March 2020          Foster Bitton

GBNF: Gary R. Matson, CS-38, passed away on 20 December 2019 after a 14-month battle with pancreatic cancer. A memorial service was held in January and his funeral will be held at the Academy Cemetery in March. Gary A. Held, CS-28, passed away on 3 January 2020 following a long illness. He was buried in Eagle Point, OR.

AF Football Rocks! Falcon fans were treated to one of the best seasons in Academy football history with a 10-2 regular season record and a win in the Cheez-It Bowl over Washington State University. The icing on the cake was Air Force’s 22 ranking in the final AP Poll. The only losses were to teams in the top 25 of the College Football Playoff rankings. The operative word throughout the Falcons’ season was “heart.” The boys in blue and silver left everything on the field in every game, and added to a legacy of courage under fire. Well done Falcons!

Wayne Willis sent in a picture taken at this year’s Army game. He and four other members of the Willis crew, including his oldest son and three grandsons, were on the field for the march on and helped form the tunnel for the team to enter the field. Note the jersey numbers the young lads and one old geezer are wearing, which just happens to be the number Wayne wore when he was bleeding on the friendly fields of strife in Falcon Stadium. Wayne has a total of 13 grandchildren (9 grandsons and 4 granddaughters) and enough “57” jerseys to outfit all of them. When they’re not on the football field, you can find them on the ski slopes of Utah, and Wayne spends a respectable amount of time on the golf course. Take note, oh ye who feed the fires of industry from your self-imposed office imprisonments, Wayne is doing retirement right!

As an equal opportunity scribe, I am obligated to report on the efforts of those who cling to the notion that work is good for the soul. One such classmate is Spence Roberts. Spence reported that he has now completed three academies. In addition to the aluminum and glass institution, he has also graduated from the Federal Air Marshal Service Academy (as a Federal Flight Deck Officer) for FedEx, and the FAA Academy preparatory to starting his new career as an FAA Inspector in Memphis, TN. He also noted that he didn't walk any tours or have any CDB's at the last two academies. Can they legally be called academies if tours and confinement aren’t part of the curricula?

Troll Commanders Mini-reunion: Steve Eickleman, Tom Finn, and Mike Goyden met in Monument, CO, during the Thanksgiving weekend. Tom, and his wife Gail, flew in from San Antonio to visit their daughter, Sharon, in Denver, where she is attending the University of Colorado to obtain a Doctorate of Pediatric Nurse Practitionership. Steve, who lives in Highlands Ranch, CO, picked them up at the Denver airport, and Mike, and his wife Jan, drove up from Colorado Springs to meet them in Monument. The last time the trio of CS-20 commanders had gotten together was during the 10-year reunion.

Reunion News: We’re in a year that ends in a zero, which means we will once again have an opportunity to meet with classmates we haven’t seen in years and inwardly gloat over how much younger we look than them. Or in Terry Young’s case, look down on the top of everyone’s tater and note the ongoing epidemic of male-pattern baldness. Jeff Hackett volunteered to be the chairman of the reunion committee again, and, since no one else who claims even an iota of sanity put in for the job, he was elected unanimously. Since the Academy has graduated more than 40 classes since we tossed our parade hats into the air, we have eight other classes holding five-year reunions to compete with for lodging, banquet facilities, golf course tournament times, and seats at football games. The competition for space will continue to increase as the Academy graduates more classes, so Jeff put together a survey with options of when and where to hold the reunion and sent it via the squadron POCs to all of the classmates who have a viable email and aren’t in a witness protection program. With 357 (out of 698 possible) classmates voting, the consensus was to hold the 45th reunion in Colorado Springs on a weekend with a home football game. In essence, the class voted to stick with the scenario we’ve followed during the previous reunions. The game we attend won’t be the Navy game because older classes with higher priority rights have already reserved that weekend. Per AOG rules, we will have the highest priority during our 50th reunion.

If you haven’t received an invitation to the upcoming reunion by the time this issue of Checkpoints hits the streets in March, it’s because the date of the reunion is determined by the dates of the eligible home football games, and the latest word is the Mountain West Conference won’t publish the 2020 football schedule until mid to late March. At this point, the reunion could happen anywhere between mid-September to late October. In addition, college football schedules are often dictated by television rights, so game days and times can be changed within just a couple of weeks of the game. In other words, the reunion schedule of events may be a floating schedule until the networks determine where Falcon football fits in the expected viewer ratings on our reunion weekend.

Should you hold off your decision about attending the reunion until the schedule is firm? No, absolutely not. Reunions are about people. Football, golf tournaments, and banquets are just trimmings that go with getting together with friends with whom you developed a bond that could never be formed at a civilian university. If you haven’t been to a reunion before, then this is a good warm up for the can’t-miss 50th reunion. You can also take the opportunity to see Denver and Colorado Springs before they merge into one gag-producing metropolis. In addition, it would be good to see old friends while you can still remember their names, and your own name, and where you put the shoes that are on your feet.


Wayne Willis and a cast of eyases


Troll Squadron Commanders
Steve Eickleman, Tom Finn,
& Mike Goyden then...


...and now

Checkpoints Extras

Yellow Runners               Gary Thaller

"The future of the Air Force is at stake,” Gram thought as he waited outside General O'Brian's office at the Association of Graduates Headquarters. “I hope he will lend a hand.” General O’Brian’s receptionist had offered him some coffee, but Gram didn’t want to take any chances that he would need to use the restroom."

Major Gram Harkin, a '75 grad from the Air Force Academy has a plan to save the Air Force by implementing a new leadership training strategy. Gram is a genius who has created a computer program approaching artificial intelligence...

Association of Graduates Class Advisory Senate


Bruce Mitchell represented the Class of '75 at the January 2020 CAS Meeting.


CAS Briefing

Class Giving



1. Julius Hargrove with kith and kin. (January 2020)

2. Mark & Melodee Risi (That's Mark on the right): At the PAC with my honey watching the Silent Film Double Feature. (January 2020)

3. Bill Murray (With Terry Young): Guess where I am, and we're having a ball! Chapel Hill, NC...What a nice place! (January 2020)

4. Don Byers (Right) with friends David, Amy, & Sandy on the longest ride of the decade (Just over 60 miles). (David Kurtze, January 2020)




5. Dave & Janet Middleton Wallace: Scenes from a snowshoe hike on a snowy Idaho day. (January 2020)

6. Mike Heil: Enjoying lunch with Donna and Ryan at our local Mission BBQ. (January 2020)

7. Dave & Beth Herlong with pianist Conrad Tao. (January 2020)

8. Dave & Patti Ruddock with grandson Ben on his (Ben's) birthday. (January 2020)




9. Oleh & Veronika Nemeth Stefaniuk stopping for a bite to eat with friends. (Veronika Nemeth Stefaniuk, January 2020)

10. Rick Kim (On his 76th birthday, although it be his 67th): Grateful for and humbled by all of your birthday wishes. Thank you so much for helping make it the best day yet! Love and Aloha. (February 2020)

11. Tony Mahoney: We just had some delicious brews at this tiny brewery in Chile. Probably less than 1000 square feet. Amazing! (February 2020)

12. Perry & Linda Lavon Lamy with friend Mary in Owatonna, Minnesota. (Linda Lavon Lamy, February 2020)




13. Jim & Ardis Hartney with Maureen Hartney. (February 2020)

14. Bob Shappell, attending the 6th District Americanism Banquet. (Julie Muhle, February 2020)

15. Jim Corrigan, Jake Corrigan, Destry Everhart, & Billy Cannon at the USA Raquetball National Championships. (Jake Corrigan, February 2020)

16. Jim Marshall: We welcomed grandchild #5 today. Rex Garcia Vannoy. (February 2020)




17. Jim Schuman: The groupies are back on the road (February 2020)

18. Bill Spencer (at Falcon Stadium for the NHL Stadium Series game)Billy and I met the voice of the Avalanche, Conor McGahey, of the Altitude Radio Network. A surprise for Billy. He's clearly the best at what he does. (February 2020)

19. Rod Kallman on the ocassion of his (67th?) birthday. (Vicki Kallman, February 2020)

20. Mike Dehart: From our annual Colorado CS31 ski trip 20-24 Feb ’20 – 5th year in a row – going till we’re 70 and beyond! This year Beaver Creek and Vail. Also did some snow mobiling, ice fishing, and snow shoeing. Ate heartily and imbibed just a FEW adult beverages! Absolutely great time!! (Larry Coletti, Dave Furguson, Steve Brown, Jack Storer, Otto Dieffenbach, Jim Burling, Charlie Beam, & Michael Dehart). (Karen Driscoll, February 2020)




21. Melinda & Larry Bryant with grandchildren Jack & Parker. (Annie Bryant, February 2020)

22. Cynthia Baird & Willie Cosby. (Maryanne Austin, February 2020)

23. Rodolfo Saavedra Ferrere & some of his beauties. (February 2020)

24. Oleh & Veronika Nemeth Stefaniuk. (February 2020)




25. Jim & Ardis Hartney at the Rascal Flatts concert, Strawberry Festival in Tampa. (February 2020)

26. Steve & Sharon Duresky with friends at Traditional Stromboli Night. (March 2020)

27. Greg & Mike Berlan (Toni Faulkner Rowdon, March 2020)

28. Bruce Hevey & daughter Theresa. (Angela Dupont-Hevey, March 2020)




29. Stan Jones: Taos Ski Valley on a beautiful day. (March 2020)

30. John Loucks & Susan Dee. (March 2020)

31. Gerry Conticchio and some of his beauties. (March 2020)

32. Rick Kim, with the Make-a-Wish Foundation: Darling Jasmine and family are in Orlando to see the bright lights & hear the loud sounds of Disney! This was a quick back-to-back Wish party Monday with an early A.M. departure today. Have fun and relax Jasmine and family! Grateful to have worked with this lovely family. Love & aloha(March 2020)




33. Bill Lyerly: Visiting my daughter Kirsten Lyerly in the San Francisco area. It’s beautiful out here. We also drove by the Grand Princess cruise ship docked in Oakland for coronavirus quarantine. But don’t worry, I rolled our windows up! (March 2020)

34. Paul Kent: Beautiful day to try out my new used Alpine Touring Skis. Gustav and Rainier assisted me on the uphill. Good physical workout. Those skins and lifting heel make it nice on the uphill. And the downhill is the same as regular downhill skiing with the heels locked in. (March 2020)

35. Bob Hickcox: Got ten miles on the bike. Have to go earlier so I don't bother the walkers. (March 2020)

36. Several Board of Visitors members paused for a photograph during their February 19th gathering. Pictured (from left) are Brig. Gen. (Ret.) David Ehrhart. '75, Linda Cubero '80, USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria '85, Gen. (Ret.) Edward Rice '78, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (California), and U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (New Mexico). (U.S. Air Force Academy photo, March 2020) (Checkpoints article below)




37. Eric Rosborg: Happy birthday to Elizabeth!!! Rock of our family, mother of Matthew, and world's best partner! Love you! (March 2020)

38. John Kambourian with a good friend. (Jennifer Kambourian, March 2020)

39. Jim Schuman: My world just got a little darker and lonelier. My sweet boy Gus passed away in his sleep last night. Damn I’m going to miss him. Rest in peace buddy, and thank you for always being such a loyal friend. (March 2020)

40. Rick Townsend & Yolanda Espidio Velasco. (Pas M Angel Centrodefe Tapatio, January 2020)




41. Oleh Stefaniuk & family touring the Revs Insitute Museum. (Veronika Nemeth Stefaniuk, March 2020)

42. Mark Risi (Second from Left): Had the opportunity to discuss hunger issues with my Alaska State Senator Mia Costello. (February 2020)

43. Oenophile Pete Blatchley. (February 2020)

44. David Beeman & Miguel Cantos. (Miguel Cantos, February 2020)




March 2020
Board of Visitors
Dave Ehrhart

Cuero Regional Hospital
March 2020
Steve Tibbitts



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