GBNF: Richard “Mac” McIntosh passed away at home on 14 August 2017 following a long fight with pancreatic cancer. He spent the last month of his life surrounded by family, and throughout his final challenge he had the steadfast support of Linnea, his wife of more than 40 years.
Bradley W. Mandeville passed away on 9 October 2017 from complications following a heart attack. Brad retired from the Air Force in 1995 and served as a Deputy Sherriff with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office in Shelton, WA for more than 17 years. Obituaries for these classmates can be found via links, right.
Awards and Decorations: While most of us have been finding new places to take naps around the house, some of our classmates have continued to find new ways to excel. Shame on the following classmates for making us look like five-toed sloths.
Gernot Pomrenke was selected as a 2018 Fellow of The Optical Society for “outstanding technical leadership in formulating and advancing the areas of Optical Materials Characterization, Opto-Electronics, Integrated Photonics, Silicon Photonics, Nano-photonics, Metamaterials, Metasurfaces and Plasmonics.”
Scott Hammond received a presidential citation from the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) for “outstanding work on behalf of the Association and its members.” The citation noted, “Capt. Hammond’s dedication … is a stellar example of how one individual can impact an entire industry. Through his efforts on ALPA’s Safety Council, Capt. Hammond has promoted a safer environment for pilots around the globe.” Hopefully Scott will be able to use this recognition as a springboard to become a productive member of society. (Preceding comment added by the Humblest of Scribes who knew Scott as a pilot-aspirant in UPT.)
Retiring Sorts: Kevin Smith retired in September as manager in the Department of Energy’s Office of River Protection in Hanford, Washington. He credited “the leadership and management skills and principles infused in (graduates) DNA at the Academy” for his success in DOE.
Jim “Tony” Mahoney, CS-22, made his fini-flight for Southwest Airlines in mid-November. Tony described his career as “15 years flying fighters and 26 in the slow lane.”
After Retirement: Paul Kent backpacked a 71-mile section of the Pacific Coast Trail in Washington, chartered a 45-foot catamaran in French Polynesia with his wife and two other couples, and whitewater rafted the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. His near-term plans are to watch the rain fall in Washington during the next several months while his body pushes the reset button.
Two Generations of Thieves. Chuck Hippler, CS-40, and wife Rose-Marie, joined their son, Chase, CS-40 Class of 2019, at the 2017 Parents Weekend tailgate. Chuck noted, “the Warhawks mascot and squadron patch are different, but still pay homage to the old Ali Baba patch, and Chase has been briefed on the infamous squadron cheer.”
Classmate Mini-Reunions. Karl Gabrys and Bob Akers performed a rejoin midway between Detroit and Cincinnati at Wapakoneta, OH for a visit to the Neil Armstrong museum and two days of catching up. They trained for this venture the year before when Al Van Epps, Karl, and Bob dragged their wives to the AF Museum at Wright-Patterson. They adhered to tradition and celebrated the “post knowledge test” with beverages at an appropriate venue.
Bull Sixers Peter Marcuzzo and “long time ago roommate” Michael Marro held a Bull Six mini-reunion in Brussels, Belgium. Michael’s wife, Carol, is the Assistant IT director for NATO and they live near Mons, Belgium. Peter and his wife, Jean, also took the opportunity to drop in to see their daughter who lives in London.
Ted Hilbun and Jeff Chappell took a guided hiking tour of the Grand Canyon 7-8 September. It was Ted's eighth trip on the trail. Jeff provided details of the hike, but suffice it to say, it was long and grueling for people who have seen more than 750 full moons in their lifetime. Saturday, 9 September was a planned rest day, which included “geology and history presentations, and excellent meals while we licked our wounds and downed some Ranger Candy/Vitamin M (Motrin).” Classmates who want to embark on a similar expedition should schedule an appointment with a licensed mental health provider as soon as possible.
Hente on Heritage: Scott Hente has been part of the briefing team for an AOG-sponsored Heritage Presentation to the incoming Basics for the last two years. The purpose of the briefings is to introduce the new cadets to the heritage and traditions of the Academy and the Graduate Community. The AOG provides broad guidelines on subjects to discuss but gives free rein to the briefers to answer any questions candidly and to express their own views. This year Scott addressed the entire Class of 2021, addressing between 25 and 50 Basics per session. He recounted, “I would always start my talk by introducing myself and saying that I am a proud graduate of the Class of 1975, the GREATEST CLASS THAT EVER GRADUATED FROM THE ACADEMY! The other graduates who would be with me would invariably make snide comments, to which I would reply that ‘If you ever meet a graduate who doesn’t tell you that his or her class is the best, then you should feel sorry for them, because class pride is an important part of our heritage. But my class is still the best!’” Truer words were never spoken.
Scott added, “After meeting so many of these bright, motivated, and promising young men and women, I have no worries about the future of our Academy and the Air Force.” Under the “it’s-a-small-world” category he reported, “While addressing one of the groups of new Basics this year a young man in the back of the group raised his hand and said, ‘Sir, my Dad is a 1975 graduate.’ I stopped in mid-sentence and immediately walked back to him and saw his name tag: PECK. I looked at him and said ‘You’re Al’s kid?’ And I got a crisp, ‘YES SIR!’” Check back at this site in about 30 years to see if the Peck presence in the Air Force General Officer ranks continues into a third generation.
Class Honors WWII Medal of Honor Recipient: A small group from Palmer Lake, Colorado, built a memorial to commemorate MSgt William J. Crawford, WWII Medal of Honor recipient, and a CS-22 custodian. MSgt Crawford was a truly great and humble warrior and the only non-U.S. Air Force enlisted person buried at the USAFA Cemetery. Larry Bryant, CS-22, was deeply involved in the effort to raise funds to cover non-donated materials for the memorial, and as a result ’75 as a class, and the ’75 members in CS-22 jointly contributed almost 50 percent of the cost of non-donated materials. Good show ’75; it was a class act in every sense of the term!
The dedication of the memorial was aptly held on 11 November, Veterans Day.