Checkpoints 1996               Jeff Hackett

Winter 1996

‘Twas The Week After Christmas and the vacation days are running out fast! Had put off writing this because I, a) am a born again procrastinator of the Nth degree, b) hoped there would be stories of celebration with classmates after the Copper Bowl, and c) expected to see a few more Holiday cards with news/pictures. On the first count, I (and the Checkpoints editor) are learning to live with it. About the Copper Bowl – classmates were as scarce as defensive stands! And in regards to the absence of input from y’all – well, let’s just hope this isn’t some after-20 dalliance that we’re going to have to put up with. (The mailbox spider is already making plans to have relatives visit next winter!)

Count The Blessings. Sure, I would have liked to have seen a Falcon victory over Texas Tech in the Copper Bowl (those with really good memories will recall that I got a “Dear John” letter from a Red Raiderette during my 3° year). But, we were just happy to watch a second installment of USAFA-style football. (Two games, 200 points, several thousand yards of offense!) And sooo happy that the scum Leprechauns from North-Central Indiana are darkening some other state's Bowl game this year.

Joe Marksteiner was at the game – on a "road trip" with his son; down from Albuquerque. The yelling and screaming l did at the game seems to have disrupted my memory about what Joe is up to (but I do recall him being apologetic about not writing to the Scribe so maybe we’ll hear more next time). Joe Debes was also at the game – his considerable stature allowed me to see him (literally) above the crowd but l did not get a chance to talk to him. I’m guessing there were more there but hope you’ll understand that my attentions were focused on the Falcons and on any cadet who came within 30 feet of my daughter. (Remember, I met the lady who’s now my wife at a football game in Arizona!)

Back On The Wire! Expect each / most / many of you to take advantage of the fact that I’ve been reconnected to the INTERNET and can be reached at address noted above. If you're really into the electronic surfing thing, please note that Jim Carlson has set up a USAFA Class of ’75 home page which I’ll give you the pointer to if you write or call (editor has asked that we not put e-mail addresses in the body of the article as it hoses up the typesetter). Went back to check my old mailbox and found a one-liner from Bill Murray telling us that he had changed jobs there at Wright-Patterson; now part of the HQ AFMC IG team. He also mentioned seeing Sam Ryals and John Ball who were anxiously awaiting results of the O-6 board that I’m hoping will be “advertised” elsewhere in this magazine. And “congratulations” to those who made it!

“T” Minus 54 And Counting! Months, that is until our 25-year reunion. Was surprised that last issue did not include a copy of the everybody-into-the-chapel-and look-this-way photo (a.k.a. Goat Rope 101). In lieu of that l present this picture taken at a hospitality suite put on by Rich and Mary Chanick (photo courtesy of Brian and Teri Barnes). I’m officially soliciting more reunion photos for future articles!

It’s Not Like I Was Expecting A Gift Or Anything. (not that cash donations aren’t always welcome!). Can’t explain the reduction in Holiday Greetings this year (said the man who’s thrown in the towel on Christmas cards and has started looking for boxed Groundhog Day cards!). The aforementioned Brian and Teri Barnes checked in from the great Northwest with lots about their post-reunion vacation to the Caribbean and South America. As you might guess from the picture, Mike and Diane Buckley’s Christmas card also had news of an international vacation. Chuck and Roxanne Holland’s travel news was of two varieties; a week's vacation/postponed-honeymoon in Aruba and a not quite as distant but a little more permanent trip from Omaha to Montgomery where Chuck is in War College. At the risk of encouraging his social faux paux, I'll pass along this photo of Brian Gomes and family (Christmas card, especially those from former roommates, should always include some news or note). But what the heck, they’re just such a good looking bunch! Mark and Lucy Donnelly did the right thing, with pictures of kids (can't include pictures that don't have a grad's mug in them) and a letter. They’re now off-base in the DC area as Mark continues as Air Force One pilot and Lucy and kids stay incredibly busy. The fact that Dave and Barb Commons’ (Austin, TX) and Denny and Leslie Brooks’ (Colorado Springs, CO) cards contained news that I’ve already shared with you would seem to indicate that there are more regularly in touch with the scribe than the rest of you. My thanks to them!

If They Had A Rating For It – It’d Be A Command Procrastinator. The wonderful “winter” weather here in Phoenix allows us to plan both indoor and outdoor activities during the Holiday Season…and with just two days left, I better get to a few of them! Take care of one another and remember (as we start the next 20 years); it’s later than you think!

 


 

Spring 1996

You’ve Heard Of The “One-Minute Manager?” Well what we’re going to do here is the “Ninety-Minute Scribe!” It’s a matter of prioritizing between the things McDonnell Douglas wants me to do (they pay me), a major homework assignment for school (they’re going to award me a degree), the stuff l can do for my family (they share their affections with me), and writing this article (for a group of folks who have obviously concluded that postal and phone rates have just gotten too high to contend with)! Besides that, it's springtime in Arizona and waaaay too nice to be sitting inside. Time to sort through the few things I have received. (75:00 minutes to go!)

Conspicuous By Your Presence. Was fairly amazed by the number of ’75er names on the USAFR FY96 LtCoI Promotion Board list that came in my latest “IMA Update” magazine; 22 of 293 (eight percent). Since the audience for that periodical is Individual Mobilization Augmentees this does not include folks in the Reserve Unit Program (big "Cluebird" hint to one of you Unit Reservists to see if you can come up with the same type of compilation). Anyway, besides myself, the new IMA lieutenant colonels are: Richard Benbow, Greg Collier, Frank Dubuisson, Ken Finn, John Huffman, Claude Keith, Jim Kochevar, Ray Lynn, John MacDonnell, Mike McClendon, Bruce Mitchell, Pat Moran, Ralph Paul, Ben Phillips, Steve Powers, Dave Pratt, Dave Schmitz, Jim Scruggs, Gary Wallace, Fred Whitican, and Doug Williams. (Took me a long time to find the list, 50:00 minutes to go)!

The Definition Of Phase Lag. Strange that you‘re sitting there in late May or early June reading something I've written in mid March about Dale Meyerrose’s Christmas card! Only somewhat worrisome to me that the reason Dale’s card got to my house so late was that he, director of C4 Systems for all of USAFE (a.k.a. Military Postmaster for Europe), first sent it to my old address and then, on second attempt, “slipped a digit" on my zip code. Bosnia has him jumping through hoops but he says Linda and the girls are fine and enjoying Europe.

Other dated inputs (just after the Holidays) came in e-mail from Ric Lewallen who will/did (time-phase verb-tense dilemma strikes again) retire on March 12th. Ric wlll/has moved from Langley AFB area up to Arlington, VA where he will/has taken over as engineering manager for Cisco Corporation. Ric noted that Rick Oleksak retired in late '95 and moved to Oregon where his wife was to set up her medical practice. John Kambourian e-mailed with regrets about missing the reunion (the on-and-off government shutdown and his status as an “essential” worker made it too much of a crapshoot). John didn’t have much news except for his consideration of retiring this year and moving to a 100-acre farm in upstate New York. (Zow! Eating lunch while writing really impacts “throughput,” 25:00 minutes to go)!

Your Traveling Correspondent. Showing that there's no accounting for judgment, the Hackett family went to the East Coast for spring break. lt was n-o-t-h-i-n-g like spring in Washington DC but so nice to freeze to death with Kent, Carol, and Meagan Traylor. Kent took us on a stirring tour of Fort McNair and National War College (I had brought my tennis shoes in hopes of getting in a short jog with the President but that didn‘t work out). Carol, the quintessential hostess, gets credit for the other highlight of the trip as she had the McAllisters (Bran and Carolyn) and Masters (Buzz and Gere) over for dinner. Bran’s well entrenched as the Air Force Chair/Instructor at NWC. Kent, Buzz, and the rest of their class (including Mark Beesley, Barry Abbott, and Mike Dehart) are hearing rumors on post-school assignments and waiting for/dreading receipt orders.

A Problem I’ve Never Personally Faced. Our class has excess money! Donations to outfit the Northwest Alcove in the AOG building exceeded expenses by a fair amount and some forward-thinking members of the class came up with an excellent idea. Debby and I are going on a cruise! (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) No, really, the Alcove donations and a little bit of money from our “normal" class account will be used to purchase 21 memorial paving stones in honor of our fallen classmates. For those of you who aren’t aware, these paving stones will be placed in the area surrounding Pegasus out in front of the AOG building. I’m quite sure that without either a discussion or a vote we are 100 percent in agreement about this.

We’re Into “Overtime.” Like most projects I undertake (especially ones that have to do with home or auto repairs), this has taken longer than planned – and you guys thought these informative and witty little missives just flowed out of my fingertips! But, hey, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it. Just remember that I love it more when l've heard from more of you...do it today...it's later than you think! (10:00 minutes over)!

 


 

Spring Extra

STS-72

Brian Duffy's third shuttle mission was STS-72, aboard the Endeavor from 11 January to 20 January 1996. Mission objectives included the retrieval of the Japanese Space Flyer Unit (SFU), and the deployment of the Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology-Flyer (OAST-Flyer).

 

 

 

1. STS-72 Mission Insignia: The crew patch of STS-72 depicts the Space Shuttle Endeavour and some of the payloads on the flight. The Japanese satellite, Space Flyer Unit (SFU) is shown in a free-flying configuration with the solar array panels deployed. The inner gold border of the patch represents the SFU's distinct octagonal shape. The Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology's (OAST) flyer satellite is shown just after release from the Remote Manipulator System (RMS). The stars represent the hometowns of the crew members in the United States and Japan. (NASA)

2. STS-72 Crew: Astronauts Brian Duffy (right front) and Brent W. Jett (left front) are mission commander and pilot, respectively. Mission specialists (back row, left to right) are Winston E. Scott, Leroy Chiao, Koichi Wakata, and Daniel T. Barry. Wakata is an international mission specialist representing Japan's National Space Development Agency (NASDA) based at the Johnson Space Center (JSC).  (NASA)

3. Mission Commander Brian Duffy at the controls of Endeavor. (NASA)

4. STS-72 crew in orbit; Brian Duffy front and center. (NASA)


Retrieving a Japanese satellite, and deploying and later retrieving a US satellite was a dream mission for me as Commander. Lots of fun precision flying. The flight actually mimicked our last big simulation before flight….lots of important failures at the worst possible time. However, it showed the benefits of a thorough and detailed training system. The night landing, the first I would be flying, was pretty exciting. I knew that my professional reputation going forward would be based on one landing in a vehicle I’d never landed and it was going to be on CNN that day….no pressure. Best Alive!

– Brian Duffy

 


 

Summer 1996

Just A Nineties Sort Of Guy! This afternoon I picked up a last few messages off the INTERNET, paid the Credit Union VISA bill on the way home, sang “Happy Birthday” to my wife, cleaned up the kitchen after dinner, said hellogoodbye to my teenage daughter as she did a “touch and go” on the house, and am now sitting down to write a “letter” to 302 of my closest friends  (the 39 percent of my classmates who belong to the AOG). Life is certainly not boring! (Loved the retort I heard someone give recently when they were admonished for trying to do too much: “Hey, I figure I’m going to be dead a long time!”)

On The Other Hand, I’m Smarter Than Before. For the second time in my life I’ve struggled and/or persevered and/or BS’s my way through a litany of academic ass-whippings; this time earning a master’s degree in project management (can’t use that excuse for getting article to the editor after the deadline anymore). So one might think I’ve gained in intellect/worldly maturity.

Yeah – right! As the picture shows I bought into my daughter’s dual birthday challenge (we’re nine days apart) and did the 13,000-foot tandem skydive last month. In a word, “bitchin” – we both loved it!

News From The Far East – SouthWest. Mike Anderson sent e-mail from Misawa AB in April but by the time you read this he will be settled in at Cannon AFB, NM where he’ll pick up the reins as 27th Log Group commander. Mike reacquired the skiing bug while in Japan (three years); says they regret that that will be somewhat less convenient but are anxious to see commercials on TV they can understand. Mike let us know that he got picked up for O-6 but that, at the current rate, he doesn’t expect to pin on till after the turn of the century. By a real fluke I happened across the Air Force Times issue with this year’s Command Screening board listings; in addition to Mike there are at least 16 others on their way to where the buck stops. If you missed it: Collin Flynn – AWACS Group at Offutt; Wil Percival – Bomb Group at Whiteman; Mark Beesley – Fighter Group at Tyndall; Jim Corrigan – Fighter Group at Misawa; Andy Dichter – Fighter Group at Ramstein; Doug Fraser – Fighter Group at Dhahran; Buck Rogers – Fighter Group at Shaw; Carl VanPelt – Fighter Group at Keflavik; Jim Heald – Test Group at Eglin; Phil Martin – Log Group at Offutt; Bob Shappell – Log Group at Moody; Dave Defoliart – Support Group at Travis; John Sherer – Support Group at McClellan; and Dave Tillotson – Support Group at Osan. Congratulations and best wishes to all!

More Words About Those Commander Sorts Of Things. One of the last things Ed Kasl did as deputy Ops group commander at Kunsan was to zap me an e-mail. He, Jan and the three kids will take up station at Camp Smith, HI in July where Ed will start work in J-31 and enjoy getting back to the beaches and golf course. Ed will leave the mud flats at the same time his boss, Butch Byrd does, but they’ll be going in opposite directions – Butch and Mary are off to EUCOM Headquarters where he’ll be chief of the Joint contact Division. Responsibility for ‘75ers presence at Kunsan will be handed to Dan Falvey who is inbound to be deputy Logistics group commander.

Cause…Effect. As soon as the folks at National War College found out that Kent Traylor had actually managed to orchestrate a ‘75er-subset class picture, he was a shoo-in for Distinguished Grad. We especially appreciate the photo and quick updates as they were fired off while movers were knocking on the front door. Here’s what lies in store for this crew (left to right in the photo): Colonel Mark Beesley, as we mentioned before, to Fighter Ops Group CC at Tyndall; LtCol Mike Dehart to JCS, J-6 at the Pentagon; LtCol Kent Traylor to US Embassy, Canberra, Australia; Colonel Bran McAllister (NWC staff to retirement with LSA (?) Valparaiso, FL; Colonel Mark Masters to JCS, J-8 at the Pentagon; and LtCol Barry Abbott to AFPC at Randolph. We’re counting on a visit from Kent, Carole and Megan on their way West so stay tuned.

Is There A Doctor On The Net? Apparently, yes. Dr. Bill Caskey sent an e-mail from sunny Florida to let us know that he’s still passing gas (chief of cardiac anesthesia) at JFK Medical Center just south of Palm Beach. Until I hear otherwise, I’ll assume Bill has the distinction of being the last guy in out class to sire a child – #2 son, Daniel, born last September (reunion plans dashed). Bill said it’s a bit frightening to think that when his first son graduates from USAFA he’ll start collecting USAFR retirement pay (60) and really scary to think that when Daniel tosses his hat in the air he’ll be ready for Social Security. Bill may be a little late on the “fathering front” but he’s definitely out in front on the USAFR O-6 list – made it at latest board. Just reread Tom Barbera’s e-mail and have to wonder what it is about the world of medicine! Tom is also on the fast-track, short-nights routine (pinned on O-6 last June and has two small children). Tom’s the chief of Medical Staff at RAF Lakenheath and married (obviously) to a German physician. Another similarity: both doctors extended open invitations for classmate visits!

Snail Mail. Yeah, that guy still drives around in the little white truck to dispatch letters written on paper – by hand! This was how we came to know that Mark Schoning is now the chief of Base Safety at Vandenberg AFB. Arrived there from Camp Smith, HI where (trust me) he lived the bachelor-in-paradise life (trips to the Far East and Australia, visits from the international “lovely ladies,” etc.). Life in Lompoc might not have the natural scenic wonders of the islands, but I’m guessing by now Mark’s found a way to survive the sunny central California coast.

Also got a letter from the wife of the future mayor of Montgomery, AL, Chuck Holland. Turns out that once again the locals got to know them as students (Air War college this time) and insisted that they remain neighbors during a tour on staff.

The Muses Must Be At Their Summer Home In The Mountains. Went to bed last night hoping there would be dreamland inspirations for a clever closing. Nope. Nothing but morning mouth and a sore lower back – clinical proof that it’s later than we think. Keep those pens and electrons moving!

 


 

Fall 1996

I Was Dreading This – Then I Wasn’t – Now I Am! Per my typical modus operandi I had let the editor’s deadline sneak up and, by golly, flat past me. Work’s been crazy, it was my week to be seminar leader at Air War College, and baseball playoffs are in full swing. “Surly” would pretty much capture the moment as I sat down to open up my “Notes from Classmates” file and found…(essentially) nothing! Guess I’ve been so busy that it hadn’t registered that the sum total fruit of your efforts in the past three months was two e-mails and notes from one phone call. Hey! I’ll be done before they start the third inning!

But then I opened the envelope that arrived today from the AOG. It’s been 18 months since we’ve had to share in the loss of a classmate; but on September 26th Carl Peterson joined our “unanswered roll-call.” Carl was a victim of Lou Gehrig’s disease. I will send appropriate condolences to Brenda on behalf of the class in the next couple of days. Suggest that anyone else who wants to share a great memory or possibly just a comforting shoulder (especially since you’ll be reading this at the holidays), call me for the address.

I Was Wrong and Boy Was He Proud To Point It Out! I had the distinct impression that Byron Huddleston didn’t even finish reading the last article before he called to leave voice mail denouncing my assertion that Bill Caskey was the “final father” in ’75. Byron’s (first) son isn’t even a half-year old as you’re reading this (born late July ’96). When he’s not changing diapers in Louisville, KY, Byron’s a captain for Delta out of Cincinatti; retired from the Guard (LtCol) this past year.

Another input I received reveals Caskey has fallen to a distant third! John Kambourian announces the birth of #3 child, a daughter. She going to get the chance to watch whatever the Chilean equivalent of Barney is until after her third birthday as that is where State Department has assigned John; he’s an (the) FSO-1 at US Embassy there.

Jim Carlson has taken respite from studies at University of Minnesota and is back on a “short” active-duty assignment with Naval Reserve at EUCOM in Stuttgart, Germany. He reports seeing Chuck Nystrom there.

Your Roving Correspondent. Timing of my annual tour (late July) at Hill AFB allowed me to be in attendance at change-of-command ceremony for 388OG/CC; our own Tim Murphy passing colors on to Steve Bozarth (’74) via the wing commander, Bentley Rayburn. Tim literally dashed after the ceremony to begin the drive to Washington, DC where he is now in senior staff school equivalent at State Department. Bentley and Debbie are doing fine; he hopes to stay at Hill for another year or so (or at least until he can get me a ride in the back seat of one of his jets)!

A quick weekend trip to Colorado in mid-September allowed us a short visit with Jon and Diane Turner. They also are doing great; he’s still with United in the training center and an occasional trip out on the line (737). Their son, Ric is playing football at Air Academy High; daughter Jill is a freshman at Colorado State.

It’s Been A Long Time Since I Did That! (At our age those words probably are all too frequently on our lips)! You are forewarned that I actually leafed through the change-of-address cards and thought about including some of that unattached, inane information in the article just to “fatten it up.” But the game’s still on and I do still have some self-respect left. Don’t be self-conscious about sending a late Christmas card or letter, I can always put it in the spring magazine! Take care of one another and do remember that it’s bound to be later than you think.


1996 Album

     

Checkpoints