Checkpoints          March 2018              Foster Bitton

GBNF: Larry T. "Tom" Bishop, CS-26, passed away on 5 Nov 2017 in Missouri of renal failure. Tom flew the RF-4 while on active duty and worked in the Kansas City area after departing the Air Force. More information can be found at

Retirements: It appears the Best Alive are retiring at an ever increasing rate. Many of them went to the airlines and, judging from some of the landings we cattle in the back experienced, forgot to teach their underlings the concept of the flare. If you have reached the golden age of 65 and don’t find your name listed below maybe it’s time to sit down in a dank corner and do some soul searching. If you haven’t found the cure for the common cold by now it’s time to pursue other avenues.

John Kearns, CS-15, retired from Delta, but according to the sign his wife was holding in the SLC terminal following his final flight his retirement was actually just a matter of switching bosses. (Photo Below) Bullsixer Bryon Huddleston (Hud) also retired from Delta. Hud’s father flew for Delta too, and his son hopes to follow the family tradition after graduation from Embry Riddle. (Photo Below) Roger Keith, CS-05, recently retired from a career of flying for United, PanAm, and the Air Force. He and wife Cindy are enjoying snowbird status between Albuquerque and Minnetonka.

Doing Retirement Right: Dale (Sledge) Hanner, CS-23, and Rod Kallman, CS-16 hiked the Grand Canyon from the south rim in November. Rod reported that based on their delicate golden years, they hiked down Kaibab trail (7.5 miles), spent the night at Phantom Ranch, then hiked back up Bright Angel Trail (9.5 miles) the next day. The fact that Rod lived to tell the tale is proof that he stayed upwind when Sledge took his hiking boots off at the end of each hike.

Still At It: Rick Pyatt, CS-08, and Sam Ryals, CS-13, were part of a group that won the United Technologies Corporation Board of Directors Trophy this year for obtaining over $300M in Air Force R&D funds to develop and integrate the MS-177 long-range, high-resolution, multispectral imaging sensors on the Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft System. Carl Van Pelt, CS-19, was also instrumental to the team’s success as was John Sullivan, CS-12. (Photo Below)

Another Hat in the Ring: Bran McAllister, CS-18, announced he’s a candidate for the county school board, in Okaloosa County, FL (vicinity of Eglin AFB). Seems his three-degree roommate (Max Della Pia) and he both decided on a run for office about the same time. The election is in August 2018, and his website is 

Families Are Forever: The class “theme” for this issue is family, specifically grandchildren. Logic dictates that the Best Alive would select the Best Spouses, and that many of them would go through the required step of producing children who would in turn perform their sacred obligation of producing grandchildren for the Best Grandparents Alive to spoil and enjoy during their retired years. In the request for inputs for this issue I asked for classmates to respond with total number of grandchildren (genetic and inherited), oldest grandchild, and any category of your choosing (most fish caught, longest projectile vomiter, highest data usage on cellphone, etc.). Several responses focused on classmates’ dogs and cats, which is totally understandable because pets are family, but I suspect those responders often found “Read the question” written on their GRs. The results of the search for family stories are as follows:

Rich Chanick, CS-31, claimed the prize for number of grandchildren with a total of zero. He married Mary three days after graduation and they opted to skip the whole procreation routine. He astutely pointed out that he was a contender for the total number of grandchildren prize because the request for inputs didn’t say “most” grandchildren. Rick shares the prize of zero grandchildren with several classmates, but the prize for being a pedantic pain in the butt goes to him alone.

Bill Carrothers, CS-22, and wife Cathy are looking forward to grandchild number one in June. Bill is a T-38 Academic/Simulator IP at Columbus, and his daughter and son-in-law live in Oswego, IL. Bill plans on working for several more years, which one can only assume is because he doesn’t play golf or Cathy doesn’t want him underfoot.

Dave Sprenkle, CS-17, has two adopted grandsons. Both boys are 7-years-old, although they were adopted five years apart. He retired from the Colorado ANG in 2007 and as an engineering consultant in 2016, which means he now has ample time to show the grandsons who’s king of the roost, and there’s no doubt it isn’t Dave.

Don Henney, CS-22, sired three boys who he “would characterize as deliberate, and not rushing to the altar.” He still managed to get two grandchildren, and judging from the pictures and narrative Don sent in, they have him thoroughly twisted around their small fingers. Don asserts that grandson Jay should get awards for most organized, most successful farmer, best chef, and most studious. Granddaughter Allison was nine days old when Don submitted his claims, so she naturally got the nomination for most precious. Don wanted to put her in for the cutest award, but everyone knows all newborns look like Winston Churchill for the first three weeks, so Don’s claim was judged to be biased and inadmissible.

Jim “Tony” Mahoney, CS-22, has five children spread out between California and Maine, so he and Cindy plan on spending a fair amount of time crisscrossing the country to see their eight grandchildren.

Mike Goyden, CS-20, claims five genetic grandchildren and one from other means. When he’s not playing with the grandchildren he’s teaching at six online universities.

Steve Duresky, CS-06, is a contender in the extended family categories. He has no genetic grandchildren yet but has six step-grandchildren who call him "grampa," the oldest of which is a 24-year-old granddaughter. She has two children, which technically makes Steve a GREAT-grampa! 

Sandy Terry, CS-32, chimed in with an impressive block. He has three genetic and six adopted children, which have given him 12 grandchildren from his own gene pool and 25 grandchildren total. And finally, at the time of printing, Jerry Cooke, CS-06, has the most organically grown grandchildren in the class with a grand total of 13.

And speaking of families, Scott Arnott, CS-19, discovered that Sgt William Matthews, his fifth great-grandfather, served in the 4th Virginia Regiment of General George Washington’s Continental Army in winter camp at Valley Forge. Fortunately for Scott, Sgt Williams was not part of the 20 percent of the troops that succumbed to harsh winter conditions, disease, and malnutrition during that encampment.

Cats and Dogs: Dean Spraggins, CS-20, and his wife Jean undoubtedly take the award for most animal adoptions. Dean didn’t name the number of cats they have, but it’s more than a dozen, each with it own tale of hard luck and neglect until it found the Spraggins home. Good on ya, Dean and Jean!



1. John Kearns

2. Byron Huddleston

3. Rick Pyatt (Right of the Trophy) with some of the other award winners. Rick is the only '75er in the photo; Sam Ryals was unavailable for the photo.

(Some of) The Grandchildren of '75


1. Al Morrison.  2. Julius Hargrove.  3. Steve Morris.  4. Bill Lyerly.


5. Ric Dahlstrom.  6. Mark Risi.  7. K. C. Schwarz.  8. Tim O'Connell.


9. Gerry Conticchio.  10. Mac McIntosh.  11. Terry Sandy.  12. Dave Ruddock.


13. Rod Hennek.  14. Joe Kahiapo.  15. Wes Routh.  16. Bill Murray.


17. Gary Exelby.  18. Bentley Rayburn.  19. Barry Abbott.  20. John Scherer.


21. Rod Kallman.  22. Mark Lenci.  23. Ollie Lorenz.  24. Bob Hickcox.


25. Steve Pitotti.  26. Jim Corrigan.  27. Charlie Wintermeyer.  28. Stan Jones.


29. Jim Marshall.  30. Bill Spencer.  31. Greg Berlan.  32. Dave Wallace.


33. Dave Herlong.  34. Jim Hartney.  35. Richard Kennard.  36. Bob Orwig.


37. Chris Fillar.  38. Larry Bryant.  39. Steve Wedell.  40. Mike Gudmundson.


41. Walt Burns.  42. Michael Anderson.  43. Mickey Clemons.  44. Ric Lewallen.


45. Foster Bitton.  46. Buck Rogers.  47. Kurt Bock.  48. Otto Dieffenbach


49. Rex Hoey.  50. Mike Dehart.  51. Gary Exelby.  52. Mickey Clemons.


53. Ben Bosma.  54. Fred Whitican.



March Extras


Perry Lamy


Just returned from a trip to New England.  Spent the night atop Mt Washington in an educational trip. Snow cat to the weather observatory and 70 mph winds / 20 degree temps provided an exciting back drop. The course was entitled "Extreme Weather" and we received a first hand look at the observation operation and cold weather ops.  Also, took a 15-mile snow mobile trip, out and back to a B-52C crash site in northern Maine. The aircraft crashed in 1963 after losing part of the tail due to low level turbulence.  Seven of the crew were killed and two survived.

It was a great day for the trip, clear skies and about 7 degrees. No worries, I was bundled up in good cold weather gear and never cold. In fact, I broke out the Artic mukluks and mittens issued to me in 1977 for my EWO bag in SAC–first use!  Although bulky and unfashionable, they were great protection from the elements. 

The guy with me is Bill Moran, not a Zoomie but old SAC buddy from B-1 flight test days. We met 33 years ago following my completion of Test Pilot School and have stayed in touch. He lives in Laconia NH and it was his idea for the adventures. He also enlisted me in speaking at the NH Daedalians monthly dinner in Portsmouth NH on Friday night prior to our trip to Mt Washington. Kevin Grady was there along with another acquaintance from Edwards, an instructor from Test Pilot School. They received a brief presentation on B-2 flight testing. (February 2018)

Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate

Mark Volcheff and I represented the class at the regularly scheduled 9 Jan meeting of the AOG Class Advisory Senate. Here are top-level notes. The official minutes are posted on the AOG Website (HERE).

a.  Attendance was very good with approx. 40 classes represented (in person or by Gotomeeting). We had a full agenda– two hour meeting, including a status and heading check briefing from the new Commandant B/G Goodwin, an update from the AOG CEO, a significant update on future reunions from the AOG reunion team and internal discussions. The AOG Board chair was unable to attend the meeting and provide her first inputs directly to the CAS.

b.  Commandant's Briefing - Excellent; People, Accountability, Pride are her emphasis areas. She is one focused and engaged professional and extremely serious about her responsibilities for producing officers into a USAF at war. Her briefing slides will be posted with the CAS minutes; or I can send them to you if you want to see them sooner...let me know. I was most impressed to hear about current Comm Shop emphases placed across a range of specific training and educations to help cadets understand the real Air Force by graduation time and to be significantly socialized into how the AF works via 4 years of cadet time before commissioning. The Academy has come a long way in this regard, in my experience and opinion. She seems to like to let cadets learn by their own experiences and solve their own problems within the wing. Her first choice does not seem to be “top-down” direction from the Commandants office – very refreshing and helpful for leadership training for cadets. (no need for the binoculars on the window sill of the Commandant’s office). All the permanent party staff have reportedly been sensitized and mobilized by the current senior leadership team to institute a “one voice” approach when possible for key training and professional development activities and objectives presented to/shared with the cadet wing.

c.  AOG CEO Marty Marcolongo emphasized the need for the graduate community to realize, and share the realization, that we hear most about the one or two percent of the cadet wing that are outlier-cadet cases in the media, while 98%+ of the cadet wing are amazing young people who are doing remarkable things. Marty asked CAS help in getting out this reminder message to all alums. If you haven’t read (recent grad) Capt Ben Garland’s nomination for the NFL Walter Peyton Man of the Year award from the Atlanta Falcons…you should look it is a shining example of how recent cadets from the 98%+ have been prepared to contribute to a better American society...and how they are doing it today, even if in "non-traditional" ways. Every university has its share of inappropriate and undesirable behaviors. The USAFA “fishbowl” effect has not changed over the decades and the scrutiny of our Academy is high because the expectations are rightfully high of those who are appointed and attend our great school, and that applies to the staff as well. Sexual harassment and assault instances at USAFA are intolerable and puzzling, but USAFA still remains among the safest campuses in the country. Mark and I agree with the AOG president that the graduate community can bring a greater focus on, and voicing of, the many incredible accomplishments by our cadets, a voice that lets our society see the greater good that is happening at USAFA. We commend this perspective to your consideration. This is not an effort to gloss over incidents that occur, rather, an appeal to put things in perspective. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that there are more good things going on at USAFA than bad and we can all help get out that word. 

d.  Also from AOG leadership, Gary Howe, '69 is retiring as Exec VP after 25+ years. He served on the USAFA staff before that and he has been the AOG staff advisor to the CAS (among other duties) since CAS inception. He has seen a lot during this time and helped the AOG and undoubtedly many members of the active duty staff through many storms and trials. Gary read his legacy list of observations about USAFA and our alumni for the CAS and many of his points were priceless; will forward these to you or ensure we have access to the list in writing. You might consider dropping Gary a note of thanks and congratulations upon retirement, if you are so inclined!

e.  Significant class reunion changes are coming. Sequestration impacts to USAFA resources over the past 4 years have led to a reduction of USAFA support (staff briefings, buses, etc) for reunions, and limiting official USAFA staff/resource availability for reunion weekends to 3 per year starting this year. This is going to have significant impacts (many not yet fully understood, IMHO) upon future reunion plans to be dealt with by all classes…by our class for our 2020 event...unless by some miracle the sequestration constraints may be eliminated between now and then. The AOG is also contemplating offering class committees three different tiers of reunion planning and coordination support with corresponding different costs; top-tier, mid-tier and basic. Specific details of these options and costs will be rolled out in a month or so; Mark and I will keep you posted. The AOG reunion coordination staff asked the CAS to provide inputs from all classes regarding these reunion change implications; Mark and I have already done so and Jeff Hackett will also be weighing-in from his recent experience leading our reunion planning.

f.  The CAS is working on a consolidated list of credible/official information sources (largely softcopy/url) that all graduates can use in the future. This resource is intended to help us readily/directly answer our own questions about USAFA matters from an authoritative set of sources, “Where do I go to obtain information or to learn more about ‘Topic X’ or 'Incident Y.' Will send that out to you all, ASAP.  Let us know what you think about it when you see it.

Please let Mark or I hear from you regarding any AOG questions or issues you'd like us to investigate for is normally crickets on this freq. Hope you are all happy and well!

Bruce Mitchell, Your CAS Rep


March Album


1. Duane Lodrige & Michelle Faurot: Happy New Year from Reno! (January 2018)

2. Mark Risi. (January 2018)

3. Tom Calhoun. (January 2018)

4. Otto Dieffenbach. (January 2018)


5. Steve Weilbrenner and family. (Kelsey Weilbrenner, January 2018)

6. Rex Hoey. (January 2018)

7. Rod & Vicki Kallman: Rod and I started the New Year taking his new Arctic Cat ATV out for the first time. We rode around the Apex area for 1 1/2 hours. Fun times!! (Vicki Kallman, January 2018)

8. Mike Dehart. (January 2018)


9. Bob Hickcox: Is this the big boy chair? (January 2018)

10. Rick & Pauline Kim. (February 2018)

11. Bruce Hevey & Son at Super Bowl LII. (Angela Dupont, February 2018)

12. Bill Lyerly. (January 2018)


13. Gary Exelby and JJ taking a much needed break. (Karen Exelby, February 2018)

14. Chris Fillar. (February 2018)

15. Jeff & Christine Hackett in Palm Srings for a wedding. (February 2018)

16. Mickey & Jeannine Clemons and family. (Joshua Clemons, February 2018)


17. Rod & Vicki Kallman. (February 2018)

18. Dan Burkett: Another great day of skiing at Big Sky. (February 2018)

19. Ben & Gini Bosma: Grandparent's Day at school! (Chris Bosma, February 2018)

20. Ralph Paul & Sydney Bee at the Cherokee Ranch Castle. (February 2018)


21. Kurt Bock (Right): Now a member of Medleys in Motion DJ road crew. (February 2018)

22. Michael Anderson & Rene Anderson on day one of the Disney family vacation. (February 2018)

23. Branford McAllister: Me (Knife) and Dan (Blade) flying two P-51s at Stallion51 in Kissimmee. Flew everything but the takeoff. Rejoins, aerobatics and handling, formation, landing. Thrill of a lifetime. Dad (Mac) was there in spirit. Three generations of single-seat fighter pilots. (February 2018)

24. Fred Whitican with Jamie & Rowan. (February 2018)












Comments powered by Disqus