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! (See 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!"