Dark Ages Parties. February 21. Around the World. True, the only known DAP outside the CONUS was the Perth, Australia Chapter with a membership of 1, but John Venable said he had a great time. So next year will be the 2nd Annual International USAFA 75 Dark Ages Parties.
Jim Carlson's DC Report: We had a fantastic turnout at the 9th Annual 75 Dark Ages Party (DAP) on Saturday, 21 Feb! Theme was Mardi Gras (with beads and masks on the tables). Apologies if I missed anybody in the list below – 52 attendees (31 classmates, 2 no-shows): Akers, Anderson, Awtrey, Braun, Bready, Burns, Carlson , Charlton, Colley, Cox, Davis, Ellis, Gray , Gunther, Hargrove, Henney, Manthei, Marino, May, McCorry, Miglin, Piotter, Rhoads, Saenger, Schmitt, Smith, Soto, Sullivan, Waters, Webber, Young. (Gallery Below)
Cowboy Bob Awtrey did a fantastic job in setting up the venue and logistics as this year’s DAP Commandant. The bar has been raised again. Dean Cox brought some class and squadron memorabilia, and offered suggestions for class merchandise for the next reunion.
1. Traveled farthest to get to the DAP – Joe and Nancy May (mouse pad, see Photo Notes)
2. Random drawing for $50 McCormick and Schmicks gift certificate – Phil Saenger.
3. Random drawing for $50 McCormick and Schmicks gift certificate – Dean Cox.
4. Most DAPs attended – Gil Braun
5. Winner of random drawing to pick next year’s DAP Commandant: – Greg and Carol Schmitt.
We recognized the unsung efforts of Dan McCorry who did all the heavy lifting for DAPs 1 through 7 and got us off the ground and on steady climb-out, Al Bready who maintained climb and evolved the DAP celebration into a sit-down dinner affair, and Cowboy Awtrey who leveled us off at altitude to a truly classy social event! This year’s DAP had the most turnout ever, and raised the fun meter! Shortly after 1975 hours, we stood and closed ranks in silence for a few minutes to raise a toast to ALL our GBNF.
Epilogue: Chappie Hargrove RON’d at the Carlson western Virginia outpost and bunkhouse. As with when Marc Isabelle stayed overnight, Chappie and Carlson were up until 0300 regaling each other with stories of lives past. Marc claims to have had intense dreams of BCT and doolie year after his stay at Carlson’s outpost and fears recurring nightmares. I haven’t yet heard from Chappie about the after-effects of his ordeal.
National DAPs. Seattle ‘75ers (5 classmates and 3 spouses: Paul Kent, Mike Garrett, Paul and Michelle Lotakis, Chris and Karen Glaeser, Denny and Heidi Mellon) called in to co-celebrate, but all they probably heard were loud, boisterous cheering (75 Best Alive) and some unintelligible shouts (just like last year!). The scribe notes: the Puget Sound event was organized by Chris Glaeser this year and Paul Lotakis lead us in a toast to our GBNF. BTW, Lotakis' new Alaska Airlines seniority number: 75. Cool.
Pennsylvania ‘75ers weren't able to organize a PADAP this year, but are set to be the first ever class palindromic event in 2010.
From Jim Burling: The Colorado Springs DAP was held at Jack Quinn’s Irish Pub in downtown Colorado Springs on 6 March. A good turnout with great food, drinks and camaraderie!
Rick Douglas sent a photo postcard in a misbegotten attempt to be recognized as an official class DAP in Hawaii. And for the first time ever, the 75 DAP went GLOBAL!! Classmate John Venable called in to say: “John Venable here calling from Australia . . . it’s 1107 here in Perth, should be 2107 there in DC. Hope you’re well having a good Dark Ages Party. Things are good here, nice summer day . . . thinking about our GBNF from our class . . . hope you enjoy yourselves and take care.” Thus, DAP 2010 next year will be known The Class of ‘75 2nd International Dark Ages Party.
Jeff Chappell: From the USAFA ‘75/Delta Air Lines SLC Dark Ages Party 25 Feb 2009. Left to right, Wayne and Amy Willis, Jeff and Theresa Chappell, and John and Nance Kearns. Gene Holley couldn't make it, since he's senior enough to work weekdays and have weekends off... We may not compete with the big boys in DC for size, but we had a good time anyway.
Retirements. Two more USAF 1975 Flag Officers hang up the blue suit. From Bill Schuessler: Just to give you a heads up, I will not be the last man standing. My last day in the Guard is 1 March and I transfer to the Retired Reserve 3 March 09. The retirement ceremony will be 6 March with a reception at the Ft. Snelling Officer's Club 1600-1900, 6 March 2009. From Bob Knauff: I'm attaching a flyer inviting you and anyone else with nothing better to do to attend my retirement on February 26th. Although it says RSVP, no negative replies needed, although if by some chance anyone does want to waste a perfectly good evening, positive replies would be appreciated by the nice people who put this together.
Our '75 Generals page is complete. Mike Crider sent in his photo and all is well Check out how many 75ers (and from what squadrons) made it to G-1 and above.
Charlie Beadling has outlived the career of the Minuteman III missile at the Academy! He hung up the uniform after a very distinguished career in military medicine (and being kind of a rock star in those circles!). From Jim Carlson: When Charlie retired from active-duty February 20th in Bethesda, five classmates were there to honor his 33+ years of selfless service and to represent the Class of ‘75s affection and congratulations for a job well done. We were also there to find out what happened to the two charges of Theft of Government Property (Minuteman III missile and towing vehicle) from his arrest as a cadet. Answer: A head of state visited the zoo and granted amnesty to the Cadet Wing shortly thereafter – thus rescuing from certain early termination a promising career in the Air Force. Charlie went on to be an outstanding tanker nav, then Flight Surgeon, then chief of the premier military health education and services institution of this nation. We were all proud of him as his accomplishments were read during the ceremony. Until yesterday, Charlie was part of an ever-shrinking and amazing group of ‘75ers who yet stand watch and wear the uniform of service to our country. He and ALL of you my classmates are the reason the United States will survive through all its trials and tribulations. Thank you Charlie.
Dick Witters, Class of 72, to the scribe: I was reading with interest your article in Checkpoints about the Minuteman missile being removed. I wasn’t aware of the attempted theft of it before it went up but I am aware that the night before dedication my roommate and I did paint a 21st squadron patch on the top of it. I did have a picture of the patch but it got lost. They repainted it the next day but you could still see it through the paint. We are also the ones that stole Ralphie the CU buffalo the year before and brought her to the game in the back of our horse trailer. Then after reading Charlie's Bio after I sent it to him, Dick Adds: Small world. I was involved in the construction of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda in 1979/80. As a contractor we referred to USUHS (or useless) in our terminology.
Classmates. Very sad news from Randy Powell: My son was killed in a single car auto accident on 28 November 08. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington Cemetery on 14 December. It has been a very hard time for me, but life goes on. Stay in touch. Jim Carlson responds (on behalf of our class): Your emails to me last year were filled with poignancy and heartfelt thoughts about raising our children, hoping for the best, and finding rewards in unanticipated moments. Several classmates have expressed to me how they were touched by the story of your son Ross, growing up troubled, joining the military, doing well in the stressful environment of combat in Iraq – that he was endorsed by his superiors to be a cadet candidate at West Point. When you told me he was accepted to the West Point Prep School, I was overjoyed, even though I had never met your son. You had a lot to be proud of. Now it is with sorrow that I hear about Ross’s death. Please accept my sincere condolences. Words are never adequate for times like these.
From Bill Murray: I was in Phoenix visiting a Lockheed Martin facility and hooked up with my old roommate, Jerry Cooke. He's a Captain for United Airways and has 5 Grandchildren with one on the way. I'm envious. From John Sims: I should be moving to live with my daughter in Las Vegas, at the end of the month. From Peter Blatchley: We've been here in Ramstein since January 07. I'm "back in the Air Force" as a Civilian Employee, working in the Operations Directorate at 3 AF. We're renting out the house in Monument, and will return to Colorado in Jan 2012. All the best from the Rheinland Pfalz!
From Scott Smith: Our Class Flag made it to Jerusalem this last Saturday, March 14th. The first two are taken along the outer wall of the city at the boundary between the Armenian section and the Jewish section looking towards Mt Moriah and the temple mount with the Dome of the Rock clearly visible. There was a breeze all day and by the time I got to the Mount of Olives, just to the east of the Garden of Gethsemane it had started to spit some rain. Nevertheless you can see our flag proudly displayed with the Dome of the Rock over my right shoulder and the Golden Gate just to my left. What an experience..., fulfilled a lifelong dream. Happy to have the Class of '75 along with me.
From Jim Eken: This week I received the '75 Guidon here at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar. Will work a photo op with a camel or two! Best Alive!
From Mike Anderson to Carlson: Today, I signed on with Chugach Alaska Corporation. My last day on Capitol Hill is March 31st; I will start work for them on April 1st as Special Assistant to the President. For the next few months, I’ll help put together an 8(a) subsidiary for Chugach that I will transition into as the subsidiary CEO. Rene and I will still be in the area. I could not go anywhere without the love of my life! Ill be working out of McLean, VA but should eventually have offices in Norfolk, San Diego, Honolulu, and Guam to visit. Should be fun for Rene and me, and it will be good to be an active part of the DC ‘75ers! My deepest gratitude to you and to our DC area classmates for the tremendous support, great counsel, and help!
Cars That Fly and Classmates that Fly (Drive) Them. From Phil Meteer: I'm the test pilot. At 7:40 in the morning on March the 5th at Plattsburgh International Airport, NY, I pulled back on the control stick and the Terrafugia Transition took off for the first time. (It is a street-legal airplane, the wings fold in 30 seconds). This was the culmination of 18 months of test planning and 6 months of testing the vehicle on the ground. I've attached a few photos of me right after the flight. They made my Mom cry! What fun! But we have a long way to go and several different vehicle prototypes to test before it gets into production. My best. Philip
Photo Requests and Responses from our Classmates Who Don't Think They Ever Went to the Zoo. To grant you relief from the "Carlson-Classmate-Harassment Program" with regard to photos, here is a note from Jim Burling with his own fervent appeal: I can't let the following conversation go without sharing it with you guys: I was talking to Mike Anderson the other day, and he said (after viewing the photos from the class DVD) something to the effect that since he was in none of the pictures, it's hard for him to prove he was even there at the zoo at all! My response was, "Mike, these photos are a result of classmates sending them in to Bill Estelle when he called for them a few years ago (before the last reunion). So, if you didn't send in any photos of your smackwad self, of course no one is going to see any indication in this picture collection that you were ever at the Academy!" Well, now is another chance for those who sluffed off the last call. Pack up those negatives, slides, and pictures and send them to Bill. He is putting together the FINAL DVD of our class commemorating our time there at the zoo. It's now or never.
Then Gernot Pomrenke chimes in: I have the same comments as Mike Anderson [about not being in any of the old photos]. I do not know why I'm on your email list since there is no photo proof that I was ever at USAFA ... at least according to the class DVD. Carlson responds: Gernot, but since my visit to your office a few years back, at least I know you exist! You must've been one of those "terrain-following-low-profile cadets" LPTFC (like me). Back from Gernot: Actually I was a HIGH-profile cadet – I lived and slept on the TOP floor of the library (6th floor, I believe) when I was not in the gym fencing (1st in the Western Conference in sabre)!
Then Gil Braun: Some of us are not avoiding sending in pictures – we simply don't have them. And worse yet, some of us avoided the camera at all costs (well maybe not all costs). I doubt there are more than a handful of pictures ever taken of me while I was there at the zoo (other than my officer photo, for which General Vandenberg gave me "12 and 8" because my tie was crooked).
Admin. All from Carlson: ZoomieNation (Now Defunct). Join me in my unrelenting obsession to get at least 75% of our classmates on the site. [That’s also my goal for the 2010 reunion!]. We now have 402 classmates on ZoomieNation. The nearest class in membership is '87 with 112 members. My goal as your class prez is to get 75% classmate profiles up in ZoomieNation – and 75% of you old farts to show up at the 35th reunion. If that happens, the Class of 75 will be remembered for more than its historic and staggering 48% attrition!
Dave Clough, CS-36 Pink Panthers POC: Pink Panthers have all 15 graduated classmates on ZoomieNation. Only our 3 non-grad classmates are missing and I've sent them messages asking them to sign up.
Our classmate Bill Estelle is wrapping up his photo project for the class. I know that many of you have photographs, or slides, of life as a cadet from those days. Would you be able to box up what you've got and send them to him? He will send them back after digitizing (and send you a CD of them if you ask – which is one way to preserve those fading images). Time is getting quite short, and we need your input PDQ. Please ask your squadron-mates to check the boxes in their garage (that they've been dragging around for years with every move) and see if there's anything they would like to contribute to the '75 cadet photo montage. This will be the last effort by our class of its kind. I can't wait another 5 years for you old farts to scoot your walkers to the garage.
In addition to my shout-out for photos of our cadet days, I want to ask you to look specifically for photos that include our GBNF. Cadet days if possible; otherwise post-graduation is OK. Our class archivist (Bill Estelle) and our class webmaster (Marty Stytz) each want to do something more to honor our departed than just their yearbook graduation photos. So if you have any cadet and post-cadet photos or our GBNF brethren, please forward them to both Bill Estelle and Marty Stytz.
The 35th Reunion Coming Up in Fall 2010. From Jim Carlson: Our reunion is about one year away. We won't actually even be able to fix the date until the Football schedule comes out (March 2010?). But we can start preparing all the other things that go into making a GREAT reunion. I've been in touch with the reunion committees of ‘72, ‘73, and ‘74 in order to get their perspectives and see if we can learn from their mistakes (if any) and foresee the rough spots before they appear. The Class of ‘72 prez sent me some of their Reunion Committee documentation, and I'm now going over them. The Class of ‘73 Reunion Chairman and I talked on the phone for about 2 hours about what they experienced and discussed things to bear in mind. Both classes said that it was a good idea for us to start now in the planning. The Class of ‘74 is just now beginning their planning and hasn’t set up their reunion committee (as far as I know). First order of business is for us to put together a ‘75 Reunion Committee. I prefer to stand in the sidelines though and give advice. So . . . I think we should decide on a Reunion Committee Chairman and elect the initial members. Naturally, the guys in the Springs seem to be the obvious choices to be on the Committee because they can run up to the AOG and resolve questions and make arrangements without tarry. But in this day and age of instantaneous electronic communication (for which our class is famous among the graduate community by the way), there is absolutely NO reason someone outside of the Springs cannot serve in a primary capacity. Anyone with the desire, energy, and wherewithal should roger up. Based on what ‘72 gave me, here is what may constitute our Committee (these are NBCP (Not By Class Prez) positions):
1. Chairman and Vice Chairman
2. Registration Action Officer (AO) and backup
3. Paid Merchandise AO and backup
4. Paraphernalia (decor) AO and backup
5. Memorial Ceremony AO and backup
6. Class Dinner (Thursday night Doolie Squadrons) AO and backup
7. Class Dinner (Friday night Firstie Squadrons) AO and backup
8. AOG Liaison AO and backup
9. Hotel AO and backup
10. Golf AO and backup
11. Entertainment AO and backup
12. Lunch with Cadet Wing AO and backup
13. Spouse Activities AO and backup (perhaps a spouse)
14. GBNF Spouse Liaison AO and backup
15. Tailgate AO and backup
16. Speaker(s) POC AO and backup
17. Cadet Dorm Visits AO and backup
18. Class Sponsor Program AO and backup
19. Special Projects AO and backup
I ask that there be no less than 2 classmates for any of the positions because in the next 18 or so months we will need backups to cover us, due to individual time constraints, to keep this going forward. For a few of the positions, we might need up to 4 classmates. Committees will be somewhat independent, so although this looks like a lot of people, the periodic status meetings (TBD) will probably be manageable. I'd like us to decide on most of the above before the Spring (when I plan to fly out to the Colorado Springs to formally get this off the ground). Below is a heads-up note from the ‘73 Reunion Chairman which you guys need to know about. I'll take a low-key profile for this one; those who went to our 30th remember how great it was (some of you are STILL talking about it!), and should be able to regain that momentum. If anything, I'll see about trying to learn to play the banjo before the big get-together. My goal for our 35th reunion is to get 75% of the Class of 75 to attend, including no less than 75 non-grads (we’ve already located 77).
Submit your nominations to Dave Herlong, who has graciously accepted my request to tally your votes. (Dave requests that you lead your Subject line with ‘75 so that he can configure his email filter to let them through). Try to submit two names (one as backup) for each position if you can. I can't think of a practical limit for any of the committees; maybe between 5 and 10 members? I will not be involved in the election other than announcing progress and results. Neither will I be running for any of these positions. Although living in the Springs might help for some actions (such as the Academy grounds; Hotel registration; Dinners at the Hotel), it isn't absolutely necessary in this day and age of Internet electronic wonder.
As of Checkpoints submission deadline (April 13) these are the nominations received:
Chairman – Mark Wells (nominated by Bruce Fritzsche)
Vice Chairman – Scott Hente (nominated by Bruce Fritzsche)
Golf Tournament AO – Ted Hilbun (nominated by Dink Yurko) Ted said yes but he will be "out of pocket from March to September of 2010 on the Appalachian Trail".
Position at large Gary Shugart (nominated by Ken Finn and Joe Facenda)
Scott Hente for everything (nominated by Joe Facenda)
Class Merchandise AO – Dean Cox (Volunteer)
Ken Finn, a Springs local (lives in Monument) has a bit of a full plate at the moment at home and respectfully declines any nomination.
Air Academy Credit Union phishing attempt? Let the scribe know if you received bogus emails or phone calls. Our old credit union got innocently slammed. I don't know the details, but I hope they catch who did this and really hit them hard.
Grumpy Oldest Man. Question: The fifth person to read this column and respond correctly to the scribe: "Who is our oldest graduate?" will receive absolutely nothing material except a verification and a confirmation to the scribe that somebody actually reads this column. Let me know. I'll get back to you. Want all of this printed column in more detail? The scribe will post to ZoomieNation shortly after this column appears in the printed Checkpoints.