'Twas The Night After Christmas. And the Grinch has got me in his grips; no bowl game for the Falcons, shameless, scum-sucking 6-4-1 Notre Dame is here in Tempe for the Fiesta Bowl, it's raining, and somehow Santa missed on delivery of the sailplane again this year. Go figure!
But on the “high side" – 1) got 10 letters/cards through the traditional mail, 2) received E-mail from six of you, 3) got/made a couple of phone calls, and 4) my daughter is mostly recovered from a bad case of mononucleosis/hepatitis. (Counsel to those with younger children, if you get the chance to expose your kids to this prior to their sophomore year in high school, do so)!
Oh yeah, there’s another thing to be thankful for! Messrs. Duesing, Dyche. Fritzsche, Johnston, and Mahrer haven’t called to harass me for misspelling their names in the last column. Sorry guys, you'll recall that last issue was produced in the midst of a move and l guess the dictionary was already packed.
The First Derivative Of '75 is '98! That is, the first offspring descended from our class is “on-board” and will graduate in 1998! Mike and Jan Banker's son is already well through his doolie year. Thanks to Paul Kent for the info. Paul and his wife, Sherri, are on the other end of the parenting spectrum; their oldest is coming up on four and the youngest is less than a year. Wonder if they’ll be the only folks at the 20-year Reunion carrying a diaper bag?
Speaking of the reunion, I talked to Mark Wells tonight. At (my) this time (10-12 weeks before you’re reading this) all is on course. Several volunteers have stepped forward and the AOG staff has been particularly helpful. By (your) this time you should definitely have received a mailing or two from the AOG about accommodations and whatever. You’re asked to do two things: get your response in return mail by the noted deadlines and do NOT assume other classmates have received the info–ask them! Max participation = max fun.
Quick asides: It's not just our reunion planning that’s being handled well, the institution is in great hands with guys like Mark on the staff! Our discussions spilled over into issues involving the new T-3 (replaces theT-41) flight screening program and how it will place additional demands on a program that’s far more sliced, diced, stretched, and jam packed than the one we went through. And it’s a program with far, far less post-graduation certainty/pay-offs. I have every confidence that Mark and others like him (officers who have immense concern for both individual cadets and for the institution) are “holding the fort", but it reminded me that we all have to stay alert and involved if sanity is to prevail over the insiders and outsiders who would give us a civilian staff and these spiffy (read “senseless") new uniforms.
Aside #2: The 18 (out of 19 eligible!) guys who made O-6 “in-the-zone" on the last board (classmates with prior service) should not remain nameless. Congratulations to Akers, Awtrey, Benjamin, Bock, Stephen Brown, Craig, Dalson, Defoliart, Demitry, Dichter, Dowdy, Heald, McDaniel, Peck, Percival, Saxman, Shugart and Wells.
Mailbox And Stocking Stuffers. Received one "just because" letter and eight Christmas cards from our classmates (hopefully there will be more next year in response to the Hackett's once-every-three-years mailing of cards this year). The letter came from Terry Young who sent along this picture of himself, Chuck Demoisy, and Gary Vosburgh. Believe l have previously noted that Chuck is associated with the C-9 Reserve unit at Scott and that Terry is 375 Services Squadron CC. Gary is in HQ AMC/XP. Occasion for the picture was an abortive attempt to catch a flight to see the USAFA-Northwestern football game.
Mark Volcheff jotted a very short note with his Christmas card to say he was “drowning in books at Air War College with about a dozen other ’75ers" and that they would send a photo for the next magazine. Consider that now a matter of public record guys.
Got a card and a call from Dennis Brooks; he, Leslie, and Becky are still in the Springs. Dennis is still largely confined but is slated for more back surgery this spring that will hopefully provide some relief and allow for some travel. In a real show of solidarity Leslie is planning on taking the same path many of you will and will be retiring (in her case from the USAF Reserves) in 1995. Denny said he’d seen/heard from a couple of classmates. Rick Douglas is at Langley AFB and is involved with teaching in the international Search & Rescue School there. Rick’s apparently leaning toward the retirement thing, returning to Salt Lake City area and getting involved with family business. Of course Denny was also up-to-date on his brother-in-law, Greg Sheridan. Greg and Renee are still at Dover where he's flying (but not as much as he’d like to) C-5s and she's opened an art studio. In Greg's case, the retirement thing could be deferred if he's successful in getting an ROTC Detachment assignment. Dennis also noted that his part-time, down-the-street neighbor, John Traxler, was home from a Korean remote assignment for a few days at Christmas.
Even In The Reserves, It’s A “See-The-World” Deal. Just reading Jim and Katie Carlson’s card qualified me for some frequent flier miles! In the past year his Navy Reserve job sent him to Washington, DC, Omaha, Saudi Arabia, and Reno (I want to know what the Navy does in Reno). There’s now talk of an extended TDY to Italy in`95. And just so they don‘t have to put up with too much of that Minnesota weather, when Jim hasn’t been gone for the Navy he and Katie have vacationed in Southern California and the Grand Caymans. I can‘t tell you whether Jim's travels have distracted from or been a benefit to Katie's prowess as a second-year law student.
Waiting For A New Passenger? Now that Mark Donnelly is on the permanent Air Force One crew, he‘s thinking that maybe he won't retire in ‘95. He, Lucy, and the kids will be adding to the sense of belonging in the DC area by moving off base next summer.
A very pleasant surprise as Okinawa/Osan buddies Dave and Ann Fleming sent us a card to say "Howdy" (they're at Sheppard AFB, TX now). Dave has taken command of the 80th OSS there and, despite the hours, loves what he‘s doing. Ann is busy with volunteer work, being the commander‘s spouse, and being mom to Katie who is now officially a teenager.
Wayne and Amy Willis and their four kids made a short PCS last year, moving from Alamogordo (where they’d been for nine years!) up to the “big city". Albuquerque and Kirtland AFB. Wayne‘s now with HQ/AFOTECH but is thinking about other post 4 June 95 opportunities. Here‘s another couple with a son in college! Dave has followed in dad's footsteps and is playing football at Rick`s junior college in Idaho. l don‘t think there is much to tell you about Kent, Carol, and Megan Traylor that hasn’t been in one of the last couple of issues. But, hey, they're such a good-lookin' family, here's their picture!
A “Multi-Media” Greeting. I think Dale Meyerrose must have sensed his error (sending a Christmas card with signature only, no note, no letter, no nothing) as he fired off a last-second e-mail on the 22nd of December. Dale, Linda, and the girls are back in Europe where Dale is the HQ USAFE/SC. Dale’s travels around Europe have allowed him to gather the following: “Saw Mark Beesley in Morocco a couple of weeks ago during African Eagle exercise. Mark’s stationed at Lakenheath. ‘Smokey’ Bauman heads up senior officer assignments at USAFE/DP. Jim Ritter used to hang out in USAFE/DO but is now the Ops guy for Operation Provide Comfort in Turkey. John Misch is on my staff. Bob Dorsey is a squadron commander at ‘Spang’. Phil Romanowicz hangs around the 32nd Air Operations Group at Ramstein."
Remembering What Christmas Is Really About. The final card/letter I have to pass along had a lot to do with me getting in the right focus for Christmas – I hope that it'll give each of you some meaningful reflections as we move toward Easter. Cynthia Steward sent a beautiful update on how she and John Michael have been doing in the year since Stew’s tragic death (17 Dec 93). l guess it's a case of nice people seem to know nice people as Cynthia gave a long account of relatives and Air Force/personal friends who have been a big help. Cynthia and John Michael have returned to Utah where she has started back to work at the VA Hospital part time, finding good therapy in helping others with their difficulties. I’m sure l speak for every single member of our class in sending our best and hoping that Cynthia and all the families of our fallen classmates will honor us by coming to the reunion.
Bits And Pieces Out Of The Electronic Mail Box. First of all let me “scream and shout and jump about” for a second to say if you have access to INTERNET E-mail SEND ME AN E-MAIL TODAY! Call your local Computer Resources guru if you're not sure how to do this. I’m compiling a list of E-mail addresses and will be glad to add your name and send the whole thing back to you. This also represents a heck ol' a lot quicker way to turn news around to you than this column (with its 4-8 month query/response cycle).
Jeff Chappell had only written (the old-fashioned way) to the Scribe once in the previous I9 years, now he’s “lapped” two notes to me in the last couple of months, Jeff is chief of the Airfield Operations Branch at HQ AETC these days. He, Theresa, and their basketball team (they have five boys!) are starting to feel at home in San Antonio. Theresa’s on the waiting list for UT San Antonio Nursing School. Jeff asks if anyone else noticed Jay Schell on “Wheel of Fortune" last summer? Jeff didn’t remember specifics but thought Jay “represented us well." Other ’75ers at Randolph include’ Mike Marro, Deputy IM, “absolutely unchanged from that sunny June morning in 1975". Barry Abbott is in the Special Ops Branch in XOT. Gerry Micheletti is back in the Fighter Shop after a one-year remote to Korea. Roy Sawyer in International Training. Marlo Mellum “is a quarter of the way around the Main Circle at 19th AF." Charlie Bergman is chief of Fighter-Bomber assignments at AFMPC. In his travels Jeff recently saw Ron Doeppner down at Hurlburt where he is still in the (helicopter) cockpit and loving it. And finally, Jeff said he'd visited with Foster Bitton as he passed through on his way from War College to a new assignment in Heidelberg, Germany.
Duane Jones checked in from Guam where he is “part of a grand experiment to see if a non-rated officer can/should be the on-island senior AMC rep and commander of the AMC Air Mobility Support Squadron.” Looks good so far and on top of that he’s having fun. Duane and Charlie Wintermeyer recently did the “...no kidding, we were class mates!?” thing at a typhoon party. Charlie is the JAG for 13th AF.
Dave Wallace and RIC Lewallen continue to correspond regularly – no big news but two interesting comments. Dave (on the subject of living in Turkey), “It may be hot, but it sure is dusty!’ Ric (who you’ll recall is at Kadena AB), “Whole family climbed Mt. Fuji. A ‘must do’...once!”
Quick note on a quick phone call: Rex Hoey, wife, and kids are at Sheppard AFB. He’s flying T-37s and “looking forward to retirement O/A 1 Jul 95."
Playing With Fire. Once again, I’m going to have the editor torqued at me (late and over the page limit). Besides, it’s going to cost a fortune to FAX this up there. “It’s later than you think – please deposit another $5 bill in the pay/fax phone and continue...”