Foster Bitton Takes Over as Class Scribe
Terrazzo Tracks. On 1 January 2016 classmate Mark Volcheff started serving as the new President/CEO of the US Air Force Academy Endowment. Mark succeeds General (Ret) Steve Lorenz, and he is eagerly looking forward to this opportunity. In his words, “it’s an incredible privilege and an awesome way to give back to our alma mater by raising funds for the Academy that either the government cannot fund, cannot completely fund, or cannot fund in the timely manner needed by the USAFA recipients. Donations to the Endowment provide the extra margin of excellence to cadet programs and capital projects in line with donor wishes, or, if unrestricted, to Superintendent priorities.” The Best Alive can help Mark get started off right in his new position by 100% of our class making some form of a 75 donation…. $75, $1975, $7500, whatever you think you can do.
Awards and Decs. Rick Pyatt is a member of a team that recently won United Technologies Corporation’s Horner Citation, which recognizes teamwork and the ability to leverage UTC’s collective strength across business units and functions to advance the corporation’s interests. Rick’s team received the award for developing and executing a comprehensive strategy across the entire customer decision-making chain to secure contract awards for both the Marine One Presidential Helicopter and the U.S. Air Force Combat Rescue Helicopter.
Rick was also recently announced as the head of the UTC Aerospace Systems Washington Office and as the Vice President for Government Programs. His principal role is to lead the military business development efforts across the services. Classmate Sam Ryals is on the team as well, serving as Director for Air Force Programs at the Air Force Research Labs.
Maintenance and Repairs. Dick “Mac” MacIntosh has stage 4 pancreatic cancer, complicated by an abortive attempt to surgically remove the tumor. In his own accounting of his condition, “Once I was opened up, the surgeon discovered the cancer had spread to the liver and hepatic vein, so they stitched me up and we moved on to chemotherapy and potentially radiation therapy. I’m in the second of three three-week cycles of Abraxane and Gemcitabine infusions - a clinically proven combination that may put the cancer in remission and prolong life for 12-18 months. We learned a lot about managing side effects in the first three-week cycle, lessons we're trying to apply to this cycle. The side effects accumulated over the three-weeks; I spent part of three days in the last week in a fetal position on the bed with everything - including my teeth - aching. Lost 6 more pounds that week, but gained it back during the recovery week.
“Still down 20 pounds from norm, trying to ingest 2000+ calories, 100+ grams of protein every day, and working out several times daily. The physical exertion is a reminder of good health and the endorphin release helps physically and mentally. With so much out of my control, it's comforting to control the exercise, to set daily goals, to push for one more rep.
“Could not do this without Linnea. We've got a large group of supporters, mostly affiliated with the high school track and field team I coach. I continue to keep a vision of good health, family, and team success in the forefront of my thoughts.”
If you have any spare thoughts or prayers, feel free to include Mac in them. More information can be found about his ongoing fight with cancer below.
15 Minutes of Fame. Charlie Sargent made a short foray into the world of Reality TV by playing a major role in an episode of “Married by Mom and Dad,” which aired on TLC on December 13th, 2015. The premise of the show is for singles who haven’t been able to find their soulmates using the conventional methods to place the picking and choosing of their mate in the hands of their parents. Didn’t this kind of thing go out of style in civilized society a few centuries ago? Most of us can see all kinds of reasons not to go down this aisle, such as Mom wants a doctor in the family even if he has halitosis that could drop a rhino at 50 yards, and the fact that if Mom and Dad do the choosing they permanently give up their right to say “I told you so” when the new son-in-law reveals his addiction to gaming and welfare checks. But the producers either overlooked these possibilities or they were drawn to the alluring light emitted by sponsors willing to pay for anything that attracts viewers who shun reality in favor of unusual scenarios. Charlie and his wife were tasked to find a bride for their 30-year-old son, Mitch. Attempts to contact him for more information were unsuccessful. Anyone who watched the show can submit your observations on it for the next publication of Checkpoints, although you’ll probably have to answer a few probing questions concerning what state of mind you were in to be watching reality TV.
Then and Now. During last year’s reunion CS-15 was one of several squadrons that got together, shared some old times, and took some pictures. Hugo Gray provided the pictures from a party at Jim “Pickle” Dill’s house in Monument along with the squadron’s class photo from the 1975 Yearbook. The pictures provide a study in contrasts. The squadron photo from 1975 shows 18 cadets, of which only 6 could be accused of harboring anything close to a smile, five look like they’re going to the gallows in the morning, and the other seven are clearly wondering why they are being forced to pose for a class picture when they would undoubtedly rather be back in their dorm room studying for an International Affairs final. However, the group gets positive points for everyone looking at the camera.
Fast forward to 2015, and it would appear that during the intervening 40 years virtually all of them found something worth smiling about. The scowls and death row glares have been replaced with ear-to-ear grins, but it would seem the more upbeat mood came at the price of discipline since at least a fourth of them are not looking within 90 degrees of the camera or they’re almost entirely hidden from view.
A picture of the lovely wives at the same event would explain why all of the guys are smiling. Unlike their unruly husbands, the brides of CS-15 all found a way to stop talking long enough to look at the camera for the picture. Well done, ladies!
Look for more photos and additional information about Best Alives on the class websites.