Thirtieth Reunion. After careful analytical observation and calculated research, the scribe, with help from many others, has concluded that our class can now be re-divided into four Groups, bearing no resemblance to the Groups we were assigned to when were at the Zoo. These Groups will be referred to hereafter as the “A-Jacket” Groups. You can probably see where this is going. The First Group has conveniently lost our A-Jacket, as we can no longer fit into it and still function. The Second Group can fit into their A-Jacket, but cannot zip it. The Third Group can fit into their A-Jacket, zip it, but not breathe. The last Group of despicable classmates can fit into their graduation A-Jacket, zip it, breathe, and function normally. This Fourth Group has a select nickname when referred to by the other three Groups, but the scribe can’t print it here.
Although this Checkpoints should arrive via postal mail a few months after our last rejoin in the Springs, this will be the first chance to reminisce about this great event attended by almost half of our surviving members. The percentage is probably greater if we were to tally all of us who got together, registered or not, as many Best Alivers only made it to the Falcon come-from-behind victory and to the Saturday eve individual Squadron rejoins.
Those of us lucky enough to attend don’t need this column to confirm our get together was memorable and enjoyable. Even the Falcon football team snatched Victory from the jaws of Defeat, just as they did the week before when the scribe took his whole family to witness a Falcon comeback over the University of Washington Huskies with only 39 seconds left in the game. The victory over the San Diego State Aztecs during our reunion weekend was due, the scribe is sure, in no small part, to the efforts of 50 plus year old cheerleaders (kudos to Russ Trinter, along with Ollie Lorenz) leading 50 plus year old alumni. Yes, the cheers for this new generation of co-ed zoomies have changed, but we didn’t know them. So we did our old ones. And, of course, the current cheerleaders came over to assist; then left with their mouths ajar in disbelief (and disgust, possibly) at what came out of the mouths of old men. What can we say? We didn’t invent them. We just repeat them. Very enthusiastically, actually.
Friday night we were treated to the voices of the Cadet Chorale, joined later by members of our class who were formal Chorale members. Man, can those people sing. Beautiful. Later we were awed with a “Class of 1975 Retrospective”, courtesy of a major effort by Bill Estelle. Bill says he spent between 2000 and 3000 hours compiling pictures from archives and from a few classmates who sent him photos. And he says there are still more files left in the archives. Amazingly, he adds, “I hope that rather than being the end, this project was a beginning.” He added appropriate background audio and produced a classic that you will want if you haven’t obtained a copy yet. A Mac guy? Cool. While you’re at it, send him some digitized photos from your old photo collection, so the Second Edition will all the better.
Speaking of memories, Jim Carlson, our overworked President, along with his humble scribe, has a great request, which will be facilitated by Bruce Mitchell. From Bruce: “We want to capture our class legacy in writing, for our own and future posterity purposes: 75 at 30. We need maximum input from the class to make this complete and most meaningful. We are working on e-ways to ease and standardize preparation of these narrative inputs from each classmate. They will be collected and input via cadet squadron groups...likely organized and published in the same way. Begin writing down the most compact one page summary of your career and perhaps a humorous, sobering, or otherwise meaningful anecdote from your career, and stay tuned for future information on this effort from your squadron reps.” We’ll be back to you on this one. In any event, any recollections we record now, along with the DVD, will outlive us all. This is what will remain when the last '75er is gone. Our legacy is what we leave behind. This will include photographs, memorials, our legacy gifts, and Mark Modrich's A-jacket (as well as that dreadful quasi-official coat that he somehow avoided ditching the first chance the rest of us got).
It is probably too late to order the Class Wine celebrating the 30th, but, thanks to the effort of Mark Beesley, many of us got to enjoy it. The scribe saw several bottles on tables on Friday night of our reunion, including our table, courtesy of Dave McDaniel. The vintner is a friend of Mark's. (Vintner's Letter to the Class)
Here’s a web site that you must bookmark: usafa75.org. It’s our own site, unaffiliated with anybody except us. You’ll note that you will be given the opportunity to send the webmaster links to your own USAFA centric site. Due to space limitations on the server, links are the easiest method to manage our site.
Classmates. Al Peck sent the following before the reunion: “...sorry about dropping off the scope. I've moved to an undisclosed location…Living the dream, but won't get released to party with the Best Alive. I'll be there in spirit...feel free to hoist an extra beverage on my behalf.” Note from scribe: We did, Al. And for some of us, too many extra beverages. Doesn’t take much these days. Most Recent Dad Award: Steve Else, just became a new father on 7 August. Note from scribe: The competitiveness for this Award seems to be waning, for some unexplainable reason. From Chuck Molzon, now flying for ATA: “I have seen airfields in my ATA career that I had only previously seen in target study during my days in SAC.” Note from scribe: not sure if this is Bad or Good.
Heartiest congratulations to our newly minted Lieutenant General, Douglas Fraser. Major General Dale Meyerrose, will be Chief Information Officer at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Scott Hammond just pinned on MGen (ANG Georgia) and Bill Schuesller made BGen in the MN ANG. Our thoughts and prayers are with John Kambourian. He emailed his regrets on not attending the reunion. His wife, Kim, passed away, and he will be staying home with their children.
Lastly, the scribe needs to acknowledge the kind words from members of our class who did not walk to the stage on June 4, 1975. Several of these classmates of ours attended the reunion, and were genuinely moved, Roger Sheppard and Keith Workman, to mention a couple. This was the first reunion where Jim Carlson made the major effort to reach out to those who did not graduate. I’ll include a note from Keith. I’m going to include it in it’s entirety, because I think Keith gives the best literary credit we could give each other, grad or non grad:
If I haven’t done so, I want to thank you for inviting me to attend the reunion. I am not overstating – I had the time of my life!
I could have never imagined what I would feel seeing these people in person after over 30 years, hearing the unfolding of spectacular careers, admiring in men what I knew only as budding character in young men, walking on the Academy grounds again, spending an afternoon on the beautiful golf course where I used to ‘escape from it all on the hill’, being in the chapel, the stadium, the field house … it was overwhelming. I appreciated seeing the updated dorms. I spent some time in the main library as well as the AOG library in Doolittle. I wouldn’t do justice to attempt here to tell you the value or meaning for me in those few days. I am most grateful for the opportunity and enjoyment of a very well organized event that will live with me as a paramount experience.
As you know, having not graduated with the class, I didn’t expect more than to coordinate my visit to Denver that would coincide with the reunion, in the hope of making contact with a few old pals sometime during that week. I was most impressed by an invitation to attend the reunion events and welcomed the opportunity. I never suspected to find such a reciprocal welcome, in fact, far more. In more than one encounter, in more than one way, and from Superintendent to roommate to mere acquaintance friendships – I found a recurring theme that shook me into a most compelling awareness … brotherhood, friendship and camaraderie are deep and real among the members of our class.
Moreover, the ‘class’ is defined, by the graduates of 1975, as the 1400+ who entered that summer of 1971, including the record-breaking number of us who fell out of rank over the course of your 4 yrs there. I was astounded and humbled to find this sentiment and its universal support. I was moved profoundly by the real presence of this fact in the minds of graduates. My expectation of exclusion met in stark contrast with your high standard of inclusion – and served to quicken my understanding of the source of my respect for each of you and unify my own self-esteem with numerous examples of character and integrity that are the common thread between us, it appears.
I went with an attitude of congratulations and honor for a great group of impressive men who are deservedly accomplished.
I returned with healing, perspective, resolution, understanding, self-respect, and a slew of friendships. Priceless.
Thank you again, (Keith)