Like Getting Rolled Around Half-Naked On The Pinecones In SERE! I had forgotten what fun it was to partake of this experience. First, let me say “thanks” to Jim Carlson for filling in last time – was just one of those times where the scribe was rapidly moving to the other side of the power curve and discretion seemed the better part of valor. In retrospect I’m not totally certain that tonight is very much different than three months ago but I knew if I treated you badly again you wouldn’t respect me in the morning. This is especially true in light of the deluge of inputs you have provided; so let’s get to it!
Cleared Direct To Wherever He Happens To Be Going. Mark Donnelly zapped a line to let us know that effective this past inauguration day he assumed responsibilities as chief of the Presidential Pilot’s Office. Said he and the 160 people working for him had pretty much learned everything you and I never needed to know about the handling characteristics of a wheelchair. Expecting this will keep him, Lucy and the kids in Washington for a few more years.
If things go right another classmate, Matt “Kip” Fong, may be on his way to Washington soon – Kip is currently leading the field of GOP contenders vying for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Barbara Boxer, It’s an interesting piece of timing that Kip’s son is considering higher education via one of this service academies – not really expecting an appointment from Ms. Boxer!
Bentley Rayburn isn’t going to Washington (yet?), but as new commander of the 4404 Wing at Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia, I expect he’ll get to talk on the phone with lots of people there. Bentley pinned on his star, relinquished command of the 388FW (Hill AFB), and did the change-of-command thing in Saudi during one (hectic) week in the middle of June. Debbi and the kids will be staying in Utah. The picture is from a slightly late Christmas card. (But with me missing the spring issue and the normal four-month writing-to-publishing turnaround…what the heck, snow probably looks pretty good to you right now!)
Not Counting The Chapel, The Least Likely Place To Find Four ’75 Grads. How about on a ship in the Pacific Ocean! Our token captain, Mark Lenci, sent this picture onboard the USS Blue Ridge back in December (see time-lag comments above) during a Joint Task Force exercise. Mark, who is permanently embarked on the Blue Ridge as Seventh Fleet assistant chief of staff for C4I, had same advanced warning that Kevin Lanzit (Operations Officer [?], 13 AF, Guam) was going to be onboard but there was apparently surprise all around when they bumped into Larry Fariss (USSPACECOM J3 shop, Hawaii) and Lee Monroe (Navy Tactical Training Group San Diego). Being typical cadets they immediately created a “contest” and determined that USAFA ’75 was numerically better represented than any other class from any other service academy. By the way, I heard through our channels (Bill Monroe) that Larry is on his way back to USAFA to be director of Intramurals.
Confession Is Good For The Soul. Mike McClendon was one of the several folks who admitted to being a first-time writer-to-the-scribe. Mike and his family are in Dallas where he is a captain with American (F-100). Number one son is in Class of 2000 at USAFA. (Can only imagine how many “back-in-the-purple-A-jacket-days” stories he’s had to endure?) Two other boys and three girls still at home. Like me, Mike’s an individual mobilization augmentee in AFMC, he’s assigned to Wright Labs in Dayton, doing inactive duty at the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth and annual tours at Eglin AFB. And, yes Mike, you are now “off the hook”...for six to nine months anyway.
I’m thinking that Phil Pearce is possibly the easiest man to get a hold of on the face of the planet – has more telephone, pager, FAX numbers, and Internet addresses than the average small company. Reckon some of this is related to the fact that he, Chris, daughter Shannon and son Brandon have a home in North Carolina but Phil spends much time in his offices and condo in Las Vegas (don’t ask...I don’t know…not sure I want to). In keeping with editorial guidance, I won’t include picture of Phil with his airplane and original cadet car (Corvette) – the subject (Phil) is so relatively small compared to his rather large “toys” that reproduction in magazine would wind up looking more like car ad. Phil used picture as springboard for an interesting question, “how many of us still have our original cadet cars?” Your immediate response is solicited and pictures are encouraged (you in the foreground, car in background).
Bob Hickox also made a first-ever input. Bob and wife, Barb, live in Townsend, MA (same house for 19 years!) and have two girls. Bob left active duty I7 years ago; is now with National Computer Systems, an information services and data capture/management company (make all the “fill-in-the-bubble” forms). Bob’s another one of these home-away-from-home guys, spending 60 percent of his time on the road, mostly in Minneapolis.
It’s OK To Talk About Others. No ego problem with Paul Lotakis, he devoted over half of his e-mail to telling us about Walt “Buster” Burns who as an active-duty officer has recently taken command of the 103FW, Connecticut Air National Guard. As you may have guessed this is an unprecedented mix-n-match of the Total Force and an obvious testimonial about Walt’s potential for leadership. When he finally got around to talking about himself Paul noted that he’s still in Anchorage, flying the 737 and getting used to new responsibilities as ALPA Council Rep. Son is at U. of Alaska-Fairbanks majoring in (CE, (“like his old man”), oldest daughter just hit teenage years, youngest daughter just turned 10. In Paul’s words, wife, Michele, is in her “renaissance” and is taking voice and piano lessons.
Another “news of many” came through from Ric Lewallen; they’ve moved to a farmhouse on 2 1/2 acres in Coosada, AL (outside Montgomery), still “doing the same thing, just in a better location” (relative to DC). Headlines on others: Don Byers’ oldest daughter graduated from high school this year, Rudy Roth is still stationed at Travis and will be there at least through next summer, Dean Cox is still working with the foreign liaison office in DC.
And John Scherer dropped a line from McClellan AFB where he is support group commander. John thought Sam Ryals’ name should get into the “oldest dad” contest – his wife, Ginger, was expecting this past May. Also gave a report on Tim Wrighton who is 349th AW Ops Group commander. The 349th is the Reserve associate unit at Travis AFB, flying C-5s, C-141s, and KC-10s.
Touch-And-Goes. Got several quick, “here I am” e-mails to pass along: Steve Pitotti is F-15 PDM pilot at Warner Robins AFB, says “life away from the Pentagon is a blast - the field is much more fun!"
Duane Jones, Jan, and their boys were getting ready to leave Ramstein AB (after just less than a year) for Maxwell AFB and AWC. Duane was pretty surprised when the housing people told him that they wouldn’t be able to get their on-base housing until Lt Col Bob Gambrell moves out! Small world. Dennis and Leslie Brooks have moved to a home on a golf course outside the North Gate and are rapidly building a golf ball collection (which they’ll probably try to sell to offset car repair costs resulting from “wicked hooks”). Their daughter Becky made cheerleader for her upcoming senior year of high school. Jon Turner picked an appropriate milestone date, June 4th, for his retirement from USAFR; plans to play a lot more golf.
Clean-Up And Corrections. Got an email from Rick Broome (aviation artist) over six months ago that I just forgot to include in last article l wrote. He wanted me to remind those of you who own any of his work from that era that art appraisals are a good idea to protect your investment. Appreciation has probably increased the value of your art far beyond the purchase but without an appraisal you’re SOL.
Have also gotten e-mail to resolve uncertainties surfaced in last article. Turns out “John (couldn’t get his last name)” is actually John Quattrocki who left after 2nd Class summer (not after 1st year) based an loss of pilot qualification (kind of a “medical thing”). John’s now an FBI agent in Washington, DC.
One Of Those Days. Months from now when I read this in the actual pages of the magazine I wonder if I’ll remember what a crummy day I had back in June? Probably will when I read the salutation: Remember, it’s later than we think – THANK GOODNESS!