Dark Ages Greetings, Best Alive!
Recommended Professional Development Reading: Bill Estelle has done a fabulous job with the new “rogue website,” 75bestalive.org. I guarantee you will laugh, cry, and feel tingles, often simultaneously, as you recall people who affected our lives at The Zoo. Thanks to many classmates who contributed content, which includes Class Business, News, GBNF, Galleries, Videos, Nostalgia, and History. YHS particularly enjoyed the Nostalgia section entitled Gallimaufry--the French exchange story almost gave me a hernia from laughing so hard! This is a “living project,” one that will not be complete until the last of us departs the fix, and Bill welcomes stories, pictures, videos, memorabilia, and anything else reminiscent of our time together, then and now.
Mike Matte, aka Marathon CEO (marathonCEO.com), reported on his 26 Dec 2011 speech at the 26th annual South Texas Joint Service Academies Military Ball on Galveston Island. All of the 140 cadets and midshipmen received copies of his book, “Marathon Fit to Lead,” which Mike signed after delivering the keynote address. The speech included references and stories about the famous Class of 1975 and what it was like to actually punch cards to program a computer and live in a New Dorm. The book is available on Mike’s website or Amazon, but he can send you an autographed copy if you get it directly from him.
Duane Jones joins the ORB universe: My time in Air Force blue is coming to a close. I’ll retire from active duty effective 1 April 2012 with a last duty day of 3 February. Our classmate Doug Fraser will officiate and in doing so will become the last member of our class on continuous active duty. Congratulations and thank you for your service, Duane!
More from the Beltway Bunch: John Charlton reports in from his post at National Defense University, where he serves as Senior Director of the Security Assistance and International Student Education Programs. “In a nutshell, I am responsible for recruiting 100+ international students to NDU each year, and then seeing to all of their administrative needs while they are here with their families (300+ dependents). One of the nicer aspects of my job is to 'teach' them about America: We end up hitting about half of the states each year. This morning we are off to Texas: Houston and the Johnson Space Center, Galveston and the offshore oil industry, Dallas and the 6th Floor Museum, and Fort Worth to visit the F-35 production line at Lockheed Martin and the Ft Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. As you can see, we do a bit of industry, military and culture. Another perk of the job is international travel. Many of my "students" go home and are soon promoted to the highest positions within their military. It's fun to go and see them on their own turf. We will be in Germany for a conference this spring, and then plan to visit Prague and Krakow, where we are sponsoring an alumni event. We travel each year to a different part of the world. So far we've hit France, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Dubai, and Thailand. I retired in 2002, then transitioned to the same job as a civilian. Hope to continue for about four more years--we bought a lot in Ashland, NE last year on a small lake surrounded by a golf course, and plan to build our retirement nest there in the next couple of years. Grandchildren #9 and #10 checked in last year, so Bernadette and I do quite a bit of travel in that regard as well, as my kids are spread across OH, FL, MI and CA, and her kids (plus three grandkids) are out in the Omaha area. Life has been very good to us, and of course we owe a lot of it to dear old USAFA.”
Guard Bum Chuck Schmitz has one more year to go in the Ohio ANG, including an upcoming tour in Afghanistan. “I left active duty in August of 1986 and went to the Guard two weeks later as an Air Guard Technician. Except for that two week transition I’ve been active duty or ANG since graduation. Last I heard from Don Lewis he went back on active duty and was in Germany. Don’t know of too many other folks out there still doing this. I’ll be off on my last adventure (sure the wife will be happy about that) at the end of January or early February, with three of my enlisted folks supporting a flying ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) operation.” Wow, another long-timer--you guys are setting all kinds of records!
From Scribe Emeritus Paul Kent: Mike and Jan Goyden traveled to DisneyWorld during Spring Break for their first extended vacation since their honeymoon 36 years ago. Wow, makes me feel guilty for all the vacations I take. The only news from me is my son finished his Eagle Scout Board of Review and is going to study in Australia and New Zealand for 10 weeks in early January. Congratulations Pablo--he joins an elite group in earning his Eagle! Sounds like Vito has been working too hard though...
Idea for next reunion: Generate a list of progeny who followed our footsteps into the Long Blue Line, became Eagle Scouts, Rhodes Scholars, All-Americans, and other such accomplishments. Our class has an impressive history of accomplishment, and I think our children reflect the individual greatness that comes from a background of greatness. Whaddaya think? Are the wheels in motion yet? It’s only three years away!
No rocking chairs for us. Mark Holmes reports in from sunny San Diego: Came upon a revelation just a few days ago: The address of my house. I'll bet no one in the class has the same number; it never dawned on me in the nine years after we bought the house until I saw the new section 7258 on the AOG website and the light bulb went off, with strains of “What's your altitude, smack?” “Seven Thousand Two Hundred Fifty-Eight feet sir, far, far above that of Annapolis or West Point.” Tattoos with the class motto, an address that's The Zoo's altitude, I can't seem to let it go...it's a good thing, lots of great memories of great lifetime friends. All's well here (no motorcycle accidents) other than a portable radiator dropping on a toe and losing the toenail, otherwise 58 feels pretty darn good. Got asked to enter a bodybuilding competition by the trainers at the gym so I guess I'm doing something right. I always thought 58 was rocker on the porch stuff when I was a kid; guess our generation doesn't see it that way.
More Cool Stuff About Us: The Dec 2011 Checkpoints article, “The Long Blue Line: Active Duty Retention,” highlighted Best Alive as one of only eight classes with 20-year retention rates over 50%, and one of three with a double-digit 30-year retention rate.
Keep those updates and pictures coming, and until next quarter, good night and God bless!