Extended Holiday Greetings From Sunny Arizona. Even though there’s a considerable time lag between me writing this and you reading it, here’s hoping that the joy and blessings of the Holiday Season are still with us all. It is a gorgeous day here in the Valley of the Sun (most are!) and there’s a plethora of material to pass along so let’s get on with seeing where we’re at and where we're going (although, at this age it’s sometimes less taxing to think about where we've been)!
Up. That's where this distinguished group of classmates is going! Latest BG list had no less than five '75ers on it! Hope the list is published elsewhere in this magazine but right here is where the heartfelt, “proud-to-say-we're-classmates” congratulations are registered for: Chip Diehl, Stan Gorenc, Pete Hennessey, Joe Stein, and Mark Volcheff. No small accomplishment! And I’m sure many of you who are still serving on active duty (and maybe even a few of us Reservists) will be on future lists.
And while we’re on the general (or is that capital "G", General?) subject, I’ll begin the (received) Christmas card list with Dale Meyerrose. His short note talked about hectic life and noted that he and Linda’s “ladies are growing up fast.” Also got a family picture and note from Bentley Rayburn (must be something they teach you in brigadier generals class). Was a very busy year for them, including sending their oldest off to college in Tennessee.
East To West. The rest of the Holiday greetings, from (postmark-wise) from East to West. With great apologies to his wife and daughters, I am including a photo of Bill Lyerly and Chuck Hippler taken during Lyerly’s holiday vacation to Disneyworld. Once again, space constraints won’t permit detailed accounting of all that’s going with Bill, Sylvia and their family, but (what a surprise?) they’re very busy. Chuck is a 757 captain for UPS flying out of Orlando; he has two boys.
And it`s time to do our annual marveling at Mark Donnelly's unchanged address - ten years in Southern Maryland! [Can any classmate on active duty match that for geographic stability?] Of course Mark traveled a lot with his boss this year and even got to learn to fly a new airplane (757s taking the place of old 707s in the VIP fleet). Lucy and the kids are...well, busy! Scott Smith and his family sent holiday greetings from slightly further south in Dumfries, VA. Believe this was first time we’d heard that Scott moved over to Delta Airlines (727s out of LaGuardia) from the cargo flying business. Jan is one of four RNs on the Heart Team at one of the hospitals in Fredericksburg. Kids – busy
On to the South where Chuck and Roxanne Holland are getting ready for a move even further to the south – Chuck has been selected as the defense attaché to La Paz, Bolivia! Lots of things to do (schools) between now and their expected arrival in Jul '00, And just to make sure they're ready for world traveling, Chuck and Roxanne were going off on a two-week vacation to Thailand with his parents in December.
Showing that we’re a well-educated lot, there weren’t any cards from the Mid-west so we’ll move on to the Rockies (oh come on, you know that’s just meant to get one of you Plains-livers to write me in defense)! I think my wife has about as rugged a commute as there is outside of Southern California but it palls in comparison to Wayne Willis’s Albuquerque-to-Orlando trip to the office (of course "the office” is a Delta 737). Hard to believe Wayne and Amy have two already out of the house and that another son, Brian, will graduate this spring (possibly USAFA-bound). Lisa is a freshman and I laughed just thinking about the “deer-in-the-headlights" look on big old Wayne’s face as he wrote me, “What's the secret to surviving a teenage daughter?”
Just up I-25 in Colorado Springs, Jon and Diane Turner may also be checking into the USAFA Class of 2003 Parents Club; Ric’s got a nomination and is being recruited by the football team. Whole family is busy, Jon has taken on position of flight operations supervisor for the 737-300/500 for United in Denver, but they did travel to the Holy Land last summer. Dennis and Leslie Brooks are also still there in “Colo Spgs” and, like so many of you sent their child (Becky) off to college (Samford University in Birmingham, AL) this past year. Denny’s health is still a challenge but it’s always a pleasure and inspiration for me to “read” his positive attitude.
Finally out West there was but one card and that without a note or letter. I’ll only wish for coal in Brian Barnes’ Christmas stocking next year if he fails to send some additional, substantive correspondence later this year! But much better than a card was Debby’s and my visit with Kent, Carol, and Meagan Traylor at New Years. We went up to the Beale AFB “Ranch” for a wonderful couple of days (to follow up on the great time we had together at the WAC Championship game earlier in December). On this trip we got to relax, see Meagan’s horse, took a tour of the U-2 Operations, ate exquisitely (and almost endlessly), and rediscovered the gift of friendship. As a bonus to the weekend, we ran into Brent Hall on the way back to Phoenix. He was “deadheading" back to Phoenix on the same Southwest Airlines flight we were on (he still flies for them). Brent and Kaye just relocated (from Las Vegas) to the same suburb of Phoenix we live in.
Regressing Back To Kindergarten. In the interest of time, I’ll dispense with the paraphrasing and do the high-tech version of the “Cut & Paste” thing we used to do in kindergarten on all the e-mails I’ve received since the last column. From Jim Dearien (1 Oct): “I’m in Dallas working for Delta. Married 13 years now to Julie... have two girls. My oldest went to USAFA basketball camp this past summer...she called me the first night and said what a good time she was having. I had to call my parents – my daughter had done in one day what I never did in five years - have a good time at USAFA! What a change in one generation” From John Kambourian (4 Oct): “I’ve been out of touch for a while due to a serious accident while l was down in Chile. In February (1998) l fell off a 120-foot waterfall in southern Chile (no, there wasn’t a pool of water at the bottom) and had a pretty close call with death, I did some pretty extensive damage to the old chassis, breaking my back, my right femur, my right arm, and eight ribs. I felt like Humpty Dumpty but the doctors (after an 11-hour operation and 20 units of blood) managed by some miracle to glue me back together – with a healthy amount of titanium, I might add. I’m re-covering extremely quickly and am told I’ll be as good as new in three to four months. We left Chile a year early so that I could do rehab in the States...will be working at State Department for the next two to three years (at least). After seven overseas tours, we’d like to spend some time in the States for a while. By the way, the new air attaché at our embassy in Chile is a '75 grad, Al Piotter.”
Break – Break. O.K., the next e-mail (6 Oct) was from Buck Rogers but it was short and l actually got better informed when we went to dinner with him and his daughter in November. Buck, who's 19AF/DO, was in town as Mishap Board president for an F-16 out of Luke that I did structural damage assessment on (part of my USAFR duties). Megan had come out to see NAU and ASU as she has some interest in coming this way after high school graduation.
Webmaster. Marinus Bosma has included me on two e-mails that were actually pointers to web sites he put together to document (in near real time!): a) a trip to Israel he and Ginny made, and b) a humanitarian mission to Crique Safco, Belize he was involved with.
More excerpts – from Tony Mahoney (20 Oct): “Cyndy and I had a chance to get away from kids etc. and attend homecoming vs. New Mexico a few weeks ago. I’m sure we never did so many push-ups in a season, much less in a single game! I’m with Southwest, going on eight years now…pretty good seniority on the captain list in Oakland but tired of commuting from Las Vegas. We are kept pretty busy with three kids at home and my 18-year-old college student in the guestroom full time. Our youngest just turned one last week, probably the youngest ‘75 offspring, or close to it!”
From Max Della Pia (6 Nov): “I have come full circle – am back on active duty as the Reserve advisor to commander 19th Air Force. I will be spending one week per month and two weeks every other month at Little Rock AFB for the next four years. I'm happy to be back flying but have spent more time there than l have in San Antonio over the past four months.” (Wish space would allow me to pass on the history of how one winds up in a job like this but I’ll just have to tease you with the key words.) “Got my law degree from Marquette Law…during my 6 1/2 years in practice, flew C-130s with USAFR…Desert Storm…Air Reserve technician in Milwaukee...Legis Fellow at Brookings...personal staff of Senator Carl Levin…worked for Colonel Rick Pyatt (Class of ‘75), division chief, Air Force Senate Liaison…finished ICAF in June as a “DG” (with "DG" classmate Colonel Dave Anhalt)...accepted AGR tour to Randolph AFB in August. Just missed seeing my old roommate Colonel Gary Barrentine before he left to be 71 FTW/CV. Nancy has done a great job of getting the house up to speed, often without my help. The boys are growing up fast.”
Steve Pitotti sent an e-mail from Holloman AFB with pledge to follow-up with pictures and stories of other “’75 buds” there. I'm guessing Desert Fox interfered. And from John Scherer who’s vice commander at the Air Mobility Warfare Center (19 Dec): “Was pleasantly surprised when we landed at McConnell AFB (on TDY) last Saturday to be met by Col. John Gaughan, 22 ARW/CV...he‘s been there since August. Just yesterday on an out-and-back to Keesler AFB, I saw Gerry Micheletti, who is the 403 AW/LG – the hurricane hunter C-130 unit. He was hobbling with a cane after having a knee repaired – old hockey injury he says.”
Outer Limits. I'm pushing the editor’s space constraints and my own impatience to get back to time with my family on a beautiful day like today. Encourage each of you to do the same right now…you never know it just might be later than you think!
Another Test Of Dedication. Today I’m thinking it would be a good idea to rotate the Class Scribe assignment seasonally to someone who’s in a “it's-just-too-miserable-to-go-outside” situation. Which means I’d take the Summer (June) and Fall (September) columns and leave Winter and this one (penned in March) to one of you presumably living further north. But that’s just wishful thinking (on your part?) and, being a sage veteran, I’ll do the cadet-ly thing – turning this into a challenge (for brevity and conciseness) rather than go on whining about the fact that it's beautiful out, and I turned down the chance to play golf, and I’ve really been busy at work, and…oops.
Time To “Buckley It Up.” Actually l got pretty inspired to write this after Debby, Tiffany and I had dinner with Mike and Diane Buckley earlier this week. Clearly another case of, with classmates (friends) it doesn’t matter how long you go between visits, the closeness and joy in the relationship instantly returns. They were down from Anchorage (where it had been just-too-miserable-to-go-outside!) for a one-week visit to various parts of Arizona. Mike’s still flying with Alaska Airlines while Diane is actively researching genealogy for their families.
Great time with Mike and Diane was actually the third (but hopefully not the last) in a series of visits with fellow Nooky-Niners (I didn’t call it “Viking Nine” then and I’m not about to start). Phil Pearce came over about a month ago for dinner as he was in Phoenix on business. This isn't unusual as he’s currently doing consulting for a pharmaceutical company out here, helping them expand/modernize their (major!) mail-order pharmacy operation. He, Chris, and the kids still live in North Carolina. And the week after we saw Phil, Kent Traylor "overnighted" at Casa de Hackett on his way back to Beale AFB from a conference in San Antonio. Not a lot new with them except that he and Carole were on the brink of buying a horse for Meagan (it's always nice to talk with other indulgent parents). So, for the rest of you folks from CS-09 and/or '75, let’s take this up as a challenge - (as long as the weather stays nice in Arizona) let’s have more personally delivered inputs for the article.
Flashbacks. You’ll recall from the last column that I reluctantly left out a couple of photos due to space constraints. So here they are! I’ll leave it to you to reread the “story behind the picture" on these two fine families in that last article.
Have to also give credit to Steve Pitotti who sent me a (digital) photo to go with his last-quarter e-mail. The picture is certainly interesting as it shows four of our classmates at a favorite Crud hangout near Holloman: Andy Dichter, 49FW vice commander; Eric Hoganson, 46 Test Group commander; Steve Pitotti, 46 Test Wing vice commander; and Kevin Smith, 49 Ops Group commander. In Steve’s words, “Heres the best part - we all have “commander” in our titles, we’re all flying fighters (F-117s, AT-38s, and F-15s) and we all live on the “beach” (although I’m the only one with water next to it). Steve noted that the Air Force is still fun and that Eglin AFB is “a blast – good flying and working with Kevin Burns (46 Ops Group/CC).”
It’s Not My Work – I’m Not Taking “Credit” For It! Once again it appears the only rational choice is to give y'all the unfiltered and unamplified version of what has been sent to me electronically Sure it turns me into a no-value-added middleman force-fitting today’s technology in yesterday’s forum; but hey, you get what you pay for and if you were really disturbed by it you’d be surfing our Class Home Page instead of flipping through the pages of Checkpoints. In chronological order:
From Bill Murray in mid January - “...looking at a new job in late February that might make me go to work! Falcons looked great this year, but unfortunately our hop to Hawaii didn't work out for the Bowl game. They had a tremendous season! (A lot like I remember ours!)" OK, so Bill’s a bit delusional about the past.
From Rod Kallman in mid February – “...living in Las Vegas after retiring 1 Jan 96 at Nellis AFB and am now flying for FedEx. I have a son who is a three degree at the Zoo and another son who is a junior in high school who wants to go there too (go figure). My 19-year-old daughter has decided to take a different path, thank goodness. Still married to Vicki (23 years) and we're both enjoying retired life.”
Got e-mail and digital picture from Buck Rogers in mid March. “Photo is from Mardi Gras party at Max Della Pia’s of ‘75ers in attendance: myself (CS-19), Max (CS-18), and Jim Marshall (CS-18). Great time – great food – needed more altitude here in San Antonio!"
From John Scherer also in mid March – “...just saw Col Brad Shields at the NCO Academy assumption of leadership ceremony at McGuire AFB on 16 March 99. Brad is commander of the College of Enlisted PME at Maxwell – says he loves the job.” And, came an (first time correspondence with scribe!) e-mail from Phil Martin – “... have to respond to proud claim by Tony Mahoney that he may have youngest child. Today that may be true but in just a month or so my Squadron bud from Redeye 25, Mike Magee and wife, Holly, will have their first. By the way they live outside Tucson; he flies for American Airlines out of LA...doing great. I am still active, assigned to San Antonio ALC as a propulsion guru. My wife, Sophia, runs a tight hacienda here in San Antone and stays busy with the work/family combination. Our son Matt (freshman at Northern Colorado) has decided against USAFA attendance now that he has found secret to happiness lies in “real college life.” Our daughters are a bit younger and make life interesting for a no nonsense guy like myself.”
As The Pig Says At The End Of The Cartoon. That seems to be everything there is folks. Keep those cards, letters, e-mails, and visits coming. Go check out the Home Page while you wait for the next article. And remember once again that it’s probably later than you think!
Racing To Meet Another Deadline. OK the truth is I’ve already been given a black flag for violating (once again) the editor’s published deadline but, ever since April 3rd, I’ve been waiting to use that caption with this photo of me at Phoenix International Raceway. No, I haven’t changed career fields – I was collecting on a Christmas present from my extremely indulgent wife and running Bondurant Race School’s “Lap the Oval” program in Formula Ford (2000cc, 150MPH) race car. In a word this was an “INCREDIBLE” experience – a must-do-before you grow up!
Before I Do A Flashback On Being A Recce Pilot… We did a lot of cutting and pasting (of maps) in the RF-4C world and I’ll get back to that (with e-mail inputs) in a second, but first I wanted to share a US Mail input from Wayne Willis (hey, you spend 33¢ on me and it means something)! Guess my writings are really starting to get to Wayne – a real AFCW Form 10 fell out of the envelopehe sent. Apparently I’ve been given 75 demerits and 20 years of confinements for demonstrating “Gross poor judgment” in being Class Scribe for “20-plus years.” Gee Wayne, it’s only been 14 years (must seem longer to football players because they have to spend extra time going to the dictionary to look up so many words)! But I'm not going to get after someone who so obviously means it when he says, “life could notbe better for us!" And if you’re looking for proof check picture Wayne described as “my secure legacy.” David (top left) played junior college ball for two years at Ricks College, made it to the national JUCO championship game last year; is now “retired” from the sport and a fulltime student at BYU. Scott (#48) is serving a two-year LDS church mission in Brazil. Brian (in front) graduated this year and will be following in dad’s footsteps as a member of the Class of 2003! Wayne and Amy are still in Albuquerque and he’s still with Delta. Wayne provided following Delta “fraternity” updates – Rick McGraw just retired and is now with Delta as a 727 engineer in Cincinnati; Mike Dennis is a 737 first officer, also in Cincy.
Hot Off The Wire. Per (the new) “normal” here’s a montage of e-mails I’ve received over the past three months. From John Scherer (Mar 99): “Just saw Colonel Brad Shields at NCO Academy Assumption of Leadership ceremony at McGuire AFB. Brad is commander of the College of Enlisted PME at Maxwell (lives in one of the nice houses on Maxwell). Says he loves the job.
For those who were rookies with me in CWDS26, here’s a blast from the past – got n e-mail from John Furr who was (in his own words), “a victim of the Math Department.” John went on to ROTC at LSU (’76), UPT at Willie, Buffs at Grand forks, opened KC-10 at Barksdale and Seymour-Johnson, ACSC, air attaché in Sub-Saharan Africa, chief of Tactics at Air Mobility Center and on Air War College faculty since ’95. And in a twist of fate, the Dean may not have had the final word – John’s son graduated with Class of ’99 this summer!
The Challenge Is Officially Withdrawn! I didn’t give full consideration to the unbridled sense of competitiveness found in USAFA grads when I said something several columns ago about who might be last in the class to sire a child! You can bring your diaper bag to the 25th (or 30th, or 35th) Reunion but I’m not necessarily going to keep passing on the Stanley Cup of Testosterone to those of you with wives even more indulgent than mine! My consciousness was raised by news that Mike Magee and wife, Holly, had their first this spring. Mike flies for American out of LAX and lives in Tucson. News was passed on in e-mail from 25 Redeye squadron-mate Phil Martin who is "still active, assigned to San Antonio ALC as a propulsion guru. Wife, Sophia, runs a tight hacienda here in San Antone. Son Matt is freshman at U of Northern Colorado and has found secret to happiness lies in his full enjoyment of “real college life!” Daughters are a bit younger and make life interesting for a no-nonsense kind of guy like myself.”
Jim Dill and Petty Lamy sent near simultaneous e-mails to let me know that they were getting ready to reunite at Edwards AFB this summer. Perry is taking the reins as 412th Test Wing commander and Jim will be 95th Air Base Wing commander. Sounded like both were ready to move on from most recent challenges: Perry as director for HQ ACC Reengineering Team and Jim as group commander at Onizuka AS, Sunnyvale CA (which was on the BRAC list, his final responsibility will be to inactivate the group).
Perry says he's seen lots of classmates on and around Langley/ACC – in addition to Bentley Rayburn, Dale Meyerrose, there’s Terry Young, Support Group CC in the 1st Fighter Wing; Dick Webber who is finishing up at Air & Space C2 Intel, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance Center on his way to a Space Wing job in Colorado Springs; and Jerry Levesque in ACC/XP as CC of Studies and Analysis Squadron. Peggy and the boys (Alex and Nicholas) have kept very busy but are excited about returning to California.
Jim admits to being excited about getting into the flying business, which will be new since he‘s been doing space operations for 16 years. His oldest son will graduate from Florida State in December, number two son is going to community college in the local area and just made Jim and Joette proud grandparents of a little boy, and number three son is finishing up his sophomore year in high school and ready to get his license (“really scary”).
Al Gore’s Internet – Bringing The World Together! If not for Al, I guess we wouldn’t know that Lance GRACE is alive and well in Alamogordo! Lance said he was looking for some info on the Web when he came upon our class homepage. He states emphatically that, "retired life has been very, very good to me!" Lance is part owner of a small engineering/consulting company involved in developing various items for DOD use. He turned me dark green with envy when he said that he also had a part-time job flying F-4Ds for a contractor in support of a Navy program (over 150 flight hours last year) and to make matters "worse" he does this flying in Hawaii! Lance visits Ed and Ian Kasl when he’s in the Aloha State – says they’re doing great.
Dave Janetta penned his e-mail from Germany where he was flying (EC-130 navigator) PSYOPS missions with his ANG unit (193rd SOW) as part of NATO efforts in Yugoslavia ("challenging missions, especially with so many different forces involved but I am learning quite a bit”). Can understand his anxiousness to rotate home, Dave is still a single dad raising five terrific youngsters (one girl, four boys). He started a company a few years back that installs sensor networks and sells data to various transportation entities – just awarded a large contract to build networks around Pittsburgh and Philadelphia so will be very busy for some time.
If That’s All The Better You Can Do, Drop And Give Me Twenty-Five! Will be looking forward to hearing more from those classmates who fired off “one-liners” to me. Dan Burda – “Hello, hope all is well.” (That’s the entire message)! Jack Barton, who very succinctly informs us that he is “commander of ROTC Det 842 at University of Texas, San Antonio. Great job.” Dave Myers, who concisely said that he was, "coming up on my 18th anniversary with Martin Marietta/Lockheed Martin; working in Lockheed Martins Deer Creek (Colorado) facility in a product area called Reusable Launch Systems.” Gentlemen, I feel safe in saying we look forward to more from you in the future!
On the other extreme, space does not permit me to pass along all the news/tidbits/anecdotes/opinions I’ve received from Dennis Brooks, all of which I’m happy to read and review! The highlights: am happy to see Dennis fights on with a sense of wit – “Am recovering from a third stroke (or migraine causing loss of nerve functions, significant vision loss, and a right hand that doesn't quite work anymore, neurologist can’t make up her mind)!” Dennis and Leslies daughter Becky just finished her first year of college at Samford University in Birmingham, AL and is headed for Abilene Christian University (TX).
Received a photo from Andy Dichter of classmates who were at the Air Combat Command Airmen of the Year banquet. In the picture are Andy, BG Bentley Rayburn, Dale Meyerrose and Terry Young.
Class of 1976 – Permission To Gaze Around! Thought I’d put this picture at the end of the article to juxtaposition it (whoops, there go the football guys off to the dictionary again) with the Class of ’76 article. Can’t get too uppity with them since photo was taken on occasion of BG Chilton’s taking command of 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale AFB (Chili’s other claim to fame is being my daughter’s Godfather). If you’ve read this article lately you know that Kent Traylor is ops group commander at Beale. Was great to see Curt Osterheld too, he still lives in Washington, DC and is one of the key players in company that does command and control software simulations relating to strategic reconnaissance and such.
And that’s all there is to say! Don’t miss a chance to tell those that you do, “I love you”…it’s late than you think.
Get A Life, Mister! (With no compromise in quality) I’m going to try to put this column out in record time, so that I can spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon with Debby and Tiff. Will have to admit that today’s scribe duties have a definite “up” side – 1) helping me forget yesterday’s agonizing Falcon football loss to Wyoming, and 2) keeping me inside on another 100+ degree “Fall” day in Phoenix (enough is enough)!
Mark Your Calendars Now. Although a firm date has yet to be set, my advice is that you block out the months Sep-Nov ’00 to prepare for/execute/recover from our 25th reunion celebration. For now Mark Wells, Jim Carlson, Scott Hente, Larry Fariss, and Lee Monroe are handling up-front preparations and planning but I’m sure they’d be happy to get your help and/or inputs. If you don’t happen to live across the street from any of them, easiest way to contact them (and an excellent way to get latest “scoop” on all reunion plans) is to go to USAFA '75 Reunion Web page. While we’re talking about that 21st Century “meeting place,” note that '75 Class home page has moved; it’s a great way to keep up-to-date and we all owe Jim Carlson a huge, recurring “thank you” for doing such at time job with it.
Time lag between writing, publishing, and reading of Checkpoints makes it useless for me to tell you about "Practice Reunion Tailgate” on October 16th; but for any/all of you who attended I’m asking that you give the rest of us a break and rush anecdotes and pictures to me right away (I’m required to turn in "next" article very soon after “last” article gets to your mailbox). Scott Hente was organizing the event and he certainly made it sound inviting but I will be otherwise busy that day celebrating 23 blissful years of marriage to Debby and can’t imagine how an afternoon with classmates, Falcon football, and one or two adult beverages could begin to compare (remember that my wife is also my proofreader).
Along with his tailgate invitation Scott mentioned that Phil Gronseth was soliciting participants for alumni hockey game that same day. Now that's something we really need to get pictures of!
Before we leave the whole reunion thing I should mention that Mark Wells is owed both “thanks” (for heading up the whole planning thing) and “congratulations." In early August, Lieutenant General Oelstrom, the Superintendent, nominated Mark to be the Permanent Professor and Head of the Department of History at USAFA! By the time you read this, the formal approval process should be completed and all that’s left are our collective best wishes to both Mark and Donna!
Neither Of Us Has Any Self-Control. As for me – l can admit it’s a matter of morbid fascination, as for Paul…you'll have to ask him! Had said I was going to swear off inciting any misguided sense of competitiveness in some of you by ending announcements of child-births but I yield. Paul DeSisto took a break from diaper duty to write me about birth of his daughter, Cara, this past June. Which was 45 years, four months, and eight days after the doctor spanked Paul and he cried for the first time! I’m guessing Paul has had some new bleary-eyed, middle-of-the-night tears in the past few months (but that’s probably just me imposing my limitations on another). Congratulations, Paul.
And at the other end of that having/raising children spectrum we find Charlie and Sherry Simmons who saw their son Jeff graduate this past June with Class of '99! As photo shows, there's more to come; other son Jeremy is now in his second year at USAFA. Based on their visits in June Week and again for Parents Weekend, Charlie reports all is well at school. Charlie and Sherry are still in Alabama although Charlie retired from AL ANG (commander 160FS,F-16s) back in Feb ’98. He’s still flying for Delta out of Atlanta but they’re considering a move hack home (TX). Others Charlie has seen: “Jim Corrigan (Jim and Kim live close by in Prattville, AL – son Ryan should enter USAF and UPT next Spring), Bo Montgomery (Bo and Jean – son Clint, USAFA Class of ‘03), Dave Commons, Jeff Neumann, Mike Weininger, Bud Crist, Charlie Sargent, Dave Young, Wayne Willis, Bob Turner, Scott Smith, Fred Tasker, Ken Nease, and Pat Moran." Charlie also reported that he and Jim Corrigan had lunch with Walt Burns this summer as he was passing through town, “Walt and Penny are enjoying life in Connecticut as CC of ANG A-10 unit at Bradley Field.
Hard To Imagine What We Would Have Done If Al Gore Hadn’t Invented The Internet! Once again bulk of inputs came via e-mail. From Chuck Riordan, “Took advantage of early retirement program offered back in 1994 (retired with 19 years of service)…am now volunteering my time as a Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP) budget counselor at the Eglin AFB Family Support Center – provides level of challenge and job satisfaction that I need but allows me to control my time. Ran into Steve Pitotti, 46 Test Wing vice commander while at a volunteer recognition ceremony a couple of months ago. He seems to be doing well and having too much fun to retire yet.”
Next was a short note/announcement from Will Cosby, “effective July 5th, I became Division VP for the newly-formed Hertz Southwest Commercial Sales Division. That means head of the division that negotiates rent-a-car contracts with companies that have HQs in Southern California, Arizona, Southern Nevada (Las Vegas), and Hawaii. Let ‘75ers out there know that if they are passing through LAX, my office and my house are only 10 minutes away (next door to LA Air Force Base).
Eavesdropping. Regular contributor Bill Lyerly copied me on a note he sent to his old roommate, Mike Heil. “…High blood pressure and a minor heat attack last September have tried to slow me down – not very successfully though; (I’m OK now – more of a “shot across the bow”). Spent six weeks in Dublin, Ireland teaching in the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance. Week before last, I taught at the Armed Forces Staff College (Senior Seminar for O-5s and O-6s going to joint jobs, didn’t see any ‘75ers though) in Norfolk, and last week I was in Nova Scotia teaching in the LB Pearson Canadian International Peacekeeping Training Centre. Now back “slaying bureaucratic dragons” in DC.”
Final e-mail could have been sent over two tin cans and a piece of string as it only had to travel from Luke AFB on the other side of Phoenix. Ed Kasl wrote to say, "We just moved back to the Valley for our third stop here. I became the 56th Fighter Wing vice commander last week. We were most recently at HQ PACAF and couldn’t wait to get back to the 100+ degrees.”
Head ‘Em Up…Move ‘Em Out. I figure a couple of shorter columns here in late ‘99/early ’00 will leave me with sufficient energy to do the 25-Year Reunion stuff (partying and column writing) with a flourish. So I’ll let you get on to the rest of this magazine and I’ll finish off the weekend with my family. Thanks for the inputs and the complimentary/motivational notes. After 14 years of columns, l have to admit, it's still a labor of love…and something that keeps my mind off the fact that it’s later than we think.