Too Much of a Good Thing. With some of my other (home-improvement, investment, parenting, etc.) good ideas turned out this successful – response to my AOG email-to-the-entire class requesting inputs for this column was overwhelming! Apologies to those whose news/notes/photos wound up on the editing room floor (editorial staff has word/photo limits).
’75 Tailgates – Home and Away. Jim Burling is lending his leadership skills to home football game tailgate parties and (occasional happy hours in the COS area). He’s equally adept at providing newsy inputs, “(in attendance at Wyoming game tailgate party)… Seven guys in Colorado Springs still in uniform doing good things. Three at the Academy: Larry Fariss – Prep School Commander, Bill Spencer – Director of Plans and Programs, Mark Wells – Head of History Department. Four at Peterson/Schriever: Dale Meyerrose – NORTHCOM/J6 Director of Architecture and Integration, Dick Webber – AFSPC Director of Logistics and Communications, Doug Fraser – AFSPC Director of Operations, Kent Traylor – Vice Commander of the Space Warfare Center. Russ Trinter, wife Suzy and twins Cody and Connor deserve kudos for driving 400 miles for tailgate and game.”
Over 40 of our classmates and their friends/family (200+ people in all!) gathered for Duane Lodrige’s 10th annual good time USAFA – USNA tailgate party. Outcome on the field was disappointing but pictures and accounts of the festivities indicate there was no shortage of high spirits in the parking lot. Don’t know if they got linked up with the tailgate but got separate pregame email from Greg Collier to say he was going with Kathleen and their youngest. Greg is still a 767 international first officer at US Airways and recently hosted his old roommate David Blessinger when he and his family (Nora and two of the four boys) came to visit from Fort Walton, FL where Dave’s working in the defense industry.
No word of a tailgate, but a happier game result: heard from two of our classmates who made USAFA – BYU game. Wayne and Amy Willis, who now lives in Salt Lake City (although Wayne’s still flying out of DFW) were there and noted, “not a prettier site than 60,000 BYU fans dead quiet and leaving early!” Jeff Chappell was also at that game with youngest son, Adam (17), who’s still living at home with Jeff and Theresa, and Adam’s older brother, Daniel, who is a freshman at BYU. Rest of the Chappell boys are near (two sons and one grandson in San Antonio) and far (number one son, Matt, is stationed at Ellsworth AFB with his wife and two daughters). Jeff volunteered for and was accepted by NPS for the First Flight Centennial in December near his parents’ home in North Carolina.
John Sims Update. John’s recovery from Apache combat crash in Iraq is continuing; in rehab during the week and home (Charlottesville, VA) on the weekends; still some short-term memory problems but progress is being made. Let’s all continue to pray for good health and successful new paths for John and Violeta.
New Traditions. If you didn’t pick up on the new end-of-BCT event, the Warrior Run (pg 48-50) last Checkpoints), or if you wondered who represented our class – it was Dick Dye and Phil Gronseth. Both were very supportive of what they see from the new leadership team at USAFA and offered some interesting thoughts. Dick noted, “I think the real tradition demonstrated today is the tradition of support in times of trouble. The graduates are rallying around the ‘not yet’ graduates in times of trouble at the Academy” and Phil said, “This is my 12th year at AFA and it always seems that once the dust settles after major changes, the Academy is a better place. (However, if you come in my office you will notice ‘Bring Me Men…” taped above the inside of my door.)”
Class Astronomy. Indirectly got the word that more stars have been added. Doug Fraser, Stan Gorenc, and Mark Volcheff have each earned an additional star (Major General’s all). Also caught an announcement that BG Steve Redmann has retired.
Having followed a different career path (12-year break in service), Rick Townsend recently pinned on Lt. Col.'s rank (USAFR). Mike McClendon who works with Rick in both the Reserve world (F-22 SPO at WPAFB) and at American Airlines (Mike 757/767 Captain and Rick 777 F/O) officiated at promotion ceremony. We also need to congratulate Leon Smith-Harrison on his selection to the AOG Board of Directors. Leon wrote to say he sincerely welcomes our opinions or suggestions as he contributes to this important work.
Southern Exposure. Got email from Bill Dalson to tell me about recent Davis-Monthan AFB reunion of Latin American air attachés. Bill and Chuck Holland are attachés in Argentina and Bolivia, respectively. Al Piotter and Kevin Lanzit were also there representing "Management" – Al works Latin America attaché ops for DIA and Kevin runs all USAF attaché business for SAF IA. Bill wanted us to appreciate how apropos it was to gather these four “relics” in such close proximity to the USAF “boneyard.” Bill also mentioned that classmate John Kambourian is also at Argentine Embassy “protecting the world from the over-exportation of great beef and wine.”
Bit and Pieces. From Ben Phillips: "I'm hanging on with American airlines as a 777 FO out of ORD. In my spare time, I'm working with Air Force National Security Emergency Preparedness (AFNSE) as the FEMA Region 5 Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer (EPLO). Every now and then I run into Bill Schuessler, the state EPLO Minnesota, and Jack Huffman, the retiring Director of the AFA the Liaison Officers in Northern Illinois.” From David Beck: “keeping busy in New Orleans as chairman of the Colon and Rectal Surgery Department at the Ochsner Clinic.” From Brian Duffy: “A brief input from the Kennedy Space Center/NASA world: Bruce Hevey is now the KSC Director of IT, Jim Heald is the Director of Spaceport Technology, and Steve Pitotti is an active member of the NASA leadership at NASA HQ in DC.” From Duane Jones: “Am now at the Pentagon working as exec to VCSAF exec (until he figures out I can’t type!). One of my first pleasant surprises was to find SES Dave Tillotson working in the next hallway. He’s doing great in the AF/XI world.” Doug Miller recently did the retirement ceremony thing although the official date is 1 Jan 04. He finished up at Elmendorf AFB, AK where he was Vice Wing Commander. He noted, “The wing went all out for the ceremony and dinner – had a C-130 flyby and honored Allison quite well as she deserves. Our son Ryan (USAFA ’03) came here to retire me. I commissioned him in May, and he retired me; what a deal!” Bob Hickcox wrote from the Boston area: “Retired two years ago after my company (information systems for education) was sold to a large publishing company. I now have a small consulting business (more a hobby), where I work with CIOs and senior Engineering Managers on technology management project-planning problems… Barb and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary this year.”
Over (The Word Limit) And Out (Of Time). Early holiday greetings to all! Whatever/however you celebrate, keep your loved ones close at hand – it’s later than you think.