Another one rides the bus: Dave Commons completed his tour in Saudi Arabia as the US Defense Representative and Chief of the US Military Training Mission and retired 1 September 2013. “It has been a great run, where has the time gone? Met Dale Meyerrose in Washington DC and was able to play 18 holes. Just completed my domestic OE on the 767/757 will depart on 22 Sep for Paris to complete international OE. Will be based in Detroit, still living in Austin.” Congratulations, Dave!
Put it on your calendar: Harry Mathis plans retirement on Friday, 4 April 2014,1500, at the Hope Hotel outside Gate 12A of Wright-Patterson. The hotel is reserving a block of rooms for $99/night which includes breakfast, available 3-5 April. Reservation deadline is 23 Feb, but they expect lodging to go quickly due to another event happening in town that weekend. I know we have a contingent in the Dayton area, so please spread the word and let’s see how many guys we can get to give Harry a big sendoff!
Chris Glaeser: As for me and Karen, after 4.5 years in Montreal, Quebec, I retired from IATA (International Air Transport Association) where I was the Global Director of Safety. We just moved back to Minneapolis where we'll spend the warm months of the year with our kids while enjoying boating and a little light aircraft flying. I flew around the world at least 3 times/year while at IATA with offices in 62 countries, and I am really glad to be retired for good! We are starting to open boxes that have been packed since UPT, and reconnecting with classmates and friends in the US.
Paul Kent: I turned 60 in July and received my first USAF retirement check. I celebrated in August by hiking to the 14,508 Mt Whitney summit with a friend who had acquired the hard-to-get permit. Then just finished backpacking the 100-mile, 22,000 feet gain-and-descent Wonderland Trail around Mt Rainer. Took us 12 days and we enjoyed it immensely; feeling quite privileged to still have the health and well-being to do such things!
The ’75 FedEx crew celebrated Spence Roberts’ 60th birthday in Memphis style: Rick Odegard, Buck Rogers, Spence, Chris Budinsky, Hoss Erving, and Jack Barton. We’re all jealous of guys whose A-jackets still fit!
Dave Clough is enjoying his growing family: In July, our first granddaughter, Adelaide, was born in Kansas City, followed in September by our second granddaughter, Elizabeth, also in Kansas City, (different daughters-in-law, of course!). Try to keep a grandmother away from her first or any grandchildren, so we have plowed a groove in the Interstate between Omaha and Kansas City since then. We’re preparing for a split household with me working in Omaha and Nancy spending lots of time in KC.
Golf semi-pro and part-time Delta pilot Wayne Willis: We did quite well in an annual Falcon Pride Club event, taking second place with a 59. We would love to get several ‘75 teams in every year. Can you get us a plug in Checkpoints? (Here it is!)
Dave White: Had dinner with Roger Keith during a layover in Tokyo. Did you know that the Japanese word for waitress is "Senorita"? Neither did the waitress, apparently.
War Stories and Lies Department. Chris Glaeser has a great one: I retired with with 3 Air Medals for saving flight test aircraft, and had a successful flameout landing in a U-6. With 23 years of service (active, guard, reserve) the oddest thing that happened to me was when towing a glider at an airport south of Lubbock, Texas, during UPT. I spent weekends at local airports as a flight/glider instructor and towing gliders. The glider pilot had asked for a 3,000 ft tow, with a release point about 6-8 miles east of the airport. We were climbing out of the airport at about 800 feet and had just turned downwind, when the Super Cub's windshield suddenly became covered with oil; I rocked my wings to tell the glider pilot to release. I was now at idle, and with the drag of two aircraft, we were descending and decelerating quite rapidly. I rocked my wings a second time; shortly thereafter I rocked my wings a third time and released the rope from the tow plane. He got the message and released his end of the rope also. I found a .22 caliber bullet in the oil cooler during postflight, so you could say I was shot down. I had noticed a beat up pickup truck on the road just off the end of the runway on takeoff, but by the time the sheriff got there, the truck was nowhere to be seen. I'm just glad the guy with the rifle pulled enough lead, as the Super Cub only had a 1/4” plywood floor and I could have been shot instead! I am personally quite interested in electric powered light aircraft; 1-5 years away from commercial potential. We'll eventually be doing our hobby flying on sunlight power and this will solve the cost issues ($50-80/hour for gas) and environmental considerations–plus it's just cool to think you can fly for free! I agree: Free is in my price range!
Charlie Wintermeyer submitted this interesting tidbit: The photo itself is from almost four years ago (and my photo of the photo is not real great); SOUTHCOM Commander Gen Doug Fraser with the USAID Administrator and a State Department official briefing after the Haiti earthquake. However, what's neat is that this photo is currently on the wall with other photos of fairly recent significant State Department events in one of the principal hallways in of the State Department in Washington, DC.
In the previous Checkpoints, I mused about classmates who are accident survivors, which sparked a discussion between Spence Roberts and Chris Glaeser. Here is a partial list they assembled, probably missing some (*successful ejection): Spence Roberts *F-5F, Rick Odegard *F-5, Steve Pitotti *F-4E, Buck Rogers *F-4, Chris Glaeser *F-104G, Rod Kallman *F-16, Tom Fraley C-130, Mike McClendon, John Sims UH60, Randy Barrett, Dean Spraggins B-1, Chris Soto F-105G. The last two were added to the discussion by Tim O’Connell, and at least two of the above were mentioned in previous articles during my tenure. If anyone wants to add to the list or give us some details on your event, I know least one person who is interested in reading and sharing your stories. I can hardly close without a salute to the GBNF classmates who went into the Wild Blue Yonder doing what they loved: Thanks for your sacrifices and friendships–see you on the Other Side!