Fall 2004          Jeff Hackett

Retirement and Retirement. While there’s certainly news of greater interest to follow I want to lead off with news of my impending (voluntary but much needed) retirement from the USAFR, and more importantly my (voluntary but very much needed) retirement from duties as Class Scribe. In the case of the former I’ll be just short of thirty years and as regards the later, just short of twenty years. Both have been intense and enjoyable labors of love. Neither was an easy decision to move on from… but after prayerful consideration it seemed clear that it’s getting later than even I thought! And so as you read this (in late December?) I will be putting away the blue suit (effective date of transfer to Retired Reserve 31 Dec) and compiling a list of volunteers to “pick up the pen” (send me an e-mail or give me a call indicating your short / long –term interest, Jim Carlson and I will somehow pick a “winner” in time to write next column – due O/A 11 Jan).

Moving Off the Trivial. The clearly most important news I have to pass along is that our classmate and my dear friend Jon Turner is battling cancer. Jon got the shocking diagnosis in early September, had surgery in mid-September to remove golf-ball size tumor from his brain, and started chemo / radiation therapy in October. He’s been… well he’s been exactly the kind of man I’m honored to say I knew he was from the beginning of this ordeal – a man of faith and character. A true hero. Hope each and every ‘75er will send along your best and will pray for Jon, Diane, the kids, and medical team caring for him.

Good News (Other Than Being Done with Hackett). Happy coincidence had me on USAFR duty a couple of months ago at same time Maj Gen (s) Perry Lamy was at Kirtland AFB to make an address; I crashed the reception and had great time chatting with Perry about his new job as Commander of AFRL. As the photo shows, our class is creating a center of mass in Air Force science; Col Mike Heil (Director of the Propulsion Directorate), Col (USAFR) Mike McClendon (Mobilization Assistant to the Commander, AFRL), Maj Gen (s) Perry Lamy (Commander, AFRL), and Col Sam Ryals (Deputy Director, Sensors Directorate).

More good news on the continuing recovery John Sims is making (following UH-60 crash in Iraq). John was featured in a segment of PBS Newshour highlighting his long journey back from brain damage suffered in the mishap. A transcript of the interview is HERE. Another hero in our midst! (Additional Photo Below)

USAFA Graduate Leadership Conference. Someday I’ll figure out how one scores an invite to something like the USAFA Graduate Leadership Conference – for the time being we’ll live vicariously through following photos sent in by Jim Carlson (the man is everywhere!)

Feeling More Secure About the Homeland. Bill (Ebola) Lyerly continues to move up within those Washington DC circles – in September he was promoted to Career Senior Executive / Scientific Professional (ST) which is only fitting for someone who is the “Director, WMD Operations & Incident Management, and Science Advisor to the Under Secretary for Science and Technology Department of Homeland Security”. While that is certainly impressive, you may want to consider Bill’s self-confessed “curse”! Bill recently realized that every USAF Base that he ever had a set of TDY or PCS orders in hand for (even if he never went there) - IS NOW CLOSED. I’m thinking I won’t be nominating Bill for any jobs at Orbital Sciences!

More moving up – MG Joe Stein is now at SHAPE HQ in Mons, Belgium I’d have more examples of classmates-who-done-good to pass along if I hadn’t loaned my recent copy of “Air Force” magazine to a ’76 grad (OK so write me up for questionable judgment!) which had the “Senior Air Force Leadership” listing / pictures. If you didn’t see it and want to feel good / old go to the local Library and check it out.

Odds & Ends. Saw a note from John Noetzel announcing his retirement. Pete Hennessey is working for Battelle in Columbus, OH. Joe Facenda is organizing an AOG Chapter in the Southern California area. Thirtieth reunion plans are in full swing – start planning NOW!

Make a Good First Impression. Send anything and everything newsworthy (including pictures) to me right now – I’ll send it off to the new Scribe and giving him the chance to be more of an editor and less of a create-something-from-nothing author on his first time out.

Was many hair follicles and a whole bunch of great stories ago when I signed on to this gig – hard to imagine we’ve come this far. Hope I’ll continue to get some e-mails, calls, Christmas Cards, and real-live visits and even if I don’t I’ll look forward to opening up to the Class Column in Checkpoints to find out something I didn’t already know! As they say in the Budweiser commercials – I love you man! And for the very last time (and forever), go hug the ones you love –it’s later than you think!


Heil, McClendon, Lamy, & Ryals


John Sims' Blackhawk seat after the crash


John Sims Recovering


Rod Hennek, Mike Matte, Rich Chanick,
Scott Hente, & Jim Carlson


Rayburn, Mitchell, Hente, Chanick, Carlson, Hennek, Meyerrose, (Generic Cadet
Falconer & Falcon), & Matte

Checkpoints Extras





1. Rick & Pauline Kim, celebrating. (December 2004)

2. John Sims (Rear, Center) with other team members of the Maryland Army National Guard in 1999, who deployed to El Salvador after Hurrican Mitch to support Task Force New Hope. (Roger Weaver)



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