Checkpoints 2013               Jeff Chappell

March 2013

Howdy Best Alive! By the time this hits your mailboxes, Larry Fariss should be a member of the AOG Board, the Dark Ages and its associated parties will be a memory, and we’ll be one retirement closer to the Last Man Standing. So onward with your submissions from the past quarter.

Bill Estelle continues his hard work on, recently adding a link to a class Facebook page he established. The key to success is to get as many people as possible to "Like" the page, so here’s a plug:  Send the link to your parents, siblings, progeny, friends, enemies, frenemies, neighbors, former neighbors, fathers, brothers, nephews, cousins, former roommates, and request that they visit and register as Liking the page. Last time I checked, there were 40 Likes showing – I know we can do better!

Dan O’Steen from the wild west Texas plains of Marfa sent some great pics of Gen Doug Fraser's retirement ceremony at SOUTHCOM HQ in Miami. John Kearns reported that 14 of Doug’s CS-15 War Eagle classmates made time in their busy lives to attend the ceremony – a pretty impressive turnout for a very memorable occasion. 

Dale “Sledge” Hanner: Next week (28 Dec 12) I finish 3 years 42 days return-to-active-duty as the senior Lt Col on Ft Leavenworth KS. It was a great adventure – same stuff, different acronyms. We're now headed back to United Airlines in Denver.

Chuck Schmitz: I am officially done on 29 December. I’ll put in my claim for the Last Man Standing in the Active Duty/Air Guard category. Except for a two week period of leaving active duty to enter the Guard I’ve been there since graduation.

Pete Blatchley reported on a significant classmate event at Ramstein: Don Lewis, having returned to active duty with 17 AF several years ago and with us in USAFE/A3O for the past year plus, will try retiring again in January. He's probably the most senior O-5 still on active duty, not to mention the last F-106 driver still sporting Nomex. We presented a signed painting entitled "Farewell Old Friends," which features the first two jets Stranger flew–last century – the T-33 and F-106. Don's heading back to his Texas ranch. It's been terrific getting to know a super classmate from across the terrazzo.

Dave Commons: Just received the recent Checkpoints and noted the comment ref Skeet Fraser as the last classmate on active duty. Though not a 4-star, I'm serving on active duty as the US Defense Representative to Saudi Arabia and the Chief of the US Military Training Mission to Saudi. Dubious record, I never thought I'd hang on this long, hindering my golf game.

SO the unofficial quarterly results for Last Man Standing: Dave Commons and Mark Wells. If anyone else wants to stake a claim, please submit it at your leisure. Congratulations and thanks for your service to all the recent retirees and re-retirees.

Steve Eickelman and son Jack went on an 11-day backpacking trip to the Boy Scout Philmont high-adventure camp. Steve worked hard getting into shape and benefited from a few steroid injections for his back before the trip. Yes, he knew he was taking performance-enhancing drugs, just like Lance Armstrong, but thankfully the BSA  checked only his blood pressure and weight (too high, too big – no go) before the trek and he was not stripped of his badge and ice cream cone he dreamed about throughout the trek. It was quite an adventure for both of them.

Related note from Pablo Kent: For those of us who have experienced the great privilege of the Philmont trek with our sons, we know it is priceless. For Ike to do this at 59 years old is pretty darn impressive. I experienced Philmont in 2008 with my son, when I was 55, and it took a lot of effort then. Way to go, Ike! I noticed from our latest Delta early retirement program that three USAFA 75 took advantage: Jack Storer, Bruce Correll, Bill Schuessler. All junior Delta guys owe you one for moving us up in seniority!

Dean Spraggins reports in from the Black Hills: I still work part-time for the largest gun parts supplier in the nation, completing 10 years there in September 2012. Recession may still be afflicting other regions and other sectors of the economy, but our business has not been touched. In contrast, a sharp upswing began at the end of summer 2008, and we've been breaking our own sales records, year after year since. And once each year, on 4 July, I don the uniform of a Continental Regular, taking up arms (musket and bayonet) to educate tourists about the common soldiery of the American War of Independence. Near as I can determine, I am the sole such re-enactor in the state (some aspire to the moniker "living historian" but I shrink from such pretense). I have been told that some audience members are so pleased that they rearrange their travel plans to return for subsequent Independence Day presentations, youngsters and additional family members in tow.

Larry Bryant and Marc Hallada saw sons Philip Bryant, ’01, and Josh Hallada, ’02, honored by the National Aeronautical Association with the presentation of the Mackay Trophy in November for their harrowing rescue mission in Afghanistan on 2011.

Tom Barbera and wife Anne visited son Daniel at USAFA during Parents Weekend. “He is a third classman in my legacy squadron, CS 29 Black Panthers. Class of 1975 is the Legacy Class for 2015. To my knowledge, he is the only member of the Class of 2015 with a parent in 1975. You never know if your child is suited to USAFA until they go and experience it. After basic summer last year, he explained to me how much he valued the training and how much tougher it must have been for the upper classmen than he and his classmates, as they had to plan all of those activities and get up earlier and stay up later than the doolies. Hmmm – the big picture…that's when I decided he had found the right 'college.'" (For a look back, click HERE).

Andy Dichter has the lead for the Washington DC annual Dark Ages Party on Saturday, 16 March, at Army Navy Country Club. Army Navy recently completed construction and activation of a grand, new club house, and it’s a very attractive venue to host the gathering. We all look forward to picture and stories, Andy and crew, and hope the turnout exceeds expectations.

Until next time, keep the faith and see you around the campus!


1-4. Doug Fraser retirement celebration.

5. Don Lewis preparing to return to retirement status.


June 2013

Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, and here the quarterly update is:

GBNFSam Hollins flew off into the wild blue on 3 March 2013, notice courtesy of Gary Whitfield. See full obituary in this issue [Actually appeared in the September issue – Ed]. Godspeed to one of the best, Sam!

Movin’ on up: From Larry Fariss, on his election to the AOG Board: “It has been an honor to serve as our class senator for the past 7 years, and I am very excited about Bruce Mitchell serving out my current 5 year term, until 2015, when our class will elect its next senator during our class reunion.” Bruce noted that Leon Smith-Harrison had also served on the Board many moons ago, making three 75 classmates who have served in that capacity.Thanks for continuing to serve!

It’s A Small World, courtesy of Tim Murphy: “I learned how to connect with old classmates late last summer from Scott Smith. Driving along I-70 in eastern Ohio minding my own business and a shiny red Corvette flashed by with tags that read...well the picture tells the story better. I'm probably the only guy on the interstate between Ohio and Virginia who understood, but I did, so we used some old UPT hand signals and held a no-notice class reunion right there off I-70. Fun. (Pay no attention to the ad for my other Alma Mater).”

Off We Go: Eagle-eyed Harry Mathis noted the retirement of Jim Heriot as Chief of Medical Staff at Eglin on 1 May. Harry serves as Command Chaplain for AFMC and has tentatively scheduled his retirement ceremony for Friday, 28 Mar 14 at the Hope Hotel at the main gate of Wright-Pat. (Mark the date–I see potential for another mini-reunion!)

Fame (And Fortune?): Mark Wells accepted a one-semester Visiting Professorship with the US Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, PA, starting in July. “They’ve asked me to lead a seminar of hard-charging Army colonels along with a couple of reps from other services and DoD.  Among other topics, I’ll be teaching strategy, policy, and military history. This TDY will count as the last sabbatical I’ll need to take before mandatory retirement in 2017. I’ll return to USAFA around Christmas time and resume my current position as Permanent Professor and Head of the Department of History. As it turns out, I graduated from Carlisle and the USAWC twenty years ago, so it will be like a homecoming. Donna and I are particularly excited to spend time in Pennsylvania:  Our daughter Emily lives and works in Philadelphia. She recently got engaged and looks forward to a Colorado wedding in the summer of 2014.” Multiple congratulations, Mark!

More Fame: Doug Nelson was awarded the Silver Beaver by the Inland Northwest Council (Spokane area) of the Boy Scouts of America as the top volunteer in the (appropriately) Thunderbird District. The Silver Beaver is the highest award given to a volunteer Scouter and follows years of consistent superior service. Way to go, Doug!

DC Dark Ages Party summary from project officer John Charlton: Thanks to all making this a big success. We had 35 classmates show up, most with their spouses, totaling 60 folks: Dahlson, May, McCorry, Arnott, Charlton, Quattrocki, Beesley, Awtrey, Waters, Saenger, Hargrove, Burns, Bready, Hartney, Smith, Dichter, Murphy, Akers, Mefford, Sullivan, Snelgrove, Soto, Davis, Carlson, Lylerly, Foster, Drow, Anderson, Anhalt, Pyatt, Van Pelt, Byers, Powers, Henney, Manthei. Special thanks to Andy Dichter for working with the Army-Navy Country Club (ANCC) folks. I thought the venue was elegant and the food was good as well. Andy hasn’t closed the books yet, but he is confident that he has enough extra money to cover all expenses, and he will hold any excess funding on account for next year’s gathering. Thanks to those of you who went a bit above and beyond the cost of dinner and contributed a few extra bucks, we had enough to submit a reservation deposit for next year. (Photos Below)

Golddiggers? Wayne Willis’ daughter-in-law is cheerleader coach at Weber State, which explains the next picture during a recent AF-WSU basketball game. What a charmed life!

Remembering The Alamo: Jim (P.) MarshalI continues holding the fort in San Antonio and represented the class at the Alamo Chapter’s Founder’s Day Dinner on 13 Apr. “I have attended for the past several years and it is always good times, good food, great speaker and great company. We have people from the Class of 59 to current cadets.”

Paul Kent sent this amusing anecdote: Several years back the old CS-20 Trolls started an email exchange highlighting all our idiosyncrasies and generally just poking fun at ourselves. In the process, it was noted that Dave White (who was transferred out of CS-20 during our controversial firstie-year shuffle) and Steve Keen were not in the Firstie group photo, so I Photoshopped them in. Then the Photoshopping took a life of it's own for reasons beyond the scope of this short story. But for some reason Shakira was included in our senior photo. The other night my wife was watching some show Shakira was moderating (The Voice). I mentioned to her that Shakira was in my USAFA Squadron and we had a picture of all of us together. The wife remarked she would like to see that photo, so I showed the attached to her. Of course, as Dave White mentioned after we re-started this exchange, "At the risk of incurring the wrath of the other Elderly Trolls: Was Shakira even born then?"  Of course not–she was born in 1977. Dudley Hancock had to add "Always wondered why Pete (Tom Peterson) and Charlie (Charles Buck) got Shakira, meanwhile, Thomas (Tom Finn) and I got Dave White!" The ‘stache looks good, too, Pablo!

Comment by Dean Spraggins (Via Zoomienation): From the twilight world of the semi-computer-literate: Shakira, Dave White, and Steve Keen were not the only items photo-shopped into our CS-20 Firstie portrait. I'd like to go on record here: I've never owned any AK, AKM, or civilian semi-only Kalashikov variant. And after ten years in gun parts sales and repair, after 15 years of OT&E while in uniform, I advise classmates to avoid owning one. And the JD bottle would be of only marginal interest today, as I drink less with each passing year (26 June 2013).

YHS went to a Cactus League game at Salt River with Scribe Emeritus Jeff Hackett–gorgeous night in the desert with great company, catching up on stuff. I can't imagine being Scribe for 20 years, most of that BC (before computers)! 

Until next issue, keep in touch and keep the shiny side up!



June Extra


23 May 2013

Ben Bosma   Throwback Thursday.

Chappie Hargrove   Reginald Hargrove II, this will be you Wednesday…minus the final five seconds.

Sanford Terry   Wow, were we ever that young! Brings back a whole flood of emotions!

Bill Murray   Hard to believe….lots of years ago now….gained a lot of super Brothers that day!

Bill Carrothers   Great and glorious day!

Fred Weems   Only 38 years ago. My, how time flies when you're having fun!

Perry Lamy   …and what were the SECDEF’s remarks about?

Mark Holmes   Talk about a look back in time! Awesome memories with all our brothers!

Fred Weems   Free at last, free at last…

Bill Murray   I believe the SECDEF talked about the wonderful men we were, and what great potential we had, and what an impact we would make on the future defense of the US…and he couldn’t have been more right!

Paul Butalla   I’m sure most of my bro’s weren’t too concerned about getting to this point, but as one of those in the last couple of rows it was a real relief to finally realize the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t an oncoming train!...and for Fred, “…Thank God Almighty, we’re free at last!”

Mark Holmes   Last row…LOL…yeah, we all got the same diploma.

Fred Weems   Q. What do they call Tail End Charley the day after graduation? A. Lieutenant.

Fred Weems   Q. What do they call the bottom graduate of med school? A. Doctor.

Willie Cosby   I have no idea what the SECDEF said – I was asleep…

Gary Exelby   I think it was the SecAF – but I think I was dozing myself.

Perry Lamy   No more ‘Tail End Charley’…except for the DGs the class gets their diplomas by squadron (1 to 40)…no public recognition for the last guy (I suppose that went the same way as Bring Me Men, Lil Pig-ville, flying real airplanes, regular commissions, flight school for everyone who wanted to go, getting really kicked out for honor, etc, etc).

Scott Arnott   I have no memory of who talked at our graduation, but I remember Gen Stewart!

Fred Weems   Gen Stewart’s speech was the best. Wish I had a copy somewhere.

Paul Kent   General Jimmy Stewart (the actor) spoke at our Ring Dining In. SecDef James Schlesinger spoke at our Graduation. But, no, I don’t remember much. I know I had a Frisbee that I tossed into the air at the end of the ceremony. And that I had signed in too late that night before, so I still have some confinements to serve. In fact, I’m serving one right now in my hotel room in Narita.

Ben Bosma   I remember hearing that distinct voice of General Stewart at the ring dinin in. I was too far away from the podium to see him but will never forget that voice.

Gary Exelby   I remember Stewart’s joke about how “isn’t it true that Mickey Mouse wears a General Vandenburg watch!”

Gary Exelby   Bummer on no Tail End Charley, Perry Lamy. But I am not surprised; I saw in the class of 2011 Contrails how many of the quotes (by Churchill, Robert E. Lee and Patton) have been excised.

Gary Exelby   Oops, make that 2015; last year is when we got the thing.

Gilbert Braun   I was privileged to sit with General Stewart at dinner. What a memory.

Stephen Pitotti   Well, I’m impressed – the videotape did self-destruct. Additionally, the title is slightly dyslexic…like all of us of advanced maturity.

Fred Weems   Does anyone have a copy of his speech from that night? Please share.

Leon Smith Harrison   Young and good-looking.




September 2013

The Lost Files: A huge apology to Mike McClendon, as I somehow overlooked this war story several months ago: I haven't contributed to any of our checkpoints news, basically because I never thought I had anything worth sharing. Well, now I do.

After 42 years of flying and over 11,000 hours in everything from general aviation to gliders to helicopters to transports and fighters, including experimental test on active duty, I nearly met my Maker on 21 Aug 2012. Brian Jones ('73) and I were taking off when our Thorp T-18 experienced an engine rollback at 100' over the end of a short east Texas runway with nothing but trees in front of us. We did as we had been taught: maintained aircraft control, ran the emergency checklist and prayed. About 6 seconds after the rollback I flew the aircraft into the shortest, softest trees I could find. After the crash, we egressed the aircraft and moved away for fear of fire. It took a chopper about on hour to locate us in the woods (no fire), and then sheriffs and EMT personnel came crashing through the woods to our rescue. I was careflighted to East Texas Medical Center where they put my face back together. I had about a dozen broken bones in my face, jaw, eye orbs, and some missing teeth. My jaws were wired together for about 2 months. Brian came out better with a broken eye orb and some bruises. Miraculously, our brains, eyes, balance, limbs are all 100%. I was released 4 days later and am making very fast progress back to normal (or at least what was normal for me). I have learned a great deal about love–love of my family and friends, and the love of God–during this humbling experience. I am grateful to be alive and have a whole new perspective on life. (Photos Below)

Seems to me that’s at least three classmates who are aircraft accident survivors, John Sims and Randy Barrett being the other two. Anyone else belong to that exclusive club?

Wayne WIllis reported the loss of Larry Fariss’ home in the Black Forest fire. He and Michele had about two hours to gather what valuables they could. We all wish you a good recovery, Larry–thank goodness for USAA!

On a happier note, Mark Volcheff reported on the first annual Class of 75 Graduation Day Reunion social held at Arnold Hall in Hap's Place. Nearly 50 classmates and spouses attended. Most were from the greater Colorado Springs–Denver area, but Spence Roberts came all the way from Memphis! We haven't aged a bit. Mark your calendars now for next year!

John Brooks: 75 Baking Alive in Phoenix! I was in Ohio on business in April, and had the opportunity to spend the weekend with Eric and Tawnie Hoganson in Dayton. We visited the Air Force Museum and the Wright Brothers memorial nearby. It was great to catch up and touch airplanes! Eric looked right at home in the F-16 mock-up (his favorite ride after the B-1), and I gave the Wright Flyer sim a go.

A synopsis of the Doeppner doings: Susie and I live in Palm City FL where we have been for over 15 years. Our three daughters are all educated, married, and employed. We have four grandchildren. I’m still flying for Sikorsky Aircraft and will spend most of this summer in Colorado doing high altitude testing. Susie and I will spend a week in Germany this summer with our daughter Sarah, researching my father’s ancestry in preparation for a book. Go to to follow along.

Dave White: There I was, standing around at O'Hare, hoping to get a jumpseat ride home after a long flight from Narita. I see some guy walk by and think, "He looks familiar." He turns around, comes back, and asks if I'm Dave White. Well, he's got me dead to rights, so I can't deny it, but I realize why he looks familiar: It's Dave McDaniel and his wife Libby! We had a few minutes to visit before he had to run for his flight to Rome. Tough life some of us have, hobnobbing with the international jet set, and it was good to catch up with a fellow Troll!

John Kearns submitted this Proud Dad photo of Capt Ben Kearns, C-17 Lewis-McChord; John, Delta B767 SLC; and 2Lt Jake Kearns, C-17 Travis.

Charlie Buck was in San Antonio recently and got together with Tom and Gail Finn: We didn't do anything really interesting or significant–too old for that. At least I am; Tom is so much younger. We did talk trash about all the rest of you guys. Even though Tomas still claims to be a technophobe he has a cell phone and says he checks his email every couple of weeks, so he might actually see this and tell the truth about what happened.

The Time of Your Life: Fred Weems retired from AA. Got my first AF retirement check at 60, then found out that an old friend from my days at Upper Heyford had recently committed suicide. Made an on the spot decision that life is too short to be spending so much time at work, so I bailed out. I've been very happy ever since. I'm composing the music for a new ballet. I get to work with dancers and choreographers and all kinds of weird characters. Kind of reminds me of the wing staff: Lots of pretty people trying to look important. My recording studio is called Music for Warthogs, a reflection ofthe decade I spent flying the A-10. I kinda miss getting shot at. I'd go back to that in aheartbeat if they'd take me. My wife of 37 years is enjoying her work as an ER physician. I am enjoying her rather large income. Life is good.

Mark “Crocodile” Holmes spent three weeks in Australia with four buddies from his motorcycle club HawgsDawgs, started twenty years ago and now has over a hundred members from all over the States and two from Australia and England. I made it to Sydney, Melbourne and Ayers Rock, Uluru to the Aboriginals who see it as the center of their universe. A place of exceptional beauty, the Outback doesn't get its due. Amazing landscape, prices were ridiculous, the flies ever present but the views were worth it all.

Small World: YHS has run into several classmates in various situations lately, including Dave and Sally Young in NYC, Duke Duhachek in ANC, and Ray Lynn in MSP. It’s always fun to see classmates; even if we do not have time to socialize, the five-minute elevator or jetway conversations always remind me of Who We Are: Best Alive!



1-2. Mike McClendon's Aircraft.  

3-4. Mike McClendon in the Emergency Room.


September Extra

Mark Holmes: Hey, Jeff! Hope all's well in your neck of the woods. Just checking in and seeing how things are going.

My birthday's coming up here in a week, big 60 and looking forward to it...going back to FL to see my mom for seven days and visit. She's 93 (or four, CRS these days) and doing well, still driving and walking without so much as a cane, amazes me. She takes after my dad who got his black belt in Taekwondo at the ripe age of 83 so hope they've passed on the good genes. Dad passed a couple years ago now and she gets regular visits from us kids and grandkids ever few weeks to keep in touch and keep her company.

Recent news here...for my 60th I decided to treat myself to some airtime...While the last time I flew a plane was more than a few years back when I was flying a bizjet for Billionaire down here in SD, and miss being off the ground. I'd taken up hang gliding years ago while I was still in and had a bad wreck that, I won't yet say ended, but postponed taking it back up. I was learning it when the sport was young, wing surfaces were single and not double and they were considerably more primitive than they are today.

I've recently gotten into free fall both indoors and outdoors, and working on getting a license for that but found something that had been a dream since I was about 13 yo after watching an episode of Lost in Space and saw them flying around in Jetpacks. A company called Jetpack America recently set up shop here in SD and when I saw a film of them flying, it was a no-brainer to go and check it out and last friday I had my first foray with it and have to say it was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. Flying without wings, high over the bay with control, learning how to maneuver, hover and do turns and spins was one incredible feeling. I asked the trainers how I did on the learning curve and they said I was in the top ten percent as I got up right away and had it down pretty damn quick. It was a lot like riding a motorcycle, which helped as far as control inputs in steering and handgrip throttle. I watched a couple training videos on youtube before I went and that helped a lot as well....and within a few minutes I was zipping by their photography boats, running on water (a real kick) and they had a hard time getting me to come back in. The funniest moment was when I was in so much joy about doing something I've waited so long for, I took my hands off the controls (part of the training to show you the stability) but did it too far. I was hovering about twenty feet in the air, pumped my fists, and forgot the kill switch attached to my right wrist was shorter than my raised hands and in a fleeting moment, thought 'oh %@$#' and dropped like a stone in a Roadrunner/Wiley Coyote cartoon. LOL....

Not sad to say, I'm hooked and signed up for continuing training to learn superman flyoffs from the beach instead of taking off in the water, tight turns and eventually backflips and more. I've signed up for future flights after I get back from mom's. I'll be doing more until it's too cool in the water late fall but hopefully by then I'll be taking off from dry land and landing there as well and won't have to worry about it.

I've included a couple pics I think our brothers would get a kick out of...and want to pass the word to everyone it's not tough, and I think a lot of the guys would love it.

Other than that, life's good, health good enough not to complain and hope whatever this feeling is at 60 goes on for a long time, God willing. I'm definitely blessed with good friends and Academy bros that made all the difference.

Have a great Labor Day weekend and give my love to the family, Jeff. Hope to see you at our reunion, which at this point is starting to feel like it's coming like a freight train...didn't we just get back from the last one? ;)

All the best, and Best Alive. To Infinity and Beyond!




December 2013

Another One Rides The Bus: Dave Commons completed his tour in Saudi Arabia as the US Defense Representative and Chief of the US Military Training Mission, and retired 1 September 2013. “It has been a great run, where has the time gone?" Met Dale Meyerrose in Washington DC and was able to play 18 holes. Just completed my domestic OE on the 767/757 will depart on 22 Sep for Paris to complete international OE. Will be based in Detroit, still living in Austin.” Congratulations, Dave!

Put It On Your Calendar: Harry Mathis plans retirement on Friday, 4 April 2014, at the Hope Hotel outside Gate 12A of Wright-Patterson. The hotel is reserving a block of rooms for $99/night, which includes breakfast, available 3-5 April. Reservation deadline is 23 Feb, but they expect lodging to go quickly due to another event happening in town that weekend. I know we have a contingent in the Dayton area, so please spread the word and let’s see how many guys we can get to give Harry a big sendoff!

Chris Glaeser: As for me and Karen, after 4.5 years in Montreal, Quebec, I retired from IATA (International Air Transport Association) where I was the Global Director of Safety. We just moved back to Minneapolis where we'll spend the warm months of the year with our kids while enjoying boating and a little light aircraft flying. I flew around the world at least 3 times/year while at IATA with offices in 62 countries, and I am really glad to be retired for good! We are starting to open boxes that have been packed since UPT, and reconnecting with classmates and friends in the US.

Paul Kent: I turned 60 in July and received my first USAF retirement check. I celebrated in August by hiking to the 14,508 Mt Whitney summit with a friend who had acquired the hard-to-get permit. Then just finished backpacking the 100-mile, 22,000 feet gain-and-descent Wonderland Trail around Mt Rainer. Took us 12 days and we enjoyed it immensely; feeling quite privileged to still have the health and well-being to do such things!

The ’75 FedEx crew celebrated Spence Roberts’ 60th birthday in Memphis style: Rick Odegard, Buck Rogers, Spence, Chris Budinsky, Hoss Erving, and Jack Barton. We’re all jealous of guys whose A-jackets still fit!

Dave Clough is enjoying his growing family: In July, our first granddaughter, Adelaide, was born in Kansas City, followed in September by our second granddaughter, Elizabeth, also in Kansas City, (different daughters-in-law, of course!). Try to keep a grandmother away from her first or any grandchildren, so we have plowed a groove in the Interstate between Omaha and Kansas City since then. We’re preparing for a split household with me working in Omaha and Nancy spending lots of time in KC.

Golf semi-pro and part-time Delta pilot Wayne Willis: We did quite well in an annual Falcon Pride Club event, taking second place with a 59. We would love to get several ‘75 teams in every year. Can you get us a plug in Checkpoints? (Here it is!)

Dave White: Had dinner with Roger Keith during a layover in Tokyo. Did you know that the Japanese word for waitress is "Senorita"? Neither did the waitress, apparently.

War Stories And Lies Department. Chris Glaeser has a great one: I retired with 3 Air Medals for saving flight test aircraft, and had a successful flameout landing in a U-6. With 23 years of service (active, guard, reserve) the oddest thing that happened to me was when towing a glider at an airport south of Lubbock, Texas, during UPT. I spent weekends at local airports as a flight/glider instructor and towing gliders. The glider pilot had asked for a 3,000 ft tow, with a release point about 6-8 miles east of the airport. We were climbing out of the airport at about 800 feet and had just turned downwind, when the Super Cub's windshield suddenly became covered with oil; I rocked my wings to tell the glider pilot to release. I was now at idle, and with the drag of two aircraft, we were descending and decelerating quite rapidly. I rocked my wings a second time; shortly thereafter I rocked my wings a third time and released the rope from the tow plane. He got the message and released his end of the rope also. I found a .22 caliber bullet in the oil cooler during post flight, so you could say I was shot down. I had noticed a beat up pickup truck on the road just off the end of the runway on takeoff, but by the time the sheriff got there, the truck was nowhere to be seen. I'm just glad the guy with the rifle pulled enough lead, as the Super Cub only had a 1/4” plywood floor and I could have been shot instead! I am personally quite interested in electric powered light aircraft; 1-5 years away from commercial potential. We'll eventually be doing our hobby flying on sunlight power and this will solve the cost issues ($50-80/hour for gas) and environmental considerations–plus it's just cool to think you can fly for free! I agree: Free is in my price range!

Charlie Wintermeyer submitted this interesting tidbit: The photo itself is from almost four years ago (and my photo of the photo is not real great); SOUTHCOM Commander Gen Doug Fraser with the USAID Administrator and a State Department official briefing after the Haiti earthquake. However, what's neat is that this photo is currently on the wall with other photos of fairly recent significant State Department events in one of the principal hallways of the State Department in Washington, DC.

In the previous Checkpoints, I mused about classmates who are accident survivors, which sparked a discussion between Spence Roberts and Chris Glaeser. Here is a partial list they assembled, probably missing some (*successful ejection): Spence Roberts *F-5F, Rick Odegard *F-5, Steve Pitotti *F-4E, Buck Rogers *F-4, Chris Glaeser *F-104G, Rod Kallman *F-16, Tom Fraley C-130, Mike McClendon, John Sims UH60, Randy Barrett, Dean Spraggins B-1, Chris Soto F-105G. The last two were added to the discussion by Tim O’Connell, and at least two of the above were mentioned in previous articles during my tenure. If anyone wants to add to the list or give us some details on your event, I know least one person who is interested in reading and sharing your stories. I can hardly close without a salute to the GBNF classmates who went into the Wild Blue Yonder doing what they loved: Thanks for your sacrifices and friendships–see you on the Other Side!



December Extra

Class of 2015 Legacy Event: Commitment Dinner

From the USAFA Association of Graduates Website:

"Commitment Dinner for the second class takes place at the start of the fall semester. Once the cadets return to the Academy for their second class year, they incur the financial or active duty "commitment" for their education if they depart the Academy prior to graduation. Members of the Legacy Class are invited to attend the Commitment dinner to celebrate with the second-class cadets."

The Class of 2015 held their Commitment Dinner in Mitchell Hall the evening of Aug. 7, 2013. This symbolizes their commitment to completing the final two academic years at the Academy and joining The Long Blue Line after graduation. In attendance at the dinner were nine members of the Class of 1975.

From Ralph Paul:

As a '75er who has followed our legacy class throughout its Academy career, I believe I attended all the legacy events to date: Acceptance Parade (I presented one of the top basics with an award at the parade), Exemplar Dinner and, now, the Commitment Dinner. I also participated in their Honor Seminars in Jack's Valley during their basic training.

With that in mind, I've gotten snapshot views of the Class of '15's progress, and it has been very rewarding to see their development from a young and scared collection of individuals to a mature and disciplined class of leaders in the Cadet Wing. Looking forward, I have great confidence that they will enter the Air Force as fine officers and representatives of the "Long Blue Line."



1. ’75 Attendees at the Class of 2015 Commitment Dinner. Kneeling: Stan Collins and Lee Cross. Standing: Ralph Paul, Bill Spencer, Tom Barber, Larry Fariss, Mark Volcheff, Bentley Rayburn and Larry Bryant.  

2. Larry Bryant.  

3. Mark Volcheff. 

 4. Larry Fariss.  


5. Bentley Rayburn.  

6. Tom Barbera.  

7. Ralph Paul.  

8. Stan Collins.  


9. Stan Collins.  

10. Lee Cross (Back to Camera), Tom Barbera & Bill Spencer (In Background).

Photos courtesy of Stan Collins, The USAFA Association of Graduates and The USAFA Public Affairs Office

2013 Album


1. Dave Wallace: This epistle is probably beyond Checkpoints deadline, but I owe you photos anyway. Proof that you will find '75ers anywhere, I literally ran into Steve Duresky at the Fort Walton airport in August. He was getting off the plane he'd come home on as Jan and I were about to board the same jet enroute back to Idaho.  

2-4. Speaking of Idaho, you and Bill Davis allowed me to talk you into visiting us in Boise, and attached are photos to prove it. Of course, you'd come north to witness the USAFA-BSU game, and you and I were photographed with fellow Treasure Valley '75 Classmate Ted Thompson.


5. Jeff Chappell: Jeff Hackett and me at Salt River Fields during Spring Training 2013.  

6. Nancy and Ted Thompson and Theresa and me at the Boise State game this year (Ted works for Embry-Riddle at Mountain Home AFB).  

7. Kevin and Dorothy Smith at BSU as well.  

8. The Bill Carrothers Family: Cathy, Vince, Emily, ? & Bill.


9. Jeff & Lynn Nanna Krumeich at the 2013 Ivey Awards. (November 2013)  10. Hugh & Yvonne Gray.  

11. Dan Burkett: That pic is from the Spartan Sprint, about a 5K with multiple (15?) obstacles. Fail an obstacle, do 30 burpees. It was the coldest day ever near Malibu, Ca. Snowed that morning on the course in Calabasas. The obstacle in the picture was known as the Arctic Enema. I hadn't shivered so much since survival swimming when an A on the GR meant 60 minutes in the Natatorium with hands and feet tied.

12. Bruce Fritzsche & Annette celebrating their hike to the top of Pike's Peak. (Bruce Fritzsche)


13. Bob Oswalt & Elizabeth-Pierce Oswalt.

14. Jim Hartney: Patriots Sprint Tri with my girls...besides looking good they done good. (September 2013)

15. Randy Mason (far right) rafting on the Arkansas River, Colorado. (Zita Mason, August 2013)

16. Rick Townsend on the job. (May 2013)


17. Steve Lerum performing an inexplicable ritual, perhaps in conjunction with some sort of cactus cult. (Stephanie Muro, January 2013)

18. Dan & Rose-Marie Burda. (May 2013)

19. Willie Cosby & Cynthia Baird, celebrating their 16th anniversary. (January 2013)

20. Laurence Colletti with his bevy of straight-toothed beauties. (January 2013)


21. Steve Blackburn, apparently enjoying his arrest at Karnaval Kolne, Germany. (February 2013)

22-23. Max & Nancy Della Pia with son John during his USAFA graduation activities. (Sarah Diane, May 2013)

24. Bruce Hopkin (center, rear) & Cary Pads Niehans (right) celebrating the USAFA graduation of Kimberly Hopkin. (May 2013)


25. Bruce, Debbie & Greg Linster at Breckenridge, Colorado. (Sherry Giordano, July 2013)

26.Pete & Eileen Losi. (December 2013)

27. Walt Burns, Jack Barton, friend Odie & Joe May celebrating Jack's son Joe Barton's wedding at the Eglin AFB Officer's Club.(Nancy Deming-May, August 2013)

28. Rodolfo Saavedra Ferrére and family. (Lucía Saavedra Ferrére, July 2013)


29. León Smith-Harrison, Stephanie Williams & Chaviess Smith-Harrison. (July 2013)

30. J. D. Barrowclough & Casey Chase: Victory! (Cyndi Farley, July 2013)

31. Max Della Pia & Jim Marshall (Kelly Marshall Vannoy, September 2013)

32. Bob Hickcox in the process of upgrading his home computer system to a new TRS80.(Jackie Henry, September 2013)


33. Dave & Sally Young at Balanced Rock, Garden of the Gods. (Lani Care Young, September 2013

34. Gerry Conticchio & his grandson. (Judith Buckley-Conticchio, December 2013)