Updates. Bill Murray: Not to be outdone by Sarah Palin, I’m announcing the release of my book Renegade Colonel. There’s a Jewish proverb that says during a man’s life he should raise a child, plant a tree, and write a book. Mission accomplished. (The scribe notes: One might think, “What did Bill do that he can write a 700-page autobiography?” As I read it, I have to say it is most satisfying: funny, insightful, and sad all at the same time. I’ve read only as far as his early years before the Academy, and I’ve lost track of the number of times his father has taken the belt to him, and how many fires he’s started. I’m looking forward to the whole story). Chris Glaeser (living in Montreal): I just got back from another IATA trip: meetings in Cologne; chairing the semi-annual industry Incident Review Meeting in Frankfurt; then a week in Moscow, followed by 4 days in Amman, Jordan, with two trips to DC interspersed just to force me back to N. America; it will take me a month just to file the travel expense reports. I’ve seen a list with up to 10 classmates going rated recall; Ben Bosma just signed up for a 4-year UAV pilot tour in Las Vegas.
The scribe ran into Gunnar Ohgren in St Paul, MN. Gunnar recognized me. Since I don’t think I’ve seen him since UPT, I asked “How did you recognize me?” “You’re the Scribe” says Gunnar. Of course Gunnar looks the same. From Bill Murray: Attended the Air Force Reserve retirement party of Rick Townsend. He still flies for American Airlines. Mark and Jane Stickney (Mark flies for Northwest–now Delta) were visiting Judy and me from Austin. Mike McClendon (who also flies for American) lives in the area. His wife is missing, because his son took the wrong car with the baby seat and his wife wouldn’t bring their granddaughter in the car without one.
From Cos Cosby: I was sitting in a hotel bar near my house and looked up to see a familiar face: Chris Budinsky. He was on a layover with Fed Ex at Ayers Hotel, about 1/2 mile from my house. My wife, Cynthia, and I have been stopping there for several years. Reminder to all you flyboys: My office is on Century Blvd next to LAX and my house is 10 minutes away. If you have a layover, look me up. (Scribe note to Cos: Your previous chance encounter was documented in the July Checkpoints. Before long, you should run into all of us!) From Jim Carlson: Attached are photos from lunch with Fred and Cheryl Whitican during their visit. As I told Cheryl, sharing time with you guys–all my classmates around the world is one of the most rewarding social intereactions I have. You simply represent the best of our society, in accomplishments, citizenship, loyalty, dedication to principles, and professionalism.
From Joe Rogers: Visited Chuck Holland in Montgomery, AL, where I had taken my daughter and her boyfriend to see Maxwell AFB. Chuck and I were friends in fourth-class year (before I left) and since I hadn’t seen him for a while (June, 1975 actually) I called him up and he was nice enough to spend his Sunday driving us around and feeding us. We also went by to visit his cigar store so here’s an advertising plug: Any smokers looking for a good place to have a fine cigar, look Chuck up at Havana Dreamin' in Montgomery. It’s a pretty cool place.
From Roy Rice: I ran into Bob Marr at breakfast in Albuquerque. [That night] we went out for ribs. Bob ordered a beer and the waitress carded him. Talk about looking young. I knew Bob would brag about it…and I have to be his witness. From John Scherer: My son Andrew is a firstie at USNA, class of 2010. He got his first choice for service selection: pilot training at Pensacola. Things there are a little different than USAFA, but I am continually amazed at how much it is similar. As the deadline for this column closes, we hear that Dr. Mark Shope had a seizure and a small lesion was found on his brain. Your class is pulling for you, Mark.
Bill Murray's entire career has been unconventional; he is unconventional; therefore, wouldn't you expect his retirement to be a little unconventional? Well, it will be. For the first half of his career he held various positions as an aircraft operator, and during the last half of his career he transitioned to acquisition and program management. Colonel Murray flew two thousand hours in the F-111D/F, F-16B/D, and C-130H.
In Renegade Colonel, he recounts his experiences over the thirty years that he served in the United States Air Force. From his early years as an aircraft operator to his later years in director positions, Bill has had the experience of a lifetime. In the years to come, he wants his family to have a glimpse into his life. How many people have lived in Canada, England, and Spain, burned down a barn, burned down two houses, gone to the Air Force Academy, burned up a room at the Air Force Academy, played collegiate football, wrestling and lacrosse, flown supersonic fighters, crashed a plane and survived, had cancer and survived, had children and survived? You get the idea.
Renegade Colonel is a book of experiences, but also a book of philosophy and instruction.
(From the Back Cover)
Reunion, Admin, Etc. Most of you remember the initial query from your POC about your tentative plans for our 35th and the goal of 75% attendance. Here’s a fun little exchange that went on amongst the old CS-20 Trolls: Charlie Buck: Yes, but this seems awfully early to be getting a count. The 35th is still a number of years away isn’t it? I plan to be there. The count will be two because I’ll have my “significant other,” Susan, who happens to also be my wife. We got married May 8. I’ll have a good story for it by the reunion. This caused Brad Lindsey to submit: My oldest is 23, a 2LT and in grad school. OK, now it’s time to sit down. My youngest (twins) are 2 months and a 2-year old to add to the mix. Yes, that’s three in diapers. (The scribe notes: Brad has always impressed me as the “coolest” of the Old Trolls. And now he is going to pay for it. At the rate of current education inflation, I figure a 4-year degree for just one of the twins at the local community college will be about $17 million. I thought Bill Taylor had this “Young Child” trophy racked up. At our 30th, he had one-year-old triplets. But Brad has blown by Bill).
From Jim Carlson: Help me update my reunion contact master spreadsheet so that we have the latest and greatest. My own master list is strictly for our class use, and to make sure that no classmate is overlooked when it comes to our get-together. A regret I would surely have (if classmates are lost for any appreciable time) is to find out that a classmate has passed on, and not know about it.
Scribe Sign Off: I’ve been penning Checkpoints for a full 5 years now, and Jeff Chappell has graciously agreed to give all of you a change in writing style. We had a ceremonial “passing of the quill” when he had a layover in SEA. This column truly does write itself. Thankful for the benefits of communication in the electronic age, I mostly serve as an editor for the column. The Scribe Chronology follows: Willie Cosby (Fall 1975-Spring 1978); Duck Layman (Summer 1978-Fall 1981); Vacant (Winter 1981); Stan Collins (Spring 1982-Summer 1982); Joe Stein (Fall 1982-Summer 1985); Jeff Hackett (Fall 1985-Fall 2004); Paul Kent (Winter 2005-Winter 2010); Jeff Chappell (Spring 2010-a long time, we hope). Single issue Guest Scribes: Jim Burling; Jim Carlson; and Chris Glaeser.
Reunion Dates: 6-10 Oct 2010, football v CSU. Remember our goal: 75% attendance. Tweak the classmates who have yet to attend a reunion and let them know how much fun these events are!
Congratulations! Jim Carlson rejoined the married ranks in Hawai’i on 24 Feb with classmates Joe Kahiapo and Rick Douglas in attendance. Rick hosted our Fearless Leader and his new bride, Sarah, when they had to evacuate their hotel during the tsunami warning. Sounds like an exciting honeymoon!
Earthquakes in diverse places: Ebola Bill Lyerly reported from Haiti, and Marc Isabelle was one of many impressed by Gen Doug Fraser’s briefing on TV following the event, outlining the military role in recovery operations.
Hernan Echaurren-Vial’s first-hand account of the temblor in Chile: ...one of the the kids got hit by a falling brick from a building... The most amazing thing was the extent of the area hit by the earthquake in addition to its magnitude and duration; it was as if you'd had an earthquake hitting from San Diego to San Francisco. In Santiago the earthquake was around magnitude 8, several times worse than Haiti's (7.0). And it went on and on and on; it was pretty awesome but actually I never got scared, just perplexed and mesmerized... Chile is well prepared for earthquakes and pretty much things in Santiago are already back to normal; there is no damage in our house at all, just a few things fell and broke. We have all the utilities running and the streets all cleared. The worst hit in Santiago was the airport terminal, a couple of bridges in the new turnpikes and a couple of new buildings seem to be damaged. We do not know yet how badly some of the smaller towns around the epicenter are doing; since most of the houses there are adobe, they should be pretty much razed...the bigger towns around the epicenter did pretty bad too, especially their adobe constructions...It's going to be expensive to rebuild the damage but I think it won't be crippling for the country.
From the Land Down Under, John Venable said the “tsunami” in Australia and New Zealand rose only about a meter. Those of us on higher, more stable ground are glad you’re all safe!
Dark Ages Parties: The DC area crowd continued its tradition with its 10th DAP, joined by the first San Antonio area DAP, hosted by Buck and Suzie Rogers. DC DAP Organizer Greg Schmitt secured a great venue (Capital City Brewery) This year’s theme: Tropical, hence the Hawaiian shirts, shades (and in Greg's case, shorts and sandals). Highlights: Jim Carlson got roasted with a slideshow by Mike Anderson, who was in turn chosen (out of a hat) to be next year's organizer (Carlson denies any charges of retribution); Perry Lamy flew out from Dallas, winning the longest-distance-traveled-by-air prize; two First-Timers attended: Marty Stytz, our class webmaster and Jim Foster, who won the longest-distance-traveled-by-vehicle prize; Bill Lyerly, Jerry Manthei, and Jim Carlson represented other-service backgrounds (Army, Navy, and Navy respectively); All previous DAP Organizers were present, notably Dan McCorry, who made the first 7 happen and has never missed a DAP; Al Bready, the DAP 2008 Organizer, wore what looked like either long johns or pajamas, but still looked like Mr. GQ; Bob Awtrey, the DAP 2009 Organizer, came all the way from western badlands of Virginia along with Rod Gunther; Joe May and Walt Burns drove up from Virginia Beach; Carlson had sense enough to introduce his bride Sarah to his other “dependents;” three retired classmate AF Generals attended (Dale Waters, Perry Lamy, Duane Lodrige), along with government VIPs Steve Pitotti and Bill Lyerly, and the Usual Suspects: Phil Saenger, Hugo Posey, Terry Young, Bill Davis, Jim Hartney, John Sullivan, Bob Akers, Bill Dalson; Reunion Merchandise subcommittee chairman Dean Cox polled everyone regarding the final design of our class coin; continuing the tradition, we toasted our GBNF at 1975 hours, and Lyerly proposed a special toast to our classmates running the post-earthquake efforts in Haiti, Doug Fraser and Duane Jones. It was a fantastic, mellow, not-to-be-missed evening for everyone. This is how friendships last for 3-and-a-half decades! (Note the tucked in aloha shirts – old Zoo habits die slow and hard deaths.)
As CONR Commander General Arnold finishes up his teleconference, his assistant hands him the urgent message from Bob Marr. Given that a hijacking is part of the day’s simulated exercise, he asks the obvious question: “Is this part of the exercise?” Even as NORAD’s commander for the continental United States, Arnold is not privy to everything concerning the exercise. The simex is meant to test commanders also, to make sure that the war machine is operating as it should.
His assistant tells him it’s real world, and the thought occurs to Arnold that it’s been many years since NORAD has handled a hijacking. He’s relieved that he recently reviewed the protocol.
He gets through to Bob Marr right away, who quickly fills him in. “Boss, Boston Center is reporting a possible hijacked aircraft, real world, somewhere north of JFK Airport. I’ve got Otis going battle stations, and I’d like to scramble them to military airspace while we try to get approval for an intercept..."
– from Touching History by Lynn Spencer
First a book, now a movie by classmates: On the heels of Bill Murray’s book, Renegade Colonel, Mark Holmes made a video of his WWII B-17 pilot/POW father’s life, called Clipped Wings. Summary: Spent two years working with my dad, who just turned 90...four separate interviews on camera to record his experiences as a young B-17 commander, shot down in Europe, evading, being captured, two years in Stalag Luft III, the camp made infamous in “The Great Escape," helping with the tunnel “Harry” before being liberated. Unlike in the movie, Americans were rotated out of that compound before finishing "Harry" and no American airmen escaped. Pop may be 90, but when the camera came on, he was right back there and shares with us the feelings and sights and sounds of an experience few can imagine, or would want to. I’m sending a copy to the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project (http://www.loc.gov/vets/) If any of you guys have fathers still around who served, get down their stories! The Permanent POW exhibit at the Air Force Academy will also get a copy so future generations of cadets will get an idea of a world so different, and of the men and women who saved us all with their sacrifices. I'm trying to find someone to host the movie so I can upload it and get a link to any of the guys in the class who might want to see it. (Anyone out there with a way do that?) There are some moving moments in there that anyone who's served can appreciate. Sounds fascinating, Mark–maybe we could show it as a reunion event?
Another good read: Bob Marr co-stars in the book, Touching History, about 9/11. (Scribe recalls an issue of AW&ST mentioning Bob, Bob Knauff, and John Czabaranek and their roles in the USAF response to 9/11).
Fame and Fortune: Dave Jannetta has made an amazing career in industry and government service, and shares that through a distinguished lecturer series via the USAFA endowment. Congratulations and thanks, Dave!
More Second Generation Zoomies: Don Henney has 2007 and 2009 grads in his family. Your humble servant ran into Bruce Hopkin–he showed me pictures of his doolie daughter who made varsity cheerleader.
Happy Birthday to Rich Finke (5 July – excellent date selection, Rich! Be sure to thank your parents and congressman).
Around the system: Bill Schuessler, Bill Lyerly, Bob Hickkcox, Mike Gudmundson had a mini reunion in MSP. Bill Caskey made time for Lunch with the Scribe during a PBI layover. Raider Ramstad reports running into Steve Lerum somewhat regularly, as Scribe does with John Kearns, John Dailey, and Wayne Willis.
Cheers to all and see you in October!
By the time you read this, we will be close to our 35th reunion, or will have just survived it. Either way, it’s fun trying to keep up with everyone, receiving your emails, pictures, and remembrances. You make putting this article together a real pleasure and I thank you for your contributions. One of my goals as Scribe is to have a variety of classmates and pictures published, so be sure to bring your cameras to the reunion; Checkpoints limits us to three pictures per issue, but we can post all we want on ZoomieNation [now defunct].
Bill Lyerly sent in this photo from the gate of the Hoa Lo Prison, more infamously known as the Hanoi Hilton. Amazing how things have changed in our time. Ebola Bill now wears two hats with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the Director, Global Partnering, Knowledge and Futures Group and Special Assistant for Global Human Security to the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs. These new job titles resulted from the recent "realignment" within DHS (a DHS "reorganization" would have required Congressional approval under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, so DHS just went ahead and had a "realignment" rather than a "reorganization." Ain't bureaucracy great...)
Tom Laurie has one for the ages: The story behind the creation of Waldo F. Dumbsquat. “I was on the Talon staff my 2nd and 3rd class years and had actually been named the Editor at the end of my 3rd year. If you remember, there was a column called "Charlie Baby" our first two years there in the Talon. It basically poked fun at the people in charge of the Academy. The problem was that by the time the General got through editing it, it looked like a 4th grader had written it with all the things cut out. Bill, the Editor of the Talon, and I decided that we could poke fun at the administration better if we did it in a funny way. We came up with the idea of "The Secret Life of Waldo F. Dumbsquat" based on the famous short story of "The Secret Life of Walter F. Mitty.” We were trying to win the award of "All Collegiate" magazine, so I wrote the first 8 installments of Dumbsquat anonymously in our 3rd class year; the theory being that having the same byline on too many articles per issue took you out of the running for "All Collegiate" magazine. I actually wrote some articles my 3rd class year with a pen name; I seem to remember that we won the award.” Great heritage story – all classes should be required to know the origins of Waldo Dumbsquat.
Bran McAllister recently attended a farewell celebration at Langley commemorating the departure of the F15s from Langley and the deactivation of the 71st Fighter Squadron. “At the formal dinner at my table were four '75ers: Kent "Trayls" Traylor, Jim "Hondo" Hartney, Bob "Cowboy" Awtrey, and Bran "Knife" McAllister, accompanied by my son, Dan "Blade" McAllister. Blade is a 2004 grad flying F-15s in the 71FS now, but what is interesting is that I was in the 71st when he was born (1982). He is flying some of the same tail numbers that the rest of us flew. Blade is transitioning to F-22s at Langley this fall.”
Road Warrior Chris Glaeser reported in from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), where he runs the safety department. With offices in Montreal, Geneva, Moscow, Brussels, Singapore, Johannesburg, Washington DC, and Beijing, he’s spread pretty thin. Chris says Scott Hammond retired as commander of the Georgia Air National Guard on July 24th; he is also a former Northwest pilot, now a Delta pilot thanks to the recent NWA-DAL merger. This wraps up 35.2 years of USAF/ANG service, an incredibly commendable record. Scott keeps busy as a DAL captain and in the DAL safety office. I had the pleasure of working with him in safety for many years when we were both NWA captains working in the NWA safety office.
Sharp-eyed Rick Douglas picked up on a tidbit from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announcing Kevin Smith as Los Alamos Site Office Manager.
Between trips with American Airlines, Mike McClendon volunteers with Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JARS), the aviation arm of Wycliffe Bible Translators, “the guys who fly the missionaries into all those impossible fields on the sides of mountains.” Although he has not done the actual flying, just being involved with such an organization sounds like a real challenge!
From Harry Mathis: I'm doing my best to stay in the running as the last to retire from active duty, but I had a 9 year reserve hiatus from 1980-1989. That being said, my mandatory retirement date is 30 Apr 2014 when I will hit 30 years of active duty. Good luck, Harry – we’re rooting for you!
Bill Murray joined grandparenthood and is loving it. John Kearns brags that he and Nance have “graduated” to the ranks of empty nesters; congratulations, Jake, and may your boomerangs be few!
We’re much too young to feel this d*** old: Larry Bryant allowed surgeons to test their skills on his back; Bill Murray got a hernia lifting weights like a 25-year-old and went under the knife to fix it. Dave Clough and Paul Lotakis provided an update on Mark Shope, with one of Mark’s partners saying “physically and mentally he is doing great. He has completed all the surgery and radiation treatments. He is undergoing a fairly mild form of chemo for 5 days each month for 6 months. To look at him, you would not know he has been ill. He will be undergoing surveillance MRI's every 3 months looking for recurrence.” I’m sure there are others, and we all wish you the quickest recoveries and best outcomes.
Jim Dearien reported in from the DFW area, flies the Pink Jet for breast cancer awareness with Delta out of ATL, and sent this picture of him and wife Julie at a Rangers game. The Rangers are doing so well this year, they may make the playoffs; we’ll know by the time you read this.
Rod Kallman flies for FedEx and was elected President of the Las Vegas chapter of the AOG. Rick Townsend’s son, Andrew, flies some kind of spy plane, and will be flying a different spy plane soon – he may have the CIA on my tail if the details get out, but you can probably guess, too.
This picture of a memorial to GBNF Chuck Nystrom is too good to leave out. You may recall, Chuck was hit by a bus on his way to work in Tucson. The upper bar reads, “We love and miss you,” and the sign below says “Forever May You Fly.” Both motions seconded!
Someone blamed the dearth of Notes to Class on Jim Carlson’s “forgetting who his real dependents are.” It’s OK, Jim – we understand. Jim responds that rumors of his demise are greatly exaggerated...
Until next quarter, or the reunion, see you around the campus!
Reunion Recap: Thanks to an incredible bunch of teamwork, over 230 classmates, Junior College alumni, and many other guests enjoyed a great weekend of camaraderie, war stories, reflection on our GBNF, and a victory over Colorado State. We should take this time to publicly thank the ReunionCommittee: Chairman Bruce Mitchell, registration honchos Mark Beesley and Bill Hughes, merchandise man Dean Cox, videographer Bill Estelle and chief assistant Larry Bryant (and too many contributors to mention, so just watch the DVD), banquet MC Bill “Still a Renegade” Murray (We hear Lt Gen Gould ordered a special Goon Squad for insubordination. Interesting twist: But for his year at P-School, the Supt would have been our classmate). I know there were others behind the scenes, including many at AOG; please forgive me and know that we all appreciate your work. Thanks to all who contributed photos–it was tough whittling down to five–look for more on ZoomieNation; I’m sure most of you have shared them already.
Several squadrons held events of their own. A few highlights:
CS35: Appropriately for our 35-year reunion, the Party Squadron tied for the most attendees (15), and the current CS35 carried our Class Guidon during the march-on, the gold standing out among all the blue. Pictured are Mike Dennis, Tom Kemp, Randy Roberts, Gunnar Ohgren, Ted Thompson, Stan Schoener, Scott Swanson, Dan McCorry, Rich Wilson, Dick Duesing, Rex Hoey, Dave Dyche, Bill O’Keefe, Bob Hickcox, Paul Lotakis
CS-15 War Eagles tied with 15 alumni at a party hosted by Clint and Stephanie Waltman. John Kearns, Charlie Wintermeyer, Clint Waltman, Doug Fraser, Mike Crider, Mark Masters, John Venable, Dave Williamson, Hugo Gray, Terry Duncan, Mike Straight, Jim Eken, Jim Dill, Gary Whitfield, Tom Kocian.
CS20 Trolls: Of the 19 grads, ten made it over to Mike (Vito) and Jan Goyden's house on Sat night: Paul Kent, Brad Lindsey, Tom Peterson, Dave White, Steve Vargo, Steve Eickelman, Charlie Buck, Dave McDaniel, Mike Goyden, John Santner. Steve Keen canceled at the last minute due to medical reasons; his prognosis is good. Paul Kent had both his 19 and 16 year olds along; John Santner had his 16 and 13 year olds. Brad Lindsey had all 4 of his kids, aged 23, 3, and his 1 year old twins. Charlie Buck, widowed a few years back, brought his new bride. Dave McDaniel, wrapping up his PhD in History at Texas Tech, took the opportunity to visit the Academy History Department, where our own Mark Wells is the Head Professor. Follow-up from Dave White: Ronnie, my "current significant other" is now my fiance...asked her during the reunion, and she said yes! You guys must have really impressed her! Or maybe her standards are even lower than I thought..."
CS29: Tom Barbera reported on their squadron event, attended by Tim Wrighton, Tom Udall, Jack Huffman, Bill Ashcraft, Chris Fillar, Mark Wells, KC Schwarz, Bill Davis, Greg Berlan, as well as the women behind their successes.
Thirsty Third was represented by Mark Lenci, Ralph Paul, Jim Marburger, Don Lewis, Bob Awtrey, Tom McKee, and Mike Ruth. Nooky Niners (can I say that in a family magazine?) had a good showing, starring Dale Meyerrose, Jeff Hackett, Mike Buckley, Kent Traylor, Dave Haugen, Dave Commons, and Ollie Lorenz. Ric Lewallen, Don Byers, Rudy Roth, and Dean Cox had a mini-Baptist Student Union reunion. “The biggest downside of the reunion was not enough time to connect with everyone.”
Roy Rice: Debbie and I made the 30th and promised I’d never miss another. The experience was amazing. Debbie has now met all of my former roommates, including my first roommate in BCT, Mark Holmes, who hugs me and calls me “Brother! The opportunity to assemble with all of our friends/brothers (and their spouses) who shared those experiences from ‘71-’75 (and beyond graduation) made me realize how wonderfully fortunate we were to have lived, worked, played, succeeded, failed, accomplished together. Without sounding too “sappy,” every member of the Class of ’75 (especially CS-33) holds special meaning for me and I feel blessed to call you all my friends. Please, let’s gather again while we still can and renew those bonds we forged 35 years ago that are lasting a lifetime.
Larry Fariss: Our class dedicated a plaque in Falcon Stadium with the names of 30 of our football-playing classmates names engraved for posterity. Among those attending the dedication: Bo Montgomery, Rod Hennek, Bill Murray, Tug McGraw, Dick Webber, Terry Young, Julius Hargrove, Bob Thompson, Bruce Fritzsche, Russ Trinter.
Cheerleaders Russ Trinter and Ollie Lorenz could give remedial training to the current classes, who seem to underappreciate having a team that’s better than 6-4. Terry Young was selected from over 3000 lettermen to be an honorary captain for the football game. TJ looked stunning in his class football jersey. “The class jerseys looked great from the field level at Falcon Stadium. Several folks commented on our obvious class unity during the game. The jerseys and reunion hats created a stir.” Thanks to Ben Bosma – we hope the exposure is good for business! Any other classes reading this, go to aerovation.com and try to look as good as us.
Doctors, lawyers, Indian Chiefs: Phil Saenger summarized the reunion best: “From talking to fellow ’75 grads I realized everyone follows a different path to success. Great stories. Great fellowship.” Lots of doctors, dentists, lawyers, generals, engineers, professors, visionary leaders, assorted government and industry big shots, elected officials at various levels, and of course all the worker bees who make the other guys look good by doing ordinary things in an extraordinary manner. A few examples of the amazing things the members of our class, both graduates and junior college members, have accomplished personally and professionally: Maj. Gen. Dick Webber is the first commander of 24th Air Force, which provides combat-ready forces trained and equipped to conduct sustained cyber operations, integrated within air and space operations. Dave Shoup (USAFA JC) still gets to meet The Bad Guys on a personal level: “Making Afghanistan safe, one Taliban funeral at a time.” Lance Grace represented his company in receiving the Clean Air Excellence Award from the EPA, for developing the cleanest wood burning fireplaces in the world: “...the amusing point is that the basis of the design comes from the defense world with work that I've done with IR signature control on land combat vehicles and naval combatants. A year and a half ago, I stated that I could figure out how to present our material in a fireplace if I had three things located in my outdoor kitchen (temporarily converted into my mad scientist lab). Those key items were an instrumented fireplace, a TV remote in one hand and a beer in the other. After three months, lots of fires and loads of beer, I figured it out. So for those of us who have always caught grief from our parents for being a firebug as a child and from our wives for drinking beer through the years, there really was a method to our madness.” I could go on for pages, but this gives a broad view of the range of talents in our class, truly the Best Alive!
Intrepid hikers Jeff Chappell, Chip Kerby, and Mark Schoning carried the Class Guidon to the top of Pike’s Peak in what we hope will be a continuing tradition. It would be fun to have more classmates join us, even just to Barr Camp or up to timberline (the easy part – the last 3 miles/2600 feet are pretty challenging). The experience and views are incredible, and the company makes it even better.
Too close for comfort: Kip Fong had a visit from the Big C and is now in remission; Dean Cox thought his heart attack was just heartburn; Doug Miller’s gall bladder decided to erupt just before the reunion; and Mark Holmes is getting really good at recovering from motorcycle accidents. We are glad you’re all still with us and wish each of you a speedy and complete recovery!
Future reunion planning: Records indicate that 10-year reunions are better attended than 5-year events, so let’s bang the drum really hard and get those who have yet to share a reunion with us to start planning now for the 40th. Everyone I’ve talked to who was hesitant about coming but finally attended enjoyed the experience far beyond their expectations. Paul Narzinski perhaps best reflects some feelings of those who have yet to share a reunion with us: “This reunion (my one and only) erased 35 years of pent-up resentment and bitterness towards the old Alma Mater...now I have nothing but fond memories of a group of Great Guys from a Great Class – 75 and Still Alive!” Bonus inducement: Mark Volcheff will release his secret to maintaining dark hair.
In closing, here’s a plug for our 40-year Legacy Program which has a goal of $50,000 that will connect the Best Alive with the Class of 2015. More news to follow from the Class Gift Committee.
The best to all the Best, until next quarter – keep those emails and pictures coming!
Class of 2015 Legacy Project
For the Class of 1975 class gift project we will be participating in the 40-year Legacy Program. The USAFA Endowment will be working with us to raise the $50,000 to participate in this program. The program is administered by the Association of Graduates as a way to connect to the Class of 2015 as the 40th year Legacy Class. Here is what the project funds for the Class of 2015:
• Contrails for the Class of 2015. With this funding, our class will also be able to write an introduction in Contrails for the Class of 2015. In addition, we each receive a copy of Contrails along with every member of the Class of 2015. Also, our class will be invited to attend the Class of 2015 Acceptance Day Parade in August 2011, where selected members of our class will present Contrails to the class.
• The Class of 2015 Exemplar Program Dinner. We will receive an opportunity to celebrate with the class in October 2012.
• The Class of 2015 Commitment Dinner. We will receive an opportunity to celebrate with the class in August 2013.
• The Class of 2015 Ring Dance. We will receive an opportunity to celebrate with the class in May 2014.
• The Class of 2015 100s Night. We will receive an opportunity to celebrate with the class in February 2015.
If you are interested in helping the Endowment as a volunteer or making a contribution, please contact one of our Class Officers or the Association of Graduates directly.