Notable. Mike (Vito) Goyden, Liberty High School (Colorado Springs) Soccer Coach, took his Lancers team to the State Championship on the evening of November 7th. It was Liberty’s 5th State Title, which sets a Colorado state record.
From Jim Carlson: A terrific turnout for Andy Dichter's retirement ceremony last month! 17 classmates had a mini-reunion for this event: Meyerrose, Gunther, Marro, Henney, Lyerly, Dalson, Cox, McCorry, Miglin, Posey, Smith, Braun, Noetzel, Lodrige, Dichter, Carlson, Waters. Missing from the photo: Dale Meyerrose, Rod Gunther, and Mike Marro, who could not stay past the end of the formal phase of the ceremony in order to minimize the risk to their careers and/or marriages due to scheduling conflicts. But it was great that they were willing to take a portion of their valuable time, however brief, to honor our classmate Andy. It's always a delight for me to see our class together for these events. It's like a family reunion every time.
Steve Rogers, who left the Academy his sophomore year, was recalled to active duty by the AF. Among his many accomplishments is the algorithm he developed to detect breast cancer cells which is now used in every screening device worldwide. AF v SDSU in October: Jim Carlson was hoping to find a group of classmates at the tailgate and game, but he only ran into two: Rich Chanick, and Mike Perry. Roy Rice kindly sent a grainy shot of Ralph Rhye before he disappeared into the woods again with Sasquatch. Ralph is really a self-actualized man working as a custom carpenter and doing a lot of fishing with Roy. Scott Smith sent photo of himself at Philmont. From Rick Benbow (reflecting on his return to Del Rio, TX): Just to show you that life is a circle, I am relocating to Laughlin AFB, TX where my Air Force career started some 30+ years ago! I think I will be reuniting with my roommate, Randy Sheppard, who also instructs at Laughlin.
Osama bin Lyerly. Since Bill Lyerly was at Andy Dichter's retirement ceremony, and entertaining as always, here’s another new and amusing Lyerly story to add to our class lore: Lyerly was flying from Geneva to Ottawa. Arriving at Ottawa international airport at 0200, Security pulled Bill aside because Lyerly's name was similar to someone on the airport suspect watch list, and their birthdays matched. Bill was detained for several hours while his organization made frantic efforts to get him released in order for him to make a 0800 speaking engagement. Bill Lyerly, Class of 1963? In the Fall 2006 Edition of Checkpoints, in the “Long Blue Line” section, Bill Lyerly was incorrectly identified as being a member of the Class of 1963. Astute classmates who actually read the magazine and sent humorous comments include Dan McCorry and Dean Cox.
Jim Eken has landed at ITT Industries and will be the Program Manager for the Base Operations Support Contract at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar. From Steve Marino: My son finished 8th at the PGA Tour Qualifying School in La Quinta. This means he will be a full-time player on the PGA Tour starting in January 2007. From Wayne and Amy Willis: Hooray! We are grandparents! Tytan David Willis (yes, his initials are “T.D.”) arrived in May and we are enjoying every minute with him. From Bill Murray: I’m plugging along at Lockheed Martin on the F-22.
For '75ers in the Washington, DC Area, The 7th Annual '75 Dark Ages Party (DAP) is planned for 10 Feb at Ft McNair. This year's theme is Mardi Gras, with beads and masks. Dan McCorry is arranging for a sit-down venue (this year, we're upgrading to '75 DAP 2.0) with a menu reflecting New Orleans type food. From Rick Pyatt about Dan: For those that don't know it, Dan recently led a winning proposal for his company which had BIG $$$ associated with it. He's probably working 24/7 putting things together–so again thank you. The Goodrich Corporation Class of '75 team will attend with a four-ship. Sam Ryals and his charming wife Ginger are flying in from Dayton, Ohio. My wife and I will also attend. Both Ginger and Zara are former blue-suiters. Here's the current lineup of The Usual Suspects (and a couple of new faces): Akers, Anderson, Awtry, Beesley, Braun, Bready, Carlson, Charlton, Cox, Dalson, Kerby, Lodridge, Lyerly, Manthei, Marro, May, McCorry, Meyerrose, Piotter, Posey, Pyatt, Quattrocki, Ryals, Soto, Sullivan From Carlson: Would like more of you guys to show, of course. Especially the ones I haven't seen in decades. I finally get to see Chris Soto again – last time (not counting any brief flyby at the reunions) was at the end of 2nd BCT when he won one of the "Meanest-Mother-in-the-Valley" awards. From Dave Wallace: Following the DC gang's lead, Brian Duffy told me that we may be holding a similar Dark Ages get-together in Colorado.
From our class president about Mark Holmes: I cannot think of another classmate that has as much pride in the class of '75. So much so, that he has tattoos on his body of: (a) both sides of the crests on our class ring (inside left and right forearms); (b) '75 Best Alive on the right side of his neck; (c) prop and wings on the left side of his neck. [Click tattoo for more]. Note – Mark's father was a B-17 pilot shot down over Europe and spent 3 1/2 years as a POW.
Some Closing ZoomieNation Posts. From Fred Weems: Does anyone have a copy of the speech Jimmy Stuart gave at our ring dining in? From Scott Smith: Does anyone have any info on Ronald Montoya? Last rumor I heard was he is a surgeon in the Corpus Christie area. From William Taylor: If this list ['75 Attritees] is those who didn't graduate, it seems to be missing my childhood classmate Phil Jones. Perhaps his name was "James Phillip", and he's listed as Jimmy? He died a few months ago of an aneurysm while driving near Nashville. He apparently pulled his car over, got sick, passed out, never regained conscious, and died a few days later. From Mike Garrett (re: "inCircle - on '75 Attritees): Gus Mirich left us during our smack year and went to Beale AFB as a crew chief on the SR-71. Approximately 1 to 2 years later I heard he'd died.
From David A. Clough: Maj. Gen Stan Gorenc was quoted in Aviation Week & Space Technology: "It was the safest flying year ever, in 2006, for the U.S. Air Force, measured by the number of major aircraft accidents–19 with eight destroyed aircraft–and a single fatality. The chief of USAF safety contrasts 2006 with the service's first year, 1947, when there were 1,500 major accidents, 500 destroyed aircraft and more than 500 deaths." From Lee Colburn: As of December I'm a Verizon Employee and work in the same building as before, only I have a Verizon address. From Will Cosby: Sitting at work trying to avoid the 2 weeks of stuff that built up while I was on vacation. Went to South Africa just for the fun of it. From Bill Dalson: We're on the road at the moment visiting friends in South Africa! From Marty Stytz: I would like to put a prominent notice in Checkpoints for ZoomieNation and the Honor Group? (note from Scribe: Done!) Dave White is getting married to Liz and moving to Phoenix. For those who've been wondering whatever happened to John Kambourian, check out what he says on ZoomieNation, about how he got back to the Academy.
Want More News? This printed column is limited to 1200 words and 3 black-and-white photos. “Checkpoints for ZoomieNation” is over 7000 words. As the scribe has mentioned, in addition to the ZoomieNation posts, I get included in most email exchanges between our verbose class president and the rest of you. In a shift from past scribe’s writings for Checkpoints, I am basically cutting, pasting, editing and cleaning up all the stuff I get. There are 281 of us in the ZoomieNation Class of 1975 Group as of Feb 12th, 2007, the day I am submitting this column. Since the scribe has unlimited space in the electronic version, I delete very little. This printed column is edited down a lot.
Some more ZoomieNation notes from Jim Carlson: This is a great spot for you to post photos for your family and hobbies. It’s a great way to network and find other zooms. After you set up your basic profile, you can find classmates and other alumni to add to your personal network. Don’t forget to look for the Class of 1975 Best Alive! group and request entry. You can also set up your own groups. Some examples: Squadron groups, local interest groups, professions. Some of the groups I’ve seen: Prep Schoolers, Varsity Baseball, clubs, chapters, fellowships. You’re only limited by your imagination. Our Class Scribe, Paul Kent has agreed to post our Checkpoints column on the ZoomieNation site. That means I will no longer be forwarding a copy of the column, which I manually copy (and thus comes out poorly along with smudged photos) and tends to clog up your bandwidth. So if you don’t get the hard copy Checkpoints, register at the site to read his column and check out the photos. (Note from Scribe: I will upload the current printed column in an expanded format shortly after the printed Checkpoints appears in my mailbox). Anyone can create a group. Personal profile pages have lots of room for photos. Anyone can create a blog. CS-30 has their own group set up. You've also posted some heartfelt, tender writings. An example is the blog by Marty Stytz about his late wife Gayl. I met our classmate Marty, FOR THE FIRST TIME, at lunch last month – and surprise, it seemed as if we were friends for decades. (This sort of thing happens quite a lot with you '75ers). Our classmate Chuck Buck added a blog that references Marty’s tribute and adds his own paean to his wife Katy and her passing due to cancer. Thanks guys for including us in the splendid heights of the vicissitudes of your lives.
The Column That Writes Itself. The class with the highest percentage of registered members in Zoomienation is the same class with highest attrition rate at any military academy ever. At 303 registered members, the next highest number for a graduating class is 41. No wonder writing this column is easy. Between all of you and our highly motivated president Jim Carlson, you are the reason writing this column is a breeze. Thanks for making it so. Go to ZoomieNation for an expanded column.
News, Happenings, Retirements. Dean Cox was featured in the Washington Times Auto Weekend section of Feb 9th [Article Below]. The bulk of the article follows Dean’s travails of trying to purchase a TR-7 at the zoo, the car not being readily available, purchasing a Firebird instead, and eventually purchasing a TR-7 while on his first tour in Alaska, and a TR-8 later. The 7th Annual Class of 1975 Dark Ages Party (DAP) in Washington DC netted 46 classmates and significant others and met at the Ft McNair Officers Club. [Photos Below]. Jim Burling organized the first Class of 75 Dark Ages Party (DAP) for the Springs at Giuseppi's. Mark Volcheff made the Giuseppi's suggestion to bring back the memories of pizza and beer and rushing back to the dorm before Taps.
From Mike Anderson, who is Chief of Staff for Alaska’s only Congressman, Don Young: Dave Janetta is here on Capitol Hill. As always, it was just great to hook up with him! He's been working on stuff that we in the DC area can relate to – sensors and systems in place to help make our commute a little easier – or at least give us the tools to help make the right decisions for traveling around the district.
The Ohio Aerospace Institute (OAI) announced the appointment of Michael L. Heil as president and CEO. From Jim Burling: Rich Chanick is President of Fun Finders. It is a company that uses GPS receivers to provide directions and suggestions (for fun) at theme parks, ski areas, national parks and large cities. Mary and Rich came up with the idea while at San Diego Sea World watching a lady push a stroller up a hill while trying to read a map en route to her next attraction. (You gotta see Rich act out this scenario!) Burr adds this scenario to help us visualize the product: Jack Storer is at Yellowstone and wants to take his son, Micha, to Old Faithful, see the local buffalo heard, have lunch at the Yellowstone Lodge, but his real goal is to fish for some trout in the best stream in Yellowstone. Fun Finder to the rescue. (Jack's a pilot…not a navigator). From Bruce Mitchell: Dick Webber, Spence Roberts and I are planning to take our wives to Dave Sprenkle's retirement from the post of Deputy Adjutant General of Colorado Air National Guard in Denver on 14 April. That will leave Generals Webber and Volcheff as our remnants from the Stalag 17 on active duty. Mark Volcheff retires May 18th. Duane "LoDrag" Lodrige last day in uniform was March 28th.
From Johnny Sims: That's me, flying my gyrkin* Khap on a cord. We had a couple of gray gyrs (they also come black and white, depending on latitude) that we weren't allowed to fly because they were confiscated evidence. I handled Khap as a 3 degree and two degree. Once the legal case fell through, another guy got to fly Khap at a game, my firstie year. The pic is when I got interviewed in Central Park (NYC) after flying him. I suspect that guy in the background is a young Gene Shalitt. The other tiercel** is a prairie. I don't remember if that was Summit, the team star, or mine, Temujin, one we had successfully bred (a first in history).
* 'Gyrkin' is a male gyr. The female is called gyrfalcon.
** 'Tiercel' (as opposed to "falcon") also indicates a male. It means "one third smaller" which the males are.
The Old Men Digest. Bill Murray has successfully recovered from prostate surgery and got positive biopsy results. He adds a special thanks to our classmate, Dr Scott Swanson, a Urologist with the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. Although Bill didn’t know Scott at the Academy, he called him several times to bounce ideas off him. Bill adds: “He has been so helpful! I really think he’s related to Einstein. He really knows his trade and has such a great perspective. Every time I talk with him I just feel like saying, Yes, Dr Einstein. I think I understand. Of course I felt like that a lot when I talked with my classmates from the Academy.” Reading Bill’s experiences elicited this from Sandy Terry: Bill’s journey through prostate cancer treatment hits home! I'm facing surgery this summer to have a gastro/intestinal tumor removed from the wall of my colon. Fortunately, thanks to a routine colonoscopy, this has been caught when it is still small and before it became cancerous or caused other problems. I’ll be riding (100 mile bike ride) as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training on Jun 3rd with our class ring crest prominently displayed. I value my association with the Class of 1975 as one of the very special privileges of my life. From Mark Holmes: Hey Brothers in Blue, (I) had another run in with the grim reaper a month ago and this one came with a lesson. Carry an aspirin in your pocket like you do your drivers license in your wallet. It might save your life. I was making a sandwich at lunchtime when I started feeling 'something different' in my chest, I reached in my pocket, crushed it up and put it between my gum and cheek, and within seconds the pressure and pain subsided, letting me know my concerns were likely real. I called the hospital and told them I was coming in and when I arrived at the ER, found that indeed I'd had a heart attack and that the aspirin might well have prevented a much more serious one that could have ended my life. The good news is that there was little damage. Steve Keen adds: Sharing the story of your experience with your heart attack and the way a crushed aspirin reduced the damage and possibly prevented even more serious consequences was a great tip for everyone. I have carried aspirin with me since Jan 1995, when at age 43 I had quadruple heart bypass surgery.
Another Plea. From Jim Carlson:
Register and validate your membership at ZoomieNation [now defunct] and after you register and update your profile (and upload a photo), join the rest of your classmates in the Class of 1975 Best Alive! Group [you must login first to get to this page] by clicking the "Join Group" button. That's all there is to it. However, a warning is in order: when Carlson finds out you've registered, he's going to ask you to join his personal network. Also, Jim sent the scribe the draft lottery numbers for those of us born in 1952 and 1953, in case you forgot the draft was just ending at this time. The scribe hopes to post this electronically, along with this expanded column. Lastly, another call for photos, slides, and other cadet memorabilia to be sent to our classmate Bill Estelle, who has taken on the role of our class archivist.
Washington DC Area Dark Ages Party 10 February 2007
Shortly before graduation, students at the nation’s military academies are permitted to shop for automobiles.
In 1975 Marvin Dean Cox found himself in such a position at the Air Force Academy. He had been reading about the new (at the time) Triumph TR-7 but the car was not readily available. Instead he bought a Pontiac.
During a 1978 tour of duty in Anchorage, Mr. Cox purchased a Triumph TR-7. That car was eventually sold after confirming his initial good opinion. In the summer of 1982 Mr. Cox contacted an Orlando, Fla., dealer who specialized in foreign sports cars. There he found a carmine-red 1980 Triumph TR-8. Mr. Cox explains that the builder of the Triumph believed that U.S. regulations would not permit convertibles to be manufactured. The first 250 cars built that model year are hardtops. Later a better understanding of the rules permitted convertibles and the rest of the Triumphs that year left the factory as convertibles.
The Triumph Mr. Cox purchased carries serial No. 007, which indicates that it was one of the early Triumph TR-8s. Records show that it was built in August 1979. He reports that the base price when new was $13,500.
Beneath the sloping hood that is ventilated with 52 louvers is a 3.5-liter V-8 engine manufactured by Buick. The owner declares that while the engine sips gasoline through a pair of Stromberg carburetors from the 16.5-gallon fuel tank, the 2,450-pound car delivers 22 miles per gallon during highway driving. “You can drive and drive and drive and never run out of gas,” Mr. Cox says.
Originally the 13-foot, 10.5-inch long sports car rode on 13-inch wheels. Mr. Cox has replaced them with 14-inch wheels for a smoother ride. The 5.5-foot-wide car rides on an 85-inch wheelbase. The highest point of the Triumph is a mere inch and a half more than 4 feet off the pavement. The low-slung Triumph has only 4 inches of ground clearance, which helps preserve the dual exhaust system, but not by much of a margin.
“Parts for the car are surprisingly easy to find,” Mr. Cox says.
The well-cared-for interior still features the original three-spoke steering wheel and five-speed gear shifter. What isn’t camel-colored fabric in the cockpit is black. In an effort to save space in the cozy cockpit, a courtesy light is mounted in each door along with a radio speaker. The instrumentation is simple and straightforward. The speedometer is calibrated to record speed up to 140 mph and adjacent to it is the 7,000-rpm tachometer with a redline of 5,500 rpm. Even from lofty speeds the power brakes are equal to the task of bringing the car to a halt.
Mr. Cox has discovered that the worst thing for a car is not to use it for its intended purpose. “If you let it sit, it’ll break,” he says from experience.
With the assistance of power steering, the sporty Triumph can be turned in a 31.5-foot circle.
By 2000 Mr. Cox determined that the original red paint had served beyond its life expectancy,
He decided to have the car repainted in his favorite color, royal blue metallic, from the chin spoiler in the front to the left rear fender where the antenna is mounted.
The spectacular repaint is so thorough, including the door jambs and inside of the trunk lid and engine hood, that it is easily mistaken for the original.
Afterward, a dual silver pinstripe was applied that works its way 360 degrees around the waistline of the now-blue car. Soon after his Triumph was repainted, Mr. Cox installed “TRIUMPH” mud flaps that are not original equipment, but which he hopes will help protect the new pain from stone chips. The odometer has now recorded 73,000 miles.
Eventually Mr. Cox plans to return to the north country and make Alaska his home.
The factory-installed air conditioner in his Triumph probably won’t be used much after the relocation.
– Vern Parker, The Washington Times, February 9, 2007
He just couldn't seem to get to work on time. Every day. Five, ten minutes late. But he was a good worker, real sharp, so the Boss was in a quandary about what to do about it. Finally, one day he called him into the office for a talk. “(Anonymous ’75 Best Aliver), I have to tell you, I like your work ethics, but your being late often is bothersome.” “Yes, I know Boss, and I’m working on it.” “Well good. That’s what I like to hear. It’s odd though, coming in late. I know you’re retired from the Air Force.” “Yes”, (Anonymous ’75 Best Aliver) replied. “What did they say if you came in late there?” “They said, ‘Good morning, General’.” Thanks to Roy Rice for this one. Roy adds it is interesting to note 16 classes graduated before us. Now, 32 classes have graduated since we did. Exactly twice as many classes have come after us as went before us.
Classmate Updates. Mark Volcheff retired Friday 18 May at Peterson AFB. In the photo find thirteen of us, including two Modern Major Generals and one previously retired, as well as at least one astronaut.
From Dave Ehrhart: Brian’s (Barnes) dad, Maj Gen Jack Barnes, was buried with full military honors at Arlington. Gen Barnes was a 1942 grad of West Point and fought in WWII, the Korean War, and Vietnam. Steve Kent is an interventional cardiologist practicing in Santa Barbara, CA, for the past 18 years. He and his wife Nancy, who is also a physician, have three children. Jim Carlson’s solicitation to the MN State Fair elicited this response from Chuck Woods: Would love to attend the Great Minnesota Get-Together this year, but I've been running a private jet company in Macau for six years, building the fleet and one of the leading jet charter offerings in Asia. Bill Flickinger has left lovely Loveland, Colorado for Delaware and notes Renee and the kids are doing well and have adjusted fairly well to the move.
Harry Mathis notes: Arrived in Iraq in January. I got to leave my staff job behind to be a "real chaplain" for four months as I led a team of 6 chaplains and 4 chaplain assistants. The base was formerly the Iraqi AF Academy – but not even in the same galaxy with ours. I also got to serve many wonderful parishioners through sacraments, preaching, teaching, counseling and visiting – all of which were a joy. Left in May.
Jim Carlson had a nice visit with a couple of Omaha/Papillion classmates after John Charlton’s wedding. Tom Peterson was out of the area in his vacation home in Minnesota. Mike Leuschen was out of town shoveling up some dirt and topsoil. And Dave Clough was scrubbing for surgery as the on-call physician that weekend. But he finally got a chance to meet up with Paul Narzinsky (for the first time) and Tom Freed. Paul finally gave up running away from Carlson. Unannounced, Carlson walked up to his door and knocked. As he told Dave Clough later that day, it’s always with a bit of trepidation when he does this. One of two things can happen: (1) you guys could crack the door open a wee bit and yell, "Get off my lawn!" and slam it shut; or (2) you let me introduce myself and have a civil conversation. Well, so far, it's always been the second. When Paul realized who Carlson was, he invited him in, handed him a cold one, and had a great couple of hours reminiscing and getting caught up on three decades of being classmates. The number of classmates now unaccounted for has decreased from 7 to 6! Next, he looked up Tom Freed. Jim hadn't heard from Tom since doolie year, except for a few desultory emails within the last decade. But Tom had a good excuse. He's cheated death several times lately. He was recovering from a serious post-operative infection and had lost 30 pounds in just a few weeks. He also had several stents put in place to help his heart keep the blood flowing through his system.
Jeff Chappell had a long layover in FL and Bill Caskey was gracious enough to purge his calendar for a hospitality check. Randy Chapman lives in Northern Virginia but mostly works in Seattle building "toys for boys" with SAIC. Bill Davis and Annette will be moving to the Fredericksburg area, living on an airport. He has 5 grandkids now! Jim Burling notes that Jim and Kim Corrigan started a new upscale coffee business in the Montgomery airport. Dan O'Steen to Carlson: Thanks for holding my hand on this one [registering on ZoomieNation]. I'm getting my resume together and will soon look actively for other gainful employment. If I keep at the airline gig I will die soon. Pat Moran is coaching basketball, softball, and parenting 7 children (youngest is 4 and oldest is out of college, but not out of his life!!) and flying 15 days a month. Jim and Judy Arthurs decided to get out of the Corporate World and run a pizza business in Boonville, MO. From Bob Knauff [Stealth Zoomie]: I was never much of a 'joiner' while at the Zoo, nor after, but I remain heartened that some of our classmates have managed to keep the connections going.
From Mike Abbott: Charlie Beadling's write-up on the missile heist has roused my blood. I've been telling that story to my kids for years, but the details have been blurred/embellished beyond recognition. Charlie's audacity has to go down as one of the ballsiest stunts every pulled at AFA, and I'm proud to be in his class. Thanks Charlie! How have you survived up till now? Did you do this in your bathrobes or is that a foggy embellishment? Only problem is that now I have to tell my kids that I really wasn't the one driving the tractor! From Charlie Beadling (re: my missile story): I actually wrote this a year ago while in Chad. Instead of sending it right away, I got distracted. For several months my laptop was locked up in the US Embassy and I was in the states. Now, I am reunited with my trusty computer in Switzerland (no, I am not applying for asylum – I am in a month long course in humanitarian assistance). Feel free to share the reminiscence with anyone. If it gives anybody a smile, that is good. You made me realize that I never took a photo with the missile. I have one of it "erected" with a couple of pushballs at the base I think. I will do that next time I get there [to the zoo].
Old Men Health and Medical Digest. Here’s distressing news from Bill Lyerly. Looks like we almost lost him: I suffered 2 heart attacks, a mild one and then a significant one (after having finished a very quiet and pleasant 4th of July dinner with my "neighbor" Duane Lodrige and my wife, Sylvia). I am only here today "but for the miracles of modern medicine." My boss, a senior Emergency Medicine physician, told me that I am really lucky to still be here, as one of my blocked coronary arteries (called the LAD) is referred to as "the widow-maker" in medical circles. From Bill Murray: Back to Work. Thank you for your prayers prior to surgery and in my post-op recovery. Living without a prostate gland is definitely a new experience for me. Read “What I learned from having Prostate Cancer” on ZoomiNnation.
Administrative. Political Statement: The AOG has established a Class Advisory Senate, which is now up and running and providing input to the AOG Board of Directors. Our representative, Larry Fariss, needs your thoughts and opinions on current issues facing the Academy and the AOG. Right now they are preparing recommendations on the issue of an AOG Foundation, AOG restructuring, revision of AOG By-Laws, the honor code, and the results of last years member survey.
Lastly, as the scribe always tries to do, he will post a longer “Checkpoints for ZoomieNation” as soon as the printed copy arrives in the mail. Register and validate your membership at ZoomieNation [now defunct] and after you register and update your profile (and upload a photo), join the rest of your classmates in the Class of 1975 Best Alive! Groupby clicking the "Join Group" button. That's all there is to it.
Classmates. Don Henney's son Dan graduated USAFA 2007. "Got to tell you this was a pretty emotional event for me. 32 years later commissioning your kid and seeing him receive that diploma at Falcon Stadium. God has been very good to us! Lord willing our #2 son, Joe, follows in '09 and maybe #3 son, Caleb, in '16 if his interest continues. Thanks to Larry Bryant's mentorship and Bentley Rayburn's support, both Dan and Joe got steered to the Falcon Foundation which provided the opportunity to attend USAFA. Dan is now in the Cyber Comm career track (per input from Dale Meyerrose). So, this network thing works pretty well! While at the Academy I had the pleasure of running into Marc Hallada at the graduation parade. His son Frank also graduated in '07."
John Sullivan fell about 10 feet off a ladder and broke his right heel bone, and has been on crutches ever since. John Venable say things are going quite well down under and has returned to duties of teaching and research. Mark Wells and Donna returned to Colorado Springs and the Department of History after a tour at U.S. European Command. Randy (Ray) Powell: My son just returned from a little over 12 months in Iraq serving with an infantry unit. He dropped out of high school, spent a little time in jail (nothing major), got a GED and joined the Army, as a condition to get out of jail and get his charges dropped. I tried for years to get him interested in USAFA to no avail. I couldn't even keep him in high school. Well, he became quite a soldier. With a lot of help from his Platoon Leader, Company Commander, Battalion Commander and Brigade Commander (all West Point Graduates) he received an "in service nomination" and was accepted to West Point at age 21. Quite a story. He reported with four rows of decorations and a Combat Infantry Badge. He also reported with a tattoo on his arm listing the names of 14 people in his company who were KIA. Only three survived from his 13-person squad. The other two were severely injured. He returned a very, very changed person but amazingly in good spirits. We visited New York a few days before he reported. In the picture at left, you can see the names tattooed on his left arm. One of the names on his arm is SPC Ross McGinnis. His family will receive his Medal of Honor on December 4th at the White House. This will be the second anniversary of his death. He fell on a grenade and saved the lives of four others. He was 19 years old. I guess the lesson to be learned is never give up on your kids.
Fred Weems: Loath I am to admit it, but I'm an attorney too. I have my own firm that I call “Fly By Night Legal Services”. I have no office, no staff, don't do paperwork, and don't talk to clients. All I do is argue in court for other lawyers who don't want to have to drive all the way out here. In my busiest times I'm in court every other Wednesday afternoon, and I get paid with sushi. Chip Diehl: My most rewarding endeavor is supporting a non-profit called Coalition to Salute America's Heroes (with Heroes being our severely wounded troops). Tom Barbera: I retired and took the summer off and traveled with family in Europe for a couple of months. My plan was to take a year off – still wish I had – but took a nice job offer in an anesthesia practice. Mike Anderson: I got picked up for a Congressional Stennis Fellowship. Doesn’t mean I have a new job. It just became an additional duty. Ric Lewallen: We are in the process of moving . . . again. Moving to Birmingham. We are excited, but tired about the prospect of moving to our 20th house in 30 years of marriage. Jim Waller: I'm off to Kenya for a spell and then will be back. Steve Hussey: I'm doing well in Bangalore, but spent my birthday weekend in Dubai.
Tom Knabel [MN bridge collapse]: I am fine, despite being fairly shocked by the bridge collapse. It is only a couple of miles from my house. Bill Ladd: My son really wants to go to USAFA and fly in the AF. We sent him to USAFA Fencing camp this summer. He was stoked, and we are lucky enough to have him training with a former member of the Soviet National Fencing team, who now teaches here in Hawaii. Joe Kahiapo: Greetings Dave Commons [on his move to Hawaii] to your home away from home. We'll be looking forward to seeing you and your family. Doug Miller: I set up a new program to help low-income parents return to a two-year college. I now work as a defense contractor. My son is flying F-16s at Kunsan, Korea. Bill Murray: I’ve been feeling GREAT! Say a little prayer for our troops in Iraq that are laying down their lives so that we can go on vacation. Marv Kobza and his wife Cheryl came into Dallas for a visit. Also, Judy and I just returned from the Great Northwest and a visit with Paul "Ollie" Hansen. From Dennis Brooks: My art is in museums, but I don't have anything else to do with them. Check Free Paper Models. All these models were donated to Children's Hospitals, some of almost 400 over the last several years.
Mark Volcheff has thrown his name in the hat to be nominated for the AOG Board of Directors vacancy. Says Mark: “I have the desire, I have no conflicts, I live in C-Springs and I think I can bring a good perspective to assist our graduates and the present and future cadets who will one day fill our ranks.” It will be great to have a voice on the AOG from our Class. Good luck Mark, and thanks for stepping up. Mark adds: It struck me that while we support our school and our class in many ways we can do so even more openly by showing our class spirit on an AF football jersey! I have researched some dealers procuring Air Force Academy football jerseys with Number 75 on it and the best deal so far is our very own Ben Bosma! Order at Aerovation. Like Mark, it seems retired Generals cannot rest. Bentley Rayburn: “Just in case you haven’t heard, Debbi and I have decided that I should run for the U.S. Congress again. Dave Clough: I had no idea that there were memorial pavers for our departed classmates. Seeing my friends Bruce Dodds, Phil Jones and our other classmates memorialized by the pavers brought one of those rare moments when the world just skids to a stop and memories return like they were yesterday.
Bill Carrothers: I'm recuperating from another of those '75 firsts. I'm pretty sure I'm the oldest one of us to punch out of an aircraft, at age 53. I jettisoned a State Dept OV-10 in April while flying in Colombia. I'm fully recovered and awaiting FAA approval to return to work. Tim Wrighton: I have been the Reserve Wing CC here at Charleston AFB for the last year. I just returned from a 4-month deployment to Qatar. From Muddy Waters: I'm going to spend three days with the cadets at their Heritage Forum–speak to the wing, go to class, meet with some of the squadrons. One of the benefits of being a "gray beard." The AF website: Major General Joe Stein retired (remember: he was a navigator – that is the equivalent of a five star pilot's career). Stan Gorenc: I've landed at Tucson and am working for Raytheon. Pat Ash is home and in good spirits after being diagnosed with lung cancer back in July. He’s got a series of chemo treatments to go through before re-assessment in early December. Jim Burling: Guys, some folks travel to see the leaves in the fall, see famous landmarks, or cruise to see whales. Brian and Teri Barnes went on a "Visit the Squadron Mates" tour! David Hickman: I'm back in Kuwait. Got to have dinner with Bill Lyerly while there....always a treat! John Koelling: I went to USAFA with my son Gradon to visit the Academy so he could have a better idea of what he might be getting himself into.
Class Web Site. Jim Carlson: Our new Class of 75 Website is the direct result of the prodigious efforts of ourclassmate Marty Stytz. Also, please support the efforts of our 2 Class Archivists. For pre-graduation memories: Bill Estelle. Bruce Mitchell is our post-graduation archivist. And don’t forget more of our notorious and dubious achievements while cadets need to be written down and shared. Who knew that America's cream of the crop were such inspired lunatics? I need some help in identifying our classmates who received their commissions in the other branches. Also on the site: We have a bunch of Contact Lists, based on Professions and Geographic Location (Medical, Legal, Commercial Air, Business Owners). Send Marty any updates or corrections.
Our Class Rings That Are Advertised For Sale. As the deadline for this issue closed, a Class of 1975 ring was offered for sale in an eBay auction. The seller was not too forthcoming with information, and we don’t know whom the original ring belonged to. The ring was purchased by Jim Carlson, and his payment was partially reimbursed by many of us. In the process, Rich Kennard, who left before graduation, offered something poignant and suitable for a closing:
“You know, the best ‘ring’ of remembrance I have is the 30 Year Reunion, where I got to see many of my old classmates, and where I experienced their graciousness to me. It really helped to heal some scars of self-inflicted wounds I've been carrying all these years. I left the Academy because of foolish arrogance rather than any outside compulsion. The day I left USAFA, on my way back to Houston, that layover in the Albuquerque airport was one of the loneliest, most mournful times of my life. Thanks to you all for your kindness!”