GBNF Classmate Charlie Bergman (CS-25) passed away on December 25, 2016, in Deer River, Minnesota. His Air Force career spanned 26 years and included command of the largest bomber squadron in the Air Force. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Sher; son, Nicholas; daughter, Holly (Lieberman); and granddaughters, Chloe and Adeline.
Plunging Into Greatness Alas, Rick McAlister never made it onto the front of a box of Wheaties…but he was recently selected for induction into USAFA’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Not too shabby for a guy who habitually wore speedos to events and let gravity do most of the work for him. In case some of you have forgotten Rick’s accomplishments in the diving program, or you were too busy sweating over papers and problem sets that instructors produced like rabbits at a magic show, Rick won the NCAA championship in 3-meter diving in 1974, becoming the only national champion in the history of the men’s swimming and diving program. He was undefeated in both 1- and 3-meter diving competitions during his career while helping the 1974-75 team to an undefeated dual-meet record. A four-time All American, Rick earned the honor in 1973 for the 3-meter, in 1974 in both 1- and 3-meter and in 1975 in 1-meter. He was also a three-time team most valuable athlete. Kudos, Rick. Well done. The induction ceremony will be held at the Colorado Springs Marriott on April 15th. (Vintage Falconews Article Below)
Songbird Flies Again Mark Wells recently fulfilled his boyhood dream of aircraft ownership by acquiring the title to a 1978 Cessna Skylane. He christened it “Songbird.” Sound familiar? Like every other red-blooded American boy growing up in the late 50’s and early 60’s with a television that pulled in three channels through a set of rabbit ears sitting on top of the box, Mark spent a fair amount of time on Saturday mornings watching Schuyler "Sky" King chase ne’er-do-wells in his Cessna 310B. It had a bright yellow paint scheme, but we didn’t know that because we watched the series in living black and white. Many a lad developed aspirations of flying watching “Sky King,” and virtually all of us also developed a serious, lifelong crush on Penny. In addition to being a dedicated historian, Mark is also a shameless autograph hound. In 2006 he wrote Gloria Winters (Penny) a fan letter and got an autographed 8x10 photograph in reply. Mark’s wife, Donna, reportedly wasn’t threatened by his correspondence with an 80-year old girlfriend, but will she be so understanding about the time he’ll be spending in “Songbird” searching for bandits and cattle rustlers to chase? Your humble class scribe personally recommended that he forego the old west notion of bad guys and more profitably spend his flight time patrolling the local golf courses and dropping bags of flour on slow players. Even if he were caught, what jury would ever convict him for ridding the land of such vermin? (Additional Photos Below)
Here’s a copy of the 8x10 Gloria Winters sent to Mark. Feel free to photoshop your name in place of Mark’s then hang it in a prominent place to act as a catalyst for you to tell your grandchildren about life before cellphones, reality TV, and Facebook.
Another One Finds it to the Exit of the Maze After 20 years active duty in the Air Force and 21 years flying for Fedex, Steve Vreeland hung up his goggles and flying boots on December 31st. He and his wife, Sheila, plan to spend the summers in the Sierra Nevada or Rocky Mountains, and the rest of the year they’ll be playing with their two granddaughters in Collierville, TN.
Be the first on your block… Dennis Brooks sent in a reminder that Wolfgang, an Austrian artist with whom Dennis has kept in touch, has designed a cardboard model of the Cadet Chapel, and he plans to give free access to download the model. Dennis translated and enhanced the instructions so they’ll be available in German and English. The planned release for the model is February 2017 (one month after this version of Checkpoints was compiled and two months before it was published) so any classmates who are wondering what to do with their newfound free retirement time can just download the PDF files, print the files on cardstock from any big box store, cut out the parts, color the edges, assemble, and then sit back and fantasize about doing a noon meal formation flyby at the speed of stink to the cheers of approximately 4,000 academically oppressed, but newly inspired, cadets. (Update from Dennis: The model has been released. You can download it free at https://saba-modellbau.jimdo.com/d2/).
The Tale of the Justifiably Purloined Ball The well traveled Larry Farris and Wayne Willis were on hand at the Arizona Bowl in Tucson when the Falcons defeated the University of South Alabama Jaguars on December 30th. During a break in the action they had time for a photo opportunity with Bill Berry, a fullback from the class of ’74. The ball Wayne is holding is the game ball from the last time AF played on that field in Tucson, the 1973 AF vs Arizona game. Arizona was ranked #12 that year in which Bill Murray stopped a two-point extra point attempt with 30 seconds left to preserve the win, 27 to 26. Larry recovered the onside kick, and after Wayne got the ball in his hands he refused to give it back to what he described as “the puny Arizona manager.” The ball has been in his possession for the last 42 years, and there are no signs that he’ll be giving it up in this lifetime. (Additional Photos Below)
1. Mark Wells with his "Songbird."
2. Mark Wells: I had already garnered Kirby Grant’s autograph and proudly display my “Songbird” Cessna 310 model along with the Bamboo Bomber he first flew.
3. Wayne Willis, Jeff Hackett & Larry Fariss with "The Ball."
4. Wayne Willis, "The Bird," et al.
5. The improved Chapel design.
6. The Chapel Model. (Model and photo courtesy of Kevin Kertz, from the SABA web site)
Dallas Area Dark Ages Party
Bill Murray: To mirror the Dark Ages Party held annually in Washington DC, and to commemorate the Dark Ages Parties we had in yester-year to brighten up those dreary, dark, wet, cold days at USAFA after Christmas leave, for the last few years, the Dallas-Area 75ers have had a little party at the Salt Grass Steak House! So fun to see everyone and hear about how our classmates are slowly transitioning to a retired life-style!
1. The Group: Stan Jones, Dave Ehrhart, Melissa & Randy Caraway, Bill & Judy Murray, Linda Bauer, Perry Lamy & Rick Townsend.
2. Bill & Judy Murray. 3. Perry Lamy & Linda Jensvold Bauer. 4. Randy & Melissa Caraway.
5. Stan Jones. 6. Rick Townsend & Dave Ehrhart.
Association of Graduates' Scotch Tasting
The eighth annual USAFA Association of Graduates' Scotch Tasting event on Friday, March 3, was another sellout. Attendees at the popular event enjoyed sips of various spirits, as well as hors d'oeuvres from a variety of our local catering partners and specialty cigars! The evening, held at the Colorado Springs Marriott, raised money to support the Next of Kin Coffee, a reception hosted by the Association of Graduates before the annual Homecoming Memorial ceremony, for family members of deceased Air Force Academy graduates, cadets and ATOs. Door prizes were also part of the evening's festivities. (USAFA Association of Graduates, March 2017)
1. Mark Volcheff. 2. Kent Traylor. 3. Scott Hente. 4. Balvenie 21 Year-Old Portwood
Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate
Bruce Mitchell: The AOG has started including a link to the CAS minutes in the routine 7258' publication, to help improve outreach and information flow to all graduates. AOG members should receive notice of new 7258' pubs by e-mail.
January CAS meeting emphasis was upon the pending AOG election to select new board members and approve 3 by-law changes. (PDF of minutes HERE)
Larry Fariss has dutifully served to the end of his term on the AOG board, and we thank him for his work and for representing our class so well in this capacity! Larry was also our predecessor CAS rep, for 8 years if I'm not mistaken. Great job Larry!
Hope you are all happy and well in 2017.
Class of '75 45th Reunion Gift
Larry Fariss has announced the Class of '75 45th Reunion Class Gift. Read the details HERE.
The United States Air Force Academy Doesn't Train Warriors Anymore
This article, written by an '86 grad, appeared online in January and generated a lot of controversy. Comments by recent grads ranged from "I completely disagree with the whole "when I was your age" comment," to "I just graduated this past June from USAFA. I can confirm that while, yeah, it sounds like "when I was your age", he (the author) is exactly right." Your comments welcome below.
Click on photo for pdf of the article. Original article online HERE.
1. Dino Crenshaw clad in what is apparently his newest Christmas gift. (Perry Lamy, December 2016)
2. Perry Lamy & Linda Jensvold Bauer at the Inauguration Black Tie and Boots Ball. (Linda Jensvold Bauer, January 2017)
3. Perry Lamy and Judge Jeanine Pirro at Reagan National Airport. (Linda Jensvold Bauer, January 2017)
4. Sandy Terry, et. al. We escaped! Albeit just under the 1 hour limit! Not sure the fate of the world should EVER rest on our shoulders! (Liz Hamilton Terry, December 2016)
5. Don Byers preserved in oil. We understand it may be located in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. (Delbert Mock, January 2017)
6. Bob Hickcox with his family at an undisclosed location. (December 2016)
7. Vicki & Rod Kallman on the occasion of his retirement from FedEx. (Vicki Kallman, January 2017)
8. Rod Kallman and the Kallman boys presenting him with a propeller engraved with the planes he flew throughout his Air Force and civilian career. (Vicki Kallman, January 2017)
9. Steve Pitotti with his grandsons. (Becky Pitotti, December 2016)
10. Roger & Jamie Olson, daughter Melissa, husband Danny & grandson Andrew. (December 2016)
11. Gerry Conticchio, Judith-Buckley Conticchio & friends at St. Heliers, New Zealand. (Judith-Buckley Conticchio, January 2017)
12. Jeff & Christine Hackett at the Arizona Bowl, Tucson, Arizona. Final score Air Force 45 South Alabama 21. (December 2016)
13. Rich Finke at the Smith Museum, American Airlines Flight Academy, Dallas. (February 2017)
14. Ric Rosborg on his trusty Hoyt-Clagwell. (Elizabeth Rosborg, January 2017)
15. Michael Gudmundson & clan at Escape the Room. (Cori Gudmundson, January 2017)
16. Mac McIntosh. From Linnea: Tabor Canyon was our adventure today. Sounds like a piece of cake. It was one step at a time. A fun day followed by leisure time in and around the pool.(January 2017)
17. Larry & Melinda Bryant at the Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France. (February 2017)
18. Chappie Hargrove with Sybil Hargrove Kent. (January 2017)
19-20. Phil Meteer, Flight Test Coordinator, Test Pilot for Terrafugia. (From the Terrafugia web site)
21. Bill Murray: I flew to Phoenix for a short visit to see Tom McClain (now retired) and his wife Sheryl at the end of February. While there, Icontacted Jerry Cooke (Airbus Capt for AA) and the three of us got together for breakfast to talk about old times and tell a war story or two! Tom and Jerry even talked about having a Dark Ages Party for the Phoenix Academy guys this year! (February 2017)
22. Bill Murray in Phoenix. (February 2017)
23. Gladys & Barry Abbott on the beach in Okinawa. (February 2017)
24. Willie Cosby. (March 2017)
25. Bev & Mark Lenci. (March 2017)
26. Steve & Sharon Duresky. (March 2017)
27. Jim Hartney: EV loves airplanes. Hoping they're not all unmanned when she graduates from USAFA in 2037! (March 2017)
28. Bill Spencer: Sure we're happy Air Force swept this weekend. But here, seconds after these two teams battled on the ice, they stood as brothers shoulder to shoulder with their seniors out front on the red line. Soon they will graduate and be sent into harm's way. But here, they stopped for a second to hear each school's alma mater. First West Point's, then ours. Is there ever a finer moment in sports than after a Service Academy game? Be proud America. This is your team. (January 2017)
29. Mark Jefferson, Mark Stickney, Gary Matson & Bill Murray celebrating Gary's retirement from Southwest Airlines. (Bill Murray, March 2017)
30. Dave Herlong in the office. (Beth Vann Herlong, January 2017)
31. Paul Butalla in the office. (February 2017)
32. Max Della Pia prepping for the office. From Max: Congratulations to our class and thank you to everyone who who trained, supported & encouraged us and to our families who put up with our absence while studying and training, from August until yesterday. (March 2017)
33. Willie Cosby & Cynthia Laird celebrating their 20th Anniversary. (Cynthia Laird, March 2017)
34. Kurt Bock & daughter Rebecca at the Navy Pier. (Rebecca Bock, March 2017)
35. Dave Wallace at Bogus Basin: A small measure of order has been returned to the Universe. (March 2017)
36. John MacDonnell as a Slim Pickins wannabe. (Kevin Brey, March 2017)
37. Bill Caskey & Stephen Caskey at Steamboat Resort. (March 2017)
38. Mac McIntosh. From Linnea: Busy around here as we gear up for our first track meet this Friday. I better have lots of hot coffee and cocoa ready to sell in concessions. It is supposed to be cold and rainy. Last night was our parents meeting. Mac was given 12-18 months to live. He has survived through the 18 month. While every day is a bigger challenge to do what he wants, and some days are worse than others, he is still loving what he does, and is ready to give it his all for his 9th season as head coach. Go Pirates!!! You have to love a guy with a wardrobe of purple! (Linnea McIntosh, March 2017)
39. Kent Traylor and daughter Meagan on the occasion of his birthday. (Meagan Counts, March 2017)