Writing Columns the Old-Fashioned Way. My concerns about changing internet service proved to be unwarranted as neither the old nor new e-mail boxes saw any traffic from you folks (can’t remember last time that happened!). This will therefore be a return to the golden days of yesteryear as I manually transcribe all the Holiday greetings I received via USPS and throw in a few Reunion remembrances. [If you happen to have me in your e-mail address book (Ha!), don’t forget to change the address and then be sure to actually write me to verify you got it right!]
On the other hand there’s also a “newness” or at least an emerging trend to this column as, for the first time I can remember, it marks the second time in a row I’m away from home at deadline time (the only time I even try to do the Scribe thing!). Given the amount of time I’ve been away from AZ in the past six months, this should come as no surprise. In this case I’ve actually made two short trips as I’m working to fend off the single-again-at-the-Holidays blues (let the record show that there have been decidedly mixed results!). Kind of like the “Dark Ages” mood at times but in true cadet-ly fashion, I’m focusing on “Spring Break”!!
Rumors of His Passing. I have some concern that “third parties” or even those classmates who weren’t there will find my leading anecdote from our 25th Reunion odd or macabre. Nonetheless, please consider the amazing and unique cadet- / grad-mentality in how this story unfolded and how it was handled. One of the more startling discoveries many of us made upon going through our Reunion “Welcome” package was to find Curt Osterheld’s name, cadet photo, and accounting of his death last January in the Memorial Ceremony program. It was particularly unnerving to folks who had spent time with Curt just days before the Reunion! By the time of the actual ceremony Reunion Committee folks had chased down the source of this unfortunate error (report of Curt’s father’s death got to USAFA about the time they were doing the Memorial Ceremony preparations – a simple administrative misunderstanding) and were more than appropriately contrite. In fact, [anonymous], was gracious enough to call Curt before the ceremony to apologize and gracious enough to pass on to the rest of us Curt’s reaction: 1) “I am not dead”, 2) “I am ready to endure the incredible abuse you all will surely impart to me”, and 3) “I will for sure be at the 30th Reunion!“
C-C-C-Cold!!! Even allowing for the fact that I’ve been in Arizona for over nineteen years, it is nonetheless a statement of fact that Reunion weekend was cold. A totally delightful time but very cold! Reasonably well attended (being the weekend before Thanksgiving probably discouraged some), great job by everyone on the Reunion Committee (with the exception of the cancelled-for-snow Golf Tournament, things ran very smoothly), wonderful service from the host hotel, and of course a rousing Falcon victory on the field contributed to what I am now considering a “warm-up” for our 30th!! I have to throw in two divergent personal observations; first, the briefings from the Superintendent, Commandant, Dean, and AD left me absolutely convinced that the place is in great hands – all are obviously magnificent leaders and seem to have our alma mater’s mission clearly in focus. That said, I have to tell you that if the general conduct/manners of the Cadets at lunch on Friday was distressing, then the unbelievably sloppy and hap-hazard “march-on” (that’s stretching the definition of the term) by Third and Fourth Groups at Saturday’s game was absolutely disturbing.
Post-Reunion Reunion. Want to give Chuck Schmeling an “attaboy” for piloting my Southwest Airlines flight to California on Christmas Day in such a timely manner (had a tight shuttle bus connection to get to my brother’s place in Santa Rosa). Chuck’s started with SWA about two years ago after USAF retirement and still lives in Tucson. Another personal observation; I acted as a strong AOG-membership advocate when Chuck confided that he wasn’t “in the fold” – I hope those of you who do belong consistently remind non-member classmates of the benefits (for self and USAFA) AOG membership brings.
The Nine Cards of Christmas. If the following snippets from Christmas cards seem too familiar in that it’s news about “the same folks Jeff mentions every article/Christmas”, you’re reminded that the solution to that is as close as your e-mail account or the local Post Office. And to these faithful few let me say my personal thanks that you took the time to share Holiday news with me (even though the odds of you actually getting a return card are admittedly remote).
Mark and Charlyn Fantasia had an eventful and busy year to include the marriage of their oldest daughter and the departure of their son on his Mormon mission (to Guatemala). They’re still in San Antonio and Mark is still with USAA. Mark has apparently found that the “fly-boy” in him is still alive and is back to private flying for fun and in the process of getting his CFI (now that I’ve written Tiff’s final tuition check (theoretically), I’m also thinking of getting back to slipping the “surly bonds” in sailplanes).
Mark and Lucy Donnelly were nauseatingly early with their card/letter–at the time they sent it they were still wondering who would be in the back as Mark flew Air Force One around after January 20th! Like a fair number of still–active folks I spoke to at Reunion, Mark is thinking that the 26 year milestone this June will be a good time to hang up the uniform; in his case he wants to see what the civilian flying world has to offer. Lucy and the kids (both in High School) are doing well and very busy.
It had somehow escaped me when I first read Brian and Teri Barnes’ Christmas letter that the little penguin characters at the top of the letter have their faces (and the face of their dog) superimposed on them. I thank them publicly for the laugh this gave me. Life for Brian and Teri continues to be about what you’d expect for a very (the most?) senior FO at Alaska Airlines in Seattle – lots of vacation trips and all kinds of extracurricular (business, charitable, and leisure) activities. Brian was at the Reunion but Teri was in Dallas where her mom was recovering from her mom was recovering from surgery.
We’ll stay with the Alaska Airlines thing as I note that Mike and Diane Buckley also took mega-vacations – a month in Australia and two-weeks in Ireland! With them being gone as much as they are it’s not surprising that they decided to move to a newer, slightly smaller home there in Anchorage. “Big” plus is that, for the first time in twenty years, there’s a paved road in front of their house! (I must be a real “city slicker”!!) Was pleased to see the Buckleys at Reunion !
Damned if You Do…Damned if You Don’t. As the father of a beautiful daughter I judged the picture of Dale and Linda Meyerrose’s three lovely daughters as the very nicest part of their card. But alas, editorial rules dictate that you can’t have a picture without the grad in it – so do we want to see the girls bad enough that we’ll include Dale? (Perhaps he could be standing way in the background!) Actually I’m just hassling Dale because by some rule of hub-bub I didn’t get to visit with very much at Reunion. I’ll try to correct next time I’m in Colorado Springs since that’s where Dale is now – some kind of one-star mover-and-shaker at Space Command. Dale proudly announced that there’s a “Cadet Meyerrose” in the family again, daughter Julia is in the Corp of Cadets (AF ROTC) at Virginia Tech.
Honorable Mentions. No real news you haven’t already heard to impart from the cards I got from Mike and Joan Lischak (they were at Reunion), Dennis and Leslie Brooks (didn’t make it), Phil and Chris Pearce (they were at Reunion and were kind enough to give Tiff and I a ride home in their King Air C90B – in a word “WOW”!), and Wayne and Amy Willis (no news but I’m including the sensational family photo that appeared in their Christmas letter). Thanks to my very faithful friends/correspondents.
Acting Like a Bachelor. No more to pass along and I need to be wrapping this up so I can get things set up for “Y Chromosome Gathering” I’m having at my house to watch NFL Playoffs (of course by the time you read this Baseball Spring Training will be in full swing). I’ll try to set a few beers aside for unexpected visits from classmates, for my own consumption while talking on the phone with you, or while reading your next e-mail. But hurry, when it comes to beer around my house – it’s always later than you think!
Operators are Standing By! As I prepare for my quarterly “make-something-out-of-nothing” exercise it occurs to me that I missed an opportunity to piggy-back my perennial lack-of-inputs problem with the Class Gift Campaign. Once the professional campaigner got you to commit your dollars, it would only have taken another minute to tack on a persuasive pitch about pledging just one or two paragraphs of news every three months to your Class Scribe – hell, we’d even let you send it in the same envelope as your check! (Insert your own mental image of me sitting at the computer with a blank look on my face.) So won’t you put aside what ever you’re doing right now and make that “call” – give the gift of words; words that just might make a difference in the life of the Scribe, an old roommate, or that guy in the Class of ’73 that thought you’d never amount to anything. Call (or write or e-mail) today, won’t you? On the other hand, maybe that ’73 grad was right!
On the subject of the Class Gift Campaign – as of this writing (mid-March) things looked pretty good / pretty bad, depending on how you choose to spin the numbers. Seventy percent of the folks who’ve made firm decisions have decided to pledge and the average pledge ($1,547) is slightly above target. But about a third of the people contacted so far have not given a firm “yes” / “no” answer. (Editorial policy precludes me from sharing my thoughts on the thirty percent who gave a firm “no”.) My guess is that the professional solicitation phase of the campaign will have ended by the time you read this but I’m sure there are still ways to get yourself on-board if you initially said “no”.
Late or Misguided Inputs Still Welcome. Bentley Rayburn's and Scott Smith’s Christmas cards didn’t arrive in time to be included in the last column. Looking at the postmark, I think Bentley’s probably got to my old address in time but the forwarding thing didn’t work out just right. Bentley is done with the ACC/IG thing and has moved on to the ACC/XP (Plans and Programs for you civilians) thing which gives him a lot of insight on the “where we’ve come from” and “where we’re going” story (one telling excerpt: “In the last ten years your Air Force is 40% smaller in terms of people, while our operational deployment activity has increased 400%!”). Debbi and all four of the kids (Moriah, Micah, Carrisa, and Cassandra) are doing great things and, as the enclosed photo shows, make a darn good-looking group.
Scott and Janet got my address right but confessed to being a little late this year (which puts them one or more up on those of us who failed to get and cards mailed out). Another chronicle of busy times and a family growing up too fast (Jenny – HS Senior, Scott – HS Freshman). Jan is now the Assistant Director of Surgical Services at Potomac Hospital and Scott is now a 737-800 First Officer on the Delta Shuttle.
Meeting of the Minds…or Whatever. Jim Carlson [and Dan McCorry] organized a remedial Reunion get-together in Washington, DC at the beginning of February. I understand it also served as a wake for the not-quite-dearly-departed Curt Osterheld (see my last column for an explanation). Although I sadly did not get any photos nor gory details I’m told that a good time was had by all (twenty-six guys plus spouses / significant others) and that they’re looking forward to the USAFA – USNA football game for their next meeting. (Photos Below)
This would seem to be the ideal time to make a plug for the AZ Chapter of the AOG - those of you who are fellow desert-dwellers should get on-board so that we can make sure there’s a substantial ’75 representation at any/all up-coming events (would think that there will be organized trip(s) to the San Diego State and/or New Mexico football games next Fall). Call me for membership details.
Random Sightings and Wire-Taps. I’ll grant you the benefit of the doubt and postulate that the e-mail change I did in February sabotaged the hundreds (?)… dozens (?)… a couple of e-mails that y’all sent. Please make a note of my new e-mail address in the by-line at the bottom of this column. End result is that I only have a very small bit of information to pass along. On my last flight home from USAFR duty in Albuquerque I sat next to Jim Marburger who was on his way back to Phoenix from an Aviation Law symposium in Dallas. Jim’s still doing well and keeping the scales of justice in balance with the Gust–Rosenfeld firm here in Phoenix. There’re plans for catching an upcoming Coyotes’ (NHL) game together especially if we can catch Jim’s rookie roommate, Phil Pearce, in town. I spent a few hours with Phil and Chris in their lovely home a few weeks ago as I drove (dragged) my exhausted carcass home from an in-line skate race in North Scottsdale. They’re doing well and Phil is still traveling a good bit.
Phone calls from Rich Chanick (local) and Kent Traylor (long distance from DC) – all is well in their respective locations and with their families & careers.
Reaping What You Sow. I can hear you now, “Hey! What the heck is this!? We’re already at the bottom of the column – skimpy news on just eight classmates - one stinking photo! Jeez, the smack-o’s in ’76 have a much longer column.” It’s just like the Class Gift Campaign folks – give a little and it’ll go a long way (think of me as your matching Corporate Contribution). Do it today and keep giving a token amount each quarter. It will always be later than you think! As a minimum, I want to hear from every guy who hangs ‘em up at the twenty-six year point this summer. You did good and we’d like to celebrate with you and hear what the future holds.
Putting Me Back in My Place. For very possibly the first time ever, I made my input (paragraphs above) to the Checkpoints editors right on time (understand the paramedics were successful in reviving them when that happened). But I’m more than glad to take the hit (cut in pay?) from the AOG for being late again so that I can acknowledge / share input from John Charlton who e-mailed to say he recently attended a Transition Seminar with eight of our classmates. Now I certainly expect to hear from you guys!
Summer Column–The Sequel. Those of you who came to this site based on directions in the less-than-half-baked column I wrote in the summer edition of Checkpoints, congratulations, you found me. For those mooches that don’t belong to the AOG (read “don’t pay dues”) and just stumbled across this – stop reading until you call in your credit card number and join (really, there’s an embedded virus in here that knows whether you’re a member or not)!
Note that my admonishment is only somewhat tongue-in-cheek; I do feel that membership in the AOG is important not because they provide a forum for my quarterly musings but because they do a lot of important work for the graduate community and for the Academy’s on-going programs. On the other hand I’m starting to wonder if Jim “Napster” Carlson hasn’t improved on the class news thing with his frequent and sometimes voluminous, near-real-time compilations of e-mail “shot-gunned” to everyone on his class e-mail lists. As Jim and I kick this around, would be nice to hear from you folks (the “consumers”) about one versus the other (Checkpoints columns/Jim’s mass e-mailings) or how we might make the two approaches more complimentary.
Hoping That No News is Good News. Haven’t seen any update since April so I’ll assume there’s good news in Bill Thompson’s battle with prostate and colon cancer. At that time he was in chemotherapy and very much focused on overcoming the challenges. A “winning” attitude? Yeah, I’d say so! When his doctor first gave Bill the diagnosis and said that there was probably only a 3% chance of survival, Bill responded that there was more than one “expert” who said he had about that chance of graduation from USAFA and he had proved all them wrong! Let’s all be sending our best wishes and prayers in Bill’s direction and look forward to his exceeding expectations again!
Ascensions and Exits. In the interest of keeping the Checkpoints cycle intact from the Scribe’s point of view, I’m going to ignore inputs that came after mid-June (the original magazine deadline for contributions) – I’m still overwhelmed with material. (Jim’s e-mails, cut and pasted in to a Word document comes to twenty-seven pages!). First the really newsworthy stuff (half of one page) – our class’s star power moved up with the latest BG and MG lists; my old roommate, Dale Meyerrose, has pinned on a second star in his job at USSPACECOM and Mark Beesley (at NORAD), Andy Dichter (at PACAF), Dick Webber (at AFSPACECOM) were all nominated for Brigadier General. Congratulations to all! And big time congratulations to Matt Fong on his appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Army!
Not a change of rank but definitely qualifying as an ascension in lieu of an exit is Larry Fariss’ appointment as the new Commander of the Prep School there at USAFA. Larry said his retirement plans were pretty firmed up when the Superintendent gave him the proverbial offer that couldn’t be refused.
It seemed like twenty-five of the remaining twenty-six and a half pages from Jim had to do with retirements! Man, I’m too young to be writing about all these retirements! Names I picked up that I believe have recently stepped over the side: Jon Ball, Jack Barton, Greg Berlan, Bill Caskey (from USAFR), Randy Chapman, John Charlton, Jim Corrigan, Randy Davis, Jim Dill, Bob Dorsey, Jim Eken, Greg Frick, Jim Heald, Dave Hensley, Tom McClain, Rick Odegard, Bruce Patterson, Mark Risi, John Scherer, and Steve Weilbrenner. There were some snippets of data about where they were when they hung ‘em up and/or where they were going but I’m drawing an arbitrary line saying that if there isn’t a personal note to the Scribe, it didn’t happen (on the other hand, if you include a digital photo – you get a headline).
75 Best Aive–And Still Potent! In light of the following, it’s been suggested that we revise the class motto to add an appropriate warning to women of childbearing years. David Hickman saw third child into the world in early May (seventeen years after #2!) Gil Braun was expecting in June, Tom and Ruth Udall were looking forward to birth of a son in July. But the award for "most recent father" isn’t going to gather any dust – Steve Else and Dean Cox are expecting (with their respective wives of course!).
Got Close, Went Fast, Maybe Next Year. A public apology to Lamar Lewis who wrote me a wonderful e-mail from his home in Napa, CA that I got to read (I’ve been traveling a lot) the night before I left for an In-Line Skate Marathon in…. Napa, CA! I won’t try making a bunch of sniveling excuses (you're too tough an audience for that) not the least of which would be that I was very focused on the idea of staying vertical for 26+ miles but I didn’t get to see Lamar this trip. Lamar’s with Southwest and retired from the USAFR (couple of years back). He and Linda have five boys between them – sounds like all are very successful and the eldest made them Grandparents here recently. I hope to enter that race again next June and will hopefully be able to provide a picture of Lamar and Linda (maybe doing CPR on me!) but this year you’re stuck with just me. And for the second column in a row, I can tell you about an on-the-same-flight chance meeting with Jim Marburger; he was on the flight I took going to CA for the race. Jim was going on to Portland to watch some kind of auto race – he looks great and reports all is still well.
Other “Athletic” Endeavors. I think the Honor Code was held in abeyance during Golf Tournament held at Andrews AFB in late May; saw write-ups from several classmates and I think every one of them staked a claim to “Best” something or other. But the real distinction was that ’75 gathered up honors as Class with largest number of entrants! Roy Rice was most eloquent and I think captured the essence of the getting-together-with-classmates thing regardless of the setting:
“Spent 4 1/2 hours talking about careers, jobs, wives, kids… lost class/squadron-mates, BCT/SERE, future plans, nights in jail, women, how lousy we were playing, how close our squadron came to winning Honor Squadron when we were there, classes we tubed, favorite TDYs over our careers, most memorable Cadet memories, least memorable Cadet memories, the upcoming Navy Game tailgate, how lousy we were playing (did I mention that?), reunions, women at the Academy, Brian Duffy, Bentley Rayburn, Ben Martin, dinosaurs on the terrazzo, marching tours, ... typical old-grad-discussions. We could have used some more of you guys there to share in the memories and fun. A GREAT OUTING!!!”
Can't Say Much for Their Choice of Senators But… The state of New York can really pick ‘em when it comes to Air National Guard Commanders. Three of our classmates command flying units in NY (state with the greatest number of ANG Flying Units); Bob Knauff commands the 174th FW (F-16s at Syracuse), Max Della Pia commands the 109th (C-130's at Schenectady – the Antarctic rescue guys (Photos Below)), and Bob Marr commands the Northeast Air Defense Sector. Mike Crider is the OG/CC at the 107th (KC135's at Niagara Falls).
Bits and Pieces from Those Still Earning Our Tax Dollars. In no particular order here’s what’s happening with those who are still wearing blue suits; Pete and Eilene Losi are in training at Attaché School; headed to Hungary next summer, they're empty nesters now so they are really looking forward to going. Bill Dalson is by now back from Greece (Air Attaché) and going through language school (Spanish) before heading to the Embassy in Buenos Aires where he’ll be the Defense Attaché. Bill wondered if having a twin-engine Beech rating and fluency in Spanish mike have some applications for BIG money (albeit illegal) employment after retirement. David McDaniel is another Air Attaché guy making an embassy-to-embassy move; for him it’s from Rome to the Hague. Tim Murphy is on his way to be the Defense Attaché for Israel. BG Steve Redmann knows a good thing when he sees it – will be doing a PCA in Hawaii this Summer moving over to be the Commander for JTF-Full Accounting at Camp Smith. Perhaps some of you saw Steve on CNN when, as 15ABW/CC, he was one of the first to welcome the Navy P-3 crewmembers home from China. Our most junior ranking but possibly most persevering classmate Major Harry Mathis has just hit the seventeen year point in his interrupted but restarted career and is on his way to Offutt AFB this Summer. Steve Keen is a Colonel in the AF Reserves at March AFB. Perry Lamy has pinned on his Star and is now part of the HQ AFMC staff. Charlie Heald is at Norfolk in Joint Forces Command. Dave Kovach is on 9AF Staff and despite making 24 trips to the Persian Gulf in the past 23 months is planning to stay till the 30-year point. Terry Kemp is in OSD DOT&E for now – will be retiring next April and returning to Colorado Springs (rejoin wife and daughter). Mike Heil has been named Commandant at AFIT. Hope everyone had the chance to read the nice article on Mark Donnelly and Air Force One in AOPA Pilot magazine. Jim Fellows has departed Ramstein AB to take over as Vice Commander 62AW at McChordAFB.
Odds and Ends from The Jet-Setters. Many of the recently retired are beginning second careers with the airlines or cargo moving folks. Jack Barton was to start training with Fed Ex this Summer – was going to live with Rick Odegard during the training program. Rick (Tug) McGraw has moved to Cincinnati area to be closer to his new job with Delta. Same sort of story for Randy Mason although it’s Dallas and American Airlines. Jed and Cam Vandendries are still in Alaska, Jed retired last year and is flying for Southwest based out of Oakland; their son is a 2 degree.
Bob Heath wrote to say that all was well in Austin, Texas. He’s been retired from the AF Reserve for four years (“haven't looked back once!”) Now an MD-88 Captain for Delta. Kids are all off to college so he and Libby are enjoying some free time (Bob’s playing bagpipes with the Silver Thistle Pipes and Drums, tinkering on his 1940 J-3 Cub and restoring a 1947 Taylorcraft (boat?). I guess that means Libby’s spending all her time being a very tolerant lady!
Duke Buhyoff is with Northwest and relocating back from Hawaii to Marathon Key, FL. Jerry Wallace lives in Sacramento and flies for Northwest Airlines. Eddie Wall lives in Memphis, and flies for Fed Ex. Spence Roberts is also with Fed Ex.
Miscellany on the Rest of Us. Steve Else is Executive Director for his own Center For Public-Private Enterprise (CPPE) in Alexandria and is loving every bit of it (Steve – I have no idea what I just wrote, please provide details). Dennis and Leslie Brooks have moved to a town just outside of Knoxville, TN. Lee Cross retired late last year and returned to Colorado Springs where he’s working for Merrill Lynch. Jim McBride says he’s dabbled in a number of things since he left active duty 19 years ago; now working for a small company in Birmingham, MI. John Koelling is working at NASA Langley Research Center. Frank Christian is living in the Palm Springs area, three kids (two in college this Fall) – said he’s looking forward to seeing classmates at the USAFA – San Diego State game 29 Sep. Frank Garland was working on finishing up the apprentice program to become a PGA Golf Professional at a small course outside Sacramento - “It is a lot like all the AF PME put together, but you pay a total of $3500 for it, do it on your own, and if you fail any exams, they send you home...other than that, it's fun.” Phil Piontek is the Assistant Volleyball Coach for Central Missouri State University. Greg Landolt is retired and working as a contractor in Florida, somewhere around Eglin AFB.
My Conscience is Clear! (Well about writing the class column it is!) Will make every effort to get back into the normal publish-it-in-the-magazine thing for the fall issue. Primary obstacle to that pledge is this quarter’s example of how time flies – my daughter Tiffany, who graduated from Arizona State University earlier this month, is getting married at the end of September. Oh Yeah – It’s Later Than You Think!!!
If It Weren’t For My Conscience. . . Those who wondered whether I would show any contrition after my summer column faux pas, here it is – I’m executing my Scribe responsibilities a mere five days before my daughter’s wedding! Actually, I’m counting on some therapeutic value in sitting here “corresponding” with friends and I also figured this would be a great place to solicit donations. Yes, Tiffany will have pulled off the adult life “trifecta” in a sixty day period, having graduated from ASU in August and now getting married and moving out of her mom’s house in September. Those of you that have survived this father of the bride deal probably know what I’m talking about when I say it’s a real mix-master of emotions, a whirlwind of activity, and rock-solid proof that it’s later than you think (O.K., we got that out of the way early this time)!
Unfortunately I am compelled to remain in the more serious vein as I advise that Jeff & Taryn Graves’ son, Theron, was battling effects of a brain tumor at the time of this writing. Obviously quite unexpected for a fifteen year-old apparently healthy kid who is now “scared, disoriented, unsteady, and has a problem with his short term memory.” Surgeons were only able to remove part of the tumor and everyone was waiting on pathology test results to know the next step.
Thoughts Jim Carlson included when he passed along this news says it all – “Life doles out its somber hardships in seemingly random fashion among us; and if those of us who happen to be in a more fortunate position at that particular time in our lives can take a few minutes to say "I'm here if you need me" to the one hitting the stronger headwind, then we uplift each other. As time passes and we each get older and wiser and hit other headwinds along the way, I hope we draw even tighter as a class. I'm afraid we'll be getting more notes like this from each other in the future. But we'll endure and give each other the comfort and encouragement that helped us get through the Academy.” And as proof-positive that that spirit exists: #1 – I saw a wonderful message of hope from Joe & Cathy Marksteiner to the Graves family recounting Liz Marksteiner’s progress in her battle with Stage 3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (diagnosed in Aug 2000 at the age of fifteen also). And, #2 – Carol Thompson wrote to say that Bill continues his battle with Prostate and Colon Cancer; “chemo scheduled to end in Nov, blood work looks good right now… looking forward to another 26 years of marriage” Hope we’ll all follow Jim’s advise and continue to lift all three of these families up with our thoughts, prayers, and best wishes.
You’re Way Ahead of Me. Given my serious disadvantage (I write in September you read in December) I will refrain from reflections on the events of 11 September and our nation’s response other than to say that our classmates at the Pentagon, Mike Marro, Gil Braun, Dean Cox, Al Bready, Kent Traylor, Chip Diehl, and Hugh Gordon (plus others I’m forgetting) were not injured in the attack there. Hugh sent me an interesting/harrowing extensive account that I’m hoping will be published elsewhere in this magazine (either way, look for it at our class web site also). As I write this I know Kent’s now Deputy Director for USAF Crisis Response Center and that Bob Marr, Duane Lodrige’s, and Bob Knauff’s Guard Units there in the Northeast were heavily involved in the initial air defense posture we established. I feel safe in predicting that there will have been many more contributions from our classmates by the time you read this. May God continue to keep our Nation, her citizens, and her defenders in His hands. The only 75er-related “casualty” of the whole episode at this time would appear to be Rich & Mary Chanick’s (darn-near-world-famous) annual Halloween party here in Phoenix – I got a note from them today saying that they have decided to cancel this year’s gathering and will be donating budgeted funds to the on-going relief/recovery efforts back East.
World Tensions. Don’t know if the picture will take you back to the big headlines from earlier this year when Chinese F-8 pilot learned about Law of Greater Mass in collision with US Navy P-3. Our classmate Kevin Lanzit has been in the Chinese Embassy for some time and had occasion to be on site for the aircraft disassembly/packing for return trip to US.
Exit to Your Right Please. The exodus from Active Duty continues! In addition to the names I included in last column I’ve seen references to the following retirements: Jim Heald is now NASA’s Director of Spaceport Engineering and Technology at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), works in the same organization as Bruce Hevey. Brian Duffy left the Astronaut business after sixteen years but remains in the space field having taken a job with Lockheed-Martin at KSC. John Ladieu retired from the Pentagon this Summer and was headed back to the Newport News, VA area. Jim Eken is back in Colorado Springs, having gotten a very special farewell from everyone at 341st Space Wing. Mark Risi was still trying to decide what kind of job he wanted to get and if he was going to grow up – in any case he and his wife plan on staying in Alaska. Gil Braun retired in July but obviously stayed on at the Pentagon as a civilian (see above), I hear he wore his amazingly well-preserved, Doolie-issued USAFA T-shirt at his retirement ceremony. Also need to update you on the fact that Daniel Patrick Braun was born on 27 Jun 01, weighing in at 9 lbs 5 oz. Gill says, “He is healthy. I'm not so sure about mom and dad right now, but once we get a little sleep, we might know more.”
Not sure where from or exactly when John Scherer retired but he proudly announced he was moving to Wisconsin. On the flip side of that informational coin, I see that Jim Burling will be retiring as Chief of Assignments and Readiness for AFSPC in January but no idea where he’ll be going off to. Jim Hartney, Rudy Roth and Greg Berlan have retired to points unknown. Although they weren’t actually “over the side” at the time, Mike Anderson reports seeing these classmates at the June session of the Executive Transition Assistance Program at Bolling AFB – Steve Pitotti, Walt Burns, Bill Kurey, and John Ball.
And it’s not just the full-time guys – Bruce Mitchell was set to wrap up his weekend warrior career (USAFR) this Fall; expects to stay busy with his civilian career at Lockheed-Martin and watching the family grow up (last kid out of high school this month and first daughter's wedding was in July).
Still Manning the Watch. Of course it just seems like everyone has hit the road; in fact, there are those who are still serving. Like Tom Barbera who is Med Group CC at Osan – happily vested in the operational mission of the AF after all these years. He “enjoys a happy marriage to a wonderful, tolerant woman; has a young family and enjoys a surprisingly safe/secure 1960's hometown lifestyle in our Little America.” Tom is thinking he’ll stay for at least one more assignment and is anxiously waiting to see what the AFPC and Colonels Group wheel of fortune brings next summer. Tom and family recently utilized the “surprisingly reliable” daily C-17 flights from McChord through Elemendorf and Yokota to Osan to do a little sea kayaking in Prince Williams Sound in Alaska. Tom encourages us to take advantage of the “Space A” thing to see these great destinations and / or to visit them at "the end of the line" at Osan.
If it wasn’t noted elsewhere in this issue let me be the first to pass along the news that Bentley Rayburn is now Commandant of Air War College and Vice Commander of Air University.
Mike Anderson wrote as he returned from a trip to South America with a group of Congressmen. While there he saw Chuck and Roxanne Holland in Bolivia, said they just love the job and are applying to extend tour to three years. Unfortunately Mike and his party’s visit to the Chilean Embassy occurred while Al Piotter was out of town but he heard second-hand that he’s also enjoying life South of the equator! And then in Buenos Aires he saw Juan Kambourian’s wife, Kim – they both work in the U.S. Embassy there.
Other Job Changes/Moves. Saw a very interesting note from Chuck Woods who was getting ready to go to Macau, China as CEO of Jet Asia, a corporate charter; Chuck had been director of marketing and sales for folks that do Northwest Airlines Training. Rick McAlister has relocated from San Diego to Seattle (“where there are real trees” – but they are hedging their bet against overcast skies as they’re keeping a place in San Diego). Rick is counsel with Gray, Cary, Ware & Freidenrich, and his wife is a partner with Gray Cary.
And a name I know I haven’t mentioned in some time – John Czabaranek is a US Airways Captain based at BWI. John made O-6 in the Reserves and will surrender his job as 756AS/CC for spot as Deputy Director of the National Air Traffic Services Cell at Dulles Airport.
If this doesn’t qualify as a “job change” what does?!?! Tom Udall has advised that, “William Philip Udall made his appearance, at 8 lbs, 7 ozs and 21 ½ inches.” Two thing to say to that Tom; “Congratulations!” and “Have yourself committed!”.
Your Party Permit Has Been Revoked. Dave Wallace reported on the DC area “75 Beach Fete” that took place in July at Cape Henlopen. Although there were only four classmates there (Wallaces, Traylors, Marros and Lyerlys) a good time was had by all; Dave even talked about a late summer redux. All I can say is somebody better take a camera and send the Scribe a picture!
And just to show you that I practice what I preach I’ll punish you with another picture of me! This one was taken at the USAFA home opener with Oklahoma who looked every bit the part of returning National Champs! Actually a great game until the 4th Quarter and I’m forever in Phil Pearce’s debt for making it possible for me to go – I had been at Kirtland AFB for the two weeks before Labor Day on my USAFR Annual Tour when Phil called, said he had an extra ticket, and was willing to adjust his flight plan to come through Albuquerque to pick me up.
Amazing Coincidences. Saw an e-mail from Russ Trinter on the occasion of his running into Jan Cooper in Gillette, WY (can’t decide if that makes it more amazing – definitely not on the “beaten path”; or less amazing – my guess is that when you’re in Gillette, it’s not a very big deal to see everybody else that’s in Gillette at that time). The quick updates on both: Russ got out of AF in June '80, spent 1 year on family farm in OH, joined civilian work world in Human Resources in '81 in PA and stayed there for 17 years, moved back out West in '99 to Gillette, WY still in Human Resources. Jan, (Russ’s comments in parenthesis) active duty for ten years, flew with the AZ National Guard for 15 years, retired and thought he could keep his feet on the ground (wrong), tried a restaurant (bad decision), wanted a small town and remembered Fort Collins as a nice small place (not any more it's not), drove up the road to Cheyenne and went to work for United Express for a short time but now flies "WY One" (flies State officials wherever they need to go.) Saw a separate note directly from Jan which validated much of the above and noted that Dale (they’ve been married 26 years) is part time nurse for a dermatologist and that their daughter, Beth (the “princess”) is still in Tucson.
Note to Those Who Enjoyed “Sticking it to The Competition.” Actually I realize that we’re all excessively competitive but, in this case, I’m talking about the Fencing Team. Current USAF Fencing Coach is creating a “heritage wall” for the Falcon Fencers and would like to have some pictures (preferably showing the entire team) from our era. Contact Captain Zach Becker via the Athletic Department if you can help.
You’ve Already Heard it and I’m Out of Space! But please write/call!