Checkpoints 2011               Jeff Chappell


March 2011

35th Reunion, Part Deux. Things have been pretty quiet this past quarter, so here are some leftovers from the reunion.

John Loucks: “Of course all the CS 24 Phantom Streaker regular reunion groupies were present. But the highlight for Susie and I had to be seeing Dr. Dennis Carter and his wife Suzanne, whom we had not seen since our wedding 35 years ago...we had a great dinner and reminisced about all the guys who were not there.”

CS-30 post-game rally: Picture includes JO Magoffin (non-grad), Rick Layman, Stan Collins, Scott Smith, Randy Davis, Randy Barrett, Jim Kochevar, Bob Shappell, and Stan Siefke. Bruce Linster, Joe May, and Russ Trinter were at the reunion, but unable to join us that evening.

Ray Marden, USAFA Junior College: Leaving the Academy mid-way of junior year left many friendships. Even had to cancel the order for my Corvette. Material items have come and gone, but my wonder of what happened to so many have lingered. My wife, who communicated during my years at Academy, had never been to Colorado and wondered if many of my stories were true. Our interaction with squadron and football teammates brought back credibility: Meeting Gary Vosburgh, the skiing marvel (made the paper as being the Most Average Cadet, I’ve got the article); Mark Beesley, the quarterback who needed a good hit; John Fouts who still couldn’t pay the IOU from those Academy gambling games; remembering those in the Chapel, thinking of all the knowledge lost. But then the bright spot, where was my doolie roommate Mike Biedermann? Found out he was the Chaplain at the memorial, wish I’d known then. So many others I would have liked to have seen, just didn’t have time. Did see my non-grad classmate Fred Basin, remembered the engine from Kevin Cheek’s Corvette being brought to life in squadron supply closet by Fred (Scribe would love The Rest of the Story on that one; nobody could make this stuff up!). Sitting by classmate Tom McKee, I discovered he had rented a house in my community from my Delta pilot friend. This friend was a graduate of VMI, I’ve made sure he knew of his ignorance.

Rich Chanick: If there are no pictures, I deny doing it! 

From Hugo Gray: For a retired guy, Charlie Wintermeyer sure gets around: He is a State Department Foreign Service Officer assigned to our Embassy in Lima, Peru. The picture shows him with the banner at Antarctica recently; check ZoomieNation [now defunct] for another shot of him in mufti with the Afghans in '06. 

75 Best Alive: The Next Generation. Dave Ehrhart’s son Brian is an OSI agent serving in Iraq, deployed from Nellis. Your Humble Scribe (YHS) had the honor of commissioning youngest son Adam in the Army, upon his graduation from Aggieland. Adam will train in Light Armor at Fort Know – watch out, Osama! Jim Carlson says his new twin daughters were so excited after the reunion that they showed up 6 weeks early (26 Oct). After some of the struggles typical of preemies, Annika and Julianna are doing well. The girls are being taught that they each have over 750 “uncles” spread all over the world, each of whom their dad trusts implicitly and respects greatly. Note the custom onesies.

Alert reader Bill Murray sent a piece about the passing of Lt Gen Walter T. Galligan, USAFA Commandant our first two years. No matter which of his lists you were on, you have to be impressed with his accomplishments: West Point Class of 1945, barely catching the end of WWII, through the Berlin Airlift, flying many historic aircraft and holding several staff and command positions. To the Commandant: Hear, Hear!

Paul Martin, Curator of Collections at USAFA, inquired about the origins of our “Nuke ‘Em” mug, with the nuclear cloud and “shapely” handle. They have one in their collection, but no background on it. Anyone who can help with its origins, history, etc, email I also mentioned the infamous Bud Man sweatshirt as another unique class item. If any of you have one semi-intact that you might be willing to donate, contact him also.

Budding Broadway musical writer Steve Duresky wrote a tribute to all of us, but due to space limitations I could not fit it in here, so look for it on ZoomieNation. I can hardly wait to see the live skit!

YHS flew a trip with Gene Holley, returning a planeload of War Eagles and Ducks fans from the NCAA football championship in Phoenix the day after the game. I also ran into Rich Takacs in the ATL crew room...we didn’t get time to talk, but it’s always fun running into you guys!

My goal as Scribe during my sentence/reign is to make famous as many of you as possible in the 20 (plus or minus) articles I’ll have written by the time someone more talented volunteers for the job. By my count, in the first year/four articles, about 180 of our members have been included in this esteemed publication – about a quarter of you, not a bad start. Some classmates are more prolific in their correspondence than others, meaning that they would, in a purely democratic environment, get more frequent mention. However, this being a non-democratic process, I solicit your experiences, thoughts, travelogues, musings, and just plain “howdys!” so I can actually put some meat in here with your names. Vote early and often!



March Extra

From Jim Carlson: My email application crashed right before Thanksgiving. I was offline anyway due to the baby birth thing, but when I checked emails around Christmas time, my Inbox was trashed. I've been reconstructing it as best I could, but it is a slow and tedious affair. It's simply a single huge ASCII text file that will take me until our 50th reunion to get through . . . (I've recovered some emails though, which I will answer shortly). So, if you sent me emails from late October and I never replied, I wasn't being rude, just oblivious. If you could re-send, I'll try to get back into your good graces as a friend and classmate. Please accept my sincere apologies.

Post-Reunion items:

A. Merchandise – We have quite a few left over, and I'll forward a list of them for you guys to pick over.

B. Class Legacy Giving – Our classmate (and my CS-33 squadron-mate) RC Park has come up with a slick way for us to set and achieve a substantive goal for our next reunion in a fairly painless and clever way which I think you'll like. Details to follow.

C. Thank Yous – If those of you who attended the reunion wish to point out any outstanding work done by AOG staff, hotel staff, other staff, and classmates, please let me know and the Reunion Committee will draft an appropriate letter of appreciation from the class.

D. Class DVD – I don't know if this is already OBE'd (I need to check in with Bill Estelle who may be fully engaged in AF active duty commitments), but I made a call out to the squadrons to see how many additional DVDs they want to order for classmates who didn't attend the reunion (or as gifts to family and friends), and only got 10 responses. Please, I also need "Nays" so that I can say we got the field covered.

Lastly, Sarah and I are deeply touched by how many of you texted, called, emailed (before the crash), and wrote to give us their best wishes for a safe delivery. The girls, being preemies, were in NICU (Annika for 10 days, Julianna for 21) but have been home for several weeks now. Julianna is off the heart and apnea monitor (she has learned not to forget to breathe during deep sleep) but still has the gastric reflux thing going.

Both girls are being reminded by Sarah that they each have over 750 uncles (beginning with Uncle Joe Kahiapo and Uncle Rick Douglas at our wedding) spread all over the world, each of whom their dad trusts implicitly and respects greatly.

Your Classmate, Jim

PS: In the attached photos, since Annika was "Baby A" in utero, she wears the "Alive" onesie, while Julianna ("Baby B") wears the onesie that says "Best". Enjoy. :-)




June 2011

Howdy Best Alive!  The Dark Ages turned out to be pretty busy, so here goes:

We all know the sad news of Pat Ash joining the GBNF ranks, with initial notification from his FedEx brother, Gary Janelli.  See details in this issue.

Bill Davis updated Matt “Kip” Fong’s throat cancer battle: Kip is in good spirits; when we visited, he was breathing through a tube and wasn't able to talk, so he used the notepad function of an iPad to converse with us. He and Paula would appreciate hearing from classmates.

Bill Murray reported on the inaugural Dallas area Dark Ages Party, attended by Dave and Chris Ehrhart, Charlie and Sherry Simmons, Randy and Melissa Caraway, Bill and Judy Murray, Marv and Cheryl Kobza, Stan Jones, and Perry Lamy.

Jim Corrigan:  Eldest son Ryan is F-16 East Coast Demo Pilot at Shaw AFB, middle son Jake is on his way to Iraq in June with the Alabama ANG, and youngest son Mike is a contracting officer getting his master’s at the Navy Post Grad School. All of them will have served in Iraq after Jake deploys.  They keep telling me they are trying to fix what our generation broke! No, I'm not too proud! 

Juan Kambourian:  After 40 years of government service, the last 30 with the State Department, I've finally decided to hang it up on 1 August. In my 12 field assignments with State and Air Force–nine of them in Latin America – I've lived longer overseas than back in the States. I will probably suffer from culture shock when I go back stateside. I will be departing my current posting in Mexico City on 6 May. Can't believe I will be a civilian again; haven't been one since I left high school. Had a chance to visit with Doug Fraser down at SOUTHCOM last month; it was good catching up. I plan to retire in northern Virginia  and probably get a job with a beltway bandit.

Mike Magee:  Not too much to report from PA. Still slugging it out for a contract with American Airlines, hanging on left seat of S80. Holly and I just did a Spring Break to Nassau, Bahamas with our 11 year old, Sean. The water park in Atlantis made it amazing: Six days sliding, floating, and consuming various beverages and food! We are now entrenched in lacrosse season (no water polo in his school). You guys are working on grandkids, while a few of us die-hards are still playing first time dad!  

Larry Bryant:  I was thinking that we might need to start a Class of 75 “old geezer” club for everyone with artificial joints. I joined the ranks with a hip replacement last week after encouragement from Bruce Fritzsche. I’m doing better each day, getting stronger, more mobility, less pain, not using crutches now. Just trying to learn to walk “normally” again. Other than that, I’m still working at USAFA as the faculty and cadet computer geek. (Disclaimer: Sent while under the influence of painkillers, so if anything doesn’t make sense, please just ask again). Hang tough, Larry!

Dick Webber:  My Change of Command/Retirement Ceremony will be 29 Apr with an effective date of 1 Jul giving me 36 years of active duty service. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I do know I want to do something full time in the cyber operations arena. While we are figuring out our next steps, Michele and I plan to hit the road in our RV to visit family, friends, and places you never seem to get to while you are on active duty in some of these high ops tempo jobs.

Chris Glaeser:  Tim O'Connell and I will be going to Maj Gen Dick Webber's retirement in San Antonio; 35.9 years or 13,113 days or 314,312 How about a survey identifying anyone else still on continuous active duty – is Dick the last man standing? I know that there are about six classmates who have gone back on active duty last year, but don't know of anyone else who is still continuously active. I'll send photos and more after the 29th. (Since this is after Checkpoints deadline, look for pics on ZoomieNation or in Fall Checkpoints)

Tom Laurie:  In the face of a bad economy, I started a new publishing company this January which isn’t very interesting except for the name, Attitude Check Press, LLC.  Not to be outdone with that company name I released my first book this spring: The Losing Attitude for Dieters  I guess when I retire from my second career in a few years I will have something to do!  

Dale Hanner:  I'm in the Air Force until Jan 13, as an ALO at Ft Leavenworth, KS; will go back to United/Continental after this – if I live that long.  I'm in way deeper than I ever expected.  I’m in the AF contingent of the Army exercise-running gurus, travel a lot and basically coach ALOs at various Army bases as they go through our exercise. I have also been bamboozled into being the Detachment Ops Officer, so there's plenty of queep to keep me busy.

Paul Lotakis somehow wrangled a space shuttle simulator ride with one of his Alaska buddies, courtesy of Bill O’Keefe.  

Bill Lyerly received an appointment as a National Defense University Distinguished Visiting Research Fellow within its newly-established Center for Transatlantic Security Studies (CTSS) at Ft. McNair. Ebola Bill will be teaching at the NATO Defence College in Rome in June.  Bill also reported on Jim Carlson’s swearing-in during a multi-service USAFA 75 classmate ceremony as a US Army Reserve Adjutant General officer, making Jim a true "Try-Service Officer," having now "tried the USAF, USN as well as the US Army." Congratulations to both of you – that has to be some kind of record, Jim!

Mark Beesley served as lead for Gen Eberhart's initiative for an Air Force Academy Society of Washington DC (AFASW) golf tourney fund raiser for the USAFA Endowment. He put together a first class outing at Andrews AFB, which raised about $8,000.  Terry Young and Mark attended the White House presentation of the Commander in Chief’s trophy to the 2010 Air Force Falcons, celebrating our first service academy championship in eight years!

Finally, I’ll exercise my Scribely privilege to include this shot from the top of Mount Kosciuszko, Australia, with the class guidon, in a 45mph summer breeze.  I’ll leave it to more fit and adventurous classmates to tackle the other continents’ highest points. Our 35th anniversary vacation was a great break from the Utah winter; Australia is Aussome!

In closing, from the laconic Larry Dowling: Nothing to report.

As always, it’s great to hear from you. Have a fun and safe summer and see you around the campus!



June Extra

24th Air Force Commander Retires After 36 Years of Service

Four decades have passed since Richard Webber left to go play football at the only division one NCAA school that would bring on a 5'8" tailback – the U.S. Air Force Academy.

"There were two things going on simultaneously, but one was clearly the driving factor," said Maj. Gen. "Dick" Webber, 24th Air Force commander, who retires April 29 after 36 years of service in the U.S. Air Force. "I wanted the opportunity to play division one football. When you're five eight and a half and you take your tapes around for the colleges to look at, they say, 'If you were only six-foot-two, we could get you in.'"

– Tech. Sgt. Scott McNabb, 24th Air Force Public Affairs, Air Force Print News Today, 28 April 2011




September 2011 

GBNF:  Kip Fong and Phil Pearce departed the fix for bluer skies. 

Some memories from Tim O’Connell:  Kip's room was across from mine during BCT and a good friend throughout Doolie year. Memorable was his resolve to outlast some of the most sadistic upperclassmen in 19. They went after him because of his mother (then the California Secretary of State and head of the very liberal state Democratic Party) and because of his race. To be "trained" for that which cannot be changed must have been perceived as justification for quitting. He went on to become a Reagan Republican; Thanksgiving dinner conversation must have been lively! When he completed his term as treasurer (the last time the budget was balanced was the day he left office), I worked in his US Senate bid. Even Boxer could not resist using race against him in the final days of the campaign to erase his lead. Matthew "Kip" Fong, you are an exemplar of perseverance, conviction, and self control in the memories of those who had the honor of knowing you.

Gary Exelby:  I have in my hand a thank-you note from Kip dated 28 Jun 98 in response to a series of columns I had sent him as potential ammo in his effort to unseat Barbara Boxer. Wish I coulda done more...

Mike Anderson:  I got to work with Kip when I was in AF Legislative Affairs. He was one of our IMAs and brought his political smarts and network to play on legislation and funding for our Air Force on Capitol Hill. We spent many hours working “engagement plans” and consuming many bottles of…water! He was big into being healthy and was concerned that I had acquired a taste for other adult beverages. I gave up adult beverages and sodas for 6 months and lost 25 pounds. RIP and God Bless–see you on the rejoin.

John MacDonnell:  I always remember him from working SERE. He did many of the Asian-sounding propaganda broadcasts we constantly aired on KPDR.  In another instance, one of the interrogators came to us and said he had a Korean (or Chinese?) student who claimed he neither spoke nor understood any English. So we sent in Kip, who completed the interrogation, completely surprising and blowing away the student! RIP, Comrade Fong, we’ll all miss you.

More on Phil next issue. I remember him as a BCT squadron commander being very sharp, fair and down-to-earth. Some who knew him better, please provide some tributes.

Men to Match My Mountains. Paul Kent reported: We summited Mt Baker, 10,780 ft of snow and crevasses July 6, the hottest day of the year so far. I now know why climbers and lifeguards put zinc oxide on their noses and lips. We started at 3300 ft, in snow, base camped at 6400 ft, got up at 0200, summited at 1000, and back to base camp at 1600. This is my first technical climb since Mt Rainier in 1980. I think this will be my last on a glacier. Back to nice trails with minimal to no snow. I look out north from my house 70 miles and see the top of Baker, so I got talked into the climb without realizing what it entailed. Very rewarding but no more of that kind of stuff for this old boy.

Not to be outdone, Dave Jannetta: I just got back from an African adventure–although I didn’t have the Class Flag, note the Best Alive baseball cap. I reached the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro on 6/20 (been to 19,000+ flying many times – this was my first time walking there!). An amazing trip which I would recommend to anyone – although much like having twins, would have been much easier about three decades ago! Kilimanjaro is not a technical climb – definitely some sporty areas though. Biggest issue is altitude sickness – seems to affect everyone differently. I have the bug now; hope to do Mt Elbrus (highest summit in Europe) in the next two years. It is technical, so I’ll need to get some training this winter. I’ll keep you posted!

Mark Beesley developed a psyops weapon for us:  In the DC area, West Pointers and the Naval Academy grads rule the roost in terms of power and influence. After living in the area for 5 years, I have had enough of the Woops and Squids, so I am starting a campaign to make sure folks know of us Zoomies. After a great bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, I came up with the bumper sticker: ZOOMIES RULE! (White letters and lightning bolt on blue background). You will see it on my car right after I get it out of the body shop. I got rear ended by a Mack truck on Interstate 66–the only injury was the embarrassment of having an auto accident on a major freeway and tying up traffic.  

Duane Jones: Here’s a photo of Jerry Manthei and I at the Pentagon Athletic Center. Jerry and I both bicycle to work, he from Alexandria and I from Bolling AFB. Jerry's working for the Navy (he cross-commissioned) and I'm still active duty on the Air Staff.  The two of us just ran into each other in the PAC. Small world!

Mark Volcheff: While traveling in London with my wife, I was directed by the concierge to a local Purveyor of Fine Spirits a few blocks from our hotel in Piccadilly Circus. Established in 1697, this establishment had an awesome selection of wines, ports and single malt scotch. I asked to see his selection of vintage 1975 scotch. He searched his computer data base and found only one bottle remaining in his entire inventory. With a few sputters at the price, I proudly laid out the pounds and will donate this bottle to our class. Choose as we may what to do with it. Crack it open at the 50th? Save it for our last two surviving classmates to enjoy or raffle it off as a fundraiser? Makes no difference to me, this is for the Class with my best wishes to all.

A joint report from Don Henney and Larry Bryant. God worked another miracle: Don’s third son, Caleb, just entered the Prep School Class of 2012 – 10 months of transformation to enter USAFA '16 next summer. Caleb is busting you know what to join brothers Daniel, '07 and Joseph, '09. Don is following in Larry's footsteps with sons Maj Philip Bryant, ‘01, who just finished 3rd tour in Afghanistan as Blackhawk pilot; Capt Corban Bryant, ‘04, is separating from USAF and accepting a job in Delhi, India; and C1C Garret Bryant, ‘12. It's got to be a miracle: What are the odds of two '75 grads from CS-22 having all three of their sons going to the Academy? Don says it's not a conspiracy, just divine teamwork!

Finally, from Prez Jim Carlson: Paul Lotakis offered to serve as ’75 Group Admin for ZoomieNation. Several classmates are collaborating on other class websites which should incorporate some popular current web technology. The lead on this is Bill Estelle. Marty Stytz will continue to maintain our site using the AOG platform, which is very limited in apps; Marty has been doing an exceptional job in keeping it interesting and up-to-date.

Until next time, see you around the campus!



September Extra

Southcoms's Concerns

US Southern command doesn’t expect major war, but it must deal with criminals, drug cartels, and natural disasters – all very near the United States.

Top officials at US Southern Command manage a unique mission: They face a range of threats, not always military, but close to home.
 “From Latin America and the Caribbean, I don’t see a military threat to the United States,” SOUTHCOM’s Gen. Douglas M. Fraser stated flatly this past February.

This is quite a contention, and surprising in some lights, as South America’s militaries have quietly become some of the fastest modernizing militaries on the planet, according to trends of arms and aerospace equipment sales. Across Latin America, total military sales rose from $29 billion to $39.6 billion between 2003 and 2008, led by countries such as Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela.

Marc V. Schanz, Air Force Magazine, August 2011





December 2011

A handful of ‘75ers recently participated in the Class of 2015’s acceptance parade. As their Legacy Class, we were invited to present the top ten basics with awards during their acceptance parade. Larry Fariss did a great job representing our class with his speech to the new Fourth Classmen. [More in the Extra below]

On to bigger and better things: Al Peck retired as Air University Commander 1 Oct. Welcome to the ORB world and best wishes in your second career, Al![More in the Extra below].

Mark "Scotty" Scott: On a 14 day trip with Rick Odegard...we went to Omaha Beach, Normandy, The Burj Towers in Dubai, Anchorage, Paris right now getting ready for an ocean crossing to Newark, then back to Paris, then Memphis...long trip, but it makes it easy when you are with a 40 year buddy...75 Best Alive...oh, FedEx by the way...28 of our '75 brothers are here.

(Who has the most classmates at their company? Delta and AA have quite a few, as do some defense contractors...any other nominees?)

Foster Bitton: I didn't retire, get married, run for office or join the Foreign Legion. I did go scuba diving with my oldest son, Luke, on the north shore of Oahu. During the dive we ran across a critter that was initially afraid of becoming part of a seafood salad, so he inked all of the surrounding area about four times. Once he determined we weren't going to eat him he decided to pose for some pictures with me. "Inky" is the one with the extra appendages and suction cups. I'm the other life form.

Dave Clough: No exploits to brag about, just toiling in the trenches of orthopedic/hand surgery waiting for everything to go to hell with ObamaCare…if you like health care in the UK or in Canada, you will love ObamaCare. Everyone will experience government-run/regulated health care with the compassion of the IRS and the efficiency of the Postal Service. Rapidly approaching the big 60, remaining hair rapidly fading to grey…of three sons, one (27 yo Mech. Eng.) has been married for 5 years. Oldest (31 yo mechanic) and youngest (22 yo Management Info. Systems/Bus. Admin. student graduating 2012 from U. of Nebraska) are both getting married next year, one in May, the other in August. Any suggestions for father of the grooms? Obvious answer: Keep working or buy lottery tickets, as prospects for retirement are fading faster than remaining hair.

Heavy stuff from Dr Gernot Pomrenke, who serves as Program Manager for Optoelectronics, THz and Nanotechnology in the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (OSR): We are advocating and establishing a multi-project wafer service for silicon photonics. OpSIS (Optoelectronic Systems Integration in Silicon) is a multi-project wafer service for silicon photonics. The goal at OpSIS is to make the processes for making optoelectronic integrated circuits available to the community at large, at modest cost, by sharing the cost of processing across many users of a single mask set. This model, called a "shuttle," can reduce costs of building new silicon photonics devices by more than 100x. The OpSIS program will help advance the field by bringing prototyping capability within reach of startups and academic research groups. Glad there are smart people doing amazing things to make life better!

TJ Young: Football teammates reunited 8 Oct at Notre Dame stadium 37 years after our last game together. Irish team was very talented and well coached, just as when we played them. We can play even with them at home next year. I was proud of their competitive spirit when we won the fourth quarter. This team has courage and determination.

More Football: Dave and Jan Wallace, Ted and Nancy Thompson, and YHS connected at the Boise State game. We beat the point spread, so should do even better next year at home! Ted runs the Embry-Riddle program at Mountain Home AFB while Dave followed Jan to Boise, making his commute to Baltimore even longer.

Spies Among Us: John Kambourian retired from the CIA after 30 years; I even had my cover lifted so I don't have to pretend I worked for some other agency. I had 10 field assignments, the last six as a Chief of Station. It was a terrific ride and I can't believe they paid me for doing work that I loved. I'm now working for a government contractor; I do miss my troops and the mission but I cry all the way to the bank! Feels strange being a civilian again: Last civilian job I held was as a lifeguard during the summer in high school.

GBNF, USAFA Junior College: Chip Kerby related the news of Tony DeRegnaucourt’s passing on 18 Oct. He was hanging out with a friend at some gambling joint, said he felt tired, and laid down to take a nap. Never woke up. He was having a blast, so at least he went out doing something he enjoyed. He was one of the best friends I ever had, or will have. I spoke to him two weeks ago after the Navy game and we caught up a bit, so at least I don’t feel like I missed him entirely. And I’m glad he got to make the reunion trip last year. Things Tony invented but never got credit for: Talk like a pirate day, Shock and Awe (his approach to dating), and the phrase “I’m twice the man I used to be” (and he was). We lost a good man, who had the enormous capacity to make me laugh every time he opened his mouth. I’m going to miss him.

More JuCo: Bill Murray recently visited his best friend from the Academy, Paul "Ollie" Hansen Jr, of 1st Squadron, in La Pine, Oregon. He left after our sophomore year and completed at the University of Oregon, had a very successful football coaching career, raised cattle, and is now a businessman.

A Lump of Coal in Your Stocking: Lockheed Martin laid off 370 people, including Bill Murray...out-the-door date is 25 Dec. “I have an interview with American Airlines to teach aircraft systems. I have surgery scheduled on my hammer toe for 21 Oct. After having my prostate removed four years ago, my PSA has been increasing very slowly. Radiation directed at the fossa, the cavity where the prostate gland used to be, has an 80% chance of driving the PSA back down to zero. If it doesn't work, you move on to hormone therapy, since you can be radiated only once. The great thing about prostate cancer is that you have many ways of combating the disease. I just need to exercise that faith I'm always talking about.” 

Thanks, Dr Bill–it’s nice to know there’s something good about The Big C!

Closing thought from Dave Beeman: Just got back from my 40-year high school reunion. So many passed away you'd think they were ALL cadets...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the Best Alive!



December Extras

Class of 2015 Legacy Event: Acceptance Parade

From the USAFA Association of Graduates Website:

"The Acceptance Parade takes place after the Basics complete BCT. At this parade, they are "accepted" into the cadet wing and they become fourth-class cadets. The Legacy Class is invited to view the parade and present Contrails to the outstanding basic from each of the 10 squadrons."

From the Air Force Website:

"8/4/2011 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – The Air Force Academy's Cadet Wing formally absorbed the Class of 2015 into its fold during the annual Acceptance Day Parade here Aug. 3.

"During the ceremony, basic cadets received copies of "Contrails" from their legacy class, the Class of 1975. They swore the Academy's Honor Oath before exchanging their gold baseball caps for Airman Battle Uniform caps and joining cadets from the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014.

"During Acceptance, the new freshmen march toward the Cadet Wing in an inverse wedge formation to signify their entrance into the Cadet Wing. At the Graduation Parade, the outgoing seniors march out of Stillman Field in a wedge formation, signifying their departure."

Larry Fariss's Speech to the Class of 2015 at their Acceptance Parade

"We are here for you. It is a great pleasure for members of “75 Best Alive” to serve as your legacy class. In this capacity we will forever be linked with you. The 756 members of our class are spread across the country, but we will stand with you every day for the next four years. We will be there for your recognition ceremonies, ring dance, 100th night, swearing in and graduation. We will cheer you on as you compete on the athletic fields, parachute from the sky and solo in gliders. We will pull for you in the classrooms, encourage you during final exams and help you to live honorably.

"Will you actually see us joining you in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the cockpit? Thankfully the answer is no. Our time and value in those venues is long past. Nevertheless we will stand with you. You may not see us, but we are there. We strode the very same halls you will walk, slept in the dorm rooms where you will dream, ran the marble strips where you will run, competed on the same fields and course where you will perform and flew from the same airfield where you will fly. We know what it is to be a Basic Cadet, Doolie, Third Classman, Two Degree and Firstie. We know what it feels like to complete basic training, be accepted into the Cadet Wing, be recognized as an upperclassman, to receive your class ring and finally to throw your hats in the air at graduation.

"We stand with you because we have gone before you. We are your legacy. We are proud of your achievements to date. You separated yourself from your peers by volunteering to attend a military academy. You have completed a tough and vigorous basic training course. You have even survived a flu epidemic. Now you face new challenges as you take the honor oath and are accepted into the Cadet Wing. Fear not. This place is all about challenges. It is why we come. Continue to embrace the challenges and you will do just fine. Draw on your experience to date. You came to USAFA with your stomach in knots not knowing what to expect, but as you settled into your new routine, your nervousness subsided. And you even got comfortable with the first beast cadre. Then the anxiety returned as they threw new faces at you in Jack’s Valley. You not only survived, you thrived.

"Now your stomachs are in knots again as you prepare to march off to new squadrons to face that unknown. Your training to date will help you face that challenge as well. Each time you face the unknown and conquer it, your confidence soars. Embrace the future as you came here to be challenged. Know this Class of 2015: The entire Academy is here to help you succeed and become outstanding officers in the United States Air Force. The entire staff, faculty, coaches, and even the upper classmen have that outcome in mind as you enter our Cadet Wing.

"As your legacy class, we graduates from the Class of 1975 pledge to support you in reaching that day when you throw your caps in the air and join us in the Long Blue Line. Class of 2015: We are here for you. Good luck."



1. Larry Richter et. al. presenting Contrails to the Class of 2015.  

4. Contrails Presenters (Left to Right): Bo Montgomery, John Traxler, Phil Gronseth, Mark Wells, Randy Davis, Bruce Linster, Ralph Paul, Jim Burling, Larry Richter, Larry Bryant (partially hidden) and Larry Fariss.  


5. Larry Fariss speaking to the Class of 2015


Contrails Dedication to the Class of 2015 from the Class of 1975

"The Contrails handbook that you hold in your hands is a tradition that goes back to 1955. It is part of the Long Blue Line that connects us all in a way that is rarely found in the civilian world. The use of this handbook, and not so much the intrinsic knowledge held within, constitutes the core of your training as Basic Cadets – the development of self-discipline, focus and concentration, taking on the hard task, and attention to duty.

"The Class of 1975 is proud to present this Contrails to the Class of 2015. Although 40 years separate our two classes, we share a common commitment to service beyond self. This commitment is what sets us apart from other undergrads attending a regular college. It’s what brings us together at reunions to honor our fallen comrades with respect and tribute. Accept this gift with our best wishes. When it comes time for the Class of 2015 to present Contrails to its own legacy Class of 2055, you will maintain this deeply shared connection that goes far beyond simple tradition. This selfless commitment to service began with the first Academy class, the Class of 1959. Your class is now an indissoluble thread in the fabric of this Long Blue Line.

"Your class will have its own unique journey and rewards. For the Class of 1975, the most rewarding aspect of our experience at the Academy has been the camaraderie and the deep and long-lasting friendships that were made as cadets and maintained over the years. Classmates have attended each other’ weddings, delivered their babies, rescued each other during military mishaps, and stood in support when last breaths were taken. You will never have more reliable and closer friends than your classmates. These friendships stand the test of time. When the last two members of our class are left, they will raise a toast to their departed brethren and will know that formation of all their classmates awaits them when their final sorties RTB.

"Our official Class motto is “Ignotum Vincere” – To Conquer the Unknown. Every day has provided class members unexpected challenges to overcome and opportunities to seize, both personally and professionally. Life for you as cadets, and after graduation, will be what you make of it. Our unofficial class motto is “Illegitimi Non Carborundum." It has also served us well.

"The Class of 1975 offers you its best wishes for success: from your first days at the Academy, to your service as officers in the Air Force, and beyond. Your experience will pay huge dividends in pride, professionalism, and personal growth. Give your best during your days at the Academy – and for the rest of your life, it will come naturally."



Air University Commander Bids Farewell

"At a ceremony this morning, I will relinquish my position as the 28th commander of the Air University, a position in which I've been privileged to serve for more than three years. Later today I will retire from active duty after just more than 36 years of service. Lynn and I are looking forward to turning to a new chapter in the book of life. These ceremonies will be opportunities to perform that important last duty of a leader: to say "thank you." I have been privileged to not only stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before, but to have enjoyed the fantastic support of a dedicated staff and faculty here at the Air University.

Air Force Print News Today, 12 August 2011




Defense Cuts Would Undermine National Security

Major General Bentley Rayburn, USAF (Retired)

The approaching debt ceiling recommendations from the “Super Committee” appointed by Congress seem unlikely to generate a bipartisan consensus on deficit reduction. If that happens, massive across-the-board cuts to the Pentagon budget are in the offing, and that could set back our national security, research and industrial base capabilities for decades.

But is defense spending really the problem? Defense spending is currently less than 20 cents of every dollar spent by the Federal government. We must always spend every defense dollar wisely, but if you are going to fix a budget problem, you must look to where you spend the 80 cents first and foremost. Budget experts warn that our current level of spending masks shortfalls — after the last decade of “hollow growth” and extended combat, our equipment stocks have only grown “smaller and older.”

– Colorado Springs Gazette, 6 October 2011


2011 Album


1. Steve Morris, family & staff. (Steve Morris, February 2011)  

2. Larry Fariss newly retired and apparently making up for lost time. (Brett Fariss, August 2011)  

3. Steve Wojcicki, Al Peck & Doug Fraser at Al's retirement.  

4. Al Morrison sporting a new tat. (Tamara Groothausen, December 2011)


5. Steve Blackburn (Center, yellow trunks) white water rafting with his son in Costa Rica. (January 2011)

6. Al & Linda Morrison with the Morrison family. (Laura Christine, January 2011)

7. Jim Schuman & daughter Katie. (July 2011)

8. Gil & Jeannie Braun and family. (August 2011)



9. Paul Lotakis: Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up. (October 2011)

10. Dave & Janet Wallace at the boathouse in Central Park, New York City. (November 2011)

11. The Carlson Twins. (January 2011)