Checkpoints          March 2019              Foster Bitton

Elbow Rubbing: Last December Don Henney’s son, Joe (Class of ’09), called Don and asked him if he had any plans for December 19th, and if not, would he like to go to the White House Christmas Party. Don checked his calendar, saw that he wasn’t playing dominoes with the guys or taking his semimonthly bath that night and replied that he might be able to fit it in. So Don and his w-a-a-a-y better half, Debbie, attended the gala event, and while they were there took a short break from socializing to have their picture taken with President and Melania Trump. President Trump is the one wearing a striped tie. Don is the one on the left trying to palm an ornament off the tree to take home as a souvenir. Don and Debbie have three sons. Joe oversees the medical support for the president and vice-president, and Dan and Caleb haven’t been convicted of any felonies for at least a year. They’re actually successful as well, but if their stories were told this would turn into a Christmas letter, so suffice it to say Don and Debbie are proud of the Henney boys, and justifiably so. (Photos 1 & 2 Below)

Gary Exelby continues to garner awards for his journalism. In the Smaller Dailies category, the 2018 Arkansas Press Association Better Newspaper Contest awarded him second place for in-depth series on Drug Court, Honorable Mention for a single news photograph: fiery crash claims life, first place for coverage of business and agriculture, and first place for coverage of education. One gets the feeling that Gary was one of the few that stayed awake in English classes before his parole from the Zoo. (Photo 3 Below)

Retirements Done Right: For those of you who can't remember anything before you rolled out of bed this morning or anything after your attempt to avoid daily embarrassment as a teenager in the late ‘60s, you may also recall Mark Volcheff’s expedition to Antarctica last February to fulfill his son Paul’s goal to visit all seven continents before Paul turned 30. It appears Mark’s and Paul’s wanderlust has ratcheted up another level, and their newest goal is to visit 100 countries. They came nearer to that mark by visiting Cuba in January. Check off country 77 for Paul and 82 for Mark. Mark had the advantage of being an airlift pilot for 32+ years, but in family competitions there is no such thing as an “unfair” advantage. Mark reports that the contrasts in a communist country are fascinating; it was easy traveling there, he found the people incredibly friendly, and it was 100% safe. You cannot travel there in a tourist category, but there are 12 other categories that Mark is happy to explain if you are interested in going there.

Rick Benbow sent in the following update from Charles Town, West Virginia. “Retired from American Airlines officially in January 2017 with 28 years of service after being with USAirways for 26 of those years. Actually, I was on Long Term disability for almost half of those years due to a little heart trouble. What the Captain means, I didn't have a "little heart," but the heart I had was having a little trouble pumping. After retiring I was bitten by the golf bug and try to play 2-3 times a week. Last summer I was able to play in a Washington DC golf outing that pitted USAFA, USNA, and West Point grads against each other. The USAFA team succeeded in achieving ‘the fruits of victory’ on the ‘fields of friendly strife!’ Several ‘75 grads were there led by General Mark Beesley. Staying in the golf vein, I checked off a ‘Bucket List’ trip this year. Myself and 3 other USAFA grads/American Airline pilots (Stafford Rogers '79, Keith Wilson '77, Jeff Mayer '77) traveled to Carmel-by-the-Sea to play Pebble Beach. The weather was sometimes great and sometimes wet and wild, but the trip was fantastic and everything about it rated a FAST-NEAT-AVERAGE-FRIENDLY-GOOD-GOOD to the max.”

Retirement Done Wrong: This is woeful and disheartening. Tom Whiteside reports, “In the Fall of 2018, more than 3 years after my retirement to the beach, I un-retired and joined a law group in West Houston as the senior attorney. Starting over, I plan to retire again in 30 years.” We mourn Tom’s loss from the ranks of the retired. The fact that another !@#$ lawyer is re-entering the workforce makes it just that much more troubling.

45th Reunion Class of 1975 Gift CampaignEndowing Contrails and Renovating the Air Gardens. (The following message was sent out through the AOG and is being presented here to ensure as wide a distribution as possible). Over the past year, the Class Quiet Phase Committee (Beesley, Pyatt, Fariss, Hennek, and Smith-Harrison) along with input from class officers and other classmates, selected an overall "stretch goal" of $1.975M (yes, “1975”), with the first $200K funding the Contrails endowment, and the balance applied to the Restoration of the Air Gardens. Due to the diligent and assiduous efforts of the Quiet Phase Committee members, initial classmate response for these two iconic gifts was overwhelming. A small portion of our class (less than 5%) incredibly has already made pledges to this effort totaling in excess of $800,000! Many thanks to them, and to the persistence of our fine Committee.

With that great start, we now enter the “Public Phase” of the campaign with a Public Phase Committee consisting of classmates Larry Fariss (Chair), Rick Pyatt (1st Group), Mark Volcheff (2nd Group), Bentley Rayburn (3rd Group) and Duane Jones (4th Group), who will conduct a class-wide funding campaign commencing January 2019. This will be accomplished by a squadron-mate in direct contact with every classmate, who will each have the opportunity to donate and help the class reach our goal. The committee wants to get the word out to all classmates, updating them on the Gifting Plan and their role, prior to kicking off the Public Phase. Please participate, no matter the amount of your donation. It’s important that we have all classmates involved in this milestone moment for the Class of ‘75. This is a gift from our class to our alma mater that will endure.

And Finally: Class President and Supreme Allied Poobah, Jim Carlson, has gone all out to ensure he retains the newest-father-in-the-class title. He and Sarah are expecting a new addition in 2019, and Jim is confident it will be a boy or a girl. Congratulations Jim and Sarah! If other classmates are considering staging an attempt to challenge Jim for the title of newest father, a thorough checkup with a strong emphasis on the mental aspects of your health is recommended. (UPDATE: Aya Carlson was born in January, weighing in at 8 lb).

For more class news, including newly-added ZoomieNation Checkpoints column archives and some never before published recollections of the golden years of 1971-1975, go to 75bestalive.org (Nevermind. You're There!)


 
 

1. Don & Debbie Henney with their grandchildren Allison and Jay.

2. Don & Debbie Henney with sons Dan, Caleb, & Joe, his wife Amanda, and their grandchildren Allison and Jay.

3. Gary Exelby with his journalism awards.


Checkpoints Extras


Class Advisory Senate

Bruce Mitchell and Mark Volcheff represnted the Class of '75 at the January 2019 CAS Meeting. Minutes HERE and slides HERE.

Planetarium Reopens

After many years of being closed, the newly renovated Planetarium opened to the public on March 4, 2019. With state-of-the-art projection technology and immersive surround sound, this venue will enhance our K-20 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Outreach and provide an unbelievably rich and realistic experience to visitors. USAFA (Official)


March Album

Dallas Area Dark Ages Party

 

Bill Murray: A great time was had by all! And here’s a funny story......Our waitress, who was the same gal who waited on our group last year at The Salt Grass Steak House, remembered us and said, “75 Best Alive, 75 Still Alive”! What a memory!

1. Perry Lamy.     2. Randy Caraway.     3. Dave & Chris Ehrhart.     4. Bruce & Margaret Edstrom.

 

5. Tom & Terri Udall.     6. Bill & Judy Murray.     7. Marv & Cheryl Kobza.     

8. The Gang: Bruce Edstrom, Bill Murray, Randy Caraway, Perry Lamy, Dave Ehrhart, Marv Kobza, & Tom Udall.


 

1. Carl Van Pelt has a letter published in the January/February 2019 Air Force magazine, relating his memory of an F-4 elephant walk at Clark AB.

2. John & Jennifer Kambourian: On the Brooklyn Bridge on New Year's Day. (January 2019)

3. Charlie Wintermeyer and granddaughter Josephine. (January 2019)

4. Walter Lee Burns: My partner and I sold BlueForce to our employees at the end of December and I transitioned to the Board. I’m not totally retired but no more going to the office every day. It is a win/win for everyone and I look forward to getting serious about some fishing and being a grandfather. (Callee Burns Christopher, January 2019)

 

5. Dave & Beth Vann Herlong at the Old Dominicks Distillery, Memphis, Tennessee. (Beth Van Herlong, January 2019)

6. Rodolfo Saavedra Ferrere con amigo Alejandro Maihlos. (Maria Inés Rico Federici, Enero 2019)

7. Bill Spencer: Army-Air Force hockey postgame. Those seniors on the red line just finished leaving it all on the ice for their school. Next year, they'll be on the front lines risking it all for their country. Is there anything finer and more honorable in sports? (January 2019)

8. Paul Kent, having fully made the transition from working stiff to enjoying one.(Dave Stahnke, January 2019)

 

9. Bruce & Angela Dupont-Hevey. Angela Dupont-Hevey, January 2019)

10. Walter Lee & Penny Perkins Burns, and family. (Callee Burns Christopher, January 2019)

11. Hugo Posey (Lower Right): I've been spending this week with some great folks from Team Rubicon (TR) as part of their "Houston Rebuild" project. This is my sixth week (one week per month for the last six months) working with them helping rebuild homes devastated by Hurricane Harvey for folks who just couldn't handle it themselves for financial/medical reasons. TR provides the supplies (lumber, drywall, paint, tools, etc.) and volunteers from around the country provide the muscle and "Get Shit Done"! (GSD). Great organization, great people doing great work! (January 2019)

12. Gary Exelby & grandson. (Karen Exelby, January 2019)

 

13. A young fan of Brian Duffy. (Vickie Kusleika Gilmarti, January 2019)

14. Willie Cosby & friends. (January 2019)

15. Billy Stephan with sons Travis & Thomas. (Wendy Bishop Stephan, January 2019)

16. Max & Nancy Knepel Della Pia. (Sarah Diane, January 2019)

 

17. Oleh & Veronika Stefaniuk with grandson Luke. (Veronika Nemeth Stefaniuk, January 2019)

18. Bill Murray livin' the dream. (January 2019)

19. Dave & Beth Vann Herlong, with Jeremy Vann Sanders, Britton Sanders, Rae Gilette, & Betsy Herlong. (Betsy Herlong, January 2019)

20. Don Byers (Right) on the road again. (Diana Dean, January 2019)

 

21. Dave & Chris Ehrhart with Drew & Amy Burggraff. (Amy Burggraff, January 2019)

22. Michael DeHart: My 4th annual ski trip with USAFA classmates Jack Storer and Larry Coletti at Keystone Ski area. (January 2019)

23. Kurt Bock on the occasion of his retirement as CEO from Country Financial (wearing a scarf from the Camas High School Papermakers, Camas, Washington, which is acceptable so long as it does not become a habit). (January 2019)

24. Stan Jones and grandson Carson. (January 2019)

 

25. Dan & Elizabeth Burkett: Another great day skiing at Big Sky! (February 2019)

26. Mark Risi & his newest friend. (February 2019)

27. Oleh & Veronika Stefaniuk: Happy hour on the dock. So much better than snow and cold. (February 2019)

28. Willie Cosby & Cynthia Laird. (February 2019)

 

29. Michael Marro & son Matt at Cosetta's Italian Market and Pizzeria, St. Paul, Minnesota. (Matt Marro, February 2019)

30. Rich Finke with friends at his Final Flight/Retirement Party. (Randy McPeak, February 2019)

31. Billy Stephan: Maverick, Iceman...Eat your hearts out! (February 2019)

32. Keith Workman: To each and all whose thoughts keep our friendship fire warmly alight, best regards from me and the 2Ks at the Kidspace Children's Museum. (February 2019)

 

33. Perry Lamy with two of his biggest fans. (Linda Lavon Lamy, February 2019)

34. Ralph Paul & Sydney Bee at the Cherokee Ranch & Castle Foundation. (February 2019)

35. Steve Pitotti entertaining his young granddaughter (and us, too). (Stephanie Williams, February 2019)

36. Ric Dahlstrom (Second from Left), with Tony DeMatteo, Jerad Dahlstrom, & Erin DeMatteo Dahlstrom with young Aidan (Age 1) on her first golf outing. (Tony DeMatteo, February 2019)

 

37. Bob Shappell (Right): For all my friends in the single digit temperatures in Wisconsin, it was a balmy 51 degrees in our nation’s capital today. On the way from the Senate to the House office buildings, we stopped for a photo op in front of the Capitol. With me was Department Commander Frank and Adjutant Amber. (February 2019)

38. Michael Lischak, at an undisclosed location, imbibing an undisclosed beverage. (February 2019)

39. Tom Darner with Kristy Case & Melo Dee. (February 2019)

40. Kenn Finn: Top of peak seven, Breckenridge, three ski days, 20,000 feet elevation gain with the five and eight-year-old grandkids. (February 2019)

 

41. Like an increasing number of his classmates, Walter Lee Burns seems to be adjusting well to retirement. (Sonya Frye Burns, January 2019)

42. Max Della Pia at a recent Mardi Gras Party. (Nancy Knepel Della Pia, March 2019)

43. Tim O'Connell at the Cripple Creek Ice Festival. (March, 2019)

44. John Kambourian: Babysitting Hazel, my son's dog while he's at the hospital for the birth of my first granddaughter!! (March 2019)

 

45. Dave Ruddock visiting the west coast of Florida. (March 2019)

46. Mark Risi: We got Miska (little bear) on 11 March. Think we will get along great. Grandkids have approved. (March 2019)

47. Gary Exelby. (Karen Exelby, March 2019)

48. Gary Whitfield (Right), part of a group of concerned citizens regarding Texas High Speed Rail. (Tom Oliverson, March 2019)

 

49. Jim & Ardis Hartney at the happiest place on earth. (March 2019)

50. Bentley & Debbie Rayburn, with Shane, Brennan, & Cassandra Connette at the happiest place on earth. (Previously known as Wing Staff). (Cassandra Connette, March 2019)

51. Jim & Emily Marshall with all of their grandchildren (for now). (March 2019)

52. Rick & Elizabeth Rosborg celebrating Elizabeth's birthday. (Elizabeth Rosborg, March 2019)


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