A Worthy Cause. Bentley Rayburn, Kent Traylor and Bruce Mitchell represented the Class of ’75 at the annual awards banquet for the Cadet Honor Program held on April 28th. Prior-year donations by our class to the AOG, earmarked for support of honor programs, paid for the event and for the awards. First and Second-Degree Cadet honor reps and their permanent party support representatives attended this affair, along with the Vice Commandant. Award plaques were presented for outstanding contributions by cadets and their military and civilian mentors. Award plaques were presented to the wing honor representative and outstanding honor representatives from the four cadet groups. The organizers of the event and the cadets in attendance at the banquet repeatedly expressed their appreciation to the Class of ’75 for supporting these activities with their donations.
Slimming Down on a Grand Scale. From DoD News, Defense Media Activity: Classmate David Tillotson, DoD’s assistant deputy chief management officer, is taking on the monumental task of tracking the reductions resulting from a delayering initiative aimed at saving $1.9 billion through a 25 percent reduction of Defense Department headquarters staff costs. He noted in a May issue of DoD News, Defense Media Activity, that within the Office of the Secretary of Defense staff, 309 positions are being reduced, including 243 that are filled. In defense agencies and field activities, 1,260 positions are slated for reduction, he said. For those classmates who are hoping to stay entrenched in the headquarters until they reach the big 7-0, relax, Dave said involuntary cuts are not happening at this time.
BUFF Radar Nav to the Rescue. Tim O’Connell lives in Woodland Park, CO, and is a volunteer with the Divide Fire Protection District in the wildland fire fighting group and the technical (as opposed to artistic?) rescue group. On May 12th Pike’s Peak hosted its annual large-spring-snowfall-that-catches-non-mountain-dwellers-by-surprise event and stranded three young women who had climbed to the summit and were on their descent. One of the hikers called her parents on a cellphone, which started Tim and his fellow volunteers on a five-hour rescue that involved hiking through four-foot drifts in the dark. They reached the hikers just before midnight, treated them for hypothermia, and then accompanied them to a waiting ambulance, which took them to Pikes Peak Regional Hospital. One of the hikers was a 26-year-old former Blackhawk pilot. Tim probably tried to restrain himself, but he eventually pointed out the irony of a 63-year-old BUFF radar nav coming to the rescue of a much younger Blackhawk pilot. She acknowledged his point with a smile and chattering teeth. Tim started volunteering at the fire department in 2014 with the intent of only writing grants for it, but he was subsequently lured into going on a couple of calls, and that was the end of his leisurely retirement hobby. His department got 392 calls in 2015 for fire (structure and wildland), rescue, and medical assistance. About 30 of those were either injured/sick hikers on the west face of Pikes Peak or dirt bikes and ATV crashes in the National Forest north of Divide, CO. The average number of calls per volunteer last year was in the 30s. Tim’s count was 104. Do-gooders beware, Tim’s case is a prime example of how a few innocent good deeds can lead to a failed retirement.
Roadrunners Spotted on Mt. Denali. David (1975) and his son David Lee Blessinger (2009), both grads from CS-32 Roadrunners recently took a flying tour to Mt. Denali, Alaska. David is retiring back to Colorado Springs after a 23-year career as a pilot and scientist, and an additional 17 years supporting DOD joint tests. David Lee, a C-130 pilot, is currently flying C-12s, delivering equipment, supplies, and passengers over the remote regions of Alaska.
Grim Reapers Escape Unscathed. Mike DeHart, Dave Ferguson, Jack Storer, and Larry Colletti gathered in Colorado in March at Larry’s cabin near Winter Park for a few days of skiing and reminiscing about cadet days. Mike reports that the skiing conditions were great and, despite their ever-increasing ages, they were still able to maneuver the slopes without any injuries, though they can neither confirm nor deny that there may have been some embarrassing moments. Reveling in their ability to escape the adventure intact, they intend to make it an annual event.
Family Vacation. Speaking of successful getaways, the Mike Goyden clan, consisting of 14 Coloradans, spent 5 days in Disneyland and 10 days in Ko Olina, Oahu at the Disney Aulani resort. During the trip Mike’s youngest daughter, Kelly, got engaged on the lagoon at the Disney Aulani. There were no reports on whether the new son-in-low is related to Mickey or Goofy.
You Heard It Here First. Last quarter Paul Kent reported he was going to retire after 32 years of flying, and he followed through on that threat. His last flight was from Amsterdam to Seattle where he was greeted by a water-canon salute, and on the ramp his daughter, son, and son-in-law surprised him by coming in from out-of-state and holding a huge sign that read “Congratulations, Captain Paul/Dad, We Love You.” That caused Pilot Paul to create a few waterworks of his own.
Golf, Followed by Golf, Golf, and More Golf. Larry Farris has one of the more active bucket lists on the planet. His list has included hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada (done), riding his bike across the USA (done), biking the Tour de France route (done), and biking and backpacking New Zealand (done). Four years ago the next item on the list was to attend the Masters in Augusta. Obviously, Larry likes to do things in a big way, so the lead up to the Masters included ten rounds of golf on Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Trail in five days. He tried to convince several classmates to join him for the entire trek, but only Dave Pratt (his USAFA roommate) was game enough for all five days. Jim Corrigan and Roy Rice (who both lived in the local area) joined him for several other days, and Wayne Willis jumped in for the first two days. Rod Hennek was able to get Larry and Dave tickets to the Par Three tournament as well as Masters Day one.
Larry subsequently decided to expand the golf extravaganza into the “Falcon Hacker Classic.” This year the “Third Falcon Hacker Classic” gathered the last week of April in Rod Hennek’s “small Lake House” in South Carolina for three days of golf, exaggerations of personal accomplishments, great food, and great fellowship. The invitee list expanded to 12 to fill out three foursomes…appropriately named Fast, Neat, and Average. They played five courses, including Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Gary Player designs…and all decided that Gary Player is an evil, evil man. This year’s attendees included Chairman Larry Farris, Host Rod Hennek, Charter members Dave Pratt, Wayne Willis, Jim Corrigan, Tug McGraw, Russ Trinter, Bo Montgomery, Bruce Fritzsche and Brian Duffy. Sponsor’s exemptions were granted to Dave Commons and Craig Matt.
The overall medalist was Dave Commons with Craig Matt as “Tail End Charlie,” but the real winner was Chairman Larry Farris who carded a score of 90!! (His previous record was just north of 100). Tim O’Connell take note; this is the way to conduct a successful retirement.