December 2011          Jeff Chappell

A handful of ‘75ers recently participated in the Class of 2015’s acceptance parade. As their Legacy Class, we were invited to present the top ten basics with awards during their acceptance parade. Larry Fariss did a great job representing our class with his speech to the new Fourth Classmen. Known attendees are: Raymond Barbera, Randy Davis, Larry Fariss, Phil Gronseth, Ralph Paul, Lawrence Richter, KC Schwarz. (See Below)

On to bigger and better things: Al Peck retired as Air University Commander 1 Oct. Welcome to the ORB world and best wishes in your second career, Al!

Mark "Scotty" Scott: On a 14 day trip with Rick Odegard...we went to Omaha Beach, Normandy, The Burj Towers in Dubai, Anchorage, Paris right now getting ready for an ocean crossing to Newark, then back to Paris, then Memphis...long trip, but it makes it easy when you are with a 40 year buddy...75 Best Alive...oh, FedEx by the way...28 of our '75 brothers are here.

(Who has the most classmates at their company? Delta and AA have quite a few, as do some defense contractors...any other nominees?)

Foster Bitton: I didn't retire, get married, run for office or join the Foreign Legion. I did go scuba diving with my oldest son, Luke, on the north shore of Oahu. During the dive we ran across a critter that was initially afraid of becoming part of a seafood salad, so he inked all of the surrounding area about four times. Once he determined we weren't going to eat him he decided to pose for some pictures with me. "Inky" is the one with the extra appendages and suction cups. I'm the other life form.

Dave Clough: No exploits to brag about, just toiling in the trenches of orthopedic/hand surgery waiting for everything to go to hell with ObamaCare…if you like health care in the UK or in Canada, you will love ObamaCare. Everyone will experience government-run/regulated health care with the compassion of the IRS and the efficiency of the Postal Service. Rapidly approaching the big 60, remaining hair rapidly fading to grey…of three sons, one (27 yo Mech. Eng.) has been married for 5 years. Oldest (31 yo mechanic) and youngest (22 yo Management Info. Systems/Bus. Admin. student graduating 2012 from U. of Nebraska) are both getting married next year, one in May, the other in August. Any suggestions for father of the grooms? Obvious answer: Keep working or buy lottery tickets, as prospects for retirement are fading faster than remaining hair.

Heavy stuff from Dr Gernot Pomrenke, who serves as Program Manager for Optoelectronics, THz and Nanotechnology in the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (OSR): We are advocating and establishing a multi-project wafer service for silicon photonics. OpSIS (Optoelectronic Systems Integration in Silicon) is a multi-project wafer service for silicon photonics. The goal at OpSIS is to make the processes for making optoelectronic integrated circuits available to the community at large, at modest cost, by sharing the cost of processing across many users of a single mask set. This model, called a "shuttle," can reduce costs of building new silicon photonics devices by more than 100x. The OpSIS program will help advance the field by bringing prototyping capability within reach of startups and academic research groups. Glad there are smart people doing amazing things to make life better!

TJ Young: Football teammates reunited 8 Oct at Notre Dame stadium 37 years after our last game together. Irish team was very talented and well coached, just as when we played them. We can play even with them at home next year. I was proud of their competitive spirit when we won the fourth quarter. This team has courage and determination.

More football: Dave and Jan Wallace, Ted and Nancy Thompson, and YHS connected at the Boise State game. We beat the point spread, so should do even better next year at home! Ted runs the Embry-Riddle program at Mountain Home AFB while Dave followed Jan to Boise, making his commute to Baltimore even longer.

Spies among us: John Kambourian retired from the CIA after 30 years; I even had my cover lifted so I don't have to pretend I worked for some other agency. I had 10 field assignments, the last six as a Chief of Station. It was a terrific ride and I can't believe they paid me for doing work that I loved. I'm now working for a government contractor; I do miss my troops and the mission but I cry all the way to the bank! Feels strange being a civilian again: Last civilian job I held was as a lifeguard during the summer in high school.

GBNF, USAFA Junior College: Chip Kerby related the news of Tony DeRegnaucourt’s passing on 18 Oct: He was hanging out with a friend at some gambling joint, said he felt tired, and laid down to take a nap. Never woke up. He was having a blast, so at least he went out doing something he enjoyed. He was one of the best friends I ever had, or will have. I spoke to him two weeks ago after the Navy game and we caught up a bit, so at least I don’t feel like I missed him entirely. And I’m glad he got to make the reunion trip last year. Things Tony invented but never got credit for: Talk like a pirate day, Shock and Awe (his approach to dating), and the phrase “I’m twice the man I used to be” (and he was). We lost a good man, who had the enormous capacity to make me laugh every time he opened his mouth. I’m going to miss him.

More JuCo: Bill Murray recently visited his best friend from the Academy, Paul "Ollie" Hansen Jr, of 1st Squadron, in La Pine, Oregon. He left after our sophomore year and completed at the University of Oregon, had a very successful football coaching career, raised cattle, and is now a businessman.

A lump of coal in your stocking: Lockheed Martin laid off 370 people, including Bill Murray...out-the-door date is 25 Dec. “I have an interview with American Airlines to teach aircraft systems. I have surgery scheduled on my hammer toe for 21 Oct. After having my prostate removed four years ago, my PSA has been increasing very slowly. Radiation directed at the fossa, the cavity where the prostate gland used to be, has an 80% chance of driving the PSA back down to zero. If it doesn't work, you move on to hormone therapy, since you can be radiated only once. The great thing about prostate cancer is that you have many ways of combating the disease. I just need to exercise that faith I'm always talking about.” 

Thanks, Dr Bill–it’s nice to know there’s something good about The Big C!

Closing thought from Dave Beeman: Just got back from my 40-year high school reunion. So many passed away you'd think they were ALL cadets...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the Best Alive!


Contrails Presenters


Foster & "Inky"



'75 at Notre Dame
John Ward ('74), Wayne Willis, Peggy Young,
Larry Fariss, & Terry Young


'75 at Boise State
Jeff Chappell, Ted Thompson, & Dave Wallace

Checkpoints Extras

Class of 2015 Legacy Event: Acceptance Parade

From the USAFA Association of Graduates Website:

"The Acceptance Parade takes place after the Basics complete BCT. At this parade, they are "accepted" into the cadet wing and they become fourth-class cadets. The Legacy Class is invited to view the parade and present Contrails to the outstanding basic from each of the 10 squadrons."

From the Air Force Website:

"8/4/2011 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – The Air Force Academy's Cadet Wing formally absorbed the Class of 2015 into its fold during the annual Acceptance Day Parade here Aug. 3.

"During the ceremony, basic cadets received copies of "Contrails" from their legacy class, the Class of 1975. They swore the Academy's Honor Oath before exchanging their gold baseball caps for Airman Battle Uniform caps and joining cadets from the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014.

"During Acceptance, the new freshmen march toward the Cadet Wing in an inverse wedge formation to signify their entrance into the Cadet Wing. At the Graduation Parade, the outgoing seniors march out of Stillman Field in a wedge formation, signifying their departure."

Larry Fariss's Speech to the Class of 2015 at their Acceptance Parade

"We are here for you. It is a great pleasure for members of “75 Best Alive” to serve as your legacy class. In this capacity we will forever be linked with you. The 756 members of our class are spread across the country, but we will stand with you every day for the next four years. We will be there for your recognition ceremonies, ring dance, 100th night, swearing in and graduation. We will cheer you on as you compete on the athletic fields, parachute from the sky and solo in gliders. We will pull for you in the classrooms, encourage you during final exams and help you to live honorably.

"Will you actually see us joining you in the classroom, on the athletic field and in the cockpit? Thankfully the answer is no. Our time and value in those venues is long past. Nevertheless we will stand with you. You may not see us, but we are there. We strode the very same halls you will walk, slept in the dorm rooms where you will dream, ran the marble strips where you will run, competed on the same fields and course where you will perform and flew from the same airfield where you will fly. We know what it is to be a Basic Cadet, Doolie, Third Classman, Two Degree and Firstie. We know what it feels like to complete basic training, be accepted into the Cadet Wing, be recognized as an upperclassman, to receive your class ring and finally to throw your hats in the air at graduation. 

"We stand with you because we have gone before you. We are your legacy. We are proud of your achievements to date. You separated yourself from your peers by volunteering to attend a military academy. You have completed a tough and vigorous basic training course. You have even survived a flu epidemic. Now you face new challenges as you take the honor oath and are accepted into the Cadet Wing. Fear not. This place is all about challenges. It is why we come. Continue to embrace the challenges and you will do just fine. Draw on your experience to date. You came to USAFA with your stomach in knots not knowing what to expect, but as you settled into your new routine, your nervousness subsided. And you even got comfortable with the first beast cadre. Then the anxiety returned as they threw new faces at you in Jack’s Valley. You not only survived, you thrived. 

"Now your stomachs are in knots again as you prepare to march off to new squadrons to face that unknown. Your training to date will help you face that challenge as well. Each time you face the unknown and conquer it, your confidence soars. Embrace the future as you came here to be challenged. Know this Class of 2015: The entire Academy is here to help you succeed and become outstanding officers in the United States Air Force. The entire staff, faculty, coaches, and even the upper classmen have that outcome in mind as you enter our Cadet Wing. 

"As your legacy class, we graduates from the Class of 1975 pledge to support you in reaching that day when you throw your caps in the air and join us in the Long Blue Line. Class of 2015: We are here for you. Good luck."


Contrails Presenters
Bo Montgomery, John Traxler, Phil Gronseth,
Mark Wells, Randy Davis, Bruce Linster,
Ralph Paul, Jim Burling, Larry Richter,
Larry Bryant (partially hidden) & Larry Fariss







Video: Larry Fariss' Speech
to the Class of 2015



Contrails Dedication to the Class of 2015 from the Class of 1975

"The Contrails handbook that you hold in your hands is a tradition that goes back to 1955. It is part of the Long Blue Line that connects us all in a way that is rarely found in the civilian world. The use of this handbook, and not so much the intrinsic knowledge held within, constitutes the core of your training as Basic Cadets – the development of self-discipline, focus and concentration, taking on the hard task, and attention to duty.

"The Class of 1975 is proud to present this Contrails to the Class of 2015. Although 40 years separate our two classes, we share a common commitment to service beyond self. This commitment is what sets us apart from other undergrads attending a regular college. It’s what brings us together at reunions to honor our fallen comrades with respect and tribute. Accept this gift with our best wishes. When it comes time for the Class of 2015 to present Contrails to its own legacy Class of 2055, you will maintain this deeply shared connection that goes far beyond simple tradition. This selfless commitment to service began with the first Academy class, the Class of 1959. Your class is now an indissoluble thread in the fabric of this Long Blue Line.

"Your class will have its own unique journey and rewards. For the Class of 1975, the most rewarding aspect of our experience at the Academy has been the camaraderie and the deep and long-lasting friendships that were made as cadets and maintained over the years. Classmates have attended each other’ weddings, delivered their babies, rescued each other during military mishaps, and stood in support when last breaths were taken. You will never have more reliable and closer friends than your classmates. These friendships stand the test of time. When the last two members of our class are left, they will raise a toast to their departed brethren and will know that formation of all their classmates awaits them when their final sorties RTB.

"Our official Class motto is “Ignotum Vincere” – To Conquer the Unknown. Every day has provided class members unexpected challenges to overcome and opportunities to seize, both personally and professionally. Life for you as cadets, and after graduation, will be what you make of it. Our unofficial class motto is “Illegitimi Non Carborundum." It has also served us well.

"The Class of 1975 offers you its best wishes for success: from your first days at the Academy, to your service as officers in the Air Force, and beyond. Your experience will pay huge dividends in pride, professionalism, and personal growth. Give your best during your days at the Academy – and for the rest of your life, it will come naturally."


Air University Commander Bids Farewell          Al Peck

"At a ceremony this morning, I will relinquish my position as the 28th commander of the Air University, a position in which I've been privileged to serve for more than three years. Later today I will retire from active duty afterjust more than 36 years of service. Lynn and I are looking forward to turning to a new chapter in the book of life. These ceremonies will be opportunities to perform that important last duty of a leader: to say "thank you." I have been privileged to not only stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before, but to have enjoyed the fantastic support of a dedicated staff and faculty here at the Air University.

"Air University is metaphorically a massive engine, annually converting more than 40,000 in-residence attendees into knowledgeable, critical-thinking, strategic-minded graduates from its myriad programs. These graduates include Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Department of Defense civilians and attendees from more than 70 different nations. Air University also produces critical research that benefits the Air Force and the nation, conducts commissioning training and education for 80 percent of the Air Force's newest officers, and oversees two major citizenship development programs. In addition, our military members and their families contribute countless volunteer hours to make the River Region community a better place to live and work. None of this would be possible if it weren't for the talent and dedication of the commanders, chiefs, supervisors, and all those assigned to the Air University organization. We've also benefitted immensely from the professionalism and diversity of our Total Force and joint mission partners. It has truly been a privilege to serve as commander..." Press Release HERE.


Defense Cuts Would Undermine National Security     Opinion, Bentley Rayburn

"The approaching debt ceiling recommendations from the “Super Committee” appointed by Congress seem unlikely to generate a bipartisan consensus on deficit reduction. If that happens, massive across-the-board cuts to the Pentagon budget are in the offing, and that could set back our national security, research and industrial base capabilities for decades.

"But is defense spending really the problem? Defense spending is currently less than 20 cents of every dollar spent by the Federal government. We must always spend every defense dollar wisely, but if you are going to fix a budget problem, you must look to where you spend the 80 cents first and foremost. Budget experts warn that our current level of spending masks shortfalls — after the last decade of “hollow growth” and extended combat, our equipment stocks have only grown “smaller and older.”

"Outgoing Defense Secretary Gates had already identified almost $200 billion in defense savings and canceled more than 30 programs. He warned, however, that another round of heavy cuts would be “catastrophic.” Editorial HERE.




1. Paul Lotakis: Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up. (October 2011)

2. Oleh Stefaniuk. (Veronika Nemeth Stefaniuk, November 2011)

3. Dave & Janet Middleton Wallace: The Boathouse in Central Park. Beautiful day in NYC! (November 2011)

4. Al Morrison: The Finished Product. (Tamara Groothausen, December 2011)




5. Steve Wojcicki, Al Peck, & Doug Fraser at Al's retirement. (October 2011)

6. Steve (Schiemann) of Arabia. (October 2011)

7. Don Byers. (December 2011)

8.  Mike Marro & Carol Macha, with Sophie & Carminie, at Air Force football: The weather was spectacular...we were in an almost upper section so had the sun on our backs almost the whole game. (Carol Macha, October 2011)





9. Jim Carlson with Annika & Julianna. (Sarah Gorter, November 2011)

10. Steve Morris & grandson Ian, flying high. (October 2011)

11. Tom Engleson. (October 2011)




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