Among the many happenings since I last reported are a new Class of 1975 Website (Marty Stytz), some cool and unique Class of 1975 Football Jerseys (Mark Volcheff), a retrospective on the Senior Shuffle, and a Trivia Challenge with a list of Dubious Achievements. Please enjoy the perspective of Don Henney and Randy (Ray) Powell as they espouse about their offspring. The scribe (normally a man of limited emotions) was overcome when reading Ray’s account. Since I’m allowed 1200 words and 3 pictures here, and have 15,000 words and 40 pictures as I start, go to our class group at ZoomieNation (Now Defunct) for more.
Classmates. From Don Henney: Here's a couple of pics of our time at USAFA for our oldest son's graduation, Dan Henney ('07). Got to tell you this was a pretty emotional event for me. 32 years later commissioning your kid and seeing him receive that diploma at Falcon Stadium. God has been very good to us! It just so happens that '07 has the same "Gold" class color as '75 Best Alive. Lord willing our #2 son, Joe, follows in '09 and maybe #3 son, Caleb, in '16 if his interest continues. Thanks to Larry Bryant's mentorship and Bentley Rayburn's support, both Dan and Joe got steered to the Falcon Foundation which provided the opportunity to attend USAFA. Dan is now headed to Nellis AFB in the Cyber Comm career track (per input from Dale Meyerrose). So, this network thing works pretty well! I retired in 2003, and have been serving ever since as the civilian Comptroller for Air Force District of Washington. While at the Academy I had the pleasure of running into Marc Hallada at the graduation parade. His son Frank also graduated in '07. From the scribe: Are there other classmates with kids that graduated in '07?
From John Sullivan: I was struck by your last note about Bill Lyerly and his "wake up call." I've had one too, but not nearly as serious as Bill's. About two months ago, I fell about 10 feet off a ladder and broke my right heel bone. I've been on crutches ever since, and now have about a month and a half (I hope) to go on crutches. I had surgery on 21 June, and they put in a plate and 12 screws. I think my ladder days are over. I understand that injuries such as this could take six months or more for me to walk normally again. This injury has made me very dependent on my family, who has been wonderful. Since it's my right foot, I can't drive and my 19 year-old daughter, Kelly, (the youngest of my two girls) has been great getting me to and from work. Bill has a point that at this time in our lives we really need to evaluate what's important and make sure we take care of that . . . especially our families.” John also wants to hear from any classmate that has suffered a similar heel injury. He's dumbfounded how painful and how long the recovery seems to be. He should be off crutches and be self-ambulatory by the second week of September.
From John Venable [in response to an inquiry]: My PhD is in "Advanced Technology" with a specialization in Information Systems. It was awarded by the School of Engineering, Applied Science, and Advanced Technology at Binghamton University (aka State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton). Things are going quite well down under. I've just stepped down after four years as the Head of School of Information System (Part of the Curtin Business School) at Curtin University of Technology. Curtin University is named after John Curtin, who was Prime Minister of Australia during WWII and up to his death in 1945, like Roosevelt, he died before the end of the war. I have returned to my substantive position as Associate Professor and to duties of teaching and research. So, lots more time for research, which I really enjoy, and also more time for teaching, which I also enjoy. I also spend more time at home, which my partner (Lee) enjoys! Earlier this year I had a month's leave, followed by several conferences and a month's study (research) leave, all of which I spent overseas (from Australia). Annual leave was in Lugano Switzerland, in northern Italy near Lake Como, Barcelona, Miami, New Orleans (Jazzfest!), and touring California by car. Conferences were in Pasadena, Atlanta, Vancouver, St Gallen Switzerland, and (on the way back to Perth later) Auckland, New Zealand. My study leave (research directed) was in Toronto at Ryerson University. During the period I managed to see my mother, two sisters, two brothers-in-law and one nephew in New Orleans and my father, stepmother, other sister, other nephew, and other brother-in-law (Terry Duncan, class of '75 and my ex-roommate in CS-15) at my father's home in Conneaut, Ohio. Here in Perth it is "winter". I put that in quotes because it certainly isn't winter as I knew it in the USA. Average high temperature is about 65 degrees F and last winter it went below freezing for the first time in recorded history. I swim in the ocean year-round, although the water feels pretty brisk these days. The beaches are gorgeous, but the (snow) skiing is of course non-existent. So, sadly, I've left the skiing part of my life behind me. The wine here in Western Australia is particularly nice, so I'm not much of a beer drinker anymore. The climate also lends itself to outdoor cinemas and concerts, which make summer here a real joy.
From Mark Wells: By way of updating you I submit the following: Donna and I returned to Colorado Springs and the Department of History late last May after my 2-year operational tour at U.S. European Command. I was privileged to work first for Maj Gen Scott Gration in the J-5 and subsequently for Ambassador Mary C. Yates in the Political Advisors office. I also worked theater language issues with Maj Gen Dutch Remkes (USAFA 77). During the tour I enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with the joint world and feel like I contributed to the Deputy Commanders strategic view. Gen Ward, USA, and I interacted often and, at his request, were working an invitation for him to be DFHs Distinguished Professional in-Residence next April. Donna and I lived in a small German village more than 25 miles south of Stuttgart and my language ability went to 3/3. It certainly got much better as a result of the beer! We made friendships that will last a lifetime. Donna and I sold our home in Monument, Colorado, before we left in 2005 and later also sold our property in Higby Estates. This allowed us to find an executive level home in Peregrine, south of the Academy. Donna loves it, so my personal stock is selling high with her. We did some extensive painting and carpeting before taking possession and I arranged for the obligatory satellite TV and library bookcases. But the move-in has been slow and arduous. We’re getting too old for this! I’m terrifically gratified to return to USAFA and tackle its vital mission. Generals Regni, Desjardins, and Born make a great team and have been extraordinarily gracious in welcoming me back. The Department of History (DFH) enjoys full staffing and our new folks are enthusiastic about the beginning of the new semester. We cannot wait to get started. It’s difficult to overstate my excitement at returning and reassuming my job as Permanent Professor and Head. I’m proud to note that Donna and I recently celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. Our 20-year old daughter Emily is a Junior at Florida State University, studying English Literature and Education. I’ve attached a couple of photos for your potential use.
From Randy (Ray) Powell [in regards to Jim Carlson’s ZoomieNation request to him]: I remember months back after I joined you requested to "be my friend". Well at the time I just didn't understand what that really was. So I did get your message, I just didn't do anything. No insult intended. I grasped the concept using a myspace account, which was the best way to keep up with my son in Iraq. Speaking of which, my son just returned from a little over 12 months in Iraq serving with an infantry unit. He dropped out of high school, spent a little time in jail (nothing major), got a GED and joined the Army, as a condition to get out of jail and get his charges dropped. I tried for years to get him interested in USAFA to no avail. I couldn't even keep him in high school. Well, he became quite a soldier. With a lot of help from his Platoon Leader, Company Commander, Battalion Commander and Brigade Commander (all West Point Graduates) he received an "in service nomination" and was accepted to West Point at age 21. Quite a story. He reported with four rows of decorations and a Combat Infantry Badge. He also reported with a tattoo on his arm listing the names of 14 people in his company who were KIA. Only three survived from his 13-person squad. The other two were severely injured. He spent most of his tour in Adhamiya, which is a Sunni enclave in Northeast Baghdad. He returned a very, very changed person but amazingly in good spirits. We visited New York a few days before he reported. In the picture below, you can see the names tattooed on his left arm. One of the names on his arm is SPC Ross McGinnis. His family will receive his Medal of Honor December 4th at the White House. This will be the second anniversary of his death. He fell on a grenade and saved the lives of four others. He was 19 years old. I guess the lesson to be learned is never give up on your kids.
From Fred Weems: [to Jim C.] Loath I am to admit it, but I'm an attorney too. I have my own firm that I call “Fly By Night Legal Services”. I have no office, no staff, don't do paperwork, and don't talk to clients. All I do is argue in court for other lawyers who don't want to have to drive all the way out here. In my busiest times I'm in court every other Wednesday afternoon, and I get paid with sushi.
From Chip Diehl: I'm just down here in HOT, HUMID Florida enjoying life. Busy as ever, mainly consulting both in US and Internationally (as I made lots of friends during my final tour when I built the Coalition of Nations supporting CENTCOM here at MacDill - have 65+ nations of good friends). Also, and probably my most rewarding endeavor is supporting a non-profit called Coalition to Salute America's Heroes (with Heroes being our severely wounded troops returning from OEF and OIF - who must have a disability rating > 30%). It's so much fun and satisfying ~these young men and women need so much help. We give $$$$ and assistance right to the Troops in need. I enjoy it.
From Tom Barbera: I retired in Jun 05, took the summer off and traveled with family in Europe for a couple of months. My plan was to take a year off – still wish I had – but took a nice job offer in an anesthesia practice in Dayton Ohio. So there was no post-retirement move and stress with resettlement . . . just the transition out of the military. Much as a senior AF pilot leaves a desk job and must transition back into the cockpit with the commercial airlines, I went back to my clinical practice from my last ten years of AF health care management. It was an intentioned, planned transition, and it went well. I am now in a very busy, large hospital practice partnered in a 12-person group – probably a little busier than the "retirement" practice I had planned on – but what the heck . . . the wife wants me to stay busy. I am blessed with a happy marriage to a tolerant woman and three healthy children . . . Julia, Tim and Dan – 9, 12, and 14. We traveled to Germany and Austria this summer, again visiting family (my wife is a German physician.) Here is a picture of us getting lost (and found) in the Austrian Alps. In America you get to the top of the mountain and have water and a chocolate bar. In Austria, there is hut with a family run restaurant, an attractive waitress to serve you cold beer and a hot meal.
From Mike Anderson: I got picked up for a Congressional Stennis Fellowship. Doesn’t mean I have a new job. It just became an additional duty, so-to-speak. Should be fun and provide a great opportunity to meet and network with other congressional staff members from both sides of the Capitol. This year’s topic is “Strengthening Public Trust and Confidence in Congress”. I’m thinking about doing a research paper entitled “Mission Impossible.”
From Ric Lewallen: We are in the process of moving . . . again. Moving to Birmingham. Got an offer on a house. We are excited, but tired about the prospect of moving to our 20th house in 30 years of marriage.
From Jim Waller: I'm off to Kenya for a spell on the 12th of this month teaching & then will be back for the Summer.
From Jeff Chappell: In case it's not obvious, our door is always open to at least 750 guys and their families. We have had a few distinguished visitors over the years [such as our classmate Bill Caskey], and I hope more will give us a call when visiting the home of the once and future NBA champions (as well as the Alamo, Riverwalk, etc).
From Steve Hussey: I'm doing well in Bangalore, but spent my birthday weekend at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. Fabulous hotel. From Tom Knabel [MN bridge collapse]: I am fine, despite being fairly shocked by the bridge collapse. It is only a couple of miles from my house
From Bill Ladd: I am constantly amazed that our classmates have branched into all kinds of service. I have 4 jobs myself: (1) Aloha Airline pilot, (2) Owner of Sun Solutions Hawaii, a small contracting company, (3) husband to Rhonda for 14 years, and (4) father of two :13 y.o. boy Kai, and 10 y.o. girl Kela, both hard at work to become super-citizens. Rhonda’s Mom and Grandmother all live with us, so things get interesting at times . . . spent 30 years in AF and ANG, retired as Lt Col in 05. Flew the entire time, T-38 IP, T-33s (DACT adversary role), F-4s and F-15s in the Hawaii Air Guard for 21 years . . . Final job was HIANG/DO, got to see and brief other more ranked zoomies who came through Hawaii, 74 grads who are now 3 stars. My son really wants to go to USAFA and fly in the AF. We sent him to USAFA Fencing camp this summer, he was stoked, and we are lucky enough to have him training with a former member of the Soviet National Fencing team, who now teaches here in Hawaii . . . How things change!
From Joe Kahiapo to Dave Commons [on his move to Hawaii]. Greetings Dave Commons to your home away from home. Congrats on your new assignment to PACAF, we'll be looking forward to seeing you and your family in September. Your Hawaii/Guam 75er official greeter.
From Stan Schoener: on “CIVILIAN FRIENDS VS MILITARY FRIENDS” There IS a difference...
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Get upset if you're too busy to talk to them for a week.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Are glad to see you after years, and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having last time you met.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Never ask for food.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Are the reason you have no food.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Call your parent’s mom and dad.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Bail you out of jail and tell you what you did was wrong.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Would be sitting next to you saying, "Damn...we screwed up...but man that was fun!"
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Cry with you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will kick the whole crowds' ass that left you behind.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Would knock on you door.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, "I'm home!"
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have shared a few experiences...
MILITARY FRIENDS: Have shared a lifetime of experiences no Civilian could ever dream of...
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you've had enough.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, "You better drink the rest of that, you know we don't waste...that's alcohol abuse!!" Then carry you home safely and put you to bed...
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will talk crap to the person who talks crap about you.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will knock them the hell out for using your name in vain.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are for a while.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Are for life.
From Doug Miller: I was in the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and set up a new program called Career Pathways. It was a way of using welfare money to pay for low-income parents to return to a two-year college to earn certificates to eventually acquire the knowledge skills to hold a job that got them out of the poverty range. We paid tuition, books, childcare and even transportation. They had to show need and desire. It was not training for their first job, but for a career. We had various fields of learning. For example, we could start them as a TSA security guard in an airport. They would work at that then while still attending school to become a dog handler, then do that while continuing their education to be a detective. Constantly be rewarded for things they have accomplished yet being challenged with more to get more assistance. Very successful. Another example is nursing: CNA to PRN to RN. I now work as a defense contractor trying to get a helium aerostat (blimp)to 65,000 feet to serve as a low orbit satellite. Now THAT is interesting! Returning to the civil war technology. Work mainly out of my house but travel somewhat too. My son graduated in 2003 and is flying F-16s at Kunsan, Korea.
From Bill Murray: Just lately it seems that a lot of people have been asking me how I’ve been feeling, so I’ll give you a little update. I’ve been feeling GREAT! Believe it or not, it’s been six months since my surgery 2 April! I’m playing golf and back to my regular workout routine. You’ll recall I don’t have any follow-up in terms of chemo or radiation therapy, because the cancer had not spread past the prostate gland. Since surgery I’ve had two PSA tests (just like a blood test, a little stick in the arm) and the results have been zero, indicating the cancer has not returned. I have so much to be thankful for. Again, I thank you for your prayers and support. I will have to continue to have PSA tests every 4 months for 2 years, every 6 months for 2 years, and then every year for the rest of my life, but that’s not a big deal. After 2 years you reach threshold of confidence the cancer will not return, and then again another major gate is the 5-year point. I really don’t believe I’m going to have problems with either milestone. My life-threatening event is driving to work each morning! Say a little prayer for our troops in Iraq that are laying down their lives so that we can go on vacation. Bill adds: Marv Kobza (my old Prep School and USAFA Classmate) and his wife Cheryl came into Dallas for a visit. Judy and I got together with them at El Fenix for a great Mexican-food meal and visit. Marv has worked for Boeing for the last 18 years and been assigned to England on the AWACS Program for the last 9 years. Marv was in town to help his father transition to an assisted living facility here in Dallas - seems like many of us are at that stage in life now. Marv and Cheryl plan to return to the US next year. It was great to connect with them for the first time after our 30-year Reunion. Bill adds: Judy and I just returned from La Pine, Oregon and the Great Northwest. We went up to visit Paul "Ollie" Hansen, my best friend and Prep School Classmate and his mom. Paul is retired, just enjoying life and investing in land up there. He's a golfer now. The picture was taken at the Sun River Resort in Sun River right by La Pine. It reminds me of Sun Valley, Idaho. Paul sends his greetings to all our classmates.
From Dennis Brooks: By the way, my art is in museums, but I don't have anything else to do with them. Check www.ss42.com under Free Paper Models (top left) for models of just about anything you can think of made from card stock printed on your computer. Many rival plastic models, and over a thousand are free. All these models were donated to Children's Hospitals, some of almost 400 over the last several years. The props turn and the planes with string can be flown from the beds.
Mark Volcheff has thrown his name in the hat to be nominated for the AOG Board of Directors vacancy. He notified the AOG and will push the appropriate paperwork their way soon. Says Mark: “I have the desire, I have no conflicts, I live in C-Springs and I think I can bring a good perspective to assist our graduates and the present and future cadets who will one day fill our ranks.” It will be great to have a voice on the AOG from our Class. Good luck Mark, and thanks for stepping up.
Like Mark V. above, it seems retired Generals cannot rest. This from Bentley Rayburn: “Just in case you haven’t heard, Debbi and I have decided that I should run for the U.S. Congress again. The first-term incumbent has, unfortunately, been a big disappointment. He has not proven to be an effective leader. In late Spring, a number of business and community leaders asked me to consider running again. I spent the summer talking to a host of local political, business and community leaders to gauge the discontent with the status quo. In the end, Debbi and I decided that this was the right thing to do, that our community and country needed better leadership and that we should pursue the seat. The reception by folks here in the 5th Congressional District of Colorado has been tremendous! Fortunately, we have nearly ten months until the primary election instead of the 3 months we had last time. There is one other fellow that has declared his intentions to run, the gentleman who was picked to win last time but didn’t. The next big event on the calendar is the precinct caucuses held on the 5th of February. Between now and then the focus of our campaign will be on two important things: organizing for the caucuses and raising money. Just like the presidential races, everyone, especially the media, is going to initially judge the strength of our campaign on how much money we can raise. Our goal is to raise $100,000 by the end of October! I know it’s not a lot of time, but together we can do it! Please consider what you are able to give. Large or small, it all helps, believe me! Hopefully, many will be able to give as close to the maximum contribution as possible. We are doing this for our community and our country. I know you’re probably as disappointed as I am in the leadership in Washington. We need people in Congress who aren’t professional politicians. We especially need some leaders with military and international experience in these dangerous times fighting radical Islam and other international threats. We also need leaders who look first to the Constitution rather than always giving the federal government more power. I look forward to talking to you soon. If you don’t think I have your latest information, please pass it back to me, especially your phone number, cell phone number and e-mail. If you have other like-minded friends, please pass this on to them and encourage them to get involved with our campaign. Though some may not live here in Colorado, they will understand the importance for the nation of improving the leadership in Washington, D.C.”
From Jeff Scherer (non-grad): I was a Flight Surgeon in the Navy on an aircraft carrier for 3 years and in the Naval Reserve for 6 years. Our classmate Jerry Manthei was an A-6 BN on the USS Independence with me. From John Scherer (Jeff’s twin): Jeff lives in the same town as me...Delavan, WI. He is a Radiologist, and his wife owns the company I work for...Alder Companies, a Dean Foods Distributor
From Dave Clough: Since I did not attend the 20th reunion, I had no idea that there were memorial pavers for our departed classmates. Seeing my friends Bruce Dodds, Phil Jones, and our other classmates memorialized by the pavers brought one of those rare moments when the world just skids to a stop and memories return like they were yesterday. As we all age and experience more senior moments, you should be aware that those vivid memories are early symptoms of Alzheimer's. Watch me carefully in the next few years for more signs of mental compressor stall.
From Bill Carrothers: I'm recuperating from another of those '75 firsts: I'm pretty sure I'm the oldest one of us to punch out of an aircraft, at age 53. I jettisoned a State Dept OV10 in April while flying in Colombia. I'm fully recovered and awaiting FAA approval to return to work . . . any day now.
Tim Wrighton: I have been the Reserve Wing CC here at Charleston AFB, SC for the last year. I just returned from a 4-month deployment to Al Udeid AB, Qatar
From Muddy Waters: I'm going out in two weeks to spend three days with the cadets at their Heritage Forum–speak to the wing, go to class, meet with some of the squadrons. One of the benefits of being a "gray beard." I'll report back on the experience.
Major General Joe Stein Retires? The Air Force website's senior official biography page shows that Joe retired Oct 1, 2007 as a Major General (remember: he was a navigator – that is the equivalent of a five star pilot's career
Stan Gorenc: I've landed at Tucson and am working for Raytheon as their Director for Missile Defense Business Development. The job is fantastic and gives me the chance to stay connected with folks from the past as well as meeting some bright people in a field that is relatively new to me.
Pat Ash is home and in good spirits. He’s also gotten back to flying again, part-time for FEDEX, after being on sick leave for the past few months. Pat was diagnosed with lung cancer back in July. He’s got a series of chemo treatments to go through before re-assessment in early December. That’s when we should expect good news. Even though Pat has never smoked or been exposed to hazardous materials (although he grew up in south Jersey!), he was stricken with lung cancer. Since it wasn’t discovered early, it has had 5 or more months to develop. It was during a flight back in July when he suffered shortness of breath and had to give the stick to another pilot that he had any indications of anything wrong. If all goes well, he’s got a trip to DC in January. Pat lives in Anchorage, Alaska.
Jim Burling: Guys–Some folks travel to see the leaves in the fall, see famous landmarks, or cruise to see whales. Brian and Teri Barnes went on a "Visit the Squadron Mates" tour! Photos attached. Thanks, Brian, for sharing! Good stuff!
Buck Rogers: Playboy Spirit Lives On. Ok Gang, here are the pics from the murals and one playboy patch a 2-degree made up last year – Enjoy!!! David Hickman: I'm back in Kuwait. Got to have dinner with Bill Lyerly while there....always a treat! John Koelling: Attached is a photo from USAFA. I went there with my son Gradon to visit the Academy so he could have a better idea of what he might be getting himself into. It also happened to be the AF-Army game, as well as the reunion weekend for Academy football players. We had a great time watching the football team beat the Black Knights, and also seeing the Ice Hockey team come back from a 2-0 deficit and beat Mercyhurst. The photo was taken right after the game.
Prep School. Ric Lewallen posted two Millard Photos. Primary thanks goes to Alan Van Epps for a great memory.
Background on the Falcon Foundation Scholarships. To draw young people from across the spectrum of American society, the Academy conducts a rigorous recruiting and preparation program to help candidates gain the academic skills they need to get into the Academy and eventually graduate. The United States Air Force Academy Preparatory School is probably the better-known effort, but it is only a part of a larger network that also involves civilian academic preparatory schools all across the United States to help young people qualify and succeed at the Academy. The key element in making these preparatory schools (other than the USAF Academy Prep School) a possibility for students who do not qualify for direct entry into the Academy is the Falcon Foundation. In 1959, three Falcon scholars entered the Academy with the class of 1963.
The Foundation has made it possible for more than 2398 scholars to complete prep school programs and enter the Academy with the required academic skills, and more than 1532 have graduated from the Academy and gone on to serve in the Air Force.
The cadets at the Academy Prep School become enlisted personnel in the USAF and are paid while they attend the school. They are also eligible to be nominated to one of the enlisted appointments that were authorized by Congress. On the other hand, Falcon Scholars receive scholarships but must supplement those funds to meet the total cost of the civilian prep schools. In addition, the Falcon Scholars must compete for the standard Congressional, Presidential, or Vice-Presidential nominations that are open to all Academy applicants.
For the first 15 years of the scholarship program, the Foundation used primarily two schools, the Millard Preparatory School (formerly in Washington, D.C. and now in Oregon) and Northwestern Preparatory School in Minnesota. For the first few years, the Academy Admissions Office would only accept for appointment the top 2/3 of the Falcon Scholars who finished the program.
Class Web Site. From Jim Carlson: Gentlemen of the most actively engaged and close-knit class from the Academy. On November 4th, we rolled out of our new Class of 75 website. The class page is the direct result of the prodigious efforts of our classmate Marty Stytz. Marty, our Webmaster, has expended an incredible amount of effort in the past 6 months building our site from the ground up. I’ve frequently found him online well past midnight as he continues to add features and elements to the site to make it a treat for classmates to explore. Marty first approached me one day about half a year ago and asked if he could put together a web page for the class. He instantly became my best bud! (You have no idea how much of the workload this takes off my shoulders). I had let lapse our first website (created when I was in law school) and which went away around 2005. I’ve created several limited web pages for the class, but in such a desultory fashion and at some not inordinate expense of my time to maintain, that it’s been a losing effort for me to keep them updated. Recognizing the moribund condition of our electronic web presence, Marty took it upon himself to create a website truly worthy of one of the finest classes to graduate from the Air Force Academy.
We are the 2nd class to ever have a web page (beat out by the class of 82 by just a few months), so our tradition of pioneering lives on. Were also setting the bar high for other classes who strive to be second-best to 75. So, when you each traipse through the product of our classmate’s creative genius, please send him a note to tell him what you think. This is a work in progress. Thus Marty is more than happy to listen to suggestions (he certainly has patiently listened to all of mine). Although I’m credited as a secondary webmaster, all the real credit goes to Marty. If you happen to send me suggestions for the site, please make sure Marty is included. Suggestions include errors you find, tweaks to the look and feel of the pages, additional features (although were limited in these due to the fact the site is maintained by the AOG on their dedicated server), and photos you want to see included in the collections (BTW, the ring under glass, prop & wings, ring dining-in goblet, saber, and the 75 ball-cap on the Photos first page are taken from the USAFA Wall in my house).
Also, please support the efforts of our 2 Class Archivists. For pre-graduation memories, please forward to Bill Estelle, photos and other memorabilia that he can preserve electronically for our legacy. And Bruce Mitchell, our post-graduation archivist, requests that you send him anything having to do with your lives and careers AFTER graduation (civilian and military) so that between the two of them we have a fairly intact collection of our class time on this earth. From priests and ministers to generals, business owners to airline pilots, doctors to teachers, we have a wonderful trove of class and individual accomplishments that Bruce (and I) want to preserve for the future. I’m particularly fond of recollections when classmates cross paths and impact one another’s lives (military rescues, babies being delivered by one of our own, business partners, etc.). So please add to our collective legacy. You can find contact information for Bill and Bruce on the Officers and POC’s page and clicking on Class Archivists in the bottom frame. The Graduates page (where goblets are above our names), includes links to individual profiles on ZoomieNation, so, if you DON’T have a link to your profile beneath your name, you probably need to log in and register on ZoomieNation and complete the action. Roughly half our classmates have yet to register and validate their information.
Marty has done a particularly loving job for our GBNF in the new class website. (Scribe Note: A special “Thank You” to Janet Edwards, the Mortuary Affair Officer for locating all the Obituaries the AOG had on file). Please help him add or expand on the Checkpoints write-ups. Additionally, Marty has created a 75-only group in ZoomieNation to memorialize our departed brothers where any of you can submit your dedicatory thoughts and memories of the guys who have RTB’d early. Sometimes the Checkpoints write-ups are simply inadequate in capturing the essentiality of our fellow 75ers and what they meant to us. Enjoy at http://www.usafaclasses.org/1975/ PS: And don’t forget more of our notorious and dubious achievements while cadets need to be written down and shared. Who knew that Americas cream of the crop (which we were so tired of hearing) were such inspired lunatics? (Send those stories to Marty!) PPS: I need some help in identifying our classmates who received their commissions in the following branches: Army (1), Navy (4), USMC (2). Also on the site: We have a bunch of Contact Lists, based on Professions and Geographic Location (Medical, Legal, Commercial Air, Business Owners, etc). Send Marty any updates or corrections.
Senior Shuffle. During the Trivia Challenge, the question came up of “Why did the Senior Shuffle occur?” One might think it was to balance the numbers in each squadron due to the high attrition. But CS-20, for one, lost 2 and gained 2. What’s up with that? One fact that became apparent is that there were emotions and hurts with the shuffle that persist to this day. Those of us oblivious to the shuffle (the self-centered scribe, for one) should now retrospectively appreciate the additional stress some of our classmates experienced while we lived our lives as Firsties.
Dave White and Jim Rorabaugh, for 2, recently expressed their pent-up disdain of the Academy experience due to the shuffle. From Lance Grace: Jerry Levesque left 08 and went off to the new dorm during the summer of 1974. Turns out that he may have been the lucky one! Ironically, that was just the beginning of the reshuffle for Evil 8. As a result of events near the end of our stay there, the entire squadron was reshuffled (i.e. dissolved) after we graduated leaving nobody returning through the summer of 1975. And the squadron name was also thrown onto the trash heap resulting in the new PC name of Eagle 8 instead of Evil 8. Obviously, we had a rather interesting last year at the Zoo. Unfortunately, I was rather involved in all the nasty events. Finally wrapped it all up one long evening 8 years later when I ran into our former AOC while TDY at Ramstein. When our eyes locked together as I walked past his table in the O-Club, I thought that he was about to jump up and slug me. Instead, he jumped up, threw money on the table and excused himself from his guests, and brought me to the bar to apologize to me over many beers. So it apparently took me about 12 years to finally graduate from the place! I’m sure many others have similar stories.”
From Jim Rorabaugh: Yes, I was one of the firsties who got moved. I went from Stalag 17 to 11, and you're right about the disconnect. I sort of felt isolated from both squadrons, and it took me over 22 some years to revisit the academy. Sorry I haven't made any of the reunions. I'm in a surgery practice with Dave Arbutina ('76er) in State College PA (Happy Valley, Penn State, JoePa, etc.). I can't promise anyone tickets to the Notre Dame game, but any '75er is more than welcome to bunk at our home. From Jim C: I think Jim R. captures very well the feelings that resulted from the "senior shuffle" when several of our classmates were sent off to other squadrons during our firstie year. In my mindless and relentless pursuit of classmates for whom I have no contact information, I find that many of the ones that were harder to find seem to be those who were 'shuffled'. It was a real shame to do that to friends who went through 3-degree and 2-degree years together. But with over 3 decades of life since 4 Jun 75, the entire class needs to be connected under one umbrella – to reminisce over the good times and relish the friendships that quite easily and readily become renewed whenever we make the effort . . . and that genuinely endure.
From Paul Narzinski, aka "NARZ": “Was senior shuffled from 11 to 18. Haven't been back [to the zoo or in touch with classmates] yet. Happily USAF Retired, volunteering for the local VA Hospital, and caddying for my high school daughter who helped win Nebraska Golf State Team Championships last 2 years (shot 71 and 76) and KICKS this ole' USAFA Soccer's butt in golf any time she wants. That's not right for a daughter to do that to her Dad. :) Best Alive.” Note from Scribe: The list of “Shuffled” is posted on our Class Website, HERE.
Trivia. For those who haven’t seen it, Jim Carlson, for reasons unexplained so far, sent out a 24 Question “Trivia Call 75”. The Questions and Responses are posted on the Class Website. If we have any stories we are not too embarrassed, ashamed, (or otherwise) to share, send them to Marty. Charlie Buck did note recently: Did anyone know (or perhaps it would be better to ask: Did everyone else know) that the distinctive uniforms for the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Wing (and, in particular, the world-famous Summer Parades) were designed by Cecil B. DeMille? (Source: Wikipedia, article: United States Air Force Academy). I have to admit that this may well be the most interesting and meaningless bit of information I’ve ever stumbled upon.
Football Jersey. From Mark Volcheff: It struck me that while we support our school and our class in many ways we can do so even more openly by showing our class spirit on an AF football jersey! I’ve researched procuring Air Force Academy football jerseys with Number 75 on it vice what the Athletic Director and coach pick (go figure, every year they pick one number and that’s what the AFA Visitors Center orders for that year hope that guy doesn’t break a leg on the first practice of the season!) Anyway, we will stay ahead of being lucky and pick Number 75 for ourselves. The General manager at the Visitors Center was less than enthusiastic about helping me so I have researched some dealers and here is what I found as the best deal so far. It’s actually a business owned by our very own Ben Bosma!
Display Case Testaments to Our Individual Selves. When John Sims sent a really cool picture of his display case from his military career, the scribe felt obligated to send a picture of his similar, albeit, less impressive case. The dialogue follows, with pictures posted in the associated album.
From the scribe Paul Kent: Here's my case I put together after retirement. Not as impressive as Johnny’s, but then my career (and post career) wasn't as impressive as his. When you consider this display covers 25 years of my life (1971-1996), I don't feel abashed about putting it down in the study. It generates conversation, at least. On the back of the case, I explained each piece. It's been so long, even I forget what some of the ribbons are for. The 2LT bars were from the underclassmen on our commissioning. You can't read the inscription, but it is "Pablo", so somehow I've had that nickname for a long time. On the second photo, the display is my Grandfathers WW1 2Lt Bars, Wings, and Prop and Wings, and US insignia. He was one of the first AAC pilots from MT. My mom did this for me years ago.
Yes, Bruce, it would be nice for everyone to do something like this; maybe not a display case; but a significant comment on their life, from their perspective, maybe with a little prodding and help from their buds. Pablo’s comment was in response to Bruce Mitchell (archivist sans artifacts) who saw the exchange and added: It is cool. It would be neat to see a "national service" display like from everyone in our class! (I was at an art museum yesterday, and some of the things I saw there were neither as colorful or impressive as this!).
I'm convinced we ('75) have a story to tell for posterity. I truly believe that if even a "slice" of our classmates' accomplishments could be assembled and told in a coherent story, it would amaze even us! It could be a nice little "orthogonal piece" of USAF, (USA/USN, tip of the hat to those who served otherwise), USAFA and the general public. But, how to motivate the guys to participate? What would be the entrée' to get us started that would have the greatest probability of being supported by the class? Could we use a project/initiative like this (starting now within the class) to generate interest in the next reunion? Johnny Sims closes: I also had trouble remembering all those items, so my frame has a pocket on the back with a labeled version.
Our Class Rings That Are Advertised For Sale. As the deadline for this issue closed, a Class of 1975 ring was offered for sale in an eBay auction. For those that may remember, this is not the first time this has happened. Ed Kasl thought it might be his. The seller was not too forthcoming with information, and as of this writing we still don’t know whom the original ring belonged to. The ring was purchased by Jim Carlson, and his payment was partially reimbursed by many of us. We’re still formulating a methodology for dealing with situations like these.
However, in the process, Rich Kennard, who left before graduation, offered something poignant and suitable for a closing: “Well, I think that is super that Ed Kasl may get his ring back! You know, the best ‘ring’ of remembrance I have is the 30 Year Reunion, where I got to see many of my old classmates, and where I experienced their graciousness to me. It really helped to heal some scars of self-inflicted wounds I've been carrying all these years. I left the Academy because of foolish arrogance rather than any outside compulsion. The day I left USAFA, on my way back to Houston, that layover in the Albuquerque airport was one of the loneliest, most mournful times of my life. Thanks to you all for your kindness!”
Rich had also penned the following to Jim Carlson, in reference to some Prep School correspondence: “When I attended the Prep School (1970-71), for the first 6-weeks I had the privilege of being the ranking "Cadet Candidate Lt. Col." with the 4-diamond boards on my shoulder. I strutted around like the big rooster (if I had a riding crop, I would have walked around with a "Pattonesque" strut), wondering if any of these wet-behind-the-ears high-school "qualified alternates" were going to "hack it." Remaining aloof I ignored and destroyed the opportunity to establish lifetime relationships (what an ass!) with some good guys. I was elated to discover in September of 2005 (the first reunion for me) that many of those young boys went on to be great men with a humility and graciousness toward me that I failed to show towards them. Thank you and way to stick it out, guys; I am honored to have known you!”