Got this one nailed. For some reason, I was asked some Contrails question before we took seats. I think it was just a carry-over from the “SI” just before dinner. Anyway, I gave an incomplete answer to whatever the question was, which led into a meal-long grilling on everything under the sun. I do remember doing cadets at the table, and cadets at the two previous tables. My classmates did get to eat a lot, as I was the star attraction for our table, and for a couple tables nearby. Anyway, when all was said and done, I had time for one bite of dessert and a piece of bread (which counted as the main course). So, I never had any shellaroni.
Tada! As a result, I was the ONLY person in the squadron that night who was NOT sick as a dog. I did my best to help my roommates, but I did enjoy watching the upperclass hurl everywhere, even after the toilets, showers, and bathroom sinks all stopped up. Downside was that I was the only smack available to empty trashcans in the morning for the entire squadron – most of which were full of the previous evening's repast.
I remember going to the dispensary 3 consecutive Mondays with some sort of food poisoning. The third week, I was somewhere around number 384 who reported to the dispensary that particular day. There was a corpsman that had to interview us to determine what we’d eaten for the past few days. He looked at my medical file, “Cadet Richard Dye”. He asked, “Do you go by Dick?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Dick Dye, huh! I had that once in Hong Kong. Turned it all green!” To this day, it’s the only funny response I’ve ever gotten to my name. Many have tried; he is the only one who succeeded!
Somehow I managed to escape the first shellaroni episode as a 4°, but naturally everyone heard about it. They brought the dish out the next year when we were 3°s, and for some reason Dan Burkett was table commandant (guess it was one of those evenings where we took it over on our own and sat where we liked). I didn’t recognize it, but as soon as Dan saw it, he grabbed his knife and fork and made a crucifix to ward off the evil stuff.
I lost 3 during First BCT, and had the room to myself for 10 days.
The only roommate from doolie year that graduated was Barry Ketchie. The others that attrited were: Tom Cronin, Tom Metzroth, and Clark Culp. Later upperclass roommates (seven in all) fared better and all graduated, thereby removing the curse.
During first BCT, I was in a 3-man room with Gernot Pomrenke and Randy Patrick. Randy dropped out after our doolie year – I saw him at the football game at our 30th reunion. Gernot was a great roommate – hard working, low profile, etc. Randy and I were less effective at avoiding unwanted attention.
Met Gayl on the North Bridge, as she was trying to get across it to get down the
Bring Me MenCore Values ramp.
Cadet chapel wall
We met at the first Doolie Mixer on September 11, 1971 next to the east spiral stairs in the Arnold Hall Ballroom.
I met my wife of 36 and a half years in Sep 1972 at the Lawrence Paul pavilion. Had been dumped by my high school girlfriend over the summer. My great friend from Miami, Florida Steve Kunkel (USAFA JC./ Univ. of Florida Aero/Astro ‘75) invited me to his 28th Squadron party and steak cookout up the hill from the chapel. Loretta Heights sent a bus and some girls drove down themselves to see what was up with the mountain monastery. As we entered the pavilion, Stevy pointed to a group of girls encircled by ogling/leering cadets as music played in the background. I asked the beautiful one to dance (she was a dance/ballet scholarship freshman). We ate steaks and after a great dinner, kissed. I didn't get her phone number, but said I would find her. Hunted her down on her campus the next weekend. Remember all the liberty we had as sophomores. Dated all year (thank you pre-med Firsty Stu Willis, banana yellow Porsche 914). Engaged Dec 1973. Married 7 Jun 75. Three kids and two grandkids later, I still think my Kathleen Anne (nee Hamilton) Collier is beautiful. I think going to the Academy set me up for the best meeting of my life. We have shared the 29 years of active, reserve and volunteer retired service, as well as my civilian airline career. Thirty-seventh anniversary this June .
My wife of 32 years went to school at Temple Buell College/Colorado Women's College for three years.
Susan Sherlock, LoHi, married from 1982 until 1997.
Russ Snyder – he married the SAME GIRL he arrived at the USAFA BOR 5 Jul 71 with! No "Dear John"-by-Christmas-1971 letter for Russ. Nope. For 4 long years he faithfully and proudly kept a cute picture of his (Bossier City, LA) sweetheart Cecelia (standing next to a large tree trunk, so we called it the "Ce-Ce & the tree" pic) as his authorized, framed 8x10 "family photo" on his cadet desk for four years!
I was on weight tables doolie year after BCT, having had pneumonia. I was 6' tall and weighed in at 127 lbs. We were forced to eat Mitch's Mountains every day after every meal – I think they had us consume 16,000 calories a day (or perhaps that was the goal) – I don't remember and maybe this is just one more data point that's become embellished in my 2k buffer.
Once I discovered this oasis, every time my squadron table was closed and I went “looking for a hole”, all 117 lbs of me would high-tail it to the weight tables. There, I could have milkshakes, and all the high-calorie, fattening food I wanted. Unfortunately, about 300 or so fellow wretched smacks would be looking for the same thing at the same time.
My favorite s*** screen during BCT and later in my doolie squadron was Bob Lyons. I don’t know how he managed to keep taking all the abuse, and still be easy-going and as friendly a classmate you can find anywhere. Bob seemed to attract upperclassmen like tours to Fred Weems. All during BCT, you’d hear Bob doing squat thrusts past counting or standing at attention at the tables during the entire meal. I know he would’ve starved if there wasn’t a rule (established for our class after some nutrition issues when ’74 were Basics) that we would have to have at least 1 bite out of each course. I can’t count the number of meals Bob attended and ONLY had the 1 bite. It’s a wonder he didn’t pass out for lack of nourishment. I feel bad about it now, but when we were smacks in 22, and I had to step out in the hall to either read the meal menu, find out if I was a minute-caller, or go to the latrine, I’d wait and wait until I heard Bob step out and draw upperclassmen into his orbit; or hear, “LYONS, drive on out here!” It was only when the yelling and Bob’s tormented responses reached a certain pitch that I knew it was safe to make it to the CQ board and back. If it weren’t for Bob, I would’ve had a more miserable existence in CS-22 as a wad. But I wish now that I could’ve helped him out more. Here’s to you, Bob Lyons, I’m glad you were in my BCT squadron (Guts) and in 22. You’re a decent guy, and one heck of a great classmate.
As a young avionics maintenance airman (before the zoo), I got to fly 2 combat missions in an AC-119 in SEA while there on TDY – testing an experimental AC-119 with new sensors and avionics.
I know we in Soccer did in the 1972 season (Lenny Salvemini, Paul Narzinski, Jack Shine). I believe Water Polo did in the 1974 season (Ben Phillips, Tom Calhoun and Jack McGee.)
Narz is right . . . the 1974 Water Polo team did make it to the NCAA tournament of eight in Long Beach CA. '75ers were indeed Phillips, Calhoun, & Magee . . . we had a great year!
Bruce Edstrom and I went to NCAA finals Firstie Year.
My version of this story – spring of '73 I was rooming in CS-15 with Clint Waltman (now Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Waltman!) – he had never talked much about it, but his Dad was an Air Force pilot who had been shot down and imprisoned in N. Vietnam. The peace treaty was signed and the POWS were being flown out of N. Vietnam on "Freedom Bird" C-141s – watching them come off the planes and salute after so many years of hardship (a young Naval aviator named McCain was in the group) was inspiring to us as young cadets, but had special significance for Clint who didn't know if his Father was coming home until he saw him get off the plane in the squadron TV room.
Clint was given a leave of absence to go home and spend some time with his Dad and family and missed the Finals Week going on at the time. The Dean got his due – on return, Clint had to study up in an accelerated week of special deferred finals – a solo Finals Week that had him pulling consecutive All Nighters.
Punchy and worn out one night we started wondering if records (not CDs – classic rock vinyl records that cost us $3.05 in the C-Store) had the same aerodynamics as frisbees – I was no Aero major and before I knew what he was doing Clint opened the our Vandenberg Hall dorm window and started flinging LPs towards the Field House to test the theory I may have joined in. It must have been about 2 am. Fortunately, no known collateral damage. Our testing didn't do much good as we couldn't see where the records landed, but Clint aced his exams and got himself rested and back on track. I was looking for cracked vinyl on my way to the gym for weeks never found any. We had the good sense to use only unwanted records, but perhaps one cadet's trash was another's treasure?
We were members of the Class of 75 "Treadmill Team" – human guinea pigs at the mercy of firstie class pre-med students who (supposedly) measured our "biometrics." They were trying to see how squat-bodies from different altitudes adapted to the high altitude of USAFA. At any rate, we ran on the treadmill about a half-dozen times at USAFA (with face-mask attached so our oxygen intake and outtake could be measured – I guess), but then were taken on a trip to Los Angeles to run at sea level. Dubious enough on the surface, Larry Bryant told me years later that the flight surgeon who was head of the trip was court-martialed for misuse of funds. Could we have been the unknowing pawns? I know I was.
Scott is correct. Who else was in this program? I thought there were at least 5 of us. There were two Majors in charge of the project – Wat*** and Wal** – who were eventually court-marshaled for misuse of government resources. I think part of the charges were about the travel vouchers and some missing equipment, but I don't know any other details. We ran weekly to see how quickly we adjusted to the altitude. That Fall they took us to UC Davis, CA, and had us run at sea-level to compare results on a Saturday, but then we flew to LA and spent the night. Actually, they dumped us at the airport and left us to fend for ourselves. We got a hotel room near the airport by pooling our money.
Banned by AOC of CS-33, but done anyway – inspired by CS-40 (who also had their own Ali Baba cheer), and CS-32, I think. One cadet (usually Colt Mefford in our squadron) would yell out the attitude check, and the rest of the squadron would respond when falling out. Colt was the best – we’d tell him that, while he served his cons after being written up for it every single time.
Challenge: “Attitude Check!” Response: “This Place Sucks!” Challenge: “Positive Attitude Check!” Response: “This Place Positively Sucks!” Challenge: “Dirty Attitude Check!” Response: “This F***ing Place Sucks!” Challenge: “Mathematical Attitude Check!” Response: “Given This Place, Prove That It Sucks!” Challenge: “Existential Attitude Check!” Response: “This Place Exists, Therefore It Sucks!”
On 100’s night, our doolie year, we stuffed a firstie’s room (CS-34) with newspaper. When we were required to clean it up, we filled the trash chute, so . . . we threw in Tom Calhoun, naked. I understand he finally crawled out on the 3rd floor and wound up getting chased across the terrazzo! I can’t remember if he was written up.
Terry WADSACK, who didn’t graduate. He always got a kick out of planning to put an “M” in his name to see if any Basics would snicker when he introduced himself as cadre during BCT as “Cadet Wadsmack” . . .
Roger Olson wore his upside down one day (or more), which then read "NOSLO", so that's what we called him.
Fall semester freshman year – phone in the room. This probably wouldn’t seem like much to the cadets of today, but it was a big deal back then. I had some experience working with telephones in high school. In the Fall semester, I worked in the Amateur Radio Club, having had my amateur radio license when I came to the Academy. They had a class B (one which you could use to make local phone calls by dialing 9) phone in there. My room was one floor above (I was in Nooky Niners) and two half hallways apart. At the corner, there was an airshaft which went between the two floors. I had a girlfriend downtown by then and I was tired of taking grief from the upperclassmen to get to the Amateur Radio Club.
Armed with 2 conductor wire, tape, a phone from my girlfriend, one late weekend night when few were paying attention, I strung the wire and hooked up the phone in my room. I kept it in my bottom desk drawer. Worked great until one night, a Firstie came by. Our desks at this point were facing the windows. Firstie came in quietly, I was on the phone looking out the window. My roomie, Pat Berg, immediately stood at attention (he was on the bed or just paying more attention than I was). Firstie asks, "What is Lewallen doing?" "Talking on the phone, Sir." "TALKING ON THE PHONE???" – which made me realize that someone was in the room with us, hung up and stood at attention. I thought I was dead for sure, but it turns out the Firstie wanted a phone in HIS room and my secret would be safe. I lost my phone and wound up hooking several phones up for Firsties. They were all on the same number, so the availability of the line degraded significantly.
There was the time in my doolie year when I was personally responsible for the entire Cadet Wing having a string of haircut inspections! I was a doolie in 40th Squadron and I had stopped in Vandenberg Hall to get my weekly haircut. On the way OUT of the barbershop I had the misfortune of running in to our "beloved" Com, B/G Vandenberg, Jr and his aide. After being chewed out for having long hair for about 10 minutes (which seemed like an eternity) they let me go. Fool that I was, I headed back to my squadron instead of getting ANOTHER haircut. By the time I crossed the terrazzo, word had reached the squadron. The AOC, Squadron Commander, and First Sergeant all got a piece of me before the noon meal formation. Of course, there was a Wing-wide haircut inspection that day, (which by the way I passed), and the next day, and the day after that. The following day, I went to the "Cowboy" (I'm sure you remember him) and told him I wanted to look like I got a haircut. Despite all the sound and fury, I never did get written up! I guess long hair was always in the eyes of the beholder.
"Best Hairs" story has to go to George Franklin – when his packed down, waxed, stocking-capped, panty-hose-over-the-head 'FRO exploded during an In-Ranks Inspection at the Noon Meal Formation.
How about as a waiter at my sister’s wedding?
I was mistaken for a bell hop in a nice hotel in Chicago . . . we had been at Tom Calhoun's wedding in white mess dress . . . a year or two after graduation.
I’ve never been mistaken for an airport porter – but Brad Shields and I went to the Washington DC Mardi Gras to escort the various Miss's (Miss Shrimp, Miss Gumbo, Miss Oil, and my personal favorite: the Hog Queen) at some big Louisiana Congressional ball. While there, I was presumed by one drunk congressman to be a waiter as he handed me his dirty plates and wineglasses and ordered me to get some wine refills over to his table. I did the first half without complaining.
From Playboy Magazine's Miss July 1971:
Dear Cadet Bill Lyerly, Here's your written permission for you to have hot beverages with your meals. I hope this helps ease the strain of being a "Doolie." Good Luck, Heather, "Miss July"
I actually read all these accounts with total amazement. Either I've left the majority of my brain memory cells on a barstool somewhere in my past, or I lived my Zoomie days with my head stuffed in my laundry bin oblivious to what was going on around me. I have no recollection of being involved in any crazy spirit rallies, never could find my way to the weight tables, didn't find my wife until 13 years after I graduated, wasn't maintaining an off campus apartment against the rules (???), don't have a clue even today how to get into the tunnels, never served a confinement, marched a tour – and truth be known, I don't recall ever getting a demerit, but as I recall, I was voted Second Group's “Squadron-Commander-most-likely-to-get-fired” (a certain cadet group commander didn't think my leadership style conformed to the norm). Oh yes, I certainly lived on the edge at USAFA! Boring cadet life I guess – but an incredible 32 year career afterwards serving my country. I salute ALL our classmates! ‘75 Best Alive!
A heads up to Mark "Chex" Volcheff - Hey, Room-O! Remember your date(s) with "Bubbles", the local gal who REALLY liked you (and Ted Parker, and Sam Ryals, and Dave Ruddock, and Greg Geiser, and . . . ) Yes, you were an honorable young man, but the real story is still out there...!