Bentley Rayburn summarized the Legacy Class B-25 Graduation Flyover as follows: Friday, 22 May, was the last time the entire Class of 2015 met. At the end of their meeting, we presented the B-25 flyby and model. Photo shows the 2015 Class leadership (three cadet wing commanders and the class president) and our ’75 reps, Mark Wells, Jim Eken, Scott Hente, Larry Bryant and me. Bill Estelle took the picture. The cadet holding the B-25 model was their class president, a former JTAC enlisted man, Andrew Dane, one of the few cadets in history to wear the Purple Heart. The Class was enthusiastic about our gesture. We told them that when the B-25 flew over, they needed to remember that it was our personal recognition to their class from ours and comes with all our best wishes for their service as Air Force officers. There was some consensus to have a base of some kind constructed so that we can mount an appropriate inscription memorializing the event, then display it at Doolittle or Arnold Hall. If anybody else has some good ideas, send them our way! The B-25 flew over just after the Wing formed up on the parade field. The announcer talked about the significance of the B-25 and the connection to the Doolittle Raiders and made a very nice mention of the connection between the Classes of ’75 and ’15 and the fact that the flyby was sponsored by our class. There was a very nice reaction from the crowd. All in all, I think it was a great show by our class.
Final point from Class Treasurer Scott Hente: When our class was tasked with the challenge to raise $4,000 for the flyover, they sent in more than $8,000 and I’m still getting checks!
Scribe Emeritus Paul Kent notified us that classmate Tom Kemp was elected Vice President of Flight Operations for Alaska Airlines. Tom is a 31-year Alaska veteran with more than 16,000 hours of flight time, who previously served as director of operations and managing director of standards, fleet and operation control, and as system chief pilot and managing director of line flying. "Tom's commitment to safety and compliance and extensive knowledge of Alaska Airlines make him extremely well-qualified to lead flight operations and Alaska's 1,639 pilots," said Alaska Airlines Chief Operating Officer Ben Minicucci. "He not only possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience, but his integrity and high moral standards personify our Alaska values.” Congratulations Tom!
Phil Gronseth sent in a tear-jerker: Gerry Micheletti donated a kidney to brother Pat, former Minnesota Gophers great and current local hockey analyst. Pat discovered last fall that both of his kidneys were functioning at 13 percent. Pat thought he had hip issues. Doctors believe his kidneys were failing because of years of taking the over-the-counter pain reliever Motrin (ibuprofen) to deal with discomfort stemming from his hockey career. “There’s been some big family stuff, but this is a good one,” said brother Tom Micheletti. “This was an extremely emotional experience to go through and such an ordeal. You have one brother giving his kidney to save another brother’s life. But Gerry did it for the baby of the family, which makes it more special. We were kidding, Pat’s been the one babied his whole life and we’re doing it again when he’s 50-something. We can’t seem to stop ourselves.” Gerry played hockey at Air Force and is still very much involved with them. “When we went into the room to see my Uncle Gerry, he knew all of our names and the first thing he asked was, ‘Did they comb my hair?’ He wanted to look good,” Pat’s son Alex said, laughing. “I’m proud to be part of this big family. I’ve been a nervous wreck, but it’s been really nice to have [my family] here to cheer me up.” Gerry’s kidney was in great condition and is functioning perfectly after surgery.
Phil adds: I've had the joy of teaching at the Prep School since 2002. My first boss was our classmate Larry Fariss! In 2010 I returned to active duty for two years and filled a rated slot in the physics department. I just moved my office a couple ridges north. I was on Leave Without Pay status at the P for two years and then just moved my stuff back two ridges south after my second AF retirement. While on active duty I joined the hockey team staff and just finished my fifth year with them. I skate when the coaches need help with practice, am on the bench doing the line changes during games, and also tutor on trips. My first two years with them we went to the NCAA tournament. What a rush! The team went to the NCAAs five out of six years so our expectations are high. I have breakfast every couple of weeks with a number of classmates: JD Barrowclough, Mike Goyden, Bentley Rayburn, Mike Rosebush, Mike Biedermann, and Rex Hoey are some of the guys who show up.
Bill Caskey sent this photo from a family vacation in Grand Cayman, captioned “Finally got my stars.”
Doug Nelson just retired from teaching at Spokane Community College. He and Edie plan to take a year to make sure everything is in order, then let the Lord be their tour guide for the next 18 months or so.
Cathy, wife of Joe Marksteiner, sent this item: Joe is a competitive powerlifter, regularly competing on the International or World level. In June, we traveled to Salo, Finland, for the World Classic Powerlifting Championships, with over 34 countries represented. Joe won the Silver medal, having squatted 380 lb, bench pressed 203 lbs, and pulled a 407 lb. deadlift. Joe then traded in his National Team Athletic uniform for his Category I International Referee uniform. Back here in the USA, Joe is on the Executive Committee for USA Powerlifting, and developed the scoring program used at our National championships. I competed also and took the Silver medal in my age and weight division, so it was a family affair at the meet. See class website for photo.
From golf nut Bill Murray: About 2001, Hill AFB invited Mike Weir to do a golf demo. He agreed and in exchange we gave him a ride in an F-16. The fence behind the driving range was about 300 yards, and that day he was easily sailing them across the fence! I remember him saying, "Hey, I’m hitting them pretty good today...too bad I'm not playing!" I was thinking, how does a little guy hit the ball that straight and that far! I just happened to be at a party recently at the Colonial where Mike was signing golf balls for the fans. I asked him if he remembered his F-16 ride, and his eyes lit up. He even remembered the pilot he flew with and said it was the thrill of a lifetime!
Reunion XL convenes shortly after this publication – hope to see everyone then!