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!