Checkpoints          December 2017              Foster Bitton

GBNF.  Richard “Mac” McIntosh passed away at home on 14 August 2017 following a long fight with pancreatic cancer. He spent the last month of his life surrounded by family, and throughout his final challenge he had the steadfast support of Linnea, his wife of more than 40 years.

Bradley W. Mandeville passed away on 9 October 2017 from complications following a heart attack. Brad retired from the Air Force in 1995 and served as a Deputy Sherriff with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office in Shelton, WA for more than 17 years.  

Awards and Decorations.  While most of us have been finding new places to take naps around the house, some of our classmates have continued to find new ways to excel. Shame on the following classmates for making us look like five-toed sloths.

Gernot Pomrenke was selected as a 2018 Fellow of The Optical Society for “outstanding technical leadership in formulating and advancing the areas of Optical Materials Characterization, Opto-Electronics, Integrated Photonics, Silicon Photonics, Nano-photonics, Metamaterials, Metasurfaces and Plasmonics.”

Scott Hammond received a presidential citation from the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) for “outstanding work on behalf of the Association and its members.” The citation noted, “Capt. Hammond’s dedication … is a stellar example of how one individual can impact an entire industry. Through his efforts on ALPA’s Safety Council, Capt. Hammond has promoted a safer environment for pilots around the globe.” Hopefully Scott will be able to use this recognition as a springboard to become a productive member of society. (Preceding comment added by the Humblest of Scribes who knew Scott as a pilot-aspirant in UPT.) (Citation Below)

Retiring Sorts.  Kevin Smith retired in September as manager in the Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection in Hanford, Washington. He credited “the leadership and management skills and principles infused in (graduates) DNA at the Academy” for his success in DOE. (Photos Below). Jim “Tony” Mahoney, CS-22, made his fini-flight for Southwest Airlines in mid-November. Tony described his career as “15 years flying fighters and 26 in the slow lane.”

After Retirement.  Paul Kent backpacked a 71-mile section of the Pacific Coast Trail in Washington, chartered a 45-foot catamaran in French Polynesia with his wife and two other couples, and whitewater rafted the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. His near-term plans are to watch the rain fall in Washington during the next several months while his body pushes the reset button.

Two Generations of Thieves.  Chuck Hippler, CS-40, and wife Rose-Marie, joined their son, Chase, CS-40 Class of 2019, at the 2017 Parents Weekend tailgate. Chuck noted, “the Warhawks mascot and squadron patch are different, but still pay homage to the old Ali Baba patch, and Chase has been briefed on the infamous squadron cheer.”

Classmate Mini-Reunions.  Karl Gabrys and Bob Akers performed a rejoin midway between Detroit and Cincinnati at Wapakoneta, OH for a visit to the Neil Armstrong museum and two days of catching up. They trained for this venture the year before when Al Van Epps, Karl, and Bob dragged their wives to the AF Museum at Wright-Patterson. They adhered to tradition and celebrated the “post knowledge test” with beverages at an appropriate venue. Bull Sixers Peter Marcuzzo and “long time ago roommate” Michael Marro held a Bull Six mini-reunion in Brussels, Belgium. Michael’s wife, Carol, is the Assistant IT director for NATO and they live near Mons, Belgium. Peter and his wife, Jean, also took the opportunity to drop in to see their daughter who lives in London.

Ted Hilbun and Jeff Chappell took a guided hiking tour of the Grand Canyon 7-8 September. It was Ted's eighth trip on the trail. Jeff provided details of the hike, but suffice it to say, it was long and grueling for people who have seen more than 750 full moons in their lifetime. Saturday, 9 September was a planned rest day, which included “geology and history presentations, and excellent meals while we licked our wounds and downed some Ranger Candy/Vitamin M (Motrin).” Classmates who want to embark on a similar expedition should schedule an appointment with a licensed mental health provider as soon as possible.

Hente on Heritage.  Scott Hente has been part of the briefing team for an AOG-sponsored Heritage Presentation to the incoming Basics for the last two years. The purpose of the briefings is to introduce the new cadets to the heritage and traditions of the Academy and the Graduate Community. The AOG provides broad guidelines on subjects to discuss but gives free rein to the briefers to answer any questions candidly and to express their own views. This year Scott addressed the entire Class of 2021, addressing between 25 and 50 Basics per session. He recounted, “I would always start my talk by introducing myself and saying that I am a proud graduate of the Class of 1975, the GREATEST CLASS THAT EVER GRADUATED FROM THE ACADEMY! The other graduates who would be with me would invariably make snide comments, to which I would reply that ‘If you ever meet a graduate who doesn’t tell you that his or her class is the best, then you should feel sorry for them, because class pride is an important part of our heritage. But my class is still the best!’” Truer words were never spoken. 

Scott added, “After meeting so many of these bright, motivated, and promising young men and women, I have no worries about the future of our Academy and the Air Force.” Under the “it’s-a-small-world” category he reported, “While addressing one of the groups of new Basics this year a young man in the back of the group raised his hand and said, ‘Sir, my Dad is a 1975 graduate.’ I stopped in mid-sentence and immediately walked back to him and saw his name tag: PECK.  I looked at him and said ‘You’re Al’s kid?’ And I got a crisp, ‘YES SIR!’” Check back at this site in about 30 years to see if the Peck presence in the Air Force General Officer ranks continues into a third generation.

Class Honors WWII Medal of Honor Recipient.  A small group from Palmer Lake, CO, built a memorial to commemorate MSgt William J. Crawford, WWII Medal of Honor recipient, and a CS-22 custodian. MSgt Crawford was a truly great and humble warrior and the only non-U.S. Air Force enlisted person buried at the USAFA Cemetery. Larry Bryant, CS-22, was deeply involved in the effort to raise funds to cover non-donated materials for the memorial, and as a result, ’75 as a class, and the ’75 members in CS-22 jointly contributed almost 50 percent of the cost of non-donated materials. Good show ’75; it was a class act in every sense of the term! (Photos Below)

The dedication of the memorial was aptly held on 11 November, Veterans Day. More information about the memorial can be found HERE.

 
 

1. Scott Hammond article on his Presidential Citation.

2. Kevin Smith (Right) with Secretary of Energy Rick Perry (Third from Left).

3. Kevin Smith (Left) briefing Secretry of Energy Rick Perry and his entourage.

MSgt William Crawford, The Medal of Honor

 

1. Rendering of the Crawford Memorial.

2-4. Larry Bryant: Attached are photos from the MSgt William J. Crawford Memorial Dedication held on Veteran’s Day. The towns of Palmer Lake and Monument turned out to show their patriotism and respect for Bill Crawford, with (by my count) close to 300 people present, including the cadet honor guard and a dozen AF baseball players (Coach Kaz likes to support these type of events). The USAFA Class of 75 was nicely recognized by the emcee (Bill Miller) as one of the major contributors. The ceremony program/handout is also attached (HERE) – COL Bob McLaughlin (USA, ret) did a nice job summarizing Bill Crawford’s life and told some stories about his captivity and family I’d never heard before, and also mentioned Bill’s service as a USAFA custodian and the presentation by President Reagan of the Medal of Honor to him at the 1984 graduation ceremony.

 It is a fitting memorial now – thanks in part to the USAFA Class of 75 and CS22 – and I trust the town of Palmer Lake will maintain it well. The location at the north end of Palmer Lake is next to a popular hiking and biking trail, so hundreds of visitors will see it each day. Thanks again for helping to make this happen. (November 2017)


December Extras

Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate

Here are the highlights from this November's regular scheduled CAS meeting:

a. Several new class CAS reps were introduced at the meeting. Approx. 20 class reps in attendance at Doolittle hall, and approx. 15 on the telecon. Mark Volcheff is the new USAFA ’75 CAS back-up and attended the meeting with me.   

b. New USAFA Endowment CEO and former Supt Mike Gould briefed the CAS on current Endowment activities and plans. Gould’s emphasis was upon cooperation of all the organizations and seeking pragmatic common solutions among the 7 supporting foundations the who support the Academy in various "financial lanes." USAFA ’75 received props from EXSUPT for volunteering to support calling efforts for fund raising (only 3 grads currently work directly for the Endowment; all other staff are paid professionals with no USAFA background). If you are interested in getting involved with this, please contact the Endowment; they would like more graduates to be active volunteers. Endowment is reaching out nationwide to candidate philanthropists in an effort to expand the donor base for USAFA financial support.  (more contacts outside of the USAFA alumni community). Comprehensive fund raising campaign to start soon with goal of $250M.

c. New AOG CEO Marty Marcolongo briefed on current AOG activities and emphases. A 17 December 17 special basketball event at Madison Square Gardens will feature AF vs Army (and two other teams).  The AOG will conduct an outreach activity to graduates in connection with this event. If you are interested in participating in this function (game, rally, other social activities in the big apple) and visiting NYC during the holiday season, please contact the AOG for more information.

d. AOG is working hard to coordinate more closely with the USAFA Public Affairs office, in order to get current information on cadet activities out to the graduate community in a timely way…most often thru regular news letters, web postings, etc. The dissemination within hours of news about recent "racial incidents" at the Prep School was an example. AOG members should be able to see reports on recent events thru regular, electronic outreach media such as '7258.

e. A new “forged in blue” program is underway via which donated class rings worn by senior USAFA class members will be melted down to mix with the gold to be used in future USAFA class rings (e.g. Class of 70 for use in Class of 2020 – 50 year heritage circle). Currently, the AOG is holding 13 donated class rings that will be first set used in this program. If you are interested in this program, please contact the AOG.

f. A notable erosion of donors to the Sabre Society ($1000 per year) has occurred during the past couple of years; some recovery in numbers of Sabre Society donors has been seen in the past few months.

g. Discussion of the expansion of the “Wreaths Across America” program for placing Christmas wreaths upon veterans graves (started at Arlington, expanded now across the country’s military cemeteries).  USAFA cemetery is now included. There is a website if you wish to donate. Wreaths will be placed on USAFA cemetery graves on 16 Dec 17.

h. New Commandant will attend the January 2018 CAS meeting and brief.

i. AOG Board meets in early December. No new word is available on the possible direction the board will choose following the last election (failed quorum vote).

Formal minutes for this November CAS meeting should be posted to the AOG website by early December. (Available HERE)

Collection of Class of '75 Kudos:

a. Thank you to Jeff Hackett for assisting the class with the duty of back-up CAS rep for the past 2 years! We can always count on Jeff to support and lead our class activities!
b.  Props to Larry Farris and others who have reached out to support the Endowment (new CEO Mike Gould '76), as needed/if needed.
c.  Thank you to Bruce Fritzche for his work in support of Wreaths Across America at USAFA cemetery. Contact Bruce or see the Wreaths Across America website if you wish to support this cause.
d.  Thanks to Marty Stytz, Foster Bitton and Bill Estelle for their efforts at saving and sharing class news and memorabilia.
e.  Thanks to Mark Volcheff for his work with the USAFA Endowment, and for stepping up to serve as our vice CAS rep.
  
Please reach out to Mark or me if you have AOG questions or comments. Wonderful Holiday wishes for you and yours!

Bruce Mitchell, Your CAS Rep

 

The McDermott Library

 
 

The McDermott Library recently converted the Terrazzo level facility from a reference section to a student union lounge.


Duty vs Extra-Curricular Activities

27 October 2017

The USAFA Endowment: Almost there . . . this crowdfunding project for In The Stairwell and their competition travel ends at 12:12 p.m. (MT) Oct. 27. The final goal is within reach!

Ralph Paul: As a grad I'm very proud of "In the Stairwell's" accomplishments on "America's Got Talent." But, isn't it time they put their efforts back into academics and preparing to become officers in the Air Force? As I remember my time at USAFA, that was a full time job and then some. I believe that is the purpose of their appointments to the Air Force Academy and why our taxes are paying for their education.

The USAFA Endowment: Thanks, Ralph. The travel fund this project supports is part of the group's expenses as a cadet club. While participating in this club, the cadets are working on teamwork and leadership skills and developing character while representing the Academy in a positive light.

Ralph Paul: Thank you for your reply, USAFA Endowment, but I must disagree. There is no way that participation in "In the Stairwell's" club activities can develop teamwork and character on par with the training they are intended to receive at the Air Force Academy. The US service academies as officer leadership laboratories have been developing and perfecting their curriculums for 215 years, since the inception of the United States Military Academy in 1802. When these cadets miss their military training in the cadet wing because they are away for performances (or excused from military activities so they can rehearse), they are failing to receive the precise leadership training they were sent to the Air Force Academy to receive. This leadership training can be taught no where else in the world. And what are you teaching these cadets about responsibility and commitment? They committed to the Academy and its mission when they accepted their appointments. They are abandoning their responsibilities to the cadet wing to, first, learn to be leaders and, then, lead the cadet wing. Commitment also involves sacrifice, which you are not teaching these cadets. In closing, I pose the following questions to you: What is the mission of the Air Force Academy? Are you sacrificing that mission for which the Academy was created, for which the taxpayers pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per cadet and the mission which each of these cadets agreed to when he accepted his appointment?

LeAnn Barnette: As a parent, I can vouch for these cadets that they often perform for retirement ceremonies, Cadet for A Day programs, dinners and other occasions for visiting Air Force officers. Much of what they do is done for the Academy and for the community. They enjoy singing, but many of these guys are also Aero/Astro majors in the top of their class, there’s a Fulbright scholar, instructor pilots, and a Wings of Blue member among them, too. You may be interested to know that they were INVITED to AGT, and while there they were expected to keep up with their academic loads and physical training after long rehearsals. (Plus, AGT paid their travel and lodging expenses, not the Academy or the AF.) It WAS a privilege, but not one without some sacrifice. I think they definitely learned responsibility and commitment through these experiences, and I witnessed firsthand how seriously they believed in and tried to share the purpose and mission of the Academy, their respect of all servicemen and women both past and present, and their commitment to service. This fundraising effort is merely to help pay for special events and their once per year participation in a collegiate a cappella competition. I am proud when I see ANY of our cadets participate in special events in Washington or occasional sporting events around the country. These cadets are not performing or rehearsing in lieu of fulfilling their responsibilities to the Wing or to their squadron, but in addition to those responsibilities, and it can be difficult to juggle it all. My son often missed dinner in order to attend rehearsals, not any type of training or other commitments. Many of the special occasion dinners where they sing on base happen on Friday and Saturday evenings when other cadets are socializing (or getting in extra study time). I respect your opinion and owe you more than I can give for your service, but I also wanted to let you know how dedicated these cadets are - not just to ITS, but to the Academy and to the AF.

Ralph Paul: Ms Barnette, thank you for your opinion and the respectful way you presented it. As I said in my original post, I am very proud of "In the Stairwell's" (ITS's) performance on "America's Got Talent." I am also glad to hear that the members of ITS have not been excused from their responsibilities as cadets, both academic and military. I am aware the same cannot be said for some varsity athletes. It may not seem so, now, but your son's time at the Academy is quite short, and the leadership training he receives will be critical in his development as an officer and Academy graduate when he is commissioned into the "real" Air Force. He will need all the Academy has to offer in those four short years to prepare him for the challenging and honorable career he has chosen. He cannot get that training if he is away from the Academy, and every day he misses will be irreplaceable. It is critical that the members of ITS remember the reason they applied to the Air Force Academy and keep those commitments as their top priorities. Nothing can detract from the achievement of those commitments. I still have my doubts that the time ITS spends away from the Academy and focusing on entertaining won't detract from their critical preparation to lead in the Air Force upon commissioning. Wishing you, your son and ITS well.


December Album

     
 

1. Jim & Emily Marshall. (October 2017)

2. Charles Wintermeyer. (October 2017)

3. Hugo Posey. (October 2017)

4. Eric Rosborg & Mark Lenci. (October 2017)

 

5. Bill, Judy & daughter Evelyn Murray. (Evelyn Murray, October 2017)

6. Gary Exelby. (Karen Exelby, October 2017)

7. Gerry Conticchio & Judith Buckley-Contcchio at the People Express reunion. (Judith Buckley-Contcchio, October 2017)

8. Michael Heil sporting familiar garb. (October 2017)

 

9. Bill Spencer with two of his young'un's young'uns. (October 2017)

10. Mark & Melodee Risi. (October 2017)

11. Buck Rogers (Center) with colleagues in Paris, France during his final trip. (October 2017)

12. Dave & Patti Ruddock. (October 2017)

 

13. Bob Shappell & companion. (Pauline Shappell, October 2017)

14. Michael Heil & friend at USAFA for the Army game. (November 2017)

15. Bill Lyerly & daughter Kyla (Heather Lyerly Ballew, November 2017)

16. Michael & Cori Gudmundson. (Cori Gudmundson, November 2017)

 

17. Jeff Hackett, family & friends at the Army game: The game was not at all to my liking but the company was Excellent! (November 2017)

18. Bentley & Debbi Rayburn in Florida with son Micah. (Debbi Rayburn, November 2017)

19. Paul DeSisto & daughters. (November 2017)

20. Paul & Sheri Kent & family in San Diego. (November 2017)

 

21. Jim & Ardis Hartney. (October 2017)

22. Jim & Ardis Hartney at Niagra Falls. (October 2017)

23. Ben & Virginia Bosma celebrating their 42nd anniversary. (Chris Bosma, October 2017)

24. John Gaughan receiving his Falcon basketball season tickets. (Air Force Athletics, October 2017)

 

25. Rodolfo Saavedra Ferrere (fourth from left) celebrating with family the birthday of sister Corina Rodriguez. (Ed Saavedra, October 2017)

26-27. Bill Murray at the American Airlines Sky Ball Veteran’s Event in Dallas with (respectively) Mike Love of the Beach Boys and Gary Sinese. (November 2017)

28. Barry Abbott (Right): Enjoying Veteran's Day in Breese, Illinois this year. Great celebration! (November 2017)

 

29. Scott Arnott: In the closing hours of this Veterans Day weekend, I find myself thinking about things that are hard to explain. I spent over 25 years in the military (both enlisted and as an officer) and was lucky enough to serve all over the world, with friends from well over a dozen nations, that I was blessed to serve with. and fly with men and women from across the Pacific (from Australia and NZ, to SEA, the Philippines and Korea (I actually got promoted to Captain "illegally or at least unofficially", by an incredible officer and friend, Col. Kim in Korea (with Korean rank that I still have!) I was blessed to fly with all our NATO allies from Norway to Turkey (yeah, there were some of us Americans there too that are still friends and inseparable parts of my life). Its an incredible brother and sisterhood that is probably impossible to explain, or fully understand, for those that never had that privilege (and sometimes, challenges!) To those brothers and sisters, and our families and friends, Thank You! We are blessed to serve or have served our Nations and shared values and equally as blessed for family members that put up with that life... Not always the easiest for those at home while we were out and about! Happy Veterans Day, Thank You for your service and count your blessings! In many ways, we are the lucky ones! (November 2017)

30. John Scherer this Veteran's Day. (November 2017)

31. Jim Dill: Happy Veterans Day to all my family and friends. Today is a day to remember those who have served our great country. I found a picture of my Dad (HERE) when he was in the AF. He is my hero and got my brother and I into our military lives. The picture of mom, Greg and I was from yesterday when we did the our Memorial Park ribbon cutting and Veterans Day Ceremony. Please take a moment to bless those that have past and a big thank you to those Vets that are still with us. God bless them all! (November 2017)

32. Rick Kim: Happy Veteran's Day to my fellow vets who have or are presently, serving. Thank you for your sacrifices & unselfishness. Observed this holiday visiting vets at the PDX VA Hospital & the Vancouver, WA VA facility with members of one of the sponsors, Pauline's company. It was an honor to meet these men & women; please get well soon. (November 2017)

 

33. Bill Murray: I was with Chad Hennings (AF Academy Class of 1988, All-American in football and Outland Trophy Winner, and played for the Dallas Cowboys for 9 years winning 3 Super Bowls) this morning, founder of a Christian Men’s Group called Wingmen. Our featured speaker was Woody Williams. Hershel Woodrow "Woody" Williams (born October 2, 1923) is a retired United States Marine who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. He is the last surviving recipient of the Medal of Honor from that battle and the last surviving United States Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for heroism in World War II. It was inspirational to say the least. These Medal of Honor recipients are so humble. He was just a dairy farmer from West Virginia who tired to sign up for the Marines and was rejected due to height restrictions. and so his story begins.....He said “I feel short around you and Chad.” I said, “No Sir! You’re a giant!” Google him to find out the rest of his amazing story! (November 2017)

34. Bob & Linda Orwig, Georgia High School football at Bob's alma mater Marist High School. (Linda Hamil Orwig, November 2017)

35. Branford McAllister: Once in a lifetime. With Dan. World Series. Dodger Stadium. Dodgers win 3-1!!! (October 2017)

36. Duane Lodrige: WWII, Vietnam and Iraq veterans! Down on the farm in Gorum, LA. (November 2017)

 

37. Richard Finke: Trying to fly an Airbus out of Puerto Rico once the maintenance is completed. The damage is much worse here than I thought from the hurricane. I feel sorry for the country. They have gone through a lot of pain. (November 2017)

38. Eric Rosborg: 11th hour, 11th day, 11th month approaching. Excerpt from war diary of Private William Mott, 2nd Truck Company, 23rd US Engineers, serving in the St. Mihiel Salient, France. Pvt. Mott was my maternal grandfather. (November 2017)

39. Dan Burkett. (November 2017)

40. Anne & Tom Barbera, using Tom's preferred form of anesthetizing agent. (November 2017)

 

41. Stan Jones & his biking entourage in Sundance Square, Fort Worth, Texas. (November 2017)

42. Oleh Stefaniuk. (November 2017)

43. Anne & KC Schwarz with daughter Jenna, playing a Schwarz Family favorite, Acquire. (Jenna Schwarz, November 2017)

44. Greg Berlan + 3 of his blessings. (November 2017)

 

45. Bentley & Debbi Rayburn with daughter Crissa Ash. (November 2017)

46. The Wallace Boys, including Dave. (Janet Middleton Wallace, November 2017)

47. Julius Hargrove & Sybil Hargrove Kent. (Sybil Renee, November 2017)

48. Dave & Beth Van Herlong (Far Right) and their family Thanksgiving. (Betsy Herlong, November 2017)

 

49. Jim Hartney. (November 2017)

50. Perry Lamy & Linda Jensvold Bauer (Far Left). (Linda Jensvold Bauer, November 2017)

51. Catch of the day. Oleh Stefniuk. (David Englehart, November 2017)

52. Walter Burns (Far Left) apparently enjoying a libation with members of his family. Callee Burns Christopher, November 2017)

 

53. Mark Risi. (November 2017)

54. Richard Kennard. (November 2017)

55. Sarah & Jim Carlson and the girls. (Sarah Gorter, November 2017)

56. Gary Exelby. (Karen Exelby, December 2017)

 

57. Paul Kent (Far Right) and family at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens. (Victoria Seibert, December 2017)

58. Ralph & Loretta Paul at the 1940s Ball in Denver: Loretta & I really got into the theme! Isn't my wife gorgeous? (December 2017)

59. Ted Thompson at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. (Robby Robinson, December 2017)

60. Ben Bosma and cousin Tanja Vsvdh traveling to Toronto, Ontario. (Tanja Vsvdh, December 2017)

   
 

61. Ken Finn: Dinner companion in Paris at my favorite haunt, La Citrouille (December 2017)

62. Frank Dressel. (November 2017)

       
 

 


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