Free at Last, Free at Last, Good God Almighty, I’m Free at Last With apologies to Dr. King and to any of you that may still be happily employed by or own stock in AT&T (nobody is happy about owning AT&T stock these days!), I joyfully report that my “sentence” in that asylum ended with the new year. In early January I assumed position as Program Manager for L3 Communications’ Link Simulation & Training Division support to the Air Force Warfighter Training Research Laboratory out at Williams Gateway Airport (formerly Williams Air Force Base). Incumbent, who has moved up and will be my boss, is a ’67 grad and an absolutely great guy/brilliant business leader. Note the new work phone number and be prepared to hear a very, very happy “Hello”!
Staying on my favorite subject (me!), you are hereby warned that this fall’s issue of Checkpoints is destined to contain a picture of a Grandfatherly Class Scribe – Tiffany or “Hurl Girl” as I’m calling her now (bad morning sickness) and Cam wasted no time after the wedding (see last column) in moving on to the advanced challenges/blessings of young married life. Interesting twist – Cam has recently taken a job with AdvancePCS here in Scottsdale, a health improvement company whose Senior VP of Mail (prescription) Services is Phil Pearce (I’m sure there’s a couple of ’76 and ’77 grads from CS-09 who cringe at the thought of me as the father-in-law and Phil as the big boss at work).
And From the Anthrax-Less USPS Mailbag. (Don’t get me started on the media’s creating of the news!) Even though our collective memories are becoming more fragile, I’m pretty sure you regular readers could guess at least five of the seven holiday cards I received (and I’m equally confident you could speculate which four-letter words I use when I don’t hear from the rest of you). Both of the Two-Stars included pictures and I swear, if they used good-looking families as the criteria for further promotion, both of these guys would be pinning on more stars tomorrow! Dale and Linda Meyerrose are still in Colorado Springs but had just returned from North Carolina where they had attended the annual First Flight commemorative gala with Phil & Chris Pearce (he’s everywhere!) and Kent & Carol Traylor. Bentley Rayburn’s card was of course postmarked “Montgomery, AL” where he is serving as Commandant of Air War College and feeling very blessed as Maxwell is the closest Air Force Base to Chattanooga, TN where he and Debbi’s oldest, Moriah (Senior) and Micah (Freshman) are going to college.
Speaking of Tennessee, as you know that’s where Dennis and Leslie Brooks are now (near Knoxville); back closer to Dennis’ roots (AL) and daughter, Becky, who will graduate from college in May. I don’t know who is taking care of the President since Mark Donnelly retired and surrendered his position as Air Force One’s Chief Pilot. Mark and Lucy have stayed on in MD as Mark is flying for Southwest Airlines out of BWI (I imagine he’s had to relearn what standard handling from ATC Controllers is all about!) It’s an unfortunate editorial rule which precludes me from including pictures of their good looking kids, Scott (a Senior in HS) and Ann (a Sophomore) – trust me, they take after Lucy! The whole entourage will be making a local move (staying in Waldorf) in March. Chuck and Donna Molzon are in second year of USAF retirement and living in the heart of IN. Chuck flies 727s for ATA out of Indianapolis while Donna chases after three kids (Laura – 17, Neal – 11, and Ryan 8) and a raft of activities of her own.
Big news in the Willis Christmas letter was the news that Lisa (17) has received a Gymnastics Scholarship to Brigham Young University. As Wayne noted, “Dad (and his wallet) is very, very pleased. Picture was taken during a not-easy-to-coordinate but fantastic week at Lake Powell last summer.
A Clear Connection–I’m Guessing it Was Sprint or MCI. Although I didn’t take notes and I don’t remember a lot of the details, I will note (and praise!) Mike Buckley’s call to me in early November. He and Diane are still in Alaska and happy as can be; Mike’s still flying for Alaska Air on mostly intra-state routes (gets to sleep at home much more).
We’re Too Old/Stubborn for Rules So Think of These Guidelines! Before I get into the e-mail inputs I’ll remind you that this column is intended to offer widest possible dissemination of news on where you’re at, what you’re doing, and the interesting tidbits about your life / milestones you may have achieved. True, it’s not especially timely (worst case: five-month delay from input to publication) but it has a broad audience and, because it’s printed, it has a certain permanency to it. Please direct that kind of stuff to my USPS/e-mail or call/visit me. Things that are time sensitive (e.g. medical situations, etc) and/or aren’t intended for the whole class should be disseminated through Jim CARLSON, or via an AOG Mail system message to the entire class. For the past several columns you’ve seen a lot of news that you otherwise wouldn’t have because Jim and I have put in the time to sort and cross-pollinate your inputs but we’re not going to be able to continue giving it that kind of time (this quarter’s consolidated, formatted, and first-pass edited combined input turned into a nineteen page MS Word document)!
Electronic but Wonderfully Sincere Christmas Greetings. Bill Murray sent his family’s holiday wishes in a very informative/up-lifting e-mail from Hill AFB where he continues as the Director for Mature Aircraft. In fact one of Bill’s programs, putting “glass cockpits” in the T-38 fleet, is largely executed just down the street from my new office at Williams-Gateway Airport, so I’m hoping for a visit soon. Both of Bill and Judy’s girls were home for the holiday; Evelyn from her Junior Year at Baylor with her newly enlisted USAF EMT boyfriend in tow (Bill did the swearing in for him and his 800 classmates at Lackland in Nov), and Rosemary (who actually is living at home and working at Hill AFB Education Office) along with her boyfriend who will complete training at California Highway Patrol Academy in February.
If Not “Grand,” Then What Modifier Should We Use…? How about “Deranged”!?!?! Here I am trying to get in touch with the grandfather thing while Dean Cox and Jack Huffman are doing the (all too) “real” father thing!! (Separately, with their own wives of course.) Bill Hughes reports that, “John Huffman was born on July 21st. Jack flies for Southwest and is living in Lake Geneva, WI with his wife Beth who is not coincidently a Flight Attendant with Southwest and is (fortunately) at least 10 years younger than Jack.” Dean self-reported the August 24th birth of Rebecca Faith Cox at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. Mother, daughter, and dad are doing fine.
On the Surgical Front. Just before the Holidays, John Wolter had heart valve replacement surgery (long-standing problem that finally had deteriorated to the point that intervention was required). Unfortunately it took two surgeries to get everything back together but JT and Meg, were back home by the end of the year. JT foresees a mountain of paperwork before he can get cleared to return to his duties as a Captain for United.
Saw an e-mail from Jeff Graves in early October with update on his son’s recovery from surgery on brain tumor, “Theron has been in good spirits and is progressing a little more each day. He attends the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Day Rehabilitation Program; catches their bus at 7:15 a.m. and gets back to the house around 4:30 p.m. He gets physical, occupational, and speech therapy there. After meeting with the doctors and staff last week, it was determined that he would stay there until November 9th. Then he'll transition back to Southwest Dekalb High School. He gets around very well and has been out to football games and movies. He still has trouble with his short term memory, but there has been some progress.” Let’s all keep each other, our loved ones, and especially these folks in our prayers for strength and good health!
The Soccer Connection in Colorado. I checked my Senior Yearbook and confirmed that Mike Goyden did not play intercollegiate soccer for USAFA – so how is it he’s now at the epicenter of youth soccer in CO? Mike’s the Coach for Young Men and Women’s Soccer at Liberty High School (in Colo Spgs) and for one (or more?) high-powered recreational league teams. He’s had some kind of involvement (on his teams or across the field) with an amazing number of our classmates offspring including; his own daughter, Kelly, Dave Nobel's son, Joey, Mike O’Sheas's daughter, Kelly, Jim Burlings's son, Bobby, and Mike Rosebush's daughter, Krista. The accolades, awards, and championships are too numerous to mention here but of special note is the fact that in four years of coaching, five of his players have gone on to one of the Service Academies.
In the Field Promotion. World events dictated that the AF Space Command IG, Dick WEBBER, be deployed to a sandier region of the world, where he was (is?) acting as Assistant CAOC Director for Space and Information Warfare as part of Operation Enduring Freedom’s air war. So it was that his shiny new stars got pinned on a drab beige flight suit instead of a blue uniform jacket!
Ceremony was accomplished on the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) floor during combat operations; as Dick wrote, “Can't think of a more appropriate place for a promotion!” Should also mention that although Mark Beesley has remained in Colorado Springs (NORAD J-5, heavily involved in planning for the future of homeland defense), he did take a break on October 19th to pin on his stars.
Back in the Hood. Got a great e-mail from Scott Hammond after he, Lee Colburn, and Steve Hussey hooked up for the USAFA - Wyoming football game. Since all three are in second marriages, he said “it was a chance for our newish brides to get a glimpse back into our twisted youth at USAFA… not sure if it was comforting or troubling for them to realize how similar their husbands were!” Scott’s living in Atlanta and flying for Northwest (but spending majority of airline time behind Flight Safety desk in Minneapolis). Steve's in California working as a partner in a nationwide consulting firm. Lee's in C-Springs working for EDS. Scott’s still active in the Georgia Air Guard, Lee retired from active duty after a career in fighters, and Steve retired from the reserves flying choppers.
Saw “retired to Colorado Springs” e-mails from Jim Burling and Jim Eken; Mr. Burling reported that he’s hired on with local aerospace contractor, SCITOR (wasn’t that outfit in one or more of the James Bond movies?). Ekes was happily overdosing on USAFA athletics and summed it all up by saying, “Life is grand! Can't wait for basketball season.”
Kelley and Lucia Bishop used their central location (Kansas) as a launching point for trip to Albuquerque in the Fall taking in the Balloon Festival and a visit with Wayne and Amy Willis. Plan was to make the big circle over the Holidays with trip back to Albuquerque and back through Dallas to see Billy Stephen (who happens to be married to Kelley’s sister) who just made Captain with Southwest Airlines. Kelley warned me that it may soon come time for him to get some advice from those of us that have been through it as his daughter’s relationship with “jarhead” boyfriend is “looking serious.” One word Kelley, “elope”.
Some People Can Be Shamed into Writing/Doing the Right Thing. John Scherer didn’t want to leave us hanging with the meager mention from last column so he provided these additional insights: “we retired from Scott AFB where I was Chief of the Commander's Action Group. We've moved to Delavan, WI (close to where I grew up). I'm working in the Dairy Distribution Business–a lot of fun. I recently talked to Bill Hughes on the phone–he's a lawyer in Milwaukee.” Now, how about the rest of you shameless non-correspondents?
Roy Rice wanted us to know that Bob Gambrell is maintaining that characteristic ’75 sense of duty. Seems Roy and Jim Corrigan arranged a golf date in Birmingham, AL (Roy drove down from Huntsville and Jim came up from Prattville); they had asked Bob (ROTC Det Commander at the U of Alabama at Tuscaloosa) to join them but, “he already had plans to play on Monday and didn't think it would set a good example for his cadets if he made this a 4 day golf weekend.”
I think I Hear the Editor’s Red Pen Being Unsheathed. You did good. We’re a skosh over the limit for length but keep ‘em coming. In the meantime (and always) go find the ones you love most and give them a hug – it’s later than you think!
Touched By Another Dot-Com Failure. I’m going to blame the unplanned change in my email address for the unprecedented lack of inputs for this very short column. Of course the @Home boys went belly up last fall but were held together just long enough to allow for a jump-through-your-behind address change right after the last column went to press. Being a Pollyannaish sort of guy, I’ll imagine that y’all sent all sorts of interesting news and images that are now swept into a corner in a rat infested building in Silicon Valley. Anthrax or not (notice how that one went away) I guess we’ll have to think about using USPS or the telephone more. It’s actually a good time for a short column as civilian and USAFR jobs are filling my days and nights more than I’d like at a time of year in Arizona when there are far better things to be doing than sitting in front of a computer.
Ah, Those Relaxed South American Customs. I hadn’t previously realized that they celebrate Christmas one month later in Bolivia – Chuck and Roxanne Holland’s Christmas letter got to me in late January. Having said that I’ll immediately apologize since it wouldn’t do to be having such serious thoughts about paying a visit to my old roommate while making light of how busy they are (that and if you measured Christmas timetable by my holiday cards, you’d conclude that Christmas is celebrated every six months or so)! Anyway, it sounds like they’re having a wonderful time in every way – “Best job in a 26-year so far career.” Roxanne’s taken a part-time job in the Embassy, Assistant Community Liaison Office Coordinator, and they travel quite a bit. And they’ve entertained a number of “back home” visitors….hmmm.
Also acknowledging snail-mail correspondence from another former roommate, Mike Buckley. No real news to pass along – just shared some personal viewpoints that I happen to agree with, so it made for a nice read and, given that was one-fifth of the communications I received from y’all, I wanted to say thanks for writing Mike.
Don’t Blink. Yes, that’s the end of the column you see coming. After we had Jim Carlson update my address on the class website, the emails began to trickle back in. A short update from Dennis Brooks in Tennessee: he’s teaching model rocketry one day a week now at one of the local high schools. Also heard from Scott Hammond, Lee Colburn, and Steve Hussey, triumphant as they were readying for a ski trip to Dillon, CO. There were promises made about pictures being sent. Finally, after a series of back-and-forth emails, I’m expecting to see Bill Murray tomorrow morning (mid-March) when he comes to Williams-Gateway Airport to brief dignitaries all the T-38 Mod Program run by the Bill’s directorate but executed here in Arizona.
Not Your Most Authoritative Source. A couple of General Officer announcement messages came through my USAFR email box in January with names I recognized (although it worries me that I may not be getting all such announcements and/or my comparison to our class roster is certainly subject to error). Al Peck has pinned on a first star and I also picked up Joe Stein’s name out on the two-star nomination list. If I missed anyone I apologize.
Confused Again. It’s fairly disorienting to be penning my adieu and admonishing all to keep in mind that is later than you might think, while the sun is coming up; but that’s just the way life’s been lately. Call, write, email, or visit if you get the chance!
Women! Spring is long forgotten here in Arizona but personal circumstances make it more important than appropriate that I share with you the focus of my fancies lately. First is the soon-to-be proofreader of your class column, my fiancé, Chris. Living proof #1 that miracles are in our everyday life – a chance encounter with someone who has brought so much life back into my life over the past six months. And, while you might, sight-unseen, question her judgment/taste in men, I’m sure you’d all heartily approve. (She’s even the daughter of a retired Air Force pilot)! No date carved in stone at this point (next Spring?) but we agree that it’ll be a small wedding with a Big Ol’ Party to follow.
As fate would have it, just a few weeks after I asked Chris to be my wife – another lady entered my life and stole what was left of my heart. I’m a Grandpa! Tiffany and her husband, Cam, had a 5lb, 3oz girl, Cadence, in mid-June. Everyone came through this miracle in fine shape (although they ignored my request for a “normal waking hours” labor and delivery)…as much as I would like to (and could!) fill the allotted space with glowing remarks about these lovely ladies, I will attend to my appointed duties by moving on to the considerable inputs provided this time.
Another Hospital – Another Good Thing. Picked up in some “pass along” email from Jim Carlson and a returned-to-the-living note from Ralph Paul. Apparently Ralph recently had a massive heart attack (“They call it ‘the widow maker’ because few survive it – I had a 5% chance to pull through.”) The good thing is that Ralph beat the odds during a two-month stint in the hospital and after some additional therapy, should get back to normal life. Ralph wanted to be sure that we passed on his heartfelt thanks to all those who kept him in their thoughts and prayers.
Citizen-Soldiers Extraordinaire. Heard from both Paul Kent and the Public Affairs folks at the Georgia Department of Defense regarding Scott Hammond’s promotion to BG. Scott has done it all while serving all those peachy citizens: F-15 instructor pilot, squadron commander, wing plans officer, a stint or two at State HQ, back in the cockpit (of the B-1), vice wing commander, and back to HQ where he gained this promotion. Oh yeah, “on the side” Scott is a Chief Pilot with Northwest Airlines where he supervises more than 2,400 line pilots. He also chairs Northwest Airlines Safety Action Program. And I heard through my own channels that Mike McClendon was just selected to a USAFR Mobilization Assistant (O-7) position at AFMC.
And The Full-Time Guys Are Doing Okay Too. This input/picture from Duane Jones was one of the items that got lost in my email address shuffle last time. I will have to do a direct cut-and-paste from Duane’s letter since it contains more acronyms and jargon than I can comprehend:“A few days after 11 Sep 01, Dave Kovach, Dick Webber and I found ourselves sitting at the CFACC’s conference table at the CAOC at PSAB. Dave served as the USCENTAF/A6, Dick as the Deputy CAOC Director for Space, and I as the USCENTAF/A4. Although not at PSAB, Jim Fellows and Stan Gorenc were the deputy commander and commander (respectively) of the AEW at Al Dhafra. Who would have thought we’d all work together in this scenario?” Didn’t understand much of that but I am impressed!
Heard from Dan Burkett who specifically wanted me to announce that he’s a “Boozer”…that is he’s a senior associate specializing in space with Booz Allen Hamilton. Whatever his achievements are in or out of a bar – to me he’s a good guy for having his camera at the ready during a chance encounter with Roy Rice and Dale Meyerrose at the COS airport in April. Dan and his wife, Liz, were on their way back to L.A. after a “wonderful week together at the National Space Symposium” (could this be a possible honeymoon destination for Chris and me)? Anyway the three of them “just thought it’d be nice if I had a picture for the column that didn’t include Bentley or his family” (Clearly, the space guys are starting to adopt a bit of a swaggering attitude).
After The Deadline. My all-too-typical failure to meet the editor’s deadline has an upside this time as Jeff Chappell sent along a couple of interesting items. At Jeff’s suggestions I’ll be visiting the local library soon to view an article in the June 3rd issue of Aviation Week (pgs 48-52), “Exercise Jump-Starts Response to Attacks” which highlights the contributions of Bob Marr and John Czabaranek in the nation’s response to 9/11. As a brand new grandfather I’m just flat amazed to hear that Jeff got a call recently from Mike Gudmundson to announce he and Cori have a new daughter, Tara!
(Highly) Unpaid Public Service Announcements. Attention all “preppies” – if you haven’t heard through other channels, be aware that (“largely thanks to the vision of the present Prep School Commander, Larry Fariss…”) the first All-Class USAFA Prep School Reunion will be held 31 Oct to 2 Nov 2002. The reunion will be a three-day event centered on the Prep School campus and will include more interesting/exciting things to do than there is room to talk about.
Ken Finn and Scott Hente have stepped forward with concept for a class cruise, not necessarily tied to the next reunion. They were thinking that some time in early 2004 might be the right time but are open to input and advice. Both can be reached through the AOG email service.
Hot And Hotter. The temperature outside is rising and I just got a scorching email from the Checkpoints editors about my delinquency so I’m going to knock this off and go mow the yard. 110 degrees – Definitely late than I thought.
I Am Sick And Tired! Not, not another one of my occasional complaints about scarcity of inputs for the column or the protracted hot weather here in Phoenix (late September and still well over 105°); just a warning to wear biomedical protective gear as you read this column – it’s being written from what I was convinced 24 hours ago was my deathbed. But the resiliency, stick-to-it-ness, and ability to focus on a goal we learned on hallowed grounds of USAFA so many years ago have pulled me through! (Sorry to disappoint, but that “goal” I speak of wasn’t writing this column – Chris and I have moved up date for our wedding to Nov 2nd – now that’s a goal)!
More Good News From The Turn-Your-Head-And-Cough Department. Glad to say that mine is not the only medical recovery to report. Don Henney’s wife, Debbie, appears to be on her way to joining me as a cancer survivor following a running with the disease earlier this summer. As of the 4th of July she was home (Washington DC area) with good news that lymph nodes tested negative for any further spreading. All of this happening in the midst of sending their one son, Daniel, off to join the class of 2006 (yeah, that’s right, these guys will graduate after our 30th Reunion!) And having another son, Joseph, compete in the U.S. National Debate Competition.
And JT Wolter continues to have nothing but good news from the doctors, "…blessed with great results from cardiologist and also learned that my heart wall, which have been damaged during the surgery, had amazingly healed!” Unfortunately the only thing healthier than JT’s hearts is the bureaucracy in the FAA – his recertification hearing process has hit several delays leaving JT “hopeful” that he will “return to flying, probably about the time United declares bankruptcy!”
Been there, Done That. I’m thinking there’s ample time for us to collect spare ladders and airplane tickets to Las Vegas before scheduled dates for Bill Murray’s daughters’ weddings next spring. Tiffany’s wedding (just one year ago) is still fresh in my memory/wallet but I thought we might encourage the two suitors to take an alternate route to matrimony. Even Bill tried to talk Rosemary (marrying a California Highway Patrolman in March ‘03 and Evelyn (marrying a USAF firefighter/EMT in May/June ‘03) into a double ceremony, but they declined.
Al Peck has plenty of time to prepare himself for that day when he gives his daughter away. At the same time Bill is walking his girls down the aisle, Al will still be walking Lauren’s diapers out the trash – wow.
Work – Starting, Stopping, And Changing Directions. In the "still on active duty" department, I saw some official notifications that MG Dale Meyerrose is now director for Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I), J-6, United States Northern command, Peterson Air Force Base, CO; that Brigidier General select Eric Rosborg has been named Commander of the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, NC; and that Colonel Dave Tillotson is now Acting Director, C4I ISR Architecture and Assessment, at the Pentagon. A little further to the east we find that Colonel Pete Losi has settled in at US Embassy in Budapest, Hungary.
Three more distinguished active duty careers were recently concluded. Hear lots of great things about John Charlton’s retirement ceremony in August. Report is that John’s remarks to those gathered to honor his career, were “eloquent and moving and that was before he asked his son to read a poem about what was really important in a pilot’s life (the woman at home who would be there long after the engine fuel cut-off switch was turned off for good)…there was not a dry eye in that room.” Steve Wojcicki went on terminal leave in August with intentions of relocating to the Cape Canaveral area and looking for a job in the launch business at Kennedy Space Center.
This quarter’s biggest news on the “Citizen-Soldier” front is that Duane Lodrige was promoted to Commanding General of the D.C. Air National Guard in August (Duane forwarded an impressive photo collage of ceremony that wouldn’t reproduce well here – send me an email if you’d like to receive it electronically). And I’m told that Phil Meteer has been selected to become (USAFR) Mobilization Assistant to the Commander at Electronic Systems Center (Hanscom AFB). Two other classmates have recently returned to service in the Reserves: Rick Townsend (after a 10+ year break in service) will be helping write the F-22 Dash One at the F-22 SPO, and Leon Smith-Harrison has decided (after 11 years) to return to service as a doctor in the Reserves (MG Bentley Rayburn is scheduled to administer the Oath of Office)!
Scribe have been put under draconian constraint of three pictures per column so it may be good that Bill Lyerly’s photo got lost in cyberspace. Certainly hope to rectify that situation in next column so we can see him being presented with the “Distinguish Member of the Corp” (DMOC) Award and Medallion that is given annually by the Civil Affairs Association and the U.S. Army Civil Affairs Branch (U.S Army Special Operations Command), the only other two DMOC recipients this year were USAF General Holland (the USSOCONM CINC), and a Colombian Admiral. In addition to picture limit there’s a word limit on the column so it’s not possible to tell you all the amazing things Bill is up to – for the time being you’ll find him working in the newly created “Homeland Security Transition Planning Office” in the Executive Office of the President.
Other career news: Dave Hickman got accepted to Law School, bill Taylor left corporate world in the San Francisco Bay area that specializes in hard-to-find musical instruments, music and instructional materials – hoping to “remain naïve but optimistic for the rest of my life.” Kelley Bishop is in Valdosta, GA working for Lear-Sigler as a T-38C simulator instructor. And Curt Osterheld is a VP somewhere in L-3 Corporation (parent of Link simulation where I work – hey, Curt old friend…).
Down To The (Word Count) Wire. Got a short note from David Shields letting us know he’s still Aviation Training Manager for the support branch of Wycliffe Bible Translators (see August issue of AOPA Pilot Magazine, “Short Runways: How the Pros Do It”). David recently “survived” the 100 miles Assault on Mt Mitchell (Spartansburg, SC to Mt Mitchell – for the second year). Final words and picture dedicated to surprise karaoke birthday gathering Willie Cosby’s wife, Cynthia, threw for his 50th. Anecdotes and other pictures convey a true Southern California party befitting the milestone.
Remember to send your pictures/stories from Prep School Reunion, Retirements, Tailgate/Holiday parties direct to the Scribe (with word limit it’ll be hard to continue including stuff I’m seeing in Jim Carlson’s “’75 Notes to Class’ and other pass-alongs). Hug the ones you love. It’s later than you think!