Checkpoints          June 2021              Foster Bitton

GBNF: Joe O’Brien, CS-22, passed away on 22 April at his home in Waco, Texas.

The Class that Keeps on Giving: The Class of ’75 is serving as the Legacy Class for the Class of 2025, which will be starting BCT this summer! As the Legacy Class, we financed the publication of Contrails for the Class of 2025 and provided some insights to its members in a dedication at the beginning of the book, including the following. “Our class has the unique distinction of having the highest attrition of any class in USAFA’s history – only 54% of us who went through that first day of in-processing walked across the stage at graduation four years later! While there were several reasons for that, it has left those of us who made it through those challenging cadet years with strong affections for our classmates. While we anticipate that many more of you will make it to graduation than did our class, we hope that you form the same deep friendships and life-long bonds that we, the Class of 1975, have with each other. That is our sincere, profound wish for you.” Hear! Hear!

The 45th Reunion Class Gift Projects include Restoration of the Air Gardens and the Endowment of Contrails. The success of these projects is proof that contributions at all levels make a difference. The level of participation exemplifies our class’ recognition of the fact that part of our legacy is in preserving the traditions and character of the institution that brought us together and played a major role in shaping our adult lives. Well done, ’75! Lists of individual donors and each squadron’s participation can be found HERE.

Doing Retirement Right:  Anyone seen Will Cosby lately? If you happen to be in Loreto, Baja California Sur in Mexico, drop into the local wine cellar and look him up. He has been an ex-pat down there for the last 10 years and owns the wine cellar/restaurant.

CS-31 Grim Reapers Larry Colletti, Jim Foster, Dave Ferguson, and Mike DeHart held their sixth annual ski trip at Winter Park, CO in March. COVID kept more from attending, but this foursome had their shots and kept the annual ritual alive. They held the first Hawaiian themed dinner with appropriate attire and held a Zoom call with those that couldn’t make it. All survived the skiing without injury, but the day set aside for snowmobiling did not bode well for Larry when he gunned his machine onto the clam-shelled trailer and ran head on into the cover, ending up with a bloody five-inch gash on his forehead and several stitches! Thankfully, flight surgeon Jim Foster was there to perform triage. In only two more trips the Grim Reapers skiers plan on celebrating their 70th birth year on the slopes, and they have all vowed to keep going beyond that.

The CS-20 old Trolls are planning a reunion in the fall of 2022. Squadronmate Brad Lindsey offered his ranch in Dubois, Wyoming, and being sage old Trolls, the squadron members jumped at the opportunity. It appears several squadrons are planning mini-reunions before the 50th comes around, so Bill Estelle created a page for the squadrons to post information about their get-togethers. Go HERE for the latest information about your squadron’s plans.

CS-19 Playboys Rick Sarver, Carl Van Pelt, Lucky Corrigan, and Buck Rogers got together for their 3rd Annual Playboy Cup Golf Competition at the Clubs of Cordillera Ranch in Boerne, TX, April 6-8. According to Buck, “The Good Guys played well but were edged out by those other guys.” One would assume that Buck considers himself one of the Good Guys, but he doesn’t offer any viable proof to confirm that. And if the Good Guys lost, does that make the other team the Better Guys? Buck also levied accusations of sandbagging, and it’s surprising he didn’t offer other excuses, such as, “My wife washed my lucky pair of underwear.” The course undoubtedly saw a lot of quality shots during their rounds, and equally impressive was the food the foursome tucked away. The final homemade dinner consisted of smoked Texas Brisket with Buck’s famous Chipotle Brown Sugar rub, cream corn, roadrunner jalapeños, Texas Whiskey, Texas Wine, and of course, brownies and ice cream. No matter who was Good and who was Better, it sounds like they all came out of it a little bit heavier.

Chris Glaeser brought up an interesting point. Anyone who completed AM 490 in between 1969 and 1977 jumped out of an aircraft that often carried the Air Force One call sign during President Eisenhower’s term in office. President Eisenhower would fly in the U-4B between Washington, D.C. and his farm in Pennsylvania, and being a licensed pilot, he would often take the controls himself. “So Johnnie, did you know that Grandpa jumped out of an aircraft that used to be flown by a President of the United States?” “Gee Grandpa, you jumped out of a perfectly good airplane? You’re even more loony than I thought!”

A question recently arose about how to contact the AOG when a graduate passes away. It’s a fact of life, and preparing for it helps those that are left behind. To notify the AOG of a passing, go HERE.


After this column went to press, the Association of Graduates learned of the following deaths:


John G. Sims, who passed away on 13 December 2020 in West Virginia.


Craig T. Scott, who passed away on 12 April 2021 in Cheney, Washington.


Jeffrey L. Edgecomb, who passed away on 14 April 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts.


David L. Fleming, who passed away on 1 May 2021 in Florida.


Checkpoints Extras


Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate         April 2021


Bruce Mitchell represented the Class of '75 at the April 2021 CAS Meeting:

The CAS met last night and heard from the Dean, the AOG Board Vice Chair, the AOG staff and Foundation/AOG CEO. New CAS President Randy Helms ('77) chaired the meeting (Randy was also just elected as a COS city councilman). I will notify you when the full meeting minutes package is approved, but here are the highlights, mentioning only the "new items" that were briefed or discussed.

From the Dean: Dean stressed the herculean efforts of the DF staff keeping the USAFA academic programs active and viable during COVID. USAFA has led the way for DoD and many other institutions of higher learning with their scientific and innovative approaches. (Dean implored us, "if you know someone on the faculty staff, send them a thank you note for their outstanding/extended efforts.") This semester's academic classes are about 50-50% split between in person and remote learning. 100% in person classes are the objective for upcoming fall semester. Summer research projects have increased (not decreased) for this summer due to some internal AF/AFRL replacements for traditional corporate/institutional hosts for cadets who declined participation this year during COVID. Air Force/Space Force HQs have requested the academy increase the number of STEM major grads ('20 grads had 45% STEM, '21 has 61%). USAFA plans a new approach to teaching calculus (especially for non-math majors) in core curriculum next year. DF is responsible for formulating the new Center for Future Warfare curriculum; Permanent Profs are the working group for this. Two new academic majors are emerging; data engineering and space war fighting, and possibly a logistics minor to meet AF/SF needs. Dean spent a lot of time (this is always a hot issue with grads) on the status of recent honor (virtual learning) issues, and the improvement efforts underway for the Honor System. She also described half a dozen on-going initiatives to make/ keep USAFA's leadership preparation programs operationally viable and future facing. The Dean fielded about 30 questions from the CAS; she is an extremely articulate lady. New Commandant will join the senior staff soon; just announced last week. M/G Edmondson moving to command 19th AF (AETC).

From AOG Board Vice Chair: Thanks for supporting the election. Two new appointed board members (Strebe and Bledsoe, both of whom were on the election ballot) have been seated for the upcoming new board meeting in May. Third (within by-laws for niche skills, finance and warfighter respectively) likely appointed at or after May meeting. New board chair will be elected during the May board meeting. Thanks to Cathy McClain for her service as board chair. Membership for all grads remains a focus goal for the board in coming year. Board is exploring a "task force" idea for working specific challenge issues (like a staff role), and is considering inviting 2021 board candidate/volunteers to take on some of these task force lead slots to advise the board. Overall grad participation remains a challenge, especially for the younger decade classes.

From AOG staff: Detailed briefing provided on the evolution of ZoomieLink.
Other housekeeping details: Open reunion season is the goal for 2021. AOG event staff is working with individual classes to get the profile of planned reunions set up (as we already know).

From CEO: 2021 is starting out as another strong fund-raising year for Foundation.

CAS President; We are aiming for in-person July CAS meeting at Doolittle Hall. (With virtual connections for 'out of towners”).

Please let me know if you have questions or comments. Minutes HERE.

 

Class of 2025 Contrails Dedication


Larry Fariss: The Contrails Class Gift is completed, and we have presented all classes commencing with the Class of 2020 with their personal copy that includes a prominently displayed Class of '75 Commemorative page. The Contrail funds are invested with the Endowment and structured to fund the publication of Contrails in perpetuity. We can be very proud of this accomplishment which is the envy of many classes who wanted to do the same. We beat 'em to the punch!


June Album

     

Memorial Day 2021


 

Bentley Rayburn: On this Memorial Day Weekend a number of our Classmates were able to visit all of the gravesites and in a few cases memorial markers of our classmates who are buried in the USAF Academy cemetery.  Bruce Mitchell took the lead to organize the effort and along with Bruce Fritzsche and Foster Bitton, Scott Hente placed a Class Coin on each of the markers. It was a rewarding time remembering these great classmates and reflecting on our times with them. 

1. (Left to Right): Bruce Fritzsche, Foster Bitton, Bruce Mitchell, Scott Hente, & Bentley Rayburn.

2. Some classmates who are not interred at the USAFA cemetery nonetheless have memorial markers there.

3. Remembering the wives of classmates.

4. Classmates interred or memorialized at USAFA.


 

1. Steve Duresky: Easter smiles from Northwest Florida. (April 2021)

2. First time seeing Grandpa (Bill Buchta) in almost a year. (Claire Buchta Rosean, April 2021)

3. Oleh Stefaniuk, fishing with friends. (Veronika Nemeth Stefaniuk, April 2021)

4. Ben Bosma: Was honored to go to The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson A.F.B. For the Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony. We brought my father who’s actually a part of the exhibit with my Grandmother who are recognized as righteous gentiles for having hid Jewish families under the floorboards in there home in Arnhem Netherlands during WW2. The creator of the Holocaust Exhibit here at the museum was the speaker at today’s ceremony, Renate Frydman. A special thank you for mentioning Dad for his role as a liberator and the risk to family and himself for their selfless act of kindness and compassion through such a horrible time in our history! And thank you to all the active duty service members that made today’s event possible! We will never forget what happened and should make it heard! (April 2021)

 

5. Dave Wallace: Checking out the Sawtooth Range from Avalanche Alley near Grandjean Summit, Idaho. (April 2021)

6. Michael & Joan Lischak. (Joan Lischak, April 2021)

7. John Wesley Routh: Marti and I watched our 16-year-old grandaughter Kelsey play lacrosse last Saturday. That is a tough sport with long games. She did well and scored twice. (April 2021)

8. Buck Rogers: Paige & Papa walked to the bakery in Budoia, Italy, and had some sweet desserts. (April 2021)

 

9. Paul Kent: A few weeks ago, I got to spend some quality time with my sweet granddaughter. Oh... and with my kids and granddogs too. I loved, loved, loved having this special time with my little angel. She just turned 7 months old and she is working hard to crawl. (April 2021)

10. John Scherer & wife Ann Rondeau at the Lone Cypress near Pebble Beach. Ann is the President of the Naval Postgraduate School. (April 2021)

11. Classmates attending John Sutton's memorial service at the USAFA cemetary on 23 April: Larry Bryant, Bruce Mitchell, Bentley Rayburn, John Gaughan, Larry Richter, Randy Davis, and Chris Commeford. Not shown, but in attendance: Duane Jones and Dave Haugen.

From Larry Bryant to John's wife, Leigh: We thought you might be interested to know there were many of John's classmates from the Class of 1975 in attendance today. We appreciated the opportunity to salute our classmate, and John will be remembered several times each year at events such as Memorial Day, Class Reunions, and the wreath-laying in December. Blessings to you and your family at this difficult time. (April 2021)

12. Bill Spencer at the Alamo: Some places you just stand your ground. (April 2021)

 

13. Rick Kim: Today marks the 41st anniversary of the Make-A-Wish (MAW) Foundation. In observance of this milestone, I’m announcing my intention to participate in the MAW Trailblaze Challenge (TBC), a 26.3-mile marathon hike at Silver Falls State Park on July 23rd. Some of you know I said I was only going to do it last year, however, as C.S. Lewis wrote, “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” So, with that in mind, I am motivated to complete this hike because 1) “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late” (RWE), 2) Out of compassion for, & to honor the children/families with whom I’ve been privileged to work, & 3) Out of aloha & respect for my “nephews” & “nieces” of this MAW Oregon ohana, from CEO Laila, to director Parvaneh, to manager Darcie, to TBC leader Sadie, & to all of the other vibrant & dedicated people making up this single-minded family. (29 April 2021)

14. Tom Burns (Right) with friend Wayne Callhan. (April 2021)

15. One of these things is not like the others. (May 2021)

16. Buck & Suzanne Rogers in Italy visiting family. (May 2021)

 

17. Randy Mason on the water at Crab Island, Destin, Florida. (Susan Calhoun, May 2021)

18. Gary & Karen Exelby. (May 2021)

19. Don Byers enjoying dinner and drinks at the Boardroom in Joplin, Missouri. (Terra Menefee, May 2021)

20. Eric Rosborg on the water again. (May 2021)

 

21. Barry Abbott celebrating his birthday in San Antonio with friend Bradley Albers, enjoying a round of golf. (May 2021)

22. Dave Wallace. (May 2021)

23. Ralph Paul: Yesterday Loretta, her mom, Jennie, and I went to one of our favorite restaurants, Angelo's Taverna, for lunch. They have the best French Onion Soup, so we always start our lunch with that. It was a beautiful day with sun, blue skies and 75 degrees. Here we are toasting getting out again after COVID with some great margaritas. It was a great lunch and a great day with Loretta and Jennie! (May 2021)

24. A mysterious stranger showing the class colors at the Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah. (May 2021)

 

25. Mickey & Jeannine Clemons with their favorite oldest granddaughter at her school picnic. (Jeannine Clemons, May 2021)

26. Jim Hartney spending some quaity time with his granddaughter. (May 2021)

27. Scott Hente (Far Right) commencing his new career as a fashion model for the AOG. (USAFA Association of Graduates, May 2021)

28. Rudy Roth (Left) with Jerry Hale, Legislative Chaplain for The Leaders of the Faith ministry. (Jerry Hale, May 2021)

 

29. Kurt & Karol Bock with daughter Rebecca and future son-in-law Wes. (Rebecca Bock, June 2021)

30. Paul Kent with friends Terry McIntosh & Mark Norelius at Alpental the Summit at Snoqualmie: Only 11 days to summer. Let's go skiing and snowshoeing. Great way to spend Mark's 69th birthday. (June 2021)

31. Jim & Emily Marshall on their 46th wedding anniversary. (June 2021)

32. Dave and Patti Ruddock with family for a late birthday/early Father's Day celebration. (June 2021)

 

33. John Scherer (Third from Left) either on a work release program or perhaps the Commander of the Rotary Club of Monterey Highway cleanup gang! We assume the latter to be true. (Renata Barnwell, June 2021)

34. Eric Rosborg: I had a great Father's Day with Matthew. We had brunch at a Cuban bar in DC, accompanied by a terrific Panamanian rum. Very proud of this young man. (June 2021)

35. Bill Spencer and daughter Mandy, celebrating Father's Day. (Mandy Spencer, June 2021)

36. Oleh Stefaniuk and daughters celebrating Father's Day (Veronika Nemeth Stefaniuk, June 2021)

 

37. John Kambourian visiting with his granddaughter Lilah in Colorado. (June 2021)

38. Steve & Sharon Duresky: Rare gathering of Sharon and me and our "kids." (June 2021)

39. Dave & Beth Herlong attending the wedding of their niece. (Rosemary Herlong Hunter, June 2021)

40. Bill Murray: Just wanted you to know that I met with our classmate Dana Carlson (DNG), today for a couple of hours. What a great visit! Dana was in town to celebrate the birth of Grandbaby #8! We both talked about what a fabulous place we were in life. One thing we both agreed on is that we will make every effort to make it to the Army game at USAFA this November 6th in C-Springs and meet with our other football buds! (June 2021)


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