Checkpoints          December 2019              Foster Bitton

GBNF: Stephen W. Tibbitts, CS-02, was struck and killed by a car while riding his bike. Funeral services were held on 12 October 2019 in Marble Falls, TX.  

AF Downs CU 30-23 in OT! By the time this edition of CP hits the streets, the regular 2019 season will be in the books, but undoubtedly one of the shiniest spots in the season will be the AF upset of CU in Boulder. Falcon teammates Bruce Fritzsche, Larry Fariss, and Terry Young were at the game, 45 years after the last meeting of the two teams. As pointed out in an article in the Woodmen Edition, a newspaper in the greater Colorado Springs area, the series ended on a low note with fan ridicule at Folsom Field largely based on emotions associated with the war in Vietnam. Politics aside, the Falcon classmates all agreed the win in Boulder this year was all about good football, and it gave them a sense of redemption. Amen to that.

Bull Sixers Dave Young, Raider Ramstad, Bill Murray, Byron Huddleston, Jerry Cooke, and Mark Stickney held a mini-reunion at the Broadmoor in September, and during the obligatory post-dinner inflated stories they discovered they all shared a trait that strengthened their brotherhood to an extent rarely experienced by mere mortals…they all had a CDB in their closet. The fact that all of them went on to have successful careers in and after the Air Force is inexplicable. It’s a wonder their reunion wasn’t held at Leavenworth.

While we’re on the subject of criminals and ne’er-do-wells, this year’s Hacker Classic was held in Minnesota mainly because all of the other states they’ve practiced the dark arts of golf in have imposed a lifetime banishment on them. Minnesota reportedly has a warrant out for Roy Rice’s arrest, but they were told by the other states to take a number and get in line. A list of the usual suspects is in previous issues of CP, with the addition of Kent Traylor and Jack Storer as guest IPs. Jack made the unthinkable mistake of taking medalist honors, so his chances of being invited back are lower than the number of hair follicles on our beloved class president’s tater. The group was weathered out a couple of days, so they went to an ice rink and tried their hands at curling. Picture, if you will, a bunch of guys in their sixties scurrying around a slab of ice in their street shoes because they saw someone do it on television. Sounds like a Darwin Award in the making.

Sam Ryals and Rick Pyatt are members of the Collins Aerospace team that won the Next Generation Ejection Seat Competition contract. In accordance with the contract, Collins Aerospace will retrofit the new ACES 5 ejection seat on all USAF F-15, F-16, F-22, B-1, and A-10 aircraft.

Bill Rohde finally gave in to the constant begging, pleading, and badgering done by yours truly for snippets to put in Checkpoints. It seems he forgot to retire after leaving Delta when he turned 65, and is now a captain and flight safety representative for JSX, formerly JetSuiteX. If that were all he was doing you wouldn’t be reading about him here because those of us who have experienced the warm glow of full retirement tend to shun those who insist on working, since they’re obviously infected with something we want no part of. Bill has at least had the decency to pick up the hobbies of mountain bike racing, road triathlons, and restoring old motorcycles. He even completed the XTerra Triathlon a couple of years ago. He gets points for at least trying to appear retired.

Doing Retirement Right: Bruce Correll, Jerry Wallace, and Bobby Thompson conducted an air, land, and sea assault on Lake Powell last summer. The week long adventure included a fly-in to Page, AZ with a multi-ship formation flight, air tours of Lake Powell, rafting down Marble Canyon of the Grand Canyon, hiking to Toadstools and ATVing to Almstrom Point overlook. Bruce happily reports there was no adult supervision, other than spouses of course, and they probably stopped trying to guide their husbands into adulthood a long time ago. Has anyone been wondering where Lance Grace has been hiding out? He’s in Alamagordo, NM, not far from ground zero for the first atomic bomb test. But Lance isn’t messing around with fission or fusion; he’s a kingpin in the local soaring club.

Mike McClendon and his wife, Mary, met up with Lance during a flying tour of the great southwest, and Lance offered to help Mike get recurrent in sailplanes. Mike took him up on it, and after the successful requal, Lance offered to get Mike and Mary up in a two-ship formation. For the uninitiated, formation flight in sailplanes is just like it is in fighters except that the throttle is replaced by a spoiler lever, and the whole concept of adding or subtracting power to stay in position on a turn is completely and utterly reversed. Mike, Mary, Lance, and anothersailplane instructor pilot had a great flight, and Mike has nothing but praise for Lance’s IP skills. He must be good, seeing that Mike hadn’t been inside a sailplane for 32 years.

Last summer was obviously a good time for wives of classmates to get up in the air. John Charlton surprised his wife, Bernadette, on her 70th birthday by taking her skydiving. John always was the romantic. They jumped at 10,000 feet and popped chutes at 5,000 feet. After touchingdown the first thing Bernadette said was, “I want to do it again!” John took her hot air ballooning for her 60th birthday so he may have to go into orbit to surprise her on her 80th birthday.

Classmate and ex-Thunderbird pilot Dave Commons was featured in a YouTube video that came out in September. Dave talks about some of his thoughts and experiences as a Thunderbird, and adds the human view of a role that only a handful of people will ever achieve. To access the video just search for David Commons in YouTube. (Or click the link provided HERE for your convenience).

Shameless plug for ‘75 class website: The Checkpoints limit for pictures is three per class each quarter. If you sent in a picture and don’t see it here the reason is that supply surpasses demand. The good news is that I send the pictures I can’t use in this column to our class webmaster, Bill Estelle, and he puts most of them on the class website, 75bestalive.org. He also gets a lot of pictures directly from classmates, so the class website often has 20 times more pictures with captions than the Checkpoints column. Ergo, after you’re done reading this column you should head directly to the class website and spend a half hour perusing the pictures of classmates who are wheeling, soaring, and doing “a hundred things you have not dreamed of.”


Checkpoints Extras


Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate         October 2019

Bruce Mitchell represented the Class of '75 at the October 2019 CAS Meeting. Minutes HERE.


December Album

     

Perry & Linda Lamy's River Cruise

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Perry Lamy: On 13-23 October 2019, Linda and I embarked on a fantastic historical 10-day river cruise, "The River Seine to the Beaches of Normandy" sponsored by the World War II Museum (New Orleans, LA) for service academy graduates. The tours sponsored by the WW II Museum and AOG are "primo" events featuring first-class accommodations along with subject-matter expert tour guides and authors who provide presentations and detailed commentary at every stop (next year, the museum is offering "Masters of the Air" which focuses on the WW II 8th AF and strategic bombing campaign). It was our disappointment that only one other USAFA grad, Mark Reidinger '80, accompanied us but we had the good fortune to meet many USMA and USNA grads and their spouses. The trip departed from Paris with river stops at La Roche-Guyon (Rommel's Normandy Hq), Les Andelys (King Richard the Lionheart's castle), Versailles, Rouen (Joan of Arc), Dieppe (1942 amphib landing by Canadian forces which was disastrous) and then overland stops at Bayeux (William the Conqueror's tapestry), Pegasus Bridge, Sword/Juno/Gold Beaches, Utah Beach and the Airborne area of ops to include Ste Mere Eglise (remember Red Buttons in the "Longest Day"), Omaha Beach, and culminating with an emotional visit to the American Cemetery.  

1. Linda: Visiting Dieppe revealed a personal connection of Perry to this area. As a descendant of 100% French-Canadian ancestry, many of Perry's ancestors left France enroute to Quebec (New France) from the port of Dieppe. The Canadian invasion of Dieppe in 1942 included a regiment from Quebec who felt connected to this area for the same reason. (Linda Lavon Lamy, October 2019)

2. Linda: We had a WWll veteran with our group, Clayton Baum from La Mesa, CA. He was one that stormed the beaches and survived. Perry and I enjoyed our time with him and what a lovely man. (Linda Lavon Lamy, October 2019)

3. Perry: Airborne museum at Ste Mere Eglise. Linda's Dad flew 27 missions in the B-26 Marauder in theater from Nov 1944 to Sep 1945. His unit was most active in supporting the Battle of the Bulge in Dec 1944-Jan 1945. His unit along with other B-26 squadrons supported D-Day activities at Utah Beach which is the reason for the airplane on display. (Linda Lavon Lamy, October 2019)

4. Perry Lamy and Mark Reidinger, USAFA '80, at the American Cemetary in Normandy, showing the AOG "Colors." (October 2019)


Don Byers' USAFA Family Reunion

 

1-4. Sole caption: Grandpa's reminiscing... (Jennifer Lawton, October 2019)


 

1. Buck & Suzanne Rogers: Conversations & Cocktails with a Friend from South Carolina. (October 2019)

2. Dave & Janet Middleton Wallace with Ann Middleton in the Kolob Canyon of Zion National Park. (October 2019)

3. Eric & Elizabeth Rosborg at the recent game at Navy. (October 2019)

4. '75ers at the recent Navy game. Left to Right: Mark Beesley, Bill Lyerly, Jeff Hackett, Eric Rosborg, ?, & Mike Heil. (October 2019)

 

5. Willie Cosby & Cynthia Baird: At the Vegas food and wine festival! It's all work seeking new wines for you! (Cynthia Baird, October 2019)

6. Billy Stephan: Successful summit assault on Scenicn Overlook Peak, Dinosaur Valley State Park. My climbing partners carried me the last few feet! (October 2019)

7. Mike Matte: Carmine’s at Times Square on Saturday night with a million stranger...a great weekend on the marathon of life...we are blessed. (October 2019)

8. Larry & Melinda Bryant in Acadia National Park, Maine. (October 2019)

 

9. Steve Wedell & Family celebrating son-in-law Brian Wood's fini flight in the T-38. (Shelly Wedell Wood, October 2019)

10. Jeff & Christine at Independence Hall, Philadelphia. (Christine Hackett, October 2019)

11. Chris & Susan Commeford visiting with Perry & Linda Lamy at their home in Texas. (Linda Lavon Lamy, October 2019)

12. The Old Man and the Sea. (Paul Kent, October 2019) (See Also: The Old Man and the Mountain)

 

13. Michael Dehart: Waking up from a nap after using Papap as her tummy pillow! When Victoria crawled into my lap, lay her head on my tumm, and fell asleep, the only thing I cold think of saying was Thank You God, for making me a grandparent! (October 2019)

14. Joe Bryant: Attached is a group photo from a mini-reunion out in Las Vegas last weekend (Oct 18-19). We had hoped to have a few more join us, but scheduling conflicts and some late-breaking circumstances for a couple of folks prevented a better turnout. Las Vegas is where we met because three of the six guys in the photo live there (Frank Wyatt, who hosted us at his home, Rod Kallman, and Doug Harrison). We are hoping to get together out in Vegas again with a few more Chickenhawks sometime in February as a final “tune-up” for next year’s 45th reunion.

In the photo (left to right), Bill Swiderek, Joe Bryant, Steve Watson, Frank Wyatt, Rod Kallman, and Doug Harrison. Note: While Frank is not a grad, he has attended class reunions and we (and other ‘75ers) have kept up with him over all these years. We consider him no less a classmate and squadron mate than we would if he had graduated with us. (October 2019)

15. Steve & Alison Hussey recognized for their generous support of the Planetarium restoration. (Bill Estelle, October 2019)
16. Bob & Jill Akers. (October 2019)

 

17. John & Jennifer Kambourian: Celebrating 13 years married to this wondrful man...and it is still magical. (Jennifer Kambourian, October 2019)

18. Michael Heil: Talking to astronaut Dr. Harrison Schmitt at his reception last night at the Great Lakes Science Center. He served on my independent strategic advisory group when I commanded Phillips Laboratory at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. (October 2019)

19. Dave & Patti Ruddock on the lookout for the Great Pumpkin: Still crazy after all these years! Happy Anniversary. (October 2019)

20. Ben & Ginny Bosma: 44 years ago I met this guy on a blind date while on vacation to Colorado Springs. That date went so well that I married him 5 months later. Lots of adventures later I still say I Love You honey!! Happy Anniversary to us!! (Ginny Bosma, October 2019)

 

21. Richard Kennard atop Pike's Peak. (October 2019)

22. Dave & Linda Beatty: Atop Grandfather Mountain (well Butte, maybe). (October 2019)

23. Eric Rosborg: Departing Winterberry. Another season ends... (November 2019)

24. Debbie & Bentley Rayburn attending the 613TFS reunion in Savannah, Georgia. (Sidney Thurston, November 2019)

 

25. Barry Abbott (Left): Happy birthday to my little brother, Tom, from the Illinois Abbotts. (November 2019)

26. Bruce Hevey with Air Force friend and associate Mark from their days at Hanscom Field, Massachusetts. (Mark Rea, November 2019)

27. Hob Hickcox. Apparently the authorities have finally caught up with him. (November 2019)

28. Bill Stephan with his greatest admirer, Liam. (November 2019)

 

29. Gary & Karen Exelby. (November 2019)

30. Jim Corrigan speaking at the Selma, Alabama Veteran's Day Program. (Selma Times-Journal, November 2019)

31. Dave Ruddock with two of his admirers. (November 2019)

32. Perry Lamy with one of his fans (although he appears leery at this point) (Linda Lavon Lamy, November 2019)

 

 
 

33. Thanksgiving dinner with Jeff's parents, Bob and Mary Elsie Hackett. (Christine Hackett, November 2019)

34. John Magoffin: I helped deliver the last remaining Delta DC-7 to the Delta Flight Museum last week. I had been working on this airplane for nine months, getting it ready for the ferry flight, it had been sitting derelict since 2008. A lot of work to get her back in the air, out on the open ramp at Coolidge, Arizona in 110 degree temperatures. Glad to see that done. (November 2019)

 

 

 

 

 
 

 


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