tell a different story. Dave Wallace (on Nino’s immediate right) was celebrating his escape from NORAD as this picture was taken. That’s LtCol selectee Dave Beatty peeking out from behind Dave. Kevin says Dave had “just returned from the Big One; he personally ran the Scud campaign and will be receiving the Medal of Honor for saving the world’s oil supplies.” (This is what happens when you don‘t personally write the scribe with factual information)! On the far left is Bill Kurey. Bill will be following Dave, heading out of town and back into flying. For him, F-15s at Bitburg. l told you in the last article that (LtCol selectee) John Charlton (behind Nino on the other side) has taken up post as NORAD J-3 exec which sounded a lot better than the way Kevin put it, “he’s become one of ‘them’” Kevin is, of course (literally and philosophically), on the far right but made the LtCol’s list despite that and his realization that he’s “just a loggie in a fly-boy world.”

As It Turns Out This Was A “Mother” Of A Column To Get Out. But we did avoid the C-of-A cards, got some photographic filIer, and heard from/about some of our previously lost souls. By the way, congratulations to all who’ll be trading in those gold leaves for silver ones in the near future! For now it‘s your typical Phoenix summer night and the temperature’s just slipped below 100° – jeez, it‘s later than I thought!

 


 

Fall 1991

Hope Somebody In The AOG Office Knows C.P.R. For the first time in the six years I’ve been penning this missive, my input will be on the editor’s desk before the “drop-dead, get-on-your-knees-and-beg-me-to-include-it” deadline! But, lest you think I’m suffering a mid-life behavioral change, I should explain that Mister/Major Hackett is on his Annual Tour at Hill AFB without a lot to do on a Sunday afternoon. As for your behavior – relax, it hasn’t changed either; the mailbox spider only had to dodge one letter this summer.

Unfinished Business. I inadvertently left Steve Groathouse off the list of hosts at the Luke AFB O-5 Promotion Party that we went to in May. I didn’t actually see Steve (just drank his beer) but did find the copy of the Luke newspaper with the names of the promotes/party hosts a couple of weeks after I wrote the last article. LtCol Groathouse’s name was listed under the 405TFW which means he’s some kind of cheese in the F-l5E world out there.

One of the two long-lost photos I mentioned last time has been submitted for our review! We were lucky enough to have dinner with Dave Haugen several weeks ago and shamed him into finding his copy of the picture and sending it to me. From the “if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all" department; the occasion of the rendezvous was to see Dave off to Colorado Springs where he has reestablished his residency after being furloughed by America West. In Dave’s words, “Go figure – I’ve worked for three airlines and all three have gone into bankruptcy!" I trust we’ll all be keeping Dave and any other classmate going through a tough time in our thoughts and prayers.

It’d Be Like Trying To Recount What That Girl Whispered In Your Ear When You Took Her Out To The Black Forest After The Graduation Ball! Justice would not be served if I attempted to paraphrase any of Rick Layman’s letter (as a former scribe he just has a way with words) so here are selected excerpts:

“You’ll probably be set upon with several letters full of war stories from the Gulf War. (WRONGO! - jlh) Fort McNair wasn’t exactly the best place to make contributions to the effort, but I guess killing trees (also known as “pushing paper” – jih) has its place too. ‘What did you do in the Great Gulf War, Grandpa?’ says the youngster. ‘Well, I wrote six double-spaced five-to-seven-page papers and did a twelve-page research project on the national security implications on the development of a maritime strategy in Czechoslovakia.'

“Bob Akers and I were classmates at ICAF over the past year... Bob was apparently on an athletic scholarship, playing All Star Softball and being selected as a member of the ICAF Party Team...I, on the other hand, pursued academic excellence (sure I did) and generally hung out...in search of a means of offsetting some of the strain associated with the harrowing school experience, I got married in November. I’m not really sure how it all happened. I think the headline reads, ‘Aspiring young lady traps unsuspecting officer into lifetime commitment.’ Angela’s story, however, carries a bit of different headline, ‘Nasty and aging lieutenant colonel in search of fleeting youth pursues vibrant and well-built young blonde until she relents.’ (l’m thinking Angela’s story is closer to the truth! - jlh).

“Bentley Rayburn was also attending school in the area at the State Department's Senior School. He has gone to TAC to be exec to General Loh. Bob and I have been assigned to less lofty positions befitting our accomplishments – Bob’s in OSD Acquisition and I’m in the START Division of the Joint Staff, having arrived just in time to participate in the treaty process prior to the historic signing in Moscow.

"As you can imagine, being in the Pentagon is like attending a class reunion. Steve Brown, Roy Rice, Jerry Levesque, Dan Burkett, and Larry Bryant are all in J-8. Randy Davis is slugging it out as exec in SAF/AQ, as is Dave Fleming…I have heard that Flamer is so proud of his having been a navigator before attending UPT that he’s sponsoring an effort to make it legal to wear both ratings on your dress uniform. (As a guy who’s never even seen a dress uniform, I’d like to hear more about this; waiting for your letter Dave/Ann - jlh) Paul Narzinski is also in AQ, Jess Pitts is in the Guard Bureau. Al Colley, Jim Fellows, and Rick Pyatt were all in SAF/LL, working the Hill, but Rick has recently left active duty, Duane Jones is in DOD IG at Crystal City, and Dick Webber will be in the ICAF Class of ’92; Dale Meyerrose is going to National War College. Jed Vandendries, Steve Redmann, John Oleksey, Joe Siniscalchi, Chris Soto, Joe May, Steve Pitotti, are all in XO, and Dan Falvey recently reported to LE. Butch Byrd is about to return to the Skunk Works (XO Strategy office) from his vacation at American Enterprise lnstitute. Bill Davis, recently arrived, will be there with Butch." (end quote; now that‘s what I call a letter! - jlh).

Continuing The Role Reversal. Having had someone else essentially write the article for me this time leaves me with enough energy to, for once, give a little news about the Hacketts. The good news is that we’re all in good health and roaring up on our 15th anniversary (still the happiest married people I know). Debby’s career continues to hasten down the “golden girl” track – now a supervisor in U.S. Fraud Operations for American Express, making life unpleasant for cardholders that never got or have forgotten their honor code training, Tiffany is in seventh grade, excelling in school and dance (13 hours a week at the studio!). She‘s a little taller than her mom and just as good lookin’ – I’ve been practicing my most “vicious" BCT cadre glare/snarl in anticipation of the first boy that comes to our door! As many of you know, the bad news is that life in the military/industrial complex is unhappy and, as it “scum contractor” who’s also an IMA Reservist in the “over-staffed" AFLC, I think I’m getting an extra ration. For now, both McDonnell Douglas Helicopter and the F-16 Program Office here at OO-ALC are still convinced that they want me to keep on “keepin’ on” but I have some “lines in the water” and your next letter to the class scribe (you know – the one you’re just about to go write) may wind up somewhere other than Tempe, AZ.

It’d Be Like Washing Down Filet Mignon With a Warm Bottle Of Schlitz! So I won’t bore you with the no-notes-in-the-margin, less-than-interesting COA cards. Hope that by the time this gets published we’ll all be making plans to go see USAFA in the Holiday Bowl as they celebrate their first WAC championship. We should know more on that after next week’s game at BYU where Debby and I will be in attendance/screaming our heads off. Of course the timing of my Annual Tour to Hill AFB, coinciding with two Falcon football games in Utah in a three-week period was purely coincidental. Believe that and it really is later than you think!


1991 Album

     
 
 

1. Tom Darner, during his tour as the F-117 Test Squadron Ops Officer.  

2. Bill Estelle in southern Spain just after tilting (unsuccessfully) at windmills. (These are the same windmills which served as inspiration for Cevantes in his novel Don Quixote).

3. Rich Finke (Front Row, Third from Left) First Swamp Fox combat sortie of Desert Storm, day one, 20-ship of SC F-16's (John Marshall).


Checkpoints