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.”