GBNF: We lost Mike Ruth, CS-03, to pancreatic cancer on 7 May. A ceremony was held in his hometown, Kearney, MO.
Retirements: We’re approaching the heart of the envelope for classmates who are hitting retirement age and finding that retirement is a euphemism for exchanging a cockpit checklist for the never-ending honey-do list. Pretty soon the only classmates left in the work force will be the ones who were mere children on in-processing day, i.e. Tim Murphy, and the workaholics who want to line their caskets with hundred dollar bills, i.e. Tim Murphy. Those who have recently entered the life-is-too-short-to-waste-on-work force are: Ken Finn retired from Delta Air Lines after 32+ years. He wrote, “My final flight was a wonderful Munich trip with my wife, Cris, in First Class on both legs. The Delta Operations folks wished me well, as did Ground Control in Atlanta and then Crash, Fire, and Rescue put up the Water Cannon Salute for my last gating. It was amazing. And hard to take in.” That last sentence was probably code for he cried like a baby and rued the fact that everyone has a camera now and no one is reluctant to catch newly minted senior citizens in emotional moments (Photos Below). Mark Risi flew his last flight for FedEx with classmate Tom McKee in the right seat. (Photo HERE). There were no reports of aberrant flight control inputs, but containers, unlike passengers, are not likely to report aileron rolls or hammerhead stalls. Here’s a picture of Mark and Tom putting on their best imitations of cherubs before the flight.
Authors in our Midst: Ron Doeppner recently entered the hallowed halls of authorship, and his book can be found on Amazon Kindle. The protagonist is an ex-Warthog driver with a myriad of skills, which is what makes the book so eerily real. On the other hand, pure works of fiction extoling the virtues of Eagle and Viper drivers haven’t been seen on the book market. Hmm…I wonder why. Dale Waters also has some works on Amazon Kindle. Want to see if your name appears in any of these books? Just enter the author’s name on the Amazon Kindle website and click on “Buy.” If Roy Rice doesn’t appear in any of their books as an evil genius with an incurable golf swing I’m going to be sorely disappointed (Books Below).
Family Bucket Listers: Gernot Pomrenke and his son, Erik, carried 40-pound packs for 5 days on a 40-mile hike (40 pounds for 40 miles, it’s almost Biblical) to Isle Royale north of the Upper Michigan Peninsula in Lake Superior. Gernot reports that there are plenty of moose and wolves in Isle Royale, and thankfully, not a lot of mosquitoes (Photo Below).
Mark Volcheff’s son, Paul, set a goal to visit all seven continents before his 30th birthday. This year he hit 29, and a careful study of Google maps revealed that Antarctica, the last continent on his list, wasn’t getting any closer. Road trip! Mark and Paul reached Puntas Arenas, Chile, after about 20 hours in the air, and it took another 3+ hour flight to reach the land of ice, rock, and briny water. Antarctica is little more than a birthing place for penguins, sea lions, and birds that were apparently dealt a bad hand in the evolutionary poker game. They’ve adapted well though. Come to think of it, Mark looks right at home there as well (Additional Photo Below).
Award Winner: Gary Exelby was recently awarded first place by the Arkansas Press Association for coverage of business, agriculture, and education. He also earned awards for an in-depth series of drug court, and an honorable mention for a news photograph. Gary is a staff writer for the Paragould Daily Press. It appears the literary force within the Best Alive is very strong indeed. (The last sentence has more impact if it’s read in a Yoda voice.) (Photo Below)
He is an ex A-10 jock turned corporate pilot. She is a rising corporate executive. He’s in charge of transportation, she’s all about business. He flies the Lear, she gives the sales pitch. They have thirty days to garner the signatures of twelve company presidents, signatures that will seal the biggest financial deal of the year. It should be dead nuts simple… except the twelve rich guys don’t want to be found… and she hates his guts.
Four golf buddies take up a new hobby, Civil War Reenacting, but they find it ho hum and lacking intensity. The answer comes in a bottle, experimental drugs developed by the Army to enhance realism in combat training--a 'scared shitless pill.' After that, there are no complaints about intensity as they are thrust into a Civil War unit and headed to the front lines. Is it time travel or just really good drugs? Try not to get yourself killed while you figure out the answer.
Classmates Keeping the Bonds: John Santner and his two children stayed with Paul and Sheri Kent on the eve of the Santner family cruise to Alaska. After serving as a missile officer for 5 years, John separated and was ordained a Catholic Priest in 1985. Paul was at the ordination and a few years later Father John was able to travel to Kansas City to celebrate Paul and Sheri’s matrimony. John has since left the ministry, married and raised children. Paul reports that during the Santners’ visit the class bonds again showed their timelessness as he and John “picked up right where we left off” (Photo Below).
It appears the bromance reported in the December 2017 issue of Checkpoints between Bull Sixers Pete Marcuzzo and Mike Marro is still going strong. They were recently spotted outside a theater in London where they and their wives attended a showing of “Hamilton.” Jetsetters Dave and Jan Wallace had just finished a cruise around Iberia and joined in an almost no-notice Bull Sixer mini-reunion with the Marcuzzos and Marros at The Grazing Goat, which, for the uninitiated, is a pub in London. Dave provided a picture of himself and Jan, but it provides blatant evidence that he married so far above himself that it would embarrass both of them to show it here. However, you can find that picture and several others at the class website, 75bestalive.org (Photos Below).
Stan and Mary Collins relocated from Denver to Victoria, TX to be closer to family. Victoria is about halfway between Corpus Christi and Houston and only a few minutes away from Matagorda Bay, a fishing mecca. Being a firm believer in “when in Rome…” Stan bought a boat designed for finding fish and freeing them from their watery environment. The good news is that he reported all of that to your friendly neighborhood scribe, which is the same as a gold embossed invitation to all ‘75ers to seek him out and enjoy the hospitality only a Texan can offer (Photo Below).
New Heritage Page: Bill Estelle has created a Heritage page on his class website (under the History tab) featuring parents and ancestors with military or other service. Please consider submitting stories and photos to the effort, because everyone has a story to tell and preserve.
Vito Update: Mike (Vito) Goyden’s, battle with Stage 2B Non-Hodgkins Burkitts Lymphoma is ongoing. He has completed all of his surgery and chemo treatments covering 55 days in the hospital over a period of 9 stays. There’s not enough space in this column to include his report, but the major theme from his account is that family, frequent contact with classmates and other friends, faith, and prayers are all playing major roles in this phase of his life. He also revealed an especially important lesson he learned from this experience: listen to your wife. Jan encouraged him to see a doctor several weeks before he felt the need to do so. It would seem wives are less convinced of our invincibility than we are, and, as usual, they’re right. Vito’s ability to appreciate prayers is apparently bottomless, so feel free to send some his direction when you get the chance.
2. Janet & Michael before the start of his chemotherapy regimen. (February 2018)
3-4. Mike's community celebrating the completion of his chemotherapy regimen, attended by family, friends, and classmates. From Mike: They were there for me throughout my cancer treatment (hospital and/or at home visits) and were a positive reason for my success to stay on schedule of my 6-day round the clock treatments which was critical to not having more than 6 rounds of treatments. I will find out the end of August if I am in remission and all indications point that way since I took the max dosage (20% increase each in 4 of the rounds) of 180% increase by round six which is the most one can take for stage 2B non-Hodgkin's Burkett's lymphoma blood cancer at age 65. Thus I did everything I could to attack the cancer in addition to my colon surgery.
3. Academy classmates, left to right: Dave (class of '76) and Carolyn Wilson, Vito and Jan Goyden, JD and Emily Barrowclaugh, Steve and Peggy Eickleman, and Lee Colburn. Steve was a squadron classmate all 4 years (15th squadron as doolie and 20th squadron as upperclassman). Steve lived in the apartment complex next door to Jan and I at pilot training in Del Rio, Texas. JD and Lee were on the other side of us in their apartment during pilot training as well. Dave Wilson was a soccer coach with me at Liberty High School for 14 years.
4.My wife, myself, my three kids and their spouses, and 5 of my 6 grandkids.
Extra Column Photos
1. Kenn & Cris Finn, et. al., in Munich on the occasion of Ken's retirement.
2. Gernot Pomrencke & son Eric on their hike on Isle Royale in Lake Superior.
3. Mark Volcheff & son Paul in Antarctica.
4. Gary Exelby with his journalism awards.
5. Paul Kent & John Santner.
6. Dave Wallace, Pete Marcuzzo, & Mike Marro, along with their better halves in London.
7. Dave & Jan Wallace on their Iberian cruise.
8. Stan Collins, recently relocated, with his Texas Toys.
Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate
Hope this brief communiqué finds you happy and well near summer's end. The minutes for the July 2016 CAS meeting are posted on the AOG website and HERE. The CAS Executive Committee and Lt Richie Sapp ('15) pulled together the list of authoritative/reliable links to information about the Academy, to help grads with "inquiring minds" to access official USAFA information. Please use this information to help you spread your considerable influence and let me know if you have AOG questions or comments! Thanks!
Rini & Ginny's Icelandic Adventure
1. The Bosmas at Hallgrímskirkja, the Lutheran Church (of Iceland), in Reykjavík.
4. Ben & Ginny relaxing near the end of their adventure.
Duane Lodrige's "Medicare or Bust" Bicycle Ride
1.Medicare or Bust! 7 days–470 miles. Day one of the journey in Portland, Oregon.
2.Day 5: Medicare or Bust. Yachats, Oregon (Ya-hats) to Charleston, Oregon, 84 miles, 4266' of climbing. With the 90 degree coastal weather, there were several Cycula spottings yesterday but with the 60-70 temps and overcast skies, he was nowhere to be found today! It was a glorious day! Sea Lions, Light Houses, Logging Trucks, RV's, Ice Cream cones, and Lots of cyclists along the way. Plus had a cocktail with Adrian (cat 1 cyclocross) who had purchased some Bike Like A Girl jerseys/hats/crapola from Michelle at the Nationals in Reno last year. It's a small world! Local fresh Halibut fish and chips was a 10!! Cycle on Garth!
3. Day 6: BFT. Charleston to Gold Beach, Oregon. Day 7 Gold Beach to Klamath, California. Stayed tonight at Historic Requa Inn. The family style steelhead trout dinner was impeccable. Last three days of riding in Oregon were beautiful with weather 55-70. Headed to Eureka and a rest day tomorrow!
4.Day 8: Medicare or Bust. Redwood, Elk, and Gravel Into Eureka for a rest day! Total 500+ miles. Head down into the Lost Coast today. Coast near McKinleyville, California.
1. Bruce Hevey. Angela Dupont: My entire world in one picture. How blessed am I? (Angela Dupont, July 2018)
2. Bob Shappell: Lulu and I were feeling patriotic as we approach July 4th. (July 2018)
3-4. Mark Risi, day one and day six of retirement, respectively. He seems to have figured it out. (July 2018)
5. Branford McAllister: Had the honor of installing American flags in Niceville yards for Independence Day as part of the Niceville-Valparaiso Kiwanis. (July 2018)
6. Paul Kent & brother Dana. (July 2018)
7. Buck Rogers & grandson. (July 2018)
8. Steve Morris & family. (July 2018)
9. Kurt Bock & Family. (Rebecca Bock, July 2018)
10. Bill Murray & family celebrating Independence Day. (July 2018)
11. Rich Finke celebrating his 66th with daughter Erin & granddaughter Victoria. (July 2018)
12. Larry Bryant: Fishing for large trout in Road Canyon Reservoir (near Creede, Colorado) was fabulous (yes we can keep four per day there). These 11 trout weighed 13 pounds, and that’s just from 3 hrs fishing. That’s 12,706-feet high Bristol Head behind us. (July 2018)
13. Don Byers celebrating Independence Day with friends and family on Stockton Lake. (Terra Menefee, July 2018)
14. Stan Jones: Tour de Fort Worth! Mayor's ride. (July 2018)
15. Rick & Gail Townsend on their Alaska cruise. (July 2018)
16. Steve Wedell in Wichita Falls, Texas. (Sara Duke Matthews, July 2018)
17. Bob Orwig. A beautiful day on Dahlonega Square, Dahlonega, Georgia. (Linda Hamil Orwig, July 2018)
18. Max Della Pia on his birthday (he's not saying which one). (Nancy Knepel Della Pia, July 2018)
19. Greg & Peggy Berlan. (July 2018)
20. Mike DeHart: Something I do only for my lovely granddaughter. (July 2018)
21. We had several choices for a photo of Bill Buchta this quarter. We chose this one. (Maggie Ann, July 2018)
22. Rick Kim with his Mom. (July 2018)
23. Michael Heil, with the statue of Reds, Orioles, and Indians legend Frank Robinson at Progressive Field. (Actually, it's just a statue of Frank Robinson). (July 2018)
24. Newlyweds Perry Lamy & Linda Lavon Lamy. (Linda Lavon Lamy, July 2018)
25. Ric & Elizabeth Rosborg, with Tunket, celebrating his 6-month birthday. (July 2018)
26. Robert Akers with a bevy of his grandchildren. (July 2018)
27. Rich Finke asea with his canine crew. (July 2018)
28. Bruce Mitchell: Reporting as ordered...here is your cool CAS rep with eldest of six Colorado Springs grandkids, Braeden, who enters high school next month (yikes!)...it is later than we think!
29. Steve Duresky: Gulf coast livin’- last day of red snapper season. Thanks, Captain Sean! (July 2018)
30. Wes & Marti Routh, and the family. (Mike Routh, July 2018)
31. Mike Heil: With the WorkHorse SureFly hybrid electric personal aero vehicle at Oshkosh. Expected price $200,000 (includes aircraft emergency ballistic parachute). (July 2018)
32. Mike Matte: Happy Birthday party...grandson Cole...#10!!...partied hearty in Texas with Yaya and Poppy and 2 wonderful sisters. (July 2018)
33. Bill Murray: Captain Stick (Mark Stickney) flew in his Airbus A-320 today and we had a great visit! He has until Oct of this year to retire from Delta, and he’s already built his retirement home in the hills of North Carolina. Couldn’t be a better guy!(July 2018)
34. Mark & Bev Lenci: Our family is ALL TOGETHER for the first time in 2 1/2 years!! In Northern Minnesota on "The Iron Range" (iron ore mining district). We are having a GREAT time with all of Mark's side of the family. (July 2018)
35. Barry Abbott: Great visiting (son) Will here in San Francisco and watching my Astos. (August 2018)
36. Buck & Suzanne Rogers and their gaggle of grandkids. (August 2018)
37. Jim & Kimberly Corrigan (center) with friends on their Alaskan cruise. (DK Rosa, August 2018)
38. Bill Buchta: Well, the La Crosse JDRF ride is over for me and 670 other riders, and I made the 100 miles I intended to ride. It was grueling at the end, but so is Type 1 diabetes every day. Thanks to all of you who helped me raise $4000 for Type 1 research — so close to a cure! Next year — a cure or I ride again! (August 2018)
39. Perry Lamy & his brown lab puppy Cocoa. (Linda Lavon Lamy, August 2018)
40. Steve Blackburn: Thanks to my son Ryan for a great day golfing and hanging out at the PGA in St. Louis. (August 2018)
41. Bob Hickcox, off for a ride around town. (August 2018)
42. Randy Mason (second from right) with siblings Sharon, Rob, Diana, & Ginger. (Diana Mason Smelt, August 2018)
43. Mark Volcheff and brother Eric celebrating their ascension to Club Med(icare). (Mary Dwyer Volcheff, August 2018)
44. Jim Schuman: Went for a hike around Eklutna Lake with Sophie and Charlie yesterday. Not sure, but I think Charlie is part coyote, part chipmunk. (August 2018)
45. Greg & Peggy Berlan. (Christine Felton, August 2018)
46. Jim Marshall at the USAFA AOG Chapter President's Conference. (August 2018)
47. Paul Kent & friend Tom Cade enjoying the local brews of Ireland. (August 2018)
48. Dave Herlong & his Mom on her 91st birthday. (Rosemary Herlong Hunter, August 2018)
49. Dave Ehrhart with some family members. (Kelsey Marie Swanson, August 2018)
50. Barry & Gladys Abbott at the Orion Beer Festival, Naha, Okinawa. (September 2018)
51. Kurt Bock & daughter Rebecca, reliving his glory days. (Rebecca Bock, September 2018)
55. Bill Murray: I was with Judy in the Ambassador’s Lounge and looked over and saw Jack Huffman telling war stories.......He’s retired from Southwest Airlines now and flying Corporate and loves it! (September 2018)
56. Rick & Pauline Kim with friend Sharad D. Shah. (September 2018)
57. Larry Bottomley with a bevy of beauties (Sara Noonan, Valerie Noonan, & Erin Noonan Derksen) at a family gathering. (Sara Noonan, September 2018)
58. Jeff Chappell: Guess I'd better get serious about this...it was kinda bizarre seeing this up so soon. (September 2018)
59. Michael Heil: Checking out the wine list at our local wintery, Michael Angelo's. (September 2018)
60. Mike DeHart with his best friend, recently passed. Liz DeHart: Rest In Peace, ol’ boy. Until we meet again, run, play, and bay to your hearts content. I’m heartbroken but I know you’re pain free and resting. Love and miss you, Rusty. We gave you the best life we could, but it pales to the love and loyalty you gave us for 17 years. (September 2018)
61. Rick & Pauline Kim with their young charge, Sammy. (September 2018)
62. Jeff Krumeich: The last time. (September 2018)