Checkpoints 1992               Jeff Hackett

Winter 1992

Like Coal In My Stocking – It’s A Holiday Tradition! The stockpiling of bowl game munchies is on hold, my new Christmas toys will have to wait... there’s a Class Article to write! But this one should be easier than most as you guys and a gal (no, not a sex change – a classmate’s wife) kept the mailbox spider jumping!

Look! Up In The Sky! It’s A Bird…It’s A Plane! Actually, depending on the NASA and Checkpoints schedulers, it may right now be our classmate Brian Duffy! As of this writing the ATLAS-I shuttle mission (space lab science cargo), STS-45, is scheduled to launch from and recover to the Kennedy Space Center in March 1992 with Brian as the pilot. God’s speed to Brian and the rest of the crew!(Extra Below)

Your Picture On The Cover Of The Rolling Stone. Lance Grace sent me two very nice 8" x l0", color, glossy photos (suitable for framing and/or magazine covers) of himself, Ben Phillips and Wayne Willis. Sorry Lance, I didn’t have enough pull to get this on the cover of Checkpoints but I'm still waiting to hear back from Modern Parenting!

I made the editorial judgment to include this, the “After” photo (depicting our classmates with their wives. 10 children and “Texas Cadillacs”) rather than the "Before" picture (three middle-aged guys standing in front of a 1974 Corvette) – call it artistic taste. Lance is the 6586 Test Squadron commander at Holloman AFB, flying F-16s and T-38s. Wayne is flying F-15s and T-38s as part of an AFOTEC project there. And Ben is with American Airlines and living in the Chicago area. Lance notes that Walt Burns is also at Holloman (F-15 Squadron Ops officer) but was not allowed in the picture because he only has two children and drives a “little old" Jeep! No mention of Don Lewis’s familial nor transportation status but Lance advises that he is detachment commander for the drone-flying folks (QF-100 & QF-106) there at Holloman.

As If We Needed Another Example Of How Time Flies. By the time you read this it will have been over a year since Chuck Nystrom helped deliver a message (and some iron) to the Mother of all idiots. Charlie‘s wife, Teresa, wrote to give a short account of Chuck’s combat exploits (20 sorties in F-111Fs), his transition (F-15Es, back to Lakenheath), and his peacetime job (“token WSO" Wing Weanie). She also sent along this picture taken on their recent European vacation.

Postcard From the Edge…Of Nowhere! Jim Dill sent me a postcard of the Thule AB, Greenland metropolitan area. Suffice it to say that we should hope that being base commander for 950 folks will keep him busy until he gets home (Colorado Springs) in May ’92; don’t appear to be many sight-seeing opportunities.

The 732 Ghosts Of Christmas Present. Checking my Christmas card basket against the Register of Grads would indicate that there are over 730 folks out there who are already in the running for Santa's 1992 “Naughty” list. On the other hand, Dennis Brooks, Dave Commons, Mark Donnelly, Chris Glaeser, Brian Gomes, Dale Meyerrose, Buck Rogers, and Jon Turner will earn their just reward (you know, something like being asked to assist in the selection of additional members for the Swedish Bikini/Parachute Team). Much of the news from their cards/letters has been covered in previous articles but here are the highlights:

Dennis and Leslie Brooks are still in Colorado Springs and, unfortunately, Denny's still pretty much medically homebound. His ardent interest in software and radio controlled modeling still abounds. Leslie and daughter Becky are doing fine. Leslie’s still an IMA Reservist at Hill AFB.

Dave Commons' card was augmented by a phone call from Tucson where Dave is going through F-16 requal. l guess the Rickenbacher ANG (OH) transition to F-16s was looking more and more tenuous so Dave went out and got himself picked up by the reserve squadron at Bergstrom AFB. He's re-domiciled (Delta Air Lines) to Dallas-Fort Worth and he and Barb are in the process of having a house built in Austin, TX. The whole gang (Dave, Barb, and the two boys) expect to be settled by late spring.

Mark Donnelly has moved up with the big boys...make that THE Big Boy! You see, when he's not acting as a C-20 (Gulfstream lll) IP, Mark is sitting in the right seat of Air Force One! The Donnelly clan expects to remain at Andrews for the foreseeable future.

As we noted in the last column, Dale Meyerrose is at National War College. He notes that he and classmates Joe Stein and Sam Ryals are having a great time of it.

Apparently all the flying Jon Turner did while his unit was activated for Desert Storm/Desert Shield Clean-Up made the marketing job at Hewlett-Packard seem a little too earthbound; Jon has been hired as a pilot instructor for United Airlines in Denver. Staying geographically stable will allow Diane to continue as the director for one of Colorado Springs’ largest and most-sought-after preschools and let Jill and Ric carry on their busy/varied activities.

The Rogers’ Christmas letter included Buck’s assessment that dodging Saudi taxi drivers in Riyadh (where he was deputy chief of Targeting for SAC) was much more dangerous than avoiding the SCUDs that came their way. Suzie was also called to active duty (at Andrews AFB) during the conflict. Buck has orders that will bring him to F-15E training at Luke in the spring and the whole family (two girls and a boy) will be off to jolly ole England in July.

Reading Between The Lines. Stan Collins thoughtfully asked the AOG staff to pass his biographical information form along to me. Not only did Stan include his own particulars (he’s the airlift requirements manager in the Advanced Requirements Directorate), he even gave a good rundown on other '75ers at Scott AFB. Danny Spier is working on replacement aircraft for the VC-l37s; Bob Lyons is working on the MAC Mission Planning System “among other things"; Mark Fantasia is working on the C-17 Program; and Ron Beam, Mark Fry, and Frank Dressel are working in the Directorate of Planning and Programming. Whew, sounds like a lot of work. l was also able to glean a couple of items of interest from the otherwise nondescript COA cards. First, Craig Matt is in the RAF Exchange Programme (guess that‘s the way you spell it while you’re sipping tea). Finally, Phil Romanowicz has finished his job as an attack planner for NATO (or did they just quit now that there’s nobody left to attack?) and has gone to Reese AFB.

Don’t Forget Those Easter Cards & Letters. Or just a note of celebration on the beginning of another baseball season! The next article will be penned in the early part of March and if you don't call or write today you’ll wind up muttering to yourself, “Geez - it is later than l thought!"

 


 

Spring 1992

You’re Owed A Rebate On This Article! For once I have to send my heartful thanks along to each and every one of you lazy pukes who did not write or call me in the past three months. The reason? I'm on USAFR duty at Hill AFB this week and had the occasion to spend a large part of the past 36 hours at/on the porcelain throne and in the hospital emergency room. Please add “You Do Not Want To Be Monstrously Ill While Away From Home" to your list of things you’ll take others’ word on.

Reflecting Great Credit Upon Himself And All Classmates Who Helped Make Him What He Is Today. Actually Chuck Heald’s Distinguished Flying Cross citation left us out and said something about the United States Air Force. (Obviously written by some OCS grad)! Seems that last January 31st Chuck was flight lead for a two-ship of F-15Es that searched out and destroyed an Iraqi SCUD launcher...at night...in an incredibly heavily-defended area...on a “make-it-up-as-you-go" flight plan! On top of it all he’s humble too! (The copy of the citation came from Chuck’s mom, not the intrepid warrior himself.) Congratulations and thank you from all of us Chuck.

Overlooked Again. We also were not mentioned in The Stars and Stripes article describing Bob Turner’s airmanship (F-15) display at a recent airshow in Pozan, Poland. Bob's assigned to the 36TFW at Bitburg. This tidbit of news was included in a letter from Ed Sienkiewicz (the fact that l can accurately spell his name in my condition is a miracle). Ed is the TQM king at Griffiss AFB these days and still flying the KC-l35R. He had the occasion to be reading The Stars and Stripes while on a Desert Storm “follow-up" assignment at Riyadh in August and September of last year. Ed also wrote of our classmate Raoul Buron who, when not acting as the director of the USAFA Cadet Counseling Center, is pucking around with the Falcon ice hockey team as their officer rep. Raoul asked that we make it known that many of the USAFA teams are in a constant pitch to find opportune airlift to get to/from their contests; if you’re associated with the “big ones" and think you might be able to help, l suppose you could call the AD at USAFA. Ed closed by wondering if he has a record for most football bowl games attended by a '75er. He‘s been at the last three Liberty Bowls.

He Left A (Short) Message At The Tone. Got home from spring break vacation last week to find a message from Willy Cosby. Not a lot to pass along (it was kind of a verbal COA card)! Willy said he’s in the process of moving from Chicago to New York and that he was a sales manager with United Airlines.

Doctor’s Orders. The doctor told me to stay away from dairy products and change-of-address cards so we’ll have to live without them (there were only five and they weren’t very interesting – no one moving into the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco or anything). As for me, I’m moving off to the rack to see if I can heal this ravaged old body and lose this very profound feeling that it’s later than I thought.

 


 

Spring Extra

STS-45

'75's own Brian Duffy flew his first shuttle mission, STS-45, from 24 March to 2 April 1992 on the Space Shuttle Atlantis. The primary payload for the mission was the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-1 (ATLAS-1).

 

 

 

1. STS-45 Mission Insignia: Designed by the crewmembers, the STS-45 patch depicts the Space Shuttle launching from the Kennedy Space Center into a high inclination orbit. From this vantage point, the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science (ATLAS) payload can view Earth, the sun, and their dynamic interactions against the background of space. Earth is prominently displayed and is the focus of the mission's space plasma physics and Earth sciences observations. The colors of the setting sun, measured by sensitive instruments, provide detailed information about ozone, carbon dioxide and other gases which determine Earth's climate and environment. Encircling the scene are the names of the flight crewmembers. The additional star in the ring is to recognize Charles R. Chappell and Michael Lampton, alternate payload specialists, and the entire ATLAS-1 team for its dedication and support of this Mission to Planet Earth. (NASA)

2. STS-45 Crew: Brian Duffy, pilot (seated on left); and Charles F. Bolden, Jr., commander (seated on right). Standing on the back row (left to right) are Byron K. Lichtenberg, payload specialist 1; C. Michael Foale, mission specialist 3; David C. Leestma, mission specialist 2; Kathryn D. Sullivan, payload commander; and Dirk D. Frimout, payload specialist 2.  (NASA)

3. Brian Duffy in orbit aboard the shuttle Atlantis. (NASA)

4. Space Shuttle Atlantis lands at the conclusion of STS-45 mission. (NASA)


The flight was a first-time flyer’s dream. Our study of the sun and its interaction with the earth’s atmosphere had me maneuver the Atlantis to point the instruments to collect data for every sunrise and sunset (16 of each every 24 hrs.). In between maneuvers, I had lots of window time to get to know this beautiful planet that is shared by all mankind. The night entry for a dawn landing was a real light show….quite the experience! Best Alive!

– Brian Duffy

 


 

Summer 1992

The Reports Of My Demise… Given the almost T-O-T-A-L lack of correspondence l’m forced to guess that many of you assumed that the illness I reported in the last article was fatal. No such luck! Me and the mailbox spider are still kickin’ around. But the only “sustenance” we‘ve had is one (count’em, o-n-e) letter and a single (local) phone call.

Appealing To The High-Tech, Gee-Whiz Fascination We All Seem To Suffer From. To those of you with the home computer bug and/or those too cheap to burn the 29¢ stamp on a letter to the scribe I offer an alternative. l’m a PRODIGY* subscriber and can be reached on their Electronic Mail service at (SFWD67A). With that, the fax machine at work, voice messaging on the home phone, and Debby's cellular phone when we’re traveling, I figure you‘re running out of excuses for not contacting the scribe!

Marvin Cox needs no excuses; he actually wrote a letter. The primary news is that Marvin and family will be making a bit of a PCS this summer – from Colorado Springs to Mahe Island in the Seychelles. (If you‘re like me and did a total memory dump after GEOGRAPHY 120, l’ll pass along Marvin’s clue, “in the Indian Ocean, a thousand miles east of Kenya.") Marvin will be on an accompanied tour as the commander of the AFSPACECOM remote tracking station for the next two years. He advises that the Seychelles are known as the European Hawaii where SCUBA diving, beach going, and girl watching (l’m sure he meant his wife) are in order. Marvin advises that Rudy Roth is still a dermatologist at Travis AFB; Rick Lewallen is at Gunter AFB where, l’m sorry to report, Alice has recently undergone cancer surgery – our collective thoughts and prayers are with you (this seems an appropriate place to thankfully report that I just celebrated my 8th “birthday” as a cancer survivor); Don Byers is living the bacheIor’s life out in California and splitting flying duties with US Air and the Air National Guard.

So Close And Yet So Far. Jerry Cooke is out at Williams AFB... about 20 minutes from where I live... has been for the past couple of years... he just called me for the first time the other day! We only spoke for a few moments as he was your typical T-38 ops officer who had a bunch of fledgling pilots up night flying in deteriorating weather conditions. Jerry and his family (if I got as many letters as Jerry has kids, I'd be a happy scribe!) are waiting to see what MPC has in mind for them as it’s getting very close to “Turn Out the Lights” time at Willy.

A Pretty Good Effort But They’re Not Real Letters. Three of the change-of-address cards had notes of interest in the margins. Terry Young went to Grand Forks AFB last fall to become the commander of a maintenance support squadron. He reports that Todd Zejdlik took time away from flying 747s for Northwest last summer to get married. Bobby Thompson also flies for Northwest (out of Seattle) and he told Terry (geez, I am getting desperate; reporting yearold, fourth-hand information!) he saw Jack Shine during a layover in Tokyo where Jack is working for a computer firm. John Scherer’s C-O-A card noted that when he gets to Dover AFB he’Il be the assistant ops officer for 3 ALS (C-5). John, please write/call, I don't know what I just wrote! Finally, Richard Wilson was a nonconformist and went outside the lines to let us know that he's now the RC-l35 detachment commander at Shemya AB.

Boy, You Guys Are Paying Attention! Apparently some of you noticed in the header to our last article that the Class of '75 had suddenly gone from 39% membership in the AOG to 74%. No, it wasn't a case of my charismatic articles bringing the unwashed masses back to the proper path... simply a typo by the editorial staff. This is a good point to remind y’alI to do a little arm-twisting on those classmates who aren’t members, especially as we approach our 20-year reunion.

As for me, l’m 74% sure that it’s 39% later than we think!

 


 

Fall 1992

Major/Mister Hackett = Procrastination2. ln the Air Force Reserve one must complete an Annual Tour before the end of each fiscal year; l’m at Hill AFB now and will get mine finished on the 25th of September. As a class scribe, the Checkpoints editor sets an “Article Due Date” and, if you snivel enough, he'll extend it to a “Drop Dead Date" (which is this morning at 1000)... l’m typing fast and counting on the FAX machine being available at 0958! Must be something that happened to me in my formative years (1971-1975).

At This Rate We’ll Be Up To One Letter From Everybody By Fall 1994! I got twice as many letters this time as l did last time; unfortunately, you may recall that last time l only got one letter. But as the paragraph header suggests, l’ll be an optimist and expect the “doubling" trend to continue each quarter for the next several years or until my mailman gets a hernia (right now he’s spending a lot of time with the Maytag repairman). First letter came from... uh, well... l guess that’d be Mrs. or Ms. Molzon (don't have my Register of Grads with me, can’t look up spouse's names and she ended simply with “Molzons”). Anyway, this very nice lady wrote to say that Chuck Molzon is doing the same old thing, running the B-2 Training Requirements Office, in a brand new place, Langley AFB. Nebraska to Virginia sounds like a good deal to me but, for now it’s actually both places as Mrs./Ms. Molzon and sibling Molzons, are hanging back to see if the house sells. The welcome mat was declared out especially for swimmers (their new home has a pool) and golfers (their “passion”).

Second letter was a regular update from a dependable correspondent, Dennis Brooks. The medical front remains unfortunately, essentially unchanged; latest trip to Wilford Hall for “further evaluation” was a bit of a marathon with a “nothing new" conclusion. Denny is nonetheless staying “involved” (you know, one of those admirable qualities – like writing to the class scribe). For our benefit he is finishing up several pieces of (aircraft) art that will be on permanent display in the new AOG building. And for the benefit of his community, he’s teaching a model rocketry class at the local elementary school.

Change-Of-Address Cards With An “Attitude.” Once again the package l received from the AOG had a little something extra in it (don’t, for one instant, think l'm talking $)! A News Release!...and not just any news release...a news release with a picture! Doctor Jim Heriot completed his internship and residency in internal medicine this summer at Texas A&M University College of Medicine. (I hope Jim got smart enough to be able to explain to us commoners why it’s a “University" and a "College" at the same time). And here’s a threat for you, if l don’t get more letters next time we’ll publish Jim's paper on “Effect of Patient Self-Determination Act and Advance Directive to Physicians, Medical Ethics" instead of my class news!

 A copy of David Dyche’s biographical update was also in the envelope. He’s now down at Maxwell attending Air War College and acting as an AMC command-sponsored research fellow.

Mark Wells’ CoA card gets special mention here; knowing how much I love seeing the damn things, he sent his directly to my house! But I’ll let him out of the penalty box because he added so many notes in the margins. Mark, wife, son and daughter (who all have names – Donna, Nathan, and Emily, respectively!) are on their way to the USAFA Department of History after Mark finished his PhD at Kings College (London) and the U.S. Army War college at Carlisle Barracks PA. Rambling through the rest of the (dreaded) CoA cards: Mark Lenci’s back on the West coast (San Diego); Dr. Mike Lischak is back in the states (9 Med Group/SGP, Beale AFB); Dan McCorry from Dayton to Edwards AFB; John Farnham from Holloman to Nellis; John Howard from Priceton to Pittsburgh (that just doesn’t sound right); Brad McAllister from Eglin to Langley; Jon Noetzel from Maxwell to Colorado Springs; David DeFoliart from Goldsboro, NC to Montgomery, AL; Ron Bean from Trenton, IL to somewhere in Europe; Larry Fariss from Abilene, TX to Jacksonville, AR; and last (and possibly one of the worst images I can conjure up in my head) Bill Buchta from Wahaiwa, HI to Onalaska, WI.

As They Say On The Beer Commercials, “It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This!” Right! And the Swedish Bikini Team’s going to be here any minute to help me put this on the FAX machine! Hope there’s more to tell next time around. Debby, Tiffany, and I are off to a 15 TRS (Kadena AB) reunion in Austin, TX next month. It’ll be nice to see old classmates as well as old recce-pukes. On a related subject, I found out that the RF-16 Program will officially kick off next month…Hell has frozen over! And it is, therefore, later than you think!


1992 Album

     
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1-2. Mark Holmes appeared as one of the pirates in the Steven Speilberg movie Hook: I’m in a bunch of places throughout the movie but here are a couple of the best ones. The first shot is with Dustin Hoffman looking up at Robin goading him to ‘fly’…my only line in the movie…and the other is when you see Robin as Peter Pan for the first time coming thru the rip in the pirate ship sail where there was a reaction shot. The long hair of the wig clearly isn’t mine, though the beard was, and probably got me the call from Mr. Spielberg. The greatest time on the sixty-day shoot was having lunch with Robin Williams one day where we had a private conversation for about half an hour.


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