By the time you read this, we will be close to our 35th reunion, or will have just survived it. Either way, it’s fun trying to keep up with everyone, receiving your emails, pictures, and remembrances. You make putting this article together a real pleasure and I thank you for your contributions. One of my goals as Scribe is to have a variety of classmates and pictures published, so be sure to bring your cameras to the reunion; Checkpoints limits us to three pictures per issue, but we can post all we want on ZoomieNation.
Bill Lyerly sent in this photo from the gate of the Hoa Lo Prison, more infamously known as the Hanoi Hilton. Amazing how things have changed in our time. Ebola Bill now wears two hats with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the Director, Global Partnering, Knowledge and Futures Group and Special Assistant for Global Human Security to the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs. These new job titles resulted from the recent "realignment" within DHS (a DHS "reorganization" would have required Congressional approval under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, so DHS just went ahead and had a "realignment" rather than a "reorganization." Ain't bureaucracy great...)
Tom Laurie has one for the ages: The story behind the creation of Waldo F. Dumbsquat. “I was on the Talon staff my 2nd and 3rd class years and had actually been named the Editor at the end of my 3rd year. If you remember, there was a column called "Charlie Baby" our first two years there in the Talon. It basically poked fun at the people in charge of the Academy. The problem was that by the time the General got through editing it, it looked like a 4th grader had written it with all the things cut out. Bill, the Editor of the Talon, and I decided that we could poke fun at the administration better if we did it in a funny way. We came up with the idea of "The Secret Life of Waldo F. Dumbsquat" based on the famous short story of "The Secret Life of Walter F. Mitty.” We were trying to win the award of "All Collegiate" magazine, so I wrote the first 8 installments of Dumbsquat anonymously in our 3rd class year; the theory being that having the same byline on too many articles per issue took you out of the running for "All Collegiate" magazine. I actually wrote some articles my 3rd class year with a pen name; I seem to remember that we won the award.” Great heritage story–all classes should be required to know the origins of Waldo Dumbsquat.
Bran McAllister recently attended a farewell celebration at Langley commemorating the departure of the F15s from Langley and the deactivation of the 71st Fighter Squadron. “At the formal dinner at my table were four '75ers: Kent "Trayls" Traylor, Jim "Hondo" Hartney, Bob "Cowboy" Awtrey, and Bran "Knife" McAllister, accompanied by my son, Dan "Blade" McAllister. Blade is a 2004 grad flying F-15s in the 71FS now, but what is interesting is that I was in the 71st when he was born (1982). He is flying some of the same tail numbers that the rest of us flew. Blade is transitioning to F-22s at Langley this fall.”
Road Warrior Chris Glaeser reported in from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), where he runs the safety department. With offices in Montreal, Geneva, Moscow, Brussels, Singapore, Johannesburg, Washington DC, and Beijing, he’s spread pretty thin. Chris says Scott Hammond retired as commander of the Georgia Air National Guard on July 24th; he is also a former Northwest pilot, now a Delta pilot thanks to the recent NWA-DAL merger. This wraps up 35.2 years of USAF/ANG service, an incredibly commendable record. Scott keeps busy as a DAL captain and in the DAL safety office. I had the pleasure of working with him in safety for many years when we were both NWA captains working in the NWA safety office.
Sharp-eyed Rick Douglas picked up on a tidbit from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announcing Kevin Smith as Los Alamos Site Office Manager. (Press Release HERE)
Between trips with American Airlines, Mike McClendon volunteers with Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JARS), the aviation arm of Wycliffe Bible Translators, “the guys who fly the missionaries into all those impossible fields on the sides of mountains.” Although he has not done the actual flying, just being involved with such an organization sounds like a real challenge!
From Harry Mathis: I'm doing my best to stay in the running as the last to retire from active duty, but I had a 9 year reserve hiatus from 1980-1989. That being said, my mandatory retirement date is 30 Apr 2014 when I will hit 30 years of active duty. Good luck, Harry–we’re rooting for you!
Bill Murray joined grandparenthood and is loving it. John Kearns brags that he and Nance have “graduated” to the ranks of empty nesters; congratulations, Jake, and may your boomerangs may be few!
We’re much too young to feel this d*** old: Larry Bryant allowed surgeons to test their skills on his back; Bill Murray got a hernia lifting weights like a 25-year-old and went under the knife to fix it. Dave Clough and Paul Lotakis provided an update on Mark Shope, with one of Mark’s partners saying “physically and mentally he is doing great. He has completed all the surgery and radiation treatments. He is undergoing a fairly mild form of chemo for 5 days each month for 6 months. To look at him, you would not know he has been ill. He will be undergoing surveillance MRI's every 3 months looking for recurrence.” I’m sure there are others, and we all wish you the quickest recoveries and best outcomes.
Jim Dearien reported in from the DFW area, flies the Pink Jet for breast cancer awareness with Delta out of ATL, and sent this picture of him and wife Julie at a Rangers game. The Rangers are doing so well this year, they may make the playoffs; we’ll know by the time you read this.
Rod Kallman flies for FedEx and was elected President of the Las Vegas chapter of the AOG. Rick Townsend’s son, Andrew, flies some kind of spy plane, and will be flying a different spy plane soon–he may have the CIA on my tail if the details get out, but you can probably guess, too.
This picture of a memorial to GBNF Chuck Nystrom is too good to leave out. You may recall, Chuck was hit by a bus on his way to work in Tucson. The upper bar reads, “We love and miss you,” and the sign below says “Forever May You Fly.” Both motions seconded!
Someone blamed the dearth of Notes to Class on Jim Carlson’s “forgetting who his real dependents are.” It’s OK, Jim–we understand. Jim responds that rumors of his demise are greatly exaggerated...
Until next quarter, or the reunion, see you around the campus!