Checkpoints          December 2016              Foster Bitton

75 Ways to Leave the Rat Race. Paul Simon sang about 50 ways to leave your lover back in the days when we had flat bellies, knew we were invincible, and sported hair density greater than 12 follicles per square inch on the top of our taters. Now that our stomach muscles have taken a more relaxed outlook and most of our hair has long since navigated the maze of city sewer systems and washed out to sea, we have only our invincibility to hold on to, and it appears some of us are using our retirement time to exercise our right to demonstrate our invincibility – at least in our own minds. The following are some of the exploits of ‘75ers during the last quarter.

Raider Ramstad, a "pro-caliber" sky diver, jumps all over the world in international events and has now taken up "body flying" using a flying squirrel suit as seen on 60 Minutes and a plethora or YouTube videos. On one of his recent flights he went out of control three times with a new wing body suit and, after trying to deploy his main parachute, came perilously close to performing an operational check of his invincibility. Fortunately, his final emergency parachute automatically deployed at 750 feet and allowed him to avoid the no-notice “can-you-survive-this check. He sustained a neck injury because he was inverted when his chute deployed; but that’s all in a day’s work for the invincible. 

Paul Kent took the post-retirement trip he mentioned in the last exciting episode of The Kent Chronicles (aka Checkpoints). He and two others hiked almost 200 miles of the John Muir Trail and other areas during a 25-day period. He credits all the high-altitude training from 1971-1975 for contributing to his survival. Presumably he’s talking about riding the buffer after midnight and running to classes following the obligatory oversleep after an all-nighter. He admits that he isn’t in the Larry Farris class of bucket-listers, but he says he is better than Larry in more ways than you could shake a crooked walking stick at. (The last declaration may or may not have been fabricated by the ever-humble Class Scribe; it’s up to the reader to determine if it’s true, partially true, or totally laughable.) (Additional Photo Below)

While we’re on the subject of classmates roaming the backwoods in search of youth, sanity, and Sasquatch, in early August Jeff Chappell, Mark Schoning, and Ted Hilbun, embarked on a ten-day circuit of the Wonderland Trail around Mt Rainier. At least, that was the plan, but the Trail’s reservation system was kaput so they showed up at 0800 daily hoping for the best. They spent the first two days and nights on the Northern Loop. Their trip journal is as follows:

Day #1: Went fine. Bathed our tired feet in an ice-cold stream.

Day #2: Threaded our way through a forest that looked as if the Jolly Green Giant had played pick-up sticks. We made it to White River and across the first fork, only to be stumped in our efforts to find a route across the second fork without fording the river, which was running high and fast. Not wanting to be the lead story on the ten o'clock news we retreated to another campground and revised our plan of attack.

Days #3 through #10: Due to fierce competition for the park’s hikes, we decided to camp outside the park and do day-hikes. The advantages were that we had a fire every night and our packs were lighter.

The intrepid trio is considering trying to book the Wonderland Trail trip again next year, and it welcomes anyone who would like to join in on the journey. It goes without saying, youth and sanity are not required…and a belief in Sasquatch is optional. (Additional Photos Below)

Some of our recently retired classmates have opted for less strenuous ways to engage the rigors of retirement.

Henry Esposito retired after 18 years with UPS and 21 years in a blue uniform. Now he and his wife live the good life in Little Rock and pilot their motorhome into the US northwest and the Canadian territories during the hot summers.

Jim Marshall retired from Atlas Air after ten years. He reports that he enjoyed the world travel but the multiple time and dateline crossings took their toll on his body. (This raises the question of whether or not dateline-crossing is the Kryptonite of the previously mentioned invincibility. It’s an interesting theory, but who in his right mind would want to test it out?) Jim and his wife, Kathy, sold their house in Oregon, put most of their worldly possessions in storage, bought a motor home (35 Class A, towing a car with a canoe on top), and have been on the road in the US and Canada for more than a year. During their travels they stopped long enough for Jim to get his second new right knee. Birding is an activity that people with multiple knee replacements can enjoy, so Jim and Kathy have been doing a lot of it. They plan to spend another year on the road to get the wanderlust out of their nomad systems, and then they might settle down in Panama or Costa Rica. No word yet on whether they already hablan Español or are planning to listen to recorded lessons while watching the birds.

Classmate John Ossiff threw his own 50th Birthday Party in Pasadena, CA this year. He retired this year after his third act: he taught elementary school for 20 years following his stint as a lawyer and a decade as an Air Force officer (RF-4 WSO). John sent invitations for his “50th” to fellow Bull Sixers for several years. Was he using a different numbering system, or had he developed a more complex mathematical explanation for using 50? It piqued the curiosity of some Bull Sixers enough that they traveled from Arizona, Chicago, and Boise to find out what he was thinking. Turns out, it was just a number. After that was cleared up a good time was had by all, and John is still soaring high because no one mentioned to him the difference between being invincible and delusional. We suspect he’ll celebrate his 65th birthday in 2050.

Larry Farris, Wayne Willis, Bo Montgomery, and Russ Trinter represented the Best Alive at the Falcon Pride Club Golf Tournament held on September 9th at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado. The group sponsored a hole and actually eagled it. There’s more to the story than that, but the rules of confidentiality that cover lawyers and other shysters also apply to Class Scribes, so I can’t divulge any details unless my palms are greased or someone casually asks me at an unguarded moment. The group shot a 64, which, in the words of one of the group members, “wasn’t bad for a bunch of social security-eligible has-beens.” We can’t argue with that. Bo Montgomery reportedly had to see a physical therapist the next day after carrying the other three all 18 holes of the tournament. 

 

 

1. Paul Kent on the John Muir Trail

2. Mark & Ted at Longmire Headquarters  

3. Jeff, Ted & Mark outside Sunrise Lodge, with Mt Rainier in the background  

4. Along the trail, above tree line


December Extras

Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate

Bruce Mitchell: I represented the Class of '75 at the November meeting of the AOG Senate. A copy of the minutes is HERE. It includes embedded briefing slides from a few of the USAFA/AOG leaders who spoke to the CAS this month. I believe you will find concept pictures from Falcon Stadium improvement project plans to be most interesting. The CAS election has been concluded and all nominees were elected, as stated in the minutes. The AOG board (Larry Farris is our classmate, currently serving on the board) met the week of 28 November to consider a full agenda, including plans for next year's election of board members and plans for putting the re-organization of the AOG/Endowment under a single CEO (if that is what is decided by the board) before the AOG membership for a vote in the same/pending 2017 election.
 
The most important thing I need to remind you is to vote in the AOG election next Feb/March. Look for details from the AOG after the first of the year. If you are not an AOG member or need to renew your membership, now would be a good time, because you must be a member to vote in this election and we need a 25% quorum for the election to be valid. We likely will have a classmate on the slate of new board members to be voted upon in the coming election - stay tuned for that news. This makes your vote in the 2017 election even more important!
 
Please let me know if you have questions or comments to take up with the AOG.

Editor's Note (From the CAS Minutes): The Air Gardens will be returned to their earlier beauty due with help from the Classes of 1975 and 1976. This is another 5 million dollar project.

 


Air Force vs New Mexico at the Cotton Bowl 15 October 2016

 

Bill Murray: Great game and outing at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, but we couldn't stop the NM Lobo Offense, losing a close one 45-40! So frustrating! Great showing by the AOG, grads and retirees in the Dallas area, as well as many grads who traveled long distances to see the game and the Texas State Fair! I guess our fans won the coin toss for getting the shady side of the field, which was only right since we outnumbered their fans 10 to 1! Both end zones were devoid of fans which was a little discouraging, but the spirit of the Brothers in Blue prevailed. Go Falcons!

1. Dave Ehrhart & Bill Murray  

2. Bill Murray & Wayn Nelson  

3. Bill Murray & Larry Fariss  

4. Mike Matte & Bill Murray

 


 

USAFA Chapel Paper Model

Dennis Brooks: I wanted the class to see this Austrian card model of the Academy Chapel. The designer and developer, Wolfgang, is an Internet acquaintance I have been encouraging for a couple years. Recently he sent me a personalized early release of the PDF files to build the model. Let me know if there is an interest. I am not sure if Wolfgang is having it printed or will have an electronic format to download and print. Here are some photos of the model, personalized parts and the instructions in English. The aircraft are a bit dated, but Wolfgang has never seen the Chapel, just loved the design and setting. This cover indicates the electronic version will be free as far as I can tell. Obviously, if it is sold he will have to approve the use. It can be found HERE.

 

 


December Album

     
 

1. Ted Thompson: My wife, Nancy, and I attended the 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron (Red Eagles) reunion at the National Museum of the USAF. Also attending were John Saxman and Tony Mahoney with their spouses. (September 2016)

2. Mac & Linnea McIntosh at Lake Tahoe (October 2016, Linnea McIntosh)  

3. Randy & Zita Mason and family, Thanksgiving 2016 (Zita Mason)  

4. Kurt Bock: 13.1 miles...check. Crossed the finish line together....check. Hugged Goofy at mile six to wipe the sweat off my face...check. Kurt Bock & daughter at Lake Buena Vista, Florida (November 2016)

 

5. Daniel Roose & Chappie Hargrove (Daniel Roose, October 2016)  

6. Tony Mahoney & family, Halloween 2016. (October 2016)

7. Duane Lodrige: Thanks to my Dad for his distinguished Army Air Corps and USAF service! (November 2016)

8. The Class of 1966 presented a check for $1 million for its 50th Reunion Project. The money will go to support the ongoing Falcon Stadium renovation project. Athletic Director Jim Knowlton (second from right) and USAFA Endowment CEO and President Mark Volcheff '75 (right) accepted the check from 1966 classmates Class President Jim Murphy, and gift committee chairs Col. (Ret.) Vic Andrews and Brig. Gen. (Ret.) D. Hans Mueh. (USAFA AOG, October 2016)

 

9. AIR FORCE! (USAFA AOG, October 2016)

10. Times Change (USAFA AOG, October 2016)

11. Jeff Hackett at West Point for the Air Force-Army Game. Either no one told him that Air Force won or he is demonstrating to the Army how to properly cage his eyeballs while walking the marble strips (or in this case paver stones in a striking herringbone pattern) (Tom Sutton, November 2016)  

12. The Command In Chief's Trophy back in its rightful location (USAFA AOG, November 2016)

 

13. Mac McIntosh, daughter Rachel & wife Linnea. From Rachel: Dad spoke at the Annual American Legion's Veterans Day dinner last night and talked about Tribute Hall at Marshfield High School. He introduced Giz as his granddaughter and she was SO PROUD (Rachel McIntosh Tuller, November 2016)  

14. Larry Bryant & daughter Emily, after an ambulatory ascent of Pike's Peak (Emily Bryant, October 2016)  

15. Sandy Terry: This is my daughter Sarah, with me and my wife at her wedding in October in Winchester, Virginia. Sarah is a Foreign Service Officer with the State Department and her new husband is an Army Civilian stationed at the Pentagon. Great to see the next generation is picking up where we are leaving off as we all start to think about heading into retirement! (Sarah Terry, November 2016)  

16. Jim Dill at Tampa Bay Buccaneer Stadium: I should have worn my orange and blue...I didn't think there would be many Broncos Fans but so far much more orange than red. Final Score: Denver 27 Tampa Bay 7 (October 2016)

 
 

17. Jim Marshall and his young fan preparing to cheer on Air Force against Boise State. (Final Score: Air Force 27 Boise State 20) (November 2016)

18. Bill Murray: Can I say "Favorite" Uncle Bill with 10 nieces and nephews under age SIX at Thanksgiving! (November 2016)  

19. Willie Cosby, apparently stunned by the realization that it takes three cakes to hold all the candles required for his birthday celebration (September 2016)

20. Tom & Patty Darner contemplating the geopolitical ramifications of the the seismic changes sweeping across Cuba and their effect on the Conch Republic and the greater Carribean region (October 2016)

 

21. Gary Whitfield in Pétionville, Haiti: I was flying food and relief supplies out to hurricane victims in remote areas in a Cessna Caravan, with an occasional stab victim or someone else coming in to hospital! Supporting an organization called ferha.org, follow Facebook link to photos. The blue shirt is genuine USAF, from a surplus store for $2, only one size larger than my shirts from the 70s! (November 2016)

22. Buck Rogers: Suzie & I are attending my middle daughter Jennifer's promotion to Major in Las Vegas. We now have 2 Maintenance Officer Majors and a Capt F-16 pilot! (October 2016)

23. Gary & Karen Exelby (October 2016)

24. Bentley & Debbi Rayburn with their grandchildren (October 2016)

 

25. Tom Burns: Me with my son Clayton Burns and three of my granddaughters. Fishing in my boat out of the Destin, Florida Pass in the Gulf of Mexico. King mackerel and one 24-pound blackfin tuna. (October 2016)

26. Greg & Peggy Berlan (November 2016)

27. Barry Abbott and the Abbott Boys (September 2016)

28. The Conticchio Boys, Gerry (right) & brother Joe (November 2016)

 

29. What a cutie! (And the little girl is pretty adorable, too) (John Scherer, November 2016)  

30. KC Schwarz and family at the Abilene Christian game (Final Score: Air Force 37 Abilene Christian 21) (Dwight Schwarz, September 2016)  

31. Bill Buchta and family enjoying the fruits of the Napa Valley (October 2016)  

32. Bob Shappell: My "officer installation ceremony" as National Executive Committeeman. Ken Rynes placed my new Alternate NEC cap on my head at the end of the convention in Cincinnati last month (October 2016)

 

33. Michael Gudmundson (Carolyn Madsen Bates, October 2016)

34. Rod & Vicki Kallman and family at the Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona (Vicki Kallman, November 2016)

35. Ric Rosborg, looking quite distinguished at the Batcheller Mansion, Saratoga Springs, New York, where U.S. Grant and Mark Twain finished Grant's memoirs (Elizabeth Rosborg, September 2016)

36. Mark & Bev Lenci, with their growing family (November 2016)

 

37. Bill Spencer: Went to get some extra hockey tickets and found an old friend (December 2016)

38. Otto Dieffenbach & friend (September 2016)

39. Bob Hickcox (The reader is invited to complete the caption) (Jackie Henry, September 2016)

40. Don Byers, apparently enjoying a football game with his nephew (Don claims he was faking it so as to save his nephew's reputation...) (Chris Lawton, November 2016)

 

41. Kent Traylor at the Air Force/New Mexico game (Meagan Counts, October 2016)

42. Chris & Jan Soto (Jan Hobson Soto, November 2016)

43. Bob Oswalt, listening to his beer (NOTE: Requires consumption of at least three beers to actually hear it) (November 2016)

44. Jeff Hackett (December 2016)

 

45. Bill Caskey: Who is that old man? Thanks again for the get well bear, Jeannie. (Jeannie Mauser, December 2016)

46. Mark & Mary Dwyer Volcheff and family. (Mary Dwyer Volcheff, December 2016)

47. Charlie Sargent & April Keseric in Seattle. (December 2016)

48. Ollie Lorenz and family at the Big Texan Steak House in Amarillo. (December 2016)

     
 

49. Hugo Posey riding "Lindo" on the Pampas of Argentina. (December 2016)


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